Monday, 25 July 2016

Vintage Pledge: Henley Jane Top

You'll find me over at another Kerry's blog today, Kestrel Makes  as part of #VintagePledge July extravaganza with daily guest postings from lots of garment sewing bloggers at A Stitching Odyssey and Kestrel Makes.    My #VintagePledge this year has been all about tops so that is what I've sewn, a vintage top with a contemporary feel.

Read more about it over  along with a few tips on sewing knits at the other Kerry's blog.


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Farmer's Wife Quilt Along, Blocks 87 and 88: Prudence and Rosemary

Another Monday and two new blocks in the Farmer's Wife quilt-along.  These are both quite time consuming blocks.  Number 87, Prudence(p.246, letter p.58) took me forever and I'm not sure the yellow on the larger triangle sections  works that well but I have no plans to repeat it!  Charise is guest blogging on this block and you can read all about Y seams and her approach to Prudence here.


Fabric Credits
Kona Buttercup
Kona Carnation
Ayumi Takahasi for Kokka, Lighthearted, Kitchen floral

Block 88, Rosemary (p.247, letter 104) takes a while to construct but it is well thought through with lots of nesting seam intersections when the sections are put together.


Fabric Credits
Kona Corn
Kona Melon
Heather Ross for Wyndham, Tiger Lily, brown butterflies
Darlene Zimmerman Mother's Melodies Chocolate spot

{For both blocks, I link to sponsor shops for fabric bought from them and elsewhere for other fabrics}


Rotary Cutting 
These are for foundation piecing so are cut larger than needed 
  • Yellow centre square: cut (1) 1¾" square
  • Yellow small squares: cut (4) 1 ⅜" square 
  • Yellow quarter square triangles: cut (1) 3" square; sub-cut each square into quarters along the diagonals to yield 4 QSTs
  • Brown butterflies A  1, B1, C1, D1: Cut (4) 1 ⅞" x 3 ¼" rectangles
  • Brown butterflies half square triangles: cut (4) 3 ¼" squares; sub-cut  each square in half along the diagonal to yield 8 HSTs
  • Melon half square triangles: cut (4) 3 ¼" squares; sub-cut  each square in half along the diagonal to yield 8 HSTs
  • Melon small rectangles: cut (8) 1 ¼" rectangles
  • Brown grid small rectangles: cut (8) 1 ¼" rectangles
  • Brown grid quarter square triangles: cut (2) 3" square; sub-cut each square into quarters along the diagonals to yield 8 QSTs
Top Tips for Foundation Piecing this Block
  • Pre cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick e.g. Sewline, to stick the first piece of fabric on each section
  • Chain piece where possible;  there are lots of repeated sections
  • For F1, G1, H1 and E1, add a larger than needed triangle lining up the pint of the triangle with the centre seam between the first two sections. When you trim the new section to size use the paper on the rest of the sections as a guide line for your quilt ruler.  The 45 degree line should line up on the seam between the first two sections

I love how this block turned out,  I used some of my favourite fabrics and colours and I like the bird/plane shapes!

I've added two more nine-patch blocks  my collection, (you can see the original idea for this quilt in that link) 19 in total so far.


  • You can share your farmer's wife quilt blocks with the hashtags #fw1930sqal and for these blocks either #Prudenceblock or #Rosemaryblock as well as #fw87Prudence, #fw88Rosemary
  • If you want me to take a look at your blocks, tag me on Instagram, I'm @verykerryberry or comment here and paste in a link to your blog
  • There's a Flickr group you can add to here.  All my Farmer's Wife 1930s blocks can be seen in this album and my 9-patch blocks in this album. 
Jo Avery is back as a guest blogger next Monday.  See you next week x 
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Friday, 22 July 2016

Maritime Knit Top Three Ways + Fumeterre Maxi Skirt

In my wardrobe making this year, I've been trying harder to make more everyday basics like knit tops and colour co-ordinate my clothes so they match up with shoes, bags and the rest of my wardrobe.  It feels like I've finally grown up, it's only taken 45 years. I bought a classic cotton stripe jersey from Fabworks Mills shop and bought the Liesl+ Co Maritime top from - currently on offer with all her other Oliver+S and Straight Stitch Society patterns at 50% off through Saturday 23rd July - bargain!  I've had these made a while but the offer seemed like a good time to share them.


