Monday, October 31, 2011

Life Drawing

I've had a very busy but un-crafty weekend. My friend had her hen's party on Saturday and yesterday was mostly recovering from lack of sleep, as well as a dress fitting for the bridesmaid dresses.

The only crafty thing I did all weekend was some life drawing on Saturday afternoon. Original plans for the hen's day were to have an at home spa treatment type thing, but in the end the people doing the facials had to leave by 1pm because of another booking so we had to fill in the afternoon with something else. The bride-to-be said that she wouldn't mind a stripper, but in hunting up how much one would cost etc I came across a few places that did life drawing. I decided that staring at naked man for 2 hours was better value for money than 10 minutes of watching a gyrating pelvis! Here are my results for the day

It was a very fun and relaxed experience.  The guy was friendly and chatty.  He said he doesn't do the regular stripping because it's too overt for him, he just does topless waiting and life drawing.  My friend was pleasantly surprised that I'd arranged this rather than a regular stripper, and even happier that I hadn't booked her ex-boyfriend as the stripper (because he now works in this line of business....)!!

And yes, he did drop the robe and show us all his 'bits' I just didn't include that part of my drawing in above collage because I really couldn't do it justice.  Not only does that part of a man look silly, it's also rather difficult to draw!!

I have done some very limited life drawing before.  I started a fashion course which included drawing skills but that was always drawing a person which we copied from a magazine.  The costume course I completed also included a drawing subject but we were always drawing classmates dressed up in odd combinations of clothes, mainly so we could learn about drawing fabric and garment structure as well as the person underneath.  I should spend more time drawing because I do rather enjoy it once I get into it.

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vote for me

I decided to enter my Scary Squares quilt into the Quilting Gallery's weekly themed contest.

Please go along and vote for me if you like my quilt.  You can vote for up to 4 quilts so check out the other great works too.

  Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

I Love Terrain

I've been colour-matching solids with my Terrain pre-cuts.
I love this fabric so much.  If I had any sort of fabric budget at the moment I'd be buying some yardage of my favourite prints before it all disappears.  Sadly I will have to make do with my layer cake and charm square pack.

All those solids come from my stash thanks to the Pink Chalk Fabrics Monthly Solids Club, I've only had to order 3 more to complete the look I want.  I'm using 12 of the fabrics from the pre-cut packs and have concentrated on the blue/purple/green colourways.  This is for next month's project.

Lucky for me, there is still a lot of my layer cake and charm pack left so I can still have lots of fun with this fabric after I finish this next project.

Of course there is every chance that I'll love future fabric releases by Kate Spain just as much, so I guess I shouldn't worry about missing out on beautiful fabric.

How do you buy fabric you love?  Pre-cuts?  One of everything?  Some yardage of a few favourite prints?  I've been buying lots of pre-cuts but thinking maybe I should change my tactics.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quilt Sandwiches

I'm not sure how they'd taste, probably fluffy, but this one was made in the kitchen!

The only place I could quickly locate a free space of floor was in the kitchen, so that's where it happened.

This is a quilt I'm working on for another pattern.  I decided to make a pieced backing for it, just for fun.  Now I have to work out how to quilt it!

How are you going with Blogtoberfest?  I think this is my 26th post for the month, and today is the 27th... so not perfect, but pretty close!  Might fall behind a bit on the weekend as it's a VERY full weekend and there wont be much crafting.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fleur Delacour monogram embroidery

My friend is putting together a costume of Fleur Delacour (from the Harry Potter movies) and asked me if I could embroider the BB monogram on the front of the tracksuit.

This is the first time I'd made an embroidery design from scratch using my Embird software.  Previously I'd only ever imported existing embroidery designs and altered them.  Okay, so this was only two letters on an angle but it's a start!

My end result:

We tried using metallic thread but it just ended up white because the gold stripped off the thread as it was being sewn.  I think I might need to get 'metallic' needles or something for using metallic thread.  In the end, this gold coloured thread looked fine.

I'm rather pleased with the result if I do say so myself!  It's so great to be able to make something so 'proper' looking with what I already have at home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Machine Embroidery

No sewing done yesterday.  Bub only slept for 40 minutes and in the evening when I normally sew I was working out an embroidery design on the computer for a friend.

