Monday, 25 May 2015

My Small World QAL: Part One

I know many of you have made a start on your 'My Small World' quilts by now and some of you are still waiting for the magazine or supplies to arrive.  Remember the pace is steady on this quilt-along, there are three week gaps between each of the six construction part posts for this quilt.  John is hosting part one and he will be posting sometime this week.   There are also some more errata to note- see later in this post.  In the meantime, here's my completed part one:



I worked on each mini block one at a time, only getting the fabrics out for each part so that chaos was contained.  I have made all the sky sections in advance for each part as it was easier to do that when I had the low volume fabric out.   I am not over analysing my choices.  I go with my instinct, create mini narratives within blocks and sew them all together.  The only thing I am mindful of is maintaining a medium level of contrast.  I am using the templates throughout and piecing on my vintage Bernina.  She sews a very accurate scant ¼" seam and for such small pieces, that really helps!

Katy of The Littlest Thistle is super-sizing her My Small World quilt.  I recommend  you read a detailed account of how she's doing it here, plus her thorough reading of the pattern  has uncovered more errata.

I've had a few questions about templates so here is a blog version of some quick guidelines I posted on Instagram and some helpful links.  All the templates in the magazine are finished size and do not include seam allowances.   Do also refer to Katy's notes on errors which include some template labels. 

1.  Trace the templates onto template plastic and cut out.  I use a Sewline ceramic pencil as it draw easily on the plastic. If you prefer  you can scan or photocopy the templates on to paper, back with card and cut out but these will not be as resilient as template plastic and can distort as they get drawn around.  

In the picture below, you can see a mini quilter's ruler, Sewline pencil, 28mm rotary cutter, quilter's wheel and a template cut out of template plastic.


2.  To use the template, place on the reverse of fabric and draw carefully around with a pencil- I use the Sewline pencil again.  This line will be your seam line. 


3.  You can either add the seam allowance with ruler and pencil as a ¼" border around the shape, or use a rotary cutter and a quilt ruler or an add-a-quarter ruler  and cut out the shape adding the ¼" border all round the shape.  Justine at Simply Solids just sent me one of these and I really wonder what I have been doing without one- I'll review it in detail later in the week but I've already heard how many people have one of these on Instagram and everyone loves them.  Now I can see why!


For curves or circles, a quilter's wheel is a great little tool and it works on straight lines too.  It is a little brass disc with a hole large enough to insert a pencil lead.  The disc edge rotates rests agains the template edge and with your pencil lead in the hole, the disc rotates around the shape creating the ¼" border.  You can then cut out with scissors.


There are lots of different approaches to templates, this is how I do mine.  Helen of Archie the Wonder Dog sent me a link to a great and highly detailed post at Linda Franz's blog on templates and freezer paper.  It is well worth a read as there are a plethora of excellent tips and these are some of the best I have read on the subject. 


If you can, visit the hashtag on Instagram #mysmallqal.  I love the different approaches coming through the picture feed and the help and advice being offered by other quilt-along sewers.   It is a truly inspiring community.  Jen has designed an amazing and at times challenging  pattern with skills that may take you out of your comfort zone but what a quilt to learn on!

sib blog

Saturday, 23 May 2015

May at Eternal Maker

I saw last night that Eternal Maker are having a flash sale over the bank holiday weekend so I thought I'd better squeeze my May visit to Eternal Maker in this weekend so you can get full advantage of the discount!   No need for codes, prices have already been reduced by 15%. Sale ends Monday night.


I noticed a few days ago that the Cloud 9 barkcloth range by Jessica Jones had arrived and in a large selection of colour ways.  I love these!  They look great as bags and cushions and also as clothing which has a bit of structure to it.  Clockwise from top left: quadrant pink, sunburst olive, quadrant grey, ripple brown.


If you are new to barkcloth, the Cloud 9 version is a 100% organic cotton with a textured feel and more body than quilting cotton.  It has quite a rough feel so I would recommend lining clothing.  Jane of Handmade Jane gave some useful pointers in this post.  Defintely one to prewash and I think I would chose a wool or a hand wash programme too.   Here's a picture of the Sunburst Olive print up close.


You can see how the prints look made up into a bag here- that link includes a free pattern from Cloud 9.  I would chose the Emery Dress as my first choice of dress for this fabric!  


I would also suggest Liesl Gibson's City Stroll Wrap skirt which mentions heavier fabrics in it's fabric suggestions.


Anna Maria Horner's Folk Song collection is a quilting cottons retake on Little Folks- many of which were printed on either voile or flannel the first time round.  Little Folks was one of my favourite AMH collections ever so it is lovely to see this reissue.  The colours are so rich, there are great colour combinations and the patterns are a great interpretation of floral prints.  Find them all here, and these are my personal top prints and why I like them.   Baby Bouquet in dusk:  the mix of colours and the darker vibrant tones.


Diamond Mine in Ink.  There aren't many prints in this shade of blue and I like the Swedish flag style blue and yellow together!


Small Gathering in Azalea.  This is my favourite colour way of the Small Gathering prints. There's a lot going on in this print and the colours and painterly brush stroke leaves appeal to me.


I haven't used Peppered Cottons yet but I've heard they are a very soft texture and they look a little like chambray to me with their cross weave colours.  There are some beautiful bundles available.  This is Pastel.  I love how you can see the coloured weft threads in the selvedges  


This is a basics bundle.  A handy selection of neutrals. 


And for those of you who like darker rich colours, this bundle is called Jewel.



Some new solid colour double gauze has arrived and it is a little cheaper than the patterned Nani Iro prints and a good choice for tops,  shirts and baby clothes.


I think the top colour is wine and although it looks very dark here- it is in fact more of a deep redgrey, ivorychartreuse, apple, petrol, plum.  You may want to verify these colours with the Eternal Maker team!  A couple of pattern suggestions, a luxurious double gauze Colette Negroni men's shirt perhaps?  The pocket details would look mighty fine top stitched in cotton thread on a solid colour.


Liesl Gibsons 'Liesel+Co' women's wear patterns are a fresh arrival at Eternal Maker and double gauze is one of the suggested fabrics for the Gallery tunic and dress.  Liesl's patterns always have fantastic instructions with a superb level of detail.


Enjoy and remember the discount ends Monday evening!


sib blog

Friday, 22 May 2015

Watch the Birdie: The Modern Medallion Workbook Bloghop

Welcome to the penultimate stop of The Modern Medallion Workbook blog tour.  This is a contributor book lead by Beth and Janice and as the title says it is very much a workbook with detailed instructions and technical diagrams  throughout.   All the contributors have been taking turns to reveal more about their quilts and design process and today it's me!


When I received the invitation to contribute to this book, it was not long after the start of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and Alexia Abegg's  Marcelle Medallion was heavily featured as an excerpt to promote her Liberty Love book.  It was such a popular quilt, especially on social media- I completed the centre during the Instagram quilt-along but never made it to the outer borders.  It kick started the return of the traditional Medallion quilt layout and gave it a modern twist and Alexia has another stunning design in this book.  My invite for the workbook came near the end of 2013 and I did hesitate- I wasn't sure I could come up with a suitable Medallion style design but as often happens for me, an idea popped into my head and I couldn't let go of it and my 'Watch the Birdie' quilt came quickly from there.


I am a big fan of vintage ceramics.  This china plate is by a German producer and although the colour is a bit dark for my taste I loved the simplicity of the pattern and I knew I wanted to incorporate the leaf and the circle into this quilt.  I am not a fast quilt maker and time was not on my side with this commission!  I used Sizzix drunkard path dies and trimmed the blocks down to make the leaf and bird shapes.  


With everything I make, I like a narrative to support the design.  With this quilt, the 'story' is bird migration.  The centre medallion represents summer with four simple Scandinavian bird motifs  surrounded by the first border of  summer flowers and leaves.  The strip border indicates the equinox, marking a moment of change.  The outer border shows the journey to autumn and winter seasons; the circles are the winter sun, the long triangles are the trees and the geese are the birds flying south!  I never said it was a complex story, just a notion of what is behind the design, something to hang the concept on.


