It’s a bit bleak today, in that cold quiet time between Christmas and New Year, and sometimes all you need to cheer you up are some bright and cheefully sunny florals. Just before Christmas I made a quick beginner’s cot quilt – perfect for scraps, or your first quilt for your new baby. Or size up, and make a lap or bed quilt. 2-3 times as much fabric should make a good lap quilt to snuggle under the sofa with. Here’s a quick tutorial!
You will need: 4.5″ x width of fabric of 10 different fabrics – we’ve put together a kit, here.
Wadding – 1m x 1.1m
Backing – 1m x 1.1m
Cut each strip of your fabric into 8.5″ ‘bricks’. You should get 4 or 5 bricks out of each strip.
Cut this from all your fabrics, and then make piles, in the same order, of one of each of your different fabrics.
Then take each pile, and sew them into big long strips. You can even sew each long strip together at this point, so that all your fabric is in one huge mile long (almost) strip. Your seam allowance for the whole project should be 1/4″.
Once you’ve done this, you need to take the first section of the strip, and count 4 1/2 bricks in, and cut at this point (so brick 5 is cut in half).
Then sew this cut off piece to your long strip – with the other half of brick 5 forming the first part of the next row (sewn to brick 1).
Carry on in this format – the end of row 2 will be a full brick, row 3 will be a half brick, and so on.
Carry on until you have no more rows to sew – this should be 10 rows!
Lay your finished quilt top on top of your wadding. For this quilt I have used the backing and binding in one, which is a really nice neat finish. I’ll show you how next.
Quilt the top onto the wadding. I just quilted along every other line. Then trim your wadding to the same size as your quilt top. Lay this finished piece on top of your backing, centering it so there should be around 2″ excess fabric on either side. For our backing in our sample, we used a gorgeous peppered cotton
Fold and press this 2″ in half, and then towards the quilt, pinning it to the quilt top as you go. When you get to each corner, fold at a diagonal to create a mitred point. Once done, sew around the edge of the quilt, increasing your stitch length slightly. Now, snuggle.
We’ve had a lot of deliveries this last couple of weeks, and sometimes you just can’t help yourself put together some fabric and pattern combos that are just crying out to be made. At this stage my list is getting far too long to do anything about, especially with all that Christmas sewing only just getting started on (I know, it’s getting late but it’s really snuck up on me this year.)
Anyhow – I’m going to share them with you in the hopes that maybe some of you might decide to make them and I can live vicariously through you.
Number one on my list has gone from not-particularly-interested to must-make-today in the space of one fabric box opening.
Let me introduce you to The Rochester, by Maven Patterns. Whilst I thought this a nice dress, I had no desire to make it for myself until I opened a box of Lady McElroy crepe fabric, and oh dear. It suddenly was barreling its way to the top of my list. This crepe fabric is smooth and drapey, with a heavy weight to it that makes it perfect for a dress like this one. And I love the vintage vibe to this print. We’ve bought in a few more of these crepe fabrics – and they truly are beautiful. There’s other choices you could make too, including this vibrant gold print.
How’s about a different pattern/ fabric combo. These are also from Lady McElroy, and they’re a beautiful silky cotton lawn. We’ve had loads of comments in store about how silky this lawn feels. Here I’ve chosen the Origami Shrug by Two Stitches – this is a totally quick make, you can knock one of these out in a couple of hours – and you only need 1 metre of fabric for this width, so maybe we do have time to fit in some Christmas sewing?
We’ve actually put together some kits for these too – you can find them here
Next up, also in Lady McElroy lawn, we have the Cashmerette Upton Dress in Mulberry Blooms. I’m actually going to make this as a sample I think – for our curvy sewing class in the new year. This gorgeous plum lawn will work so well for the skirt in this dress, and will be so comfortable to wear, too. We’ve got a whole bunch of these lawns in – there’s something for everyone.
My next pick is totally spring-like – but I’m going to pretend the sun is coming soon, and when it does I’ll be ready. The Lakeside Pyjamas by Grainline Studio in this viscose linen blend spot. Viscose linen? I hear you ask. It’s got such great movement in it, like a lightweight linen blend with the swing and sway of a rayon. It moves through your fingers like water, and feels just so luxurious. I think it’s perfect for something like these PJ’s, or the True Bias Ogden Cami.
I could totally carry on right here, but I have two more picks right now – and here’s the penultimate combo. This is The Maria Apron by Maven Patterns and I could have chosen any number of prints for this, but I think it’s beauty is in it’s simplicity, and what better than the entire colour palette of the Essex Linens to choose from? The one pictured is yarn dyed Shale.
So I’ve possibly saved the best until last? This Midsummer’s Night triple crepe from McElroy is heavy, drapy, and has a slight stretch. This makes it – in my mind, simply perfect for a pencil skirt. So I’ve matched it with the Brume Skirt by Deer + Doe. And I think this is going to be simply perfection.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big Carolyn Friedlander fan. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that there’s no one in the industry quite like her at the moment. Using her architectural design background to create clean, modern, low volume prints with thoughtful pops of colour, every step in her fabric design is created with the end use in mind – she’s brought us such great collections with Robert Kaufman as Architextures, Doe, Carkai, Euclid & Friedlander. And using that same thoughtful design process, we have her newest collection: Blake.
Blake is Carolyn’s first jersey knit collection, it’s on a 95% cotton, 5% spandex knit, a perfect t-shirt weight, and is 58″ wide. You’ll still see her signature prints – our favourite crosshatch, a great geometric, and stripes with her signature use of colour. You’d think that maybe with the move to knit fabric she might be thinking about just clothes, and have moved on from quilts, but she’s also designed 2 new quilt patterns to use with knit.
We’ve ordered all 9 pieces in this concise collection, and they’re due in to us in August/ September time.
We’ve put them up for pre-order now – and you can find them here.
We’ve also put together a list of knit patterns which we think would suit this collection perfectly!
We’ve just had in a delivery of the most gorgeous Nani Iro pre-quilted double gauze, and already we’re wondering about all the lovely things we can make with this pre-quilted fabric! The options are endless, but as it’s a little unusual, we decided to put together a quick run-down of ideas for you.
Whether it’s to wear indoors or out, a quilted jacket in Nani Iro is perfection. We think the Grainline Studios Tamarack Jacket would be a perfect pattern for this. In fact, Jen at Grainline has already put together a post to help you use a pre-quilted fabric for this.
The particular fabrics we have in would also work really well for baby clothes. The Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket would be adorable!
We also think you could use one of our free tutorials, our baby booties! You’ll want to bind around the edges to cover the raw edges, but I’m pretty sure it will work!
Simple quilt/ mat
Use some satin/ silky bias binding to bind the edges of a metre of this lovely fabric, and you’ve got yourself the most easy quilt in history. Perfect for baby gift giving!
If, like me, you spend your evenings surfing Instagram, Pinterest, and the other corners of the Interweb for inspiration of things to make, you’ve probably been struck by that impulse buy where a new digital sewing pattern just somehow falls into your inbox because you need to make it – like, now. But then you’re faced with a 726 page document, that somehow you need to make into just 1 page, and somehow the inspiration fades slightly.
Is that just me? Actually I’m much better at this now – I’ve done it often enough that the fear is more that my naughty dog will run away with one of the pages than problems putting it together. So, just in case you need some tips too, here’s my top tips on how to put a PDF pattern together.
You will need:
Tape (I like to use a cheap washi tape or masking tape)
Scissors and/ or rotary cutter
The first thing to know is that you need to print your PDF to a certain size. Now, don’t panic – the designer will have made their file just the right size, you just need to make sure your printer is set to print at ‘Actual Size’, or 100%. Sometimes, you may have a little box on your print settings called something like ‘Scale to fit’ – and you need to make sure this box is NOT checked.
These days, digital sewing pattern designers sometimes throw in some fancy options, such as a layered version, where you can print only the size that you want, or a copyshop version. We’re going to ignore all of these, and just go for the straight forward print option.
