All posts by caroline

Applique Patchwork Bag

The second Monday of each month is when I attend the Patchwork & Quilting club/class at Franklins in Salisbury. This week we enjoyed a new form of raw-edge applique using patchwork shapes.

Emma had sent through a list of requirements together with a link to a Youtube video on how to make a simple lined tote bag. I prepared as per the instructions and during the morning’s class was pleased to make the initial appliques and fuse them onto the centre panel of my bag.

I completed the decorative stitching on the appliques at home together with the construction of the bag. I watched the vlog on my Hudl tablet but must admit that I found the instructions confusing. I think in future I will stick my TNT method for bag making.

Conclusion: I am very pleased with the end result which has used up a tiny fraction of my scraps stash fabrics. There will definitely be more in the future!

Project #4 completed11th January 2022

‘Jane’ Pinafore #4

I wanted to make a pinafore dress that would coordinate with the two Green Palm Leaves viscose blouses that I have recently completed. I had this Forest Green Polyester Drill in my stash that I bought for £13.00 in 2021 from A Fabrics of Derby with the idea of making some trousers. When the fabric arrived I decided that it was not suitable for the trousers so has been awaiting a different project. I decided that another version of my self-drafted ‘Jane’ pinafore dress would be ideal.

I like to line the bodice of these pinafores and whilst I could have used some of the palm leaves viscose I decided to use a different novelty printed cotton poplin of sheep! I bought just one metre from Hot Pink Haberdashery at a cost of £5.99 per metre of 108 cms wide fabric. The bodice and pocket linings took just 76 cms of the print so I have a nice size remnant to add that pop of novelty print in another project.

As this is now the fourth time making up this pattern I completed the construction in record time.

As the Green drill fabric is very plain I wanted to highlight the seams. I top stitched the Princess seams, around the armholes , the neckline and front edges of the bodice. I used two strands of Light Green standard weight cotton in a top-stitch needle with a stitch length of 3.5mm. I used yet more of the coconut shell buttons and the only hand stitching was to tack down the bodice lining to the inside waist seam and the hem of the skirt. All buttons and buttonholes were completed on my Brother 550SE machine. That’s my type of project!

I am delighted with how this pinafore dress has turned out and as planned it goes very well with the two blouses in Green Palm leaf viscose.

My Juki overlocker is currently at Franklins in Salisbury having a long overdue service. The next few projects will be completed with no overlocking – French seams or Hong Kong finishes will be the order of the day. I may even finish off some patchwork and quilting projects that have been loitering in the cupboard!

Project #3 completed 9th January 2022

Short sleeved ‘Newlyn’ Blouse #2

Green palm leaves print viscose from Rainbow Fabrics; I love this print so much that I bought two further lengths of 6 metres when it was on sale. Having completed the long sleeved blouse. I went straight ahead and cut out another blouse.

This I used the ‘Newlyn’ pattern which is a ‘hack’ of a New Look 6731 pattern bought from eBay with my favourite short sleeves. It took 1.4 metres from one of the 6 metre lengths (I am saving the other 6 metres for a dress). As this fabric is is so mobile I quickly applied the fusible interfacing to the under collar, top collar/facing and the sleeve hem facings.

All seams were French seams with the first pass made on the overlocker. I added the back darts and the narrow ties. I may go back later and add body darts in the front. The sleeve hem facing was hand stitched with herringbone stitch to avoid it flopping down. Hem on the facing and shirt tail-shaped hem on the bodice were overlocked and then turned and top stitched. Seven coconut shell buttons and buttonholes down the front worked on the Brother 550SE machine.

Conclusion: A lovely straightforward sew. I love, love this pattern! Next, as a palate cleanser to the Green Palm Leaves viscose I am working on a Forest Green Poly/cotton Drill pinafore dress to coordinate with the latest two blouses.

Project #2 completed 5th January 2022

Repeat – Long sleeved Blouse

For the month of January I intend to ‘Go Green’, by that I mean that I would like to concentrate on projects using fabrics with a Green theme. I have several lengths selected and I hope to use them on ‘new to me’ patterns plus some old favourites.

The first project was a long sleeved blouse (‘Carmen’) using a TNT pattern, last made as the first project of 2021. What a coincidence that the pattern was again to be the first make of 2022!

For this project I used 1.6 metres from one of the 6 metre lengths of the Green Palm leaves viscose that I bought sometime ago from Rainbow Fabrics. This blouse, when combined with the Jenna skirt by Seamwork will look like a shirt dress, a similar effect to that used for the Blue viscose blouse/skirt combo that I made this time last year.

When cutting out I noticed that I had already made the forward shoulder adjustment, apart from that the construction was straightforward. I used French seams throughout and the edges of the facing were neatened by overlocking before a single turn hem.

The long sleeves have gentle gathering at the shoulders, a continuous lap placket and lots of gathering into single button cuff. Buttonholes stitched beautifully on my ‘Sewing Retreat’ Brother 550SE machine, all the coconut shell buttons were also stitched on the machine.

The hem was overlocked and then turned inside so that there are no raw edges. Once again I have added a shirt tail-shaped hem so that the blouse tucks into skirts easily but can also be worn outside trousers.

I am very happy with the final result blouse and as I love this print so much went ahead and cut out another blouse.

Project #01 completed 2nd January 2022

Review & Plans

According to the ‘likes’ on my instagram pages the following were my ‘Magnificent Seven’:-

1 Freya Blue Cowl neck top – viscose jersey – Rainbow Fabics

2 New Look 6731 Palm Leaf Blouse – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

3 By Hand London Hannah wrap dress – check poly/cotton duvet – Dunelm

4 Hack New Look 6731 short sleeve blouse – cotton remnant – C&H fabrics

5 ‘Moira’ Moonflower dress – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

6. Love Notions Melody Blouse – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

7 ‘Jane’ Pinafore dress – Autumnal print curtaining cotton remnant – eBay

An interesting result that demonstrates my ‘conversion’ to Viscose substrate purchased mostly from Rainbow Fabrics and also the use of recycled and/or refashioned woven fabrics.

For 2022 I am determined to whittle down my stash of both fabrics and patterns. To that end I have unsubscribed from all those companies that regularly send inviting mails with enticing photographs of new and exciting fabrics and dressmaking patterns.

For the month of January I intend to ‘Go Green’, by that I mean that I would like to concentrate on projects using fabrics with a Green theme. I have several lengths selected and I hope to use them on ‘new to me’ patterns plus some old favourites.

The first project is a long sleeved blouse (‘Carmen’) using a TNT pattern, last made as the first project of 2021. What a coincidence that the pattern will again be the first make of 2022!

1st January 2022

Moira #10 Abstract

This is an unusual print choice for me but when I saw it on t he Textile Centre website I knew that I had to have it for my Autumn capsule collection. I originally ordered 3 metres of the viscose challis (cost £15.27) and was not disappointed when it arrived. However, I was a little surprised at the amount of fluidity and drape of the fabric.

I made an error with this length of fabric by making a dress that was too fitted in the bodice and had a half circle skirt (bias!) which dropped madly at the hem. Fortunately I was able to purchase the last 3 metres that Textile Centre had in stock so this dress is a replacement for the previous Harley/Penny mash up that is entitled Rookie Error!

I decided not to risk a further disappointment and turned to that TNT pattern – the ‘Moira’ dress. At the end of a long afternoon of stitching I had produced my new dress and I am very pleased!

Conclusion: Lesson learned – don’t try new designs with precious fabric, either use ‘muslin fodder’ or make a toile and remember to check the suitability in terms of drape.

Project #73 completed 6th November 2021

Bargello Patchwork Bags

Now I am in full swing for Christmas gifts sewing. These are the first to be completed but the descriptions will not be posted until after Christmas Day as I know the recipient regularly visits this blog.

I made two Bargello patchwork blocks using a Fabric Freedom jelly roll that I knew matched one that Antje had shown in her correspondence with me. I bordered the blocks with strips from the jelly roll to give larger blocks as I wanted to make this a LARGE bag. I used a contrast lining of Blue background Lewis & Irene print that I had been keeping for a special project. I added a small zip pocket to the lining, plus a slip pocket as I always find such things very useful. The carrying handles/straps are made from strips from the jelly roll and are extra long so that the bag can be carried over the shoulder.

The second item made using the jelly roll was a patchwork project bag. I utilised some of the remnants of the Bargello patchwork for one side and made a ‘quilt as you go’ diagonal patchwork for the reverse. The zip closure came from my stash and I added a pretty tassel to the zip pull as that little something extra!

