Archive for category Arts and Crafts

Scraphappy Day June 2019

Today, being the 15th of the month, is the day for showing off what you have done with your scraps.  You might remember this pattern I showed you at the end of last month’s Scraphappy post and it has driven me every bit as mad as you might imagine it would.

Having cut hundreds of 1.5 inch squares from scrap fabrics, I proceeded to lay them out in 5 x 5 blocks in the order shown in the pattern, like so.

Having joined the blocks up individually,  they must then be joined in rows which was much more interesting once the first row was completed and I could start adding coloured squares.  Here’s the first two rows joined together and hung out of the way.

I’m making this as a project for Wednesday afternoons when I sew along with a friend of mine and, for the first time when we’re doing a project together, neither of us has felt tempted to do any alone during the rest of the week.  I expect you might not be surprised to hear that.

I am not the most accurate piecer which is why I like to do foundation paper piecing as it enables me to achieve better results.   So, trying to join small squares together was never going to be a piece of cake for me.  I did try, originally, to place the squares on a grid made from fusible interfacing, fold along the lines and stitch then cut the seams open and iron out as I have done for individual ‘postage stamp’ blocks before but, although it made for  more accuracy, it made the fabric stiffer and, worse, took longer to do and I couldn’t face doing another twenty blocks.  So, I abandoned that method after the first row.

Almost worse than the piecing is the ironing.  Pressing all those tiny, close together seams open means burnt fingers and every time you press one seam, the ones only an inch away from it, risk getting ‘unpressed’ again.

I sometimes wonder why I decide on certain projects in the first place but what’s a (sewing) life without a bit of a challenge?

Now, I’ve done three rows and joined them up and can start to see the sewing machine shape emerge, I feel more encouraged.  Also, hung in my workroom window, there’s a nice stained glass effect going on.

Mr. Tialys says it looks like a  cow.  Ridiculous! Who ever saw a multi-coloured cow? Whereas there are plenty of multi-coloured sewing machines around of course 🙄

As it is the 15th of the month, and it’s June, it is also my birthday so I hope to be wining, dining, walking around admiring the scenery and generally enjoying a bit of a break over the border in Spain as you read this.

Just about here….

 

Begur

Hasta la vista, until next time.

 

If you like the idea of using your scraps (of anything, not just fabric) click on Kate or Gun(first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJeanJohanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Advertisements

, , , , ,

46 Comments

Stashbusting for Summer Part 3

Another post in which I share my efforts to use up some of my ‘fabric stash beyond life expectancy’.

  A couple of years I bought two lengths of scuba fabric to make tunic tops for my daughter. One was a floral which I used but, for a reason I can’t remember, the top wasn’t successful so it’s in the scrap bin for possible use in a future project.

The other was this one featuring various tattoo designs.

Scuba Fabric Tattoo Design

I don’t think even one of you liked it and I didn’t either – it was the daughter’s choice – so it has languished in the fabric stash ever since, only narrowly avoiding being given to the charity shop/thrift store/op shop (insert whatever these places are called in your part of the world).

Recently a free pattern for a tank top using stretch fabric was brought to my attention and I thought, as the bare minimum of fabric in proportion to flesh and other clothing would be on show, this might actually work for the garish stuff.

Photo from Halfmoon Atelier

This is the Super Basic Tank Top pattern by Halfmoon Atelier which you can find  here and,  if you sign up for their newsletter, the pattern is free.

There are two methods on how to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) included in the instructions and I followed the easier method and graded between a size 6 at the bust and size 5 for the waist and hips.  However, that made the armholes too big on me so I just used the size 5 for all measurements on the actual garment.  Of course, being a pattern for knit fabrics, this could vary.  The next time I make it, if the fabric is more or less stretchy than the one I used this time, I could need to go down or up a size.  These are the little things that make life so exciting.

I love the back which is also scooped deeply but not deep enough to show your bra.

In fact, it’s difficult to tell which is front and which is back so I put a label in in case I get confused.

Scuba fabric is a little weird as it has a slightly spongy feel and it is definitely not a fabric to keep you cool in hot weather but, on the plus side, it doesn’t fray, it takes colours and prints beautifully, has a good amount of stretch and, I find at least, it’s easy to sew with.

