Friday, 21 July 2017

Touring Quilter's Guild Exhibits: Nineteenth Century Hexagons

I've been enjoying a week off work which has included a lovely few days away in Cornwall with my husband and some beautiful historic quilt exhibits from The Quilter's Guild at my local quilt shop, Exeter Sewing Machine Company.   Shop owner, Jenna, hires a selection of pieces from a collection that travels around the country and customers can book viewing time slots.  It is a free event and Jenna always allows plenty of time for us all to look over the exhibits.  I took lots of photos so I'm going to split this across two posts: this post features hexagon nineteenth-century quilts and second will feature a range of twentieth-century quilts and fragments. 


I'm not usually a huge fan of hexagons but these two examples were so charming.  The first is sewn on to a backing for display so only the front can be seen.  It was the colour range that really grabbed my attention, especially the mustard yellow and blue border.  The hexagons were really quite small- maybe an inch at the widest point?


You can get an idea of the scale in this photo with the arm underneath!  Note the white gloves worn for any handling of the exhibits.  Jenna leads the way carefully taking the quilts out of their storage bags and laying them out for us to look over.



Close up you can see all the adaptations, the pieces sewn together within a single hexagon and the wonderful range of prints used.  There was some variation in the regularity of the hexagons but the overall effect was so pleasing!  This piece dates to the earlier part of the nineteenth century.


The second example has larger hexagons with many of the papers intact.   They are stitched into rosettes, some very fussily, some almost haphazard and lots in between.  There's a range of fabric weights from lightweight fine shirtings through to heavier chintz fabrics where the shiny glaze and thicker threads can still be seen. 






The reverse is just as fascinating with lots of handwritten letters and papers being used for the hexagons.  


It was a fascinating piece to look over.   You can see a date below, 1802!  The Quilter's Guild date this uncompleted piece to around 1840.  You can also see the mix of threads and stitch styles below.


On the Quilter's Guild museum website, you can see other examples of Heritage and Mosaic quilts.  Back with more soon!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

UK Printing Services and PDF Dressmaking Patterns

I had a little nudge yesterday from Sarah about a PDF pattern that I'd had my eye on.  Turns out it all SewHouseSeven pattern were still 25% off but something held me back.  Being a dungaree/bibs pattern, I knew it would take a lot of paper to print and I already have a stack of patterns printed on A4 waiting to be assembled.


I have been curious about the growing online print shop services starting in the UK that offer copyshop AO size printing- when I've looked at this locally, the service has been difficult to find and when I did find it, very expensive.  Jenny from Cashmerette wrote a very helpful post, How to Print PDF Copyshop Files Cheaply with services listed for different countries, including the UK.  I looked at them all and after weighing up costs, netprinter.co.uk looked like the cheapest option for a few patterns.  It's also relatively near to me and I was hoping that the printed patterns would arrive quickly- they did, less than 24 hours!  Cost is £0.75 per print (AO size and b/w). There's a minimum spend of £5 for printing so I went through my Dropbox PDF patterns and found any with Copyshop options that were in my making queue.  Some of these I have already printed on A4 paper and they have not yet been assembled so instead I will reuse that paper on other printing.  I had 8 sheets in total to print from various patterns, total cost £10.80 including £3 postage and 20%VAT on printing.


The sheer relief of not having to stick the Bibs patterns together meant I cut and prepped the pattern pieces very quickly- the highlighter is used on dots and any info like seam allowance changes.  The pattern notchers make cutting out those triangles quicker and neater plus make it easier to transfer the markings to fabric and were a cheapo £2 buy from Amazon.  You do need to take care loading the correct file.  I loaded the wrong file for dress pattern so I'll have to go back to my A4 print out for that but otherwise, it was excellent value for money.  I'm not sure when the postage increases for weight but 8 paper sheets were neatly folded and arrived in an envelope.  I'll definitely use this service again in the future!  Now to get on with the Burnside Bibs, my sewing plan for the weekend...
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Monday, 10 July 2017

July at Village Haberdashery

Time to visit sponsor Village Haberdashery for the latest arrivals...I've focused on some dressmaking and quilting options using the latest fabrics and patterns, plus I've selected three double gauze prints as it's a lovely fabric for summer dressmaking or summer quilts.

Dressmaking

I've chosen a freshly released dress pattern and fabrics that will work with that pattern.
  1. Matilda, shirt dress pattern by Megan Nielsen.  The newest pattern from Megan, lovely details including princess seams, collar and stand, and pleated breast pockets. 
  2. Loomious 2 - Checkered Past in Sky.  Yarn dyed threads and a gorgeous woven check from Anna Maria Horner.  More drape than quilting cottons. 
  3. Chambray Boulevard Prints - Southwest Stripe, from Robert Kaufman.  Wider width and a lovely design to play with; the design repeat is 12" x 12".