The quilting is simple; a mix of echo quitling and some big stitch hand quilting to mark bird wings and a central flower.  The eyes are appliquéd felt circles.  I love the bright saturated colours, it makes for a happy modern baby quilt.  I generally find when I design something, I love it whilst I'm working on it but afterwards my attention has moved to other things.  However, with this quilt I am still really enamoured with it!  I am not quite sure where it is going to live but I like the coherence of the design and the relative simplicity. 


The border is a Liberty lifestyle print (now long out of print) that captured the colours perfectly.  I didn't have enough and I remember ordering it from Jessie at Sew and Quilt and she shipped it super fast!

If you want to read more about the other contributor quilts, the links are below. 


sib blog

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

May at Plush Addict

For my May vist to Plush Addict the first thing I notice is that the website has had a makeover and it now has a more spacious layout and is easier to navigate.  There are large picture links that will take you to specific sections- I chose the Dressmaking link and that took me to more links to independent patterns, patterns, linings, threads, interfacing, zips and of course fabric!  A big arrival in the dress fabric at Plush Addict has been some very special Tana Lawn!


This is a 'seconds' quality Liberty lawn.  I've bought lots of Liberty seconds over the years.  Some are end of lines, some have printing faults that are barely noticeable and others have no obvious flaw.  Retro Chairs is one of my favourite Tana lawn prints- I love the colour combination!

If you prefer a more traditional Liberty print, you may plump for the botanical illustration beauty of Floral Meadow:


Watercolour Florals is another favourite with the beautiful rich green background- perfect summer dress fabric.  


You can find all the Tana lawn fabrics here alongside other makes of cotton lawn.  They all tend to be wider fabrics so good for circle skirts and great value for money too!
Also in the dressmaking section are a selection of knit fabrics including viscose jersey.  This tends to be lighter weight than most cotton jersey and has good drape.  This selection of viscose jersey fabrics includes spandex so that it keeps it's shape.  It falls on the body and hangs well even though it is light which makes it good for loose baggy shapes and gives them an elegance that cotton jersey won't give.  I wouldn't recommend it for tight shapes like knickers, or leggings as it doesn't have the resilience and stretch recall of cotton spandex jersey.  I recently bought this Pineapple jersey:


It is a little slippy to sew but quite manageable, especially with ballpoint pins and stretch sewing needles.   I sewed it on the machine and on an overlocker without any problems.  I'll show the top tomorrow- just putting a post together on it, but I am really happy with the result!   Another picture print on viscose spandex jersey is this cute monochrome Dalmatian print:


There are more restrained viscose jersey options like this slubbed flecked jersey, or graphite spots:


For all the quilting fans, Janet Clare's 'More Hearty Good Wishes', a second sea and marine inspired line for Moda has recently arrived.  This is Seagulls on natural.




And I really like the more abstract patterns in Pier in dark blue.


There are pre-cuts available as well as yardage- jelly rolls,  charm squares, layer cakes.

And to finish this month's visit, crazy rainbow unicorn fabric from Riley Blake!


All the fabrics in this line are on offer with 15% off while stocks last for this week only.  Enjoy x

sib blog

Monday, 18 May 2015

My Small World Quilt-Along: Introduction Post and Schedule

Welcome to the start of the My Small World Quilt-along.  Hopefully your supplies have arrived or are only days away and you can start your preparation.  This is an introductory post with the schedule and a few ideas to help you prepare for the construction of part one and making the rest of the quilt.  You can check out the rest of the host teams' thoughts at Cindys, John's, Megan's, Danielle's and Lisa's blogs and IG feeds for progress hints, and tips-please allow for different time zones for these posts. The Instagram hashtag #mysmallworldqal will take you to these too!


Errarta
I recommend having a thorough read of the instructions before you start- note the diagram error on page 61, Quiltmania have issued a new diagram for diagram 9.   I printed this, cut it out and wash taped it over the original so I don't forget!  Another minor error to note is on page 74, the larger semi circle template is missing it's label- it is BF.  Note the size of the quilt too, 33" x 52" and many of the pieces are very small.  I'm getting zip lock bags labelled as I cut out different sections for later construction.  There's more info and links further down this post for those wishing to increase the size.


