Patchwork progress…

In February OH and I booked a long weekend in Cornwall for the summer, one of the objectives being for me to stop off for a visit to Truro Fabrics. I saved up for the visit and was pleased to get to the till with my haul, just inside my budget I hoped.


Some maroon loop backed sweat shirting, some random print jersey for a Lady Skater dress, spotty denim, grey double voile cheesecloth, oatmeal jersey, some GORGEOUS heavyweight checked linen and some bits and bobs. Just then OH returned from being outside, presumably to tell me hurry up and said he would pay for the lot. Thank you very much !!

In previous posts I have been using up scraps making a patchwork bedcover, according to the pattern I had finished making it as it is an unquilted item, but I have had a couple of comments to say it will look lovely when its finished (what do you mean it will look lovely when its finished !? It IS finished)

Anyway I have just been on a one day patchwork course at the local adult education centre and as part of that there was a brief demonstration of ‘free motion quilting’ which I had never heard of before. The instructor said that only way to be able to do it was to practice a lot and showed us some essential patchwork feet for sewing machines.

Having not spent my intended fabric budget I rather rashly invested in a free motion foot for my machine and realising that people might be thinking my bedcover is not finished because its not quilted I started to practice on that. This is definitely a case of ‘ignorance is bliss’. My very random bed cover is now in the process of becoming a quilting sampler, but oh my word its such fun.

I have realised that I am completely insane for starting to practice this new skill on such a huge item and the work is really very physical but incredibly involving. It doesn’t matter at all to me that its all wonky and am enjoying the process immensely.

Here are some of my quilting experiments

IMG_7875   IMG_7878

IMG_7880   IMG_7882  IMG_7902   IMG_7896

IMG_7898  IMG_7899


Its going to take ages to do the whole cover, by which time my I hope technique might have improved a bit.


Posted in Handmade, patchwork, quilting, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Waffle patterns Dropje vest

I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss this Dropje Vest pattern up ’til now . I love a sleeveless overlayer and this one has pockets AND a hood…AND…AND…It has gorgeous darts around the neckline.

I have used a loose weave speckled silk from Croftmill which I had originally purchased for my Stoff and Stil jacket, but which wasn’t quite the right colour for my ‘viking ships’ lining ( I know, choosing your jacket fabric based on the lining is doing things the wrong way round). The lining is a cotton/silk mix with an extremely tight weave and a beautiful drape which I bought from Ditto Fabrics about 18 months ago.

I downloaded the pattern, traced it off and decided that I would make the lined version. The pattern download is only for the unlined version but there is an extremely good free photo tutorial on the Waffle patterns website on how to make the pattern pieces for the lining and how to make and attach the lining. This was a really interesting challenge which I greatly enjoyed, but I missed that I had to leave the bottom band of the outer layer pressed but not sewn before attaching the lining and had to unstitch a bit. This was my error and not to do with the very clear instructions.

I really came to grief when it came to the zip. Yuki specifies zips in 0.5cm increments for the different available sizes of the pattern but I couldn’t find exactly the right size zip (64.5cm) anywhere. In the end I ordered the two nearest from Minerva crafts  but when they arrived neither was quite right. Either I had to have the zip not quite meeting the neck or the hip or I had to make either the neck or the hip band bigger.

I went for making an attachment to the hip band on the inside ( making it wider on the outside) and I think that was the right decision as the zip now fits precisely from the exterior front both top and bottom and you can barely see the insert on the lining. I tried to cut the bottom of the jacket and the insert along a single thread line and I think it was worth the effort as you can’t see the join at all unless you know it is there and you look very, very closely.

IMG_7791 2.jpg

The lining is slightly bigger than the outer so you are required to make pleats in the lining at centre back, armpits and along the bottom.

IMG_7751 2      IMG_7758      IMG_7720IMG_7745 2


Its a bit more sophisticated then my usual gilet, it fits nicely and the colour is very versatile. I’ve also just had an email from Yuki with an additional pattern for sleeves for this garment so I will very probably be making it again !


Posted in dressmaking, Handmade, Jacket, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Festival Pockets (tutorial – sort of)

So the festival season is upon us once more and as last year daughter no 3 has given me a pile of shorts to ‘pocketise’. The point of festival pockets is that you can take your phone and a little bit of money without taking a bag and without putting your. phone in your bra where it can easily fall out if you’re dancing, apparently.

