Friday, April 24, 2015

Sewing to Dance, Dancing To Sew

I do custom work.  One of my customers is Jen from The Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Arts. I've been creating or altering costumes for her for a few years.  The Dance department puts on an annual event called Quilt.  Each class has a different dance and music and costumes, and the whole thing is "patchworked" together to make a show.  I actually like the idea, and I've seen some shows. The dancers are outstanding.  Jen's dances are a combination of acrobatics and modern dance, with touches of ballroom and anything goes mixed in. Her themes are often cross-curricula.  Last year, it was based on the poem Beowulf.  The students acted as warriors and dramatized the poem, which had been studied in their English class.

This year, the students are studying the civil rights movement and Selma and Martin Luther King.  I haven't seen the dance yet, or heard the music, but I was asked to create 16 dresses that are similar to period clothes.  Jen wants to keep the fabrics darker and more dreary.  I searched through Butterick and Simplicity patterns for designs that would be similar to the period (Late 1950's, early 1960's) and work for the very physical style of dance that her students perform.  We settled on Simplicity 1459,
, Butterick 3055, B6055, Misses' Dress and Belt and Butterick 6018,
 B6018, Misses' Dress.
Keeping it to 3 designs simplifies the prep for me, as I can often layer-cut the dresses.  Some of the girls are similar in size, so that makes things a little easier.  I'm using some of the darker cotton fabrics that I sell for my friend Paul.  His shop was down the block from this school, and he's the reason I have been doing these costumes.  Using fabrics I have here helps both of us.   I'm using some homespuns and some vintage yardage, as well.

So far, I have 3 dresses done, and 2 more in progress.  I need to also make a man's vest, and find a necktie that would work for the period.

So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, I'm deep in DRESS mode!  I get them made to the point where I'll need to check fit and do alterations.  These will all have side seam zippers, so no zippers or hems have been done.  And if you want to help cut out dresses or press or stitch facings or sew a few seams, just let me know! lol.  Or just send food and chocolate, lol.   Dinner break and back to work!

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon, with more dresses done!  No quilting until these are finished!


New and Improved! Fabrics N Quilts and a Giveaway!

I am SEW excited to share this with you!  Shannon, owner of the wonderful online and Brick and Mortar store, Fabrics N Quilts worked really hard to make your shopping even easier and more fun!  I'm SEW honored to be included in this hop to celebrate!  Shannon and I met online years ago, even before she had the "real" fabric store.  We've been friends for ages! And I've seen her business grow from just an idea to a fabulous shop.  I know she's worked very hard to make her business successful, and to make your shopping experience wonderful.  Her customer service has always been wonderful, but with the new and improved website, you are in for an extra special treat!  

I know your quilting dollars are limited, and you need to get the best deals.  Shannon recently announced that now all orders get FREE SHIPPING!  Within the US, that is. (Details below).  That's one way to make sure your dollars go towards your stash!

She has weekly deals, and lots of fabrics on sale, as well as a chance to purchase Preview fabrics at a discount.  She has LOTS of designer fabric, and LOTS of blenders and SEW much more! 

When I'm looking for a particular fabric I check with Shannon.  I know if she has it, my order will be perfect.  You will have your fabric in your hands in days, not weeks like other stores. And if you have questions, she is really great about answering them.  She's helped me pick the perfect fabrics a number of times.  AND you can buy by the 1/4 yard!  Purchase what you need for your project!  

Some of the improvements in her new shop are as follows:  Shannon shares these points.
  • Shop by COLOR!!
  • Shop by 1/4 yard
  • Try your fabric choices out in a quilt block before you buy-lets you see if you like your choices in a design (items must be in your cart first)
  • FREE US shipping-all day, every day, no minimum, no limit, no coupon-NO HASSLE.  Buy a pattern, buy a shipping!! PLUS great international rates, including first pound to Canada is free (which would include an order of up to 2 yards of fabric).
  • Coming Soon-Preview fabrics that are on the horizon & sign up for email alerts for its arrival. We'll send a 5% coupon code. No payment in advance. You still get first crack at the fabric you like & save money...oh and don't forget that free shipping too (note we have the full line of Hello Darling by Bonnie and Camille coming in August)
  • faster navigation to search by designer, brand, collection and style
  • gift certificates in any dollar amount -purchaser can even send a personal message to recipient, and the GC is valid immediately after purchase (for the hubby who forgot an anniversary or birthday!)
  • Gallery -our virtual show & tell of our free patterns, customer quilts and our quilts. Find some inspiration!  
  • Pattern downloads & more FNQ patterns coming soon 
  • There's even links to FREE patterns available on the web!  
If YOU have NOT shopped with Fabrics N Quilts, you NEED to give it a try.  Go play!  Look around.  You'll find gorgeous American Brand Solids, as well as Moda Bella solids, and even PFD Prepared for Dyeing fabrics.  You'll find wide backing, great patterns, notions, rulers, and gorgeous fabrics.  Now, they are sorted by style, as well as manufacturer and designer.   Once you put a few in your cart, play with the block designer! You will find fair prices, too.  I HIGHLY recommend Fabrics N Quilts.  

