All posts by caroline

Joni Dress # 6

Joni Dress by Tilly and the Buttons
Joni Dress – line drawing

I fancied making a new dress to wear for one of the evenings of the Sewcial Retreat in Oxford that I am attending tomorrow. I have previously made the Joni dress a mere 5 times. One of those versions was a hack into a top and no. 4 was a ‘fail’.

This time I revisited the tutorial by Sheona of Sewisfaction and decided that I would try her method for the neck binding and make up the Joni in a velvet fabric. I had just the right fabric, purchased recently from The Textile Centre. It was described thus:

Gothic Ice Rose Velvet Scuba type Jersey

This is a heavy-weight bonded polyester spandex soft, silky, ice velvet dress fabric with a really pretty hazy rose print in silver grey against a pretty wine-coloured background. This fabric has two layers of fabric, an ice spandex velvet top and an FTY poly/jersey underside which give the effect of a scuba velvet. It has a soft tactile hand feel and a really soft drape. It has most of its stretch in the width, although it does have a tighter stretch to the length. Great for evening dresses, tops, skirts, jackets, culottes, even trousers and shorts, etc. Machine Wash on a 40° temp, hang dry, iron on reverse if needed. This is a relatively easy fabric for newcomers to sewing, although it is quite a slippery fabric to work with. Width: 145 cms.”

The fabric was exactly as described. Stitched up like a dream. However, once again I struggled with the neckline binding. I followed Sheona’s instructions with one small change. Due to the thickness of the fabric I did not use the neck binding folded in half along its length. I simply cut the strip in half (lengthwise), stitched right sides together, folded to the inside and top stitched in place. It does not matter that there is a raw edge inside the neckline as this fabric does not fray.

So, apart from some time wasted unpicking and re-stitching the neck binding, the construction was very straightforward. I cut the sleeves at ¾ and used double-sided fusible tape to turn up the hem before twin-needle top stitching in place. The hem of the skirt has been left raw. I may twin-needle top stitch at a later date, but for now it is fine.

Result is a lovely dress, just right to wear for dinner. Now I simply have to decide which evening to use it.

Sashiko & Dumpling

I spent a lovely morning yesterday at the Patchwork & Quilting class, Franklins in Salisbury. We combined my Dumpling pouch with some Sashiko stitching.

I used the Shippou Seven Treasures  template on some plain Navy cotton from my stash. The stitching was done with White Perle thread. I used some pretty ditsy floral print with a Navy background for the lining and fusible wadding for the filler. The size 5 zip also in Navy has two zip pulls.

Sashiko & Dumpling Pouch

Although my pouch is not perfect, I am very pleased with the result. Hand stitching and me are not usually found in the same place so ‘hats off’ to Emma for the instruction and inspiration.

Border Print Jersey Paolina Top

I appeared to be on a roll when I made the Plantain top by Deer and Doe. Whilst the overlocker and sewing machine were set up with Charcoal thread and jersey needles, I continued and made this unusual print fabric into a ‘Paolina’ top.

The fabric was a ‘steal’ from a new supplier, ‘miss-clio’, that I discovered whilst watching a vlog (sorry, can’t remember whose). The polyester(?) jersey was listed as 62 inches wide at the ‘giveaway’ price of £2.99/metre an as I was a little unsure of the quality at that price, ordered just 1 metre. The fabric is indeed as it was described, ‘beautiful’.

Border print Polyester(?) Jersey

Due to the extra width of the fabric I was able to cut a ¾ sleeved Paolina tee top with just enough remaining for the neckband and a few odd-shaped scraps. The ‘Paolina’ is my hack from the Paola turtle neck top by ‘Named’.

Paola Turtle Neck by ‘Named’

I have adjusted the neckline to a shallow scoop with neckband and added a shaped hem to the extended length of the bodice front and back. I have already made several versions – this hack now falls into the TNT category.

The fabric was a little troublesome in that it insisted on curling at the edges but with plenty of fine jersey pins I managed to get it under control. I used the bold coloured-abstract pattern for the front and then the more restrained stripes for the back. The sleeves were cut from whatever I had left. The top was constructed on the overlocker but with some top stitching on the neckband and twin needle stitching at the hems completed on the sewing machine.

Paolina Front

Paolina Reverse

This top is a delight to wear being very light, drapey and comfortable. I may well re-visit miss-clio to check if she has any more similar fabrics on sale.

Plantain Tunic + Detachable Cowl

I have been cruising the internet and in particular, made yet another visit to The Textile Centre website. This is fatal as I simply cannot resist their fabrics!

This time I fell in love with a Striped Native American Inspired Soft Cloqué Jersey Dress Fabric Material (Blue)£4.49 per metre. This is a light-weight ponte type jersey with a cloqué effect pattern. According to Wikipedia: cloqué is a cloth with a raised woven pattern and a puckered or quilted look. The surface is made up of small irregularly raised figures formed by the woven structure). The composition is Polyester/Viscose/Elastane. I ordered 2 metres (Width: 145cm) and had in mind to make the Plantain tunic by Deer & Doe.


