Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The walls are closing in

The cold that started when I went to FOQ is still hanging around.  I've been really careful too. No running. No cycling. Very little gardening. Bored of it now.

The upside is that I've done loads of sewing! The Snowy Owl quilt is finished (no photos yet so there'll probably be another post sometime).  I really love how the quilting turned out, even though it was frustrating how long it took.

And all the fabric I bought at FOQ is cut into lots of little triangles.  I don't know why I decided to do 4'' ones - I should have gone bigger (less cutting/sewing).

It does look really cool though, don't you think?  I did leave it out for a while like this, and when I walked back into the room I thought 'wow that's brill I want to keep it'!!! But it's already planned as a gift for a new arrival.  It just needs a name - I'm thinking 'Mariana' (the parents of the recipient have an environmental scientist/geology background).

Following the success of my Miette skirt and Victoria blazer, I've started my Mathilde blouse - another pattern from Tilly.  The fabric is a really lightweight mix that was a £2 or £3 per metre from Abakhan, unfortunately I didn't make any further notes about what it was exactly.  It's very light and slippery so a bit more of a challenge to sew than my usual cotton fabric choice.  I was very careful cutting out as it was so slippery and it seems to fit together OK so I've done something right.  I was really worried that the fabric would move while I was cutting it and I'd end up with pattern pieces completely out of shape! 

The other thing I was worried about were the tucks where the front piece meets the yoke but Tilly gives loads of useful tips on her blog, so I think they've turned out really well....

The final thing I've been working on is my first ever blog swap! I signed up for Sweet Pouch Swap hosted by Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts.  The idea is really simple - make a pouch (zipped, drawstring, whatever you like), fill it with sweets and send it to your swap partner.  Here's a sneak peak of mine, with fabrics from my (very small) scrap stash...

 So there we go.

And I have WIP's and it's Wednesday.  So I'm linking up.....

Sunday, 18 August 2013


The force is strong in this one....

Blanket stitch quilting? Gotta try it.

Rrrraaaah.... In your face colour

Nice idea

How much patience?? Each cushion is 2''x2''

Clever (gauze, pods and shadows)

I want to know how to do the 3D flags on top of quilt thing...


I went to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham last week. I was on call so couldn't go at the weekend, and so took the day off work to go on the Thursday - the on call meaning I couldn't get there too early or get back too late.

It was huge! I was really surprised how much there was there - as well as the trade stands, there were artist galleries and a big competition. So there were lot of things to see and take pictures of.  I was really impressed but the variety of fabric art there - not just patchwork.  I wandered around the trade stands in the morning and kind of ran out of steam by the time I got the look at the quilts so I don't have that many pictures - and I was a bit rubbish at collecting the title/artist for them.  Next time I go I'll know what to expect and be a bit more organised (and hopefully not have an evil cold), I quite fancy trying one or two of the workshops they have running during the show as well.

It was all really busy around the trade stands and apparently that was the quiet day so I hate to think what it would be like that the weekend.  I was really good and employed the same technique as I do for gardening shows - taking a pot of cash and only spending that.  I did have a few things on the list to get though - blue/green fabric for a new baby quilt, and a couple of templates (EQ Triangle, and Dresden wedge).  Managed to get a good deal on the fabric - 13 FQ's for £20, and the only extra thing I got was a pack of 1/8ths of Japanese fabric - thinking I might make some table mats with fans on them (now I have the wedge ruler!).

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Tilly and Colette

I finally got around to finishing my Colette Sorbetto top the other weekend... I'd made it up as a wearable muslin with fabric leftover from making my sister's bag, and some satin bias tape.  The pattern came together really easily (it's only two pieces!) but when I tried it on the bust darts were in completely the wrong place, so I fudged it! I really couldn't be bothered with unpicking the whole garment so I just unpicked the darts and redid them in a different place.  It's not perfect, but I think it's completely acceptable for a first attempt.

I don't know whats happening with the sticky out hem at the front

The one thing I love is the french seams on the shoulder and side seems, they make it look so professional, so finished.  I'm going to do french seams on everything now! The hem could have been better - the stitching is a bit wonky, but I think it's just a case of more practise required (and patience).  The trouble is that I get to the hemming and know its the last step to finishing so I rush it, where I should be taking more care.
Oh la la!

There is one thing that I might change slightly when I make another one - the armhole is a bit high and crinkles a bit under my arm.  I didn't really notice when wearing it, but when washing/ironing I saw that the binding tape was crumpled at the bottom of the armhole.

The reason that I need it finished was that we actually had summer in the UK that week.  Finally.  So we went round to a neighbor's for a BBQ. And my neighbour (who is slim, slight, strawberry blonde, pretty...) said 'ooh I like your top, where did you get it?'...... Whooohooo!! Get in! Ultimate compliment on the homemade wardrobe!

Unfortunately I didn't get around to taking any photos at the time, so I've delayed posting this until I can get to do a 'photoshoot'. I hate having my photo taken and seeing myself in photos but I realised that my clothes need to be shown to the world with me in them!  So I'm hoping this process does me some good.

