Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Dove from Above

 I've just come out of one of those situations in life where everything goes into slow motion and you watch yourself and those around you go into free fall. My husband suddenly ended up in hospital for a prolonged period and what seemed straightforward escalated into something else.  The good news is, we all came out the other side, but the last few weeks have been chaotic and challenging. There was a lot of time to kill so in between staring out of windows, I sewed up the folk bird pattern from Nancy Nicholson's Modern Folk Embroidery book.


The original pattern is a felt appliqué design with embroidery on top but I needed something simpler and portable so I used Sulky Sticky Fabric Solvy which I ended up loving and hating but I've now decide I would use it again. The pluses are that it's printable: inkjet or laser printer, and the stabiliser sticks on top of the base fabric - I used Robert Kaufman yarn dyed Essex linen in Chambray. The downside is I could feel the stickiness as I gripped the embroidery hoop - not good for hot hands!  I worked around this, outlining the main design and trimming back the solvy as far as I could and after initially finding it rather tough to sew through, I found it did a great job as a stabiliser as well as being an easy way to transfer a detailed image. I tested scraps of it before I started sewing to check it did dissolve in water and it does, with a little soaking,  in a rather magical fashion.


There's probably about twenty hours of embroidery in the finished piece.  I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it yet.  Probably a small frame, maybe a fabric border. The Cosmo/Lecien threads were from a Fat Quarter Shop Bonnie and Camille colour selection from a one-off Sew Subscription box I bought a few months back and I used the Primitive Embroidery act needles that came in the same package and I really like sewing with them.  I tended to use three threads of the six-strand floss at a time which worked well with the long eyed needles.  Embroidery like this with a printed design is the perfect distraction, it needed enough engagement for me to concentrate but not so much that I messed up and helped to pass what seemed like endless stretches of time. I'm currently getting everything back on track at home and feeling very grateful that we're all here together, you never know what's round the corner.
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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Spring Fever

I made a quick little Easter make from a Sew-Ichigo pattern that was so easy and such a cute result, I thought I'd share:

Using the Spring Chick block from the Spring Fever pattern set, I made a quick sandwich of batting and backing fabric and some outline quilting on the machine.  I then trimmed the block to the original square, folded it in half lengthways and drew a half egg shape free hand.  I cut through the double folded layer to create the egg shape.  Then stitched ⅛" from the edge to secure the layers and finished with single bias binding, 1 ½" wide and included a loop.  The Spring Chick can be found in the Sew-Ichigo pattern set which includes lots of other birds as well as tall and short tulips and the same patterns are also available singularly.  


Find the patterns in the Sew-Ichigo Payhip and Craftsy and Etsy shops.  All the designs are foundation paper pieced.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Jerseyprene Raw Edge Coat: The Maker's Atelier

 I recently reviewed Frances Tobin's Essential Collection book which is packed full of classic wardrobe staples with a modern twist and I've been itching to make something from it so I temporarily abandoned my #2017makenine as it's been progressing nicely and chose the raw edge coat as I though it would be a handy garment for Spring weather. Very different to what I usually sew and a quick project too.  Here it is on its first outing in a local park last weekend.


As with all the patterns in the book, there are fabric different options sewn up and photographed in The Essential Collection.  This is not my usual shape so I wanted to try it out with something relatively inexpensive so I chose a cotton feel neoprene which is a soft, double sided fabric with contrasting greys on each side and a spongy, springy feel.  It's comparable to a thick scuba or a very soft neoprene. The Textile Centre has a few options for this- colours, textures- and the quality is v good at a low price. I haven't sewn with fabric like this before- here are a few steps I took:
  • Cut out flat, chalk outline around pattern on reverse of fabric
  • Used rotary cutter to cut out as clean edges are important- raw edge seams are a feature and the edges of the coat are unhemmed
  • Sz 90 Ballpoint or Universal needle.  I used both and both worked
  • Walking foot.  This is bulky fabric, I used my Janome and the Acufeed foot.
  • Low foot pressure.  I used 3 out of 7 (7 is highest pressure)
  • Long stitch length. 2.7mm for seams, 2.8 for top stitching
  • No pressing needed
  • Consider the reverse of your fabric as with this style option there reverse side is a feature e.g. the lapel, and will show.  There are instructions for a lined coat with a more conventional double layer lapel
  • Many edges are raw. I changed this for the top of the pocket as I thought this might get a little bashed about so I used a jersey binding using this viscose binding from Eternal Maker.  although the light grey is sold out I think. 


