Category Archives: pillowcases

Accessorizing the Home

I’ve been spending a wee bit of time in my sewing room over the last week. It could have been more but I had my nose in a book. A big book:  715 pages, to be exact. It’s Abraham Verghese’s bestselling novel The Covenant of Water. I actually bought it last summer but was reluctant to begin such a lengthy tome until after my cataract surgeries in June and August. Reading is once again a great pleasure, and this freezing cold snap in the Pacific Northwest over the last several days presented an ideal opportunity to curl up with a good book with either a cat or a quilt (sometimes both) on my lap.

I did venture into my sewing room from time to time, working around the schedules of the workmen repairing the walls and ceiling in the upstairs hallway following water damage from a rain storm. The hallway now looks brand new — a touch of irony in a house that’s 111 years old — but the texture on the walls beautfully mimics the original lath and plaster so you’ll hear no complaints from me. All the hallway needs now is a coat of primer and two coats of color.

I’ve been working on some small things:

This is a quilter’s tool caddy, using the pattern Travel Case by Pearl Pereira of P3 Designs. I’ve made several versions over the years, modifying the design in a few ways but most importantly by adding a fourth pocket so the caddy holds more:

The tool caddy is one of four accessories to go with my current Junior Billie Bag-in-progress. I’ll finish it soon along with three other accessories that go with it — a rotary cutter coat, a scissors case, and a fabric box that I use as a threadcatcher. I’m so enjoying the fabrics — most of them from the Gingham Foundry line by Riley Blake that came out in 2021.

You may remember I used the same fabric last October in a pair of pillowcases made for the Portland White House. I just finished a second pair for my twin Diane, who arrives on Saturday for a two-week visit. Ordinarily she would be surprised by seeing them wrapped up with a ribbon in the guest bedroom but she reads my blog so as soon as she sees this post she’ll know they await.

I couldn’t resist fussycutting the text print on the band so that the refrain “I think to myself what a wonderful world” appears on the top and bottom lines of the band:

A bit obessive-compulsive? Umm, yes.

I also made myself a new oven mitt (from my own tutorial) but got two in the bargain:

I had cut out the fabric and batting weeks ago for the mitt on the right; the materials were stacked in my sewing room closet just waiting for me. I can’t remember why I got out the tub that my oven mitt supplies are stored in but when I did I was surprised to find there was a mitt inside that was almost finished! All I needed to do was tack the red band down and turn the mitt right side out. I adore that tomato print and thought I had used the last of it. Now I well and truly have.

So much for accessories. What about quilts? Well, I have two quilts I started last year that I really need to finish but I’m already dreaming about starting a new one. . .

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, cats, family, home dec, Junior Billie Bag, oven mitts, pillowcases, roll-it-up pillowcases, rotary cutter case, sewing tool caddy, tote bags, tutorial, update | 4 Comments

Auntie Claus?

You’ve heard of Santa Claus, of course. But have you heard of Auntie Claus? That’s me! I made a pair of pillowcases this week as a surprise Christmas gift for my 20-something great-niece Megan:

Megan still has the pillowcases I made for her when she was a little girl. It was her mother’s clever idea to have these pillowcases be from “Auntie Claus.” Megan will be puzzled when she reads the tag but will know as soon as she opens the package that the pillowcases were made by her Auntie Dawn. These pillowcases are finished with French seams — no raw edges in sight. You can find the free tutorial for my roll-it-up or burrito-style pillowcases right here.

And don’t you just love the fabrics? They’re from the “Icy World” line by Gareth Lucas for Windham Fabrics. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve already seen these delightful folk art fabrics in a quilt I made a year ago called Arctic Stars as well as a simple ruffled valance I made just a few weeks ago for my stepmother’s guest bathroom. When I fall in love with a fabric line, it tends to make appearances in multiple projects.

