Quilting stress!

I made a little quilt. As its a little quilt, I will keep this post short. (In the essence of honesty, it’s also trauma which is keeping this post short!!)

Panda-Quilts

One of my workmates was leaving for maternity leave. I saw the free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop for the Panda-Monium baby quilt and thought “eureka, that’s perfect!” for a leaving present. The unofficial theme for her baby presents was Panda’s and this would fit right in!

Then I started to doubt myself. I’m not experienced with quilting and the pressure of giving it to someone other than immediate family freaked me out I’ll admit. So I decided I “didn’t have the time” to make it and put it out of my mind.

Then, the weekend before my work went on leave, I found myself buying fabric to make this quilt. And I made it, quilted it, gifted it and it was well received. There was a bit of angst involved in the finishing and making the decision to actually gift it (I didn’t tell anyone I was making it in case I stuffed it all up and it looked silly). In the end, all the angst was unnecessary – why do we do this ourselves? A big thanks to Mr T who told me that keeping it “was not an option and of course she’ll like it”… thanks dude!

In the making of this quilt I learnt many things:

  • start early, not the week before its due
  • I need to work on straight lines when finishing the quilt top
  • my machine binding has improved out of sight since the first time
  • using masking tape to mark the quilting lines is easy, but has its issues
  • using the washing machine and dryer does not remove the masking tape you accidentally sewed over!
  • people love things you make them even if they’re not perfect
  • something can be great, even if its not perfect!

This was an angsty project, but if I’d not been going to give it to someone else I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. The piecing was so much fun, and as it was so little (originally approx 20″ square, though mine was a little bigger) it went fast! And now, after more words than I thought it would be, some photos!

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Have a good week! xx

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Seamworks Mesa on a chilly day…

The original...

The original…

The outfit to the left has spawned four clothing pieces… so far…. it comes from episode 1 of Scream the Tv series…. (yep I’m a teenager at heart!) and I just fell in love with this skirt. Totally different from anything I’ve ever worn, let alone made, but I drooled over it. And it refused to leave my mind. The website wornontv.com informs me that this skirt comes from Topshop (can’t find it of course). But I was never going to buy it was I…

Soon after this episode, Kat, fellow Wellington sewing blogger, asked if anyone wanted to pitch in for a purchase from Fabric.com? Spoiler alert – between the group we brought A LOT of fabric.

I got this one… to make a Seamworks Mesa out of… (more of this fabric soon)

Large_0395122And this Scuba knit to make my Scream tribal skirt.. (now sold out)

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When the fabric arrived however the tribal print was much bigger than I expected. How big?

Close?Hmmm… And I had more fabric than I needed to make a skirt. And as a result I just caved and made a Mesa out of it… wearable muslin yes?

IMG_5510I’ve subscribed to Seamworks since it started. Some months are great and others are a but of a miss for me, but the Mesa I like – simple cut and knit so therefore easy right?

Confession I’ve never actually made a shift dress before. I don’t actually think I’ve ever worn one. So here we have a) a new style and b) a patterned fabric and c) fabric like nothing in my wardrobe. I guess I was feeling courageous!

I was hoping to share my fantastic pattern matching with this make. I marked the pattern pieces with the stripes and when I basted it together I got perfect lines all around my body. When I pinned and stitched however it was a fail. And as this is a thick scuba knit unpicking proved un-achievable. I did try, honest, but after stabbing myself, deeply, with my trusty quick unpick/seam ripper I gave it up as a lost cause.

Other than the line matching fail, this dress went together really easily. I added 5″ to the length before cutting out, but after trying the finished garment on it looked frumpy at that length so I took 3″ off. Now of course it’s a smidgen short but it works well with tights! And given the fabric is polyester its more of a cooler wear really.

IMG_5530I like this dress. It’s way out of my comfort zone, and I get lots of comments on it whenever I’ve worn it. The only issue I have is the neckline. It looks fine, if a little bit wide, with nothing on top, but add a jacket or cardigan and it’s too big and gapes a bit

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Not impressed….

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Gape gape gape…

I’ve had this on a couple of makes lately. I’m not sure if I need to cut smaller at the neckline, or I could be stretching the neck band too much,but its also happened on woven fabrics. Others have talked about the neckline being a smidge too big so maybe its not me. Next time I make this one I will add 1″ to each shoulder and see what that does!

But I do really like this dress. I love the pattern – not so sure with the scuba knit, I noticed a slight pilling across the front today which is annoying. Maybe it doesn’t like flying foxes?