Pattern details:
  • The coat sizing is one of the mixed-size patterns in the book that span two sizes. I used size 1/2 which is size 32-34" bust.  I am 33" Bust, 27 1/2" waist, 36" hip.
  • The pattern pieces are for a jacket and there are easy instructions to lengthen those pieces for a coat 


Alterations

These are relatively easy to do if you are sizing down as the construction is simple.  As the seams are visible on the outside and are trimmed down to 3mm, plus seams are hard to unpick as the stitches sink into fabric increasing size would be tricky.   I found the sizing generous and although it is an oversized garment. These are the reductions I made:  
  •  From the side seams, underarms to waist- tapered in by ¾" at waist
  • From hips to hem- tapered in bt 1 ½" at the hem
  • Armscye- this seam is on the inside.  removed ⅜" around the seam tapering to join original seam line at underarm.
  • Sleeve- it's a two part sleeve and I found it especially big at the back so I reduced that seam by ⅜" tapering into the armscye
  • The sleeves were long so I folded them back- the contrast of the reverse fabric ties in with the lapels 


Frances recommends using sewn-in large press studs as fasteners on neoprene rather than buttons/buttonholes as they tend to stretch out of shape.  They need careful sewing as the stitching is visible and the press studs are a feature as well as a practicality.  I follow @sewbrooke on Instagram  She is a freelance seamstress and costumer so a highly skilled maker and she's chatty and helpful too.  One of her top tips on a post a while ago was a clever way to secure your thread on fabrics when you want to avoid a knot:

  Use a double thread but instead of threading the loop through the eye, instead thread the ends through the needle eye and have the loop at the end of the doubled thread - do not tie a knot! Push your needle through the fabric to create a small stitch but do not pull the end loop through; instead pass the needle through the loop and gently pull.  Your thread is now attached.  You can then sew your snap or button. Once sewn on you will cut the thread so you cannot repeat the same technique with the same thread so I used 18" length of thread to sew on each part of the snap.

 A nice effect of this fabric was the dimples the fabric makes under the tension of the hand stitches. 


It's a soft and easy wear.  I did feel a little self conscious going out in what seems like quite a grown up style but it's so comfortable and easy to wear I've found myself putting it on for all my dog walking this week as the weather is dry but a little breezy.  Hmm, sounds like a great transitional piece for Spring as the fashionistas say.  I did add a new wooden badge pin,  Maker from Grace's beautiful Beyond Measure shop.  I've been destashing lots of things recently so this was a little treat.  Made by Arrow Mountain, See the full range of motifs here


 I've more planned from France's book...
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Thursday, 30 March 2017

March at Eternal Maker: New Website

The big news for my longtime sponsor Eternal Maker this month is an all-singing, all-dancing website.  It's only just gone live so there still might be a few kinks to iron out but so far, I've found lots of handy features including a super fast Paypal feature as an alternative check out, a double arrow checker to compare product, a heart icon wish list feature (you need to create an account and log in), reviews and much more.


Clockwise from top right:

  1. Alohoa Barkcloth Sevenberry.  Beautiful large floral vintage style pattern on barkcloth at a great price (£14/M).   Works well for clothes with a more structural shape, e.g. Lily Dress by Colette, or Christine Haynes Emery Dress.
  2. Kelly Anorak Close Case Files. On trend practical coat pattern with lots of extra details for a professional finish. Perfect for the Sevenberry Twills. 
  3. Honey Twill Sevenberry.  Medium weight twill weave, swatch selection booklet also available. Great for lightweight coats like the Kelly Anorak, skirts, dungarees, bags etc. 
  4. Brass Buckle Trim.  There are now a plethora of bag making and other hardware options on the website including these buckles.  You can also find dungaree buckles and coloured rivets
  5. Carolyn Friedlander Ariel in Blue Jay.  The most gorgeous brightest blue quilting cotton print from Carolyn Friedlander
  6. Furballs Tabby Road by Tula Pink. Tula's newest technicolour, cat themed collection on quilting cotton. 
  7. Cat Snacks in Strawberry Fields Tabby Road by Tula Pink.  

