Playground showcase, and a new knit dress!

By Melissa LeRay

I am so smitten with Amy Sinibaldi‘s newest collection for Art Gallery Fabrics called Playground! It brings me back to my days on the playground years ago, playing games with my friends, picking flowers, telling stories and even daydreaming about boys. The colors are so lovely and well balanced – I love that a rich plum, gold (sand), and navy were included.  I’m excited to be today’s stop on the Playground Showcase, and to show you what I’ve made!

{image from Art Gallery}

{image credit :: Art Gallery}

I chose to play with one of the knit prints, Buttercup Drops, and it was so fun to create a dress out of this beautiful design.

I recently bought a knit dress for the girls that has a great style and they wear it constantly.  I wanted to try to recreate that style as best I could, and by the looks of it, I think we have a winner.  This also means less fighting in the morning because now they can each wear a similar dress.  Mom win. Playground Knit Dress

I loved the rounded hem, the elastic waist, and the pockets of the original and aimed to incorporate those elements. There was a keyhole opening on the back of the original, but after a strategic design decision, (the lesser experienced seamstress might call this “accidentally sewing the bodice on backwards”) the keyhole moved to the front and I turned it into a v-neck. Playground Knit Dress

I also loved how the original dress had a lower hem on back than the front. Playground Knit Dress

I think knit dresses are the absolute best for kids.  They provide the ultimate in comfort and freedom of mobility, and are so breathable. The AGF knits are great in that they are 95% cotton and 5% lycra, so both the stretch and recovery is fantastic. Playground Knit Dress playground knit dress

I hope you’ll check out the other stops on the showcase, and here’s the schedule:

SEPT    14: Katie Skoog ~

              15: Michelle Curtis ~

              16: Peta Peace ~

              17: Minki Kim ~

              19: Jemima Flendt ~

              20: Tara J Curtis ~

              21: Alexis Wright ~

              22: Melissa LeRay ~

              23: Ali Brorsen ~

              24: Angie Wilson ~

              26: Rachel McCormack ~

              27: Stacy Olson ~

              28: Shannon Fraser ~

              29: Cristi Cooper ~

              30: Guiseppe Ribaudo ~

OCT      1: Kristyne Czepuryk ~

             3: Amy Sinibaldi ~


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Happiness is Homemade Tote Bag

By Melissa LeRay Sewing Illustration Totebag

Welcome to my stop on the #sewillustrated blog tour!  The book Sew Illustrated is the unbelievably gorgeous collaboration between my dear friends Minki Kim and Kristin Esser.  For as long as I’ve been on Instagram I have admired Minki’s work and loved watching as her talent for sewing illustration grew more and more.  I was over the moon to learn that she and Kristin were writing a book and hoped that this would help me to add that charm to my own work!

I think there are so many new sewing books coming out lately, and though many of them are undeniably beautiful, rarely does it feel like we are seeing something NEW.  This book has so many new techniques, and I love that they’ve taken the time to really show us how to do it, step by step.

Sew Illustrated

For my project, I decided to combine two of the patterns in the book (The Long Handled (Libary) Bag and “Happiness is Homemade” from The Drawstring bag) and I am completely smitten with the final result.  IN LOVE.  This may be my most favorite make ever, and its all mine.  As I saw how this was evolving, I knew some of my favorite Liberty of London would be the perfect compliment.   {The Liberty is Claire Aude T, and the linen is Kaufman Wide Essex in Flax}

I took pics along the way of the entire process; I thought it would be fun to share it here…

Step one was printing the design onto Fabri-Solvy, a product that has revolutionized embroidery (I don’t say that lightly!)  It lets you print out designs onto water-soluble adhesive ::: this means no more tracing!  Then I began to fill in all the letters. sew illustrated tote bag

Once that was done, I washed off the fabri-solvy, and let it air dry: Sew Illustrated Totebag

Already looking pretty cute!  Next I created a patch with rounded edges, and sewed it down, adding a little tag flair. Sew Illustrated Totebag

Once that was done I added some hand-stitching around the patch’s edge, using my machine stitching line as a guide: Sew Illustrated Totebag

And finally, all sewn together!  I am so in love with this bag! Sew Illustrated Totebag

I can’t get over how much charm and character the sewing illustration added to this bag!  I love abandoning the perfect, and embracing the perfectly imperfect feel of it – what a breath of fresh air to feel that its not possible to make a mistake!

