Wednesday 30 August 2017

Summer Recap

Waving the summer goodbye ready for a busy September, a quick recap on July/August...

I've been sewing away too, as well as time spent on my favourite things: beaches, birthdays, cooking, baking, dog walks, day trips and lots of time spent with family.  My sewing has been in preparation for teaching at the Threadhouse Retreat and some magazine work so not much I can show here. Plus, lots of dressmaking, some of which I've shared and other things like pyjamas and track pants which are more everyday basics. September is going to be busy, with a mix of work, family stuff, and my birthday at the end of the month.  I made a conscious effort this summer to live more mindfully. Life is inevitably full of change and I'm aiming to enjoy where I am right now without too much thought to what has already happened and what's yet to come. I hope you've enjoyed some time outside?  We had an amazing bank holiday weekend of glorious warm sunny weather which is not the norm at the end of August so very welcome.  The old work routine returns next week so I'll just enjoy this summer feeling a  little longer...

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Bumper August Summer Selection...Village Haberdashery, Eternal Maker and Plush Addict

I'm combining posts for this month's sponsor visits as I'm enjoying the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays with family.  All my choices are inspired by that last blast of summer feeling that comes just before the season turns.. we just need the weather to get the memo and heat up a little in the UK!

Village Haberdashery
  1. Menagerie by Anna Rifle for Cotton+Steel. The Rifle collections go from strength to strength and Menagerie looks amazing. There's a couple of stand out prints for me, Watercolour in Multi and Jardin De Paris in Peony (my favourite ever Rifle print) but that's just personal taste, they are all glorious. There is the usual range of substrates (quilting cotton, rayon, canvas and a new rayon/cotton lawn) and although they are as yet a pre-order purchase, Annie has mentioned they are due in any time now...
  2. Lady McElroy Lawns.  Annies stocks an amazing selection of these soft cotton lawns with prints from small floral to large tropical fronds.
  3. Plant Lady Fabric Selection. A fantastic selection of prints reflecting such a popular trend in clothing and interiors.
Eternal Maker
  1. Arroyo by Erin Dollar for Robert Kaufman. Simple mark making prints on a classic Essex linen base. They have that effortless modern look that's perfect for bags, cushions and quilts.  These are just the neutral tones, there are more soft pastel and light colours. My personal favourite is Sprinkles in Pickle; great colour and I love the name!
  2. Chambray Double Gauze by Robert Kaufman.  I love chambray, I love double gauze and I love blue so this is fabric perfection for me.  It's wide 146cm/56" and has a slight lovely variable colour.  Double gauze works well in simple shapes and for those times in Autumn when it's cold early morning and warm by lunch time, it is the ideal fabric choice!
  3. Jumbo Plaid from Hometown Christmas by Sweetwater for Moda in IvoryMintOliveRed.  Christmas fabric with year round appeal!
Plush Addict
  1. Dashwood Studio Copenhagen by Jilly Philips.  Florals, birds and butterflies in china blue colours, reminiscent of ceramic designs.
  2. Hobbs Precut wadding.  On offer with 15% off until 27th August. Time to stock up on essential supplies...
  3. Riley Blake Bee Backgrounds. Lori Holt's new quilting low volume collection comes in cold, warm and neutral and is available in bundles and yardage. 

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Fancy Tiger Wanderlust T shirt with Dachshund Dog Print

I've had a little project waiting in the wings and as it was our dog Lottie's birthday this week and I had time off work, it was the perfect quick sew and ended up being a rewarding make. This is the Wanderlust T shirt by Fancy Tiger, the fabric is Dashwood Bertie Dachsund jersey from Mori Girls.

I bought the pattern as part of a Creative Bug membership from last year.  I subscribed for a few months and bought the class so even though I'm no longer a member I can access it.  The digital pattern pieces are included and there's a video of Amber taking you through the making process from beginning to end.  A paper version of the pattern is also available.  For a beginner or more experienced sewer, it's always helpful to see how someone else does something, especially in real time. 
  • I made size XS.  Your chest measurement is the deciding factor in the sizing as the side seams flare outwards.  I fell between the XS and S with a 33" chest but my upper chest is very flat and I would rather have a smaller fit than a more generous one. 
  • The back dips so the front is slightly cropped. I'm quite short on the body and 5' 5" tall, there are lengthening lines to extend the top and back pattern pieces.
  • I used a metre of fabric and had enough left over to make a pair of matching knickers! These are a slightly adapted version of the free hipster pattern from Make Bra.
  • The only alteration was lowering the pocket by 1/2"- it's placed really high!  For the next one I'd lower it a little more, so it's 3/4" from the original marks.
  • The fabric is expensive (£20/m) but it is lovely quality, great recovery and the colour is excellent.  It's very similar to Art Gallery jersey; both are 95% cotton 5% lycra.  They are also both quite bouncy to sew, especially on an overlocker. I found it easier using my Bernina and a small zig zag (e.g. attaching the neck band) than serging.
I'm really pleased with the finished result, a quick make, easy fit but cute shape and a very wearable garment, paired with a Deer & Doe Fumeterre skirt in these pics.  

Lottie had had a tough week.  Lots of teeth out - apparently part of the downside of being a small breed with a soft jaw - and despite regular brushing over the years she only has a few teeth left.  She has coped very well, despite having just turned 10 years old, she has a lively nature and loves her food so she is adapting quickly, although there are some great comedy tongue moments with it just falling out of the side of her mouth when she's very relaxed.  She's in her retirement years now and having a happy time maximising her chances for cuddles wherever she goes. 


Thursday 10 August 2017

Spelling Bee Book, Lori Holt : Book Review

I was recently lucky enough to receive a copy of Lori Holt's new book, Spelling Bee from the Fat Quarter Shop.  All four of Lori's books have been published by Sew Emma, the publishing part of The Fat Quarter Shop empire and I think this is my favourite of all the books she's written and I know many of you are Lori fans so I thought you'd like to see inside!

The main theme in this book is being able to produce personal, tailor made quilts with words and pictures suitable for family and a multitude of special occasions.   There are seven sections covering the basics that you will need (letters, numbers, punctuation, pictures) as well as specific full size and mini quilt designs. 

All the blocks in the book come in two height sizes ( 6" and 12" finished) to allow you to produce projects of different size and scale.

The book is worth buying for the picture blocks alone!  A lovely selection.  My daughter picked the telephone and camera favourites and I liked the flower, dog and sewing machine.

As with all Lori's books, her instructions are impeccable and backed up by clear and easy to follow diagrams. The format is spiral bound so it lies flat in use - especially handy when cutting and prepping.

My very favourite project is this Sunshine quilt. I fancy making this with the 'You are my' text and then a pieced improv style Dresden underneath, a bit like this doll quilt I made for a swap six years ago, still one of my favourite makes!  

Many of the projects act as a springboard for your own interpretation, it's an inspiring and uplifting book to look through.

You can find the book at