Monday 27 January 2014

Plantain Challenge: Deer and Doe

I think Deer and Doe are my favourite indie pattern company.  I love others but I have had the most success with Deer and Doe. The fit and the aesthetic suits me so when they launched their free Plantain pattern I downloaded it tout de suite. 
Along with the pattern came a challenge so I thought I would set a challenge to myself and see if I could make some thick polar style fleece work in this style and prettify some of its less attractive manmade qualities.  I am usually a natural fibres obsessive so this sort of fabric is an anathema, but it was a weird ebay buy and I was curious to see how it sewed, plus I could not deny it was warm and I am perpetually cold.
I had a scrap of Liberty needle cord from Leila, large enough to make the elbow pads, cut a couple of shoulder plackets and trim the edges of a front pocket. I traced the pocket shape off an old hoody top.  A little scrap went a long way.  I like plackets and they are easier to sew than they look, especially on a shoulder where the top section finishes the neck and the bottom edges are sewn into the armhole.  The wooden buttons are decorative (no buttonhole required) and sewn through the layers. 
It is a cuddly soft top to wear, great for working from home days and pilates classes or wearing with PJ pants in the evening and an easy, quick make.  I made a size 36 but the limited stretch in the fleece made for a close fit so ¼" seams throughout.  I used the highest neckline and reduced the neck trim rectangle by 1" in total.  The length and neckline are flattering and work for my height; 5' 5".  I might go shorter for a jersey version. 

Fleece is a beast to sew.  Thick and bulky.  It wears out on pins, needles, scissors and the machine.  I cut it using a rotary cutter and old scissors.  I got through several 80 ballpoint needles until I realised that I needed a 90 and the overlocker/serger was not a success.  Instead I lowered the foot pressure on my machine to 1 (out of 7) and used a small shallow zig zag stitch.  On the plus side, no edges need neatening and the stitches bury in the fluff.
I always find photographing myself in clothes tricky, our house is small with no open blank wall space so I squeezed into our bedroom and tried the timer feature on my new camera.  I noticed I was photo bombed in this pic by the softie my daughter made for her dad.  In another pic you might possibly spot our cat Mindy and a big piece of Liberty lawn waiting to go in a box under the bed. C'est la vie.  The Deer and Doe 'Plantain' challenge is on until the end of January. 
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Saturday 18 January 2014

January clothes and plans

I made this outfit over Christmas, after much internal debate with myself over whether a maxi length Chardon skirt would make me look frumpy I took the risk and was rewarded with a skirt I have worn many times since.

The top was a quick slash neck make based on the Meg McElwee long sleeved Tee from Craftsy  Online Sewing Class  Sewing with knits  and is my basic go-to long sleeved Tee pattern (there are 5 patterns included with the class) and a batwing top from December Burda magazine

I lengthened the skirt by 30 cm from the hem, otherwise it is as the pattern, size 38.  The fabric is a lightly brushed cotton, Nani Iro Pocho in charcoal from Eternal Maker. It reminds me of Little Women and The Railway Children, with their flannel dresses and underskirts.  It is warm and soft and doesn't need lining- all good factors for a winter skirt.

This was back on Christmas day morning, Lula took the pics. A beautiful day followed by the beach the next day and then followed by a whole lot of rain.

Deer and Doe usually recommend a facing or bias binding finish with all their hems and I like the effect.  I used a fat eighth of some Oakshott impressions (Auvers).  It is lightweight and takes an iron well to make binding.  I did have to join a lot of strips to make it all round the hem but it was worth it for such a neat edge.

For the pockets, I used a little Liberty from Jo's shop.  I made my husband a scarf from this print and some twill flannel and it has been a big hit- more on that another time

Life is quiet here at the moment.  This time of year is always a bit of a struggle to be honest.  I am working on my mindfulness and I've kept the meditation and practices going for 4 weeks now.  I've noticed that mindfulness can be a little dull, but then there are moments when I reach a state of stillness that I haven't found before and it is encouraging and I want to see where it will go next.  My arms are sore and the nerves are irritated so I can't do much sewing so I am planning and plotting for lighter times when my hands are back to full power. I like some bulbs on the window in January to remind me that spring is on its way.

