Sunday, 12 April 2015

Triangle quilt

I have finally finished the mammoth job of making this kingsize quilt out of 800 triangles, a lot of them cut from men's shirts.

It was a huge job just cutting them all out, I used my Sizziz Big Shot die cutter as it makes each shape nice and accurate and you can cut up to 8 layers of fabric in one go!

I quilted it by sewing mother of pearl buttons on at regular intervals. I thought it looked good with the shirts.

Tomorrow it will go in the post to its new owner!

You can order your own bespoke quilt here!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

#e17arttrail quilting

I've been meaning to sew a medallion quilt for years. There's just something about them...

I had some unfinished paper pieced goodness sitting around as well as some ideas for using scraps to do some curved piecing and suddenly it dawned on me to merge the two and start a medallion quilt. I'm making this as one of my entries for the E17 Art Trail which runs 31/5 - 16/6 this year. It will be an amazing two weeks!

So here is the beginning after the finished paper pieced centre had been appliqu├ęd to a background fabric (don't you love that fabric?!)

I cut lots of tumbler blocks and drunkard's path blocks and used lots of newspaper and other text prints. I'm loving sewing the curved pieces on he drunkard's path blocks, a nice new challenge.

Here is what it looks like now:

And here is me stitching my curves, it's a real pleasure just sewing and fitting the curves under the needle without any pinning:

Monday, 9 March 2015

Half square triangles quilt

I've been commissioned to make a king size quilt out of upcycled men's shirts. I've worked out that I'm going to need 800 half square triangles to make up 400 4" squares. It's looking good but the cutting out is a killer! Luckily I have my trusted Sizzix Big Shot to hand, with the ability to cut 12 HST in one go.

I seriously underestimated how much fabric I would need so had to panic order some more yesterday. Luckily one of my favourite online shops Plushaddict had some great shirt fabrics in stock. I'm just waiting for them to arrive and then back to more cutting. I've just counted my triangles and there's 469 so quite a way to go yet!

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Location:Thorpe Crescent,London,United Kingdom

Monday, 2 February 2015

Bra making part II

I got so disheartened when I made my first bra, gave it my all, finished everything perfectly and then it didn't fit at all... I had wasted all that time and more over I had cut all the elastics and underwire casing to fit and it was too small so I had nothing left to make another one with.

I ordered more supplies. Made another one. It was ok but had big fitting issues. Which I solved with the help of the amazing Craftsy class (click on the link in the sidebar to join Craftsy. They rock!).

Then I made a third, having learnt my lesson and I didn't cut the elastics, used huge stitching etc. It was pretty good. So I took it apart to reuse some things like closures and underwire casings and set about making a 4th. I stitched it beautifully. Cut the elastic. I was on safe ground no? I spent ages on it. But if truth be told I was also having a fairly traumatic time in my personal life. A good friend had had a heart attack and he wasn't doing so well. His partner is in the middle of a horrible and painful treatment for bowel cancer. I couldn't concentrate. My own partner moved out. Pretty much out of the blue. I was falling apart. And kept sewing as I didn't know what else to do. It's great therapy to lose yourself in something like sewing. Any crafts really. I once crocheted my way through someone I loved going missing for three days. I could never wear the scarf I made but it stopped me going completely mad. So I made a bra.

And it didn't fit at all. I had mixed up some of the pattern pieces I think from the first trial and the third one. Now I date them so that can't happen. My sewing machine ate the fabric in those tiny seam allowances until I got the baby Elna Grasshopper out. This gorgeous 1946 machine doesn't eat stuff. She purrs. And looks stunning. But she doesn't zigzag so I had two machines out. Not unusual for me as such but since living with another adult I've been as bit more careful not too take over the living space. Especially as I shouldn't have to as I have a studio!

Anyway. I almost cried. I almost just gave up. But my sheer bloody mindedness coupled with the fact I had just spent &@£!*% on more bra making supplies which were winding their way from Sweden meant I couldn't. I worked out that it was too small in places and too big in others. Some bits pulled and rouched and others dug in. The underwire sat in the wrong place completely.

So I made another one. I started from scratch with the pattern pieces, cut out one cup only (saving on fabric and sewing) in a D cup and the band in a 38. Much bigger than I normally wear but hey ho that's what I had arrived at. I had made he adjustments I had made before (opening the top out a little as it was too flat before and rounding the cup out a little).

I stitched it roughly, in a contrasting thread so I could pull it out quickly. It took me an hour or two all in all, with masses of distractions from Max, cats, texts and a call from my mum (she's ever so pleased it seems that the boyf has moved out. Justifies her wonky ideas that all men who Internet date are scumbags. She's not hearing we are still together. She called again yesterday, happier than I've heard her since, well, since I told her I had met Sean I guess. Grrr. We will show her!).

And this bra fits. It just does. I'm so ecstatic! And this morning my box from Sweden turned up. It was like a box of springtime lushness. I had not realised quite the palette I had put together. It was beautiful. I now have a pattern that rocks. And enough fabric to make about ten bras. In all colours and combos thereof.

If only I didn't have to work and I could start on bra number 5 right now!!

I'm really hitting on the zeitgeist it seems as everyone is making bras. All the blogs I read. New books are appearing. Inspiration is everywhere. Check out Colette patterns new Seamwork online mag (for $6 you get to download it and you get the patterns too!). And Sarai's blog.

And check out Tankgirl. Right now I'm Tankgirl. Strong and passionate and fighting for the good things in my life.

