Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cat Clothes

My Neighbour petitioned me to make her daughter's cat some 'all seasons' clothing. I am not really a seamstress but I have tried my best. We went to the cheap fabric shop and she picked out some really bright fabric. As a result taste fell by the wayside a bit. It's more of a mismatch of things, but I think that makes it more exciting. I have really enjoyed this project!

A stripy pink dress with tutu and stripy scarf. This is a bit of a cheat, as the dress is one of Penelope's which I have just taken in at the sides and the bottom hem. The tutu was from a babygrow. I also included some baby booties to give it a hi top 80's look. This is a Pretty in Pink alternative prom outfit I reckon. The only thing I really made was the scarf and even that was half hearted. I wanted to make a long Doctor Who type scarf and it was all going brilliantly but I ran out of time to sew in all the ends so I had to just back it with some fluro fleece scraps I had. I'm a bit sad really as I had wanted it to have tassles and be an ace scarf, whereas I feel it's a bit lumpy now. Oh well. Time waits for no man.

The bow on the tutu is a nice element though, I am sure a six year old will like that. The elastic is a bit baggy as I didn't do it very well. It was a learning curve.

A red gingham dress. This is a bit of a cheat again. This is one of Penelope's first dresses she was given which is still brand new with tags on. It was just too cold when she was that little. Plus we didn't get out of babygrows until she was 6 months really. Anyway I took in the sides, the top and the bottom and hey presto, cat has a summery dress.

It ended up looking quite fitted in the end which I was pleased with. I left it long because it looks like a Red Riding Hood outfit. Something to wade through sticky buds and damp ferns with. The cloak I did make! Horrah. I am pleased with the gold trim. I have never done that before.

I am quite pleased with the drape here. Very regal. br />
20131219-P1320065 It has a nice big button to do it up which also worked out well.

Gold lamé waistcoat and bow tie, gold flecked jersey trousers with gold lamé turnups.

As for the trousers. They were supposed to be baggy, MC Hammer style trousers but my measurements were all off. I'd quite like to make them again to the right size without the turnups. There is something a bit Shawoddywoddy about the turnups.

The waistcoat it really badly made. I could have done the seams so much better if I had thought more about it. I was following this great pattern, but I failed to do the last bit right by being in a rush and not reading it through properly. I like the pocket though. I couldn't do her posh pockets. One day I will read up how to do them properly. I will also learn how to do button holes so it can be done up nicely. I might have also made a chain and pocketwatch or pair of wire spectacles. One day...

A red felt coat and hat. The coat is my favourite thing. I made it from an enlarged version of this pattern.


I really like the detailing on the back and the pocket on the front.
I have to slightly change the neckline and the collar but otherwise it's pretty much as the pattern. I feel if I were to do it again I could tailor it slightly better over the shoulders. Although I have no idea how you do this. The hat is made from the sleeve of my old flatmate's jumper he gave me years a go when he accidentally felted it. I have had it in a box for yonks! I made the red bobble and sewed some ear holes into it. A perfect fit.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sylvanian baby quilt


My neighbours are 6. Twins. Twins who love Sylvanian families. So I have bought them each a baby animal for Christmas and thought they each needed a baby quilt. Time to crack open the thangles mini pack! Mum's scraps of Liberty fabric were perfect. They're slightly too big, but I just went with the smallest thangles I had and hoped for the best. Completed whilst watching Gardener's World and feeling guilty I haven't touched it since the summer!


The bottom corner of one of them is wet where Penelope decided to chew it. It was her seal of approval. I think the one on the left is my favourite, although the join on the binding is neater on the second.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Wrapping

Wrapping 2013 2013 is a huge improvement on 2012 but still not up to my usual standard. I don't even remember last year's attempt. I probably didn't buy anybody anything. I was still in such a zonked out baby haze. I am pretty pleased with my comeback fat robins from Paperchase though. Three for two which was not a bad offer. I have done robins before but these ones are better as they have scarves! At least it's all done now and I can sit back and relax. Just got to write all these xmas cards now...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Single Girl Progress

So I have finished making my blocks to go with the single girl blocks. They were great fun to make. I really want to carry on making them. It's such a great idea to combine them with the tiny blocks. I might try making up my own version after this one. I am quite excited about it. I did a bit of a test with myself by making one leaf block just like I saw this great Amanda's and one a bit more freestyle. Needless to say, I think I prefer Amanda's, I'm not sure why though.


