Sunday, 19 January 2020

Fibre Mood Holly Dress in Liberty Crepe

I made this dress just in time for Christmas so I'm playing a little catch up here.  It's the Holly dress from Fibre Mood. I saw a few versions popping up on Instagram and I liked the winter-friendly style: long Bishop sleeves, high neck, midi length.  Fibre Mood is based in Belgium and sell quarterly magazines (physical and digital) but also single PDF and paper patterns.  The PDF has overlapping pattern pieces so they need to be traced off and seam allowances have to be added too but I usually trace off anyway and fewer sheets to print means less to pay on the copy shop print- I use Dottyprint

I cut a size 36 based on my bust and hip measurements, then made my standard high round back adjustment and added 5/8" (1.5cm) seam allowances rather than the recommended 1cm so I had extra to play with.  I did tweak the fit a little, the shoulders were snug at the back so I let the seam out 1/4" or so and graded that into the shoulder and underarm.  I am quite narrow across the shoulder, I have read reviews where the shoulder width is commented on as being on the small size.  Not much else needed changing. I stopped the zip at the neck seam (rather than ending at the top of the collar) and added a button and loop elastic sewn in the seam as I don't like constriction at the neck.  The sleeves have a bias strip opening which is a finish I really like and enjoy sewing- quilters are used to narrow seams!  Although the cuff looks like a button closure, the pearl buttons are just decorative- I used black snap fasteners from my vintage notions stash.  

The fabric is Liberty Tana cotton crepe (eBay purchase) in 'Mitsi' which has been waiting at least four years for the right pattern!  It has good opacity and more drape than Liberty lawn.  It's also easy to cut and sew with, but hard to find (Alice Caroline currently has some).  For a similar weight and feel Atelier Brunette viscose crepe is a good option. I had two metres and I just about squeezed the pattern out of the fabric (the belt was pieced at the end from the scraps) so there was minimal wastage.  I wasn't sure this print was going to suit me whatever I chose to make with it but I've been surprised and loved wearing it.  It's feminine without shouting Liberty!  When I'm at home I leave the belt off and often wear it with a jumper but if I'm meeting someone or going out, it smartens up with the tie belt.  There are no pockets and I don't think I would add them with this style, the skirt is not particularly full so pockets would be a bit bulky and maybe too visible with a crepe.  I've seen the same pattern made up as a top too, great option!  I like the modern Victorian vibe and that the lines are simple and not too fussy; I'm not into the frills and overlay skirt layers that are everywhere at the moment. Check out #fibremoodholly on Instagram to see lots of top and dress versions. 

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year

 I thought I'd sneak back to the blog to wish you all a happy new year!  I've been busy catching up with family, working (extra commission work that fell over late December) and creating presents for the festive period.  I thought I'd share my makes now they've been gifted- click on any photo to see larger:

Firstly a quilt-as-you-go gentle crazy cat lady cushion for my sister.  All the prints were chosen for sentiment as well as colours and it elicited a shared understanding of why they were selected as it was opened which gave me an inner glow of happiness.  This is a large cushion, 22" square with soft and squishy cushion form. This method takes a long time but the texture and end effect are worth it.  There's an invisible zip across the top seam.

Next, a requested cushion for my nephew.  He likes one each year so has quite the collection and my design task is to include his name/initials otherwise, I have free rein. He is adventurous with colour which is tremendously helpful.  This cushion started with the Cotton+Steel pop bottles and flowed from there using stash fabrics.  The letters are from a fabulous Japanese alphabet patchwork book, 'Moji Patchwork' by Kumiko Fujita and Kazue Nakaima.  Amazon Japan, Yesasia or Etsy are the most likely places to find this title.

Finally, my brother requested a denim apron.  I've made quite a few aprons like Japanese cross-back designs and children's aprons so I really enjoyed this challenge. It's good quality denim in blue/black. The tape is cotton webbing traditionally used for finishing carpets.  I found a series of apron designs that I liked online and fused my favourite elements to make a one-of-a-kind design. The top pocket is large enough for a phone and pen, the lower pockets can fit hands or a tea towel and the cross back ties threaded through bronze grommets give an adjustable fit. 

