Thursday, July 17, 2014

Postage Stamp Revival

So all the postage stamp project has been sifted out from the stash which has now been moved all into the cellar. This should be its final resting place for a while. I have de mothed everything (Oh the loss!) and now everything is tidy, stacked in plastic storage boxes. It's not the easiest thing to access but it's not bad really. It will just take a while to remember where everything is.

Postage I reckon it's high time I finished this project. I am starting to be bored of it already. I want to make a bigger square version for some reason. I started planning this project in 2011! The original pattern is actually bigger than I need now I have measured Penelope's new bed. The quilt would be fine if it was 36"x 60ish". I don't need it to hang over the edges as she finds it too heavy. She's much better with a lighter, smaller quilt really, so she can manage it herself. 36" wide would be the exact width of the bed top and 60" is just a nice round number and would mean it covers 3/4 of the length leaving enough room for pillow space. So I redrew up my plan.

The quilt would now measure 36 x 52" and would use 46 blocks instead of 83! I have already made 40 blocks so I would only need to make 3 and all the border squares. That seems like far less work. Of course now I am to hot and bothered to actually crack on with it. I have threaded up the machine though and laid out the next bits to sew.

I do have to decide on the skip blocks though. Originally I was going to use some lovely soft calico that mum gave me, but I had to mess about and just check if Robert Kaufman's oregano interweave or Kaffe Fasset's shot cotton would be better. They are all lovely and soft. I can't decide so I will probably just stick with the original cream as it is so very soft. What do you think?

Fasset's shot cotton, colour artemisa

20140717-P1360195 Robert Kaufman's oregano interweave chambray

20140717-P1360192 The original calico looking a little bit dark there

For the back I was originally going to use Liberty fabric but I can't really afford that now. I might see what I have left over and cobble some bits together but otherwise I have this lovely soft stripe fabric from Raystitch. It's so soft. I want it to be soft as Penelope often has just a quilt and no duvet so I like the idea of something snug and warm. I was going to do the binding in the stripe but I have enough for the back as well hopefully. Now I just need the wadding. I did have it but the moths dropped eggs into it. I am going to use Dream Puff again as it's so light. I am sure mum will tell me to use Warm and Natural though as it breathes more. She just bought a super-duper roll of it so it's free wadding time for me! Get in!

If I could even just make up these last three blocks then maybe, just maybe I might feel like I have earnt the right to spend some money at Birmingham. At the moment it just feels cheeky when I have really not been very productive since the last one. I only just unpacked my shopping bag from last year!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Doll Bed Jacob's Coat

In the spirit of Birmingham, I have been thinking up new projects. I thought I would put them here to remind myself. I have decided to buy Penelope an Ikea Doll's bed for her teddy. She is into mimicking these days and I think she will get a kick out of bossing teddy into bed every night.

It's also the perfect use for my Worn and Washed hearts and leaves Liberty pack that mum bought me in 2013. I have 50 leaves which could make up a Jacob's Coat quilt. I've been wanting to make one for ages but I don't have enough leaves to do a proper one like this so I thought a more simple Orange Peel one might be a good starting point.

I like this low volume version.
And this one where some petals are just embroidered.
I like this bright one.


So here is my pattern. The blocks are 3" finished making the petals 1 1/2".
The bed is 52cm x 36cm (20.4" x 14.1")
This patterns overall size 15 x 21" (18 blocks = 72 leaves) so I could lose 2 rows and make it 15" square to allow for the pillow. (13 blocks = 52 leaves). Perfect.

I might replace a few of the prints I don't like with some of mum's scraps. It's a really good use for some of the tinier pieces. They are mostly dressmaking scraps from mum's shirts so they are all odds and ends. I might have enough to do all the rows.

I am drawing up some papers with my compass. Old school.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Magic wand making

Magic wand
We had our first dressing up day at nursery. I feel this is the beginning of something. I am quite into the idea of not spending money on all this if possible, except if it's in order to make something from scratch. I did have a look at all the Disney princess dresses in ASDA and secretly think how amazing I would have felt in one of those, but NO, we are going to with hold if possible. Famous last words...