I really like the Penants Waving in Ivory fabric on the bottom left by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud 9. I am itching to buy some more as I will have used my entire fat quarter by the end of this project. I also feel the same about the Lizzy House bracelets, but my problem is that I hoard fabric then I fall out of love with it. I have been so good at using my stash that now I agonise over buying new stuff. The small brown sprig fabric has lasted me such a long time. It is one of the first fabrics I bought with mum when I first got into quilting. I am a bit worried that the fabrics don't match as I have used browns and purples, but I wanted the quilt to be vibrant and not too 'me' if that makes sense.


I made a few mistakes with my half square triangles so I had to add some bits, but I am really happy with the text fabric I bought. I agonised over it as I am not a text of fabric person. In the end mum gave me some scraps she had and I bought two fat quarters. One of dictionary pages which I wasn't 100% about and one of script samples all laid over each other. I wasn't totally into that either so I have done some pretty wasteful fussy cutting, but I am glad with the results. The bottom left square uses a really nice bit.

Mum's scraps were easy to use as they were free! You can see them in the strip above the pink leaf.

Unfortunately, true to style, I mucked up my measurements and my maple leaf blocks are bigger than my single girl ones so I will have to add borders to those before I do the sashing. It might all look like a train wreck, oh dear. Oh well, I think it will add to its charm. I might put it off a bit and just play around with more thangles. It's great for really using those tiny scraps.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Dribble Bib

I made Penelope a dribble bib out of an old Tatty Devine T-shirt which was 50p from a seconds bin years a go. I had no idea what to do with it as I just couldn't imagine walking around with a neon orange tshirt on. But I love neon! Suddenly it had a perfect use, what? 10 years later. I am such a hoarder.

I always put a little ribbon as something to play with.

It's the perfect use for Kam Snaps. They're pretty stiff to open and close though so next time I might leave a bit more fabric around them so I have more to grab hold of when I try and open them.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Single girl

Single Girl
I dug out the Single Girl instructions and have started to give it another go. Last time I didn't find sewing on the bias that straightforwards so this time I have cut my background fabric wider and it's made things work out much better. I am really enjoying it! It's taken ages to choose the background fabrics but I am really pleased with the Lizzy House fabric.

Single Girl

Lots of pinning is also helping this time.

Single Girl

Now I just need to choose my other 'low volume' background fabrics. Single Girl

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Thangle time

ThanglesSo the measles is abating and I knew today could well be the end of the mammoth five hour day time nap we have all been enjoying. So I decided to hunt around for new little projects. I saw this great quilt by Amanda and thought it brilliantly combines a couple of things I have been thinking about.

I really enjoyed making my latest iPad case out of scraps in a free form, wonky log cabin sort of way. I'd really like to try my hand at a bit more of this sort of thing but I am not sure what to make, how to do it, what to use.

I also wanted to revisit the Single Girl quilt, as although I found it a bit of a pain to make, I'd really like one for myself. I just remember how long it took. The idea of only having to make two blocks is great and the scrappy maple leaf block would be cool to make. I love the mini blocks hidden within the bigger leaf. After doing the Swoon quilt, I have been steering clear of huge blocks, but, well, I am always tempted to change my mind.

So I thought I'd start off small and not think too much about the bigger picture. I only really had a day. So I got out my Thangles and had a go!

Cut Thangles I was a bit skeptical about them as they seemed a bit gimmicky, but for £4.50 I thought I'd give them a go. It's such a small size to work with. I just couldn't imagine working with such tiny elements. They were great! No thinking needed. I did watch the video tutorial first though. I was pretty mesmerised by the guys sleeves though. That's one serious patchwork jacket out of shot there.

I can't say I was really exact, but I am still pretty impressed with it. Now I just need to sift through the scrap bag and dig out some autumnal orange and browns. I'll have to put pink in too I think. I have some favourite Fleamarket Fancy scraps I have been saving which will be perfect. I don't have many pale fabrics as I tend to just use white. I also avoid fabric with type on it as it brings out my dayjob. Now I wish I was more relaxed about it as I think they look really good here. I think it is the fact that there is actually a lot of variety in the lights and darks which makes the project so attractive. I am not sure I can achieve that with my scraps.

