‘A Little Top’ and Other Projects

I had a productive day yesterday -I must shut myself up in the workshop more often.  I have several projects on the go at the moment but they are all quite different so if I’m not in the mood for one, I can get on with the other.  Also, having spent a whole weekend clearing up and reorganising my workspace a few weeks ago, I am determined to keep it tidy and, after each session, I am putting everything back in its place like a good girl.

Here is my small sampler quilt that I started with my little sewing group – so little in fact, there are now only two of us! Was it something that I said? Who knows?  To be honest, if I said it in French I could have unwittingly upset any number of people.  Anyway, with all its imperfections such as missing points and wonky borders, this is just awaiting a bit more quilting and the binding.  I got fed up with hand quilting it, especially as I’ve backed it with cotton ticking and it’s a little on the thick side to quilt through.  I tried some free motion quilting which I have never really done on an actual project – just messed around on test quilt sandwiches – and I was getting on famously.  I was so proud of it for a first effort but, when I turned it over, the reverse side was a complete mess.  I think what I had on the reverse was what they call ‘birds’ nests’ in the trade and that is a very accurate description.  I can’t tell you how long it took me to undo it all.  Anyway, nothing daunted, I started again but my Singer, which is a little temperamental on the tension side, just wasn’t having any of it so I decided to switch to my Janome.  Unfortunately, the quilting foot I have wouldn’t fit the Janome so I ordered another one and had to wait until it arrived.  Now it’s here I’ve got to do a few more quilt sandwiches before I release myself onto the actual project.

Meanwhile, remembering the 2 year marathon that was the quilt for Mlle. Tialys the elder’s 18th birthday quilt, I decided to get started on Mlle. Tialys the younger’s one as I’ve only got 4 months until her 18th.  Hah!  This time I wanted to follow a pattern and do a plain back instead of wandering of down the design path conjured up by my brain with no idea how it was really going to end up.  Also, I’ve bought all the fabric in advance.  Very sensible.

I liked the look of this one with the pinwheels in the centres of the blocks and, as it comes from the Moda Bake Shop blog, it comes with ingredients and a recipe (as they call them) so what can go wrong?  I also like the fact that the designer hand quilted each pinwheel with cotton perle no. 8 with nice big stitches – hooray!  And, if I can get my free motion quilting  up to scratch by then, I’ll do some ‘off piste’ quilting on the rest of it. I chose the ‘Oh Deer’ by Momo for Moda as I love the animals and woodland theme together with spots and stripes and lots of bright colours.  I don’t normally do bright colours but I thought this quilt design could take it and it is also an attempt to bring the younger Mlle. Tialys into the light after her goth phase.

First pinwheel block finished – only another 24 to go.

On a different plane, I am trying to rekindle my ‘making clothes’ passion which flares up briefly now and again throughout my life.  I have been inspired by lots of different blogs like Ooobop! and by the lack of clothing in the shops that is not for the under 25s or over 70s – I talk of the rural backwater in which I live here in France – to take it up again.  The problem of course is that, being a rural backwater, there is nowhere to wear glam clothes – I have a wardrobe full of unworn ‘posh’ frocks and heels – I’ll just have to get up to Toulouse, our nearest big city,  more often just to dress up.

This ‘little top’, as my mother would call it, caught my eye in Burda Style’s August issue, especially as it says ‘Easy’ on the instructions.  I thought it would ease me gently back into the world of sewing clothes.  Of course, it is crèpe de chine and therefore very slippery and fine but I’m going to give it a go.  I bought this fabric which is soft, muted, blurry blues with a sort of painterly print on it.

I also saw this dress pattern recommended by lots of people and I bought this printed to jersey to make it in.  The  style of sleeves I make will depend on what time of year it is when  I get round to making it.

Got this length of vintage tweed fabric for a bargain price.  It has a slight stretch to it so I wonder whether the dress, with the sleeves, would look good in that for winter.  If not, it would make a nice pencil skirt.

Then I made another Bunny Bento Bag as I wanted to see whether I could get the tricky lining done any quicker.  The answer is, not really, but I really like that Liberty tana lawn against the natural linen.

What diverse projects have you got on the go?

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  1. #1 by wendy on October 17, 2012 - 14:46

    I always get such a sense of despair when I look at those beautiful, intricate quilts. I like them so much but the idea of all that fiddly piecing and stitching makes me quake in my shoes. I think your quilt is lovely and can’t see anything wonky at all – certainly nothing about it looks skew-whiff.

    Free motion sewing is the bees knees, I think! I do it a lot and have got so in tune with it that I can hear and feel as soon as it starts to play and up and do naughty things underneath – I feel your pain at having to unpick the birds nest…Ouch! My simple Janome is very good at handling it – the Elna not so much. She’s a sensitive old lady, my Elna.

    I’m trying to keep my sewing room neat too – also tidying up as I go – it’s starting to become a habit now, to fold a piece of fabric as soon as I’ve cut it, and to put it neatly back in it’s place. It’s a relief to have a tidy space to work in. I get very agitated when there’s a mess.

    Love that vintage tweed – it would look wonderful made up in that dress pattern. I’ve just bought three patterns as well – a long shirt, a tunic top (which I will lengthen to dress length) and one pinafore dress (an OOP McCalls). I like wearing tunic dresses and tops with leggings – so easy to move about in and as I am at home all day, and also never go anywhere posh, I only really need everyday clothes. But this time, I’m going to make a muslin of each pattern before I cut into the good stuff – I have ruined too much expensive fabric by rushing in and not fitting things properly. I am not very good at making clothes. Still, I keep trying and hoping.

  2. #2 by tialys on October 17, 2012 - 16:46

    Thanks Wendz – just don’t zoom in TOOO much. I actually like the piecing, even though I’m not the world’s most accurate, it’s the quilting that does for me. I managed to do some free motion quilting the other day as my new foot for the Janome arrived and it was very great fun. I’m yet to try it on the actual quilt but I think it might be alright this time. Of course, this is a small ‘throw’ size quilt and I can stuff it all in the machine quite easily but I can’t even imagine doing it with a full size one.
    Like you, I only need everyday clothes too – and clothes to walk the dogs in – for the most part but I can’t shake off my city girl roots and will persist in buying ‘going out frocks’ and heels. Perhaps if I decide to make all my clothes instead, it would slow down the unsuitable wardrobe growth a bit – says she who has just ordered two made to measure ‘posh frocks’ off Etsy. It’s Nigella’s fault. Seeing her cooking in her glam dresses and heels make me think I should be doing it too instead of rustling up dinner in jeans, a t-shirt and slippers (and that’s on a good day). Ho hum, I suppose we all need our aspirations

  3. #3 by Handmade in Israel on October 29, 2012 - 07:40

    The quilt looks beautiful! Only you are looking at the teeny tiny stitches and the wonky borders. The rest of us simply see a gorgeous quilt.
    I like the look of that ‘little top’ too – very stylish!

  4. #4 by tialys on October 29, 2012 - 15:08

    Thanks LIsa – I’m just finishing the binding now so that I can continue with the new 18th birthday quilt. I might put the ‘little top’ on hold for a while as the weather has taken a distinct turn for the nippy and make a tweed dress instead.

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