Quilts Of Hope 2017 Block

I have finished my block for this years Quilts of Hope and now just have to post it in. Craftalive are running a quilting challenge this year at all their events across the country. Participants receive a mystery brown bag containing 2 pre-cut 4″ squares of Ella Blue fabric . The challenge is to use at least 50% of the fabric in a quilt block and to consider the theme “Future Stars” when making your block. You could do the block any way you wanted as long as the finished size was 9.5″ square.

For my block I wanted a base to work within so I knew how much space I had to play with. I cut out a base with a mottled light teal coloured fabric that looks like sky, yes I know you can’t see stars during the day 😉  Around the base I did a border in star fabric. By chance the supplied fabrics fitted nicely on my sizzix cutting dies and I was able to use the a star cutting die to cut out multiple stars per square. I randomly placed them on my fabric and satin stitched around them. To get the stars for the embroidery designs I used Microsoft Word to draw up a variety of size stars. For basic shapes I still can’t go past the drawing function in Word. Using my light box and frixon pens I filled in the gaps with the various stars. The embroidery is basic backstitch which is my hand embroidery of choice. I matched the thread colour to the different coloured stripes on the fabric I used.

My inspiration for this block design was no matter the size the size or shape every star will shine bright in the future. These quilts blocks will be made into quilts for kids with cancer. I wanted a more sophisticated quilt block that could be used on a quilt for a teenage boy. It has a little texture to it with the appliqued stars and embroidery thread so if  you were having quiet time you can sit there and run your fingers over it and feel calm. I’d like to think that is what this quilt block will do for some child or family, give them something else to look at and explore and take their mind away from things even for just a minute.

Cassiy

Lego Pencil Case

It is really hard to get Lego fabric in Australia. Luckily I was able to get one print from Find A Fabric

This pencil case is pretty basic. I didn’t follow a pattern I just cut rectangles from the fat quarter of fabric I was able to get. The inside is lined with a bright blue homespun fabric I had in my stash. For the front of the pencil case I hand stitched on some felt letters I cut from some yellow felt in my stash to make the name. From memory I did also need to buy the zipper for this. Some projects you manage to find all the items in your stash and other projects you need to pick up a few things.

The little recipient of this got his birthday gift which also included Lego Man earlier this week and he loved it, now to start planning his birthday gift for next year 🙂

Cassiy

Toiletry Bag

This year I am going away a couple of times to different things so decided to make myself up a toiletry bag.

toiletery-bag

For this bag I used the same enlarged Dog Under My Desk Essential Wristlet pattern I used when I made my rose bag. To recap I enlarged the original pattern to 150% when I printed it out and used a longer zipper (12″ not 8″) Both the exterior and interior is made from ripstop which is a waterproof nylon fabric.

toiletry-bag-inside-size

The inside of the bag is very large. I can easily fit a full size bottle of body wash in there plus all the other bits and bobs I’ll need for a weekend away. As I found out at the Frocktails event you can fit a lot in this size bag whether it be as a handbag or a toiletry.

8-feet-accessory-kit

Last year when I worked with ripstop and when I was making the Activity Go Case I had issues with the ripstop and the vinyl sticking to my machine and the presser foot. In January I was able to pick up in a half price sale a 8 Feet Accessory Kit from Spotlight. I wasn’t sure if the feet would fit my machine or not but luckily the feet just snap on to the shank already on my machine so I am able to use them. I’m not sure about the ruffler foot (that kind of scares me) but I have both high and low shank machines so it should fit at least one of them. I used the Teflon foot from the set for the first time on this project.

toiletery-bag-clip

The Teflon foot worked really well. The fabric feed through the machine easily. The only thing I perhaps would’ve done differently had I know is use pins in the seam allowance not clips. Because I am used to using a walking foot and having the fabric feed through the machine evenly but with the Teflon foot no downward movement to hold it in place and move it through the top piece slipped a little bit. It I had pinned more and not clipped I think it may have kept it more in line. Overall it wasn’t that much of a big of deal. The most important thing was the foot didn’t stick to the fabric.

toiletery-bag-oops

To prevent the ripstop from sticking to the sewing bed and the extension table next to my machine I placed my Teflon applique mat under my work. I um perhaps may of had it a bit too close to the presser foot at one stage and stitch my mat in the seam. I didn’t want to undo the seam and it was tiny little piece so I did cut the mat away from it and now I have a tiny crescent shape in my applique mat edge….

toiletery-bag-zipper

The only sticking issue I had was with the zipper. Someone needs to invent a Teflon zipper foot. I haven’t checked maybe there is one out there…. Ok I just did a quick Google search and yes you can actually get a Teflon zipper foot. I am putting it on my wishlist now!

I woke up one morning and decided I was going to make this. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash so it was a real sew my stash project.

