Wednesday 30 January 2013

Velveteen star

Finally; to the velveteen quilt that I made my mum for Christmas. This quilt is entirely inspired by Katy's wonderful quilt that has been on my mind since I first laid eyes on it.

Katy very kindly and patiently answered my various questions on this quilt; I've never sewn with velveteen before and was a little daunted. I sourced my velveteen from all over the interworld, this line is a little old now and harder to come by. Having completed my sister's quilt before the end of November I had a load of time to make this quilt, but ended up making it the week before Christmas after hanging on and on for the background fabric which never arrived. In the end I plumped for this shot cotton and I'm kinda pleased it turned out this way.

Once I started, I was away in a cloud of sewing and productivity and VELVETEEN SNOW. Everywhere and everything was covered in a not so fine layer of the stuff, coming off the raw edges in blizzards. Veleveteen is a bit of a monkey to sew with as it turns out. I chose it because this quilt had to be warm and luxurious, and it fits that bill perfectly. Perhaps then I can forgive it for the snow and the walking about even when pinned together and the stretchiness.

The star is so simple that it goes together really quickly, I think the border that Katy added to this quilt made a huge difference, so I did the same, it also used up a few scraps. Each square was half a fat quarter, I wanted this quilt to be big so that it could be totally wrapped around to create a cocoon - my mum's house gets really cold in the winter.

Still, I didn't really appreciate quite how big it was until the top was finished. Enormous.

Layering it all together was a bit of a headache, but I now pin the backing to the floor so it's taut and work from there, it seems to work. I used the dottie quilt backing in aqua and made an investment buy in this walking foot for my machine...

Wendy very kindly showed me how to fit it (because I was completely clueless).

Next my thoughts turned to quilting and I was frozen with terror. I had 3 days to finish the quilt and needed to keep it simple, stripes came to mind but the wonderful Katy showed me this sketch.

I opted for lines rather than swirls. The joy of quilting it like this was doing it in more manageable quarters, rather than trying to stitch across the whole length of the quilt. So I sewed and I sewed and I watched episodes of ER back to back and eventually it was done. The foot was wonderful leaving me with no problems - well worth the investment.

I used this Aurifil thread as I wanted the stitches to melt into the background. At this point I felt like I could take a deep sigh of relief with my tight deadline and enjoy a night of binding. The quilting took me a couple of afternoons.

I always add any wording to the binding when it's already half sewn on to mimimise the chance of sewing it on upside-down/backwards/on the wrong side. It works.

I love the fact it's quite hidden away on the binding and like a secret message to the recipient.

It was very lovely cozy under the weight of it all, hand-stitching the binding, secretly wanting the quilt for myself. Again, many re-runs of ER were enjoyed in the binding of this quilt.

And the happy mix of joy when finishing a quilt combined with the sadness of it being over, like finishing a really good book. It felt very important making this quilt and giving it as a gift, I'm happy to say that it has been used a lot in the past few freezing weeks to keep my mum, passing children, grandchildren and even the dogs warm. It even gives me a bit of a glow to think about it.

Friday 25 January 2013


Hi, I am still here, after a crazy busy week and not much sewing, but lots of packing up your orders. I have been enjoying the snow (until it turned to sheet ice on our hilly pavements). Any free time has been spent; sledging...

... then thawing out, drinking hot chocolate eating home made shortbread...

... stuck indoors doing jigsaws, the second best use for my cutting mat...

... cosying up to the kitties...

... discussing their role in my workplace, and attitude to my tape measure...

... and boring everyone that will listen to me about how beautiful the snow makes everything. Until it turns to a slushie, then it's kind of a pain.

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Luxe by Sarah Watson

New in: Luxe by Sarah Watson, you can find it here.

Friday 11 January 2013

The planning

Perhaps my favourite part of a sewing project is in the planning. Pulling together different colours and patterns to make a collection of favourites. These are absolutely my colours, the ones I keep coming back to, the ones that make me happy. There are some old fabrics I have hung onto and new ones too.