P1360138 - 2014-07-09 at 06-36-09
So it was superheros and princess' day at nursery, neither of which Penelope has any concept of, but she does get what a ballerina is so I thought we'd just do that instead. My neighbour had given us a lovely handmade satin tutu so we didn't need to buy anything! But I thought I would use this opportunity to make this great magic wand.

Wand I didn't understand how to print out the star shape at the right size, it kept coming out small so I just drew up my own pattern really based on, well, not very much. It worked out fine though.

I also didn't bother with the bow as Penelope would just have ripped it off. I just sewed neatly round the edge and it looked fine. My eyes are also a bit smaller but they were all I had. They are probably easy to pull off and swallow but at least they are small enough to just go straight through! Not bad for an hour's work in front of the TV.

P1360144 - 2014-07-09 at 06-36-41
A great tutorial in all. I love the loop on the end for hanging it up, what a good idea! The fabric is plain white brushed cotton for the star, a left over scrap from a tescos pillowcase. The black and white candy stripe is a poplin from a new website I found called Calico Laine. It's annoying really, as it's the kind of thing they sell in my local craft shop, but I can only get there on certain days so I just ordered the stripe off the web. It was the same sort of price and the site has lots of stuff. I am all in for fabrics that are around £5 a metre. I was so dispirited by the price of jersey fabrics the other day. I mean honestly, it's cheaper by far just to buy clothes then to buy jersey at £18 a metre. Where is all the £5 a metre fabric these days? Where are the bargains? Sigh

Day 309 - Ballerina waiting Here's a really rubbish picture of the ballerina waiting to be let in at nursery. She basically just dragged the wand around with her all day, but at least it wasn't a stick wand she cold whack other children with. Poor thing is looking a bit bent already so maybe it was responsible for some soft violence, but it survived the day which is good.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hexagon Bag

20140625-P1350920 Completed! Horray! Another bag to throw on the pile of project bags. This is the front. I am not sure about the air mail block, but otherwise I love it.

Behold! The back! Pretty similar to the front really.

So upon review...

The pattern is easy to follow but I don't think the template matches up with the number of Hexes. I would make them 4" next time. I also ballsed up the lining but that's my own fault.

I quilted the lining to the front so I just sewed it all together and bias binded the seams rather than making a separate lining and stitching it in. I don't mind how I did it. I quite like seeing the stitching. The whole bag feels a bit flimsy though. It collapses when you put it down into a quilted blob. I wish I had added a bit of interfacing.

I also added a bigger pocket. I just wanted something I could slip my iphone into and my wallet. In all honesty, without a zip or fastening, the bag isn't really that useful as a handbag as I think someone could easily slip their hand in that gaping side hole. Plus I sewed the pocket in by hand which I don't think is great from a wear and tear factor. But as a project bag/day trip bag it works perfectly.

The handles are also different and I had to make up how to attach them. I made material bits to secure the wooden handles which were the same width as the hexes so it would look neat. They came out a little long though. They do flop nicely over the top though which pleases me.
So all in all, a successful project.

Time to delve back into the project notebook and see what's next on the cards. Another bag? there is a more secure one I would like to try. Or some shorts for Penelope or some harem trousers to make her look like she eats lentils and quinoa rather than chicken dippers and smiley faces. Or a card holder for my credit cards or something else! These small projects are working out perfectly.

And the ongoing bigger idea is to make something for myself. It's difficult though as it requires more fabric so more money and I worry I will basically make some kind of sack. I ordered some swatches from the cheap Fabric Mill up north. I was thinking maybe a winter flannel Tova dress. That's why the check is in there. Can I wear that much check? As Rachel pointed out, we are too young to wear that much linen. We need to have lumpy feet and sandals for that, so the linen swatches are out. The flowers are not as soft and dainty as they looked so they are out. And the cream stripe is lovely, but am I a cream person? I wish I could just see a fabric and go 'YES!' I did see some lovely fabric in RayStitch so I might go back there and see if the price is prohibitive.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hexagon bag

So Rachel and I decided to make the same bag from a book she had: Suzuko Koseki's Natural Patchwork. We were inspired by this lovely version we found on Pinterest by Leila from Where Orchids Grow and decided to make one using the original hexagons but use the round handles.

