Friday, 15 February 2019

Introducing Joni

So I have been sewing but only hand sewing in very short, small sessions because we have a newbie in the house.  Welcome Joni, almost 9 weeks and collected last weekend.  A puppy is a mix of adorable cute, silliness, frustration and chaos.  We're all finding our way nicely through it with some ups and downs.  She is a King Charles Cavalier like Lottie but a Tri-colour and obviously, each dog has its own personality and ways.  It is a strange mix missing Lottie and welcoming a puppy but such is life.  My heart is full of the wonderful times we had with Lottie and I'm looking forward to the walks and beach adventures coming our way, just as soon as we've got through house training and vaccinations.

Our cat Buffy was very keen on Lottie, so she has been incredibly tolerant of a cheeky young upstart. The sun has been shinning with all the hints of spring so they've been united in their love of finding a spot with optimum warmth and light.  

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

January at Plush Addict

The lovely team at Plush Addict are busy moving into a new warehouse shop space in Peterborough but there online shop is available as usual and orders are being processed.  As usual, there are lots colourful new arrivals just in so for my January 2019 sponsor choice I've chosen a couple of rainbowtised quilting collections as well as a gorgeous dressmaking rayon viscose along with some hab-dash suggestions for handling/sewing this fabric as well as some garment patterns selected with rayon viscose in mind.

  1. Andover Sunprints 2018 Fat Quarter Bundle 27 fabrics Alison Glass's fabric collections offer a giant blast of saturated colour with a multitude of prints.  Sunprints 2018 include a text print, florals, doodle outlines in different colourways. Also available as individual yardage.
  2. Dashwood Studio Ditsies Fat Quarter Bundle 20 Fabrics Small scale prints in a wide rainbow of colours, Ditsies is a new cute collection and the designs range from leopards and birds to geometric dashes. Each print also available as yardage.
  3. Dashwood Flying Birds Rayon Viscose  Wide width dressmaking fabric from Dashwood.  This print followed hot on the heels of their Dovestone dressmaking fabrics (also rayon viscose). This is a fluid fabric with great drape.  It does need gentle washing and careful handling.  I like to use Schmetz Microtex 70 needes as they are super sharp and pierce the fabric nicely.  Rayon can easily get caught or snag on thick or old pins so fine pins used in the seam allowance only are a good idea. 
  4. Simplicity 8417 Pullover Tops with Sleeve and Fabric Variations.  I picked this pattern as it's a great style for the Dashwood rayon/viscose and there are so many variation within the pattern.  There are no closures to worry about, style options variations with and without bust darts, ruffles are still popular and there are some different ways to add them.  If you'd prefer a dress option, Butterick B6481 is a style designed with rayon viscose in mind and I couldn't resist this Jumpsuit Butterick B6220 (full-length version) which would look great in the bird print.  

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine: Whatever the Weather blocks

The new issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine is out and I've got a Weather themed foundation paper piecing project inside.  Eight weather symbol blocks with a touch of retro aesthetic, these were great fun to design and the art team have done a lovely styling job on the photos!

You can find the blocks inside issue 70, on sale now and also available digitally. and in
There are also detailed making instructions on the LPQ website.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Goodbye Lottie

Posts like this are always the hardest to write.   After almost eleven and a half years, we had to say goodbye to Lottie.  Her health problems were too much for her.  She left this world snuggled, cuddled and with a belly full of egg (her favourite treat).  There's not much more to say, our memories of her are so many, they are happy and full of life.  She's appeared many times in my photos here, especially my clothing pics.  It's the first time in over 18 years that there has not been a dog or a small child to tend to and that is taking some adjustment.  She is much missed...

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Welcome to 2019

As the new year kicks in we've all been enjoying a bit of family time before the daughter returns to Uni and usual work routines restart.  I've been reflecting on 2018- personally and sewing related.  A lot is changing. The sudden Craftsy marketplace changes for indie designer patterns like Sew-Ichgio has been a shock (we are still using Payhip), and I'm seeing many UK quilting shops struggling or closing.  There's been a magazine closure (Sew Now) and things are very challenging for magazines generally.  Even Flickr, where my blogging journey started, is changing its terms and reducing the free storage availability.  I'm currently working through the last 9 years of photos and deleting until only 1000 remain; it's a melancholy experience.  I like to have things to look forward to but I am not a 'goal setter', I'd rather let things evolve and see what happens.  I am thinking that its a time for me to return to what I like best- small piecing, freezer paper pieced picture blocks, Japanese fabrics and using fabric stamping again.  It feels like a new set of thoughts but I must've had this in mind when my family asked what I'd like for Christmas...

I discovered Rose Garden Patchwork- a UK quilt shop with lots of Japanese fabrics, accessories, notions and books, during the September #GreatBritishQuilter photo-hop and fell in love with it.   Shop owner Lisa posted some IG pictures from a Suzuko Koseki book that I hadn't seen before and she helped me out with the link to Amazon Japan, Chic and Mannish was a Christmas present from my brother.  It's a great book with quilts, bags, pouches and purses.  Lots of inspiration...

The wooden magnetic storage block was from my mum, bought from Beyond Measure.  I drop my scissors and my stiletto a lot so I was keen to find a safer storage option- there's a hollow area underneath with extra space and it's a beautifully made item.

