The week I tried patchwork

I love reading other people’s blog posts and a few weeks ago I came across this post from mensew with this really sweet patchwork quilt he has made for a nephew.

I really like the look of patchwork and inspired by this post and by the ever mounting bin bags and laundry baskets of leftover scraps from various dressmaking projects I decided to have a go myself. I bought an instruction book from a local shop, the selling point being that it claimed to be ‘…for the complete beginner’.

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The book advises that the beginner should start with a small project such as a lavender ball, but looking at my vast pile of offcuts I knew I would have to go for something a bit bigger. I therefore chose the last project in the book, a double bedcover. The individual patches are large varying from 13cm square to 33cm  square which I knew would make more inroads to my leftovers. These are the templates I made from a cardboard box.

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It took two whole days to go through and iron all the pieces and assemble the necessary piles of patches, but eventually I ended up with the right number of squares and rectangles and was able to start sewing (having reduced my scrap mountain to one bulging bin bag of pieces all less that 5″ x 5″).

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The project caused a lot of hilarity among the ladies on my pattern cutting course who also do quilting….’You’re making a what…?…’ ‘Are you sure …..?’ ‘HOW big….?’

Undeterred, I started anyway. The instructions in the book are really clear and although you are supposed to develop techniques by working your way through the projects in the book from the lavender ball to the bed cover it’s still easy enough to go backwards and forwards to refer to the bits you need.

Blocks began to appear…..the corners were in the right places and I was beginning to feel quite pleased with myself.

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Then came joining the blocks together, and before I knew it I had enough for my hallway, or a single bed !

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Another day’s work and it was too big for the hall so here is my double bed cover in the garden, it measures 240cm x 180cm.

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I think it’s lovely ! The beginning of the book advises choosing a base fabric with at least six colours and picking fabrics of those six colours to complete the rest of the cover. As you can see I’ve obviously had a theme going on for the last few years as these random scraps are all from the same colour palette although once I had started sewing I deliberately removed all my blue pieces. I am slightly disturbed by the two pickle jar pieces next to each other on different grains and may remove one of them.

Anyway I am very excited by progress so far. I know the difficult bit is going to be putting a back on it but I WILL get there ! I might even get the opportunity to use the quilting table attachment which came with my sewing machine but which is still in its box and being used as a footrest.

I have also signed up for a patchwork course at the local adult education centre so maybe they will give me some pointers…. I may be some time……..

 

 

The week I tried patchwork

Another Stoff and Stil Hoodie and a Stoff and Stil skirt

Following the success of daughter no 2 and her hoodie I was asked to make another for no 1. I bought the same speckled sweatshirting fabric from Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve now bought this fabric in orange (Linden sweatshirt), Green (Linden sweatshirt), oatmeal (Stoff and Still hoodie) and this yellow (Stoff and Still hoodie). I’ve still got the navy blue to make up. I love the multicoloured speckles in the fabric !

Th making is straightforward and I made no changes even though no 1 is much smaller than no 2. She’s just got a baggier top, which is a style she is very happy with.IMG_7258

The hood on this one is lined with a jersey from C+H I used to make a lady skater dress last year.

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Back view. Again I used the sweatshirt fabric for the hem band and cuffs.IMG_7251

I have also made  no 1 a long plain grey jersey skirt. I have made her a similar garment in the past but it is now worn out and she wanted it replaced. I bought a lightweight grey jersey for a very reasonable price but I can’t remember where from which tells me I have been buying too much fabric if I have lost track of it. Even though it’s a really simple shape I bought a pattern. (Which has since disappeared from the Stoff and Stil website)IMG_7265

There is just one pattern piece, cut twice, although I did make another pattern piece for pockets which I inserted in the side seams using the technique from my Alphonse trousers. After all what use is a skirt without pockets ? The pattern has splits up the side but I made it without and there is plenty of room for walking. No 1’s main criteria for a garment being that she can move in any direction at any time without restriction, she is very keen on yoga.

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I left out the decorative drawstring on the waist and just did a simple elastic casing.

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No 1 is very pleased with her new garments although I always tell her I am sure I get just as much pleasure making for her as she does in the receiving.

 

 

Another Stoff and Stil Hoodie and a Stoff and Stil skirt

Republique du Chiffon pantalon Alphonse

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Well, these look nice don’t they ? I saw a pair somewhere on Pinterest and immediately went to The Republique du Chiffon website to check them out. I found the pattern BUT it appears to only be available in French. So what ? I’ve watched every episode of Cousu Main (the French equivalent of the Great British sewing Bee) at least twice and I’m sure I must have picked up some french sewing terms and there’s always Google translate ! What could go wrong ?

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So, these are a trouser inspired by masculine clothing, loose fitting due to the front pleats with a mid rise. Oh…and pockets, beautiful side pockets.

I decided to make these from a wheaty/grey mid weight drapey pure linen that I bought last year from ditto fabrics. Such lovely fabric !

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The instructions actually aren’t that hard to follow even in French and there are clear diagrams to follow. The Cousu Main programmes came in handy, especially when it came to the ‘Braguette’ (Fly front).

The pockets are fitted so cleverly and neatly into the side seams and are a very good size.

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Another detail I really like is that the belt loops are incorporated into the waistband construction which makes them a thing of beauty in their own right.

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I know, I know, that belt loop isn’t exactly lined up with the seam. I did unpick it and re-place it, promise. But it’s still a really neat finish.

The finished fit of these is very similar to an Oxford Bag trouser. The size I made which fitted at the waist and hip is very wide in the leg and I did lengthen them to  a full length rather than a capri.

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Sexy ? Non ! Confortable ? Mais oui !

 

 

Republique du Chiffon pantalon Alphonse

The Tunic of Doom – What went wrong….

It’s simple really, I made a mistake in transferring markings from my draft pattern to the garment pattern.

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I’m not sure if it’s obvious from here but the side front pattern piece should have followed the red line and not the original pencil line (which I had even scribbled out !) I stupidly made my pattern piece from the original outline which meant I had approx 3 cm more fabric in the centre front than the side front. This accounted for the difficulty I had easing in along the seam and in fact was extremely impressed that I had actually managed to achieve this under the circumstances. The resultant mismatch between the pieces pulled the whole bodice out of shape. Once this had been identified as the source of the problem it was back to work to make the pattern piece correctly.

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The bit with the scribbles on is the original and wrong piece, so you can clearly see my error.

I then made up two new side fronts in calico and re-inserted them. The garment looks even more terrible now but it fits beautifully !! Thank goodness for my tutor who spotted what was wrong very quickly AND made me put it right.

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All I need to do now is source some fabric I actually like and give this another go.

 

The Tunic of Doom – What went wrong….