Saturday, 28 December 2013

Liberty Hexies put to good use

I bought these little hexagon papers and pre-cut fabrics from very kerry berry fabrics back in Autumn and really enjoyed sewing them together into flower shapes whilst commuting to Glasgow.  I didn't have any plans for them and so made it a goal to find them a home before the year was out.
And now the little hexie flowers do have homes: I made them into A6 notebook covers to give to friends!
I have five female friends that work really hard and I hope that a little old-fashioned looking notebook will be well appreciated by them.  I used a running stitch to embroider their names inside a leaf shape.
The inside flaps are made from a liberty lawn fat quarter that I received in a goodie bag at the Edinburgh Stitch Gathering.  

Construction Details

I used the notebook to decide on the size of fabric to cut, and made the flaps 3" wide, which is about half the width of the notebook.  For future reference, here are the measurements I used:
For each A6 notebook cover cut the following:
6 3/4" x 10 1/4" rectangle --> 2 pieces of background fabric, 1 piece of fusible interfacing
3" x 6 3/4" rectangle  --> 2 pieces of background fabric, 2 pieces of fusible interfacing, 2 pieces of liberty print

I fused the interfacing to the fabric before stitching on the hexie flowers and doing the embroidery and fused the interfacing to the liberty fabric for the flaps.  Whilst sewing the long edges together I stitched a slightly smaller seam than the usual 1/4" just to make sure there was enough room to squeeze the cover into the side flaps.

I even stitched these little "Handmade with Love" tags on the inside covers to give it a personal touch:
I am linking up with Leanne's Finish-A-Long.  This completes my list of Quilty goals that I aimed to finish before the end of 2013.
she can quilt
Links to everyone's Finished items

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Peerie Flooers, A Fair Isle Finish

I have completed my first ever Fair Isle knitted item and am so pleased with it!
I had no idea the crown would look so lovely once finished

I learnt how to do Fair Isle two-handed stranded knitting at an evening workshop with Deborah Gray, which I have posted about here.  Now a couple of photos of the hat inside-out to show the stranding.

Deborah has made up these kits that include an original Kate Davies pattern as well as the exact measurements of wool required to complete the hat.  Such a good idea to buy it as a kit, as I have already started looking into creating another Fair Isle hat but having to purchase entire balls of wool just for a few rows of colour really makes the total cost add up!
The pattern is called Peerie Flooers, meaning small flowers and is by Kate Davies, a stunning blog if you enjoy knitting design and Scottish landscapes.
I knitted the medium sized hat which is slightly slouchier than the one Kate wears in the photos on her blog.
I loved knitting in the round and using the 'magic loop' idea.  Stranding the wool in two hands was easy and I didn't have any tangling problems at all!   Thanks so much to Kate for such a pretty pattern.  I am hoping to start the Scatness tam next!  And Thanks to Deborah for teaching these techniques to me.  She even talked me through the pattern over the phone when I needed help starting on the crown!  

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Trellis Quilt is Finished

Introducing my sixth ever finished quilt: I am calling it the Garden Trellis!  The sun was shining for one morning this week and I was lucky enough to be at home with the Mister, so we dashed up the hill behind our house and took some photos of it, at long last.
I have written a post about the construction of this patchwork top in November, over here.
I took it to Beechwood Quilting in Stirling, Scotland to get it quilted with a swirling stitch in some orange/green/purple variegated thread.  They had it done within two weeks and only cost £83, (that included the wadding) which is much cheaper than the cost to my sanity if I had tackled the job myself.
Brian, who quilted this for me, praised my piecing too.  He said that with so many small pieces he would have expected some stretched kinks and bumps, but my work was very flat and easy to work with.  Yay for me and all that pressing!

 So here are a few more photos of me and my lovely quilt.
I was so pleased to finally see some sunlight that I just put my coat and wellies over my PJs and we raced up the hill to take some shots.  You can at least see some of the backing fabric I chose in this shot though.
In too much of a rush to wait for hair styling or make-up.
I love this shot with the sheep on the hill below us.

One last photo, before the sun is completely covered again.

Back inside, OK, just one more: The obligatory photo of "Cats on Quilt".
Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, our two Ragdoll cats.
Their names perfectly match their personalities too.
This has been a goal of mine to finish before the end of 2013.
she can quilt
Linking up with Finish-A-Long

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Hand sewing is perfect in Winter

At long last, I finally got going on my applique quilt again.  I have been at a standstill on this project for months, putting off doing this house shape, mostly because the size of the fabric pieces were larger than I am used to managing in my lap.  I would love to say that I have finished the entire quilt, but alas this is only one block.

