Ahoy There!

I’ve got my dressing making sew-jo back this summer with this great pattern by Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top. It’s a really good fit on me. I made a small first time but found it a bit voluminous round the middle, so the second time I took it down to an XS from the bust to the hem. This pattern is a bit deceptive as the first 80% is really easy and just as you feel like you’ve nearly finished – you get to the neck gathers! This nearly broke me first time round but second time round I knew what to expect and found it much easier. I’m tempted to make another. The fabric mule husband has just come back from LA with a couple of yards of lawn, which would be lovely for this top.

The first one I made was a blue floral lawn, (I have a Laurel top in the same fabric) and the second in some Robert Kaufman chambray, which feels lovely to wear. I still need to get the hang of the dressmaking selfie!

  

Vintage Quilt Take Two

Last September I finished a very long quilt making project…..This Hourglass quilt made from vintage sheet fabric. It was a gift for my Mum’s 70th birthday. I’ve always said that I’d love to make another for myself.

Just before Easter, recovering from the flu and feeling a bit sorry for myself, we were heading away to a cottage and my husband suggested that taking my sewing machine might cheer me up (what a lovely man!). I’d already decided to make pinwheel blocks, so by the end of the week I’d made about 60.  I got to escape again a few weeks later on a sewing weekend with friends and the rest were made there. It was pretty labour intensive at times but having company whilst doing a boring repetitive job is always a good thing.


  I finished hand-sewing on the binding on another week away glamping during the May half term.

I totally love it (despite my whites and patterns being at odds with each other in a few places) and I’m thrilled to have it on our bed. The backing was another big double vintage sheet and good old candy stripe binding.

I quilted using my favourite orange peel quilting. I love the windmill effect this brings to each pinwheel.

A May Birthday 

This month my lovely daughter turned 12. For one of her presents she asked me to make her a bag, which I was thrilled about. It’s a delicate age, it’s hard to know if she will love or hate things. She chose the Noodlehead sidekick tote and some lovely fabric….. It’s a bag I’ve made a couple of times before and again it came together really well. I used the neon pink text print inside and around the zip. The outside was a denim from my local fabric shop turned inside out for a more faded look. She’s really pleased with it and it’s been used for most of half term so far. 

     

  I also secretly finished off my half of the jelly roll jam quilt project we started together AGES ago! She finished hers last autum but my quilt top lay around until the self imposed deadline of her birthday got me motivated. She was thrilled to see it finished and even more thrilled to see it was going to be a gift for her.  Here it is in her room.
   Birthday season is over here until November. My youngest son has already put in a quilt request! 

Wonky crosses

This quilt was finished at the end of February but as it was a present for my son’s birthday it had to stay under wraps for another month. 

 

 It was lovely to make, just a single bed size, so very quick. Thom chose fabrics, lots of fabrics and i whittled it down to a handful of main colours.  

If you’d like to have a go at making a wonky cross they really are simple. There is a good tutorial here

The quilt came on holiday with us over easter. Here it is hanging out on the beach in the glorious sunshine. The backing was grey lucky penny fabric and the binding a blue and white stripe. I seem to have forgotten to get a close up of it.

We are both very happy with it!

   

   

 

Modest March

Hello blog! Things have been a bit uninspiring on the sewing-front this month. I’ve been ploughing my way through making four more Roman blinds for our loft bedroom. I’m so happy that they are finished and very happy to see the back of the scuffy, broken ones that have hung there for the last seven years. It’s safe to say that blind making is out of my system now.  

 This was the first one to go up. I bought a double width stripe fabric. The extra width did make things much easier and it was much simpler than the linen I used last time.

The only other things to emerge from my sewing machine were a pincushion for my mum on Mother’s Day. There will be more of these! Here’s how to make them.

And a bit of scrappy tinkering to try and ignite my sew-jo. 

