A cosy quick one …

Ooh, I did enjoy this make! I made my Lily a Buchanan (from Gather) for Christmas in a soft cotton black watch tartan with dark green contrast trim and have been meaning to make myself one ever since. This time, I used a brush cotton vintage paisley fabric that I found years ago in (you guessed it) a charity shop and some contrasting purple poly cotton. The paisley was destined to be pillow cases, but this is so much more exciting … Poor Lily got the rough, “cripes, it’s almost Christmas and I need to whizz up a pressie quick as I can” version. Thankfully, with this make I remembered to make the whole garment with french seams so it’s lovely inside and out.  I did make a slight boo boo with the one patch pocket (which, incidentally is a perfect, patch pattern for fellow pocket lovers). For a start, two would have been handy (Lily got the ‘in seam’ ones of version 2), but also, I used the purple to line it with and that shows on the outer edges. Never mind, we can call it a design feature! One last thing to mention is that it comes up a little short, so you may want to add a bit to the length. In this case I had nothing left over of my tiny vintage fabric find, so I extended the length using more of the poly cotton.

 

Described as suitable for ambitious beginners, I would recommend this pattern to everyone. I can see a few of these hanging on the back of my bedroom door for all seasons and it’s actually the first thing I have ever made that I wear every day! 

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Liberty Mimi, so good I made it twice …

  I’ve made a couple of garments from Tilly’s Love at First Stitch now, the Lilou for Lily and some Margot jimjams, but it was Tilly’s design hack of the Mimi that really got me excited and her choice of fabric that had me falling head over heels …

 

The fabric on the left (and Tilly’s choice of make) is Liberty Lawn Oxford B and living so close to Oxford I thought it would be rude to not buy some (ahem). Then I saw the beautiful Ciara C another lawn, which happened to be designed in my birth year so another absolute must have in my humble opinion!

I know this all seems very indulgent and extravagant from a sewer who likes nothing more than making things from old curtains and charity shop finds, but there is a story … In a moment of I have nothing to wear desperation and much deliberation, I ordered a handsome looking blouse from Jigsaw with great hopes for it solving all my wardrobe worries. It cost (brace yourself) £89 and apart from the fact that one armscye was bigger than the other, you didn’t even get cuffs! It was returned and Jigsaw were very apologetic but it was a good reminder as to why I like to make my own clothes. Now, here’s the exciting bit. With postage the Jigsaw blouse cost me £93.50 (as my northern Jimmy would say, How Much?!) and for £93.06 (including postage) I realised that I could have 4 metres of Liberty lawn fabric which would not only make me two blouses but give me deep sense of smugness satisfaction and as an added bonus make me happy and let’s not forget the change of 44p to buy some sweets fruit! 

 

Ok, back to the Mimi. This pattern was a dream to make up, so hats off to Tilly. That combined with the quality of the fabric made this project a joy to sew, I will definitely think again about quality over quantity next time I’m in a fabric buying mood.  

 

The only change I made to Tilly’s pattern hack was to create the long collar in one piece for the top section but two pieces for the under collar as I couldn’t squeeze that out of the 2 metres. No one will ever see the seam so it doesn’t matter, but I thought it might be helpful to know that it does seem to take up a lot of fabric!

I did mean it when I said I’d made two because I liked it so much. Here is the version very much like … ok virtually the same as Tilly’s …  

   

 

Just to be a weeny bit different, I cut this blouse straight at the sides making it a little more boxy and added a pop of colour to the front and back yoke with some bias tape. I also made the ties a bit shorter so I can also wear it in a loose knot without it hanging in the washing up bowl …

 

I wore the Ciara version to a meeting last week, it was a retrospective, end of project meeting involving a room full of very clever publishing people and (my worse nightmare) Post-it Notes and group discussion. I think I made a bit of a fool of myself (best not to ask) but hey, I was wearing a homemade Liberty Mimi so at least I felt good!

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Itching …

I am at work, so a speedy post while my work buddies get in a quick round of computer golf (coffee time in our office is a 15 minute work free break involving a visit to the virtual green). I am abstaining today, because quite frankly I’m rubbish and always come last!

While they play, I am twitching in my swivel chair and itching to go home and it’s only eleven o’clock. This ‘need’ to go home is a sensation I’ve not felt for ages (well, not sewing related anyway, we all have days when we’d like to run out of the office and hide behind a bush, don’t we?). Today after a period of sewing blues, I am tingling! I want to go home, tidy my sewing room, pop on the radio and get down to some serious stitching. The reason for my excitement? This arrived today …

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My outrageously extravagant (and deliciously naughty) purchase of Liberty prints. I hold Tilly completely responsible (it’s easier this way) and am unashamedly copying heavily influenced by her latest make.

Oh heck, golf is done, coffee cup is drained and I must return to work mode … bye bye for now.

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Out with the new and in with the old …

I’m climbing out of my blog free bubble to send my new year greetings!

There is no particular reason for my quietness of late, but it’s been nice to take a break and just sew …

And find things …

Glass buttons from a vintage stall at Gloucester Green Market in Oxford.

photo 5Something that has been on my wish list for many moons, a beautiful, warm, Welsh wool coat complete with the original tickets found in the unworn pockets (from that auction site). To say the family are bored with my frequent “but just look at it!”  exclamations is an understatement … But just look at it!

photo 1photo 4photo 3And a little ‘doing up’ project for the New Year. Jimmy and I found this in a bin on our way home from work one night …

photo 6And for Christmas I got what every woman needs …

photoA bakerlite, pale green wool holder (and some ‘new’ Liberty lawn)!