Liesl's instructions are always impeccable and this is no exception.    For those with a bust cup size larger than a B cup Liesl includes details on adding a dart for a full bust alteration and the process is very simple and well explained.   Even the printing is efficient for a digital pattern, not many pages and easy to put together.  I made a size 2 based on my measurements and the only alteration was to taper in very slightly at the waist- the pattern seam line is straight.    I made view A for my first and then extended the sleeves for a cold day, full length sleeve version using my Craftsy Meg McElwee long sleeved T as a reference.  


The skirt is a Deer and Doe Fumeterre.  I've made three of these- all the details can be found here; this is the first time of done version A.    I used a Kobayashi Double gauze in an indigo navy.  I used snaps instead of buttons and I have a tutorial for how I attach these using Prym pliers.


The Maritime top can be made with a sewing machine or with a sewing machine and an overlocker- the sewing machine is needed to create the side vents. My best version of this top was made using some very good quality heavier knit from Eternal Maker.  


It's Kiyohara stripe jersey and you can see it's thickness in my stripe matching photo.  These are quick tops to sew up apart from the stripe matching- that takes time both cutting and sewing.   This fabric washes up brilliantly, the Fabworks one not so well.  I have another Kiyohara stripe ready to cut for another, I think this gold colour is sold out but there is red, grey and various blue shades.


Definitely a wardrobe stalwart.  If you can't face a digital bargain, there's a paper pattern Maritime top at Eternal Maker.


A flash of fancy Liberty facing to finish.  The button opening allows for a little facing decadence!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

July at Plush Addict

It's just coming up to school summer holiday season in the UK, we finally have hot weather, although so hot no one quite knows what to do with themselves and I am emjoying lots and lots of bright colours at the moment so it's time to visit sponsor Plush Addict and I'm making nine extra colourful  choices this month. Many of these choices are related to UK fabric companies and have the magic touch of British quilters such as Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily's Quilts and Kelly Liddle of Jeli Quilts 


Row by row, l to r:

1. Makower, Windy Day bundle.  Another cute and bright range from UK company Makower.  Lynne Goldsworthy has designed a quilt kit for these too available separately here and here
2. Dashwood Studio Twist Arrow Quilt designed by Lynne Goldsworthy.
3. Michael Miller Vintage Kitchen FQ Bundle. Not surprisingly, I think this is my favrouite of today's selection- great  retro colours, kitchen themes and some animals sprinkled in too, win win!
4. Riley Blake glasses multi.  Great print for pouches, bags and of course quilts!
5.  Postcards from Sweden Quilt Kit (pre order).  All kits are here
6. Sew & Sew from Choe's Closet Moda.  A pastel rainbow  of floral and sewing themed fabrics available in Jelly roll, layer cake and charm pack as well as selected prints. and a fat quarter bundle. 
7.  Dashwood Millefleur- Floral Stems on Bright Blue.  Millefleurs is a stunning collection from UK company Dashwood and this is my favourite print (see the bundle here)
8. Makower Wrap it Up Quilt Kit . Get your Christmas quilt sorted early with this kit designed by Lynne Goldsworthy.
9. Riley Blake Unicorns & Rainbows.  A crazy print which always proves very popular.

