Thursday, February 27, 2014



Binding a quilt is one of my favourite parts. I just like getting comfy with it on my lap and working my way from one end to the other. I also get to revel in the fact that it's another project soon to be completed. I've enjoyed making this quilt so much that I might make another with the scraps. The fabric I used for the binding and in the quilt has no scraps! I used every last inch which is a job well done especially considering I bought it on a whim for no purpose. I always castigate myself when I buy fabric for no reason. I worry it will just sit there unused, but this fabric has done me proud and I love the stripe on the binding. I also still like the text fabric! The dictionary fabric is just growing on me even more.

I'm also pretty pleased with my wonder clips. I mean they are essentially no different than the big metal hair grip ones my mum has which are far cheaper except that they grip more accurately and easier, they don't slide off with handling and most importantly, they are shiny and see through. I am putting them on my Christmas list again as 10 is not enough!


The only worrying thing about using up stash is my thread. I haven't bought any in such a long time. I used to replace one as soon as it ran out so I had a full supply. I am a little worried as the cost of replacing all these adds up. I had to change from white to cream half way through which is silly really as I'll HAVE to buy more white thread anyway as it's just NEEDFUL.

I am thinking about the next project as I bind. Exciting times. I am trying to work out a hitlist of small projects that I can do one a month of. No big quilts! No quilts at all! Thinking...

In the meantime, The catnap contest winner is announced tomorrow. There were some really amazing entries. The Flickr group has them all. Check it out! I love them all!

Friday, February 21, 2014


20140216-P1330098 I am nearly at the end of quilting my MapleO, then it will just need binding and I will put up some pictures. I have been staring at the fabrics a great deal as I stuff and drag the bulk of the quilt through the arm of my sewing machine. A lot of them were a new thing for me. I have never used 'low volume' whites and off whites really and I have always avoided 'words'. Rachel will tell you of the conversation we had at The Festival of Quilts last year where I said I just couldn't get into fabric with type on.

It's not that I don't like it, it's just that it reminds me of work. There seems to be a lot of newspaper fabric going about. Columns of text type stuff. I don't know how often most people think about type, let alone newspaper type. All I can say is that if you ever design a newspaper you'll end up thinking an awful lot about newspaper typography. So then when you see some fabric with newspaper text on it, you can't help but look at it from that perspective. I find it pains me to think of putting something like that which isn't 'good typography' into a quilt I am going to spend ages making. You might think the type looks good, but it doesn't, it never does, it just doesn't. It would be like a doctor looking at illustrations of hearts checking the valves were in the right place (but a bit less important). As an illustration does it matter if the heart would actually beat or not? No. It just looks pretty and everyone knows it is a heart. It's the same with type fabric. I am not saying it doesn't look good, just that it doesn't work technically. Who cares? No one? Right? Sigh. It just kills me. If I try to look at it as a non newspaper designer then it is fine. So that's what I have been doing. Punching myself in the face and telling myself not to be such an idiot. But I worry. I look at it and I worry. I worry that I will snap back and suddenly hate it.

I should probably stop whinging about it and just go and design my own, but then I might as well be at work! I don't know. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. It doesn't inspire me. So poor Alison Glass' Text in Charcoal Fabric is getting my full not to close attention. I like it. I do. So I have bought it. And some 'Ledger' from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander. As the interior grey fabric I bought some 'Scratch Rows' from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander. The pattern is a bit feint, but I think it will look nice. Everything is from Sew Fresh Fabrics.

20140216-P1330094 Enough rambling. So I have stared at my fabrics and I STILL like them! Gulp. So I have bought some more! I really want to make a bag so I thought I would start with something simple. Something that uses up some of the leftover Catnap fabric.

Meow! So I am going to make this bag from Fresh Modern Quilts. I just need to buy the zip and I am good to go. I have been waiting for the instructions but, well, they haven't surfaced yet so I might have to make it up. It is going to be my practice using zips. I have never used a zip. Well I made a pencil case for school, but I can't really remember much about it. Mumple probably did it for me. So if the pattern has not appeared by the time I have finished binding the MapleO then I will have to wing it!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Catnap kitten dress contest

Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest So I have entered the Catnap Kitten Dress Contest run by Lizzy House.

Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest My picture includes Penelope's snug: Meow. We have two. In case she loses one. There is no moment where Meow is not needed. I think if we went on holiday and left him behind we would have to come home and get him. Cats are important in our house. So a pocket for him seemed like a grand idea.

The pattern
The dress pattern I followed is Shannon's Sally Dress.I have made the no arms version.

Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest About this pattern
It's really long! Which is great. You get this mega PDF with loads of diagrams and instructions so you are led all the way through. It makes it so much easier. The only problems I had were my own stupidity and inexperience which meant I ballsed up a few things and my brain trying to compute the inner/outer/wrong/right side of things. I had to really sit and go over some of the instructions over and over again. But I am not a dress maker. My mum is a dress maker. I have not made many items of clothing at all really.

Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest I have made this dress once before. I think I have got slightly better at it this time round. I would definitely make it again as I love the pockets and I really enjoy making it. I'd even make another catnap version using the orangey fabric next time. I did alter the pattern this time round by adding the slit and button on the back as Penelope will not sit still or help with dressing so it needs to be easy.

Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest The fabric
The fabric is from Backstitch (unless stated otherwise below. I used a few scraps for pocket lining to make it a bit more exciting), a great UK based fabric site. It's hard to get modern quilting fabric in the UK, let alone really good websites that sell it. This site is both AND it will soon be a shop in Cambridge at Burwash. You get to see the big pig, have tea and cake, hit the toy shop then cruise the fabric store. Family outing checkboxes all ticked.

Catnap (Kitten) Dress Contest So the main cat fabric is:Purrfectly Happy: Cloud
The bodice, right pocket and The appliqué cat nose are all Pearl Bracelets: Grape Jelly
The bodice inside and outer left appliqué pocket are a tiny purple spot from Fabrics Galore yonks a go
The left pocket grey stripe lining is from Little L's yonks a go. I love it so much I hardly ever use it!
The right pocket pink dot lining is a really old scrap, I have no idea where from.
The appliqué cat face is: Klona Cotton: Natural (Seeded)
The appliqué cat cheeks are:Klona Cotton: Pale Pink

Catnap Kitten Dress Here is Penelope in the dress. It's too big for her right now which is how I wanted it. I really want her to be properly walking before I hamper her with too many dresses. At the moment we live in shorts and tights. In fact, my next project is going to be Bubble shorts. More on that later. We were going to go to The Science Museum this weekend and photograph her in the dress in some cool place or a stylish café but the trains weren't working and the wind was howling like a banshee. All the plastic sheeting blew off the house opposite and our wall is going to topple anyday. It is definitely staying indoors weather. Stickers instead.

Here are my bumbling project posts along the way
Stage 1: Choosing fabric
Stage 2: Doing dodgy appliqué
Stage 3: Sewing my schizzle together

Monday, February 10, 2014

Catnap dress update


Another Catnap dress contest update! I know you really need to know how I have been cobbling this together. Jeez, I am so hamfisted. The cutting has all been fine, especially with my new huge cutter. The pockets were easy. The skirt was pretty easy. I even managed to correct a mistake I made last time which made the whole thing a lot easier.


I even had time to put in a little label on my pocket and make the hem detail neon yellow. I do love a bit of neon.


Behold! I managed to sew double lines on the waistband and gathered them gently without snapping the thread this time. Much neater and much easier to achieve. Last time was a bit of a battle. The skirt came together very quickly.


Here I am whizzing over the gathering with my see through foot, very useful foot it is too.


The bodice was the first cock up. I cut the arm holes a bit longer as I was having difficulties getting Penelope's arms in the last one. She wriggles. She moves. She fights me. I needed help. So I made them bigger. Then I suddenly decided to make sleeves and cut the sleeves without adding the extra length. Okay, I thought, I can cobble this together. So the arm holes had weird pleats. Then I blind/invisible stitched them on like I had never held a needle in my life. I have hand bound so many quilts, how can I mess this up? I just couldn't work it out. I unpicked, I did it again. It was marginally better. The second arm better still. In hindsight I should have practiced, but, well, life is so short. Then I stood back, wiped the sweat off my brow and thought the whole thing looked like a patchwork gypsy dress. I have nothing against that, but it wasn't the modern sophisticated Top Cat look I was going for. She's not Rag-dolly Anne or Aunt Sally, she's... she's... Lordy, something else.