Be sure to catch the rest of the blog tour! Below is the full schedule, and also be sure to check out the #sewillustrated and #sewingillustration hashtags on Instagram!

August 15: C&T Publications
August 16: Amy at nanaCompany
August 17: Wynn at zakkaArt
August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane
August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar
August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing
August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson
August 22: Debbie happy little cottage
August 23: Generation Q Magazine
August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave
August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut
August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet
August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon
August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity
August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations
August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs
August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand
September 1: Elnora on Instagram
September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet
September 3: Auribuzz
September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner


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A Super Sweet Apple Farm Dress

By Melissa LeRay


Welcome to my stop on the Apple Farm blog hop, featuring the newest collection from Elea Lutz for Penny Rose // Riley Blake. This collection is so sweet with a classic and vintage feel.  It reminds me of my favorite time of year – the start of Fall when apples are in season and the leaves are starting to change color. There are 21 quilting weight cottons in the entire range, and three adorable knits.  I love the colors, and the yellow has such a perfect buttery tone! applefarm dress

It just so happens my oldest is starting kindergarten, and I thought the Green Fresh knit print was perfect choice for a first day of school dress! Those darling little apples and tiny florals absolutely stole my heart! For the pattern, I used the adorable Big Joey by Make It Perfect Patterns.  I first saw this made by the talented Gail of Probably Actually and I knew I had to make one as soon as I saw hers. apple farm dress

This knit is perfect for kids wear in that it is a 95% cotton/5% spandex print so it has great stretch AND great recovery.  It has an incredibly soft hand and I was so excited that Elise loved the fabric as much as I did. applefarm dress

Elise loved the dress and was so eager to wear it that I had to bribe her with a ring pop to take it off to save for the first day. apple farm dress

And the big front pocket was a huge hit – though I had to remind her to please try not to rip it off the dress in excitement. apple farm dress

As you can see, the knit has a great drape.  Making knit clothes for the girls is my preference, because they’re so comfortable to wear and easy to care for.  And I love not having to iron! apple farm dress

When I was planning out this dress, I had considered using a contrasting solid for the bindings, but I decided that it would feel less toddler/baby by having it all the single print – I am so smitten with the finished look! apple farm dress

I’d call this dress a hit! My only regret is that I don’t have an entire bolt! apple farm dress

Sedef also has a stop on the Apple Farm Blog Hop today, and tomorrow is Faith and Veronica. Be sure to head over to see what they’ve made!



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Crossroads Quilt Along, Month 6 – Chain Block

By Melissa LeRay Crossroads Chain Block

Hello! Welcome to month six of the Crossroads Quiltalong! Today Fat Quarter Shop is releasing the Chain Block!  This month calls for making 18 blocks, and they add so much cohesiveness to the entire quilt.  I love how they really give your eyes something to fall onto! Crossroads Chain Block

The Crossroads quilt was designed by Joanna Figueroa, and I’m among the bloggers that are sewing the blocks up each month. I’m using the newly released Vintage Picnic by Bonnie + Camille, and I chose to make all my Chain Blocks using the various red prints paired with many of the prints in the collection that I hadn’t yet used, as well as Moda Bella 97 for the background.  I love how these blocks are supposed to look scrapy, and each block is a little different. Crossroads Chain block

Fat Quarter Shop is offering this as a free pattern, but they would love it if you would consider donating just $5 to the March of Dimes for each pattern you use during the quilt-along.  March of Dimes is a charity that aims to end prematurity, and the sometimes debilitating effects that come from it.
Donate to March of Dimes

Its not too late to join in!  Fat Quarter Shop still has quilt kits and pieced backing sets available to you so you can just jump right in!  If you want to quilt along with what you’ve got at home, here are the fabric requirements for this quilt.

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Crossroads Quilt Along Month Four – Family Block

By Melissa LeRay Crossroads Family Block

Hello! Welcome to month four of the Crossroads Quiltalong! Today Fat Quarter Shop is releasing the Family Block!  These three blocks are so sweet!

