A ghastlie reunion

**If you’re visiting from the Bloggers Quilt Festival, be sure to scroll down, my quilt entry is two-sided, and you don’t want to miss the back!

When we (Row House Creations) designed our Mums for Melissa pattern, I knew I had finally found the perfect design to use my (ahem. cough) collection of Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabrics! I think the first collection was released in 2009; sort of a unique, “Addams family” style novelty print. This pattern is designed to use a 2-yard cut of a print fabric that you can’t bear to cut up too small:

mums_frontcopyThe characters in the Ghastlies fabrics are so detailed and have such great expressions, backgrounds and “props” that they need to be used in larger pieces. I did make placemats with them a few years ago, and I made the quilt top I shared on our Row House Creations site in 2013. Trina quilted it for me in 2014, but I realized I never blogged about the finished quilt. Because, you know, 2014 was my worst year. Ever.

But it did get quilted, and it’s pretty awesome (if I do say so myself), because it’s two-sided, and the back is fabulous, too. This is a full shot of the front:


The “mums” in the center panel include some Ghastlies coordinates, but also just grey, black, pink, and lavender prints from my stash that coordinate well; the center is a dark green tangled lace Ghastlies print. It’s easy to see my fabrics in this photo from before it was quilted:

GhastliesMFMDetail3And the inner border is from a line by Sanae for Mode called Haunted Mansion (I love this print) and looks like a damask wallpaper print complete with spider medallions:


The quilting is done on an Innova long-arm, using their computerized designs, but in a custom manner (a different design for the center flowers, the inner borders and the large side panels of the quilt):


MFMGhastlies4I had a TON of fun making this quilt, I’m a bit crazy for Halloween, I love these fabrics, and I was using a pattern my business parter and I had designed. My fun didn’t stop with the quilt top. The back I had just as much fun making, creating a family “photo gallery” and a wainscoting wall look using some Tula Pink Nightshade fabric that coordinates with this collection very well, and the original Ghastlies, the Ghastlie Family Reunion and Ghastlie Gallery collections:


I started by fussy-cutting scenes from the large prints of each collection and “framing” them in coordinating fabric:MFMGhastliesBack4

I arranged them in rows on my design wall, added the white “wall” around them, then added the “wainscoting” panel below and above the photo gallery:


MFMGhastliesBack2The photo gallery inspiration came from this print from a Ghastlie GalleryMFMGhastliesBack5One of my very favorite quilts–this one stays with me! BTW, the back is a one-of-a-kind design and is NOT a pattern and NOT included in our Mums for Melissa pattern.

This is my entry in the Spring 2015 Blogger’s Quilt Festival — entered into “original design” category — would love to have you vote for me for viewer’s choice!

Happy Quilting, and come back again,



Vintage View: Pretty Patchwork


I’m not sure when the Trip Around the World quilt pattern first came into being, but back in the day, the squares were pieced individually, often times hand-pieced.

I remember, when I was small, my mom had one laid out on our basement floor (the pieces were all clothing scraps, of 1960s-1970s double-knits–it lives with my sister today).  She had it laid out and carefully pinned, and as she tells the story, on more than one occasion, my little brother and I went down to the basement to play and would shuffle our feet across/through her quilt top, so she had to start again laying it all out.  Hearsay?  Could be, I only remember the pieces and the pins, I don’t recall the mischief making I allegedly partook in.

This one (from the quilt show we went to the first weekend in October) is amazing, the prints make a flawless watercolor blend of color and pattern…

Today, we would make this using a rotary cutter and a strip piecing technique, not individually cut squares (cut with a template and  a scissors!) and aside from making sure you were piecing rows together without flipping them the wrong direction, it would go together rather quickly.  Not these vintage beauties… just imagine the time and attention to detail these quilt makers employed!  Here is another one, very similar coloration; check out the edge and the binding:


And one that incorporates a rectangular piece rather than a square:

And I’ve always admired this variation, very much like Katy’s QAL in 2010:

The fabrics in this quilt are to die for, I could have gawked at it for an hour or two:


Have you ever made a Trip Around the World (or a variation)?

Is this a quilt pattern that is on your Bucket List?





Project Wardrobe, 1.2

My “1958-vintage-Mad Men-inspired” Easter dress was finished during the eleventh hour of Holy Saturday (actually around 11:30 p.m.)…

Me on Easter Sunday morning

After measuring the pattern pieces, I adjusted the bodice a little bigger (primarily because I was worried about the waist being too snug for me), as it turns out, The bodice was about two sizes too big when first assembled, so I took it apart (twice) to make it smaller and more fitted, and eventually added a small pleat at the center neckline in front (NOT part of the pattern) that mimics the soft pleats at the center of the skirt front and back to make it fit correctly. It’s a perfect fit now, but a workout for the seam ripper (and the delicate rayon challis fabric!). I also fought with the zipper. After destroying the zipper I stopped to buy on my way home from work on Friday, (I trimmed it, forgot to sew over the zip to create a new “stop”, sewed into the dress perfectly on the first try, and then unzipped it right apart!) I “made do” with a zipper I had at home, and I must have put that zipper in at least three times. Major frustration.

A cool Sunday morning; I wore it with a 3/4 sleeve cardigan

The skirt at the hem has a circumference of 99″ (251.46 cm) and I don’t own a crinoline to wear with it like the gals on the pattern cover have, so we were attempting to get a photo of me twirling in the skirt:

Trying to get a "swirling skirt" photo

Mostly I just got dizzy and a bunch of out-of-focus silly photos of myself.

Have you ever sewn with a vintage clothing pattern? How did it turn out for you?

Project Wardrobe, 1.0

When I visited Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul, MN last week, I picked up four yards of this Rayon fashion fabric at 50% off:It a soft, lush rayon, in gorgeous Amy Butler colors, and the print is Twilight Peony (that just happens to be my favorite flower!) from her Saffron colorway. It’s 56″ wide, and I happened to have this vintage 1958 Simplicity pattern at home that seemed a perfect fit:Can’t you just see Betty Draper on Mad Men wearing that blue dress to a cocktail party? If you’ve ever sewn with vintage clothing patterns, you know the sizing is much smaller than today. As in, that pattern cover says it is a size 16 Misses (I wear a few sizes smaller than that, so I thought “great, it should be just the right size for me!” Nope.). That size 16 Misses from 1958 is closer to a size 8 by today’s standards, If our sizes today were based on the same measurements as those from 1958, I would wear a 20 or 22! (If I put on a Size 20 ready made dress, it would probably fall off of me!). So, tip for using vintage patterns: MEASURE everything, more than once, and make adjustments to your pattern before cutting into your fabric.

So, I need a dress for Easter Mass. On Wednesday (yes, THIS Wednesday) I pulled out the fabric and the pattern and started cutting out a dress to make for Easter Sunday (yes, THIS Sunday). I made some good progress last night with the sewing, and I have a nearly complete bodice:and an already hemmed (love my Janome blind hem foot G!!!), ready-to-join-to-the-bodice-this-evening, skirt. The final step is putting in the zipper.
I made this my weekly goal here.Wish me luck. I did say I wanted to sew more for myself this year… This is officially the beginning of Project Wardrobe 2012.