Friday 30 September 2011

Giveaway! Mug rug for you...

Shhh, it is my birthday, 41 today.  I am not a big one for celebrations ( I have had some lovely pressies, I'll share later) and even a birthday girl has to go to work, so for now it is giveaway time.
I plan to be producing more paper pieced patterns in the future and selling them as downloads so to win this mug rug I would like you to give me just a little help- leave a comment telling me what image you would like to see paper pieced.  This will help give me some ideas on where to start!
The giveaway is international.
I need to be able to contact the winner so check that your email is in your profile or your comment.  Followers get an extra entry- just leave a second comment saying you follow.
Giveaway closes Friday 7th October  6.00am GMT
I won't be replying to these comments but I will be reading closely to see what you suggest.
You can make your own mug rug here.
**Good Luck**
sib blog

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Tutorial Part 2 Mug Rug: Foundation piecing

I am using a different technique for piecing the spoon- foundation paper piecing.  This is where you stitch your seams through a thin paper foundation.   Its plus points are that it is very accurate, and requires less preparation than the freezer paper method.  Its downsides are that you are working in reverse/mirror image (you'll see what I mean later), you cannot control how you iron your seams, it is harder to get the grain of your fabric right or to fussy cut, it is more wasteful of fabric and it is less flexible when designing patterns.  I like the accuracy but I hate sewing through paper and I don't enjoy picking the bits of paper off at the end.  No freezer paper is needed for this technique.    We will be foundation piecing the spoon in two sections.
Start by printing out this PDF pattern onto thin paper.  Roughly cut the two sections out but keep the seam allowances intact.  It can help to print two copies and cut one of these up to act as a pattern piece guide but remember to allow for the seam allowance too if you do this.
We are starting with section B: the head of the school.  You will need a piece of grey fabric that covers the whole of the spoon area including the seam allowance and a little beyond.  If you put the fabric behind the paper and hold it up to the light you will be able to see if your fabric is big enough.  Scroll further down for a photo of this.  Secure with a pin. If your fabric has right side and wrong side, the right side faces down and the paper is pinned onto the wrong side.  Next, you need to cut triangles big enough for pieces 15,16,17,18 plus seam allowances.  You can see the size of mine- they are on an inch grid.  You always need to go a bit bigger with this method as you will trim the seams down as you stitch.
Take a triangle and place it under the paper, right sides together with the spoon fabric.  The corner of the triangle lies inwards toward the centre of the spoon.  It takes a while to get the hand of this, remember the fabric will open out after your stitch.   Place a pin along the seam line- this is where your stitches will go.
Check that the fabric is big enough, the pin will hold it in place, just flip the triangle outwards, it should extend to the seam allowance at least.  
This is how it looks on the reverse- this is going to be the right side so you are working in reverse and in mirror image!
Flip everything back so the paper is on top and the triangle is flat underneath with the right angle corner facing inwards.  You are ready to stitch.  You need small stitches- 1.5mm, a larger needle helps to perforate the paper and you could use a thicker thread rather than a piecing weight- mine held up fine though.   For a lot of foundation piecing patterns you need to start  and stop exactly with the seam line and secure but that is not necessary with this simple shape.  You can start in the seam allowance and will not need to secure your stitches if you choose this.  
You will need to flip over and press your seam, trim  the seam allowance to quarter inch with scissors (scroll further down for a picture of this) and press the triangle outwards.  Then repeat with triangles 16, 17, 18.  It should look like this.  
Trim the outside edges to line up with the dotted line of the seam allowance.  The spoon head section is complete but do not remove the paper yet!
We are working on the handle (section C)  next.  Just like before, find a piece of grey fabric that covers the whole of the handle area (19) including the seam allowance and a little beyond.  If you put the fabric behind the paper and hold it up to the light you will be able to see if your fabric is big enough.  Secure with a pin along the centre of piece 19.
We are working on the long side pieces 20 and 21 next, so cut out two pieces of background fabric large enough to cover each area plus seam allowances all round.  Starting with piece 20, hold right sides together so that the fabric extends at least quarter inch over the seam line and the lies behind piece 19.  Pin through the paper and  along the seam line , flip over and check the fabric opens out to cover piece 20 plus the seam allowance.  Stitch along the line, you can start in the seam allowance at the top and stitch into the triangle 23, if you stitch a long way it is going to be hard to trim the seam so a quarter inch will do.  
 Flip over, press, trim the seam, open out and press again,  In this photo I have added pieces 20 and 21 and I have started to trim one of the seams. 
Cut and add pieces 22 and 23 just like you did with the corner triangles of the head of the spoon.  It should look like this untrimmed,
and like this one you have trimmed up to the seam allowances.
You now need to join the head and handle together, place the paper sides together, stitch right along the lines at the top of the handle and the bottom of the spoon head  
Open out, and carefully peel off the paper and give the spoon a good press.
Your pieced sections are finished.
Ready to put the whole thing together?  I'll be back soon...
Ready to win this mug rug?  Giveaway soon...
sib blog