So, out of the stash bin and onto my body.

Less is definitely more with this fabric so I think it works really well as a vest rather than, as originally envisioned, a tunic with 3/4 length sleeves.

Super Tank Top Back View

This is the nearest I’m ever going to get to having a tattoo.  My sister has a daisy chain tattooed round her ankle and said it was worse than childbirth which is my benchmark for pain and, if it had been me, I’d have stopped at just one daisy – although, funnily enough,  I didn’t stop at just one child.

So, do you like the fabric a little better now?

, , , , , ,

34 Comments

Seeing Stars

Kate, over at Tall Tales From Chiconia is, once again, assembling and quilting a teal coloured quilt to auction at the Nude Lunch in September to raise funds for ovarian cancer awareness.

This time, the theme is stars.  Kate does like a pun so this quilt will be named ‘Scinteallate’ – get it? – and some of her quilty followers are helping out a bit by making her a few blocks.

These are my three which are all foundation paper pieced

 

Banded Star (from a design by Sewhooked.com)

 

‘Out There’ (from a design by Esther Frenzel)

and my favourite

 

May Flower (from a design by Carol Doak)

All on their way to Australia as I type.

A little heads up to Pelenna Patchworks in the UK who sent this (much needed) stash pack of 10 x 10 inch squares of assorted teal fabrics in a brown paper package using non-plastic tape and, just when I thought, ‘oh, they’ve spoilt it by using a plastic bag’, noticed this on the bag.  Baby steps!

, , , , , , ,

48 Comments

Stashbusting for Summer Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I made another attempt at working my way through my ‘beyond life expectancy’ fabric stash.

A little while ago a fellow blogger – I’m pretty sure it was Del over at CurlsnSkirls – mentioned a free pattern for some wide legged trousers and added a link.  The trousers aren’t really my style because I’m quite short but there were some other patterns on there and I found one for a nice, simple, fitted dress.

Well, she looks happy with it!

Lots of buttons though!

Another trawl through my dressmaking fabric stash and I came up with this linen mix that has been around for ages and, again, I can’t remember where I got it but think it might have been from Ikea.

I wondered about using stripes with princess seams as matching is virtually (if not totally) impossible but it doesn’t seem to have mattered.

The top is faced so the armholes and neck are finished by doing the tricksy rolling up thing and pulling it out of an opening somewhere which I seem to be doing a lot of in dressmaking lately.

It would be possible to wear something underneath this – a short sleeved tee for example – which, if the weather doesn’t warm up more consistently soon, I might well have to do.

Here’s a link to the free pattern   if you fancy making one yourself – it’s a good stash buster for the button jar too!

Just time to thank the appreciative audience before going back inside.

Yes, for long time readers that’s little Yuki and, for more recent ones, yes, she only has half a tail.

 

, , , , ,

41 Comments

Stashbusting for Summer Part 1

I haven’t made an actual pledge or promise but I am really trying to use my current fabric stash for sewing projects before buying anything new.  It’s not always going to be possible – I recently ‘had’ to buy some rigid denim for example – but I’m trying.  I really do believe I have fabric supplies beyond life expectancy and that’s not a sensible place to be.  I don’t want to posthumously entertain the executors of my will by listing the beneficiaries of various fat quarters, jelly rolls and assorted yardage but, on the other hand, I don’t want all the lovely fabrics I’ve collected to be cast, like pearls before swine, on the undeserving or, worse, the unappreciative.  Does that make me a bad person?

Anyway, while I’m still breathing, I have made a start by using some fabric I bought either from a charity shop or from somebody’s general clear out – I don’t remember now – I’ve had it a while.

The pattern is a French one called Dorothie from a company called ‘Slow Sunday Paris’ .   I was reading a post from a blogger I follow who, despite not speaking or reading any French, had a delve into what the French Indie pattern designers have to offer.

As I’ve lived in France for 14 years, I felt a bit ashamed because, apart from ‘Deer & Doe’ who offer their patterns in both French and English, I had never bothered to look at any others, although I have made the odd thing from French magazines.  ‘Slow Sunday’ do now offer a few of their patterns in bilingual versions but this isn’t one of them (yet).