One of the effects of Brexit for UK quilt/fabric shops could well be for them to look at UK suppliers, with the changes in £/$ rates it makes much better business sense and with companies such as Dashwood and Makower creating such fantastic ranges and working with British quilters like Lynne and Kelly, this could well be a positive spin off.
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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Kielo Wrap Dress in Daisy Cotton Rayon Jersey

This post first appeared at the Girl Charlee  blog and as I've now made two more of these dresses I thought I'd post it here before following up with some more info about the pattern, plus a rather lovely giveaway is coming up shortly too.  Meanwhile, this is a Named Clothing Kielo wrap dress in some gorgeous ditsy floral cotton/rayon jersey from Girl Charlee.  since Girl Charlee UK was launched last June, I've collaborated regularly with Mark and the team.  They are a lovely company to partner up with- no pressure, lots of freedom and great service.  Mark got in touch recently to ask if I'd like to sew anything up fromtheir newer arrivals.  I like having a big range of different knit fabrics to choose from and I'm a sucker for ditsy florals whether in quilts or clothing so this mint/pink daisy on navy fabric was definitely calling my name so I said yes, I had a week off work and a pattern idea...


At Maddie's bra making workshop a few week's back I met the lovely Shiona and she was wearing a Kielo wrap dress by Named Clothing  in a Ponte grey/black wide stripe.  I recognised the design straightaway but it was the first time I'd seen it in person.  It looked so elegant and easy to wear, I was smitten.  It shows what a difference it can make to see something in real life.  I always like seeing Named Clothing's new season look-books and admire the freshness and modern look of their designs but from the original pattern picture, it was not a dress I imagined on myself.  It looked narrow and restrictive  in the skirt - not what I like in a dress.  And then when I saw Shiona's I realised that is was quite the opposite, fitted at the top, flowing elsewhere and a dress that I could happily sit sewing in, walking Lottie or wear going out in the evening for drinks (a rarity but you never know!).  Girl Charlee are currently expanding their pattern range and this will include stocking PDFs of Named Clothing designs.


Stats:
  • Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress.  Sewn in size EU 36/US size 4/UK size 8 size.  Length reduced by 6¼" measured upwards from the original hem to maintain the curved hem shape.  Mark for the top of the split moved upwards accordingly.
  • Fabric used: Pink mint daisy on navy blue cotton/rayon jersey blend, 142cm wide 2.5m.  Width is just under the required 150cm but pattern pieces fitted with a little room to spare. 
  • Because the pattern pieces are placed to fit together in opposite directions to make the most economic use of fabric length, this dress is  best sewn with non-directional prints, prints that work vertically in both directions or solid fabrics. This print is mildly directional but is so busy that you cannot tell the back is running the opposite way to the front.  Stripes would look good but require a lot of accurate pinning.  Drape and lightness works well with this style as it reduces bulk round the waist and hips.
  • Pattern: Needs to be traced.  Pattern is nested, two sizes at a time and for the front and back you  trace the top of the dress, make a matching mark, then switch the tracing 180 degrees to match up and trace the skirt section.  There are only three pieces so the tracing didn't take long and there are only 12 pages to print and join together so although it's not for everyone, I like this method a lot! (I hate printers and printing!)
  • It is a bit of a challenge to trace between sizes because of the way the PDF patterns is arranged on the page.  However on this style,  it's the bust measurement that is most critical as the waist hip area is very wide to allow for the wrap.  The lower skirt could be tapered out easily for extra width at the hem.  
  • As the fabric is quite slippy for marking dart lines with chalk, I used tailor tacks and soft pencil for the front and back darts.  I have a tailor's tack video here.
Handling and Sewing the Fabric
Prewash - Always prewash clothing fabric following any manufacturers instructions if you can find them!  Some knits benefit from a light press but this one was fine.  The fabric is very drapey so it will slide off surfaces easily.  I cut it on the floor, laid out on a Durabac board equivalent to this.  Take time to get the fabric flat and even and the selvedges together- this step can take a long time with knits.  This fabric does roll at the edges.
Sewing - Sewn on a mix of Bernina record 830 sewing machine with walking foot and size 75 stretch needle and using a small zig zag (length 1, width 1) for open seams/split and a Brother 1034d serger for closed seams and edging.  It could be sewn entirely on a sewing machine and edges do not need finishing as they won't unravel, it just looks neater. 


