Finished Quilts

Sunday, 27 April 2014

my dressmaking adventure: airelle

My avoidance activities took on momentous forms this week, including emptying, washing out and refilling most of the kitchen cupboards (the gnarly one is still to be tackled).  But I decided to suck it up and dive in to continue the dressmaking journey I started last year (one top made and worn, one top still to be hemmed and may not get worn by me at least).

I've been planning to make the Deer&Doe Airelle blouse for nearly a year now.  I even talked about it to Kerry at the FQR Retreat last year and Sue and Di kindly gave me the black bias binding from their FQR goody bags to use for the piping I was planning to add.  Months went by, where I thought a lot about making this top and enviously eyed some lovely makes on Flickr but did nothing. A couple of weeks ago, I girded my loins (WTF?!)  and publicly declared that I was fighting the fear and going to start.  I cut out the pattern and ironed every piece.  The Deer&Doe patterns are on pretty heavy paper, which I like (from my limited experience). I was ready to go...... and then it all stalled.

My problem is really all about cutting fabric.  I worry so much about doing it wrong and ruining the fabric. (same as with my quilting) The nano iro double gauze I decided to use (after a last minute change of mind) had been sat sitting waiting to be used for something for coming on 4 years now.  In the end, I did make a couple of cutting out mistakes, which meant I had to reduce the length of the sleeves by an inch or so and improvise the facing for the collar, which made me decide to also use the same fabric as the underneath of the collar itself.  I chose voile obviously because voile and double hard could that be for a beginner?

Anyway, my progress was slow and a bit stop starty (I nearly cried when I saw the beautiful jacket that Emily made in 4 hours!).  Half way through I was convinced the way forward was to ditch the pattern sleeves and make tulip sleeves instead but I realised that I should just do what I'm told until I'm good enough to do better.  And so, this afternoon I finally finished my first ever blouse (collar and cuffs matching, Mrs Garrett!)...

I also attempted a fashion shoot with Laughing Boy but he acted like I'd just asked him to sacrifice our first born and handed him a loaded weapon. I had planned a really cool "look my shoulder is broken" super model pose but wasn't given any more time! One vaguely usable photo later...

David Bailey he ain't!
Move along now...nothing to see here.

Overall, I chose to make the largest size because I was concerned about fitting in the chebbage. This was probably a mistake as it is a bit big on me, especially the neck/collar which I feel is a bit gapey round the back.  The instructions were very limited and if like me your a newbie to all of this malarkey, instructions like "clip the seam allowance"  made me fret as there were no pictures to show where to do this.  I turned to my Vogue Sewing manual for guidance but I may have over clipped!  The facing on the collar is now really bumpy (with empty bits).  Having said that, the instructions did the job.  I chose french seams for the back, sides and the sleeves and bound the gathered bits on the shoulder.  I think I will bind the armhole seams too.  Double gauze frays if you even look at it the wrong way.

My sleeves didn't fit into the armholes - they (the sleeves) were too big  - no idea why!  So again I had to improvise and did a small gather at the top of each sleeve, with mixed success to be fair.  I think they shoulders now look a bit oddly puffy and emphasise how big the top is.  Also, the collar is every so slightly overlapped...

can you spot the fish? or are you mesmerised by the lumpy facing?
..but I quite like that.

So, all in all a bit hit and miss but I think I learned a lot - an expensive toile if you will! I may give it away to someone who will love it or I might wear it to work tomorrow to test drive it.  Here are my favourite bits...

I love the voile under the collar..

my first ever collar!
I deliberately chose to keep the selvedge on the sleeves (well one of them anyway)...

my first ever cuff!
A couple of days ago a lovely parcel from the Village Haberdashery came through the letter box, containing....

The Mortmain
Mortmain by Gather .. for the "ambitious beginner"
Washi Sewing Pattern
Washi, obvs
So it looks like I have a way to go on my dressmaking adventure.... just hoping it won't be another year before the next leg.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

diversionary tactics

I had hoped that this post would be about my next adventure in dressmaking and on instagram I confidently announced my new #fearless attitude.  This quickly withered and I was left looking for other things to do to avoid cutting into my lovely double gauze fabric that I have had for nearly 4 years.  Fortunately that meant actually finishing something that was not a bee block and that would be staying chez kettleboiler.  The first time that has happened in like forever.  A Me Me Me finish....what's not to love!

I took the paper pieced block I made at the last EMMQG meeting (using a pp pattern by sew-ichigo)

paper pieced at the emmqg sesh
and following the tutorial on sew-ichigo, made a cover for Nanny Plum, my lovely boysenberry Kitchen Aid.

It was a quick make in the end and I even finished the binding by hand cos that's just how I roll.  Here it is in situ....

Confession time.... I followed the tutorial and didn't include any wadding that would have made it more structured.  That was maybe a mistake.  And, I think I prefer Nanny Plum naked, as it were.  But, at least her new coat will keep the dust off and I can marvel at my paper pieced lovely.

Now I am fighting the dressmaking fear and am removing all the obstacles one by one.  The current (and last!) one is interfacing for the collar and cuffs (those words together always make me chuckle #immature).  I'm off out, braving a massive rain storm, to get the flipping interfacing.  So I'll leave you with this....

Thursday, 10 April 2014


I appear to be sabotaging myself at the moment.  I bought some new bathroom scales at Christmas (they were a bargain!) and at some point in the last month or so, they told me I was below a certain number that had been my solid buddy for the past 10 years or so.  Naturally I was delighted and celebrated liberally with cake!  That certain number and I have since been reunited.

The same seems to be happening with my sewing.  Cake is sometimes involved too.  Anyway, I'm determined to sort it out and have a plan (a bullet journal list if you will - never one to knowingly avoid a sewista bandwagon!). It coincides with a number of random days leave scattered through the next few weeks.  But in order to firm up the plan, I need to get my arse in gear clear the decks of bee blocks.  After much procrastination, here goes....

Bumbling honeys bee block(s) for Mary:

a bit wonky 
An example of sabotage, I was cutting and making two of these blocks for Mary and I was getting tired and I knew I should have stopped and left it for the next day but I decided to push on and finish the cutting at least.  As I was saying these words in my head, I put a pile of fabric on the board and cut into 2 equal 2.5 inch square blocks, only to realise that it was the wrong pile of fabric AFTER the cut was made. Exhibit A...

My dear sewistas....learn from my mistakes and listen to your inner quilty goddess and stop when she tells you ok! Mary, of course, has been a real angel about my mistakes and the one and a half fairly wonky blocks she got from me.

Keeping on the Bumbling Honey's vibe, April's Bee Mama is Jo and she asked us to make blocks for the Soy Amado quilt block drive....

lovely fabrics as usual from Jo
April, I hear you say!  Yep, don't faint - I finished these in the month.  They are not late!  I may faint a little bit, in a corseted Victorian lady way.

Next up, the Friends with Additions bee.  I had three sets of blocks on my cutting table and so was mightily embarrassed.  I sabotaged myself with the first lot (for Deanna) by deciding on a block and then fannying about humming and hawing about it for a few weeks too long only to return to the initial design.  It's meant to be under wraps but I'm a bit bored of sneak peaks now and am pretty sure Deanna doesn't read m'blog so here goes:

pp'd trees
Deanna loves hummingbirds and trees.  Someone else has already made a beautiful hummingbird block so I got some fabric with hummingbirds on and used it in the trees.  Here's the blocks altogether...

nice coherent colour palette I think
Blocks are back on their travels.  I'm half way through block(s) for Christine, which will head off to Switzerland this weekend and that leaves Cindy's then I'm up to date!  Until May!

Here's a little something that always makes me smile (and jump around a lot - the wee man gets quite scared then he joins in!)