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Entries in Corinne's Thread (19)

Thursday
Aug222013

Corinne's Thread: Denim Pinwheel Quilt

Did you know that the chocolate chip cookie was a serendipitous discovery? When Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, ran out of baker’s chocolate, she tossed some semi-sweet chocolate chunks into the batter, hoping they would melt while cooking. Instead of chocolate cookies, what came out of the oven was a delicious surprise, and chocolate chip cookies were born! 

The design for my Denim Pinwheel Quilt was just such a happy accident. We had just gotten in Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim, and excited about every fabric in the collection, I sewed up a bunch of combinations for our Big Pinwheel Pillows. As I laid all the sample squares out on the table at our weekly Bee meeting, the reaction was the same all around: These were going to make beautiful pillows, but my gosh, they should also be a quilt! 

And we were right! The quiet complexity that comes from mixing various Railroad Denim stripes gives this quilt such a rich story.  The grid of nuanced color variations is reminiscent of a minimalist painting hanging in a museum, yet the humble denim cloth reminds me of my grandfather’s overalls, all lined up on the hooks beside the door of his farmhouse. The perfect mix of classic and modern.

To make a throw size quilt of your own, we’ve compiled everything you need into our Materials for Denim Pinwheel Quilt kit, including fabrics for the piecing, backing and binding.  Now, I won’t say that this quilt stacks up anywhere close to the chocolate chip cookie in terms of amazing discoveries, but it sure stacks up nice! - Corinne

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Thursday
Aug152013

Corinne's Thread: Smocked Dress and Shirt Kits

I have sewn tons of garments for my daughter, from teeny tiny rompers to delicate bonnets, but there’s one thing I had yet to tackle: a classic smocked dress. I have always wanted to try my hand at smocking but was too intimidated by all the tiny pleats and miniscule stitches to actually give it a go. Turns out, my fussing was for nothing; hand smocking is totally easy!

With just a few well-placed stitches I was able to check this off my sewing to-do list without a single new gray hair. And I am so glad I did! The intricate puckers and pleats of the honeycomb smocking add such fascinating and beautiful detail to this otherwise simple garment.

If, like me, you’re a bit of a smock-o-phobe, our new Smocked Dress and Shirt Pattern is the perfect place to start. It includes a Smocked Dress pattern for sizes 12 months to 6 years and a Smocked Shirt pattern for sizes 12 months to 10 years. Full-color photographs and instructions walk you through every step, from cutting the fabric and marking the smocking grid right down to the very last hem. You can use this Pattern with any lightweight cotton fabric you love!

Or if you adore classic gingham as much as I do, pick up our Smocked Dress and Shirt Kit! It includes...

Choose from four beautiful colorways, each one packaged in a sturdy Purl Soho box. All you need to add is the sewing machine, bias tape maker and the special love and care that go into every handmade garment! - Corinne

PS. Already have fabric? You can find the pattern on it's own right here, too!

Sunday
Jul212013

Corinne's Thread: Liberty Backpacks

School is out and the parks are full of kids throwing water balloons, eating soft-serve, and having the time of their lives. Every bit of it reminds me of how much fun those long, hot days of my childhood summers were. Lately though, my summer days feel, well... just long and hot. 

Wanting to rekindle that carefree summertime spirit, I made these simple Drawstring Backpacks that are reminiscent of the small sacks we all toted around at summer camp. It's still the perfect carry-all for all my July necessities: a great paperback, sunscreen, and a few dollars for the ice cream truck!

It was an easy choice to pair this classic bag with the most classic of all fabrics, Liberty of London's Tana Lawn. Playful, summery prints plus a barely-there lightweight cotton makes Liberty just right for a hot weather tote. And another a little reminder of my 1980’s childhood: a pop of neon for the straps!

Knowing that everyone in my family (and yours!) would want in on these sweeties, I made them in three sizes, from toddler to adult. So to outfit everyone for some summertime fun, pick up a Materials for Drawstring Backpack kit, and since they only take about an hour to make, you’ll be back at the park in no time.  - Corinne

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Thursday
Jun202013

Corinne's Thread: Big Pinwheel Pillows

Every sewing project has an “aha” moment. Somewhere in the process of pinning, pressing, and seaming there comes a revelation when a useless piece of fabric transforms into something else, something to wear, to use or to simply admire. 

I was struck with several of these moments while piecing these Pinwheel Pillows. From the unexpected way triangles are created from squares to the efficient use of fabrics (only two prints for all three pillow tops!), this project has “aha” written all over it. 

To help make all this magic happen I enlisted some new favorites from Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim collection. Because these patterns are woven not printed, the front and reverse sides create a subtle but effective contrast. What a treat to get four prints for the price of two! The pillow backs are finished with the Micro Stripe fabric from the same collection, a soft chambray that seems miraculously at home with just about everything. You can pick up all three of these fabrics, along with the thread and pillow forms you’ll need to finish this project, with our Materials for Big Pinwheel Pillows kit

With all their unexpected twists, these pillows really were a delight to make. I may just surprise myself and whip up three more this weekend! - Corinne

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Thursday
Jun062013

Corinne's Thread: Heirloom Needle Case

I learned to sew from my mom, who learned from my grandma, who learned from my great-grandma, and so it goes, each mom passing down her own bit of wisdom to her own daughter. But what unfortunately didn’t get passed down to me were anyone's tools or supplies!

Now, with a daughter of my own, my heart melts as she toddles up to my machine and tells me she’s going to “do a little bit of sewing.” I am excited to teach her all the knowledge that I’ve gleaned from the sewing moms before me, but I also hope to pass on to her what I didn’t get: the supplies she’ll need to build a toolbox of her own.

I made this Heirloom Needle Case with both me and my daughter in mind. It’s the perfect way for me to keep all my needles organized now, but I also see it as a little treasure that I can pass on to Ruth years from now as she pulls out her needles to learn the perfect blind stitch.  

This case is made with Robert Kaufman’s Waterford Linen and Mary Flanagan’s Felted Wool in a stunning bright yellow. The two materials are beautiful on their own, but when fused together, they create a whole new fabric that is soft and sturdy, perfect for keeping sharp needle points away from tender fingers. Strips of Cotton Twill Tape hold all the needles in place and won’t stretch or fray over time. Fortunate, because I’m hoping this will last me, and Ruth, for quite a while!  

– Corinne

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