Friday, 30 January 2015

Vice Versa catch up...

Last year was a bit of a write off in terms of quilt making, I'm not really sure why and what went wrong.  I joined the Gen X Quilters Block of the Month club to do the Vice Versa quilt and bought the pattern and fabric but never got into actually making up the blocks.

So I've decided to do it a year later! This is January and February's blocks, and I have March fabric cut and partially sewn. The plan is to finish the March blocks this week and then put it all away for a month or so while I concentrate on other items on the task list...

Well that's the plan anyway...

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Little Julia

I decided over the course of last year, whilst wearing my makes and during MeMadeMay, that I needed more second top layers - jumpers and cardigans.  So when the last Perfect Pattern Parcel came along I jumped at the chance as there were a couple of patterns that were already on my wish list, one of them being the Julia cardi from Mouse House Creations.

I'd already seen loads of versions on the blogsphere (like Scruffy Badgers one) and decided in was the right kind of slouchiness, and I'd purchased some dark grey ponte roma jersey from Abakhan for exactly this purpose.

I don't know why but I completely ignored all the pattern sizing information and blithely cut a small, as that fitted on the bust.  As you can see, it's a little small for my hips.... Hopefully it'll be fine wearing it as due to the slouchy fit and the lack of front closing. I do really like the style though so I'm going to make another in medium (when I'm allowed to buy more fabric....)

As you can see (!) I cut the long sleeved version, but I also went with the doubled over collar as the inside shows and I didn't want a visible hem.  It was really easy to sew everything together, the instructions are clear and there aren't any complicated steps - the ballpoint needle and walking foot make sewing knit fabric an absolute breeze! I was so lazy that I didn't even press the seams after sewing.  The only change I made was to add some twill tape to the shoulder seams to stop them stretching.

My machine has a couple of decorative knit stitches, so I used one to stitch the collar pieces together and neaten the cuffs. I ended up doing this in black thread (as I ran out of grey!!), but I really like the way it shows.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Mabel in Black

My favourite red jersey skirt (M&S for a fiver in the outlet shop, worn here with my biker jacket) has been worn every week and is looking a bit sorry for itself. Fortunately the Colette Mabel pattern was purchased when on offer and I picked up a metre of lovely heavy black jersey (probably Ponte Roma) for about £7 at the Vietnam fabric market last month....It was always going to be!

I cut a small, grading out to medium on the waist and added an extra 1.5" to the length. I don't like things too short and I wanted this skirt for work. This pattern is so economical that with some creative folding I managed to get it out of half a metre of fabric (so yep that's a skirt of £3.50 then....I win!!).

I sewed the main skirt first and found that it gaped a little in the small of my back so took the back seam in by 3/8" at the top. To make it a bit more snug I sewed the side seams at 4/8" on the waistband and 5/8" on the lining. All the stitching was done with the knit stitch on my machine and a ballpoint needle.

For the hem I turned up by 1/2" and used a decorative stretch stitch on my machine (because I couldn't be bothered to wind another bobbin to use twin needles!).

All the sewing took 1.5 hours...

I love this pattern. Simple, quick and economical. And I think the waistband makes it look much nicer than my tatty red skirt (not to mention the fabric being much better quality)!

There's going to be many more of these to come, it's just so quick and easy to make, not to mention comfy to wear.

Oh, and the spotty pink top. That's an unblogged Colette Sorbetto that I made for the Vietnam holiday - cotton poplin left over from lining my Kwik Sew jacket, and a bit of bias binding... And the model. That's Hetty. She arrived at Christmas. I think I still need to do a little bit of adjustment to get her to my size...

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Granny's Garden

Whoohooo, on a roll here! Granny's Garden quilt now completed and delivered safely to it's new home!  This uses the Lauren and Jessi Jung Trellis Quilt pattern (linky) and Riley Blake Designs Calliope range.  The backing and binding was a selection of sale fabrics from Abakhan.

I have to say (and I've probably said before) that isn't really my type of thing, the fabric is a bit too pastel flowery for me. But my Nan definitely loved it so its all good. Regardless of the fabric I am immensely proud of how this turned out.  I had a nightmare when I started to pin it together because the tension between the trellis centre and the border fabrics was completely out and all the borders were crinkled up.  I had to unpick all the borders and sew it back on making sure there was a lot more tension in the border fabric than the trellis.  I think it's because all the trellis fabric is all cut on the bias so it does 'weird' things - I had the same issue with the Wintersmith quilt (I really should finish that up!).