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Add a jacket and its great for work. Here’s to more work dresses in the future…

So the fabric I brought for the skirt off the tv? I made a dress. Pretty good compromise I think.

Have a great week all!

Searching for a great sweatshirt…

I am on a sewing roll at the moment. None of these things that I am making are on the list of makes for my wedding – must get onto that…

In the meantime if I’m sewing, I need to photo and blog. Did I mention its winter? Aah well, see the things I put myself through. Today wasn’t too bad, but I had a lazy start so by the time I got out of the house to get some photos, rain was on the way and it was COLD! How cold? This cold…

swear words might have been said!So while todays post may not include the most exciting photos, they were gathered in an atmosphere of dire threat of hypothermia, so that adds excitement value surely?

And todays post is on my first attempt at a Linden sweatshirt from Grainline studios. This is my second Grainline pattern with my Moss Mini sadly in the mending basket as its waay too big – not that I know what I’ll do with it, but nonetheless! When this pattern came out it didn’t grab my attention. It was just a sweatshirt and that’s not really interesting is it? But I’ve got a few pieces of knit fabric that would work for sweatshirts so I started looking for patterns. Initially the Linden still didn’t call me, as it had a high-ish neck on it, and I like mine slightly lower (the neck band for this seems tiny when cut it out). But as more bloggers made this up I figured I could maybe lower the neckline myself. Not listening to myself, and arguing that with all the patterns I already own I surely could cobble up something, in the end I used a BurdaStyle pattern for the lovely red knit I had. The less said about that make the better I say. After taking in approx 10 inches from each side and playing surgeon on the neckline I ended up with something wearable – but the only pic I have of it on is this one from Me-Made-May. Weirdly enough wearing the same jeans as today!

MeMadeMayAnyway I was still on the hunt for a good sweatshirt pattern, Linden was popular so I grabbed the PDF and gave it a go. And am really glad I did. The hardest part was choosing a size to cut out – I knew I didn’t want too much ease, and there’s about 6″ ease in this one in the bust, but that goes down to 2″ at the hips. I’m smaller in the bust and hips, but with only 4″ between waist and hips on a good day my measurements are usually 2-4 sizes apart. In the end I went with a straight size 10, and it wpretty greenas a pretty good fit.

My fabric is one I got from a fabric sale the other week, meant to trial Seamworks Astoria but I’ve already made two of those and this fabric now called for something else! Its a mottle green and black and I think it has a bit of cotton in it. It was easy to sew, with the only issue being that the edges curled, but otherwise was a pleasure.

Even better that sewing the fabric was sewing the pattern – this is really well drafted, all the notches matched, and it came together really easily as quickly (only 45 mins to sew it all together). However I can’t comment on the instructions as I didn’t read ’em at all! What a rebel 🙂 I suspect if I’d read the instructions it would have said some about not stretching the neck band too much, but I still haven’t read them so I’m not sure. Some of the other Linden’s I’ve seen blogged def show a much smaller neckline than mine. But actually I’m delighted with how the neckline on this worked out, it’s just right for me.

So to end, some pics of this make, on a windy, cold day. Hope those of you in winter climates are coping ok, and those of you in summer climates aren’t too hot!

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See you soon

A totally inappropriate skirt…

I didn’t intend to make another skirt. I certainly didn’t intend to buy more fabric. But I was waiting in-line to get some fabric for a sewing class I’ve just started and something was calling…
Can you see it?There on the middle shelf. The white one… can you hear it?

I tried to ignore it. I really really did. I didn’t need another skirt (for what else could it be?) I could get it another time. “But I’m on sale” it whispered.

Nope you’re cotton voile. You’re far to thin for a skirt. “I’d just need lining…” it coerced. 

For goodness sake its WINTER! “But look how pretty I am. Just think of how I’d swish and twirl…”

Needless to say my will was too weak and said fabric came home with me! And went straight into the wash and ironed and ready for cutting that night.

I knew this had to be a swishy skirt – after all it had told me it was. I didn’t want panels as I didn’t want to break up the already busy print – and I knew there was no way I was going to pattern match this sucker.

So I headed to the By Hand London circle skirt calculator. Which informed me that the fabric was too narrow for a fill circle skirt. And a half circle skirt. And for a quarter circle skirt. Hmmm….

What followed was a long period of angst trying to work out how to get this fabric to do what I wanted it to. I cursed my waist dimensions for being too long. I cursed stupid patterns for being dumb. I cursed circles for being too round. Then I realised the cursing wouldn’t change a thing.

nothing like my finished productI searched my patterns for one that would give me the swish I wanted. In the end I saw this one in Gertie’s latest book and thought “hmmm that would probably look different in a lighter fabric”. Then I realised it was a half circle skirt. And that the dimensions matched the fabric I had… we were on like donkey kong kids!

