Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Up above the clouds quilt

Can you tell yet that I love this quilt pattern?! This is my third version and I had so much fun picking out the fabrics!

Unusually for me this quilt really started with the backing fabric.  It's a Leah Duncan fabric called Up Above the Clouds So High. 

When my husband's best friend and his wife told us they were expecting a baby I knew I wanted to make them a quilt and this fabric immediately came to my mind as it just seemed so happy to me and the colours lovely and bright for a baby.  I had bought this fabric quite a while ago as I just couldn't resist it but I had to buy a bit extra in order to have enough for the entire back so now I still have some scraps left which is nice!

As I already had the backing fabric I just had to find matching fabrics for the front and plan the design.

I decided to pick out two of the colours and went with the pink and yellow.  The pink kona is the same pink as in the Sleep Tight panel quilt I just posted about but I can't remember what shade it is.  Sorry but I can't find the receipt for the yellow fabric either but I know it's a Cotton + Steel design.  The colours go so well together but I knew I wanted to use something different for the binding.  It's probably quite hard to see in these photos but the binding fabric is a lovely thin navy & white stripe.  This was an Ikea duvet cover which I have used for so many different quilting and crafting projects as it is such a nice fabric.  I wanted the design to be quite bold and simple as the backing fabric is quite busy so the Bow & Arrows pattern by Suzy Quilts was perfect.  This won't be the last time you see this quilt pattern (I have another in the works as I write this) as I think it is a very well designed and well explained pattern.  I should probably spend a bit more time squaring off all my blocks but I'm just not that much of a perfectionist when it comes down to it. I get so much enjoyment out of the process of quilting that I'm not going to worry too much about perceived imperfections as it's the overall impact of the quilt that matters to me and the amount of thought and love that went into it.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Winter wardrobe staples

Still trying to document my backlog of projects here so bear with me as I post some wintery clothes.  I'd rather do this before spring properly rolls around (soon hopefully?!) so I'm doing a two-in-one post here.  The skirt is really rather special as the fabric holds a lot of sentimental value for me as it belonged to my mum.  It works so well with this new plantain tee that it makes sense to write about then together.

Colette Meringue skirt in blue cashmere and Deer & Doe plantain tee in golden yellow cotton jersey

Details - Pattern: Colette Meringue Skirt

Size: I cut a size 6, this is given as a 29.5” waist & 41” hip which meant no alterations for me. However the waist doesn’t sit at the natural waist, it sits lower. Looking at the pattern this is the way it is designed to sit so it’s just something to keep in mind when picking a size.

Fabric & notions:  Beautiful dark blue speckled cashmere made in Scotland. This fabric belonged to my mum and was in her stash since the early 80s so it is at least 25 years old, possibly older. Only one small moth hole in it which thankfully doesn't show! I washed it in the machine on the wool setting and it came out fine. the lining fabric is a pink polyester I got in a fabric swap at a sewing meet-up. Faux leather for the waist binding.

Were the instructions clear? I didn't use the instructions as it's a pretty simple construction. However I did refer to the instructions for lining a skirt from my Great British Sewing Bee 'Fashion with Fabric' book. This is now one of my go-to places for guidelines on sewing techniques. I also used the technique given in this book for finishing the waist with faux leather binding. Whenever I’m doing an invisible zip now I tack the zip in place by hand on each side before sewing. This has really improved how neat my zips are. Then I just machine sew with the standard machine foot.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made/changes I would make next time: Most obviously I removed the scallops.  I also added pockets (I have made this pattern up before with pockets, the tutorial for the pockets was online but I can't find the link now). I used a lovely Cotton & Steel cat print cotton for the pocket lining. This time I also added a full skirt lining.

pocket detail

pocket lining fabric

pink lining & selvage on hem (had to keep that -'Cashmere Made in Scotland')

Total cost: I've had the pattern for years so I'm not counting it as a cost, likewise the fabric and lining were free so the only cost was a navy invisible zip and the faux leather binding so probably about £5?

Conclusion: This is a great basic pattern and works well for me as I don’t have to make any alterations. The first time I made this skirt, without the lining, I hadn’t been sewing that long, so I’d say it’s a great skirt for a beginners project.

Details - Pattern: Deer & Doe Plantain tee

Size: I've made this lots of times & my pattern pieces were cut at a size 38 at the bust grading out to a 40 at the waist and 42 at the hips but on this version I tapered it in again a bit at the waist and hips. I might also have reduced the scoop neck a bit when I first traced this out but it was so long ago I can’t remember.

Fabric & notions:
Mustard/golden yellow cotton jersey which I got from a fabric swap at a sewing meet-up in Glasgow.  It's a gorgeous tone of yellow and a good quality cotton jersey.

Were the instructions clear?: Yes. I don’t tend to use the instructions now as I’ve made this, and other t-shirt patterns, so often now. But I remember as a beginner finding these instructions really clear. However I do find the 5/8” seam allowance to be quite large for sewing with knits. I just sew with my regular machine, one line of straight stitches with a line of small zigzag right beside it. I didn’t bother finishing the seams on this.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made/changes I would make next time:
I've never used the elbow patch pattern piece but asides from that the only changes I've made to this version were to bring it in a bit towards the waist as I said in the size section above.  This is such a great basic tshirt pattern. I particularly like the low scoop neck.

Total cost:  The pattern is free, the fabric came from a fabric swap. I think I had to buy the thread so say £2?

Conclusion: A great basic tshirt pattern that is also suitable for various adaptations (it makes a great tshirt dress!)

I have had so much wear out of both these items since I made them in December and can't believe it took me over a year to actually sew them up as I had the fabric for both cut out for about a year before I got round to sewing them!  So is everyone else desperate to start on some summer sewing too?! and who's signing up for Me Made May this year?  I'm going to do it again.  I doubt I'll get many photos taken but I still enjoy the challenge and find it useful in planning what to sew.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Sleep Tight panel quilt

Well hello there! I can't believe I haven't posted anything since November!  I have been sewing a lot, mostly quilts but also some clothes for me and my son.  So to back up a bit this quilt was gifted to a friend's baby in December.  When I saw the panel I thought it would be perfect for one of the baby quilts I had planned. The panel is a Cotton + Steel fabric, from the Sleep Tight collection by Sarah Watts and you should still be able to see it here.

When I ordered the panel I asked Kate for advice on co-ordinating solids so she picked out the blue & the pink which both match perfectly.  I decided on adding triangles to echo the shape of the mountain and the tree and found this tutorial for doing half rectangle triangles.   I really enjoyed making these half rectangle triangles and working out how I was going to put it all together.  I realise it's a very simple design but it was still nice trying to work it out and I'd like to do more quilts where I don't follow complete quilt patterns.  Once it was together I felt it needed something else as a border so added the striped fabric (bought for another quilt which will hopefully get finished soon).  The backing fabric is 'minky fabric' which I bought at the Festival of Quilts last August.  So this doesn't actually have any quilt batting in it, instead I just used the quilt front with the minky fabric then did a bit of machine quilting on top.  I used my standard technique for binding which is to make double-fold bias binding, machine stitch it to the front then blind stitch by hand on the reverse.  The minky fabric makes this so lovely and soft and as it's not quite so big I thought it might be useful as a pram blanket.

When I think back to my first few quilts I do wonder how they're holding up to washing as I had no idea about how to finish the threads off and just knotted them on the outside.  Since then though I've been using a technique for finishing the threads by hiding them inside the quilt.  This is a really good video tutorial which explains it much better than I can!

It was nice to work with a panel in the centre and plan the quilt design round that and I'm so pleased with how this turned out!