Fabric Buying Ban

Oops! What part of a fabric buying ban did I not understand?

Having recently spent my budget on a gift for my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary, there was supposed to be a fabric buying ban in force until the Festival of Quilts in August.

Somehow I seem to have misunderstood.

I purchased some pretty cottons in Franklins, Salisbury on Monday last week and then this week I visited Fabricland for some more that I simply had to have! 

The Red with White polka dots is to be made up into a shirtdress – pattern tba.

The Blue spotted teapots print is to be my version of a Betty by Sew Over It with short/cap sleeves

The Beige floral will be my TNT bodice with a full gathered skirt (inspired by a dress seen in a shop window in Salisbury).

The Lilac floral has been made into a Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – details already posted.

The Turquoise fern print could possibly be a Vogue 8577.

The Brown background floral will possibly be another Teddy Tunic – getting ready for the Autumn already!

Not shown in the picture is a length of Classic Blue denim that I ‘needed’ to make the Pippi Pinafore Dress by Jennifer Lauren.

All fabrics have now been laundered and are ready to ‘sew&go’ so watch this space for some new garments!

Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – version 3

Yes, I know – I love this pattern. The tunic is so very comfortable to wear in hot weather.

I abandoned my fabric buying ban and purchased (along with some other lengths!) 2 metres of quilting cotton that was on sale at £6.95/metre in Franklins, Salisbury. I chose a beautiful Spring/Summer print in Lilac called McKenzie by Dana for the Free Spirit collection.

By the end of the afternoon the fabric had overlocked raw ends and been laundered ready to ‘Sew&Go’. After washing, the fabric had not shrunk and I still had 2 metres. This was plenty for laying and cutting out the tunic pattern which has been adapted by removing the excess at the side seams both front and back plus re-drafting the hemline facing to suit.

The collar and neckline are not my favourite parts of this pattern to construct but once that is done it is full steam ahead.

I am in love with this print and the completed tunic top – it is definitely going to be worn a lot!

Quilting Progress on the Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt

Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis will have noticed that there has been no posting for 6 days! Fear not – I have been sewing just that the project on which I am working is very much a WIP (work in progress). I have finally bitten the bullet and started the quilting of my Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt.

I last discussed this project on 26th May and since then I have made a couple of garments but now I have taken over the dining room, extended the dining table to its full size and got down to some ruler and free-motion quilting.

This is my first venture into ruler work and I have to say that I am loving it! I spread the quilt all over the table, roll up one side to slide under the arm of the sewing machine and get stitching. OK it is not perfect but I am getting there and really enjoying the process. This is a real lesson in slow sewing.

So far I have quilted about a dozen of the bird blocks and filled in the ’empty’ spaces with ovals. I am using a Westalee ruler plus a ‘french curve’ template which has different-sized oval cut outs that are ideal for the filler motifs.

I am trying to work on the quilt for about an hour at a time before taking a break. That way I hope to avoid too much strain on my shoulders, try as I might, I cannot stop myself from tensing up as I wrestle the quilt and rulers whilst stitching.

Taking a break also gives me the opportunity to refresh – and cut out other projects! So the next post will probably be a garment.

Stitching, cutting, stitching, cutting ……..

 

Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – 2nd Version

I liked the Teddy Designer Tunic top by Style Arc so much that I decided to make another!

For those of you that have not seen the previous iteration, the pattern is by Style Arc and the description is as follows:-

This uniquely crafted design comes in two lengths – top or tunic. The gorgeous collar sits high on the neck. The stitched facings and swing back with a high-low hemline give this style a luxe look. Make the top to give your look an instant update or make the tunic for a more effortless silhouette.” The fabric suggestions are linen, silk, crepe.”

I made the first ‘wearable toile’ in a quilting cotton that had been in my stash for at least 1 year. The quilting cotton worked so well that I re-visited the stash and came up with a bare 2 yards of a charming floral print ‘Reflections’ by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush that I had purchased from New Threads in their 2016 sale.

This photograph has come out much more pink in colour than real life!