Low Volume and Sky
The sky area features in parts 1-5 of the construction sections so you may want to at least get your fabrics out to plan and maybe get cutting too, there are a lot of little squares involved!  I added a little aqua and yellow to my palette but kept it very light and low contrast.  I know a few participants are interested in having a blue sky.  Charise of Charise Creates has already started hers and the Blue Skies picture below shows how pretty the aqua and cream low volume fabric look together.  I would also recommend a look at the hashtag #mysmallworldqal on instagram to see how other skies look as a few people have already started sewing.  You will find @vickidjl (of Sew Inspired) photo which is another very pretty cream and aqua sky.

Photo kindly supplied by Charise Randall
Templates
Most people will be machine sewing this quilt.  It is template based, and could also be hand pieced if that is your preference.  For templates, I used a mix of template plastic, old Paperchase notebook covers- these make for thicker templates, great for drawing around and freezer paper.  I used freezer paper for some of the curved templates that only have one piece to cut out and I will use it for making lots of the AE/iorange peel templates to appliqué on.   Remember to chose either imperial inch (pink outlined templates) templates or metric (black outlined templates)- don't mix together, plus there are also templates are suitable for both measurement systems also shown in black.  I use a ¼" quilter's wheel to create the seam allowance on fabric with the curved templates.  Incompetech allows you to print a range of shapes- hexagons, 60 degree triangles etc at specific sizes for free e.g. for English paper pieced hexagons in part 5.  I use Karen Buckley's Perfect Circles for appliquéing circles.


Areas to think about during the QAL
During the construction, there are some decisions to be made especially around hand piecing choices.  Here are some areas to think about:
  • Appliqué circles, curved pieces and orange peel in most of the sections   
  • Clamshells in part 4
  • English Paper Pieced hexagons in part 5
  • Arcs in part 5
  • Dresden piecing in part 5
  • Triangle arcs in piece 5
  • Embroidery- buildings in part 4
  • Lots of small green squares need in part 5 and 6
I am going to make a start on some of these early on-I think the clamshells are something I will start preparing sooner rather than later.   EPP takes me ages and hurts my hands- even the preparation of those hexagons takes some time. I think I will hand sew these together but along the seam lines and without papers.  Sue of Jersey-Scraper has offered pre cut hexagons for the price of postage- contact her for this and also for a low volume strip swap for the sky.  As different hosts cover their section of the quilt along, they will share some of their methods and decisions. So far, I have decided not to include embroidery and I will be using needle turn appliqué for all appliqué shapes. 

Palette and Fabric Choices


I am not a huge fan of planning quilts which is the reason Jen Kingwell's quilts appeal to me.  The scrappy palette means I won't have to buy new fabrics, scraps and stash will suffice beautifully.  I am thinking about how much contrast I want to create.  Viewing Jen's quilt through a black and white filter shows the contrast levels amongst the scrappiness and they are relatively low.  I am thinking of a sightly stronger contrast although I am guessing it will evolve as I sew.  I photographed some fabric pulls as an aide memoire when I come to cut buildings and roof tops so I can recall the colours I liked.


Sizing Up
Sizing up is something I know has come up on Instagram discussions.  I will be sticking to the standard size as this quilt is going on my sofa so is just the right size.  There are a number of options for increasing the size.  Lisa is considering this so you might want to read what she says and Cindy is also looking at this option.  Jo of a Life in Lists is expanding the quilt by repeating chunks of sections and adding a lot more sky- you can see her plans in her sketch below.  She is also following this up with a detailed post on her blog.

Photo kindly supplied by Jo Greene
This method means that the size of the pieces remains the same- there's just a lot more of them.  Another alternative is to double the size of the pieces by reproducing the templates at 200% and resize the rotary cut pieces- remember the size for these in the pattern includes seam allowances consider this in your calculations!   For example, a rotary cut 2 ½" square will double up to become a 4½" square including  the seam allowances.

