Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Been busy today...

...as its the last day of my leave, back at work tomorrow :( I'm really not looking forward to this as I've enjoyed time to myself and gotten rather used to it!!
So in my last few hours of holiday-esqu crafting I serged the edges of my basic block pattern, edited the basic dress pattern (slightly different) to include some extra darts I added right at the end to make it fit better, and started these:
they're the start of some calico 'models' for basic bag shapes. The idea is I'll have a few 'models' and inside each will be the serged template with the area that becomes the 'front' marked on. This way if I fancy whipping up a bag with a design on the front I know what dimensions to use and it will all work up fairly quickly.
I've already taken A LOT of photos
- 12x12 square with a 1.5" squared off bottom with 1, 2, 3 + 4 inches turned down, square then trapezoid, then all the same but with a 2.5" square
-10x10 square with 1" and 2" squared bottom with all of the above etc etc
I'll be able to pic the bag I want and have the pattern and front design/embelishment area within seconds. And you will too once I figure the best way to present it :)

And... this evening I got my new rotary cutter out.... and started to cut squares, and started to arrange them, and came up with this:
I deliberately put the blues in the middle few columns and the darker squares nearer the edges, and I like the faint 'cross' that seems to leap out... am I the only one who sees it?!
so here they are ready to sew together :) They are all 8.5" so hopefully with .25" seam allowance the whole quilt will measure 80"x72" which should drape over my queen size and if I ever own a king size it'll be perfect for that too!

Wavy Edge Dress

For the wavy edge dress I took the basic block, made a copy on some more horrible dirty-pink cotton and modified it slightly. I brought the shoulders in a bit and made the neckline more open. I pinned it to my fabric and took an extra wide seam allowance - I wanted to thread-baste it as I've been reading about in Couture Sewing Techniques. Thread basting took a while, I think it was worth it as I wanted this dress to be perfect and certainly ironing seams flat was much easier with such a wide seam!
Here you can see the little arrows I stitched for lining up!...all the pieces thread basted and overlocked, with the necks and sleeves with no seam allowance. I extended the line between waist and hips by 12 inches with a wide seam alowance also for the skirt.Here was the 'experiment' piece for machine stitched ribbon (did NOT look neat enough) and the original bottom wavy edge idea. I planned to overlock a more frequent wave then hand sew the fringed wool on. It looked great but I thought I'd better put it in the washer and dryer to see how it stood up. The result was 'surprisingly well' but there was no longer a 'good side' and the fringed wool didn't sit as straight any more :(so...hand attached ribbon edging, machine seams, a side zip, overlocked gentle petal wave bottom edge then hand stitched rolled hem later..... oh, and some fabulous red satin heels ;)

I love it, I'm wearing it right now!

Eat the cupboards bare soup

I'm at the end of the month and am being very very strict with myself for money, so today I made hearty 'eat the cupboards bare' soup. I had these from the cupboard...
these from the freezer...
and this in the garden :D
yum yum, I love fresh chives on everything!
onions and potatoes made the base
I drained most, but not all of the potato water away then I added this lot
heres the result! Lunch for today and meals for future times of too-much-month-at-the-end-of-the-money!

Sunday, 29 March 2009


Upcoming projects - blues and greens quilt. Plan to use a shiny deep green for the back then quilt with large mixed leaf shapes and finish the edge with extra wide cream satin ribbon :)
these fabrics should all produce around four 8.5" squares each - I'm planning to make a big one :)
oh, and I'm making little labels for all my wires. I'm pretty sure they're breeding so if they don't own a label they'll have to go :)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Dressmaking Basic Block

Today I finally got around to crafting using my newly acquired stash :)

I've been thinking of how to create my wavy edge dress and whether or not to just 'go for it' or 'go for it with a different fabric, then modify' etc etc. But when I saw this tutorial I thought I'd give it a try.

It seemed very complicated and I had to redo a few measurements but I came up with a 'toile' for a bodice and then made it so that it was extending down to my hips. 
It ended up being a little bit big around the waist and the arms didn't feel right, so I modified a bit, nipped in here and altered a line there. Cut the next attempt to include a 12 inch A-line skirt and... voila!