Saturday 24 September 2011

Freezer paper piecing: Essentials

Slightly out of context reference, but these are my essentials for paper piecing.  Tutorial and pattern to follow.  Its a mug rug- that's all I can say for now as it exists only in my head but meanwhile lets go through this one by one...
Rotary cutters.  You can't do this with scissors, rotary cutter precision is necessary.  The larger 45mm is great for general usage and you can get by with that alone but the 28mm will make life a whole lot easier on the little bits and is less effort on the hands and arms.
If you've got a rotary cutter then you are bound to have quilt rulers.  Not all quilt rulers are created equal and I have learnt my preference over time.  Both of these are by Creative Grids.  A little square is great for small bits, I have a 5.5 inches one that gets lots of use but it doesn't have the lovely quarter inch dotted border lines that you can see on the larger ruler on the left.   These are the biggest aid to adding your seam allowances.
Freezer paper, essential and available in the UK too, although not at supermarkets.  If you haven't used this stuff, it has a papery side and a plastic/way side.  You can iron it onto fabric and then peel it off and reuse it with and it leaves no residue.  Great for applique and templates and a roll lasts forever.  Cottonpatch stock it and on ebay you can buy smaller pieces or splash out on a whole roll and make a commitment.  If it doesn't work out you have lots of paper to wrap your sandwiches in.
You need a knife for cutting your freezer paper templates and a rotary cutter will not be fine enough.  I use an Olfa scalpel and you can buy cheap disposable scalpels in art suppliers.  I also use a propelling pencil, HB leads and a very fine permanent liner- 0.1mm.

Otherwise the usual kit applies.   It is helpful to have a small iron- I use a travel iron, and thin piecing thread is another bonus- Aurifil 50/2 is perfect or YLI soft touch, both are fine piecing threads.
Back soon, must draw the design or there will be nothing to piece.
sib blog

catch ups

Catch ups and thankyous.  Firstly a lovely texty fabric swap with Cindy of Live a Colorful Life.  A great little stack of wordy black white and cream prints.  Thankyou Cindy!
I won an Amy Butler giveaway at Sewmama sew recently and the good people at Amy Butler sent me a big stack of half yard cuts and a pile of patterns.  The top three are organic quilting cottons with a lovely smooth texture- my favourite is top far right.  The bottom three are a new Voile fabric, similar to Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voiles, really silky.   They would make great dress fabric. These three (bottom of photo) are going into the pile of Little Folks voiles that will magic themselves into a quilt one day.  
And finally, a block- a great big block- around 19-20 inches square, I haven't measured exactly for Angela in a new bee, Stash Trad.  This is a bee where we use our own fabrics and create traditional style blocks, still a relatively new thing for me.  This is her own design too, Cracker Scraps  and lovely and straightforward to do, plus at this size you could swiftly assemble a very large quilt.
I am still catching up with my Ringo Pie blocks, a Christmas one is a-coming for Amber...
sib blog

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Destash- Sew Hip Magazines

Destashing my Sew Hip magazines so I thought I'd put them up here first to see if anyone is interested?
*Updated 24th Sept as some have already sold*
 £1.50 per issue- postage £1.20  one issue £1.80 two issues UK, £2.70 one issue Europe, £4.50 one issue world/USA/Japan etc.  Email me if you are interested- there is a link under the about me on the right of the page.   If you want to know the postage costs of multiple issues just let me know.  All are in good condition but I have read them and thumbed through.  All have their pattern insert too.
I have done a brief description of the highlights.
 Issue 12-Christmas makes, wreath, ballet slippers, oven gloves, French General fabric showcase + more.
 Issue 14- Men's trousers, strapless dress, kids projects, cake softies + more.
Add caption
Issue 13- Amy Butler interview, baby quilt, zipper pouch by Florence (Flossie and the teacakes)+ more.
Issue 15- Baby quilt, Poppy Treffry interview, apron pattern + more.
Issue 17 - quilt by Nettie- A Quilt is Nice!, cupcake bunting + more.
Issue 18 Aneela Hoey (Sherbert Pips/Little Apples) embroidered little quilt, frame purse, dress pattern, nappy satchel + more.
You will need a paypal account to pay!  I will send you a Paypal invoice once you have emailed me.  Any questions, you know you can ask me!
sib blog

Monday 19 September 2011

New Sewing Machine

That would be a new sewing machine in fabric form.
A 6.5 inch quilt block from Kumiko Fujita's 318 Patchwork for Amisha,  
It is her month in the 318 Patchwork Bee and she chose all things sewing themed.  I modeled this block on my little Singer featherweight.

