Thursday, 28 May 2015

A Garment a Month: May - Bianca Top

This month, my garment was the Bianca top by Made by Rae.

Ta Da! Lounge shot since I cannot for the life of me figure out how to take a decent selfie

I have to say that this is one of the best written patterns I have made. It is really nicely laid out and easy to follow. There are good explanations of the various steps, loads of tips and diagrams. I especially love the appendix that shows the different options for finishing seams. My top has lovely french seams and looks as pretty on the inside as it does on the outside.

The pattern has an option for either shirring or an elastic casing. Since the whole goal of this garment a month challenge is to actually try new things and grow my skills I decided to give shirring a go. I had the elastic thread from when I made my Staple dresses (when I chickened out and decided I would wear them with a belt). Life. Changed. (Not really, but it reinforced to me that the things that I think are too hard / scary to try probably aren't that bad). I am seriously contemplating retrospectively shirring those Staple dresses.

Shirring, oh how I love thee
This is another one off my Q2 FAL list. Next up, the Sutton Blouse

A finish: a curvy clutch (or two)

I have been watching these cute little curvy clutches pop up on Instagram all over the place, and since if there is a bandwagon I like to jump on it, I thought I'd give the pattern a try (get it free here). 

I decided to make one for my May #ahbc partner and while I was at it I thought I'd whip one up for my Mum too. When I made my Noodlehead Envelope Clutch my Mum (not so subtly) commented that I could make her something like that any time. 

So, about the pattern.... It was ridiculously simple to make. The pattern is pretty straight forward. There were a few things that made me scratch my head - it seemed a step or two had been slipped from the pattern, but perhaps I just misread it - but as I have made a few bags now, it was pretty easy to puzzle it out. It is a quick little sew too. I cut one night and sewed the next and voila! all done. The trickiest think for me was attaching the piping nicely, but practice makes perfect and I have definitely improved since my first efforts. 

The bag has a very professional looking finish. The darts in the bottom give it some nice structure and the zipper tabs are THE BEST I HAVE EVER MADE. Yes I meant to capitalise that, because that is the one step I usually stuff up. 

I used Vilene H630 for the interfacing on the outside since I that's what I had and I used lightweight interfacing in the lining because I ran out of the Vilene, but I think  that it would have been a bit bulky if I'd used anything heavier on the lining. I still have to get my hands on some SF101 so I know what I am subbing for when I make these bags. 

Anyway, this pattern gets a resounding two thumbs up from me. I can see why it has been embraced so enthusiastically. 

This also knocks another finish of my Q2 FAL list. Yay! 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Sapphire

This is my second entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival (see the first one here).

Another one that I have given away (sad face). 

My Sapphire mini was made as part of the #igminiozswap. I was inspired by Denyse Schmidt's Shoeman's Puzzle but I couldn't find a pattern anywhere so I drafted one up and paper pieced it. I used my stash and selected the fabrics with a goal of creating a gem like effect. 

Original planning

The quilt finishes at 24" square. 

I am entering it in the small quilt category

If you have come via the Festival, hi!! And feel free to stick around and check out some of my other stuff. 

Blogger's Quilt Festival: A rainbow Sierpinski Quilt

I remember the first time that I saw the Blogger's Quilt Festival and I was so in awe of all the amazing entries and wondering if I could one day have something I'd be proud enough of to enter. Fast forward a year or two and here we are. I am actually entering two quilts, because if for a penny, right?

The first one I am entering is my Sierpinski quilt which I blogged about here, so you can read all about my inspiration. 


This quilt is my original design, dreamt up through a boring conference session last year (although I fell in love with Sierpinski triangles years ago when I was at uni). I am entering it in the original design category. 



The quilt finished at 25" x 36". (Perfect for my little helper to hold).

I love this quilt and was gutted that I gave it away. But one of these days I am going to make a big one. I might even write a pattern for it - watch this space. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Happy Birthday to me!! A month of handmade surprises

March was my birthday month (seems so long ago now) and so was my month to receive a whole stack of goodies from the lovely ladies in my group of the Australian Handmade Birthday Club (see #ahbc on Instagram to check out all the loveliness going around).

I was totally, overwhelmingly spoilt. It was quite lovely receiving gifts from all these quilty friends that I have never met in real life. My poor daughter has quite unrealistic expectations now about the frequency at which parcels are received, I think.

So without any further ado, here is a round up of the bounty I received!

From @seldear

From @katrinafisk

From @megfishc

From @chambersvacc

From @iamacraftykat

From @msmidge

From @happygolizzie

From @aussieleo

From @skyzyt

From @liannedgong

I cannot say what an honor it has been to receive such thoughtful and gorgeous handmade gifts from this group of women. I feel very fortunate to have been able to participate in this club. 

You should definitely go and check these very talented ladies out on Instagram. Their usernames are under each photo. 

Thank you girls for making my birthday month so very special!! xxx

A finish: AMH Mini Quilt

I finally finished and got in the post the mini I was making for Katrina, the April baby, from our Australian Handmade Birthday Club.

This was my first foray into EPP and I can really see how my stitching progressed as I went along. 

I made this with an AMH charm pack I had bought as I really wanted to see what all the fuss was about. As I sewed it together, I'll admit I didn't really get it (don't shoot me). There were prints individually that I loved, but all together... It was visually how I feel about Florence and the Machine, ok in pieces but a whole album is too much. 

