Monthly Archives: December 2021

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

Freya #9

Now here is probably the last Freya that I will be making in 2021! I used 2 metres of Viscose Jersey bought from Dalston Mill for £13.20. The picture on the website made the fabric seem like just the shade of Forest Green that I have been looking for. Unfortunately however, when it arrived it was much more like a Deep Teal. Never mind it is still a good colour that will fit into my colour palette.

The fabric is very lightweight and again I was back to ‘herding cats’ as it slipped and slid all over the place. Once I had ‘wrangled’ the fabric into submission it took very little time to run up the new Freya. I added double cuffs to the sleeves and turned up the hem with twin needle stitching.

As a break from jersey sewing I am now working on a new self-drafted pattern for a woven fabric dress. Keep watching…..

project #96 completed 20th December 2021

Yet More Freya Tops

Having completed my Christmas gift sewing with the ‘musical print’ apron for my husband, I quickly returned to dressmaking for me! I am steadily working my way through the stash of jersey fabrics and these will be ideal for the coming cold months.

I am currently using my smaller Brother machine, a 550SE which I bought as a ‘standby’ and ‘sewing retreat’ machine as the BIG Brother 4000D is currently packed away ready to go for a service in the New Year.

The first Freya is plain Black interlock cotton jersey bought from Quality Fabrics thru’ Amazon (£11.98 for 2 metres). The fabric is a lovely quality and stitched up with ease. For this version I cut 7/8ths length sleeves and hemmed them and the body of the top with twin needle stitching.

The second Freya is made from an unusual print and textured jersey bought from Dalston Mill (£9 for 2 metres). I struggled slightly with stitching this mobile fabric. Most of the seams were first stitched on the machine using a long, narrow zig-zag stitch before finishing on the overlocker. Again I made the sleeves 7/8ths in length and hemming was completed with the twin needle stitching.

I believe that Dalston Mill have over-supplied this particular fabric as I think there is still sufficient remnant to make an elasticated waist Jenna skirt by Seamwork or another short sleeved top. I will think about that for awhile.

I have just one more Freya cut out and ready to stitch using a Teal-coloured viscose jersey once again from Dalston Mill (£13.20 for 2 metres) and as soon as that has been completed I will be taking a refreshing break from jersey sewing and making up a calico toile of a new dress bodice that I have drafted. Watch this space…..

Projects #93 and #94 completed 17th December 2021

‘Musical’ Apron

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!

Project #95 completed 11th December 2021

Nordic Gnomes

Well, I never knew such a thing existed until I found this ‘in the hoop’ embroidery design on the Embroidery Garden website. It immediately caught my attention and was quickly purchased, downloaded and the Brother 4000D setup into embroidery mode.

I had plenty of 10inch squares of Christmas themed fabrics, some of which were purchased on the recent trip to Village Fabrics in Wallingford. I have spent many very pleasurable hours making these charming tea light covers – many of them have been included in Christmas gifts to family and friends. Due to postage regulations I did not include the battery operated tea light covers when posting but for all those given by hand, the tealights have been included.

With the addition of a hanging loop the final ones were ‘converted’ into Christmas tree decorations and posted to my husband’s two great granddaughters.

Now we are left with just 7 displayed on a shelf. They looked beautiful when lit as they shone in the growing dusk before we turn on the lamps of the sitting room.

Project #86+many more! all completed by 11th December 2021

Dog-themed Christmas Gifts

I am always pleased if I can identify a theme for my present-making. For two recipients, this was relatively easy as they are both dog owners.

For one friend I used a half-metre of Red background Multi-dog printed cotton linen-look fabric from my stash and for the other, some Cream background French Bulldog print linen from my ‘landfill’ bags (more of that later).

Using the Red background I first made a ‘shortie’ apron using View B of the free pattern ‘Sam apron’ from Helen’s Closet.

This is the same pattern that I used for the ‘Robins’ collection. There is a requirement for bias binding around the sides of the bib and as I was short on fabric, I used some Red background printed cotton from my stash of fat quarters. I love that pattern and fully intend to make one each for my husband and me!

As I was a little tight on fabric but there was just enough to make a project bag providing that I continued to use the scrap of Red background Fat quarter from my stash. The zip came from my stash and I packed the bag with some coordinating paper napkins.

I finished off that gift package with a Gnome tea light cover that is an ‘In the Hoop’ embroidery design recently purchased from ‘Embroidery Garden’.

The Cream background French Bulldog print is a linen fabric originally intended as a furnishing fabric. Through a very circuitous route I have obtained a bag of this type of fabric that was originally intended for landfill. I am so pleased that I have been able to make something useful from the fabric.

There was only a little useable of this particular print and so I made the back of the project bag using some coordinating needlecord from my stash. I have added yet another gnome tea light cover to the gift but as this has to be posted, have omitted the battery operated tea light.

Projects #87, #88 and #89 completed 5th & 6th December 2021