Friday, 26 June 2009

Cutting it

quilt fabric

It's amazing how much fun you can have just cutting fabric.

Look, I made my own jelly roll ... well, more of a swiss roll,

quilt fabric

Then I messed around a bit more and cut the fabrics into pieces and thinking about the layout ...

quilt fabric

... and ended up with 5 long thin rolls of fabric ready to piece - finger rolls?

quilt fabric

Much to my amusement (and delight), when my daughter came home from school she rushed straight up to the fabric and said 'mummy can I do some designing?' and set about making her own layout and making plans for quilts, pillowcases, pyjamas and much else besides for the boy. I think I have a seamstress in the making there. You should see her rifle through a remnants bin - that's my girl!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Wallet week

** update: the wallet sewing pattern is now available to buy here**

 This week I have been mostly sewing wallets. I had a custom order for a card wallet with change purse which involved working on a new design. I won't show you prototype no. 1 as it ended up consigned to the bin in small pieces, but prototype no. 2 was a winner. Even my much loved Toyota wasn't copying well with sewing through 150 layers of fabric and interfacing, so the solution was a binding, which left a much neater finish and is pleasing in itself. There's something very satisfying about handsewing the binding in place then topstitching by machine.


This coming week is going to be bag week. I cut out several last weekend but then ran out of interfacing (I don't know how that's possible, but it happened). The person who served me as I stocked up last week thought it was hilarious that I was buying a whole 5 metres in one go; little did she know I'm contemplating buying a whole roll of the stuff as I get through it so fast. And while I'm on the subject, if anyone's got any top tips for stopping me from getting it all over my ironing board, I'd be very grateful. Next week could well be new ironing board cover week.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Beginnings of a boy quilt

fabrics for the boy's quilt

Reds and blues - the beginnings of the boy's new quilt. I haven't finished the coin quilt yet, but my boy has been asking me to make something for him for ages, and I do feel the guilt that he hasn't got a homemade quilt for his bed, so I bought a selection of bright fabrics with a view to making one. They seemed to be lacking something when I laid them all out to photograph them, so I went off on an internet shopping expedition at Saints and Pinners and bought 3 more prints to add to the stash.

fabrics for the boy's quilt

I like the way the original fabrics are lifted by the robot and rocket prints, and I love the brighter blue in the Amy Butler print. And then this week I saw this print and couldn't help but pop it into my basket as I felt the quilt needed just a bit more red. I'm left wondering now when I'll stop buying and get on to cutting and sewing. At least I've conquered my fear of buying less than a metre - this little stack of fat quarters and half yards is making me very happy!

And the boy's favourite? Not the rockets or the robots but the letters. Since his sister started reading at big school, he's become obsessed with sounding out words and teaching himself to read. You know those moments where you realise it's been quiet for a bit too long and you think the children are up to some kind of mischief? More often than not, I'll find him hunched over a cereal packet trying to sound out 'snap, crackle and pop', or revising one of his favourite stories. He even goes to sleep chanting letters to himself. It makes me smile every time I look at that letter print now; I suppose I'd better get on to making the quilt before he's through that stage and out the other side.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

This week's bag

I've been working on a custom order this week after receiving my first ever 'alchemy' request on Etsy. One of the things I love about etsy is the extras that make shopping a bit more fun, like alchemy, the time machine, and treasuries. I always seem to enjoy custom work more than anything else - not least because it means I can shop for more fabric in the customer's choice of colours - always fun!

Bag in olive green

The customer chose this lovely bold Amy Butler print in olive green, so I bought the co-ordinating lighter olive shade from the Amy Butler solids range to line it. I'm totally sold on these fabrics - the colours are beautiful and they have a really lovely handle.

This was my first foray into a zipped closure for a shoulder bag, so I toyed with a few different ways of doing it, and had been about to make a zipped facing for the opening of the bag when I remembered Lisa's tutorial from a little while ago. This is a great method and gives a lovely neat look at the top of the bag. The only change I made was to extend the closed end of the zip beyond the length of the zip casings and add a little fabric tab as I wanted the bag to be open as widely as possible. I also added double lines of topstitching, partly due to my obsession with reinforcing seams, and partly as I just plain love topstitching.

zipped opening

The bag also included a zipped pocket inside, a divided patch pocket and a key fob.

pockets and key fob

There must be something about the weather at the moment as I've had a small flurry of custom requests with another two to be getting on with over the coming week. I'm very happy to be getting on with plenty of sewing - that's the other great thing about custom orders, they stop me from procrastinating!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Adventures in overlocking

my new overlocker

I can't believe I haven't got around to blogging about my prized new overlocker/serger. With a bit of saving and a bit of birthday money, I bought this Janome 744D that I'd had my eye on. The people at Sewing Machines Direct were great, giving me lots of helpful advice on which one to go for. I ended up buying the same ex-demo model as Joanne as it was such a good deal, and I know Julia has one too and says it's great.

No sooner than it was out of its box (ordered at 4pm, arrived at 8.30am the next morning!) I was looking around for things to overlock. Having been frankly a little terrified of the sharp cutting bit and all those spools of thread I had a quick look at the instructional dvd and decided it was now or never. I even pulled out all the threads and rethreaded it - how brave am I? I have to say it was so much easier than I'd thought and I was soon running up a pair of pyjama bottoms for the boy, traced off a pair he already owned. Start to finish took around an hour, which is amazingly quick for me. The boy took to them immediately and raced off to play - he had to be pinned down to be photographed!


Buoyed by my success, I launched straight into some pyjama bottoms for me, in some Liberty Tana Lawn I'd been saving for that very purpose. Unfortunately, something went wrong with my tracing off method here, as they ended up a bit frou frou in the rear, but luckily they are still wearable, and the frou frouness is concealed when lying down.


I've also made a dress for the girl - based on Simplicity 4927, which I used to make a dress for her last year. This time, I made a little frilled sleeve cap and a facing for the top and added a longer zipped opening in the back instead of the button and loop fastening called for in the pattern.

chop chop choppity chopserged seams

I found it so much more satisfying to just zip through the side seams with my overlocker than pinking them as I did last time around.


I still wasn't happy with the finished dress though as it looked a bit like a hospital gown (ok, not much like a hospital gown, but just not right). So I after procrastinating for about 3 weeks, I added a couple of ruffles at the bottom, with a ric rac trim on one.

Simplicity 4927

I think my daughter can carry off the frou frou look.
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