Monday, 24 June 2019

Great British Quilter Podcast: Episode Two, Kerry Green of Verykerryberry

I am so excited to share that I'm the second guest on Sarah Ashford's Great British Quilter Podcast!

I live quite close to Sarah so we recorded a few weeks ago in Sarah's sewing room where everything is beautifully organised and she had all her podcast equipment set up ready to chat.  Sarah has put so much work on getting the podcast off the ground and the sponsorship that Bernina and Aurifil have provided has been pivotal on sorting logistics and practicalities needed for making the show professional and a pleasure to listen to.  If you enjoy it, share the love and leave her a review either through the app or through your iTunes podcast library. 

You can read more about the Great British Quilter podcast on Auribuzz and there's also a transcript to read/download for each episode on Sarah's website.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Sunday Selection

Welcome to another Sunday Selection.  Before I start with some interesting sewing and quilting links that I've come across over the last couple of weeks, these two fine creatures are the latest additions to my Simple Folk quilt (Sarah Fielke's BOM 2018).  The fox was a pleasure to sew - apart from the fiendish paws - the little zigs and zags were tricky, to say the least, and thank goodness black fabric hides the millions of stitching holding the fraying in place!  The bird was a breeze compared to the black paws and I am searching out Liberty lawn scraps for as many small pieces as possible as the lawn is the easiest fabric to work with for small pieces.  On the bird, the comb, beak, eye and legs are all Liberty lawn.

Blog Read
Handmade by Carolyn, Kelly's Wedding Dress
Carolyn makes her own clothes, not just dresses, tops, trousers etc. but undies, clothes for other people, refashioning old garments and even making shoes.  Her account of sewing her daughter-in-law's wedding dress is both a touching read and an insight into the detail needed to create an incredible dress and someone else's vision.  Even if you are not a garment sewer, take a peek, the photos and writing are a treat!

Abby Glassenberg interviewing Denyse Schmidt on Whilst She Naps
For anyone who enjoys and admires Denyse Schmidt's work, this is a fascinating listen.  Her graphic design background comes over strongly- she talks about fabrics as a paint colour palette especially in her early quilts.

Cloudcraft is a UK embroidery supplies shop and owner Nicole shares products, patterns and more on her Instagram @cloud.craft and is running a free Summer stitch-along with videos posted each weekend which I thought would appeal to anyone looking to learn or brush up their embroidery skills.

Picture from
The free sampler pattern is available by signing up to Nicole's newsletters or by downloading from this page.  I followed Nicole's 'Stitchmas' videos on Instagram last December and really enjoyed picking up new ideas and techniques.  You can go your own way on colours and fabric or, order a summer stitching bundle in her shop with all the items Nicole used to create the original embroidery.   Read more here.

Tomorrow, I've got a bonus recommendation to share with you...I'm especially excited about this one!

Monday, 17 June 2019

Pins and Needles Book

I have many needle books, some I've made, some I've received, some I've purcahsed and yet I always feel like I need another.  I love needles too and I don't like to mix them up, I want to know where my size 11 Straw needles are for applique or where my Tulip piecing needles are for binding, so I tend to store a needle book with a project with the corresponding needles and pins inside.  Like any quilter, I have a lot of projects on the go, hence the need for multiple needle books!

I couldn't resist Kim Kruzich's (Retro Mama) new #PinsandNeedlesBook Pattern, I bought it whilst it was still on offer.   I haven't sewn one of her patterns before but I could see she had all the details I like- zip pockets, binding, clasp.  I used a sweet scrap that I received from Tori in a swap and the rest of the fabric are vintage and feedsack scraps.  So me of these tiny pieces have been in my stash for years, too precious to discard.   I made the smallest size and the only change I made was to add a prong style snap with Prym pliers. 

It's a very detailed pattern, nineteen pages and lots of words and photos, so you need to focus on the features you want to include and scroll to each relevant section.  As well as the zip pockets that I've included, there's also a slip pocket option and a different strip style outer included.

I love a little make and I was really happy with how this turned out.  Practical and pretty!

