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Entries in Molly's Sketchbook (98)

Sunday
Jun032012

Molly's Sketchbook: The Forty Minute Tote

I love straightforward, well-constructed projects that yield something practical. I know this might sound a bit boring, but the efficiency and elegance of simple design really gets me excited. So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite all time projects (if I do say so myself) is my Twenty Minute Tote. It’s something I go back to again and again, any time I want to highlight a special fabric. I love its streamlined engineering and the fact that it really does only take 20 minutes!

And so, in this same spirit of economic design,  I thought I’d expand the Purl Bee’s family of quick totes with a new roomier bag, the Forty Minute Tote. As useful and everyday as the original, this one has the added features of an inside pocket, a boxed bottom and a linen lining.

The Forty Minute Tote comes together in a quick, clear way, and it features a new favorite fabric, Robert Kaufman’s Cotton Linen Denim. This fabric is a beautiful deep indigo blue reminiscent of your favorite pair of jeans, but with a slouchy drape perfect for a bag. I also used our very cute Reversible Webbing for the handles and the soft-but-sturdy Waterford Linen as the lining. And of course, true to its name, it takes only 40 minutes to make. I promise!

ps- The lovely wooden hooks featured in these pictures can be found here: http://www.livewirefarm.com/stores/timber-products/categories/hooks

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Sunday
May202012

Molly's Sketchbook: Tiny Triangle Dress

When I tell other parents that I’m expecting a baby in June, they always tell me what a great time of year that is to have a baby. You can get outside and enjoy the weather with your new little one, and then down the road you can have fun outdoor birthday parties. This all sounds nice, but I’ve got to say, I’m not convinced.

As a native northern Californian I have never gotten used to New York City summers (or winters either, but that’s another story.)  The classic East Coast heat and humidity combo is both totally foreign and totally unbearable to me, and I’m worried that I’m going to have an equally uncomfortable kid. 

This super simple Tiny Triangle Dress is an attempt to help my daughter-to-be beat the NYC summer heat! It’s inspired by a traditional pillowcase dress and made out of Liberty of London Tana Lawn, which is just about the coolest and breeziest fabric ever made. The pattern is such a snap to sew that I’m planning to make a bunch of them in my favorite Liberty prints. So even if my baby’s hot, she’ll still look cute! --Molly

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Sunday
May062012

Molly's Sketchbook: Summertime Wallet

My favorite summertime haunt as a child was the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a timeworn amusement park about an hour south of San Francisco. It featured a creaky wooden roller coaster (The Giant Dipper!), carnival games, and corn dogs. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and laid back California beach style of the boardwalk. Everyone wore flip flops and puka shell necklaces. Surfers in wetsuits ate ice-cream on the pier, while hawkers sold neon tee-shirts that said “Hang Loose”.

Now that I live in New York the name of the boardwalk may have changed, but I still love going to the beach every chance I get. I relish in the carefree attitude of summertime at the seaside, whichever coast I’m on!

With beach season fast approaching, I wanted to honor this breezy style with a special summer accessory. A canvas wallet seemed like the perfect thing, a simple way to hold some bills and cards in order to pay for all that funnel cake and skee ball! This wallet is durable and quick to make, so you don’t have to be too precious with it or worry about it getting wet. Plus, as a nod to my eco-conscious northern California roots, it’s made from 100% organic Cotton Duck, which comes in a rainbow of pretty colors. --Molly

ps- These would make a great gift for dads and grads!

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Sunday
Apr292012

Molly's Sketchbook: Broken Dishes Baby Quilt

I have always loved to make baby gifts, imagining the baby-to-be and anticipating its arrival. Lately this has been particularly true because I myself am expecting my first baby (a girl) this June! After years of crafting gifts for the babies of dear friends and family, I relished the idea of making my own baby something extra special. Of course, a beautiful quilt would be just that!

Picking out the fabric proved to be much easier than I had imagined. I walked into the store one day and there was a stunning rainbow of Japanese yarn dyed linen blend solids, each lovelier than the next! I instantly fell in love and bought a piece of every single color.

Using the traditional “broken dishes” pattern, I approached my work with a sense of unhurried improvisation, putting the blocks next to one another randomly and then rearranging them as I saw fit. It felt more like flower arranging than sewing, and I loved seeing my quilt grow at about the same pace I did! Once the quilt top was finished, I decided that the slow process of hand quilting it would give me plenty of time to daydream about its recipient.  

It took me almost the whole length of my pregnancy to create this quilt, but if you’d like to make your own, it doesn’t have to be such a major commitment. Machine quilting and pin basting would go a lot quicker. But then again there is something lovely and very rewarding about not rushing certain projects. Kind of like growing a baby! 

ps- This quilt can be made in any color palate imaginable using any quiltweight fabric. Shot Cotton, and Kona Cotton have some gorgeous color options! Also, The pretty stuffed swan in the pictures above was made by the very talented Tamar Mogendorff, you can check out more of her work here.

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Sunday
Apr222012

Molly's Sketchbook: Lavender Sachets

I used to think that sachets were kind of silly and useless, along the lines of crocheted toilet paper covers. Turns out, I was wrong; sachets are cool and practical too! They're not only pretty and wonderfully tactile,  but they also make your clothes and drawers smell great! (Now could someone please explain to me what a toilet paper cover is for?)

My sachet change of heart was made possible by a remarkable new product, the Dutch Chintz Garden Roll. Like sachets, chintz sometimes has a reputation for being unstylish (or “chintzy”), but these Garden Rolls quickly dispel such a notion. Each Roll includes a whole world of historically accurate and totally beautiful fabrics that truly spark the imagination. Comprised of fifteen 4-inch by 60-inch strips of fabric, each strip is divided into three different reproduction prints. Plus, there are five tone-on-tone strips. And so, swept away by this rainbow of jewel tones and extraordinary prints (whose actual dimensions are so well suited for a hand-sized project), I decided to give sachets a try, despite my original skepticism. 

I quickly became a sachet convert. They were so simple and fun to make, especially in an assembly line, and they made my whole house smell like lavender!  I loved picking out my favorite chintz prints and matching them with others to create fresh smelling stacks of sachets. 

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