Blocked Cross stitch

though I have been light on sewing output, I have been doing cross stitch. My latest is all done, mounted and up on the wall.

all done

This isn’t my usual style but I loved it as soon as I saw it! The colours are gorgeous and so vibrant. And as the blocks are so small I felt like I was getting somewhere every time I finished – unlike other cross stitches that seem to go nowhere for a looong long time!

I mounted this one as recommended in the magazine it came from, but the finished size was slightly smaller than it should be so it didn’t fit the block mount exactly. As a result I just couldn’t get all the lines straight – which, as this cross stitch is ALL lines, is very frustrating.

But I am learning that good enough is good enough. The only way to get this straighter would be to get it done professionally and I figure I can always do that in the future if it continues to bother me…

I do really love this and its already up on the front room wall. Another project done. (and from a distance you can’t see the wonky lines at all!!)

all done and on the wall

Short and sweet

Homespun Magazine

A few weeks ago I picked up the latest Homespun magazine and liked the look of the dolls on the front cover.

They were designed to be a doll for a kidlet but I came up with a tricksy idea and decided to enlarge the pattern and turn it into a door stop…

So I doubled the size of the pattern on the photocopier and put it all together without glancing at the instructions. Not once!

Oops.

I put it all together and took a look at her and was not impressed. She had a weird alien egg shaped head, that was as big as her body… not a good look. Mr T took one laugh and burst out laughing.

Not to be outdone I unpicked her – all of her, trimmed some excess of the head and, again ignoring the instructions, put her back together, this time with mostly better results.

Et voila…  the finished door stop. She’s about 25cm high and has lots of rice at the bottom to keep her standing. Now to wrap her up as a birthday present….

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A birthday present for a 5 year old… (or Spotlight, there and back again, again)

howdy world! I hope you guys had a fantastic Christmas and a great New Years.

Sometime last year I came across the following quilt design at Spotlight, a big chain store known for crafting supplies, average quality, being handy to home when I’m in a rush and terrible customer service. I thought it was pretty cute…

Spotlight instruction sheetThe colours and the owls all called to me but I know it wouldn’t fit into my house anywhere. So I came up with a cunning plan. My big cousins daughter was turning 5 in Jan and that sounded like the perfect excuse. As if I needed one…

So the plan was underway. For Ms B’s 5th birthday I would make my first full quilt – with cute owls! I went and purchased the fabric, washed it and put it in a pile. For a wee while.

Then one night I was talking to my grandmother who happened to mention that Ms B had a double bed, would the quilt fit a double bed? After spluttering incredulously over the fact that a 4 year old had a DOUBLE bed I quickly figured that no it wouldn’t fit. So adaption was needed. I am nothing if not a visual person so out came the scissors and the glue and I mocked up a new design by simply adding an extra column of owls and some extra horizontal striped border top and bottom and voila. The resulting quilt would be sure to fit a double bed and then some…

my pattern redesign...So after re-calculating the fabric requirements off to Spotlight I headed again and I was ready to go… and this time I got started.

What followed was a lot of cutting lines and bands of fabric but I then started with putting the owl segments together. All was going well until I got to the 5th square… and ran out of fabric… huh? Before I went to Spotlight for a third time I cut out all the other pieces… and discovered they were short as well…

Turns out the fabric requirements on the instructions were incorrect – despite buying more fabric I wouldn’t have been able to make the single size quilt with what I had. So a third trip was required to Spotlight. Only to discover they were out of stock of most of the fabric I needed. So no more fabric to finish a quilt I had already spent hours on preparing and sewing… Awesome.

Luckily Spotlight aim to be in handy locations so I got back into the car and headed out to the one several suburbs over, which was also low on the fabric… In the end, between the two stores, and using my creative head to think of alternatives I was almost sorted… the one fabric I was missing was the dark pink around the owl panels… and there was none to be found, not even after a 4 week “search” by a Spotlight employee (boy was I glad I started this early!).

So I went back to the drawing board. There were 9 owl panels in total – 5 were completed, I could squeeze another one of scraps so I was just going to have to use something else for the middle three panels. So, back to Spotlight I headed to stand in front of the wall of quilting fabrics to find something that matched.

The pink dots is the replacement fabric and you can just see the dark pin paisley it should be...

The pink dots round the middle panel is the replacement fabric and you can just see the dark pink paisley it should be above and below…

As always, after the purchase I double guessed myself and hated it, but in the end the quilt was so so busy that it looked 100% fine.

