Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Fancy Tiger Wanderlust T shirt with Dachshund Dog Print

I've had a little project waiting in the wings and as it was our dog Lottie's birthday this week and I had time off work, it was the perfect quick sew and ended up being a rewarding make. This is the Wanderlust T shirt by Fancy Tiger, the fabric is Dashwood Bertie Dachsund jersey from Mori Girls.

I bought the pattern as part of a Creative Bug membership from last year.  I subscribed for a few months and bought this class so even though I'm no longer a member I can access it.  The digital pattern pieces are included and there's a video of Amber taking you through the making process from beginning to end.  A paper version of the pattern is also available here.  For a beginner or more experienced sewer, it's always helpful to see how someone else does something, especially in real time. 
  • I made size XS.  Your chest measurement is the deciding factor in the sizing as the side seams flare outwards.  I fell between the XS and S with a 33" chest but my upper chest is very flat and I would rather have a smaller fit than a more generous one. 
  • The back dips so the front is slightly cropped. I'm quite short on the body and 5' 5" tall, there are lengthening lines to extend the top and back pattern pieces.
  • I used a metre of fabric and had enough left over to make a pair of matching knickers! These are a slightly adapted version of the free hipster pattern from Make Bra.
  • The only alteration was lowering the pocket by 1/2"- it's placed really high!  For the next one I'd lower it a little more, so it's 3/4" from the original marks.
  • The fabric is expensive (£20/m) but it is lovely quality, great recovery and the colour is excellent.  It's very similar to Art Gallery jersey; both are 95% cotton 5% lycra.  They are also both quite bouncy to sew, especially on an overlocker. I found it easier using my Bernina and a small zig zag (e.g. attaching the neck band) than serging.
I'm really pleased with the finished result, a quick make, easy fit but cute shape and a very wearable garment, paired with a Deer & Doe Fumeterre skirt in these pics.  

Lottie had had a tough week.  Lots of teeth out - apparently part of the downside of being a small breed with a soft jaw - and despite regular brushing over the years she only has a few teeth left.  She has coped very well, despite having just turned 10 years old, she has a lively nature and loves her food so she is adapting quickly, although there are some great comedy tongue moments with it just falling out of the side of her mouth when she's very relaxed.  She's in her retirement years now and having a happy time maximising her chances for cuddles wherever she goes. 


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Spelling Bee Book, Lori Holt : Book Review

I was recently lucky enough to receive a copy of Lori Holt's new book, Spelling Bee from the Fat Quarter Shop.  All four of Lori's books have been published by Sew Emma, the publishing part of The Fat Quarter Shop empire and I think this is my favourite of all the books she's written and I know many of you are Lori fans so I thought you'd like to see inside!

The main theme in this book is being able to produce personal, tailor made quilts with words and pictures suitable for family and a multitude of special occasions.   There are seven sections covering the basics that you will need (letters, numbers, punctuation, pictures) as well as specific full size and mini quilt designs. 

All the blocks in the book come in two height sizes ( 6" and 12" finished) to allow you to produce projects of different size and scale.

The book is worth buying for the picture blocks alone!  A lovely selection.  My daughter picked the telephone and camera favourites and I liked the flower, dog and sewing machine.

As with all Lori's books, her instructions are impeccable and backed up by clear and easy to follow diagrams. The format is spiral bound so it lies flat in use - especially handy when cutting and prepping.

My very favourite project is this Sunshine quilt. I fancy making this with the 'You are my' text and then a pieced improv style Dresden underneath, a bit like this doll quilt I made for a swap six years ago, still one of my favourite makes!  

Many of the projects act as a springboard for your own interpretation, it's an inspiring and uplifting book to look through.

You can find the book at 


Monday, 31 July 2017

July at Plush Addict

Just fitted my last monthly sponsor post into the last day of July.  It's Plush Addict's turn, and as usual, Kellie-Rose has some great offers available including 15% off Kona cottons until 6th August.

From left to right, row by row:

  1. Fat Quarter Bundle Blend All is Bright Holiday: 7 fabrics.  Perfect for Christmas in July fans who like to start their Christmas makes early.  Zesty colourful selection with a touch of gold.
  2. Art Gallery: Skopelos Paprounes Crimson Knit.  Beautiful large floral print on a cotton/lyrca jersey.  Wide width. 
  3. Fat Eighth Bundle Makower Linen Texture Brights. Small cut so good for those that like to make lots of little items.  Bright colour quilting cotton with a texture-look print. 
  4. Michael Miller - Candy Shop.  Retro print with lots of sweet treats!
  5. Kona Solids "Kahuna Kona" FQ Bundle, 36 Fabrics. A bright, rainbow selection of fat quarters! Note some colours may be substituted according to stock levels. 
  6. Michael Miller - Dysfunctional Family.  Lots to recognise in this print!
  7. Alison Glass - Opposites Attract.  Alison Glass quilt pattern from her Skill Builder series. 
  8. Cashmerette Sewing Patterns - Dartmouth Top.  Cross-over jersey top, sizing from bust 40"- 56" and cup sizes C to H.  See other Cashmerette patterns here
  9. Fat Quarter Bundle Snowflake Waltz in Navy  Graphic prints by Maude Asbury for Blend fabrics featuring characters from The Nutcracker. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs in Linen : Pattern Review

