Thursday, 13 June 2019

Starry Skies quilt

I think this quilt was my first sewalong quilt #starryskiessewalong, I didn't finish by the deadline but having the sewalong was really lovely, seeing everyone's progress and chatting to people.  The quilt pattern is the Starry Skies Quilt by Then Came June patterns.  I finished making the quilt top in May 2018 and finally got it quilted in May 2019!
Starry Skies quilt, pattern by Then Came June
I really should keep a note of which fabrics I buy specifically for projects as it would be interesting to see. In this case I really can't remember. I think I may have bought the Cotton and Steel crosses yellow and mint for this project but I think most of the others were ones I already had. The peach, deep pink and white are the only second-hand fabrics in this quilt, the peach was a large piece of fabric I got in a charity shop in Wales years ago and it's been used in lots of things. The white is a 100% cotton sheet I got in a local charity shop. The pink was given to me by a friend whose grandmother had passed on lots of fabric to her. The small diamonds are from a pink Betty Jackson fabric I bought in Cloth House years ago and made a tank top with, it wasn't very well made so it came apart and has been re-used for quilting projects.  I love these two centre fabrics, I think the terracotta is April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics and the horses is a Leah Duncan print.

I found this instructions for this so clear and easy to follow and I love how the stars aren't in straight lines.  It is obvious in these two close-ups that my stars are far from perfect, they don't line up properly at all. However I don't really care as I love the colours I used and this quilt makes me happy.  I think I'm getting more precise now and have found using my walking foot helps with this as it has a proper 1/4" seam allowance, previously I'd just been using my standard foot and assumed the edge was 1/4" but it's slightly bigger. Also I am slightly more careful with cutting out now than I was a year ago. But really, I'm not that into being precise and perfect anyway, I'd rather have it finished and loved!

Quilt backing, photographed in a garden.
For the quilt back I found a single IKEA sheet in my local charity shop.  I didn't buy it the first time I saw it, kept thinking about it and went back the next week to find it was still there.  The terracotta colour matches the April Rhodes fabric on the front really well and I added in some other pieces as it wasn't quite big enough.  The binding is made from all the little scraps, not cut on the bias this time as there wasn't enough fabric.  This is the second quilt I've made for our own home and by the end of this year I'd like to have another 2 finished for us.  Seeing this quilt, and the one I made for my son's bed, every day brings me joy!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Gift sewing - free pattern

I feel like this post should have a warning - contains many photos of pencil cases!

I had a wee spate of making book bags for gifts in 2017, then again in 2018, though for some reason the second lot never made it to the blog.  Now it seems I've moved my attention to sewing pencil cases.  The main reason for this is the pattern is just so good!  The pattern is the free Canvas Pencil Pouch tutorial from Noodlehead Patterns.  I found the instructions so clear and easy to follow and the result is a really neat professional looking pencil case.  This is a free pattern, thanks Anna! It only has 3 pattern pieces and is perfect for using up scraps.  All you need to add is one 10" zip and some interfacing.

The first one I made was for my son for Christmas and it's already all covered in pen on the inside but I don't mind.  When I create things I want them to be things that are used every day and I love seeing him bringing this out on the table to do his drawing or practice his letters.  The yellow stripes are scraps from my Stripes & Herringbone quilt and the sweet panda/polar bear fabric was a fat quarter from Sew Scrumptious.  I picked up a bunch of lovely metal zips in a charity shop a while ago and this is one of the 10" ones I had, it's perfect for small hands as it has a built in zip pull. 
Photos of pencil case sewn using Noodlehead free canvas pouch tutorial

Then I decided that the older brother of the recipient of my recent Monochrome quilt really needed a pencil case in matching fabric so I made this one up. For this one I interfaced both the outer and lining fabrics to make it a bit sturdier.
Photos of pencil case sewn using Noodlehead free canvas pouch tutorial
This one was for a friend's daughter's 7th birthday.  I love this horse fabric which I also used in a recent quilt top (which still needs quilting). I thought it went really well with this scrap of Kona pink from my Sleep Tight quilt panel. The lining is a lovely wavy stripe fabric I bought years ago in Liberty from their quilting cotton section and I love how nice and bright this pencil case turned out.  I'm sure there will be more to come!

Photo of pencil case sewn using Noodlehead free canvas pouch tutorial

Photo of pencil case sewn using Noodlehead free canvas pouch tutorial

And finally I made this one very last minute for a birthday gift on Saturday, 2 hours before the party. It's nice to know I have a reliable pattern I can whip up quickly now. I bought this fat quarter of flamingo fabrics ages ago with no real purpose, I just really liked it.  It was perfect for this little girl and I've since heard that she really likes it which is great!

Photo of pencil case sewn using Noodlehead free canvas pouch tutorial

Photo of pencil case sewn using Noodlehead free canvas pouch tutorial

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Sew u Home Stretch basic crew neck tee

It seems when I need to get over a break in garment sewing that jersey fabric is the way to go, and the Sew U home stretch book provided the pattern again.  I have been needing some new t-shirts for a while as last summer I sent quite a few misshapen ones to fabric recycling and never replaced them. There are quite a few t-shirt patterns I would like to try out but as I had the Sew U Home Stretch book already I thought I would give the basic crew neck pattern a go first. I am so glad I did as I now have 2 new t-shirts which I know will get worn so much.

