Thursday, 9 November 2017

Grayson Perry quilt

I am so pleased I can finally share this quilt - pleased because it's been received and liked by its new owners, and also just pleased because I finally finished it! This one was a long time in the making.  This is my second time using the Bow & Arrows quilt pattern by Suzie Quilts but my first time ever making a larger quilt as up until this I had only made baby quilts.  All the stages - cutting, piecing, quilting and binding, took longer due to the size but the main reason it took longer was overcoming the nerves about quilting a full size quilt. I just kept putting it off, partly nerves about ruining it but also just a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of quilting it on my domestic machine in my little sewing space under the stairs.  Once I got started the quilting though I actually really enjoyed it.

This quilt was a wedding gift for a very good friend of mine.  She introduced me to the art of Grayson Perry years ago as she is a big fan and we have been to see two exhibitions of his work together as well as going to hear him talk at the British Museum, so I knew I wanted to use this fabric.  The fabric is a design by Grayson Perry for Liberty and was a gift to me from a friend who had acquired lots of fabric from somewhere but didn't use it and was doing a clear out.  The grey and pink were fabric I already had in my stash which luckily just tied in.  The beautiful backing & binding fabric is Robert Kaufman Essex yarn dyed linen in pickle and I bought 2 metres for this project (I still have some left, hopefully enough for a summer top!)

Essex yard dyed linen quilt backing

I just followed the pattern exactly, using the no-waste method for flying geese.  I couldn't decide what colour to bind it with as initially I thought I'd use the pink but then decided this could make it look a bit boxed in or small.  Then I realised I had enough of the lime green/chartreuse linen so I just pulled the backing round to the front and sewed it with a blind stitch. I used this tutorial as a guideline but I didn't want to just machine sew the binding as I don't like how this looks, and also I like finishing off a quilt with hand-sewing.  Usually this involves machine sewing down the binding on the front then pinning the binding in place on the reverse then using a blind stitch. In this case I just pulled the backing round to the front then did the pinning and blind-stitch on the front of the quilt.  To me this final stage of hand-sewing feels like a nice way to say goodbye to a quilt!

all packed up & ready to post

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Vogue 1247 - another pink skirt

When I wore this the other day I realised this is the fourth bright pink skirt I've made.  These photos were taken the day after I finished it so it went straight from the sewing machine to being worn - a definite success! Since then I've worn it 2 or 3 times so I know it's going to be a new wardrobe staple. I am so pleased with how it's turned out and I'm kind of hoping it will work in winter too though I have a feeling the fabric will just stick to tights so I'll just need to wait and see. It goes with lots of different tops but I think this pairing - with my (still unblogged) Marilla Walker Maya Top - is one of my favourites.

Details - Pattern: Vogue 1247
Size: pattern was cut out as a size 10 so (thanks to some helpful advice on instagram) I added 3/8" on all side seams in the hopes of increasing it to a size 12.  It worked really well except I must have made a mistake on the waistband measurements and had to add a bit extra on but you can't really notice it.

Fabric & notions: 1 metre of pink cotton (twill?) which I got from a blog de-stash years ago, but unfortunately I can't find the blog I got it from now.  It has a lovely waffle texture to it and feels really good quality.
Were the instructions clear?:  I still found the instructions for attaching the waistband a bit confusing but the extra instructions a friend gave me last time really helped - you can find them at the bottom of my post about my first version of this skirt.  When I made this skirt four years ago I was a bit put off by the instructions and didn't bother doing the bias bound seams.  This time though I found the instructions easier and decided to go for it as it looks so good on the inside this way!
Any changes I'd make next time: Somehow I managed to cut my waistband piece too short even though I added on the 3/8" like I did with the other seams.  If I make it again it would be nice if I could get this right! Asides from that though no changes.  I had already added some length to this, maybe an inch or inch & a half, as it is pretty short as drafted.  However I don't think you'd want to add too much more than that as it might mess the proportions up a bit.
Total cost: None. The fabric was a gift, the binding was in my stash from years ago & I bought the pattern about 5 years ago and have previously used it so I'm not counting it as a cost.

I'm lending this pattern to someone now but when I get it back I'll definitely have a go at the top that's included with it as that was actually the reason I bought the pattern in the first place if I remember rightly.  Next up in my sewing queue is a Named patterns Inari tee - I've had it cut out since last September so it's high time I get it sewed up! What is everyone else working on? Anyone else planning on taking part in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee? I took part last year and it was great fun! I managed to get through to the second round before getting knocked out and am really hoping I can take part again this year.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Me Made May reflections and future sewing plans

It's almost the middle of June so it's time for my traditionally late Me Made May reflections .  I'd like to say a big thanks to Zoe for organising Me Made May again, it's such a brilliant concept and a wonderful community to be a part of. It was great seeing everyone's makes, and I enjoyed taking part even though I hardly took any photos.