To save paper I quite often don’t print out the instructions – I can have these open on my ipad, so why waste paper? I also, especially with children’s patterns where there’s a couple of different garment options, scroll down to the pages the precise garment I want to make is, and just select those to print. This is easier with some patterns than others, but you do need to make sure you don’t miss any pieces. I recently made the reversible jacket from the Oliver + S Lullaby Layette, and from a document of 47 pages, I printed 9.
On one of the first pages of your document you’ll see a box with a size specified in it. To save printing a bunch of scrap paper that’s all scaled to the wrong size, you might find it worth printing out that page and checking it’s the right size. You want to measure that box, and check it’s the same size as it says it should be.
So – if you’re all set up and ready to go, press print! You’ll probably end up with a chunk of paper that looks something like this.
This digital pattern has a border around the page, and page numbers, but you’ll find each designer uses a slightly different method, usually specifying a layout in the instructions, and/ or page numbers in the corners of the page.
If a pattern has a border around it, I usually trim 2 sides of the page. I make sure it’s the same 2 sides on each page, so I can use the other non cut bit as a base for the overlap between pages. You can see if you look closely, you can see the shadow below here where I’ve cut the right side and overlaid it on the left side of another.
I do this to all of my pages to start off with, before laying them out. It makes the process smoother later.
I use a quilter’s ruler and rotary cutter to cut these straight lines out – it speeds the process no end, although if you have a guillotine, that’d work too!
Other people have favourite methods as to what sort of tape they use – my personal favourite is actually a washi tape. The reason I like this, is that it’s fairly re-positionable. If I stick wrong, I can just peel it up and start again. It doesn’t hurt that it also looks pretty. You can pick up fairly cheap bulk packs on ebay.
You might find it useful to anchor your pages down with a weight – I use anything I have to hand – my phone, a mug, my rotary cutter. It just stops me accidentally knocking one of the pages when I have my fingers covered in tape.
Start taping your lines. It’s best to look at the pattern lines and tape the actual pattern pieces rather than the blank space – that’s just a waste of tape! However you might need to sometimes tape blank space as an anchor for the whole. Concentrate on pattern piece edges, so you don’t have any loose flaps.
It’s wise to use your ruler – especially on trim pieces and grainlines to check they’re still straight
Try to stick your tape on straight. See this tape below is a little wonky? A bit of wonk like that can throw off lines massively a bit further up. The reason I like the washi tape comes into play here – I can peel it off and stick it on straight.
I like to put a tab of tape on the back of each place in a pattern piece where 4 pages intersect.
Once all your papers are stuck together, you can cut out the actual pattern. Figure out your size – not from the size number, but from your measurements! – and either trace or go straight to cut out the size.
Again I use a rotary cutter to cut out the pattern. The smaller the cutter the easier it is to get around the tight curves. I’m using a 45mm blade here, but I often use a 28mm and it’s just so much easier!
Once you’re done, you’re ready to go. If I’m putting it away for a later use, I like to fold all the small pieces and tuck them into a bigger piece, store them in an envelope, and write the name of the pattern and size on the envelope. I also write on the envelope how many pieces the sewing pattern has, so I don’t lose one along the way. I’d like to know how you guys store your sewing patterns? What’s your preferred method?
Outback Wife – Gertrude Made. Outback Wife is the debut collection of Cathi Bessell-Browne, the hands and heart behind Gertrude Made.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with Cathi back in February, and listen to her story. Cathi lives in the rural Australian outback, and started making dresses from vintage barkcloth to help pay for her daughter’s healthcare. The support that the online community gave her led her to create this gorgeous collection with Ella Blue, due in to us in May 2017. This fabric is inspired by the beautiful floral barkcloth fabrics of the 1940’s and 1950’s, and each detail of this collection has been meticulously and seriously considered to create a range with an authentic vintage voice. Cathi wants to create fabric that’s not throwaway – you’ll love it today, and you’ll love it in years to come. Continue reading “Outback Wife – Gertrude Made Barkcloth”