Category Archives: Fabric – Cotton

Eleanor Shirt by Sew Me Something

Having just made a second version of the Tamarack I decided that now was the time to try a new to me pattern.

Eleanor by Sew me Something

I was inspired by all the lovely versions of this shirt posted on Instagram. For the first ‘trial’ version I would use the remnant of Red/White gingham fabric that I had originally used for the binding on my first Tamarack jacket.

Q: How to make a complicated construction method even more difficult?

A: Use a ‘cheap’ loosely woven cotton with gingham weave, just so that it frays like ‘Billy O’ and is not ‘on grain’ so you can’t match up the checks.

As I knew that this shirt was oversized I cut the size 18 from the standard range. I am also aware that I don’t particularly like dropped shoulders but nevertheless I ignored those inner concerns – onwards and upwards!

I have made shawl-collared dresses and blouses in the past but never with the addition of a lined yoke and internal dart for shaping. Try as I might I could not decipher the written instructions so went with my gut and stitched the darts in the shirt and facing before attaching to the neckline and shoulder seams. That has worked out fine. I used the burrito method for completing the yoke and its lining – all without problems.

I inserted the sleeves flat using a French seam and having stitched the side seams also with French seam, turned up a 1½ inch hem. The hem of the shirt was narrow double turned and top stitched in place.

Having now had my final fitting I realised that the shoulder was far too dropped for my liking and the sleeves stick out like an American footballer. I will never wear this shirt. I found 5 Winter White-coloured buttons in my stash, completed the buttonholes, attached the buttons, photographed the completed shirt and ‘laid it to rest’ in the charity bag!

Eleanor in Cotton Gingham

Conclusion: For me this is an absolute fail – lesson learned! However, I do plan to hack the pattern for the collar, facings and yoke onto my standard bodice block. That way I will end up with the collar and yoke detail that I like but without the voluminous shirt, dropped shoulders and massive sleeves.

Project no 7 completed 3rd February 2023

Quilted Blue Stars Tamarack version #2

Hot on the heels of the wearable ‘muslin’ version of the Tamarack jacket I decided to make a second version, again using a pre-quilted fabric.

Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studios

This time the fabric was originally a quilted bedspread bought from Dunelm during their pre Christmas sale along with a king size duvet cover set that will be used for wearable ‘muslins’ later in the year. I particularly liked the ‘vintage’ denim blue colour and the quilted design of stars. This blue bedspread is crafted from 100% polyester for a durable finish and is machine washable for easy care. 150cm x 200cm (59″ x 79″) for sale at £35.00

Contrast fabric for binding

For the contrast binding I purchased 1 metre of quilting cotton for £6.00 reference 2397 Henna Moire Stripe © by makower from New Threads Quilt Shop sale fabrics.

Changes: As before I added the small dart to the front armscye. I used the curve of the bedspread as the front hem edges of the jacket and cut the remaining hemline straight. I reduced the width of the sleeves from the elbow to wrist. I had thought that I would hack the close-fitting round neck into a V-neckline but in the end decided against it.

I cut some of the contrast fabric into 2 inch wide bias strips but also used some for the label backing and lining the patch pockets.

Hanging loop and label

As I wanted a really neat finish to the insides, all raw edges were neatened using the Hong Kong finish except the sleeve seams which were bound completely as I may wish to turn back the cuffs.

Bound set in sleeve seam, Hong Kong finish shoulder seam and bound neckline

The neckline was also bound in the contrast binding so that and the pocket tops are the only contrast that you can see from the outside. I hesitated for a while regarding the front closure but decided to utilise some of the Pink buttons from my stash.

Refashioned Bedspread into Tamarack jacket

Although it may seem like a lot of work this jacket did not take particularly long to make due mostly to the fact that it was already quilted! I am very pleased with the end result and can’t wait to wear my new jacket!

