Monday, 21 April 2014

UnFinished Objects

My study-o has been in drastic need of a sort-out for a while now. There are more UFOs in there than in area 51. Poor old scrap vomit has been sitting in there for almost 3 whole years (more chronic heartburn than projectile vomit). Then there's the quilt my sister commissioned for my nephew around 6 months ago. And a baby quilt top, finished but in need of backing and binding. Before starting anything new, I resolved to embark on a Spring quiltathon to get these three finished, buoyed on by the arrival on the weekend of a newborn niece, for whom the baby quilt top is destined, and the necessity of first finishing the big boy bed quilt for her big brother.

scrap vomit quilt
scrap vomit

baby girl quilt top
baby quilt top
So first up, the big boy bed quilt. This one was all but finished, but I'd been procrastinating over binding choices. Polka dots, my go-to binding choice, had been ruled out, so what to do? Solids, stripes, checks or patterns? I'm not good when faced with too much choice. But then I stumbled upon this lovely denim-coloured narrow stripe fabric by Makower over at the Village Haberdashery, and bought a metre with a view to cutting it on the bias for a candy-stripe effect.

binding fabric
pinstripe binding fabric
It really is an ideal fabric choice for binding a child's quilt as it's super soft - much more so than usual with quilting cottons. Annie has it in 6 different colourways, so I might just have to add a few more to my stash (especially coveting the lime green and red pinstripes).

I cut 2 1/4" binding strips as I find 2 1/2" just a bit too wide usually, cutting on the bias. Having machined the binding in place to the right side, I spent a few hours later that evening handstitching the binding to the reverse of the quilt whilst watching some recorded episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee with my eldest girl. Binding and mother-daughter sewing-bee viewing was a great bit of distraction while waiting for my husband to return from the hospital with my son, who needed his chin gluing back together after an argument involving a bike, a boy, and a subway wall.

Sewing Bee binding evening
Great British Sewing Bee bindathon
By 4am, I had a fully repaired boy, a finished quilt binding, and an urgent appointment with my duvet. All finished just in time to drive up to visit my sister and her partner in London the next day and meet my lovely new niece! Luckily she's not quite old enough to realise her aunt has been too remiss to finish her new baby quilt yet.
big boy bed quilt
finished quilt and robot
Robot softie stowed away in the package and elicited a very excited 'wow' from my nephew.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee

Oh Great British Sewing Bee, you have a lot to answer for. In showing those contestants artfully draping fabric and stitching seams week after week, you have made me think I might be able to make an actual wearable item of clothing for myself.

We have been down this path before. I've made plenty of clothes for the children, but never seem to pull-off adult sized garments. I think the problem lies in the fact that basically everything looks cute on a small child, whereas on a full-grown adult, handmade can easily translate into twee or homespun.

Still, I'm throwing caution to the wind yet again, and armed with a few metres of this pretty green cotton floral from Ditto Fabrics, as well as Wendy Mullin's Built by Wendy Dresses, I'm all set to stitch up a Summer frock. Or a floral smock for the children's dressing up box, depending on how it all works out!

Dress fabric
Built by Wendy Dresses 
If you have any dressmaking resources to share, please leave a comment - I need all the help I can get. I'm really enjoying The Sewing Directory's week by week guides to the Great British Sewing Bee, which provide everything from links to fabrics used to sewing skills tutorials.

Do you have a favourite online supplier of dressmaking fabrics in the UK? I'm not so keen on using quilters cottons for dressmaking as I don't find them drapey enough, but I really struggle to find a decent selection of lighter-weight cottons online. My current shortlist of online stores includes:

The holy grail, of course, would be a bricks and mortar fabric emporium close to home in South East Wales, Gloucestershire or Bristol. Had we still been living in Slough, Fabrics Galore would have been top of the list, but having moved back to the South Wales marches, I'm not really sure what's on my doorstep.

I'm deeply saddened that the Sewing Bee is now over and done with for this year, just as I'm getting up my enthusiasm for dressmaking. On the whole, I think the challenges were a lot harder this year! What did you make of last night's verdict?

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