Monday 29 February 2016

Farmer's Wife QA: blocks 47 and 48, Joy and Judy

Welcome back for another couple of Farmer's Wife blocks in the quilt along.  This week Jessie returns as guest blogger for the first of these blocks, number 47, Joy (p.209, letter p.94).  Read about her block here.

Fabric credits:
Lecien Blue/white pin dot from this mini bundle

Block 48, Judy was certainly the faster and easier block to make, (207, letter p.152)

Fabric credits:
Kona Buttercup
Ditsy flowers from this mini bundle  
Riley Blake Fancy and Fabulous Breath in Mint

I didi find a slight discrepancy in the pattern (printed from the CD).  The top edge seam allowance of section E (where it will join to D) came up well under ¼".  All other seam allowances were fine so I'm not quite sure what happened but I'm mentioning it in case you find the same!  Let me know if you do.

I pre-cut all the block pieces using my usual generous rotary cutting measurements for foundation paper piecing.  I used a mix of freezer paper templates and rotary cutting.   Remember to add ½" seam allowances to the freezer paper templates so that your fabric pieces are larger than needed.

Rotary Cutting for Foundation Paper Piecing
C1, C2, D1, D2: cut (4) 1 ¾" square 
A4, A6, B4, B6: cut (2) 3 ¼" squares, sub-cut each in half diagonally to make 4 half-square triangles.
A5, A7, B5, B7:  cut (2) 3 ¼" squares, sub-cut each in half diagonally to make 4 half-square triangles

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece- especially identical sections
  • Nest seams where possible
  • Remove paper when needed- I leave it on as long as possible as it stabilises the sections.  This  can mean just tearing part of a section off. I remove paper when I sew section seams. 
  • Press section seams open
I found the letter for this block a slightly odd read.  It's from a farmer's wife who after many years of scrimping saving and not been able to go on a holiday, culls all her chickens and sets off for a break in a hotel.  She ends up working there to fund the rest of her holiday and only returns when her daughters' write saying they have no suitable clothes left to go to school in!

Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram, you are welcome to tag me and you can also add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #joyblock and #judyblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw47joy,  #fw48judy, I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.

Next week, Sarah of Pretty Little Fabrics will be back with me as guest blogger. 

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Sunday 28 February 2016

February at Eternal Maker

Time for my monthly visit to Eternal Maker and I'm starting off with a seaside theme with a Riley Blake collection, Offshore by Deena Rutter.

The standout prints for me are the little boats in the 'Sailing' design and the Lobsters which look like they are dancing!
There is a large selection of Ombre fabrics on the shelves of Eternal Maker at the moment.   I'm never exactly sure what to sew with them or even the optimum way to cut them up to make the most of the ombre shading effect but there's a helpful post on suitable patterns at the V and Co website and a jelly roll seems like a handy way to get a slice of each colour
The bolts of Ombre Basics look rather stunning too ( this pic is from Eternal Maker's Facebook page).  

I think they would work well with Karen Lewis's Blueberry Park prints for Robert Kaufman. 

I've noticed a new dressmaking section in the 'fabric by type' options and there are some beautiful fabrics in there, including this 'People' lawn from Hokkoh.

It would make a wonderful contrast panel on a shirt of dress or it could be lined with a burst of colour to show though the circles.  I could also see it being used on the Pauline Alice 'Carme' blouse- skip the tucks and use the daisies on the bib section.

The Pauline Alice Seda dress is another perfect candidate for a contrast Daisy panel:

It would make very cute shorts or maybe a Grainline Moss skirt? or Maritime Shorts?  I must be thinking of summer, at least in the UK as it's too chilly for either at the moment!  There are lots of Oliver+S patterns that would be a great fit for this fabric- see them all here.
For dinosaur fans big and small there's a super collection from Lewis and Irene called Jurassic Coast which has a mix of more abstract/patterned fabrics as well more illustrative prints.  I've chosen three fabrics to showcase the designs but you can find more colour ways here:

I try and find a bit of something for every kind of sewer in these sponsor posts- quilter, dressmaker, bags, cushions and more as well as something you may not have seen so I hope I've succeeded.  Enjoy!   

sib blog

Thursday 25 February 2016

Vintage Pledge 2016

I've been mulling over my choices for this year's Vintage Pledge.  It's the third year for this initiative from Marie and Kerry and I really enjoyed taking part last year and seeing the range of vintage styles that were sewn up. 

I'm concentrating on tops this year; it's what I wear and my wardrobe could definitely do with more.
These are all vintage patterns that I've had in my stash for some time and have been looking forward to sewing rather than just looking at them adoringly.   The Betsey Johnson's are always my first choice-and both these shirt patterns remain as possible options.

