Rubbish? Another Quilt

Sweetie quiltAnother crazy quilt.

Raw materialsThese were the main raw materials. Anyone else think plastic shiney sweet wrappers are a terrible waste but very seductive?  I collected them over Christmas and sewed them to a piece of donated fabric – not fabric I could have used for anything visible.

Close upClose up of quilting & binding.  The binding was made from strips from a pair of lace tights I tore when I put them on on New Year’s Eve. I found it quite tricky to attach the strips because of the stretchiness but at least it went around corners easily.

Sweetie paper quilt

Happy New Year to all of you! xxx

Crazy but not Victorian

Crazy quilt21st century crazy quilt – machine made

As you probably know by now, I’m very interested in historic quilting. I’ve often looked at Victorian crazy quilts and wondered whether to try a version. All the embroidery on the nineteenth century versions is a bit too ornate for my taste but I figured I could still use the principles to make a quilt.

Inside my head I saw autumn leaves in a maze. I didn’t put anything down on paper for once, just started to see where it went.

I made it from cotton scraps rather than the traditional silk and I did everything by machine. The “embroidery” is zigzag stitch using variegated silk thread.

It’s a stash bust too – I used only fabrics and threads I already had.There’s something very satisfying in making something out of nothing. You might want to take a look at  Vix’s inspiring take on this topic.

Do you like making something with just what you have already?  It would be lovely to see what you’ve made.

I have just seen Loulou’s gift decorations from coffee filters. I think you might like them.

An exciting week!

I’m going to give a historic quilting workshop at the Weald & Downland Museum in May. Victorian & medieval to try & lots of other sorts to examine.  I’m in the brochure & I’m so excited….

The latest quiltThe latest Victorian style Weald & Downland Museum quilt.

Tumbling blocksMy own Tumbling Blocks – grown much bigger since this was taken.

And a new skirt…

New skirtNew skirt (and Gus!)

The fabric is very felt like and I bought it from the Turkish Market in Berlin.  I used the same pattern as the patchwork skirt I made in the summer. I love the way it’s cut on the bias.

Patchwork SkirtIt was hard to find interesting  fabric in Berlin – I should have asked people for tips before I went.

New skirtIt’s also a bit of a stash bust – the lining came from a bag of fabric given to me by a friend ages ago.

New skirtHeading off to the supermarket

New skirtPurple coat and pink skirt are me-made, boots from green shoes, denim jacket from charity shop and blouse from car boot sale.

The blouse is lovely but it crumples like a rag after a really short time. I’m thinking of using a bit of spray starch. Or does anyone have a better idea, please?

Happy Weekend! xxx

Berlin Days

Anyone remember Cabaret?  It was one of my favourite films.

I went to Berlin for the first time in the 1980s – before the wall came down and it seemed a sad place but I’ve always wanted to go back. So that’s where we went, taking the Eurostar to Brussels, changing in Cologne and reaching Berlin about 12 hours later. Train travel is my absolute favourite: it really feels like travel.

Askanischer HofThis was the hotel – the Askanischer Hof in Charlottenburg. Gogeous art deco place dating from the 1920s.

Our bedroomOur bedroom. Does it remind you of Cabaret? Well, nearly. A girl can dream can’t she?

StaircaseChristopher IsherwoodIn search of Cabaret, Christopher Isherwood, cycling around Potsdam, hanging out in Prenslauerberg, the Turkish Market, museums, history…. so much to do and only a week to do it in. I’d love to go back.

Spy Exchange Bridge This is where spies used to be exchanged during the Cold War.

BerlinIt was colder there than here. I wore my coat every day – and needed it!

Everything me-made except boots from Green Shoes, tights – retail, denim jacket – charity shop.

Good news at home too.  My other half has a new job and I’ve just started a temp job at M & S.

Happy weekend xxx

Old Jeans Reused – How to Make the Bag (Part 2)

Finished!The finished bag!

You can see another version here.

This is how to put the bag together.  It has one or two interesting steps that I hope you’ll find useful.

For how to make the fabric look here.

You will need lining fabric, threads and a sewing machine.

The liningI used a scrap of heavyweight dress fabric (lovely gift!).  There was enough to cut 2 pieces of lining and a handle.

Cutting the Lining1. Cut the lining pieces the same size as the bag fabric except allow about an inch extra on the length so that you can make the top border (see finished bag photo).

2. Note: I have added only one handle.  If you plan to carry anything heavy you might want to have two handles.  These instructions don’t include that.

Cut the handle about 43 inches long by 3.5 inches wide. That length allows for attaching to the bag by just over an inch.

The length works well for me but if you’re much taller or shorter than 5ft 5ins you’ll want to check whether you need to adjust it.

Lining3. Sew the lining together leaving the top open.  Zigag the seams all around to secure.

Corner

4. Making a false gusset (optional but looks nice!).

At the corner, place the side seam on top of the bottom seam.

Marking5. Making sure the seams are together, mark a line across the corner, about 1.5 – 2 inches in from the point.

