Wednesday, 12 November 2014

By Hand London Anna, again? Surely not!

Yep, not satisfied with two (here) I decided another one was in order. This started with the fabric - I was in Abakhan buying supplies off the list and desperately trying not to purchase anything that wasn't included. However I spotted this wax cotton in the fabric bins and it was meant to be! Bonus - when I got it to the tills it was only £10 and there was about 5.5 metres there!!

We're off on holiday in a couple of weeks time, so what I really needed was a maxi dress, and this fabric paired with the Anna dress was perfect.

I cut a 12 grading out to 14 at the waist (as previously), but as I've lost weight this version feels a little loose around the waist. No bad thing for the forthcoming holiday binges.... I also think I need to add half an inch or so to the bodice length for it to sit on my waist a bit better.  If I remember I might do that next time!

I love this pattern, but being comparatively short (I took 6 inches off the skirt length!) I'm not sure if the maxi length works for me. I think I prefer how my midi one looks.

This cotton is quite stiff and I wasn't sure how it would feel against my skin, so I lined the bodice with cotton lawn. I used french seams everywhere, and bias binding around the waist.  I even hand stitched the hem, skirt split and around the armsycle.

I'm quite proud of how the lining turned out. I didn't want to have any white peaking out of the neckline so I used the provided facing pieces attached to the lining.

It does swoosh quite well too....

But you don't get any fluffy cat pictures, as he scarpered...

(nb. neighbours cat not ours, and he likes our garden because there are lots of wild bits with small rodents to torture...)

Friday, 10 October 2014

Progress of sorts

I've decided I need to blog more! Even if I don’t have anything finished to show… So here goes….

Last Saturday morning was designated sew day, so I started sewing my MCalls 6515 Viscose trousers together. I wasn't sure how the viscose would behave as this is the first time I've used it – I thought it might pucker as it’s very light, or might slide around.  But in fact it was remarkably easy and behaved very well. The only thing I did notice was that my cutting out technique is terrible, I really need to think of a way to complete it much more neatly (without resorting to rotary cutter all the time).

Having finished two quilt tops the previous weekend I decided to crack on with the quilting. I had enough fabric (with a bit of cutting and piecing) in a lurid pink colour for the back of the Papillion quilt so this went first.  I was going to do all the quilting on one diagonal and across all the points of the squares.  I picked out two colours of pink thread to alternate the rows.

Now that I've done one direction, I'm thinking that it doesn't look quite right. So I'm going to do the opposite direction as well.

After sewing time, it was gardening time.  And more specifically “cutting the hedge with the petrol trimmer with a temperamental 2-stroke engine and very sensitive choke” time.  By the end my arms were dead. The upshot being that Mal has decided we need to buy a nicer hedge trimmer.  Result!

And because photos of hedges aren't that exciting, you can have a picture of polytunnel produce.  I have to say I'm very impressed with the crop of Ailsa Craig tomatoes, lots of roasted tomato sauce has been made.  Which may have been the reason for planting that variety in the first place…….  Next year I need to be a bit more on the ball and plant earlier, and get more cherry tomatoes in as well!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

BHL Anna, trying again...

I didn't really like my first Anna dress, so much so that it never made it to the blog.  I think it was the fabric - some cheap polyester that I bought in Goldhawk Road that was a bit too clingy for me.  I tried to add arms to the pattern like the tutorial on the By Hand London blog, but I mucked up the sizing and they were way too tight, so I had to cut them off.  See, hideous!!

I wanted to give Anna a second shot and thought that a nicer fabric would be the way to go.  This is quilting weight cotton - Cuzco Plumage by Kate Spain for Moda, and I've lined the whole dress with some polyester Habotai. I cut a 12 at the bust and hips, graded to 14 at the waist, and added an inch to the bodice length.

I love this dress, I've worn it pretty much every week since it was finished!!! And because it's lined, I can pair it with cardie/tights/boots for the winter! 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sew day!!

Or weekend really.... I knew it had been a while but I didn't realise it was nearly four months! I don't know why, guess life just caught up with me. Oh well.

This weekend I resisted the lure of the garden and decided to crack on with some planned projects.  First off is the Granny's Garden quilt! This is the first of a few Christmas projects, so I'm starting early because they all have to be complete before we go on holiday at the end of November.  I'm quite impressed that in the space of about a week and a half I've managed to cut and sew the complete quilt top....

It started with stack of 41 layer cakes (10'' squares) from Riley Blakes Calliope collection which were dissected and sewn back together with strips of white.

Then they all got sewn together....

With a border....

And ended up looking something like this! I do feel a bit of a cheat though. For most of my quilts I work out the pattern - sizes of blocks, amount of fabric and construction, but for this I used a free pattern from Lauren and Jessie Jung. The colours and fabric design aren't really my cup of tea, but I really like the way the quilt pattern has turned out and as it's not for me, it doesn't really matter!