Once I'd sorted the tension and pinned everything together, it was surprisingly quick to quilt all the meandering squiggles over the trellis. I did think about doing lines, but I really wanted to practise free motion quilting and I love the texture it gives to the finished quilt.  It turned out quite well - definitely each quilt is a little bit better than the last.  Increasing the machine tension to 5.4 helped, along with taking it slowly, especially on the loops.

For the borders I quilted straight lines about half an inch apart setting the stitch length to 3mm.

The binding was hand sewn down then I machined over it.  For other quilts I've used some of the decorative stitches on the machine, but this time I just went with a simple zig zag - setting the stitch width 2.0mm and length to 2.5mm.

I even managed to be a bit more patient with the label making!! Waiting for the transfer to cool before peeling off the paper makes so much difference!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Super Apron...

I made an apron as a Christmas present last year for my Cousin's little girl (piccie here) and her big brother requested his own as he's quite into baking!

There's 5 years or so difference in age between the two of them and I wasn't sure how much to scale up the one I'd already made, so I went hunting and came across this tutorial -

I found some cool Superman fabric from Frumble, and to make it a bit more robust used some old jeans for the backing! But the leg of the jeans wasn't really wide enough to follow the measurements on the tutorial so I just made it as big as I could with the material available. When I tried it on, the apron seemed big enough for me so I think it'll be perfect for him.  Hope he likes it!!

Sunday, 4 January 2015


I'm sure it won't last but I'm going to try blogging once a week. I don't tend to finish something every week (job, life etc tend to get in the way) so it will include WIPs and other things I'm up to.  The idea for the blog was always more than a diary than just a sewing journal so I'm going to try to keep to that ethos a bit more.

This week I've been super focused and organised (which probably won't last either!).  I've pinned and quilted the Granny quilt and tonight I finished hand sewing the binding. Through making a few quilts now I've decided that I prefer my binding to be 2.25'' and to hand tack it down before machining.  I like to machine the binding to hopefully make it a bit more robust, and I've never managed to machine well enough without tacking first.

Yesterday afternoon after the rain, my friend Rosie Beagle and I went for a walk. I've been meaning to explore down by the river for years, so that's where we went.  It ended up being about a 4 mile round walk and we got very wet and muddy! Shame I didn't have a camera with me as we found some interesting ruins which must have been part of Caergwrle Castle, and met a very friendly Shetland pony.

Today I forced myself out on the bike - early morning was a bit cold and frosty so I left it until a bit later. It was still a bit chilly though and I felt knackered afterwards even though I'd only done a measly 34 miles.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Selfish sewing 2014

I suppose I should be jumping on the ‘year in review’ bandwagon that is prevalent in blogland.  I thought I’d been completely useless at blogging this year but looking back that’s really only been towards the second half of the year. I didn't make as much for some reason and what I did make didn’t get blogged. I think that’s mainly because I struggle with taking photos of my makes. Luckily I have two birthday/Christmas presents that will help with that situation – my dressmakers dummy and my new camera! The first is still in the garage waiting to be built and fitted to me (once we've got the New Year visiting out of the way), and the second just needs Remote control – hopefully photos will be a bit more relaxed and in focus now!

So on to this year’s makes, I think the list is as follows:
Named Blair batwing
Sewaholic Renfrew
Deer & Doe Chardon
Deer & Doe Sureau
Deer & Doe Belladone
BHL Victoria Blazer
BHL Anna dress – midi and maxi
Kwik Sew 3764 jacket – and one for sis
Tilly’s Mathilde blouse #2
Deer & Doe Datura top
Tilly’s Miette skirt #2
Grainline Moss skirt
McCalls 6515 trousers – shorts and long version (no photo!)
Colette Moneta dress
Colette Sorbetto – x2 (no photos!)

So all in all, not really a bad year!

My #1 favourite of all time is the Kwik Sew jacket – I have worn that baby constantly since it was made. The wool was pretty cheap though, so it’s not looking it’s best and I have grand plans for another version next year (warning: may involve pleather…). 

In no particular order my other favourites are
1.       Both BHL Anna dresses – the midi is on constant Work rotation, and the maxi I wore pretty much every evening on our Indochina holiday (and got lots of compliments from travel companions!).
2.       Grainline Moss skirt – was always a little big, and as I've lost weight is now too baggy to wear. I’m not sure I can be bothered to alter it but I do have some brown corduroy to make another one!
3.       Colette Moneta – such an easy make, and another on constant rotation. Only problem is it’s a bit low on the back for me and I need a bit more warmth on my neck in the evil work air-con. Next one will probably be a Moneta Renfrew frankenpattern…..
4.       Tilly’s Miette skirt (summer edition) – I just love the bright summery yellowness of this skirt!