As part of the Sprat & Winkle Christmas Dinner activities the members will be swapping Secret Sister gifts. On a previous occasion I have gifted a battery-operated tea light cover of a gnome and this year I went one better and made a table wreath to go with it.
The pattern from Thimble Art by Ruth Jensen is for a floral shape with 3D holly leaves between each ‘petal’.
Using some pretty Christmas-themed fabric gifted by a friend I cut 6 shapes in each of the two prints, one in a novelty Rabbit print on a Cream background and the other a Green background cartoon Robin print.
I interfaced each of the Cream fabrics and then fused some lightweight wadding to the centre part, excluding the Holly shapes. The most difficult part of the construction was turning each petal through the narrow gap at the base. I edge stitched each petal before joining them together to form a circle with the Holly leaves standing proud.
I made a fabric circle each for the top and underside which then covers up all the raw edges at the centre of the wreath.
I am very pleased with the final result and once I have completed my current dressmaking project may well make another Holly wreath for my own dining table.
I purchased this pattern recently when attending the Bag Retreat in South Wales. When attending the Sewing Day organised by Sprat & Winkle Quilters I decided that making up the Handbag sized version for the first time would be a good project to concentrate on during the day. However, as it turned out, I did not get a lot done during that day and the bag had to wait until I returned from visiting my sister in North Wales before I could continue with the project.
For this first iteration I chose some Neutral-toned linen with an Oriental blossom-style floral motif from my stash of ‘landfill’ fabrics, whatever nickel hardware was in my stash plus some pretty multi-coloured cork bought from Purple Stitches that has long been in my bagmaking supplies.
I had not had much time to examine the sample bag thoroughly so this was pretty much an ‘exercise in the dark’. The Swoon instructions were comprehensive but as I have not made the style/type of bag before this was also a learning curve.
After several ‘false starts’ I finally managed to spend a couple of hours concentrated work on the bag. I used some remnant quilting cotton for the lining and added an extra slip pocket plus a long key keeper.
I have learned a lot! The bag came up a little smaller than I expected though it is a good size for my personal requirements.
I will definitely make another using all quilting weight cotton fabrics and this time will order up hardware in the specific sizes as directed on the pattern. I will also adjust the length of the handles to my preferred dimensions as I found the ones cut according to the instructions to be a little short.
This year I am taking part in the Advent Dozen organised at Sprat & Winkle Quilters. The plan is that each member makes up 12 gifts, same theme but different fabrics, which are then wrapped and labelled. The organisers will distribute 12 different gifts, each labelled 1 -12 to each participant. From 13th December, we open a gift with the appropriate number.
For my contribution I purchased 12 soft back A5 lined notebooks and have covered them with quilted removable covers. I purchased 1½ metres of printed quilting cotton fabric from my local store – New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground Craft Centre and used it to cover 8 of the books.
Bookshelves printed cotton
Literary Associations print
The remaining 4 are covered with odd Fat Quarters from my stash. The quilting was completed in a variety of ways – vertical lines, horizontal lines and wavy lines. I hope that the recipients will be pleased their Advent gifts.
Fat Quarter Variety Prints
I am looking forward to participating in this slightly different take on the traditional Advent Calendar.
For many years now I have owned a Sissix Big Shot die cutter. Although I rarely use it for cardmaking, I have several dies for patchwork fabric block cutting. One of my favourite set of dies are the two that can be put together to form ‘Drunkard’s Path’. I have used this set of dies in several different layouts and recently re-rediscovered that by putting together two ¼ circles with two ‘arcs’ a faux clamshell is revealed.
Using some remnant fabrics, gifted to me by a good friend, I made a new table runner for our coffee table. I cut out several sets of the block before arranging in a pleasing manner. The shapes are quick to assemble on the sewing machine with simple echo quilting I soon had a finished runner. The backing is plain calico from my stash and the binding was cut in strips from a larger remnant of fabric.
I have a sizeable number of Christmas-themed items and this runner now completes the collection.
For some time I have been wanting to make a plain blouse to go under my Autumn Leaf print pinafore dress and felt that this 1½ metres Raspberry Dobby from Sew me Sunshine bought for £12 in August 2022 would be just right. I decided to make another version of the Newlyn blouse (a hack from New Look 6731) as I think this will go well under the pinafore dress but also can be worn ‘tunic- style’ over my new Burgundy jogging bottoms.
I laundered the fabric and then pressed nice and flat. Whilst doing this I noted how very fine the fabric was so decided that I would make up the blouse with French seams. The test stitching also demonstrated that none of the threads in my stash was the right colour match – I needed to visit my local fabric store, New Threads Quilt Shop at the Weyhill Fairground Craft Centre. I bought exactly the right shade in 50weight Aurifil cotton thread which was a dream to sew with. Needless to say, I did not buy just thread, I stocked up on some fabric for Christmas gift projects and some new machine needles as well.
As I have made this version of the blouse a couple of times before, the construction was fairly plain sailing. When it came to buttons I was disappointed that I could not find a complete matching set of 7 buttons in my stash. However, I did find 5 buttons for the front closure and then the buttons on the sleeve cuffs are a little idiosyncratic, being both the right size and colour but different from the 5 at the front and each other!
I am absolutely delighted with the blouse which is very comfortable to wear and coordinates (as I planned) with the Autumn leaves ‘Jane’ pinafore dress. I will wear it tomorrow!
Newlyn Blouse in Raspberry Dobby Viscose Voile
Blouse to be worn with Autumn print Pinafore Dress