Friday, 12 February 2016

The Maker's Atelier Drawstring Dress and a nifty jersey hemming technique

Following my Maker's Atelier Drawstring top which was a bit of an experiment in style and aesthetic , I went on to make the dress version.  I had a rare invitation for an evening out, the sort of thing which involves a small bar and dance floor.   My usual vintage style cotton dresses don't really cut the mustard for this sort of sartorial occasion and mild panic usual sets in when I realise that I should really get my legs out and stick a pair of kitten heels on.


 I had some  gorgeous slinky bamboo jersey bought locally which had amazing drape qualities plus a suitable belt bought from a charity shop so I thought this dress option would be the ticket.  As with the top,  stylewise it is outside of my comfort zone.  I usually wear A line skirts and avoid belts but sometimes you need to push your soft edges and try something different and I am happy with how this turned out.  It has a grown up elegance which is a hard look for me to achieve- I'm usually more free flowing and bohemian.



The dress pattern is an extended version of the drawstring top but as this fabric was a little thicker than the viscose jersey I used before, I wanted to reduce some of the fullness at the front (the back piece is flat.  Frances includes hacks and adaptation posts on the Journal section of the website so I  used this post, traced the top section only and took a wedge out of the centre front and then joined it onto the traced lower section of the dress, squaring off the bottom edge on the top whilst I did so.  Another change I made was to omit the buttonhole for the drawstring and just have a casing for the neck elastic.

I sewed this on my vintage Bernina 830 record using a walking foot.  The fabric has a little lycra content and is bouncy and resistant to sew with a  standard foot.  The manual comes with an excellent section on stretch stitches and although the machine dates back to 1974, it would be hard to improve upon it today.   Frances suggests a deep hem  for this dress and my first attempt at this was a little puckered: the width of the hem being turned up is narrower than the dress above so it needs to be eased in which lead to bit of a mess that did not improve with pressing.  I consulted my Bernina manual and found a solution...
  

I left the original hem stitching in place and hand basted the lower edge about ½" from the edge.  I then stitched with a slightly longer stitch and with a top thread (green in the picture below) which is held in gentle tension whilst the zig-zag sews over the top of it.  I had to be careful to lift the fabric so it didn't stretch whilst holding the thread.  When the zig-zag is complete, the hem is pressed with a damp cloth and the top thread is pulled out.  It was a great technique!  I then carefully unpicked the original hem, trimmed the excess fabric on the wrong side and pressed again with a damp cloth.


I cut a size 8 with front modification (as detailed above) and used 2.5m of 150cm wide fabric.  Raystitch sell a similar Bamboo/lycra mix.


I think this will get most wear in the summer with flat Saltwater sandals and a hint of a tan (wishful thinking).  It also looks good for holidays, easy roll-up packing!

sib blog

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

February at Village Haberdashery

There seem to be a flurry of floral themed fabric arrivals at Village Haberdashery so I'm starting February's visit with a look at some glorious colours and flowers, starting with Sarah Jane's Sommer range for Michael Miller.


It's hard to pick favourites, it is such a vibrant and uplifting collection of painterly prints.  


L to R: Tulip Tangled in Bloom, Garden in Bloom, Swan in Grass.
Aneela Hooey's first collection for Cloud 9 fabrics, Vignette, is full of florals and includes double gauze as well as quilting cottons.


For dressmakers, the big plus on the double gauze is that the Petal and Floret prints are multi directional which makes fabric usage a bit more economical. 

The newest Cotton+Steel collections have been some of my favourites ever.  I like the way each new set of designs echo something from the last whilst pushing the designs forward.  This is Melody Miller's Fruit Dots range, a delicious mix of themes, colours and prints.


The Bluebird range is amazing too.   I know the Black and White range has been popular but I find the monochrome look a little stark but the blues in all their different shades are stunning. 


Other companies are catching on to the blue trend, Michael Miller have an Indigo range.



Also fresh in the shop are Heather Lou's Closet Case patterns, including the hugely popular Ginger jeans:


These patterns offer a great set of capsule shapes-  Ginger jeans, Nettie top/dress,  Clare coat and Carolyn PJ's- any sew alongs for the styles are included each pattern link!

I've loved looking at all these gorgeous colours!  Enjoy x

sib blog

Monday, 8 February 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL Blocks 41 and 42, Granny and Heather

I hope you are all making good progress at your own pace in the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along.  We are now in week 21.  Justine of Sew Justine Sew is back as a guest blogger for this block.  She started her blocks a second time in a new colour way that she's much happier with.  You can see her Granny block here and read all her hints and tips.  This is my version of Granny (p.200, letter p.96):



Fabric credits:
Lecien Yarn Dyed tiny gingham


I found block 42, Heather, (201, letter p.39) relatively quick to sew once I had pre-cut all the fabric pieces.  I did make some easy alterations to the foundation piecing pattern: I changed the number order on sections C and E (details below) to maximise seam nesting.