Maple I used a Liberty print that mum gave me from a pack of fat 16ths she didn't want anymore. There's not a lot of material in a 16th so a block this kind of size is perfect. The background is some misc Kona solid in some sort of colour. I also have a few more lined up, but it would mean showing you the state of my ironing board. Sigh. Don't shriek in terror. Layout Now do you see why I want a new one? Mum gave me this mini board when I left home for university. It has done its time. I changed the padding and was ready to recover it when I discovered that the whole thing is warped and not flat anymore which makes ironing anything challenging as it had dips in the metal. I do have a little flat pad somewhere that mum bought me but, well, its in a box somewhere, along with my Single Girl templates. Sigh.

Anyway tomorrow I might try and make some of these into the block that goes in the big maple. I need to do the math though which is my weak point. Let me see, the small block is 1 1/2", the large block is 21-22". Time to get planning.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

At last

Not a single post last month, I am not very productive these days. I still haven't even put the binding on my ipad case. There is just no time, it is very frustrating. I just decided that I need to be a bit slacker on my mothering duties and make more time for sewing. Luckily this has combined with a bout of Measles which has meant lots of napping, which equals lots of sewing time. So I decided to make Penelope a dress!

I am no seamstress. I couldn't even make my own MC hammer trousers when I was 15, I had to get Rachel to make them. But I decided to just take it nice and slow.
  20131104-IMG_5911.jpg I realised I couldn't use any of my quilting fabric as I love it so much and it's all destined to be quilted, so instead I splurged out on some Petite Street fat quarters by Dashwood Studios from The Village Haberdashery. Not wanting to sound like an Anglophile or anything, but it's very refreshing to have some UK designed fabric. It's always such a pain seeing lovely fabrics which aren't available in the UK. The way people just nip onto their massive JoAnn or Micheals really makes me feel like I live in the Outer Hebrides sometimes. I'm really into these fabrics and I look forwards to future collections. The pincord is from myfabrics. Or as they call it: Feincord 18. It's lovely and soft and drapes well. I should have enough to make two which makes the shipping cost from Germany a little easier to bear.

I saw Kristin's Nordika Sally Dress and thought it was ace. I love the colours and the bright pockets. Perfect for Penelope! She's going to love me putting toys in those pockets... or food. Yes, food will be better. All those crumbs. It also looked not too hard. Considering I am a beginner. I mean I quilt, but I find it very different from all those dressmaking terms and tricks.

20131105-IMG_5924.jpg So off I went to find Shannon's pattern. What can I tell you about this pattern? Well it was really easy to follow. I read through it all and got a bit scared as I didn't understand a thing! I am such a sewing novice. So I just did one but at a time. I made the top bit yesterday and the bottom bit today.

20131106-IMG_5937-2.jpg I was a bit shell shocked when I was suddenly finished. So quick! I am definitely going to make another in the next size up. If you look closely it's a bit shabby. There are some things I need to swot up on and try harder at. I haven't tied my loose threads yet, but I was just too eager to photograph it.

Things I would change next time: Umm... perhaps wait till I've sewn off the ends before I photograph it? Also just try and make it neater. You can see close up that it has all manner of wonky bits.

I might change round the fabrics. I didn't use the triangles or flowers so I might use them instead of the dots and clouds. I might also make each pocket a different pattern.

I might measure my daughter like you are advised to. She was so red and spotty though. She has lived in her pyjamas for three days. There was just no way. So I hope it fits! I hope it goes over her head. I will be well gutted if it doesn't. Oh well I will just have to sew an opening at the back of the next one.

I would do the gathering as the pattern advised. For some reason I did it a bit wrong. It is not the best.

I would rethink the hem. I think I did something wrong there as quite a lot of my pocket went in it which makes it quite bulky. I am sure that is just me being stupid. I am particularly stupid these days.

I might buy a blind hem foot or a double needle foot if I feel this might be something I do more of. I could put them on my Christmas list. I am trying to spend less money not more.

I would look up how to be neater at piping. I sort of ballsed that bit up. It wasn't in the pattern and I've only ever done it once. I meant to look up how to join it at the end but Penelope woke up! I couldn't bear not to finish it so I just did what I thought looked ok. I am sure I will now read some rad tutorial with some easy solution.
 20131106-IMG_5930.jpg I might pin a bit more. Or just be a better pinner. I am not up on dressmaking pinning to be honest. I just winged it. I am sure it would help to be a bit neater. That's it!

