Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Update Out of date!

I finally added photos to my Fabric Tissue Holder tutorial! The tissue holder I made will go to the giveaway winner as well, as it matches the bag.

Monday, 30 March 2009

200th Post Giveaway

Giveaway now closed.

Yes, this is my 200th post, in approx 1.5 years, so it's high time I give something away, as I've gained so much from so many other bloggers. Free patterns, free tutorials, free advice and lovely encouraging comments have got me to where I am today!

I never would have known about Anna Maria Horner, Amy Carol, Ruth Singer, Heathers Bailey and Ross, their books and fabrics. Plus all the other wonderful bloggers that I read weekly, too many to mention.

I also would never have made this style of bag had it not been for the generosity of Made by Rae.

So as a little thank you, and as this is the bag of the moment, I am giving away the Buttercup bag below, in the Garden Party Navy flower fabric. It has a limey yellow-green lining and interfacing, so it is more substantial than my original one.

If you would like the above bag, please post me a comment and I'll pick a winner randomly next Tuesday 7th April, late at night!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

loose threads

(I love the pattern you get on a new spool of thread. )

Well, I've done my inventory for new thread, but couldn't help but play along with the ones I've got already. I did an emergency top up from my local wool shop, but they don't stock the make I like or a wide enough colour selection for what I need.

(The inside of my sewing box, upper level!)

I need some reds, pinks, richer colours than I have, some limey greens, in a few tones, purple and a lilac.

The last of my Sylkos.

The few Gutermans I seem to have, although I go through these quickly! I do have a 1000m white to keep me going!

Trapeze Sundress - Weekend Sewing Project 1

Having had a good look at my new book, Heather's blog, Erin's blog and the flickr site, I decided to make the trapeze sundress, but actually make it shorter, so it's a top (thank you for that idea Erin).

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly what I have in my fabric supplies. I have far too may small bits of fabric ie 1/2m or less. I have only just started buying 1 - 1.5m as a minimum, so that I can make more projects. Obviously for dresses, trousers, blouses you will need between 2-3 m, so I'll only buy fabric for that once I have a project that I want to do.

Secondly. Being the enthusiastic person that I am, I just HAD to make something immediately from the book! Clearly I have no self control!

I did buy the slate morning glory Amy Butler fabric with a top in mind. I can't remember what size cut I asked for but once it was washed and ironed it measured 110cm long. I folded it in two, selvedge to selvede and placed my pattern pieces on it. This is where I made error no 1, I cut out a medium size, thinking this was 36", no, it was 38"! Oops. So always reread sizing from book! Anyway, I did cut it all out fine. Not too much fabric over. Heather has diagrams of how to lay your pattern out on the fabric, but I had to do my own thing, as I was making a top, not a dress.

photo courtesy of John Gruen/ Heather Ross

Then I got sewing, which is when I realised that I should have bought some new thread! Mistake number 2! I did have grey thread in, but more would have been better. I had 3 spools of grey thread, all very similar in colour. By the end of the project I had used the lot (2 of the spools were very small) So next time I'm in town, I'll be loading up on new thread.


I need to do an inventory. I like Gutterman thread, it doesn't seem to break, although I am buying their polyester thread, that's all my fabric shop sells. I tend to only buy natural fabrics, so I'm never sure if I should buy polyester thread! What is your favourite thread? BTW Have you noticed Sylko no longer exists, I think it's now Coates. Sylko is the thread I remember my mum always using, so it evokes nice memories, of rummaging in her sewing box and attempting my own things, when I was allowed.

photo courtesy of John Gruen/ Heather Ross

So if you look at the photo in the book, it quite clearly shows 3 pleats at the front of the dress, as does an illustration, but the pattern only asks for 2 box pleats at the front and one at the rear, as does the errata. No where does it say that you can do 2 or you could do 3, and show it both ways. So what I think is, do it whichever way you prefer the look of. If you check on flickr and in the book you can see it both ways! I went with the pattern and did 2 pleats at the front and 1 at the back.

(more detail!)

The other thing I noticed that differs from the photo to the pattern, is the decoration around the bodice bit, the fabric that the straps come out of. In the pattern it says to sew a few rows of equally spaced stitching around this bit. But the dress in the picture does not have this stitching. Again, it's up to you. Although the stitching would reinforce the straps being held in place.

front view, 2 pleats

After I had made it, up to the point of attaching the straps at the back, I tried it on, and realised that it was far too big. Duh! So I took it in along the 2 side seams by about an inch or so. Much better! Clearly if I had made the small, it would have been fine. Although the back is slightly too droopy, so I'm hoping attaching the straps can sort this out, ie hoik it up!

rear view, one pleat

TIP: So what I would say is try it on at an earlier stage to ensure fitting, before you do the top stitch after attaching the bodice to the main body of the garment. Less unpicking if you do need to alter the sizing!

(I will attach photos of the finished top ASAP - when I finish it tonight.- Apols for delay, finally took photos!)

Monday, 23 March 2009

Fabric Heaven

Over the last 2 months I have bought a "little" bit of fabric, as I felt my stash was a bit boring and not very big or appropriate for the things I wanted to make.

I just got some extra fat quarters for the baby blanket that I will be making in the next few weeks.

I'll be adding it to the animal/ fish prints that I already own! I also picked up some pink sunflowers as well, which I thought might compliment some of my other pink fabrics.

I just had to get this, which may or may not go into the quilt, as it's so adorable. Love it. (The only reason it won't go in the quilt is if it doesn't fit with the other fabrics)

Here is my stash of fabric, which I plan to use a lot of with projects from Seams to Me and Weekend Sewing amongst others.

So in no particular order:

This amazing multicoloured and multi patterned Kokka fabric, which I think is incredible. I'm thinking about a top and a skirt. And maybe a tote bag as well. Love it, got to find exactly the right projects before I cut it up. I picked this up at a Sewing and Craft exhibition that was on in Brighton in February, which was pretty disappointing, apart from the Eternal Maker's stall, where I picked up all my fabric from, and discovering Gossypium.

A closer look at the Kokka fabric

Another view, I love the sheen on the fabric, giving it a slight iridescent feel.

Some buttons I picked up at the same show, as I need to increase my selection of trimmings.

I could not resist this Alexander Henry Apple and Pear fabric, I really like it. I think this may be turned into the big market bag in the Weekend Sewing book. It's ace!

I also picked up some Amy Butler fabric, the one above on the left, I think I'm going to make a summer top from. The one on the right is from the Nigella collection and is forest passion vine. The one on the left is from the Lotus collection and is slate morning glory.

Here's what I have from her Midwest modern range, mostly bought from Cotton Patch store online. I wanted to get fabric with the same tones and matching colours so when I want to create a patchwork piece, I've got fabric at my disposal.

I do adore that limey green and pink combination. Absolutely fabulous. I am planning on making the "I want one of those" bags from the AMH book, Seams to Me.

Talking of whom, I bought these fabrics from an Etsy seller, and thanks to Royal Mail got a lovely £8 charge plus my Vat charge - the VAT I didn't mind, it's the £8 that Royal Mail steal for doing what exactly? Anyway, I digress, these are brightly coloured and amazingly designed fabrics from the Garden Party range. AMH fabrics in the UK cost £10 or so per metre, so buying from the USA can be cost effective.
That rounds up my new fabric, which I cannot wait to make more from.

It came!!!!!!!!!!!

After the weekend!

I'll let you know what I think and make later!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Somehow I Made a Bag Yesterday!

Although I'm going to redo the bias binding.

I started this bag a while back, and for some reason I put it on the back burner, I think it's the fabric. I'm quite "safe" in my fabric choices, and this is a little outside my comfort zone, and I just don't know if I like it or not.

Anyway, there seemed to be loads of steps, which just put me off, and I made the bag in a slightly different order to her instructions, so I was forever checking that I had not missed anything out (my fault not Anna Maria's).

I have a feeling I didn't make my bias binding on the bias - like what was I doing that day? Plus my machine was evil yesterday, and I was using my seam ripper a lot as it screwed up the stitches for me, so the binding looks fulls of holes and badly put on. So for my sanity, I will in the next few weeks repair it and redo it. Then I'll have to decide if it's for me after all.

The material is a Anna Maria Horner material from her Garden Party range called Centerpiece in Navy, I think. It is a lovely quality fabric, the lining is that gorgeous turquoise blue, also from AMH's Garden Party range, called Ice Mingling. Plus a yellow cotton fabric from my local fabric store to bring out the colours in the Navy Centrepiece fabric.

I like the size of the bag, a decent everyday size (not as large as my fabulous Pleated Beauty Bag, from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules book, that I use all the time, a year after making - ooh, I just noticed she has a new BTR book coming out in August, USA, cool!)