Sew across the line6. Sew along the line.

Cut!7. Cut the corner off, about 0.25 inches from the seam.  Zigzag to secure the seam.

8. Repeat for the other corner.

Handle9. Turn in about 0.25 inches seam allowance along the length of the handle & sew in place.

Handle10. Fold the handle in half lengthwise & sew – I used zigzag because it’s more secure.

reinforcing the handle11. Iron the handle well. Sew along the other edge. Zigzag along the length of centre of the handle.

More zigzags12. Add more rows of zigzags.  This strengthens the handle.  I don’t usually add interfacing to handles so use stitching both to decorate and reinforce.

13. Make up the jeans fabric into a bag following steps 3 – 8 above.

14. Zigzag along the top of the bag and the lining to stop fraying.

15. Insert the lining bag into the jeans bag, wrong sides together.  The top of the lining should be showing by about an inch above the top of the jeans bag.

17116. Fold over the top of the lining twice, enclosing the top of the jeans bag.  Sew in place – I zigzagged for security.

BagAttach handleFinish the ends of the handle with a zigzag stitch and attach securely to the bag on the inside at the sides. Overlap the handle and the bag by at least an inch. I avoided sewing over the side seams because of the bulk of the fabric I would have to have sewn over.

Sew the handle in place around all of the overlap and diagonally across the middle for extra strength.

And that’s it!

finished bagFinished!

xxx

At the beach and in the woods

Gus at FerringGus at the seaside

  Gorgeous autumn day today so we took a picnic to the beach.  Of course, Gus spent an hour or so retrieving his ball from the sea.

Gus And walking with Gus in the woods on Friday I came across this:

Hen of the Woods?I think it’s called Hen of the Woods but I’m not confident enough to pick it and eat it.

And this:

Magic mushroom?I love the look of these mushrooms. I am still searching for a complete ring.

Hope you had a lovely weekend. xxx

Old jeans Reused: How to make the bag (Part 1)

Lots of you wanted a how-to for the jeans bag, so this is it.  Part 1 is how to make the fabric.

Below is the finished bag. I bought nothing new to make it so it definitely counts as a stash bust.

Please leave a comment if you don’t understand any of the instructions and I’ll try to explain as soon as possible so that you can get started.

finished bag

Finished!Close up

To make it you will need:

The legs from a pair of jeans,

2 pieces of backing fabric eg. curtain lining – this acts as a support. It will be hidden by the bag lining.

2 pieces of coloured fabric (patterns are best but you can piece different fabrics to get a patterned effect),

fabric

a jeans or other heavy duty sewing machine needle, various threads for sewing the bag and lining and some bolder thread for the zigzags eg. quilting cotton.

2 pieces of firm fabric for the lining & an extra piece for the handle.

WARNING: DO NOT CUT YOUR FABRICS YET

The size of the fabric depends on the size of the legs of your jeans. I started with pieces approximately 16ins x 20ins. My handle was about 43 ins long and 3.5 ins wide.

Let’s start:

cutting the jeans1. Cut the legs off your jeans and cut away the side seams which are NOT topstitched.

fabric

Jeans fabric with side seams cut away. Note top stitched seam in the centre.

2. Cut the jeans fabric to bag size (see sizes above). Of course, your bag can be any size you like.

3. Cut your curtain lining and coloured fabric to the same size as the jeans fabric (see fabric requirements above).

FabricI used a piece of quilting cotton and some dressmaking leftovers from the 1990s which had to be pieced together to make the correct size.

4. Place a bag size piece of the curtain lining on the table, place the brightly coloured fabric face up on top of it, place jeans fabric on top (also face up).  You should have 3 layers.  Align the edges and tack together around the edges. This is called a sandwich!

SandwichShows all the layers of the sandwich.

The jeans fabric will not lay completely flat (because of the centre seam) but smooth it out as much as possible.

5. Using bold thread – I used leftover machine quiltiing cotton – make a line of zigzags near to the centre seam.  Try out the size of the zigzag first: mine was stitch width 4, length 2. Make another line of zigzags on the other side of the centre seam.

Zigzags6. Working from the centre outwards, make rows of zigzag stitches about half an inch apart. You don’t need to be especially accurate. You can see that my lines of zigzags wobble!

zigzagsRepeat until the sandwich is covered by rows of zigzags.

ZigzagsI needed to tidy up my sandwich afterwards as I had left the underneath showing to make this easier to follow.

7. Take out the tacking stitches.

8. Cut the jeans fabric between the rows of zigzags, making sure that you do not cut into the fabric underneath.

Cutting9. Cut back one side of the beween the rows gap almost to the stitching.  This shows more of the underneath fabric than if both edges were frayed.

Cutting between the rows10. Now the messy bit!  Fray the edge of the jeans fabric.

FrayingFrayingRepeat for the other sandwich.

Frayed!You’ve made the fabric!

I will show how I made the bag in the next post.

Happy Weekend! xxx