I wasn't really sure about my combination of fabrics. I have a real problem working out what goes together which is why I often just follow something I have seen. I can't really see if something doesn't work until it is finished which is rather late in the game. I wanted the range of colours to be different enough but also to go together. I am not sure that they do. Sigh.

My picture of the pattern was a bit blurry so I think I got the measurements wrong for my hexagons. They aren't tall enough for the template I drew. So I've trimmed the pattern and my bag will end up being a bit small... and potentially useless. I thought of adding more squares but I decided to just plough onwards and see what happens. I can always make another, bigger one next time... with squares like Leila's.

Construction continues...

Hopefully we will have matching bags in time for the Royal Festival of Quilts so we can fill them with fabric.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cushion at last!

I promised my other half that I would make him a cushion about, oh, two years a go. So here we are! Well sort of. I thought I would make two kinds. One out of normal quilting cotton and one out of thicker deco fabric. So here is the quilting fabric version. I didn't make my casing too tight as I get annoyed by over plump pillows. Is it just me? I like to squish myself into a cushion. I feel it might be a tad over baggy. I have a bigger form I can squash into it if need be though.

I was going to do a zippered edge but zips cost money so I opted for the flap form. I might unpick an old zip for the next one and see which I prefer. I added a slightly different fabric on the back because I couldn't resist. I really like it.

I had to add the standard useless tags of course. I really like the black against the yellow.

And another.

I think I might keep this one on the poor brown sofa I hate so much. This was the emergency pregnancy sofa purchase. It was interest free, it was big enough to lie on at 40 weeks and quite frankly, I just wanted to sit down and eat an eclair as soon as we got to the showroom, so we ended up with the brown monster which is to see us through the dirty years so we can buy a really nice one when Penelope has stopped smearing. Ten years? Sigh. I was so offended by the brown tartan cushions that I threw them in the cellar. I might unpick the zips and cast my mind to creating some nice ones to replace them. I can't decide whether to make them all the same, all yellow or a mismatch of colours.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pillowcase Dress

Pillowcase dress So I decided to make another dress. A very simple one. A pillowcase dress. My other half saw this picture by GraceyLouDesigns that I had pinned and informed me that it was a winner. Her etsy shop doesn't seem to exist anymore, so seeing as I already had the fabric it required, I decided to make it. The fabric was supposed to be used to make him cushion covers for his office chair, but hey, he's already been waiting two years, he can wait a little longer.

I followed Vanessa's tutorial which was really simple and easy to understand with great step by step pictures.

I used Riley Blake medium chevrons and Michael Miller dots for the fabric. The grey stripe is a stash essential I picked up at Chilford so I have no idea what that is.


I'm pleased with my bias binding on the sleeves. I did loads of pinning and a bit of unpicking and it all looks very posh. I could have done better seams. This annoys me. They are just rubbish raw edges. I could have zig zagged or at least used pinking shears. This tutorial has really posh seams.

20140530-P1350456 I sewed my tape really carefully and took time over the ends just so it didn't look shoddy.

Pillowcase dress I think the bow looks really pretty. I could have used ribbon but I am glad I didn't. This seems more substantial.
20140530-P1350460 But best of all, I used my blind hemming foot. Blind hems, down pat. Worked a treat. I consider that skill learnt. Time to move onto something else. I'm pondering the idea of making an adult garment, gulp!


20140530-P1350485 My only tip is to use spray water or starch when folding and ironing all the seams. I found it allowed me to fold my fabric with my fingers and have it stay there. I didn't prewash my fabric and quilting cotton can be quite thick and springy. This helped loads. I would mark my 1/4" seam with a chalk marker, spray with Best Press, fold the hem with my fingers then iron on top and add a bit of steam at the end. Perfect.
Right! Time to finish my abandoned bag...