So, here is my ‘Dorothie’ in stash fabric which, coincidentally, happens to be in an ‘on trend’ colour.

I love those sleeves, they’re just that bit different – not too floofy but a nod to the current trend for a bit of a ruffle.

I also like the way the collar sits and the pleats beneath the front yoke are another nice detail.

Will these tiles ever get grouted in?

The sleeves are set in with just a little floof and the back yoke also has a few pleats for interest.  The slightly longer and curved back hem is just the right length – on me anyway – and I like the little slits at the sides too.

The buttons were also from my stash so, as you can tell, I’m feeling pretty happy….

……especially as those tiles have finally been grouted in . This bathroom project has, for various reasons, been a very long one and it’s not finished yet.

I really like this pattern and will be making another one in the fullness of time – from stash fabric of course.

If you like the pattern and don’t read French – never fear – what has been done by others was to buy the PDF version and cut and paste the instructions into Google Translate et voila!

, , , , , , ,

39 Comments

A Seriously Scrappy May

I decided to get serious for this month’s ScrapHappy day.  There’s not much fabric that’s scrappier than the long bits cut off the sides is there?

I’ve been saving them for a while.

I like the ones with writing and colour swatches on best but not all selvedges are printed equal and some are just too narrow to be useful.

I decided to do a little quilt as you go piece so took a scrap of fabric leftover from the shirt I made Mr. Tialys and a piece of wadding and drew  round a large embroidery hoop to get a circle of the right size.


Then I laid a couple of selvedges right sides together across the middle and joined with a quarter inch seam through all the layers which is where the ‘quilting as you go’ comes in.

Keep pressing each strip open and adding another, the circle slowly starts to fill in.

I put the whole thing into the large emboidery hoop and trimmed the excess selvedges and wadding very close to the wooden edge, leaving some of the backing longer to glue down onto the surround.  You can see the quilting and pretty fabric so I didn’t want to cover it up with another back.

The result is an unusual wall hanging for my sewing room which has the added appeal of reminding me of past projects I made with the fabrics formerly attached to those selvedges.  I deliberately framed it so the selvedges run diagonally (in case you were wondering) because I think it looks a little more interesting than if they were running horizontally.

 

And all from a box of cut off edges.

As you can see, I have quite a few more.

I’ve got an ‘ongoing’ scrappy project to tell you about too. My suggestion to my Wednesday afternoon sewing friend was that we could make a pixelated sewing machine wall hanging out of 1.5 inch squares.  Unsurprisingly, she seemed a bit dubious, even slightly unenthusiastic you might say, but went along with me anyway bless her.

We’re doing the mini version you’ll not be surprised to hear.  Even that takes 388 neutral squares and 275 (or thereabouts) coloured ones.  I found the pattern on Craftsy (now Blueprint).

The idea was sparked off by me finding a packet of 1.5 inch squares I’d cut at some stage from a charm pack of batiks.  I have no idea what I was intending to do with them but whatever it was obviously didn’t materialise.

I rummaged through my scraps to make up the number of different colours I need but must confess I had to use a couple of new fat quarters in order to have enough neutrals for the pixielated background.

The 1.5 inch squares are arranged 5 x 5 to make a 5.5 inch square block and then joined together in horizontal rows of five blocks.

I’m not gonna lie, as my daughter says depressingly often, keeping those tiny squares joined accurately is, frankly, a bit of a nightmare for me.  I’m using a 1/4 inch foot on my machine but I still have a few wonky bits. Pixelation might be somewhat enhanced in my version.

I’ll be doing an update next Scraphappy Day but don’t expect it to be finished (or unwobbly).

If you like the idea of using your scraps (of anything, not just fabric) click on Kate or Gun(first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

, , , , , , , , , ,

52 Comments

The Little Fox

Remember these button eyes?

Most of you guessed a hedgehog or pointy nose dog but Bekki and a couple of others guessed right.

Its a fox.

But not just any old fox.  He is from the much loved French book ‘The Little Prince‘ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)

Well sort of.

Below is the way the fox is illustrated in the book – speaking wise words.  ***

In the (excellent) animated film version of 2015/2016 – the rights of which were acquired by Netflix  – there is also a plushie fox which is given to a little girl by ‘the aviator’ who is telling her the story of the Little Prince.