I've had an idea swimming around in my head for a while now, and as it's a little more complicated than usual, I took the unusually organised step of trying to draw it out in one of my beloved Rhodia books. After a few goes I decided just to get stuck in and sew, hoping it will magically come to life before my eyes just as I imagined.

Life is busy at the moment; catching up on everything after the school holidays, so I find myself with half an hour here or there to sew. It's never quite enough. No sooner am I unpacking everything, then it's time to put it all away again.

But I have managed to make enough 2" squares to have a play around with shapes, satisfying some of my thirst for this quilt for now. All the time hampered by my new helpers who have an obsession with my tape measure, even trying to steal it from right in front of me, the nerve.

How I love them though, they have added a much need injection of joy into our lives. And look, they match my colour palette too, I can't help thinking that's not a coincidence.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Just arrived: Field Study Rayon Challis

Just arrived: the beautiful 'Field Study' Rayon Challis from Anna Maria Horner. This fabric is perfect for spring dressmaking, and incase you want to find out more about this substrate, then Anna Maria wrote a series of posts about it on her blog here:


Tuesday 8 January 2013

The Field Study quilt

The first of the quilts that I couldn't share with you before Christmas, (because it was a present for my sister), is the Field Study Quilt. It is entirely inspired by this quilt from this house. I loved the use of the triangles (obviously - being obsessed with them at the moment) and using colour to create separate blocks.

I used Thangles again, this time, 4" Thangles, because I find it impossible to make accurate half square triangles without them. And Field Study, with a few solids and prints from other collections to compliment it.

November's spare time was mostly taken up with sewing this quilt, I became totally absorbed in it, like a good book. Watching a lot of re-runs of ER, sewing a lot of 1/4 inch seams and fiddling with the order of the order of the blocks to get it just right. I found my iPhone incredibly useful when it came to photographing the order of the blocks so that I could tidy them away from the kids/pets/hoover in-between sewing.

Sewing 4 squares together to make the blocks was a bit fiddly, but once this was done, sewing the blocks and then the rows together was really quick. Adding row after row was very satisfying, as it went from pile of fabric to finished quilt top.

For the quilting, I stitched in the ditch as usual, due to lack of imagination and desire to do anything more complicated. It ended up being a stepped zig-zag across the quilt, following the squares. The backing was this extra wide dottie quilt back because I am far too lazy to piece a quilt back.

I canvassed opinion on Instagram about which shade of grey to use for the binding and decided on this one - I find it really hard to choose binding. I always have the idea that I chose something rather more adventurous but end up going plain - I guess this quilt is quite adventurous enough already. As per my last few quilts, I managed to make the binding a good half a metre too short. Maybe it's time to buy a calculator? But this time I did add the wording when the binding was already partly sewn on to avoid putting it in the wrong direction, at least I have learnt one lesson.

I finished my quilt when my mum came to stay and we sat side by side on the sofa. Me: hand stitching the binding, her: doing applique on my niece's quilt.

It has ended up being a decent sized quilt, somewhere between queen and king sized I think, plenty to wrap yourself up in.

It was finished just before the end of November leaving me feeling unusually organised when it came to Christmas presents. 

How did your Christmas crafting go? please share any links from your blogs or Flickr of finished projects.

Thursday 3 January 2013

New in ...

There have been lots of new bits and pieces arriving in the shop over the Christmas holidays. First up the Hollyburn Skirt pattern by Sewaholic.
"Especially for beginners, this is the perfect flared skirt! A wardrobe essential, the Hollyburn Skirt has just the right amount of flare. It sits right at the waist for maximum figure flattery, and features super practical pockets! This skirt pattern includes three different lengths with three different amounts of flare. The shorter the skirt, the more flared the silhouette!"

Next are these gorgeous shot cottons from Kaffe Fassett. It's hard to do these fabrics justice in a photo, for starters, they are on a higher quality base cloth than other fabrics, I think they have a higher thread count. But it makes them luxuriously soft and special. They are woven with two colours; one on the weft and one on the warp creating a  subtle 'shot' colour. I used them in this quilt...

Also just arrived are these lovely voile 2 prints from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study. Soft, drapey, extra wide and perfect for dressmaking.

There is lots more to arrive in the coming months, so I'll keep you posted!