Such a Joy – Joy Jacket Pattern

It’s such a joy to sew for my mother, I love sewing for myself, but I also really love sewing for my mother!

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Joy Jacket, View B

As soon as the Joy Jacket Pattern was released by Chalk and Notch, I knew immediately that I needed this pattern in my life.  It was such an exciting day when it was released, everyone was sharing their tester versions of it and they were all so beautiful.  It was very inspiring to see all of the beautiful jackets and I thought to myself, “if they can do it, so can I”.  When the pattern was released, Chalk and Notch had the pattern on sale for a couple of days after the release.  A lot of the pattern testers were also doing a free giveaway for the pattern, I tried to enter as many of those giveaways as I could, but no such luck.  So I purchased the pattern while it was on sale.  I went to the fabric store and got some cheap fabric to try out the pattern for the fit.  I made my first Joy Jacket at the beginning of March (right before I decided to start blogging).  Once I made my jacket and my mom had seen it, she loved it!  I thought the Joy Jacket would be a wonderful Mother’s Day gift for my mom.   I decided that I would document my experience making my moms jacket.

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My first Joy Jacket

The Joy Jacket isn’t really that hard to sew up, what takes the most time is printing the pattern, trimming the pages, taping the pattern together, cutting out the pattern and then cutting out the fabric.  Printing the pattern is from pages 19-90 with a couple pages missing based on which style of pockets you want and if you make it with a hood or not.  That’s a lot of cutting and taping!  Once I finished my Joy Jacket, I definitely was not looking forward to printing and taping my moms pattern together.  But as the subtitle of my blog states – finding joy in every stitch, when really it means finding joy in the whole process.  I needed to give myself time to want to make this jacket for my mom.  I didn’t want it to feel like a chore, I wanted to enjoy the process and to put a lot of love and care into making this garment for my mom.

So, how did I gain the motivation to tackle this project?  I gave myself a break and sewed up a dress for a pattern testing assignment and another Halifax Hoodie for myself, and I also played around with my new machine.  Then at the beginning of April Sew Over It introduced the hashtag #soiselflesssewing – where you take a month off from sewing for yourself and you sew for others.  I thought this was a great opportunity to get my motivation back to tackle this 71 page project!

I broke down the printing, taping and cutting process into sets of pages.  I printed the pattern in chunks, I believe I printed pages 19-30 first – did the trimming, taping and cutting those pieces out, and so on and so forth.  That took me roughly 4 afternoons during nap time!  Next, I cut out all of my lining pieces and all of my fusible pieces.  Now, I did not follow the directions for both of the Joy Jackets that I have sewn.  What I like to do first is, sew the lining, then add of all my facings and then the main outer shell of the jacket.  That’s not what the instructions state, but that’s what works for me.  I do it this way, because the lining fabric is such a pain to sew that I want to get it out of the way as fast as possible!  I believe the instructions have you attach your fusible material to the proper pieces, then has you do the outer shell and then the lining.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this jacket for my mom, I enjoyed the whole process.  This jacket has all of the bells and whistles, I wanted to go the extra mile for my mom, as she absolutely deserves it.  I chose do to the topstitching at the seams (it is optional).  It has a hang tag, my tag, grommets and a drawstring at the hood.   A lot of love and care went into making this for my mom, if I wasn’t happy with my topstitching, I used the seam ripper and did it all over again.  I needed this jacket to be perfect for my mom.

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Embroidery Work

For my first go at this jacket, I hand embroidered the word ‘joy’ in my hood.  The reason why I did this, is because the meaning behind the actual Joy Jacket itself really resonated with me.  Gabriela of Chalk and Notch drafted this pattern for her friend Emily, in memory of her mother, Joy.

Since December 2017, my sewing has taken a drastic change.  Being able to sew a jacket with a lining simply blows my mind.  I never thought it would have been possible for me to sew such a thing.  It’s too bad that it took me this long to believe in my sewing abilities, and that my dad will not be able to see me sew such intricate sewing projects.  For the past 4 months, I have been sewing as an outlet, a grieving process and to find joy again.  Embroidering joy into the hood reminds me that I can find joy again, even if it’s for the brief time each night that I spend sewing.  I embroidered the word ‘joy’ into my mom’s hood using my new Singer sewing/embroidery machine (blog post coming shortly) to bring joy to my mom, knowing that I sewed this jacket for her.

