A Parliament of Owls

I ran across this hilarious owl-print flannel earlier this spring and fell in love with how half of the owls look exceedingly skeptical of life while the other half look startled and…kind of dopey?


When I added it to my cart with a bunch of Kona solids and one grassy print, I swear I had a concrete plan in mind, but then the fabric arrived and got shoved under the craft table, still in its box, while I worked on other things, and when I opened up I had completely forgotten what I was going to make with it.

Luckily a little Googling turned up this “mod chevron” pattern by Rashida Coleman-Hale in Generation Q Magazine, which was perfect for using the random assortment of quarter-yard bits I had for some reason decided I needed:

owl quilt fabric

The pattern has you cut out a bunch of squares, sew them together with twin lines across the diagonal, cut them in half (between the sewn lines), then press them open so that you end up with a bunch of half-square triangles. When you line them up, you get chevrons. It’s quite lovely:

half-square triangles

After you cut your pieces apart, you’re supposed to trim everything down to end up with neat 6.5″ squares. I tried this on one square and immediately abandoned the idea. Word to the wise: the pattern still works sans trimming, though the backing will be a tight fit. Save yourself the trouble.

I spent one afternoon washing, ironing, and cutting; one evening (“large project” craft night at work) sewing the squares together and cutting them apart; one morning assembling the top; and one Saturday quilting, making bias tape, and binding. All in all, this came together quite fast:

owl quilt: front

owl quilt: back

A Parliament of Owls

FINISHED SIZE: 40″ by 54″

PATTERN: “Mod Chevron Baby Quilt” by Rashida Coleman-Hale in Generation Q Magazine

FABRIC: Urban Zoologie Flannel Owls in Marine for the back and a few triangles on the front; Quilter’s Linen Print in Leaf for the binding; Kona cotton solids in sage (the darker turquoise), aqua (the lighter blue), navy, sunflower, and grass green for the front. Note: the second photo above shows Kona cotton in chartreuse, which I didn’t end up using.

BATTING: a little less than one fourth of a package of Warm & Natural Cotton Batting in king size

NOTIONS: Pieced and quilted using Aurifil in Light Beige.

Hand Stamped Tea Towels

I’ve been experimenting lately with hand stamping fabric, the end goal being to jazz up quilts or even something like the top I made a couple of weekends ago. I’m not (yet?) a superb stamp carver, but I’m fond of simple geometric patterns, including the tiny, bright triangles I stamped on a set of tea towels for a friend’s wedding (part of my pledge to give five handmade gifts this year).

fabric paint
hand stamping
hand stamped towels
hand stamped towels

Weekend project: Zippy Top

I’ve had See Kate Sew’s Zippy Top printed and ready to go for at least a month now, but I’ve been too busy to tape it together, cut it out, and actually make the thing. I also had some concerns about the overall shape and length, and wanted to do a test run before I cut into the navy lawn I’ve been saving for this.

I had some time yesterday morning, so I went for it. The pattern is quick to tape up—the pages don’t overlap by much, so I didn’t bother cutting off the margins (I did this for the Date Night Dress, and it was easily the most time consuming part of the whole project).

Kate includes a shorten/lengthen line, so I took the liberty of adding four inches. I’ve seen quite a few versions of the top online, and depending on the person, the hemline falls anywhere between “jeans waistband” and “just north of the hips.” I like my tops a little longer, so I wanted to create some room to play.

Speaking of playing: I took this opportunity to experiment with “pattern weights.” (Mr. Jones came home midway through and very gently asked why all of our beans and tomatoes were in the bedroom.)

Zippy Top

The top, as promised, is incredibly quick to put together, even if you (like me) use French seams (for fun!). It’s also forgiving if, say, you (like me) read the 3/8″ seam allowance as 5/8″ and end up making everything a tiny bit smaller on accident (oops). I started taping the pattern together at around 9:30 and had a top in hand and ready to wear to the SoWa Open Market by 12:15, where I bravely wore it into Grey’s Fabric & Notions and ended up evangelizing the pattern to the very friendly proprietor.

Zippy Top

I used a speckled cream natural muslin I had laying around and a red-orange zipper from Zipit—the goal was only to test out the fit, but I ended up liking the combination enough to add this to my closet. Overall, it’s a fairly simple top—I think I like the print versions I’ve seen better, and I might add a pocket or something to perk this up a bit. Lengthwise, adding 4″ put it at perfect tunic length for me, but the muslin felt a little too Little House on the Prairie for me at that length, so I decided at the last minute to cut around 3″ off. It hits me a tiny bit below my hip bones, which I like, so I’m planning to add an inch to future versions. I think adding this tiny bit of length reduces the potentially boxiness a bit (though the super lightweight fabric also helped), which for me is a bonus.

Verdict: wrinkly, but otherwise quite lovely!