Sunday, 30 July 2017

Portland Tie Top

I am still busting my way through my smaller pieces of donated stash. I made a betty blouse with this fabric and had a bit left over. 

There was not enough for anything with sleeves but I loved the top on the front of the Sewing world magazine I was featured in way back in February. It is called the Portland Tie Top.

I decided to give it a bit more of a luxury feel by lining it. This also gave a smoother finish and you could not see any bra lines through it. In fact I am wearing a black one today and no show.

It is a really pretty top and I have been waiting to photograph this since I decided to have my hair cut back into a bob. The bob is a bit short at the moment and I do feel a little bit like a 1940's evacuee but as it grows it will be back to being 1960's bobtastic.

I like the gentle A line shape which works for my hips and covers up my current straining waistband button.

I love the cut of the collar from the front. It looks severe but it is really comfortable.

Feel like a night out now. Jo x

Thursday, 27 July 2017


This month Big Sis chose a project from Minerva. A stretch fabric with a doodle pattern and a dress pattern with plenty of variations. Minerva have quite a range of stretch jersey fabrics at the moment which would be perfect with this pattern. 

She chose View D from McCalls M7079 with the softer waist fitting rather than gathers.If you have an overlocker this project is a breeze. It would also be fine on a regular machine using stretch stitch too.

I made it a while ago. She took it to France on holiday because it was comfy to wear on the aeroplane as well as being another outfit with leggings and a cardigan for later in the evenings.

There was just enough left over to make a long sleeved T-shirt for when the sunshine has gone away and Autumn pops up again. AND Little M asked if there was enough for her to have a bit of the fabric too. This pattern is one of my favourites from Ottobre.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo x

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sampler Quilt Backing and Building Tutorial

It is time to assemble my sampler quilt and I would like to take you through the process if I may. My Auntie showed me this great technique which is definitely worth sharing and bookmarking.

After adding solid borders to each sampler block, it was time to make last minute cutting decisions to help with accuracy. I trimmed each one down to 34x34cm. I purchased a single sheet from a charity shop for the backing. Seriously, £1.99 and it looked as if it had never been on a bed. The others are solid colour left over bits I am keen to get rid of.

Next it was time to lay out the design ensuring the samples which were similar in pattern were not close to each other. They were sewn into 3 strips of 5. I am going to work on each strip separately. 

Each strip has the backing and wadding attached with safety pins. Always ensure some fabric is overlapping to allow for movement. Use safety pins so that you don't keep stabbing yourself when guiding it through the machine. 

Now I can easily machine quilt these under the sewing machine. It is not too wide, too unwieldy or too daunting a task. I have a new stitch-in-the-ditch foot which allows me to sew either in the ditch or just on the edge (if you look closely on the blue) depending on where I set my needle. 

Then the magic happens to attach them all together. You use bias binding to join two strips together. Finally, add the last strip of five in the same way. You should now have a quilt topper which is backed and machine quilted but has gaping seams at the back.

Next, sew bias binding by hand over the back joining seams after you have trimmed them to meet in the middle. Don't over trim them with a gap or you will have a floppy weak point running all through your quilt. 

Then to complete the quilt use bias binding to encase the outer border. This is 30mm wide bias from Frumble. I really like to use it.

I also included some hand quilting but purely because I like doing it and I am not very good at free motion quilting on my machine.

See, it looks good and Little M, aged 7, really loves her Sampler quilt.

 I was so excited to finally find a way to part machine quilt without swearing, sweating and shoving my carefully made large topper through my tiny machine aperture.

Starting at top left:

  1. Half Square triangles - left over from a double quilt in 2015
  2. Diagonal stripe - using up thin strips
  3. Brick wall - using really small pieces
  4. Fussy cut framed butterfly - using a saved piece of fabric
  5. Half Square Triangles - demo piece from sewing class
  6. Fussy cut with applique butterfly motifs
  7. Crazy quilt technique - no measuring required
  8. Postage stamp block - 10cm blocks
  9. Log Cabin strips
  10. Postage stamp
  11. Applique hearts
  12. Brick wall
  13. EPP eight pointed star - pieces already made from a bigger one
  14. EPP hexies - I will NEVER make whole a hexagon quilt
  15. Patchwork squares
If you want to know how to make these you can use the labels on the right to look up patchwork and they are the latest ones.

