Sewing for Myself

One of today’s big buzz words is “self-care”. Self-care was why I started quilting in the first place! It’s so important — I think especially as a woman and a parent — to prioritize something or things that give us life and energy for the other areas of our lives where we need to show up fully. Since quilting became my job a year ago instead a form of self-care (a.k.a. hobby — let’s not diminish the word “hobby”!), I have been searching for other things that give me a boost. Enter my first garment making attempts. And a backpack, one year in the making.

Range Backpack. Pattern by Noodlehead.

We get a lot of joy out of making things for others, don’t we? So this category of sewing, when we sew something for ourselves is often called “selfish sewing” — a term that I could take or leave. Self-care can seem “selfish” but it’s not, right? A reminder that it feeds the other areas of our lives!

Inari Tee. Pattern by Named Clothing.

First up, the Inari Tee. I bought this pattern at the workroom in Toronto. It takes very little yardage and isn’t fitted, so I thought it was a forgiving first garment to make for myself. If it didn’t turn out, I would have wasted too much fabric or time. I loved the cropped length of the tee – something I didn’t already have in my closet and I thought it would look great over a high-waisted skirt or a fitted jersey dress (both of which were already in my closet). I found the perfect fabric in Jen Hewett’s Imaginary Landscapes line for Cotton + Steel.

Farrow Dress. Pattern by Grainline Studio. Fabric: Yarn-dyed Essex Linen in Lingerie

Secondly, I’ve always wanted to make Grainline Studio’s Farrow Dress pattern. For a couple of years now, I’ve thought, “If I were to make a garment for myself someday, it would be a Farrow Dress!” (see all the #farrowdress goodness here!) It was ‘someday’ until I was at Patch Halifax working on my Inari tee and a fabric delivery arrived. And this Yarn-dyed Essex Linen in “Lingerie” arrived. It was perfect. Right then and there, I bought the fabric and the pattern.

And lastly, my Range Backpack (pattern design by Noodlehead) that I started a year ago! Leather straps and brass hardware from Tandy Leather, with a special zipper pull that I replaced myself (which may seem easy peasy to you who do it all the time but it was a little heart-stopping) were the perfect accent for this black and gold Rifle Paper Co. canvas. The Wonderland collection is fabulous; I love how this particular print is a loose map of all the places in the story of Alice in Wonderland.

I did want to add a layer of water-resistance to the canvas, so I waxed it myself! You can see how I did that over on my Instagram story highlights.

As you can see, blush pink, gold and black – my kind of neutrals. I’m so glad that these items speak to my style more than any store-bought items could. That’s part of the reason we make, right?

Our Song, in Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass

Earlier this year, designer Alison Glass released her line of shot cotton solids, Kaleidoscope. I had the privilege of exploring these saturated colours in a second version of Our Song, Your ReflectionThe result was a blazing sunset on a contrasting cool colour palette for the water. This quilt is all about texture, texture, and more texture.

Listen to Meaghan Smith’s song that goes with this quilt.

Quilted by Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts. Photograph by Quilt Photography Co.

The Our Song, Your Reflection pattern releases October 11, 2018. Be the first to know about its release by signing up for the newsletter!

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Everyone’s Got an X

Last year, I had a few people around me see the end of their marriages. The sadness hit me pretty hard as I put myself in their shoes. Life as you imagined it is no longer. It’s a time of grief; it’s the loss of what you dreamt of. During those difficult times, there is a need for comfort in grief and a need to create a new home for a new start.

Quilts are often gifted to mark an occasion – a wedding, the arrival of a new baby. These are times of celebration and joy. The Double Wedding Ring quilt functions as a symbol of two lives intertwining. Pen and Paper Patterns’ Vegas Wedding quilt is a fun and quicker take on the traditional design. The Free-Wheeling Single Girl pattern by Denyse Schmidt is a great modern spin on the design and celebrates singleness rather than marriage.

When it comes to divorce, we think of things falling apart. But it is also a new beginning. A rebuilding of a new life. A new place to live, maybe. The design for Everyone’s Got an X came from this new start. Why shouldn’t a new divorcé get a new quilt for a refreshed home decor?