So, darling daughter who should be doing this for herself !…here’s how to do it…

Get a bit of fabric with some stretch in it, I have used a stretch mesh. Put your phone on the fabric and draw round it leaving an approx 2cm margin around the edge.  Cut out around this margin.This is piece 1. Put your phone back on the fabric and draw round it again making a 2cm margin at the sides and bottom and a 5cm margin at the top. Cut out around the margin. This is piece 2. You should now have two rectangles of fabric the same width but one longer than the other.

Turn over the tops of each piece of fabric approx .5cm,. wrong sides together and stitch down

IMG_7667       IMG_7668

The take the larger piece 2 and fold this stitched edge over right sides together a further 4cm but do not stitch down.IMG_7670

Next, take the smaller piece of fabric and place it on top so the right sides of both pieces are together, but leave a gap of .5cm between the top of the piece 2 and piece 1


Now sew the two pieces together, down one side, along the bottom and up the other side leaving the top open. Maybe do some reinforcing stitches at the tops of the sides.

Now turn the piece inside out (right way round) through the top and Lo ! a pocket !


Next sew the pocket along the top (utilising the .5cm free fabric between the top of piece 1 and the fold of piece 2) to the waistband stitching of your shorts. Be careful not to try and stitch over any rivets in the garment. A few wonky stitches don’t matter.


…and it will be invisible from the front…


Party on…!


Posted in dressmaking, Festival pockets, Handmade, Sewing, Summer shorts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Becoming ‘expert’. Stoff and Stil jacket 24032

So, there may or may not have been an offer on the Stoff and Stil website which induced me to buy this pattern.IMG_7654

It looks like a simple straightforward boxy jacket right ? Well, look at that number in the top right hand corner (no I didn’t notice it either until it was too late) Gr 3, the website goes into more detail when you read it properly and says this is ‘expert’ level. Haha ! Well I’m nothing if not an optimist.

As with previous patterns I have had from Stoff and Stil the pattern pieces for the one size only are already cut out in the envelope, they were a bit creased so I thought a bit of light ironing before cutting out would be advisable. BIG MISTAKE, do not try and iron these pattern pieces, even on a low temperature, they just frizzle up and melt into nothingness……luckily I only ended up with a big hole in the middle of the sleeve, leaving me sufficient to pin onto the fabric for cutting.

The fabric I have used is one I bought a couple of years ago to make a skirt out of.  I usually have some fabric next to the washing machine waiting to be washed prior to a sewing project and OH, trying to be helpful, put this one into the machine without consulting me. It has a high wool content and came out very stiff, rather felted and considerably smaller than it went in (1.5m down to 1.2m). Not at all suitable for the original skirt project and so it has languished in my stash for some time. I thought that the extra body it had acquired might work for the jacket.


I decided to use a Liberty silk that I bought ages ago on eBay for the lining as I am trying really hard to destash at the moment and not buy new. This is a really gorgeous fabric with viking ships on it,


The pattern instructions consist of one sheet of paper with instructions in 3 sections. The first section is for making the jacket shell, the second for making the lining and the third for attaching the two together and finishing off. There is also a page of diagrams numbered fig1-fig9

It all started off well and I constructed the pockets perfectly. I was really really pleased with them until I came to press them and realised that I had put the pocket bags on upside down.


So off they came and the pockets were reconstructed, unfortunately I haven’t QUITE achieved the perfect finish on the outside that I managed first time and I decided not to mess about with them too much more as the fabric was getting stretched.


I followed the instructions and diagrams until I got to fig6. Fig6 ? What happened to fig5 ? There is a diagram for something to do with attaching the facing but no corresponding instruction. What to do, should I follow the progression of diagrams or should I follow the instructions ? I read through all the remaining instructions and nowhere is there any instruction for attaching the facing although there are two facing pieces so I decided to follow the diagrams and attached the facing approximately where I thought it would be most logical in the steps. I did subsequently have to unpick a bit of it but overall I think I made the right decision.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the shell actually seemed to fit straight away.

