Monthly Archives: February 2018

Drunkards Path Patchwork

When my sister and I go on our travels which has lately taken the form of a cruise, I always prepare a couple of kits of patchwork hand-sewing projects. This year we will be visiting the Caribbean for a fly-cruise so will have to reign back slightly on our packing.

After consultation with Catherine, we decided to tackle the Drunkards’ Path block. After browsing various Pinterest boards I came up with two very different arrangements for the blocks.

The first, ‘Drunken Birds’, I will be stitching myself, whilst Catherine will be working on a slightly more traditional arrangement.

We decided that as we would be in the Caribbean we would choose vibrant coloured fabrics to reflect our location. I visited New Threads Quilt Shop and purchased twelve fat quarters which combined with some equally bold prints would be used in our projects. The background colour for my quilt will be Blue and Catherine has chosen a Primrose Yellow.

After careful evaluation of the ‘birds’ I sorted my fabrics and started cutting the various parts. When cutting the ‘arcs’ there is always a lozenge shape of spare fabric and I thought that it would be ideal to use as the ‘heads’ of the birds. Once all the parts had been die-cut, I arranged the blocks

according to the inspiration to check how they looked together. I have used three different shades of Blue for the background ‘sky’ and arranged the blocks so that the lightest ‘sky’ is at the top of the quilt, grading to a medium Blue and then for the bottom row of birds, a much darker Blue. I hope that this will help to give the impression of perspective, that the top row of birds are further away. We shall see.

I cut the lozenge shapes in half widthways and placed on the appropriate Blue fan-shaped piece before using a fine zig-zag stitch to appliqué in place. Gradually all the ‘heads’ were stitched.

Well, now I thought I would stitch a sample/test block.

I was so pleased with the result that I could not stop…. now I have stitched seven blocks on the machine. This means that I shall have to make all 21 of the blocks on the machine as otherwise with some hand-sewn the result on the quilt may look a little odd. I don’t mind.

I enjoy stitching this block and as Catherine has in excess of 100 blocks to sew for her quilt I will happily assist by hand stitching some for her. What are sisters for?

Full Circle Skirt

Back in January I purchased 2 metres of Cream Ponte from The Textile Centre (cost £3.14/m). I knew that I am short of plain-coloured skirts in my wardrobe so a full-circle skirt with elasticated waistband would fill a gap.

To make the skirt I turned once again to McCalls 6754

and using only the skirt front and back patterns with an additional 3 inches to the length I cut out. I omitted the centre back seam of the skirt by placing on the fold. I cut a waistband from the width of the fabric x 4 inches wide.

So with very little seaming the skirt was sewn in less than 1 hour. The waistband is top stitched and a length of Petastretch® inserted for the elastication.

The skirt has been allowed to hang for 24 hours but there does not appear to be any drop in the bias. The hem now needs to be top- stitched in place with a twin needle and given a good press.

This skirt has proved a winner. I was a little disappointed that the colour I had bought was Cream rather than White but provided I do not wear the skirt with any White tops, I am sure it will be fine.

 

Back to Basic Patchwork – Hexagons

The second Monday in the month is the morning for Patchwork & Quilting at Franklins in Salisbury. We are re-visiting the basics and this month we looked again at hexagons.

Using templates that came free with a quilting magazine and some scraps of cotton fabric, I made 6 hexies with 1 inch sides.

Using Emma’s detailed instructions, these were carefully placed on a quilt sandwich of a fat quarter printed cotton, thin wadding and another fat quarter of plain cotton for the backing. I would normally use a spray adhesive to keep the layers together but as this was a small piece and would be quilted very quickly, I simply basted with glass-headed pins.

Prior to stitching, the hexagons were kept in place with some fabric glue.

In Emma’s sample she had quilted in three directions through the middle of each hexagon. However, as I had ‘fussy-cut’ the print of some of my hexagons, I had to stitch around the edge of each individual one. I then quilted in two directions only as time was getting on, I wanted to have the project finished by the end of the evening!

I completed the bag with a Yellow zip and sugar bag bottom corners. The finished bag measures 15 inches across x 9 inches deep. A really useful item to showcase those hexagons!

Like a Chinese meal, no sooner have you finished making a few hexagons than you feel like making some more. They will have to wait until I have made the full circle skirt which is now cut out and ready to sew….. catch you later!

Scrumptious Stretch Velvet Plantain Tunic by Deer & Doe

I bought this fab-u-lous stretch velvet from Stitchy Bee sometime at the end of last year and since then it has been in my ’roundtuit’ pile awaiting just the right pattern to make it up.

I have now well and truly tested the Plantain tunic top by Deer and Doe which is fast becoming one of my favourite TNT patterns.

I ensured that the pile of the velvet was running down the length of the pattern and quickly laid out the pattern pieces. The fabric was a delight to use. The wrong side is soft and silky and the surface feels just like real silk velvet.

I made my usual adjustments – raised the centre front neckline by 2 inches, lengthened the tunic by 4 inches and shortened the sleeves by 4 inches.

The pattern took just 1.5 metres of fabric and as had I purchased 2 metres at £9.90/metre I now have sufficient remaining to make a lovely evening bag – but that will be for another day as I already have a super beaded evening bag to use.

Apart from the neckband, the entire tunic was stitched on my sewing machine. For the main seams I used the ‘lightning’ stitch length 3.5 and for the hems a standard straight stitch – also at length 3.5.

Velvet Plantain Tunic by Deer & Doe

I believe that I have now completed the dark-coloured garments in anticipation of the cruise – although I do have some lovely dragonfly printed cotton ready laundered….

