Friday, 24 March 2017

Sewing small things

I've made a few small things recently but I'd say these 2 Batman capes have been the most appreciated! Somehow we managed to lose a Batman cape Harris had been given so I knew I had to replace it.  While I was at it I wanted to make one for one of his best pals. I bought the black and yellow satiny fabrics from the Man Outside Sainsbury's and the black and yellow felt from Hobby Craft.  I drew out the pattern onto newspaper roughly following the guidelines from this tutorial.  Inittially I was just going to use the black but then decided it would be nicer to line them.  I'm so glad I did as they fly up brilliantly in the wind now as we found out on the first scooter test the night after I made them! I wasn't sure how the scallops would work so only tried it on one, I wish I'd done it on both now as they look really good.  Disaster struck as I was ironing though and I managed to burn through the black on the non-scalloped one, just a little bit up on the neck piece. However it determined that the scalloped one was the one being gifted and the one with the wee hole was kept. Harris hasn't even noticed the hole yet but I'll darn it before he does.  I had sticky-backed velcro in my stash which i think must have been my mum's as I don't remember buying it.  I'd love to make some more capes with different themes, though I do find sewing with slippery fabric like this very frustrating!

Months ago, in the autumn I think, I cut out another See Kate Sew raglan tee and a short sleeved tee from Ottobre but never sewed them up.  I finally got round to this in January and they've both had lots of wear already - thankfully, as they're not going to be long enough for much longer. That'll teach me for procrastinating so long on sewing them up - I can't do that when sewing for a growing boy!

The gorgeous flamingo print is a Charley Harper fabric I got from Billow Fabrics and it's a lovely quality thick jersey which for once was really easy to top-stitch.  It's such a great happy fabric and I think I may have enough for a short sleeved tshirt for him for the summer out of it, fingers crossed. I think the pink ribbing was from Kitschy Coo.  As I saw this was the See Kate Sew raglan tee again - I've certainly got my money worth from this pattern, I've used it so much and love it!

perfect underarm seam matching - this makes me ridiculously happy!
The other tee-shirt is an old t-shirt of my husbands that he couldn't bear to part with even though it had holes in it. So, I used it for a mini tee.  I managed to keep the hem so I only had to top stitch the sleeves - a nice and quick make.  I did take the time with both these makes to overlock all the seams as they'll see a lot of washing so need to be hard wearing.  Harris loves this tshirt and it also makes him happy it was his dad's before him, which of course makes us happy too!

Soon it'll be time to start on his shorts and summer tshirt sewing, and a few more sun hats too - I'm looking forward to it. Roll on spring eh?!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

All that glitters... Toaster Sweater 1

I am not usually one for buying sewing patterns as soon as they're released, well not anymore! In fact it's been a long time since I've bought a sewing pattern full stop.  But when Sew House Seven released the Toaster Sweater #1 & #2 patterns I just couldn't resist!  I really fancied the style of #1 and to be honest didn't notice at first I could have just bought that one so I bought both.  I wasn't sure what fabric to buy for it, that is until I walked past the Man Outside Sainsbury's and spotted this gorgeous gold ribbed knit fabric. I didn't buy it the first time I saw it but kept thinking about it so went back a week later and bought a metre.

1 metre - plenty for a sweater, or so I thought.  My only experiences of making jumpers are my two raglan sweaters which are both very close fitting and fitted easily into 1 metre.  I didn't think to check the pattern before buying the fabric or before cutting into the fabric - big mistake!  I cut out the front and back piece then realised I was running out of fabric and would struggle to get 2 arms, the roll neck, cuffs and waistband.  In the end I got one full sleeve, then had to piece two bits together for the other sleeve. Hopefully it's not too noticeable.  I reduced the cuff width by 1" and had to piece both cuffs though managed to hide the joins on the inside of the cuffs as they are folded over.  Amazingly just squeezed the neck piece and hem band in without losing any width.

doing some patchwork to fit my pattern pieces out 1 metre.

