Joni Dress by Tilly and the Buttons

I purchased my copy of Tilly’s latest book ‘Stretch’ as soon as it was released and have been waiting impatiently for a ‘window’ to be able to stitch the Joni dress.

The Joni is the final garment in the book and is described thus;

This showstopper dress may look complicated but it’s surprisingly simple to make! The fitted bodice has a stunning draped twist at the front, creating a plunging neckline and a shaped empire waist seam. The dress flares out into a flirty half-circle skirt that’s great for twirling, with a gentle dipped hem that lands just above the knee. Choose from three-quarter or elbow length sleeves. Make Joni in cotton or viscose jersey for every day, or a sumptuous stretch velvet or silk jersey for parties.”

For this ‘wearable toile’ I chose a pretty floral print viscose jersey bought from Fabricland (in December 2017) for £4.44 per metre. The dress takes 2.5 metres of 150cms wide fabric.

I traced off the pattern (size 8 in Tilly sizes!), adjusted slightly for my rubenesque figure then set to and quickly made the dress.

The book contains many pages of instructions with photographs but I found them a little confusing as they go off on a tangent to describe the various techniques. I intend to re-visit and type up my own ‘crib’ sheet which will be much more succinct. Additionally I did not find the instructions for the finishing of the area around the twist very clear, I ended up neatening the area and stitching the undersides of the twist together. The neck binding was, I believe, more complicated that it needed to be and I will investigate alternative methods for finishing the neckline.

I attached clear elastic as instructed by basting with a long straight stitch on the sewing machine. When it came to overlocking the pieces together, due to the 5/8ths inch seam allowance, the elastic was cut off. This does not appear to have had a detrimental affect on the dress. In future I may well omit the elastic on the bottom of the bodice and will use my TNT method of fine ribbon to stabilise the shoulders.

The elbow length sleeves hit just into the crease of my elbow which is uncomfortable. I folded back 1 ½ inches before overlocking so that the hem now looks like a sleeve hem band. I like that effect. The hem of the skirt was stitched with twin needles.

I had failed to notice in the description that the pattern is drafted for a dipped hem. On me it looked as though too much fabric had been taken up by my bust. I have re-drafted the bodice front pattern and made an FBA (full bust adjustment) which means that the bodice seam and front hemline will now be parallel to the floor.

I like the dress and will definitely be making another incorporating the above alterations. My husband also liked the dress. He pointed out that the twist in the bodice and empire waist seam certainly ‘highlight’ my ‘lovely, blossoming bosom!’

Cat-themed Patchwork Lap Quilt

Ancient & Modern

You may be wondering why this post has a sub-title, the reason is that the quilt has been constructed using both ancient and modern techniques and equipment! The pieces for the patchwork blocks were cut using my Accuquillt GO! Die-cutting machine (Modern) and the whole quilt constructed using my new Singer Featherweight sewing machine (Ancient!).

The central applique uses Modern methods – Google to find a cat motif, Heat n’ Bond to apply to the background fabric and my ‘old’ tried and tested method to outline with a double row of fine zig-zag stitching using my ‘Ancient’ Brother 4000D sewing machine. 

The fabric was a gift for my birthday (all my friends know that I am a shoe-in for any fabric featuring cats) and I could not wait to make something to showcase these delightful prints. The Drunken Bird blocks have taken aback seat whilst I ‘play’ with the die-cutting machine and ‘Pearl’s a Singer’ sewing machine.

I have basted the quilt top to some polyester wadding and now simply need to find a suitable backing fabric. I fancy a bold print to echo the front rather than stick to a plain calico backing. The search is on……

Finished at last! Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt

With apologies for the poor photograph – as soon as I have more people available to assist, I will post a better picture. Finally, the quilt is finished. This has been a labour of love. I never thought when I started just how much quilting would be involved.

The quilt has a plain polyester wadding purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop. Combined with some heavy-duty quilting in the centre panel of 25 blocks this has resulted in a fairly ‘stiff’ quilt. As the finished size of the quilt is 64 inches square it has also turned out quite heavy. But I love it!

The central panel of 25 blocks is outlined with a border of Yellow low impact print which in turn has a border of Green background Bird and Bows print (bought from Fabricland and also used for a blouse AND a dress!)

