Finished at last. I have added leaves to the two rows of hexagon flowers and little star buttons in the spaces around the Friendship Star row. I outline quilted each row using my “Baby Brother” machine. The wadding is 80/20 cotton/polyester from my stash and the backing a remnant of duvet cover. I free-motion embroidered the label. I need to add a hanging pocket on the back and then find somewhere in the house to display – probably the downstairs cloakroom!
Here is the first tunic top made from the out of print pattern that I purchased from an Australian eBayer. As it was the first test garment I decided to use some pretty floral 100% cotton print from my stash and as luck would have it, the contrast fabric is a remnant of duvet cover which matches the shade of turquoise in the print! I cut the pattern to a size 22 with no alterations even though my personal dimensions exceed those stated on the pattern envelope! I followed the construction procedure to the letter and now have an excellent knowledge and understanding of what alterations to make for the next project. The size 22 is fine but could do with an additional couple of inches ease over the hips. There is no need for a slit opening and button fastening at the back neck as the garment can be put on pullover style. On this top I have not quite aligned the top of the neckband but as it will be under my hair is of no consequence. Although the panel seams and inset pockets look complicated, provided you mark all the dots, take it steady and follow each step they will turn out fine. Additional top stitching on the neck band would be good. For the tunic length I do not need to make a sway back adjustment. Finally, make the sleeve cuffs as bands and not turn backs as otherwise they make the kimono sleeves very short and visually add width to the bust line. For the next incarnation of this pattern I fancy a plain lightweight denim to be topstitched in a contrast thread. We shall see…….
As I have said before, I like to link gifts to a theme particular to the intended recipient. In January I made some birthday gifts for a friend with a cat – enough said! The padded coathangers were made using a pre-quilted broderie anglaise from my stash as was the wide broderie anglaise trim. The appliqué outline was sourced from free images on the internet. As I had some quilted fabric left over I ran up a pretty zipped cosmetics bag. Unfortunately I did not have sufficient fabric for yet another cat appliqué so this time there is a clover shape from hearts. I have now run out of the basic wooden coathangers that I use for this project but found an alternative supply from Homebase which I am keeping “in stock” ready for the next birthday.
From reading lots of blogs and posts about this out of print pattern I finally tracked it down through eBay – in Australia! From my stash I selected a pretty 100% cotton print of bright coloured flowers on a White background. I have many yards of this fabric and decided that for a first stitch-out of the pattern this would be ideal. The pattern has unusual styling in the low set pockets that are incorporated into the seaming panels on the front of the tunic top or dress. I am making the tunic top and hope that it will be suitable to wear in the Summer with White trousers or cut-offs. For the contrast sleeve bands and the yoke I have used some remnants of polyester cotton in a Bright Turquoise which is a really good match to the colour in the print. Having read some of the reviews of this pattern in more detail it looks as though the tunic/dress may come up larger than the size indicated on the pattern envelope and also that the button and loop fastening on the rear of the yoke may not be necessary. I have interfaced the sleeve bands and the yoke as they are of a lighter weight than the cotton print but if using a similar weight fabric for the contrast would suggest that only the very lightest weight interfacing is required – if at all. Judging from the comments online it may be that the top and the dress are also on the short side but as I am currently making the tunic I don’t think this is a concern, however I must make a note to check the length if I later make up the pattern as a dress. Too much leg on show is not flattering in one of my advanced years!