Ok, this fits perfectly if I wasn't trying to suck my tummy in for a nice photo to send to the boyfriend in Afghanistan!! And the colour is horrible hence why I used it for 'experimenting' :) I might dye it a dark colour then I can actually wear this!

Now that I have the basic design blocks that fit me, I can tweak and adjust for various designs - I can add sleeves, change the shoulders, the neckline, the skirt flare and length and the way its cut to fit together - lots of possibilities! For my wavy edge dress (which now, I'm considering making a straight edge but trimmed with lines of ribbon) I think I'll narrow the shoulders a tad and make a more open neckline but leaving the rest as it is :)


Yay! I'm finally al organised and back in my nice neat room :) Here is the bed with my grandma's quilt, only very organised underbed storage - I had to do it in the end ;)

Next up is my modified wardrobe. I've put lots of clothes onto a hanging rail in a cupboard in the hall to make room!
Next section - the chest is full of scrapbooking/papercraft goodies and the black box holds cross stitch WIPs/UFOs

My beautiful desk which has some imitation leather underneath the glass which is the same stuff I made cushions for the bed with and covered my notice board so everything is tied in together. The desk gets completely cleared for new projects. On the left is a new white caddy that has six drawers I've organised by colour and I throw anything fabric craft related into the drawers - ribbon, embroidery thread, buttons, ink pads, sparkly things... 
On top and under the TV is a basic IKEA drawer chest which holds what an American lady might call 'sewing notions' :)
I am so so happy to have the feeling of space back and I even managed to finally get around to creating something today. Will say in the next post ;)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Folding gadget

I saw this video on YouTube ages ago and remembered it when I started to fold all my fabrics. The fabric folding has taken longer than might have been expected from my post waaay down there... that's because I got a bit of a guilt trip on and decided to wash and iron every bit of fabric before putting it all away smelling of attic :) So heres the tutorial for folding in a remarkably OCD-style manner :)
You will need... bits of cardboard, craft knife, cutting mat and straight edge, packing tape.
Decide on the finished size of the folded fabric, I've cut these to make 6 inch squares. For 6 inch squares I needed one larger piece, two long pieces 6 inches wide and one 6 inch square.This is the layout it should end up like.Start by taping down one of the longer pieces to the large (base) piece.
Fold it over and tape the edge on the back too.
Measure with the square and line up the second long piece onto the base.Take the square piece awayAnd tape the second long piece front and back. I'd also tape the top if you have a jaggedy edge to stop fabric catching on it.Now measure the square from the top and mark (or hold you finger there :) )Place the square where the mark was and tape front and back.

Thats it finished!! To use it... 

Line your fabric up with the top and the right hand edge
Fold over the edges to line up with the left and bottomFor larger pieces of fabric you might have to start with a folded piece or fold in from all sides.Now using the long edges, fold them over bringing the fabric with it. I tend to place a finger into the fold to help the fabric fold cleanly (I couldn't do this with the camera!).Then fold up the bottom flap
Leaving you with a nicely folded square :)Repeat for your entire stash :)
This is my six inch pile, consisting of fabrics that can only fit one 12 inch square, for fabrics that I could get at least 2 12 inch square pieces out of, I have a 12 inch folder :)
Here are my 12 inch piles, sorted into upholstery weight, curtain weight, heavy cotton, patchwork weight cotton, and lighter than cotton piles :)
Phew! The work was mainly in the ironing though :)

Grandma's Quilt and Pretty Dress-up

Found on recent trip to parents attic....
isn't it beautiful!! Look at some of these fabrics...
But it is not without damage, apart from the edge needed a whole new bias, some of the fabrics have been completely eaten away. I guess the only way to patch this is with careful applique's :(
a lot of the red colours in patterns in particular have suffered :(
I'm going to keep it on my bed for a bit and will think/research about the best ways to repair it.

In the meantime here's my outfit for an upcoming wedding.. I found the sparkly fairy cape in the attic. I remember paying quite a bit for it in uni so I'll wear it again :) Its a muslim fabric adorned with lots of beads by hand. The dress is great too because I bought it in the very middle of officer training when I was quite skinny, and I fit back into it now :) Its covered in beads too with broderie anglais stlye cutouts :)