Saturday, 28 March 2015

black sheep, pink cats, red wellies and many more!

I finally managed to get the bags I made last week all photographed and loaded into the tartan bee Etsy shop. Actually, that's not quite true - they're not all listed in the shop because I kept a couple for myself. I just couldn't bear to part with them! It's not as if I need any more bags but that's not the point, is it? LOL

Although I'm only showing one sheepy bag here, there are 4 altogether, all with different linings. I adore those sheep!!

Please don't see this post as an advert for my shop. I'm just putting them all here so I can remember what I made and when!

Friday, 27 March 2015

pink spotty blouse and a start

I made myself another blouse this week. It's yet another Butterick 5526, view A (no pockets) with view D sleeves.

This version is a dusky pink cotton with white spots on it. I *love* it!

I decided to use the same pussy cat buttons I used on a previous blouse - I still have plenty more of these buttons left so I suspect they will be making more appearances on blouses in the future!

My next project is to make another baby quilt. I have an idea of what I want to do so I spent most of my sewing time today cutting masses of 4½" squares. Hopefully, once I get to the sewing stage, it won't take too long to come together. The baby is due soon so I need to get on with it!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

spring has sprung - or has it??

Spring is here!! This is not snow - it's hailstones. About ½" - ¾" hailstones!!

Monday, 23 March 2015

the bedspread - done - and lots of bags

Last week, I decided that Debbie's bedspread had sat around glaring at me for long enough so I made myself deal with it just to get it done. As Debbie had said I could just put together the blocks I had (without adding in the 19 new ones I'd already made!!), that's exactly what I did. The resulting bedspread is now 7 blocks by 6 blocks instead of 9 by 8. That makes the bedspread 84" by 72" - still plenty big enough to fit on top of a bed, in my opinion.

Instead of sewing the top to the backing around the edges with right sides together and turning it all through, I decided to sew them wrong sides together - as if they were quilted - and then add a binding around the outside. The rusty colour is the original backing which I was able to use and I used one of my stripey bindings. I must admit, the sewing isn't exactly perfect - I probably should/could have used rusty coloured thread but, by this point, all I wanted was to get it finished so I just used the cream thread that was already in the machine and sewed it up.

And here it is all folded up and ready to go back to Debbie.

I will be telling her in no uncertain terms that I will NOT be fixing this again. If it falls apart again, that's it. Sort it yourself or throw it away!! :oP

After the bedspread was done, I decided to investigate the crate which had some bags in it ready to be sewn. 14 bags to be precise. The first 2 didn't take much time at all.

The last 12 only seemed to take forever because I did them all at once, production line style. I've only got threads to snip on these ones and then they'll all need a good press before I take photos of them and list them in my Etsy shop.

This sight made me very happy at the end of today's sewing. An empty crate! Wheeeeee!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

(sewn) cardigan - finished

I finished the cardigan and am really pleased with the way it turned out. This is the pattern I was using - view A, without pockets.

It's made with a bright pink sweatshirt fleece - knitted on the outside, fleecey (!) on the inside. I was right that it was a quick make - I got it all sewn up in one day.

These are the buttons I used. The bright pink didn't need a lift but these buttons certainly do the job!

There were a couple of things about the pattern that I wondered about.

Firstly, I cut 3" off the sleeve length and they still hang down over my hands. I don't know if it's because it's a unisex pattern but, surely, men don't have arms that long, do they??

The other thing that got me scratching my head is that I had to put interfacing on the neckband. Now, that's totally understandable knowing that the buttonholes and buttons will need more support than the fabric itself might give it. But, if I've ironed on interfacing to stabilise the neckband, how on earth and I expected to "stretch the neckband to fit the garment edge"? Weird!

Anyway, I will be wearing this a lot and, if my local shop ever gets any more sweatshirt fleece in, I might make another one too.

I was in said fabric shop today looking for some red material to make myself a skirt. They didn't have what I was looking for so I asked when it would be in stock again. I was told that, since they were doing a stocktake, they wouldn't be ordering any more fabric until the middle of April. What? A month before you even order it? That's just nuts. I feel an internet search coming on!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

another Cressida, the bedspread and a cardigan

This week I made another Cressida skirt for Joanna. I only had the buttons and buttonholes to finish off today. I know that she'll get a lot of wear out of this one.

It looks navy in that photo but it's black with grey stripes. This photo shows the colour better.

Joanna had bought the fabric out of the remnant box and the price was still on it - £5! The buttons had been on a pinafore dress I made for Joanna in the 90s so it's fitting that they get used for another garment for her!

