Monday, October 15, 2018

Textile experiments, dressmaking and MME

Samples made at Anne Davies' "Stitch, melt,distress" workshop.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a workshop with Anne Davies at Wilmslow Guild on Saturday. It was great fun to play with Tyvek, Lutrador and Kunin felt, soldering irons, irons and heat guns.

I have started to pair my samples with previously printed fabric samples. This sample above was first printed using one of my own designed themofax screens onto a rust dyed piece. I am still considering what processes to use next with this one. This distressed sample was made from two pieces of painted Tyvek free machine embroidery added before the distressing process. I've used an iron and then heat gun so far.

I'm experimenting with this thread for my T-shirt project. At present I have got as far as fastening the back and front together at the shoulder and will be starting to add the neckband next. There have been a lot of other projects getting in the way since my last post. I managed to complete two out of three pages for the Pinfold book challenge. The third is under way, but will have to wait for the t-shirt to be completed. I have cut out a pair of trousers which will be next on the list. A warm pair of trousers will be needed very soon, especially when walking the dogs.

The test knitting has been started, ripped back and started again. This is the neck and shoulder section. Yes, that neck section does fit over my head and around my neck. The next section will find me splitting the body from the armholes. I rather like the effect of the neckline on this design.

 During the week, I found this piece of faux slubbed silk. It seems to be some kind of synthetic, but I can't yet name it. The fabric is shown just as it was waiting to be rinsed out after washing. I plan to use it as the backing for some more cushion covers I need to get on with for the Moulton Sewing Group. These will end up being sold on their Craft Stall in December.

The embroidered designs which will become the centre pieces for the cushions.

The fabrics shown above are all furnishing weight fabrics from my stash which will become covers for the cushions. I am now on the lookout for suitable piping and edgings.

 The Me Made Everyday continues. I haven't bored you with the details of the past week. Suffice it to say that I have now taken the heavier weight clothing out of the loft ready for the cooler weather to come. I find myself wearing more trousers than skirts or pinafores so far. However, I do think that the trousers I currently have available are going to be rather too thin for the winter weather to come. Hence my mention of the pair of trousers I have cut out and have standing by ready to sew. These are going to be made from the lovely needlecord I showed on my Blog last week. I really do need to organise my time a little better so that I can get around to making these rather more quickly than seems to be my lot so far this month. Ah well, as one friend put it some years ago, "Life gets in the way sometimes".

Elements from my wardrobe worn for MME (Me Made Everyday) this past week: all three pairs of my Hot Patterns Weekender Cargo Pants, warm grey culottes from a Burda Style pattern, three polo neck tops, a sweatshirt, my Cocoon Jacket from Sew Different, both Breton tops, a knitted waistcoat and a thick blue knitted cardigan. Having useful layers has been helpful this past week with the weather being so changeable.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Me Made Everyday - Week 2 and other projects

Records for Me Made Everyday - week 2

I have continued the Me Made theme for the second week running. You will note that some items do get worn quite a lot and will feature in future weeks records too. I brought my warmer clothing down from the loft today, so some of that will start to feature as the weather gets colder. Some of my cardigans have featured this past week and I have also started to need my woollen hats and fingerless gloves.

Culottes and blouse as worn on Friday.
I am still trying to remember to take photos each day, but find keeping the records in my notebook rather more practical. It is interesting to find out exactly which pattern was used for each item, especially when they were made some time ago. It was a really useful reminder for the blouse shown above since I found it very comfortable to wear and it would be nice to make another from the same pattern at some stage.

I have started knitting a rather attractive jumper to replace one made last year which my elder daughter now has. This one is another test knit from Aidasofie. I have made a number of Yvonne's delightful designs over the past few months. This one will be a light green since this is a colour I do not have a great deal of in my wardrobe. I look forward to getting this one finished so that I can wear it.

