Sunday, 30 May 2010

Pressing matters

A new toy! Since I have started sewing a little more regularly, I find that my irons last only about a year or two. I don't buy expensive irons, I do use special de-ionised/ironing water, I think perhaps having it switched on a lot when sewing, doesn't help. The one I have now is still going, but I don't think it will last much longer, and I don't want to buy another one before I move back to the UK in July.... but I think this little thing will be worth packing.

I hadn't seen a steam travel iron before, and thought that the narrow pointed plate would be ideal for pressing seams when I am piecing blocks. I saw it for €9 in the local hypermarket (Eroski, for anyone interested in Spain). It's ideal for keeping beside the sewing machine for pressing seams, and is a great size for block-making and baby clothes, it's more comfortable to use for fiddly little jobs and isn't so heavy or hot to be beside me when I am sewing. I still use my normal iron for ironing swathes of fabric and wide hems, but this is great for everything else.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bee Europa - Honey bee - May blocks

Bee Europa - Honey bee - May blocks, originally uploaded by soja.

Humm, might try and take a better picture later... anyway, these are the Bee Europa blocks for May for Beatriz.

She sent us beautifully packed bundles of wide strips of the natural and white linen and thinner strips of the Japanese printed cotton. She asked us to make improvised blocks of different sizes, to be inspired by this picture.

I was looking forward to making these, and then sort of got a bit of a block and was worried about cutting into the fabric, but hopefully they are okay. I like the colours, I think that it is going to be a very mellow and textured quilt. The linen is lovely, though a little slippy and thick to sew, I wonder if this might be a bit tricky to quilt.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Halter neck camisole and french knickers

A birthday present for a friend. I think it'll be a bit delayed, I had planned to get this finished earlier. I had bought an old McCall's pattern (dated 1979, pattern number 6972) a while ago from an ebay seller, but when I checked the pattern more thoroughly, and went to sew, I found the camisole pattern was missing. So not such a quick project.

I was worried about getting the sizing right (this is me in the picture, my friend is a little curvier). I decided to try and draft out a halterneck design, cut on the bias and with an elasticated back and front elastic 'scrunch', as I thought that this would make the fit more flexible. I expect my friend is too polite to say anything, so I hope that it fits.

The material is a lovely soft cotton that I have used for baby quilts in the past. Sewing hems on the bias is not my favourite, but it wasn't too bad with a bit of starch, a lot of ironing and a special rolled-hem foot that came with my machine. I made matching bias tape, with the lace inserted, for the side bodice seams and straps. I also lined the top of the camisole to make it a little more opaque.

Hope she likes it! I thought perhaps, if not used as underwear, it might make make a pretty summer pyjama set?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Crochet Sea Shells Scarf

Crochet Sea Shells Scarf, originally uploaded by soja.

My first crocheted anything! Except for the odd granny square and doll hair. I'm used to knitting, but was a little daunted about following a crochet pattern, but this free pattern, very generously available from "My Little City Girl" was easy to understand and fun to do.

I did remember that the terms for American and British crochet were different, so 'translated' the pattern before I began. American single crochet is a British double crochet and the American double crochet is a British treble crochet. I looked up the stitches in my old Collins Complet Book of Needlecraft and got going.

The pattern says that is is easy and suitable for beginners, and I found this to be so. I'm not sure about my gauge and chain size.... I used a 4mm hook (the pattern says 3 3/4, but I was using different yarn anyway). Perhaps a smaller hook would have been better and made a firmer scarf? Thought maybe it would have been too stiff?

I had bought the yarn last year to make fingerless gloves, but found that it was too shiny and didn't work with the pattern. I wanted to use it to make a skinny lace scarf, but again was finding it was too shiny for a lot of the lace patterns, they just didn't show up, but I think it is a good match for this pattern. I started it on Friday and finished yesterday, so not too much time.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Got to make something for the most important member of the family!

New collar, originally uploaded by soja.

I've been wanting to make Lucky a collar ever since I saw the one in Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing" book. In the end I based this on the one he already had that was getting worn.

I bought the plastic fixings (made for parachutes so they should be strong) from an Ebay seller, but thought that the metal d-rings looked a little thin, so recycled one from his too small puppy collar. The fabrics are from Ikea, the outer print is canvas weight, and the orange cotton is a scrap that I had quilted when I was practising free motion shapes.

He's great to sew for - he gets really excited, perhaps surprisingly, and was very keen for me to put this on him. I made him a matching lead too - he has a flexi lead for his walks in the day, but last thing at night I use a normal lead.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Kimono-Style Baby Pyjamas

So cute. More 'wrap' than 'kimono', but that is what they are called in the pattern book. I bought Amy Butler's book "Little Stitches for Little Ones" just for this pattern. And I do like them. Not sure about the book, pretty photos, but the patterns are very wordy, when I suspect a few diagrams would be easier to follow. Not that the instructions were hard to understand.

I did make a few alterations. I don't like zig-zagged seam allowances. So I used flat felled seams to add the borders and French seams for everything else. I also cut the trousers in two pieces, not four, eliminating the side seams - as they were straight, not contributing to shape, I didn't see the point of them, and I felt that the fewer seams the better for a baby. I also used 3/4" wide elastic, rather than 1" for the waist, 1" seemed to be a bit bulky to me.

The orange print is from Amy Butler's Midwestern Modern range and the yellow is from a vintage pillowcase, given to me from a swap partner. I was originally planning to use a pink border, but the fabric I had didn't quite match, and I think that the yellow looks fresh and lovely.

I made the 3- 6 months size, as these will be winging their way off to a baby in Canada who is already two weeks old (yes - they are for you J). I waited until the baby was born, as I got the feeling that Mum would like a little bit of pink if the babe turned out to be a girl.

Alabama Stich book (based) skirt

Alabama Stich book (based) skirt, originally uploaded by soja.

Finished this a week (or so) ago, been wanting to blog, but couldn't get a good picture. This doesn't really show enough of the skirt. :-)

I love it, very comfortable. Not sure about the fit, might just be me. I can definitely imagine making another one though.

I made a few changes to the book method. I drew out my own design and used the gocco to print the fabric, as mentioned before. I used my machine and a triple stitch to sew the panels together - I made the almost fell-stitched seams, as described in the book and got some matching blue foe elastic for the waist. This is the medium size.