May Giveaway Day: 2015 Edition

Today is May Giveaway Day through Sew Mama Sew – click over there to enter any of several hundred giveaways through Sunday! I’m participating by sharing one of my Foundation Paper Pieced (FPP) patterns of your choice from my craftsy store, like these scissors!

Paper Pieced Scissors

A little bit about me: My name is Julia, and I’m an engineering graduate student by day/crafter of all kinds of things by night, or something like that. I especially love sewing dresses and quilts!

Emery Dress Crinoline

Today, I’m offering up one of my FPP patterns. FPP is a quilting technique that lets you get super precise points and shapes, which allows you to make all kinds of specific designs. I love designing these patterns, and I often draw up the patterns I make into pdfs that I share in my craftsy store. If you’re new to paper piecing, I’ve been told that my patterns are quite user friendly. One of the great things about FPP is that once you get the technique down, you can make pretty much anything! If you’ve never tried paper piecing and are looking for instructions, this is a good place to start!

pattern store

Some of the patterns I have there right now include a pair of scissors, some Studio Ghibli characters, Captain Mal from Firefly, and left shark. In the next week or two, however, you may see some dinosaurs and molecules! Visit my shop here to see more about the patterns I have available. Check out #starsandsunshine on IG to see what others are making with the patterns!

dino montage

You get one free entry, and can get another by following me on instagram (I’m @stars_sunshine) or following this blog! If you win, I’ll send you an email and let you pick out one of my patterns. Just use the rafflecopter widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dino Dress

If you’ve talked to me about fabric, you probably know that Lizzy House is my all time favorite fabric designer. If you talked to me much as a child, you might know that I’m pretty crazy about dinosaurs. So when I found out a few months back that Lizzy House was designing dinosaur fabric, it was a really good day. When I got some advance yardage in the mail from Andover fabrics, it was a better day. And now that I have an awesome dino dress, it is a pretty fantastic day!

Sleeveless Emery Dress

This fabric is part of Lizzy House’s new Natural History line, and the butterfly collar is one of Lizzy House’s butterfly prints which are now available in a range of colors. Go check it out – every single print is amazing. There are definitely more Natural History garments in my future.

Dino Dress Collar

Fussy cutting has always been one of my favorite quilty things, so I get pretty excited about having a chance to fussy cut fabric for garments. Check out those butterflies!

Zipper Fabric Matching

Another version of fussy cutting I go giddy for on garments is pattern matching. Zipper success!

About the dress itself: This is another Emery dress, but this time sleeveless and with a collar. The pattern includes a pointed collar – I just rounded out the edges because I thought it’d look better with the butterflies

Emery Dress Crinoline

I did a FBA this time, which really helped with tightness across my back. I’ve never thought of that as something I would need – but it helped a ton. I used thistutorial – it was a breeze! In addition to the FBA, I widened the darts on the upper back by about 1/2″ each and did my usual lengthening of the bodice by about 1.5″. I also make my pockets quite a bit deeper than the pattern piece (no picture, but they’re purple butterflies too!)

Emery Dress Collar

The Emery dress does not include instructions for a sleeveless version. In the past, I’ve used bias tape or hacked an unlined bodice. This time, I followed this tutorial for finishing a sleeveless, lined bodice – it was a bit finicky near the shoulder seam (I think because of the stiff collar) – but it worked beautifully!

Dinosaur Dress

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Emery Dress from Christine Haynes
Modifications: added 1.5″ length, FBA adjustment with 3/4″ spread, widened upper back darts by 1/2″ each, and left off sleeves
Size: 6
Fabric: Lizzy House Dino Exhibit in Navy. Find it here.

Epic Pi Day Dress

It’s Pi day! Better than that, it’s epic pi day this year! And, of course, I made a dress to celebrate.

Pi Day Dress

Pi is a mathematical constant. You’ve used it in school to calculate things like the circumference or radius of circles. It’s an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits, but the first few are 3.1415926535… Because my husband and I are giant math nerds (and we love pie), we have a pi day party every year on March 14 (3/14) with plenty of pies, both of the pizza and dessert variety. Since this year is 2015, or 3/14/15, it is the most accurate pi day of our lifetimes. I decided to make a special dress to celebrate!

