Sunday, 30 June 2013

By Jove, she did it!

So, during the week, I got a bit carried away cutting out stuff to sew this weekend. We were due to have a sewing day in Saturday, but for various reasons - finances, builders, wedding quilts and puppies - it was postponed. So I decided I'd get stuck in and get all three items finished..... 

Just waiting for a hem
First was the Sorbetto - a free pattern from Coletter, available here. Because I was trying to make this from 1 metre of fabric, I chose to not have the pleat in the front. The saga with the missing 3cm was resolved with the suggestion of a contrast hem leading to the realisation that, at only 5' 2", I didn't actually need any addition - it turned out the perfect length.

Next came the Schoolhouse - I have already made the tunic length version and I loved that - found it very easy. However, for some reason this one didn't work anywhere near as well. Something went wrong with the top, and so it's a bit on the snug side! Also, I don't like the proportions as much as on the tunic.

That took care of yesterday, and today was the turn of the washi dress. Why, oh why did I take so long trying this?? It's was an absolute joy to put together, including some exciting shirring!


I've somehow managed to collect a rather large amount of this gorgeous pink records fabric, Melody Miller Ruby Star Vinyl, and so it seemed like the perfect way to use some of it instead of gazing adoringly at in on the shelf! It's a beautiful soft, fluid linen and it sewed up like a dream.

This was the final pressing before the grand trying on! I chose not to make a muslin, basically because I'm lazy! But also because I'm not good at repeating myself (as the Schoolhouse proved). Considering how hard I find it to find clothes that fit well in shops, it's remarkable how lucky I've been with those I've made, without having done too much fitting, if any.

And here's the finished article. It's fits beautifully, and I'm so pleased with it. I have some gorgeous Lnen Dots linen/cotton blend in Heather that I was gong to use for a dress length Schoolhouse fora wedding. However, after the problems I've had with this one and how much I love the washi, I'm considering a change of plan!


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Getting ready...

A few of us LMQG girls are getting together on Saturday for a sewing day, and this time, I'm actually going to sew instead of spending the day unpicking!

We were originally going to make skirts, but that's kind of gone a bit awry.... possibly cos we're not known for our wearing of them!

I've got two tops cut out - the resolved raindrops fabric now ready to become a Colette Sorbetto, and some hot pink Bike Path from Lucky Penny by Alison Glass, all cut out to be a short Schoolhouse top.

Sunday is set aside for a quilt top day, so it's going to be a busy weekend.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

How bloody annoying!

Yesterday, I snapped up a metre of gorgeous, silky new Stof to make the perfect English summer top. I've read loads of blogs and even seen books promoting how many things you can make with a metre or yard (which is smaller, slightly) and so I was hopeful I could whip up a little shell top.

However, maybe I've just been incredibly dense (which is entirely possible) but after much wrangling and re positioning I've discovered all those blogs and books have one EXTREMELY IMPORTANT word missing:


I am literally less then 10cm short in one area while having acres of spare elsewhere.

Friday, 21 June 2013

A model Melody aeroplane....

I suppose it's the same the world over - every time someone designs something, we feel the need to try and amend it in some way - hopefully for the better. A few weeks ago I saw someone had tweeted a smaller version of the Aeroplane bag, and I was so impressed I started to hatch a plan...

I had intended to make a full size version to take my sewing machine to the Retreat, but while I was waiting for an LMQG sewing day for that one, the idea of a model aeroplane, as it were, started to develop.

I have some lovely Melody Miller Ruby Star Sparkle heavier weight fabric-you saw some of it for the Super Tote last weekend.  A small straw poll confirmed that the blue/green phones would go well with the aqua viewfinders, and so the pieces were cut and off we went.

I printed the pattern off two sheets to a page, and then adapted the follow on measurements to fit.  

This bag has a lot of interfacing, and as the fabric was heavier weight, and as it isn't payday till Monday and I didn't have exactly what I needed, I improvised!  I used headliner fabric in place of the Annie's Soft and Stable - which is when my beloved Janome started to let me know she wasn't a fan of the project!  I had no Peltex, so I used a very stiff fusible something or other - it's worked, it's very thin, so added no thickness to the seams, but I have no idea what it's called!  And I did away with the Shape Flex or any similar replacement altogether!

So, as you see from the photo above, I cheated again with the straps, this time with some jute webbing, which picks out the glittery gold stars on the phones quite nicely.

I picked a Zen Chic grey for the lining, because it had the same kind of creamy colour in the rings as the background of the phones, and I thought the rings echoed the viewfinders.  I put a small zipped pocket on one side and a divided patch pocket on the other side for my phone.

Now, I am guessing the small size didn't help my cause, nor did the fact that I chose to use a chunky zip.  And I love the chunky finish.  But it was an absolute sod to put in!!!  I got very, very cross.  And Janome really didn't help.... she had a right old strop, and in fact we are not friends at the moment - she might not get her nice new Aeroplane carrier at this rate!

But, after much swearing and tugging and re-stitching, and over-stitching, and unpicking and doing it all again, and working out how the heck to not sew the wrong bits to the other wrong bits......


And here it is with a mug for's about 9.5" high and 13" wide. Cute, eh?!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Super (tote) sewing day, part two

Off I went back to Aneela's this morning to hopefully finish the super totes. When I got there I discovered Mrs Hoey had cheated overnight, and while holding my tote and sewing machine hostage, had done a bit of extra work on her tote.  To be fair, as Aneela pointed out, I did cheat on the straps....