It seems especially appropriate to be looking at Arctic scenes today as it happens to be the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Each day after the Winter Solstice brings more daylight. Bring it on, I say!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, pillowcases, roll-it-up pillowcases, tutorial, update, valance | 4 Comments

One of These Days . . .

. . . I’ll get back to the business of quiltmaking. For now I seem to be in an extended home dec phase. Between making valances for my stepmother’s home and continuing my construction of Junior Billie Bag #12 for the class I am teaching, the quilt blocks on my design wall have been unattended for weeks. I will get back to them. All in good time.

It was work on my current Junior Billie Bag that interrupted quilt progress. When I posted about the JBB, I included a link to the Gingham Foundry fabric line I was using. Little did I know the link would lead me down a rabbit hole! You see, Montavilla Sewing Center, where I teach the JBB class, carried part but not all of the Gingham Foundry line. When I included a link to the entire line, I spied a fabric I could not live without. (You know what I mean, right?)

It was the main focus fabric in a background called “mist,” a pale blue gray. I knew in a heartbeat that I needed to get some of that fabric to make a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House. Why? Because I could so clearly see the text print with lyrics to the song “What a Wonderful World” as the band at the bottom of the cases and the “mist” focus print as the body of the cases. Surely you agree!

Lucky for me, I found what I was looking for at an online quilt shop in Texas. The fabric arrived a few days ago, and this is what I have to show for it:

“What a Wonderful World” is one of my favorite songs. I am especially fond of the renditions by Louis Armstrong and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole but I also love the duet by Tony Bennett and k.d. lang. Is there another version I should know about?

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, home dec, Junior Billie Bag, pillowcases, roll-it-up pillowcases, tutorial, update | 2 Comments

A New Project . . .

. . . and it’s not a quilt!

I can’t remember the last time I made myelf something to wear (not counting bathrobes and aprons). My inspiration for making a summery short sleeve shirt can be attributed to the glorious weather we’ve been enjoying in Portland the last few weeks. That and the fact that the Dear Husband and I are taking a little road trip soon and it would be fun to have something new to wear.

Over the years I’ve given most of my patterns away but have hung on to some thinking I might use them someday. For this project I’m using a Butterick pattern that probably dates back to the 1980s. (I couldn’t find a date on the envelope or instruction sheet.) When I pulled the pattern pieces out of the envelope I discovered they had already been cut out. By me. I’ve made this pattern before — but I have absolutely no recollection of what fabric I used and when I made it. (And why don’t I still have the shirt?)

The fabric is from the “Canyon” line designed a few years ago by Kate Spain for Moda. I’ve used it to make a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House . . .

. . . and this sweet little basket block that may wind up in a quilt someday:

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, garment sewing, home dec, pillowcases, roll-it-up pillowcases, update | 9 Comments

This Time the Dream’s On Me

What’s with the title of my blog post? It’s the name of a 1941 song written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. You’ll understand as you read on . . .

I gave myself the day off today from working in the yard to play in my sewing room.  What do you think of my new pillowcases for the Portland White House?

The main body, accent strip, and flange are from the “Mindscape” line of fabric designed by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics. The apricot-colored band at the bottom of the cases is a treasured piece of “Gypsy Girl” designed by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Company. If these four fabrics look familiar, it’s because I’m using them in my current Work-in-Progress, which I wrote about here.

That WIP has been on the back burner for most of May because the Dear Husband and I have been taking advantage of an unusually long stretch of warm dry weather to work outside. In a perverse sort of way, I’m wishing for a little rain to come our way so I can spend more time in my sewing room. Kidding! (Well, maybe not . . .)

It feels so good to finish a project. Pillowcases provide a fast way to achieve sewing satisfaction. Not instant gratification but pretty darn close. By the way, I followed my own tutorial to make what I call “Perfect Pillowcases.”

I’ll bet you can guess what the DH and I are sleeping on tonight! I predict sweet dreams.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, pillowcases, roll-it-up pillowcases, tutorial, update | 9 Comments