Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Oh, I forgot the Bapron!

 I also made this to go with Zahra's quilt - it's a "bapron" (baby apron) from a tutorial by Jess of Craftiness is not Optional which proved to be really easy and looks amazing (and professional, even if I say so myself!)
This is the back - to match the quilt. I used 2 cotton fabrics rather than the suggested flannel, but only because I didn't have any and I was making it over Christmas. I bet it feels gorgeous with flannel as a backing. What I love most about the bapron (other than the fact that it's so easy to make) is that it's reversible! I will definitely be making more of these as presents for other little ones.

Everyone's having babies...

My friends have just had a little girl on Christmas Eve. I've had this ready for her for a few weeks now...I'm just waiting to go round for a cuddle!

I used a mixture of a cute animal print I found in the Rag Market and some florals and pastel coloured solids to make it a bit more girly.
The back
Here's Tybalt!
Welcome to the world, Zahra!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

For my sister...

It was my sister Sum's 30th birthday last weekend. I wanted to make something special for her but she is annoyingly hard to please. She hates pretty much everything anybody gives her for presents. In fact, this year she had specified to both me and my parents that under no circumstances were we to get her any sort of present at all except for a a pair of warm gloves and a snood. I still got that wrong as even though she had written down which snood she wanted I managed to get something totally different!
Anyway, in order to give her something nice, I'd spent hours over the summer making colourful blocks, loosely based on Faith from Fresh Lemons Quilts Echino Squared quilt. It was hard going - mainly because I couldn't seem to get all the blocks the same size so kept having to add bits of fabric here and there... I eventually got fed up and had far fewer than I initially anticipated! I then left them in my fabric cupboard and forgot about them for a few months. A couple of weekends ago I remembered them and quickly got to putting the quilt together. Because I didn't have as many blocks as I wanted, I decided to put sashing in between them. The quilting was just straight simple lines around each block.
Oops, a bit skewed!
For the back, I wanted to have a slightly more subdued feel in case she didn't have her sunglasses handy! I'd seen some lovely Paris streets material at a sewing exhibition I'd seen which I'd bought specially for Sum back in March that I wanted to incorporate so that was my main panel.
I also found some lovely cotton with a denim feel/look and some fabric which I think is called Twirl by "Me and my sister" designs that I really wanted to incorporate (only because there's just the two of us) Oh, and of course a tybalt label!
I also made a sprocket pillow to match - courtesy of Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew. It was so, so easy to make as the instructions were really simple and clear - thanks!
 The stuffing isn't as smooth as I would have liked but I'm sure after a few bums have tried it out, it'll be fine!
My attempt at an arty photograph
 Here they are together (on Mum's sofa rather than Sum's as we celebrated her birthday at my parents' house)
 Happy 30th Birthday Sum! xx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

My sewing machine

It's about time I introduced my sewing machine. It's not conventional...
It's an old manual Singer
Isn't she beautiful? Look at all the intricate design and pattern:

There's a serial number on it which enabled me to look up the year it was made - 1936 in Kilbowie, Clydebank, Scotland.
This is not an electric machine so I have to feed/guide the fabric with my left hand and turn the wheel with my right in order to sew. It can be quite tricky sometimes!
Excuse the mess in the background! I was hoping the strategically placed plants would hide it but they haven't done their job properly...
The only change I've made is to add a walking foot so that I can quilt a little more easily. Yes, I know the modern plastic looks out of place on this lovely old machine, but believe me, it really has helped!
She can only do one stitch length and type but she does the job. Maybe some day in the future, I'll get an all-singing, all-dancing electric sewing machine that can do fancy stitches (I always want to do zig-zags for some reason) and have different stitch lengths but more now I'm more than happy with the old Singer!

Friday, 18 November 2011

A quilt for Edie

I found the cutest animal print at the beginning of this year. Really bright, primary colours, letters of the alphabet and zoo animals. I knew I wanted to make a child's quilt with it but didn't have anything else to match. So I went and found some plain fabric in coordinating bright colours (red, blue, green) and made up a quilt loosely based on the log cabin concept. Here's the finished product:
A close up of the "log cabin" panel:
I kept the quilting really simple, just straight lines around each panel and the middle cross. You can sort of see the geometric pattern better on the back of the quilt...
The whole thing was finished off with bright red binding and, of course, a tybalt label:
All in all, I'm quite pleased with the finished article. It can be used as a quilt or a playmat. This is for a special little girl's first birthday next week (I hope her Mummy's not reading this, it's supposed to be a surprise!). Happy birthday Edie!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Catnip toys

To pass the time while recovering I decided to make some cat toys. I dived into my scrap bag and pulled out a couple of colourful bits of fabric, sewed a very rough rectangular pouch and filled each one with leftover wadding and a few pinches of catnip.