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Thursday 16 January 2014

Sale at Eternal Maker

The last of my January sale sponsor posts- there is a sale on at Eternal Maker with a wonderful selection- here are my favourite picks under some genre headings:
Red Sprig from Oliver and S, City Weekend by Moda- lovely handle on this fabric by the way- I seem to recall this collection was designed with clothing in mind (also in yellow)
And many more end of bolts featuring fabrics that will be gone for good can be found here too.  When they are gone, they are gone! (Click on pic to link to the bolt end listing).


Enjoy your browse through the bargains…x
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Wednesday 15 January 2014

Quilt Improv Winner

And the winner is…
I have sent an email to you.  Thanks to all those who entered, I enjoyed reading your choice of motifs, some interesting, weird and wonderful ideas came up!  

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Saturday 11 January 2014

January at Village Haberdashery- Stash Builders on Sale

Last night I was browsing through Village Haberdashery site to see what's new and I noticed lots of stash builder fabrics with 10% off- I am talking brand new prints like Botanics and Sun print  as week as longer term ranges- classics- like Pearl Bracelets.
And sure enough on Annie's blog this morning she confirmed- this weekend you can save 10% on all stash builders (no code needed).  These are a few of my favs:
Asterisk in light blue from Constellations- have this and love it! The multi directional pattern is perfect as a paper piecing background.
Sun Print text in teal- (I could've chosen any of the text prints quite happily)
Koi Smile and Wave in Shell- nice for binding and organic cotton too.
Painter's canvas in mermaid (I find it so hard to resist this colour!)
Sometimes the stash builders and the basics need a bit of space to shine!  Happy weekend x
sib blog

Friday 10 January 2014

Quilt Improv Blog Hop: Interview with Lucie Summers

I have followed Lu’s work for some time from seeing her screen printed fabric on  Etsy, to her first fabric range, ‘Summerville’ for  Moda, to meeting her and taking part in her  fabulous Portholes class at the first Fat Quarterly Retreat so it is a pleasure to be interviewing her for this blog hop.

The book is stunning Lu, such beautiful photographs and I love the sketchbook style layout.  Did you have a strong idea of how you wanted the book to look when you set out to write it?

I didn't really have any idea that the finished book would be so close to the ideas pages I took to the initial meeting - I knew I wanted the instructional pages to be very visual because it's the way I personally work best, but I didn't think the editorial team would be quite so enthusiastic about it! I think that it was quite a departure for them in terms of style, but I'm so glad they took the risk because I think it's turned out brilliantly. The photography is amazing in the book - Mark, the photographer, was really easy to work with, everything he did worked so well. The book is more than I expected and at the same time everything I hoped it might be.

Do you still keep a sketchbook to record your inspiration and ideas?

Even at art school I was terrible at keeping a sketchbook - all those blank pages were so scary! I'm more of a 'scribble it down on the back of an envelope' type. I'm not terribly organised, but I try to keep sketches together if I can - I find pinboards a really useful tool - I've got two massive boards in my studio for keeping ideas in one place.

Who taught you to sew and when did you first get into quilt making?  What were your early quilts like?

My mum taught me to sew, but I was a very impatient pupil so I didn't really make anything properly until my GCSEs. During my A level Textile course I discovered Amish Quilts which coincided with my mum learning to quilt. I was fascinated by the process but not so excited by the twee fabrics associated with quitting in the early 1990s - the Amish quilts appealed because of their unfussy fabric choices. My first proper quilt was made for my then boyfriend (now husband) for his 19th birthday in plains and plaids in blues. I tied it rather than quilted it and it's much more conventional than my quilts now. We've still got it and use it for picnics, it's looking a bit pathetic these days!

You cover a lot of techniques in the book, I particularly like the bagging out method for the mini quilts, they look brilliant!  What would be your top tip for creating the improv look?

If you're a conventional quilter and the thought of improv is rather frightening, than my top tip for loosening up would be to pop some scraps from a previous project into a paper bag and shake it up. Sit at your sewing machine and pull out two pieces (without looking!) and stitch them together. Keep pulling out scraps, one at a time and stitch mindlessly and randomly - don't try and make anything in particular, it's just an exercise in loosening up! Using fabric scraps from similar colour groups will always make things look more cohesive, even with improv.

