Monday, 11 February 2019

Sew U Home Stretch raglan sweatshirt

Hello! February already and I haven't posted yet this year, oops! That's mainly because I spent most of January working on my Kingfisher English Paper Piecing (EPP) quilt top, which is now finished hurray! Last year I got so absorbed in making this quilt as I loved all the hand sewing. I've already started two more EPP quilts but I'm back today with another garment - the first item I've made this year!  It's a repeat of a favourite pattern of mine - the Built by Wendy raglan sweatshirt from her Sew U Home Stretch book.

This is my third time making this pattern and, as previously, I made no alterations.  I sewed up a straight size S with 1 metre of a gorgeous denim blue sweatshirting (95% cotton 5% elastene) from Ray Stitch.  The rust coloured ribbing was from, I think, Kitschy Coo fabrics, and I only had a small amount left as I previously used it on a sweatshirt for my son.  I had to piece the underside of the cuffs in order to have enough but you don't notice it and it's very satisfying to be able to use up quality scraps in this way. 

pieces cuffs

The book gives you a number of ways of constructing this but for some reason I always do this sweatshirt the same way - cuffs attached to sleeves first > sew sleeve seams > sew side seams of front & back > attach sleeves > sew neck band >sew hem band.  I wonder if maybe it would be easier to sew in the flat like I do with a standard teeshirt but I guess you just get into habits with repeat patterns and I find this way works well enough. I also pressed all the seams and overlocked them with the overlock foot on my Bernina.  For sewing the seams I use a straight stitch with a small zig-zag on the inside and this has worked well on my previous versions so I'm sticking with it! I've made this twice before, both in 2016, and as they get so much wear they're both looking a bit ragged. My favourite version, the pink one, has holes in the cuffs. I'd like to try some visible mending on this though rather than get rid of it as I still love it!

This sweatshirt is also one of my Make Nine plans for this year so that's a good start to the year. Maybe I'll get more than one item of clothing made this year!



Saturday, 15 December 2018

Jily ready to sew


It feels odd to be posting about a summer top in the winter. Well to be honest it feels weird to be posting about sewing clothes at all as it's not something I've done much of at all this year. It's been quilts all the way! I did manage to sew this top in time for the summer though and I'm very glad I did.  It's the Jily top from Ready to Sew and I saw a few gorgeous versions of this on instagram during Me Made May which inspired me to try it out. I've just pasted in my review from Pattern Review below but added in a tutorial I just found on Megan Nielsen's website which I think would help with making the tie as neat and clean a finish as possible. 


Pattern Description: Jily is fitted at the shoulders and falls into a relaxed fit below the bust. Wear it casual during the day paired with a high waisted jean or make it in a beautiful crêpe for an elegant evening out.

Pattern Sizing: 32 - 46

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Though I think to get a really good finish you would either need to have some experience of sewing curves or look at an extra tutorial. I took the top to work on at a sewing session at Ray Stitch and the tutor there reminded me about the importance of notching curves and really helped me to get a clean finish on the ties. There is a tutorial on the Ready to Sew website for doing the all in one facing but I think it would be helpful to have one for notching the ties as well. All it says on the instructions is to 'clip and trim where needed' which when it is labelled as a beginner pattern doesn't seem like enough direction to me somehow.


close-up which kind of shows the facing (I meant to take some in progress shots but forgot!)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It fits me nicely under the arm and I love the tie front and the shape of it - perfect for summer!

Fabric Used: This was a fabric I bought in Copenhagen about 5 years ago. It is a very lightweight cotton. I only had 1.47 metres in length and 65 cm in width so it was a tight squeeze!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't make any changes to the pattern at all except having to employ some patchworking skills in order to fit all the pattern pieces out of a very narrow piece of fabric! My sizing put me in 36 for bust, 38 for waist and 40 for full hip but it looked like quite a loose fit so I risked it with a straight 36 and it worked out fine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Oh yes I will definitely sew this again. I'd like to try the version without the tie as well. I would recommend it to others but would say if you're not experienced sewing curves and points maybe check out an extra tutorial to help with getting the ties nice and neat looking such as this tutorial on Megan Nielsen.




Conclusion: I'm really pleased with how this top turned out. I've looked back and I think this was the only garment I sewed this year so I'm glad it's a good one! I wore it loads in the summer and will again next summer.



Thursday, 13 December 2018

Sawtooth star quilt

I just checked back on my blog and the first quilt I made was in 2016 so I can't quite believe that this is me posting about the first quilt I've made for our own home, in 2018!  This quilt was made for my son's first 'big bed' and it's only actually a month late so that's not too bad going.

Sawtooth star quilt
 The idea started with the gorgeous Ray Hoekstra 'Small world' fabric for Cloud 9 fabric.  I've had this fabric since 2016 according to my blog as I used some of it to make a bag for my nephew but I can't remember where I bought it.  Sometime in 2017 I made two blocks with the 'small world' fabric just to try out the Sawtooth star block.  I never did anything with them though so this year, when I decided to make a quilt for my son, I went back to these blocks and decided to use them as the starting point.
Sawtooth star quilt block
Sawtooth star quilt block
 In addition to the 'small world' fabric I found this lovely warm yellow baby cord on the Minerva Crafts website.  They have a great sample service so I ordered a sample first to check the colour matched. The white fabric is mostly a 100% cotton sheet from a local charity shop, although the eagle-eyed among you may spot that two of the blocks have a slightly different shade of white, these were the first two blocks I made in 2017. I just used scraps of white fabric for them and unfortunately they were slightly different to the white in the rest of the quilt. The backing is a 100% organic cotton duvet cover, John Lewis via the local charity shop (so far it's been used to back 3 quilts and I still have some scraps left, not bad for £2 or £3!). I used Aurifil 50wt thread for the quilting.

Quilt backing
Close-up of quilting on the back of the quilt
The Suzy Quilts tutorial for the Sawtooth Star block is really good if you haven't made one before, or even if you had and you just want a wee reminder.  It gives you the different sizes to cut for each fabric for 4 different sized blocks. I started this way back in February and although the stars were fairly quick to put together it took a while to decide on the design, make it the size I wanted (roughly 44"x 64"), and decide how to quilt it.  The stars are 12" stars.  This quilt was sitting basted and ready to quilt for ages before I finally made a decision on the quilting.  I initially just had one diamond shape on top of each star but i decided it really needed the smaller one too to make it secure, and get the look I wanted.  When I started binding it I realised I hadn't made enough binding so had to stop again to make extra, luckily there were just enough scraps left!  I think this quilt has turned out really well, I love the colours and the design and luckily my son loves it too, and that's the most important thing.
Sawtooth star quilt
I was reading something recently (sorry I can't remember where) about handmade gifts. The post writer talked about thinking about the recipient while making the gift, about  pouring your love and admiration for that person into the gift.  That's what I think is so special about handmade gifts, and that is what I try and do when I make a quilt or any other gift for someone. All my love for my son is in this quilt and hopefully he will treasure it for years to come.

I'm trying to finish off lots of WIP (works in progress) before the end of the year, and post about them on my blog, so hopefully I'll be around here a bit more often.  Is anyone else trying to finish off projects before the end of the year?!

 

Saturday, 8 December 2018

'Over the rainbow' baby quilt



This quilt has been finished for a while but it's taken me ages to get photos of it.  It's a very special quilt for a very special person, my son's key worker from nursery.  She has just had a baby (well 3 months ago now so I'm a bit behind!) and my son had just moved on from nursery to school so I wanted to give her a special gift.  She is such a lovely person and we felt so lucky that she was our son's key worker, and friend, for the past 2 & 1/2 years.  The inspiration for this quilt was one I saw on london_and_granger's instagram.  If I had been making it for me I'd probably have gone for similarly bright colours but I knew that the mum this is a gift for likes to wear a lot of blue and denim so I decided to stick to a more muted colour scheme.
Leah Duncan fabric
Leah Duncan fabric
The starting point for the quilt was the beautiful Leah Duncan bird and rainbow prints from the No Place Like Home collection.  I knew I wanted to stick to mostly blues but felt the pale peach went so well that I had to add that in.  Asides from the dark blue chambray and the pale peach, which I had already, all the other fabrics were bought from M is for Make specifically for this project.  The backing is the last of a beautiful blue/white striped double or king (I can't remember which) John Lewis cotton duvet cover I got in a local charity shop.  I also used this to back this a quilt for my son which hopefully I'll get photos of soon! The binding was a roll of chambray binding one of my lovely friends gave me and it matches so perfectly. It's the first time I've used shop bought binding on a quilt and I must say it did speed the process up a fair bit not having to make the binding! As usual I used the attaching double fold bias binding tutorial from Purl Soho.

I used the hst tutorial from Suzy Quilts as a reminder on how to do half square triangles and cut them as 9" squares as I had just bought a 9" square quilting ruler so it made for nice and easy, and quick, cutting out! I did draw out the layout beforehand, though I altered it slightly when I put them all together.  Does anyone ever stick to exactly their initial plan with a quilt? I know mine always end up changing throughout the process of making!

quilt design plan, with multiple changes added/scored out etc!

 With shop bought bias binding, a 9" square ruler, and chain piecing, this quilt top was pretty quick to put together.  The quilting took a bit longer though as I couldn't decide what, or more precisely, how much, quilting to do.  I took the question to instagram and The Littlest Thistle had some very good advice - check the batting instructions for advice on how far apart the quilting lines should be, and try and anchor all the squares evenly.  I should have taken some indoor photos of the back of the quilt so you could see the quilting better but I found some earlier photos I took of the front of it so hopefully you can see it there.  I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. I love this quilt so much and my son did too, I hope it is well loved in its new home.