Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sewing a Renfrew!

It was so exciting just before Christmas - I won a giveaway! It was my first ever giveaway win and it was an amazing one: Josie over at Fabric Godmother was giving away a copy of the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern and some beautiful Roma Jersey fabric. And you have to check out Dinky Bo - the rabbit that chose lucky ol' me: he's my favouritest bunny in the whole world!!!!!

My parcel arrived very quickly and there was sooo much fabric. I was in heaven! It was my first experience of Roma Jersey and I have to say it is a beautiful fabric: it has a good feel, drape and weight - I'm not sure that it would have been possible to have sewn anything bad with it! It's perfect for winter tops and I think it would probably make a nice skirt as well.

Anyway, enough of my fabric gushing, on to the Renfrew! For the first time, I traced the pattern instead of cutting it the past I've made alterations and rely on written notes for next time, whereas if I can alter the pattern pieces it will probably lead to a lot less mistakes! I traced straight onto greaseproof paper, and it worked really well, although possibly I could have used more professional pattern weights....!!!!

The pattern instructions were very easy to follow. The only bit I was a little confused with initially was the need for stay-tape as I've never used it before. Thankfully I found this blog post which covered everything I needed to know! I couldn't find any stay-tape at my local haberdashers so used a fabric selvedge which I sewed in as per the instructions.

I zig-zagged over the edge of the selvedge and fray-stopped over the bottom edge for added security

For now the shoulder seams don't have any give, so I guess only time will tell as to how hard-wearing the selvedges will be. And in the meantime I'll keep an eye out for some stay tape for when I next need it!

So, would you like to see it?! Here we go - ta dah!

And the back. The collar takes a little bit of adjusting to get right, and as you can see it's a little bit skewiff here!

And a close up of the cowl neck and shoulder seams. I have to say I'm pretty chuffed with my top-stitching there...

And the sleeve. This is the only thing that I think I might go back and modify - it just feels a bit too loose given the fit of the top, so I may go back and redo this at some point...grading it down a size from the elbow to the wrist and redoing the cuff a size smaller would fix the problem I think.

So, details

Pattern - Sewaholic Renfrew
Fabric - Roma Jersey, Forest Marl
Size - 6
Mods - none!

It was such a great top to make and I'm so happy with the fit. It feels perfect! I cut quite economically from the fabric and think I might even be able to squeeze a shorter sleeved version for spring!

This was my first time using a Sewaholic pattern and I will certainly be trying out some of there others. I am really tempted by the Minoru Jacket - if it fits half as well as the Renfrew I think I would wear it constantly! I might need to get a bit more dress-making under my belt though I think!

Thank you so much Josie!

S x

Todays sky ● this afternoon there was blue sky. Whoo hoo!!!!!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Grey days

It's been a melancholy week: aside from one day of sunshine the weather has been grey, drab and cold and I have to say that my mood seems to have sunk to a similar level.

There are signs of spring everywhere though to give hope and provide much needed snippets of colour and a tease of the more beautiful days to come. I've been really enjoying all the snowdrops that I've been seeing around and the daffodils getting ready to bloom.

Another thing cheering me up is my new slippers. It's a running joke between Mr f&f and I that I go through slippers at a phenomenal rate and clearly spend too much time shuffling around inside - but these make me smile everytime I look down and I really don't mind staying in for just a little bit longer!!!!

I have managed a little bit of crafting. In my continued bid to try and organise things a bit more I made myself a jewellery holder using a 50p thrifted frame, some cup hooks (about 20p) and some fabric I had lying around. It's working quite well and as I can now see my necklaces I'm wearing them a lot more!
Jewellery holder by fabric&flowersuk

And finally (but by no means unimportantly!) I've been hook, hook, hooking away at the border of the sky blanket and.......(trumpet fanfare)..... I finished it today! Can you believe it?! Finally finished! Whoo hooooo!!! A few little bits of tidying up and it will be ready for it's Ta-Dah. I can't even begin to describe how good it feels to have completed it.

I hope you're finding some snippets of colour in your everyday

S x

Todays sky ● grey, overcast. Miserable!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Flowers or Windmills?!

Hey everyone! Hope you've all had a good week? We had an early half-term so managed a short break away, which was lovely but involved quite a bit of the white stuff!!!!

Whilst away I finished off the binding on a mug rug for a swap that I signed up to a little while ago. I'd had lots of different ideas and found out that my swapee likes red and teal. So....ta-dah! What do you think?
Mug Rug by fabricandflowersuk

My inspiration was flower heads nodding in the breeze on a hill top. I used Lynne's tutorial to create the curved grassy hill. I used a small piece of red fabric backed with bondaweb and cut it into randomly sized triangular pieces which I placed on my background and ironed into position once I was happy with the placement.

Initially I had been going to free machine quilt around each of the petals but they were so small, and I could see that they were going to fray easily that I decided to zig-zag with small stitches around each of them, before then zig-zagging a flower stem with a wider stitch.
Mug Rug by fabricandflowersuk

I decided to have a bit of fun with the quilting as I've started a Craftsy class and am also building myself up to quilting my BOM's. For the sky I went with some small stippling. For the grass though, you can see I went a little bit crazy! I started off with the idea of McTavishing which then evolved into a leaf-type shape, which I think works quite well? It took quite a lot longer than I was expecting though!