Fabric credits:
Kona Sour Apple
Kona Carnation
P+B textiles: Toy Chest Florals, Trailing Blooms in Yellow
Riley Blake? Sewing text print- scrap from stash

I pre-cut all the block pieces using my usual generous rotary cutting measurements for foundation paper piecing.  These create seam allowances larger than ¼" so that your fabric pieces are larger than needed- if you like more wriggle room, cut even bigger!  I've referenced my colour choices- substitute your own.

Rotary Cutting for Foundation Paper Piecing
Pink
A1: cut (1) 2" square 
A3, A7, F3, G3: cut (4) 1 ¾" x 2" rectangles 
Yellow
A2, A4, A6, A8, F2, F4, G2, G4 : cut (8) 1 ¾" x 2" rectangles 
B2, B4, C2, C4, D2, D4, E2, E4: cut (4) 2 ¼" squares, sub-cut each in half diagonally to make 8 half-square triangles.
Green
A5, A9, B1, B5, C1, C5, D1, D5, E1, E5, F1, G1: cut (6) 2 ¼" squares, sub-cut each in half diagonally to make 12 half-square triangles.
Text
B3, C3, D3, E3: cut (4) 2 ¼' x 3" rectangles 

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece- especially identical sections
  • Nest seams where possible
  • Remove paper when needed- I leave it on as long as possible as it stabilises the sections.
  • Stitch around the edge of the block within the seam allowance to stabilise any bias edges
To maximise seam nesting, I changed the order of piecing on sections C and E:  
C1 became C5 
C2 became C4
C3 remains the same
C4 became C2
C5 became C1
Repeat on section E.  Sections B and D are unchanged.  Following this easy change allows your sections to fit together more easily at the seam points.  I pressed the final section joining seams open.



Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #grannyblock and #heatherblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw41granny,  #fw42heather, I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
  • You are welcome to watch and join in the chat on Periscope at 2.30pm GMT today, I'm periscope.tv/@verykb.  It will be available for 24 hours to replay before it disappears! Link will be in my twitter feed @verykb and I'll post on Instagram and twitter about 15 minutes before it goes out.  
Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.

Next week, Jo Avery will be back with me as guest blogger. 

sib blog


Monday, 1 February 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL Blocks 39 and 40, Grandma and Grandmother

We're in week 20 of the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along and this post covers blocks 39 and 40.  Melinda of Quirky Granola Girl, who shared her original Farmer's Wife quilt at the beginning of the quilt-along, is guest blogging for this block.  You can see her Grandma block here and she's written a very interesting choice about her colour experiments and value for this QAL.  Here's my version of Grandma,  block 39 (p.198, letter p.22):


Fabric credits:


Block 40 (p.197, letter p.144) is Grandmother and there is a far easier to sew the block together than following the foundation paper piecing instructions from the book.   Amanda from Patchsmith made this block a few weeks ago found the same thing.  You can read her changes here  she also adds a handle to the basket and kindly provides a template for this on her blog if you wish to do the same.  I left mine without, I welcomed the chance to have a bit of space for this gorgeous Heather Ross floral.




Fabric credits:
Windham Tiger Lily Rose Blush by Heather Ross
Kona Sour Apple
Kona Citrus

The book instructions  for foundation paper piecing use an inset seam which is easy to omit.  I didn't use the original pattern and instead I printed out the block diagram (if printed at 100% it should come out at 6" square) and redrew and labelled the different sections.   The example below is an illustration and is not to scale.  Instead print the block diagram from the CD and add the lines and labels as below.


Cut along the blue lines that mark the different sections A, B C, D and E.  You can add ¼" seam allowances around the outer edges of sections A, B, C, and E but these will have to be allowed for on the other edges when you add the fabric pieces. 
Precut the fabric pieces using the measurements below, I've included my colour choices for clarity but substitute with your own.  These are not precise, instead they will give you the larger seam allowances that provide the necessary wiggle room in paper piecing!