Kim is in the process of organising a #pinsandneedlebook sew along, check her Instagram feed @retro_mama for updates!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Sunday Selection: A Catch-up & Some Stitchy Things to Discover

There's been too much stuff going on for my liking.  I like a quiet life, no drama and lately, we've had a family member's newly diagnosed health issues to deal with and my work commitments have been intense during the same period so a usually calm little house has been hectic.  It's settled down now, said family member is doing well.  In between events,  I've recently found some wonderful sewing links, reads and listens that I wanted to share and I thought this could be a regular thing every other Sunday?

So starting with the links, Love to Sew is a sewing community podcast run by Helen Wilkinson of Helen's Closet clothing Patterns and Caroline Somos of Blackbird Fabrics which usually focuses on garment making, but a recent episode featured Alexa Abegg of Ruby Star Society and formerly Cotton+Steel fabrics and creative collaborations.  It is a fascinating listen, especially for quilters who are so familiar with Alexa's work.  She shares her journey as a fabric designer, how she became a part of Cotton+Steel at RJR fabrics and how she and the other designers moved into being Ruby Star Societ, her artistic work as a collaborator both long distance and closer to home, plus a lot more- Listen here.

Blog Read
I've been following Lizzie Bramlett (Fuzzylizzie) At Vintage Traveller blog for years.  She's a dedicated vintage clothing collector and former teacher who shares her finds and nuggets of fashion history information.  This post on the Dress and Home Workbook is a gem.

Jeana Kimball is a quilt maker and teacher.  I first came across her work through her amazing needles when I was piecing the Jen Kingwell Bring Me Flowers quilt.  I use her Straw needles for hand piecing and applique sizes 10 and 11.  She has an Instagram account @jeanakimball where as well as her amazing work, she often shares wonderful hand piecing tips, well worth a follow, especially if you like to sew by hand.  I'm enjoying her current posts on back basting applique. 

The block pics are my latest Sarah Fielke 2018 BOM, Simple Folk.  I'm slowly working my way through the outer border blocks...

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

May at Plush Addict

Time to see what's new in Plush Addict this month:

  1. Sew Over It Eve Dress.  I made this a couple of months ago and I really loved the result.  The bodice fitted well and the flutter sleeves look great and are so comfortable to wear on a hot day.  It's a dress that can easily become be worn at a special occasion with the right fabric, or an everyday summer dress.  It needs drapey fabric to work at it's best.  Plush Addict has just started stocking Sew Over It patterns and there's a wide selection.
  2. Dashwood Viscose Rayon: Pink Floral on Grey.  This gorgeous floral would make a beautiful Eve dress.  It's got the drape and the multi-directional pattern prevents fabric wastage when cutting out.  It needs gentle prewashing and I would suggest the raw edges are overlocked before putting in the machine at 30.  Sharp pins and a new machine needle are a good idea when working with viscose.

  1. Patterns By Annie Clam-Up.  There are quite a few Patterns by Annie to choose from at Plush Addict and I chose this one as I hadn't seen it before and it looked like a good pattern for gifts or swaps.  I particularly like the side panels to stop items falling out and all the different sizes. There's also an option to include a wipe-clean vinyl interior for a cosmetic bag. Annie's patterns are well thought out with lots of extra details, she's a designer that loves adding all the storage options!
  2. Japanese Import Oxford Cloth Katusbi Apples.  This is a cotton/linen 80/20 blend and the fabric weight is perfect for cushions and bags.  This print is crying out to become a grocery bag! Free shopper's tote download here and a Kwik Sew pattern here.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Walking Foot Quilting

There have been a few things going on recently so I was looking forward to a day of solid sewing at my local Modern Quilt Guild.  Sarah Ashford was running a workshop for us on walking foot quilting.  This was inspired by seeing Jacquie Gering at Quilt Con and also her book Walk: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot and Craftsy/Bluprint classes on walking foot quilting.  We all prepped a series of 12 1/2" quilt sandwiches ready to be quilted.  I took some blocks which I'd originally sewn for 500 Quilt Blocks and added borders so I had a green colour theme and was ready to quilt with an Aurifil 50wt variegated thread.