I have a lovely embroidery machine which I paid good money for, and I spent the money on computer software to make up my own designs, but I hardly use either!

I just decided to go back through my blog and find what I'd used it for in the last two years.  I didn't find much, and some of them are actually projects I completed before I started my blog, but here goes

The name on my mini book bag

The centre designs on my kimono girls quilt

The faces on the teddies I made for the Hope Softies and Dolly Drive (although they were actually done on my old machine and then stored away waiting to become teddies!)

The name label on toy bags I made for my nephew a few years ago

A needle book and pin cushion for Mother's Day

A blankie for a friend who had a baby (using the embroidery applique technique)

My neice and nephew's library bags (a few years apart)

A camping mini-quilt for my mother

Darts shirts for my dad

Okay, so maybe that looks like a lot but all except one of them were done in 2009.  Didn't intend for this post to be a retrospective but sometimes you never know where a post will go until you start writing it.

As for what I was working on last night, it's just a monogram for a Harry Potter costume.  Hopefully I'll remember to take photos to show you when it's sewn.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Mug Rug - Free Pattern

As promised, I've created a pattern for the mug rug I made this week.  It is an 8" finished block so could also be used in a larger project.

You can download a PDF of the foundation paper piecing templates and embroidery designs here.

I wont give you instructions on how to do the foundation paper piecing as there are many good tutorials out there such as the one at Want It, Need It, Quilt.

There are four separate templates, which are the reverse of the finished design.  Cut each out along the dashed line.  This is the outer edge to make an 8" block/mug rug (including 1/4" seam allowance).  Solid black lines are sewing lines.

Each section is numbered with the order you should attach the fabrics and labeled either "Or" for orange or "Bl" for black, but of course you can use what ever colours you choose.  Note that "Left House" and "Right House" refer to the sections of the house as you are looking at the finished mug rug above.  I just cut scraps of fabric the required size as I went along, I didn't cut out fabric templates before starting.

Once you have completed the four separate templates, trim any excess fabric down so that your piece is the same size as the paper.  You can then join all the pieces together.  Join the three house sections first and then add the roof.  Once that is complete you can remove your foundation paper.

The embroidery is done using 2 strands of embroidery floss and backstitch, with satin stitch for the ghost eyes.  For the grave stone, I ran my stitches right down into the seam allowance.

Now your 'top' is all complete you can sandwich it with your wadding and backing fabric.  I machine quilted 'in the ditch' around the outside of the house and around the door/windows in black thread.

Then you can attach your binding and you're all done!

My binding is cut 2-1/4", attached to the back then folded over and machine sewn (topstitched) to the front.  Someone had asked me to give tips on attaching binding, but I think I'll just do a separate tutorial on that one, so stay tuned!  If you are desperate to finish your mug rug, there are lots of other great binding tutorials out there, that's where I get a lot of my information.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No-pattern maxi skirt and twin needle hemming

Earlier this week I came across this tutorial from Elle Apparel for making a maxi skirt.  Can't remember what led me to it though... maybe Pintrest?  Oh, well.

I decided that I'd love one of those.  I'm all about maxi skirts right now (who isn't?)  I've got plenty of knit fabric in my stash and as it turns out I had a really lovely soft red fabric.  So here is my finished skirt in a dodgy "take it yourself in the mirror photo" taken through a very dirty mirror!  (I really need to find a good place to set the camera up and use the timer...)
A few notes on making the pattern:

  • I used the same hem measurement as Leanne used but had to add several inches to the waist.  I think I should have increased the hem size as well because mine doesn't look as full as hers, or as full as I'd like.
  • Instead of measuring my waist, I measure the pair of trousers I was wearing at the time (which have a similar waistband construction) and used that measurement.  The skirt is a bit snug around my belly so will have to be worn with a slightly longer top (which is normal for my wardrobe at the moment anyway).  Either way, it's still light and comfy for wearing at home, but next time I should measure my actual body!
  • Leanne suggests using a twin needle to do the hem.  I've only ever tried sample items with my twin needle before and was not happy with the result so have not used it much.  I decided I'd give it another go and I'm so glad I did!  The coverstitch machine I've been coveting for ages doesn't seem so necessary now!  (but the twin needles can't do every situation you'd use the coverstitch machine for)
Twin needle hemming details
I thought I'd share the "workings" of the twin needle hem.

