Thursday, May 29, 2014

when I am alone

Last night I awoke with an odd feeling, just an hour or so after falling asleep. In my groggy state, I knew my body as a patchwork quilt with too many diamonds that felt hot, lightly nauseous and needing to pee. If I could just sort those diamonds better so that they were spread out evenly, I might be able to go back to sleep...

Needing to pee? So soon! And I'd been going about hourly all that previous day. A good early pregnancy sign. But, I was planning to take a pregnancy test in the morning and didn't want to dilute any pregnancy hormone that the test would be trying to detect. By morning my period would be 2 full days overdue. I'd already had one negative test, but it could have been too early. False negatives are common and my body had been feeling different this time, so sore so early on.

Over an hour of tossing and turning, with gentle waves of nausea coming and going, I was smiling. Never had nausea been so welcome, felt so sweet. If I'd sat up and hurled, I would have shouted in triumph! But no luck. Eventually I gave in, took care of my needs and drifted back to sleep.

But not a good sleep. Not lately. If I can sleep 3 hours straight, I consider that quality rest at this point. I've been so stressed about my waking temperatures and what they might mean at this critical time of the month that I've had consecutive nights of waking hourly all night long, sometimes waking for good as early as 4 am. Then tears.

I know the stress and lack of rest is no good for fertility. But where can I go to hide? During the day I repeat my mantra, “It doesn't matter when I get pregnant, this month or in July, in October, whenever. I just want to get pregnant eventually. It's ok, if it's not now.” And during the day I feel that, really I do. This has been my easiest ever two-week wait. I've felt peaceful and only vaguely optimistic that this could be the month.

At night my body betrays me. Wakeful sleep and constant dreams, even between those hourly wakings. I am not in control.

Then my period did not arrive as it should on Tuesday. A Wednesday morning pregnancy test (14 days past ovulation) was negative. The only other time I'd experienced a 13 day luteal phase, I believe I experienced an early miscarriage since my waking temperatures stayed up 7 days after my flow began. Surely my period would arrive on Wednesday. How could it not?

It didn't.

This morning's pregnancy test was negative, but I was fully and giddily optimistic. It was 15 days past ovulation, and I have a consistent 12 day luteal phase. I had peed during the night and wasn't using the best of pregnancy tests. Not having enough hormone to be detected on day 15 could be a bad sign, miscarriage might occur, but for now I was probably pregnant. Probably pregnant.  Probably pregnant!

Until it started at 9:45 am.

And now I don't know what's next. Do I try to keep temping so that I can see if my temperatures stay up and I am having another miscarriage? I am a person that appreciates data. If that's the pattern, I'd like to see a doctor and find out if there's something that's causing a problem, maybe something I can take that will help. And then, I don't want that kind of help. I don't trust it. I should trust my body to let it go if it's not right. Shouldn't I? Plus, we can't be spending money unnecessarily.

Or, do I forget the temperatures and let myself sleep. It's anticipating taking my waking temperature that disrupts my sleep cycle. When I've taken time off from temping, I sleep well again. Surely, that's critical for my well being, for a possible pregnancy? Should I put myself in the dark about my cycle, stop gathering information, focus on rest? Should I spend the next months waiting in the dark?

I don't know what's next, but right now I wanted to tell you, tell everyone. I hate putting a lid on these emotions. I hate not being allowed to hope, to be excited when my period's late, because I'm just setting myself up for disappointment. I hate not being allowed to cry and wallow because I should have known better. I want to feel what I feel, without judgment, without shame. I want someone to know what it's like to live through this day in and day out. I want to not be alone in this. The hardest thing is to be alone.

And we are alone, in our bodies, in our passions for our lives. No one can truly join you in that pain or that joy.

****

So, that's how I feel sometimes.

Other times I feel an incredible peace, a peace that passes understanding and comes from above, giving me the grace to wait patiently, to trust, and the comfort that I am not alone. My God hears every worry, every cry of my heart. He weeps with me. He loves me. And, I believe He looks forward to a future where this journey ends somewhere worth the while.

