40 Before Forty Update: No. 06

6. Complete my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt top…and then put it all together.

Month 4 took me forever to complete. In fact, I’m about half of a month behind. First, I had to pick out 10 new fabrics. Then, I had to cut out a bazillion little pieces. Of course, when you have a bazillion pieces, you have to stitch them together. My sewing machine lives in a storage tub under my desk. So, I have to have a clear schedule to pull it out.

Finally! That day (or 2 or 3) came. Behold the next installment of my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt!

Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017, Down the Rabbit Hole, Month 4 Complete

Okay, it was a lot of work, but I’m LOVING it. I’ve been sweating in the fabric store as I pick out new colors. I’ve been trying to use some of the same colors over. For example, the house roofs are made from the same fabrics as the flowers and the wedges of the center circle. The small center circle, flower centers, and windows are all the same yellow fabric. My goal is not only to keep some consistency within the colors, but to use up as much fabric as I can–not that a stash is a bad thing!

As you may have guessed, because I was behind on this, I’m behind on month 5. But, it appears to be less work and uses techniques I’ve already learned with this quilt.

40 Before Forty Update: No. 06

6. Complete my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt top…and then put it all together.

I’m nowhere close to having this quilt done, but I have completed the third month of the pattern! Behold!

Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017–Third Month Completed

I’m happy with the colors. And, it’s such a relief, because I’m not necessarily the best with putting colors and prints together. Month 2 and 3 had a lot of hand stitching in the form of needle turn applique. That thin dark blue border was machine stitched. Because my sewing machine doesn’t live out in the open, it is an occasion when it comes out. I try to only break it out when I know I have enough time to tackle my current project, plus something on my “to-sew” list.

So, when I stitched on the border, I also stitched loops of ribbon onto my kids’ towels.

Ribbon loop sewn onto a towel for hanging convenience.

I saw this on the Internet a year or two or three ago and mentally cataloged the idea. I put some semi-permanent hooks onto their bedroom doors. It’s such an easy solution. Bonus: because they’re just towels, I didn’t have to fuss over ribbon or thread colors. What I had was what I used. Function over form!

Now, I’m working on Month 4 of the block of the month pattern. There are a lot of little pieces I have to cut out. Everything is machine stitched, too. We’ll see if I can get all the stitching done in one sitting–I’ll keep you posted!

Fast Fashion Made Slow

I’m frugal by nature. Which leads me to purchase inexpensive clothing. I’m well aware of the Slow Fashion movement. So, while I may purchase cheap clothes, I try to make them last. Here’s an example.

Bad lighting and wrinkles, I know.

I purchased this cat dress at Target. I actually wore it as a maternity dress. The empire waist rested just above my belly and the dress fit more like a tunic, which I paired with leggings. But, being fast fashion, the quality wasn’t there. See the trim around the armpits? It bled. Gross. Washing it didn’t help.

Gross. Was it my deodorant that made it bleed? How come it didn’t do this around the neckline?

But other than that, the dress was in good shape. So, I turned it into a skirt. I simply took out the seam at the waist and removed the thin strip of elastic. I folded down the top and stitched it down to create a casing for new, wider elastic. I slipped in the elastic and stitched it into a loop. Finally, I stitched up the casing.

Wrinkles, still. And, a little mistake or two.

Voila! A skirt! Now, it’s pretty short and pretty see-through, but I plan to pair it with leggings.

Fashion slowed down just a little bit–a fast fashion alternative. As a bonus, I got a chance to work on my sewing skills!

Ungendering Kids Clothes

A perk of freelancing is the pockets of free time here and there. Some hours I spend researching leads or on “professional development”–that is, learning new skills or keeping my skills sharp. Other hours I spend on projects around the house. This is one of those projects.

I had a daughter. Then I had a son. Little kids require a lot of clothes. Not because they wear them out, but rather they outgrow them so quickly. Also, it’s hard to resist buying cute outfits. It bothers me, all these clothes. I want to get as much use from them from them as possible.

Take a stroll through any kids clothing section and you’ll see there aren’t too many gender-neutral options, even for the itty-bitties. (I think the obsession with knowing the gender of babies before birth is contributing to this.) I have a few pieces of my daughter’s clothes that I have identified as gender-neutral. There are also some pieces that can be ungendered: the “girly” parts can be removed.


First up, this striped shirt dressed up with a bright fabric flower. Two minutes with a seam ripper and it was done!

Next this piggy pajama shirt. That teeny bow at the neckline was a beast to remove! There are matching pants to this, but they didn’t have any bows to remove. I think some of the pigs in the pattern are wearing bows. Whatever, these are pajamas. No one should care.

Then there were these jeans. I removed the pink bow and the heart-shaped pockets (kids don’t need pockets, anyway). Little did I know that the pockets would reveal identically shaped spots of darker dye. There’s also pink stitching. Oh well, washing should help the heart-shapes.


I also did this. My husband had a hole in a shirt, so I removed all the buttons. You never know when you’ll need a replacement button!

Now, back to my regularly scheduled professional development. Ha!