Sunday 30 June 2013

Just in time: Google Reader

The last day of Google reader (I will miss it) so don't forget to switch all your reader blog favourites over to bloglovin or feedly.  You can follow me on either- the buttons are on my right side bar.
Last chance to win Zakka Handmades- click here.  Winner announced tomorrow here so you will need to get your blog reader sorted!
sib blog

Thursday 27 June 2013

New at Eternal Maker

Freshly arrived at Eternal Maker are some great fabric lines including Tula Pink Salt Water - shown rather nicely in the pic with Parson Grey Seven Wonders- they all play so nicely together.  They would make a subtle masculine quilt too. 
Also just arrived is some of the Denyse Schmidt Shelburne Falls range.  I must say I fall for Denyse's ranges each time and I love this one.  I have used the black floral for a dress and I have other prints stored including the aqua/yellow floral in this picture ready for future quilting projects.  As is the way with her ranges, some of these prints are very close to original vintage prints in their design which is what attracts me to them so strongly. I think the deco fans would make a great binding choice or as strips in quilt patterns- I am already thinking of using them in this pattern bought in the Amitie sale, the idea is turning over in my head!  You can buy the fabrics below in a bundle too.
I have mentioned before that I find something unexpected, something new, some treasure every time I delve around Eternal Maker website.  I have been assured that the bricks and mortar shop is the same.  A couple of weeks ago I came across a thread matching service which is ideal when you are planning either a quilt project- they are an Aurifil supplier and stock a huge range of colours and weigths from 50wt- my go to thread for piecing and light looking quilting including the smaller  200m tester size
For a dress making or bag project- they can provide a matching Gutermann sew all  poly thread. 

I use this for all my dress making, every sewing machine I have ever had has always preferred Gutermann and my mum always used it so that's good enough for me!  They offer a range of sizes including the more economical 250m and 500m so if you are planning a project, send Anna, Rachael and the rest of the Eternal Maker team an email and it can be a one stop purchase for your fabric/thread/pattern/findings
And whilst we are thinking of taking the work out of fabric selection (its a hard life) take a look at their designer bundles and Eternal Maker bundles.  Basic Grey Peanut Butter and Jelly is a great collection and in two colour ways, aqua
And there is a great fat quarter bundle, Likin' Lichen, put together to showcase a range of designer fabrics that share similar tones and colours and range of scale and line in the prints, a 50s mid centrury modern feel in this bundle.
Enjoy letting someone else do the work!
sib blog

Wednesday 26 June 2013

PJ Pants Class at Fat Quarterly Retreat

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013 is only weeks away and I am busy prepping.  This post is for those coming to my PJ pants class but it could be of interest to others so read on!  Any questions will be answered in the comments instead of by email so the info is with the post.  The PJ pants class uses a Simplicity pattern 9871 which you can buy or download for free and tape together.   You can find lots of handy info at the free download especially Anatomy of a Pattern and Fabric Selection
I am going to go through some prep work that you are welcome to do before class or as part of the class.   If you wish to trace off the pattern before you come you will need to have an idea about size.  The differences between sizes on this pattern are generous.  I made an XS-too small, and an S- too big, so I ended up tracing between sizes.  You can even trace the waist/hip as one size and the leg as another- I did this with the pattern I traced for Laura Jane's PJs.  Her pattern is the white version on the right,  the waist/hip is between sizes M and L and the leg is M.
If you are working out sizes, a pair of your own well fitting PJs is a great help.  The pattern has some markings that are a great guide when working out size.  There is a line for where the crotch will be once the PJs are made and also the waistline, (I'll warn you there will be a lot of talk of crotches).  You can position the crotch of your own PJs and see how the depth of the waist/hip area compares.  I used this for Laura's and you can see where the waist line is on her Marks and Spencers strawberry pjs and the waistline on the pattern so I dropped the waistline by 1 1/2"when I traced the pattern. 
For the leg length, use the inside leg of your own PJs and remember to allow for the hem finish you want. There is more detail on this on the print out mentioned below.  It is always better to make the PJs too long and have room to play with but if you do end up making them too short a hem cuff can be added or they could be 3/4 length and you can pretend that is what you wanted all along!
You have the option of making the PJ pants exactly as they are on the pattern or with some extra details- straightening the leg, lowering the waistline, hem cuff, elastic/front tie and I have written a document which explains some of the size, cutting out and making details, especially for those extra details.  If you are coming to class, please print this out, read through and bring with you.  I will bring copies with me too.  I will be going through the basics of tracing, cutting out and making plus Trudi will be on hand too to help out.  You will be needing to try on as you make so if you were thinking of wearing an all-in-one jump suit to retreat, you may want to think again.

