Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Azure Striped Boat Neck: Girl Charlee

A few weeks ago Girl Charlee Fabrics UK & Europe sent me an email offering me some fabric to try from their recently launched store.  I chose a Azure/cream stripe  with half a mind on an Agnes Top - I must have been swayed by the pattern cover picture!  The fabric is a good quality lightweight cotton/rayon blend so very drapey and more suited to a looser style so I revisited "She Wears the Pants' and made another version of the cover picture top. 

The fabric is a little tricky to handle because of the rayon and stripe matching but ballpoint pins are perfect on fabrics like this.  I needed to be very careful not to stretch it out of shape and even then, the cuffs especially looked a little wavy.  Washing and pressing seemed to even this out and the resulting top has a fluid feel and is an easy wear on these inbeween grey days that we get so many of in the UK.   These are iPhone pics during a family walk on a breezy day so you get the feel of the fabric movement.
Like their USA counterpart, Girl Charlee have a huge number of knit fabrics to choose from and its a family run business with the emphasis on choice and customer service including a rewards scheme.   Go take a browse at what they offer!

sib blog

Sunday, 23 August 2015

My Small World QAL: Part ii of Part 5

Welcome to the second part of #mysmallworldqal part five.  You can find part one here.  Danielle has been leading the way on this section and has two great posts featuring lots of hand piecing techniques - part one here, part two here

For those of you who are machining most of your My Small World quilt, I've some tips based on my experience of piecing it.  Starting with the dresden.  I wanted to machine piece this together and to use a machine based quick technique for turning the points on each fan blade.  For this, I took the original template piece (far left in the pic below) and drew round it on paper.  I added a horizontal line across the top of the piece and  a ¼" seam allowance all round the new shape- these lines are  shown in orange.  I then traced this onto template plastic so my new template included the ¼" seam allowance.  Then, cut out your fabric pieces without adding any more seam allowance.  When the top horizontal edge of the blade is folded in half with right sides together and sewn along (like the chain pieced examples at the bottom of the picture, it opens out to form a point the same as produced by the original template but a lot faster!  I then sewed my fan pieces together at the sides and all the pointy raw edges are already neatly turned under!  I pieced my centre semi circle into place as the pattern recommends but you could also appliqué it on top.

 For the piecing of the triangle arc and hexagons see here.  Before I trimmed the hexagons to fit the BF semi-circle  I sewed around the edges using a short stitch length about ⅛" away from the freezer paper pattern piece.   This was to hold the edges together as the hexagons were hand stitched.  
To turn the raw edges on both arcs including the mini inner arc, I sewed a generous ¼" away from the raw edge using a 3.5mm stitch length. This makes a memory line in the fabric which makes it easier to turn with an iron.  I also painted a little starch on to the edges.  Once the arcs are pinned in place and appliquéd on, the stitches can be carefully removed.  This technique is used a lot in dressmaking, especially for hems and I find it really useful in quilting too!

I used appliqué pins to hold everything in place and I did tweak my placing quite a lot.  I cut away excess fabric at the back so the layers aren't too thick.  It didn't quite fit exactly as the picture despite everything being to size and my finished section is a little out of shape but once it is part of the quilt and also quilted, it will all be fine!
sib blog

Friday, 21 August 2015

August at Plush Addict

Just in time to catch a bargain with my August visit to Plush Addict.  Rachel Pinheiro has been hosting a fun summer Instagram #sewphotohop daily photo challenge . The Friday posts are sponsored and each week the sponsor comes up with a special offer and this week it's Plush Addict with a 15% off all dressmaking fabrics until midnight Sunday with the code:
 Plus the chance to win a £100 voucher.   It's open to all, so don't worry if you are not on Instagram or taking part, you can still benefit.  So I'll start with dressmaking fabrics, starting with White Blue Stripe Chambray

You know I am a sucker for a chambray and Kellie-Rose always has a great selection.  This is a shirt weight narrow woven stripe, 150cm wide, perfect for a shirt or maybe a shirt dress with lining.  I must have a thing for stripes at the moment as my next choice is another stripe, Pink Candy Stripe,   on a stretch viscose (3% lycra).

 This will be drapey and slinky to wear.  It is a whopping 180cm wide so great value and the drape would make it great for a drop shoulder or dolman sleeve jersey top as it will hang nicely.
For heavier garment, maybe a jacket or even accessories like bags, this floral canvas is a pretty colour mix and the print reminds me of the Liberty Betsy print. 

It's another wide fabric at 150cm wide so you get a lot of fabric per metre.
Go to the dressmaking section to get your 15% discount. 
There's been a lot of new arrivals in the quilting fabrics.  I always enjoy seeing Tacha Noel's fabric collections for Riley Blake.  Her latest is Vintage Market which is a pretty mix of florals, illustrated scenes and text prints. 

