Wednesday, 28 January 2015

WIP Wednesday: a Scrappy Union Jack

I am in the process of making a scrappy Union Jack pram quilt for a colleague (well, their child actually). All basted and ready to quilt in one of my favourite colour combos. I'll share more details once it is all done.

All basted

I got my backing and binding fabric in the mail yesterday so hopefully tomorrow is the day to cross this baby off my WIP list.

Speaking of babies and works in progress, today was a big non quilty milestone for me. We sent our big girl off to kindergarten.

Photo credit: @seekb2 on Instagram 

Yep, that's me, the packhorse. Not a tear was shed by any of us. It was a near call for me though. My heart nearly burst with pride. 

Happy Wednesday. Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

What I'm Making: Embroidery to Go Bag

Last week I finished an Embroidery to Go bag - a tutorial by Sara from Sew Sweetness.

With a cute pocket for an embroidery hoop

This is a gift for Leonie (@aussieleo on Instagram) as part of the Aussie Handmade Birthday Club. 

I know that Leonie likes to do embroidery and I have had this bag on my to do list for the longest time, so I was glad to have a reason to actually make it. I used a mix Mustang prints on the outside and Foxfield on the inside - they went together very nicely!

I didn't do the cute little hand stitched panel that is included with the tutorial. I haven't done a lot of hand stitching apart from cross stitch and a bit of ladder stitch to close seams, and I didn't think it was polite to practise on a gift. I also used a shorter zipper. This was for no other reason other than it was what I had. When I bought the materials to make this (aaaaaaaaaaaaaages ago) I couldn't find a 28 inch zip that the pattern calls for. Nor have I been able to find one since. Does anyone know where I can buy longer zippers? 

I'll be honest, I had some problems making this bag. If I were to make another one I would definitely do a few things differently.

Firstly, I would use a longer zip. Like the pattern says. Der. I guess you can't always just wing it and make do with what you have on hand. Lesson learnt. 

I also would interface the panels differently. The bag has a zip that goes the whole way round and the pattern calls for each of the interior and exterior pieces that the zip is inserted into to be interfaced with Pellon Thermolam. Interfacing and translating interfacing requirements from patterns into what is available in Australia is such a thorn in my side! I used Vilene H640 and it just made the corners and seams on the inside so bulky. The interior didn't sit in as nicely as it probably would have with a less bulky interfacing, especially with the larger seam allowances on the inside.

The pattern also includes dividers so that you can sit your embroidery floss in there nice and neatly. I don't know if I was just tired so I didn't measure correctly, or was too engrossed in the Modern Sewciety podcast I was listening to (I am so hooked), but my dividers were just too big for the bag. I sewed them together and I thought "Hmmm", but I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at estimating how big things are (although surprisingly excellent at packing the dishwasher). But no. Just too big. So now I have some nifty dividers, I guess I will have to make a little bag to put them in after all ;) 

And finally, you have to sew the whole lining in by hand. By hand. BY HAND!! I have actively avoided patterns that require sewing the zipper in by hand. Remember, this bag has a long zipper...

Hand stitching forever
At the end of the day though, the bag is sweet and it looks quite neat. It is a quick make - even with all the hand sewing I made it in one night. I just had sore fingers by the end.

The other side with my little label

I also whipped up an infinity scarf to go with the bag.

I am glad to have these done. February is creeping closer and I don't want to get behind on my birthday committments!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

WIP Wednesday

Ugh... Remind me next time not to choose a pattern that requires me to sew the lining of the bag in.

Please excuse my lack of manicure!!

Hand sewing is not my strong point and that zip was 24 inches long. 

Full reveal once it gets gotten my my birthday club buddy. 

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A garment a month: January - Wiksten Tank

One of my resolves this year (sewing wise at least) is to make one item of clothing each month.

My clothes sewing experience so far includes two staple dresses, one kids dress and two kiddies circle skirts with elastic waists. And when I say includes, I mean sum total. So I am starting off easy and working my way up the complexity ladder. 

My January patten is the Wiksten tank. I teamed it up with some sweet Lisette fabric I got from Spotty. 

It is really super soft. 

I was a bit of a rebel and didn't make a muslin (I know!!) and lucky for me the fit worked out ok. Actually, it worked out great which is terrible because I know it will just encourage bad habits in me! There would have been swearing if it didn't after all those bias bound seams. If I were to make it again I would consider ditching the pocket. And I'd probably drop the neckline down an inch and narrow the straps a smidge. I am busty and I think those changes would make it more flattering. 

