Colour Blocking – Prima 54

At last, after several false starts and interruptions, here is the finished dress. To make this simple colour-blocked shift dress I used my old faithfull Prima dress pattern. The Jade Jersey is from Fabricland in Salisbury and the multi-colour Ponte Roma Jersey was bought online from the Fabric Godmother.  Having copied the front body pattern onto a piece of folded paper and transferred all marking I then slashed the pattern from top shoulder seam to below the bust dart at the same time avoiding the top of the body dart. I cut the pattern and added notation that 5/8″ seam allowance was to be added when cutting out the fabric. I cut out the front, back and yoke pieces from the two different fabrics and then double checked which sleeve needed to be cut in which fabric.  The neckline is faced with plainJade jersey. There is triple stitch zig-zag inside the facing to ensure that it stays inside. All hems are finished with my favourite  wide twin-needle topstitching.  The dress went together quickly and well – all I need now is some slightly warmer weather so that I can wear it!

002   006 back view

                                             Front view                                              Back view


Repeating Rabbits

In between making yet more dresses, I had an urge to make some more items featuring Bunnies! First, in acknowledgement of the cold winter weather, I made a Hot Water Bottle cover. I used a pre-quilted White polyester Cotton and taking a photograph of a.n.other cover as inspiration, decided to try a different style. For the Bunny applique I first made a piece of Crazy Patchwork using up some scraps of Black & White cotton remnants from a previous project. I cut out the main pattern piece of quilted fabric and then applied the rabbit shape to the the centre of the panel that would form the reverse of the cover. I used straight binding for the top of the front panel before sandwiching the two pattern pieces together and then applying a bias binding all the way around. The shaping of the “tongue” that covers the top of the bottle was rather fiddly.   I finished off the cover with a button and buttonhole fastening.  The completed cover is rather large and ungainly, as  I  am not all together happy with the pattern I don’t think I will make another to this design.


The second project was much more successful. A quilted and appliqued cover for a coat hanger.

Quilted Coat hanger Cover

For this project I was inspired by a simple unquilted cover that was demonstrated by Debbie Shore on the Create and Craft TV programme. Using more of the pre-quilted White polyester Cotton plus some of my favourite  cotton print I devised a more elaborate  cover for a plain wooden hanger. For the front of the cover I first  quilted the cotton print in a 1″ square trellis design  and then added two applique bunnies, one in White and the other in Black fabric.  I lined the appliqued panel then stitched the two pieces of quilted fabric together. I added a border of wide White Broderie Anglaise trim before turning my attention to the reverse of the cover. I added a small pocket in the printed cotton so that items could be stored on the hanger cover – perhaps jewellery, before adding another length of the Broderie Anglaise trim. All fabrics are washable and the cover is easily removed from the hanger. The cover is simple to make but can be embellished to make it really special. I plan to make some more covers using some pre-quilted Broderie Anglaise fabric from my stash. Watch this space….


A Change of Plan – Prima version 53

When I bought this Black Watch Tartan suiting from Fabricland, I had planned to make a pinafore dress using the Prima Shift dress pattern with the addition of a bias frill at the hem. I have re-drawn the pattern as by now it was becoming very tatty and I thought – New Year, New copy of the pattern. I carefully laid out the Front and Back body pieces, taking special notice of the tartan design lines to ensure that they matched up at the side seams. I cut out those pieces plus the two bias hem frills and the neckline facings. I would wait and see how the construction and fitting went before deciding how to finish the armholes. There was a great deal of fabric still laid out on the cutting board so I decided to add some 3/4 sleeves. Again I ensured that the pattern matched along the front bodice and top of the sleeves. I made up the dress until I got to second fitting stage and then, as there was still a length of fabric remaining decided to try for a bias-cut cowl collar. I cut the bias section 25″ long x 15″wide and tacked to the neckline. It seemed to look OK so I proceeded to machine in place. Once the dress was finished with wide-spaced double top-stitching to sleeve and bias frill hems I tried it on again. Now I am not sure about the collar.  I will leave it a while and if necessary will remove the collar and replace with the neckline facings that I had prepared at the beginning of the project. The joy of making your own clothes means that you can always change your mind!



                         The Bias Cowl Collar                                                                  The Bias Hem Frill

Little Black Dress – Prima version 52

Yes, it’s that old favourite back again. Using the bodice of the Prima shift dress pattern I made up some Black Ponte Jersey into a very simple, but I hope useful, plain Black Dress. There are 3/4 length straight sleeves with slightly gathered caps plus a skirt of unpressed box pleats. There is no zip as the dress is “pullover” style. The facing is also of Ponte jersey which can be bulky but I under-stitched with a triple zig-zag and then used my favourite wide-spaced twin needle to top stitch. I also twin needle top-stitched the hems of the sleeves and the skirt. This dress has been made with suficient “ease” so that if required, I can wear a blouse or polo neck tee underneath. I have sufficient fabric left over to be able to use it for some colour blocking in my next Ponte jersey project so watch this space!