I particularly like this print that has a distinct ‘vintage’ feel to it. Again the fabric had been laundered and was ready to ‘sew&go’. However, the pattern envelope states that fabric requirement is 2.4 yards of 58 in wide whereas I had a bare 2 yards of 42 in wide. No matter how I laid out the pattern pieces there was no way of cutting the entire tunic from this fabric alone. I quick rummage through fabrics and I found a ½ yard of a complimentary print cotton that I won in the Tombola at the Rookwood Retreat Day. Result! I used the contrast fabric to cut the sleeve cuffs (on the bias) plus the collar and neckline facings.

I cut and stitched the standard size 20. The understitching of the collar will show as I always wear the collar folded down. To make a feature of that I made a second row of stitching ¼ inch away.

As this fabric has good structure and has some ‘weight’ to it, I ignored the pattern instructions in respect of where to interface. I have only used fusible interfacing on the collar and neckline facings. The sleeve cuffs and hem facings are uninterfaced.

Unfortunately, on this make I did not manage the junction of front point of the collar, centre seam and facings quite so well.

In order to prevent ‘gaposis’ and restrict the depth of the front opening I have carefully overlapped the collar at the base point and top stitched for approximately 3 ins. I also re-visited the previous Teddy Tunic and repeated this feature.

Conclusion: This is indeed a very stylish make. When made in cotton fabric it is very comfortable to wear providing plenty of ease and comfort during the warm weather.

Since completing Teddy no. 2 I have re-drafted the side seams of the pattern (and hem facings) to reduce the fullness so that for make no 3 it will have a much slimmer silhouette. I may also re-draft the shoulder/armscye so that I can make set-in sleeves as demonstrated by another seamstress featured on the pattern review website.

Ruby Wedding Anniversary Dress – 2nd part

After some careful consideration I decided that the short self-lined sleeves would be the best way forward to completing the dress.

With the vagaries of the British Summer weather and because I don’t always want to have to wear a cardigan, short sleeves are ideal for wearing in the UK.

Construction notes:

TNT bodice, used the full 5/8 ths inch seam allowance on the side seams. Raised the waistline by ½ inch at centre front. Self-lined sleeves. Light fusible interfacing used on the neckline facings. Understitching completed using a 3-step zig-zag stitch. Lapped zip in centre back seam, set 3 inches down from neckline. Hand picked final seam of the zip insertion. Extended back neck facing with printed ‘Carousel’ label. Full circle skirt using ‘Betty’ pattern by Sew Over It. Side seam pockets stitched into waist seam to prevent ‘flapping’ about. All seams neatened by overlocking. Machined narrow hem on skirt.

I am particularly pleased with the way that the pattern has matched on the centre back seam although this is purely accidental.

The dress has turned out very well, I am delighted with it and definitely plan to make another in this style. Depending on the occasion, I may even get to wear the dress with my Red can-can petticoat!

Ruby Wedding Anniversary Dress

Over the weekend my husband and I will be celebrating our 40th (RUBY) wedding anniversary. On browsing through some of the photographs from our honeymoon I see that I sometimes wore a Red cotton floral print dress. Inspiration then to make another to wear on the anniversary….

I will use my TNT bodice pattern with the cap self-lined sleeves and centre back zip fastening. I will add the circle skirt from ‘Betty’dress by Sew Over It to make my favourite dress style.

Later the same day…

Construction was very straightforward. After about 3 hours I had an almost-completed dress.

   

Now – a decision to be made. Do I make the dress sleeveless or should I insert the sleeves that are made up and ready for insertion? Hmmm, I will leave the dress on the mannequin overnight and decide in the morning.

Colour Blocked Fraser Tee by Sewaholic Patterns

Hot on the trail of making the Green Butterfly print Fraser top and whilst the sewing machine was threaded up with the Pale Aqua thread, I scouted around for some more jersey that would co-ordinate. I found a length of Apple Green cotton jersey that I had purchased from Girl Charlee in their sale (according to my spreadsheet – November 2017 for £9.52). There are 2 metres of fabric – more than enough for two new tops especially when combined with the Butterfly and other print fabrics. To add to the delight, the fabric had already been laundered and is therefore ready to go&sew!

Back to the Fraser pattern, this time I would use version A which utilises different prints and/or colours of fabric. A great stash buster.

It was plain sailing for the construction. I lowered the neckline by 5/8 ths of an inch – and made a point of centring up the neckband. As a result there is an ‘interesting’ part of the print exposed at the neck.