It has the prettiest selvedge:

The new Birds and the Bees collection from Tamara Kate for Michael Miller is a vibrant mix of birds, bees, butterflies and ladybirds inspired by her mother's ceramic bird collection.

You can find a bundle of the prints here.  My favourite is the Stars Shine Bright design:

I picked a favourite collection from a repro designer.
If you like deep, rich colours, you may be drawn to the new William Morris reproductions, 'The Morris Jewels' by Barbara Brackman for Moda.  These are incredible colours and I have always had a soft spot  for William Morris prints from the days when my mother used to make covers for our sofa from Day Lily and other Morris designs.   This is Honeysuckle in Jade.

And this is the same print in Ruby,  Wow!

I've been doing some prep for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt-Along so I'll leave you with a 30s inspired Moda selection, 'Fresh Air'. 

sib blog

Monday, 17 August 2015

My Small World Quilt-Along: Part i of Part 5

Part 5 of My Small World Quilt-Along is a detailed and time consuming section and the very talented Danielle of Mes Petit Elefants will be talking you through all the techniques and skills she has employed to fit this section together!  She is an experienced hand piecer and this section has a lot of piecing that you may find easier to do by hand.

 I've tried to spread the hand sewing out over the last few weeks so I'm not doing it all in one go.  For the hexagon semi circle, I didn't English Paper Piece as I find it rather fiddly and hard on the fingers.  Instead I hand-pieced sewing along the seam lines only.

  • Draw round the hexagon template in soft pencil. Cut out with ¼" seam allowance.  Arrange layout in rows. To join the rows of hexagons, place two right sides together.  Using a knotted thread, sew small running stitches along the pencil line.  At the end of the line, secure the seam by looping through the final stitch.  I usually sew another stitch on top of this and loop again to make sure.  Repeat until all rows of hexagons are sewn.  I don't press at this point but all the seam allowances are floating so they can flatten in any direction.

  • To join the rows together, start at the end of a row, place a pin perpendicular where the first joining seam will finish.  Sew seam as before, secure at the end but do not cut thread.  Instead, pivot the fabrics to join on to a new hexagon and sew the next seam as before.

  • Continue until all the rows are joined.  Press seams as desired, I pressed to one side.

For the arcs, I followed the same technique as Danielle with freezer paper piecing: she describes the process here.  I reused the outer arc template to turn the raw edge inwards for appliqué with a mix of starch painted on and running stitch- I did the same thing with the circles in part 2, method described here.  

This is this area from the back with the green fabrics behind the appliqué cut away.  You can just see the little snips I made in the concave part of the arches as the convex curves were added, especially in the lemon yellow fabric. 

For the triangle 'New York Beauty' style arcs, I drew round the plastic templates on very thin paper to create a foundation paper piecing pattern.  I used a fine pencil and overlapped the templates slightly over the previous pencil line to keep it accurate.

  I added 1/4" seam allowance all round and pre-creased the seam lines with a Hera marker.  I find this makes it easier to flip the paper back and forth whilst piecing.

I found multiple colours a little overwhelming for these sections so I plumped for some favourite contrasting colour pairings for each arc. These were sewn on the machine but I hand pieced the arcs together, Danielle shows how here

As there is rather a lot to fit into one blog post and I have still got to appliqué all my sections down, I will add a second part to this later this week and Danielle is doing the same.  As ever, if you are on Instagram, check out the #mysmallworldqal hashtag. I read some great tips on there including using English paper piecing coupled with a little glue basting as a way of sewing both the curved arcs and the triangle arcs- thanks @elletaylor7 for that tip!  

See you later in the week, I hope your Small World is progressing well, my thoughts are already turning to quilting, now that's a conundrum, I have no idea!

sib blog

Friday, 14 August 2015

Butterick Sew Lisette B6183 Blue Chambray 70's pants

 Sometimes I see a pattern and I just know it's going to work and Butterick B6183 was one of those patterns.  It's by Liesl Gibson under her Sew Lisette brand.  The pattern cover photo features a cropped version of these trousers but full length are my preference, I don't really suit a cropped pant, especially a wide legged one, but I can work a flare!

The fabric is a light denim bought as a long length remnant from ebay a while ago.  It's twill weave but more of a chambray weight in a glorious 70s shade of mid blue.  I did make a test version in some grey poplin and I tweaked the pattern slightly.  I shortened the leg by 1" at the length adjustment point.  I took in the lower crotch a tiny bit and I shaped the straight waistband slightly- see the modifications lower down.  Otherwise, size 12 and the fit on my 27" waist and 36" hips was pretty good.  Obligatory booty shot...