Striped Native American Inspired Soft Cloqué Jersey

Although the stripes of the fabric run from selvedge to selvedge I thought it best to have the stripes vertical. This meant that I lost the advantage of the stretch of the fabric but as the Plantain is a loose-fit did not think there would be a problem – and I was right.

Plantain by Deer & Doe

The fabric is an absolute dream to sew! It has a good drape, is soft to the touch and even has a two-way stretch although as I cut down the fabric rather than across I could not take advantage of this. The fabric has a smooth soft feel on the reverse and is machine washable on a 40° temperature.

This finished tunic is in fact a hack of the Plantain top. I used the pattern as a base for some tunic tops that I made last year and knew that I liked the style and fit of the extended length and slightly re-shaped neckline.

I extended the length by 4 inches, raised the neckline by a couple of inches, added deep side slits of 12 inches, added cuffs to the sleeves and adjusted the front hemline slightly for a full bust. I used the percentage of 85% of the neckline to calculate the length of the neckband and this worked out fine. I made a detachable cowl collar (the full width of the fabric x 19 inches) which fits neatly over the scoop neckline to be worn when I need some warmth around my neck and is easily removed when I have a hot flush!

Detachable Cowl collar
Tunic with neckband finish
Tunic with detachable Cowl in place

The tunic goes well with leggings and denim jeans. I have worn the top several times now and received many compliments. I love the fabric so much that I have ordered the last 5 metres and hope to make a dress and another top. Watch this space.

Spring is on the way

Recently we have enjoyed a few days of Spring-like weather and that prompted me to change the quilts on my husband’s grand piano. The ‘Winter Chills’ quilt has been returned to storage and replaced by this colourful quilt made using two jelly rolls plus remnants from my fabric stash. The quilt was made on one of the Rookwood Retreat Days a couple of years ago and is a nice reminder of a most enjoyable time spent with fellow patchwork and quilters.

The Lilac-coloured ‘highlight’ squares (snowballing) at the corner of each block were suggested by Meg at New Threads Quilt Shop whilst the other colours remind me of all the beautiful Spring flowers that have been emerging over the past few weeks. Snowdrops, Aconites, Crocus, Hellebore, Daffodils, Iris and a few Pretty Polyanthus.

Although the weather today is blowing a gale and upping the wind chill factor, indoors we are nice and snug with the sunshine reminding us of the warmer days to come.

Spring Fever!

And finally, 2 small projects

Storage Bin & Extra Small Clam Pouch

Yes, I have finally used up ALL of this pretty red-background floral print cotton. Result! The final two projects were the extra small clam-shaped pouch (which I have also found labelled as a ‘dumpling’) and a small storage bin for those odds and ends that are needed by the sewing machine as we stitch, stitch, stitch.

The pouch is just the right size to take my set of wonder clips and the storage bin can accommodate all manner of bits and pieces of sewing equipment – small measure, point turner, chalk markers et al.

Now I just have to set to and complete my ‘homework’ ready for the free motion quilting session at the retreat.

Daisy print Shirtwaister Dress

I mentioned in a previous post that I originally had 4 metres of this pretty Red background floral print cotton. As I had been using it for the sewing accessories the length of fabric was rapidly decreasing. I needed to be sure that I had sufficient remaining to make a dress so took a break from other projects to cut out and sew yet another sleeveless shirtwaister.

I used my TNT bodice with the hacked collar from Kwik Sew 3736. I cut 2 widths of fabric x 30 inches length for the skirt and this left about ¼ yard for the final sewing accessories (an extra small pouch and a fabric bin for odds and ends).

Hacked the collar from the jacket

As I have previously made this design (the Bajan Madras cotton – http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/bold-bajan-dress/) this particular iteration was a a very straightforward sew. I cut self bias strips for the armholes and made my usual in seam pockets that are stitched to the waistline seam. The skirt is gathered with a centre back seam. The pockets are stitched to slashed side seams which also helps to create a little shaping to the skirt. All internal seam allowances have been overlocked and the hem of the skirt was hand stitched. There are 11 pale Lemon buttons down the front of the dress and these came from my stash.

Daisy print Sleeveless Shirtwaister Dress

The fabric colour and print design of this dress is really more suited to the Summer season but until the weather warms up it does coordinate very well with the Red cropped cardigan from Lisa Comfort.

Worn with a Lisa Comfort cropped cardigan

As I had drawn the fabric and buttons from my stash (previously purchased from Fabricland at least 3 years ago) I count this dress as a ‘freebie’ but that does not mean that I can buy more fabric with a clear conscience!

Scissors Cases & Clam-shaped Pouch

I originally had 4 metres of the Red background floral printed cotton that I have been using for the sewing accessories. I checked the amount left and thought I had better check to see there was sufficient for a dress. There was and I will be posting photographs etc., as soon as the hem has been finished. So back to some more accessories…..

I used a couple of TNT patterns to make 2 scissors cases. The large one will take pinking shears and dressmaking scissors whilst the smaller one is just right for a small pair of scissors plus a stitch ripper. I used a double button for the closure on the large case and a White KAM snap on the small. Neat!

Regular readers of my blog will have seen several versions of the clam-shaped pouch (sometimes referred to as a ‘dumpling’). This iteration was made using some leftover Bosal ® wadding with a plain White poly/cotton lining. I have run out of Red zipper pulls so instead used White plus some Yellow hair bungees for the pulls.

Now I have just two more small items – an extra small pouch for my wonder clips and a small storage ‘bin’ for odds and ends to put by the side of my machine whilst I am working.

Then finally, I will have used just about every scrap of the 4 metres and move onto dressmaking projects that have been cut out and are ready-to-sew:- a spring-themed cotton print dress and two jersey tops.

Needle Organiser

Needle Organiser (C) New Threads Quilt Shop

Over the years I have found several ‘must have’ accessories that make my sewing life easier. This needle organiser designed by Meg Leach of New Threads Quilt Shop is just one of those items.

“Have you ever wondered what needle was in your sewing machine? Do you lose your needles or get them mixed up? Keep track of them with this handy needle organiser. Whenever you put a needle into your machine, place the daisy-headed pin in the appropriate section of the needle organiser and you will never wonder again.”

I have made many of these organisers to gift to my sewing friends and of course I needed to have a coordinated one to take on the Sewcial Retreat.

The panel is printed onto cotton which is then bordered with 1.25 inch wide strips and a backing added. I insert a piece of thick card (which stops the needles poking out at the back) before stuffing firmly with polyester toy filling.

Completed needle organiser does exactly what it says on the tin!

Machine Needle Storage Pouch

Now that I have a smart new needle organiser I also needed some form or pouch or purse in which to store new and unused needles. I was inspired by the clear vinyl pockets that are in the Sew Sturdy Sewing Organiser by Annie Unrein and also the Peek-a-boo pouch by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield featured on the sewcanshe.com website. This roll-up pouch seems to be the answer.

I cut a long length of my chosen outer fabric, layered it up with some trellis pre-printed wadding and quilted. I then layered up some plain White polyester cotton which I quilted in channels approximately 1 inch apart.

I cut 4 pieces of clear vinyl the width of my outer panel x roughly 3 inches deep. I made bindings for the tops and bottoms of each vinyl panel from 1.25 inch printed fabric. It was easy to slide the vinyl into the folded bindings and because there was fabric top and bottom, the machine coped well with feeding the fabric through for stitching.

I placed each vinyl pocket onto the lining panel and stitched the bottom edge of each binding. I then basted the sides to the lining panel. Next was the slightly more difficult bit of stitching as the vinyl kept sticking to the underside of the foot. However, with determination I succeeded in stitching sections through each pocket to make a total of 12 sections.

I added a Gold sparkly bungee loop to the top edge of the outer panel together with a ‘handmade’ faux leather label. I placed the outer and lining panels right sides together and stitched around both long edges and the short edge where the loop was basted. Turning through to right side out was a little fiddly and I carefully pressed the fabric, taking care to avoid the iron coming into contact with the vinyl. I turned in the final short edge and hand stitched closed.

I folded up the pouch and checked button placement. I found this lovely ‘jewel’ button in my stash which is the icing on the cake!

Now that I have a pouch for my woven fabric needles, I need to make a second one for storage of the jersey/stretch fabric machine needles but that can wait for another day……

Daisy the Dachshund Pin Dog

Daisy the Dachshund

As part of my new coordinated set of sewing accessories that I want to take with me to the Sewcial Retreat in Oxford next month, I have just completed a new Pin Dog. This is a favourite TNT pattern that I have made many times. For this set of accessories I am using some pretty Red-background floral cotton print from Fabricland that has been in my stash for a very long time. Even after making the Sew Sturdy Sewing Organiser featured in an earlier post plus the pin dog and a couple of pouches, I will still have sufficient fabric remaining to make a dress- but maybe not to wear to the Sewcial Retreat!

Daisy came together quickly and easily, the only real points to take special care of is the matching of the notches for the head gusset and the underbody gusset.

I used polyester toy stuffing, making sure that the tail and feet were well-stuffed before moving onto the head and body. Once fully stuffed, Daisy has her belly closed with some neat hand stitching. Her eyes are two black glass-headed pins that will be replaced with drawn eyes once I am completely happy with eye placement.

Finally, a pretty gold collar from a hair bungee to complete.