Timeless Treasures Dragonflies print

hmm …. no better get on with the circle skirt in Ivory Ponte.

Faux Fur Gilet – Hack of Simplicity 4032

Well I have thought quite long enough about this project. Now it is time to stop looking at the fabric and get on with the project. First step was to trace off the pattern from Simplicity 4032.

I used the back, side front, front panels and centre panel/facing/collar pieces from view D. To remove the hem flounce I added 3+5/8th inches to the length of the pieces whilst retaining the gentle curve at lower front edge on the centre panel/facing/collar pattern. I adjusted the centre back by 1 inch for my sway back and added extra width at the hips – ‘just in case’ it was required.

I am pleased that I checked out the faux fur and discovered that there was a definite nap, all pattern pieces were laid so that the pile was going down the garment.

I used some spare fabric to run a couple of stitching tests. Was I going to have the fur on the inside or the outside? I decided to have the faux fur on the outside so that the smooth knit was next to my other clothing and would reverse at the collar giving my face a frame of the Cerise Pink colour.

   

I tested out seam finishes. Option 1) Lapped seams with all seam allowances overlocked in the Cerise Pink thread – preferred. 

Option 2) a straight forward seam with Right sides together – not good as that left a lot of raw/fluffy seam allowances on the inside of the gilet. 

I threaded the machine with a Light Blue Grey in the needle and a Cerise Pink in the bobbins. All seams were stitched from the Right side.

For the first fitting I pinned all the seams to check the fit. After some adjustment of the seams I then stitched each one twice. First to secure the top layer in place and secondly to secure the under layer and prevent it from flapping about inside the garment. This method gives a nice smooth finish to the inside of the garment thus making it easier to put on and off.

For the armhole finishing I simply overlocked the raw edge and then turned the knit side to the outside before hand basting in place. I changed the top thread to Cerise Pink before zig-zag stitching the turnings in place.

The front panel/facing/collar piece was also applied using a lapped seam and finished in the same way as the other panel seams. The entire outer edge was then overlocked to finish the raw edges.

The gilet is big enough to lap right over left and could have a button or snap fastening but for now I will leave it as is.

A very comfortable gilet which has provided me with the new experience of sewing with faux fur. Now I have to vacuum the sewing room which is awash with Grey fluff!

Deer & Doe Plantain Dress Hack

Deer & Doe Plantain Tunic Pattern

Whilst I am still cogitating on how to make up the faux fur/cerise knit gilet from Simplicity 4032, as light relief I decided to use up some of my stash! A quick hacked version of the Deer and Doe Plantain top into a dress.

Plantain Dress Hack

I found this winter-weight jersey from Fabricland (£4.59/metre) deep in my stash. It was probably purchased sometime last year when I began my adventure with jersey fabrics. The fabric is no longer listed on the website so I do not know its construction – only that it has good stretch in both directions. This piece was a remnant from a top-making session with my friend Adrienne. I guess there was approximately 1¾ yards from which to cut the dress and fortunately there is no definite one-way direction to the print.

First step was to trace the pattern and make a few small adjustments. I graded the waistline seam of the back bodice to allow for my sway back. The final CB seam was 16½ inches. I cut the skirt 27 inches long allowing just ½ inch for the hem. The centre front of the bodice neckline was raised by 2 inches and I also cut a neckband 2¼ inches wide. I lengthened the centre front waistline of the bodice by 1 inch to allow for my bust and graded back to 0 at the side seams. The sleeve pattern is 4 inches shorter than the original and I added double folded cuffs.

The dress went together very easily. Due to lack of fabric I cut the back bodice at the selvedge and made a seam. The skirt was cut from the full width of fabric and had only one seam at centre back. I applied a neckband with finished width of ¾ inch and cuffs that are 1¼ inch deep. At first fitting I took in the sleeves by 1 inch grading to 0 at the underarm. All seams are overlocked and the skirt hem is finished with twin-needle stitching.

At the final fitting I noticed that the waistline seam on the bodice had stretched. I added some clear elastic to the seam – stitched with a triple zig-zag. This has pulled in the waistline and makes for a much more flattering fit. Here I have yet another dress that looks good with my wide double-buckled belt.

A Blast from the Past – Simplicity 4032

I am planning to make a sleeveless jacket using some faux-fur lined/Pink knit fabric purchased from The Textile Centre.

  

A great deal of thought has gone into deciding which pattern to use. After referring to my sister ‘What do you think?’ she suggested something with Princess seaming. I knew that I wanted to have a collar to exhibit the faux fur and having browsed through my sewing record book came across a reference to this pattern – Simplicity 4032.

I originally made the pattern – view D way back on 18th February 2011. How’s that for fabulous record keeping!

So whilst I prepare for the new sleeveless jacket, I thought you might like to see the previous iteration of the pattern.

I used a beautiful Brocade fabric purchased at one of the Sewing for Pleasure shows at the NEC. The fabric may be lovely but was rather tiresome to sew in that it frayed a great deal and also left a dark Grey staining on my sewing machine (although that came off quickly with a baby wipe).

All the internal seams were neatened with the overlocker and I drafted my own self-fabric facing for the collar, revere, front button facings and also a facing for the hem frill.

I particularly like the shawl collar which sits really well on the front of the jacket. I was fortunate to find some great antiqued silver buttons in my stash. There were 4 available and I have stitched 3 for the front fastening and the spare inside the left front.

I have received many compliments on this jacket which co-ordinates well with skirts, trousers and dresses. I am pleased to say that it still fits!