Thursday, 13 July 2017

UK Printing Services and PDF Dressmaking Patterns

I had a little nudge yesterday from Sarah about a PDF pattern that I'd had my eye on.  Turns out it all SewHouseSeven pattern were still 25% off but something held me back.  Being a dungaree/bibs pattern, I knew it would take a lot of paper to print and I already have a stack of patterns printed on A4 waiting to be assembled.

I have been curious about the growing online print shop services starting in the UK that offer copyshop AO size printing- when I've looked at this locally, the service has been difficult to find and when I did find it, very expensive.  Jenny from Cashmerette wrote a very helpful post, How to Print PDF Copyshop Files Cheaply with services listed for different countries, including the UK.  I looked at them all and after weighing up costs, looked like the cheapest option for a few patterns.  It's also relatively near to me and I was hoping that the printed patterns would arrive quickly- they did, less than 24 hours!  Cost is £0.75 per print (AO size and b/w). There's a minimum spend of £5 for printing so I went through my Dropbox PDF patterns and found any with Copyshop options that were in my making queue.  Some of these I have already printed on A4 paper and they have not yet been assembled so instead I will reuse that paper on other printing.  I had 8 sheets in total to print from various patterns, total cost £10.80 including £3 postage and 20%VAT on printing.

The sheer relief of not having to stick the Bibs patterns together meant I cut and prepped the pattern pieces very quickly- the highlighter is used on dots and any info like seam allowance changes.  The pattern notchers make cutting out those triangles quicker and neater plus make it easier to transfer the markings to fabric and were a cheapo £2 buy from Amazon.  You do need to take care loading the correct file.  I loaded the wrong file for dress pattern so I'll have to go back to my A4 print out for that but otherwise, it was excellent value for money.  I'm not sure when the postage increases for weight but 8 paper sheets were neatly folded and arrived in an envelope.  I'll definitely use this service again in the future!  Now to get on with the Burnside Bibs, my sewing plan for the weekend...

Monday, 10 July 2017

July at Village Haberdashery

Time to visit sponsor Village Haberdashery for the latest arrivals...I've focused on some dressmaking and quilting options using the latest fabrics and patterns, plus I've selected three double gauze prints as it's a lovely fabric for summer dressmaking or summer quilts.


I've chosen a freshly released dress pattern and fabrics that will work with that pattern.
  1. Matilda, shirt dress pattern by Megan Nielsen.  The newest pattern from Megan, lovely details including princess seams, collar and stand, and pleated breast pockets. 
  2. Loomious 2 - Checkered Past in Sky.  Yarn dyed threads and a gorgeous woven check from Anna Maria Horner.  More drape than quilting cottons. 
  3. Chambray Boulevard Prints - Southwest Stripe, from Robert Kaufman.  Wider width and a lovely design to play with; the design repeat is 12" x 12".

  1. Sevenberry Novelties Strawberries in print, cute fruity print, also see bananas!
  2. Menagerie, Rifle for Cotton+Steel.  This collection is pre-order, due to arrive sometime in August.  There's a range of substrates- quilting cotton. lawn, canvas and rayon, plus the designs are mouthwateringly good! 
  3. Lille Collection, Chevrons and Arrows from Sew Simple Fabric.  Geometric graphic patterns, see the rest of the collection here. 
Double Gauze

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Book Review: Stitched Sewing Organizers by Aneela Hoey

I leapt at the chance to review Aneela Hoey's new book, Stitched: Sewing Organizers I saw some previews on Aneela's Instagram feed  and I already could see it was going to be a treat. She writes a good pattern and this book is full of handmade storage projects- what's not to like!

Straightaway, you can see on the pictorial side of the contents page how many beautiful and tempting things there are to make!  

