The Quilt Challenge 1

Each year Craftsy offers a BOM (Block of the Month) quilt. I got an email letting me know the 2015 quilt was now available so I took a look at it.

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Can’t say I was particularly taken by the dark background but the block elements were interesting and I’m sure would present a challenge. In any case, I did register (it’s for free) and downloaded the January block but didn’t think I’d do anything with this – until yesterday.

Yesterday, I was at Sew With Vision, doing an afternoon session about my trip to Bali with a surprisingly large group of women (to share a lunch of Balinese chicken curry on rice and to show off the fabrics I brought home). When I arrived Nancy, one of the gals who works at the shop asked me if I’d seen the 2015 BOM quilt – she had decided to try it, not using the quilt kit offered by Craftsy, but using her own chosen fabrics. She was picking fabric bolts from the shelves and I found myself involved in the selection process. When Nancy began cutting 1/2 m pieces I thought, what the hell, I’ll have a go at this, too, so I asked her to cut me a set of the same fabrics, which she did.

Today I went to Atlantic Fabrics to see if I could come up with a solid fabric (or something with a minimal pattern) to use as background. I started at the Kona cotton collection of solids, pulled out an egg-yolk yellow, then a dark blue/teal, then a slightly lighter blue/teal, then some turquoise. I took all 6 bolts to a cutting table, laid them in an array, then auditioned my batik fabrics on the selections.


Wasn’t difficult to see that the darkest of the colours I’d chosen would work best with the batiks.

IMG_4198So now to watch the videos on the January block and get something under construction.

That’s the challenge – it’s a personal challenge between Nancy and me to create a quilt based on this 2015 BOM design. Right off the bat, I know I’m not going to make the 90″ x 90″ (queen size) quilt that’s intended. I’ll probably make something smaller like maybe a 60″ x 60″ lap quilt. That will mean adjusting all of the blocks down 1/3 in size. Or I might do a more conventional lap quilt size – 48″ x 64″ which will mean changing the layout of the quilt blocks as well. Not a big deal – I need to get out a pencil, ruler, graph paper (and calculator) and get to work. Once I’ve decided what kind of quilt I want to make, I’ll start drafting the January block and see how it turns out.


My Quest for Perfectly-fitted Pants -1

I’ve been on a quest for a well-fitting pair of pants for about 10 years – really. I can’t buy pants, haven’t been able to for a long time – why? Because I am a size 8 in the bum, but a size 14 in the waist! The best I can manage is to buy size 8 pants, then slash the sides and insert elastic gussets. I got the idea for this kluge from Kathy Ruddy and while she’s putting in the elastic as she constructs the pants from scratch, I usually put the elastic inserts into ready made wear. So a new pair of pants already looks well used before I even get to wear them.

Instead I decided to make pants for myself. Started by having a body scan done by Unique Patterns – that wasn’t successful. For some reason I can’t fathom, the scan didn’t accurately capture my flat ass and skinny legs and so while I can turn out a pair of pants that fit nicely in the front, the back has never quite been right.

Recently, I signed up for Sandra Betzina’s Craftsy class: Pants Fitting Techniques. I’ve been watching the videos and working my way through the pattern adjustments on the pants pattern that comes with the course:


You start by taking your measurements: waist, high hip, hip, crotch rise, side length…. Did all of that. Next I took the pattern pieces and found the size corresponding to my waist measurement: size E, and my hip measurement: size C, marked out my pattern with marker smoothing the transition from the waist to hip, traced the pattern onto tracing paper, cut it out, cut out a muslin and sewed it together. (I should mention that the waistband in the pattern was way to shaped for my waist – so I took a piece of medium-weight interfacing and cut a rectangle the length of my hip measurement (with enough overlap for a fly front), then took in several small darts in the side back and side front until the top fit my waist – that is the waistband I used for the muslin.)

Guess what – way too large! I have no idea how much ease is in the pattern but more than I needed. I took in all the seams until I got a comfortable waist and a relatively close fit through the hips. Oh, I changed one thing in the pattern – I converted a side zipper to a fly front. When the muslin was adjusted, the front fit quite well, but the back still had a baggy bum (ugh) and I tried various fixes: opening the crotch and reducing the back crotch (still somewhat baggy), taking in a horizontal dart below the bum to remove some of the bagginess (still baggy and now there’s a bit of a pull from the side!).


Muslin #1

As you can see I next measured all the dimensions between seams and marked the measurements on the muslin so I could made a second draft of the pattern taking into account the adjustments I made on Muslin #1.

I went back to the original pattern, using a different colour marker I drafted a new pattern a size C/D waist and a size B hip, traced it, then cut a second muslin. That’s as far as I’ve got – I’ll report on my progress in a day or so when I’ve got the second muslin sewn together.

Also this time I’m going to use Sandra Betzina’s Easy Fly Front Instructions for inserting a fly front zipper. I haven’t  done this before but it definitely looks a lot less fussy than the 3-piece fly front I’ve been using.