This is a fun pattern- looks like a dress but it's really separates and  the blouse has some neat details and style variations.  I like the darts at the neck for a little extra shaping and the sleeveless/collarless options.  The turn back cuff appeal too so I think this one is a definite pledge item.   The bust measurement is very close to mine although I guess it will need a little smoothing out and the waist will need an extra couple of inches,  I'm hoping the alterations will be minimal and relatively straightforward.

I like the look of this knit top which has a woven placket and neck.  I've bought a lot of these henley style jersey tops over the year,  I've made a modern version and this looks like a slim fit so another good candidate!  I envisage a Liberty lawn trim with a marl jersey.

I've had this Style pattern for a few years.  It is fragile and the instructions are missing but I love the pleats at the waist and lower bust- similar to the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress. Not totally sold on the long or short sleeves- the cuff has a V shape and is a little overly ornate so I may simplify this.  It's a likely choice  I have made the trousers before as a mash up with Deer and Doe Chataigne and it's one of those patterns that instinctively feels like it will be a good fit and I've been looking forward to making it.

What you pledge is up to you.  It doesn't have to be clothing,  Kerry from Kestrelmakes has included  a glorious animal themed cloth book using a Vogue pattern from the 1970s as part of her pledge.    Unfinished items can also be part of the pledge.  I have an unfinished unblogged jacket from last years pledge that is mid-construction and I'm undecided whether to continue with it.  The fit is not right, despite tissue fitting and alterations before I started sewing.  It seems a shame to abandon it but I have a sneaky feeling that it is never going to look quite how I want it to.  My pledge is going to concentrate on tops as an incentive to get them sewn!

"I, Kerry Green of Verykerryberry,  pledge to make three tops- woven or knit- using vintage patterns from my collection." 
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Monday 22 February 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL: Blocks 45 and 46: Jenny and Jewel

This week's Farmer's Wife QALblocks share similar constructions although Jenny is easier to than Jewel when it comes to joining the sections.  First it's block 45, Jenny, (p.204, letter p.150)  I really like these blocks that have a swirling effect when placed on point.    As with some previous blocks, as the patterns on the CD have not been reversed, the block is a reflection of the book photo.

Fabric credits:
Repro yellow 1930s print

As with last week's  Iris block, I used  freezer paper templates.  As all the shapes involve 45 degree angles and diagonal lines, it is easier to cut the templates out with at least a ½" seam allowance or larger .  Even on blocks with larger pieces like this one, diagonals need more fabric to prevent errors!   This block is made of 4 quarter square triangles and the sections are pieced together like a basic four-patch block.   

You might want to start thinking ahead to final layouts when you come to sew your blocks up to make a quilt top.  If you plan on following the book's on-point layout (shown in lap size above), you may want to start thinking about either making the occasional half block or two halves from blocks like this one (and also Jewel) that easily halve to make two triangles.

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces using the freezer paper template method. 
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece- there are four repeated sections but watch the change in ordering to allow for seam nesting.
  • Press the  section joining seams open.

Jo from a Life in Lists returns as a guest blogger to share block 46 Jewel (p.205, letter p.27),   She found this a tricksy block- the diagonals are at more extreme angles than Jenny and that does make  piecing harder.  Her post is here.   Here's mine:

Fabric credits:
Kona Candy Pink
Moda, Mary-Jane Butters, Glamping, Blue Daisies (Out of Print)
Bonnie and Camille Daysail Green Hatch

{Please note:  For all my fabric credits I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.}

Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #jennyblock and #jewelblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw45jenny,  #fw46jewel.  I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
Back next Monday with guest blogger Jessie from Sew and Quilt.

sib blog

Friday 19 February 2016

February at Plush Addict

It's been a chilly week so I'm going to start this month's virtual trip to Plush Addict with some warmer fabrics.  Starting with this check which I've just bought for some trousers:

It's a poly/viscose blend but don't let the poly put you off, you would never guess it's there.  It feels like a great quality suiting fabric, but is machine washable, soft and warm with a lovely feel.  Good for  dresses, jackets and skirts too.  I would say it has less formality than a medium weight wool suiting.  Also comes in light grey, blue and tan. 

If you do want wool, this wool blend diagonal twill coating looks like a classy fabric

Looking for coat inspiration?  I like the look of this Simplicity pattern.

It is a lined coat with all the fastenings hidden by the outer finish- there's a zip and a giant press stud. I like the gentle princess line fitting and the hood option.  Some YKK open-ended metal zips have just arrived that look good for this style.

Flannel makes the cosiest pyjamas and there are a couple of Robert Kaufman prints that have caught my eye, especially for dog lovers.   First up is this  Mini Dogs on Midnight Flannel- might have to persuade my husband that he could wear these!

and next, the same print but bigger and more colours- Urban Zoologie Dogs in Sky

Looking at the quilting cotton arrivals, I've already declared my love for Sommer by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller, I find it a very uplifting set of designs and colours.  Kelli has a selection of prints available in a soft coral/aqua colourway.  

