Sunday 31 July 2011

Framed Purse

For Pretty {Little} Pouch Swap 2 on Flickr my partner has expressed a liking for frames.  I haven't done  one before and fancied trying it out.  I bought my frame and glue supplies from Lisa at U-Handbag.
Lisa has full instructions on purses like this including how to draw a pattern.  I took the basic instructions and played around with the shape adding pleats so ultimately lots can be stuffed inside the purse!  I did make a few test shapes up out of odd bits of fabric.  I didn't want to use the grid fabric and make a mess of it, and once glued into a purse frame there is no going back!
The lining is Petit Ecole by French General at Moda. 
There is a stamped little linen birdie tag, and the lace trim which runs round the bottom edge of the purse is  is to add some curves and softness against the geometric lines of the grid.
 My partner's initial is on the other side so I have mysteriously blurred the reverse.
And the log cabins that weren't going anywhere for me have been recycled into a matching coaster- who wouldn't want to hold their purse whilst using a coaster?  Doesn't everyone take a purse to a cafe with their own matching coaster?
On the purse and the coaster there is a sewing side and a home/kitchen domestic side
There are goodies inside and the package is winging its way to a mystery location!
sib blog

Friday 29 July 2011

Design Classics

A big thankyou to you all, your support is appreciated so much, it surprises me each time!  I am feeling much, much more positive and ready to bounce back!
It is lovely Lynne's month is Ringo Pie and her theme is Design Classics, the inspiration pic is here.  I had a few ideas for this but I wanted to be able to piece whatever I did so I turned to the mini dress and Mary Quant.  Her book Quant by Quant was in the stacks of my local library.  It is from 1960s so pictures are few and far between but there are still some very strong Quant images inside.
I found the dress I wanted here.  I loved the strong shape and the fact that its original owner had shortened it further.  Pininterest is a great place to store images for a specific project- it works as an online moodboard and the pintool downloads to your computers main tool bar so is available anytime.  I try and use Pininterest sparingly.  It is a little too easy to pin everything, use the inspiration and produce something very derivative and not develop ideas of your own, but it is undeniably useful.  If you are interested you can see my boards here.  You need an 'invitation' to join an it seems Twitter or Facebook account, let me know if you want an invite.  
So this is my block, 12.5 square, Kona white, Kona red, Kona ash and a little Lakehouse Dry Goods seed catalogue print.  It was freezer paper pieced using my usual method: tracing my original graph paper sketch onto the reverse of freezer paper, cutting all the bits out and stitching them all together.  You can click on the pic to see it bigger and in more detail!
The pocket is functional so if you have a tiny hand you can fit it inside.  The piecing worked well- only a small amount of unpicking!  All the blocks have the same Kona white background and those completed so far have a bold, graphic quality with lots of solids- check them out here, here, and here.  Whilst you are there, take a look at Penny's latest masterpiece
This is a Mary Quant Daisy doll from the early 1970s.  Her hand is perhaps the only one that could slip into that pocket!  She was a lucky car boot find from a while ago.  Things like this get snatched up very quickly now.
The attention to detail on the clothing is rather wonderful- the bias trim on the tunic, the same fabric for the bag- delicious details.
Thinking about design classics is an interesting topic to muse on- see where it takes you- what would your design classic be?
sib blog