Cassiy

 

Hair Accessories Organiser

I found this great hair accessories pattern in One Thimble Issue 12 and thought it would be perfect to make as gifts this year so I added it to my ideas list.

hair-accessories-organiser

I had 4 girls I thought this would be perfect for so I cut all the fabric out and made one of my “kits” containing all the fabric and notions that I needed for the project. Although there are 4 each one is slightly different so I noted down the fabric combination for each child. When it came to sewing I thought why make 1 when you can make 2 so started and on them and then thought why make 2 when you can make 4 and stitched the 4 of them up a once. It might seem tiresome and you would think it would take longer but I think it was actually much quicker. You use the same equipment on each one so you only need to take out that equipment once.  Your brain in remembering each step in the process and how your actually doing it (even if you are following a pattern) so you don’t have to re-think back. At your sewing machine you only need to change your stitch length once for the same step you do on all 4 so it does make sense to batch sew if you can.

hair-accessories-organiser-ribbon

The front and back fabrics for these I got last year from a sewing magazine. They are fun and pretty but not childish so as the child grows and feels they are a grown up (even though they may only be 8 or 9) they don’t feel they have something babyish in their rooms. For the long lengths of ribbons that run down the front of each the pattern called for gross grain ribbon which I didn’t have large amounts in my stash but what I did have was a large roll of jacquard ribbon so I used that, the tiny hearts on it are so sweet. The ribbon is stitched down in sections so you can hold large amounts of clips in each of the lengths of ribbon.

hair-accessories-organiser-pocket

The organiser has a pocket to hold all the hair ties that you can’t clip on to the ribbon. It expands out so you can fit a lot of hair ties in there and we know little girls have heaps.

hair-accessories-organiser-bottom-loops

At the bottom are hanging loops that you can place headbands in. Headbands never really went out of fashion but I think they are becoming popular again.

hair-accessories-organiser-hanging

This organiser makes a great gift, it is an all one hair station to keep all hair accessories in one spot. You could make it for a child of any age. Like any homemade gift you can personalise the fabrics to suit the child. The pattern has some embellishment on the top where the hanging loop is but I didn’t bother, I left more space for clips. On each gift I added the clips and bobby pins I made and of course a headband. I think the girls would like it. My inner 9 year old would like it so I think they will too.

Cassiy

Blue Rose Bag

blue-rose-handbag

Using some of the leftover blue roses fabric I decided to make a bag to match my skirt. There are so many bag patterns out there and I have a few in my stash but I’m a creature of habit and decided to make a pattern I knew but put a spin on it.  I used the box corner version of the Essential Wristlet pattern by DUMD. I made a bunch of these as Christmas gifts last year and they are pretty quick to make up.

blue-rose-handbag-close-up

The pattern is a PDF so it very simple to enlarge. I played around with the printer settings a couple of times and was most happiest when I printed it at 150% which was my original plan when I thought of doing this. Your basically making it 50% bigger than the standard pattern piece. I used a 12″ zipper. Added two D ring tabs instead of one, I cut them 4″ x 4″ I made a cross body strap which was approximately 4″ x 60″ I used the technique I learnt in making the Activity Go Case to finish the raw ends of the strap neatly.

The lining in black cotton. This will hold all the basics I need for a night out – Wallet, keys, phone. It is a simple bag I can throw across my shoulder and I know I have everything I need.

Cassiy

Blue Rose Skirt

swap-day-haul-6

Last year at the Spoolette swap day I picked up a piece of fabric that had blue roses on it. It was a polyester which I don’t normally like but because it combines my favourite colour with my favourite flower I was drawn to this piece.

butterick-5431

I decided to make a skirt with it to wear at an event in March. Because of the polyester fibre content I decided I wanted a lined skirt. I found the perfect simple pattern in my stash Butterick 5431 (again it came from the swap day) I wanted a simple pattern as I had never made a lined skirt before. I read all the instructions, laid out the pattern pieces to trace them out and couldn’t find my size. I then took a closer look on the outside of the pattern envelope and realised it wasn’t my size.

simplicity-2184

I went through my pattern stash again and found a similar skirt pattern Simplicity 2184 view B but it wasn’t lined (which is probably why I didn’t choose it in the first place) I used this pattern and instructions to make my skirt but added the lining in via the instructions from the Butterick pattern.

blue-rose-skirt-on

Confession I get confused with seam allowances and how much you need to add if you are going to overlock (serge) all your edges before doing your seams. The skirt is made up of 4 pieces cut on the bias. I have never cut a pattern on the bias before. I needed to added a little extra as my hip measurements were a bit bigger than the pattern. I added extra to both sides of each pattern piece but thinking about it afterwards perhaps I only needed to added extra to the centre seam sides, or do you add more to the sides and not the middle? The end result is that skirt is a little puffier than I wanted but it isn’t the end of the world.

blue-rose-skirt-lining

The lining is attached only at the waist band so it moves freely from the outer skirt underneath.  I used a black cotton voile. I made it a couple of inches shorter so it wouldn’t be seen.