The waist sits just below my natural waistline and I thought it might be a little restricting but not at all.  They are incredibly comfortable.  I don't have many trousers in my wardrobe and I've been keeping an eye out for a pattern I can make repeat pairs from and I think this is it.  I don't suit a tailored or skinny leg.  My legs and hips are curvy and the flared shape balances them and makes me look taller.

The construction is straightforward and quick too.  I love topstitching on relatively plain clothing so I added a few extra lines-double lines on the pockets and wider parallel lines on the hems and waistband.  The clogs are low wood brown nubucks from Lotta of Stockholm, I followed the seconds section every day until these came up!

I have no straightness at the waist on my body so I shaped the waistband to prevent the gaping that I got with the straight waistband on the test pair.  I created a small dart at the right side of the waistband where there is no fastener.  This is ½"across at the widest point and starts and stops at the seam allowance on each edge.  Once the long edges are brought together it make a slight slope on one side of the waistband.

On the other side, which overlaps above a concealed zip with a large hook clasp fastening, I drew in half the dart to shape the edge to replace the straight seam.  I only did this on one of the edges as this covers up the other!

If I am having a bloating sort of day, I just undo the clasp.  On a normal day it is comfortable fastened.

A used a little Liberty lawn lining from a salvaged shirt on the pocket facings...

Despite my rather static facial expression, these are happy pants!  The length works with low clogs and flat sandals although I would probably avoid wet weather, I don't want wet, flappy flares.   I am wearing it with one of last years Belcarra tops.

 I really love them!  What trouser pattern would you recommend?

sib blog

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

August at Village Haberdashery

Annie has been busy with a least minute pop-up shop at Festival of Quilts last week but whilst she was hauling her stock to Birmingham and back there has been a stack of new arrivals at Village Haberdashery and there are some amazing colours to seen amongst them!  Annie and Caroline are busy updating their shop inventory festival so if something shows out of stock, check with them as it may just be waiting to be processed!

Let's start with the much awaited Tiger Lily from Heather Ross.  I've been seeing glimpses of this from bloggers who picked up samples via quilt market and there's a few prints I have my eye on!

This is only a selection, at the moment there are a grand total of 21 different prints in stock- only 12 shown in this picture!  I love the colour variety from pale low volume style pastels to the deep grassy green!  There are also three prints on a 54" wide lawn.

Lotta Jansdotter's new Lucky fabrics have just arrived so be prepared for more saturated colour! 

Annie describes them as stash builders, I think of them as jumbo prints as the patterns are on a large scale.  These make me think of the Bella Mountians duvet cover I designed for Annie a few years back.  Mine is still in regular use!  These prints would work beautifully with this pattern!   

Think of these next fabric range as a moment to rest the eyes amidst the blast of colour!  Nature trail is a pretty floral/cute animal mix from Bethan Janine for Dashwood Studios which captures late summer perfectly.  The standout fabric for me is the border print which is perfect for a simple gathered skirt or little girl's dress.  You can see all the other prints here.

This range also works well with a new Cotton+Steel basic, Sprinkle.  This pic came from the shop twitter feed!  See more on Sprinkle later in this post. 

Alison Glass's first Handcrafted fabrics brought a whole new look to batiks and were incredibly popular.  There was even a mini-quilt swap on Instagram featuring only those fabrics!  Handcrafted 2 the sequel has arrived with a repeat of some designs, some new additions a fresh colour selection.  Village Haberdashery is the first shop in the UK to have this range!

This next selection of fabric gives me the biggest smile because at last we all get to buy Karen Lewis's amazing Blueberry Park prints in all their colourful glory.  We will need a little patience as this is a pre-order offer.

If fabric shops can get pre-orders in advance, they can offer more to their customers as they have a guaranteed order to place with the fabric company reps - at least I think this is how it works!  There are 75 different fabrics in this range which is more than most shops have either space or money to stock.  Pre-ordering bundles like these is one way to give customers access to all the prints.  They are on offer too.  A good option if you want to maximise colours is to go in with a friend, buy a bundle each and then cut each fat quarter in half so you have fat eights of everything!

There are ample pretties and bursts of colour with the latest Cotton+Steel collections.  Melody Miller's Picnic has instant appeal with the giant apples and picnic baskets!

Rashida Coleman-Hale's Zephyr range is a quieter mix of colours and prints but they have really grow on me, Annie has a lovely selection here:

The new Cotton+Steel blender print, Sprinkle is a winner and comes in a lively selection of colours

Annie has made a Cotton+Steel new selection video which is a great way to get a sense of print scale and colours. Enjoy!

sib blog