Pi Day Skirt

I designed the fabric on my computer, complete with a couple of border prints. The first several digits of pi repeat around the skirt hem, and the large pies get smaller towards the top of the skirt. The other fabric edge had a straight line of small pi(e)s, which I used for a waistband and the edges of the sleeves. I got the fabric printed at spoonflower – it’s amazing that you can get anything you want printed on fabric!

Pi Dress Sleeve

The pattern is my beloved Emery dress, again in a size 6. I usually make the bodice about 1.5 inches longer, but this time I kept the pattern bodice length but added a waistband. I also slightly straightened out the hem since my pi digits border was straight.

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Emerey Dress from Christine Haynes
Modifications: added 1″ waistband and straightened skirt hem to accommodate border print
Size: 6
Fabric: pi(e) fabric designed by me, ordered from spoonflower. You can buy it yourself here!

Super Tote Backpack!

I was planning on making a super tote for QuiltCon (yes, in addition to the 241 tote – I needed another bag for workshop supplies!). And then, I saw a super tote backpack mod tutorial that my HMQG friend Felice posted a while back. It’s actually a really cool design that let’s you switch between a backpack and a messenger bag.

super tote backpack

I took it to QuiltCon for my workshop supplies, and it was the perfect size. The backpack straps were sooo much more comfortable over periods of time than my other shoulder strap bag.

Super Tote Backpack Mod

I paper pieced a little motto for the front of the bag: “make all of the things”. It’s all I want to do lately! I made up the pattern for the letters myself, because I’m picky and I can. I’m sure there are a couple good alphabet patterns out there, but none of the ones I saw were quite what I was looking for.

Paper Pieced Scissors Pattern

I made some scissors for the outer flap, which I think turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. You can get that pattern from my pattern store here.

Super Tote Backpack Back

Once I decided to make it into a backpack, I had to make the flap shorter than Felice’s directions so the letters would still all show. I wanted it a bit wider too – so I started with 13.5×9 rectangles, and used the other super tote pattern pieces to round the corners. I interfaced the outside, and added a couple magnetic snaps.

Super Tote Zipper


Bag Specs:
Pattern: Super Tote from Noodlehead with backpack mod from Sew Scatterbrained
Modifications: Felice’s backpack mod, with a flap starting as 13.5×9″ rectangles.
Size: Roughly 15″ wide and 15″ tall.
Fabric: Outside is mainly Mercury in Blue by Alison Glass, side and flap are mostly Bartholo-meow’s Reef, strap is Dottie in Bluebird by Cotton and Steel, Lining is XOXO in Toy Boat by Cotton and Steel.


Paper Piecing Pattern Store!

One of my favorite sewing projects lately has been something called Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP). Using a printed design on paper as a ‘foundation’, you sew seams through both the paper and the fabric. This allows you to have super precise shapes and points. If you sew with a short enough stitch length, the paper perforates and you can tear it off at the end.

fpp pattern

The super precise shapes and points let you draw all kinds of cool shapes. I really enjoy designing these patterns – it’s kind of like a puzzle! You need to make it recognizable, but still doable. There are lots of things I try to include to make them easier to sew and as beginner-friendly as possible, like avoiding y-seams and minimizing the number of points that you need to put work into lining up.

Left Shark Pillow Pattern

I’ve been making a bunch of these FPP patterns on my own lately, both as personal projects for me and as gifts for other people. I recently invested some time into figuring out how to turn rough patterns that only I could understand into presentable pdfs with instructions for other people to follow, and have put some of these patterns up for sale in a shop hosted at craftsy.

Craftsy Pattern Store

So far I’ve got an assortment of a few patterns, but I’ve got several more I’m working on coming soon! If you follow me on instagram (I’m @stars_sunshine), you’ll see any new patterns I release.


Munki Munki Dress

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Munki Munki, it is a line of mainly pajamas made with fabric designed by one of my favorite quilting fabric designers, Heather Ross. I love Munki Munki, and I love dresses. So when I saw Munki Munki pajamas sets for sale at TJ Maxx, including one of my favorite prints of these cute little sushi, I bought a pair in my size to wear and a pair in size XL to make a dress out of!