I've always loved dungarees and aprons; 70s styling, skirts that wrap, dresses that tie, a bib front and now is a good time for those sewing those styles. There's such a range of patterns available and I was finally nudged into action by Sarah of Pretty Fabrics and Trims who mentioned the Burnside Bibs by Sew House Seven in an email exchange.  I had two metres of gorgeous linen from a destash purchase, I had the pattern printed in copy shop format, I was good to go!

I chose version 1, a more fitted trouser with an invisible side zip and I opted for a straight across bib. The pattern also includes a looser trouser with pull on waist and a curved bib so you can mix and match the style elements. Size wise, following the body measurement guidelines, I cut out a size 2 bib; widening to 4 at the waist, and a size 4 lower half.  I could manage to squeeze a full length pair out of 2 metres but I wanted the summery feel of the cropped style. The length of these uses the pattern hem line; I am 5' 5"/ 164cm in height.  It's a well written pattern and fitting is minimal as the apron ties bring the waist in and out. 

The only change I made was adding a layer of Liberty lawn to interline the pockets as they are sewn on to the front and I thought the linen would bag out in use.  I also added a light fusible interfacing strip into the zip side seams.  Otherwise, everything was as written in the pattern.A future change I would make would be to stay stitch the underarm section of the bib and maybe interface it with a very lightweight fusible as it did go a little out of shape at the edges.

The fit is good, especially in the trouser section. Dungarees are not the most flattering look on the derrière but I think these have the balance about right and you could easily make a few adjustments to make them more fitted, or choose the looser trouser pattern and have a baggy look.  The size 2 bib is very slightly short and in hindsight, size 4 throughout would've been fine but the difference is minimal.  They are a satisfying make and great to wear on a hot day out, the leg has just the right width to it, they look wide leg and not like clown pants!  I have the Tea Dress in my dressmaking queue, along with some beautiful linen from USA so I'm tempted to start that next.  

Other dungaree pattern suggestions:


Sunday, 23 July 2017

July at Eternal Maker: Flash Free Shipping Offer!

I'm just sneaking into July with my last two sponsor posts; it's always a busy month for me with family birthdays, end of term and prep for my summer schedule in the day job. It's Eternal Maker's turn today and Anna is also  busy with a 10th Birthday party planned at the Chichester shop on Saturday 5th August.  She also posted a flash shipping offer - free postage over the weekend if you spend over £10, add SHIP-FOR-FREE online to get your shipping for free, take advantage whilst you can, runs until the end of Monday!  Offer includes fabrics in the sale.

  1. Two Stitches Grow Babygrow Kit - Bears contains all you need to make the TWo Stitches babygrow up to 24 months sizing, fabric is by Kokka.
  2. Sevenberry Yarn Dyed Rainbow Fat 1/8th bundle.  These are gorgoeous shot cottons, the warp and weft are two different colours- white and the main fabric colour.  I have a few of these and I love the effect and the quality. 
  3. Pre-Quilted Woodland Party fabric by Cosmo-Tex.  Perfect for baby projects. 
  4. Sarah Jane for Michael Miller, Folk Magic Knit, 100% cotton jersey, perfect for childrenswear and Two Stitches patterns
  5. For those who can travel to the bricks and mortar store, Eternal Maker is holding a birthday party from 10-5pm on Saturday 5th August with workshops, discounts, competitions, goodie bags and fundraising to support St Wilfrid's Hospice. There will also be a Maker's Fair so bring cash to support and buy goodies from local makers. Online customers can take part in a raffle as well as supporting St Wilfrid's Hospice, see here for details! 
  6. Heather Ross for Windham,  Sleeping Porch, Fortune Teller in Pink, Cotton Lawn. Such a pretty pink and a cute quirky print.
  7. Jeans: Build a Bundle.  All the bits you need to sew a pair of jeans in one long order list, just click for the things you need- large choice of fabrics, patterns, needles, jeans buttons and more.  Great idea from Anna!
  8. Kate Spain for Moda, Early Bird. Build a bundle. Summery bright pretty fabrics, make your wn custom bundle. 
  9. Neon Tropical Floral, Stof France. Lightweight Floral. Glorious dressmaking fabric would make the most gorgeous summer pyjamas, or many other things!