A few thoughts about the quilt along in general.
  1. As it is Jen Kingwell's pattern for Quiltmania we cannot give chunks of the pattern away- i.e. details about the size of each piece so posts will concentrate on skills involved e.g. appliqué or alternatives to sections you might want to change e.g English paper pieced hexagons.  Jen and Quiltmania are following the progress of the quilt-along and looking forward to seeing your versions of My Small World!
  2. All the hosts agreed that the emphasis is on a community quilt along so we have not sought sponsors, prizes or a commercial aspect to the quilt-along so if you see anything along these lines on social media, it is not linked to us but to the individuals offering a giveaway, kits to buy etc.  Instead, we wanted to host a fun, community quilt-along over the next few months and provide the motivation and a little help that we all need to get something we really want to do done! 
  3. There is a Flickr group for those not on Instagram or still like the old style Flickr groups.
  4. Please continue to share on #mysmallworldqal  on Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. 
  5. There's no compulsion.  This quilt along is to help and encourage not lay down the law.  If you want to do something different, share it as others may want to do what you have done!
  6. The construction posts are timed during specific weeks rather than named dates so they may not be there early on Monday morning of that week but later in the week instead.  
I hope that helps.  Any quilt-along questions will be answered in the comments.  I'll write a mini blog post with a link to each part of the  quilt-along over the next few months as well as showing my progress.  Here's the schedule:
sib blog


Saturday, 16 May 2015

Vintage Pledge: Betsey Johnson for Butterick 3292 Maxi Skirt

This skirt is part of my 3-part Vintage Pattern pledge.  It is the maxi skirt form Butterick 3292, Betsey Johnson for Butterick, view B.  I omitted the waistband and faced the yoke instead to make a low waisted version of the skirt. 


One of the reasons I am such a fan of vintage 1970s patterns is that I find the fit works so well for me. I made very little alteration to the pieces apart from slimming the curve of the hip down a little on the yoke pieces.  It is a generous fit and for a future version I may draft a shaped waistband but I am very happy with this version. 


 The fabric is a lovely mid weight denim style cross fibre chambray from Plush Addict.   It is a great weight for a skirt: it has flow, is heavy enough not to need lining and and has a softness to it.  I would use it for a lightweight pair of wide cut trousers, dresses or skirts.  It's a little heavy for shirts. This is a lighter version of the same fabric.


 I did make some additions to the original pattern based on past experience.  I lined the yoke with Liberty lawn and I interfaced this lining with Perfect Fuse sheer fusible weft interfacing.  This is amazing stuff and my go-to choice for interfacing clothing.  I drafted a a shorter yoke facing and this is also interfaced.  These layers are all thin but they provide a support band at the front to compensate for the removal of the waistband and the combined thickness smoothes and flattens this area a little to prevent tops and knicker lines showing through- you know what I am saying ladies!


The centre back invisible zip was sewn using basting tape which is the best thing I've ever used for fitting a zip.  It's a narrow double sided tape that you apply to the seam allowance (away from the stiching line) and it holds everything perfectly in place.  After sewing, it peels away.  For a zip where there are seams to align it makes the whole process incredibly easy.  I bought mine via Amazon.  There's also a water soluble version which sounds good but I haven't tried.


 It is hard to get a really neat finish when sewing a zip into a faced waistband.  I used the technique in this Threads article and it works really well.


I followed the pattern directions for the hem using home made bias tape on the hem which is invisible hand sewn to the wrong side of the skirt.  The hemline goes on forever so it took a while but it is a lovely finish and it is touches like this that made a handmade wardrobe extra special. 


I finished with two lines of decorative contrast top stitching. I sewed this skirt on my Bernina 707 and it is a wonderful dressmaking machine.


Most of my time is spent in long chambray skirts with knit tops or shirts so I have worn this skirt countless times since I made it.  I have a feeling my Vintage pledge is all going to come from this single pattern.  I have made the trousers- yet to be blogged, and the jacket is ready to cut out.  I am wearing this outfit today as part of Me-made-May 15!  Kerry at Kestral makes is co-hosting the Vintage Pledge so you might want to check out her posts.  I have noticed that during Me-Made-May she also favours the denim skirt/knit top uniform!

sib blog