Rotary Cutting for Foundation Paper Piecing
B4, C4: Cut (2) 1 ¾" x 5 ¼" rectangles
A3: Cut (1) 3" square and sub-cut in half across the diagonal to make 2 half square triangles.  You will need 1 of these.
B2, D2, C1: Cut (3) 1 ¾" squares in yellow
B1, C2: Cut (2) 1 ¾" squares in green
C3, D1, D3: Cut (2) 2 ½" squares and sub-cut in half across the diagonal to make 4 half square triangles.  You will need 3 of these.
A2: Cut (1) 2 ½" squares and sub-cut in half across the diagonal to make 2 half square triangles.  You will need 1 of these.

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece- the four sections are identical
  • Nest seams where possible to match seam points
I sewed up sections A, B, C and D adding on the extra ¼" seam allowances where needed. My labelling is slightly different from the block diagram, I changed it a little for the diagram to create better seam nesting for you!


Join A to B and press seam open.  Join C to D, pressing seam open.  Join AB to CD pressing seam open.  


Use the completed ABCD triangle as a template to cut piece E.  Place it right sides together on top of fabric for E and cut out with a rotary cutter.  Whilst the two sides are still together, pin along the diagonal and stitch the joining seam.  Press towards E.  Carefully remove paper, starch if desired and press.

Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #grandmablock and #grandmotherblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw39grandma,  #fw40grandmother, I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
  • You are welcome to watch and join in the chat on Periscope at 2.30pm GMT today, I'm periscope.tv/@verykb.  It will be available for 24 hours to replay before it disappears! Link will be in my twitter feed @verykb and I'll post on Instagram and twitter about 15 minutes before it goes out.  
Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.

See you next Monday with guest blogger Justine from Sew Justine Sew.

sib blog

Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Maker's Atelier Drawstring Top: Review

I came across Frances Tobin's online shop, The Maker's Atelier early last year and I found out more about her designs and aesthetic for my column in Sewing World about 'kits'- she sells high quality, luxury making kits as an option for her patterns.  She kindly offered me a pattern of my choice to review and I opted for the Drawstring Top/Dress.  Her modern aesthetic is quite different from mine, and I was curious if it would suit me.  Her patterns are about simple shapes and the best quality fabrics.  
   

There is a luxe, sophisticated feel to Frances' designs.  Her background is impeccable: she's worked as a design and colour consultant for companies like Gucci, Acardia and French Connection.  I was intrigued to see how she brought that experience to her pattern range.  Each pattern comes as a package in a card envelope with string tie; a small drawstring bag with a tape measure is included too.  


The pattern  pieces are on strong transparent paper and measuring guidelines, a hints and tips card and a woven label is included with each pattern.  


It is a clever design.   There are only two pattern pieces, the fullness is concentrated in the front piece with the back neck lying flat and the front holding the gathers from the drawstring.  Finding the right fabric is essential.  I had some thin and very draped viscose jersey which was perfect for a tester version.  I followed the bust measurement and cut a size 8 with no alterations.    The drawstring was some waxed cotton cord that I had in my sewing box.


The instructions are detailed but the sewing is easy.  This was sewn on my Bernina using a very small zig-zag stitch.  The seams are unserged (knit fabrics won't unravel) and are pressed open.  The top is designed for either knit or woven fabrics and there is a separate instruction for  woven fabrics to finish the neck line with bias binding. 


You can see in the pictures why there is a need for great drape in the fabric choice.  Frances has shows versions of the same top sewn in woven cotton, linen and crinkly silk as well as a design variations that that change the sleeves, add a drawstring at the waist and another which reduces fullness and sleeves for an even simpler top.  


Although construction is straightforward there are some nice tips for a neat finish including finishing the sleeves and neck where the elastic channels are so that it feeds through cleanly.


You can see the flatter line across the back and the shoulders.  This pic reminds me of my mother's adage about elbows showing your true age!



Notes and tips

  • Fabric quantity details are accurate.
  • Measurements are in metric.  I used my metal slider seam gauge.
  • Seam allowances are 1cm (⅜") unless stated.  This isn't written on the pattern or the instructions but instead on the 'Hints and Tips' sheet
  • A pressing ham and/or a sleeve roll make pressing seams open a lot easier than using an ironing board.
  • There's a note about pockets on the fabric guidelines which I think must be a typo- there's no pockets in this pattern!



I found this top a bit of a surprise make for me.  It has an elegance and simplicity that I usually find hard to achieve with clothes.   It's a more classic, grown-up style than my usual vintage inspired 70s silhouette but I think I can get it to work with my extensive selection of A line skirts.   This top is worn with my Fumeterre charcoal chambray skirt.   I am currently sewing up the dress version in a bamboo lycra so although there's no denying it is an expensive pattern, I've already used it twice and I imagine I will continue to make variations on the top and the dress.   The dress has great potential for the summer- I'll show more once finished and photographed.   My next thought is the wide leg trousers...

sib blog

Thursday, 28 January 2016

January at Eternal Maker

It's time for my monthly visit to Eternal Maker and I've been keeping an eye on Anna's @eternalmaker Instagram feed to track the new arrivals!  I'll kick off with a wonderful fabric and pattern pairing- although this dress style would work in lots of different prints. 