The Crossroads quilt was designed by Joanna Figueroa, and I’m among the bloggers that are sewing the blocks up each month. I’m using the newly released Vintage Picnic by Bonnie + Camille, and I chose to make all my Family Blocks using the various navy prints paired with polka dots, and Moda Bella 97 for the background.  I’m having so much fun picking out the prints for each block, and I thought that these three really popped against the white. Crossroads Family Block


Fat Quarter Shop is offering this as a free pattern, but they would love it if you would consider donating just $5 to the March of Dimes for each pattern you use during the quilt-along.  March of Dimes is a charity that aims to end prematurity, and the sometimes debilitating effects that come from it.

Donate to March of Dimes

Its not too late to join in!  Fat Quarter Shop still has quilt kits and pieced backing sets available to you so you can just jump right in!  If you want to quilt along with what you’ve got at home, here are the fabric requirements for this quilt.


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Farmer’s Wife Block 50 – Lady

By Melissa LeRay

Farmers Wife Lady

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Fat Quarter Shop + Gnomeangel Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along! Today I’m going to walk you through block #50, Lady.  Can you believe we’re already in our 4th month? For this block I used the From Marti Michell templates (specifically sets A, N and the Log Cabin Ruler for this block).  Can I just reiterate the beauty of the engineered corners.  It makes small piecing a breeze, and the blocks just WORK. If you’ve been on the fence about buying out these templates, I urge you to try them out.  Aside from not needing to print out each template from the CD (hello Macbook users), the usefulness in having far more accurately pieced blocks is worth the cost alone! If you don’t have these templates on hand, you can still follow the templates provided by the book and simply hand cut or rotary cut those pieces and continue on with this tutorial.

If you are using the Marti Michelle templates to construct block 50: Lady, see here for the conversion chart.

I’ll refer to these pieces by their color/shape going forward for simplicity of following along.


(These are just *my* methods – none of these are essential/required for you) I starch all my fabrics using Soak : Flatter, and “press” more than I “iron”.  I use a straight stitch machine, with a very scant 1/4″ seam.  I sew with Aurifil 50 wt thread and a size 80 universal needle.


Starting with all of your pieces cut per the book template or the FMM templates, organize them into their final layout.  The trickiest part of this block is remembering that there are mirror images to contend with.

Farmers Wife Lady

Farmers Wife Lady

Begin by joining the two F pieces to create a half square triangle.  Make four of these:

Farmers Wife Lady

Next, with the remaining 4 F pieces, join them together with the two C pieces and two D pieces to form rectangles.  There will be two oriented this way, and two oriented the other way (see below photo for both orientations).

Farmers Wife Lady

When you’re done with that, you’ll have these pieces all made up:

Farmers Wife Lady

**Paying close attention to the orientation** (take my word for it! :) )of the half square triangles, add the E squares to the half square triangles:

Farmers Wife Lady

Next you’ll join the two different rectangle pieces:

Farmers Wife Lady

You’re in the home stretch!! Line up your nine pieces, paying attention to the orientation of the corner pieces:

Farmers Wife Lady

Piece these together, and you’re done! I wasn’t too in love with the lack of contrast from the prints I chose, so I whipped up a second block that I’ll use instead:

Farmers Wife Lady

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.



The page with all the Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) in relation to the sew-along can be found by clicking here.


The hashtag for this sew-along is #FQS1930FarmersWife and for this block its #fw50lady

Facebook Groups

The Facebook Group can be found by clicking here.


The Flickr Group can be found by clicking here.

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Backyard Roses Blog Tour

By Melissa LeRay - Backyard Roses Blog Tour


Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Backyard Roses Blog Tour!  This new collection by Nadra Ridgeway of Ellis and Higgs {for Riley Blake Designs} is one of my favorite new releases, and if you’re here, I’m guessing its one of yours too! - Backyard Roses Blog Tour

The colors are so beautiful, and combined with the gorgeous blooms, its truly a stunning range!

