Thursday, 18 September 2014

Time for Tea Teaset Trio : Love Patchwork and Quilting

Self promotion is not my favourite thing but I am really proud of this project so I want to share here  A few months back I had a commission email from Jenny Fox-Proverbs, editor at Love Patchwork and Quilting and this project was the result, 'Time for Tea' trio of tea cosy, coasters and a divided teabag caddy. The instructions to make it are in Issue 13, out now. 

This project combines foundation paper piecing, appliqué and a little hand quilting and is a great skills builder if you want to try any of these techniques for the first time.  Everything has been beautifully photographed and the instructions are attractively laid out.  The templates are included at actual size in the magazine and are also available to download.   I love my tea so this project was a pleasure to make from beginning to end.  My daughter has already bagged the caddy for her own tea selection.

There are lots of familiar faces sharing techniques, advice and projects large and small- Lynne Goldworthy, Karen Lewis, Jeni Baker, Manda McGory, Lisa Lam, Sarah Fielke, and many more familiar blog names.   You can see the projects on Pinterest here.  The team at Love Patchwork and Quilting are a delight to deal with, helpful, efficient, friendly and enthusiastic.  I met Jenny, the editor at Fat Quarterly retreat- she is such a bright happy and involved person and it comes through in the tone of the magazine.  This is issue thirteen- you can find it in WHSmiths, supermarkets etc and there is more info about buying a copy here.

All photos from Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 13
sib blog

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

September at Eternal Maker

A slight variation for my September visit to Eternal Maker- this post is all about a limited time offer.  They are selling Elizabeth Hartman's (Oh Fransson!) patterns:  Fancy Fox, 

Preppy the Whale,  

Hazel Hedgehog

and Pointy arrow.

All at £10.95 each with free postage until Sunday 21st September.   To order, you will need to email and they will send you a paypal invoice. These patterns are all constructed through basic patchwork construction- use of half square triangles, corner squares etc rather than foundation piecing or templates.
Eternal Maker have put together some fat eighth tonal bundles to go with these patterns- again I think you need to email for these, I couldn't spot them on the website.  They are £16 a bundle and available in Red, Purple, Green, Yellow, Cream, Pale Pink, Bright Pink, Black/White and Orange.

And a generous selection of neutrals and basics for backgrounds from Essex linens pictured below, 

Peppered Cottons which are a shot/ two tone cotton. 

sib blog

Monday, 15 September 2014

Leaf Evolution Shawl: Knitted by Helen, supervised by Archie

A few months ago, I saw this on Helen's blog, Archie the Wonderdog and I was smitten.  A conversation or two lead to a suggestions and a plan was hatched. This is the result:

A Leaf Evolutlion shawl knitted by Helen for me.  I used to be a very keen knitter.  I learnt to knit as a young child and by the time I was a teenager in the 1980s and knitting was going through a boom period, I earned pocket money knitting up fairisle/Navaajo patterned cardigans in mohair.  I couldn't wear mohair but I was obsessed by the vibrant colours that it came in.  I knitted throughout my teens.  It waned when I left home for uni into occasional jumpers but was rekindled by the birth of my daughter when I knitted her many cardigans, jumpers and toys inspired by Debbie Bliss , Ros Badger and Rowan yarns.

By the time my daughter was four a combination of many factors had lead to repetitive strain injury which took a long time to recover from and still gives me problems.  I am pretty much recovered but I have limitations and one of these is I can no longer knit, it aggravates my wrists so quickly that I know not to got there.  All over Instagram there is the temptation of beautiful patterns, yarn and inspiration a-plenty and I look on as a spectator.  And so Helen offered, we chatted to work out practicalities and I was incredibly grateful.  The yarn, Manos Lace, was a lucky ebay bargain. The skein is long and the mix of fibres is soft enough not to irritate my skin or Helen's.  There was no time scale or deadline for finishing and to be honest I was thinking about it.

And then a sudden surprise in the post last Wednesday, half an hour before I was due to leave for work.   I could not believe it!  I quickly dragged my husband outside (working from home day) and asked him for some quick snaps in the sun.  And you can see Helen's fine handiwork- not only the beautiful knitting but the meticulous blocking which defines each curve and point along the edge.  I was absolutely over the moon.  It is the most beautiful lace pattern, designed by Tetiana Otruta designs and originally ran as a mystery knit-along.

Archie has been convalescing through some nasty aches and pains so Helen has been secretly knitting away whilst sitting with him and as a result, I have a beautiful shawl, swiftly knitted and ready for the cold weather this year- I feel so happy and incredibly privileged that she knitted this, it's a treasure and so is she.   And Archie is on the mend, gently does it Archie x

sib blog

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Tutorial: Adding Snaps/Poppers using Prym Pliers

I often use snaps, especially on shirt dresses like  this onethis one, this one and this one.  I used to add snaps using the bendy plastic tool the manufacturers include in the packet or with a hammer and a metal thing but it was hopelessly hit and miss and they are not the easiest thing to pick off once they've been hammered in.  So, I invested in some Prym Vario pliers from a local shop and although it was a few pennies- around £12, it has been worth it.  This is my technique and you can also find this tutorial on instagram under the hashtag #sewingtutorialfittingsnaps

1.   I used 10mm snaps for the Liberty and Chambray Alder dresses- the fabric is light and anything bigger tends to be too heavy and drag the fabric down.  I buy my snaps from the Trimming Shop on ebay.  They have a great selection and are very helpful if there's a query or problem.  I always order more than I need as some are always sacrificed in the process and the odd one can be dented.  There is a male 'sticky out' half and a female 'hole' half and each has a corresponding prong section. I would advise you to label the sizes if you keep a selection of snaps.  You can see some plastic white covers on my pliers- they came with a set of snaps some time ago and don't come with the pliers.  Instead you get piecing tools for attaching metal eyelets.  I bought some jersey snaps like these a while ago and they included the white plastic attachment tools that will hold the snap parts in place without damaging them.  You need these to successfully attach the snaps.  Mine are a little large for 10mm snaps but they work fine.   