Because you have to work from the front of the hem rather than the inside, mine ended up looking a bit messy (my bottom edges was cut rather rough to start with anyway).  I just tried to keep my stitching a consistent distance from the folded edge and made sure I was catching the fabric at the back.

I then trimmed the messy hem down closer to the stitching line

Gave it a good press and voila! a lovely twin needle hem from the front.  It has a little bit of give to it, enough that if I take a step which is too big for the skirt I shouldn't break the thread (trust me, this has happened to me before on long narrow stretch skirts).

I had a big wardrobe clean out today to work out what fits and what doesn't so now there is plenty of room for this new skirt.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back to my roots

Tonight I have been doing some dressmaking and alterations.  This is how I really got into sewing, my mum taught me to make my own clothes and I studied costume for two years, hence the title of this post.

When my daughter was born, one of the gifts we received was this cute little pinafore dress (with a floral top) in a size 0, which she's only just grown into in the last few months.
Aside from the size, the weather has only been right for in it the last few weeks, and by this time, it was already getting a little too small for her.  That's the problem with baby clothes!

The straps originally met at the centre back (almost like a cross-over), so I unpicked them, moved them to be straight-on, which added a little length, and then included some elastic.

Hopefully now this will last her till the warmer weather and she'll get some decent wear out of it!

My mother also made her a little pinafore out of some green floral fabric.  You can read the story of the fabric here on my mum's blog, as well as see a cute preschool photo of me!

Again the sizing didn't match up with the weather in Melbourne, and the dress is too tight in the armholes.  Originally I was going to make an extra tab to button in, as the shoulders are closed with buttons and button-holes.  Then I thought about putting some elastic in so I dug through my elastic draw, but had a lazy idea!!

I've just looped hair elastics through the button holes and these then hook over the buttons!  Luckily I have some 'fair' coloured hair elastics which were bought for my husband (he's only used one or two out of the packet) as they look much better than my dark brown ones would have.

Tonight I also hemmed a skirt I made the other day but I'll save that for another post.  I'll have to get a photo of me actually wearing it first!

It feels really good to be so 'practical' in the sewing room and save clothes which would otherwise be passed on.  Also the skirt I made was out of my very large stash of fabrics and I'm glad I've made a very small dimple in that!  I should do more of this......

Friday, October 21, 2011

One Yard Wonders

I'd seen a lot about this book online when it was first released, and then had a flip through it in a bookshop once and decided I wanted to buy it when I saw the pull along dinosaur project.
Pink Chalk Fabrics are having a sew along of the whole book so I figured I'd better buy the book before they got up to the dinosaur.

I knew they were getting close because they are in the toy section, but the other day they featured the Fabric Doll House and I knew I had to have the book.  I love how Cindy made it into a castle for a boy instead of the 'girl's house!
So I ordered it online and today it arrived in my mailbox, which made a wonderful change of mood to the horrible day I'd had so far.

Sadly I think the dinosaur will be up next week and I'm too busy to complete it in time for the sew-along, but at least I have my copy of the book now!  But I can't wait to get into making many of the projects when I have time.  I might even be able to claim that some of them are Christmas presents so I can get to them sooner rather than later ;)

Universal Craft Blog Directory

Do you have a crafty blog?
Would you like to be including in the Universal Craft Blog Directory.

CraftyRie is the creator of this fantastic idea so head over there now and link your blog up!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Mug Rug all finished

Here is my finished mug rug.
I was going to do so much more with it, but decided I wanted to get it in the post tomorrow so there is a (vague) hope of it arriving by Halloween.  Funnily enough though, I chose to do hand embroidery over machine applique because I felt it would be quicker to complete tonight.  I am usually a "machine everything I can" kinda gal and see hand sewing as time consuming when there is a machine alternative (I'm all about machine sewn binding at the moment!)

