Monthly Archives: December 2022

Tabitha #3

Using this viscose fabric that has a print reminding me very much of the Gustav Klimt paintings, I made yet another version of the Tabitha dress.

Details from some of Klimt paintings

The fabric is fine, with some weight and has a good drape. I purchased 3 metres from an eBay seller ‘vegetextiles’ at a cost of £14.97. This time I reverted back to the short sleeve with 5-buttoned bodice and skirt with deep hem ruffle.

The yoke was completed using the burrito method and all other seams were finished with the overlocker. I used coconut shell buttons on the bodice. Sleeve hems were overlocked and turned up before top stitching in place. The ruffle hem was overlocked, double turned and top stitched.

Tabitha #3 in ‘Klimt’ print Viscose

Conclusion: Although I love the print, once again I found the fabric very lightweight and mobile, a bit like herding cats! My next project is using a much more stable fabric – quilting cotton! I am pleased with the finished dress and am sure there will be many more versions in 2023.

Project #60 completed 28th December 2022

Minerva Viscose Tabitha dress #2

Using my recently hacked Take the Chance/Myosotis dress- now called ‘Tabitha’ I was in a hurry to make up this pretty floral print viscose bought from Minerva’s recent sale – 4 metres at £6.99/metre. I have previously made a ‘wearable toile’ of my adaptations so this should have been a straightforward make.

Unfortunately due to illness I was unable to devote longer stretches of time to complete the project, it was more a question of 30 minutes here and there although overall the construction took no more than 5 hours.

The only change that I made this time was to draft a pattern for long sleeves into a deep double-buttoned cuff. The yoke was completed using the burrito method and all other seams were finished with the overlocker.

There are 5 buttonholes on the bodice and 2 on each cuff which meant that I needed 9 buttons. I could not find a complete set and so once again we have an idiosyncratic mix! Note to self: stock up on plain Black buttons.

Mis-matched buttons

Conclusion: Although I love the print, I did find the fabric very lightweight and mobile, a bit like herding cats! I am pleased with the volume and length of the sleeves so will use that pattern again.

Minerva Viscose Tabitha #2

Project #58 completed 15th December 2022

Memories of Yesteryear

Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters Group demonstrated, provided the pattern and instructions for these quilted, padded book covers. I found a single fat quarter of this charming print featuring Pheasants and farm buildings which reminded me so much of my early years spent in the Kent countryside and when my father was a part-time gamekeeper. I remember fondly when he reared 200 Pheasant chicks in the incubator set up in our brick outbuilding. The fabric called out to be made into a padded cover for my 2023 diary, I will be able to recall those long distant days everyday when I write in the diary – so here we are!

Front cover of 2023 Diary
Open Diary showing entire picture

At the Christmas Social meeting on Thursday 15th December there will be ‘button’ voting for the favourite one completed by the members. For once I decided to accept the challenge, hence this rather more elaborate book cover.

I had a scrap of the ‘Pheasants’ fat quarter cotton fabric left after making the cover for my 2023 diary. I wanted to ‘ring the changes’ with the cover and so by combining with log cabin patchwork I inset a sheet of plastic on the front cover, to make a slip pocket over the fussy cut motif of a Pheasant.

Basic Cover showing Pheasant

The remainder of the cover was quilted with strips of coordinating Brown-toned prints from my stash. I also took the opportunity to experiment with some of the decorative stitches on my machine for the quilting.

Decorative Stitching

I have long been an admirer of paintings by Lucy Grossmith and this year have invested in several Christmas card designed by Lucy. The basic book cover features the Pheasant print which is under the plastic slip pocket.

Then there are three alternative prints, one of the cards is backed onto a piece of card that is covered with Light Grey fabric.

Nightime Hare set onto Grey fabric covered card

This has been centred onto the card and once installed into the plastic pocket can be left as is, or alternatively one of the other two cards can be inserted and obscure the other designs.

Daytime Hare
Evening Foxes

I am delighted with the cover which has turned out even better than I imagined.

Projects #57and #58 completed 8h December 2022

Tabitha – another blended design dress

I love the Take the Chance dress that I made recently.

Take the Chance pattern

Thinking about the changes required for a better fit a little more, I decided that it would be better to transfer those design details that I like onto the Myosotis bodice which I know fits like a dream.

Pattern Adaptation: I first copied the bodice and sleeves of the Myosotis onto a fresh sheet of paper and then laid the TTC (Take The Chance) over the top. I drew a line across the back bodice, cut and added a seam allowance to make a yoke pattern similar to the TTC. I adjusted the neckline slightly so that the TTC collar would fit. Next for the Front bodice I extended the centre front line to give an extension for the button placket. I then copied off the neckline from the TTC ready for adding the collar. I moved the shaping from the waist dart into the bust dart which is now very large. On the copied sleeve I slashed and added some extra to the sleeve head to allow for some gathers. I made straight copies of the collar and undercollar.

Construction: I did not want to use any ‘precious’ fabric so picked some that I am ‘not in love with’. The fabric chosen was some Dark Green Palm leaf printed viscose challis that I bought from Rainbow Fabrics and has been in my stash for some time. I already have a couple of blouses and a ‘Moira’ dress in this fabric design so it definitely won’t be a gap in the wardrobe if not successful.

Sewing had to be halted whilst I took time away from home to visit my sister in North Wales. On my return there was the preparation of handmade gifts for Christmas that due to postal workers strikes, needed to be completed and posted in good time for December 25th. So…. it was not until the beginning of December that I finally returned to this project which had been started as long ago as 7th November. By now the days were getting much shorter and the thought of sewing dark fabrics with Black thread late into the evenings did not appeal but needs must. I have now learned my lesson – do not sew dark things at night and do not sew late at night when tired!