Monday 25 July 2011

Trial and Error

I am working on a frame purse/pouch for my secret partner in a Flickr group- Pretty {Little} Pouch Swap 2.  It is an interesting and innovative group with work of a very high standard.  I have followed my partner's  preferences- I don't want to say too much for fear of giving something away.  This is my fabric pull for her.
When I do a fabric pull for a project I have a colour palette roughly in mind and just see where my eyes take me.  This was a quick one, it jelled as I was doing it.  The process can take ages with lots of getting out and putting away so I was lucky this time.   I have already worked on the purse shape and made a few mock ups in scrap fabric to check how it worked, but I hadn't got much idea on the intricacies of the design.  Apart from lots of small pieces of fabric I had no particular idea shouting at me.  So, I made a couple of tiny log cabins.  Then I found some textured, nubbly grey silk fabric for a neutral and sewed it around the pieced centre. 
This wasn't really working for me but I often hit this stage so I took my cue from heavy weave and added some running and cross stitch with perle cotton.  Hmm, still not really going anywhere.  Maybe it will become an extra goodie in the swap, I am undecided.  So back to the fabric stacks and books for inspiration.  I found it with Suzuko Koseki's Machine Made Patchwork, now known as Patchwork Style.  I was drawn to a bag with fabric squares appliqued in a grid design.  My copy is in Japanese so I had to guess with the construction and scrutinize the diagrams.  This is how one part ended up- this will form one side of the purse.  I have a sewign theme for one side and a cafe/food theme for the other!
If you like how it looks, this is how I did it.  I'll worn you it is quite a laborious process- best suited to bags, purses, pouches, cushions.   I started with a piece of heavy sew in interfacing and drew a grid in pencil.   I only used heavy as I needed structure for the purse, lightweight would be fine for a pillow and still gives and extra layer for the stitched- this makes your machine happier!  The squares are 1.25 inches across.  I pinned this on to a piece of Kaufman Essex linen bigger than my purse pattern- this piece is 9.5 inches by 6.5 inches.  The grid is formed by 2 lines of stitching throughout and I used cotton thread as there will be quite a bit of heat in the applique and polyester may melt.
I stitched a line of stitching just either side of the grid lines.  The easiest way to do this is to use the swing dial- this is the one that changes you needle position so your machine can zig zag.  I sewed all the lines with the needle to the left using the centre guide as my focus.
Then repeat with the needle to the right.  I wasn't aiming for pin point accuracy, it is the freeness in the lines that I like plus accuracy is not always my forte!
I then fussy cut fabric squares 1 inch by 1 inch.  For each fabric square, you will need a square of heat and bond lite.  Cut these just under 1 inch square so they are slightly smaller than the fabric squares.  Press the heat and bond onto the back of the fabric squares.  Arrange the squares on your linen grid.  When you are happy with it stick the squares a few at a time, they might go a bit wonky if done en masse!
Once stuck down, each square needs a border of  small zig zag all around and an X of straight sititches running thought the middle.   As you sew each X you need to start and end each line with very small securing stitches- i just sew backwards a little in a very short stitch length, sew forwards in a longer stitch and then very small stitches and backwards at the end. I used a fine weight piecing thread for this as my squares were quite small and I didn't want the stitching to be too heavy.  I am really pleased with the effect.  Tomorrow it becomes a purse!
The original idea for this is of course Suzuko's, this is just my methodology, hope it works for you!
sib blog

Friday 22 July 2011

Growing uP

It was Lula's last day at Primary school today.  It has been an emotional week of farewell celebrations, memory books, t shirt signing and a leavers' assembly .  She was presented with the 'Academic Prowess' award and more importantly to her- a gift voucher.  Prowess is an old fashioned and slightly comical word to my ears but we sat and clapped as proud parents.  There was a projection throughout the assembly of photographs and events from the last academic year but what stuck in my memory was a quote from one of my favourite poets, e e cummings.
I had to make this tonight to mark the occasion for me as much as her.
A week off now, I definitely need it!
sib blog

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Friendship blocks

Doing the Farmer's Wife Quilt a long has opened my eyes to traditional blocks, the friendship blocks in particular stood out and along with more friendship blocks in 5500 Quilt Blocks gave me the idea for this cushion/pillow project.
You can see in my sketch of how the different blocks were organised.  I didn't want sashing, I was aiming for a scrappy colourful look, even if it is pretty high impact on the eyeballs!

I also started with a limited colour palette, mainly green and pink with some cream/white and black.  I wanted the challenge of working with a narrow range and using colours I don't normally turn to.  Black has been exciting to use, it brings a depth and a drama, especially little splashes of it.
Fabrics are a mix of vintage and new, bought and given, and some Suzuko Koseki and Kumiko Fujita treasures.  The edges are bound with double binding using Lakehouse Dry Goods seed catalogue print.
 Guessed who it was for yet?
It was for Ayumi  and it has now arrived to help decorate her new apartment in Japan and spread a bit of birthday good wishes for this weekend!
Here's to friendship x
sib blog

