A Little Bit of Quilting: Mendocino Table Runner

I’m working hard on my Spring Tops, determined to make my self-imposed challenge by next week. It’s been pretty exciting, especially when I see the tops that you guys are working on showing up in the Spring Top Sewalong pool and in my inbox (remember to send me your name, top info, and blog link). You can post and send them in all next week too (for more info, click on that Sping Top button over there on the sidebar.

Plus have you seen the great bags in the Buttercup Bag pool and all of the adorable Itty Bitty Baby Dresses? There’s just all kinds of creativity popping up around here. I used to try and comment on all the projects in the pools, but to be honest I simply can’t keep up anymore. If you’ve posted one, please know that I’ve really enjoyed seeing it.

So since I can’t show you any tops yet, here’s a project I just finished (alluded to here), a quilted table runner. My apologies to those of you who actually quilt for the presumption that this actually counts as quilting; having no formal quilt training my abilities are limited at this point to rectangular pieces and machine quilting. Which, surprisingly, one can do quite a bit with actually…


There actually is no separate back piece; that polka-dotted material there is all part of one big piece that wraps around the back. I quilted the small pieces together in a line and then made it into a big tube using the polka-dots, stuck some batting in the middle, ironed it flat and folded the ends over as a sort of pseudo-binding.

The fabrics are all Heather Ross’ Mendocino except for the stripe (Amy Butler Belle) and the dots (Anna Maria Horner Garden Party) and the Heather Ross Happy Campers (which is no longer available; I had a few scraps leftover from the boys’ shirts).


Here are some rudimentary notes from my sewing notebook just in case you’d like to create your own:
- 14 strips: 4″x10.5″ (although I ended up with 13, not 14…not sure what happened there)
- Back/side piece: 21.5″x51″
- Batting: 14×47″
Use 1/4″ seams to sew all together (sew strips first, then trim, sew side seams, press)
Place batting between two sides, pin all layers. Draw zig-zag pattern on with fabric marker, sew. Stitch in the ditch along all seams. Voila!

Am back from Italy, am missing gelato.


Thanks so much for all the well-wishes on our vacation and baby-on-the-way! We had such a fab time! Despite being awakened at 3:30 am the first night by a VERY LARGE earthquake, the rest of the trip went so smoothly: our weather was great, the places we stayed were fantastic, and the travel portion (trains, planes) went off without a hitch. Our travel companions, Nate’s sister Sara and her husband Don were loads of fun to travel with. And have I mentioned the gelato yet? Yum.

This post reads more like a travelogue than a sewing blog (sorry peeps) but maybe this small smattering of photos from our trip will inspire you to take a vacation (babymoon?) to one of the most beautiful and amazing places on earth. We started with three days in Rome:


: : Colosseum : :


: : Vatican Gardens : :


: : St Peter’s Basilica : :


: : Trevi Fountain : :

Then a couple of days along the Mediterranean in the villages of the Cinque Terre:


: : A view towards the sea in Riomaggiore : :



: : The village of Manarola…yes, there really are places left in the world this idyllic : :


: : Wouldn’t you love to come home to this every day after work? : :


: : Breakfast patio at our B&B in Monterosso (see the lemon trees? and who’s that hottie looking so mysterious over there?) : :

Then to Florence for a few days, where we ended our trip:


: : Gelato! : :


: : Me at the gelateria! : :


: : The Arno River : :


: : Florence’s Duomo Cathedral : :


: : A view of the Duomo from our hotel’s rooftop terrace : :


: : Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s oldest bridge : :


: : A special Easter treat on our day in Florence, the Explosion of the Cart, a festival that dates back to the Crusades : :

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed! Will be back soon with Spring Tops and more. And the shop is back up if you need a backpack pattern. Ciao!

Posted in travel
35 Comments

Works in Progress

I’m chugging along on about five different projects simultaneously right now, getting ready for Spring Top Week plus Mr Rae and I are going to ITALY (!!!) in a couple of days…have I started packing? No. Do I keep cutting new spring tops? Yes. Do I have a travel purse/bag to take along to Italy? No. Do I keep obsessing about sewing one even though I have no time? Yes. Why am I even blogging right now? I don’t know. Ack!

