Monday, 26 May 2014

Dressmaking #2

What's a girl to do on a rainy bank holiday? Sew of course! I'd promised myself a bit of a day off today - no housework or chasing around after children - so sewing was bound to feature (of all the things on my day off list, this is the only 1 I accomplished!) 

My first sewing job was to make the block for June for the Little Blog Quilt Bee. May's block should have arrived by now so I can show you a picture:

We seem to be having a wonky theme going with the blocks so far! Why is deliberate wonky-ness so difficult? Quite apart from anything else, when you are trying to put the individual pieces together, you naturally try to un-wonky them. I do anyway!

Back to June's block is finished (but can't be revealed yet!) and so is my second attempt at dressmaking. Today I completed a simple skirt, using the pattern in the Great British Sewing Bee book. I'm thrilled with it! If we get any decent weather in the summer, it'll be perfect.

Please excuse the knobbly knees!

I love this patterned fabric. My husband wasn't too keen when I bought it but he said it is better now made into a garment.

What to make next? I feel like I'm on a roll. I've bought a pattern for a jersey cardigan that I might have a go at next but we'll see.

I hope you've had a productive bank holiday despite the weather!

Love Natalie x

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dressmaking #1

Like millions of people up and down the country, I was glued to The Great British Sewing Bee and I was lucky enough to get the book that accompanied the series for Mothers Day. So, having not made an item of clothing since GCSEs textiles (some 25 years ago!), I've made myself a T Shirt! And very good it is too.

I was aiming for this T Shirt from the book:

And this is how it turned out:

Not bad, eh? Many lessons were learned along the way. I actually made 2 toiles before I got the length and neck right but it was worth the effort. I would point out that this pattern has come under fire in the reviews of the book on the internet - it does have a very wide neck so if you don't make a toile you might be disappointed. But ever the diligent student, I did exactly as my TV tutors told me and practiced first! I had practiced making and using bias binding before I did it "for real" and I was very pleased with myself. However, I had practiced with cotton and the actual T Shirt is made with Jersey so the material didn't act in the same way. Still, though there is room for improvement here, I'm happy with how it turned out.

I read a great post at where Florence talked about "Bless My Heart" garments that she has made but not worn and I did ask myself if I would be brave enough to wear a homemade item out. The answer to the question is yes, I will wear it out and I have! Not that I told anyone - I happened to have it on during the school run a couple of days ago.

I'm so please with my efforts that I'm halfway through a skirt now so watch this space!

I'll be linking up with Handmade Harbour today, so join in the fun there if you can.

Love Natalie

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Cake Club and Clam Shells

This week started with the clandestine Cake Club. The theme was Easter so there was an array of chocolate based cakes, Easter chicks and even a bunny!

This was the cake made by my sister-in-law - it was covered in coconut to give a fluffy appearance. I went with a carrot cake - Easter bunnies eat carrots, don't they? I'm so glad I joined this club, it's a fun evening of eating cake and drinking tea whilst chatting to friends old and new.

For the record, this particular cake was made by the 11 year old daughter of a friend and was delecious!

On the sewing front, I finished the Clam Shell cushion that I've been making following the instructions in Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine.

Rather than make my own cushion cover, I used a cushion that I bought in a supermarket. How could I not? The cushion, with pad, was just £3! I couldn't have bought a new cushion pad for that. And it saved me from making my own cushion cover. This sewing on this cushion is almost a plotted history of my technical improvements. The clam shells at the top are sewn on neatly and are more than acceptable. However, those  from about half way down are......very nearly perfect! I learned so much from watching videos about sewing the binding to quilts, and it has really rubbed off onto all of my sewing projects. One thing I have learned since finishing this project (which is a shame because it is a tip I could really have benefited from) is how to iron fabric shapes around templates, using spray starch  to fix the curves. This was again learned via a video tutorial and I stumbled across it by accident. If you would like to seek it out, it was How To prepare Appliqué on the Fat Quarter Shop channel.

I shall be linking up with Handmade Monday - if you've not yet visited, join me there to read some really inspiring blogs.

Love Natalie