2.  Sort the snaps.  I am going to work with the two parts of the top female snap first. The top pearl prong section corresponds to the female 'hole' ring. At the bottom of this pic you can see the pieces arranged from left to right showing the right side and wrong side for these snap parts.

3. I mark where the poppers will go on each half of the button placket using a pencil dot.  On the right side of the placket that will be on top when the snaps are fastened together (usually the right placket as you are wearing the garment on female clothing), push the pearl snap prong in with your fingers keeping the pencil dot centred under the snap.  The prongs will protrude on the wrong side.

4.  Line up the wrong side of the female 'hole' part of the snap which will go on the underneath of the button placket.  You can see that on the wrong side of the snap the outer circle edge is not as rounded as on the right side.   Rest it against the prongs and hold it together with your finger and thumb: the pearl snap is underneath on this pic as I have flipped the placket over so the wrong side is on top.

 5.  Carefully place the pliers around the snap halves (I prefer to have the pearl snap on the bottom), squeeze gently to check that they are engaged and then squeeze together slowly and firmly.  Repeat for all the pearl snaps needed on the placket.

6.  If it goes wrong at this point- e.g. a prong escapes and doesn't sink into the female ring part of the snap, carefully prise the snap halves apart with a small screw driver and start again.  You might be able to reuse one or both halves of the snap but more likely, you'll need fresh snap pieces!

 7.  Now for the male 'sticky out' snap and its corresponding prong section!

8.  Insert the prong ring on the underside of the remaining placket- usually the left as you are wearing the garment for female clothing; the prongs should protrude on the right side and the placement mark pencil dot should be in the centre.

9.  Place the male sticky out section on top of the prongs and hold with your finger and thumb.  I have changed one of the plastic plates on the pilers for the one with a hole in it to receive the male section.  Place the pliers carefully around the snaps (removing your finger and thumb first!), gently squeeze to check that the sections are engaged and then squeeze as before, slowly and firmly.

Here is the male section attached.

10.  Once all the snaps are attached I squeeze each one again just to make sure they are secure.  I usually open and close them fairly gently- they seem to get more secure and established with wear.  Then could always be replaces too if needs be.  When I wash a garment with snaps, I tend to do the snaps up and turn the garment inside out- it stops the pearl or painted part of the snap getting scratched. I hope that has been helpful!  I love the clean finish snaps give.  They are handy on children's items too- I used one on this bib for a friend's baby.  

Obviously, you need to take extra care that the snaps are very securely attached.  The pattern for the bib is from Amy Morinka's  'Zakka Handmades' book (reviewed here), a very useful book for quick gift ideas!

sib blog

Betsy Alder Shirt Dress

This is my second Alder shirt dress and this time I cut into a long length of Liberty that I've been storing for a while- the classic Betsy print in aqua that I found for a bargain price on ebay.  This is a tail end of summer dress, by the end of September it will have to wait for next year to come out and play!

I tweaked the pattern a little.  My previous Alder dress details can be found here.  On this one I retraced the bodice pattern to make it size 4 with size 2 at the waist, same small bust adjustment and raising of bust dart.  This made the collar a little bigger than my last version so I can wear it fully buttoned if I want and made the armholes slightly looser.

I used the Cami dress pattern for the pockets as they were a  little smaller than the Darling Ranges pattern pieces and it works a little better.

I used Oakshott Impressions/Elements scraps for the collar stand facing, pocket, yoke facing and bias hem.

As the weather is not quite up to high summer temperatures, I've been wearing this dress with my Butterick 6031 Slip.  I added pearl snaps just like on the last dress and I am going to add a 'how to' tutorial post after I've written this.  I use Prym pliers and they have been the only way I've been able to successfully and consistently attach snaps. 

You can find the Alder shirt dress pattern here as a PDF and the sew along details here.   I am considering a maxi version for winter- I loathe tights and am not keen on leggings so cold weather means knee socks and maxi skirts and dresses, but for now I am enjoying September sun and bare feet. The clogs are swedish and were a thrift shop score- lucky me!

sib blog

Sunday, 31 August 2014

End of Summer

Goodbye to a beautiful summer of visits,


 And evening walks in the sun

and more hand sewing

 Beach and time with my favourite people

 More beach

Never enough beach

Mini break to Oxford

Lots of cooking and eating from this amazing book- we have eaten well this summer

 A glorious walk in the sun today picking these and the smell of blackberry and apple crumble for later

Ready for autumn with new projects

Bring on September, my favourite month- my birthday, later summer sun and still warm.

sib blog