Since the weather is getting colder, I bought some lovely needlecord to make another, warmer pair of trousers. Not sure which pattern I will use yet. This brown will look really nice with the green of the jumper I am knitting......

A project which I will need to get on with this week is the t-shirt toile for the "Artful T-shirt" course. I got this cut out on Wednesday at Moulton Sewing Group, taking full advantage of the large tables they have available. My worktable is just not big enough here in my workroom.

The fabric is some jersey which I bought a few months ago for a different project. This will help me check the sizing before starting the course properly. I have started watching the videos which explain the processes required. The main t-shirt will be an interesting project. I think I now have all the fabric I need, but will check again once this trial piece is finished.

The "Sew the perfect fit" course is still ongoing with the next fitting session coming up very soon. It will be interesting to compare notes and see how close this next set of toiles is to a "perfect fit". I haven't got any fabric in line for the final dress, so I will need to start hunting around for something suitable. Hopefully, there will be a suitable weight in my stash. 

Monday, October 01, 2018

Me Made Everyday - week one

Clothing worn on Saturday 29th September

 The photos seen to the right hand side of this page show the details of the clothing worn from Monday 24th September until today. (Monday 1st October). All the items of clothing noted are pieces I have made over the years.

I have tried to take photos of each day's clothes, but haven't bored you with this here.

It will be interesting to see which pieces I wear the most and which pieces I could really do with making to augment my collection.

My current plans include making more pairs of trousers, including a pair of jeans or two. I only have ready made jeans purchased over the past few years. These don't fit me particularly well, hence my interest in making my own wardrobe.

Over the past few days, the only day when I haven't worn more than one piece of "Me Made" clothing was Thursday. I was attending a workshop organised by NWCQ and wasn't keen on getting my pale blue pair of Cargo Pants messy.

I managed to nearly complete the block for the MEG Heritage Quilt Challenge. This had been put off for far too long while I prevaricated over making a version I could live with. The book being used for this challenge details the beautiful quilt designed and made by Pauline Ineson. It was rather sad to realise recently that Pauline died earlier this year.

It seems rather naughty of me not to feel that the original design is one I could live with or make exactly as detailed in the book.

The almost complete block - just the background to be added

My chosen colour scheme is dramatically different to the subdued hues used by Pauline Ineson in her silk quilt. My own is stubbornly cotton since I intend this block to see quite a lot of use if it does, in fact, become part of a full sized quilt. I didn't manage to complete the block ready for our meeting on Friday since I wasn't able to find the correct colour for the background until the following day.

The yellow was found at Sew Simple, the quilt shop at Lady Heyes. I had travelled to Frodsham to visit World Textile Day. A really interesting annual event which I try to get to whenever it arrives in Frodsham. Since I knew I wouldn't find the fabric needed for the block, I visited Lady Heyes on my return journey.

After buying my fabric, I explored the other shops. In one "Antiques" emporium, I found six metres of Cambric. A gorgeous fine cotton of some age. I washed it when I got home and ironed it before winding it round my least favourite quilt ruler.

The fabric must be quite old, since it was slightly stained and had this stamp printed in one corner.

The photo above shows a single layer of the fabric sitting on my dark coloured ironing board. I have plans to make a white shirt out of this fabric. It will be so soft and comfortable to wear.
Cambric wrapped round my unloved quilt ruler, acting as a board
Last Monday, I knew I would quickly run out of calico. There was only a couple of metres left to make up the toiles I needed to work on. So I travelled back to Weaverdee to buy another ten metres. That may sound excessive, but with the fitting course still under way, I know I will need to have plenty to hand.

 This calico is slightly thicker than the fabric I bought from Ikea a couple of years ago. At £2.99 a metre, I felt it really was well worth buying.

Completed cushion covers
 I finished off the second of these cushion covers during the week, adding the cording around the edge and filling both cushions with 20 inch cushion pads. They are now waiting inside a plastic bag to keep them clean.

