Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Clutch Handbag

We went to a family wedding this year and welcomed a beautiful bride into our Scottish family.  At all formal gatherings the Scots men always wear kilts, and they always look so handsome.  

But now onto bags... At the wedding I used my cream clutch from my own wedding with a tartan ribbon tied to it.  I also wore my silk tartan shoes.
out with the old...

...and in with the new.

As the bride came around to our table she commented on it and said it was just what she wanted but didn't have, an evening bag!  And so an idea for a gift was born.  I immediately wanted to make a family tartan clutch for her that she could use for any future formal events where her now-husband would be wearing his kilt.  There isn't a formal national dress for Scottish women, they often wear an evening gown of their choice and sometimes add a wee touch of tartan - but not often.
This is what you receive, two black plastic pieces and
the metal frame.

I first saw these on Benta's blog, she had made them for a set of bridesmaids, so I ordered two of these clutch purse frames, along with shoulder chains from U-handbags.  The website also has a step-by-step tutorial to help make the clutch.  I decided I wanted one for myself too - so I made my own first as a test-run, just in case I came up against any mistakes along the way.  But it was pretty straightforward, just need to keep it tidy around the edges.
The bride's favourite colour is pink, so I lined her bag with a gorgeous hot pink with metallic silver kisses on it:
This is small, but would easily fit a mobile phone, money,
keys, lipstick, tissues and mirror.

The chain comes in two lengths so I got one of each to make sure I gave her the best one, I think the shorter one is perfect, it can still be worn over the shoulder or it can tuck into the bag if you'd rather just hold it.
Somehow I accidentally ordered 2 sets of 2 instead of just 2, so now I have two more blank clutch frames that I can use sometime in the future, as either a gift or to coordinate some future evening wear!

This is number 6 on my list of things to finish by the end of 2014 - just scraped in with this one on Katy's Finish-Along!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Highland Thistle Dress

I LOVE this fabric and have finally been brave enough to cut into it and made myself a dress for the winter here in Scotland.  The fabric is a good quality knit fabric designed by Anna Maria Horner.

I was originally going to use the Colette Moneta pattern for this fabric but decided to use Butterick 5523 instead.  I have made this dress twice before (as a sleeveless and in Autumn colours) and I love how comfortable as well as neat looking this dress can be.

As the fabric makes me feel all Scottish and Highland-ery, I thought I would drive up the road to get some photos of it.  Our village is situated right where two rivers and two Glens meet, so we have lots of hills very close to us.  These photos were taken up the Glen this morning, even though it is freezing cold, the sun was shining a wee bit!
no filter here - this is exactly how it looks today!
When making this dress I added 1" to the front bodice to help make sure that the empire line stayed under my bust.  I also added 4" to the hemline.  I used my overlocker to make this dress, which was so quick and easy, but when it came to adding the skirt to the top, I forgot that I was supposed to keep the seam allowance so that I could enclose the waist elastic within it!  I had just let the overlocker cut it all off!  Oh well, I shall see how the dress goes keeping it's shape without the added elastic for now.  I used a stretch twin needle on my normal sewing machine to sew the hem on the sleeves and the skirt hem.

(the flash went off in this photo, don't know why, but it was my last one, too cold today)
The pattern is supposed to have a small tab of fabric with two buttons on the back, but I messed mine up and couldn't be bothered making another one.  It looks quite okay without it anyway.
the back is pretty plain
Whilst I was getting these snaps a full rainbow came out, so I shall leave you with my lucky shot!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Pay It Forward

A wee while ago I read a post by Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches who was hosting a sewing themed Pay It Forward idea.  I was one of the three lucky readers who would receive a handmade gift in the post over the next twelve months.

My handmade parcel arrived today, and it is just perfect for me!  I've never made a bag before, but have admired these quilted boxy pouches for quite a while, never thinking that I would one day actually have one of my own!  AND it is in green, my favourite colour!

The inside is sewing themed too!

Not only will this pouch be useful for keeping my sewing bits and bobs in one place, it can fit extra goodies inside too!