Some Style Options:
Narrow tie  1/2" + back elastic
Wide tie 1" + back elastic
Standard Hem
Contrast Hem Cuff- 3" finished
Contrast Hem Cuff  with Turn-up
And others- shorts, 3/4 length, bound hem, lace trimmed hem- any ideas let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do.  
The details below are in the Fat Quarterly info that has been sent out to class members but there is no harm in repeating.  With fabric quantities- better too much than too little and that includes the requirements for contrast trims so I have upped these quantities.

You Will Need:
Fabric: See pattern for quantity, they are generous estimates. Cotton fabric is recommended and woven rather than stretch.  I made a voile version and a flannel version.  Avoid directional patterns or patterns that need matching (including plaid/check/stripes) as they require extra fabric. A large double bed sheet might be sufficient- depends on your size. 
To make the contrast hem cuffs: at least long 1/4 yard contrast fabric, 1/2 yard is better!
Waist ties: If contrasting you will need at least long 1/4 yard contrast fabric (not flannel for waist ties, too bulky.
If tracing: Swedish paper/lightweight copy paper to be taped together/dots & cross paper, tape
Paper Scissors
Fabric Scissors
1 1/4 yard of 1/2” wide elastic- or wider elastic.  I have tried 1/2" and 1"
Tape measure
Good quality polyester thread for strength- not cotton.  I suggest Gutermann or Coates.
Scrap fusible woven interfacing 2” x 4”
If using lawn or voile- bring 70 size sewing needle, Microtex is good for lawn and voile
Bodkin/safety pin for threading elastic throughcasing
Usual sewing- scissors, seam ripper, pins
Quilt ruler
Pencil or fabric marker
Buttonhole foot if bringing your own machine
Optional: Pinking shears if you are bringing your own machine and have no zig-zag to finish seams
Optional: A pair of PJ pants that already fit you well

I will provide:
Fray check for buttonholes
Off cuts of interfacing
Love and understanding!

sib blog

Colette Hawthorn Pattern- Pre Order

Following the launch of Hawthorn, Colette are running a sew- along and a contest similar to when they launched Laurel. I definitely want to take part in this one and Annie has now got a pre-order option on the due-to-arrive-any-time Hawthorn pattern at her shop.  

The sew-along starts today with a post on fabric choices and making a muslin and the competition looks like it ends around 29th July.   There are sew-along posts on full and small bust so this could be a great learning experience if they are areas you have struggled to fit in the past and you could make a peplum blouse instead of a dress.  I am planning my dress right now!  Awaiting a fabric sample...
sib blog

Monday 24 June 2013

June at Village Haberdashery

New fabrics and patterns are arriving so fast at Village Haberdashery that I can hardly keep up with them!  Here are my June pics...
Beechwood Park is a new collection from Jenean Morrison.  I like her fabrics, she really knows how to create shapes within shapes and combine colours in a collection.   These fabrics would work so well fussy cut in EPP or blocks.  You can find them here and build a bundle here.

Stof are a Danish fabric company and their latest collection, Uno, is very Scandianvian in feel with more than a nod to Lotta Jansdotta's first collection.  I think the quirkily named Floating Axes (the ones that look a bit like sea urchins) are my favourite print, great for dresses.  Build a bundle is here

Hipster really caught my eye with its pixellated cross stitch vibe.  It's by Riley Blake and Annie has picked the stand out prints of the collection.  Great candy colours and variety in the prints, very nice indeed.

For those looking for cute, Sevenberry delivers with these sweet cats and dogs

As well as fruit  I don't know why fruit works so well on fabric but I have a fruit section in my stash and there are lots of vintage fruit prints around too!

The indie pattern world has been busy too.  Cake have a great pattern Humming Bird peplum top and skirt pattern for curvy ladies- I think you really need curves to rock this pattern, it is crying out for boobs and bottom!  Great value as it provides a knit top and a woven skirt in the one pattern as well a good range of style and combination options all colour coded for easy finding on the back of the pattern.  I am not a massive fan of the illustrations they put on their patterns so I'll tempt you with pics of real women modelling the clothes.

