Friday, 26 February 2016

all sorts of sewing - and some knitting!

I made a skirt last Saturday and couldn't think why I hadn't blogged about it. Then I remembered - I was so excited about the bag I made on Saturday afternoon that the morning's achievement got forgotten. Woops!

Here's the skirt.

I used my self-made pattern from the "Sew What Skirts" book again. I've already worn it a couple of times and it's just as comfy as all the others I've made from that pattern.

On Monday I wanted to use up a couple of curtain samples that I had so first I made a bag:

Then I made a pinny:

There was still a wee bit left so I made a pair of oven gloves.

From the other sample, I made 2 pinnies like this.

These have now been washed and added to my kitchen drawer of pinnies and oven gloves. I think I might need to start another drawer as that one's getting really full!

Yesterday, I finished my socks. I'm really pleased with them - and even more pleased with myself for finishing them.

I've got another ball of sock yarn ready to make the next pair but I might try and see if I can make some headway with my crocheted hexagon blanket first.

This morning I finished the pink baby quilt I'd cut out last week. I think it's adorable but then I might be slightly biased! LOL

The back is a baby pink fleece with white hearts. The hearts are on their sides but I'm sure it doesn't matter!

I've already got some blues cut out and sewn together for a blue baby quilt.

I'm really enjoying making these baby quilts. I still have quite a few bits of fleece in my stash so I'm just going to keep making them for now. I would say it's a good way to use up scraps but, to be honest, I think I generate more scraps than I use up.

Monday, 22 February 2016

a new bag

I made myself a new bag at the weekend and I am soooooo delighted with it.

I started off with a general idea of what I wanted and just started putting it together. I changed a few things around as I went along, added a few things and decided not to bother with other things and this is what I ended up with.

It's made out of a leftover piece of black denim and another leftover piece of maroon spotty fabric so, basically, the bag cost me nothing for the fabric.

I had 3 cover buttons in my stash this size so I covered them with the spotty fabric and used one of them on the outside pocket ... (it's just decorative - it doesn't close the pocket)

... and the other two are used as decorations on the boxed corners which, for a wee change, I decided to fold up on the outside of the bag. I really like that way of doing the corners!

Not shown in the photos are a divided inside pocket where my phone fits in one part and a pen in the other. For a base, I stuck 3 layers of pelmet stiffener together (which I have had in the sewing room stash for at least 13 years!!) and covered that with the spotty fabric. It gives just enough stiffness to stop the bag from collapsing when I put things in it. There's also my usual brass ring sewn on the inside at the top of the bag where I hook my keys to save me scrabbling about for them.

This was meant to be a "let's see how this goes and, if it works out, I'll make a better one for me actually using" kind of bag. Not any more. This is the bag I'll be using from now on. I just LOVE it!

Friday, 19 February 2016

the best bargain ever!

I was in my local department store yesterday and decided to go and check out the remnant box in the curtain department to see if they had any white curtain lining in there. I use white curtain lining instead of white quilting cotton for my quilts because I prefer the feel of it to the stiff quilting cotton. The main reason I prefer it, though, is the v-a-s-t difference in price. Quilting cotton (in said department store) is £13.50 per metre for 115cm wide. Cotton curtain lining is £3.50 per metre for 140cm wide. A definite "no brainer" as the saying goes!

Anyway, I strolled into the curtain fabric department and headed for the remnant box. Someone had just tidied it so all the fabrics were in neat piles so it was easy for me to see that, no, there was no white lining in there. Oh well, never mind. Maybe next time.

I should maybe point out here that I used to work in this curtain fabric department so they know me and know what I'm like - always looking for bargains! :oD

On with the story:

I was just about to leave when I heard M ask her supervisor, L, if she should "price the white lining at 50 pence per metre as it was all marked" to which L said "Yes, let's get rid of it!" I wandered over to the counter and asked "Is that white cotton curtain lining you'll be pricing at 50p per metre?" and M replied "Yes, do you want it?". "Yes, please", says I. I was told there were 3 pieces at just over 2 metres each and I could have them all for £3. Again, a "no brainer".

I dug out my purse and was hurriedly looking for the money in case she changed her mind when L moved to the end of the counter and started rummaging around in something. I was folding my lining to fit into my shopping bag when L said "Anne, do you want this stuff too? It's so badly stained we put it in the bucket." I said "Yes, please" again and wasn't charged anything for those bits. Cool.

When I got home I unpacked my treasure - 7 pieces each measuring about 2.20 metres!!

This is the stain on the end of one of the pieces that came out of the bucket - this is the worst piece. The others weren't nearly as bad as this!

This is an example of the marks on the bits they priced at 50p per metre. Not too bad really!

I washed them all, dried them on the washing line until the rain started and then finished them off in the tumble drier. They're now in their very own cubby-hole in my sewing room.

15.40 metres of white for just £3? Now that's what I call a bargain!!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

if at first things don't succeed - unpick and start again!

I played around with the disappearing 9 patch this week and realised that it wouldn't take many of them to make a baby blanket. So I dug out a piece of fleece which I had, measured it and, sure enough, it would only take 5 of the 9 patch blocks to make a top for it. I had already made 4 so only one more to make until I had enough. Score!

I set to and got them made, cut up, rejoined and pinned on to the fleece ready to quilt.