Amen.

****

I've had time to reflect since writing this post at mid-day.  I will be taking a break from temping at least for the next month.  Meanwhile, I am making an appointment to see a doctor.  Thank-you for allowing me to share my heart in this safe place.


Welcome, Dragonfly Fabrics!

Do you like beautiful floral fabrics, airy prints, a smattering of text and geometrics, and a well-organized shop?  Then you might like to stop in to visit my newest sponsor, Dragonfly Fabrics.

Based out of Houston, Texas, Dragonfly is an online-only boutique featuring collections from Cloud 9, Monaluna, Dear Stella and more.


I was glad to see some Art Gallery collections that had recently caught my eye.  Especially Meadow and Tule by Leah Duncan and the above Spring Harvest by Bonnie Christine.    I'd like to work with more Art Gallery fabrics.  They've really been putting out some beautiful things!


Along those same light and feminine lines, I came across this fat quarter set of Pippa fabrics by Ana Davis.  I'd never even seen these before.  That goldenrod tonal floral at center is something I'd likely use again and again.  But overall I like the mixture of simple one and two-color prints, florals and geometrics.  Feels so harmonious, yet sweet.


Quite on the other end of the spectrum is Jennifer Paganelli's latest collection, Lucky Girl.  So, so saturated... something I look for from Jennifer.  These florals would be so pretty on a little girl's dress.   Maybe I have another dress for Aria in me this summer?



Well, I could go on, because beautiful fabric abounds at Dragonfly, but you get the idea.  Perhaps even more pertinent, it's a great site too.  You can sort fabric by the usual criteria, like designer, collection or manufacturer.  But, more to my liking, you can also sort by color or by style.  Those are the features I tend to need.  Because sometimes a binding needs a good stripe or some text is exactly what you crave, am I right? 

In case you still need an excuse to take a looksee, Amy at Dragonfly Fabrics is offering Stitched in Color readers 15% off all regular priced fabric by the yard through June 1st with code Stitched15.  Enjoy!

::Giveaway::

One lucky reader will pad her stash with a $25 gift certificate to Dragonfly Fabrics!  To enter, tell me what feature(s) you look for when fabric shopping online by adding your comment to this post.  I'm sure Amy would love to know!  Make sure to leave your email address in your comment, if its not accessible through your public profile, so that I can contact you if you win.  This giveaway is open worldwide through midnight June 1st!

*****
Comments now closed.  Congrats to Claudio (comment #75) for winning our giveaway.  We'll be emailing you!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quilting with Linen

I love linen - the nubby texture, the subtle color variations.  My very first quilt was sashed with 100% natural linen and since then I've used it in all sorts of works, both 100% linen and linen/cotton blends like Essex.  Unfortunately, of the three quilts made with linen that I kept and subjected to multiple machine washings, all three showed linen to be an untrustworthy bedfellow.  In each quilt the linen unraveled to a greater or lesser extent at the seams, so that the seam stitches remained in tact, but many seams gave way.  So unfair!

Sometimes I think I'll just give up linen for good, but one way or another I seem to find myself letting it back into my life.  In fact, I'm including lots of linen in my current quilt-in-progress!  Today I thought I'd share some advice for other quilters who find themselves falling for linen's charming ways.  If you'll be combining linen and quilting cotton in your patchwork, take heed!

Linen Patchwork without Regrets

no. 1  Always prewash linen.  Linen may shrink at a different rate than your quilting cottons.  To reduce stress at the seams and to reduce shrinkage in those critical linen seam allowances, machine wash and dry your linen to induce shrinkage before cutting and sewing.

no. 2  Avoid lightweight fabrics.  Beware of patching linen with fabrics such as voile, cotton lawn and double gauze.  These substrates are even lighter weight than quilting cotton and thus even more likely to fail.  The difference in fabric weight increases stress at the seams, making seams more likely to fall apart.

