Thursday, 23 April 2015

April at Plush Addict

A timely visit to Plush Addict today as there is a flash sale, 20% off all quilt cotton fabrics and plush ending at midnight tonight as part of Real Nappy Week.  No need for codes, the discount has already been applied.  Let's see what's new in store and what is catching my eye:

Riley Blake 'Roots and Wings' is a new arrival and has some bright lively floral prints.  The bundle also includes some co-ordinating Kona cotton solids. 

 I especially like the Garden coral fabric, available separate from the bundle, a lovely blush colour.

I've mentioned Sweetwater's new Feed Company range as part of the Fat Quarter Shop blogger bundle that I put together for April.  Plush Addict have a Feed Company bundle which includes a selection of the Sweetwater fabrics along with some solids.  

It includes my favourite print from this collection, Church Cookbook Recipes in multi (top of the bundle stack) and I've already bought some of this!

Wanderer is April Rhodes latest collection for Art Gallery and her best yet.  Stunning colours and a mix of geometrics, photographs and delicate nature themed prints, it really is a fantastic range.  Plus Art Gallery cottons are super quality, finer and smoother than standard quilting cottons and great for dressmaking too.

Linen Closet is a traditional low volume collection of delicate pale prints from Makower. I have a lot of these prints- I think it was Lynne who first put me on to them.  They are great background fabrics and work well with modern prints as well as traditional.  I am using some of these in my Bring Me Flowers quilt at the moment. 

Blossom stripe is the stand out print for me but they are all good!

Great for skirts, bags, dresses, cushions as well as quilting and what a print!  All other Echino prints are included in the flash sale- check out the others here.

With some products, the discount appears once the item is in your basket.  If any products look like their discount hasn't been applies,  Email Kellie if in doubt.  Do you follow Plush Addict on twitter?  Even if you are not a great fan of tweeting it is worth following their feed to catch the latest discounts and flash sales.

sib blog

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Grainline Floral Linden Sweatshirt

You've probably seen this sweatshirt somewhere before?  Linden sweatshirts have been all over the sewing blogs the last few months.  It's a Grainline pattern designed by Jen Beeman.  I've made her Alder dress,  actually I made two and it was one of my favourite patterns of last summer.

The sweatshirt is all cotton, fleece backed with only a little stretch.  I bought it from Guthrie and Ghani.  It's not listed as Liberty fleece but the pattern looks to me like it is.  A few other bloggers have used the same irresistible fabric/pattern combo including Lauren of G&G and Karyn of Make Something

So what is it about this pattern that makes it so popular?  There are cheaper similar patterns from the big pattern houses like Simplicity, why not choose one of these?   I swear Jen has a magic touch for designing modern classic casual clothes that suit many shapes sizes and ages.  I am not really a big sweatshirt wearer.  I find most sweatshirts are too boxy and just make me look saggy and shapeless and I had a sneaky feeling that the Simplicity one would do just that. This one felt just right.  I did make a test garment out of an old cotton jersey duvet cover, just to check sizing.  I find that indie patterns for knit jersey designs take into account jersey sewing techniques such as smaller seam allowance, using double needles for hems, adding a flat sleeve rather than insertion into an armscye etc. and the big pattern houses don't always do the same. All the pattern details are below:

  • Size 2 based on bust size 33" which is my bust size
  • Because of lack of stretch in this knit, I cut the cuffs on the bias (as recommended by Jen and also used by Karyn) in cut them slightly bigger at a size 4.  The alternative is to use ribbing.
  • The next binding is also cut on the bias butI cut a much larger size band to allow for reduced stretch, I cut between size 14/16
  • The hem band is cut on the straight, I used a slightly bigger size 4 to make up the lack of stretch
  • Seam allowances are narrow at ¼".  You could always add a little extra to make for a bigger seam allowance if that is more comfortable for you.
  • I used my overlocker/serger throughout.  I did baste the the neck binding with long machine straight stitch and top stitched this area too.
  • Paper Pattern from Village Haberdashery, or PDF version from Grainline
Picture from

