Friday, 3 October 2014

Autumn Archer Shirt

Yah!  I just finished the Archer Button up shirt from Grainline Studio.  This project was definitely a learning adventure for me.  Mostly learning to pay more attention to right vs. left and such.  Yeah, I had a little bit of sewing dyslexia.  But the reason I'm extra proud of this project is because I partially completed one of my sewing goals.  That goal is to sew more casual comfy everyday garments and a flannel shirt for fall... and boy is this ever a comfy warm shirt.  It's like wearing a hug.

This shirt is not actually flannel but brushed cotton.  I wanted a yarn dyed woven fabric as opposed to a printed flannel.  That ensures I get the plaid pattern and grainline working as one.  Oh yeah and I kind of did some pattern matching on the side seams but that's about it.

Things I've learned:  I mixed up the left and right front pattern pieces so my shirt closes like a mans shirt.  I don't mind it but next time I'll pay more attention to the way I place my pattern pieces.  I also sewed the collar on backwards and couldn't undo it because I already trimmed my seam allowances!  Yikes,  I was about to give up but I figured it's salvageable.  I ended up carefully slipstitching the collarstand to the outside of the shirt.  I'm happy the way it turned out but next time I need to pay more attention to putting things together the right way.  With my next shirt I think I'll also pay more attention to pattern matching.

 Yep, there's my dyslexic collar...

I decided to do a bias tape hem.  It's a neat finish and I felt that I wished the shirt was a tiny bit longer so this way I only lost 1/4 inch in length during the hemming process.

I love the cuffs and the white pearl snaps!

This was the sideseam and sleeve topstitching process.

I graded the seam allowances using pinking shears for one layer.

 I hand basted in the shoulder seam prior to the burrito method seen below.

My little flannel burrito

 I've always disliked setting in sleeves.  I'm always worried about getting puckers.  I hand basted one of the sleeves prior to sewing it in.  It takes a little more time but really makes a huge difference.

Awesome pattern,  I'm definitely going to make another one.

Happy Sewing.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Grant Park Quilt Top - Completed!

I recently finished this simple disappearing nine-patch quilt top. It is 67"X55".  I'm waiting to get the backing fabric, then I will layer, baste and quilt it by machine.

I made the centre accent squares all red and arranged them to match up on the diagonal.  I also tried to match the corresponding large corner squares.  I found this created a more cohesive look.  I did try laying it out so the white rectangles lined up as a sashing but the quilt looked too much like a USA flag; not exactly the look and feel I was aiming for.

So, I'm thinking of using wool batting with this to make it extra soft and warm.  Once it's all quilted and binded, I'll make another post with photos.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Colour Value: A simple trick!

I've been planning a quilt that requires specific placement of light, medium and dark value fabrics in order to get a 3 dimensional effect.  I have these batik precuts that I'm planning to use, so I sat down and played around with them.  I discovered a simple trick to accurately arranging the colours from light to dark.  A lot of them were obvious, but for most of the middle shades it was more difficult to determine which is darker.

I took photos of my various arrangements and then converted the photos to black and white.  The black and white photos clearly presented the value of the fabric colours so easily and so simply! 

Here are some comparison photos:

 It's so fun playing with fabric, isn't it?

Happy sewing!

Friday, 8 August 2014

English Paper Piecing!

I've been really inspired by the craft of quilting lately; especially hand piecing.  Today I wanted to share my english paper piecing project which I started probably a year ago.  I often find it relaxing to do things which are slow, such as hand piecing, hand quilting or knitting.  I then alternate with another project that is faster such as machine sewing quilt blocks that are simple and quick to create.  This one may take me a long time to complete.  So far I've sewn 150 hexagons... only 850 hexagons to go!  But the point is not to just finish it.  The purpose is to enjoy each step, each stitch and just relax into it.  I have to keep reminding myself this.  I love the different patterns and colours.  I love the way the pattern emerges as I sew each row.

Here is my sewing kit.  I sew only one row at a time.  I love to sew outside on the deck and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and breeze

I start off by basting the hexagon templates to the fabric pieces for whatever row is next.

Then I sew them, using a small whipstitch, into a row according to the pattern.

Then I sew that row onto the previous row

 Tada!  Pretty cool pattern eh?

You can see the paper templates on the back.  I could have removed the top 2 rows of templates because I really only need the last row to have templates in place.

Here is the complete pattern of the quilt.

1000 hexagons!  Wow!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Another Pie Carrier!

I recently made another pie carrier as a gift.  This is the fifth one I've made, and I'm sure I'll make more.  They're simple to make and they're unique, practical gifts.  I originally got the idea/ pattern from Vanessa (aka The Crafty Gemini).  Here are her video instructions.

I love this fresh bright fabric I found.  It's just perfect for summer.

... and it's got little birds on it.  I love birds!

I free-motion quilted large scale stippling.   Definitely not my best stippling design.  I think I'm just out of practice as I haven't been free-motion quilting for quite a while.
I've been mostly focusing on piecing quilts lately but I have to make more of these very soon.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Anna Dress completed

I completed my Anna Dress which is my first By Hand London pattern.  It seemed to fit well with little alterations.  The skirt fit better than most patterns hip wise and back curve wise.  I love the way it hugs at the upper hip area (something I rarely get with other patterns).  I suppose I should be fitting my skirts as well as my bodices.

I cut a size 12 and lengthened the bodice to size 14 line (~3/4" increase).  I also sewed the size 14 pleats instead of the size 12 pleats.  The rest of the dress is made as per instructions.  The back skirt pattern pieces were a bit confusing because the centre back was not labelled.  If they would only label the centre back and side seam it would have made my life a lot easier.  If I make it again I would label the pattern pieces centre back and side seam.  The front skirt panels were not a problem at all.

The fabric I used here is a lightweight cotton voile print with a retro feel to it.  It could have benefited from some underlining, but otherwise, it's comfortable and cool.

I got some wrinkling in the back.  I'm not sure if this is a fit issue or a fabric issue.  This fabric is thin and wrinkles so easily.  I wonder if I underlined it in some batiste if this would resolve.  I'm pretty happy with my invisible zipper.

I love wearing this dress.  It's super comfy for hot summer days.  I would definitely make it again in a better quality fabric, or take the time to underline it with some cotton batiste because the wrinkling drives me crazy.

I already have some tentative plans for using this skirt with the Cambie bodice in a floral cotton sateen!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Alabama Chanin!

My Alabama Chanin sewing kit finally arrived in the mail!  The garment I chose is the Anna's Garden shell top.  I chose a blush colour jersey but it looks a bit more sandy than blush to me.  The kit comes with buttoncraft thread for construction by hand, and embroidery floss for the reverse appliqué/embroidery.  There's also some matching binding and a garment label.

 I was so excited I pin basted the backing as soon as I got it out of the package.  What I LOVE about Alabama Chanin is the fact that it's all constructed by hand.  Their jersey is made with 100% organic cotton which is also wonderful.  It feels soft yet sturdy. I'm going to baste it with thread so it will be a bit more portable.

The book shows a lot of different embellishing techniques including different hand stitches, embroidery stitches ribbon embroidery and beading.  In the back of the book there are the master patterns in 5 sizes; XS to XL.

I can't wait to get started on this awesome hand sewing project!

Happy Sewing!