The thing that took the longest with this quilt was the cutting of the fabric – putting the top together didn’t take too long at all. So once done, I headed back to Spotlight (surprise!) to decide on the quilt backing. Man that is a hard decision! I ended up with a blue almost the same as the blue in the pic above, which I thought toned the “pinkness” of the quilt down – not that a girlie-girl 5 year was was going to mind, but it was starting to give me a sugar headache.

So I sandwiched the quilt top, batting and backing together, pinned it at key areas and then to the machine I went. Do I have a walking foot? Nope… I just made do. And I tell you the back wasn’t too pretty when I finished. But after some unpicking it was looking better.

Thats a lttle machine and lot of quilt!

In the end I only quilted round the three squares that made up the owl panels – that was enough! And to be honest this will never win a quilting prize. The sewing is wonky and some of the lines don’t meet up (gasp!). When I had brought the batting I pre-washed it as recommended but that meant when the quilt was washed after being finished it didn’t puff up as much as I hoped it would. And then it didn’t cover my sewing sins as I hoped!

After putting it all together it was time for binding… I can hand on heart say that the binding is way better than on my first quilt. But it an’t near perfect. I looked up binding techniques online and lots of them recommend hand sewing the binding which I started doing. But after 40 mins I had hand-sewen about 20cms and Mr C forbade me from hand-sewing any more so off to the machine I went. My binding technique will improve in time, that’s all I have to say about it :)

But this is a present, made with love for a pretty awesome 5 year old to be. Perfectionism wasn’t the aim. And after some huffing and grumping about all the things that weren’t right with it, I stopped and took a look and ended up pretty pleased. And for the test – Ms B loved it! She lives overseas but I got a voice mail on her birthday extolling her praises, so I’ve created a winner. And that’s the important thing!

And now some more pics…

Finished and posed over my King size bed. Should fit a double huh. And check out the matching pillow case

Finished and posed over my King size bed. Should fit a double huh. And check out the matching pillow case

I used printable fabric to make the quilt label - swoon!

I used printable fabric to make the quilt label – swoon!

How could I not make these guys up?

How could I not make these guys up?

All done, dusted and looking pretty damn good!

All done, dusted and looking pretty damn good!

So I made a bag…

hi all!

Firstly my apologies for being slack on my postings. While I haven’t lost my sew-jo, I have kinda lost my blog-jo. I’m super busy and photographing me, wearing things I have made, just hasn’t been floating my boat lately. Poos.

But I did whip something up this weekend – the Amy Butler Blossom Bag (its a free pattern – check it out!!).

Blossom BagIts made from quilting cotton and is a smallish handbag. It’s long but quite narrow so won’t do me for a regular bag – I’m a bit of a kitchen sink type gal!

But I’m super in love with this. And check out the internal fabric… Its one of my favorites ever.

pretty paisley!

pretty paisley!

This pattern was pretty easy to put together, though it took many many pieces! Each of the internal dividers takes 4 pieces of fabric, 2 panels of peltex (which I didn’t have so just used a thick, thick interfacing) and 2 pieces of interfacing – quite a bit of cutting out!

It didn’t all come together smoothly. It all ended up very thick and sewing round the ends of the bag was super fiddly. I also managed to sew the handles on wrong and only realised it at the very very end. But with a quick McGyver-ing I cut the handles in half and sewed it all back together again :)

So this is my first bag – and my next bag pattern arrived today… The Camp Stitchalot Craft bag… its officially on the list!

one more on the list...

From the side...

From the side…

My bag

A surprise inside!

A surprise inside!

My Sew Weekly Reunion items!

All done!

Love these colours - it all turned out much more retro than I thought it would. But I"m really happy with it!

Love these colours – it all turned out much more retro than I thought it would. But I”m really happy with it!

The Sew Weekly Reunion Facts #1 – Capelet

Fabric: Burgundy Faux Fur, Lavender Silk Satin lining

Notions: Diamante Button, Burgundy Ribbon for binding.

Pantone Challenge colors: Beaujolais (yep a Man’s colour :)

Pattern: Peppermint Capelet

Year: 2013

Time to complete: Two evenings

First worn: Hasn’t been yet!

Wear again? Certainly will :)

Total Cost: $30(NZD)

The Sew Weekly Reunion Facts #2 – Skirt

Fabric: Burgundy Wool (40% wool, 60% viscose)

Notions: 20cm Zip

Pantone Challenge colors: Beaujolais

Pattern: Charlotte; By Hand London

Year: 2013

Time to complete: One evening :)

First worn: Aug 2013 @ work

Wear again? Probably – needs lining to be less scratchy!!!

