Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Summer sewing for me...

Christmas day dress 
Although I have been a little absent from my blog I have been doing some sewing this past month, only a little though :-) The above dress is what I whipped up on Christmas eve at the very last minute. I have a tradition with myself to make a new dress to wear each Christmas. This year though I was so busy sewing Christmas gifts etc... that I did not think I had the time to make myself something new to wear and it wasn't until the afternoon of Christmas eve that I decided to bite the bullet and try and get a dress completed to wear that next day, after all I had the pattern, fabric and thread ready to go so I had no excuse. After cutting  out all the pattern pieces I proceeded to sew like a mad woman and by 6pm I had it all put together enough to have a try on to ensure a good fit. Unfortunately it was way too big so I ran over to my neighbor who just happens to be a dressmaker (the kind who doesn't need a pattern and can make something from a photo). She kindly re-pinned all my seams and a couple of hours later it was all finished apart from the hem which I did the following morning. I'm so glad I made the effort to make this dress as it fits like a glove and I love wearing it.

Summer top version 2 
I also made up another top like the one I made here before Christmas except this one has the elasticised gathered sleeves. It goes perfectly with a pink skirt I already have and the fabric just happens to be the same as my Christmas dress except in a different colourway.

String quilt ready for quilting
And this is what I have been working on today. Finally pin basting my string quilt ready to start machine quilting it tomorrow. I am not totally sure how I'm going to quilt it but hopefully inspiration will strike once I sit down at my machine. Although as I'm typing up this post it has occured to me that some hand quilting in perle cotton would look quite pretty in those white frames. What do you think? Suggestions most welcome!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A gift for Dad.....

Jelly roll quilt
This is my Christmas gift to my Father this year and the final handmade gift to show you here. I made this quilt top earlier in the year for a jelly roll competition which if I'd won it would've been quilted professionally as one part of the prize. After I made it I made the decision that if it won or not it would make a perfect gift to give to my Dad at Christmas which felt really good having one Christmas gift sorted and only halfway through the year! 

Quilting detail of jelly roll quilt
So it didn't win but I did get a lovely letter/email from the judges giving me some nice feedback. Not having the time to do my preferred hand-quilting I did some simple straight line machine quilting and around the white border I used a decorative machine stitch. The more quilts I machine stitch the better I've become and with this quilt I had no problems at all with puckering on the front or back and I think that is down to the pin basting method I use. I tape each layer to the floor using masking tape and stretch both the back and quilt front ensuring that those layers are completely flat and taunt and I also use lots of pins. 

Back of jelly roll quilt
For the back I choose some pieces from my stash that needed to be used up (ie; they had been in my stash way too long) and also coordinated with the front. One of the prints is some leftover fabric from a dress of my Mothers which seemed sort of appropriate to be used in this quilt.
I only have one more quilt top to be quilted and I'm hoping to work on that this afternoon.  This means I've kept my pledge that I made here to get all my quilt tops quilted before I make any more which of course it gives the start of my new year a clean slate.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goodies in the mail.....

 Before Christmas I was lucky to win a giveaway through the SewMamaSew giveaway day on Tanya's blog Second Chance. I haven't won a giveaway in such a long time so it came as a lovely surprise to have my name drawn. I always participate myself in these giveaways as it's such great way to find new to me blogs to follow which does usually mean I don't have time to enter many myself. So last Wednesday I recieved a lovely parcel all the way from the UK. It's always so exciting to get mail from halfway around the world isn't it! 
Tanya had wrapped it up so prettily with ribbon and that little wooden heart tag plus had taken the time to write a lovely long letter outlining what she had included and a little about herself . It was so nice to get a hand-written letter and also to get to know her a little more.

Inside was this pretty tote that Tanya had made using up fabrics from her 2 daughters grown out of clothes. I  love how she has re-used these fabrics giving them a second life and making this bag so much more special.

Inside was a wee treasure trove of goodies including a cute little christmas stocking that her daughter "Hope" had made at pre-school and gifted to my girls from Hope, 3 fabric pieces (my favourite being the one in the middle of this photo with the animals on it) , a little red brooch ( love wearing brooches!) some thrifted reels of cotton, lace and ....

.....a yummy selection of vintage buttons!! Love me some old buttons!! Thanks so very much Tanya for such a lovely bunch of beautiful gifts which I hope to include in some projects throughout this coming year.
Tanya is a busy Mum of 2 wee girls, recently taken up sewing and blogging and just might be hosting yet another giveaway on her blog sometime soon :-) 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gifts for ladies...

Amy Butlers Blossom bag version 2
When my Mother saw my blossom bag that I made a couple of months ago now she liked it so much she asked me to make her one for Christmas. She chose 3 lovely Denyse Schmidt prints available at Spotlight stores here, all of which I love myself and have happily got quite a bit of each one left over to use on another project.

Amy Butlers Blossom bag version 2
The second time making this bag was a wee bit smoother than the first time. I made sure that the magnetic enclosure was a little higher than on my bag which is sometimes difficult to close as it's a tad too low. Also I had to again cut nearly an inch off the ends of the base pieces so I can only put that down to the measurements being out a little in the instructions. I was so busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas that I ran out of  time to make it so she received it just over a week later. Thankfully I also gave her a knitting roll (the one with the birds on it) that was one of 3 I made to sell in my Etsy shop, so she had something to open on the day. When I made the knitting rolls she couldn't choose which one she liked so we decided that whichever one didn't sell would be hers. It turned out the bird one was the one she really wanted.

Little bird pincushion
And after making this little bird for my giveaway I decided to secretly make one each for the girls to go in their stockings. I used some leftover Bliss fabrics and the red and white dot print from Camille & Bonnie's latest collection "Ruby".  They were suitably surprised and pleased when they were unwrapped.
Now I think I need one myself! They remind of the friendly little fantails that tease our cats in our garden.
I have one more gift to show here but I keep forgetting to either take my camera or forgetting to take a photo when I do remember my camera.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Toys for small boys....

Stacking cubes
Now that Christmas is well and truly over I can safely share some of my handmade creations with you here. First up is a set of stacking cubes from Anna Maria Horners book "Handmade Beginnings". Not the easiest of projects I've got to say but hey the result is worth the extra effort plus it's always good to challenge yourself now and then! These are for my latest great nephew born in October so he's not up to appreciating them fully yet but I'm sure he will appreciate all the colours for now. And yes saying 'great nephew' does make me feel old  but it's all my brothers fault who was quick off the mark in starting his family when I was still a teenager.

Stacking cubes
As you can see I went with an 'I Spy' theme with the fabrics I chose for these to make them even more fun and interesting to play with. 
Stacking cubes
Each cube has little ribbon tags which I made sure included some different textures to feel. 

Drawstring bag xmas gift
And for my eldest great nephew who is 4 years I made a patchwork drawstring bag using the same fabrics as the cubes.I used this tutorial by Ayumi from Pink Penguin to make it which had great easy to follow instructions. I filled it with little matchbox cars which as I had hoped went down well. 
More handmade gifts to be shared here soon!
This past week has flown by with the very wet weather we have been having lately keeping me busy trying to get washing dry and keeping the girls entertained since it was far from beach weather. I got a "Wasgij" jigsaw puzzle out earlier in the week and I was pleasantly surprised at how it kept the girls captivated and completely absorbed until it was completed. 

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