Sunday, January 24, 2010

Practising for Easter...

This afternoon I tested out one of the recipes in the "Bake" cookbook I got for Christmas; Hot Cross Buns!!

They were surprisingly easy to make and less time consuming than I expected, and taste delicious!

While they were rising I finished off stitching the binding onto the baby boy quilt while watching "Julie & Julia". I'll post photos of the finished quilt once I've had a chance to take photos in daylight

A case of the distractions...

I certainly have a case of the distractions at the moment - I have far too many things on the go. Last night I had the need (yes, need) to cut into the pile of old jeans in my sewing corner. My logic was that a pile of squares of denim takes up much less space than a pile of jeans (and incidentally I was right).

So I set about cutting 6 inch squares out of the good parts of 4 pairs of jeans that would otherwise have gone into the bin due to holes in unfortunate places or broken zippers etc. I found I got an average of 18 squares from each pair (although that would depend on the previous owner of the jeans - jeans from someone taller than me would give more squares obviously!). I also cut some strips that could potentially be joined to make 6" squares.

I now have 75 squares, and I think I'll need maybe about twice as much again (depending on what size quilt I make out of them). I thought they'd make a good picnic quilt, nice and hardy! And no, surely there's no such thing as too many quilts? My housemate thinks there is, but I'm convinced she's wrong...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Having fun with improvisational piecing

Quite shamelessly using this stunning quilt as inspiration I've currently got another baby quilt in the works - I started improv piecing some of the blocks last night, so far I have four (not cut neatly to size yet, but you can get the idea):

I'm now second guessing my fabric choices though - I'm pondering whether I need another dark pink (like in the pink stripes). What do you think?

It's quite fun just making it up as I go along, hopefully the quilt will turn out alright with me doing it that way though! I'm planning on doing something similar with the jelly rolls so it's good that I enjoy it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Baby Quilt Piecing...

I'm officially in love with making baby quilts - they come together so quickly!!!

During the week I cut strips of the baby boy fabric I bought online before Christmas and yesterday afternoon I started piecing the strips into squares, taking Stitches in play's advice on chain piecing I had all my strips stitched into groups of 4 very quickly.

I then trimmed them square and chose my layout.

This morning I stitched all the squares together to get my finished quilt top.

Now I need to go and buy some wadding and decide what quilting to do and in what colour thread - any suggestions?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Best Birthday Cake EVAR!

Slightly belated in posting these as it's been a somewhat hectic week, but I wanted to share pictures of the amazing cake that my dear friend Sally made me for my Birthday:

Yes, it was sewing themed!! She made all the decorations herself, from the icing buttons on the side,

To a little pair of scissors and a thimble,

Some spools of thread,

A tape measure,

Some folded up fabric,

And a sewing machine, threaded up,

And halfway through sewing a red quilt (notice she's even got the detail of the line of stitching behind but not in front of the needle!)

Not only did it look amazing, it tasted fantastic too!

Double decker mud cake... mmmmmmmm!

Thanks again Sally!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking ahead to 2010...

As I just posted, I did pretty well with my goal of 52 crafts this year. Despite the main goal being quantity I have certainly learnt some new skills and improved those that I already had.

In terms of garment sewing I have learnt more about pattern drafting and alterations, and have done my first sewing on stretchy fabric. I've made my first shirts, and a whole wealth of other things.

Non-garment sewing I've learnt some embroidery, done a whole heap of patchwork and learnt basic free-motion quilting. I finished not just my first quilt, but my second and third as well (and become slightly addicted to quilt-making!)

Looking ahead to 2010 I have decided to aim for some specific things this year rather than just quantity (particularly as I am unlikely to have the same amount of time for sewing next year as I'm hoping to be writing my thesis).

Garment Sewing

- Sew with a plan
As I mentioned the other day my wardrobe is a bit skewed towards summer clothes and lacking in winter clothes. I hope to really assess what I have, get rid of stuff I don't wear and then compose a sewing plan to fill in the gaps. I don't know the details yet, but I expect that this will include some dresses and skirts that can be worn with tights, and some kind of warm tops. If I'm really ambitious maybe some kind of coat/jacket.

- Make some trousers
Trousers have been on my to-do list for a while, I even have a pattern I want to try: Vogue 2907. So next year I plan to make up these trousers (first as a muslin to work out the fit obviously).

Also in the trousers bracket I want to have a go at making some for the gym. The ones I have now are starting to wear out so I'll use them to make a pattern for some new ones.

- Make some swimwear
After a number of complete failures of shopping trips for swimwear I'm very close to giving up. I might take on the scary task of trying to make my own. I'd have to read up on it first and learn where to buy the right materials but despite the challenge I suspect it still might be easier than finding some that fit properly in the shops.

- Have a go at making undies
I suspect undies would be very quick and easy to make, so I'd like to have a go at making some this year.

I'd love to try making bras too, but I know that's not going to happen partly because I don't think I have the precision required yet and partly because I wouldn't have a clue where to buy the right materials. Maybe that can be a goal for another year.

More general goals would be to work on my accuracy with cutting and sewing, learn more fitting skills, and to learn new techniques such as different seam finishes (french seams, blind hems, etc).

Non-garment sewing
- Work on precision in my patchwork
Currently my patchwork is definitely very shoddy when it comes to precision. From seeing other people's work you really can tell the difference when things are carefully and precisely pieced, using the correct seam allowances, lovely straight seams, cutting things accurately to size, pressing seams properly, etc.

- Practice my quilting
After having my first go at free-motion quilting this year I'm very eager to do some more of it next year. I find it both relaxing and challenging and look forward to improving my technique, and trying some different designs.

Most of all, with all kinds of sewing, I intend to take my time, enjoy the process and take on the challenge of learning new things.
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