To complete the project I added a key fob using yet another strip from the jelly roll. The parcel was posted off to Germany on Monday 6th December. I hope that it arrives in time and that Antje is pleased with the gift.

Projects #84 & #85 completed 2nd December 2021

Oriental theme Christmas Gifts

For this person I chose some fabric printed with little Japanese girls in traditional dress. The recipient seems to have an affinity with the Orient as her website has a Japanese name and in the past she has introduced me to Manga art.

Once again I made a ‘window’ project bag and supplemented this with a simple slip case suitable for a ‘kindle’ or ipad.

The project bag was filled with a printed pattern for bagmaking and a selection of charm-sized (5 inch squares) pretty cotton fabrics.

Projects #90 and #91 completed 6th December 2021

An Elephant in the Room

Joan has long been a lover of these gentle giants and when I visited her in her new apartment recently, noticed a large and colourful picture of a Bull elephant in the hallway. So for this project bag I purchased a selection of fat quarters of cotton fabric featuring elephants.

I now feel pretty expert at making these bags. I was able to use three of the prints from the selection plus a length of zip and a couple of tassels for the ring pull from my stash.

The bag was filled with a variety of other small gifts including a Christmas gnome (without the battery), elephant print scarf, set of nail polishes and posted off to Chiswick.

Project #92 completed 6th December 2021

‘Janice’ dress

I wanted to try a slightly different, new design of dress and started out with the ‘Jane’ pinafore dress bodice pattern. I knew that I would have to adapt the pattern if I wanted to have a dress with sleeves and that a calico toile would be the best way forward. One of the first changes to the pattern was to the armscye. This was lowered by 1cm and as I planned to use my short sleeve block with the gathered sleeve head it should fit OK. I wanted to have the dress button down the front and having checked the depth of the neckline on the pinafore, raised the neckline for this dress by 4 cms.

On the calico toile I noted that the Princess seams were a little tight over the apex of my bust – I added about 1 cm at the fullest part of the side front panels and shaped back to the original line. Taking inspiration from Regency dresses as seen on television adaptations I added a double thickness frill at the sleeve head. On the calico toile I made two different length of sleeve head frills – the first one was the length of the sleeve head from single front notch to double back notch. The second frill was that length plus half as much again and was gathered up before attaching to the sleeve head. I decided that the first frill length was the best especially as it cut down on the amount of gathering I would need to do! I completely unpicked the toile and made changes to my paper pattern.

I had originally planned to use a pretty floral printed viscose on a Turquoise background but for this ‘wearable muslin’ changed my mind and instead used 3 metres of a Khaki Green background floral print viscose marrocain that I bought from Rainbow Fabrics (£14.97). I had just enough fabric after cutting out the main dress to cut the front facing, back neck facing and pockets from the fashion fabric, the remainder of the bodice lining was cut from plain Black viscose voile purchased in bulk from the Fabric Room.

At first fitting I noticed that the bodice was not as fitted at the high waist as I would like. I added some self fabric ties at the side seams and adjusted the pattern for the front side bodice panels.

Construction of the dress was fairly straightforward apart from the fact that once again I have chosen a very mobile fabric. I love the feel of this viscose marrocain to wear as it is warm to the touch and drapes well but the making of the dress is challenging as it slips and slides away from you all the time. Many, many pins were used to ensure that the fabric stays where it is put!

I found that I had cut the sleeve hem facing too deep but a quick whiz around with the overlocking soon sorted that out. The facings for the sleeve are hand slip-stitched in place as the interfacing gave them more weight and caused them to drop down. I could foresee that I would be forever tucking them back up into the sleeve. The frills on the shoulders have worked well and this has given more ‘width’ to the shoulders to counter balance the gathered skirt.

I used 16 four-hole buttons in Sage Green from my stash, 7 on the bodice and 9 down the skirt. All the buttonholes were stitched on my Brother 550SE as were the buttons. There is a 2 ½ inch hem that is hand slip-stitched in place.

Conclusion: There is a little more ‘finessing’ to do to the pattern to make the bodice more fitted and do away for the need of a tie belt. I think that next time I would like to make the style in a fine cotton or poplin with a gored and gathered skirt. Perhaps I will do buttons down the bodice only. We shall have to wait and see how the mood takes me!

Projects #97 completed 28th December 2021