When it's been dry we've headed to the beach for breezy walks which is always my happy place.  It's been a hard year, saying goodbye to our sweet dog Lottie, welcoming gorgeous Joni but also finding she had many complex needs- I am so grateful to our vet who is amazing.  There have been other challenges as ever to deal with but ultimately I am grateful we are here with each other to start a new year. 

Monday, 25 November 2019

November at Plush Addict

A bumper post for pre-Christmas sewing for my November sponsor post for Plush Addict, plus you can save 15% on advent calendars and Christmaas panels before 30th Nov.

  1. Hand Dyed Shibori Cotton Vertical Blocks on Blue.  This is the real deal so this fabric needs to be washed on cool and will run if washed on a warm wash or higher.  Also best to wash separately.  Artisan hand dyed lightweight cotton.  There's a lot of Shibori patterns and colours to choose from!  
  2. Digital Cotton Print - Dinosaurs (140cm wide). Perfect for dinosaur fans!
  3. Stretch Cotton Jersey Knit- Space Travel on Teal. 150cm wide, 95% cotton 5% elastane.  This would be ideal for basic shapes like T-shirts.
  4. Dashwood Merry & Bright Draw String Bag Advent Calendar.  I made one of these last year, don't forget you'll need a lot of ribbon!  I hang mine on our stair banisters.
  5. Hand Dyed Shibori Cotton -Pink
  6. Makower Scandi 2019 Stocking Panel
  7. Stretch Cotton Jersey knit - Sea Birds on Aqua150cm wide, 95% cotton 5% elastane.  This also comes in grey.
  8. Digital Cotton Print-Toy Story (140cm wide).  For lovers of Toy Story!
  9. Hand Dyed Shibori Cotton Vertical Lines in Blue

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Simple Folk Sun

I'm still plodding away on my Simple Folk quilt (Sarah Fielke's Block of the month 2018) and the end is most definitely in sight, although on the journey I do make the odd error...

This is the correct sun, the one below was the wrong way up on the background!  Fortunately, all the facial features were sewn to the text fabric only so a quick unpick, reposition and the mistake was remedied.  

I changed the face on this design, the rays are Sarah's original pattern.  The appliqué features are all lawn fabric- they had to be for my sanity, those skinny seams!  I'm now using Aurifil 80wt thread for all my appliqué now that I've got a good range of colours, the stitches really do disappear.  I have two more animal border blocks and the corners to complete before all the blocks are sewn.  I've started joining some sections so I can see it coming together!  I'm aiming for a January finish...I'm just searching out a longarmer!

Monday, 4 November 2019

Sew Over It Cocoon Coat review : Teddy Bear Style

I always have a mental wishlist of unbought patterns that I'm saving for when inspiration strikes.  The Sew Over It Cocoon Coat has been on this list for a long while now and after starting work running the social media feeds at Clothspot I found the perfect teddy bear fur fabric (now sold out), the pattern was in a Sew Over It sale and a plan came together!  

I've only sewn one coat, The Raw Edge Coat from The Maker's Atelier book and it has been one of my favourite makes.  It gets lots of wear and receives so many positive comments.  The Cocoon coat is a similar silhouette, I really like the higher neck and I don't have a stylish winter coat- there's a lot of rain in the Southwest so last time I bought a coat I prioritised waterproofing and a hood!

I made a toile to check shoulder fit and pocket placement but the only alteration I needed made was adding a high round back adjustment, a standard change for me.  Otherwise, I cut UK size 10, I'm between size 8 and 10 in Sew Over It so I went for the larger size to fit lots of warm layers underneath!  The instructions are detailed, this coat started as a class at Sew Over It so it was well tested before becoming a pattern as part of Lisa Comfort's first magazine.  The welt pockets are an extra addition and you do need to email Sew Over It to receive the instructions and pattern pieces. 

