hudson’s bay point quilt tutorial

welcome to the first day of Vintage May 2015!

Vintage May started back in 2012 with just kid clothes, then Jess and i expanded it to adult clothes, and this year i thought it’d be interesting to add vintage-inspired home sewing into the mix!  one evening i had a brainstorm of wanting to make a quilt inspired by the famous Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket…and i knew i had to make it happen!

hudson's bay point quilt tutorial // skirt as top

the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket has a fascinating history – the original blankets were used as currency in the colonial U.S. and Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries.

hudson bay point quilt tutorial // skirt as top

the blankets were typically traded to First Nations and Native Americans for beaver pelts and were 100% wool, which is both fire and water repellant.  they were also very warm and easily sewn into coats.

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vintage may: gingham swing jacket

Vintage May: Presented by Craftiness is not Optional and skirt as top

here comes the second week of vintage may posts; we hope you’ve been enjoying all the wonderful vintage-y inspiration so far! today, Jess and I both have projects for you, and the rest of this week we’ll have guests. keep adding photos to the flickr group, your projects are really wonderful and we’ll do a round up at the end!

gingham swing jacket

i decided my second item for vintage may would be a little swing jacket for Em. i really love making her outerwear, and she was due for a new springy jacket to wear over her school uniform anyway. and hey, who doesn’t love a little gingham for spring(ham)?

gingham swing jacket

i’ve also had this idea stuck in my head to make a swingy little coat with a pleated back panel for a loooong time. so here was my chance.

gingham swing jacket

it was one of those projects that was pretty nerve-wracking as i made it, since it felt pretty off-the-cuff, but luckily turned out pretty well. there are a couple issues (collar overlaps a bit, lining was too narrow so it swings free rather than being attached) but all in all, i like it as a first draft and it’s totally functional for her.

gingham swing jacket

well, not totally functional, i guess. the pockets are just flaps because i couldn’t remember the last time Em really cared about having front pockets in a jacket, but of course the first thing she did when she put it on was lift up the flap to find the non-existent pocket. of course. soooooo i promised her i’d add a pocket underneath (someday).

gingham swing jacket

the pattern…well…it started as a size 4 oliver + s sunday brunch jacket, a long time ago. first i modified it into red riding hood, then into her suzy coat, and now into this little gingham coat, so it’s to the point where only the armhole curves are left from the original. that’s the beauty of a good basic pattern though, it’s so easily adaptable!

gingham swing jacket

the purple gingham is laminated cotton (i think), sent to me by the very generous Tatia. i figure it’s probably water resistant? i put the more “waterproof” seeming side face in, and the more cottony side face out. i thought about adding a hood but drafted a peter pan collar instead, since this thrifted 1967 McCall’s pattern was my original inspiration.


(at the bottom it says “not suitable for chubby girls”!!!!!)

lining the jacket is a floral vintage sheet, sent to me by Lindsay for helping be another set of eyes during Project Run & Play – super sweet of her. she sent me a big box of fun thrifted goodies actually, and this was a fun one to cut into…so soft! i pulled from some blue in the lining to add the blue buttons (with yellow thread for fun).

gingham swing jacket

Em’s dress underneath is a Roller Skate Dress, blogged here, also made from a vintage sheet. she wears it a lot!

gingham swing jacket

Em was feeling a bit under the weather but still pulled off some pretty good poses, eh? It was another of those quickie photoshoots you’ve just gotta do sometimes.

OKAY! now head on over to CINO to see the capital A-DORable dress Jess made for her little gal Charlotte. the floral! the pigtails! the cheeks! the collar! it’s all just too much to handle!

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ohio star picnic quilt

i do believe a homemade quilt is the perfect wedding gift. quilts are so personal, made with love and care, and can last many many years. plus they’re practical – a handmade picnic quilt will be there to help keep a couple warm on camping trips, to be there for them as they have family picnics and create memories. they can even be a reminder of their wedding day!

ohio star picnic quilt

one of my early sewing projects was a blanket for baby Em, and the first time i covered my little daughter in a simple blanket i made, it nearly brought me to tears. it was a turning point for me, where i fully understood the specialness of handmade things and the love that goes into them. my family wasn’t really full of quilters – i have friends that have beautiful ancient handmade quilts made by their great-grandmothers, but my family seems to prefer to sew garments, embroider, knit, and crochet – still wonderful crafts and i know some quilts were likely made along the way, but they just weren’t part of our family culture like others. as i’ve dabbled in quilting, i’ve learned how much time and effort goes into each one and how much they mean to the maker. quilts are super powerful, you guys.

so i made this picnic quilt for my husband’s cousin Amy and her new husband Ben as their wedding gift and I hope they have many happy memories with it. it’s made with a vintage sheet, a sturdy navy cotton i bought during Anna’s Instagram destash (thanks Anna!), DS for Joann gold, and the chambray from Em’s big bow dress. i tried to give a nod to the colors and tone of their wedding in my choices (here are a few shots from the reception…soooooooo Portlandy!).


the back is a huge piece of dark blue (stretch?) corduroy that i thrifted. you can sort of see my quilting pattern here (i tried to make the star pop, so i followed the outer lines of it 1/4″ away from the seam). the corduroy was really heavy, too, which is perfect for a picnic blanket. sorry about the weirdly lit photos, it was starting to rain and O was going to wake up from his nap at any minute.

ohio star picnic quilt

ohio star picnic quilt

i appliqued a little linen heart for the couple onto joel dewberry woodgrain, adding their initials and wedding date.

ohio star picnic quilt

the design is a modified giant ohio star. i love how many different designs you can make with half square triangles! i first had the idea to make a quilt like this when i saw the ohio supernova quilt by Heather Jones floating around pinterest, and i referenced Jeni’s tutorial as i sketched my plan out on graph paper. it’s constructed of HSTs with vintage sheet squares in the corners. the solid blocks i cut at 9.5″ squares, the HST squares i cut at 10″ each. by that math the quilt ended up about 54″ x 54″, plenty big for a few people to sit on for a picnic, though smaller than the picnic blanket i made for us (and we use often).

ohio star picnic quilt

there’s no batting. to finish the quilt i put the top and the backing right sides together, pinned the heck out of it, and sewed around the outside leaving an opening for turning. i turned, topstitched around the edge, then did my quilting with a walking foot to make sure the layers didn’t shift. it went pretty fast! i actually jumped back and forth between working on this and the flower girl dress. when the organza got annoying, i shifted over to straight lines and cotton for relief.

ohio star picnic quilt

i got an enthusiastic text from Amy and Ben the day after the wedding thanking me and saying they loved it, which is great – the thing about quilts is they ARE a lot of work so knowing they’re going to an appreciative home is solid gold.

ohio star picnic quilt

now i want to make more quilts!

foldover doily clutch tutorial

i recently gave a clutch like this to my sister laura as a birthday present, and i thought i’d write up a tutorial for it because…you know…it’s getting to be that gift-giving time of year!  i think a pretty but casual little clutch purse is great for girl time, date nights, a quick errand, that type of thing.  it’s the perfect gift for sisters, moms, babysitters, teachers…any lady in your life, really!

foldover doily clutch tutorial

this foldover style clutch features a metal zipper and appliquéd doily on a lined bag.  in these photos it’s carrying my wallet, phone, and keys – the essentials.

foldover doily clutch tutorial

it has vintage-modern style with the doily and rough linen-y hemp fabric i used, but you could skip the doily and do a fun print, or stamp a fun design on there too.  i had fun adding a doily to a skirt during vintage may, so i thought that’d be neat to try that technique again.

foldover doily clutch tutorial

due to the proportions of the clutch and zipper, you don’t need to reach for the pliers and you don’t need to worry about breaking a needle, either!  deep cleansing breath – you can totally do this.

okay let’s get started…

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announcing…vintage may!

i’m so excited to finally spill the beans on something that has been in the works for a while now – a brand new series that i’m co-hosting with jess of craftiness is not optional! it’s called Vintage May, it’ll run for two weeks starting may 14, and it’s going to be a blast.

we started chatting during week 1 of my season of project run & play when i remixed her junebug dress into the sweet tartan dress. after hitting it off via email and talking about blog stuff, jess said she had the idea to host a series, but didn’t know what it should be about. i helped her brainstorm, and then she totally surprised me by asking me to co-host! i made sure she wasn’t joking, then quickly agreed.

i’ve been a big fan of CINO for a really long time. jess is generous with her tutorials, her daughters are adorable, and she writes in a funny, friendly way. she’s one of those gals you wish lived nearby so you could just hang out and your kids could play together (her Sadie and my Em are just a few months apart in age, and her Charlotte and my O are pretty close too). i even love the name of her blog – if you’re a crafty/creative person, it really isn’t optional – you MUST create and you make the time to do it!


we’re both enamored with vintage style, especially for kids (but for ladies too), and find ourselves drawing inspiration from the past. whether it’s using thrifted/vintage materials, retro-inspired patterns with modern fabrics, or vintage patterns themselves, the results are interesting and fun.


jess and i will have a little pre-show the week before the series starts to share some of our projects and ideas, and then the real fun begins! we have each rounded up ten fantastic guest bloggers that we’re thrilled to have on board for two weeks of vintage/retro inspired projects and tutorials. we’re so thrilled, in fact, that we can’t keep them a secret! these are the guests i’ll be hosting here at skirt as top. some are blogging celebs, some are hidden gems, all are super talented. here they are!

if you’ve never checked out these ladies’ blogs, do yourself a favor and click through. and jess will be hosting ten lovely guests of her own, so be sure to go check them out!

bedsheet skirt

because this series is all about inspiration and sharing the love of vintage/retro, we’d love to see YOUR projects, too! if you’ve ever sewn an item of clothing from a vintage pattern, vintage bed sheet, a modern pattern that looks vintage, modern fabric that looks vintage, anything along those lines, please add it to the Vintage May flickr group! i’ve added some of my projects, jess has added some of hers, and a few of our guests have added some too, so there’s already plenty of fun stuff in there to browse. we’ll round up a few of our favorites from the flickr group somewhere along the way, so get ’em in there! we’d just love to see what you’ve made.

lemon popover sundress

are you excited? i sure am! hop on over to CINO to check out jess’s awesome guests here, join the flickr group, and get ready to celebrate vintage lovelies!