Ah well, the last two toiles are waiting for me to sew them together. These are the Vogue Fitting Shells for the trousers and dress. Then there is the first version of V9057 needing to be cut out. This will be a trial run for the Marcy Tilton / Katherine Tilton Craftsy Course, "The Artful T-shirt".

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Finished projects, "Me Made" items and future plans

The first piece to be finished this week was mum's quilt. I returned it to her on Friday and her first action was to put in on her chair ready to settle down cosily. An old friend returning home.

She found it hard to see exactly where the repairs had been done. Just as I had hoped. It was lovely to see that the quilt was welcomed so enthusiastically.

My cardigan was finished on Saturday. I replaced the orange ribbing strip with this beige shade. It seems to work so much better. I was lucky to find these buttons during the week. They are shell buttons with a printed motif.

The final item to be finished this week was completed only today, Sunday. My blue denim trousers just need a good final pressing before I can wear them. Hot Patterns 1217 Weekender Utility Cargo Pants. These are the third pair I have made.

I have challenged myself to wear a minimum of two "Me Made" items each day as a way of finding out which clothing items I really enjoy wearing. This is based on "Me Made May", an online event which encourages dressmakers to take photographs of them selves wearing clothing which they have made as well as making more projects. One particular collection could see me wearing both my newly completed items. For the moment, Aggie is modelling the clothes for me.

I think the only problem with making this idea public is that I ought to take photographs as a record. Hopefully, I will be able to remember.

The fabric shown here is a two metre length of navy Ponte Roma. During the Moulton Sewing Group meeting on Wednesday, I heard about a shop I had never heard of. Weaverdee is an online site with a base in Middlewich, which is opening as a shop. Travelling to visit mum on Friday, I took a minor detour to see if I could find this shop. It was well worth the visit. The shop sells sewing machines, does repairs and also sells haberdashery and fabric. The ponte roma above came home with me in company with a collection of sewing machine needles. I really enjoyed looking round.

The ponte is destined for one of these tops - shirt 121 from the September edition of Burda Style. I also have the blue floral jersey fabric waiting to be made up into another top. The plan is to get around to making these very soon. Well, as soon as I can get a couple of projects finished. One of these, the MEG block has to be finished by Friday ready for the next meeting. 

September 2018 edition of Burda Style

I have three toiles to complete within the next two weeks. The first is an amended toile for the fitting course whilst the others will be trial runs for the Vogue fitting shells. We have decided to try these as well as working on the pattern supplied with the "Sew the perfect fit" course. The course is really demanding and I find myself learning a lot. It will be interesting to see how these patterns relate to the course.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Repairs and other possible disasters

Mum's quilt before work started
 The past week has seen me planning the repair of a quilt I made for mum a few years ago. Called "Square Dance", it had been much loved and regularly washed and it had seen daily wear since being handed over.

One of the damaged areas
There were a few areas of damage where the fabric was beginning to break down. I must admit that I really hadn't expected the quilt to have shown so much wear so quickly. Since mum was rather upset to see it in this state, I agreed to repair it and then return it. I intend to make another quilt for mum so that this one doesn't get the same amount of wear in the future.

After chatting it through with some friends at the Moulton Sewing Group, I went ahead and drafted a few designs to patch the damaged areas. You can see my original sketches in the photo above and this close up.

The quilt is currently being stitched and I plan to hand it back on Friday. There is still quite a lot of work to be done, with all the footprints needing to be bondawebbed in place and then stitched. The squares have all been attached and quilted in place to add strength to the damaged areas. There will be more photos once the work is all complete.

I have been getting on with some of the mending in my pile, as mentioned last time. It is not an interesting task but I will be glad to see a gap where that particular collection of objects currently sits.

