Around the Houses – Beach Huts Wallhanging

As part of a “team” project at Sprat & Winkle Quilters we have been making “Round Robins”. Each member chose a theme based on Houses, they could be Lighthouses, Dog Houses, Bird Houses – infact anything that could be considered a “dwelling”. I chose Beach Huts and today I finished the wallhanging which is approximately 90 cms square. Each block made by members of my team is highly individual and reflects the style and character of the maker. A charming reminder of the delightful ladies with whom I share a passion for patchwork!

beach huts round robin

Magic Squares Patchwork Quilt II

At last, I have finished piecing the top of the magic squares quilt that was inspired by our bathroom flooring. The quilt top now measures 67″ square which is a little larger than I originally planned – it has been like Topsy – she just grew! I already have a large piece of 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding (batting for USA readers) and have ordered a Pale Blue King size flat sheet which I will use for the backing.

finished piecing the top

So now whilst I wait for the delivery I have made up a co-ordinating cushion. I have used some of the dark blue sashing fabric to make piping and the reverse of the cushion cover is calico with zip closure. I made the cover 18″ square but the only new pad I could find is 20″ so the cover is well-stuffed!

finished cushion

Going Crazy!

I have been stitching away with the quilt featured in my last post but it is taking some time. There are 200 strips of sashing and 100 cornerstones to be cut and stitched so that 81 blocks can be assembled to form the main part of the quilt, before adding the borders, quilting the whole and then the binding to finish.

By way of “light relief” I changed threads and needles today to make a couple of “crazy patchwork” items for a friend. The little scissors case is an old friend – I have lost count of how many I have made and the cosmetics zip-top bag is also a quick and simple project. I hope that my friend will be pleased with them.mini scossors case     Front view

Reverse view       mini scossors case reverse

Cosmetics Purse

    crazy patchwork zip top bag front   crazy patchwork zip top bag reverse

Magic Squares Patchwork Quilt I

I know that I am supposed to be making the Hunstanton print cotton into a dress – but I got sidetracked. For a long time now I have been looking at the flooring of our bathroom and thinking that it is an ideal pattern for patchwork. Last year whilst on holiday in Cornwall I visited Butterfly Quilters in Kilkhampton and invested heavily in the purchase of lots of Blue-toned fabrics with a view to making up a quilt inspired by the bathroom floor! Well I have finally made a start. The basic design is of 3″ squares bordered with 1″ strips of striped fabric to make a 5″ square which is then joined to another 5″ square using the “magic” technique to produce a 6+1/4″ pieced block.  As the resulting block has 4 triangles at the outside, all with bias edges I have found it best to “tame” the blocks by using straight grain sashing and cornerstones. I have made up the 81 blocks, cut 200 pieces of sashing and 100 cornerstones so now just the time-consuming task of piecing all together before adding 2 borders which will complete the top of the quilt.

set 9x9

auditioning the completed blocks before adding sashing & cornerstones.

A Learning Experience

Before cutting into the Hunstanton cotton fabric I decided to run up a trial garment using some Pale Pink floral-1/8″ gingham that has been “lurking” in the loft for a few years! I first drafted the bodice with five 1/2″ tucks either side of a centre front faux button band and also re-shaped the neckline so that it had more of a scoop and would be suitable for a narrow bias binding finish. (I love narrow gingham bias binding!) Having laid out the pattern pieces I discovered that there was insufficient fabric for the different sleeves I had planned so it was back to the basic lined cap sleeve as previously used. I adjusted the sleeve pattern slightly to reduce the width at the hem whilst retaining the shaping for the sleeve head. As the fabric was 100% cotton it was easy to press in the tucks although I noticed later that the set on the right side are rather irregular whilst those on the left side are perfect! I lined the sleeves with a fine White cotton lawn which I also used for the pocket facings. The dress went together fairly easily, but at first fitting I started to have my doubts about the colour and print of the fabric. Having completed the dress I have the following conclusions: I really don’t need a zip at the centre back when the neckline is scooped, it can simply be put on “pullover” style. The light-coloured fabric and “dainty” print is not suitable for use as a day dress. I prefer a box-pleated skirt to gathers. I deep hem of at least 2″ helps to “weight” the skirt. I need to try a different sleeve for a change. Taking the above into consideration I am now ready to make the Hunstanton dress which I would like to have ready to wear to meet a friend for lunch next week.

