Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Few Recent Finishes

Why hello! Dud finger is still slowing me down a little and it seems my laptop is on it's last legs so I thought I'd share a few pictures of some recent little finishes (whilst I'm still able to eek).

None of them are in any way ground breaking but sometimes you just need a couple of small scale filler projects to keep the 'sew-jo' ticking over and generate a little motivation to crack into the bigger stuff!

My Piano teacher Lynn holds a Christmas / Easter raffle and Summer concert raising money for local animal charities. This coin purse was a raffle prize which I donated. Originally I figured rabbits -you can't go wrong with a bunny amiright? But then I had a change of heart and thought that this very appropriate tiny music note fabric would have a broader appeal. It's lined with a little of the red dupion.

Next up I finally finished off Mother's birthday album. I used a few of my hexies from my 'Very Berry Fabrics' birthday gift to make a linen cover and edited and reprinted a load of really old photographs, some dating back to the 1940's! I just love the really old ones.

Lastly I was asked by a friend to step in and help with an embroidery motif to be contributed to a wedding dress no less (I know, no pressure!!) so here's a little snap. I went with some boullion loop forget-me-nots, lazy daisy erm, daisy and some french knot blossom.

So there we are. I have some pretty big sewing plans for the next few months so my posts (laptop situation allowing) may be a little sporadic for a while -then again it's 'Me Made May' (hurrah!) so who knows...

Monday, 13 April 2015

Quilted Cushion - Bark & Branch, Eloise Renouf

Our work on the house, though prolific at first, has ground to a halt of late. Our bedroom is not far off but there's still a lot to do (Hence no proper room pictures just yet!).

I (cheapskate that I am) bought an inexpensive 100% cotton plain dyed duvet set to use as the base for curtains by splitting the double duvet and I'm using the remaining side for a matching quilt back (already perfect double bed sized).

I wanted a few scatter cushions to go with my yet-to-be-decided-upon quilt (can't have too many of them right?) so harvested a little more of the dark grey from a pillow case to turn it into a matching cushion.

It has a super simple hidden zip closure, been meaning to whip up a tute for that as I know of a couple of ladies still intimidated by anything other than envelope covers. It's so easy I promise! I'll be sure to take pictures as I go when I make the next... and of course there will be a next, and another, and another. Yay cushions!

I love this Eloise Renouf fabric so much. I'm not usually a pink gal (at all) but the subject matter and illustrative quality with the grey and gorgeous golden yellow are a definite winner for me.

I layered an off-cut of quilt wadding / batting behind the cushion front and quilted straight lines with my walking foot to create a diamond pattern. It gives the cushion a lovely texture and in my humble opinion a more luxurious finish than leaving it plan. It's pretty easy to keep them even if you have a stitch line guide bar attachment thingy too (technical term).

Eventually I may share some more pictures of the finished room (providing it ever actually gets finished of course!!) and a few details about my painted yellow bedstead. I do however have a few painted mantel mirror pictures to share soon.

I'm in a yellow phase. Stand still in my home long enough and I'm likely to try to paint you yellow too!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Update - Siblings Together Quilt Progress Report

Firstly for all those who celebrate it -Happy Easter! I had intended to share a bit of a progress report after our latest sewing session on Friday but this happened...

So let this be a little warning for all you rotary cutter users! If you're tired / achey then PUT DOWN THE ROTARY CUTTER! I had thought that if each time I sit to make a few blocks I can just push through and make up one more then the inevitable topping up of blocks at the end would be much less tiresome, but that plan turned out to be a silly one and I sliced into my finger.

Anyway, Emma and I got through 8 extra blocks in the end taking the total up to around 20 out of 36. Over the half way mark!

So here are my 6 blocks so far with the new 4 from Friday below.

It's coming along nicely. It's so exciting to see it grow with them all laid out across the floor. Our group quilt will be super bright and cheery!

Again if you'd like to contribute, there's a block tutorial here, and the postal address is below.

Stokes Croft Stitching
c/o Make & Do
83 Sandy Park Road
Brislington, Bristol

Sunday, 29 March 2015

First Bristol 'Siblings Together' Quilt Bee Gathering

Just thought I'd share a few pictures from our little get together today. Six ladies, some sweet treats and a bit of foundation piecing for our 'Siblings Together' group quilt.

We've got two rows ready to go so far and several more blocks in progress. If you'd like to make one up I whipped up a quick tutorial here. Any block contributions can be posted to the following address and will be included in the final quilt destined for a little one in care.

Stokes Croft Stitching
c/o Make & Do
83 Sandy Park Road

Huge thanks to Emma, Carrie, Jane, Helen and Steph for coming along and to Kirsten for the kind use of the space. We've also had a super generous contribution of quilt backing fabric from 'Little Fabric Bazaar' -Thank you!!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Anchors Aweigh! Printed Jersey Dress

I posted a sneak peak of this dress on my facebook page yesterday. I got up, decided it was going to be a dressmaking day, and this fabric which has been sat in my stash for some time finally decided what it wanted to be!

It's a 'franken-dress' which started life as a 'Lady Skater' but with numerous chops and changes became something more akin to a 'Moneta' by Colette Patterns. Incidentally the 'Moneta' is pattern of the month over there so if you SUPER quick, it's currently on offer.

So changes:

  • I redrafted the neckline into a wider almost boat neck scoop.

  • I omitted the sleeves and, cutting two of each bodice piece, used the clever 'Datura' construction method for a completely clean internal finish.

  • I changed the skirt shape from a half circle to a gathered rectangle base using clear elastic.

Now as usual this 'make-it-up-as-I-go' dress wasn't entirely plain sailing (get it?). Firstly I used woven elastic to gather the skirt panels. It stretched out due to elastic fatigue and added too much weight and sag when I attached it to the bodice.

