Friday, 27 November 2009

A Christmas quilt

Last Christmas I made snuggle quilts for my middle girls and my son was a bit upset when he didn't get one too. My youngest two children are away visiting grandma which has given me plenty of time today to finally get started on his quilt which, fingers crossed, I will actually finish in time for Christmas!

I had trouble deciding on fabrics for this and eventually settled on a fat quarter pack I found on ebay, Moda's Dinosaur Uproar range. Here they are, all folded nicely.

The supplies!

Next I had to pick a pattern. My vast prior quilting experience (three doll quilts and my girl's lap quilts!) has been a case of winging it, I decided it was past time I actually opened one of the qulting books I got from my Secret Santa last year and lo and behold, there was the perfect pattern!

The Pattern

The book is Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters but I must say that, so far, it hasn't been particularly fast lol! The first step was to select ten of my delicious fabrics and cut them all up as per the book's cutting plan. I actually used the bottle of spray starch that I picked up about three years ago and apart from the funny smell I liked it, it made the fabrics a lot easier to handle. Here they are, all cut and stacked ready to piece into the blocks.

Ready to piece

After working on and off for about five hours I've finished six of the nine blocks. I'd still be going now if I hadn't come across a slight hitch. The design uses more of triangle D than the plan lets you cut from 10 fat quarters, I'm going to have to either piece lots of little triangles into bigger ones or butcher my large squares. I vote for butchering!

Here are the six finished blocks, they're all slight variations on an Ohio Star block and will be 12" square when it's all finished.

Block 1

Block 2

Block 3

Block 4

Block 5

Block 6

What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with these so far, I've finally cracked the "scant quarter inch" idea and my seams are matching up much better as a result!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Any excuse not to sew cushions....

Nighties! My oldest daughter has seriously outgrown the last lot of nighties I made her so it was about time she got some new ones. Ottobre pattern again, Winter 2009 #36 in a size 122cm. It's a size up from what she needs but the raglan design is very forgiving (they would have looked ridiculously wide with regular shoulders) and the length came out perfectly, it falls to just on her ankle. We'll get a few years out of these! I made six in two hours today. How do you make six nighties in two hours? Like this.


Cut everything out then press all of the neckbands and cuffs in half, decide you can live with everything being serged in white thread and stitch all the neck/cuff piece into circles in one go - no stopping to snip threads, just chain piece them. When they're all done trim the threads, press them again and quarter mark the neckbands so they're ready for attaching.


Stitch and press all of the raglan seams. The pattern instructions specify lapped seams for this but honestly, I couldn't be bothered setting up the coverstitch :) Stitching a regular seam works just as well. It helps if you quarter mark the neckline now as the neckbands go on next.


Attach the neckbands. I never pin for this, I just stretch the ribbing till the next quarter mark is lined up and then hold it in place while serging. Works for me!


Press the neckband when you're done - optional, but doesn't it look prettier when you do? I had an issue with the neckband size on this pattern, the first one I made I swear the neckband piece was the exact same length as the neckline - not a good idea! It was very floppy and also very narrow, not at all how it looked in the magazine photo. I re cut it, taking 2.75" off of the length and making it 2" wide and it looks much better.


I also press and pin the bottom hems just now, before sewing the side seams. I don't stitch them yet, just get them ready.


After sewing all of the side and sleeve seams and trying to ignore the hideous noises coming from your poor overworked, under-serviced serger (or is that just mine? I really must take the time to give it some TLC) it's time to put on all of the cuffs. The sleeve opening was too narrow to fit easily over my serger free arm so instead I place the cuff inside the sleeve, right sides together, and carefully serge it on like the inside of a teacup, stretching the ribbing to fit the opening. Again, once it's done, I press it. (You would be forgive for thinking I have an iron fetish at this point, I do press things rather a lot when I sew. In my defence, this is pretty much the only time anything sees an iron in our house. Honestly, if I didn't sew I don't think I would own one!)


All that's left now is to stitch those already pressed and pinned hems and Ta Da! All of a sudden you have six finished nighties (yes, there are only five in the photo. She pinched one to wear straight away despite it not being near bedtime when I was done!). I like to use a triple zigzag for hems on knit fabrics, my girl likes to sit and stretch out them hems with her feet and this is the only stitch I've found that doesn't instantly pop.

There you go! That's it for today. I'm off to see what else I can find to do other than more cushion covers....

A gift for my niece

My gorgeous little niece has just outgrown her vests. Desperately needing a break from recovering caravan cushions I jumped at the chance to sew her some new ones. The pattern is from Ottobre Winter 2006 issue, pattern #1. I made six with short sleeves and two with long, they will hopefully fit her! The fabrics were from stash, I am finally out of plain white interlock though I have rather a lot of ivory still to use up.

Hello blogland and a work in progress..

Hello out there :) I wanted somewhere I could post about my sewing projects in a bit more detail so here we are, I have joined the craft blog bandwagon! This is my current work in progress (WIP). I have a good friend who recently bought a caravan. An old, well used caravan. She didn't really take to the idea of sleeping on someone else's sweat and dirt stained cushions but not to worry! I have a handy dandy sewing machine and agreed to recover them for her.

This is one of the original cushions, note the lovely dated fabric. We've chosen a dark red checked fabric to recover them with, four are done with around ten to go. It is Boring :)