Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Simple Makes for Grand Gestures

Both my girls are leaving their schools this week, it has been a week of tears and emotion!

It felt only right that I should make gifts for both of the girls to give. Seeing as Eloise's teacher was having her first baby and that she has ferried my daughter around to countless out of school sports events when I was busy and couldn't make it I felt a special gift was required, a quilt.

Then I got to thinking, while I was making one baby quilt surely it wouldn't take much longer to make a second. And so it was decided rather than making a whole mountain of gifts for the army of preschool helpers Juliette will be leaving, the pre-school would also get a quilt gift. One to put on the sofa in the quiet corner, for sleepy new little children in September and those not moving unto big school.

It seemed just the perfect excuse to break out my rainbow charms that I have been saving for probably a good two years now (does anyone remember those charm swaps I organised - they were all the rage in 2012 ha!) I added a few more from my stash to make up the numbers.

Going rainbow for the teacher gift....daughter is not only moving teacher but leaving the school and teacher is having first baby. Knew those rainbow charm swaps would be useful one day!

A little late night organising along with some quick chain piecing later and I was quilting before I knew it.

Quilting a rainbow this morning

Volia, two simple but lovingly made cheerful quilts, to leave behind happiness where my children once were.

Rainbow finishes drying on the line. Teacher gifts are done!

I'm off to find the tissues again, and stock up for the smallest one's last day tomorrow too!

Quilt Stats:

Small cascading rainbow quilt:

42 rainbow 5" charm squares
27"x31" aprox
Pieced wadding, but mostly 70/30 eco blend
Ikea Numbers Duvet backing
Citron sketch binding
Quilted in crosshatch through the squares, Gutermann 12wt cotton in variegated rainbow

Large cascading rainbow quilt:

56 rainbow 5" charm squares
31"x36" aprox
Pieced wadding, but mostly 70/30 eco blend
Unkown Pirate Map backing
Scrappy rainbow binding
Echo quilted 1/4" either side of charm squares with Gutermann 40wt in pale blue

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pack Patch Mini QAL with Quarter Inch Mark

Last weekend I needed a little indulgence, a bit of selfish impromptu sewing. Then the lovely Chase from Quarter Inch Mark came up in my Instagram feed with her delightful Pack Patch Mini qal.

Image from Quarter Inch Mark

It was so sweet and charming I just had to join in. Of course I didn't really qal with Chase and the other ladies because I had come in right at the end. But I did still work through the directions for each week in order, interpreting the themes that Chase had set. I must say it made for the most interesting way of selecting fabrics, with different themes like Cheddar, Country Mouse and Town mouse and many more!

So I set to work with my scrap basket, making myself limited to just using these scraps made the challenge more fun!

Started a new totally unnecessary project and it feels amazing!  @quarterinchmark qal blocks are so tiny and cute!

In an afternoon I had all my mini blocks made! Fresh on Sunday morning I set to work sashing and had a finished mini quilt top by elevenses!

My @quarterinchmark #packpatchminiqal is ready for quilting, thanks to mother inlaws donated denim shirt for sashing! #thrifty #totalscrapquilt

Sashing only needed 1/2 yard but I don't really keep any solids on hand over a fq. So I used an old cotton denim shirt, donated by my mother in law for my scrap/recycling basket. I think the soft denim colour gives it a lovely country feel. I arranged all my blocks in the order of weeks 1-10, just as chase did. I like how it looks, despite the fact that at no point did I give any thought to whether the mini would look cohesive overall, I just concentrated on each little block in isolation.

All that remains is quilting and binding. Very handily I am giving a class on machine quilting this Saturday at Social Fabric, so the Pack Patch Mini will be used for demonstrating some fmq to my class. Then it will come home to go up on my studio wall!

Indulgent sewing is certainly good for the soul! I hope you all enjoy a little selfish sewing time this weekend!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Sunshine Stitchery Volume 2

Hot on the heels of my gauzy Tova is my 'pretend I'm on a tropical beach sipping cocktails from a coconut shell' skirt!


When I picked up this fabric I knew I had to have it, its difficult to say exactly what it is because there was no label at the shop but I would call it a digitally printed poly silk. It was a steal at £4.99 a metre, so two metres came home with me! 

I had already decided what to make the moment I spied it, Simplicity 2698. I have already made one of these, in precious Melody Miller arrows (that I must get around to sharing on the blog!) and loved the fit, although I did make quite a few alterations to the pattern!


I made a size 12 (eur 38) using yoke D and skirt H with the box pleats and pockets. I altered the shape of the pockets to give me a deeper curved finish, and omitted the box pleat on the middle of the back skirt section (no need to make my derrière appear any larger with fullness there!)

I also lengthened the skirt to almost floor length, and fully lined it.


The poly silk was like working with water! It was so fluid I knew my lining would have to be also or it would spoil that lovely billowing drape.


I also used twill tape to strengthen the waistline and underlined the waistband with lining fabric rather than interfacing.


Now all I need is a ticket for a hot destination to wear my skirt....and perhaps some cotton to sew with after all that slippery fabric!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sunshine Stitchery!

I know many other dressmakers say this too but the warm weather really brings out the seamstress in me. Something about the sunshine makes me want to stitch up beautiful clothes.

The recent bout of warm weather we've been having in the UK has emboldened me and I have been working with some quite tricky fabrics, ones that I usually shy away from, but this time I had a vision of something in my head and the only way to get there was to deal with the difficult fabrics!

A while ago I brought some lovely gauzy handkerchief print cotton from Jessie at MessyJesse and knew it would make the perfect summer Tova dress. Ideal as a beach cover up or equally as good with a nude slip underneath as a dress.


This is my first Tova and certainly won't be my last, intact I have some essex linen in the washing machine right now ready for my next one. It stitches up really nicely and fairly quick too.


I love the fit, so comfortable without swamping you. I made a size medium with no alterations, other than doing french seams thoughout except for the placket and setting in the sleeves.


I used a lighter weight thread than normal for stitching the fine material, it had quite an open weave so a 40 weight was perfect. I also hand finished the cuffs and neckline for a neater finish, I didn't want a lot of visible topstitching on this lightweight garment.

I know I will be getting a lot of wear from this, I can even see it working over leggings as the weather cools. I can highly recommend the Tova pattern for anyone who hasn't made one yet, its the perfect addition to any handmade wardrobe!