Total Cost: $14 (NZD)

The Sew Weekly Reunion Facts #3 – Top

Fabric: Grey with blue and pink ribbons(100% polyester chiffon)

Notions: Blue bias binding

Pantone Challenge colors: Vivacious, Deep Lichen green, Mykonos Blue

Pattern: Burda Style 6/11 Boat Neck top

Year: 2011

Time to complete: 3 hours

First worn: not yet…

Wear again? I will. I have this in black and wear it a lot

Total Cost: $16.50 NZD

I’m so happy I did this challenge, these are colours I would never have put together – the grey and the burgandy, with the blue trim on the top (that you can’t see). Its been great seeing what others have done with the same palette as well.
And so endth the August sewing challenges… onto September!

Capering through the month!

Firstly, apologies for the random post about my step count the other day – I’d been trying to make something else work and thought it hadn’t, but it had, kinda… sorry!!! (and how I wish the step count had been something impressive!)

So… we are the end of August. Wowee this year is speeding by huh! I still have many things to blog about, but I assure you that I haven’t had time to be blogging as I have been sewing. Like a busy sewing thing!

But there were the monthly challenges that I need to blog about before the month ends (I’m hoping it will be ok to put up the photos of my Sew Weekly Reunion outfit tomorrow… it will still be August in the rest of the world – one good thing about living in NZ!

So today, as promised is my Peppermint Capelet, made for the first Monthly Stitch Challenge. This is a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine  and it super easy to make. I’d fallen in love with burgandy fur I’d found on the last day of the Fabric Warehouse sale and paired with some silk satin lining, is the most glamorous thing I have ever made. It just feels amazing – let alone how good it looks.

tracing

This was quick to cut out – I just traced the pattern on the back of the fur and cut it out with my rotary cutter. The cutting was easy – the cleaning up however…!

pattern piece

mess everywhere...

mess everywhere…

I did trim the edges of the fur to make it easier to sew, and someone told me that you can use hairspray on the edges to reduce the mess. I will try this next time as I have so much fabric left I plan to make a teddy bear out of it – its just to stroke-able to throw away!!!

Even with being lined the construction of this is so easy there’s not much to say :)  great instructions that I followed til I got to the binding and then I made it up. Its fastened with a diamante button and now its all ready to wear to a night at the opera!

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The one issue I found was that the lining was a bit big and peeped over the front… I found the same with a jacket I made this month and I wonder if there’s something I’m doing wrong. I fixed this one by kinda pleating it in the inside… its not perfect but not really noticeable and will do fine.

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For lots of other capes, check out The Monthly Stitch blog for inspiration!

So folks… til tomorrow!! have a great weekend

Challenges everywhere I turn!

There’s plenty going on in the blogosphere at the moment. I’m in the middle of a couple of challenges.

Firstly The Monthly Stitch. A group of talented ladies set this up and it will have monthly themes to sew along with and share. The first months theme is Capes, and September’s theme will be Vintage.

Now I have to be honest and say when this month’s challenge was announced I wasn’t the least bit interested. I have so many things on my list to make and a cape wasn’t on it. I couldn’t see where I’d wear it so I just thought I’d join in next month. But after a few posts extolling the virtues of the cape designs that are out there I got sucked into thinking maybe… and then on Sunday I found my fabric and I was sold! I shall be making the Peppermint Magazine Capelet in Burgandy fur. Hmmm. Mr T is not impressed to be honest. He assures me its the colour he’s not too fond of, but to be honest as soon as I stroked this fur fabric I was sold. It is just glorious, so soft and luscious. I brought it straight away and I haven’t stopped stroking it yet!! (The cats are fans too).

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The other challenge for this month is the Sew Weekly Reunion. Being new to blogging I hadn’t come across this group before, but after a pause in their challenges, the ladies have come back for a reunion. Those of us who are sewing along have til the 1st September to upload a photo of our new outfits based on the theme. Which is an interesting one – the Pantone Fashion Colors of Fall 2013. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a seasonal Pantone guide, but there you go.

pantonecolorsfall20131 So we base our garments on the colours and see what everyone else comes up with – love this idea! I am thinking a burgundy skirt and either a grey or blue top of some sort… and maybe a burgandy capelet to finish it off!

Who else is sewing along for a challenge this month? What are you up to? How is it all going…?