I won't tell you anything about Aneela's as I don't want to spoil her surprise, but suffice to say it's lovely and sooooooooo pretty.  I believe she's planning to blog it tomorrow, so do hop over to Comfort Stitching to see her version.

My hopes of a quick finish were soon dashed as the inside is by far the hardest bit of this bag. Also, I was gutted to realise that the purple zip I happily bought yesterday was completely the wrong type of purple - the fabric is a much more reddy shade, so in my photos the zip looks blue.  Thankfully it doesn't look as odd in reality. Anyway I managed to get the recessed zip panel into the front and back lining pieces, but putting the gusset in was a lot more challenging. 3 times I tried it sitting down at the sewing desk and would it fit?  I came very close to throwing my toys out of my pram!! Eventually I stood up at the ironing board and it worked perfectly - don't ask me why.  So then, eventually I was at the final bit, the sewing together of outside and inside, and thanks to a little bit of distraction for the opposition in the form of homework about bats (as you do!) I had managed to pull ahead in the race to the finish line.

I'm really pleased with the finished bag, and am hatching plots to make a shallower version as a handbag - I'll keep you posted on that one.  In the meantime, this little beauty had me working on it for two hours picking and cutting fabrics on Friday, about 6,5 hours with it yesterday and another 4 hours today.  Can someone who has not been trying to make it with a friend let me know how long it really takes???!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Super (tote) sewing day

Over the last 15 months, since we first met, I've been lucky enough to have several get-togethers with Aneela Hoey, ostensibly for sewing and chat, but in reality far too much chat happens and we rarely, if ever, end up sewing!  Since I went back to the world of full time employment, and with Aneela's hubby working shifts, it's been harder to meet up, but we planned a sewing day for today, and last night in a flash of insanity inspiration, decided to each make a Super Tote.

This is one of those patterns by Anna 'Noodlehead' that much like the 241 tote has taken the quilting world by storm, and is up there with the Aeroplane in the 'must make' stakes. Yesterday Aneela blogged that was planning to make one, and I was dithering between that and the Aeroplane, so it seemed fate that we work on them together.

As usual, distractions got in the way at the beginning - there were quilt tops and yummy fabric to be admired and coo-ed over, and gossip to catch up on.  I don't think my sewing machine even made it out of the bag, let alone be plugged in, until at least an hour and a half had passed.  Luckily, I did quite a lot of prep last night, cutting out all the bits, and working out which fabrics to use for which part of the bag.  In fact, that would be my one criticism so far of the pattern - although the picture shows it being made with different fabrics for the various external parts, the cutting layout (although only a suggested layout) shows the front, back and external pocket being cut out of one fabric, and it took me a while to get my head around which bits to cut from what.

I had decided to go with Melody Miller fabric, much as that made me feel incredibly disloyal in Aneela's house! I used the rich coloured heavier weight fabrics from Ruby Star Sparkle, including the fab roller boots. I managed to cut one piece wrong - not realising there was only an external pocket on the front - and so I used the wrongly cut cameras to line the front pocket, instead of just facing it.  I have to say I'm a bugger for cheating on straps, and I do like to use webbing, so I used some grey heavyweight webbing I already had in my stash for something else (which I will now need to replace - MORE shopping.... *sigh*....)  and I also decided to forego the piping (too much faffing for me!).  Just look at all that wonderful fabric stacked up behind the ironing board - with stuff like that to look at, is it no wonder I got little sewing done??  

Once we'd stopped for a scrummy lunch (thanks, M&S!) we got back to the sewing, and tried to get the gussets done without sniggering every time we said the word 'gusset'!

I went for some of Melody's vintage flowers - one thing I love about that fabric is the colours in it go sooooo well with other Melody fabrics.  I have to confess I was a bit unsure at this stage that it might be a tad OTT.  But I was really happy once I'd wrestled the gusset (hrumph!) into place and worked out how to topstitch it once the back was added - it actually looks great.  Now, wouldn't it be fab if I had a picture of that stage to show you?  

Well, the thing is, By the time we'd done all that bit, we'd run out of time, and so we've planned to go back again tomorrow for a couple of hours and get the bag finished - I'm hoping the lining, recessed zip and internal pockets are quicker to put together than the outside, or I'll be back on Monday too, and work might not be greatly pleased by that!

So you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to see that...

Those of you who read Aneela's blog will have seen yesterday that she said she'd been feeling a bit down in the dumps and to make herself feel better she'd decided to make a project pouch for a friend of hers, because making things for other people always made her feel better.  She'd used the puppy print from Sherbet Pips and I have a soft spot for that fabric as it reminds me of my titchy springer, Bella.  So imagine my squealy delight this morning to arrive at Annela's and find out the friend was me!  And here it is in all its puppy glory.  All ready to be stocked up for my EPP class at the Fat Quarterly retreat.  

And while we're on that subject, don't forget the lovely Annie is having a fantastic shopping event at the Village Haberdashery on Friday 19th July, with a special evening opening for retreat goers - there will be cupcakes and wine and evryfin'.  Oh and there's a 10% discount all day for in-store purchasers, so if you fancy on stopping off there en-route to South Kensington for retreat supplies, you'll get a great welcome.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Resistance is futile....

I tried, really I did, but it just got too wearing listening to all the squeals of excitement and seeing all the fab photos of swap items, so I gave in......

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!!  See you there!