no. 3  Starch if shifting is a problem.  When quilting with 100% linen you may find that accurate cutting and stitching is made quite difficult due to the shifty nature of linen, which often has a loose weave.  Spray starch or Best Press (my favorite) on linen before cutting.  Turn the fabric over and press on the opposite side of the fabric to set the starch.  This will temporarily stiffen the fabric.  Add as many layers of starch as you like!

no. 4  Consider a large seam allowance.  Since linen unravels much easier than quilting cotton, the seam allowances are prone to unravel, causing seams to fail.  Increase your seam allowance to 1/2" to greatly improve quilt durability.  Most of the time, you'll want to increase all your seam allowances in the quilt to 1/2" for straightforward sewing.

no. 5  Sew with a short stitch length.  An easy and convenient way to make linen patchwork more durable is to sew with a shorter stitch length, such as 1.5.  It is harder for the linen to unravel through the stitched seam if the stitches are closer together. 

no. 6  Consider finishing linen seams.  If you did not use a larger seam allowance,  I strongly suggest you finish all linen seams with a zigzag stitch to guard against unraveling.  After sewing your 1/4" seam and before pressing, sew a zigzag stitch along the raw edge of the seam allowances.  The zigzag should not go past the straight stitch, so that it does not show on the right side.   The zigzag will fall slightly off the edge of the seam allowances, wrapping and somewhat encasing the raw edges.  Then press seams to the side.

 finish linen patchwork seams

If you used 1/2" seam allowances, you could finish seams with a pinked edge.  Run a rotary cutter fitted with a pinking blade just along the raw edge, creating an uneven edge that is less prone to unraveling.

no. 7  Quilt generously.  If you're ever tempted (as I am) to quilt minimally, resist that temptation when quilting your linen patchwork.  Quilting over seams is an excellent way to reinforce them!  How much is enough?  One good rule of thumb is that you should not be able to put your palm down anywhere on the quilt without covering some quilting.  A linen patchwork quilt is not a good candidate for tying, in my opinion.

quilting with linen

In my current quilt, I have included both 100% mocha brown linen and Essex linen/cotton blend in natural.  Since I had already started cutting the diamonds for this quilt before deciding to add linen, I was already committed to 1/4" seam allowances.  I prewashed my linen and am treating linen seams specially.  For linen seams, I am stitching with a short stitch length and am finishing seam allowances with a zigzag stitch before pressing those seams to the side.

It's a little extra work, but I'm convinced it's necessary when quilting with linen!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

gone quilting

Phew!  Just got back from a morning out swimming.  After yesterday's day-trip to Augusta and Sunday's afternoon BBQ.... I am so ready to be HOME and just do normal things like sewing and blogging.  Do you know I didn't turn on my computer for two whole days?  Now it's time to catch up on house chores before or camping trip this weekend.  Well, if it didn't feel like summer before, now it does!

gone quilting

I spent quite a lot of time yesterday in the car, so I made good progress on my latest hand stitched project.  I'm hand quilting this quilt, which design is still a little hush-hush.  I'll have the full reveal for you in July/August when I start talking more about my next class.  I'm hoping to finish quilting it in time to photograph it on a special seaside trip this June.  Better keep it up, eh?

I'm hand quilting with pearl cotton size 8, as per usual.  I'm a fan of those big, chunky stitches and glossy colors.

summery colors!

Speaking of colors, the happy, summery shades of this quilt were inspired by this line art Ikea print that makes up the quilt back.  Here in South Carolina, quilts and summer definitely do. not. mix.  Still, it's nice to be working on something so bright and cheerful!  By the way, if you struggle mixing colors, basing your selections off of a favorite multicolor print is a sure way to go. 

Catch you again tomorrow.  I'm off to sew!

Friday, May 23, 2014

time for Play!

In the U.S. we're about to be treated to a long, holiday weekend.  And I hope the rest of you also find yourself at the beginning of a good thing.

**maybe you'll indulge in this drool-worthy Cotton & Steel collection video and mosey on over to Marmalade Fabrics to consider a Cotton & Steel subscription (how tempting!)

**maybe you'll just stock up on incredibly priced thread

**maybe you'll keep that wallet shut tight and instead enter Fat Quarter Shop's fantastic Mega Quilt Market Sweepstakes.  $6300 in prizes is no joke.  Answer as many survey questions as you like for entries.

But whatever you do, make sure you spend less time overall like this...

computer time

and more time like this.

creative time!

Create something that makes you smile!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hexie drawstring pouch

Hexie drawstring bag

I'm happy to hear today that this little drawstring pouch arrived safe and sound with it's recipient! 

back to English paper piecing

When I finished that hand sewn dress, I was exhilarated at the thought of starting NEW handwork projects.  Hexagons danced in my head, but (thankfully) I had the forsight to reign myself in to a small project instead of a giant hexagon flower quilt or something!

applique

Basting hexagons is fun, fun, fun... but I do get bogged down at the joining stage.  This project only required 3 rows of hexagons front and back.  Once joined and papers removed, I appliqued them to these Essex linen rectangles.

a bit of Hexagon

Ended up handstitching them on with pearl cotton thread.  I hadn't handled pearl cotton in awhile.  Mmmm!

fun lining

Then with the help of Svetlana's tutorial, it all became a pouch in no time.  This is my favorite drawstring pouch style so far.  I think it's a faster sew than others I've tried and I love the way the casing sticks out at the top.  You can use just about anything for the drawstring.  I used some baker's twine - Cute!

(psst... linen still makes me nervous, so I treated the seams with fray-check and did not blunt the corners before turning.) 

a gift for a friend!

Thanks, Ella, for a reason to make!  May this little pouch harbor many of your special creations.

xo,

Rachel

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

diluting diamonds

I just love experimenting with a new patchwork style!  This time, it's diamonds.  I've been working with diamonds for my next class, and noticed that they pair up easily into a chevron motif.  This chevron quilt design is not part of my next class, but it's something you'd definitely learn the skills to cut and sew and even modify to suit your needs.  My diamonds are rather big and chunky, to showcase Anna's big prints.

first cuts in Pretty Potent

But as the chevrons piled up, I began to feel we could all use some breathing room.  I'm usually all for color saturation, as you know, but somehow it felt too much for me in this particular format.  Perhaps some neutrals to dilute the potency?  Soo...  I've added in some Essex natural linen, Kona Oyster and my scraps of that classic Ikea oversized text print.

diluting with neutrals

I have to say, I've been struggling with it.  I don't know if the prints are more loud and playful than I am feeling right now or if it's the fact that I'm making this for a friend without feeling confident that I really know color style.  Well... today when said friend came by I ambushed her with "do you like this", "but is it your style", "what would you add" and... "hey, would you want it for your bed or as a throw?"  Yeah, she was a little shocked.  But, quilt acquisition is a risk you take when you become my friend.  Haha (err... fair warning everyone). 

Well, she'd like more brown in it and I happen to have a gorgeous cut of mocha brown linen.  So, in it goes!

Crossing fingers.

mmm... liking it here!

Oh, and I'm not struggling at all with this bit of scrappy nonsense. The leftover trimming scraps are shaping up nicely as half square triangles, thanks to some help from my young friend, Ashley!

p.s.  Today I've drawn random winners for the skirt sew-along!  Marci and x7Lillies, I'll be in touch.  Enjoy your shopping with Pink Chalk Fabrics or Fat Quarter Shop!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pretty Potent

On first glance, I was not actually drawn to Anna Maria Horner's most recent collection, Pretty Potent.  This collection has lots of dark value prints, which may be why it wasn't initially speaking to me.  In the spring and summer I tend to crave clear bright or even soft colors.



Then I saw the above photo by Kathy of Pink Chalk Fabrics.  I subscribe to her newsletter, which keeps me informed on new fabrics and patterns and other misc. happenings in our quilty world.  Kathy has a talent for taking beautiful photos of fabrics on the bolt.  I know I'm seeing the real colors when I take in her photographs, which is one reason I make space for her newsletter in my inbox and also follow the Pink Chalk blog.