The Frida Dress is from Eternal Maker's own Two Stitches children's pattern line and is a simple dress with pleat details with a generous size range of 6months to 9 year.  This dress has been made in Dashwood's Dachund print from the new Mori fabrics range- I think that particular print is going to be very popular!   A bundle from this range is available here and a kit with the pattern and Dachshund print fabric is here.



A bold blender range has arrived,  Basic Mixoligie by Studio M for Moda.  These are strong colours,- I especially like the teal and navy - and a good variety of simple small geometric prints.   Get a bit of everything with the Jellyroll option, see all the colours available in yardage here.  I've chosen (clockwise from top left): Triangles Navy,  Coins Grey, Spots Navy Teal, Seeds Purple


There are currently 100 fabrics to choose from in the Jersey/Knit fabrics section which is an incredible selection!  I ordered two of the melange jerseys last month and they are superb quality.  They are slightly lightweight than an Kaufman Laguna jersey which is a cotton/lycra t-shirt weight but these are opaque, stretchy and are selling quickly- the darker blue option I ordered has already gone!  Here are Mid Blue and Charcoal ( I chose this one!).  They would work well with clingy style tops as well as classic T shirt styles, leggings and dresses e.g. a maxi version of the Sew Caroline, Out and About Dress.


The Laguna range is a great basic.  Good recovery, mix of plain and marl style colours.   I've made a ballet style Coppelia wrap top in the Heather grey which is much worn by my daughter.  Cherry is on the left and Heather grey is on the right.  These fabrics would be good for the Marianne dress pattern and there are a lot of colour blocking options. 


I'm ending this post with a couple of classic cute and pretty Japanese fabrics from Creative Thursday for Kokka. The Tinies range is a mix of florals and Kawaii cuteness. L to R:  Navy floral , Tiny Hearts in pink, and The Tinies in Grey.


Enjoy!

sib blog

Monday, 25 January 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL Blocks 37 and 38: Georgia and Golda

We're on blocks 37 and 38 this week in the Farmer's Wife 1930s quilt-along.   Block 37, Georgia is a straightforward block made up of squares and half square triangles (p.196, letter p.132):



Fabric credits:
Blue floral, gift from a friend

Although it looks as though you could rotary cut and piece the squares and triangles without using a foundation pattern the precise measurements are a little fiddly.  So as usual I pre-cut all the pieces adding my usual generous rotary cutting measurements for foundation paper piecing.  These create seam allowances larger than ¼" so that your fabric pieces are larger than needed- if you like more wriggle room, cut even bigger!  I chose fabrics with a very similar colour scheme to the original.

Rotary Cutting for Foundation Paper Piecing
Squares: cut (9) 2" squares in blue, (8) 2" squares in yellow and (4) 2" squares in pink
Triangles: cut (2) 2" squares in blue and subcut diagonally to make 4 half square triangles in total.  repeat the same quantities in pink.

Top tips for this block :
  • Pre-cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece
  • Follow the order on the foundation pattern, the seams will nest together when joined
The finished block is not unlike a little picnic blanket which links nicely with the farmer's wife letter  (p. 132) reminiscing over meals eaten outside.


Block 38 Golda (p.195, letter p.98) is a little trickier.  Hannah from Quirky Hannah is guest blogger for this block.  Here's mine:



Fabric credits:
Kona Buttercup
Marcus Brothers Circle of Friends Green Flower
Gracie's Schoolhouse Classics Red Dotty Blossoms

I foundation pieced this block and it was a little tricky; those small angle tapering points are always hard with this technique and getting all the points to meet up on the outer sections needed careful pinning.  I'll be sharing my tips on this block on my Periscope session today which you can catch afterwards for 24 hours- see the links below.
Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #georgiablock and #goldablock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw37Georgia,  #fw38Golda, I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
  • You are welcome to watch and join in the chat on Periscope at 2.30pm GMT today, I'm periscope.tv/@verykb.  It will be available for 24 hours to replay before it disappears! Link will be in my twitter feed @verykb and I'll post on Instagram and twitter about 15 minutes before it goes out.  
Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.

Melinda from Quirky Granola Girl will be joining me as guest blogger next Monday.

sib blog