I will include a pattern for this, but not tonight, my bed is calling.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Mug Rug

Mug Rug Swap Adventure 3 was a holiday theme.  The recipient nominated which holiday theme(s) they would like and you have to make a mug rug to suit.  I received mine yesterday, which was just the kick in the butt I needed to get mine made and sent to my secret partner.

Here it is so far, along with all the mess associated with paper foundation piecing!

Stay tuned for a free pattern of this available soon.

Trying to keep up with my Blogtoberfest goal...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mug Rug Swap Adventure again

My mug rug for the Mug Rug Swap Adventure 3 arrived today from Linda at Stray Stitches.

I just LOVE it!!!

Now I know I'd better hurry up and make mine to send out... I feel like such a slack swap partner (although the deadline is still two weeks away).  I did joke with my husband that I could just wrap this one up and send it on, but I couldn't really do that because I love it too much!  And besides, I already have plans for what I want to make, it's just a case of finding the time in the sewing room to complete it, and not wasting entire nights sitting at the computer (like I did tonight).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blogtoberfest.... not so much

I haven't really been keeping up with the post a day, but I'm trying.  Saturday was such a busy day that I didn't even turn on my big computer.  Yesterday I took photos for a post but then wanted to go to bed before I'd got around to writing it.  So here is the post I planned for yesterday.

After all the cutting the other week, and then the laying out and discovering I need sashing fabric, I've now got the fabric and the final layout. So here are all my columns stacked together waiting for sashing to be cut and then the whole lot to be sewn together.

The background fabric is what I'm using for the sashing/border (and the backing and binding because I was suddenly uninspired), although it's more teal that it looks in the photo.

This is one of those projects that I can't wait to be over... but I think that has something to do with the fact that the next project I'm going to start uses Kate Spain's Terrain fabric!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Clucky the Second

My friend rang me today to say that he would call in today rather than on Monday, so I had a mad rush to finish my second Clucky for his son's first birthday present.  As it was I completed the last few tasks as I was sitting at the table talking to him.

I give you Clucky the Second

This one seemed to go together a lot quicker than the first, but I guess everything is easier once you've done it already.  Although I don't think I want to make this again in a hurry.  The tail etc was very fiddly to turn through and there was generally a bit too much fussing for my sewing tastes at the moment.  I was glad to finally make a Melly and Me pattern though.  I've admired their stuff for ages.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birdie Stitches September

I really need to pay more attention to the auto focus on my camera.

I enjoyed getting back into my Birdie Stitches and just sitting on the couch sewing.  Lucky for me I've still got the October block to do now!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Cluck

Now that I've recovered from my near disaster with the first Clucky, I've finally got around to starting the second one for a friend's one year old.

I also did some curtain sewing on the weekend so decided to tidy up my sewing room and use my Monster machine for the first time in ages.  Since it was all cleared, I also used it tonight for Clucky.

I'd forgotten how much I love sewing with my Monster (so named because I've moved house five times since buying him and I know what a monster he is to move).  He's fast, accurate, responsive and just all out powerful. I guess he's my version of a hotted up power tool!  LOL

My little Brother is a lot easier to use when I need to change thread colours frequently, and of course needed for anything other than straight sewing, but I'd fallen into the habit of always using the Brother because the chair was there and everything was ready to go.

I'm hoping to get back into some garment construction soon, so my Monster should be getting a bit of a workout!  Maybe after that I'll be in the habit of using him for all my straight line sewing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fresh from the garden

Every day at the moment I'm thinking what I will blog about in the evening to keep up with Blogtoberfest.

Since this is meant to be a craft blog, I want my posts to be relevant.  It's lucky that I include my gardening as a 'craft' because it opens up a few extra options!

So tonight I will share with you a photo of the fresh silverbeet I picked from my garden to have with our dinner!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blogtoberfest Day 9

After all that cutting out I did the other night, I spent some time applique-ing, and today I was in lay-out mode..... but I don't have a photo to share, sorry.

I've discovered I'm in need of some sashing fabric because the pattern as it is doesn't produce a large enough quilt.  Luckily my friend told me on the weekend that the local sewing machine/fabric shop has a sale on, so I'll have to venture down there this week.