Touring Quilters' Guild Exhibits: Twentieth Century Pieces

Continuing the Quilters' Guild exhibits that were on display at Exeter Sewing Machine Shop, these next examples are all twentieth century and came with detailed historical information from the guild.  The first can be attributed to a maker, Elizabeth Ward  Originally from a farm owning family in Lincolnshire, Elizabeth worked in a Leicestershire dairy as a young girl and had her own family in the 1920s when she also started this patchwork.  She married against her family's will and they cut her off, reconciling after she had children.  The patchwork was kept by her granddaughter after Elizabeth died in 1961.  It's English paper-pieced and the stitching is in white thread throughout with small neat stitches.

I loved the next example.  It was bright and modern with some of my favourite colours- shell pink, browns, cobalt blues and mint greens!  It's called the Medallion Log Cabin Coverlet and dates from the1930s. Made by Alice Stagg, who had a tailoring business, Fone & Stagg, in  Crewkerne, Yeovil Somerset.  It was known as the 'Polish Quilt' in her family and the guild suggests this could refer to it being made close to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.  A picture of her tailoring business can be seen on this page, it's on the right in the black/white photo of how Market Street used to look.

The fabrics are thought to be dressmaking scraps and you can clearly see the textures- crepes in particular.  They made me think of bias cut 1930s dresses. There are also lightweight brocades with metallic threads, satins, velvets embroidered fabrics and lots of dress suitable prints.  There are lots of different fibres too, silks, viscose and rayons along with cotton.  It's not quilted so there's movement and drape in the fabrics and the blocks are less rigid than a usual log cabin.  They reminded me of string quilts with all the mismatched lines and geometric pattern, as well as God's eyes.   Probably my favourite from all the exhibits!  I love the idea of repeating this today with Liberty lawn, chambrays and other dressmaking remnants. 

There were a few wholecloth quilts in the travelling collection and this caught my eye because the colour and the fabrics relate to Alice's coverlet above.  It's rayon, double-sided with a thin layer (maybe flannel) in between.  The edges are the fabric selvedges (it was around 90cm wide) and the top and bottom were whipstitched together.  The quilting was phenomenal, so neat and regular with quite a dense quilting design.  Dates from the 1930s.  You can see a selection of wholecloth quilts on The Quilter's Guild website. 

This quilt had a lot of resonance for the current charity activities in quilting following the Manchester bombing and the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. This is quilt is from the Canadian Red Cross Society  sent to the UK  duirng World War II - the label is in the top right-hand corner.  

The piecing is fast, there are applique elements and visible selvedges as well as lots of improv style shapes and patterns, a quilt made for speedy dispatch.   You can read in more detail about quilting in World War II, and in particular about charity quilts from allied countries like Canada here. Quilts like this were sent for evacuated and homeless families, the domestic victims of war.

A big thankyou to Jenna and the rest of the team at Exeter Sewing Machine Company.  The Quilters' Guild touring exhibitions are a delight and I always learn so much!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Touring Quilters' Guild Exhibits: Nineteenth Century Hexagons

I've been enjoying a week off work which has included a lovely few days away in Cornwall with my husband and some beautiful historic quilt exhibits from The Quilters' Guild at my local quilt shop, Exeter Sewing Machine Company.   Shop owner, Jenna, hires a selection of pieces from a collection that travels around the country and customers can book viewing time slots.  It's a free event and Jenna always allows plenty of time for us all to look over the exhibits.  I took lots of photos so I'm going to split this across two posts: this post features hexagon nineteenth-century quilts and second will feature a range of twentieth-century quilts and fragments. 

I'm not usually a huge fan of hexagons but these two examples were so charming.  The first is sewn on to a backing for display so only the front can be seen.  It was the colour range that really grabbed my attention, especially the mustard yellow and blue border.  The hexagons were really quite small- maybe an inch at the widest point?

You can get an idea of the scale in this photo with the arm underneath!  Note the white gloves worn for any handling of the exhibits.  Jenna leads the way carefully taking the quilts out of their storage bags and laying them out for us to look over.

Close up you can see all the adaptations, the pieces sewn together within a single hexagon and the wonderful range of prints used.  There was some variation in the regularity of the hexagons but the overall effect was so pleasing!  This piece dates to the earlier part of the nineteenth century.

The second example has larger hexagons with many of the papers intact.   They are stitched into rosettes, some very fussily, some almost haphazard and lots in between.  There's a range of fabric weights from lightweight fine shirtings through to heavier chintz fabrics where the shiny glaze and thicker threads can still be seen. 

The reverse is just as fascinating with lots of handwritten letters and papers being used for the hexagons.  

It was a fascinating piece to look over.   You can see a date below, 1802!  The Quilters' Guild date this uncompleted piece to around 1840.  You can also see the mix of threads and stitch styles below.

On the Quilters' Guild museum website, you can see other examples of Heritage and Mosaic quilts.  Back with more soon!