The Yellow border has a simple quilting design of interlocking leaf shapes for which I made a template and then transferred using a Frixion ® pen. As the Green border is only 1 inch wide, it has a central row of ‘wavy line’ stitching. For the outer border blocks I have only quilted within the bird shapes.

I had deliberately cut the backing fabric extra wide and this was trimmed down to ½ inch beyond the quilt top before folding in the raw edge, turning to the top and machine-stitching in place.

I may (at some time in the future) re-visit and quilt into the blank spaces of the outer border blocks, but currently don’t know yet with what motif.

I am so in love with this particular block that I have already made over a dozen additional blocks that I will combine to make a much smaller lap quilt.

Till then, the Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt is on display on the piano and I am very proud!

Pearl’s a Singer!

For my birthday next week, my DH has bought me an old sewing machine! Not as bad as it sounds. The old machine in question is a Singer Featherweight ‘born’ just 14 days after me some X years ago. Pearl’s a Singer (Elkie Brooks song – see what I did there?) is a Centenary edition of a famous machine produced in the Singer factory based in Kilbowie on Clydebank in Scotland.

In 1933 when the first Featherweight machines were displayed at the World’s Fair in Chicago, the domestic sewing machine market was dominated by big heavy machines usually housed in cabinets or on treadles. The Featherweight appeared on the scene and was immediately hugely popular. It was marketed as the ‘Perfect Portable’ and salesmen predicted that it would be passed down from mother to daughter and beyond. It was compact and came in its own small box and moreover it was easy to maintain. Today, 48 years after manufacture ceased, it is highly sought after, especially by quilters who love its perfectly formed unique lock stitch. The 221 version was made both in the USA and Scotland where it was called the 221k. From 1933 – 1969 3.5 million of these 221’s were produced so there are still plenty out there looking for a good home!

Over the years that the 221 and 221k were produced there were only small changes in its appearance. Pearl’s a Singer is an early model with a ‘gothic’ faceplate and has Celtic Knot decals .

It is possible to date each machine using the serial number underneath and that is how I was able to obtain a machine ‘born’ in the same year as me.

With very many thanks to Lizzie I made contact with ‘featherweight Phil’ who restores these machines beautifully, he makes them safe and does not charge the earth! Should you wish to contact Phil to purchase your own featherweight – contact him at philip.enstone@virgin.net.

My DH was delighted to be able to purchase such an appropriate gift for me and I can’t wait to settle down and stitch!

 

Haul from the Sandown Park Quilt Show

Last weekend I had an early start as I and three Sprat & Winkle quilting friends were off to the Quilt show at Sandown Park. Having met up at a local out of town car park we set off. We arrived just before the doors opened and met up with another sewing and crafting gal, raring to go and enjoy a whole day of all things quilting and sewing related, plus of course, LOTS of chat!  

Before viewing all the beautiful quilts I had a shopping list to fulfil. The Fabric Buying Ban is no longer in force as I simply cannot resist, so why fight it? However I have to stop buying sewing patterns and on this occasion managed to ignore all those naughty patterns that were calling to me!

Armed with my list that included Calico and fabrics in Plains, Spots, Stripes, a particular Linen print from Rosenberg & Sons that I had seen on a.n.other’s blog and anything appropriate for Dachshund Pin Dogs. I failed with the Stripes but achieved the remainder of my list.
Spots – tick, pretty print – not on the list! Doggy print – absolutely perfect! Cats in spectacles – could not resist!

Rosenberg’s Linen print – tick

Calico in 2 weights – tick, Plain Double Gauze – tick

Slider sheet for use with free-motion quilting, quilting templates, 4 x overlocking threads, seam gauges, bobbin controllers, Best Press spray.

So, a successful shop. I am delighted with my purchases and by the end of the following day most fabrics had been laundered and are now ready to sew&go!

After a tasty lunch I enjoyed viewing all the fabulous quilts – photos currently being downloaded from my phone and will appear in a separate post.

We left the show around 3pm and by 4.30pm I was home, hot and tired but very happy!

Until further notice I will be concentrating on the quilting on the Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt so keep your eyes peeled for a reveal of the completed project – and listen out for a big sigh of relief!

 

 

Lobster Print Cotton Dress

You may have noticed that I have been rather self-indulgent recently with all my fabric purchases!