Anyhoo, that photo of Pretty Potent charmed me, and started me hankering for these fabrics.  I asked my contact at Freespirit if they could send me some (I occasionally ask manufacturers for fabric.  They do not send it unrequested, but sometimes will send it if I have a project in mind).  When I didn't get a reply, I realized...  duh, Quilt Market!  And then one day last week a mysterious box appeared and it felt like my birthday.  (Only better.  Let's be real - I never get such good birthday presents!)

Pretty Potent by Anna Maria Horner

So this weekend I've been folding and arranging and rearranging and petting my cuts of Pretty Potent, while feeling incredibly grateful for my extraordinary good luck.  I'm itching to start a new quilt, so the timing couldn't be better!

I decided not to check how Anna Maria grouped these fabrics for the collection, but rather to try to feel for myself how I would group and match these prints.  Most all of them are multi-color and not in obvious same-color groupings.  I ended up pulling out solids to cement the colors I was seeing in my groups.  I created two colorways:

bonfires in Autumn

This grouping focuses on oranges, reds and dusky blues.  Plus pink, but that feels like an afterthought to me, maybe because there's a ton of pink in Pretty Potent.  It feels like an autumn bonfire at dusk.

Kona cotton solids shown in top row:  Cadet, Lake and Glacier
and bottom row:  School Bus, Thistle, Paprika, Aqua.

poolside all Summer

This group feels much more "now" with watery blues, cool greens, yellow and warm pink.  As you can see, I was also able to pull lots more Pretty Potent fabrics into this grouping, though I still kept out several darker prints which matched, but seemed to change the mood.  This group feels like being poolside all summer.  I'll be sewing with these!

Kona cotton solids shown in top row:  Willow, Sage, Cerise, Ocean, Leprechaun
and bottom row:  Aqua, Canary.

Ok, off to start cutting... in between hanging the laundry.   Hope you all have a great day!

::Fabric Notes::

Pretty Potent is in stock now at Pink Chalk Fabric, Sew Love Fabrics, Intrepid Thread, Fabricworm and Sew Modern.  Plus in Canada at Fabric Spot and Mad About Patchwork.

You can find Kona Cottons at most of my sponsors, including Pink Chalk Fabric and Sew Modern

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Rainbow Tilt-a-Whirl

My second entry to Blogger's Quilt Festival is a favorite scrappy work, my Rainbow Tilt-a-Whirl.

Rainbow Tilt-a-whirl baby quilt

This one was made entirely on a whim, the design inspired by my NEED to use up some triangle scraps.  I enjoyed making the rainbow flow diagonally through this quilt.

Rainbow Tilt-a-whirl baby quilt

It's baby-sized with black/white stripey binding.  A few of the blocks have a bit of extra piecing that, I think, creates some fun character.  



Finished Size:  36" square
Pattern:  my original design, details here and here
Machine Pieced and Machine quilted by me
Category:  ROYGBIV


Thanks for stopping by!

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Chai Rose Ikat Quilt

It has been years since I've entered the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  I tend to worry that I'll bore my readers with the required repetitive quilt posts, so here's hoping you don't mind.  I'm going to enter two quilts.  The first is my Chai Rose Ikat Quilt.

Ikat quilt for Color Intensive

I created this quilt for my most recent online class, Color Intensive.  It was inspired by this rug, with some changes to create nested secondary shapes.

Ikat Quilt pattern

It's one of those designs that looks equally well close up or far away.

Chai Rose ikat quilt

This quilt design can be traditionally pieced or machine paper pieced.  No partial or y-seams at all!  For the full design story, see this post.  I also sell the pattern!