Hopefully my swappee will like it and it suits her taste! I'm pleased with how it's come out but am not sure if they look more like windmills than flowers (Little Girl when asked said both!)?! And it's the perfect size for both a cup of tea and some chocolate dinosaurs!!!!!!

It's a day late but I'm going to link up with Beth's Let's Get Acquainted,

See you all soon,

S x

Today's sky ● bright blue and spring like!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Adventures in tea-dying

It was quite an adventure last week. Do you remember back last September I got a William Morris Charm pack? Well, I dug it out again recently, with a quilt plan in mind.

I'm not sure if my taste has changed, or if I was seeing them in a truer light (as opposed to what was quite a dark shop) but now the orange in particular (at the bottom) and to some extent the green too (on the right) looked just wrong. Too gaudy. They'd over-power the delicate more muted hues of the William Morris fabrics. I really wanted to use the fabric though, rather than buy more and add to my stash, and then it hit me. A lightbulb moment. I could tea-dye it (and I'm quite sure this was prompted by Portia's post I'd read a few days earlier!)

I had to get some extra yardage for what I have planned and, as I was dyeing it I wanted to do it all in one batch to ensure an even colour. Unfortunately, I could only get extra orange and had to buy a different coloured green (the one up there on the left), but at least I have been partly thrifty!

After a bit of a google check (I found here and here really good) I'd come across lots of different suggesstions for timing/tea:water ratio and was starting to get a bit nervous - I didn't want to ruin perfectly good fabric, even if it was a bit too gaudy for my taste. Eek!

One afternoon I decided to stop procrastinating and to get on with it! I was dyeing a metre of fabric, so I measured out about 2 litres of water (the equivalent of about eight cups of water) and sixteen teabags (Tesco Everyday Value, 80 bags for 45p!) and bought it up to the boil in a big pan and let it steep for a good ten minutes. It does make the room a bit pongy! I did try to take a pic of this for you, but check out all the steam!!!!! Not sure you can really see that much?!

As you can see, I left the tea bags in. I did debate whether or not to do so (I was worried about the bags sitting against an area of the fabric and causing a darker patch) but it worked out fine.

Whilst the tea had been steeping, I'd pre-soaked my fabric. Once my mixture was ready (and by this point, I was starting to feel a little bit like a witch!) I added in my fabric and gave it a bit of a swish around to make sure it was as well covered as possible. I was only going to leave it ten minutes but had read somewhere that you got a softer hue if it was left a bit longer, so eventually left it for about thirty minutes, giving it regular stirs to move the fabric around for an even coverage.

After rinsing until the water ran clear, I stuck the fabric in the tumble drier to help 'set' the colour and then gave it a good iron. And it was all done....

This is the truest colour picture that I can get, in truth I think the dyed fabric is probably a little bit darker than this if you see it in real life, but it's made a fantastic difference - it's muted enough to go really well with the William Morris fabrics now. Yay!

I got to use it sooner than expected too. A friend had ordered one of my slouchy tote bags and when I came to make it, I realised that I didn't have enough of the fabric left over. Panic!!!!! Whilst deliberating what to do, I looked over, saw my recently dyed fabric and thought 'ooooh, that's a good match'!!!!! After a little bit of chopping and fussy cutting I had a new bag design......and thankfully my friend loved it!

The rest of the fabric has all been chopped up for my quilt. Now I just need to prep my other fabric and then I'll be able to make a start!

I hope you've all had a great weekend - although we're already a day into the week I'm going to link up to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog meet and Marelize's Anything Goes
Lily's QuiltsStitch by Stitch

See you all soon,

S x

Todays sky ● glimpses of blue through lots of clouds!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The past week has been mostly about....

...sewing a Renfrew! It's needs a good press and some photo's and then it will be ready for it's big reveal!

...getting overly excited about my new sewing caddy! I picked this nifty little box up recently for the princely sum of just over £2 and it's awesome! It comes with lots of little plastic tabs to make the compartments as big or small as you need, so I've managed to separate out most of my sewing machine feet, needles and the like which is making it a lot easier to hunt for things. I'm easily pleased, I know! some fabric I bought back last year and deciding it had to be dyed because it's just not quite the right shade. Scary but fun...I'll do a full post on this in the next couple of days.

...having a family trip to Ledbury yesterday. It was our first time there so we had a bit of an explore and it's such a pretty market town! I also happened to notice that a wool shop will be opening there soon...!

...hooking away on my Sky Blanket (still!): last weekend I set myself the goal of getting it done. As you can probably guess by my lack of posts, this didn't happen, and I've been really annoyed with myself because of it. Each border row takes about two hours.....I think if I'd neglected all motherly and cooking duties I might have just managed it but alas, this was not allowed! So I'm still working away - on row five now - so not long to go, maybe next weekend?!

...signing up for the first issue of a new magazine - Love Quilting and Patchwork - which is due out in a couple of weeks. It looks really exciting and comes with a free Nikki Trench guide to quilting, which I think would be ideal for beginner quilters

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and see you soon,

S x

Today's sky ● grey and overcast. Blurgh! 

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