I decided to have another go at Debbie's bedspread so I started ironing the blocks that I thought - hoped - were intact. Needless to say, there were more that I needed to replace - another 9 to be exact. *sigh* I couldn't face cutting out 27 more sets of 2½" strips so I just put it all aside for now ... again!

I talked to Debbie on the iChat this afternoon and suggested (again) that it was maybe time to abandon it. She didn't want to do that but has now suggested that I just sew together the blocks that are left into whatever size they come out to and they'll use it on the back of their couch instead of on the bed. We both laughed when I said that at the rate the blocks are disintegrating when I work with them, I'll be making a cushion cover for her! :oD

This afternoon I cut out this cardigan pattern for myself in a bright pink sweatshirt fabric. I'm making view A but am leaving the pockets off.

Reading through the pattern, it sounds like it'll be a quick make. I hope I haven't jinxed it by saying that!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

things I've learned - or relearned - this week

1. I don't enjoy sorting patchwork bedspreads. I'd much rather make a new one from scratch. This is why procrastination is the name of the game as far as mending Debbie's bedspread is concerned. I have now sewn the 19 blocks I need to make but the enthusiasm to sew them back together has waned for now.

2. If you make trousers which are 1" too short and you've only done a 1" hem, they are *not* sortable. No matter what you do, they will never be long enough! You will need to go and buy more fabric and start from the beginning again - making sure to lengthen the pattern. Why I cut 3" off the pattern pieces instead of 2" is beyond me! What a numpty!!

3. When you make the new pair of trousers (with longer legs!!), press the creases in before you sew the fronts to the backs. It's much easier to get the creases exactly where they should be! I'd forgotten about this and don't know what reminded me about it but, boy, I was chuffed to remember it! It's a much less fiddly way of getting the creases pressed! In case you want to try it, fold your trouser piece with WRONG sides together lining up the side seam and inside seam edges. Press the creases in. Repeat for both front pieces and both back pieces.

4. When you decide to clean the fluff out of your overlocker, you must NOT think "I wonder what will happen if I unscrew these screws?". Instead of a 10 minute job, it took fully 2 hours to get the machine back together and working properly. At one point both Douglas and I were both holding screwdrivers puzzling out what part fell out when that screw was unscrewed and where it went back in. Learn from this. Do NOT remove screws if you don't know what they're for!

5. The best thing I learned this week was, if you really take your time with something - no matter how much you want to rush to finish it - it will turn out fabulously. Case in point, my new brown/pink floral needlecord Archer shirt.

Aren't the buttons fab? They match the colour of the flowers perfectly!

I love it!

Friday, 6 March 2015

leek and potato soup

Last night, for tea, we had home-made leek and potato soup. There was enough left for me to have at lunchtime today so I decided to take a photo of it.

It tastes as good as it looks - even if I do say so myself.

I made the recipe up as I went along but am not claiming it to be an original. I'm sure others have done the same as I did and ended up with delicious soup too.

Anyway, here's what I did.

Leek and Potato Soup

4 leeks, thoroughly cleaned and chopped into about ¼" slices
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into about ½" dice
1 onion chopped (or, if you're like me, some frozen chopped onions)
2 chicken stock cubes
boiling water

Melt some butter in a pan and add the chopped leeks, potatoes and onions.
Put the lid on the pan and leave the veg to sweat for about 10 minutes.
Dissolve the stock cubes in the boiling water and add to the pan to just cover the veg.
Add about 1 tsp of salt.
Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are soft - should be about 15 minutes.
Whizz with a hand blender or put it in a liquidiser.
If the soup is very thick, add more boiling water.

Eat with buttered oatcakes.

Delish! :o)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

brown trousers and a big repair job

I made myself a pair of brown trousers using my old, long out-of-print, favourite trouser pattern, Simplicity 5844.

Not much to show on a pair of trousers unless you're wearing them which I'm clearly not! :oD

On all my trousers hangers, I hang a wee label so that, in the dark winter mornings, when it's hard to tell brown from black or navy, it's easy to identify the pair I want to wear.

My next big project is to mend Debbie's patchwork bedspread which I made back sometime in the 1990s.

It's been so well used, it's falling to bits.

I tried to persuade her just to throw it in the bucket but she wasn't for having that! So yesterday I made a start to unpicking it and ripping it apart. (The bedspread isn't quilted - I would never have tackled this if I'd had to undo quilting stitches!)

Out of the original 72 blocks, 19 of them are beyond repair.

So I cut out some fabrics.

Put them into groups of 3.

And started sewing more blocks.

I've now made 10 - only 9 more to go. That I know of. I suspect, when I try to sew the new to the old, I'll find a few more that need replaced. *sigh*