So I thought about it.

Then I asked Rachel.

Then I unpicked the arms. Sigh. I just HATE going backwards.


Don't look at it for too long! I can't change my mind now. They are gone.


And now me and the ace wonderclips have a date. I had trimmed the seams so there is not a lot of fabric to play with so I am carefully clipping and pinching and folding and blind/invisible hemming them together very neatly and slowly. I need to get a wriggle on if I am to meet the deadline. This endless cold is not helping, nor is watching Scandanavian dramas with subtitles as I can not look away from the screen.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Appliqué cat

After a particularly noisy, trchnicolour visit to the local soft play centre, I put Penelope to bed and sat on the sofa in silence and happily appliquéd away for her entire naptime. It made me remember why I love appliqué so much. It's so relaxing.

The best thing is that it didn't cost me a penny! Well almost. The thread was some mum gave me. I hadn't really examined it before, but it was the perfect colour and really nice to sew with. I haven't used Perlé much, but it was just the right thickness for the job in hand.

The cat face fabric is Klona Cotton: Natural (Seeded) from Backstitch. It's really lovely to work with and I am looking forward to visiting the new shop and taking a look at all the Klona fabric. It was lovely and thick and really had the nice linen look I was after. I didn't want it to actually be linen though as I just don't need something else that needs drastic ironing. Life is too short to be endlessly ironing baby clothes. In fact, to be ironing any clothes. The pink cheeks are Klona Cotton: Pale Pink. I probably had some pink somewhere but I couldn't find it and solids are always useful.

I found this really easy. I didn't want perfectly round circles or a smooth cat face, weird I know, but it didn't feel right. I find smooth edges a real pain to achieve so the fact that the cat lends itself to a wonkier approach meant that my rather basic appliqué skills were perfect for the job! I wish there was a bit more to do really. I might have to think up another appliqué quilt to do where the same style could be applied. Another project in the making I don't have time for! But tonight I am making sleeves. I have never made sleeves before.

I have altered the Sally dress pattern slightly because I find the dress a bit hard to dress the wrigglebag. So I have added a slit to the back of the dress. I fear I have done it very badly. If I did it over I wouldn't cut a slit in the back piece. I would make it out of two separate bits and then once made, I would cut out the back shape. My back back shape is now a bit smaller than the front which has been a pain and the material is not lying flat on the inside. Luckily no one will see that, but I think it looks messy.

I did get a chance to use my new blindstitch foot mum bought be from Christmas. I followed this tutorial and it worked! I have learnt something new! I feel very proud of myself. So I am now going to blind/invisible hem everything. Next I want to learn zippers and buttonholes. There is no stopping me!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

MapleO quilting

The MapleO project is progressing. I didn't have enough backing material as I had worked it out wrong, then I cur it wrong. Sigh. So I had to add lots of strips of scraps. I didn't know if I would have enough but it all worked out and it looks lovely. Like a minimal quilt. It will be two sided! I laid out all my bits and just had to work with what I had. It really means I will only have scraps left over which is a good use of fabric in my book.

I managed to baste it in one night successfully on our carpet; I am not sure how tight I managed to get the backing though, as I couldn't tape it to the carpet. I then started quilting in small sessions. It's a big, puffy beast to pass through the sewing machine and I should really pull the table out as there is no room for the quilt on the other side of the machine. It hurts my hands after a while, yanking it all about and continually folding it this way and that.

So I think it will only happen in small burst of energy. I am not going to do loads to it as I don't want to make it stiff. I keep looking at Amanda's pictures trying to work out what she did. We'll see how I get on.

I am really liking the puffy quality of the wadding though. And it's so light to lift. I love it!