So, the pattern I used, which I bought from Etsy, was based on the soft toy in the film version.  You can find it here should you be tempted.

The instructions were originally in Italian and the translation is a bit ‘wobbly’ in places but the pattern pieces come together wonderfully well, as you can see.

So you can’t really complain can you?

I made him with sheets of a wool blend felt I got from Minerva Crafts which were, by a stroke of luck, on sale at the time.  Lovely to sew with – no fraying, just nice clean seams.

I expect a lot of you will have read the book either in French or English or will definitely have heard of it.  It’s very deep and meaningful and philosophical in true French fashion but the messages are universal.

Personally, I loved the film version which is very respectful of the original novella and, if you can, try to catch it, it’s in English.  Don’t forget the tissues.

Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux”

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

So true.

 

*** For me you’re only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you….” 
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEPqgSNLfK8

, , , ,

47 Comments

Tight Lipped Tuesday #12

One of my occasional Tuesday posts where I don’t say much (for me) but this could equally well have gone into my other, even more occasional series of posts entitled ‘Excuses Not To Do The Housework’.

I needed two dark brown or black buttons.

My main button jar is huge and has to be emptied out and searched through to find matching colours and styles.

I was fed up with it.

I’ve been meaning to have a ‘sort out’ for ages though not necessarily in the middle of a Sunday afternoon when I was planning to do something else.

Creams, Yellows and Reds.

Pastel greens, apricots and pale blues.

Purples, pinks and so many, many browns.  Why is that?

That’s better.

Next time I need two black buttons the same size and type, it won’t take me all afternoon.

Any guesses?

 

, , , , ,

55 Comments

A Tale of Two Gingers

My lovely ginger boy, Henry, has had to have a trip to the V….E…..T.

He’s normally a big boy but was looking skinny, always looking for food and his back legs seemed a bit weak.

Anyway, a blood test, a blood pressure check and couple of hundred euros later, it turns out he has hypertension caused, probably, by some kidney problems.  Who would have thought such laid back animals as domestic cats could get hypertension? Anyway, he now has to have two different medicines administered orally with a syringe every day.   At the moment I’m keeping him in overnight then putting the medicine on a bit of tuna first thing so he’s hungry enough to eat it.  I’ve tried administering it directly down his throat but he chokes and spits and generally makes a huge fuss and the medicine often ends up on the floor.  The medicine for the hypertension will be for life so if anybody knows how to do this without causing stress – and thus more hypertension – I would be grateful for any tips.

The second ginger in my life is my pair of Ginger Jeans.  Yes! They’re finished – I was waiting for silver rivets to arrive before showing you.  If you remember my first pair – they turned out O.K. but I couldn’t bend my knees (or much else) due to using fabric with no stretch.  I made these ones in exactly the same size but, due to using the right fabric, they fit.  Who would have thunk it?

Here’s a full length pic.  I wouldn’t normally wear everything so cropped on the top with skinny jeans but, as this is all about the jeans, I wanted to show you them properly.

I probably wouldn’t normally wear skinny jeans with heels either but, because the pattern on this denim is so ‘extravagant’, I probably could ‘posh them up’ with a dressy top and heels.  Just thinking aloud here.

A few close ups of jeans laid flat so you don’t have to study my nether regions too much to see the details.

The silver rivets were ordered from Japan as I couldn’t find them anywhere else and wanted them to go with the silvery grey pattern and the top stitch thread I used.  I was quite pleased with my top stitching overall and I managed to hide a bit of a ‘wobble’ on the waistband with one of the belt loops.

I did a simple design on the pockets and stressed for a long time about where to place them.  Apparently pocket placement is a big deal with jeans.  How close should they be to the centre seam and the yoke, what angle of slant should there be, how high or low to place them – apparently all make a difference to the way your derrière will present itself to observers (should there be any).  In the end though, I pinned them on in the position I thought would be right but nearly did myself an injury twisting round to look at my own denim clad bottom in the mirror – Mr. Tialys being unavailable for comment – so on they went for better or worse.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say I’m excited by a coin pocket.