These are some of my favourite fabrics from Rose Garden Patchwork.  My sister bought me this bundle and Lisa had a Christmas offer so there were extra fabric squares too.
So, whether you are a goal setter or you'd rather travel where the wind takes you, Happy New Year!  Meanwhile, I'll be watching Marie Kondo on Netflix and looking forward to seeing what unfolds...

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

All You Need to Know About Pattern Trace/Swedish Paper + Discount Code!

I've been sent a roll of Creative Industry Patterntrace Swedish Tracing Paper to review.  It's actually something I've used for years when tracing clothing patterns!  I used to buy it from various obscure online sellers who knew it's secret powers and I think it was shipped from Canada then.  At times, supplies were hard to find and deliveries could be delayed for months.  In 2014, Clare devised a business idea having watched Sewing Bee and heard about the wonders of Swedish Paper and managed to find a UK manufacturer, she's been selling it ever since.  So, I thought I'd share with you what it is and why I like to use it, plus there's a discount code coming up...

Patterntrace is a lightweight translucent tracing paper that is ideal for tracing garment patterns.   Swedish paper doesn't really feel like paper- it's much softer and more forgiving to handle, it even has a little drape to it!  Instead, it feels similar to a very fine, nonwoven interfacing but much smoother and although it is thin, it's got some resistance to tearing.  I've traced many of my favourite tried-and-tested patterns with it and they have stood the test of time.  It has a wide width at 1m so there's no need to tape sheets of paper together and I save the offcuts for tracing smaller pattern pieces like pockets and facings.  I like to use a soft pencil when I'm tracing, preferably a Sewline Ceramic pencil as it glides over the surface and can also be erased if I trace the wrong line or notch!  You can see my other tracing tools- a quilt ruler (whichever I grab first), and pattern weights (the mini irons).

So why trace in the first place?  I don't trace every pattern, but when I make a garment with bodice pieces, I know that usually needs several alterations and by tracing, I'll retain the original pattern as a reference if I mess anything up!  I also use it if I'm making a garment in more than one size, e.g. one for me and one for my daughter.  At other times, I trace particular elements, especially sleeves so I can have a short, mid-length and long variations.   I've tried greaseproof paper, dot and cross paper and brown paper and they can be awkward to handle as well, hard to see through, as well as creasing and folding when I don't want them too and generally irritate me when I'm using them in large pieces.  Because Patterntrace is soft, the pattern pieces can be pinned and draped on the body so I can get an early idea on fit.  The softness is also more forgiving when working in a small space as it will gently crumple rather than tear and easily flattens.  I sometimes iron swedish paper pattern pieces I've used before that have been stuffed in ziploc folders and the storage creases come out easily.  It takes up less room up than standard paper when the pattern pieces are folded up.

 I also trace when I want to experiment with an alteration.  In the example below, I'm tracing The Assembly Line Apron dress which I'm going to lengthen by 2 inches using a slash and spread method.  I want to keep the original pattern intact so I can still make a shorter summer version.  I trace the front dress and back skirt and add a horizontal line to each, the same distance up from the hem.  This is then cut and pulled apart so there's a 2" parallel back between the two pieces.  This is a rare occasion when I'm quite happy to use fabric scissors or paper scissors as I don't find Swedish Paper blunts the blades, it cuts easily too!  I use an invisible tape (like Scotch Magic Tape) when I'm altering pattern pieces.  It lies very flat and it can be drawn on (although avoid the iron!).

Ultimately for me, Patterntrace makes tracing a more pleasurable experience.  The resulting pattern pieces are easier to handle, I can try the pattern pieces on and it takes pins much more easily than standard paper - what's not to like?
You can get a 10% 0ff all orders including Patterntrace with the code Verykerry
Pattern Trace is available as a 10m roll (1m width), or you can try a mini sample piece.
Check my Instagram @verykerryberry for a Patterntrace giveaway...

Thursday, 6 December 2018

December at Plush Addict and Eternal Maker

I wanted to get my monthly sponsor post in early in December so there was still time to order and receive items for Christmas. I've chosen a mix of quick gifts you might want to make,  quilting and dressmaking suggestions that you might like as a gift, or make for yourself (or others), plus some fabric that you just might need to have!

Plush Addict

  1. Dashwood Geo Forest 7 FQ Bundle.  Lovely colour palette and a mix of geometric and woodland designs. 
  2. Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top Pattern.  A relaxed fit jersey top with lots of variations from T-shirt to sweatshirt style, with and without a neckband.  This Ponte fabric would give you a more structured long sleeved Nora with neckband and is quite a stable stretch fabric so an easier knit to cut and sew.  This Cherry pattern cotton/elastane jersey would be good for a softer long or short sleeved Nora.
  3. Quantum 28 FQ Bundle (also available as individual yardage).  All the saturated colours from Giucy Giuce, geometric patterns galore! 

Eternal Maker

  1. Robert Kaufman Navy Plaid Tahoe Flannel. Thick brushed cotton flannel.  This would make a super snuggly check shirt like the Grainline Archer), dressing gown or pj pants.  Or a simple scarf or pillowcase.  Also available in a lighter Cream Olive Plaid colourway.
  2. Perfect Rainbow Kona Bundle (15Fqs).  Always have the perfect Kona colour to hand!
  3. Sweet Ton of Tags Kit.  Baby blankie tag kit, easy-to-sew kit to make a baby's first Christmas present.
  4. The Bear Necessities Cute animal print by Como Tex, hard to resist those bears...