1 cuff, 5 scraps of fabric.
This sewed up really quickly. I used the 5/8" seam allowances given in the instructions and ..shhh... don't tell anyone, I didn't finish the seams at all! The fabric doesn't fray and it's really thick so I just left it.  I have worn this sooo much, I absolutely love it!! I've already got plans for a second one, though once again I only bought a metre of fabric argh!!

Details - Pattern: Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven
Size: Sewed a size S. The only alterations I made were reductions as specified above, due to fabric restrictions.
Fabric & notions: Gold ribbed knit, £5 for 1 metre from the Man Outside Sainsbury's (Walthamstow, London). Cream thread from stash.
Were the instructions clear?:  Yes very clear, definitely a good pattern for a beginner.
Any changes I'd make next time: No, except I might interface the neck piece on the next one I have planned as my fabric isn't as stiff as this gold rib was so it might flop down too much otherwise.
Total cost: £5!

All that was left - tiny scraps.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Bear Paw

This is my latest quilt, which I realise looks quite similar to my last quilt. I'm so into this blue, yellow, white & black colour combination at the moment! This turned out exactly as I imagined it would and I'm so pleased with the finished quilt.  I used the last of my Little Critters animal panels, the owl and the bear.  When I decided not to use all 4 panels in my Little Critters quilt  I knew I wanted to keep the bear for this specific baby quilt and decided the owl would pair best with the bear and the fox with the rabbit.

This quilt was named the Bear Paw quilt after the block pattern I've used, the Bear Paw (funnily enough!).  There are lots of tutorials online for making this block pattern and the one I used was brilliant as it had instructions and size guides for making 3 different sized blocks.  I went with the biggest sized block, 14", as this was what corresponded most closely to the size of the animal panels.  It was a bit too small so I had to add 2.5" (including s/a) to each side of the blocks to make them the same size as the animal blocks.  The block is made up of half-square triangles, squares and rectangles and came together a lot more quickly than the checkerboard ninepatch pattern on my Little Critters Quilt (I found out the name of that other panel from a commenter on my Pattern Review write up of making the quilt - I love Pattern Review!). This quilt ended up being 29.5" x 33.25" in size.

I had enough scraps of the blue left and the white & black dash fabrics but I had to do a quick purchase of the triangle fabric (from the same Thicket Range for Moda as the animal panels) to bulk it out a bit, and buy another metre of yellow from a local fabric shop which I used on the front and back.  The gorgeous blueberry print fabric I used on the back of the quilt is fabric I've had for ages (I think I bought half a metre) and it looks perfect with the yellow.  This was the first time I made a quilt label and it's definitely something I want to start doing with all my quilts.  After doing some research online I bought Sakura Pigma Micron 05 Drawing Pens in blue & black as I'd read they didn't run or come out in the wash.  I did a few testers first and found that on some fabrics the writing bled a bit but on others it didn't so I picked a fabric it worked well on then washed it to check it didn't run in the wash - it didn't.  I've blocked it out in the photo above as I put the baby's name and date of birth on it but you can see part of it in the photo below.  I attached it to the back of the quilt with a zigzag stitch.

The quilting is straight lines 1" apart, except the animals which I quilted around the lines but not inside.  The binding was made and sewn on using the Purl Soho tutorials which I always look at to refresh my memory -
Making Double Fold Binding
Sewing on Double Fold Binding

Once again I'm so pleased with how this quilt turned out.  I know I've still so much to learn, in particular I want to experiment more with machine quilting and try out some more adventurous designs rather than just straight lines.  I also know I need to read up a bit more on how to finish off the quilt lines on the back of the quilt as I've been knotting them off and it looks a bit untidy. One technique I read said to make the stitches really small at either end then you don't need to knot but I've not been confident enough that it would hold together without knots. Has anyone any advice they can offer me on this? Any resources I should check out?

You can see the wee knots here.
While making this quilt I was also playing around with some of the scraps from these last two quilts and have an almost finished improvised quilt front. I just need a few more wee bits to finish it off! Well at least I think I only need to fill that one space for it to look completed? What do you think?  Improvising is so much fun, I really want to do some more of it!