I’m sure I’ll be back soon with some makes to show, but for now, happy sewing and a here’s to a healthy and very Happy New Year!

x

 

 

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Love in a cold climate …

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The cotton threads have been vacuumed up, the second machine put away and my sewing room is showing very little evidence that me and my girl were ever constructing a quilt in there. But we did, and it’s finished …

You’ll know from my last post that quilting isn’t really my thing, but we muddled through and created a really meaningful, personal and beautiful quilt (if I say so myself!). Once we’d sewn the strips (see last post) together and made one complete sheet, my girl was sent off to pack while I put it all together.

photo 3Choosing a backing fabric took a lot of thought as I wanted to use something I already had in my stash. Luckily this lovely stripe from Tinsmiths screamed “quilt me” and any thoughts of the summer skirt it was intended for, vanished into thin air. To make it the right size, I added width and length with a patchwork border of fabrics we’d used in the main quilt.

Once I’d got the batting sandwiched between the top and bottom layers, I trimmed the edges square and started to tack them together. I’m sure there is a ‘proper’ way to do this but I basically sat in the middle and smoothed all the ripples to the outside edges until it was as flat as a pancake, then I rolled the ends tightly (thank you for that top tip Mum), towards the centre and tacked from the middle out until it was secure.

photo 4With sore fingers, a bit of eye strain and only two days before departure, I whisked it back to the sewing machine and began to quilt.

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photo 5My machine has never taken such a beating. I propped the quilt up on a chair and fed through the layers, row after row, clunkety, clunk! Finally when all the rows were complete, I made some bias binding from the off cuts and completed the make. Here it is finished and drying in the autumnal sunshine …

photo 8photo 10In the panic packing that preceded her departure, I completely forgot to take any photos of it dry, so thank you to My Girl for sending me some pics of it in situ …

P1050261P1050250 It was a brilliant project to do and a pleasure to make it with my gorgeous girl. Apparently, it gets quite cold up north, so snuggle up poppet and thank you for the sewing fun times for sure, I love you! X

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Arrivals and departures …

My girl and I have been united in the sewing room. Dusty cotton fluff flying round us, the calming hum of two working sewing machines, a radio play keeping us gripped and chamomile tea and chocolate for fuel.

We are making a patchwork quilt together …and it’s good.

photo 2aNow before I go any further, I’d like to confess that I am not really that into quilting. I do love a nice patchwork, but when it comes to making them I’m a bit of a mismatched and haphazard kinda gal. Any form of planning bores me a little bit whilst the thought of clashing colours and the luck of the draw is pretty appealing. I rebel against my graphic design training – corners meeting at a precise points? No siree. Luckily, my girl feels the same way!

photo 1aRight now we have got as far as raiding the fabric stash and choosing pieces  with meaning and memories (mixed in with a quilting pack found in Oxfam about 5 years ago). We’ve (sort of) worked out the amount we’ll need for a single quilt (told you I was hopeless!) and started to sew the squares together, pressing as each row is finished.

photo 3aThis isn’t the first quilt I’ve made for my girl. When I was pregnant with her and strapped for cash, I ordered a pack of tiny sample swatches from a quilting company and used them along with some of my own scraps for a cot quilt …

quilt 2

quilt 1photo 3I blame the wonky quilting on the enormous bump that sat between myself and the machine! The day she arrived, our hearts melted, our world changed and our love was immeasurable … I’m sure you know what I mean.

Eight more rows and we’ll have enough (I think) …

photo 5aWith the first quilt being for a special arrival, nineteen years on, this one is for a special and exciting (although at the moment she is terrified) departure. We have four weeks to finish this before my girl flies the nest to wing her way up north to study.

It’s not a “departure” departure, I have it on good authority that she’ll be home for Christmas … !

 

 

 

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Snippets of fabric …

Jeepers, how did that happen? I seem to have turned 45 and lost a whole month of sewing/ blogging time all at once, very strange …

photo 2Ignoring my latest (and hard to get used to) age, let’s move straight on to presents. What’s that you see above? Yes, a beautiful pair of Merchant and Mills, made in Sheffield, superduper, sheeny, shiny, spectacular scissors (thank you Jimmy). Yes, they are red! Also, a beautiful Liberty (Made in England), vintage silk hanky from my exceptionally well trained, eagle-eyed, charity shop enthusiast/ daughter, Lily.

Indulge me and look at those scissors again, only this time with another ‘Lily gift’, a piece of striped cotton …

photo 3Sadly she didn’t pay 60p, that would have been amazing but heyho, she made her mother very happy! (Gordon Thoday was a fabric shop in Oxford in the 1970s, where HMV stands today, it must have been huge! Imagine a huge fabric shop in Oxford … sigh!)

I also got a bundle of V&A fat quarters from my lovely friend and work buddy, Lauren …

photo 4These will be used in a very important little project I have coming up (more on that another time).

Lovely gifts aside but with finds in mind, I also stumbled (I know, I nearly passed out I was so excited!) upon a vintage fair whilst reluctantly shopping one sunny Saturday in Milton Keynes …

photo copy 2Large pieces of upholstery fabric, along with some linen and brushed cotton, enough to bring me out in a sweat (it’s a hormone thing, it happens when I see newborn babies too … actually any sort of babies, I’m not fussy) and some fat quarters from a different stall selling all things French.

photo copyI also found this tin of Dorcas pins which took me back to the 1970s (nice close up of my brushed cotton too), how exciting is that?!

Enough consumerism for one post, I shall go forth, dust off my sewing machine (it’s been too long) and snip things with my new scissors.

Go on then, just one more look at them …

photoSnip. Snip x

 

 

 

 

 

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