Next project - yesterday afternoon I started looking at McCalls 6515 as I have some lovely light viscose from Croft Mill to make a pair of wide leg floaty summer trousers (for holiday!!!).  But then realised I didn't have enough paper left to trace the pattern. With a blinding flash of inspiration I decided to trace the top half and make a muslin pair of shorts to check the fit.

I have to say, these might come on holiday too!!!

The fabric was from the bins at Abakhan, can't remember what I bought it for. The fit isn't too bad - the crotch is a bit long, so I'll take 1/2'' out when I make the trousers, and they could be a bit slimmer on the hips.  I didn't have an invisible zip so I had to put a normal one in, and I actually quite like it showing.  I even nearly managed to line up the waistband....

And finally, this quilt top has been sat around nearly finished, for months (I won't admit to how many).  So it was only an hour or two's work to finish it off....

Friday, 30 May 2014

Me Made May '14 - Week Three

Getting a bit behind on the blogging, but I did manage to take pictures at the time...

Named Patterns Dakota dress
I'm still not convinced about this one, although it is comfy to wear as its jersey.  I think it's because I was so puzzled about the shawl collar and I'm still not convinced I did it right.  For some inexplicable reason, as well as adding my usual inch to the bodice length I also lengthened the sleeves and now they're seriously too long. Other than that, I love the skirt shape.  You can't really see it in this photo, but it dips down at the front/back and up at the sides.  At some point I'll make a skirt from the pattern, one day.

Simplicity 2451 skirt
Again.... this week it's not raining and you can see the shaped waistband and pleats.  No idea why I'm looking down again.

Tilly's Miette skirt
New make, just finished! I bought this fabric last year in Goldhawk Road and wasn't really sure what I'd use it for, but it's perfect as a summer wrap around skirt! This counts twice for this week, it's so happy I had to! More details in a later post (if I get around to it).... Oh and I forgot to say, I actually really like this length, and this photo - I don't know how but my legs look skinny!

Grainline Moss skirt
Another new make - cheap grey chord and kick ass turquoise top-stitching. I managed to completely muck up the fitting though and had to take in loads of the back seam. Ho hum. I might post more details on this later...

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Me Made May '14 - Week Two

OK, now we're into week two and it was a bit more challenging this week as I was down at my parents for a few days (hence the not great photos).  I've also realised now that I haven't actually blogged any of these makes so I might add a few more words to this post rather than create other posts....

Sewaholic Renfrew top
I love this top and I wear it loads, in fact we did a  last minute week in Majorca last autumn and I basically wore it all week.  This is the cowl neck version with 3/4 length sleeves, and I have another version in white (bad choice of colour) that has full length sleeves but a short bodice.  I wore this version a couple of times during the week.

Tilly's Mathilde blouse
I love how sophisticated this top looks (sorry, naff picture).  It's from a lightweight ivory fabric - I guess poly cotton mix as it washes well but it was a nightmare to sew as it kept moving around.  It does have red buttons down the back though. Which rock!

Deer & Doe Datura blouse
I had scraps of both of these fabrics left over from other projects and just about managed to scrape enough to make the top although the facing yoke pieces are from the patterned cotton rather than the plain linen (as it is in the instructions).  I also complete mucked up attaching the bias binding around the neck and ended up with too much fabric between the cutout points so I folded and hand tacked the excess.  I made the bias tape too narrow as well (as there wasn't much linen left) so didn't want to undo the stitching and reattach it.  As a wearable muslin I'm really happy with it, but as well as doing the neckline properly, next time I will drop the darts, reshape the armholes and take in some of the width on the hem line.

Simplicity 2451 skirt
Sorry, it was pouring with rain! This is my first ever fitted skirt, the fit isn't great but it's comfortable and I wear it loads.  I've got second one with better fit which will be along later in MMM!!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Me Made May '14 - Week One

Wiksten Tova top  - my first ever make, the fit isn't perfect (bit tight on the arms) and the finish isn't up to my usual standard (no french seams) but not bad for a first attempt.

Kwik Sew 3764 jacket - my latest make.  I am ridiculously proud.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Friday I'm in Love

This is Hazel's fault.  She posted up her beautiful version of the Kwik Sew 3674 jacket and I was instantly smitten.

I had many plans in quick succession and finally decided on some Navy wool mix from eBay and pink polka dot cotton poplin for the lining from Minerva Crafts (next plan involves Harris tweed, next winter).

Topstitching rocks.....

I was determined not to rush to finish this, take my time, not cut corners and if it's wrong or I'm not happy with the finish, to unpick it and go again.

To that end, I overlocked the edges of all the wool front and back pieces before starting the construction (it's all in the prep- but the delay was killing me!)