Project no. 6 completed 30th January 2023

Gift making

Even though we are now past the season of Christmas, I find that I am still busy making gifts for upcoming birthdays. I have a large amount of the 12 oz fire-retardent wadding remaining from the Christmas makes and some very pretty novelty printed cotton fabrics so have continued to make double ended oven mitts and padded, quilted book covers. The fabrics for the projects below were purchased from Home Textile & Fabric thru’ Amazon (my go-to source of so many items!).

Red London Bus printed cotton

The quilting for the Red London Bus mitts was done in straight lines using the buses as guides.

Novelty Cat printed cotton

The wadding for the book cover is 80/20 cotton polyester blend purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop based not far from my home. The quilting for the book cover and the mitts was completed using the wavy line stitch pattern no. 2-18 on my Brother 4000D machine, settings width 7.0 and length 1.8/2.0.

Projects #4 and 5 completed 25th January 2023

Birch waistcoat by Pattern Scout

A waistcoat has been in my plans for a very long time. I bought the recently released Birch pattern which can be used with minimum amounts of fabric. The Birch Vest is described as a lined waistcoat with princess seams, a deep scoop neckline, and a front button closure. A transitional wardrobe staple, Birch can be worn alone or layered with matching separates for a tailored or casual style.

I was lucky enough to find just enough of a Mustard fine needlecord remnant from making Texas trousers together with the remnant of lining used on the sleeves of my Sorrento jacket.

I printed off the pattern and having stitched a very quick toile in calico immediately saw that I needed to shorten the length by 1¼ inches. I also had to ‘finesse’ the curve of the princess seam over the bust. I transferred the alterations to the paper pattern and cut into my remnants of needlecord and lining. There was not quite enough to cut the centre back panel in one piece and so there is a seam at waist level. I may well hide this later with a half belt.

Construction was straightforward and all the pieces matched up well with the notches. I top stitched the princess seams and under-stitched as much as possible before turning right side out.

I found a batch of buttons in just the right size and shade of ‘Mandarin Orange’. Infact there are so many of them that I shall have to find some coordinating printed viscose to make either a blouse or dress to use them up!

Birch waistcoat from stash fabrics

Conclusion: Unfortunately the original Texas trousers in the fine needlecord have been sold so they won’t be worn together with the waistcoat! I am very pleased with the finished project and by using this particular fabric and colour it will coordinate well with many of my dresses and blouses.

Project #02 Completed 10th January 2023

Final make of 2022

I bought this beautiful quilting cotton from the pop up shop by Sew Hot when attending the bag-making retreat back in October 2022. I bought just 2 metres and as soon as I got home the fabric was laundered and sat waiting for me to get ’roundtuit’.

Detail of fabric print

I have made up this pattern in excess of 30 times with many different variations. The variation this time was to expand the sleeve head to make some gathers, shaping the hem of the sleeve and adding a 2 inch wide hem facing to those sleeves. As quilting cottons tend to be more substantial than other cottons I decided to overlock the seam allowances rather than French seam. This has the advantage of making the construction a little quicker.

When it came to choosing buttons, I turned to my favourite Coconut shells in 5/8th diameter. Due to the length of the blouse (it has a shirt tail shaped hemline) I made 6 buttonholes where I would normally make only 5.

TNT Short sleeve blouse with Shirt tail hem

Conclusion: This particular print coordinates really well with my jogging bottoms, linen trousers and Dark Green ‘Jane’ pinafore dress so I foresee that it will get a great deal of wear. Whilst I am pleased with the completed blouse, in hindsight I think that due to its structure, the quilting cotton is a little too stiff so in future I will only use Viscose for this particular TNT pattern and the Aria by Love Notions for the more structured blouses.

Project #60 Completed 31st 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

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

Brooklyn Bag by Swoon Patterns

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.

Quilting Cotton lining & 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.

The Brooklyn Bag by Swoon Patterns

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.

Project #052 completed 21st November 2022

Quilted Book Covers

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.

Twelve Quilted Book Covers

Project #51 completed 6th November 2022

Faux Clamshell Table Runner

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.

Faux Clamshell Christmas Table Runner

Project #49 completed 4th November 2022