Piping – you can do it!

I don’t know about you, but when I see a pattern that says “piping optional” I always think, “good, I’ll just leave it out”. Because what could be more of a hassle than making your own piping, right? But actually, making piping is really simple and well worth the time spent to add that perfect finishing touch. Piping is made of two components: piping cord and bias-cut strips of your accent fabric. The Super Tote calls for piping that is 1/2” finished, so I used 1/4” cord and 1 1/4” bias strips of linen to match the bag gusset. The extra 1/4” width of fabric is needed so that the piping finishes at 1/2” once it is wrapped around the cord. The first thing you need to do is identify the [Read more...]

Prettify your sewing machine! A sewing machine cover tutorial.

  My sewing machine came with a very uninspiring vinyl cover, which is practical but utterly depressing. This tutorial can be used to make a cover that either fits directly over your sewing machine or over the vinyl cover, whichever you prefer. You will need:   About 3/4 yard of outer fabric (I used yarn dyed Essex Linen in Flax) About 3/4 yard of lining fabric (I used Postage Due from Dowry) Batting or fusible fleece Two 6” (finished) patchwork blocks (I made a couple of churn dash blocks in Dowry/True Colors) 6” x w.o.f. for binding. To make the cover:   1. Measure your machine. You need to take three measurements: the circumference of the machine base; the height [Read more...]

Still alive

Well, that was weird. I'm not sure what happened there but I apparently dropped off the face of the bloggy world for a (long) while. It's not as if I haven't got stuff to show you, I've just been feeling quiet, I guess. That, and Instagram is so quick and easy. In the last few months I have made a lot of clothes, several bee blocks (although not as many as I should have - ahem), started knitting again and finished my Courthouse Steps quilt just in time for Lucy's 12th birthday. I've been ill (missing out on teaching at the Fat Quarterly Retreat - bloody timing), been working at realjob, teaching (loving the sampler quilt class at The Village Haberdashery), fretting about my suddenly ill, [Read more...]

I’ve hit on the magic formula for getting stuff done

There are several requirements:1. A cottage in the middle of nowhere.2. Like-minded sewing friends.3. No internet connection.4. Pretty much no telephone connection.5. No kids/dogs/husbands.6. A ridiculous amount of giggling.This magic combination enabled me to finally finish the Denyse Schmidt scappytripalong (initial shame quotient 5/10). That, and a skill swap where Kelly quilted the bugger for me and I helped to piece her triangle quilt. It's been through the wash now and I have to say that it is growing on me a little. The husband really likes it, so that's nice. In fact, he just this minute said "I love this quilt - it's kind of old school". So there you go - I speak only the [Read more...]

Split personality sewing

The enjoyment I get from making clothes is entirely different from quilting. It's really odd, but I am much more process driven when dressmaking. I think it might be because I sew clothes universally from patterns, and I quilt mostly improvisationally (or from my own designs).Sleepover pyjamas - Oliver & SI want quilts to be finished already so that I can see whether they look like they did in my head. Dressmaking, on the other hand, is for savouring.Pocket detail, Ice Cream Dress - Oliver & SObsessively tidy edge stitching, hyper neat seam finishing, french seams when I can - that's what I love. But give me a quilt where the points have to match and I will be swearing and sighing [Read more...]

Done and done

There is a cushion-hogging teenager in this house, with a firm preference for the nice big, fluffy, super comfy cushions that are MINE, dammit. I bought some 22 inch feather-filled cushion pads a while back (I won't admit how long, but I think you might empathise) to make a couple of cushions reserved entirely for adult use, and then totally failed to do anything about making covers for them.I wanted something scrappy in the hope that it would hide the paw prints/dog hair/general grime that accumulate at a frightening rate for some unknown reason (*cough* bloody dog *cough*), and I really love the x and + blocks that took over quilt-land this time last year. Because I like my cushions to be [Read more...]

That was the year that was

And it was a good one, in the main. Everyone was healthy (apart from the bloody dog, but thank goodness for pet insurance), I have a job, the kids are happy, and there is more love in this house than I ever thought possible.I started the year belonging to three bees, and ended with only one. Note to self: three is definitely too many.The biggest highlight of the year had to be attending QuiltCon (and winning a ribbon). Teaching sewing to kids comes a close second. And then there are my two very-old-but-new-to-me sewing machines. And meeting Lizzy House. Ok, so there were a lot of highlights.I made some quilts and started some others. Juicy won the two colour category in the Blogger's Quilt [Read more...]