Luckily I found that, having not accounted for the lighter weight jersey and the weight of the skirt pulling on the bodice, I had enough extra length to simply cut it off with my rotary cutter for round two.

Next also due to said extra weight, I ended up having to ruin my beautiful neat innards by taking the bodice up at the shoulder seams. I simply stitched them across cutting off the excess and finishing the raw edge with my overlocker.

I should have gone with my gut and not topstitched the armholes and neckline as they're slightly stretched out -I'm hoping this will shrink back a little in the wash.

There was a little tunneling at the twin needle hem, but as usual this pressed out ok. I'm not 100% sold on it's finish but it's perfectly acceptable and wearable.

I was hoping that today could be the first 'no tights' day of spring but alas, the weather has gone from beautiful at 8.30am to horrid at 11am, so this one will have to wait till tomorrow for it's first outing when I shall be wearing it sans tights regardless!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Watson Handmade Longline Bra

A few days ago I shared my first ever handmade pants, and whilst I'm ridiculously proud of today's little share, in terms of energy input vs satisfaction output the pants still win! Even so it's pretty exciting...

So without further ado allow me to introduce my very first handmade bra!

It's a 'Watson' (Longline, version A) by Amy over at Cloth Habit, and I love it. I used some seriously cheap 6 inch stretch lace and stretch mesh bought locally just to try it out (fully anticipating a fail!) but I have to say I'm pretty darn proud of myself. It looks like a bra and works like a bra!

The lace was a little too sheer so I lined the cup pieces with stretch mesh, and the cradle with proper cradle lining (from the Sewing Chest) to stabilise the front.

There are loads of tips on Amy's blog, one of which being altering the cup piece to allow for keeping the scalloped edge. I followed the directions and stabilised the edge with clear elastic to stop it stretching out over time.

Powernet is recommended for the wings but as it's a first trial I thought I'd carry on with my cheap stretch mesh, doubling it up to create the appropriate degree of stretch and it worked like a charm!

It actually came together surprisingly easily! The only hiccup I encountered was me having a funny five minutes and ending up basting one of the pieces wrong side out. D'oh (I was lazy and cut another rather than unpick!!).

A few people had trouble negotiating the bulk at the centre front. The cup to cradle seams meet and need to be overlapped and topstitching into place. I had extra bulk due to the cup lining but I have to say, fiddly though it was it still didn't pose much of a problem.

You can see that I've overlocked all of the innards so it's nice and clean looking inside and out.

It's not quite right for Mabel as she's bigger in the shoulders and rib cage area, but the internet really doesn't need pictures of me in my smalls -so you get the idea!

Onto the little niggles (and there are ALWAYS niggles)...

  1. Fit wise I was slap bang between and 30 and 32 but I'd rather risk it being snug and stretching out than too large and unwearable so went with the 30. It's a little snug and the side seams are creeping forward so next time I may try the 32 depending upon the stretch of my materials.
  2. The cups are pretty bang on. I think a slight further stretching of the side elastic is in order for next time, and I may even omit the clear elastic stabilising the scalloped front as altering the pattern piece shortens this edge so it 'squishes' a little, flattening me just a tiny bit in the front.
  3. There is a small amount of wrinking on the cradle when worn due to only the outer layer being stretchy. I think others used spray adhesive to baste the layers for construction which may help alleviate this -alternatively cutting the outer layer a fraction smaller perhaps?
  4. The pre-cut hook and eye closures from the Sewing Chest are the tiniest bit rough on the heat sealed corners so I may need to bind the edge with a zig-zag or something similar if it continues to irritate.

That's it really. For my very first ever handmade bra I don't think I could have hoped for a better result. The longline version is has a really pleasing vintage look and provides a little more support than 'View B' for slightly bustier ladies, but the combo with cheap shiny lace in white looks a little 'dowdy' perhaps?

I might look into dying the whole set when the bikini is finished later... Not sure if this would be possible after making it up though.

So a good start to my 2015 resolution. I'm going to stick with perfecting one or two more of these little beauts before moving on to non-stretch / underwire territory!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Lingerie Resolution - Watson Bikini

Hurrah for the arrival of goodies in the post! Unfortunately they arrived just after I popped out of the house so I had to wait a whole day to pick them up from the depot -very upsetting!

As stated in this previous post, (on top of mustering some toile making motivation) I've decided to push my skills a little and try my hand at lingerie making as my resolution this year.

I had no luck looking in local shops for lace edged / plush back lingerie elastic so placed an order over at 'Sewing Chest'. I ordered some metal rings and sliders, cradle lining, stretch mesh and a few different elastics to play with.

I chose the 'Watson' bra by Amy over at Cloth Habit as a starting point -an introduction to bra making techniques with no pesky underwires to worry about (just yet...). There was a great sewalong which I fully intended to join in with but dropped the ball with ordering! Still a brilliant resource for fitting tips etc. if you fancy giving it a try.

So I printed and cut my pattern pieces and whipped up my first pair of bikini pants this afternoon. They're a little ropey as they're really a wearable toile. I wanted to check the sizing and try out the elastic insertion as it's eased in by hand with no pins.

I rarely use pins these days, I got used to easing in by hand during my stint making hot air balloons about 10 years ago (yikes 10!) so it was pretty straightforward.

Really happy with them for a first run, they're a good fit. Next time I'll ease up on the elastic a tiny bit at the waist, and stretch it a little more around the leg openings.

Next up the longline bra. I anticipate needing to make a few to perfect the fit so I have some cheap stretch lace and mesh which I bought locally, and some jersey I may try with some mesh lining. Here goes!