Due to the fact that I made it from such a large pattern repeat, it cost quite a bit, as there was a lot of wasted fabric, although I'm sure I'll use bits of it up down the line. But I didn't want to cut into the flower, as that would have looked rubbish!

And you may be wandering about the state of my sewing machine, which yesterday would not work for me. Well I got out my manual, and opened it up, defluffed it, gave it some oil and it was a lot happier. I have to admit, I have never had it served in the c7 years I've had it. But it only cost £100, so I'm not sure it's worth spending the money on, unless a part breaks. I guess it depends on what a service costs and what they do? If you have any experience on that, let me know!

So I'm a little sewing demoralised after all of that, as the unreliability of the machine is very annoying. Still I must start cutting out my fabric for my quilt, that is once I've got my maths right, which I don't seem to be able to do! I'll keep my chin up, and wishing you all a Happy Mother's Day, if you are one! If not hope you had a great weekend!
I do hope my Weekend Sewing is delivered tomorrow!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Sewing Machines - why oh why? Pt2

Yes, the stupid machine has decided to not work for me, yet only the other day it worked fine, when I made the gorgeous Buttercup Bag. This is not a new thing.

I know it is laughing at me, as it knows I want a new machine!!!


So please please tell me your makes and models and cost and what you think of them, as I've had enough and I want a new machine (not that I have any ready cash for this at present!

Thank you everyone for your help!

A very frustrated Claire.

And I just ordered Weekend Sewing! And have a quilt to sew for a baby!!! Urgh! V V Annoyed.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Sew It Up

A must have 300+ page sewing technique manual

Recently I came across a textile artist called Ruth Singer (what a perfect name) who makes, I think, fantastic textile art (although I could not get my husband to like them, no matter how much I explained the craftsmanship etc) so no textile wall art for us!

felted pebble cushion

ruffle brooch

The talented Ruth also has a blog
The Mantua Maker which is worth a meander over.

And the reason for this post is her fantastic sewing bible, Sew It Up, which is a hefty tome of sewing techniques which I think is invaluable to any (reasonably) serious sewer. It goes into great detail to explain various techniques, and then gives you a chance to practice with some projects.

frog fastenings - just in case!

faggoting seams - I'd never heard or seen these before

suffolk puff cuff

fancy folding techniques

super twirly skirt
I have another sewing technique book, a Readers Digest one, which although good, looks very dated. As you can see there are loads of photos and diagrams to show you exactly how to do all the techniques.
obligatory apron


This book is definitely worth investing in, even if you don't make any of the projects, you will be able to apply what is in the book to anything else that you do sew. It certainly will be a book that I keep reading and looking at, to make sure I learn the best way to approach projects.

pages on seams


back cover

I notice that Ruth has another book coming out in Autumn, an eco sewing book.

And I have pre ordered Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing book, which I was sold on once I read this interview between Erin and Heather. Plus her website. Luckily the wait isn't long as it comes out in the UK in 2 days time, phew! If you get this book, check out her website for errata and faq.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Proof that I do Sew!

I found my camera (but not its case - oops!) still I can show you what I have been up to lately!

Firstly if you lurk (or stalk, as I called my friend -sorry T) please say hello! Thanks for checking in, even though I've been rubbish lately.I do appreciate everyone, whether you lurk or not!

Firstly some beautiful tulips that a good friend bought me, as a thank you. They are greatly appreciated, I love spring flowers.

What is this you may ask! Yep, I made it today, it's the cutest little summer handbag that I made from Made by Rae's Buttercup Pattern (free on her blog). Everything was spot on with this pattern and instructions, so congratulations to her, for her time and effort and generosity in giving us this!

I used an Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabric, the great thing is, it only took up 2 fat quarters, one for the outside and one for the lining.

The interior has a small pocket, and again I used a spotty, dotty Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabric.

The bag should fit keys, mobile phone, a small purse, not my current one which is bursting to the seams with receipts, school vouchers, stamps etc etc and maybe your sunglasses! Which yes, I have been wearing these last few days! Spring is here!!!! (I'm very happy about this)

Here is the proof that I did make the Simplicity 3835 top the other week. I need to add in the elastic on the sleeves again, I did them too tight at first, but basically done! Yeah. Looks a bit shapeless on the hanger, but with jeans, a belt and some jewellery looks pretty good.

So I am back visually, as well as verbally! Will be showing more things that I have made in recent weeks very soon!