I started sewing the skirt panels. There is a main panel of 20+ inches plus 3 panels each 12+ inches long. I attached the self fabric pocket bags and then proceeded to use the pleater/ruffler foot to gather up the top edge of the frill. I was surprised to discover that there was insufficient ruffle for the total width of the main panels. A quick removal of 4 inches from the width of the back panel and now there was sufficient to finish the ruffle. Ioverlockedall the seams and finished the ruffle with a narrow double turned hem. Setting the skirt aside, now onto the bodice.

Construction of the bodice was plain sailing. The front placket and collar attached like a dream. No problems with the burrito yoke or setting in the sleeves. It was when overlocking the seam allowances of the second sleeve that I had a mishap!

For only the second time in my sewing career with an overlocker – I caught the point of the collar in the seam and managed to cut off the point! Oh rats!! I know that I could remove the collar, cut a new one from the final scrap of fabric and attach that without any interference with the rest of the bodice – but can I be bothered?

Cropped point of the collar

I went online and ordered some shirt collar point clips. I am hoping that they will cover up the offending ‘crop’ without me having to make an alteration to a brand new dress!

Collar clips

For now I am ignoring this mishap, buttonholes and 5 coconut shell buttons are in place on the placket. The skirt is gathered and attached to the bodice and as far as I concerned, at present the dress is finished.

Collar Point Covers

Conclusion: I will wait and see if the collar clips do the job of hiding the mishap but if not then I will ‘bite the bullet’ and re-make the collar. In the meantime, due to the ‘busyness’ of the print, the ‘crop’ hardly shows.

Accidental nearly pattern matched

There is some accidental nearly pattern matching on the front bodice which I am counting as a ‘win’. In hindsight I feel that the skirt of the dress is too long. I will make a 1 ½ inch tuck near the seam with the ruffle to reduce the length by a total of 3 inches. That will look better.

‘Tabitha’ version #1

The purpose of this ‘wearable toile’ was to check out the amalgamation of the Take the Chance yoke, collar and button placket with the Myosotis bodice and this has certainly worked well. I will repeat this version, named ‘Tabitha’ on my next dress using some Burgundy printed viscose challis.

Project #55 completed 4th December 2022

Leopards in the Jungle – Myosotis # 5

Leopard print Viscose Challis from Stitch Fabrics

I ordered 3 metres of fabric from Stitch Fabrics back in July at a total cost of £34 including p&p. Having overlocked the raw edges and laundered the fabric I was somewhat dismayed to discover that the length was a bare 2.73 metres. I am sure that the fabric did not shrink so much and feel that the cut length supplied must have been short. Not happy!

Construction notes: As I was aware that I had limited fabric, I decided to forego my usual hem ruffle. In a way this was a blessing as it meant that it took only about ½ hour to make up the skirt with its concealed side seam pockets. I spent time to ensure a beautifully finished stand collar and think this is the best one yet. The sleeves were cut using the elbow length sleeve pattern from the Sofia pattern by Victory patterns. I stitched 4 rows of shirring approximately 2 inches from the narrow hem to give a little frill and I am delighted with the finished sleeves.

Conclusion: Although I am pleased with the finished dress I have to admit that I don’t particularly enjoy wearing it. I find that the skirt without the hem ruffle feels too light and flimsy. I have been wearing the dress with a petticoat and opaque snag tights. Hopefully after a little ‘time out’ I will fall back in love with the print and the dress.

Leopards in the Jungle Myosotis #5 with Sofia sleeves

Project #47 completed 13th October 2022

Hand made Christmas Gifts

Gardening notebook

In anticipation of a visit to my sister in North Wales, I wanted to give her an additional handmade gift for Christmas that I could take with me on my visit. Catherine is a keen gardener and as I had some pretty gardening-themed printed cotton in my stash, decided to make her a padded, covered notebook in which she can record her gardening plans and achievements. The pattern instructions and an A5 notebook were supplied by Lizzie at a recent meeting of Sprat & Winkle Quilters. I used some 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding recently purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop and some plain White cotton fabric from my stash for the lining. I quilted using one of my favourite stitches – wavy lines which are great in that if you waver a little, it does not show up as a glaring fault! In no time I had the completed cover for the notebook – I hope she likes it.

Gardening notebook

Baking-themed gifts

It all started when a neighbour asked to borrow a Bundt baking tin. Unfortunately I was unable to help but this prompted me to think about what to give for a Christmas gift. Those people that know me will be aware that I like to use a theme when planning my hand made gifts. So ….. along with the silicon Bundt tin I decided to make an Oven mitt and also either a recipe book or fabric covered note book. This latter contains a copy of one of my favourite original recipes for 3C muffins. The 3C stands for Chocolate Cherries and Courgettes!

I ordered some 12oz fire-retardant wadding from Amazon and some cake motif printed cottons from Hot Pink Haberdashery. Online I found a free pattern for double ended oven mitts from The Sewing Directory, the fabric pattern for the covered notebook came from Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters as mentioned above.

A couple of sewing sessions yielded the completed gifts. To ensure that the recipients will be aware of the type of wadding I have used, I printed off the following note to include with the oven mitts.

Please note: For the main part of these oven mitts I have used Marent 12oz Fire Retardant Wadding. The thinner wadding used on the back of the mitts is a Cotton 80% Polyester 20%. The oven mitts are machine washable at 30 degrees C.

Rainbow Elephants Oven Mitts and Notebook
Cup cakes on Pink background, Oven Mitts & Recipe notebook
Set complete with Bundt recipe book
Bundt tine & 3C muffin recipe

Now I just have to wrap up the packages, label and decide how best to send – bearing in mind the current vagaries of the postal system!

Projects #53 completed 24th November 2022