How are you going with Blogtoberfest?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dinosaur Discovery

Before I released my Dinosaur Discovery pattern on Etsy, I had Judi test the pattern for me.  In between looking after a sick baby, as well as all of life's normal demands, she has managed to make this quilt top:
You can read more about it here, on her blog.

It's rather exciting to see something that I've designed being made by someone else.

Thanks Judi for helping me with my pattern!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Furry Friday

Just a quick post to fulfill my Blogtoberfest commitment.

I was going to tell you about some crafty things, but it's past my bedtime already so I'll save them for another night.

Instead I'm going to copy Kate Spain and do a Furry Friday post.  Not only does she have amazing fabric collections, she also has two very cute kittens.

Mine isn't a cute little kitten, she's 11 and a half years old and I don't take as many photos of her as I used to (and even less now there is a baby to photograph).... but she was my first pet other than gold fish, and she'll always be my first 'baby'.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lets not talk about my Civil War blocks

After my big catch up a few months ago, I've fallen even further behind on my Civil War blocks.  I came across one which I'd cut out wrong but only discovered this when I was sitting at the sewing machine and had half completed it (hadn't yet sewn the wrong piece yet, though).  I got annoyed with myself over it and left them be for a while because I didn't want to think about fixing this block.

The other day I decided I'd better make headway or they'll never get done!  Today I spent some time cutting out blocks and pinning the pieces together.  They can then just sit on my sewing table and they're easy to pick up in the evenings and finish one.

So here are five of them waiting to be sewing together (including the half completed one on the bottom).  That takes me up to the first week in September.

October Hexies

Whoops, I forgot to post yesterday for Blogtoberfest.  I'd been planning my post all day, but once I got the baby to bed and had dinner it slipped my mind.

Anyway, here are the hexagon flowers I'll be sending out this month for the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blogtoberfest Day 4

I've got a few things half done today, so not much to share.... but here is a photo of what I'm working on tonight (whilst sitting at the computer).  It's the beginnings of my next pattern idea (well the off-cuts from it at least).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Are your jeans too big in the waist?

I've decided I'm going to try for Blogtoberfest, so needed a blog post for today.

Today I adjusted some jeans to fit me and took photos so you can see how I did it.   Sort of a tutorial, but will only work for you if you have jeans that are too big in the waist and fit everywhere else.

My friend had bought a pair of not-cheap jeans online but when they arrived they were the wrong shape for her, so she gave them to me knowing I was short on nice clothes at the moment.  They're a size or two too big for me but they are the nicest denim I've felt for ages!

So I needed to make them tighter around the back of the waist.  I tried them on and held a piece of elastic across my back to see how much I needed.  I then took about an inch off this measurement to make it snug.

I marked on the jeans where I wanted to elastic to start and end.  I'd selected a point about halfway between the sideseam and the first belt loop around the back.  You can just see my white mark where the red arrow is pointing.

Then I cut open the inside of the waistband on the marks, and inserted one end of my piece of elastic by about an inch towards the front of the jeans.  I stitched the elastic  through all layers of the waistband about 1/2" to the left of the opening.

Next I threaded the elastic through the waistband, around the back of the jeans, and came out the hole on the other side.  I pinned the elastic to the waistband to the left of the opening (towards the back of the jeans).

Whilst the sewing pin was holding the elastic in place, I tucked the other end into the waistband through the opening and pushed it in towards the front of the jeans.  I have a really nice pair of bent nose tweezers which are good for this sort of thing.  Again I stitched about 1/2" past the cut opening, towards the front of the jeans to hold the elastic in place.

I then used a 3 stitch zig-zig to go over the cut openings and stop then from fraying.

Both lots of stitching can be seen from the outside of the waistband, but if the thread is colour matched well, you can hardly see it, and I'm unlikely to ever display the waistband of the jeans.  I'll usually have a top long enough to cover my waist, or I'll be wearing a belt over the jeans.

So there you have it, how to add elastic into the waist of your jeans.

Why don't you join us for Blogtoberfest? It's not too late to join, head over to Tinniegirl and sign up and start blogging. What? You don't have a blog? Then sign up!


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