Looking at my check list of things to consider when making clothing

  • Comfort Yes it isn’t tight and I have room to move
  • Classic Yes it is a bias cut A line skirt
  • Creative / Quirky Yes the rose print is very 3 dimensional
  • Natural Fibres Yes to some extent as I have used cotton voile as the lining

blue-rose-skirt

Originally I had made this skirt just to wear to Australian Sewing Guild’s 20th birthday lunch in March but have decided in the last couple of weeks I can also afford to go the Sydney Spoolette’s Frocktails event in February so this skirt is going to get 2 uses soon. I know it will be in my wardrobe for years and will get use whenever I need an item that is just that little bit special.

Cassiy

Activity Go Case

The Activity Go Case by Love ME Patterns was a pattern I got in a Sew Box. It looked a good pattern so I put it on my to sew list for 2017.

activity-go-case

How to put this elegantly… some patterns you succeed at others you don’t. Now I firstly must stress this has nothing to do with the pattern. The pattern is well written and Mel has made a great video explaining how to do the binding on it as well. It was the execution (ie me) that didn’t work.

zipper-fail

The case has vinyl pockets on the inside. In the past I have worked with vinyl when making the luggage tag but that was onto fabric, sewing it on to zippers is completely different. Me and vinyl are not friends. It kept sticking even when I put tissue paper under it, I couldn’t get my stitches to look nice. With clear vinyl you can’t hide wonky or ugly seams. It wasn’t a matter of throwing a tantrum but I decided to scrap the vinyl pockets, I wasn’t happy and I didn’t want to waste my time getting stressed out because I couldn’t get it to look right (sewing is meant to be fun) I came up with an alternate plan.

activity-go-case-finished-inside

Instead I decided to a fabric centre pocket and a netting side pocket in place of the vinyl pockets. I used netting from my stash, the binding pieces are pieces from the original pattern pieces I had cut out. I attached the binding pieces to the netting then attached the piece to the lining fabric.

activity-go-case-centre-pocket-stitching

For my centre pocket I used the original centre pocket zipper but shortened it. I used leftover fabric to create the lined pocket (it is basically a zipper pouch) I used one of the original binding pieces to cover the centre join and attached my zipper pocket over that doing a couple of rows of stitching at the bottom of the pocket to hold it in place.

activity-go-case-zipper

Then we came to the external zipper…. I used a sleeping bag zipper and shortened it. I couldn’t buy one long enough at my local stores and couldn’t afford near $20 to order one online. The zipper has 2 zipper pulls on the zipper head (one on each side) I almost cut the bottom one off but decided to leave it. When it came to attaching the zipper I accidentally put it on the wrong way. When you’re looking at the zipper open and it has zipper heads on both sides it is easy to confuse which way is the right side of the zipper tape, particularly when it is nearly 1m (90cm) long. Next time I will mark the right side of the tape with a pen. When I realised it was wrong I noticed I had stitched it pretty well and cut my binding to fit neatly so I left it. With the dual sided zipper I got away with it (really glad I didn’t decide to cut off the zipper pull)

activity-go-case-ditch-stitching-fail

My next disaster was securing the binding. I hand finish my bindings normally but you couldn’t on this, you had to stitch it from the top side in the ditch. I have never stitched an actual item in the ditch before so this was a first for me. Some areas I did really well… then there was the section that I caught centre pocket . I unpicked the entire lot and started again. I was careful the second time to pin my pocket out of the way

activity-go-case-ditch-stitching-fail-edge

Also on my first attempt I didn’t leave an even amount of binding around the entire edge so on some areas I didn’t cover the internal raw edges. On my second attempt I kept an even amount of binding but I accidentally caught the zipper tape in one of the corners so I unpicked that section only and re did it. I did hand finish off a small section where my binding ends joined.

activity-go-case-zipper-tab

You learn something new from every pattern and I did learn from this. Labels are awesome (blog post coming) I learnt a new way to do zipper tabs and finish off binding, I’ll be using this technique again.

activity-go-case-handle

Despite all the little set backs I had I actually really like this. I quilted the front which was optional. Grid stitching is simple but effective. I love the way the handles turned out using the technique the pattern describes.

activity-go-case-centre-pocket-open

I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with alternatives to the vinyl pockets. It made me stop and think about the sewing construction, made me think of what my sewing strengths were and how I could use them in this situation. I’m proud that I have the sewing skills now to be able to do that.

Cassiy