Saturday, 1 August 2020

Buttoned up

Time for another Endeavourers reveal. This quarter rather than all of us working to the same theme Janine and Catherine switched things up a bit. Each of us had to send something to inspire this quarter's piece to a partner, whose name was drawn from the proverbial hat.

My fellow Endeavourer, Gwen, who blogs at Textile Ranger, sent me this glorious array of buttons! What a great jumping off point for several flights of fancy :)

Penny Rugs, Suffolk puffs, Medallion quilts were all considered and discarded.

This is what I eventually created. I am calling it a "Memory Keeper" as every single element of it invokes a memory for me of a place, person or time, just in the same way rifling through my mother's and grandmother's collections of buttons recalled the outfits they were from or the uses they were intended for.

The base fabric for my Memory Keeper is pale yellow linen purchased on our last trip to the linen factory in Lithuania before we moved back to the UK. The pocket fabric is from an early Imperial Collection line by Robert Kaufman and it was the first quilting cotton that I ever purchased! As you can see it formed the centrepiece for the cushion, made at an evening class, that was my first ever patchwork project too.

This clay button was the subject of a very early blog post and, I think, the first ever link party that I linked up to!

This modern Dorset button harks back to an earlier age when buttons were handmade and beautiful in their own right. If my memory serves me well (always debatable!) this particular Dorset button was made whilst we were sailing from Tallinn to St Petersburg on the ferry!(I checked and it was and I blogged about it here)

These buttons were purchased in markets in Riga, France, Tynemouth and Yorkshire respectively and instantly evoke happy memories of lovely days out and enjoyable rummaging at craft stalls and Flea Markets.

These yellow and red buttons, however, evoke a person rather than a place as they were in a box of buttons inherited from my mum when she passed away last year. The box was marked "buttons for baby cardigans" as my mum was a great knitter up until the day she went into hospital, and her speed at producing jumpers and cardigans for her great-grandchildren was an amazement to me. So, these particular buttons have a special resonance.

As I am sure most of you do, spare buttons for clothes purchases are added to my button tin and kept even when the original garment has long since been discarded. This button, from a jacket long since given away, is from that pile of buttons that will surely come in useful one day :) One button is rarely needed though, but this one has finally found a use!

Of course it would hardly be right to ignore those lovely buttons that arrived in the post in the middle of the craziest time the world has seen for a long time. These sweet buttons will remind me of the inspiration for my Memory Keeper and my fellow Endeavourer who took the time to put the button sheet together and send it off across the world to me. Thanks Gwen!

Head on over to The Endeavourers blog to see the amazing pieces that the rest of the Endeavourers have produced for this challenge.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

More makes for boys

The recent delivery of my first copy of the Ottobre magazine has ramped up the boys clothes making obsession :)

First up a pair of denim twill shorts with patch pockets and a mock fly for the bigger gorgeous grandson. The mock fly had me thoroughly confused and, at one stage, was stitched up completely inside out but I got there in the end! I should have carried the topstitching right up to the top of the waistband but only realised that when it was all done :( Next time I will get it right!

Fingers crossed we get the weather for this outfit.

Of course it wouldn't be right to make for one gorgeous grandson and not the other so this t-shirt was the next Ottobre project I tried. I didn't have enough of the grey/turquoise fabric for a whole t-shirt (even one this small!) so the back, which you can just see, is a grey/white stripe left over from previous makes.

I did, however, have more than enough of this little jeeps fabric to make a second t-shirt from that pattern. I changed the way that I attached the neckline and armhole binding for this second version. I used the instructions from this video by Lauren Guthrie, a previous Great British Sewing Bee finalist, to insert the neckline and armhole binding and I think they turned out better than with the original method.

To go with the t-shirts another pair of Sunny Day Shorts complete with tartan ribbon tag :)

I found this great racing car fabric on sale at Stoff & Stil and couldn't resist buying a couple of metres, because little boys love racing cars, don't they? Again I used Lauren Guthrie's YouTube video for inserting the neckband and I am pleased with how it turned out.

You can see above how much flatter the neckline lies on the racing car t-shirt compared to the neckline on the police car t-shirt. I used the twin needle to finish off both of them too, but increased the stitch length slightly on the racing car neckline, which probably helped reduce the waviness too.

The next edition of  Ottobre is just out so it should be arriving here soon, and there are some great patterns in it that I am really looking forward to attempting :) You can check out the issue here and until August 15th avail yourself of the free P & P if you are tempted!

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Twins and titles

I have been feeding my boys clothes making obsession with some scary new additions to my sewing kit.

I have been thinking of subscribing to the Ottobre pattern magazine for a while now but have always put it off, partly because I didn't think that my dressmaking skills were up to it. I really want to make contemporary, practical outfits rather than classic clothes for the gorgeous grandsons (and, hopefully, future grandsons and granddaughters!) so I finally decided to bite the bullet :)

Now, I know that the magazine itself doesn't look scary

but what about this? There are 36 patterns with various size options in the issue, so to conserve space they are printed like this on 6 different pattern sheets. It is a bit daunting at first to try and work out which lines you are actually following to trace off a pattern, but I did get into the swing of it after a while.

The instructions for one of the patterns that I chose to try included a requirement to use twin needles, another New to Me addition to the sewing kit.

It took a couple of goes (and a quick look at this video on YouTube!) to get the needles threaded properly as the thread kept snapping the first couple of times I tried stitching. Eventually, though, I had another tool to add to my quest for professional looking clothing to add to my stitching repertoire :)

That is not to say that it is all plain sailing! This neckline is a bit wavy for my liking, so I think that next time I will have a go at using this tip to use a walking foot instead of the regular presser foot at Made by Rae. As the saying on my sewing room poster goes, however, "Finished is better than perfect"!

And here is that first finished project, a t-shirt for the nearly 4-yr old gorgeous grandson! You can see how wavy the neckline is but other than that I am pretty proud of it. The police car fabric is from Stoff & Stil and as I bought 1.5m and these t-shirts take up very little fabric there will be some more of these coming his, and his little brother's, way in the future :)

Have you conquered any scary looking projects recently?

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