Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Dresden Plate Decorated Peg Bag

Apart from last week, it is a long time since I made peg bags. Here is the latest version which is the result of some research and the desire to make things simple enough for the project to take no more than 1 hour to complete. I still wanted to incorporate some form of decoration in the form of a patchwork block or applique but the construction needed to be easy and by using the ‘envelope’ method I have achieved this.

For this ‘trial’ version I used yet more ‘re-cycled’ calico (previous toile of dressmaking) and a selection of cotton print scraps for a half-dresden plate block. The child-sized hanger was Green and I co-ordinated the patchwork in this colour. The binding was a strip of poly-cotton sheeting left over from making a duvet cover.

The peg bag did take just an hour to complete. More versions may well find themselves wrapped as gifts, meantime I will be using this design when teaching a class at New Threads Quilt Shop.

Double Scissors Case

Way back in the mists of time there was a feature in Threads magazine of how to make a crazy patchwork scissors case. Over the years I have adapted and refined my own personal version. Now I am able to offer a class and demonstrate how to make this really useful addition to sewing room accessories.

To promote the class I have made (yet another) a sample from 2 fat quarters of quilting cotton fabric that was in my stash. The closure is a hair bungee and the button also came from my button box. There are several variations to this project to include the original crazy patchwork, a bias binding edge and the use of an embroidered motif.

So that’s another sample crossed off the list of projects to be completed this month – now onto the next!

Padded Hangers with ‘secret’ Pockets

This set of samples are for the class where we will be making padded coat hanger covers with secret pockets. With its “pocket(s)” these hangers are great to take anywhere – even if visiting friends. It is an easy way to keep scarves, belts and small items tidy and out of the way. In hotels, you can hang your coat over the pocket with the outer pocket to the back to conceal private papers, etc., when a safe isn’t available.

I chose some Fat Quarters of fabrics from my stash along with contrast-coloured remnants for the patch pockets. Zips came from that vast selection acquired when my father worked as an Engineer for Opti-lon ®.

 

First version with long zip at the bottom               Reverse with large patch pocket

The first cover took a while to construct as I had to calculate the sizes and work out the order of work. Having finished the first cover I thought that rather than have the long zip at the bottom of the hanger, I would prefer to have it completely concealed on the reverse.

 

Second version                                                                          Reverse with concealed long zip

I also changed the construction of the patch pocket slightly and used the zip insertion method that I have used in the past when bag-making. For the second construction I timed myself and was pleased to discover that it took just 52 minutes from start to finish.

These hangers not only look good but are ideal for use with some of my ‘slippery’ garments.

Plans for October 2017

Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.

The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.

Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.

Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-

  1. Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
  2. Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
  3. Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
  4. Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!

    5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from         eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.

  5. Coat with waterfall collar.                                                                                                                                         This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!

Barbara Bunny Kit

Later this year I will be teaching a class making up this charming Rabbit who I have named ‘Barbara Bunny’. The project comes in the form of a kit which includes everything that you need to make Barbara – with the exception of time!

I started with enthusiasm that this was going to be a fairly simple make but unfortunately there was a hold up as I tried to stitch the centre panel to the Bunny’s head on the machine. It took quite a bit of ‘finessing’ and also involved some hand (!) sewing to get the Y-seam of the nose just right. Setting in the soles of the feet was also done by hand as it was just too fiddly to try on the machine. After that it was plain sailing, probably because over the past 50 plus years of sewing I have made many, many soft toys. However, this was the first time that I have made a button-jointed animal and despite not having a really long needle, I managed to stitch the joints firmly whilst still retaining movement.

For this first ‘trial run’ I have not used the fabric that came with the kit, I shall save that for the class. The project can be sewn (mostly) on the machine when it took approximately 2 hours to complete. Alternatively, as this is a small project (completed Bunny is about 8 ins tall) it would also make an ideal hand-sewing project.