To celebrate her new Shopping experience and Logo, Shannon is sponsoring a fantastic Giveaway!  You have a chance to win a $35 Gift Certificate towards your shopping cart total. Remember the free shipping?? That counts, too.  Also, she'll be tucking in a few little extras, like this sweet little Half Roll of Robert Kaufman strips, and EVEN some awesome Aurifil thread!!!  Shannon is celebrating but the winner gets the prizes!  

To enter to win on my blog, please leave a comment for the following points:
1.  Have you shopped with Fabrics N Quilts before?  What do you like about the new shop?
2.  Sign up for the shop NEWSLETTER, to hear about sales and more.
3.  Follow Fabrics N Quilts on Facebook, Instagram or  Pinterest  Or all 3 (one comment only, though).  
4.  Follow my blog via email or LIKE me on Facebook.  

Open to ALL.  If an International winner is chosen, you will still get the gift certificate, but will need to pay your shipping charges above your certificate balance.  Leave UP TO 4 comments for 4 chances to win.  This will close on April 30th, and I'll announce the winner on May 1, 2015.  

AND, there's another chance to win another prize at Quilting Gallery this weekend, as well as 2 more chances next weekend!  

Weekend of 4/24:  Quilting Gallery:
Weekend of 5/1    Confessions of a Fabric Addict:
                              Life in the Scrappatch:

Fabrics N Quilts also sponsors the Scrap Quilt Challenge.  You can find all the details Here on Facebook.  You can enter your scrap quilts for a chance to win prizes.  I won a gift certificate last year, and purchased the fabric for this quilt with it!  

So, what are you waiting for?? Go check out Fabrics N Quilts NEW website!  

OOOOOHHHHH, One more thing!  Shannon is currently in Paducah at Quilt Week.  She's a vendor in the Pavilion, #4503.  Go say HI, and tell her Maryellen of Mary Mack Made MIne sent you.  She'll give you a little treat!  I wish I could go, but I'm making dresses.  

Have fun shopping! 
Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Little Gems Winners!

Thanks SEW much for participating in last week's Blog Hop!  It was so much fun, and the Island Batiks Ambassadors who participated really enjoyed your comments.

Without further ado, the winner of the ebook, Little Gems by Connie Kauffman on my blog is Comment #46,

Anonymous said...
I'm fairly new to paper-piecing but it has become my favourite new quilting technique. It' the perfect way to make a mini quilt!

wlinda_ca at 

Linda has been contacted.

The winner for a collection of Island Batik Fat Quarters from me is:

VickiT said...
Beautiful pink mini!
I'm following your Facebook page. 
Vickie, please contact me with your address at marymackmademine at gmail dot com, or through Facebook.  Thanks for being a follower.

I tried clicking on your name and using your "contact me" link, but it goes to an email through Microsoft, and I don't remember my password.  I wish I could make it go to gmail, instead! Oh, well, I hope this works!

Also, thanks to everyone for the likes on my Facebook page.  Although I had over 20 new likes Facebook "deleted" the inactive likes, so I'm currently at 221.  When I get to 250, I do have a prize, so please keep sharing my Facebook Page page.

AND, Stay tuned!  There's another blog hop I'm participating in, where you can win a gift certificate to Fabrics N Quilts.

ANDDDD! if you are going to Paducah this week, and tell Shannon at Fabrics N Quilts that I sent you, you will get a little gift!  She's in the Pavilion, booth #4503, so stop by!

Thanks again!  And, just to add a photo, here's my Aurifil March Mini Challenge, featuring more fabrics from Full Bloom by Island Batiks.

See you soon, with info on Fabrics N Quilts new and improved online shop!
Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Little Gems Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Have you seen the quilts made from this book yet?  You need to go visit the other blogs, and see the designs.  Little Gems by Connie Kauffman is great!  I've had foundation paper piecing on my bucket list for a few years.  I've looked at videos and read about how to do it. But I kept putting it off. When Connie asked the ambassadors to participate and make a quilt, I realized it was the perfect time to try this!  I picked a design, and said I was in.  I LOVED the look of the quilt, Radiance, in her book. 

Images from Little Gems by Connie Kauffman, Martingale, 2015;  used by permission.  Photos by Brent Kane.  All rights reserved. 

I decided to play with colors from the Full Bloom Collection by Island Batiks and Fourth and Sixth Designs.  I picked some pinks and the pale green for the lighter purple, above.  