I’m wearing a belt, mainly because my jeans button is, unfortunately, half an inch too far in from the edge.  This is one of the two things that have made these jeans less than perfect – there’s always something isn’t there?  My sewing machine couldn’t manage its one step buttonhole function because of the multiple layers of fabric at the edge of the waistband so would stop mid-buttonhole.  I had to unpick it about three times and the fabric started showing signs of damage in that spot.  In the end, I resorted to the four step buttonhole on my very basic Singer machine (not my 1950s one) and subsequently remembered I had to do exactly the same thing with my first pair.  Shame I didn’t remember earlier.  It worked but I had to position it where the unpicking had happened to hide it so a belt will probably be the order of the day.

Since then, I’ve heard about a gadget called a ‘buttonhole height compensation plate’ which apparently solves such a problem.  I had a quick look – they’re only cheap – I just need to check if I can get one compatible with my Janome.  Because, yes, I’m going to make more jeans.

The second thing to moan about is that I have leg twist.  The inseam is trying to twist itself round on to the front of my leg at calf level. Apparently this is very common – even with high end ready-to-wear jeans – especially the skinny ones.  The pattern I used was Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans and Heather has you lay out the pattern pieces for the legs in a way that attempts to avoid this happening.  That is, the legs are cut out from a single layer of fabric and the front and back legs are laid on the fabric in different directions. Or, in Heather’s words ‘to help prevent leg twist, the best way to layout your pieces is front leg, back leg, front leg turned 180 degrees, back leg turned 180 degrees (make sure these last two are also flipped wrong side up so you’re not cutting the same leg twice!)   I cut mine out on a double layer 🙄  and couldn’t turn the leg pattern pieces because it would have meant the design on my jeans doing a different thing on each leg.

As I usually wear skinny jeans with boots, here’s a couple with me wearing the jeans ‘booted up’.  It’s usually too hot to wear jeans in the Summer here  but I think they’d look fine with sandals too.

And just to prove I can bend my knees this time…….

Now I’ve got the fit right with the Ginger Jeans which is an excellent pattern, by the way, with a very useful sewalong on the Closet Case blog, I will definitely make more pairs, but thought I’d make some more traditional jeans next with rigid denim (i.e. no stretch) in indigo and gold top stitching which, of course, will be much more visible so has to be perfect.  I’ve ordered the new(ish) Dawn Jeans pattern by Megan Nielsen and will try to source the perfect denim to make them.  Of course, the fitting issues will be different so another challenge but, hey, sewing projects would get boring if everything was too easy wouldn’t it?

, , , , , , , , ,

84 Comments

A Cuppa for Scraphappy Day in April

Again, my Scraphappy project this month comes out of looking for ideas for my sewing sessions on a Wednesday afternoon with my friend, Sandra.  Having finished our coats (well, I have) I wanted something a bit less ‘major’ to do round at her house – lugging coat fabric, lining, my machine and all the other coat making paraphernalia round to her’s was a bit of a nightmare – so I bought a pattern I’d had my eye on for some time.

Patchwork Pottery’s teacup (or coffee/hot chocolate mugs) pattern.

When I’ve made make up and wash bags in the past I’ve generally used some linen/canvas type fabric for the outer and kept all the scraps as it tends to be a bit more expensive than cottons.

I thought they’d be perfect for this pattern not least because one of the fabrics actually has cups on it.

Of course, the teacup is my favourite.

But I made a coffee mug too.

The teacup is just the right size for bits and pieces for sewing – or even to keep tea bags in when travelling.  A pair of reading glasses even fits inside.

The coffee cup is large enough for a pair of sunglasses or even a crochet hook and some yarn for a small project.

Apart from wool, fabric is my scrap of choice (in other words I have loads of it) but I know Kate welcomes all scrap projects.  She reminded me recently, when blogging about her kitchen renovations and having shelves made from the same wood as her worktops, that Mr. Tialys had made a knife rack out of an offcut of our wooden worktops and a magnetic strip so, for the sake of variety, here it is.

If you want to turn scraps into something useful – doesn’t have to be fabric and doesn’t have to be every month – pop over to Kate’s blog and let her know.  Have a look at what everybody else has been getting up to this month. – here’s a list of people who often participate if you want some inspiration.

 

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki and Pauline

, , , , ,

33 Comments