This jacket is truly a labor of love for my mother.  I went that extra mile to make it sure it was perfect for her.  This time around, I struggled at attaching the lining sleeve to the main sleeve.  I ended up doing it wrong, then hand stitching it – which I wasn’t really happy with and I wasn’t going to settle giving the jacket to my mom.  So I turned to Instagram for some help.  My lovely friend, who knows that I’m a visual learner sent me a message with a video showing how to attach the sleeves properly.  For some reason, I just couldn’t remember how I did it on my first jacket.  The video my friend sent me was very helpful and I was able to complete the jacket for my mom!  Although I’m a beginner and I make mistakes all the time, this jacket is truly perfect!  I feel proud to be giving my mother this jacket.  I would never gift someone a make that I wouldn’t wear myself.

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Joy Jacket – Chalk and Notch View B

Since Mothers Day is still a bit away, I had promised my mom to make her 2 Joys!  One would be a test one to make sure the fit is right and the alterations are what she wanted.  Since my mom has a longer torso, she wanted the bodice to be longer and the sleeves lengthened as well.  I lengthened the bodice by 3 inches, and the sleeves by 1 inch.  I believe these were the perfect alterations for her.  For the size, it required a 30 inch zipper, but unfortunately they did not sell or have silver 30 inch zippers in stock at the time, so I went with a 32 inch silver zipper and left out the drawstrings around the waist!

Of course I had to do a little photoshoot of my mom wearing the jacket!  She was such a good sport!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience making the Joy Jacket for my mom!

 

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Wearing our Joy Jackets together

 

“Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle.  Everything I do is stitched with its color.” — W.S. Merwin

Time, Time, Time

A couple days ago, I asked my Instagram followers if there were any topics they would like to me talk about on my blog, other than my makes.  A couple followers had asked similar questions:

  • “How do you find the time to sew and crochet with a baby at home?”
  • “How do you manage to get things done with a kid at home 🙂 my house is a wreck lol”
  • “How do you manage your projects and blog?”

Those are all really good questions and I’m happy to answer them!

Before starting my blog and focusing my Instagram on sewing, I had thought of an Instagram name that really reflected my sewing and crafting time since becoming a mother.  Of course, with any blog and Instagram name, I wanted it to be catchy to capture my readers/viewers attention, but I also wanted it to be unique and have a meaning behind it.  The Instagram name that I had thought of was: WhileSheSleeps or WhileBabySleeps.  I thought it really reflected my crafting time.  I had gone onto Instagram to see if those names were taken, and they were!  BUT, there were a couple other Instagram accounts that were similar to that concept, the other accounts had used their childs full name or initial, which I had also thought about as well.  I really liked the concept and I had thought about it for a few days and then decided not to use that name as I wanted to be unique and original.  I ended up going with another name, before finally deciding on this blog name as changes had occurred in my life that really changed the course of my sewing journey.

SO, with all that being said – how do I find the time to sew and craft and crochet, well the answer is…..while she sleeps!

During the first few months of becoming a mother, I really needed to decide which was more important: housework, crafting/sewing or sleep.  Everyone had told me “When she sleeps, you sleep”, but because of babies random sleep cycles, it was hard to sleep every time she slept.  The first few weeks barely any crafting was done, it was either sleep or housework.  It wasn’t until about month 2, when she started to sleep through the night and I had thought, what a perfect time to sew.  I waited for her to sleep through the night for a solid 2 weeks until I believed that we had made it to the stage of sleeping through the night.  During those first 2 weeks of sleeping through the night, I had gone to bed right after she did as I wasn’t sure what time she would be getting up at and I wanted and needed my sleep as well.

After those 2 weeks, I started to spend an hour after she went to bed to get some crafting done.  As the weeks and months progressed and she was sleeping through the night regularly, I planned and scheduled my sewing time after she went to bed.  The latest I stay up until is roughly 10pm.  There are some nights and some projects that will keep me up until 11pm or 11:30pm.

Now that we are 9 months in, crafting and blogging time is after bedtime, and housework is during the day.  Housework usually happens during the afternoon nap time and sometimes we even do housework together.

