Sunday, 30 March 2014

Well Helloooo Garment Sewing!

It has been quite a while since I have done any garment sewing, so it's time I got back into it!  First up will be two pieces: underwear slip and nightwear pants.  Useful, practical and won't take up much room!  I have been collecting all the lingerie bits and pieces to create Gertie's new pattern Butterick 6031 and I finally have it altogether.  Gertie is even going to start a sew-along on the 1st April which I am planning to join in with.
I also bought some GLOW IN THE DARK Star Wars fabric to make some pyjama pants for a friend who lives far away in Australia.  I know he will love them, I'm just waiting on his wife to give me the measurements of one of his favourite PJ pants so that I can best match the finished garment size.
The crossed light-sabers glow in the dark

Personal Reflection

Whilst enjoying my garment-making hiatus, I have done a little reflective thinking about why I didn't want to make garments.  This has been for a number of reasons:
1.  I don't want to make clothes for my current figure.  I am a bit ashamed that I let myself put on so much excess weight over the winter.  I don't want to be photographed either.
2. I tidied out my wardrobe and realised I have FAR TOO MUCH clothing already.  The very last thing I need in my life is more clothing!  The added trouble is that I don't ever throw clothes away.  If it is too summery to wear, it gets put into the spare room closet.  If it is too small or too big, it gets put into a size-labelled container and hidden in the loft/attic until I return to that size in the future.
3.  My sewing room -which is also the spare room- is full of my Mister's things.  We are still awaiting a joiner to create storage space in his workroom and so in the meantime my room is a storage room, which makes anything larger than a bit of patchwork piecing difficult to work with in there.
4.  I am LOVING doing patchwork at the moment.  I bought some beautifully coloured prints and am really enjoying making them into something wonderful for my sister.  I also bought some sweet little girly fabric that I am enjoying cutting up to it's best advantage to create a patchwork quilt with too - I have no intended recipient for this quilt, but it is bringing me much joy creating it.  (I'll share some pictures of these in my next post)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Bonnie's Quilt

Green is my favourite colour.  All shades and tones.  I just love green.  And so does my sister Bonnie.    When I asked her if she'd appreciate a quilt made for her new home and she replied with a very enthusiastic YES PLEASE, I knew it would have to revolve around the colour green.  So I started a Pinterest board for her to approve any fabric choices and designs.  She's a lot more modern and much more of a 'cool chick' than I am, and her tastes can be quite different to mine.
Then Vanessa Christenson showed off her lovely new "Color Me Happy" fabric range and I was smitten.  All the lush and rich colour coordinating was done for me and all I had to do was wait until March for these gorgeous colours and prints to be available.  Visit her website here if you want to see professional photos of her fabric range.  Wait till you see her gradient Ombre collection!!!!
 Meanwhile, here are my photos:
She wasn't too keen on the little flowers (pictured in the front) nor the teal so I took them out of the mix.  Here are some other fabrics that she (and I) approved of:
I really love these bright colours, but the navy with large red and grey roses (top left) doesn't have any green in them so I am saving them for a future use for myself!  I also bought these greens and greys:
 So here is the entire collection of fabrics I am going to use for her quilt:
The extra few fabrics along the bottom I received in the Instagram #greatukfabricdestash

What Design?

The next step was to ask her feelings on design, as I didn't want to just guess which shapes she preferred, or if she liked random over symmetrical designs.  So I gave her a quick "this or this?" ten questions, which helped give me some direction.
Do you still love owls? - I do, but i love Elk antlers more
Curved lines or straight lines? curved
Random pattern or repeat pattern? random
Green with white or Green with grey? green with grey (I am loving grey at the moment - still LOVE white though)
Cute or quirky? erm - i'v been into cabbage roses and awesome florals lately
swirly or jagged? swirly
Contrast colour or complementary colour? contrast
Favourite/preferred 2D shape - triangle/square/rectangle/circle/hexagon/diamond? triangle

I wonder what designs come into your mind when you read her answers?  Please share any ideas you have!
Here is what I have come up with so far, starting with her preferred 2D shape, the triangle.
This guy is 10.5" square

The big brother is 24" and the little brother is 4"
I've also turned my hand to some paper piecing for the first time ever and come up with a lovely circle of flying geese, with a few trying to escape!
The background fabric is just PERFECT for this design!
Then I added a string of flying geese triangles that had escaped from the circle:

And to make this a solid rectangle shape I enclosed the little 4" star with more of this background print, but in gorgeous grey, and added some rectangle patches:

So that is the progress so far on Bonnie's Quilt!  
Feel free to add any suggestions of what you think might be a design or pattern that would suit this quilt too.  I think my next step is to try drunkard's path blocks.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Little Blog Quilt Bee for March

I am participating in a Quilt bee with 11 other ladies who are dotted around the United Kingdom.  This month we are all making a 12" patchwork block for Lou who blogs at I'm Studio Lou.  She requested a block called a wonky star block and gave us this link to a tutorial by Nancy at Owen's Olivia blog.  She wasn't bothered about the colours we used at all and is going to make a quilt out of the blocks she receives.
So here is my first attempt:
Once I saw this through the camera lens I noticed the top right corner of the star blends in with the background more than I'd like.  So I unpicked it and replaced that star point with a creamier print and am much happier with it now:
But of course, even though I like it, after looking around on Lou's blog I don't think it really goes with her own aesthetic/fabric choices.  She seems to prefer working with bright colours.  (That is one of the great things about making a patchwork block for somebody who has a large amount of their own creative work available to view on the internet - I can stalk for preferences!)  So I am going to quilt and bind this and keep it as a mini wall hanging beside my sewing table....eventually.  
I say "eventually" because at the moment we are doing some room renovations and my sewing/study/guest room no longer looks like the picture in my blog-header photograph, but currently looks like this:
The desk on the far right is usually my sewing table,
currently covered in books, so won't be getting much done over the next few weeks
Now back to Lou's wonky star... here is the one I went on to make and have now sent it off to Lou:

Much brighter and cheerier!  She said she really liked it too, which is always satisfying and gives a sense of relief.  I used fabrics I had received in a free fat quarter bundle from Avery Homestore as well as a few pieces that I had bought in a selection pack of greens and blues from her shop too.

If you'd like to have a look at the other wonky stars we're all making, please feel free to visit our flickr page.  IG tag is #LBQB and our linky button is in my sidebar.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Pattern bundle Giveaway

I have a bundle of dress patterns to give away to one lucky reader!  Yay!

I won a bundle of patterns from Tanya who blogs over at Mrs Hughes, a lovely lady who not only makes beautiful dresses but fosters dogs and gives them a loving home until they can find their forever families.
Winning this bundle comes with two provisos.  Firstly that when you receive the bundle you can choose whichever patterns you'd like to keep, and secondly you then add some of your own patterns to the bundle  and host a giveaway on your own blog!  All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post!

Here are the patterns that are now currently in the giveaway.  Click the images to see them full size:
These three patterns start at size 14.
The jacket goes up to size 20, the two dresses go up to size 22.
These two dresses start at size 16.
 The one on the left goes up to 24, and on the right up to 22
Both of these patterns have a size range of 18 - 24
These three range from large to extra extra large
These two patterns have a good size range in them:
The dress on the left ranges from extra small to extra large.
The tunic on the right is extra extra small to extra extra large
This pattern has only two sizes, large and extra large
The casuals pattern on the left ranges from US sizes 18 - 34,
and the dress on the right is 26 - 32
As you can tell, this pattern bundle is full of lots of sewing goodness for a voluptuous figure.  Perhaps if these patterns aren't for you, you may know someone who would love to be alerted to this Giveaway?  Please feel free to share this giveaway on IG, twitter or send a link to any sewing buddies who'd like an injection of new patterns into their stash!  
THE RULES (originally by Karen at Did You Make That - copied and slightly amended)
·        Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight March 31st, GMT, but you must have an active blog, so that you can host your own giveaway.
·        I will randomly select a winner.
·        Each winner will then pick a selection of patterns to keep for themselves, and host their own giveaway throwing some new choices into the mix and then send the patterns to the next person who will also be randomly chosen.
·        All patterns are in the plus size category – ie – if the pattern comes in 2 sizing groups, then it will be the larger category. Patterns used to replenish the stock need to go up to at least a size 20 (most go higher). Patterns listed as “all sizes” will include plus sizes.
·        We are taking it on trust that all pattern pieces are there.
·        If you’re a winner, I would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns. These plus-sized patterns have been contributed by me in the spirit of the generosity of the sewing community.
·        Please engage in a timely fashion, launching your own giveaways soon after receiving a parcel
·        You must be be happy to post patterns worldwide.

These are the patterns I am also adding into the Giveaway from my own collection:  Gertie dress sizes 14 - 22, summer casuals patterns sizes 18 - 22, and costume sizes 26 - 32  These are all brand new and uncut.

So that is it!  All the pattern goodness ready to be sent your way!  All you have to do is leave a comment below and I'll enter your name into the draw!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee is coming to America

The Great British Sewing Bee has so far been very enjoyable.  When an episode is finished I feel all giddy and happy!
We've just seen the third episode tonight - I am not going to reveal anything other than the theme: STRETCH -  three projects using stretch fabric - leggings, a wrap dress and an upcycled tee shirt.
Episodes one and two seem to be available on You Tube (hopefully these links will work for you wherever you may be).  They are also available on Britain's BBC iPlayer, but the official website also has some clips to whet your appetite over here.
...Now for the big news for my American readers... They are going to make a series in New York!  I'd love to see a fellow blogger participate in this fun show, so please have a look at the websites and links, and do think about applying if you can!  I've tried to post the advertisement, but I am not as tech-savvy as I'd like to be, so here is a link to Carolyn's blog as she's popped all the information there.

Round of applause for excellent leggings!  source
Over here the contestants seem to get a Brief about the theme of the upcoming week and can prepare and practice the main garment for the second day of filming.  This week they prepared a knit wrap dress.  The sewing is filmed over a two-day period but first they have the whole week at home - probably practicing!  The first day of the sewing filming is always a pattern-to-follow challenge and an upcycle/alteration challenge.  Some family members may need to commit to being filmed too, but that is one of the nice parts about the show, seeing how sewing is a part of people's real lives.

A little more behind the scenes information:

The blog called The Thrifty Stitcher is written by the behind-the-scenes lady who comes up with the pattern challenges and helps with all sorts of sewing things on set.  Her blog posts are always written after the episodes air on TV so do beware, she may reveal details if you haven't already seen the episode.

Hope to see some of you on your own NY Sewing TV show!
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