Thank you so much Fiona Celtic Thistle.  I'm so glad you didn't forget, and this was certainly worth waiting for!

If you would like to participate in Craft-It-Forward, you need to have your own blog and be one of the first three people to comment on this blog post.  You will need to be sure that I can find your email address, so that I can contact you for postal details.  Then I will send you a handmade gift some time within the next 12 months!  When you receive your gift you need to be prepared to host your own Craft-It-Forward on your blog, and then send out three homemade gifts within 12 months of your hosting post.

I am looking forward to getting to know the three participants better,  and to work out a perfect little crafty gift for three of my readers!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Scotland Bloggers Mini Meet Up

Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with a small group of Sewing bloggers in Edinburgh. It is a busy time of year so only a few of us could arrange our schedules to meet up in Remnant kings for a spot of fabric shopping!
We met Hazel there, who kindly gave each of us a tote bag (great news as we now have a new law that requires you to bring in your own shopping bag, or else pay for one) Inside it had a button tin full of useful Sewing items too.

Thanks Remnant Kings!
l felt nervous on the way there but of course it was easy and fun! There is so much to chat about when you share the hobby of sewing. Upcoming projects, blog writing, fabric purchases and good websites for more fabric purchases!

Afterwards we went to a lovely cafe called Mimi's and had cake and coffee together.
From Left to right: Kerry, Helen, Franca, me!, Elaine, Amy, Hazel 

I would definitely encourage anyone who is presented with an opportunity to meet up with people who share your hobby, to go ahead and join in.  It really is a nice way to spend an afternoon!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Another ipad cover

I recently found out that a friend of mine really likes hot air balloons, so when shopping I found a nice floaty scarf with little balloons on it = I had to buy it for her.  She was also planning a trip overseas so when I saw this balloon fabric I decided to create a little sewing gift for her as well = a travel pouch for her tablet!
*edit: on the day I gave this to her, she told me that her tablet died!  At the airport she ended up buying a new tablet, but it is a mini!  This will now be too big!  Oh well, hopefully she can use it for something else.

I have made an ipad cover before so thought I would challenge myself with some all over free-motion quilting on this one, and a different flap closure.
To create the balloon flap I used a buttonhole stitch to attach the three coloured fabric wedges to a white background fabric.  Then I stitched the basket fabric on in the same way.  Here is what it looks like opened up.

To make the main part of the tablet pouch, I put my balloon fabric on top of some wadding which was on top of some white fabric.  Then using the sewing machine like a drawing pencil, I drew around the edges of every balloon and cloud.  To get from one to the other I just swirled around randomly in between.  I cut the finished piece of quilting to half an inch longer and wider than her Tablet.

I also sandwhiched some wadding in between some teal and white fabric and stitched figure 8 swirls along a 1.5" strip for the edges of my pouch.

Sewing instructions

I then made a lining pocket by sewing two pieces of fabric together to the same size as the outer quilted pouch, leaving a 3" opening at the bottom of the pocket, and the top opening completely unstitched.  Leaving the lining piece inside out, I sat the quilted pouch inside the lining then stitched around the top opening.  Pull the quilted pouch through the 3" opening at the bottom of the lining and the lining turns out the right way.  Stitch the 3" opening closed then fold it down into the pouch.
I stitched the big balloon straight onto the back of the pouch, following the lines of the balloon.


Even though this pouch is probably of no use to my friend now, it really is the thought that counts, but my thought.  I enjoyed making it, and I like showing kindness to others.  She may never really appreciate how long this took me or the amount of thought behind it.  But kindness should not be dependent on the level of appreciation/thanks we get from the recipient of our kindness.  I made this because I wanted to make something for a friend, because I want to be kind, and that is all.

Next up, I will be making a tablet pouch for another friend who just carries hers in a flimsy case, and I know she likes plum, so .....

Sunday, 19 October 2014

It's October and I am the Queen Bee!

I joined a quilting bee with eleven other bloggers from around the UK.  We are taking it in turns to be the Queen Bee, this is the one who decides what block they would like the rest of us to make for them.  The goal is to end up with 12 blocks made especially for us that we can then use to make a quilt (without having to make 12 of the exact same blocks ourselves)

So far I have tried my hand at making 7 different and varying blocks over the year.  Below are pictures of the blocks that I have made, along with some pictures of what those ladies have done with them so far.