To redress the balance slightly, I decided to use  fabric from my stash to make a new dress. This delightful Lobster print cotton has been loitering in the stash for at least a year, probably two. Whilst I was washing some of the latest fabric purchases that are in a Red colourway, I included this 3 metre length so it was now ready to ‘Sew&Go’.

I used my TNT bodice block with scoop neckline, self-lined cap sleeves and added a 2xwidth of fabric gathered skirt.

No problems with construction – all my usual methods and techniques were applied. They included a lapped zip set in the centre back seam approximately 3 inches down from the neckline. There is roughly 2 inches of ease at the waistline and this seems to be the optimum amount. I will make a note of this for when I prepare the Vogue 8577 pattern.

The skirt panels were cut 29 inches long, the finished hem is at 26 inches. There are the usual pocket bags set into the side seams, the top of the pockets are stitched into the waistline.

In my haste to get the dress cut out and sewn, I forgot all about pattern matching. Also unfortunately, somehow along the way the width of the shoulder seam, especially on the front bodice, has been reduced and this has affected how the self-lined sleeves are set. In addition, I need to re-draft the back neckline as that does not sit quite right. I shall still wear the dress but it will never be a favourite. It is possible that at some time in the future I will remove the sleeves and make the dress sleeveless.

Fabric Buying Ban

Oops! What part of a fabric buying ban did I not understand?

Having recently spent my budget on a gift for my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary, there was supposed to be a fabric buying ban in force until the Festival of Quilts in August.

Somehow I seem to have misunderstood.

I purchased some pretty cottons in Franklins, Salisbury on Monday last week and then this week I visited Fabricland for some more that I simply had to have! 

The Red with White polka dots is to be made up into a shirtdress – pattern tba.

The Blue spotted teapots print is to be my version of a Betty by Sew Over It with short/cap sleeves

The Beige floral will be my TNT bodice with a full gathered skirt (inspired by a dress seen in a shop window in Salisbury).

The Lilac floral has been made into a Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – details already posted.

The Turquoise fern print could possibly be a Vogue 8577.

The Brown background floral will possibly be another Teddy Tunic – getting ready for the Autumn already!

Not shown in the picture is a length of Classic Blue denim that I ‘needed’ to make the Pippi Pinafore Dress by Jennifer Lauren.

All fabrics have now been laundered and are ready to ‘sew&go’ so watch this space for some new garments!

Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – version 3

Yes, I know – I love this pattern. The tunic is so very comfortable to wear in hot weather.

I abandoned my fabric buying ban and purchased (along with some other lengths!) 2 metres of quilting cotton that was on sale at £6.95/metre in Franklins, Salisbury. I chose a beautiful Spring/Summer print in Lilac called McKenzie by Dana for the Free Spirit collection.

By the end of the afternoon the fabric had overlocked raw ends and been laundered ready to ‘Sew&Go’. After washing, the fabric had not shrunk and I still had 2 metres. This was plenty for laying and cutting out the tunic pattern which has been adapted by removing the excess at the side seams both front and back plus re-drafting the hemline facing to suit.

The collar and neckline are not my favourite parts of this pattern to construct but once that is done it is full steam ahead.

I am in love with this print and the completed tunic top – it is definitely going to be worn a lot!

Quilting Progress on the Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt

Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis will have noticed that there has been no posting for 6 days! Fear not – I have been sewing just that the project on which I am working is very much a WIP (work in progress). I have finally bitten the bullet and started the quilting of my Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt.

I last discussed this project on 26th May and since then I have made a couple of garments but now I have taken over the dining room, extended the dining table to its full size and got down to some ruler and free-motion quilting.

This is my first venture into ruler work and I have to say that I am loving it! I spread the quilt all over the table, roll up one side to slide under the arm of the sewing machine and get stitching. OK it is not perfect but I am getting there and really enjoying the process. This is a real lesson in slow sewing.

So far I have quilted about a dozen of the bird blocks and filled in the ’empty’ spaces with ovals. I am using a Westalee ruler plus a ‘french curve’ template which has different-sized oval cut outs that are ideal for the filler motifs.

I am trying to work on the quilt for about an hour at a time before taking a break. That way I hope to avoid too much strain on my shoulders, try as I might, I cannot stop myself from tensing up as I wrestle the quilt and rulers whilst stitching.

Taking a break also gives me the opportunity to refresh – and cut out other projects! So the next post will probably be a garment.

Stitching, cutting, stitching, cutting ……..