I don’t know why this pattern fit when the other circle skirt patterns didn’t. Tbh it wasn’t quite wide enough even for this pattern. I ended up missing the very point of the circle on either side and just fudging it when I sewed it up. roll that hem...

Once I got it cut out though this baby went like a dream. Easy to sew up. Facings matched (not a fan of facings me, but thems the breaks). I left it to hang for a couple of days but there wasn’t too much drop in the hem. I even managed to do rolled hem…

So, now I have a gorgeous skirt, in a see through cotton voile. In winter. Ah well! Add a jacket and a slip and we’re in business.

We managed to get out today, on a stunning winter day and get some shots – it was sunny, windy, and chilly but after the rain and storms we’ve had the last week it was glorious!

Here she is, in all her glory

Here she is, in all her glory

See... swishy-ness

See… swishy-ness

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checking out the fabric – yep its still calling…

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the print in its glory!

Despite loving this fabric, and the feel, and so many things about it, when I first put it on I was underwhelmed. I’m one for a-line and closer skirts and I wasn’t sure the looser, draping worked for me – especially round the hips. However when I tried it on again after hemming I was ok with it; sometimes I think a new style sometimes needs a second consideration.

I think this one will get a bit of wear. With a jacket other than my denim one it will carry me over for work. All in all a win methinks.

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Me-Made-May – Wrap up

hello lovelies,

Here I am, a week late, but my laptop is still in the shop and it turns out that even if I have a perfectly suitable substitute, I miss it heaps. It was only meant to be two weeks but turns out there was a problem with the cooling fan as well so it’ll take longer. (As a side note, a problem with the cooling fan could explain why my laptop often made a sound like a plane taking off!).

So we’re all done for my first time for Me-Made-May. Here’s the last of the photos then some thoughts below:

Day 25 – Monday

Work day… my unblogged leftover red fabric Mabel skirt

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Day 26 – Tuesday (Warning faces get a bit silly from here. There were sillier ones I deleted!)

Striped maxi skirt for work

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Day 27 – Wednesday

Brand new Delphine skirt – love this colour!

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Day 28 – Thursday

Off to see another show. Wearing my watson jacket

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Day 29 – Friday

Work day. Today I did wear Me-Made, but I looked at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and hated my outfit so much that I didn’t take a pic. Said Me-Made is now back in the sewing stash to be remade into something pretty. Or a muslin.

Day 30 – Saturday!

Woo hoo! Saturday. Hudson pants for housework. Boo housework.

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Day 31 – Sunday

So apparently I failed getting a pic cause I can’t find one. Weird. But I can assure you I wore something Me-Made. Something.

Thoughts:

  • so wearing Me Made wasn’t that hard. Most days it was pretty easy.
  • taking photos daily sucks, but is interesting to go back and look at them and see if you can see a theme.
  • my theme, both in sewing and wearing is simple – I’ve lots of skirts, but none of them are very complicated. Several of them are literally two seams, elastic and a hem. I’ve stuck to mainly simple stuff this year so far. I’m unlikely to change that but should aim to include challenging (though I am making three bridesmaids dresses for three very different bodies so that should challenge!)
  • this has been great to be a part of. There were only 2 items in my wardrobe I didn’t wear – one cause its too fancy, the other cause it needs ironing and I hate ironing. One item was hideous and shall not be worn again. Thats a pretty good effort I think!

Hope June hasn’t come too much of a shock for you all (halfway through the year already and winter has come with a bang here, though its pretty today). Have a good un…

Sparkly Rigel Bomber

I wasn’t going to get involved in this sew-along. Ginger Makes, along with Mel at The Curious Kiwi and Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes decided that the Papercut Rigel Bomber was something they needed to make and did anyone want to make it along with them? and so RigelBomberJanuary was born.

I figured I am currently mid-rehearsal (again) and don’t need anything extra in my life at the moment. I didn’t have anything in my stash that seemed right for this and I didn’t have the pattern, so I couldn’t make it anyway. Then Mel posted some inspiration photos. Pretty!And I saw this one on the left and I was hooked. I tried to ignore the call of this siren but a week later it was still sitting in my head, a fabric sale started and I just had to give in.