  

Daisy the Dachshund Pin Cushion

Today several of the classes that I will be tutoring at New Threads Quilt Shop went live on their website: http://www.new-threads.com/classes-203-c.asp

We are trying something new – short classes of 2½ hours which are graded according to skill level. There are classes for Beginners, Improvers, Intermediate and Advanced stitchers. The first classes will run on SEW SATURDAY which this year is Saturday 21st October. The morning will be for absolute beginners getting to know the basics of a sewing machine. In the afternoon for more experienced stitchers we will be making Daisy the Dachshund pincushion which is the mascot for this year’s event.

I made my first Daisy several years ago using some fine Pink needlecord. She has done great service but is now looking a little worse for wear. In anticipation of the class next month I made a new version using a charming printed cotton featuring Water Melons on a Bright Green background.

The old and the new Daisy Dachshund

The pin cushion takes about half of a Fat Quarter of fabric and less than an hour to stitch. This is a relatively straightforward sew although there are 4 Y-seams to conquer when setting in the head gusset and the ‘undercarriage’ sections. The remainder of my time was taken up filling Daisy with polyester toy stuffing and embroidering the features.

I have enjoyed making Daisy and envisage that she will make a charming gift for my sewing friends.

Half Dresden Peg Bag

I did say that I was hooked on this new (to me) patchwork block. Today I played around with some scraps and made a new peg bag. This project is also being promoted as a half-day class at New Threads Quilt Shop but before it is listed on the internet I need to make a ‘master’ version of the bag.

I have learned quite a few tricks by making this one and I look forward to using it. I guess that once I have ‘finessed’ the design it will be a useful project to give as Christmas presents (oops there’s that C word again!).

Sewing Plans for September 2017

It is not unusual for me to set goals which for one reason or another are not achieved. In August, although things started well, unfortunately I lost my ‘sewing mojo’ when my cat of 14 years became seriously ill. However I did complete 8 projects which is not bad and I hope to be able to ‘catch up’ with some of the projects this month.

In addition to selfish sewing I have been asked to run some more sewing classes and workshops for the end of this year and early Spring 2018 so will need to spend some time making samples and preparing the worksheets.

I still have the jersey top to make for a friend and the Cobra and Corsage printed cotton lawn to make up. I have changed my mind about the project for the sewing print linen-look cotton and will now use this to recover the chair in my sewing room.

Therefore on my new ‘to do’ list are:-

1.Sewing print linen-look seat covering

2.Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan

3.Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend

4.Cobra and corsage cotton lawn dress

5.Lewis & Irene dark background printed cotton ‘Mandy’ or ‘Kitty’ dress

6.Samples for sewing workshops.

All this should keep me busy!

 

 

A Fun Day out at Festival of Quilts

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8am a group of forty-plus ladies gathered together in a car park on the outskirts of Andover, all excited at the prospect of visiting the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham.

I have visited the NEC many times before but never before visited the FOQ so this would be a first for me. I had a list, my packed lunch, spare shoes and a camera plus of course, cash and credit cards!

The journey was completed in good time and we were dropped off at the door of the main entrance. A short walk and we arrived at the three exhibition halls for the event.

Between our ‘sub-group’ of 5, we agreed to meet again at 1am for lunch and to discuss progress (and purchases!). I teamed up with Lizzie who is also a ‘newbie’ for FOQ. Where to start? We decided to approach the halls in a systematic manner by following a route up and down the various aisles of traders – to be followed by a tour of all the fabulous quilts.

Well, what can I say? Next year we will be visiting for TWO days. One is simply not enough. The plan should be to spend on day 1, and view on day 2 – it really is not possible to see everything in one day.

Lizzie had a pattern for a ‘poncho’ style cape and was looking for some wool tweed or boiled wool to make up the pattern.

Lizzie’s poncho pattern – is something like this

First port of call was the Rosenberg stall. We were reminded that washing boiled wool is a ‘no-no’ as it will shrink! Better to find some tweed – which will still have to be dry-cleaned but my not show quite so grubby quite so quickly. On the same aisle we came across the ‘Sew me Something’ stand where, would you believe it, Lizzie’s pattern was displayed. After an animated discussion with the ladies on the stand Lizzie and I ‘invested’ in some dressmaking patterns. Lizzie bought the Helena dress pattern and I bought the Bianca coat and Helena dress patterns.