The first section, 'Stitched Organizer Basics' is concise and takes you through through materials and supplies with lots of handy pointers, e.g. about specific named interfacing so well worth reading, and useful tools.  She also covers the essential techniques including zipper insertion and attaching binding  as well as adding magnetic snaps, closing seam gaps and using fusible tape.  Aneela writes clearly,  her words flow and it feels like she is a friendly teacher guiding you through all you need to know.  She has taken her time writing this book, it feels well planned and thorough. The main part of the book is devoted to the projects and divided into four sections: 

To be honest, on my first flick through the book, I was itching to make something straightaway and needed a quick gift for someone so I made the larger version of the Handy Fold-Up pouch.   It was also a good way to read the book in more detail and see how the text and diagrams worked together.  I made one pouch and straightaway I made another- it sews up very fast.  Even on an apparently = simple pattern like this I could see how meticulous the writing was.  She's thought of everything, like the size allowances made for thickness of fabric+interfacing for example, so the finished article truly resembles the photo in the book and the making process is rewarding rather than frustrating.  I made one pouch for my new sewing travel machine for foot storage and another for a yoga friend to keep bottles of essential oil, and like many of the book projects it could be made with many different end uses in mind.

I also made the See-It-All pouch, again another gift was needed for a friend going into hospital for a big operation plus a little one to test out the making.  It's a great project for busting out your fat quarters, especially linen/cotton blend with bold prints- I have a few of those that don't really lend themselves to quilting and have prints that I want to see whole and not cut!  

The pouch on the right is the size from the book and the left was made with the remains of the FQ, it was easy to resize and i am imagining making a really big one to keep larger quilt blocks in.   This is a slightly harder project than the fold-up pouch, but still very achievable.  Aneela gives detailed guidance on the zip installation and bindings; read her instructions, follow the diagrams, take your time and a lovely pouch will be the end result!

I recognised some of the projects from Aneela's independent pattern shop - the fabric boxes, project book pouch, folder mini pouch, the sliding box and a few others, so buying the book is also a bargain.   
I have projects lined up to make from now until Christmas: the Two-In-One Case is very appealing as is the Triple Pouch, and if you are taking part in a swap or making a retreat goodie it's a valuable resource.

I loved it, lots of things I want to make for myself and lots of things for others.  My Christmas making is sorted.   If I was Aneela, I would be feeling very pleased at writing such a useful book. I think it will be an incredibly popular title- don't we all like making organizer projects?!  
Thank you to Search Press who kindly sent me a review copy.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Scrappy Fabric Mod Podge Project

I keep scraps, although not all the scraps, they drive me too crazy! But there are some tiny pieces of fabric that I cannot throw away, Precious vintage pieces, not even complete motifs or images, little jigsaw pieces of prints that I can only imagine the whole effect.  And then sometimes I have a plan that will use even these smallest pieces of fabric and I'm glad I kept them.

There's no great finesse in this project. Just a flat brush, feedback scraps (many with frayed edges that I couldn't cut or there'd be no fabric left!), cardboard 3D decoupage letters and Mod Podge Mat. The later two were from WHSmiths, I'm guessing Hobbycraft would also sell both of these for UK crafters and the equivalent should be available in other countries. The letters had a base coat of white acrylic first, otherwise it was just lots of mod podge so it acts as a glue and protective coating. The result is a naive collage mix but there are cute and they are for young children so that seems appropriate. I'm really happy some of these little motifs that I've stored so long have found a home. 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

June at Eternal Maker

There's a sale on at sponsor Eternal Maker at the moment.  No need for a code and lots of choice to be had.  Note, the reduced price per metre can be seen on the general page- not always on the individual item page. Here are my top nine bargain picks...

From l to r, row by row:
  1. Alexander Henry Tutty Fruity Canvas cotton. Perfect for bags, cushions and any thing where a slightly heavier weight fabric is called for. 
  2. Moda, From Bump to Baby Charmpack, Gina Martin.  A fabric precut just waiting to become a new baby quilt!
  3. Cloud 9 Organic Fauna Biology by Sarah Watson. Glorious organic cotton for only £9/metre.
  4. Oliver+S 2+2 Blouse and Pleasted Skirt Paper Pattern. For age range 4-8 years and there are a verity of options included - sleeve length variations etc. 
  5. Moda, Charcoal on Linen Archive Collage, Atelier by 3 Sisters. Linen is the colour way not the fabric content which is quilting cotton.  Lovely low volume print.
  6. Cloud 9 Organic Small World Corduroy by Rae Hoekstra. Bargain at only £9/m, just the ticket for children's clothing. 
  7. Andover, Strawberry Blue Green from The Lovely Hunt by Lizzy House.  Also available in pink. This print reminds me of William Morris, it feels like a modern day interpretation. 
  8. Princess in Pink, Heather Ross for Windham fabrics, Far Far Away.  Also available in orange.
  9. Cotton+Steel, Animal Spirit Night Blue, Mesa Alexia Abegg. One of my favourite C+S prints, £7.80/m and also available in a lighter mint colour way.  This would make a great backing print for a small baby quilt.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Market Machine Bag