Safe to say the tinkers like them...



Am down with a vomiting bug. At least the vomiting has stopped now - but still feeling very drained and tired. Annoyingly, all the stuff I had to do this weekend has had to be cancelled - like going wedding dress shopping and food tasting with the caterers. (Did I mention I'm getting married next April?) The last thing I feel like doing is eating Indian food at the moment! Oh well, I can still do some internet work for research and work on the invitation wording etc to stop me getting too bored.

Sorry this is such a boring post! (Not that I think anyone even reads this...)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Browns and pinks

Another lap quilt....
This time in browns and purples/pinks. I love how well the colours work together.
It all started with the printed cotton in the photo above. I found it at Fancy Silk fabric store in Digbeth, Brum and had to have it, even tho it was so expensive! In the end I bought just half a yard as I couldn't justify spending any more money and then matched up some other plains to go with it.

Here's a photo of the back:
I used simple straight line quilting in a double grid pattern - you can see it quite clearly in the photo above and also the ones below.
 All folded up...
And of course, my signature label:
I'm hoping to enter this one into the October Celebrate Colour at Stitched in Color. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

And another one...

Here's my second Buttercup bag:

 It turned out a bit smaller than the first one, even though I used the same pattern pieces. I think it may have been the brown material that I used for the outside of the bag - polyester mix and much more difficult to work with than cotton.

 But I'm still quite pleased with the end result. This one is for my mum on her birthday (which is on the 26th) along with some orange scented soap that I made a little while ago. Happy birthday Mum!! xx

Monday, 12 September 2011

Buttercup bag

A couple of my friends got married last weekend. I bought a really nice maxi dress that I fell in love with (I was not supposed to be dress shopping.....) but didn't have a matching bag and didn't really want to spend even more money. But I did have some matching fabric so I thought why not? I can make a bag, right?

After scouring the internet for easy-enough-for-beginner-sewers patterns I came across the Butter Bag by Made by Rae. The examples on Flickr looked great. I spent ages doing some extra research on making bags as I've never tried it before and then I cut into the material.... And the result:

The instructions were fairly easy to follow, although I did use a video tutorial I found - Couturier Mommy - and a step-by-step diagram one - Pigs in Pajamas - which were both very useful to a novice like me. I decided to use interfusing for the outer part of the bag, the flowery strip at the top and the strap to give it more structure (there were lots of debates about this online). And I was really surprised at how easy the magnetic clasp was to put in - although not very impressed at the price at my local chain craft shop...

I managed to put in the pocket on the inside:
And I also sewed another "Tybalt" label in - again very clumsily!
Oh how I wish I had a zig zag stitch!!
The pleats were easy to do and look very effective:

I even managed to topstitch the edges to make it look neater and nicer!
The only thing I wish I'd done differently is prewash the fabric. It's already creased and no amount of ironing is solving the problem.

But guess what the most annoying thing is? I didn't even get one photo of me with my lovely dress and matching bag at the wedding!!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Autumnal lap quilt

I've been thinking about making an autumn inspired quilt since I started sewing last year - and Celebrate Colour (via Stitched in Color) has given me the perfect incentive!

The front


I wanted to use browns and khakhi greens (being two of my favourite colours) and found some material in my stash that I thought would go well. The bird panel was a perfect match and I absolutely loved the apple fabric (although I'm not sure what it is, Metro Apples perhaps?).

For the back I still had a few scraps of the apple left...

I wanted the quilting to be fairly modern and so i did random straight lines, which were very fun to do. I haven't mastered free motion quilting yet - mainly because the sewing machine I have is a 1930s Singer with a hand-driven wheel so I only ever have my left hand to feed/move the quilt sandwich. Even still, I'm pretty pleased with the effect.

I used bright red fabric for the binding as I thought it brought out the colours of the panels really well.

I also put in one of my labels - based on my first ever cat Tybalt, who the blog is named after. Tybalt (or Tybly as he was affectionately nicknamed) got run over when he was only 13 months old earlier this year. He was my first ever pet and it was like losing my baby. I decided to remember him always in my sewing escapades through my labels.

A little bit rough around the edges! And please excuse the raindrop over "tybalt" - I wanted to photograph the quilt in the sun but it had just rained and I wasn't careful enough when laying the quilt out over the veg patch...(not sure why i even chose that location!)

Anyway, overall I'm really pleased with this - I actually wish I'd made it bigger rather than a lap quilt though. Oh well. I've entered it into the "home decor" category of the Celebrate Colour competition for September - check out the website at Stitched in Color. Fingers crossed, eh?

I'm giving this as a birthday present for my soon-to-be brother-in-law. Hope you like it too!