Instructions - The pattern instructions are quite brief as is the Named style.  There is a lot of detail in the first few pages covering methods which apply to most garment sewing, assembling PDFs etc.  There are only a few pieces to fit together so not a huge amount of instruction is needed.   There are a few diagrams which are most relevant to sewing up with a woven fabric.  There are no particular instructions for knit fabrics.  I sewed the neck and arm band edges using an excellent tutorial on Colette pattern's website.  using a zig zag stitch to catch the binding. A double needle hem would've been a struggle to sew with the layers.   I raised the armhole by approx. ¾" as the weight of the wrap was showing a lot of side bra!  I was careful at all times to support the fabric as I was sewing.  The drapey fabric has a bit of weight to it so use your knee, table or ironing board to help hold up different sections as you sew.
Stages in making the back split:

  • Applying stretch interfacing- ½" wide strips along length of split plus ½" above
  • Serging the split edges starting 2" above the split notch/mark on each side
  • Serving the centre back hem to the point where the separate serged edges begin
  • Stitching the spilt down using straight stitch- following pattern instructions, then turning hem
  • Adding hem using double needle, ¾"interfacing and sewing the hem approx. ⅝" from folded edge.



Extra techniques
Interfacing for knit fabrics (Perfect fuse sheer) used on split and hem.  For the hem, I cut the strip so the stretch is horizontal to create extra 'give' in the hem.
Interfacing tape (Vilene) used on back shoulders.  This has a line of stitching built into the interfacing to stop the shoulders stretching.
This seam can then be pressed to the back to prevent irritation.  You could also use woven tape or clear elastic.   
Binding tutorial: Colette's excellent 'How to Bind Knit Edges": 4 Complete Methods for neck and arm holes.  I used the 'clean finish' method and cut the bands cut according to their calculations and sewn using a ⅜" seam allowances (as is the rest of the dress).

How you hem jersey garments depends on three things:
  1. The fabric- how thick, how stretchy?  
  2. The hem function- does it need to be strong enough to stretch?  Straight stitches will pop one when stretched. 
  3. Appearance: how do you want it to look?  Zig zag?  Copying ready to wear garments with two lines of stitching, created by using a double needle for stretch fabrics?  I use Hemline (Klasse) size 75, 4.0mm (gap between the needles) twin stretch and a wooly nylon thread hand wound on to the bobbin to help with elasticity and stretch.  For more details on this technique, see here. 
I sewed up five different hem samples to show you the difference when adding stretch interfacing, using wooly nylon, how close to the raw edge the hem is stitched, cutting away excess, using a double needle, using a zig zag.  All samples were sewn using a walking foot and Gütermann thread on the thread spool and all were pressed- click to see extra large! 

Hem details
1. Double needle
Interfaced
Tension increased.  On my machine it is a +/- wheel (see below)  Most machines have 4.5 as their average tension setting, the increase would be to around 6 or 7 maybe higher.   On my Janome Horizon, my tension is set at 9 for a double needle knit hem.  The aim is to have the wooly thread forming a well-defined zig zag stitch on the back, not pulled too tight and two lines of straight stitching on the front
Stitch length 3.5
Wooly nylon in bobbin (hand wound)
Sewn at edge of 0.75" (three quarter inch) hem turn up
Note the tunnelling- the bumpy ridge between stitching line, even after pressing.



