It is always such fun for me to open and make up a new pattern. I so enjoy the puzzle. The Bristol top (or dress) is not a new pattern from the Sewing Workshop, as it has a 2015 copyright but it is new to me. It took me a while to warm up to it.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Sunday, October 18, 2020
(drum roll, please) I have finally finished hand-quilting a quilt for my niece and her new husband. I started it about 2-3 weeks before their wedding on August 21 and finished it last night. I haven't worked on it continuously, of course, but it has been a fairly constant companion.
It's now in the wash, so fingers crossed, it doesn't turn into a massive wad.
It started with this inspiration board on her pinterest page. It is so charming, I think. I did not mimic it particularly but did use the same colors. For me, it is hard to capture the difference textures, shapes and finishes. I am particularly drawn to those little smooth shiny turquoise tiles.
I am not an exquisite hand-quilter like some I know. Their tiny stitches are so precise it's hard to believe it is done by hand. My style is sashiko, or big stitch, and I'm totally fine with the inconsistencies and wonky stitches. I used number 12 pearl cotton for the whole thing. It required 2 plus balls of it!
Monday, September 7, 2020
This was a fun and quick make. I needed that.
I spend hours happily hand-quilting the wedding quilt described in my previous post. But sometimes, I need a quick maker's hit. Does that every happen to you?
This fabric is a cheerful design from Sarah Campbell who taught the last workshop I attended before covid. It was at the Sewing Workshop in Topeka KS and was a blast. Linda Lee had acquired about 3 bolts of Sarah's designs for Michael Miller fabrics. In honor of her teaching I did my duty and bought some yardage from two bolts. This is the second of those two pieces.
Technically it's quilt cotton and that carries with it less *give* than cotton shirting and other cotton fabrics intended for clothing. But it's super easy to cut and sew and feels pretty good on me.
Rather than get twisted around, trying to match a pattern that reads random anyway, I just cut it out. I only had 1.5 yards (44 inches wide) so it was sort of close. That way, I had enough left over for pockets.
And a mask.
As I often do, I cut the neckline facing from another fabric, a light weight striped linen piece I've used a number of times. It's such a good fabric to have on hand.
I have no idea when I purchased this book by Lotta Jansdotter. I follow her on IG and see her patterns proudly reviewed on patternreview.com. Each time, I think I should get that book out and make something from it. One time I got as far as measuring and preparing the pattern pieces for the Esme top/tunic/dress.
No technical drawings, but the directions and pattern pieces make its structure fairly clear.
The book contains maybe a dozen very simple garments, enough for a wardrobe of sorts. The book is also chocked full of inspiring pictures of her designing fabrics with block prints, as well as versions of the garments. Given all that she has attempted to include, the instructions are not bad at all.
The Esme could not be much simpler and provide any fit at all. It does have set-in sleeves and bust darts, and I generally like those features in any top.
The seam allowances require that I pay attention since they are only 0.5 inch. And that doesn't give you a lot of insurance. With the firm cotton, I feel the sleeves are just a tiny bit snug.
I chose the length based on the fabric I had. It is tunic length. Rather than cutting it straight across, I curved the hem into a shirt tail style.
I had a bit of trouble with her pocket markings and so just figured out where I wanted the two patch pockets. I really like the result quite a lot.
So do you have this book in your stash? If so, I recommend that you use it. It is really quite lovely.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
As August slips away, I'm wondering where it went. Nothing new there, especially during covid times, just very little in the creative arena to account for my time.
My excuses are many. We've had workers in and out of the house renovating our master bathroom, which is progressing beautifully. I've spent a fair amount of time selecting tile, cabinet styles, fixtures, etc. And we've had to move into the other end of our house. I'm very grateful to have such options.
And we've had family in and out, as we gradually expand our contacts to include irregular meet-ups with the kids and grandkids. Two grandsons stayed with us, each one for a week. Even though my husband took the lead with these two, I still prepared constant meals, accompanied them on hikes, gave baths (to the little one) and played and read with them. I've very grateful for this time with them.
Although I've made a few masks, on request, my primary sewing activity has focused on a quilt for my niece. I mentioned Chelsea in a previous post about my grandmother's wedding dress. More on that below.
I found this cool inspiration board on her pinterest feed to guide me.
I took the picture to a sweet little quilt shop in my home town, the Cotton Farm. I was the only one there, other than the owner, and so felt safe as we were both masked. She was delightful and seemed to enjoy helping me find fabrics to meet the spirit of Chelsea's pinterest piece.
When I'm making a quilt for a specific person, my left brain interferes with the creative process. When it's just for my creative pleasure, I feel more free. I guess that makes sense but it's frustrating.
As is my usual sewing practice I allowed the piece to evolve. I enjoy circles and started there with some 5.5 inch blocks containing appliqued circles. I let it grow, round-robin style. It finished at 65 inches square.
I returned to the Cotton Farm for the backing. Lacking anything similar in the wide quilt cottons, I chose to buy more of the front fabrics to piece into a back.
Because both sides are geometric and symmetrical, I took extra time when basting the layers together to make sure the top and bottom layers weren't askew. I threaded and knotted two needles with a double strand of thread. Then I guided them through two intersections with the knots on the right side of the backing piece. Then I carefully arranged the batting and guided the two needles through it. Lastly I placed the top over the batting, once again threading the two needles through two intersections. Then I tied off the threads. I think it's pretty straight.
With workers in and out, I sewed everywhere but my sewing room. I sewed in the basement on my featherweight.
And I sewed on my mother's cabinet style 1950 Singer. That is always such a pleasure. As I sew I remember her and our fun times shopping for fabric and sewing together.
I did return to my sewing room to baste the quilt together, using my cutting table and a folding table on risers. This quilt is really much larger than I expected it would be.
And now I'm hand-quilting it. I feel a need for hand-stitching comfort. And Chelsea got married Friday, so there's really no rush at this point. I'll have it handy to fill (many!) happy hours.
Chelsea did use a portion of my grandmother's gown. My sister-in-law and I, almost simultaneously, came up with the idea of using the skirt for her veil. I was thrilled. SIL carefully removed it and attached it to a comb. I think it's lovely. This is a very quick shot by my brother. I look forward to seeing more soon!
And no real harm was done to the dress. I love that! The skirt was sewn on by hand and I can easily return it to its original state. AND the next brides have this option too. I am so grateful.