Saturday, 30 June 2018

Cabin fever

I’ve been playing around with log cabin blocks this month as I offered to write July’s instructions for the online block of the month club I’ve been following.

June’s BOM involved some improv curves which I found a bit challenging. Each of the sub-blocks were only 5” unfinished, so the curves were quite tight in places. I decided to cut everything oversized and trim to size so I could concentrate on the curves and not have to worry about exact seam allowances.

In contrast to the curves, I’ve gone back to straight seams for July’s BOM and have used wide and narrow pieces in a log cabin block to show the different effects that can be achieved with just the one block.

I had not really realised the versatility of this block as, until now, my only experience of it was making a single large block in a school needlework class many years ago. Now I’ve seen what can be done with it, I won’t be leaving it as long before making more.

If anyone wants to try making the blue and white blocks, the instructions are available as a pdf file.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Becoming partial to partial seams

As I mentioned last month, I have been following an online block of the month club, but when May's block was posted I felt the need to modify it a little.

The original block used a very clever technique of cutting and inserting strips to create a lattice effect. Unfortunately, I knew I would prefer an even effect of "over and under" rather than the uneven effect this creates.

Uneven Weave

I don't have any fancy quilt design programmes but by drawing the block sections in PowerPoint, I came up with a construction method that used partial seams and would give an even weave effect.

Even Weave
Other members of the BOM club also wanted this effect and so I prepared a tutorial which I have now posted in my Projects/Tutorials section. Getting the even weave effect is a bit more complicated than the method for the original block, but partial seams are a very useful technique and hopefully the instructions make it clear which part to stitch, which part to leave open, and when to close the seam.

Please don't be put off by partial seams - give them ago and you might find them useful when trying to work out how to assemble other designs. Now I've conquered partial seams, I next need to tackle my fear of Y seams.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Blocks, blocks, blocks

I seem to have become reacquainted with my sewing machine and have been playing catch up with an online block of the month club. Several evenings of cutting and sewing saw me complete the blocks for January to April and I am now ready for  May’s block to be issued.

I have also completed the first of 35 low volume log cabin blocks for a Project Linus quilt challenge in the same online community. We are limited to two colours and neutrals and I think my interpretation might be stretching the rules a little, but hopefully will create a modern quilt suitable for an older child.
(Apologies if the formatting for this post is a little odd - I’m trying a new app to write posts from my iPad.)    

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Lucy Locket's Hidden Pocket

I’m always slightly annoyed by the general lack of an inside pocket on women’s jackets and coats. So much so, that on many of my coats I have inserted a zipped pocket between the lining and facing. Seeing as I needed to add such a pocket to a jacket recently, I took photos while I was sewing and have written a tutorial showing how to add this hidden pocket to a lined jacket or coat.

If you choose a zip that matches the inside of the coat or jacket, then the pocket is almost hidden when closed. The pocket fabric can be as matching or as contrasting as you like. For this pocket I used some silk and stabilised it with a light weight iron-on interfacing, though if you use quilting cotton or a similar fabric, interfacing would not be needed.

These pockets are not suitable for carrying anything too heavy, but can cope with a passport and boarding card or a set of keys or similar. If your coat or jacket has buttons, the size of the pocket may be limited by the distance between the buttons as these are often sewn on through the outer layer and the facing. My jacket had a zip, so I wasn't limited to a certain size and made my pocket to fit my passport.

The tutorial can be found as a pdf file in my Project/Tutorials section.

If you do use this tutorial to add a pocket and find any of the instructions unclear, please get in contact and I will try to help.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Flying FPP

This month I have started a new project as a result of a challenge posted in an online sewing community. The challenge was the “Soaring Compliments” pattern from Bryerpatch Studio.

At first I thought this challenge was not for me – I’ve only done two FPP projects previously and the rainbow colour scheme was not my cup of tea. However, I did a bit of digital colouring in and looked at my stash of Oakshott and the next thing I knew was the challenge had been accepted.
Before the sewing could start, some more computer wizardry was required to print the pattern as a tiled PDF and resize it so I could use the charm squares for the geese. My resized pattern is now ~15” instead of the original 25” and so far the smaller scale has been OK for the flying geese sections.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the pattern comes together at the reduced size.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January – comings and goings

Just a quick post with a few bits from the tail end of last year and some plans for this year.

Christmas (which seems so long ago) saw some new sewing arrivals for me – a FQ bundle of Liberty’s English Garden quilting cotton and a Fiskars folding ruler.

I’ve no project in mind yet for the Liberty FQs, but I know the ruler will be great to take on the train when I go to Leeds MQG. To make space for the new FQs I destashed a few FQs online, though the net result was still a gain but at least some fabric has found new homes where hopefully it will get used.


After missing 4 months of meetings I finally managed to get to Leeds MQG this month and spent the day sewing some POTC blocks. I’m still working on the joining blocks but now I have decided on the two fabrics for these, once I have a few more made I think it will make it easier to pick the fabrics for the “cross” blocks.

The only other sewing this month has been sewing name tags on to clothes for my Mum who is having to spend some time in a nursing home (and which probably will become a long term stay). For such small items, they seem to take a disproportionally long time to sew.

Next month’s sewing is likely to be a FPP quilt for a friend’s baby which I need to get done it time for her return from maternity leave and her daughter’s first birthday. It is my first attempt at an entire quilt using FPP blocks, but at least if I get stuck I will be able to take it to the next MQG meeting for help and advice.

Friday, 29 December 2017

2017 - my sewing year in numbers

This year has been more productive than last year and finished quilts actually make an appearance in my annual round up. Again, small and quick projects feature quite strongly and for some projects, a needle and thread has been replaced by glue and a brush. I've started a new EPP project (Lucy Boston's Patchwork of the Crosses), but progress has been slow and I have only got as far as chosing the fabric for the linking blocks, and have not started going through my Liberty fabrics for the main blocks.

Not too much fabric has been added to my stash this year, and now Standfast & Barrack no longer sell Liberty lawn in their factory shop, I can't see my Liberty stash increasing much in 2018. I did buy a few dressmaking patterns and fabrics this year, so perhaps some garments will appear in next year's montage.

In summary, this is what I have achieved this year:
  • 6 spotty coasters sewn
  • 5 boxes/cases repurposed and covered in Liberty fabric
  • 4 quilts finished
  • 2 garments refashioned
  • 1 mini quilt stitched
  • 1 cushion made and gifted
  • 1 insulated lunch bag designed and created
  • 1 bag customised with Liberty EPP
  • 1 replacement iPad case completed
  • 1 peek-a-boo pouch made
  • 1 new EPP project started