I am hotly awaiting the delivery of Colette's new dress pattern (its on its way), Hawthorn as the Sew-along starts 26th June and there is a competition too.  As a small bust adjustment is one of the sew along posts I think I am safe buying this pattern!

Making clothes for children is a great way to get into dressmaking. The styles are forgiving and being small they use less fabric.  This Green Bee Romper is very cute for girlies...

And this Figgy's pattern Banyan Tee, Trousers and Shorts for boys and girls (including a little older too) is very tempting.  I would like the Banyan Tee for myself...I have seriously thought about buying this and resiszing for myself.

Most of all I am looking forward to visiting Annie's shop in person during the Fat Quarterly Retreat.  You don't have to be going to the Retreat to come along.   Details are here, it is an day and evening event with a special sale and discount of 10% any time Friday 19th July.   I will be there in the evening and I think it will be super busy! Can't wait!

sib blog

Zakka Handmades Blog Tour Starts Here!

I am lucky enough to be starting the blog tour of Amy Morinaka’s new book, ‘Zakka Handmades’. I have followed Amy’s blog for a long time so to see her beautiful cute style altogether in a book is a huge pleasure.  Zakka relates to the everyday  and her book perfectly reflects this with twenty four projects to make and use everyday.  I thought it would be fun to find our a little more about Amy and her crafting style...

Blog tour starts 6/24/13!

You were brought up in Japan.  When did you move to USA and how did the cultural change affect your crafting style?

I first came to the U.S. straight out of high school to attend college.  That was back in the mid-80s, when people wore leg warmers and kids carried cabbage patch dolls and there were no zakka movement around here! (lol)  Few years later I met my hubby and we’ve been enjoying our lifestyles here in Southern California ever since. We often visit Japan to visit our family members and friends.

Although I sewed and knitted occasionally, crafting took a back seat for a long time until I had my own kids (now ages 13 and 11). I guess I was just too busy adjusting to the American life, studying, working, and managing my family, during all this time.  Crafting became part of my life when I bought myself a brand new sewing machine when my youngest was in preschool, and from that point on, I’m a non-stop crafter!

making amigurumi

Looking back, I’m not sure how the cultural changes affected my crafting style, but one thing for sure is that I’ve always cherished the Japanese zakka culture. Growing up in Japan, hunting for cute and “kawaii” zakka, adoring them, and showing off to my friends and family, has always been a big part of my life, regardless of handmade or not!

Your projects have a mix of sewing combined with other crafts like crochet, embroidery and stamping.  Who taught you to sew?  Are there any crafts that you would love to learn?

I’m a self-taught everything girl. I’ve been a book worm all my life and whenever I want to learn something new, my first stop is to get help from the books. That’s how I learned how to sew, to crochet, to knit, to embroider, to carve eraser blocks and you name it – all sorts of crafty things - from both Japanese and English craft books. Of course, online resources have been a big help in the recent years. So when it was my turn to write a craft book, I had a very clear goal - to provide step by step instructions to the crafters of all experience levels as clearly as possible, with abundant illustrations and diagrams.

My hand carved eraser collection

As for new crafts I’d like to learn, on my current list are magic loop sock knitting, stencilling, bead accessory making, Eastern European inspired embroidery, soap making… and the list goes on. (Which means I need to get more books! lol)

There has been a huge explosion in Japanese fabrics and cute Kawaii style.  Has that made it easier for you to find the materials you want?  What are your favourite fabric and notions suppliers for Zakka projects?

Oh yes, definitely! I continue to be fascinated by the wonderful fabrics available out there, including the Japanese imports, on both online and at a local level. I don’t have a specific fabric supplier that I favour to make zakka projects, because I’d like to keep myself open to all sorts of yummy fabrics available. But when it comes to notions and sewing machine, I really favour the Japanese brands – namely the Clover supplies and tools and my Juki sewing machine (TL-2010Q)!

my sewing machine

The book is packed full of projects.  Can you explain a little about where you find ideas and inspiration and how you go about designing a project?

I don’t look for inspirations, but I’m always open to inspirations! Craft books and magazines, pinterest, flickr, and the amazing craft blogs out there (including yours, Kerry! **blushes**) are all precious sources of inspiration.  I keep a small doodle book where I sketch my ideas and thoughts. And every time I try a new project, I write down the measurements, the how-to’s, and the specifics in my “project notebook” for future reference. My current project notebook is in my fourth, and I know for sure that these notebooks will continue to grow!