The back - just as pretty as the front

At least that's what I thought I thought. However, there was something about quilting the mini up that seemed to bring everything together and simmer down the "too muchness". I don't know. At the end of the day I found it quite hard to part with, so I guess that's telling. 

Have I mentioned how much I love my sewing machine? Quilts like a dream

I made a border out of plain white and white on white prints, predominantly Alison Glass and bound and backed it in some AMH I bought from Peppermint Stitches

And my blind hem foot for attaching binding...never sew over the top of the binding again!

So here are the stats: 
Quilt: AMH Mini Hexi quilt
Size:18" x 21"
Fabric: Dowry by Anna Maria Horner
Backing: Maybe in Indigo from Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner
Binding: Woodcut in Sassblue from Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner
Quilting: diamond crosshatch in yellow Aurifil 50wt (from Jeni Baker's Favorite Things Box)

Check out my little helper - she obviously knows the good stuff

This is a finish for both my ALYoF and Q2 FAL goals. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

A finish: Rocky the Tula Pink Squirrel

When Emma (@joworimakes on Instagram) put out the call for participants in an Aussie Tula Pink mini quilt swap I jumped right on board. I mean, I am Aussie, I love Tula, what else did I need? Never mind that I said that I was going to dial back my participation in swaps, bees and such this year. Never mind that I have NEVER made a quilt for my own bed... I mean Tula, come on! (Check out the #aussietulapinkswap hashtag on Instagram for some delicious eye candy).

It took me a while to get started, since I had some other minis to finish off (ahem), so I made the use of that time to stalk my partner (Julie @heritagekeepsakes). Apparently she likes squirrels, so I decided to make up a scrappy Tula Pink squirrel using Violet Craft's Forest Abstractions pattern.

I thought I would be all over this after making Princess Twilight Sparkle, but I think that this pattern is much more advanced than that. There are a lot of pieces and some of the angles are a bit hard to make sure that everything lines up just so. There are also some very bulky seams. Still, my little finished squirrel (I have named him Rocky, I'll have to think about making a Tula Bullwinkle) turned out super cute. I am very pleased with him.

Julie said she liked pink, raspberry, purple and mint in terms of colours, so I added on a few borders to bring the mini up to size. I wasn't sure how to quilt the little fellow, so I went for trusty straight line quilting in a pale pink Aurifil thread.

I just can't stand to throw away scraps, so I used the scraps from the mini to whip up a little pouch to go with it. I loved the finished product.

So here are the stats:

Quilt Name: Rocky, the Tula Pink Squirrel
Pattern: Forest Abstractions by Violet Craft
Size: 18.5" x 18.5"
Fabrics Used: Assorted Pieces from the following Tula Pink Lines - Hushabye, Parisville, Prince Charming, Saltwater, Birds & The Bees, Fox Field, Moonshine, Elizabeth
Backing: Parisville, Damask Dot in Gold
Binding: Moonshine, Swarm in Indigo

This is a finish on my Q2 FAL goals.

ALYoF May goal: AMH Mini

Last month I forgot to post a goal for ALYoF, so this month when I saw the first post I thought "I must get on that"!!

This month is a bit of a weak goal as it is something that I MUST get done. And yet it must get done so I guess it's good to have some public accountability. 

My goal this month is to finish off my April gift for my handmade birthday club. (I know, I am LATE! But our house flooded last month so I am claiming extenuating circumstances). I am making an AMH mini for the birthday girl who expressed a desire for a mini made entirely of AMH fabric. 


This was quite fortuitous for me since I had bought a charm pack of Dowry in an attempt to see what all this fuss about Anna Maria Horner was. Then once I had it I was stuck - what to do with a single charm pack? The answer: hexies! In addition to getting on the AMH bandwagon I also got on board with EPP and hexies. I am quite the trend follower it seems. Now let me tell you - a charm pack of hexies does not go very far - just enough for a cushion cover if you put s border on. 

And so my hexies languished - sewn together with nothing happening. Until I read our birthday girls likes and what would make a great gift for her. Jackpot! It's a win win - I get to make something for her that hopefully she will love and I get to finish off a long term WIP. 


Linking up to ALYoF goals for May

Saturday, 2 May 2015

A Garment a Month: April - Alder Skirt

I have had the Alder skirt pattern by Imagine Gnats kicking around for ages waiting to get made. I have actually had the PDF taped together for nearly a year! Disgrace!

It was actually on my Q1 FAL list so I am glad to get it crossed off for Q2. And even though I am posting this in May, I actually finished it in April (just!) so it still counts for my garment a month challenge.


I whipped it out of some chambray and used this Tula Pink fabric for the accent pockets and whipped up View A with the cute centre pleat and sticky-out pockets.

This Elizabeth print has to be me favourite - I want yardage in ALL the colours!

Like all the other Imagine Gnats patterns I have made (Bess top and Roly Poly pinafore) this was a pretty straightforward make. I had to read some of the instructions several times, but I put that down to my inexperience and sewing late at night (sigh, the challenges of having to go to work all day. I do get great satisfaction from a well composed PowerPoint document though). 

I also got to try some new (to me) techniques: darts and a blind hem (LOVE!). After this, my love affair with my blind hem foot for top stitching continues. I'll be honest, I struggle to sew in a straight line. The blind hem foot just makes it so easy.

Check that top stitching

Another skill I am yet to master is the selfie. So no good photos of me in the skirt. This was the best I could do.