the finished dress

line drawing

line drawing

Swedish-Inspired Dress II

Back in October 2014 I blogged about the great dresses on the gudrunsjoden website that had inspired me to make something  similar. In the last days of 2014 I finally managed to complete the first of what I suspect will be many versions of these dresses. I cut out and embroidered the Navy ponte jersey purchased from Fabricland in Salisbury but the project was then put on the “postponed” pile so that I could concentrate on Christmas items. The completed dress is a success. I embroidered two different motifs, one at the neckline and another on the left sleeve. The designs are from the Brother range, I think Boutique but cannot be sure. I used a dark Purple/Aubergine thread for the embroideries as I plan to wear the dress with a co-ordinating polo neck tee (from Edinburgh Woollen Mill) and opaque tights (from M & S). Sewing notes: All seams are stitched with a small straight stitch on the machine and then overlocked. The neckline facing is cut from a remnant of Black satin. There is no zip in the dress as it is “pullover” style but there are bust and body darts to improve the shaping and fit. The neckline and hems of the sleeves and the dress are topstitched with a wide-set twin needle. I am very pleased with the result and can foresee that the dress will get a lot of wear either with the polo neck tee or with the hand knitted infinity scarf mentioned in a previous blog.

prima 51 navy ponte jersey

 prima 51 neckline embroideryprima 51 sleeve embroidery

                  neckline embroidery                                                         sleeve embroidery

Blackberry Stitch Brimmed Hat

I really love Blackberry stitch! I used this stitch when knitting a “sample test” hat using a pattern that I had devised myself. Yarn used was a Grey double knit from Patons and needle sizes 3.25mm and 4mm. I am in the process of refining the knitting pattern which I shall then offer for sale on eBay. There will be a co-ordinating scarf and fingerless gloves to follow but in the meantime here are some photos of the finished hat, modelled by yours truly so please forgive the soft-focus!

grey hatgrey hat 2

gey hat 3

                   p.s. the hat keeps your ears really warm – just right for the coming cold weather!

Die cut Hexagons and Triangles Cushion

As mentioned in the previous post, for Christmas gifts to House Group ladies, I give a DIY pack of a block using die cut pieces. This year I used the Accuquilt GO! to cut large hexagons and co-ordinating print triangles. I was fortunate to find some sewing-theme print cotton (from Fabricland, Salisbury) for most of the packs and retained a set for myself. Unlike last year’s gift, this time the pack did NOT sit on the “roundtuit” shelf for 12 months! No sooner cut than I stitched the pieces together whilst preparing the instruction sheet with step-by-step photographs. I quilted “stitch in the ditch” and piped the completed block with narrow Cream satin piping. The reverse has a band of the sewing-theme print in a contrasting colour and an envelope closure. The cover measures approximately 15″ and I made the polyester-filled pad about 16″ to ensure a plump well-filled cushion.

hexagons and triangleshexagons reverse

Drunkard’s Path Patchwork Cushion

Last Christmas I gave each of the Ladies attending our Friday morning House Group a DIY Patchwork Block set. Using my Sissix die-cutting machine, I had cut the two different shapes that make up a design commonly referred to as “Drunkard’s Path” from a variety of cotton print fabrics. I tried to match the print designs to the recipients and over the past twelve months have been delighted to see the blocks made up into cushions. Whilst cutting for the gift packs, I also cut a set for myself but with one thing and another have never got around to stitching the block together, until today! I hand stitched the pieces together and then quilted a 1/4” around the diagonal lines of the “path” before adding a cream satin narrow piping to the completed block. I made the block into a cushion front, adding a reverse using plain cream curtain lining fabric. The closure is my favourite of a contrasting band of tan check (a re-cycled piece from one of my husband’s old shirts) and co-ordinating button fastening. The cushion measures approximately 15 inches square and has a very “Autumnal” flavour so will be set aside until the appropriate season when it will be displayed along with other similar-themed cushions.

drunkards pathdrunkards path reverse

“Embroider” Scented Cushion

In the past I have made many  scented cushions which feature lovely machine embroidery designs. Here is the most recent which has a central design in “Redwork” . The design was purchased from – my first port of call when looking for new designs. I have a  set of heart designs featuring different crafts as demonstrated in a previous post – A New Knitting Bag. I completed the scented cushion which is approximately 11 inches square, using a Red and White “ditsy” printed cotton for the borders, a narrow satin piping and envelope closure on the reverse. The scent is provided by a sachet of “Blushing Tulips” granules from Greenleaf. I still have several more embroideries to complete and they will be appearing in future blogs – in 2015!

embroider scented cushion


Christmas Gift Sewing

Whenever possible I like to make gifts for my friends which have a theme that is special for them. You can guess the theme for the following two projects which I completed today. Firstly a Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover for which I used a pre-quilted White Polyester Cotton fabric  with an appliqued silhouette of a Cocker Spaniel.  I have used this design before (for floor mats and cushion covers) but on a much larger scale. This time I reduced the design to fit onto the side of the cover.  It was so quick and easy to sew with a fine zig-zag stitch that I am sure I will be repeating this design on other projects. The reverse of the cover  has an envelope closure but the cover is also open  at the top to facilitate filling and emptying. The only time one has to remove the cover is for laundry. I have found this to be the most convenient and comfortable design style of cover with no buttons, zips, ties or ribbons.

hot water bottle cover

The second project was a Kindle case. As I have one of these great gadgets I used my own to draft a pattern. The fabric was cut 6.5″ x 20″ long and then quilted with a 1″ trellis design. A simple lining, some topstitching, button and buttonhole and the entire project was completed within an hour.  Now I need to make another for my own Kindle which is looking sad and forlorn with NO cover of its own!

kindle case