As for scheduling my projects: I do have a calendar to keep track of my projects and when I would like to have them done by and when I would like to blog about them.  But, Instagram is my main source for inspiration, and with that being said, all of my project plans are not set in stone.  Sometimes I will see something on Instagram that I absolutely love, and I just need to make it right now!  There are also times when sewists or crafters will start up a challenge or a hashtag that I might want to join, which will ultimately throw my plans off course.  If that happens, I usually do the challenge, and then get back to my original plan.  I still have a project that I want to do, but it keeps getting pushed back by all of these new project ideas.  I’ll get to it eventually.  My blog posts for my makes are typed up in the evening and usually published the next morning.

Just as a quick example, last night I had seen an embellished dress shirt, now I really want to make a top or a shirt and embellish it.  It’s been on my mind all evening.  Was it in my sewing plans, nope!

I really like using these free calendars to plan all of my sewing, crafting and crochet makes.  You can click here to print your own.  I really like how they have a start and a finish date spot, plus they are really cute!

So in a short summary, I get most of my sewing and crafting done while she is sleeping.  Of course, the projects take a little longer than they should because of my limited time to work on them, but they do eventually get done!

I hope this has answered your questions regarding time!

Thank you for taking the time to read about how I organize my time!

“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained.” — Author Unknown

Quilting Newbie

I COMPLETED MY VERY FIRST QUILT!  Yes….I did!

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Very first quilt top made in one evening.

So here is the back story, one of my close friends began quilting in 2012.  She made beautiful quilts and shower curtains and was encouraging me to give quilting a try.  So in 2013, I decided to give quilting a try.  I remember my mom and I went to the fabric store together and picked out fabric that looked good together (pictured to the left).  That night I decided to make a small square quilt, which I had finished the quilt top that same evening (I was so excited to try quilting, obviously!).  The next day, my mom and I went to Michaels looking for batting, which we really had no idea what we were looking for and we also went to a speciality quilt shop to purchase a walking foot for my machine.  I remember coming home and sandwiching my quilt together, most likely using all the wrong pins.  I read the instruction manual on how to quilt and I gave quilting a try.  Little did I know, I was probably using the wrong needle in my sewing machine (who knew there were different sewing needles?!?) and the batting that I purchased was AWFUL.  As I was sewing, the needle kept pulling up the fluffy batting through the quilt top and thread was getting tangled…it was simply a mess.  I gave up and stored it all away, never to be seen until now.

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Second quilt top I made with a charm pack from the United Kingdom – once again awful batting

Now, here is the back story of how the Mickey Mouse quilt came to be.  Back in December 2016, my mom and I went to a craft show, and a lady was selling baby quilts for $25!  25 dollars for a baby quilt is a steal of a deal!  She had a Mickey Mouse quilt (exact same panel as mine) and a Minnie Mouse quilt.  At that time, I had recently found out that I was pregnant, but we did not know the gender.  My mom and I couldn’t decide at that moment which one to get.  We decided to walk around and think about it for a bit.  While walking around, we both decided that we should get the Mickey Mouse quilt, because as I grew up I loved Mickey Mouse.  Sure enough, we went back and it was GONE, and let me tell you – $25 for this quilt is a steal of a deal.

Quilting never came to my mind again, until I seen the Mickey Mouse panel at the fabric store on sale for $6.  These panels are usually anywhere between $15 – $25 per panel.  Heck, for $6, I thought I’d buy it just in case I wanted to attempt quilting again in the future.

Now, why did I finally decide to make the quilt now?  I recently lost my father and at the beginning of February, I thought of an idea!  Instead of my mom throwing my dads clothes out or giving them to a second hand store, that I would make a comfort quilt with his shirts for my mom.  Alright, so I’ve already had tons of practice piecing a quilt top together – now, I just need the practice sandwiching the quilt together, quilting a quilt and hand binding a quilt.  Where to start?  With my $6 Mickey Mouse panel of course!  I spoke with my Aunt about quilting as she makes such beautiful quilts of various sizes and she goes on some weekend quilting retreats with her quilting friends.  Now, that is how this quilt came to be!

I told my Aunt about my experience with the batting from years ago, she had recommended that I use Warm & Natural or Warm & White – basically a tan batting and a white batting.  I found a bag of the Warm & Natural at my local fabric store that was the perfect size for this quilt.  It measured 34″x45″, roughly the same size as the panel.

Now, because this was a pre-made panel – quilting is not really that complicated (for this project).  So I’m unsure why I gave up?  Maybe because of the awful batting from my quilt back in 2013?!

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Sewing the binding on

There are not many steps involved in making this quilt and I will take you through the steps in case you decide that you want to give quilting a try.  I promise, as long as you have the proper tools, you can make this quilt too!

Alright, here we go:

  1. Iron out your bottom and top layer, ensuring that they are smooth
  2. Sandwich your quilt together – bottom layer on the bottom, batting layer and the top layer.  Make sure that the batting is touching the wrong sides of your back fabric and of your front fabric.
  3. Pin your quilt in place using curved quilting safety pins.  I used straight pins back in 2013, do not make the same mistake I did.  Make sure you place your pins roughly a fist distance from each other.
  4. Now, this is where you choose which quilt design you wish to do – straight lines, stitch in the ditch (stitching in the seam lines, if you pieced your quilt top together), follow the Mickey Mouse design, or free motion quilting.
  5. Quilt it.
  6. Prepare your binding.
  7. Sew the first part of your binding on with your sewing machine.
  8. Hand stitch the back side of your binding in place.  You can use your sewing machine for this as well, it all depends if you want to see the stitches or not.
  9. Add your tag!
  10. You have now completed your quilt!
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Front of the quilt with a peek of the backing

Now, for this quilt I decided to give the free motion quilting a try.  Free motion quilting is where you put your feed dogs down on your machine and now you are the one in control as to where to move the fabric and how fast to push the fabric through the machine.  Free motion quilting takes a lot of practice and I figured the Mickey Mouse panel was the perfect chance to get some practice in without costing a lot.  Free motion quilting takes a lot of time and muscle work.  They apparently sell gloves to help prevent muscle fatigue with free motion quilting, but I did not use gloves.  For the free motion quilting I decided to use a clear thread on the top and a white thread on the bottom.  I had figured since this was my first quilt doing the free motion that the clear thread would not show my mistakes as much as a colored thread would do.  I’m very pleased with the way my free motion quilting turned out.  I started off with simply laying the quilt flat and using chalk to draw out lines and swirls in all sorts of directions.

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Closer image of the binding and the backing

The binding part of the quilt was not as hard as I had thought it was going to be.  I had watched an awesome tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company on how to attach a binding to a quilt.  It’s pretty easy, but requires a lot of time when attaching the binding by hand.  The front part of the binding is attached using the sewing machine, and then the binding is flipped over on to the back side of the quilt and then it is hand sewn on to the back of the quilt.  There is a nice line from the sewing machine to help you place your binding straight on the back side.  Simply follow that line and you are good to go!

I have a Minnie Mouse quilt panel put aside as well (it was on sale for $6 too!)  I believe I have enough of the black and white polka dot fabric to do the backing for the Minnie Mouse quilt.  For this next quilt, I’m going to try to find a solid color fabric for the binding, as I didn’t realize that the polka dots on the binding were going to form a pattern.  Also, for this next quilt I will use colored thread on the top instead of the clear thread.

As I had said earlier, the lady selling this quilt for $25, was a steal of a deal.  I’ll break down the cost for you:

  • $6 for the panel
  • $7 for the backing fabric
  • $3 for the binding fabric
  • $10 for the batting
  • $2 for clear thread

I’m already at $28 and that is not including my time.  A couple hours of sandwiching the quilt together and quilting, plus the couple hours it took me to hand sew on the binding.  So if you ever see this quilt for $25, its an awesome deal!

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My First Completed Quilt Ever!

I have been researching a lot about making quilts out of men’s dress shirts and getting a lot of information from my Aunt as well.  This will be a major project for me and of course I want it to be perfect.  This will not be a project that I can whip up in a weekend.  I believe it will take a lot of time to complete, as I will only work on it when I feel ready to do so.

Thank you for taking the time read about how my first completed quilt came to be =)

 

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone can give another person: He believed in me.” — Jim Valvano