Process wise, I'd probably just measure the dimensions of the bias tape I need and cut it with a rotary cutter next time. Mine came out kind of raggedy which made attaching it a bit tricky. I blame it on being a lefty with right handed scissors. I also have one or two small folds where I have attached the binding but I think with practice I will eliminate that problem. 

Still it came out pretty professional looking. It doesn't scream home made. I was yammering on about the advantages of a French seam to my husband. To his credit, he did a decent job of looking interested. And he was very complimentary when I put it on this morning.

Next up I have an Alder skirt or a Bess top. Anyone have any other suggestions for patterns to try which are still pretty easy and come out great? 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

A finish! Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap

I am very pleased to share my first finish of 2015. Yay! Although it is for a swap so I'd have to be a bit buttsy to not get it done in time.... But I digress, and a finish is a finish.

Ta da!!

Anyway, I am participating in Round 3 of the Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap. I did Round 2 as well and had such a great time both making and receiving that I was super keen to get in there again.

My partner this time seemed to be quite different from me in likes and tastes. Reading the questionnaire responses I was like "Oh my".... Nothing dramatic, just liked fabric designers I hadn't heard of, and talked about split complimentary colour schemes. Thankfully she also has a bucketload on things pinned on Pinterest - from colour schemes, to quiltspiration. Then, even better, she made a swap inspiration board. Jackpot! From there I got colour ideas, pattern ideas and I hit the road.

Here is a preliminary sketch I did trying to map out what I was going to do.

I changed it around a bit from that original sketch for my finished mini, but that was my start.

I was inspired by this fab floor cushion by Nicole from Snips Snippets which she entered in Sewvivor. I used her tutorial to make the hex plus blocks. Once the blocks were made I had to work out how to trim them down - no fancy rulers here (although I think I'd quite like one after this). Thank goodness for my math degree!

Once the hexies were done it was time for the triangles. As I had been going for a look with varying shades of the same colour, I decided to put white borders on the inner triangles and then the darker print on the outside of the inner print. It resulted in a cool star shape in the centre.

For binding I chose one of the Cotton + Steel basics in yellow with the while pluses. I though it would nicely compliment the pluses in the actual mini. Sad to say that the distance between the pluses / the way I cut the fabric meant nearly all the pluses are on the back. Oh we'll, can't win them all I guess. I used this fab tutorial by Jaybird Quilts to bind the angles on the hexi. It was very straightforward.

I backed it in this nifty Terra Australis print by Emma Jean Jansen since my partner is not from Oz.

At this point I am going to say that this is the first thing I have made on my new machine and I LOVE it!! See that quilting? So nice to have a machine that doesn't throw a fit at the idea of quilting something.

Finally, I made a Noodlehead Open wide pouch to go with the mini. My partner said she liked things in red and white, with her initial and a nautical theme, so I thought I'd make a H and a mini Cheerio block in red and white since that would look like a little life buoy. Unfortunately it also looks like an 'O' so we had some unlucky letter combos going on.

(This picture is flipped - I think calling your partner a "ho" is a major swap faux pas).

Some quick unpicking, a new pinwheel block and there we go. Much better.

I have also thrown in some Haighs bullets (we're talking chocolate here), a Cuzco FQ and a cute little pin.  

I hope my partner loves it as much as I have enjoyed making it.

Linking up for January's A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Ice Parfait: mosaic maker competition

There is another mosaic maker competition going on over at Stitched in Color. I love these - they are so fun and it gets you thinking about colour combos. Plus it us a fun way to pass a train ride.

The theme this time round is Ice Parfait which makes me go yay! as the colours that spring to mind are my preferred palette. 

So without any further ado, here are my mosaics:

Ice Cream Sunday
Think minty greens, whipped cream and a cherry on top. 

Next up we have
Polar bear
I am thinking of a big bear walking on the ice, all blues, whites and greys

So that's it. Go check it out if you are keen and have some time to while away. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

Q1 FAL Goals

This year I have decided to join in with the FAL being hosted by Adrianne over at On the Windy Side (as well as a few other things - I am a joiner, I hate the idea of missing out). So here are my goals for Q1, I am going to group them by type just to take it easy on my brain.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Swap Goals

  • Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap - here is where I am up to, just waiting for the binding on. I was hoping to get it done the other day, but I couldn't work out how to back stitch on my new machine (sad) and had to do some unpicking and dig out the manual. Hence, it is still a to do. 