And on a similar note, I should post up some pictures of my Miette skirt from Tilly and the Buttons.  I scored a great end of roll from Abakhan for a fiver and was going to use it to make up some bean bags but then I liked the fabric so much that I decided to try a Miette skirt.  It said it was dressmaking fabric on the label, and I guess its some kind of poly mix, I stuck it in the wash at 40 degrees and it came out OK so....  Its quite a good weight (like denim) and a kind of corded structure. And the best bit was that I only used about half for this skirt!

The skirt was really easy to make.  Tilly's helpfully provided two sets of instructions, one for people who know what they're doing and one for the rest of us - online with lots of detail and pictures (I used those!).  Everything came together really well.  Now I don't like raw edges and don't have an overlocker - the fabric was too thick for french seams so I decided to bind the edges. I didn't have any binding or a bias tape maker so I was doing on the fly with the iron.  They were a bit wonky but worked out OK.

I had loads of fabric left over from making my Wiksten Tova top, and the colours matched really well with this fabric so I used it to line the pockets and make the bias tape.  I added tape to the edges of the pockets as well, just because I can!

The other thing I changed was the finish on the hole for the waist tie - the instructions say machine sew around it, but my (small) machine couldn't cope with the thickness of the fabric so I hand sewed blanket stitch around it instead (like a buttonhole).  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

Since I've finished them I've been wearing both the Sorbetto and the Miette loads - there's something so satisfying about wearing something you've made, it makes me smile everytime I see them.  I'm definitely going to do more versions of both!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Enough already

I'm bored, I've had enough.  The Snowy Owl quilt is coming along but slowly, mainly because weekends in July were filled with other activities. It looks cool but all those corners mean it takes me ages to quilt.  I've just got bored of it, and want to start doing other things but I really need to get it finished so I'm trying to be strong!! Should I resist the draw of new projects?

Didn't help that today I went to the Festival of Quilts (might get around to blogging/posting photos of that later).  I was very good though.  I only bought a wedge template and equilateral triangle template, some cute 1/8th of Japanese fabric, and 13 FQ's for a baby boy quilt due in November....  I couldn't resist and had to press the fabric, but I will not let myself cut any more until I've done more Snowy Owl quilting!!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Wow - look at that I'm in the gang!!  I'm so chuffed that I'm there, thanks ladies.  I'm pretty new to this blogging and sewing malarky as you can probably work out.

I know my blog looks a bit basic and I have lots of idea's in my head for a redesign, but I just never seem to find the time.... 

My sewing journey began back in school, when I made a few things with help from my Mum.  There's been a big gap since then, but then I decide that I wanted to make a few things for the house (and other peoples - bean bags mainly, and some bunting) and a quilt for the first of my University friends to have offspring.  That was in December.  Since then I've made a few more bean bags, have a few more quilts on the go (I really should finish those), and have hopped on the sewing your own clothes bandwagon - inspired by the BBC's Great British Sewing Bee.

So far, I've made a Wiksten Tova top, a Colette Sorbetto, Tilly's Miette skirt and the beautiful Victoria Blazer.  I've been a bit slack with the photo taking so the Sorbetto and Miette haven't made it to the blog yet, but here's the Tova.

The best thing about getting into sewing, is the discussions I can have with my Mum.  She used to make loads of her own clothes (back in the 70s) but now says she doesn't have the patience and sticks to knitting instead (I swear every child at her Church has a garment she's made!). But she does have a wealth of sewing knowledge and good advice.  I really love being able to talk to her about all of it.  Something I don't get with all of my other hobbies - she's not really into running, bicycles or gardening!

Also, somewhere along the way I seemed to have developed an IPA.....

Independent Pattern Addiction

I blame the interweb, and pinterest.  Is there a self-help group out there?

Friday, 2 August 2013

How sophisticated!

It's finished, and I must say it looks mighty fine!

I had an early morning session earlier in the week and set in the second sleeve (check out those cuffs - how sharp?!), and then sewed on the collar and lapels.  I must have unpicked and re-sewn the lapels three or four times before I was happy with how the lined up, and sat.  But this time I was determined to not rush to get it finished.

I'm kinda happy with the sleeves, I think there's a bit of gather, but I did find it quite challenging to ease them in.  Something that will improve with practise I suspect.

I've pinned the corners of lapels and I'm not sure if I'll do the collar as well. I think I might.  Or wait and see what it looks like when washed and pressed.

So to the details -
Pattern is the Victoria Blazer by the beautiful ladies at By Hand London
Shell is Moss Crepe in Heather Grey, and lining is Vintage Lavender (that's what it said on the label).  It's a really soft cotton (lawn?).  Both came from the Abakhan Mostyn store on one of their 70% sale nights (and yes, £12 per metre lining material was reduced by that much - I win!).
I did a size 10 without any modifications.

Now I hate having photos of myself taken or looking at photos of me, but reading everyone's sewing blogs I realised that I have to actually have photos of the things I make with me in them.  So here goes, don't laugh..... (well, just quietly to yourselves)

That crocosmia has to go, it's completely the wrong colour scheme....

So how do you get the camera expose and focus correctly when using the self timer?

Never mind all that, check out all those the bumble bees on the globe thistles!