On to the lining. The second instruction is to make pleats in the front at the top and the bottom at the notches. Well my front pieces didn’t have any notches so I unpacked the pattern pieces to see if I had missed them off at the cutting out stage, nope, no notches. An proper expert jacket maker would have realised straight away, instead of after 20 minutes of investigation, that of course the instruction should refer to the BACK where there were indeed notches for pleats. Tsk tsk !

Then attaching the lining to the outer…well I made the same mistake with the sleeves as I did with my Schnittchen coat….Gaaah !! Cue unpicking and trusty Youtube.


Anyway I got there in the end and I love the inside of my jacket, in fact it could almost be worn inside out.


The jacket fits well and there is enough room to wear a jumper underneath. Being picky I think the stiffness of the outer fabric makes the sleeves look a bit chunky but I think this might soften out with wear. The zip is nicely even top and bottom and overall I’m very pleased with this effort. The front appears to dip down much more than in the diagram but I haven’t added anything  to the pattern. This is definitely a wearable garment and was worth the effort of lining.


Am I an ‘expert’ ? Definitely not ! This make required far too much guesswork in interpreting the instructions revealing huge gaps in my knowledge. I need step by step instructions with preferably photos !

Posted in dressmaking, Handmade, Jacket, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Sew – Cocoon Dress

This week I have mainly been sewing the Simple Sew Cocoon Dress which I saw in this version on Pinterest Pigeon Wishes Cocoon Dress. I loved the shape in this version, looked it up and saw that it came with a Sew Now magazine which I bought.

The pattern comes with a sleeved and a sleeveless version and I decided to make the sleeveless version. There are 6 pattern pieces, front and back facings, front and back pieces, sleeves and pockets. I decided to try the pattern with some soft denim that I recently bought from the sale section of the Minerva Crafts website for no other reason than it was £3.99/metre and with no particular project in mind.

The make was quite straightforward although there were no instructions for under stitching the facing which I think is essential for the neck to sit nicely.

I’m very pleased with how it has turned out. For a simple silhouette, it looks quite smart.

IMG_7546                                   IMG_7539


So pleased in fact, that I wanted to make another version while the pattern was on my table.

Some time ago I read a blog post about a sweater dress from Emily of Self Assembly Required  I had sweater dress envy and thought I could make a sweater dress from the Cocoon Dress pattern, so I did…

I had quite a lot of loose knit fleece left over from when I made some Bethouias and I know this fabric just gets nicer every time it’s washed. This time I made the sleeved version and finished the sleeves and hem with sweatshirt style bands. It has turned out to be the sort of garment for an evening on the beach when the sun is going down and it’s beginning to get a bit chilly, or maybe for yoga nidra in the winter….


This pattern gets a thumbs up from me.

Posted in dressmaking, Handmade, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The patchwork bedcover -progress

So I have now finished my first ever patchwork and quilted item. Since my previous post I have swapped out the two offending adjacent pickle jar items as I knew they would get progressively more annoying.

I also found some 3mm organic bamboo/cotton batting at a local shop which doesn’t even sell dressmaking fabric !


Armed with the batting I set about tacking it to the patchwork top as per the instructions in my little book….this was absolutely backbreaking work as it took me 5 1/2 hours crawling around on the floor to achieve and I had to do it all in one go as it took up the whole floor and there is a limit to the family’s patience being required to tiptoe around the edge of it.

IMG_7332                                               IMG_7331


I purchased some 250 cm wide red 100% cotton sheeting from eBay for the backing and quite coincidentally came upon a giant wooden reel of vintage red ’embroidery’ thread at a local village fair which is really thick and which I thought would be perfect for the quilting and finishing thread for the project.


Once more back to the floor to pin the backing onto the batting/patchwork and then to the sewing machine.

I attached the quilting table that came with my sewing machine and which has never been used and got going. I really needed the large flat sewing surface that this provided. As the squares for this project are so big it was a relatively straightforward if time consuming  task sew the three layers together.


Then came attaching the edging and learning the air of the mitred corner both of which are also made with the same scraps as I have used for the patchwork top and LO ! I have a bedcover.


I am so pleased with it although having seen some properly made quilts exhibited at the village fair where I purchased the thread I realise it is a very amateur effort. Nonetheless I am still thrilled to bits with it.




Posted in beginner's luck, Handmade, patchwork, quilting, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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’.



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.


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″).



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.


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


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.


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……..



Posted in dressmaking, Handmade, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment