Even though we are now past the season of Christmas, I find that I am still busy making gifts for upcoming birthdays. I have a large amount of the 12 oz fire-retardent wadding remaining from the Christmas makes and some very pretty novelty printed cotton fabrics so have continued to make double ended oven mitts and padded, quilted book covers. The fabrics for the projects below were purchased from Home Textile & Fabric thru’ Amazon (my go-to source of so many items!).
The quilting for the Red London Bus mitts was done in straight lines using the buses as guides.
The wadding for the book cover is 80/20 cotton polyester blend purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop based not far from my home. The quilting for the book cover and the mitts was completed using the wavy line stitch pattern no. 2-18 on my Brother 4000D machine, settings width 7.0 and length 1.8/2.0.
Often I will line the bodice of a dress but the skirt is left unlined. This is usually OK but when the skirt is very full e.g. the Maryon full circle skirted dress, I feel that a waist slip also with full skirt would be appropriate.
Using some pretty Pink viscose voile purchased from www.thefabricroom a couple of years ago, I drafted a waist slip based on the measurements that I use for the ruffled skirt of Myosotis #2. The main part measures 80 inches wide x 24 inches long, the ruffle was first cut as 3 x width of fabric = 180 inches x 10 inches long. I had some lovely Dark Pink Broderie Anglaise trim in my stash and first task was to attach this to the hemline of the ruffle. Next I used the differential feed on my overlocker to gather the top edge of the ruffle before attaching to the main part, again using a French seam.
Finally I turned over 1 inch and then another inch before stitching the casing for the elastic. I stitched 1/8th inch from the top fold so that the elastic would not twist inside the casing. Using some 5/8th wide elastic from my stash I completed the waist and checked the length of the finished petticoat. Just right!
So that my husband does not feel left out from all this handmade Christmas gift giving, I decided to make him an apron too! I used the ‘Sam’ free pattern from Helen’s Closet and some lovely cotton linen (1 metre £10.99) bought from Lush Fabrics through Amazon. I chose this particular print as my husband is a keen pianist and I especially liked the print being covered with music manuscript.
There is not a lot more to say about the project other than I really want to make one featuring ‘busy bees’ for myself. In the meantime the ‘musical’ apron has been wrapped and secreted away ready for 25th December!
When it was first announced that the Sprat & Winkle Quilters would be having a Quilt Shop Hop on Saturday 30th October 2021, I immediately put my name down to join the band!
The plan was to travel by hired coach to visit two quilt shops. The first was Village Fabrics based in Wallingford, Oxfordshire and the second, Lady Sew & Sew in Henley-on-Thames.
We met at 8.30 am in a local out-of-town car park armed with shopping lists, money and packed lunches. After a mad dash across the car park in the pouring rain I settled into my seat in the luxurious coach.
Although we arrived a little early at Village Fabrics, they were ready for us! A very informative talk given by Yvonne McAtamney the owner of the store followed by an enthusiastic shop, filling our wicker baskets with many sewing goodies and a l-o-n-g browse around. I bought 4 metres of a pretty cotton print for dressmaking, some Christmas print layer cakes and a panel kit for ‘Winter Chill’.
After a quick introduction we were let loose in most enjoyable (and for me expensive with just two purchases!) tour of the store. I bought 5½ metres of Kaffe Fassett fabric that I plan to make up into my version of Vogue 8577. I also topped up my store of lightweight calico for toile making.
By 4pm we were all very tired and happy to re-join the coach for a, what turned out to be, busy trip home. First there was the judging of the ‘Name the Quilt Block’ competition – that I won! Lorraine and Kate then took over with a Wordsearch game followed by Sewing Bingo. There were also some more raffle prize draws.
We arrived back at the car park in good time and I was home well before the heavens opened for yet more rain.
Hot on the tails of using up remnants of fabric from my stash, I used some leftovers from other projects to recycle/refresh/renew two pairs of bathroom mules.
The originals were purchased from The White Company several years ago. I notice that the current mules offered on the site have changed and they now have a hard sole as opposed to the thin ’embossed plastic’ that is on my current ones.
Both pairs are made from the Duck Egg Blue background remnants of a Superking-sized duvet cover originally purchased from Dunelm and made up into nightdresses, dressing gown, toilet and cosmetic pouches. I am an avid coordinator!
For the first pair, which have previously been ‘refreshed’ several times, I quilted in a diagonal grid. The bonus for this particular pair is that they are ‘unifoot’ in that they can be worn on either foot.
The second pair are newer and have been re-designed by The White Company. Now there is a definite left and right mule and the instep pattern piece has been extended so that there is less chance of the mule slipping off your foot. The second pair has the quilting in a square grid.
I love these mules as they are so comfortable and just right for use in the bathrooms when walking on the cold floors.
About 15-20 years ago I used to enjoy making soft-bodied porcelain dolls and dressing them. Although most of the dolls have gone on to new homes, there are still a few that I have kept. When trying to get some order in the chaos that is my stash of fabrics I came across a pattern and a ready-cut-out dress for an 18 inch doll.
As two of my dolls were in dire need of new ‘frocks’ this seemed like a good opportunity to get at least one of them made up.
I have used this pattern as a starting point for many dolls clothes. Although working on a very small scale the sewing is straightforward and fairly easy to complete.
Stitching this dress was a pleasure and made for a very nice change to the trouser-making that is my current project. The seam allowance for dolls clothes making is 1/4 inch and most was sewn on my sewing machine with a little seam neatening by zi-zag stitching or on the overlocker. There are three buttons and buttonholes on the back bodice which makes it easy to dress the doll.
Now at least one of the ‘girls’ has a new dress, I will have to find some fabric for the other so that she does not become jealous!
Many, many years ago I knitted my one and only pair of handmade socks. I used a fine yarn and a set of 4 needles. The pair took a very long time to make! Using a FREE PDF pattern from Ellie & Mac made my first pair of fabric socks in less than 1/2 an hour! The socks are a great way to use scraps and perfect for giving! The pattern includes sizes for kids and adults.
My first trial pair were made using a scrap of cotton jersey left over from a nightdress commission and had minimum stretch. Although the pattern actually calls for a 50% stretch, these still fit although a little over-stretched across the instep. (Completed 20th December 2020)
For the second pair I used some leftover cotton/spandex jersey bought from New Threads from which I had made KWIK SEW 3915 Top for a friend’s Christmas Gift. This pair are good but I think in future I will increase the length of the cuffing as otherwise I may get an indentation on my ankle.
The next pair were made from a remnant of Viscose Jersey bought from a shop in the Goldhawk Road and made into a Moneta dress. This is the most ‘stretchy’ of the fabrics I have used so far but also has a slightly synthetic feel so still not absolutely 10 out of 10.
For now I am leaving the socks behind whilst I get on with the ‘Jane’ pinafore dress that has been waiting in the wings for ages!
Projects: #77,78,79 finally completed 21st December 2020
I still make just a few handmade gifts for family and friends at Christmas. This year I admit that I left it quite late!
Firstly was a redwork embroidered cushion using linen from my stash, embroidery motifs purchased from emblibrary.com and finished with some red satin piping. I hand embroidered the running stitch circle enclosing the various motifs. This cushion was wrapped and posted to my pen pal in Germany. Apparently it arrived before the gifts that I had posted to UK recipients on the same day! But at least they did all arrive before Christmas.
Next I made a scented hanger in Christmas printed cotton that I then filled with a sachet of Christmas scents. The aroma was so strong that even when wrapped there was a powerful clue as to what was contained.
The final gift for a neighbour was a padded coat hanger cover and co-ordinating fabric scented hangers. The fabric came from a stash of fat quarters that I bought several years ago. The scented hangers were ‘essence of Provence’ which I thought was a good choice to match the style of the printed cotton fabric. The cover is made so that one can put items inside. An ideal storage for co-ordinating jewellery, scarves or tights for whichever garment is on the hanger.
Projects #73-74-75 All these items were completed by 16th December 2020
Well that is something that I never thought I would sew! A call has gone out and ladies (and gents) throughout the land are putting their sewing skills to good use and making Scrubs for our stars in the NHS.
I was fortunate to receive an e-mail from Franklins with an offer for the pattern and a kit of suitable Polyester/cotton fabric, interfacing and twill tape for just £20. I chose the Dark Navy colour and within a couple of days the parcel arrived.
It took a few more days (well in truth – a week) for me to put together the pattern and finish the current project (yet another TNT ‘Kitty’ dress) before I could re-thread the sewing machine and overlocker in preparation of making the Scrubs.
In the end I chose to make the set using the PDF pattern supplied by Sewmesomething.
Sew me something state: After speaking with friends who are NHS workers we have included several features they specifically requested. The Scrubs Top has grown on sleeves to make it easier to wear and quicker to sew, the facing is stitched down so it’s not uncomfortable and there are side vents again for ease and comfort. The trousers have side pockets and a drawstring waist so you don’t have to worry about elastic sizes, and they are easier to get on and off. The patch pocket can be used on both the Top and the Trousers so again, quicker to sew and it means there are lots of handy places to tuck stuff. Polycotton is apparently better than 100% cotton, so we have some in stock to use for this pattern.
Sewing was straightforward and when in doubt I could easily tune to the Youtube tutorial prepared by Jules of SMS.
As I had plenty of fabric, I elected to make the largest size XXL which comes out as a 57 inch chest on the tunic and 54 inch hip for the trousers, leg width 12 inches. A couple of sessions of sewing and the set was completed.
Although I had an address for the hospital in Southampton I also joined a facebook group based on Salisbury which is a great deal closer to my home. After some messaging I was able to arrange for the set to be collected for onward transmission to the Salisbury hospitals and health centres. I hope that whoever gets to wear them enjoys them whilst staying healthy providing the essential care and support that the NHS provides to us all.
Now that I have the pattern, if I have sufficient yardage in my stash I hope to make some smaller-sized sets in cheerful printed fabrics.
When these extraordinary times are behind us, I may well make up the tunic and trousers in my husband’s and my size to wear as pyjamas!
recently attended a Sewcial Retreat arranged by Viv of Purple
Stitches, a Patchwork & Quilting store based in Basingstoke. This
is the second time that I have attended the Retreat which is held at
a the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel on the outskirts of the city.
time I was joined on the retreat by my good friend Pat so was able to
share the journey and accommodation.
of the activities is a Secret Sister gift making and sharing. This
time the project was a pin cushion and having checked out the
instagram feed of my selected partner I made the pin cushion in her
favourite colour and featuring her favourite pet – a cat.
Jackie was delighted with her gift as was I with my reversible Bicornu pin cushion.
Whilst at the retreat I was able to make three garments and undertake a new technique – ‘Quilt as You Go’ more posts later…..