 It’s the easter holidays now and we are heading away for a few days, so April won’t start with much sewing either!  I do have a whole weekend of  stitching to look forward to at the end of the month with my lovely friends.

Winter Washi

During a dig through my fabric cupboard last week I came out in cold sweat when I realised I still hadn’t used some of the fabric yardage I bought back in October. I’d bought it with the intention of making a winter washi dress. (I made one in July and LOVED wearing it so much!)

As I was about to order more yardage ahead of my husband’s next trip to New York, I thought I’d better get on with it – while it was still winter!

Making something a second time is just dreamy – especially when it was a good fit the first time. I got this made in a day. I just had enough fabric for 3/4 length sleeves but not long ones as planned. I got this dress out of 2 yards of Denise Schmidt Chicopee – witch was an incredible £3.90 a yard when I was across the pond in October.

This time I left the neck scooped rather than notched. I did a lined bodice – as per the tutorial here which was really easy and gave a great finish.

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I omitted the pockets (again – as with last time I ended up taking a good inch off the skirt on each side). The sleeves I used are the ones from the josephine pattern, as I felt the washi sleeves were a bit blousy for this fabric and again I didn’t have enough.

As with my previous dress it’s such a good fit and shape for me and it works really well with boots and a cardigan.

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Blinding

For a long time I’ve been wondering about getting a new roman blind in our dining room. The one there was wicker, heavy, ugly and kind of useless. I have a friend who makes roman blinds and after a bit of a chat about prices I decided that as a fairly capable sewist I really could and should make it myself.

After Christmas I noticed that Craftsy had a sale on some of their sewing classes, so I jumped at the chance and bought this roman blind course. It was a great help and very clear. I’m sure I could have got by with you tube clips and blog tutorials but as there are as many different ways to make a roman blind as there are to make a Christmas cakes, I felt I wanted a proper class. There is also a very help Q&A section with questions answered by the teacher herself and she’s very quick to respond, which is handy when you are in a panic!

The craftsy tutorial taught me the proper way to do it – with hand-sewn hems. I did stray from the instructions and add in rod pocket tape – which eliminates the need to hand sew all the rings on.  I will use this again next time but now I know that you need to sew through to the front fabric too. With a big heavy blind it doesn’t fold up properly otherwise – so quite a lot of time was spent hand-tacking through to the front fabric as it was too late to get it under the sewing machine once the rods were in.

Beginners mistakes aside I’m thrilled with the results – it’s straight and it works!

I have lots more blinds that need making, so there may be further instalments to this adventure!

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A note on fabric – I used a linen/cotton mix for this blind but it’s not the easiest fabric to work with. Next time I will go for a more crisp cotton which holds it’s shape more easily.

Family Quilt

As the evenings drew colder and darker last autumn my family said ‘We need more quilts!’ I needed no further prompting.

I decided on a nice simple Plus quilt and used the tutorial by Jenni here.  My fabric choices revolved around a rich -wintry theme and also the desire just to use all the lovely fabric that is now overflowing from my cupboard.  I chose a lot of my favourites, resisting the urge to hang onto them.  How much nicer is it to see your favourite fabrics in use rather than stacked in the cupboard?

This quilt design is simple to cut and simple to sew. The hardest bit is getting the lay out right. It took ages! I started mid-morning and knew I had to get it right and all the rows stacked and organised by the time I had to pick the kids up from school.  I managed it JUST!

I was hoping to get it finished and wrapped in time for christmas but all the other Christmas frenzy took over. I did finish it before new year. Boxing day was a PJ day and I quilted all day.

The backing fabric is the infamous ikea number fabric with a strip of Amy Butler dots – forgot to get a picture, my quilt holders were complaining too much!

It was my speediest and most trouble free quilt yet and I really enjoyed the whole process.

Here’s the photo shoot – with fingers!

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Super Tote #2

Last summer I tackled a bag pattern called the Super Tote by Anna at Noodle-head. Her bag patterns are fab and I’ve made most of them over the last 3 years of sewing.