Tension- arrow shows wear the vertical line is usually positioned

2. Double needle
Interfaced
Tension increased
Stitch length 3.5
Wooly nylon in bobbin (hand wound)
Sewn edge at approx. 0.5" (half inch) of 0.75" hem turn up
Excess hem then trimmed off
No tunnelling!  This method used on the dress,

3. Zig zag stitch
Stitch width 3, length 1.5
Interfaced
Extra thread on surface for tension whilst sewing- the zigzags sew over the top of this whilst you are holding it tautly,  pulls out for easy removal afterwards (this idea came from my  1974 Bernina 830 record handbook)
Normal tension setting
Sewn edge at 0.5" (half inch) of 0.75" hem turn up
Excess hem then trimmed off

Sewing zig zag using a surface thread for tension, removed afterwards

4. Zig zag stitch
Stitch width 3, length 1.5
No interfacing, no extra thread tension as in example 3
Normal tension setting
Sewn edge at 0.5" (half inch) of 0.75" hem turn up
Excess hem then trimmed off

5. 4. Zig zag stitch
Stitch width 3, length 1.5
Interfaced
No extra thread tension as in example 3
Normal tension setting
Sewn edge at 0.5" (half inch) of 0.75" hem turn up
Excess hem then trimmed off

It's a great summer dress, flowing because of the width of fabric at the wrap area but elegant and column shaped from the tapering side seams.  I raised the split to compensate for shortening the hem and it is easy to walk in- I am a strider!  The dress can be bundled in a ball and thrown into a case- perfect for holidays so I know it will be going to the beach with me in a few weekend's time.  I've worn it for dog walking, hitching up my skirt to scoot up a hill with no problems and in hot weather it is light and airy and benefits from the cool-to-feel touch of rayon in the blend.  It's a dress to store in a drawer or on a shelf rather than hang as the weight of the fabric could stretch it out of shape.


I would definitely sew another knit version- potentially suitable fabrics from Girl Charlee would be:
Mint coral daisy on grey- watch out for the placement of the larger flower over the chest!
sherbet stripes (lots of stripe pinning) 
Sunrise Stripe (lots of stripe pinning)
These all chosen because they are lighter in weight, have a cotton component, and some have rayon in the blend. I've avoided lycra as I didn't feel this dress needed it but maybe it would work?  A lighter Ponte might be good too.  It's a versatile pattern as I've seen woven versions as well as knit and for stretch fabrics, different amounts of stretch seem to work as well as the lower stretch fabrics.  It's a flattering and forgiving fit- the ties can also work wrapping to the back or just loosely fastened for a tent-like fit on sultry days. 

Thankyou to Mark for sending me the fabric and Laura from Named Clothing for supplying the pattern PDF.    Fabric and pattern provided for free, all opinions are my own. 
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Monday, 18 July 2016

Farmer's Wife Quilt-Along, blocks 85 and 86, Primrose and Priscilla

Welcome back to another Monday in the Farmer's Wife quilt-along.   I've just had a very busy work week and I'm coming into family birthday season with my husband and my daughter so time for blocks has been a little limited.  I made block 85, Primrose (p.244, letter p.26) as a half-block for the quilt layout (Queen or Twin) that I'm following from the book.  Jo Greene of Life in Lists is back with a guest post on this block so see a full size version of Priscilla here.


Fabric Credits
Kona Bahama Blue
Unknown repro feedback print

I made the next block, 86, Priscilla (p.245, letter 44) last year when I first reviewed The Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book .  I simplified the block slightly taking out the extra half square triangles in the centre square - although you could leave these in and make more of a feature with them using different colours.  There are Y-seams in this block but as the sections are larger they are more manageable than many of the other Y-seam blocks.  I have a this detailed Y-seam tutorial here.  The  majority of pieces are best cut out using the freezer paper template method.




Fabric Credits
Ayumi Takahashi for Kokka, Lighthearted Circles
Unknown 1930s repro purple floral

{For both blocks, I link to sponsor shops for fabric bought from them and elsewhere for other fabrics}

The yellow lines show where I removed lines so instead of A1, A2, As there was just A1 and A2, (same for B).  the rest of the block is sewn together as described on the CD and I've marked the Y seam points with stars.  This is actually a great block to gain confidence with Y seams.  Sew the A1 to C2 seam together first before sewing the long seams either side and then repeat when joining section D.