Sequin fabric is expensive! Especially considering you also need to underline it.My pretty.... I headed to the Fabric Store sale and hummed and haaaed over what one to get. I ended up with this one (which is more black than it looks in this photo) for only $29 a metre (less 40% because of the sale!). It had the look I liked the best, but I don’t think its going to be the most robust sequined fabric I could get to be honest. I don’t know if the others would be less likely to shed sequins, but its something to learn if I ever sew with sequins again.

I got some black acetate to underline, which had a nice solid hand to it. I traced and cut out a size Large for this jacket (which is the size I made for my other Papercut pattern), which given I had main fabric, and underlining, and interfacing and rib took its time. Then I needed to baste the sequins to the underlining. I just used the acetate for the facing of the jacket, and decided not to line the jacket given there were already double layers of fabric (though Kat has done a great tutorial on adding lining here).

This counts as hand sewing right?

You can just see the hand basting at the end of these sleeve pieces….

Previously whenever I’ve underlined anything I’ve machine basted the pieces together, but this time as I wanted to make sure all the pieces were flat and there wasn’t any bunching (which is what I’ve had before) I hand basted it with the pieces sitting against my cutting table. It took time but I was much happier with being able to manipulate the fabric as I went so I think I’ll keep hand basting up. I’m yet to work out the best time to take out these basting stitches before they get caught up in the garment construction – any ideas on this? At what stage to you folks take basting stitches out? I also learned that you should use a new piece of cotton for each line of the pattern then you can take all the other basting stitches out and still leave the hems etc basted.

The construction of this jacket is really easy, though the first thing you do it welt pockets (first time for me!). Weirdly enough cutting into the middle of the jacket front to make the pocket itself filled me with terror, which I don’t think it would have if it was later in the sewing process – I know, makes no sense, but there you have it. But that was the only thing I struggled with. Though I did do a lot of top stitching to get everything looking right.

I finished the seams and the facing with pre-made bias binding. Because a) you have to do something to hide those ugly seams if you don’t put lining in right? And b) you have to cover the sequins on the seams cause they’re all scratchy. Trust me.

In the end this is a locally made jacket. The fabric comes from one of our local (well Kiwi owned) stores The Fabric Store, the pattern is from Nelson, only a boat ride away and the metal zip (which I love) came from my local haberdashery Made On Marion. I don’t always manage to make it all from small, local companies but I try.

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I’m really happy with this jacket – I like the way the ribbing and the style makes it more casual, and therefore more wearable. It’s actually too big – I think I could have gone down a size? And if so, that’s the first time I’ve ever had that problem! Also the sleeves are a smidge short… which, if I’d searched the interweb before cutting I would have known in advance (do your research kids). Its yet to have it first wear other than getting photos taken, but I’m sure it won’t be long. Who of you have made a Rigel – I have a suspicion there are more in my future? What else have you been sewing?IMG_4635IMG_4624IMG_4592

P.S… my denim bed thingee is still being used. Now I’m back up on my feet it was relegated back to its home on the spare bed. Normally that room isn’t used, but Sewing Cat George came off worse for wear after meeting a car last week. The poor thing has a broken pelvis 😦 He will be a-ok but is banished to a cage for 4 weeks. As the spare room is the coolest room in the house (and its currently summer) we’ve moved him down there, and Mr C and I have set the room up as an alternate front room for the next few weeks to keep him company. Which means the spare bed, and the denim bed thingee are doubling as a couch. Poor man....

While Sewing Cat George may LOOK miserable in his cage, he seems to be having the time of his life having discovered he can reach both his food bowls without leaving his bed! So far he’s been a pretty cool customer with the whole thing… so far…

Meanwhile Sewing Cat Samantha is ignoring him – looks like sewing cat duties are all her for the next month…

Using my most popular post…

I am currently sitting on my couch, where I have been since late last week when I had minor surgery on my toes. I have weird and wonderful big toes (or “great toes” as they are apparently officially called) which are all crooked and that combined with wide toenails gave me pain.

So after putting it off for a long time, I finally booked in to get them done and sat back and experienced this simple surgery get bigger and bigger. Long story short last Thursday I went into hospital and had full surgery on my feet. It really was a minor surgery (honest) but I came to with feet looking like this. Eep!

My feet are under there somewhere...

It all went well, and is healing fine, but its meant several days spent mostly on the couch with those toes elevated. As soon as I came home Mr C had a suggestion… the denim bed rest thing!the bed rest thingee In the weird way that this internet goes, the post about this bed rest thing is my most popular post. BY FAR. People read this post everyday… and we never use it. Mr C, who requested it, has never used it. However after using it for the last several days I can attest it is quite comfy and does it job quite well 🙂

I figure its just well I made it – what would I have done without it huh?? huh???