Saturday, 25 March 2017

Marvellous Mabel


Last June I attended a fabric swap arranged by Kristy from Scientific Sewing where I swapped three bags of fabric and patterns for only three pieces of fabric in an attempt to destash.

This is what I selected. A 2.5 metre piece of mustard knit fabric for practise / wearable toiles, 3/4 metre of a navy speckled sweatshirt jersey and 2 metres of red spotty cotton. I have since given away the red cotton, the mustard jersey is currently a work in progress with a 1960's / 1970's pattern just leaving the small piece of navy jersey.


I initially had in mind a Linden sweatshirt using the navy for the sleeves due to the limited amount. I had a stroke of inspiration after reading Zoe from So Zo's blog about quick re-fashions. I decided to make a pencil skirt using Colette's simple Mabel pattern.


Cue the pattern Jenga below to get the pieces to fit!


The Colette Mabel pattern instructions are very well written with clear set-by-step guides throughout. I used the overlocker at work to finish the seams and it came together really quickly.


Not bad for a quick make with a small piece of fabric from the stash!

I can see myself making another Mabel skirt as it was so comfy to wear. I have some Girl Charlee UK black sweatshirt fabric left over from SewBrum 2015 raffle winnings so it looks like it could be a great wardrobe staple.

This post is linked to #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Improvisation Quilt


I attended a workshop lead by Jenny Haynes quilter-extraordinaire at the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead. They recently moved to a beautiful new building just opposite West Hampstead Underground Station which is flooded with light and lots of beautiful fabrics and craft supplies.



We were instructed to bring 0.25cm of four to five different coloured quilting weight cottons to create a improvisation quilt using contrasting fabrics. I already knew when I booked the course that the quilt I created in the workshop would be a baby quilt for my friend who is six months pregnant. I got prepared with some stealth research and found out what her and her partners favourite colours were; red, yellow, green and blue.

I was going to buy a selection of fabric for this course but a very surprizing and beautiful gift arrived from New York. My friend Kathy who I had met on the Janet Bolton workshop in January had sent me the full range of beautiful fat quarters of their current quilting cottons.

So I was set for the workshop. Jenny (in the photo above) showed us her beautiful chambray blues and yellow improvisation quilt and showed us a variety of quilting images to get inspired by. Jenny was a very encouraging tutor with lots of great ideas and little tips to help you along the way. Each workshop attendee (Sue, Sirini and myself) were all making different things and Jenny was great at helping each of us out with our projects.

The design of my quilt was inspired by a quilt that was made up of contrasting colours in small blocks. I spent about fifteen minutes exploring pairs of colours using the beautiful Andover fabrics that Kathy had gifted me.

I cut 10cm strips off the ends of the fat quarters and sewed the contrasting pairs together which were then cut into four sections.




The next step was to sew these collections of fabrics together into strips of eight. I then started to block out the order of the quilt by pinning it onto the very useful pin-wall by the side of the workshop tables. You can see the journey of the quilt below.



After sewing each section I ironed the seams, always ironing the lighter coloured fabric towards the darker coloured fabric. I then sewed long strips together across the quilt and finally sewed each strip to each other and the outcome was this:



When I got home I pinned the top-quilt and sandwiched the wadding between the backing fabric. I then hand-basted the quilt sewing from the centre outwards across the whole quilt to secure all three layers together. Sewing the hand-basting from the centre outwards keeps the layers even and avoids any ripples and shifts in the fabric sandwich!



You can see the dark threads of the hand-basting here
Next the slow and steady job of hand-quilting the fabric begins. The due date of my friends baby is in June so I have a decent amount of time to get this completed in good time. I will blog about the finished quilt in a month or so!

This post is linked to #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Merchant & Mills Camber Set Spotty Dress


After making two successful Merchant and Mills Camber Set tops (here and here) I decided to try out the dress version. I knew the dress would need a decent drape so I dug out this lovely pink and dark brown / black spotty viscose that has been lurking in my stash since I bought it at Guthrie and Ghani in 2015. I had two metres which was plenty big enough for the dress and leaves me enough for a little top.

Despite having made two previous versions of the top I still had to double check the construction details for the back yoke. I haven't quite got it right as every version has come out slightly different. I also added pockets which is a must with a simple shift dress like this. I love pockets!

Everything was going well until I sewed the final sleeve into place. I must have caught a pin with the sewing machine needle because the fabric started to pucker and rip as you can see in the photos below!


Oh dear. It looks like a mess but its not too noticeable from a distance. I immediately replaced the needle and finished the final seam under a little black cloud of disappointment. Luckily, I am not too precious about things to let it bother me too much as the dress is for work and I routinely get covered in paint / glue / spray / ink as an art and technology teacher anyway!

I lengthened the dress by about 6cm so it sits just below the knee. I wore it today with a belt and I think it looked OK. What do you think?