But at last this central block is finished, and measures 20" x 20".
This square will eventually be the centre square of a nine square garden-themed quilt.  The pattern design is by Anni Downs, an Australian quilter who has a sweet blog and business called Hatched and Patched.
Below are the five squares I have completed so far.  Five down, four to go!
It is quite a naive style that I am usually not drawn towards, but for some reason I kept coming back to this patchwork garden idea and decided I would personalise a few of the features to match our own garden.  If you are interested you can read about the making of the other parts of this quilt here.

she can quilt
Linking up with Finish-A-Long
 I was being a little hopeful and unrealistic to think that I would be able to finish all five remaining blocks before the end of the year.  But I am very pleased that I was finally able to finish this block at all, as it was somehow blocking my way forward and I just couldn't get started on it.  Thanks to posting this as a Finish-A-Long goal, I was at last able to smash through the stumbling block and am now confident that the next four blocks will get done very soon.
Not sure if this counts as completing my pie-in-the-sky goal, but I am pleased I have made some headway!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

1950's Fashion on TV

I am a bit late in finding this TV series, but having now discovered it I wanted to share some of the costumes here.  The Doctor Blake Mysteries.  It is set in the late 1950's in a rural Australian town called Ballarat, which was a wealthy town founded on the gold-rush and rich farming.  The main character is a clever, melancholy, handsomely bearded Doctor who not only sees regular patients but also works for the local Police to help identify causes of death.  Now, I am not normally one for murder shows but I LOVE the setting and the costumes in this program, so have decided to ignore the dead body that features in each episode!  The filming has been done beautifully and the writing is well-layered.  This is definitely going to be a series that could do with repeated viewings.
So, onto the dresses!
The first outfit to love is this dress and bolero worn by the character Joy.  She is from the big city Melbourne and so has slightly more sophisticated clothes than the other ladies.
Another stunning dress on Joy, this one is in a bobbly sort of wool, and she is wearing a flying mallard brooch!
Here is Maddy overhearing the ladies speaking.  Love the many full-length shots of the costumes in this program!
Look at Hazel's pussy bow blouse!  And the side-button detail on the yellow dress!
Here is an everyday outfit on Joy.  It is mostly everyday outfits in this show, but in one episode that I've seen there was preparations for being a bridesmaid, and they were sewing the dress at home!  Here is the final fitting - it even has a lapped side zipper.
Here are the ladies of Doctor Blake's home, chatting with the Bride-to-be visitor who is wearing a gorgeous floral dress.  And look at that kitchen!  It is so authentically 1950's Ballarat!  (I lived in this town in my 20s so have an extra thrill to see so many familiar places shown so beautifully on the screen)
In the UK, The Doctor Blake Mysteries are being shown on BBC One in the afternoons, but there are still some available on iPlayer at the time of writing this.  In Australia, where this was made, they are currently filming the second series, and is aired on ABC One.  It is available on DVD too, if you're interested.

I haven't seen all of the episodes, so these are just the ones I've seen so far.  Which dress did you like the best?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Blogger meet up in Scotland

Fancy meeting up with other bloggers in Glasgow?  In fact, you don't even have to have a blog, you could just be interested in sewing, knitting, stitching and fancy a meet-up with like minded folk here in Glasgow.
Kerry who blogs over at Kestrel Makes is just starting to put together some ideas for a meet up on Saturday 1st February.  Pop over to her blog to read more of the details and leave a comment on her blog, with your email address attached, if you might be able to come along.
Glasgow in winter [source]

Monday, 18 November 2013

Measuring tape Skirt

I have made myself a skirt at long last!
Here's a little pocket detail to pique your interest

I own well over 40 skirts and yet unbelievably this is only the second skirt that I have ever made.  I have been giving this a bit of thought and I think it comes down to two things.  First, it is all the lovely fabrics that shop-bought skirts are made from.  So many colours and textures that I am always spoiled for choice and have always been able to find skirts that I love.  Secondly, skirts don't seem to be a popular garment where I live.  Most women that I see at work, out shopping or in business seem to wear black trousers or jeans.  Which means most skirts don't sell and end up in the next season's sale racks - ready for me to snap up at a bargain price!

So here it is - my new skirt!
I bought this fabric last year from Mandors in Glasgow, served by the lovely Hazel (the first blogger that I ever met in real life).  I chose the brighter version of this fabric because I wear reds, purples, mustards and sometimes aqua, so even though it is quite a bold palette, it will integrate well into my wardrobe.
I usually wear skirts with the tee shirts over the top of the waist bands.