Image courtesy of Quilt Con Magazine, Modern Patchwork

The design is ultra-modern – there is no grid or repeated block. It’s large-scale piecing, mainly in the form of strips. The translucent white stripes ‘overlay’ on the coloured bar to create; in fact, because of their translucency, they are not at all white. Here are the Kona colours that I used:

  • Background: Kona Charcoal
  • Coloured bar: Kona Bellini
  • “White” stripes: Kona Pearl Pink, Kona Iron

This design, Everyone’s Got an X, is fitting for other life events, too — such as the arrival of a baby (everyone’s got an X chromosome), a tenth birthday or a tenth anniversary (Roman numeral for “ten”). The binding on the quilt adds serifs to the “X” on the quilt, an optional finishing touch.

This quilt will always be nicknamed “the divorce quilt” and it will always bring me back to this place of empathy and contemplation.

Everyone’s Got an X appeared as a pattern in the 2018 Quilt Con Magazine by Modern Patchwork.

Colour Post: Pink + Green (Kona Pink Flamingo with Pantone Greenery)

Happy New Year! The Lunar New Year was just passed so even though it’s the end of January, it’s a totally legit greeting. This is the first post in series highlighting colour duos and palettes. Although this blog is geared toward quilters, each of these colour posts will include some basics of colour theory for any budding designer or artist. First up, pink and green – specifically, the 2017 Kona Color of the Year: Pink Flamingo with the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year: Greenery.

Diamond Tiles by Robert Kaufman

Diamond Tiles by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. Free pattern available in March 2017.

In late December of each year, the [quilting] world eagerly awaits the announcement of the Kona Color of the Year, which is a limited-edition solid “based on input from a selection of trend-setting designers and top industry taste-makers, along with extensive market research, color analysis and trend forecasting.” I’m not sure what that process looks like from a practical point of view, but I believe Robert Kaufman. Last year’s Kona Highlight was a neon shade (check out fall Quilt Market’s special exhibit of minis from various designers) and this year’s is quite bright as well. Pink Flamingo – a telling moniker – is a peachy pink that evokes tropical warmth, something I know nothing of at this time of year in Atlantic Canada.

With a broader audience, the Pantone Institute announces the Color of the Year as “a symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” Designers from all disciplines pay attention; then proceed to either embrace or ignore. The Pantone Institute’s 2017 Color of the Year represents “evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew…. A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.” To me, it evokes a food court salad bar logo. My personal associations aside, its connotations include life, sustainability, health, parks, freshness, and consumer choice. This limey green is a perfect pop of colour in a neutral room. I seem to have many kitchen thing-a-ma-bobs in a similar shade by Joseph Joseph. Why does Greenery work so well with Pink Flamingo?

Kim Eichler-Messmer’s MQG webinar on colour theory reminded me that a CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) colour wheel, rather than the RGB colour wheel you remember from elementary school is the way to go. It doesn’t lie (be honest, red and blue paint gave you some very ill-looking shades of purple-brown when you were young) and it gives you more pleasing colour combinations. It’s actually what inks your inkjet printer uses to give you every shade in the rainbow. In the image above you can see that pink and green sit directly across from each other, making them complementary colours. Bright and cheery, these are happy playmates. Think Kate Spade fuchsia with the signature Kate Spade green.

Pink Flamingo and Greenery are similar tones of colour; that is, their brightness is about the same. For those of us that get stressed by clutter and visual noise, this colour combo could make you anxious or blind you. One can consider breaking it up with a neutral white or muted tones, as with the Robert Kaufman Diamond Tiles design up top. This way of treating similar tones of colour “gives your eye a place to rest,” as we often say. Breathing room.

As you can see in the tonal scales above, another consideration is changing the relationship between the colours. Instead of similarly saturated colours, we can play with their tones. For the more subdued palettes that I personally prefer, I like to take cues from interior design. Turn down the green, and mute the pink: Dark green and blush pink. This adds contrast and almost gives the green a neutral role. Apartment Therapy has even deemed emerald-coloured sofas “the new navy” (gasp!).

Until now, I thought that pink quilts – and pink and green quilts, for that matter – were reserved for little girls. Now having seen designs from Elizabeth Hartman, Heather Jones, and Darlene Zimmerman, it’s a whole new world. I have been off Pinterest for quite awhile, but recently just picked it up again – holy, inspiration! Paintings, photographs, interiors – pink and green can be sophisticated, moody, and bright all at the same time.


Kona Pink Flamingo / Pantone Greenery on Pinterest by 3rd Story Workshop.