What I Sewed Last Summer

Carrie’s post yesterday alluded to going back to school, and one of those things you always had to tell when you returned to the classroom was “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.” Unfortunately, in grown-up land, summer isn’t all vacation time. Still, there’s time for a little sewing, and while I was thinking ahead about National Sewing Month and what I might whip up in September, I also thought  about how I spent my summer sewing time.

While I love to quilt, there’s so much to do outside in summer that smaller projects seem best. I also work one day a week in a fabric and yarn shop—Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City—and we’re always on the lookout for projects that make for good classes, so my small projects sometimes translate into classes. Iowa City is a college town and our busy customers enjoy a quick class that can give them the satisfaction of making something without a big time commitment. (At the same time, we find lots who have sewing machines and can’t wait to use them. Our School of Sewing classes, based on the great book by Shea Henderson, always have a waiting list.)


At any rate, my summer sewing consisted of just one baby quilt, along with checkbook covers, bags to carry to the Farmer’s Market, and tops. Yup, I delved into the world of garment sewing.

I started sewing garments again a couple of summers ago. (Like many of us, I really started in junior high, but haven’t done much since high school.) Two years ago I took a class at our shop to make the Sorbetto top from the free pattern available here. The popularity of garment sewing is definitely on the rise and this one, with no zippers and no buttons seemed pretty basic and I thought I could handle it. But my body isn’t so basic, and fit is always a challenge. (I think that’s probably why a lot of us who love sewing turn to quilting—no fitting issues!) My first top just didn’t work, so I spent some time perusing YouTube and came upon a fantastic technique classes on Creativebug. Thanks to the bust adjustment class taught by Liesl Gibson, I figured out how to make a top that fit and went on to make three of them. This summer it was the Sailor Top that struck my fancy—floaty, light, and simple-to-sew. I can’t wait for Moda’s new lawns to be available in January. They’ll be the perfect weight for tops like these. (The fabrics below are from Moda’s previous Regent Street Lawn collection.)



I mentioned my checkbook cover: Check-writing has almost become a thing of the past, but nevertheless I usually write a few each month. I’d hung on to a bit of Janet Clare’s Hearty Good Wishes whale fabric and thought it would be perfect for taking the sting out of paying bills. I lined it with Abi Hall’s On a Wing. It took almost no time at all and makes me happy every time I see it.Version 3Finally, the one quilt I stitched was for a Scottish baby. Little Belle’s parents lived in Iowa City for eighteen months and Belle’s mom, Katie, was fascinated by Iowa quilts. So when I got a bit of Bren Riddle’s Amberside, I knew just what to do with it (along with a few other fabrics from my stash, as I didn’t have quite enough Ambleside). And just for kicks, I decided to use gray sashing, as the baby’s last name is Gray.

Auditioning for Ambleside


Ambleside baby quilt

Belle was born just two weeks before moving back to Scotland with her parents and one morning I offered to watch her so her parents could pack. I actually sewed the label on the quilt while I was holding her—can you imagine anything sweeter? Just last week I got a picture from Katie of Belle on her quilt, which made me a happy woman. The colors aren’t very true, but I thought you’d still like to see this sweet babe.

Baby Belle on Ambleside

What did you stitch this summer? Have you tried any clothing, yet? What are looking forward to stitching this month? Let us know!

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11 thoughts on “What I Sewed Last Summer

  1. I made a queen size Intersection T-Square Quilt. Instructional video by Jenny Doan, fabric is Aloha Girl by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co. I’m new to quilting and this is my 2nd quilt ever. I loved sewing it, but it was a challenge! Next up is a seasonal quilt, lap size, using cute Halloween fabric. Yes, I’m addicted to this hobby. I haven’t made any clothing yet, but will try eventually for my young granddaughters.

  2. I am still working on the quilt I started a little over a year ago. Loved seeing what you did. Great tops. Wonderful baby quilt and darling baby too. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I made five baby quilts to put in a hope chest for great grandchildren in the future. One of them is made with the same fabric you used in your baby quilt but instead of grey in the washing I used green. I couldn’t remember the name of the charm pack I had purchased but now I know the designer. I need fabric for a border and a solid doesn’t look good it needs one of the floral prints from the charm pack. I used all the charm pack when I made the quilt. Does anyone know where I can still get some of this yardage?

  4. I made a cute charily quilt for a student in a school nearby. It has some Thomas the Tank Engine fabric from a thrift shop in the center and then streamers of bugs, frogs, trucks, tractors, Cars, Yo-Gabbas on a background of ants crawling in green grass around the center panel. I named it Boys Life and I hope some little boy will love it. I also made one of Lynne Hagmeier’s Patriotic Pennies table runners just to try that layered patchwork. My next project was suggested by my son: a quilt featuring PacMan. He thinks ANY CHILD would love that!

  5. I’m currently working on “Flower Baskets Lap Quilt” from the book “Patchwork Loves Embroidery”. I haven’t embroidered for about 20 years but my embroidery stitches look better with each block! Really am enjoying this project & will use fabric from my stash for the patchwork.
    Also, am working on a BOM from our quilt guild. I am doing wool appliqué funky birds on empty blocks in that quilt. Love the way it is turning out!

  6. I’m working on a wallhanging, using a pattern from bj designs, I think it is, a different way to appliqué … It’s a raven, I started in August with the idea that it would be done for fall. He’s been named Edgar, after you-know-who… However, there are a lot of fabric distractions in my life, like the 16 patch on the dining room table, partly done, and the Village Quilt (paper piecing) on my cutting table, half finished! All in due time…

  7. I just started sewing this summer officially. I made pencil pouches, a small sling bag (kind of like a tote bag), a pin cushion and a pillow. I can’t wait to do more. I love sewing.

  8. Belle is just a cutie and looks perfect on your quilt!
    I didn’t sew any garments in a while, a skirt a few years ago, but the Tova Top is one my list. And I need to make my Aurifil mini for august, the newest Schnibbles for the parade (Camille’s Vintage Tulips) and then finish Sherri’s Summer Star Sew-Along (halfway quilted).

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