Quilting
  1. Sevenberry Novelties Strawberries in print, cute fruity print, also see bananas!
  2. Menagerie, Rifle for Cotton+Steel.  This collection is pre-order, due to arrive sometime in August.  There's a range of substrates- quilting cotton. lawn, canvas and rayon, plus the designs are mouthwateringly good! 
  3. Lille Collection, Chevrons and Arrows from Sew Simple Fabric.  Geometric graphic patterns, see the rest of the collection here. 
Double Gauze
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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Book Review: Stitched Sewing Organizers by Aneela Hoey

I leapt at the chance to review Aneela Hoey's new book, Stitched: Sewing Organizers I saw some previews on Aneela's Instagram feed  and I already could see it was going to be a treat. She writes a good pattern and this book is full of handmade storage projects- what's not to like!


Straightaway, you can see on the pictorial side of the contents page how many beautiful and tempting things there are to make!  


The first section, 'Stitched Organizer Basics' is concise and takes you through through materials and supplies with lots of handy pointers, e.g. about specific named interfacing so well worth reading, and useful tools.  She also covers the essential techniques including zipper insertion and attaching binding  as well as adding magnetic snaps, closing seam gaps and using fusible tape.  Aneela writes clearly,  her words flow and it feels like she is a friendly teacher guiding you through all you need to know.  She has taken her time writing this book, it feels well planned and thorough. The main part of the book is devoted to the projects and divided into four sections: 





To be honest, on my first flick through the book, I was itching to make something straightaway and needed a quick gift for someone so I made the larger version of the Handy Fold-Up pouch.   It was also a good way to read the book in more detail and see how the text and diagrams worked together.  I made one pouch and straightaway I made another- it sews up very fast.  Even on an apparently = simple pattern like this I could see how meticulous the writing was.  She's thought of everything, like the size allowances made for thickness of fabric+interfacing for example, so the finished article truly resembles the photo in the book and the making process is rewarding rather than frustrating.  I made one pouch for my new sewing travel machine for foot storage and another for a yoga friend to keep bottles of essential oil, and like many of the book projects it could be made with many different end uses in mind.

I also made the See-It-All pouch, again another gift was needed for a friend going into hospital for a big operation plus a little one to test out the making.  It's a great project for busting out your fat quarters, especially linen/cotton blend with bold prints- I have a few of those that don't really lend themselves to quilting and have prints that I want to see whole and not cut!  


The pouch on the right is the size from the book and the left was made with the remains of the FQ, it was easy to resize and i am imagining making a really big one to keep larger quilt blocks in.   This is a slightly harder project than the fold-up pouch, but still very achievable.  Aneela gives detailed guidance on the zip installation and bindings; read her instructions, follow the diagrams, take your time and a lovely pouch will be the end result!


I recognised some of the projects from Aneela's independent pattern shop - the fabric boxes, project book pouch, folder mini pouch, the sliding box and a few others, so buying the book is also a bargain.   
I have projects lined up to make from now until Christmas: the Two-In-One Case is very appealing as is the Triple Pouch, and if you are taking part in a swap or making a retreat goodie it's a valuable resource.



I loved it, lots of things I want to make for myself and lots of things for others.  My Christmas making is sorted.   If I was Aneela, I would be feeling very pleased at writing such a useful book. I think it will be an incredibly popular title- don't we all like making organizer projects?!  
Thank you to Search Press who kindly sent me a review copy.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Scrappy Fabric Mod Podge Project

I keep scraps, although not all the scraps, they drive me too crazy! But there are some tiny pieces of fabric that I cannot throw away, Precious vintage pieces, not even complete motifs or images, little jigsaw pieces of prints that I can only imagine the whole effect.  And then sometimes I have a plan that will use even these smallest pieces of fabric and I'm glad I kept them.



There's no great finesse in this project. Just a flat brush, feedback scraps (many with frayed edges that I couldn't cut or there'd be no fabric left!), cardboard 3D decoupage letters and Mod Podge Mat. The later two were from WHSmiths, I'm guessing Hobbycraft would also sell both of these for UK crafters and the equivalent should be available in other countries. The letters had a base coat of white acrylic first, otherwise it was just lots of mod podge so it acts as a glue and protective coating. The result is a naive collage mix but there are cute and they are for young children so that seems appropriate. I'm really happy some of these little motifs that I've stored so long have found a home.