Finished Size:  66" x 88"
Pattern:  my Ikat Quilt pattern
Machine Paper Pieced and Machine quilted by me
Category:  Original Designs


Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Flirting the Issue Sew-Along {link party}

flirting.the issue.1
image by Anna Maria Horner
Time to celebrate!  We're making skirts using Anna Maria Horner's free Flirting the Issue skirt pattern.  This skirt has an elasticized waist, so it's easy to fit and zipper-free.  Fits any size!

Today's Link Party will be open through Tuesday, May 20th.  That gives you the weekend to finish yours, plus a few days load a photo here.  I can't wait to see what you made!  Two participants picked at random from the Link Party will receive gift certificates donated by Fat Quarter Shop and Pink Chalk Fabrics!

::Materials::  May 2nd
::Cutting:: May 12th
::First Steps::  May 13th
::Elastic/Hemming:: May 14th
::Link Party:: Now!


I finished my second skirt, the voile, yesterday.  I feel so lucky to have two new skirts for summer!


Flirting the Issue skirts!

Sorry I don't have photos wearing them.  Yesterday it rained all day long, which blocked my window of opportunity.  But, you can still get the gist here.  Since I'm short-waisted, I wear these skirts low on the waist and they hit an inch or so above the knee.  They're super comfortable!

voile vs. quilting cotton skirts

I'm so glad I decided to go ahead and make one in quilting cotton.  I 100% recommend quilting cotton for the Flirting the Issue skirt.  It's different than the voile, but not in a bad way at all.  As you can see by the way they're hanging here, the voile (at left) hangs mostly straight down.  When worn, it tends to fall close to the legs as you move and feels like you're wearing a wisp of a cloud.  The quilting cotton (at right) flares out more, creating more of an A-line shape.  It also feels light.  Lots of air-flow up those legs, haha!

in Leah Duncan Meadow from Fat Quarter Shop

Don't you love how this Leah Duncan Meadow fabric looks as a skirt?  Now I need the perfect peach top to wear with it, or I could always resort to a white one. 

in Mind's Eye Tambourine from Pink Chalk

I knew I'd love to wear this Anna Maria Horner Mind's Eye fabric.  It's such a gorgeous shade of aqua.

cheery voile lining!

I did manage to line the voile skirt with this coral voile.  It was hard to resist making the coral into yet another skirt!  I lined the quilting cotton skirt with muslin.  I really think muslin works fine as a lining.  Personally, I won't spring for a silky synthetic or voile lining unless I'm also making a voile outer.  Even then, I don't find it makes much of a difference, but maybe I'm just not picky about these things.

Ok, so I've shown you mine.  Let's see yours!

::To Enter::

Each finished skirt qualifies as one entry.  You don't have to have a blog to play.  You can upload your image right from your computer!  For a tutorial on how to enter the Link Party, see here.  This party is open worldwide.  Load your image by midnight, eastern time on Tuesday, May 20th.  $50 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate and $25 Pink Chalk Fabrics gift certificate winners will be announced on Wednesday!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

fresh picked

Freshly Picked for Mother's Day

Do you remember those fabric flowers on my "to make, to do" list?  Turns out they weren't destined for me at all.  They were for my mother-in-law on Mother's Day!  I followed this tutorial with one tiny alteration.  And even though it took longer than I expected, I have to say I enjoyed the make!  This shabby chic color scheme and sweet style were absolutely perfect for my dear of a MIL.

making fabric flowers

Using non-fabric elements was a challenge for me here.   I needed straight, attractive sticks and had to use... the glue gun (dun dun daaa!).  Nothing was actually so hard, but it was one of those new experiences that take a bit of gumption.

5327sm

Between the fabric dust and twig shavings and glue gun strings, we were a serious mess for while though.  Even pulled out the Go Baby cutter to cut tiny circles for my alteration.  I added a green circle underneath each blossom to hide the not-so-neat underneaths.  Looks more flower-like too!

my long stemmed fabric  roses

My favorite part was shaping them all a bit different - this one wide open, this one in first bud.  Well, I kind of love how they came out, so here comes the deluge of photos...

fabric rose bouquet

5332sm

fabric rose bouquet

roses for mother's day

If you're looking to make a small girly gift, I think this one is a winner. 

