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

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

I should have had flowers in my hair

Flower power shirtMy new shirt and it’s a stash bust. Hooray! I’d bought some fabric, but I was having a coffee and the Scott Mackenzie song “San Francisco”  kept coming into my head. So I went back to buy it.  I’ve loved that song since I was a child.

I’m not usually a flowered dress person, certainly not little flowers like this fabric so it sat in a drawer for quite a long time.

Flower power!I should have had flowers in my hair

This shirt was the answer.  I used Simplicity 3684.  I made the same style a year or two ago from the good bits of an old duvet cover but sadly it’s worn out now. I think the Nehru collar gives it the look of a late 60s or maybe early 70s shirt and that’s a look I like.

The pattern has lots of frilly bits attached but I don’t suit frills so this is plain. The buttons were rescued from another blouse. They fitted the theme.

And I sang “San Francisco” whilst I made it.

DressRemember this?

After alteringIt’s now this – a few inches shorter. You can see my knees.

NecklaceThis is the necklace I’m wearing in the last photo. Can you believe that my other half found this in the garden?  It was in a bush.  I wonder what happenned?   It’s a bit more purple than this in reality so those of you who know me will appreciate that I was certain to like it, but I doubt it was left as a present for me.

Strange!

The Bra Makers Tale

Finished bra

The finished bra!

Lots of you will know that I joined the bra making sew along run by lovely Amy at Cloth Habit.  There were great hints and tips and I really enjoyed it. I made my bra from a few bits of silk taffeta left from this skirt.

Silk taffeta skirt and top

Bras don’t use up much fabric and it seemed an ideal chance to use up some very pretty stuff.  Fitting is a bit difficult because there is not much stretch, so I made a toile.

bra toile

I made alterations to the pattern and made another toile – hooray, it fitted.

Close up

All looks great doesn’t it?  Sadly, unlike the toile it doesn’t fit.  When I was sewing the cups I think I sewed two pieces the wrong way round so it’s now a funny shape.  How did I do it?  How did I not notice? Well, I did think it was much harder to put together than the toile but I kept going.  I should have checked….

Failure! Never mind, I enjoyed it and I will definitely try again.

Thank you so much Amy, I have been wanting to do this for ages and your sew along made me get started.  I really will keep trying.

Stashbusting Patchwork

Stashbusting Curtains

New curtains! Following Vix’s lovely curtains here.

I sew in a small bedroom and it needed sorting out.  After a change of paint colour I decided on new curtains too.

These are made from some of my huge patchwork fabric stash.  I’ve added nothing to the stash for at least eighteen months but it’s still shamingly huge so I’m on a mission to use most of it up in the next year or so.  This is the first big patchwork stashbusting project.

The fabrics aren’t all strictly patchwork type;  there are some dressmaking leftovers too.  I cut the fabrics into six and a half inch squares using patchwork rulers and sewed them together using a quarter inch seam allowance. There are tweny-six different fabrics and one hundred and sixty squares.  The lining is made from the good parts of an old sheet; the curtain tape was left over from previous projects.  Cost £0.

I’m not sure where I’ll find time to do more stashbusting but  I’m very happy with my first patchwork stashbust.  Thanks Vix!

Patchwork close up