Working with such a thick fabric was a challenge at times, especially on the collar and pockets.  I spent a lot of time with spring-scissors clipping the pile back in seam allowances - so.  The construction is best with a slow and steady approach. The collar for example needs careful sewing at the points, seam edges need to be rolled and coaxed into position and there is a fair bit of hand sewing required- to complete the collar, the hem and adding the lining.  The sleeves are in two parts and there are lots of notches to match up and ease to fit in.  I did find it slightly confusing as some of the notches are also marking important places like the top of the shoulder (I think a circle is often used for this on many commercial patterns) and working  out where each notch matched up did take a while.  Start with the double notch and the rest will fit with other notches and seam points.

Working with teddy fur and a satin lining was quite a contrast!  I completed the lining first, cutting out with a rotary cutter, using a 70 microtex needle, lots of fine pins, a slow speed and a curved tailors awl (my new favourite tool!).   I finsihed the seams and hems with pinking shears to reduce fraying. For the coat outer, I cut out with scissors on the floor, switched to a walking foot and 90 needle and tailor's awl to help with the bulk.  For some seams (setting the sleeve for example) Wonderclips were more easier than pins.  I used a pressing cloth (silk organza or thin cotton) and steam for both fabrics as they are sensitive to heat and with the fur I also used a Tailor's Clapper.  The fur needed a gentle approach though, too much steam makes the pile frizzy!

The pockets are a challenge with the fur, although the pile also camouflages any imperfections.  After a little research I discovered pocketing fabric which is a densely woven cotton or cotton/poly blend that's especially hardwearing.  I have an old waterproof coat of my husbands that I've harvested various fittings and fabrics from so I used the lining from that for my pockets and it made construciton so much easier than satin lining would've been!

I did find the outer edges of the coat needed some extra help to stay in place and stop the facing rolling to the outside, especially as I couldn't press as I would with a wool coat.  I ended up sewing tiny hand stitches (like a stabby running stitch) along the outer edges up to the collar point.  Not the best solution I suspect, but the stitches are hidden under the fur and it did the job.  I have now also added a fancy large snap as a front closure.

The Cocoon Coat is now available as a standalone PDF pattern at Sew Over It. 

Sunday, 27 October 2019

October at Plush Addict

It's time for my monthly visit to sponsor Plush Addict and I've spotted some beauties to share, particularly for quilters!  I have noticed that someone has been taking some particularly gorgeous photos of the new arrivals and the colours really shine through.

  1. FQ Bundle Kona New Colours for 2019.  A must-have for solid colour lovers, a fat quarter for each of the 25 new colours!
  2. FQ Bundle Dashwood Under the Stars.  A bundle of eight night-time forest animal party-themed prints designed by Sarah Knight,  A lovely, warm winter colour palette.
  3. FQ Bundle Very Hungry Caterpillar Bundle. 11 Fabrics. A timeless story and the perfect bundle to welcome a baby
  4. FQ Bundle Andover Royal Blue 24 Fabrics.  Designed by Edytar Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts, a stunning selection of the most beautiful prints with a blue theme. There's a free Norway quilt pattern to go with these beauties too.
I'd also like to give a mention to the Alison Glass Handiwork Collection- the FQ bundle is already out of stock but there is yardage of most fabrics, Decoupage is my pick of the prints!  

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Catching Up

It's been a busy few weeks, I'm just catching up with everything after the half-term break from my day job.  This month has been dominated by a complicated health diagnosis for Joni.  She has renal dysplasia.  This means her kidneys are not properly formed and are only 30% of the size they should be.  It was a massive shock and we spent the first three weeks trying to establish a prescription diet and encourage her to eat. After a lot of stress, we've found a food she can eat and her most recent blood test has shown some improvement and a couple of things that need closer monitoring.  It does impact heavily on looking after her- we can't use food treats with her so on longer walks, it's rare that we let her off the lead, she needs lots of water so more toilet breaks, she rarely sleeps through the night as a result.  She is the most loving and lively of dogs and it can be hard to comprehend how complicated things are inside her.  Our vet has been amazing, incredibly supportive and giving us positivity when we have needed it. At the moment she's happy and active, we're doing all we can for her.  It has taken up a lot of time so whilst I have been sewing, I don't have much I can share here at the moment so I'll leave you with a few recent pics of her, she is a total joy.