Archive for May, 2010

Retro sewing

Hot on the tail of the Jacobs Ladder project was the following pin cushion- yet another pattern from the BBC ‘Discovering patchwork’ book. I was making this one for another keen crafter’s birthday, and it seems to have been a hit 🙂

This project was rather more interesting than the cushion in my previous post, in that it involved hand sewing, and the use of paper patterns. On a small project like this I’m quite happy hand sewing, and the paper patterns method isn’t half as fiddly as it might look. I’d definitely encourage others to have a go at this method, as it’s very satisfying.


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Way back now, whilst browsing in Huddersfield’s Oxfam bookstore I came across the perfect introductory book to the art of patchwork. ‘Discovering Patchwork’ is a BBC book, originally published in the 1970’s, to accompany a series of the same name. I’m not going to lie, it’s dated! It’s packed full of retro projects which take me right back to my childhood. However, it gives a fantastic overview of patchwork techniques from the use of templates, hand sewing using paper patterns, and machined patchwork, as well as providing images of many of the traditional American block patterns for inspiration.

For my first project I used the traditional method of hand sewing with paper to embellish a tote bag with a six-pointed star (sadly no photos as it was a gift). For the following cushion cover however, I opted for machine sewing the pieces together- probably wiser for a larger project! The reason that it’s been some time in the making was that I accidentally inserted one of the blocks the wrong way around, meaning it didn’t match the intended Jacob’s Ladder pattern. Thankfully, Mum came to the rescue, and offered to unpick and resew it! This week, I’ve finally gotten around to backing the cushion. I’ve never made a cushion cover before, so pretty much made this up as I went along. I’ve created a kind of envelope design, so that it can be easily removed for washing- a must in my less than spotless abode!

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Following the completion of the Anna Tunic I was feeling inspired to crack on with more items for the Summer wardrobe! This is the dress I promised myself I would make using the seersucker fabric I bought in Harrogate. It’s a version of the Simplicity 2591. I’m also keen on the cap sleeve variation, but thought that a tad ambitious, particularly as I wasn’t confident I’d gone for the correct sizing. I quite possibly spent hours debating what size to make. To further complicate things, I’m not a standard dress size, so it wasn’t a case of debating one size, but 2- one for the bodice and one for the skirt. Simplicity seem to build in a *ridiculous* amount of ease into their finished garments- which I had guessed before starting, but has now been confirmed.

I’m over the moon with the bodice. This was my first ever attempt at creating darts, and it has resulted in a perfectly fitting bodice- which I could easily re-use and attach to other skirts if I was feeling ambitious! However, I’m less than happy with the skirt 😦 I opted for the size 12 skirt, but with hindsight would definitely have gone 1 size, if not 2 smaller. With off the peg skirts, I’m a size 10 waist, but the Simplicity measurements had me at a 14- just crazy! Anyway, what I’ve found is that the finished skirt is just too full at the front. The gathering in the centre causes the fabric to hang in a big pleat, which looks really odd. I’ve tried pressing it in a way to alleviate this, but to no avail. I’m determined to wear it though, so will just have to live with it I guess!

Oh, and I’ve been paranoid that it looks like a nurse’s uniform. somebody please tell me it doesn’t. Even if it does.

And apologies for the lack of full length photos, I really struggle with self-photography!

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