My scrappy cardigan has now been stitched together and is nearing completion. The strips for the button and buttonhole bands have also been knitted and stitched into place. I am really unhappy with these. As you can see the bands are pulling almost as if they are too short. This is the nature of ribbing, unfortunately. Although this is exactly as the original design instructions stipulate in the pattern, I really don't think it works. I shall be unpicking these pieces and knitting them with the ribbing running 90 degrees from the current position. Why is the ribbing in the orange? Well, I don't have enough of either the cream or the white, or even the pale grey. I must admit that I don't think the orange colour works, so will use this opportunity to try a different colour. Ah well, back to the drawing board on this one. Hopefully I can get it finished before the cold weather comes creeping in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A tidy workroom at long last - sewing too!

 I have spent a couple of days getting my workroom rearranged and tidy. It has been well worth the effort since I now feel comfortable enough to get on with the sewing projects which are waiting for me.

Tailor's dummy and bookshelves beside my cupboard
The first of these you can see on Aggie2, my tailor's dummy. It is yet another toile for the "Sew the perfect fit" course which I am doing with my friend Eilene. This has been quite a learning curve to date, but it is good to learn a new skill and it will help my dressmaking skills. I look forward to feeling confident that any clothes I make will fit properly.
My sewing desk, cluttered as always

Speaking of sewing projects. I have a third pair of these cargo pants cut out and ready to sew. The pale blue light denim should make for a comfortable pair. I just need a bit of time to settle down to getting these started.

I bought some more fabric on Friday to get a couple of projects under way. The floral jersey was bought from the Fent Shop in Macclesfield. The last two and a half metres from the roll. It was a little more than I really needed, but I couldn't leave that extra length. This is intended for another long sleeved polo neck jumper to add to my collection for the autumn/winter. There should be sufficient fabric to make a second top, though I am not entirely sure which design to use.

Floral jersey fabric
Quilting cottons
The half metre lengths of quilting cottons will be used to help me repair a quilt I made for my mother a few years back. This has been loved and washed over the years and is definitely in need of some tender loving care. I'll share some photos another time once I have decided exactly how I am going to tackle this repair. The fabrics were bought from The Quilting Box in Macclesfield.

Walking through a couple of local charity shops I found these scarves. They are now washed and resting with my feltmaking supplies to help me with some nuno felt experiments. I really feel the need to get some felt made before too long. The loose woven piece might be better suited to some of my hand stitched projects, but since it is quietly unravelling itself as I watch, it might be better to felt it into something.

Mending pile
While tidying up my room, I found my pile of mending/alteration projects. These have been ignored for far too long. I have challenged myself to get ten of these pieces finished this week. I have already finished five of the easiest - replacing buttons, minor repairs to seams. The items concerned have already been ironed and are hanging up in my wardrobe ready to wear once more. I need to tackle some of the more demanding items next.

My scrappy cardigan is nearing completion. All the knitting has been finished, I am just stitching the ribbing sections into place. These were knitted separately, which is quite an unusual method. The sewing together may take some time yet since there are also quite a number of ends to sew in too!

Last week my copy of the latest book from the Contemporary Quilt group arrived. It is a record of the quilts which were selected for the "In print" exhibition. I have a quilt in this collection so it was rather a thrill to see my work in print, literally. You can see the previous posts where I blogged about my quilt here and here.

I haven't been able to see the exhibition for myself just yet, but will be able to see the quilts for myself early in 2019 when they are shown at the Quilters Exhibition and Fabric Sale in Nantwich in January. They then travel to Quiltfest in February.

In case you are interested, the remaining venues showing this exhibition are:

October 2nd to 30th, 2018
The Curve Gallery, Carnegie Library, Bangor, Northern Ireland, BT20 4LH

Sunday 20th January 2019
Quilters Exhibition and Fabric Sale, Nantwich Civic Hall, Market Street, Nantwich, CW5 5DG

February 7th to 15th 2019
Quiltfest 2019, Llangollen, Wales

March 26th to April 25th 2019
The Old Chapel Textile Centre,
Newbury, RG19 6HW