Monday, July 27, 2009

A dozen (mostly) red roses!

I've been making the roses for my little bouquet this evening. The roses are surprisingly simple and very fun to make.

If you've taken the time to count the roses in the above picture you'll probably have noticed that there's more than a dozen there. I am planning on having a dozen roses in my bouquet, but when I got to 12 and laid them out somewhat randomly on the background I decided that I'd made too many roses with one of the dark reds on the outside layer so to mix it up a bit I've made a few more with pink around the outside to choose between when it gets to sewing them onto the background. However, looking back at the photos I'm not so sure... I'll decide which ones to use when the next step of the instructions are posted. There are a few more photos on flickr.

I can't wait for the next step to be posted!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Little Bouquet Quilt-a-long

As I mentioned last time, Cherri of Cherry House Quilts is currently hosting a quilt-a-long to make a 'little bouquet quilt' that I have decided to join in with.

I already showed you the fabrics I'd picked from my feeble stash out as possibilities for it, and at sewing club on Thursday evening we had a bit of a 'swap shop' where we brought along fabric/patterns we weren't likely to use to hopefully find them a new home where they'd be more loved. Jo brought along a whole heap of fabric one of her friends was going to be chucking out, so we has great fun picking through it finding pieces that would be true gems for each of us. I came home with quite a bit of fabric (whoops!), including some great pieces to use for this quilt-a-long project. I also picked up some other great fabric but I'll save posting about it for another time.

These are the fabrics I've chosen for the background of my quilt. I've gone for mostly greens and turquoises (because that's the colours I had!)

These are the fabrics I'm going to use for my flowers, I'm planning on making my bouquet with reds, pinks and a few purples. Again, because I have those colours, but they should contrast really well against the background. The last fabric on the right is a possible to use for the leaves, although I'm also considering cutting out leaves from the fabric from my leafy skirt to use... I'll see what each option looks like when I get to that stage.

Deviating from the instructions straight from the word go... as I don't have any "non fusible/non woven interfacing" I decided to use some white cotton that I had left from a previous project. In another deviation from the instructions I cut 5" squares of this white, aiming to end with 4" blocks for the background. Cutting out my strips, completely randomly at widths between 1" and 2.5", and once I had a reasonable number of each of my chosen fabrics cut I started stitching!

I've finished my background, which you can see in full here. It's not as nice as some of the ones I've seen photos of in the pool, having such contrasts within each block may have been a mistake, but I wasn't sure how else to do it with the number of different fabrics that I had. I'm optimistic though, as the red/pink flowers I have planned should still stand out really well. I cut out the perfect number of strips, only having one strip left over when I finished my last block.

The instructions for the flowers are due to be posted on the weekend, so this project will but put aside for a little while until then... maybe I'll finally stitch up my new PJs in the meantime...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quiet but busy week

I haven't really done much sewing this week, my attention has been firmly gripped by le Tour de France. Other than time spent in the lab (mostly rummaging through the -80 freezer looking for my missing samples) my view of the week can be pretty well summarised by the picture below, just interchange what chair I'm sitting in between the couches in the tearoom at work, the chair in front of the heater (photographed) and the couch (usually snuggled under my couch quilt).

I've been feeling a bit guilty at how many unfinished projects I've been allowing to build up over the last few weeks though. I have Two things that are cut out and ready to sew, a few things that are half sewn and a few other bits and pieces. Reorganisation of my fabric last weekend means that these "UFOs" have graduated to having their own box. I have set myself the rule that I'm not allowed to let this box overflow... which means I really need to finish some stuff off as it's full at the moment!

I did say "haven't done much" at the beginning of this post, not "haven't done any", which is true. At the beginning of the week I had a play around modifying (read butchering) a pattern I already have to work out if I think I can make my own pattern for the Esprit dress I posted about in my last update.

I took the bodice pattern from New Look 6726, changed the neckline, then added the pleats. This picture is the first try of the pleats, and they're not quite placed right, or at quite the right angle, but I think I can get them to work with a few changes.

Now to work out the skirt part. I could try working something out myself or I could use the skirt from Simplicity 2965. Needless to say given my indecisive nature I haven't decided which option to pursue yet.

And lastly, Cherri from Cherry house quilts is planning a quilt along to (try and) create one of these beautiful little bouquet quilts. I'm strongly considering having a go, as it'd be a fun opportunity to have a go with free motion quilting which I haven't been gutsy enough to try yet. So, this evening while considering joining in with this quilt along I had a look through my fabrics to see if I have any that are suitable and came up with the (quite measly) box of fabric pictured below. As the instructions for the quilt along are posted I will make the decision whether to try making something with what I have or to buy some fabrics to use (or a bit of both).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dress To Make...?

I was playing around with the bluetooth on my phone so I could download the various photos I've taken on it and rediscovered the photos of a dress I tried on in esprit a while back.

I love the curved seams up the sides, with the incorporated pockets. Sadly the dress wasn't quite the right shape for me so I didn't buy it, but did take these sneaky changing room photos. I would like to try making a similar dress, I don't know if I'd be so ambitious as to try and draft something myself or if I'd try and find a pattern with a similar shape to use.

I'm going into the city this afternoon to see the Barbie Exhibition so maybe I'll pop into Clegs and have a look through the pattern books while i'm there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What's in a name?

I meant to include in my post when I updated the other day that I need to decide what to name my quilt. Now it's finished I'm ready to do the last step of making a label for the back and I'd like to give it a name to go on that label, rather than just a date.

However, I have NO inspiration whatsoever; any suggestions?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Warm and cosy at last.

I'm having a crazy week. After my week off I've launched head first back into work, whilst also watching Le Tour every evening. However before all of that I managed to finish off my quilt.

The biggest quilt I've made and thus the biggest quilt I've quilted, it was hard work moving it around. However, I breezed through the quilting quite happily, doing a basic stitch in the ditch around each of the 4" squares.

I decided to make the binding quite wide one rather than narrow like last time, so measured it up so that the binding was the same width as the white strips (3/4 of an inch). I then quite happily stitched the binding on all the way around, following a tutorial for mitred corners... but discovered when was stitching the binding round onto the back that I should have done the corners slightly differently, as I hadn't allowed enough fabric in the fold of my corner to make a nice square corner. As I discovered this after I had sewn the binding on all the way around and started hand stitching the back I decided to deal with it, and now my corners are slightly rounded rather than nice pointy corners.

Hand stitching the binding on the back took AGES. And by ages I'm not exaggerating. I started the hand stitching at about 7:30pm on Saturday night, cosy under the quilt sat on my couch watching TV stitching away. Excluding a break for some food and a few other small distractions, I finished at about 2am, at which point I gave up on the opening stage time trial of Le Tour for some sleep. I followed the comment posted by Aneela on her blog about using a blind hem stitch rather than a slip stitch, and agree wholeheartedly that it is much better! However, if anyone has any tips for speeding up hand stitching, please share them with me!

I'm definitely still not loving the quilt. I don't hate it, but I certainly don't love it. However, I've been sleeping under my quilt (and my blanket and duvet) ever since finishing it, and have been super cosy every night, so it's a success in that regard!

Now that's finished I can regain focus on some other projects. I cut out my pyjamas, using the pattern for the bottoms that I made a short while back and then used the top from a pair of PJs (from Myer) to draw up a pattern for the top. Hopefully it'll all work out when I get around to sewing it together.

And to finish this post; something I was coveting in Big W the other day:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Basting and Quilting...

Despite having this week off work I haven't gotten much sewing done. I have however, finished piecing my quilt top and today was spent basting and quilting. Of course the first half of the afternoon was spent clearing up the living room and vacuuming so I had the space required to lay out the three layers. I then basted the three layers, my can of basting spray running out just before I was finished, so the last 6 inches or so weren't basted with the spray. Not ideal but not a disaster either. I don't know if it's overkill or not, but I then did a few rows of big tacks along the quilt as well, just to be safe; three rows in one direction and 5 in the other.

I've been stitching in the ditch along each 4 inch row, so it will have 4 inch squares of quilting like the last one. However, I've had to stop for the evening as I ran out of white thread. Well i haven't run out, I still have some poor quality stuff, but it's all fluffy and breaks in the machine, and I'd MUCH rather stop and go and buy some Gutermann thread tomorrow than risk the hassles of using crappy thread. Stitching in the ditch is challenging enough, I am definitely not ready to try stippling on a quilt yet... I'm just not practiced enough at moving the whole thing around and making sure it's not falling off the table etc.

I've done all but two of the rows of stitching in one direction, so I guess I'm about half way through the quilting... then it's onto binding and then some snuggling underneath it! I can't decide if I like it or not. I don't hate it, but I definitely don't love it (unlike my couch quilt which I still love and makes me smile inside every time I look at it). I guess I'll wait and see what it looks like on my bed before I pass judgement... although I will be surprised if I don't make another one to replace it's usage on my bed eventually... but there's nothing wrong with building up a collection of quilts is there...? My Gran's love of patchwork and quilting has definitely rubbed off on me, and now I've finished my first (and almost second) quilts I just want to carry on making more.

However, after this quilt is done it's back to sewing clothes. I have fabric for a pair of pyjamas and two shirts to make, and have a skirt that I started making about this time last year that needs finishing (made of the dappled grey in the middle right of the above picture). I miss measured and it came up far too big and I haven't bothered going back and taking in each of the seams yet...

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