Sunday 17 July 2011

Just returned from the briefest weekend away.  Living in Devon means that lovely beaches are a only short drive.  We visit Challaborough Bay each year and Bigbury Bay/ Burgh Island are only half a miles walk from the holiday park.  The weather was on our side on Saturday afternoon. At 3ish the beach looked like this
and by 6.30 the tide creeps round either side of the island and meets over the sandy causeway.  It was very windy but the sea was just about warm enough to swim in, body board and jump the waves.
Not so warm or dry today, I'll leave you with pics

and a song I cannot get out of my head, Ben Howard's 'Old Pine'.  It really kicks in after a minute and twenty seconds so hang on in there. He is a Devon musician and his trajectory is on the up at the moment.  
sib blog

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Dressing Up

I like to dress up.  I am not talking fancy dress, no thank you.  I am not talking about in the bedroom- I find no clothes are best here.  I mean in my everyday clothes, I like to pretend I am from another time or place. My favourite kitchen apron is vintage, thrifted and full length,  My husband thinks I have a sort of Pioneer look going on, maybe a bit Dr Quinn medicine woman 
I wear maxi skirts a lot.  I don't wear tights/panty hose so they seem a practical solution.  I also don't like showing my legs.  I stride out in a long skirt and boots,  I find the length  liberating and I walk fast so I swish along.
I saw Room with A view at 15, fell in love with Helena Bonham Carter, a romance that continues and has been passed on to my daughter.   Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Getting of Wisdom were also major influences on my clothes wearing aesthetic over the years.
I couldn't keep Lottie under the control of my spoon for long!  I am sure that I just look like any other 40 something woman wandering around town  but in my head I am living in an Edwardian drama, corseted and petticoated and with some worn and battered black lace up boots.
Meanwhile... Farmer's wife blocks.  Both rotary cut, no templates.
21 Contrary Wife: Alexander Henry aqua flowers print Farmdale Blossom, Sweetwater Authentic newsprint in cream and black.  How I wish I had more of this, but just layer cake squares.
2 Autumn Tints: Vintage house print, vintage white/red polka dots, vintage red/green flowers,  Moda Little Apples by Aneela Hoey and Lake House Dry Goods seed catalogue, white on black.
I know there are some text fabric fans out there reading, and some of you already know that Mandy at Simply Solids has some of the Lakehouse seed catalogue fabric in a variety of colours- I do not know any where else in the UK to stock these prints so get them whilst you can!   I was missing black on white and it is on its way to my stash, thank you Mandy, always so fast and helpful and thank you tweeters for sending me the info! 
sib blog

Saturday 9 July 2011

Do what you gotta do

The best bit of the new kitchen looks like this...
Every time I see that big hunk of turquoise Formica worktop I smile.  However, the rest is unfinshed- most of the doors and drawers had dings and faults so one door, no drawer fronts and a lot of waiting for replacements.
Meanwhile, gratuitous photos of fabric.  I tried to resist this but I caved, the white on white is especially pretty and I have just cut into the black for a binding.  Lakehouse Dry Goods, Annie's farm stand, seed catalogue print from Fat Quarter Shop
Tiny cuts of Japanese fabrics, for Farmer's wife blocks I think.
Japanese mini linen cuts, soft and delicate
Suzuko Koseki and Kumiko Fujita, my favourite designers.
I was happy to see how many people enjoyed a bit of calligraphy in my last post and the encouraging comments to try designing a bit of fabric myself.  Once I get past the silly season of end of term (maybe 20 letters/forms from old school and new school this week) parents' meetings, birthdays etc and into a nit of quieter time I will look into it properly.  I do feel like I am going slightly mad.  I have had a bad run of crappy sinus headaches that even my strongest painkillers fail to kill, Lula has cleared her room of 'toys' almost entirely (soon to be her eleventh birthday) and dropping her off at high school for a trial day last week has made me all a bit emotional and my head is a busy obsessional place.  Creatively this can be good, practically my brain is a hard place to be.  It'll pass.
I leave you firstly with a destash pic - all on Folksy (British Etsy style site)- if you don't have a Folksy account I can sell direct, 10% off to blog readers, just let me know and I'll refund discounts via Paypal.
And finally, a bit of Nina Simone, 'Do What You Gotta Do" and an obscure but interesting Japanese Youtube video.  
I find it strangely calming x
sib blog