So far I have made a wonky star block in March for Lou

A wonky log cabin in April for Jenny
A wonky churn dash in May for Joanna
A friendship star wheel in June for Heidee

A single wedding ring in July for Claire

Two red chevrons in August for Natalie
A pineapple block in September for Celine
We are sharing photos on instagram using the hashtag #lbqb which stands for Little Blogs Quilt Bee.  There are still four more to be made over the next four months.

October's Queen Bee is Me!

Now it is October and it is my turn to write the instructions for a block that I would like the lovely ladies of LBQB to make for me!  I have sent each lady this link and some green background fabric and have asked them to make this block for me in any colours that they think would look nice:
Posies block
Really looking forward to seeing what they all come up with!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Sewing Plans for the last Quarter of the year

I have so many things that I have started but not finished this year.  I have listed them in previous quarters of the year to help with getting them finished before starting something new, sometimes the lists have helped but sometimes I just start something new anyway!
So, we are now into the final quarter of 2014, and here is my list of things that I hope to achieve.
Linking up with Katy's Finish-Along with the hope of being randomly selected for a Finished Project prize!

1.  My sister Bonnie's quilt.  I had been trying to get this finished for her Australian Winter but it just didn't happen, but maybe now it will finally get done and sent, as I am putting it down as my number one priority.
2.  I started this hand piecing of apple core shapes at the Edinburgh Stitch Gathering and would like to have it finished into a cushion.
3.  I am planning on making a mini quilt using a combination of low volume fabrics as the background and a lone star inside a swoon block for the main design.  I have bookmarked the tutorial and purchased the fabrics, I just need to get on with it and do it!

4. There is probably no chance that I will actually do this, but I will list it anyway, my applique Garden Quilt.  Come on girl, just do it!!!!
5.  Probably no chance of getting this one finished either, but I will include it in the hope that a huge pocket of time opens up for me: My Pretty Potent quilt.
6. A clutch handbag I am making using this frame and the family tartan in silk as a gift for the newest member of the family.  Just waiting for the fabric to arrive now.
7.  Wedding quilt using Terra Australis fabrics.  Unlikely they will get it before their first anniversary next year, but I can always try!

Friday, 3 October 2014


At long last I have finished this huge quilt!  And I love it!  I have blogged about piecing the top of this quilt back in April and May if you're interested in the finer points, but otherwise, here are lots of photos of my finished quilt!  All indoors today due to the rain.
This is Swoon on the same bed that is in my blog header, my sewing room
Swoon fits quite nicely on the double bed!
Taken from up the stairwell.
Sheltering under the porch.
I used the pink Country Girls fabric for the back too.
As part of the fabric collection four of the prints
are on a white background, which would be
difficult to incorporate into a star block, so I used
two of the white fat quarters for the binding!

The details

The pattern is called Swoon by Thimbleblossoms
The fabric is called Country Girls by Tasha Noel

As part of Katy's Finish-Along I had hoped to finish seven things this quarter of the year, but alas I only finished two, but they are two that I am very pleased with.

Getting over disappointment

At the quilters I asked for a coordinating thread colour to be used for each block, with a flower stitched within the central star and arches from every corner of the outer petal shapes, and the white background was supposed to be filled with swirling feathers. What I paid for and received is not exactly what I asked for, but it is not worth causing a fuss so I have struggled to just get used to what I have been given and try to just love it for what it is right now, not what I had envisioned.  It has taken a couple of weeks to get over the disappointment, at which I just had it tucked away, then I was able to do the binding by keeping it scrunched up next to the machine and by keeping most of it in it's bag whilst I just stitched on a bit of binding at a time.
Today I finally laid it out flat for these photos and now know that I do love it again and am going to just not think about my vision for the quilting side of it.
This quilt is not going into a competition or a show or anything, it is meant to bring joy to whoever is snuggled up inside it, and I think it will do just that.

And now for the close-ups!

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