Designers: October 2010 Archives
Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Zinnia Pillow was a challenge but I love it. Let me jump right into it. I wanted to do something different with this pattern. It looks amazing in quilting cotton but I wanted to try to make this pillow more traditional to give it a different audience and show its versatility. I picked a cotton velvet that is delicious. My hope was that this more traditional fabric coupled with a more modern pattern would be a middle ground between modern and traditional, be appealing to both parties and maybe gather in some transitional, vintage and eclectic fans as well. That being said this pattern was a dozy but perhaps you can learn from my mistakes and take away the same or better finished pillow and avoid the pitfalls.
The velvet, while dreamy, is difficult and thick. I recommend cutting the back of each petal from coordinating broadcloth to reduce some bulk. I could not add the pleat on each petal due to thickness and also could not add the 3rd round of small petals due to bulk (it simply would not fit under my foot). I also wish that Amy had included the circle patterns and not just instructions to draw them. I am clumsy when it comes to drawing circles so I found an embroidery hoop that was about 15 in. but it was a little small and so was my pattern piece. It didn't mess up anything; it just would have been nice. Also, I pinned all the petals in the center to sew the 2 circle together which helped keep them out of my way. The velvet shifts a bunch so having the broadcloth on the back will help with that. The shifting really got in my way when I was tacking down the petals. I used my walking foot a lot to help with the shifting of the velvet. Most of my issues were due to bulk but just the sheer number of petals was a little disheartening. They were all small so it didn't take as long as I thought to sew them up. The finished product is definitely worth it. Some trouble also occurred with making the fabric buttons, but I used needle nose pliers to straighten the prongs a bit and was able to get the fabric to hold. But our glass buttons would also look incredible.
I must admit I am even more impressed with this pillow in person than on the pattern picture. It is gorgeous. Even my husband has admitted that it is a beautiful pillow. Though I would not talk anyone out of using velvet just not exclusively; I would recommend a linen or silk instead if going for a less funky- more subtle look. This pattern, once freed from its retro inspired roots is a perfect addition to an elegant, traditional living room, French colonial family room or even a Tuscan retreat!
Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones
I bought Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones as soon as it hit the stands, long before I was expecting my own little one, because I loved InStitches so much. The projects are ADORABLE and rated for difficulty (which is a blessing when pregnant with limited energy). Amy puts her signature style on baby items to help modern moms feel stylish, cool and totally unmom-like. I have completed a few projects from this book and so has my mom. The patterns are typical AB patterns, easy to follow, clearly written and sometimes a few surprise finishes that are fantastic. My two favorite projects have to be the Cute Baby Booties and the Modern Diaper bag.
I made the Modern Diaper bag when I was about 8 mos pregnant and was nearing the end and was nesting. I knew what I wanted in a bag and what I didn't. I supposed it would have to be big. I did not want black plastic that screamed diaper bag. I wanted a modern shape, lots of pockets (I have an affinity for pockets and drawers). After the cursory Google search for patterns, I went through my book stash. It had been a while since I purchased the book and had forgotten about it. As soon as I be held this bag, I KNEW it was the one. Maybe a half a day of cutting and sewing later and it was complete. I was even more in love it with than the pictures led me to believe. I immediately began packing it with wee baby clothes and sundries. (I ended up over packing as I later discovered) This bag made the trip with me to the hospital and has faithfully followed me ever since. We have successfully transitioned from tiny baby, to crawling and now walking/running toddler. This bag has carried everything and then some.
My second and perhaps most favorite are the Cute Booties. These were made around 7 mo of age, just as she started crawling. My little one didn't care to get past the army crawl for sometime because once you can go why learn a new way. This mode of propulsion was the demise of many a good pair of socks. She wore the toes out in less than a week. That coupled with the fact that she often crawled right out of her socks, I knew I needed something more. Once again I turned to my library and found the perfect solution in Amy's book. I cut 2 pair right away. The fluffy cushioning is just right to keep tiny feet padded and warm. The shoes are easy on and easy off and virtually unshakeable. The compliments these shoes garnered were also amazing. I had request from many non-parents for these booties in their size and many parents offered me great sums to make some for their kids. I have since retired the first pair but I have made several in graduated sizes since. The girl is too big for the given pattern sizes but thanks to my copier, I have managed to enlarge my pattern pieces and create more. They are really great for shoe-less homes, cold mornings and chilly nights when the footed Pjs are in the wash.
This book is a must for parents and non-parents alike. The patterns are easily adapted to adults, childless homes and when you are in need of a great shower, niece/nephew, or godchild gift.