The colors and prints have such a vintage feel to me, that I thought a color order churn dash quilt would be a great way to showcase them.  I sashed the quilt with Le Creme Swiss Dots in cream/grey, and I love the little bit of texture it adds to the background. - Backyard Roses Blog Tour

Nadra did an incredible job of letting this collection stand alone, yet play so well with her first collection, Bloom and Bliss.  The bear pillow on the bed was made with Bloom and Bliss and looks so cute atop the quilt! - Backyard Roses Blog Tour

I had my dear friend Sarah of @OnConnorsHill quilted an all-over floral that adds to that retro vibe.  I’m so pleased with the final quilt, and love that we’ve added a new throw to our growing collection! - Backyard Roses Blog Tour

Daddy’s little helper :)

Backyard Roses blog tour

I hope you’ll take the time to check out all the other stop on the tour.  Here’s the schedule:






















































A Spoonful of Sugar Book Tour

By Melissa LeRay - A Spoonful of Sugar Book Blogtour

Hello!  Welcome to my stop on the A Spoonful of Sugar Blog Tour!  Lisa Cox has written a gorgeous book and I was so excited to get my hands on a copy! She has outdone herself and created a book with so many beautiful and approachable projects – it was so hard picking which one to create first! - A Spoonful of Sugar Book Blog Tour

California is slowing phasing out all plastic bags, so the Handy Eco Shopper seemed like the perfect fit.  I’ve already got heaps of reusable bags for groceries, but fear not – this pretty bag will never see any dirty produce! It is going to be used exclusively for my fabric purchases! - A Spoonful of Sugar Book Blog Tour

I chose to make my bag out of the newly released Vintage Picnic by Bonnie + Camille for Moda Fabrics, the wildflowers print in navy and red check.  I am now smitten with all things jam jar, and this bag is clearly a reflection on that.  I thought adding a little label to the bag front would be a cute touch, and I’m so pleased with how this worked out!  If you’re a nerd like I am, you’ll appreciate that I translated the label {I can’t help myself}.  It means “had a wonderful day” – how fitting for a fabric shopping bag, I think!  The twill tape was just a small piece I had on hand – a gift from a friend.  Off to find more, as I love the simplicity of this one. - A Spoonful of Sugar Book Blogtou

I love that it has its own pouch too, which means keeping it tidy while in my purse will be even easier. - A Spoonful of Sugar Book Blog Tour

If you’d like to see what everyone on the tour is making, be sure to check out the hashtags #aspoonfulofsugarbook and #aspoonfulofsugarblogtour on Instagram, and follow along with the rest of the bloggers! See below for the schedule.

Lastly, Lisa has announced that there will be an Instagram Sew Along from June 1 – August 9!  We’ll be making projects from A Spoonful of Sugar: Sew 20 Simple Projects to Sweeten Your Surroundings Zakka Style. There will be five rounds, each lasting for two weeks which will give you plenty of time to complete a project or two from the book.  Our good friend, Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company is the Guest Judge, with fantastic prizes for the winner of each round, plus a Grand Prize Winner, generously sponsored by Alisha from Ministry of Fabric. We really hope you join in the fun! #ASPOONFULOFSUGARSAL

April 26            Jodie Carlton                           Ric Rac
April 27            Minki Kim                                 Minki’s Work Table
April 28            Melissa LeRay                         Oh How Sweet
April 29            Jemima Flendt                         Tied With a Ribbon
April 30            Beverley McCullough               Flamingo Toes

May 2              Sedef Imer                               Down Grapevine Lane
May 3              Nadra Ridgeway                      Ellis and Higgs
May 4              Amy Morinaka                         Chick Chick Sewing
May 5              Caroline Critchfield                  Sew Can She
May 6              Kristyne Czepuryk                   Pretty By Hand
May 7              Bronwyn Hayes                       Red Brolly 

May 9              Anorina Morris                         Samelia’s Mum
May 10            Peta Peace                              She Quilts A Lot
May 11            Faith Essenburg                      Sarana Ave
May 12            Angie Wilson                           Gnome Angel
May 13            Sharon Burgess                       Lilabelle Lane Creations
May 14            Stacy Olson                              Stacy Olson

May 16            Ayda Algin                               Cafenohut
May 17            Jennie Pickett                         Clover and Violet
May 18            Wynn Tan                                Zakka Art
May 19            Lisa Cox                                  A Spoonful of Sugar

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