Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A shirred summer dress

Hello everybody! I hope you have had a good Summer with a lot of sun and fun. I certainly did and although my intention was to sew very little, I actually ended up creating a bit of a Summer wardrobe at the beginning of July and thought I share this with you now even though Summer is drawing to a close.

I made three items and will post about these over the coming weeks.

In June 2013 I bought this set of Anna-Maria Horner 'Field Study' when I was holidaying in New York.

These are gorgeous cotton/linen blends that lend themselves ideally to dresses, tops and skirts. All I knew when I bought it was to make a 'Study Hall skirt' but I had no definite plans for the rest. So inspiration struck at last and I had used up this fabric in no time.

I love shirred summer dresses, they are flattering and easy to wear and if you are not too busty, you get away wearing them without a bra. They are my go-to summer dresses for at home and when I holiday in the Caribbean in the winter. The one dress I have been wearing for the past 5 years or so is finally losing shape. It was store bought and was great but the shirring is slackening and overall it's a bit tired now.

So I took out the wonderfully named 'Parenthetical in Deep' from my stash and set out making a new summer dress.

I used this tutorial for the dress which is fantastic. Shirred dresses are basically two big rectangular pieces stitched together with some straps. Shape comes through the shirring and this dress came together in less than 2 hours.

I love the way the pattern is squished together through the shirring and so much liked it that I made also a shirred top but more of that in another post.

Monday, 6 July 2015

A flock of geese - a finished quilt-

And at last I have a finished quilt to share with you. It's going to be a picture post with lots and lots of images. And here first of all the quilt in all its beauty.

You might recall that I used wool wadding for the first time for this quilt. I was really taken aback by how much loft this batting has compared to my usual cotton batting. I do like a relatively thick wadding and use Hobbs Heirloom which is roughly as thick as the Quilter Dream Select weight. The difference between the wool and cotton batting is that cotton has almost no loft and sort of feels more substantial.

Because of the higher loft I felt I could not quilt the quilt as dense as I might have done otherwise which was a little disappointing. I originally wanted to do vertical lines 1.5 in apart and then add horizontals along the seam lines but ended up only doing the vertical lines.

I also felt that although I basted this quilt very well that the quilt top and back moved more through quilting than anticipated. This wasn't a problem as such as I chosen the backing and wadding large enough  but it surprised me. Overall I had to slow down during quilting as my machine would otherwise slip a stitch which is also something I hadn't had before (if you disregard the time when I hadn't cleaned my machine....let's not talk about that).

I quilted with a beige 28w Aurifill thread as I often do. Aurifill or Guetermann Sulky are my two favourite threads.

My backing fabric is a text print from Carrie Bloomsten's 'Paint' collection which I thought works really well with this quilt. The front has a varying colour palette of bright and sedate colours and I chose both fabrics for each flying geese block to compliment each other which I hope gives the quilt a coherent design.

The binding is a dotty red/white fabric that contrasts well with the backing and also with the quilt front and really makes me smile.

The wool adding gives the quilt an entire different feel and drape. Folded up like in the image above it is obvious how much loft this quilt really has and at first I wasn't too happy with this and almost regretted my choice  but I am slowly getting around the softer drape and feel of the quilt and am sure that when the winter comes that I appreciate it even more.

And to close a few numbers and statistics:
  • 240 geese blocks @ 3" x 6" finished size makes 720 pieces of fabric stitched together
  • I used the "no waste" method where you make 4 geese blocks out of one square as described in this tutorial. I chose the squares rather larger than suggested though because I always square them off with a ruler and used a bloc-loc ruler this time which really works a treat
  • I used a very large selection of K. Fassett shot cottons, mattress ticking, gingham, moda cross weave and M. Dubrawski hand printed fabric

And this is it for the next 2 months or so. I am taking a summer break enjoying a bit more my photography and other non-quilting activities and will be back in the autumn.
Have a good one !

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A flock of geese - part three-

I don't mind basting a quilt. Sure it isn't the most stimulating of processes when making a quilt but it is a really important one and needs to be done right to have a good time quilting.