I think my favourite project, and the one everyone will want to make, is the Kotori Little Bird Pouch what’s your favourite?

Kotori (bird) zipper pouch in navy

Hmmm… this is a tough one!  But it will probably be the Crochet Doily Pouch.  It incorporates two of the things I love – sewing and crocheting – and it’s also a quick project to put together. 

from Zakka Handmades

My daughter is almost 13 and she was very interested in your book.  We made the Puffy Ponytail bows together. Your projects have a simple fresh style and many of them would be perfect for beginner crafters.  Which projects would you recommend for someone without much sewing experience?

Oh that’s fantastic, Kerry! (*blushes*) As you mentioned, most of my zakka projects in the book are great for crafters with limited sewing experience.  Simple Linen Tote, Sashiko Style Coasters, and the Puffy Ponytail Bow, are probably the simplest of all.  And if you know how to stitch simple crochet stitches, the Crochet-Edged One-Yard Scarf should be worked effortlessly. The crochet edging of this scarf is stitched using only three simple stitches – chain, single crochet and double crochet. (In the UK, they’re chain, double crochet, and treble).

You often mention home and your family.  How does crafting fit into your family life and space? Can you describe your sewing space at home?

My family, especially my girls, inspired me to begin sewing. I would probably not be creating as much as I do now if it weren’t for my girls. I feel very fortunate for the inspirations they continue to provide me! At the same time, I find it interesting that crafting is what really helps to save my sanity from day-to-day hassle of raising two demanding pre-teen/teenage girls!

my sewing machine 

I don’t have a designated craft room of my own, but instead, my sewing table, ironing board, and supply shelves are all placed in our family room that is adjacent to our kitchen. This is really convenient for me, because I can multitask – craft, cook, help my kids’ homework, drink green tea, and listen to the radio – all at once, staying in one location.

What are your top tips to give a small project like a pouch or a bag a Zakka twist?

To me, it’s all in the details.  I love adding a personal touch to my zakka projects by incorporating crochet parts, simple embroidery, pieced patchwork, and stamped art to create one of a kind design. Stitching small pieces of fabric scraps or vintage ribbons as original “labels” or “side embellishments” to pouches and bags, and attaching a small wood bead or a button to the zipper pull makes all the difference!

from Zakka Handmades

Thankyou Amy!  The next stop on the tour is Jeni of In Color Order on 26th June

6/24/13 - Kerry verykerryberry  (interview post)
6/26/13 Jeni In Color Order
6/28/13 Tea Rose Home
7/1/13 – Amber One Shabby Chick
7/3/13 – Kristen Feeling Stitchy
7/5/13 – Hiromi Harujion Design
7/8/13 – Amy nanaCompany
7/10/13 – Lisa and Sarah A Spoonful of Sugar
7/12/13 – Mette Erleperle
7/15/13 – Sarah and Rachel Roxy Creations
7/17/13 - Anna Noodlehead

And on every stop there is a giveaway of the Zakka Handmades book, including here!  This one is open internationally.  To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment about your favourite Zakka or small project make, either from a book/pattern or of your own invention and make sure your email address is included in your profile or as part of your comment e.g your name (at) gmail (dot) com.  Winner will be randomly chosen 1st July!
sib blog

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Sale at Saints and Pinners

Jo and Fran are offering a 20% discount on any sale over £10 at Saints and Pinners at the moment.

So for this month's selection I thought I would look at some of my favourite summery choices.  Starting with this Cloud 9 Fabric Flock Quilt Kit.

Easy to assemble, the kit provides all the  fabrics ready cut to make the quilt top and the backing fabric can be found here.   There are not many of these left.
There is yardage of many of these Cloud 9 prints too if you'd rather come up with your own designs.  Cloud 9 are organic cottons, high thread count and lovely quality- 'Shell' can be found here .

Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voiles are such great prints and there are a good range of solid colours, I especially like the pink.  These  fabrics work well cut into simple shapes like large squares for easy but sumptuous quilts.  

Even easier is to use a longer length and make a lightweight receiving blanket, which would make a perfect summer baby gift, details here.
I love the colour of these Annette Tatum prints, very summery and I think they would make lovely pillow cases, quilt backs or even duvet cases.
Spoilt for choice!  The discount is added automatically at the check out stage and at only £2.50 for UK delivery, you are definitely getting a bargain!
sib blog