Today is the first day of Me Made May, if you don't know what that is then check out Zoe's post here for more information.  I haven't decided on a pledge yet that works for me but I've started the month off wearing my new blue/white stripey t-shirt!

I've just amalgamated my two Pattern Review reviews together below. These two items are the first part of my mini-wardrobe for the Pattern Review contest I mentioned in my previous post  Even if I don't get the rest of the wardrobe done in time for the contest I am very happy to have two new t-shirts to wear!

Pattern Description: Basic crew neck t-shirt

Pattern Sizing: XS - Large. I sewed up the size small and my measurements are b34, w29, h 41.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. However if I’d used the recommended seam allowance on the sleeve hems I think the sleeves would have turned out much shorter than in the drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The book gives different construction methods graded easy to hard.  I did shoulder seams>attached the neckband by marking 4 equal points on neckband piece & on neckline then stretching it to fit as I sewed>attached the sleeves>twin needle to hem them> sewed one side seam>hemmed the bottom with a twin needle>sewed other side seam. A very quick sew! I did consider using some kind of tape in the shoulder seams but I didn’t have any to hand & realised that I’m still wearing a T-shirt I made 4-5 years ago without stabilising the shoulders & it's holding up fine.  I also didn't overlock the seams on either of these t-shirts, except on the neck band of the blue and white striped one.  The jersey won't fray and no-one else sees the inside except me so I didn't see much point.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really wanted a crew neck pattern like an old favourite T-shirt I have. Not too fitted, a bit boxy and this fitted the bill perfectly.

Fabric Used: Version 1. A very stable cotton jersey from a local fabric shop. The inspiration for this T-shirt was actually an old photo of my mum looking very cool in the 70s in a pair of wide legged navy trousers and a pink or purple and navy striped T-shirt. I wish I could find that old photo! This jersey was so nice to sew with. I just made a dress with a viscose jersey and I cannot get the hem to sit nicely, I've tried hem tape, zig zag, twin needle, wooly nylon in the bobbin case! So it was lovely to sew with a fabric that just behaved itself!
Version 2. A lovely cotton jersey (95% cotton 5% elastane - Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified).  This fabric did curl a bit at the edges but not enough that it made it more difficult to sew with.  I found the stretch twin needle, with wooly nylon in the bobbin case, and a slightly looser tension worked well with this and prevented any tunnelling.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:I shortened it by 2.5” and only used a 1/4” hem on the bottom and sleeves instead of the recommended 3/4”. I'm assuming the hem allowances are bigger because it's given for a cover stitch machine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I will definitely sew this again, probably not for a wee while though as I have another few T-shirt patterns is like to try out too.

Conclusion: A perfect everyday T-shirt pattern that I feel has already become a TNT pattern for me!

Friday, 26 April 2019

Pattern Review contest plans

This year I'm determined I'm going to get back into garment sewing and have more of a balance of quilts and clothes. not least because I could really use some new clothes! One of my favourite summer skirts has shrunk and has some stains that won't come out so I think it's going to become part of my next quilt (the non-stained parts of course!).  My two favourite summer dresses are, respectively, 15 years old and vintage (c1980s), so I would really love a new summer dress for this year. I'm also short on t-shirts and a summer jacket.  I am trying really hard not to buy anything new, unless I know who made it and that they were paid and treated fairly for doing so. This means that, along with scouring the charity shops, I hope to make some new clothes for this summer.

When I saw the Mini-Wardrobe contest on Pattern Review I thought it was the perfect starting point!  We're off to Amsterdam for a 4 day break at the end of May so the timing of this contest is perfect - hopefully I can have a nice wee capsule wardrobe ready to take with me.

The contest runs from April 15 - May 15 and the rule is to make a mini-wardrobe that will coordinate and work together, It has to be 5 garments, 3 tops and 2 bottoms and all tops must be able to be worn with each bottom.

These are my plans, all with fabric I already own. From top to bottom these are:
1. Peach/coral fabric from a charity shop. I'm not really sure what it is, maybe viscose, rayon. It's nice and soft and drapes well. This is going to be a Jily top by Ready To Sew but this time without the tie as I already have a pink one with a tie.
2. Turquoise jersey (Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified) from Ray Stitch.  I've just finished this up, it's the Crew neck tee from the Sew U Home Stretch book. I'll post a review soon.
3. Blue/pink striped cotton jersey from Saeeds in Walthamstow. This is also finished already, another Crew neck tee from the same book as above.
4. Rust coloured silk/linen blend from a market stall in Walthamstow. This is going to be the Freemantle trousers. The pattern is printed off and taped together and I hope to make a start on these this weekend.
5. Blue chambray cotton from the Village Haberdashery.  This is going to be another Megan Nielsen Brumby as I love this pattern. My purple version has shrunk and has stains (the skirt I mention at the beginning of this post) so I could do with another in rotation as I tend to wear my Brumby's most days in the summer!  However I am now wondering if I have enough of it to make this longer summer skirt, the Justine skirt from Ready to Sew

I have already sewn the two t-shirts and hopefully I can get started on the trousers this weekend. However we've had a fair bit of lovely weather recently which is throwing a bit of a spanner in the works as I'm so enjoying getting out in the garden and pottering around! This particular patch of wildflowers below is making me extremely happy!  The previous owners of our house really looked after the garden and it's lovely but it's all a bit neat and ordered for me so I'm hoping to make it a bit wilder with more colour and variety over the next few years!

patch of wildflowers in a garden