learning experience front 2         learning experience back view

                  Full length Front view          Full length Back view

learning experience bodice

Bodice detail

Flamboyant Flamingos

The Birthday Dress – I may no longer be in the prime of youth and my figure may be more rubenesque than I would like but that does not mean that I can’t enjoy a frivolous print dress! Based on the bodice of the Prima shift, this is version 48 with a box pleated skirt and centre back zip that I know that I will enjoy wearing. Once again I have piped the neckline and self-lined cap sleeves with a light green cotton just to add a finishing touch. This time I managed to cut two side seam pockets by using an odd scrap of plain cotton for the pocket facings.

front view

Next on the sewing timetable is another version of this style dress using the charming Blue background floral print cotton that I bought in Hunstanton. I plan to make pin tucks in the front bodice, gather the skirt and make tulip sleeves. Wish me luck!

hunstanton floral

Hunstanton Floral Print Cotton

Disappearing Pinwheels Patchwork

Coming shortly at Sprat & Winkle Quilters will be an evening working on Disappearing Pinwheels as demonstrated by Missouri Star Quilting Company on You Tube. I spent some time yesterday “playing” with this method and pictured below are the results. For anyone attempting this method I would recommend that all fabrics are sprayed with starch at the outset as after stitching of the initial 10″ squares together, all further seams are on the bias. This can make things a little tricky. I enjoyed the results and plan to make lots more when I next have a space in my sewing timetable.

4 variations

4 variations

table runner

a partially completed table runner

“Coming Up Roses” Prima dress variation 47

You all know that the Prima shift dress pattern from way back is one of my favourites. I recently purchased Colette “Peony” dress pattern but on closer inspection decided that with some minor alterations I could use my Prima pattern by cutting the bodice at the waist  and adding a box pleated skirt (I am really “into” box pleats at present). I had this very busy Roses printed cotton in my stash so away I went. I decided to line the cap sleeves with a contrast which I then “edged” down to provide a narrow faux piping at the hem. I used the same contrasting Cerise Pink cotton to make some “real” piping at the neck edge. The box pleats were easy and I lined them up with the body darts on the bodice. Again I hand picked the centre back zip which came from the stash that my father accumulated whilst working for Opti-lon zips back in the 1960′s and 70′s. I was able to make the dress using just 2.3 metres of 114cm wide fabric but as I was running out of fabric fast there is only one side seam pocket which is on the right-hand side. I am so pleased with this dress that I shall certainly make it again – next time using a fabulous Flamingo print which will make a “stand out in the crowd” birthday dress.

front view    close up lined sleeve

coming shortly…..

flamingos turquoise

Daisy Fresh Simplicity 2886 version 2

In my previous post I mentioned that the Blue Tulip print dress made to Simplicity 2886 with my own personal variations was one of my favourites whilst on my cruise. So… I made another one. This time I used a fresh Green background “daisy” print from Fabricland teamed with co-ordinating Green and White Gingham fabric. The dress went together quickly as I had already made adjustments to the pattern. I hand picked the centre back zip and added a tie belt at the side seams to improve the fit. The contrast gingham at the neckline means that there are already two layers of fabric so I decided to bind the neckline and armholes with gingham bias binding. Made to a finished width of just 1/4″ it was subtle and effective. I wore the dress yesterday when visiting Fabricland in Salisbury and received many compliments. Just right to perk up my confidence!

front view   back view

Back Home & Sorting

Back home after a terrific cruise to the Canary Islands, Madeira and Vigo (Santiago de Compostela), Spain. All my new dressmaking has now been road(sea)-tested. Regretfully some items have been found wanting and are therefore listed for sale on eBay. Hopefully they will sell and provide funds for more dressmaking. My favourite items were the Prima dress 46, the second nautical themed blouse combined with the 4-gore circular skirt, the “Loralie” blouse in Truro fabric and the Variations on a theme Simplicity 2886 Blue Tulips dress. The Cherries print shoes have also been listed for sale as I only managed to walk in them for half-an-hour, those giddy heights of 4.5″ heels are not the most appropriate shoes to wear on the “high seas”!