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!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Chambray Hawthorn!

I finished my Chambray Hawthorn dress. Yay!  This dress pattern is Colette 1026 Hawthorn.  I used Robert Kaufmann herringbone chambray fabric which is 100% cotton yarn dyed.  I also used some floral Liberty of London cotton lawn for the facings.  This fabric makes this dress soooo comfy, light and airy but also has a nice drape.  I didn't change the pattern too much. I made a size 8 and moved the bodice darts laterally by about 1cm which made a huge improvement in the fit.  I also made a 3/4" forward shoulder adjustment which got rid of some wrinkling between shoulder and bust.

Here's a pop of Liberty floral!

Originally I was thinking of making the version with 3/4 length sleeves.  I cut out all the pieces but then I changed my mind and made it sleeveless.  I saved the pieces in case I ever decide to add the sleeves.

Here it is with a belt.

I decided to slipstitch the hem by hand because I love hand stitching.  It only took me part of a leisurely afternoon sitting in the bay window while listening to some classical music on CBC radio.   This fabric is awesome to slipstitch by hand because the stitches disappear into it and it is totally invisible from the front.

So in conclusion, I'm pretty happy with this dress.  It fits fairly well but it could be taken in at the waist just a tiny bit which may make the excess fabric hanging in my low back curve sit nicer.  Photos of me wearing it are coming soon!  I may make the 3/4 length sleeve version in the future.  Maybe for fall....

Happy Sewing!