Sarah is always very well organised.  She had inspiring samples ready for us and within the hour we all started with this curved grid which starts off with a horizontal and vertical free hand curved lines drawn with a Hera marker; the rest is echo quilting where the foot width is the guide.  She gave us lots of tips about stitch length and how to progress and the whirly grid came together without any difficulty.

I then started on a grid which I ended up completing at home. The original had diagonals crossing through the rectangle corners but I thought that might be a little dense and fight with the pinwheel so left it as a rectangle grid.

I spent most of my time trying out a boomerang variation but places my block on-point when I started planning my quilting lines.  These were marked with the Hera marker like the other blocks but a little harder to mark as the lines and the points I was aiming for kept moving off the block.  It was worth sticking with though because once it was marked up it was quick to sew and I'm very happy with the end effect.

It was a lot of fun to play with walking foot quilting on small samples in a room with everyone doing the same.  The sort of activity I would never do at home and it fired up my enthusiasm for the quilting process.  There was a room full of busy happy quilters sewing away!  Sarah always has lots of plans and besides teaching and writing, I know she has been working on a Great British Quilter podcast for some time and the first episode is now available!

Episode 1 features Jo Avery of My Bear Paw and I've had a preview listen!  It is a lot of fun, just what I want out of a podcast focusing on British quilters.  Jo is so chatty and shares her creative process with such enthusiasm and Sarah's hosting keeps it all on track whilst the interview sounds  like a talk between quilty friends.  I cannot wait for more!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit Pattern Review

Every year a pattern emerges that takes the online garment sewing world by storm and this year, I think it has to be the Zadie jumpsuit by Paper Theory.  Jumpsuits are everywhere, following on from dungaree dresses and overalls of previous summer, it feels like every pattern company is offering a version and this one has been a winner for sewers of all heights and sizes.  Search #zadiejumpsuit on Instagram and you'll see what I mean, they all look fantastic!  I love wrap fastenings and with this pattern, all you need is fabric and thread- no interfacing, buttons or zip.

This is a PDF pattern with large pieces so I had mine printed at Dottyprint.  I've used them several times and they have offered a quick and great value service.   There are equivalent services in other countries and it was certainly better than sticking many print sheets together!  I had this black cotton sateen in a box from my carboot sale buying days.  It's wide with a little body and drape to it.

The pattern has a suggestion of layout and is conscious about avoiding wastage so it's worth taking time reading the guidance and planning what will go where and getting creative with long pieces like the belt rectangles that can be pieced together from smaller bits which is what I ended up doing. I also sketched my finished layout for future use.  Seam allowances are 1cm with a few exceptions so it's worth transferring that info on to your pattern pieces. There are detailed instructions about sizing.  It is a generously fitting garment so I sized down a little and went my bust size rather than waist and hip so this put me at size 8 rather than size 10.   The tie fastening is easily adjustable and very forgiving.  I didn't make any other alterations, I'm 164cm or 5' 5''  for reference. 

The fit is pretty good for the first time making.  The crotch is a little long and I've already used the lengthen/shorten line on the leg pieces to reduce this by 5/8" for the next jumpsuit, but it's very wearable and black fabric detracts from any baggy bits.

I love the slanted pockets- easy to make and so nice to use, a generous size!  It's one of the best patterns I've sewn in a while.  Each summer I end up making a pattern multiple times (last year it was the Avid Seamstress Gathered dress shown here, here and here).  I'm already prepping another of these in blue chambray and a dress version in Lyocell chambray.  The wrap fits nice and close to my chest (even with a small bust) and stays in place all day.  It's also an instant outfit that can be easily dressed up or down for going out or dog walking.  I've also worn it on a weekend away and it makes for very easy wearing, a cardi or a top underneath makes this version suitable for any unseasonal weather too, vital for a British spring/summer!  The instructions are excellent, well written and with clear diagrams.  The trickiest bit is binding the wrap edge of the bodice/trouser pieces and then seaming the binding in on the trouser front. It's something you do need to take your time over but well worth doing as the rest of the construction comes together relatively quickly.

It's been washed and worn three times already, that's got to be a good sign!