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dog Quilt for Lottie

I've been meaning to make our dog Lottie a new quilt in ages.  Her old one, despite repairs has worn through in many places. I recently wrote a feature in my Sewing World Final Thread column all about subscription boxes (it's in the current April issue) and Amy and Angela at My Sewing Box kindly sent me a dog themed box as an example of what they put together on their one-of and gift boxes.  I mixed some of those fabrics with somers in similar colours from my stash plus some precious Heather Ross dog fabric and using a Fancy Tiger Double Star Quilt pattern from a Creative Bug class and stitched her up a little quilt. 










Simple quick construction.  Wide lines of echo quilting, an extra quilted star in the middle and a hand quilting star in Aurifil 12wt in the centre.   Finished size us around 40" square.  Lottie is very happy with it and quickly identified it as her quilt and I enjoy having her and the quilt sat on my lap. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Cora bag by Svetlana of SOTAK Patterns

Svetlana from sotakhandmade.blogspot.co.uk recently put a shout out for bag pattern testers on Instagram,  I had some lovely linen/cotton blend Maker Maker fabric waiting to become a bag so I jumped in and made the Cora bag, the pattern has now been released!




It's an intermediate pattern so you need some bag making experience but it is very straightforward and Svetlana's instructions are thorough with lots of photos. There are no pattern pieces to print, the bag is made of rotary cut shapes.  I opted for a snap closure rather than the inset zip.  There's interfacing on all the fabrics as well as a layer of foam- soft and stable is suggested but I used Bosal  In-R-Form sew-in as it's available in the UK.  You need a walking foot and I used a denim needle as I was using heavier fabrics throughout and sewed on my Janome Horizon as it's very good at sewing thick fabrics.




The Maker Maker fabric was from Olive and Flo but is now sold out.  Saira had two prints in small quantities so I bought this one quickly as she was told by the rep that it is not being distributed here.  Such a shame, it's lovely stuff.  I've used the bag a lot already and I love it's bouncy structured feel and relatively simple style - less is more for me with bags.  Dress is a recently made Darling Ranges maxi from my #2017makenine  , with which I am making good progress! 

You can see the other tester's bags here, and they are an excellent selection, plus the pattern is on offer for a very brief time! 
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March at Plush Addict

Time to take a look at the latest arrivals at sponsor Plush Addict. For space fans, there are a lot of techy/space inspired prints!


From left to right, row by row: 

  1. Makower Fantasy bundle.  Mix of neon colours, unicorns and rainbows in a bundle of 14 fabrics or individually.
  2. Little Darling Cotton Jersey Robots.  Very cute robot print on 95% cotton 5% elastane jersey fabric. 
  3. Makower Galaxy Bundle.  Space, science and technology themed fabric bundle.  Also available singularly. Also available in a brilliant Rocket Quilt kit designed by Lynne Goldsworthy. 
  4. Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in Natural.  I am so pleased that Kellie has started stocking the classic Robert Kaufman Essex linen range.  Lots of other colours available
  5. Dressmaking Numberprint Marker Paper.  For pattern drafting a tracing, this paper has blue marks every 20mm.  Available in 102cm width and 77cm wide.
  6. Map Panel Print 90cm by Nutex
  7. Michael Miller Sandpiper Bundle.  Beautiful seaside colours, nature and geometrics all combine in this print selection. 
  8. Viscose- Pink/blue/black discs on Aqua.  Lightweight drapey fabric for dressmaking. 
  9. Michael Miller Main Street Shop Receipts.  Love this text style print by Patty Sloniger.