  • Rainbow mini quilt swap 

Birthday Club Goals
I am in a fab Aussie handmade birthday club. I am not showing what I am going to make because that would ruin the surprise, but rest assured that gifts will be going out in January and February (March is my month, hint hint). 

Clothes Sewing Goals
In line with my sew a garment a month I am planning on making a Wiksten Tank, a Bess Top and an Alder skirt. Hopefully achievable given my clothes sewing is currently limited to Staple dresses. I have my fabric all picked out and have taped together the pieces of the Wiksten and Alder Skirt. Oh my - that would have to be my LEAST favourite part of clothes sewing.

Quilty Goals
Unlikely to get these done but I'll throw them on all same same because miracles might happen. 

  • Swoon quilt. This quilt has been cut for over six months. My only excuse is that I really don't like sewing HSTs. Hmmm. 

  • Baby scrappy Union Jack for my English colleague who has a baby due on Australia Day. Of course, it is going to be backed in Terra Australis!

Other Misc Goals
Because I don't have enough, right? 

  • I'd like to make a Cargo Duffle with a neat little print I picked up on the cheap from Spotlight. 
  • In the recent Sew, Mama Sew giveaway day I won this sweet custom jelly roll and the Lucy Hobo pattern from Jennie at Clover and Violet (the sweetest lady) so I am keen to sew these up too. 

I think that's enough. The rest can wait til Q2! 

I am keen to see how many of these I can cross off my list. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

January Goal: A Lovely Year of Finishes

One of my sewing aims for 2015 is to get more stuff done. Or finish what I have started would probably be more apt.

What better way to hold myself accountable than to put it out there in print? I am going to participate this year with Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Designs and Shanna from Fiber of All Sorts for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

For January's goal, I need to finish off my mini for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap (round 3). So far I have the top done. 

Just the quilting, binding and extras to go. My partner gave loads of info in the questionnaire - I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. You want to make something they love, you know? Thankfully they  also made a Pinterest board which gave me the colour palette and hex-piration. I then used Nicole from Snips Snippets hex plus tutorial as the foundation of my mini. I was so struck by her floor cushion using this block in Sewvivor. And getting all those triangle points to line up... Something new! So that's it. I am confident I will get it done since I have to. 

Check back in at the end of the month to see how I went.

2015 Sewing Goals

The middle of 2015 will mark two years since I first dipped my toes in the great sewing pond.

That first year was all about just jumping in and getting my feet wet (you'll have to excuse all the water references, it is hot and I have swimming on the brain). I made some little girl dresses and a dolly for Miss Moo which was to be her baby to stop her feeling left out when Miss Bird came along. I made a baby quilt for Miss Bird with some charms of Kate Spain's Cuzco (using the fab tutorial from Amy at Diary of a Quilter) and bam! I was hooked. Then I discovered blogs and Instagram and a whole new world opened up to me. 

This last year has been about trying new things. I was ridiculously ambitious in some of my project choices and had to park them for a while, but I have learnt so much from both blogs / tutorials and excellently written patterns.

(Case in point #1: The StudioCherie Travel Duffel  - never made a bag before? No problem! Um.... problem. I found this so hard I had to park it for 12 months while I got some sewing experience under my belt. But now, man I LOVE this bag. And I should say that when I pulled all the pieces out and finally made it, it was pretty straight forward. The problem was my experience, not the pattern).

(Case in point #2: My Noodlehead Super Tote - This pattern was great, like all Noodlehead patterns in my opinion, but my sewing machine died and I HAD to have it made before I went back to work from mat leave. Yes, I wanted a swanky handmade bag to lug my work gear around in. It had to have a pieced pocket. I hired a machine and finished it the night before. Talk about doing things the hard way!)

And then I discovered "social sewing" - swaps, bees and such. So. Much. Fun!!

(The mini I made my partner for the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt swap Round 2)

So what are my aims for 2015?
  1. Try FMQ - I now have a machine capable of doing it. No more excuses
  2. Blog! 
  3. Learn how to take good quilt photos. Dimly lit 11PM ones just don't cut it. 
  4. Sew some clothes - my goal is one garment per month. I think that is achievable
  5. Finish some of my mountain load of WIPs
  6. Be more realistic about how much time I have and being ok with spending it making stuff for myself. I am currently in three swaps, a handmade birthday club and a bee - it can get a bit much with work / family commitments. I love making things for other people but if I spend all my teeny bit of sewing time doing that then I will never accomplish 4. and 5 - there were times last year which were a bit crazy and I am going to try to avoid that this year. 
What are your sewing goals this year?