The Penguin, Polar Bear, and Pancake Bag

This project happened because I found this delightful canvas on Miss Matatabi and decided I needed to do SOMETHING with it.


I mean, how can you possibly resist Polar Bear and Baby Penguin making pancakes? The slightly strange but still intelligible English only adds to the charm. I decided to make a bag for a friend, who I knew would be equally delighted by the adventures of Penguin and Polar Bear.


Luckily Miss Matatabi had a perfect coordinating penguin poplin to line the bag. Armed with half a meter of each, and some nylon webbing from the craft store, I made a bag. It’s lined and there’s a lot of topstitching to give it some body and keep the lining from flopping around, but other than that it’s really straight forward.


Not much else to say. It’s a simple tote bag – I originally had grand ideas of zippers and interior compartments, but then paused, reflected upon the fact that it was the week before my due date, and decided finished was better than fancy. I think I ended up finishing it just two or three days before I went into labor, so good thing I went the simple route or it still wouldn’t be finished. 😉

Sew for Victory 2.0

This looks like fun – I was hopeful, when I stumbled across Lucky Lucille and saw posts from last year that it might be a thing that would happen again. Turns out I found her blog just in time for round two. Huzzah!

I like vintage patterns for many reasons – they appeal to the history geek in me, I like both the tailored austerity of the World War Two years and the exuberant femininity of the New Look, and I’ve had good luck with vintage patterns actually fitting my hourglass figure – and I’ve been collecting them and sewing with them for years now. The thing is, I haven’t always been the best about finishing seams and perfecting construction methods, and I have a tendency to sew pretty frocks, which for one reason or another I hardly ever wear.

All of which leads me to this dress, one of I think two garments I managed to finish while in college:


It’s a lot prettier on, but it’s kind of boring. Very green – and I like green, but this dress doesn’t have much going on beside green. It’s a sundress; there’s no tailoring to save it. It’s also suffering from a sagging waistline, because the seersucker isn’t strong enough to support the weight of a full circle skirt.

So what am I going to do? Well, first I’m going to make the bolero that’s supposed to go with this dress:


I liked the floral fabric so much that when I found it, probably five years ago, I bought yardage in two of the colorways. I like both of them with the seersucker, so the bolero will be reversible. If I have enough of the seersucker left, I’ll make piping from it and edge the bolero with that to tie it all together. At some point I’ll have to pick apart the bodice and flatline it with a stable fabric for strength, but that comes later.

Lone Star Baby Quilt

A baby quilt seems as good a project as any with which to start a new blog.


Behold! A baby quilt for the future child of my old babysitter. I say “babysitter” – she’s really more of an adopted older sister/treasured friend. I’ve known her for twenty years now, so when I heard she was expecting I knew I had to make her something really special. I think I succeeded, because not only did my friend and her fiance love it, but for once I’m entirely pleased with the end result.

I used a Lone Star pattern in an assortment of Asian-themed floral fabrics in red, a lovely gradient-dyed yellow batik, and two blue batiks for the background and binding. Everything is 100% cotton.


Look at all those matching points! I strip-pieced as much as possible, but there was still a lot of ripping out seams and redoing them when things were one-sixteenth of an inch off. Quilter’s persnicketyness, man.


No seams across the big background blocks!


The back was a lovely snuggly flannel.


Usually I plan my quilts and play around with color/block arrangement in Adobe Illustrator, but since I couldn’t figure out how to make a 45º grid, I got out pencil and paper and did it the old-fashioned way. You can see it took me a few tries to figure out the design I wanted. The Y1/Y2/etc notations refers to the gradient in the yellow batik – I wanted to make a starburst pattern, with the color shading from dark to light. When I cut the yellow batik, I divided it up into five shades of yellow, from lightest (Y1) to darkest (Y5.) I am really pleased with how it came out. 🙂