Thursday 24 December 2020

Cosy Clothes

 Although I have been neglecting this blog lately, my sewing machine has been whirring away.After the glut of t-shirts, shirts and shorts made for gorgeous grandsons in the summer a whole new world of autumn and winter makes beckoned!

First up this doggy sweatshirt for the littlest grandson. I have had the fabric for ages but for some reason had never got around to using it until now. The pattern was another from  Ottobre magazine and was very straightforward apart from those tiny cuffs! 



As you can see I managed to get the dogs on one of the cuffs upside down, fortunately I am sure that the recipient will not notice :)

Of course I can't make a top for one grandson without making one for his big brother too!

Dinosaurs in space fabric from Flamingo Fabrics It has a brushed backing so it is very cosy! Our grandson has asked me a couple of times why the dinosaurs are in space though?  I haven't been able to come up with a satisfactory answer for him yet :)

Sunday 1 November 2020

Making Waves

 It is reveal day for this quarter's Endeavourers Challenge, this time the theme for the Challenge was "The Sea".


I have called my piece "Making Waves", it is made with strips of upcycled denim for the waves with quilting cotton scraps for the island in the distance. 


Various denim scraps

 Over the years I have amassed a store of cast-off denim jeans that my sons either grew out of or decided were no longer their style, so I was delighted to have the perfect excuse to dig them out and start cutting into them. 


Flock of seagulls rising from the shoreline

 This is the view from my sewing room window, so I didn't have to look very far for inspiration for this piece.I wanted to depict the sea on a windy, stormy day though, which is a fairer reflection of the usual conditions here on the West Coast of Scotland! 

Wave breaking over the railings on seafront
This is the view today! 

Denim strips pinned to depict waves

I pinned the strips of denim and cotton to a cotton backing before stitching them down. 

Voile and lace inserts to depict waves

Then placed the stitched piece on wadding and backing and machine quilted waves adding strips of lace and pieces of voile fabric between the strips of denim in places to represent the crest of the waves.

On the day that I started putting this piece together I noticed some movement out in the water, and when I went out to investigate I saw this little chap frolicking amidst the waves.

Seal swimming in sea

So, naturally I had to include him in my piece too!

Hand embroidered seal head with beads

I embroidered a stumpwork slip of a seal head, adding a bead for the eye and then attached the head to the denim background before stitching some beads for bubbles behind him. 

Satin stitched outlines of hills

The hills on the island were defined with satin stitch and I added some French knots for sheep too.

Tucked away skimming the waves, almost out of sight, there is a windsurfer too, and can you believe that today, when even the ferry was not running, someone was daft/brave enough to be out windsurfing in that very spot! 

Hands holding a seascape art quilt

Of course, it wouldn't be right to make a seascape quilt without taking a photograph of it in front of that very seascape, so in between waves crashing over the seafront here is my brave assistant (OH) desperately holding on to my quilt! 


As ever with the Endeavourers Challenges the piece that I finally submit is very different to the piece that I originally envisaged making! I really enjoy these challenges even when, as with this one, I leave it all to the last minute :)

Find out my fellow Endeavourers projects for this quarter's challenge here


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?

Tuesday 21 July 2020

And some patchwork too

Despite my new obession with making clothes for little people I have managed to fit in some patchwork sewing too.

I have been stitching along with Jacquelynne Steve's Silver Linings Sew Along, where she posts instructions for a 6.5" block every Monday for 12 weeks.

The 12 weeks are almost up but you can catch up with the blocks here.

There are instructions for bonus embroidery blocks available too but I have chosen to ignore them for the time being :)

I haven't been taking photos of my blocks as I have gone along other than these at the beginning, but as you can see I decided to make 3 of each block so that I would end up with a useful size quilt at the end. The turquoise, white and yellow block is the only one that I made with all solids, all of the rest are made with whatever print scraps I had to hand. I decided after I had a few blocks for comparison that the solids block just didn't fit in with the rest so I have already made another of that block with prints that I will use instead when I put them all together.

Just in case you think it has all been plain sailing, I only discovered after I had cut all of the squares for the final block that these were all 3" when they needed to be 3.5" !!!

Like many of you, I am sure, I have taken the opportunity that the current crisis provided to revisit some old (very old!) projects in the hope of having a much reduced WIP pile when (if?) life returns to normal.

My first venture into the world of patchwork and quilting was in an evening class in 2006, where I signed up to make a sampler quilt. Having no idea of what I was taking on I elected to make a quilt of 25 QAYG blocks, and then to make life more complicated I opted to make the blocks on point!

All but one of the blocks were pieced years ago but I never completed the central block, a Folded Star block. Over the years I thought about knuckling down and getting that block finished but it has taken me until now to actually do it! The original instructions, if there were any, had long gone, so a quick Google search was needed to work out exactly what needed to be done. As I usually find, there wasn't that much left to do to complete the block.

The central star was already attached to the backing block so all I needed to do was add the outer frame fabric, sashing strips and the corners to put the block on point. After a mild panic when I thought that I had run out of the corner fabric, it did not take long to finish the block.

I just echo quilted the circle and the square frame as there is enough going on in the block! The points are not quite as accurate as I would, hopefully, be able to achieve nowadays, but as they say "finished is better than perfect"!

Now to get to grips with joining them all together :)

Sunday 19 July 2020

On a roll

The new obsession continues!

I have had a Jalie t-shirt paper pattern sitting in my cupboard for over a year and had the fabric to make several t-shirts sitting next to it for nearly as long :) If there was ever a time to dig it out and have a go then surely this was it!

Having only ever used pdf patterns before tracing patterns was a whole new world, so once I had managed that it was time to get busy.

So, that is what I did.

First up a penguin pirates t-shirt for the littlest gorgeous grandson! This fun fabric from Jelly Fabrics has been sitting in a drawer calling to me for months! I am so pleased to have finally used it :)

Next up a bigger pirate t-shirt with contrast sleeves.

Then a little cream rocket t-shirt with fabric that I bought in Japan on our trip there last year.

and a blue rocket t-shirt for big brother.

Then I got carried away and made 4 more t-shirts for the boys mixing up fabrics when I was just short of enough for a whole t-shirt.

The pattern Jalie 2918 , bought from Sew Hot, includes 27 different sizes in the instructions from age 2, which was one of the reasons that I bought it, as I intended one day to make matching t-shirts for my son and grandsons.

Well that day had arrived! Matching t-shirts for Daddy and his boys :)

I knew that my son struggles to get t-shirts that are long enough so I asked my d-i-law to measure one that she knew fitted him and send me the details. After a bit of mathematical confusion (the first cut was nearly dress length!) I finally worked out what length it really needed to be :)

I had never attempted a v-neck before but I am quietly pleased at how they have turned out, well apart from the exception below.

I used jersey ribbing for all of the v-necks except for the three matching t-shirts where I used the same jersey as for the body of the t-shirt. My son tells me that the smallest t-shirt is impossible to get on over the head of our grandson so I have asked him to send it back and I will change it for ribbing as the others all fit him fine :( I am guessing that the neckline strip on that t-shirt is not cut to have the greatest stretch in the fabric for the neck opening so there isn't enough give, hopefully replacing it with ribbing will solve the problem.

The pattern cost £14.50 and at the current rate of production I am down to just over £1.60 per use, which helps to justify the cost of the fabric, well in my mind it does :)

Have you developed any new obessions during lockdown?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...