Rotary Cutting 
These are for foundation piecing so are cut larger than needed with any exceptions noted below.
  • A1, B1: cut (1) 2 ¼" square; sub-cut square in half along the diagonal to yield 2HSTs
For all other shapes, I used the freezer paper template method

Top Tips for Foundation Piecing this Block
  • Pre cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick e.g. Sewline, to stick the first piece of fabric on each section
  • Chain piece where possible
  • Follow the Y seam method here, including marking where the Y seam intersections are
Here are a further two nine-patch blocks to add to my seventeen so far.  I've got a layout in mind now inspired by a 1930s quilt, I'll share soon.



  • You can share your farmer's wife quilt blocks with the hashtags #fw1930sqal and for these blocks either #Primroseblock or #Priscillablock as well as #fw85Primrose, #fw86Priscilla
  • If you want me to take a look at your blocks, tag me on Instagram, I'm @verykerryberry or comment here and paste in a link to your blog
  • There's a Flickr group you can add to here.  All my Farmer's Wife 1930s blocks can be seen in this album and my 9-patch blocks in this album. 
Charise is back as guest blogger next week and I know she has a Y-seams tutorial planned as block 87 is a tricky one!  
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Monday, 11 July 2016

The Farmer's Wife QAL blocks 83 and 84, Poppy and Posy

Welcome back to two more blocks in the Farmer's Wife quilt-along.  I keep feeling that the end is in sight and I've nearly finished and then a block like 83, Poppy (p.242, letter p.122) gives me a reality check, kicks my sewing butt and reminds me how long a single block can take to complete- about 4 hours in this case!  Sarah Edgar is guest blogging on this block, read about her experience here.


Fabric Credits
Gracie's School House Classics Dotty Blue Blossoms (Judie Rothermel for Marcus Brothers)
Moda solids Betty's Green
Pink bubble repro print
Unknown repro feedback print (for the fussy cut kettle)

Block 84, Posy (p.243, letter 115) is another block featuring Y seams which take hours to sew- I hope I'm selling it to you; both these blocks take time but they are rather impressive once finished.  The rest of the block is straightforwards if a little fiddly but the little triangle background pieces  are all inset and need a Y seam.   I've done a few Y seam posts now so I recommend you check this detailed tutorial out here.


Fabric Credits
Kona Corn
Robert Kaufmann Morningside Farm, Daisies Lake, Darlene Zimmerman
Unknown blue grid floral

{For both blocks, I link to sponsor shops for fabric bought from them and elsewhere for other fabrics}


Rotary Cutting 
These are for foundation piecing so are cut larger than needed with any exceptions noted below.
  • Small half-square triangles: cut 4 (1 ¾") squares; sub-cut each square in half along the diagonal to yield 8 HSTs
  • Centre square: Cut (1) 1 ⅜" square
  • I1, I3,R1, S1: cut (4) 1 ⅜" x 3 ½"rectangles
For all other shapes, I used the freezer paper template method

Top Tips for Foundation Piecing this Block
  • Pre cut all pieces
  • Use a water based glue stick e.g. Sewline, to stick the first piece of fabric on each section
  • Chain piece where possible
  • Follow the Y seam method here, including marking where the Y seam intersections are

Here are some more nine-patch blocks to add to my collection, 15 in total so far.


  • You can share your farmer's wife quilt blocks with the hashtags #fw1930sqal and for these blocks either #Poppyblock or #Posyblock as well as #fw83Poppy, #fw84Posy
  • If you want me to take a look at your blocks, tag me on Instagram, I'm @verykerryberry or comment here and paste in a link to your blog
  • There's a Flickr group you can add to here.  All my Farmer's Wife 1930s blocks can be seen in this album and my 9-patch blocks in this album. 
Jo Green returns as a guest blogger next Monday!  I'm hoping she has a layout plan that we can see with her blocks.  See you next week x 
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