I topstitched (2.6mm stitch length mostly, 2.8mm on the waistband), with topstitch thread on needle and normal thread on bobbin.  I'm not sure if that's right, but you don't get much topstitch thread on a reel and I wanted to make it last!  My machine managed with this as long as I took it slowly, especially where I was sewing through +4 layers of wool. I used my Janome red needles which I usually use for quilting and have a bit more strength than the blue ones.  I did have a few breakages - needles and heavy metal zips don't interface too well!! My machine was sounding quite unhappy about that one....

The pattern doesn't include a lining, although there is interfacing on the front crossed over lapel panels and a back yoke. I made the lining for the jacket by basically just making another jacket out of lining material apart from the front lapel pieces, used the wool for these. Also yoke piece was attached to the back lining by just laying it over the top and sewing around the neck line.

Who wouldn't be happy with pink spotty sleeve gusset?

I attached the outer and lining by sewing all the way around the lapels and neck as per the instructions.  When it came to the bottom, I basted the two together and then attached the waistband as instructed.  For the sleeves I attached the facing and gusset to the zip/outer, then for the lining I cut another facing, made the opening 1/4'' bigger and turned them 1/2'' shorter then ironed it and hand sewed all the way round.

Sunshine, dark wool, pale lining, photographer malfunction

Snaps were surprisingly easy to go in... the epaulette ones are fully functional.  And you'll notice they are the correct way around, sewn in at the shoulder with the snap at the collar - unlike the instructions...

I started sewing up the bottom and waist band and then changed my mind about the inside lapel.  Originally I was just going to put in a button and buttonhole to hold the lapel in place when I do the jacket up, but then decided I'll probably end up wearing it with the jacket half open and the lapels folded out most of the time so it would look much better with a snap on the left lapel.  And I didn't want the back of the snap showing on the outside of the right lapel so this had to be only attached to the lining/facing (hence the unpicking, contorted snap hammering, and the sewing back up of the waistband!)

I love this jacket.  I'm going to wear it all the time!!!

My reasons for sewing are pretty much as a creative hobby (which is why most of my quilts are given away), and the fact that I have something to show for it at the end is a bonus, along with the fact that (when I have more idea about what I'm doing) they might actually fit better.  But a couple of people have asked me how long it took to make my jacket and I have no idea, as it tends to be a half hour here and there, so I'm going to try to start making a note.

And for interest the total cost for this jacket was about £50 which includes the pattern, wool, lining, thread (inc posh top stitching thread!), three metal zips, and a big pack of snaps and the fitting tools (so I now need to make more clothes with snaps....). 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Battenburg Quilt

I bought a fat quarter pack of 8 fabrics from Cotton Patch of the Dan Bennett Cosmos Daydream range ages ago when they were first advertised and the plan was to make a quilt for the snug.  I also got some plain cotton sheeting in a purple/pinky colour from Abakhan to go with it.

I didn't really decide on a design at first but I had some ideas about a trellis type pattern (squares on point).  Then I saw some pictures of a disappearing 4 patch  - this one in-fact, and fell in love with the design so had to start straight away!

From each FQ cut 3 strips 5'' by 22'' then cut these into 4 5''x5'' squares so you end up with 12 squares from each FQ. Also cut 3 strips 1.5'' by 22 - you might only get 2 strips depending on how well the FQ has been cut, these will be used for border.

Cut the same number of 5'x5' squares from the plain fabric, then join each patterned square to a plain one, and join two of these pairs to make a square.

Then to make the disappearing 4 patch, cut an inch either side of the centre seam in both the horizontal directions, then rotate each of the middle strips so you end up with something looking like this:

Then join everything back together!

And you end up with a stack of 48 disappearing 4 patch squares...

These I joined into 8 rows of 6 patches. Then I cut 1.5'' strips from the plain fabric for the first border.  The strips I cut from the patterned fabric were joined together and used to create the second border. I had just about enough fabric to make these 2.5'' wide and be long enough to get around the entire quilt.  I would have liked a wider outer border but there wasn't enough fabric - I used up every last scrap of the FQ's, so much so that if you look closely you might see a tiny bit of selvedge!!

Once I'd finished the top, I got distracted with making other things (clothes, and quilts as presents), and this sat languishing in the drawer for nearly a year.  But this spring, I decided to clear out some of the backlog of planned projects and WIPs so this top came out and was pinned and quilted.

I've gone with free motion quilting on the 4 patch centre as I need the practise!  My speed of movement/speed of needle still isn't perfect so the thread tension is a bit off on the back but I'm definitely getting better.  For the borders I quilted the ditches and 0.5'' from the seams, then bound the quilt with more plain fabric.

The backing fabric came from the fabric bins at Abakhan (the teal block-work one is left over from the unfinished/unblogged Wintersmith quilt, I really need to crack on with that one!)

This one is mine.

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts