Saturday, June 30, 2012

"A Walk in the Woods" Quilt Cover for Ava

My super stylish friend Rita has a husband who owns a manchester (if you are not Australian read: bedding and bed linen) business.  So obviously, I don't make quilts or bedding for this woman!  Except now...she showed me a Linen House (I think) range which she had bought for her 1 year old daughter Ava, ready for when she is in a big girl bed.  The range is full of red riding hood, toadstools and the like, and I was immediately reminded of Aneela Hoey's range, "A Walk in the Woods".

I showed her the range and she asked if I would make her a cot quilt for her daughter now, so she didn't have to wait for the big girl bed (which let's face it is at least a year away if not more!). I was stoked to be asked for two reasons; firstly, she is a good friend and I love making things for the people who really matter, and secondly, because she has access to all sorts of amazing in the realm of bedding, and she still wanted me to make something!

High praise indeed :)

And here it is:

I am somewhere behind this quilt cover...

Her cot quilt is not a standard size, so this was made to measure in strips of the range from the blue, red and grey colourways.

The back was a single length of the red on red / watermelon spot:


and this same print was also used on the front to ensure continuity between the front and back.  


The fastenings were ties made of the red spot and the grey spot, at the request of the recipient.  I don't really like ties on quilt covers - they seem annoyingly labour-intensive in use compared to snaps or even buttons, but they are probably a better option than buttons on a small child's quilt cover, given the chewing / choking potential of buttons?

I love this range - the girls are lovely and the toadstools are ridiculously cute.  I love how the blue spot works so well with the grey and red, cutting through those more muted prints with a pop of iciness. 


One of the front strips was pleated, though I didn't get a good picture of that.  It looked good, according to other people who looked at the quilt, but I wasn't overly happy with it.  I felt it was annoyingly bulky due to the seam finish I selected.  As you can probably not really tell from the picture below, I made the front with flat fell seams, to avoid having any exposed edges.  When making a normal quilt, you don't care about any sort of seam finishing on front or back pieces, as those seams will be inside the sandwich of quilt top, wadding/batting and quilt back, never to see the light of day or endure any wear.  Obviously the side seams are usually bound or otherwise protected.

When making a quilt cover, things are a little different.  The seams from any piecing on the front or back are subject to quite significant wear, as you pull the duvet/doona/quilt in and out of the cover every time you wash the cover (as well as all the general moving around wear and tear).  So they need to be somehow finished or covered or whatever, to prevent them degrading over time.  I chose a kind of modified flat fell seam (a "jeans seam") approach - with each seam being sewn together first with wrong sides together, with a larger seam allowance on one piece than the other, and then the longer piece being folded over the raw edge of the shorter piece, and then folded and top stitched down onto the quilt.  This accounts for the double lines of stitching on each edge shown below (which I felt looked pretty nice as a decorative finish, even though in this case it was practical).

Apparently this sort of seam finish only works well on one direction - i.e. if you have lots of cross seams, this is not cool as it leads to bulky intersections.  I think this is the reason behind my displeasure at how the pleated strip turned out.

In all other ways however, I was very happy with this quilt and this fabric range is just lovely.  Here is the beautiful lady in question (well her mum), receiving the quilt:


She seemed really really happy with it, and that's really what counts in the end isn't it?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Craft Fair - looking back, and looking forward...

So this week I fly off to Sydney to go to the Quilt and Craft Fair in Darling Harbour.  Last year I did a similar trip, though to Melbourne instead of Sydney (I have a friend who since moved to Sydney so it's a good excuse for a visit!).

Last year, I did this post; which detailed the targets I had for the trip (purchases mainly!).  It is super interesting to me to review that post and realise that I didn't exactly make the grade from then until now...My aims then were:

  1. To get a jelly roll for the giant jelly roll floor cushions on moda bakeshop.  A year later...I got the jelly roll and it has sat in the cupboard ever since :(  I could make excuses about how I didn't "need" to make these so much until the kids are a bit older and can use the downstairs rumpus room a bit more; but really it's annoying I haven't made them in over a year since buying the materials.
  2. To buy some wool for the Purl Bee Granny Stripe Blanket.  A year later...I haven't made the blanket but I also didn't yet buy the wool.  That's more OK than failure #1...I think!  I still intend to make this but it's not really priority right now, which is alright.
  3. To (maybe) buy crochet cotton and beads for some of these bracelets.  A year later...I didn't buy it, I didn't make it, and I haven't thought of them since.  I still quite like them though.  Perhaps a good impulse purchase if I see some cotton I like, or something to do with Issy when she is old enough.
  4. Some dress fabric shopping, especially some jersey ruffle.  A year later...in this respect I did better!  I couldn't find any jersey ruffle I liked (it was all very narrow).  I did score at Tessuti/the craft fair and find the materials for these shorts, this scarf, this top and this skirt.
  5. "Look at" yo-yo makers, templates and books.  Plus I saw a post about Knook (knitting with crochet hooks).  A year later...none of the above (well, not from the craft fair).  But there I did discover Zpaghetti (see here) which is a bit Knook-y I imagine.
In addition, I found some gorgeous Duckcloth fabrics for my sister-in-laws quilt, my bag from scraps and the little cellphone wallet.

So here I am, trying to write the pre-Sydney post and make the list again.  I am not sure how looking back helps me, except to resolve to use what I buy, and in that respect I have done quite well.  If I can't find what is on the list, I can probably excuse that, but I don't like buying things I don't use.

Hopefully a post soon to go over what I might try and buy this time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pattern Testing for Heidi and Finn! Uptown Hat

I was super lucky to be picked to be a tester for the Heidi and Finn Uptown Hat (yet to be released).


I was super honoured to be picked as a pattern tester for Heidi and Finn - their patterns are always the epitome of stylish but comfortable clothes for small people.  This hat is no exception; cute if left plain, but with two versions (one with the band above the brim and one without) and lots of suggested additions.


The picture on the front of the patterns shows the hat in version 1 (with band) in plain grey and pink trim and it looks great!  I chose purple cord, with a detail and lining of toadstool fabric and also a trim on the brim of red.


The brim is edged in bias binding in a contrasting colour - here I made some strong red trim which picked out a colour in the lining and trim fabric.



The lining and trim were this super cute toadstool fabric which I nabbed from a friend who was getting rid of her stash.  I chose a single piece of embellishment on the brim, in the form of a pleated strip of the lining fabric (I am a bit obsessed by pleats at the moment).


The whole pattern was easy to follow and simple to construct.  I had a slight issue with sizing (which has been passed on to the makers) as it seemed on the small side (I was making the 5t - teen) but that could easily be my issue rather than the pattern - difficult to say without a second run at it.


The sewing of the hat from start to finish probably took a little over two hours, making this a great quick project.  Additionally I think it would be a good project for a newish sewist who wanted to branch into various techniques without the project overwhelming them by size and commitment.  There is sewing of curves, using bias binding, using thick interfacing / padding and things like topstitching and embellishment. 

Most importantly, she seems to like it :)


That's all for now :)



Saturday, June 2, 2012

Coat for Issy (Oliver + S)

I have always loved duffle coats, ever since I was small.  Actually, I am not sure why I don't have one myself...

Anyway, as soon as I saw the Oliver + S School Days Jacket and Coat I wanted to make one every year for the kids.  The pattern is apparently out of print (not sure why they seem to take popular patterns out of circulation so quickly...) but is now back as a digital pattern.  Happily for me, I have the non-digital version (most digital patterns are bloody awful) and decided to make one for Issy for this winter.

Yes, on a tennis court...

I used a wool suiting in a lovely soft orangey red colour from Spotlight.  It was on special (or maybe I had a voucher) and ended up being around $10 - 11 dollars a metre.  I lined it with silk polyester lining (also Spotlight) which was in a kind of beigey gold colour.

I cut a size 7 (except where I mucked up and accidentally cut two pieces in a size 8 and had to adjust and trim in a few places...) and it just fits well enough to wear now without swamping her.  She wears a 7 or more usually from shops, so I was loath to cut less than the seven and she seems comfortable in it.  So comfortable, she wore it for most of her tennis lesson, hood and all:

Little tennis jedi...
I made view B, which has buttons on the tabs rather than toggles.  I interfaced the two placket pieces on the front to better support the snaps inside.  The coat closes with snaps on the inside and then also the buttons and tabs.  I had to redo the snaps with extra interfacing after switching from sew on ones (which were so hard to undo she would have seriously struggled) to a magnetic bag-type closure with prongs to stick through the fabric and be bent closed on the reverse side.  Note to self:  these are seriously hard to retrofit when the thing is already just about complete!!!

A rather terrible button close up - they have awesome birds on...
I not only swapped the snaps at the end of making this, but also the buttons.  I had some supremely cute orangey flower shaped buttons which were kind of translucent.  Sadly they both showed way too much of the button hole behind, which spoiled the effect, and they were also really hard to do and undo.  Instead I found these super lovely wooden buttons with flowers and birds painted on them at our newest Hobart wool shop, The Stash Cupboard.  That woman knows how to pick buttons - she only has a small selection (being a wool shop...) and they are pretty much all gorgeous!

She likes the buttons :)

I should really make more notes about the pattern as I sew them, as I don't have much to report on this one either.  I found it mostly easy to follow, though I recall the pocket construction descriptions were ridiculously more complicated than they had to be, for what was a simple and quite nice method.  Some of these more boutique kids patterns tend to assume no need for nicer finishing and more complicated techniques, but I thought this one rose above that to a new level (perhaps the higher "scissors" rating of difficulty indicated that?).  The handling of the lining in particular, to make sure it wasn't constrictive inside the coat was good and something I have never sewn before.

I didn't make the inside jacket (a kind of fleecy vesty lining option which you can make with or without sleeves for extra warmth) as this coat is well warm enough.  I think next year I might make one for both of the kids out of raincoat fabric with a fleecy liner - Hobart is warm enough that big coats aren't needed all that much but wet enough that this would be a good option to cover Autumn through to Spring I think.  That was my plan this year but of course the dearth of good dress fabric shops down here meant there was no raincoat stuff around when I wanted to buy it (Spotlight later got some in, though it was all a bit icky design-wise anyway).  Then I found this wool and it was such a good colour for madam that all was well.

And most importantly, she loves it :)