Our mission for the meeting this month at Franklins in Salisbury was to make a small zip-fronted bag or purse. Requirements were simple – two Fat Quarters of co-ordinating or contrast fabric, a zip approximately 6″ – 9″ long, a piece of fusible wadding and the usual sewing kit. My zip was 8.5″ long so the fabric was cut 9.5″ wide x 19″long (calculation = width = length of zip + seam allowance, length = double the width). I ironed the fusible wadding to the wrong side of the outer fabric and then inserted the zip in between the outer fabric and lining. I also top-stitched either side of the zip to ensure that the fabric did not foul the teeth of the zip. The resulting tube was turned wrong side (lining) out then flattened so that the zip was centred and I then stitched the bottom edge closed. I created box corners by flattening the work so that the bottom seam was centred and sewed across the triangle – about 3/4″ from the point. Next I opened the pouch to right sides out. I formed pleats in the top edge and machine basted into place. At this stage I could have included a small hanging loop but decided to omit and leave the bag as a freestanding project. Using a strip of fabric 2.5″ wide I covered the basting with binding which was finished with hand slip stitching on the reverse. This was a quick and simple project which can be completed in virtually any size – it is only governed by the length of the zip that you decide to use. It can also be made wider rather than taller by simply changing the ratio of measurements.
Bag Front Bag reverse
Further to the earlier post, I have now completed 5 rows for this mysterious wall hanging. I have gone “off piste” slightly as the original design includes a row of pieced houses interspersed with trees. As all my other rows have a Cream background I felt that to break the continuity by adding a row with Blue sky background would be inappropriate. I have therefore repeated my favourite row of mini hexagon flowers. I checked the overall length of the longest row and adjusted the length of the shorter ones by adding a little extra Cream calico fabric. I hope to cover the joins with additional applique and I will also add further detail to the blank spaces in the row of Friendship Stars (row 2). Each row has been separated from the next with a strip of sashing which is also used for the first border. The hanging now measures approximately 21″ wide x 25″ long but this will be increased with the addition of a second border and binding. Next step is to finish the front before making the quilt “sandwich” of wadding and backing before quilting and finally adding the binding. I have enjoyed this project which has given me the opportunity to practice new techniques and use up just a little of my stash of scrap fabrics.
Month by month members of Sprat & Winkle Quilters have been given a pattern of a patchwork row. Five rows make up the basic design of a wallhanging. Each row provides scope to practice a new method of patchwork be it foundation piecing, paper piecing, applique, etc., and can be worked in any colour combination desired. Personally I have simply rummaged in my scrap bag and taken whatever comes to hand. I plan to put the rows together with some sort of sashing to bring the disparate colours and designs to form some sort of cohesive whole. So far I have completed row 1 – Flying Geese, row 3 – Hearts and now row 5 – mini hexagon flowers. On the subject of the latter, a moan went up from the group when we realised that the hexagons for the flowers in row 5 were to be worked to 3/4″ size. I was one of the worst offenders as apart from my dislike of hand sewing, working in miniature is not something that I have attempted before. But who knew? I have thoroughly enjoyed working these delightful and effective hexagon flowers which can be made using very small scraps of fabric and take no time at all to stitch. I shall definitely be making more and applying them to all manner of projects from quilted coat hanger covers to “boho” style clothing. Three cheers for mini hexagons!
With a New Year I decided that as a change to the usual Prima pattern, I would make up New Look 6298 with some bold Red Ponte Roma Jersey purchased from Fabricland in Salisbury. After making some sizing adjustments to the pattern I followed the instructions almost to the letter! If I had read other reviews of this pattern I would not have enlarged at the side seams quite so much as the dress is particularly roomy. I made view D but adapted the hem band so that there would be no hint of a gather at the joining seam. The scoop neckline works out to be lower than I had anticipated (or perhaps it was the weight of the dress that dragged it down) and I was unhappy with the method of binding. If I make the dress again I shall certainly change the “method” for finishing the neckline. The raglan sleeves with shoulder dart worked well with the dart finishing exactly at my shoulder point. I made the large patch pockets and again, if repeating this pattern, I would either make the pockets smaller or omit completely. There is no shaping in the form of darts or shaped side seams and I think for me this was probably a mistake. I finished the hems on the sleeves and the hem band with my favourite wide-spaced twin-needle stitching which worked extremely well. I may well make this pattern again, even though the pattern is designed and drafted for a knit I may use a woven rather than a knit fabric.
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!
Front view Back view
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….