The contrast yoke and shoulders have been pressed down and top-stitched with a straight stitch (length 3.5). 

The only downside of this plain cotton jersey is that it is very fine/light. I encountered some difficulty when twin-needle stitching the hemline. It is a little ‘fluted’ but I can live with it.

Butterfly Print Fraser Tee by Sewaholic

        Back in December last year I purchased 1.5 metres @ £6.00/metre, of this charming Butterfly print from Fabrics Galore. Having been washed it has been waiting patiently in the ‘roudtuit’ pile.

I recently made a version of the Fraser Sweatshirt by Sewaholic using a Ponte Roma which turned out very well. I decided to re-visit this pattern but this time would make version B and use a cotton/spandex jersey.

  

As I had previously adjusted the fit, I was able to sew up the top at record speed. Most of the construction was stitched on my sewing machine (Brother 4000D) with zig-zag stitch no. 1-09 width 1.00, length 2.5. The only time that I used the overlocker was on the neckband – and that is going to be removed. I am not keen on the neckline as it is ‘out of the packet’. There are two reasons, firstly it is a little too high for my taste and secondly the centring of the butterfly design is just off and that really annoys me! I will re-cut the neckline and when I apply the neckband, this time I will ensure that the design is centred.

The length of the body was extended by 3 inches then for the hem I simply turned up 1 inch and zig-zag stitched in place. I have added the bands on the sleeves which I do like and will repeat on the next version that I make. 

Whilst the sewing machine is threaded up with the correct coloured thread and I am ‘on a roll’ I will have a scout around my stash and see what else I can make with the ½ metre remaining of this fabric……

 

 

TEDDY DESIGNER TOP by STYLE ARC

Inspired by garments made by my pen friend in Germany, I decided to try out a tunic top with faced hemline. Back in March 2018 I purchased the pdf pattern of TEDDY DESIGNER TOP and tunic by Style Arc.

The product description states “This uniquely crafted design comes in two lengths – top or tunic. The gorgeous collar sits high on the neck. The stitched facings and swing back with a high-low hemline give this style a luxe look. Make the top to give your look an instant update or make the tunic for a more effortless silhouette.” The fabric suggestions are linen, silk, crepe. For this wearable muslin from my extensive stash of cotton prints I chose some pre-washed fabric in a Blue stripe print that I thought would be ideal.

By comparing the body and ease measurements I decided to use the size 20 and add a little extra at the bust and hips. I then steamed ahead and cut out the pattern.

                                                                   No pattern matching!

In my haste I forgot to take note of pattern matching and centring of the stripes – I just wanted to get on with construction of this new-to-me styled tunic top.

According to the fabric requirements I would need 2.2metres of 148 cm wide fabric. I had just 2 metres of 105 cm wide fabric but by cutting the collar in half and placing the collar on the bias with the collar facing on-grain I succeeded in cutting all the pieces required.

To begin with whenever I started sewing, I was interrupted, so the early part of construction was completed in blocks of 20-30 minutes at a time. In fact this worked out well as I was able to prepare the collar, facings, sleeve cuffs and hem facings in advance of the construction of the main body of the tunic.

I did find the different seam allowances a little confusing. Mostly it was 3/8ths of an inch but on the collar and neckline this was reduced to ¼ inch. I was pleased that I had read somewhere NOT to sew up the centre front seam of the neckline facing before completing the rest of the collar/neckline facing stitching. Leaving that step until later certainly made life easier. Also I completed the collar and facing construction BEFORE stitching the side seams which meant I could more easily get to this important section for pressing. Slow and steady working my way through the sparse instructions I was then able to whip through to the final construction.

At fitting stage I realised that the additional width was not required and it was removed thus the tunic has been made to a standard size 20.

A lapse of attention meant that I stitched the hemline facings upside down so that the shaping at the side seams did not match. I was able to ease the additional fullness in so that was not too much of a disaster.

I am pleased with the final result and will definitely be making the tunic again. This style is very comfortable to wear and looks great with leggings or skinny jeans.

From the photograph on the website there does not appear to be as much fullness in the back.

Next time I will be reducing the fullness by approximately 5-6 inches of excess. I am sure that can be removed without spoiling the design feature of the ‘swing’ back.