A couple of classic dot fabrics are new in store, Makower polka dots in red and navy:


Vacation fabrics also by Makower are now in stock.  I wanted to mention these last month but they were still arriving.  A zesty colour palette combined with retro prints- there's a lot to like!

Still feeling chilly?  There's a hot water bottle template PDF, ready to download for free and Kellie's instructions to make it are here.

Enjoy x

sib blog

Thursday 18 February 2016

Starting The Splendid Sampler

Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson kicked off The Splendid Sampler on Sunday 14th February and new blocks will be added every Thursdays and Sundays.  The first block, 'Hearts a Flutter' designed by Pat is a mix of simple rotary piecing and appliqué. 

I've used a mix of Kaffe Fasset shot cottons and Liberty lawn scraps and fat eighths.  I am letting my palette come through as I work which does mean some errors along the way- the corners on this blocks were originally a dark blue but I though the contrast was too much and changed for this mustard/grey floral.   The second block, 'Wings' is designed by Jane and relies on small accurate piecing.  

Kaffe shot cottons  again, plus a few Liberty lawn and Oakshott scraps.  I'm not sure about the navy wings in the middle but when  it's mixed  up other blocks it'll be OK.  There's an embroidery option on this block but  I decided to leave this out.  There's much to see in the Facebook group for both these blocks,  also on the website and there are some amazing blocks ahead from the 80+ designers.  I'm not making them all but I guess I'll a smaller quilt and I've already sewn up seven so who knows!

It's been a week of ups and downs during this half term holiday week.  High points were seeing new life emerge with my sister's cat having a kitten and being the happiest mother cat I think I've ever seen over her single kitty.  Low points were saying farewell to a friend moving abroad; a likely dementia diagnosis for a much loved elderly family member and the sad passing of an inspiring woman who has lived  her life to the full the last six years, defying cancer for as long as she possibly could.  

As always, there's beauty in the simple things, time with family, finding Buffy (our cat) sneaking successfully into Lottie's basket and walks on the beach.  My planned sewing has been abandoned, especially when the sun has been out on chilly days.

sib blog

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Peach Floral Undies

When Girl Charlee had new arrivals which included this floral knit fabric I knew exactly what I was going to make!

I bought some Ohhh Lulu patterns in the Black Friday sales back last December and I've seen her use this very floral knit fabric in some of her gorgeous lingerie.  

I have lots of lightweight mesh and different elastics from a lingerie supplies splurge early last year and I set to work.  First I made a sample pair of knicks to check the pattern sizing.  The Grace Hipster Panties are designed for a mix of woven  on the bias fabrics(front/back panels) and stretch fabric sides.  This floral has a small amount of stretch but no lycra so I went down very slightly in the sizing- instead of cutting my hip size which is between small and medium, I cut out small and the fit is perfect.  I love how the panels match up perfectly front and back too.

I find all lingerie making a nerve-wracking activity but this pair went smoothly.  They are sewn on the sewing machine, I used the overlocker only to finish the edge of the floating gusset (let's not dwell on that sentence too long).   The Ohhh Lulu instructions are good but I referred to the Watson bra briefs pattern as it gives specific zig zag stitch size for attaching waist and leg elastic and I need that level of hand holding for this.  There are tutorials and videos at Ohhh Lulu which are great for understanding how much you might stretch elastic when you sew it.  The stretch lace is lingerie elastic from Village Haberdashery and I heartily recommend it, soft and in pretty colours.   The best way to attach lace elastic like this is to overlay it and sew on with one line of zigzag before carefully trimming the fabric away underneath.

I then moved on to a pattern I drafted from some Uniqlo hipster briefs.  I've made these before in a stretchy cotton lycra.  However, I underestimated the difference that degree of stretch makes!  

These look perfectly wearable but in reality, the horizontal stretch is small and the vertical stretch is slight so when squeezed into, this creates a builder's bum effect and very skimpy unflattering coverage, even on my small derrière.   This is the frustrating side of sewing knickers and bras.  Fit is often late in the sewing process and you have to be prepared for failure as well as success.   Knickers take a lot more elastic or lace trim that you would imagine and having sewn all the picot elastic with two rows of small zig zag, I was not going to make myself go blind unpicking it all.  Instead, I repurposed the knicks into an eye mask with lightweight interfacing over the knit fabric, quilt wadding and a couple of layers of Kona black cotton. Result! 

I've cut out three more pairs of Grace panties with different trims and I am now summoning the courage to test out the Josephine bralette- the pieces are cut and ready...

Fabrichere.  Mine was supplied by Girl Charlee to make items of my choosing and share the process.  Out of a metre of fabric I have cut out 4 pairs of knickers, an eye mask and a bralette with lots more left to play with. 
Elastic/lace trims: here
Grace Panties Pattern: here
Recommended Eye Mask Tutorial: here

sib blog