Anyway, I am so excited about this trip I could squeal. We’ll be back in about a week and a half (btw if you want a Toddler Backpack pattern before I go you have Friday to get one). Here are some bits of WIPs to keep you busy guessing in the meantime:

: : a little zig, a little zag : :


: : a pleated pocket : :


: : more pleats and a ruffle : :


: : midwest modern and some vintagey flowers : : hrrmm…there’s a lot of pink in this post!


: : and one last little WIP, due to be completed this summer : :


That’s going to make Spring Top Week a bit more interesting, isn’t it?

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 5: Your Creations!

It’s Friday! That means this is the last top showcase for Spring Top Week. It’s been great to see all the creativity, fun spring prints, and popularity of certain styles. I was amazed by how many of you sewed a top for yourself for the very first time! That is so so wonderful and I’m glad this challenge could be a catalyst for all that Selfish Sewing!

Here they are, in no particular order:

LEFT: Liz of me and t made a madras dress with BuiltByWendy’s Simplicity 3835
CENTER: Shellie from by a thread made an airy white top with a Jennifer Stern pattern
RIGHT: Jan from just*imagine*heaven made two versions of Simplicity 4584 with Jennifer Paganelli fabrics

LEFT: Ragnhild from Anti-nostalgic with her final top of the week, Simplicity 3835
CENTER: Sinje from Mighty Mouse with a second circle top (longer sleeved version) made with her pattern (see blog)
RIGHT: Bekah of Bekahomeka made Simplicity 7185 with IKEA fabric

LEFT: Cheryl from SewCanDo made a top of her own design with satin binding
CENTER: Maggie sewed her first top for herself, Butterick 5248
RIGHT: CeCe H made Simplicity 4077 for her first ever blouse

LEFT: Jan with her second version of Simplicity 4584
CENTER: Liz of me and t made a second top from Simplicity 3835, a blouse with shirred neckline
RIGHT: Kari of Handmade Mommy made a jersey tie-top tank with an online tutorial

More spring tops from my SMS tutorial…
LEFT: Lorna of Lorna Doone made one with Heidi Grace fabric
CENTER: Carrie of carrioke made one with Amy Butler fabric
RIGHT: Mayya in Oman from dailydoseofme made one as her very first top

LEFT: qsogirl of Vegetablog with her top made from Butterick 4985
CENTER: Meg of Fashioned by Meg with her final entry, a Spring Ruffle Top in fabrics by Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler
RIGHT: Bonnie of Fishsticks and Fries made New Look 6179

LEFT: Huan-Hua of Feather and Fan made Simplicity 4077 with Daisy Chain fabric by Amy Butler
CENTER/RIGHT: Lorrie (Meg’s mom!) made two versions of Simplicity 3786

LEFT: Brittney created a Spring Ruffle Top using Freshcut by Heather Bailey
CENTER: Collette from uncrafty made a top using a vintage McCalls pattern (check out the awesome picture of her mom in a top from the same pattern on her blog!)
RIGHT: Thiry created her own top using my instructions for this top

LEFT: Mirre of kisskus made her first top for herself from Simplicity 4589
CENTER: Kelli of Presser Foot made Simplicity 2601
RIGHT: Su of Vively Online made Simplicty 4076

So I really really hope I didn’t miss anyone who wanted to be posted — please let me know if I did!

: : VOTE UPDATE : :
OK, so I need to take a break from all this top-compiling…phew! Check back on Monday in order to vote for Best Top. The voting will probably happen through the end of next week in order to whittle it down to a winner, most likely with a schedule something like this:

First Round of Voting: Monday-Tuesday
Final Round Voting: Thursday-Friday

I have also re-opened the Flickr pool so that you can edit the captions on your photos if you would like (or the photos, if you feel you need to…I think that cropping square before you upload will give the best results). I recommend making sure that any blog entries you have written for your tops are linked in the description, as the vote pictures will link back to your Flickr pic, not your blog.

You may also add more tops if you would like!
See you this afternoon with another top from moi…