Thursday, February 21, 2013

A library bag, and make it snappy

How often do you get to sew something as joyfully simple yet useful as a library bag?

With half a metre of this Cloud 9 Ed Emberley crocodiles that Clem chose himself, I whipped this up for Clem's school 'Library Day' (Thursdays).
obligatory bag-on-head shot
It's basically just 2 x 50cm square pieces. The trimmings from the width became the handles (with a little scrap calico sewn inside for extra body). No need to even pre-wash the fabric. Only a few short years ago it would hardly have even occurred to me to sew a library bag. Now, it's an easy pleasure. Ain't sewing grand? (Should one put an apostrophe in ain't, given that it ain't a real word?)

Two new library books came home in the snappy crocodile bag today. Happy library day!

- Jane x

Sunday, February 10, 2013

If I Blog It, I will Finish It

The Brief: A picnic rug (quilt). Simple construction, darkish prints, not too girly. More aesthetically pleasing and less prone to collecting dead grass than the entirely synthetic, water-proof-backed picnic rug that has been hanging out in the back of our car for years and is currently in a heap in our driveway, possibly growing mould. It's done great service but it's hardly inspiring.

So. I bought my first ever 'fat quarter pack' when Sew Mama Sew was having a big ol' sale not long ago. It's called Splendor 1920, by Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics. Along the selvedge it says 'feel the difference' and in fact I did; these are quilting cottons of particular soft silkiness. I also bought a couple of other yards to work in. The criss-cross middle bits are Kate Spain's Cuzco. What's his name?


(I cannot help mentally yelping out the song from Emperor's New Groove.)

Cut it up last night. Sewed it together this morning. I make that sound quick and easy but you know? Even the most basic of quilts is still a quilt. There are quite a few hours in this baby already. Hence my blog-it-to-keep-up-the-momentum.

Must. Make. Quilt. Back. Rah, rah, go me!

- Jane x

Friday, February 8, 2013

Painted Portrait Dress in linen

Do you love a crumpled sack cool linen smock-dress as much as I do?

This is Anna Maria Horner's beautiful Painted Portrait Dress pattern made in a fabulous washed linen, which is an amazing crossweave of orange, purple and light blue.

The pattern gives a number of options, including sleeves and a pieced yoke. I chose the plain yoke to let this gorgeous fabric shine. The button is an old one from my stash and the button loop, as per instructions, is from perle cotton.

I'm afraid all the pictures make it look particularly crumpled and sack-like... the ones above are after its first wash and iron. I think there's a lesson there to grab it straight out of the washing machine as soon as it finishes spinning, and hang it out before the wrinkles have time to set. Or... embrace the wrinkles. The latter is more likely.

And below, taken earlier at the end of the second day of wear, so crumpled in new and interesting ways. (A few extra unnecessary photos because I thought you might enjoy my little helper.)

The colours uploaded strangely in a couple of the pics. Odd.

So - I love this pattern. It has the Anna Maria Horner trademark of interesting, thoughtful construction, and awesome pockets. What peeves me a bit is the sizing, and I've had this problem with her other patterns too. By my measurements I was at the upper end of a Size L. I was wary so I whipped up a quick muslin. It was way too big. I made a straight size M which is a perfect fit. What's with that? There also seems to be an error in the instructions for applying the bias binding on the armholes. Using a 1-inch bias strip, it says to sew it first right sides together with a 5/8" seam allowance, which would leave only 3/8" for wrapping around, which obviously doesn't work. The hem is bound with bias as well, which is a lovely touch, but even sewing it on at 3/8" as instructed, I had to trim the seam allowances to get it to wrap around properly. Solutions: either use slightly wider bias strips or sew the first seam at 1/4".

***Correction! The incredible Anna Maria herself (eep!) dropped by here to help and pointed out that I missed a cutting instruction under 'sleeveless' which says to cut 1&3/4" bias strips for the armholes. MY BAD! Honestly I went just about cross-eyed looking for something I'd missed in the instructions but clearly I still missed it. Ms Horner, you are even more of a goddess than I previously thought :D

Anyhow, these are minor quibbles really and I would certainly love to make this pattern again.

If you are taller than my 5'3" then you may wish to lengthen the dress a bit.

There's a little bit of hand-sewing, to finish the yoke lining. I find this kind of soothing and prefer to think of it as 'couture' rather than 'tiresome'. Yes, I used more of that Alexander Henry lawn for the lining. How much of that did I buy? Will it ever run out?

Do you love a good crumply sack too?

- Jane x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...