I quilted it using a lovely multi-coloured Gütermann Sulky thread, sewed the binding on to the front and then turned it over to pin it to the back. But wait. What's that?

And that?

And that?

And that?

And that?

The quilting had so many loopy bits on the back that there was no way it could stay like that. Boy was I annoyed with myself for not turning it over to the back earlier! There was nothing for it but I had to unpick the binding and pull out all that quilting. Every single row of it had some sort of loop-de-loop on it so none of it was saveable. A lot of unpicking and pulling out but it had to be done.

I decided that I wasn't going to use that same thread again and, since the binding had gone on beautifully with ordinary Gütermann white all purpose thread, I decided to just quilt using that too. I also decided to not use the walking foot to see how that went and it all went swimmingly. Look at the back now. Beautiful!

And the front is lovely with the white thread too. I re-sewed on the stripey binding -

And here's the quilt in all its glory.

I then decided that, since I had another baby-sized fleece in my stash, I'd just make another one as well. 9 patch blocks made, cut apart and ready to be sewn together again -

Quilted on to the fleece using ordinary Gütermann thread - I had learned that lesson!

I made a lovely spotty binding from a fat quarter - it matches both the front and back beautifully!

And here it is in all its glory.

I have another two baby fleeces which I'm going to make into baby quilts too but I'm thinking a change of patchwork top will be the order of the day for those. Maybe a zig-zag? Or a diagonal? Who knows? The fun will be in the planning! Oh and you can be sure I'll be using ordinary Gütermann thread for the quilting too!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

a nightie, a dress and a sock

I decided to make myself a new nightie using my old faithful pattern - Style 2363.

As I've said before about this pattern, it's older than either of my girls but I love it and will never part with it! This is my new nightie made in a pure cotton which I got in the January sales at Dunelm Mill - cost me £2.49 per metre. Not too shabby for pure cotton, I'd say!

This is a close up to show the sweet floral design. The ribbon doesn't quite go but, hey, it's a nightie. Who cares what colour the ribbon is? Not me!

I made myself another Lady Skater Dress.

Santa Claus brought me this knitted fabric. Who'd have thought that dragonflies could look so lovely?

I love the Lady Skater Dress pattern. This is my 3rd rendition of it and will no doubt get worn just as much as the other two do. Here's the first one I made here and the second one is here.

I've been busy knitting with 4 DPNs (double pointed needles) recently. Guess what I've been knitting? Socks! This is the first one about to decrease for the toes.

I've now only got to finish off the toes and then start on the second sock. I'm using this pattern.

I had bought a 40cm circular needle to see if I preferred using that to the 4 DPNs but I got myself in a bit of a tangle with it. I think it was too long and too short at the same time. Too long to knit round and round easily but too short to be able to make a magic loop like I did with the sheepy hat. I actually quite enjoyed using the 4 DPNs once I got going. I think the last time I knitted socks was for my Knitter's badge at Girl Guides. I'm not going to even think about how long ago that was!! LOL

Monday, 8 February 2016

2 skirts, a disappearing 9 patch and the one that got away

So, after finishing Joanna's pinafore dress last week, I had a piece of the maroon fabric left measuring just over a metre. I didn't want to just put it back on the shelf so I made a skirt for myself with it. I used my usual self-made pattern from the book "Sew What Skirts".

I used the same fabric for the facings this time - boring but it used all the fabric up. Yay! No leftovers!

Today, I made myself another skirt using the same pattern. The fabric is Black Watch polyviscose tartan.

Again, I made the facings with the same fabric.

I do like wearing skirts in the winter - as long as it's not pouring rain or blowing a gale, that is - so these will get worn a lot!

At the weekend, I was playing about with some patchwork and decided to make a disappearing 9 patch. First of all, I made a 9 patch block (3 x 3) with 4½" squares.

After pressing the seams, I cut it in half horizontally and vertically.

I then sewed those 4 mini-blocks together in a row. The centre square (green spotty) becomes corner-stones on a row of white sashings.

When I made the original 9 patch, I placed all the outside corner fabrics with their patterns facing like this:

This means that, when they're put in a row, those corner fabrics are all facing the same way. Cool, eh?

I worked out how many more squares I needed and promptly got them all cut. Well, to tell the truth, I only had the whites and the centre squares to cut as all the others came from my boxes of 4½" squares.

The best bit about joining these 9 patch blocks is the corner squares can be chosen completely randomly as you're going to cut them all apart again to join them in rows. That's when the "random" will be done a bit more carefully!

Now for a laugh. Every year, I always manage to miss at least one Christmas decoration. This year it took me until this weekend to find the one that got away!

To be fair, this door is never closed and it only got pulled to at the weekend by accident! So, it's not as if the door angel been hanging in clear sight! That's my story and I'm sticking to it! LOL

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

back to dressmaking - another pinafore

I started another pinafore dress for Joanna yesterday and finished it off today. I used the same pattern as I used last time - McCall's 7241, view C.

Here it is all finished and ready to go home with Joanna.

Again, I didn't line the bodice as suggested in the pattern but used a self-made bias binding instead around the neck and armholes - a spotty one this time.

This picture gives a better idea of the colour of the fabric - a lovely maroon.

I have some Black Watch tartan ready to make another one of these but I'm going to leave that one for a wee while - the very idea of matching the tartan on princess seams (on the bodice) and pleats (on the skirt) is giving me the heeby jeebies! :oD