I know it may seem strange as I know paper piecing stresses a lot of people out there, but I find it rather  therapeutic, relaxing even.
Once some obligations pass and I have a bit of extra time I will do some paper piecing tutorials- a foundation one (not my favourite method) and a freezer paper one- now you're talking...
sib blog

Sunday 18 September 2011

Five Favourites

I saw this linky party at Suz's blog Patchworknplay and Mary's blog Mollyflanders-all you need to do is select some of your favourite fabrics.  I could not resist digging in my boxes to pull out my favourites- these are the ones that make me a little sentimental, I don't ever want them to end.   I do the same with gloves, t shirts, pjamas, I really need to get a grip and move on...
These are in no particular order, but first is this floral print by Sevenberry.  
I first saw this when Amy used to sell delicious stacks of handpicked selections of fabrics.  I bought an FQ then, then I found some more elsewhere earlier this year, and I haven't seen it since.  A great aqua and incredibly usable.
The next two are an old print by Kumiko Fujita.  Ayumi put a scrap of this in a parcel a while ago for me and I used it to make a bit of a breakthrough block for me- Vintage spools.  I found the aqua on Etsy- it was a random listing and I have just swapped with Tamiko for the peachy FQ.  
This red cooking print is by Suzuko Koseki.  You can still find it on Etsy.  I first saw this in her book, Machine Made Patchworks- now  translated as Patchwork Style.  I bought the book a couple of  years ago and it was an epiphany for me of patchworking style and fabrics.  I didn't even know Suzuko Koseki was the author or that she had designed the fabrics, I was just transfixed by the texty kitchen imagery.
I had to include some vintage in my favourite five.  I am not sure where this little dotty scrap came from, but it is a precious little scrap.   It is so vibrant and buzzy, all those little lines make it come to life for me, a tiny piece but well used.
Aprons are a great source of vintage fabric, I picked this one up a while ago from the car boot sale and I have used it on a number of little projects.  Like the other vintage scrap it has a dynamic feel- all the quite circles and squares dancing around and the colour combination is a favourite.
Check out the others at the linky party, it is interesting to see what others pick and why.  I could have kept choosing forever, I feel like I left some out, they wait for another time...
sib blog

Friday 16 September 2011

Washing Line

August was Corey's month in Ringo Pie so I am playing catch up.  Her theme was Quilts on a Line, and I struggled for a long time to come up with anything that really gripped me.  When I buy vintage and thrifted fabrics from the carboot, there is nothing I like more than the line of freshly washed fabrics and tea towels flapping in the breeze later the same morning, 
Vintage linens and tea towels
that  is what I wanted to capture.
Pinterest is useful for finding and storing ideas as I get my head around a project and you can see my board for Corey here.   I sketched my idea onto grid paper, traced on to freezer paper and set to work.
Soem of the work was done for me by the fabric- the crazy hexagon cheater print (which you can also see it in the top pic) was perfect.  I imagine this as a throw that might go on a sofa.  A quilt comes next, made of strips of Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks Voiles, perfect for mini items as the fabric is lightweight and doesn't bulk the seams up.  The tricky bit was where the hexagon quilt flaps over, don't even ask about that bit- it was a long night gettting that to work.  The next quilt is a vintage bed quilt, I thought I wuld show how I worked this one out.  I started with 1.5 inch squares framed with half square triangles cut from 2 inch squares.  I made up enough mini blocks to cover the length of the freezer paper template plus a half block.

I then arranged the squares to follow the lines of the template...
I had to allow for the quarter inch seam allowance at the top and I pinned  on o the ironing board as I worked my way down joining the seams at angles with pins.  Once these were sewn together, I placed the mini quilt  on the template and cut the edges with scissors to follow the lines of the finished shape.

I used wide strips of ditzy flowery fabrics for the mini quilt borders- they needed to be wide to be trimmed down to the wavy shape.  By laying the mini quilt on the fabric- both right side facing and rotary cutting following the wavy edge of the mini quilt, it creates an border that will fit on perfectly.  I then trim the whole shape so is the shape of the freezer paper plus seam allowance.
The washing line is some perle cotton attached by couching stitch.

This is the back, just long stitches of the fine thread which can't be seen on the right side.
The final fabric is meant to be a tablecloth with its kitchen themed print.  I added some clothes pegs and a bird for a little extra hand stitching detail, Corey is the queen of embroidered blocks after all.   Click on the pic to see more details.
I do wish I had shaped the Little Folks Quilt more at the bottom but too late now.  I am pleased at the flappiness of the line, they do feel like they are blowing in the breeze.  Next I need to think about Christmas for Amber's block...
sib blog