It is a quick and rewarding make and a pattern that will last me well over the years.  The instructions are clear and the diagrams neat and informative as usual.   I have worn this version many times at home and in pilates and yoga classes.  I bought the paper pattern from Village Haberdashery and it is well worth the investment, I'll make it again for me and I'm guessing the daughter will want one too- I've got her coming along to pilates too.  I probably owe her for taking my photographs...

sib blog

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Yoshiko Jinzenji Patterns

A few months ago, Lindsay from Zakka Workshop got in touch asking if I would like to try some Yoshiko Jinzenji patterns they were launching.   They are projects from her book Quilting Line and Colour.  I haven't got the book and it is now out of print and rather expensive to get hold of so I chose The Modern Sampler Quilt and Lindsay generously included some other patterns too.  

The patterns are in booklet form, all pattern pieces or templates are included full size on a separate sheet.  I assume that as the book is now not available, patterns like this provide more efficient alternative to a fresh print run whilst making the author's work more accessible and providing royalties.  It's a great idea if you are limited for space- I have lots of books that I keep for the one project I might make.  Buying a booklet like this reminds me of buying a single download instead of an album.  Efficient, cost effective but you might miss out on the joy of the whole book.

In all three patterns, the instructions involve a lot of detailed diagrams- this suits my learning style; plus text and photographs.  Yoshiko Jinzenji's style is clean, minimal, organic and modern.  The patterns are described as 'Japanese Quilt Artist Series' and they definitely lean towards the textile art side of quilting.

I chose four of the  blocks in the modern sampler quilt.  For the blocks that included curves, I traced the block templates onto freezer paper, ironed them onto the reverse of the fabric, drew round them in pencil and added seam allowance all round.

I hand pieced the curved blocks and this method is shown in detail in the pattern.   They could be machined but I am enjoying hand piecing at the moment and I thought I would get better results. I used a selection of linens and cottons for my neutral background and vintage prints for my quiet bursts of colour.

You can see more of the construction on the reverse.

For the square and triangle blocks, I departed from the instructions, traced the blocks onto thin paper and foundation pieced the blocks.

 Each block has mitred border pieces which are a bit of a pain to trace- there are four as the angles have slight variations, but they sew together beautifully using Y seams.  These were sewn by machine.  See my tutorial for this technique here.

I am now at a large cushion cover size but I think I need to add more details to it.  The pattern includes appliqué irregular strips that are sewn on by hand using needle turn technique and I fancy adding some strips to the centre cross.  I love this pattern, it was a calming and pleasing make and I would like to return to and make the whole quilt.  It's a slow burner project that I keep returning to as other sewing comes and goes.

You can find the patterns at Zakka Workshop and in their Etsy shop.  The Modern Sampler Quilt is quite an advanced skill level.  The Graphic Squares Pillow and Throw pattern is a beginner project- covering a 16 patch cushion layout and fussy cutting in lots of photo graphics step-by step-detail and the Quilted Silhouette Pillows are a simple raw edge appliqué project.

What are your thoughts on this sort of pattern production- extracting projects from books and selling then as independent products?  I wonder if it is something we will see more of?

sib blog

Friday, 17 April 2015

Story Collection Blog Hop

Carrie Bloomston got in touch with me a few months back.  She was contacting bloggers that she had worked with before and and needed quilts, garments, accessories- anything we fancied, making for her new fabric collection, 'Story'.  In the spirit of the collection, we were to tell our story with the fabrics.

It is such joyful, painterly collection with colour and snippets running through every print.  I love the palette with its hot and cool mix.  With posting from UK to USA the deadline was tight; my story was going to be a novella rather than 'War and Peace.  I opted for a tried and trusted skirt pattern that I had made before, an adaptation of Ivanne Soufflet's Opale Maxi skirt from Grains de Couture Homme et Femmes.  All my usual modifications to this are here

My sewing story started with making clothes.  I made clothes for my toys as a child, clothes for myself in my teens and clothes for my daughter as well as myself now.   