So I put on an audio book and get on with it. For my new 'flock of geese' quilt I used for the first time wool batting that I bought by the yard from 'Creative Grid' where I also buy my large cotton batting rolls. The woll wadding has much, much more loft than the cotten batting and I am interestd to see how this behaves during quilting.

But to make sure my quilt sandwitch isn't moving at all during quilting I secured it with over 400 pins. That is even for me a lot. One for each geese block makes 240 and one in each intersection which makes a pin every three inches. One hour later I was done and hopefully find some time and motivation this week in the evenings to get on with quilting.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A flock of geese -part two-

It's been a while since I updated on the progress of my new quilt. The geese came a long fine until I had done 200 of them and only 40 were left to do.....and those took me about 2 weeks to make. To be honest, they are not tedious or difficult to make but it sort of wears you out eventually.

But I am really pleased how they have turned out. Over the weekend I played around with a few combination and finally settled on most of them flying in one direction with a few "wild ones" in between.

And there is also one entire row breaking ranks and flying into the other direction!

All I need to do now is join them and get basting. I am thinking of using a wool batting for a change for extra warmth.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Greek summer dreams in fabic

I am an early riser, some might even say a ridiculous early riser. I normally get up at 5.30 am on a workday and it is not uncommon for me to do the same on the weekend. I love this hour of the day when I have the feeling that it is only me and a few more that might be up.

Why am I starting this blog post with my sleeping habits ? Well, because I woke up last Saturday at 5 am, birds singing and all and whilst lying there and waiting for my "inner machine" to start up, I decided I would quickly sew myself a new Linden Sweatshirt. 

When I was teaching at the Village Haberdashery a few weeks back, Annie had just stocked the utterly gorgeous 'Paparounes in Crimson' from the new Skopelos Collection from Art Gallery fabric. At first I was disappointed that it was a knit rather than quilting cotton as I had earmarked this striking fabric for a quilt back. But I just could not, not buy some and decided I could do with another sweatshirt.

And oh boy am I glad that it was a knit as this turned out just fabulously. I have not sewn with jersey knits before and was conscious of the stretchiness of this fabric. I used a jersey needle and as I don't have a serger closed the seams with a wide zig-zag stitch. I used a normal foot but would use my walking foot the next time around.

Like with my last Linden Sweatshirt version I did not finish the sweatshirt with ribbing but instead simply hemmed it but this time I used a twin needle which was also a first! It gave the hems a nice finish but I should have used a thinner thread.

The neckline was a little tricky to do and I suppose I also should have used the twin needle there but I was a little apprehensive to use it there but will also do so next time.

I made this version a size bigger than the last as I wanted the sweatshirt a little roomier and also thought that it would look better it being a knit. It sits really well just like my Nani Iro one. It really took only two hours from cutting to wearing. And yes I was wearing it at 8 am when I walked to the corner shop to get myself a well deserved butter croissant.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A bit of pink for the Sofa

The other day I was looking at my coffee themed cushions that I made for my sofa last year and thought with the approaching Summer that it needed a bit more colour. I had a look at my stash and thought this wonderfully violent bright pink bird Echino print would be a good starting point.

I had half a meter which is just perfect for the larger of my 3 sofa dedicated sofa cushions. I just love how this pops. The other two smaller cushions are featuring complimentary colours and are bit more sedate. I used some of my precious Melody Miller stash and after some contemplation decided upon the flies and disc prints from way back.

 All cushions are fixed with a zip a the bottom so both cusion sides can be equally displayed.


As always I used fusible needlelfelt to give the cushions a bit more padding. This wonderful fabric is available at Macculoch & Wallis  and I can't recommend it highly enough for cushions, bags and anything that needs a bit of extra padding.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A flock of geese - the start

Weeks ago I came across a flying geese quilt on Pinterest that I fell for hard. That combined with me giving away about half a dozen quilts to my siblings, prompted me to start a new flying geese quilt. One of the quits I gave to my sister is my 'Lotta fly away' and I gave the 'On point' to my brother. I love both of those quilts so I kinda thought I make myself a new one using a little of both .....

I adore the flying geese pattern and my stock of K.Fassett shot cottons, Zanzibar fabric, stash of Moda cross, gingham and ticking treasures are waiting to be made into a new large quilt with lots and lots of geese.

Let the sewing begin.