The pattern is Butterick 5285, I made up view D.  It has 6 pleats at the front and 6 on the back but aren't top-stitched.  The other great thing is that it has pockets!  I was able to create the pockets using just one of those quilter's fat quarters, which gives the pockets a little surprising touch.

I had originally planned to self-draft this skirt, as part of my Fall Essentials Sew Along, but saw that a website I was buying some thread from also had this previously-out-of-print pattern available!  I was over the moon, as I had seen Margo make some lovely skirts with this pattern.  The skirt pattern is very versatile, but the front piece needs to be cut from 150cm wide fabric, which mine wasn't, so I now have a seam up the middle - but you can't tell with this vertically striped fabric anyway.

Posterior for Posterity!  Remember to try to include a back shot ladies.
I was so keen to get these photos taken that I still need to attach the hook & eye to the waistband.
Linking up with Project Sewn: Signature Style.  I love wearing skirts with a blazer and boots, and I work with numbers so this skirt and outfit combination is right up my alley.  I have been getting lots of positive comments when I wear this too!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sewing and Pressing and Cutting OH MY!

I have been a busy bee over here at Nessa's Place!  Check out all of these pressed seams!

I have a number of sewing books on my shelves that I enjoy browsing but have never actually made anything from them - that was until I bought a Kaffe Fassett / Phillip Jacobs bundle of 30 fabric strips and needed to find something to do with all those lovely colours and patterns.  These bundles of 40 fabric strips are commonly called jelly rolls, but my bundle only contained 30 so I needed to find a pattern that could adapt easily to various quantities.
And I did find one!  The pattern I found for this quilt required only 20 strips of fabric, so I just made it a bit bigger to incorporate my 30 strips, and added a few extra in too (7 blue ones as well as background fabric).
Here I am sharing the process of creating this quilt, but feel free to just look at the pictures - they are fairly self-explanatory.  It really is just a LOT of sewing and pressing and cutting... oh MY!

Just the Preparation is a Mammoth task!

I started with two metres of white fabric and cut it into 44 strips of 2.5". 

Then I sewed my 30 colourful strips of fabric to either side of one white strip, and 14 white strips to either side of one dark strip (I had some dark toned blues in my stash so I used those - the original pattern used red and it looks great with red too)
PLEASE NOTE: If you are following this to make one yourself, I would like to say that I wish I had done 8 of the blue sets as I did end up with enough of the coloured sets to have made another row in my final quilt.  But this would also mean you would need a bit more white, so perhaps buy a quarter of a metre extra just to be sure.
Using a sharp rotary cutter and ruler, cut every single strip set into 2.5" wide strips.  This took HOURS!
I ended up with two lovely piles - 122 blue centres and 255 coloured sides.  Then sew them together to create a nine-patch block.
I was left with a very tall pile of 115 nine-patch blocks, with warm blue centres, all completed.  Now this would have been enough satisfying work for anyone.  But unfortunately the cutting and sewing isn't over!

The disappearing nine-patch

Now for more sewing and pressing and cutting...oh MY!
Using the clear ruler, I lined up the edges of the blue square on the 1" line and sliced every single one of these babies up!
After all of that cutting, and the removing of a few slipped and miss-cut pieces, I ended up with 457 usable pieces.
Now to stitch them into strips, with the little blue squares all facing the same direction.  I sketched out the book's layout onto some graph paper with the original 236 squares and then drew in my extra squares to make a total of 436. 

 (I knew I would have some leftovers so I took out my least favourite ones, but if you want to make it, you'll be able to use all your squares if you just do one extra strip of white/blue/white at the beginning)
This was always going to be 'on-point' so I needed to add setting triangles to each end of the strips. The longest strips are 25 squares wide!  (The setting triangles are created by cutting 5.75" squares then cutting these into triangles.  The four corners are made by cutting one 3.5" square and dissecting it into triangles)
At least now there is no more cutting to be done - just more sewing and pressing... oh Yay!
Hopefully this will be big enough to cover a single bed.

Now for the Quilting

Although I did toy with the idea of using this quilt as a vehicle to hire and learn how to use a long-arm quilting machine, I have decided not to do the quilting at all.  I haven't as yet found any love or joy from the quilting part of making quilts, so I will pay someone to quilt this little lovely for me - But first I need to find some backing fabric before I can make an appointment with a quilter.  I look forward to sharing photos of my completed quilt!
N.B. The Trellis Quilt is now complete!  View it over here.

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