But, as a beginner to paper piecing, I hadn't realized that this particular quilt has 143 pieces in it's stunning 12" finished size.  The units were really easy to create, though.  It didn't take long to get the little units done.  I really enjoyed working on this on my vintage machine.  

I know you will want to make more than one Little Gem!  I'm already saving scraps for a second!  You can purchase this book from Martingale HERE, or find it on Amazon.  I highly recommend this book.  The photos are gorgeous, the directions clear and the designs just so varied and cute!  There's something for everyone in the designs.  

I need to get a cute hanger for this Little Gem and display it.  
 Maybe even on my pale pink walls. 

And, if you haven't tried Island Batiks, you really should.  The fabrics are just gorgeous, and the texture is wonderful.  

Today, you have a chance to WIN a FREE copy of the EBook, courtesy of Martingale.  And, since my Facebook page now has over 200 followers, I plan to give away some FQs of Island Batiks fabric. You'll be surprised.  2 winners, one for the book, and one for fabric.  If I get over 250 followers by April 20 on Facebook, I'll add in a 3rd prize from comments here.  

Leave a comment below about anything, and please follow me on Facebook and my blog. Thanks so much for visiting!  Enjoy the rest of the hop!  

All HOP winners will be announced and contacted on April 20th.  

April 8        http://kauffmandesigns.blogspot
April 9
April 10   
April 13      Ackfeld Wire hosted by
April 14  
April 15    HERE 
April 16   
April 18   


Friday, April 10, 2015

For My Mom

A while ago, Mom asked me to make something for her dresser.  I'd done simple toppers for the coffee table and the buffet, just using home decor fabric and the rolled hem feature on my serger.  We picked up fabric place mats for the side tables in the living room, and her nightstands, but she had plastic (gasp! ruin the wood) lace on the dressers.

I knew I wanted to make something in the lavender/purple shade to compliment her walls, and floral to go with her bedspread (yes, she insists on that.  I won't make her a bed quilt, because she won't use it.)  So, I was always on the look-out for some pretty purple floral fabric.  I found some at JoAnn's around Christmas.  I went through my stash for coordinates, and then to EQ7 for blocks and to design something that would fit, and accent the floral.

I decided on the Contrary Wife block.  Mom probably wouldn't get the joke, but I thought it was funny.  It's a great block to feature pretty prints, and accent colors.  I picked a deeper purple and a pinky orchid, and white tone on tone for the background squares.  I played with sizes and borders until I had the size I needed, about 18 by 70", using 5 12" squares and 3 1/2" borders.  I pieced the top on my vintage 15-91, and finished it on the Viking, over Easter weekend in NY.  Mom was excited, and almost didn't want to wait for me to take these pictures!  It was fun to see her happy with a quilt, that I knew she would use.

So, here's Mom's Contrary Dresser Runner.

 I quilted it with Aurifil 50wt variegated in 3840, a soft lavender purple mix.  It was the perfect thread to use on the whole top.  I did feather wreaths in the blocks, and feathers in the borders.  I used it in the bobbin, too.  It works so well, and adds just the perfect touch. 
 Doesn't it look great with the walls?  
 Mom does sew but doesn't quilt.  I'm just glad she'll use this.  I gave her a quilt that she loved, also purple, but she put it away.  I want the things I make to be used.  
The only thing I wished I could have done before putting it on the dresser was to use Howard's RestorAFinish on the dresser, and a coating of the Feed and Wax.  Her dresser is damaged from spills and years of plastic.  I thought I had left the right color of Howard's with Dad, but he couldn't recall, and I didn't take the time to look.  I do have to make something for Dad's dresser, now, and I'll look for the Howard's next time I'm down.  I bought a lighter shade to use on the wood I have here.  If you have minor issues with wood furniture, and want them to look better, I really recommend Howard's.

Thanks for stopping!  I'm sharing with #Creativegoodness at QuiltShopGal.
Check back in a few days for more stuff!  Including the Little Gems Blog Hop, and maybe some photos of my day at the Philadelphia Zoo.  That was fun!  See you soon!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Little Gems Blog Hop Kick Off!

Have you seen this adorable book by fellow Island Batiks Ambasador, Connie Kaufman?  
The designs are cute, and it's a great use of scraps.  Check out some of the designs during this fun blog hop, and get a chance to win the book, and other prizes!  

April 8        http://kauffmandesigns.blogspot
April 9
April 10   
April 13      Ackfeld Wire hosted by
April 14  
April 15    HERE with ME!! Wait until you see mine!
April 16   
April 18   

I've never done foundation/paper piecing before, and found the directions and designs fun!  

Go to Connie's blog to start!  See you soon, with a finished Little Gem!  
Thanks for visiting!