You make quilts, design and print fabric, teach and write for books and magazines- describe how you spend a typical working day.

I rarely schedule work that clashes because I don't enjoy working flat out on lots of different things. I prefer to finish one big job before beginning another, even if in reality that doesn't always happen! My typical day includes leaving the house at 8am to take the boys to school then I'm home just after 9am to I answer emails, package up any Etsy orders then work on designing/printing/writing/sewing until 3pm when I leave to pick the boys up.

You often mention how your family and home informs your work.  How does your creative activity fit into your family life and space?

Because my husband works on the farm, I'm very lucky with how involved he is in looking after the boys. He has never complained when a deadline means he's got to be around more. Sometimes it's just not possible and my mum and dad help out, but it's not such a problem these days as the boys are older and able to amuse themselves. When the boys were tiny, my husband always did the bedtime routine so that I could work into the evening. My studio is just off the boy's playroom so they know where I am if they need me and I can see them playing in the garden during the summer. I try to keep my sewing stuff in the studio, but it does tend to overflow a bit…

Can you describe your sewing space at home and the new Turkey Shed studio?

My studio in the house was the old kitchen. We live in the farmhouse that my husband was brought up in, and I've lots of fond memories of my late mother in law cooking and baking in what's now my studio. My print and sewing table is where the dining table was, I've painted the wooden kitchen cabinets a pale blue. The walls are white and I've got a blue floor. I've got a large storage room where the old pantry was and I've got light from 2 big windows and a half glazed door. It's a lovely space to work in - it seems slightly removed from the rest of the house, but in reality it's just a room away! The Turkey Shed studio houses my mum's long-arm quilting machine and lots of new tables for the workshops. It's got a cute little kitchen area at the bottom end with a blue wall and a loo just off it. It's a great space with large wall areas for pinning up work. I haven't personally hosted any workshops in it yet, but my friend does a monthly creative textile class in it and the space works really well!

Thankyou Lu!  The next stop on the tour is Justine at Sew Justine Sew.
 and here’s a recap on all the stops and a giveaway coming up.  If you want your info all in one place, go to Stitch, Craft, Create
Wed 18th – The Long Thread
Thur 19th – A Stitch In Dye
Fri 20th – Fresh Modern Quilts

Mon 6th – Diary of a Quilter
Wed 8th – Blueberry Park
Thur 9th –  Sew Take a Hike
Fri 10th – Very Kerry Berry
Mon 13th – Sew Justine Sew
Wed 15th – Lily’s Quilts
Thur 16th – Cut To Pieces 
Fri 17th – Happy Zombie
Mon 20th – Freshly Pieced
Tue 21st – Fresh Lemons Quilts
Wed 22nd – Crazy Mom Quilts
Thur 23rd – Gen X Quilters
Fri 24th – Handmade by Alissa
Mon 27th – Don’t Call Me Betsy
Tue 28th – I’m a Ginger Monkey
Wed 29th – Sew Mama Sew
TBC – Ryan Walsh Quilts 

There are giveaways along the way, including here!  A copy of Lucie’s book ‘Quilt Improv’ is waiting at David and Charles publishers here in Devon, ready to be sent to anywhere in the world.  

To enter the giveaway: leave a comment about your favourite motif on fabric.  

- for example, I like fruit prints, especially apples. Make sure your email address is included in your profile or as part of your comment e.g your name (at) gmail (dot) com otherwise I won't be able to notify you if you win.  Giveaway open until Wed 15th Jan.  Good luck!
sib blog

Wednesday 8 January 2014


The last week has involved crazy weather,

limited sun in the form of fabric,
back to work- theme of 'light' so what better than a bunny nightlight,
And packing away of all that was Christmas, except this little beauty from Amy.  This one stays out as a 'Winter' decoration.
All pics from my Instagram feed.  I am @verykerryberry.   I have just bought a bridge camera so once work settles I hope to be taking some fresh photos with something other than an iPhone.
sib blog