I chose a woven effect print for the main fabric and used it with the selvedge at the hem of the skirt to create an organic border effect.  A light newsprint was used for the pocket yoke and a red print for the pocket binding and  shaped waistband- a total of three different fabrics.

All photos were taken by Jill McNamara Photography.  My skirt along with all the other makes, travels on to Quilt Market in Minneapolis! 

There is huge variety in all the amazing makes from children's toys to more clothing and gorgeous quilts and a background narrative to each of them, check out Carrie's intro post for more info and links.  You can see them all and find all patterns and maker details in the look book.
Want to win a big, fat quarter, beautiful bundle of 'Story' and a copy of Carrie's book, 'The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity?'  Head on over to Such Designs to be in with a chance.

sib blog

Thursday, 16 April 2015

April at Village Haberdashery

The weather in the UK has been Spring like with a strong hint of summer and I have already been able to get out some of last years summer dresses to wear whilst thinking ahead to what to make this year.   For my April visit to Village Haberdashery, I've put together some pattern fabric combos, plus a look at some of the other latest fabric arrivals! 
By Hand London have had to make some tough decisions and one of them is an end to paper patterns- they will instead be selling PDFs.

The  Victoria Blazer is an easy to wear casual style, great for Spring/summer and a great opportunity for those who have done a little garment sewing but haven't added a lining before.  This pattern pairs well with Cloud 9 Bark Time Warp bark cloth, Ripple in Navy.  This fabric has a bit of body to it so will make a jacket with a bit of substance. 

This pink and white narrow striped lining fabric would be perfect.  Light weight and silky so your jacket will slip on easily.

I made three Belcarra's last year (see here, here and here) and I already plan to make more for this summer. 

 It's a simple, slightly fitted shape that's easy to wear and with economical cutting and ready made bias binding, I squeezed a size 2 out of a metre of fabric.  Directional designs take more so check the pattern for quantities.  There is a detailed sew-along at Sewaholic with lots of detailed construction advice.  Double gauze works so well for this designs and I am spoilt for choice at Village Haberdashery.  

All the 'Let's Have a Party' voile prints would also make great Belcarras.  I think 'Shine Bright' is my favourite.

I cannot get enough of the Art Gallery knits.  These solids have just arrived: Sahara Sun, Deep Dark Ocean and turquoise.   I have a length of Hello Bear Adventure in Springs waiting to be transformed very soon into a Henley style top and the 95% cotton/spandex blend is great to wear.

The Modern Baby Set from Green Bee Patterns is a lovely layette style pattern set to make a selection of baby clothes in knits and wovens and only needs short lengths of fabrics.  It's be a great way to make a baby gift whilst gaining confidence sewing with knits.

Heather Moore of Skinny LaMinx has a vibrant Spring coloured collection called Yoyogi Park.  There's a mix of blender style mono prints and sketchy feature prints and it is the latter that catch my eye.  This is Tokyo Park in Turquoise.

You can build a bundle, buy a complete bundle, and match up the prints with Kona solids.

I seem to have chosen a lot of aqua/turquoise prints and solids in this post- no change there then! 
Enjoy x

sib blog

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Blogger Bundle Close Up

My blogger bundle arrived from Fat Quarter Shop a few days ago- what can I say, I love it!

With this bundle I was aiming to create a balance of light/mid/dark tones, plus some text and feature prints.  I think I did it.  One print is missing- this Sweetwater print was one of my choices but supplies ran out at the shop so I think I will buy some and add it in.

The Heather Bailey ginger buttercup print is such a great colour with its yarrow gold and the graphic flowers- perfect for fussy cut English Paper piecing as it can create kaleidoscopic effects.

This made me laugh, I wasn't expecting this particular style of presentation! (picture from the Fat Quarter Shop).

And this is where the bundle is going, into my ongoing Glitter quilt.  I am fussy cutting each centre with various novelty prints in my stash and mixing this bundle along with anything else that comes to hand.  All hand pieced and a real pleasure to sew.  The variety of fabrics keeps my eyes happy when sewing the same block over and over. 

sib blog