Overall I am pretty amazed with myself. I like to think that if I can do this then anyone with no dressmaking experience can do it. Now time for something else. I am liking these small projects. Maybe a bag. I haven't made a bag since I made that union jack ruck sack when I was 17. Ouch.

Right time to sew all those loose ends in and see if the sick patient is well enough to be dressed like a doll. I have some grey stripy tights and a grey babygro from Hennes all at a giant cost of £6. Thank heavens for H&M! I'll post up a picture if she doesn't look like she's going to keel over. I am so BORED of measles.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Bunting to mark year One

20130905-P1300251.jpg We all remember the stash splurge before I became poor. The post will tell you what the fabrics were. Those fabrics have remained pristine in their bundle ever since. My love for them is so great that I just couldn't use them. I find it very hard to use fabric for anything other than quilting if I am honest, but Penelope is finally one which is such a tremendous marker that I thought it was time to make some bunting. I've made bunting before but the one thing I always regret about it is that it was never two sided.

20130901-P1300215.jpg I decided it was time to make some long lasting bunting that we could hoik out every year. Finally I have made two sided bunting. How neat and tidy. It definitely took longer but it feels more professional.

20130902-P1300217.jpg So I created a card template based on measurements which would allow me to get 5 triangles out of the width of my half yard of fabric. Everything turned out to be in quantities of 6. 12 fabrics. 6" wide triangles (unfinished), 60" of bias binding. One triangle every 6". It was a bit short, but it felt like such a lot of triangles, I just couldn't cope with any more. In order to circumvent all the problems associated with sewing fabric cut at a degree (it stretches and moves a bit), I created long strips and marked trianges in pencil then just sewed 1/4" on either side, then cut down the pencil lines. It's quick work. I have saved all the offcuts for some nice applique work I plan to do, so nothing will be wasted.

20130905-P1300253.jpg The points aren't perfect. I trimmed the points before turning, then pushed them through with a crochet hook, but they look okay at a distance.

20130902-P1300221.jpg Is that close enough? I'd be interested to know if they can be more perfect than that.

20130905-P1300264.jpg In the end I am really pleased. Every year I will get to gaze on these nice fabrics. I just love spots and I think pinks and oranges go really really with the blue and green bias. I agonised for ages. Should it be tasteful neutral greys with splashes of fluro pink and blue or should it be rainbow plains or purples and oranges. In the end I decided it had to come from the stash and it might as well be my beloved spots.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Log Cabin

20130814-P1280895.jpg So I have been itching to try and do some sewing. I decided to start with my £4 scrap bag from The Eternal Maker. It was great. So easy. It's the second time I have done this log cabin technique and once again I am struck by how easy and quick it is. I tried to just make it up as I went along but not paying too much attention to it. I ended up not using quite a few of the fabrics, they just didn't seem to fit the colour scheme that developed pretty quickly. I added in some of the 'bubble life' fabric by birch fabrics I bought as it fit in so well. I really enjoyed making them. I just need to make them into something now.

20130816-IMG_4743.jpg In the end I just decided to make 5" blocks and see what happened.

20130816-IMG_4764.jpg I got four out of it. If I had used all the fabric I probably would have got twice as many. Now do I just sew them all together or put sashing in or add bits to it? I have to think...

Peg bag After a think I decided to expand the blocks with bits from my scrap bag as I didn't want them to look like defined blocks. I also wanted it to look more chaotic and unmeasured so I tried to relax into it a bit and stop being so precise. I am pleased with the results... i think.

Tomoorrow I plan to quilt each panel then sew them into a basic bag shape so I can store pegs in it. We'll see how I get on.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Green Tea and Sweet beans


So let's talk sampler quilts. I have decided to buy the Green Tea and Sweet Beans Pattern Book by Jen Kingwell that I saw on sale at The Running Chicken. Karen looks like she had a lot of fun making this. She said it had taken ages. I think breaking it down into a block a month is the way forward. I will get to practice some great techniques. I love the modern fabrics Karen has used. Now I just need to do the same thing and somehow not let it become a train crash. I'm not sure about the border so I might not have one at all. We'll see. It's early days. Here is Karen's




20130811-P1280782.jpg Now I just need to pull together some fabrics which are bright but sort of match. Here are some I bought in preparation. I kind of think they go together.