Munki Munki Dress

I even took the Munki Munki tag from the pajamas and sewed it into the dress :)

Munki Munki Dress


I thought Munki Munki was usually made with woven fabrics, but this one was a knit. The dress is a sleeveless lady skater dress from Kitschy Coo in size 2.   I had to frankenstein some of the pattern pieces to get them out of the PJs. I managed to get the dress out of one leg of the pants and about half of the top.  There are some odd seams, but the white background grid layout of the fabric made it pretty easy to camouflage these in most cases. You can see them better on the top because they’re on an angle, but both the front and back skirt pieces have seams near the edges of each piece, and you can hardly see them at all.

Sleeveless Lady Skater Dress

I just used white fold over elastic to edge the sleeves and neckline. I underlined the whole dress with some white solid knit fabric, because the sushi fabric was a bit sheer.


ETCH hair pin

I’m also still super loving this hexie hair pin I got from ETCH at a craft fair in Austin.

Munki Munki Dress

Only in Texas is February the right time to make and wear sleeveless dresses!

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Lady Skater dress from KitschyCoo
Modifications: Frankensteined pieces together from pajama pants fabric.
Size: 2
Fabric: sushi knit from pajama pants, underlined with a solid white single knit with similar stretch.




241 Tote

With QuiltCon coming up (in less than 2 weeks!), its been great motivation for making a bunch of stuff that has been in my head for a while, but never got around to. My favorite of these projects so far is my new 241 tote! My old purse has been falling apart for quite a while, but I’ve never made a bag before and, well, they intimidated me. QuiltCon finally motivated me to make a go, and now I want to make all of the bags. I even used some of my very treasured Lizzy House constellations print on the front!

241 tote

I used the 241 tote pattern by noodlehead, and it was a great beginners bag pattern. I made a test bag just because I was nervous about it, but the practice bag actually turned out so well that I ended up finishing it off to give to my mom. I can’t leave anything well enough alone, so made several changes to tweak the bag to my preferences, but I love the look and shape of this pattern! One of my first changes was to add piping along the top of the side pockets and the sides of the main panel. Since the front and back main panels are different prints, I also added some piping between them. I made the piping (and the straps) out of the same Michael Miller ‘stitch in sea’ print I used for the background of my mom’s quilt.

241 tote top zipper

I added 1.5″ to the center of each main panel for a little extra room. I also like my bags to have a secure closure, so I put in a zipper across the length of the top instead of just the magnetic closure discussed in the pattern. Maybe I’ll put up a brief tutorial for how I did this in the future? I used Breeze from Carolyn Friedlander’s new Doe line for the lining – it is my new favorite print to use with my favorite blue fabrics. I have a few more projects made with it coming up soon :)

241 tote key clip

I also added a clip in one of the outer side pockets for my keys. I love the look and accessibility of those pockets, but since I couldn’t even handle the top of the bag not having a full length closure, I wasn’t about to put anything important in them for long. With the key clip, I can have my keys easily accessible and not have to worry about them falling out.

cross-body 241 tote

The pattern includes instructions for a 26″ long shoulder strap, but I usually like cross-body bags, so I used some hardware from Jo-Ann’s to make mine with an adjustable strap. I followed the pattern directions for the strap, but made 2 pieces 8″ long and 1 piece WOF (about 44″ – I included selvages because they just got folded in on the ends). I folded the two short pieces around some square hardware and sewed them into the side of the bag as the pattern directs for the shoulder strap, then attached the long strap piece with slider hardware to the two square hardware pieces once the rest of the bag was complete.

241 tote inside

I changed the inner pocket dimensions so it would just fit my phone, and tucked one of my labels in the side. I ordered some custom label fabric from spoonflower recently, and have been loving sewing them into everything lately!

modified 241 tote back zipper

I wanted just one zipper on the back, so instead of doing it at an angle, I just put it straight across on the back. I used an awesome atom print from Mod Geek for the back because I couldn’t justify using my out of print constellations print for the back of the bag.

modified 241 tote

Bag Specs:
Pattern: 241 tote from Noodlehead.
Modifications: 1.5″ added to width of center panel, added piping, included zipper on top, made a longer adjustable strap to convert to cross-body, and added key clip to inside of one of the side pockets.
Size: Roughly 15″ wide and 14″ tall.
Fabric: Constellations and Pearl Bracelets in Ice Skate by Lizzy House, Honey Hive in Turquoise from Emma’s Garden by Patty Sloniger, Breeze in Sky from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander, and Stitch in Sea by Michael Miller.
Made for: me! Motivated by QuiltCon.

Tags: bag