My aims were to wear something I've made every day, catalogue my garment fabric and make a summer dress.  So how did I do? Well I wore something me-made every day except one, catalogued most of my garment fabric but didn't manage to make a summer dress.

Wearing something I've made every day wasn't really a challenge as I pretty much do that anyway, except I realised I've a bit of a gap in dresses, in that I haven't sewn any in a long time!  So I'd like to remedy that with a few work appropriate dresses that will also be suitable for winter, as well as hopefully making a summer dress.  Of course every year I say I'm going to make trousers and this year is no exception. Well except even I was fed up with my procrastinating and just went out and bought two pairs from H&M which I now wear loads so the pressure is off!

Marilla Walker Maya top with H&M bright orange trousers
There are lots of repeats in what I wore during May, both in me-mades and shop-bought clothes and I have to say I'm pleased with that - it shows that I make things I like to wear. However I do still have quite a lot of things I don't wear much/at all so maybe I need to think about a bit of a clear out of them.  my most worn me-mades were my 3 Deer & Doe plantain tops/dress and my 3 Megan Nielsen Brumby skirts which I could quite honestly wear all summer!  I also wore my Marilla Walker Maya top 3 times so I think it's time to make a second version of this as I can see the navy is getting a bit faded sadly.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer with H&M dress (for a job interview)

Sherbet Grainline Scout tee with H&M trousers and Hobbs cardigan

Pink Megan Nielsen Brumby with H&M t-shirt & Hobbs cardigan

Pink Megan Neilsen Brumby with H&M top.

Cataloguing my fabric. How have I done? So far I've catalogued almost all my garment sewing fabric, woven & knits, but not my quilting fabrics. For garment sewing then I have 54 pieces of fabric, totalling 80metres, yes that's right 80metres of fabric! It seems a bit obscene to me really so it's definitely helped me resist buying any more fabric. A quick look at Cora when I have an idea for something to sew and I can tell myself that I have quite enough fabric to choose from without buying more.

Now - on with the summer dress! I have a wedding in August and I'm hoping to get one made in time for that.  I've also just cut out another Vogue 1247 skirt in bright pink, have the fabric and a pattern for some wide-legged trousers, and plans for a few more plantains to replace some very worn looking t-shirts.  Did you take part in Me Made May this year, how did you get on?  What are your sewing plans for the next few months?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Me-Made-May 2017 plans

How did it get to be May so quickly?!  In the sewing blogger/instagram world May means the return of Me Made May - a challenge established by Zoe of Sozowhatdoyouknow 'designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more.'
I tend to wear things I've made pretty much every day now so I wasn't sure about taking part this year as I always find it hard to get photos each day. However the photos aren't the main point (though they are a great source of inspiration!) so I decided I could still benefit from taking part if I set myself a new challenge.

Beginnings of my fabric record on Cora

So this is my challenge
I, Kathryn of on instagram) sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavor to wear at least one me-made garment every day. I also endeavor to catalogue all the garment fabric I have in an attempt to sew with fabric I already own rather than buying more. I will also make myself a new summer dress without buying any new fabric to do so.
The first challenge I decided on is a bit of a busman's holiday really as I'm an archivist by trade but sadly my sewing materials, books, digital files etc are not nearly as organized as I am in work!  I remembered reading Helen's review of the Cora app for fabric management ages ago so I decided to check it out using the free version first.  Asides a glitch on the price section - due to me having my phone set to the wrong region - I really enjoyed using it.  Hélène, the developer of the app, was brilliant at helping me sort out why I couldn't get the £ sign in the price section and responded so quickly to my query that I decided to go ahead and purchase the full version.  You can add in as much or little information as you like including:
  • Photo
  • Category (knit, woven, other)
  • Weight (light, medium, heavy)
  • Content
  • Design
  • Colours
  • Length of fabric
  • Width of fabric
  • Cost
  • Source
  • and a notes section.
You can see below how many fabrics I've put in already and I love that you can organise them by price, length, fabric type, colour etc. I like the tool that allows you to export a PDF of all your fabrics which includes the photos and all the information you have inputted. There is also a great section called 'Fabric summary' which tells you how much fabric you have overall. Shockingly even just these 14 pieces of fabric is 26 metres worth.  I really hope having this tool will help me sew from my stash as it seems so wasteful to buy more fabric when I have so much already.

Does anyone else use Cora? Or have other ways of managing their fabric?

In relation to the second challenge to make a summer dress I've also recently discovered the joy of Instagram Collections and have started a sewing inspiration collection which, coupled with my newly catalogued fabric stash, should help me decide what to make. You can see part of my Sewing Inspiration collection below.  Has anyone else been using the collections in this way? Any tips?