I recently bought a new vintage machine, a lightweight model to take to meet-ups and Modern Quilt Guild meetings. She's an Elna Lotus SP dating from mid to late 1970s and although she comes ready to carry, I thought I would make a bag to keep her in to stop her getting banged about in the car and to keep the dust off whilst in the house.  I've been longing to make the Market bag from Anna Graham's Handmade Style book and the dimensions were the perfect fit for the machine and pedal.

I made a few modifications:
  • Added zip casings and an open ended zip so the bag closed partially across the top
  • Added plastic canvas to the bag base, holding the edges in place with some big hand stitches. This is all covered by the lining
Otherwise, it was as instructed in the book  I used materials from my stash including a long treasured Japanese zip from Ayumi and some fabric vintage scraps. The linen was a carboot sale purchase from a few weeks back and the leather on the handles was from a leather cushion cover bought years ago in a charity shop and last seen in used for a pocket on the Aeroplane bag!

I used a mix of By Annies Soft & Stable and Bosal In R Foam Sew-in scraps left over from other projects and zig zagged them like with quilt batting but it collapsed at the join so I added an extra strip over the top during the quilting process and that worked just fine. The Soft and Stable has a slightly nicer feel but that's purely subjective and they both sew easily and add structure.

It was my first time sewing leather handles. I added some of the canvas Denyse Schmidt lining fabric to strengthen them and I stitched them using Schmetz leather needle, along stitch and a walking foot. This leather is quite thin so it was straightforward.

The straps can take the full weight of the bag but I tend to carry it underneath just to reduce the strain.   I'm really pleased with it, a lovely pattern from a very useful book, perfect size for the new-to-me machine and I enjoy seeing those special vintage prints against the linen.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

June at Plush Addict

Time for a summery vist to sponsor, Plush Addict.  Three themes: quilting, dressmaking, craft - other projects- bags, cushions etc.

  1. Alison Glass for Andover fabrics, Chroma Handcrafted Batiks.  A modern twist on batiks.  This super saturated colourful range is ready for preorder as a bundle or yardage.
  2. Bethan Janine for Dashwood Studio: Norrland Main White Metallic.  A woodland illustrative theme combines with geometrics and metallics.  See the rest of the collection here, including a stunning border print. 
  3. Laundry Basket Quilts for Andover fabrics: Blue Sky, bundle and yardage.  Gorgeous blue/cream and tan traditional prints.  I've already ordered a few of these and they are beautiful!

  1. Little Darling Cotton Jersey, Swallows on blue.  Pretty cotton jersey, 95% cotton/5% elastane. I've already ordered some of this and it's very well behaved for sewing- no rolling!  I'm going to make a boat neck t-shirt.  Also available in white with blue swallows.  Perfect for a Colette Moneta dress too!
  2. Colette Moneta Dress. Very popular jersey knit dress pattern.  Made by sewing bloggers everywhere!  A large range of Colette patterns have just been added to Plush Addicts pattern selection. 
  3. Colette Sewing Planner.  I like this as a gift option, perfect for the stationery addict/dressmaker!

  1. Linen look canvas fabric - French Vintage Sewing on Natural.  Lovely print, perfect for sewing storage projects like a sewing machine cover or project bag.
  2. Yarn dyed gingham. 100%cotton and a woven gingham, rather than printed. Perfect for table cloths, aprons, school dresses and summer dresses.  Other colour options available here
  3. Linen look canvas fabric - Alice in Wonderland.  This must be the year of Alice in Wonderland prints!  This canvas weight fabric is 140cm wide and 80% cotton/20% polyester.