I had a little trouble with my bag which I moaned about at the time. Despite it being a tricky make and me making a bit of a pigs ear of making it, I did use it all summer.

So as winter approached I threw it in the wash and unfortunately it went in with something very blue….which sadly ran into the lovely yellow of my bag – making it a kind of muddy grungy green colour. Very sad. I tried lots of colour run removal washes and in the end decided on some weak bleach to try and lift the colour out. This did help a bit but it just doesn’t look very good any more.

So…..time for another Super Tote I thought. My sew-jo has been flowing well over Christmas so just after new year I thought I’d give it a try.

The fabric I used was all from my stash. The main body is inside-out denim (left over from my Dad’s apron and my ovenglove-a-thon) with some lighter denim for the straps and zip bits. I cut into a very precious fat quarter of Kokka linen for the main pocket.

Here are some of the things I did differently this time: (skip this bit if you aren’t intending to sew one!)

* read the pattern properly! last time I didn’t realise I had to stitch the straps to the top of the bag outer, which meant it was all a funny shape and flopped over. In my defence it’s easy to miss this bit in the instructions.

*I chose the same fabric for the bag outer all the way up (and behind the straps) – last time I had 2 different fabrics, which meant when the bag was picked up you could see the different fabric poking out from behind the outer pocket.

*I did a front pocket with a facing piece rather than a fully lined pocket and I added piping this time, which I love the look of. For some inspiring piping see Mary’s Super Tote

*I added a zip pocket inside the front pocket (confused!?). I used the front pocket a lot for my phone last time but found the little slip pocket that I added was too high up and when I bent over my phone fell out! So this time it’s nice and secure and it’s a lovely text-print lining.

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*I added a zip pocket inside the main lining. Again I didn’t bother with the elasticated pockets as per the pattern, as I knew it would be very unlikely that I’d take the time to put things in the right places. As it’s a big bag I decided that one pocket would be useful for lip-balms and other small items to cut down on rummaging time.

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*when attaching the gusset I clipped the curve on both pieces of fabric – the gusset and main lining piece, this made it WAY easier to attach. Last time I just clipped the straight piece.

*I interfaced the main bag body and straps with fusible fleece. This was quite bulky to sew but gave a much better and more sturdy finish than the woven interfacing I used last time. Its a heavy bag and it needs a lot of structure to make the shape work.

So in conclusion – it’s worth having another go at a tricky pattern. I totally love and am very happy with this one. Here are some photos.

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Glove-tastic

As christmas as now happened I can reveal my makes for this year. Now that I’m working 2 days a week at my son’s school, I was modest in what I attempted. I decided on a job-lot of oven gloves – 7 pairs in total.

They are a great gift. Who doesn’t need a new pair of oven gloves?! I used this tutorial inspired by the ones that Mary made a while back.

I used canvas on the decorative sides and lined the hand pockets with some light weight denim. On the ‘hot’ sides I used more heavy weight denim. Inside is regular cotton batting and some insulbrite wadding which is especially heat resistant.

I started out thinking I’d hand finish the binding on the backs of the oven gloves but soon realised this was way too tough to sew by hand. So I had to unpick a few lots of binding to re-sew them from the back to the front (top stitching along the front of the binding to finish). Even though this was a pain it gave a nice neat edge and saved my poor fingers!

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The other make this Christmas was an apron for my Dad – which he requested. He lives in France for half the year and is chief barbecue-er. I was thrilled when he asked me to sew him something. No tutorial for this – I used denim and cut out a large apron shape using one I had as a template. I bound the edges and added a lined front pocket. I hope to get a pic of him wearing it!

There was also a bit of unplanned festive sewing in the form of a table runner. I had bought some christmas fabric in the January sales, which was a very welcome find in December. I used this tutorial and a fair amount of winging it. It’s been a great addition to our Christmas clobber.

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