       

Our Bianca Coat is deceptively simple to make yet stylish and works in both heavy woven and knit fabrics.

      

Helena is a relaxed easy to wear dress. The front curved yoke anchors the pintuck detail at the centre front, but this could easily be changed to pleats or gathers. The back yoke also lends itself to adaptations with the  gathers changed to pleats as well. The elbow length sleeves in view 1 can be extended into the 3/4 length sleeves in view 2. And the simple button and placket hold the turned up sleeves in place. Side pockets are a must and keep the lines of the dress clean and simple.

Now we were ‘armed and dangerous’ in our search for appropriate fabrics.

After a thorough investigation of all the traders’ stands we ended up with everything that we required, with the exception of a Pineapple Log Cabin ruler that Lizzie was seeking – she will however be able to order this online – probably on Sunday!

I purchased some fabulous wool mix fabric for my Bianca coat from Rosenberg’s.

Wool blend fabric for my Bianca coat

Both Lizzie and I bought some pretty floral print chambray for our Helena dresses.

Floral printed chambray for Helena dresses

I bought a pack of lovely Calico from Lady Sew & Sew and Lizzie acquired some great Grey Pure Wool Tweed for her poncho which will be lined with some terrific Tula Pink cat print cotton.

Tula Pink fabric for lining – I must have some of this!

During our 2 plus miles walk around the halls we viewed many quilts (and patchwork chairs!), checked out sewing room chairs, sewing machines and overlockers, met several famous names from the Patchwork & Quilting world and had a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring time. We dropped in on Janet at Quilters’ Dream and Meg’s stand of New Threads was really buzzing!

In addition to this first visit to FOQ, I also made my first ever visit to Wetherspoons where we enjoyed our lunch!

By 5pm all the ladies were gathered outside in the sunshine as we waited to be collected by our coach and driver. The return home was accomplished in just over two hours and I noticed that although there was a lot of chatter, it was all more subdued as we returned home, tired and happy. A grand day out!

Jazz, the Inspector Cat checks out the chambray on the washing line!

p.s. As I type this post, my chambray fabric is already washed and on the line to dry. I hope to cut out the Helena dress later today – or maybe early next week.

Sewing Plans for August 2017

I have already started on the planned makes for August. The first thing on the list is a tunic/shirt using some fabric that was given to me as a birthday gift from my friends at the Friday morning patchwork and quilting house group. The fabric is an unusual bird print on a Sage Green background.

There was a generous 2 metres of fabric which was sufficient to cut out a long version of my latest designed KITTY tunic shirt.

I have given up on my resolution to NOT buy fabric in July and have succumbed to a few purchases.

The first was a metre of Sewing Themed fabric 80% Cotton and 20% Polyester.  140 cms wide at a price of £10.99 from eBay.

I plan to make an apron which I will wear when sewing and hopefully keep all those bits of fluff from sticking to my clothes!

Secondly I was inspired by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour’s June Look Book where she has made a capsule collection centred on a dress in the most amazing printed cotton lawn. I simply had to have it!

  

This particular fabric is not cheap but I did buy 3 metres from Sherwoods Fabrics. The fabric arrived very quickly, beautifully wrapped and with a bonus pack of sweets! I have ordered some plain Black cotton lawn as the printed fabric is very lightweight and almost transparent so the dress will need to be lined.

Whilst ordering the Black cotton lawn I also added some polyester crepe de chine to my basket. Two metres of each in Baby Pink and Black which I will use to make some underwear.

Browsing the rest of the fabrics on offer at Sherwoods I bought some pretty Pink floral print jersey at £4.99 per metre which I plan to make into a wrap cardigan.

So, in addition to making up the fabrics that I have ordered, also on my ‘to do’ list are:-

Navy & white stripe ponte for a short sleeve shift dress

Multi-colour viscose jersey for a Moneta dress

Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend.

I will certainly be busy in August!