Let me know if you like this method of backing. 
What do you think?

Jo x

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Easiest Skirt Ever

 I have made the easiest skirt ever and it has been right under my nose for years! 

I have seen Handmade Jane make a few of these skirts. She said they were easy and used up a small amount of fabric - she was darn right.

I would like to say New Look K6217 has earned its keep but it was free on the front of a magazine over two years ago. I have made three pairs of the trousers from it, one pair of which are too tight for me right now! I forget how many of the tops I have made, many, but I had never tried the skirt. I guess I just already had other short skirt patterns I used and felt I couldn't really improve on what I had but I was wrong. 

Simply two pieces with back darts and side vents eliminating the need to make a kick pleat on the back. I used an invisible zip but the pattern walks you through a lapped zip if you want to master one.

I did some pattern matching to make it look smooth on the side seams. My top tip here is to put two pins together to remind you not to sew all the way to the end otherwise you will not get side vents. I use this two-pin-stop technique a lot.

The pattern is particularly good if you only have a small piece of fabric left over because you do not need to cut a long waistband piece. You finish the waste with twill tape. This piece was just the right length and guess what? It was the ribbon that held a bunch of fat quarters together! My stitching is a bit wobbly there, whoops. I cut out a size 14 at 6pm and had it on at 7:20pm. Fast.

This has been my favourite skirt length of late. I used to make them shorter which is fine for winter skirts with tights or leggings but I need a longer version for summer vanity.

Worn with a cotton blouse I made a while back whilst being photo bombed by the dog, I felt pretty happy with this skirt. Especially as it only cost me 50p for the zip. The fabric was from an elderly lady who was having a clear out at craft group and she gave me a bag of stuff in February. I wore it to work and sports day on Tuesday.

I had a big haircut yestersday after this photo - so hot. 
Enjoy the sunshine. Jo xxx 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Doggie bag

Do you know the phrase doggie bag? A phrase used to imply a bag of leftover food to take home to give your dog instead of wasting the food in the bin. Well, Big Sis made a doggie bag of a different kind.

She drew up a design for a light over the shoulder bag to hold dog poo bags and training treats. When training a dog the reward has to be immediate and this leaves her hands free for other tasks like trying to get the lead back on or picking up the stick to throw again. 

I love that she can just use the machine on her own and knows some techniques without my prompt. I came back into the room and started to speak and she interrupted and said, "Yeeesss, I have snipped off the corners already!"

She made it brown so that Bloke could use it too. She had been saving the dog fabric which had come in a rag bag to us in February. The beads were in a giveaway parcel from CJ made so they have gone to good use already. I am not sure if Bloke has used it yet but it was a nice thought.

One very functional project. Thanks for stopping by. 
Jo xxxx

PS. It always amazes me what you folks comment on, thank you for your lovely comments about the granny shawl. I posted it and thought it was a bit of a lame post and then you all loved it! It just shows we all blog for different reasons and we all have different likes and dislikes. Thanks again.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Granny Triangle Crochet

I like to have portable craft on the go to cater for any crafting need. Small time slots here and there: in the car waiting for an appointment, lunchtime at work, a trip to the park etc. Crochet usually fits the bill because the stitches stay put with a safety pin in the working stitch.

This project has been sliding in and out of view since April. I took it on holiday and it was a very satisfying poolside distraction.

The yarn was donated by a work colleague. No ball band but it was a silky and drapey acrylic of some kind so I started a granny triangle on a 2.5mm hook. I would have liked a little more but beggars can't be choosers;my late grandmother was very fond of that saying.

Just in the nick of time this one is for Heidi's class teacher who has helped her make so much progress in maths this year. The children have one more week to go before the big six week Summer holidays.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a good weekend. Jo xx

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Wondering ..

Wondering - How to explain to my bloke that these are facings not sleeves for his next ironing foray!

Wondering - When I will start to care about my house garden again. It has got into such a mess and I am really unmotivated about it which I don't like.

Wondering - How much more allotment fruit we will get this season. 4.5Kg of strawberries this year. Blackcurrants next.

Wondering - Why I like to craft so much and what is it a substitute for?

What are you wondering?
Jo xx