Friday, 30 August 2013

Step back in time to the 1960s

One of my favourite shopping expeditions is to hit the charity shops in a town to see what treasures are waiting. My latest find was a Woman’s Realm sewing and knitting supplement from 1967 for the bargain price of 49p!

So what has this mainly monochrome magazine got to offer? My favourite project has to be this “upcycling” feature on how to give two hats a brand new look by cutting holes in one and sewing the patches onto another!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Festival of Quilts 2013 - trying to fit a quart into a pint pot

(... or rather trying to fit seeing everything at Festival of Quilts into four hours)

If you had asked me a few days before Festival of Quilts if I were planning on visiting the show my answer would have been no. Then along came a ticket giveaway from The Crafty Quilter and my plans changed. Fortunately I was able to book annual leave at short notice and last minute train fares were not prohibitively expensive, so on Friday I found myself heading down to Birmingham.  The times of the cheap trains meant that I only had about four hours to spend there, but I was determined to fit in as much as possible.

I had been lucky and won a pair of tickets, but could only use one so the first thing I did was find a random person in the ticket queue and share my good luck with them. Next was to try to work out the stand number system and find the Sizzix stand in the hope of getting a space on one of their workshops.  I was successful on all counts and had great fun trying out the Big Shot machine and making a block using the square, rectangle and half square triangle dies.

I then had 45 minutes free as I had arranged to meet Helen from the undomesticatedscientist blog for lunch and to hand over some spare dinosaur fabric scraps for her dino-loving daughter.  I used the time for a whistle stop viewing of the quilts, taking photos of any that caught my eye.  There were a lot of quilts that were just not my “thing” (such as pictorial and pixelated quilts) and a couple that I felt stretched my definition of a quilt. I'm pleased to say that the only patchwork clothing I spotted were these shirts in the children's display area.

The quilt that I found most relevant and inspiring on a personal level was one of Cathedral Windows in which different coloured "frames" had been used and not every “window” had been filled.  After learning this technique at Fat Quarterly Retreat, I was intrigued to see this interpretation of the pattern and it is something I will consider when I try making my own Cathedral Windows quilt.

After lunch, it was time for a wander around the stalls. There was nothing I desperately needed, but I had managed to come up with what looked suspiciously like a shopping list whilst on the train. I didn’t deviate too much from the list, though I changed my mind about the weight of Aurifil thread and couldn’t resist some FQs when only £1 or £1.50 each (from Doughty’s and Fabrics Galore, respectively), nor some scrap bags from the Project Linus stand. Then, before I knew it, it was time to head back to the station and to get the train home.  

Four hours is not really enough time for the show – looking at other blog posts there seem to be so many quilts that I missed seeing.  With a last minute trip like this, many of the official workshops were fully booked and so perhaps next year I would like to go for a couple of days and book some of the workshops in advance.  I’ll end this post with photos of the quilts that caught my eye for various reason, and I apologise for fuzzy photos and not getting any of the quilt makers’ details.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Review - Sewing World Magazine

Sewing World has recently been revamped and I was sent a copy of July's issue to review. I used to subscribe to the magazine, but my subscription lapsed over a year ago and so this was the first time I had seen one of the new look issues. My first impression from the cover was of a much brighter and more modern magazine.

I received the printed version of the magazine for this review, but the magazine also thinks of those who prefer digital issues and the pattern sheet is available to download from the magazine website. Each side of the pattern sheet is available as a separate file, with each file having about 10 pages to print and stick together. However, I couldn't spot a size reference square in the PDF, making it difficult to check if your pages have printed at the correct scale. A single digital issue is approximately £1 cheaper than a single printed issue.

Looking at the contents page, I was pleased to see articles relating to dressmaking still featured strongly in both the technique and projects sections as other magazines have dropped these in favour of "home" projects. This issue had 10 projects to make - two items of clothing (plus one from the techniques section), a doll, a bag, a sunglasses case, a machine cover, a quilt, cushions, coasters and a machine embroidery project.

The project instructions are presented in a variety of styles with some authors using photos to illustrate their instructions and others using line drawings. Some of the projects assume prior knowledge, for example, the quilt project just said "baste and quilt" and "bind as desired", but with information being readily available on the internet, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. I liked the mix of projects - some were quick and easy projects that could be made from your stash and others would take a little more time and planning.

The magazine also features many giveaways each month - in this issue there were nearly 40 prizes to be won, as well as a subscriber only competition. Again, the magazine has thought of its digital readers and the competitions can be entered via email. Unlike some women's glossy magazines, the number of advertisements are not over whelming and you don't end up flicking thorough pages and pages of adverts looking for something to read.

In conclusion, I was impressed by the mix of projects and articles which seemed to cater for various abilities and interests. I do hope that the magazine will continue to feature dress making as I think the UK magazine market is lacking in this area. After seeing the new look magazine, I would certainly consider buying future issues, though probably as the digital not the printed version.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of July's Sewing World for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.