Fabric Notes:  Botanics Metallic Succulant, Hothouse Flowers Dots, Little Black Dress Dots, Squared Elements Lemon, Bungalow Hive.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flirting the Issue Sew-Along {elastic/hemming}

flirting.the issue.1
image by Anna Maria Horner
Want to Sew-Along?  We're making skirts using Anna Maria Horner's free Flirting the Issue skirt pattern.  This skirt has an elasticized waist, so it's easy to fit and zipper-free.  Fits any size!

Aim to finish your skirt in time for the Link Party on Friday because two lucky participants will receive gift certificates donated by Fat Quarter Shop and Pink Chalk Fabrics!

::Materials::  May 2nd
::Cutting:: May 12th
::First Steps::  May 13th
::Elastic/Hemming:: Today!
::Link Party:: May 16th

It's time to finish these skirts!  Today we're gong to sew channels for the elastic, thread the elastic and hem the skirt.  It sounds quick... but actually the threading of the elastic is rather time consuming with this skirt.   Time consuming, but not at all hard.  Fortunately it makes an awesome waistband (at least I think so!), which makes that fiddling totally worth it.  Let's start!

::Sew Channels::

After step 3 your skirt layers should be resting wrong sides together with a pressed waist seam.  Follow the directions is step 4 to create 3/8" wide channels for the 1/4" elastic.  It's important here that the elastic is smaller than the channels (for threading purposes) so be sure not to let those channels get smaller than 3/8". 

If you're sewing a girl's skirt, you could definitely get away with 3 channels of elastic.  Women will enjoy the 4-channel design, which makes for a flexible, forgiving waistband.

Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

As Anna suggests, mark your sewing lines all at once.  You may want to mark them at both side seams, just for added reassurance as you sew around that you're on the right track.

Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

Load your machine with thread to match your main skirt fabric.  Sew the channels.  At first you can see marks on your sewing machine throat plate as you sew and use those to guide your channels, keeping them straight all the way around the skirt.  When they are no longer visible, consider sticking a piece of washi tape on the sewing machine to guide you.

::Thread Elastic::

Cut 4 lengths of 1/4" elastic at 2" shorter than your waist measurement (or 3 lengths if you've chosen to do 3 channels).  So if you're waist measurement was 35", cut 4 elastics each 33" long.

Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

Follow directions in step 5 to thread each channel with elastic.  The above photo corresponds to Anna Maria Horner's illustration for step 5.

 Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

I think it works best to thread all channels at the same time, bringing each a little bit at a time and keeping them about even.  This is going to be slow work, so watch a show or chat with a friend while you gather up the skirt.  The good news is that when you finish this step it will look like a skirt.  Super exciting!

 Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

When (at last!) the elastic is threaded all the way around, see step 6.  If you have trouble getting the machine sewn/tacked elastic back into the channels, try using small scissors to slightly lift the channel open as you stuff. 

By the way, you can totally skip whipstitching the elastic openings shut, if you like.  That's not going to effect the durability of the skirt and no one would notice such a tiny opening on the inside of a skirt. 

 Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

Don't skip step 7 though - stitch in the ditch at the side seam waistbands.  Anyone who's worn maternity clothes knows that twisted elastic happens and is a real pain to fix.  Best to secure it in place after making sure your gathers are evenly distributed around the skirt.

::Hem::

You're almost done!  Follow step 8 to hem the main skirt and lining.

 Flirting the Issue skirt sew-along

If you're an experienced quilter, you can probably eye the 1/4" hem pretty well, but what about a 1/2" hem?  I'm a fan of this easy hemming tool.  It's made of thin metal, so you iron right over it while measuring the correct fold.  Works great for hemming clothes and curtains too!

Ok, that's one skirt down and one to go.  I can't wait to see how the quilting cotton and voile skirts differ in drape and comfort.  I've already tried on my quilting cotton skirt and absolutely LOVE it.  Will show you both on Friday, at our Link Party!

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