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Sewing my own jeans pt II

This morning I decided I don't need a full fly zip to try on my muslin so I quickly put the back and yoke pieces together, stitched the front and back together and added the waistband. And you know what? Considering I quite haphazardly made up a new waist height which went off the chart, and that I added room in the front waist by following Angela Wolf's suggestion on her blog, it almost fits!! The waistband at the back gapes by 2" and there's a few wrinkles in the front crotch area but that is all fairly minor and easy to fix. They need taking in a bit overall as they need to be tighter considering I'm using a denim with 3% lycra in it but they are very close to being right. No pics as I had to run out of the door to take Max to school but more later.

Have a picture of the cat instead!

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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Sewing jeans!!

As my gorgeous boyfriend Sean is in Scotland for almost a week I'm selfishly sewing away. When he's home I love spending the evening with him but when he's away I do like playing. Not away but with my fabrics.

I've been enrolled on a few Crafsty jeans classes for absolutely ages now but the time has only just come to crack making jeans. I have such a funnily shaped body, no bum as such, no hips, no waist really and quite a belly, that RTW jeans rarely fit. I tend to buy size 12 UK but they fall down as I have no hips to hold them up. And I cannot pull them up higher than my low waist as that's where I suddenly get big. So custom made is the only way to go.

I've bought three separate jeans patterns. One is the Angela Wolf boot it one, she runs the Craftsy The Perfect Fit jeans class. Its a boot cut pattern and a bit too TOWIE for me with all the embellishment she loves to add. I'm also not fond of bootcut. It's skinny or flares for me! Anyway I thought it would be good to learn with her pattern. Of course I couldn't just let it be so I have already made the pattern higher waisted and the legs narrower. We will see how that goes. I've cut a very short pair of shorts out to see how the bum, crotch and belly fit in, not wasting much denim if I need to make adjustments.

I've also downloaded the Ginger Jeans which comes in low and high waisted & skinny versions. Quite wxcited about trying that. The reviews have been ace.

And lastly I have bought the Jali jeans pattern. Again a boot cut as I seem to remember but as long as the top fits I can adjust the legs easily.

I've stitched the pockets in and am about to do the fly. I need a long night's sleep before I tackle that so speak tomorrow!

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Living a handmade life: plans for 2015

So. I did a lot of sewing last year. And read a whole heap of sewing blogs. Some of which were written by women who had not bought any clothes for a year, made everything they wore and written about it. And crazy as this may sound it appeals to me. Yes I know...masochistic? Maybe. But really I hardly ever buy anything new. I am not a shopper by nature, I hate proper shops, I feel like I'm merely pretending to be a grown up and have not learnt the most basic of rules. And because I don't do it I am always shocked by how expensive shops are. Not H&M etc but you know, proper shops. So I stock up on basics in the supermarkets (yes I know!) and I buy stuff in charity shops and cat boot sales. I like the pot luck-ness of it and I like that I can access expensive and unique stuff for a couple of quid. And that by the time I get my hands on its out of fashion which means no one else will be wearing it anymore. Now I'm almost 45 I am very comfortable with who I am and what I look like -mostly- and I have found my own style. Non style. Whatever. So making my own and wearing it mixed with other people's cast offs and something knitted and crocheted by me, it suits me.

All year last year I sat on some jeans patterns. And two Craftsy jeans making classes. I have started buying and using knitted fabrics. In November I got the bra making bug. I already know I can make dresses and skirts and tops and once I add jeans and culottes and shorts and bras to the mix, well, I should only have to buy socks and knickers. I could knit all my own socks and I do love sock knitting but they're usually a tad too chunky for the shoes I like wearing and as for knickers... Well. Life is too short for that, for me.

Angela Wolf jeans pattern all ready to go
So how long will I manage this? Will I get fed up? Tempted by going to Rome in April? Will it Tim me financially considering the cost of fabric in the UK? Who knows. But I have all these amazing patterns waiting for me and enough fabric to make several of them right away so why not give it a go?

two knitted dress patterns I've had in my stash for ages
Here's the jeans pattern I taped together this morning. Took bloody hours. I've also bought the Jali jeans pattern online so I have a choice.Now to find the right denim. It's so hard in the UK compared to the US, it makes me so jealous when I read all these blogs from women who just nip to their local fabric shop where they sell amazing jerseys and denim and designer cottons and everything is SO cheap. We are so short changed in the UK. Not sure why that is. It's very different in Holland where I'm from where fabric markets have never stopped being a weekly thing. I can't complain too much living in Walthamstow as we do have several amazing fabric shops but what they stock is so random and you can never just count on ever seeing the same thing again so right now I'm online trying to source just the right kind of denim.

Santa brought me this bra making book!

I actually made this yesterday. It was a real bodge job as I had lost a pattern piece, so I had to draft a bodice piece, I didn't have enough fabric for the whole dress so I had to use other fabric for the back bodice and sleeves, and I cut a few pieces not on the fold because of lack of fabric. So I have a join in the skirt front and back and in the snood like collar too. But it was just a quick wearable Muslin effort that has actually worked out so well I finished it all off proper and will wear it. And make it again. I love the big collar!
I bought some stunning rose linen to make this with. £3/ meter on the market!

Cute dress non? And I bought this floaty fabric covered in parrots. £1/m!!

delivery this morning, the Jali jeans and a nice top/ dress staple

I made this, that should really help!

some bags and quilt I also want to make
Oh and I finally bought the Gypsy Wife quilt pattern. It will take me at least a year to make it but I have lusted over it for about 18 months. I also want to make these bags and the tulip quilt.