Bags and hags

Posted in Accessories on May 31, 2010 by sticklane

After the completion of the quilt for Grace, I embarked on a non-quilted project.

Lovely fabrics, yummy.

Previously I had bought a selection of fabrics which you can see in the picture. In addition to this, I now have several Amy Butler patterns for different tops and one for a reversible handbag and tote.

I decided to start the handbag. The pattern seemed fairly straightforward but I had not made anything like this before. I had not even cut out a pattern and then used it to cut out fabric before!

I took my time and slowly over the course of a couple of nights my project took shape. The hardest part was stitching the two sides of the handbag together in order to make it reversible. However, with this done, my project was complete.

The completed handbag

The inside (reversible part) of the handbag.

With this project complete, I had a couple of  hours spare and my sister by my side to help me. I decided to have a go at making an Amy Butler stash bag, which is small enough to put a few bits of make-up in and my door keys. The fabric that I used was the same fabric as the Chelsea bag and as I had some left over so was able to put it to good use.

Again this project required me to insert a zip (using the zipper foot) and adding some pleats. After a couple of hours this project was also complete, thanks to the help of my wonderful sister. Now onto making some clothes.

Amy Butler stash bag

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Finishing the top piece

Posted in Quilt for Grace on May 25, 2010 by sticklane

I have spent the last two evening finishing the top layer of my Daughter’s quilt. Well, when I say I have spent the last two evenings, I mean about half an hour last night and a good two hours tonight.

It needn’t have taken me quite so long but I was not entirely confident in the accuracy of my cutting and therefore the quality of the strips. So, I took the time to piece the strips together, carefully pinning each strip in place before sewing them together. Despite my feelings about assembling the blocks in this way, I am pleased with the final outcome.

The finished top layer

The next task is to trim off the edges and then cut the batting to size and complete the backing. I now need to decide on which backing fabric to go for. I am in two minds whether to choose pink or red. At the moment I am edging towards a red coloured backing fabric but I won’t finally make my mind up until I look at some in a shop. But that will have to wait until another day.

Adding the strips

Posted in Quilt for Grace on May 23, 2010 by sticklane

My next task is to sew the long strips together. This kind of goes against the normal assembly techniques/ methods that I have used and come across. The reason that you assemble the strips in this way is that the finished quilt looks like layers of bricks.

I carefully laid out my strips and placed them in an order that looks quite pleasing to me. Carefully I laid the wrong sides together of the first two strips and pinned them in place along the joins of each strip. Using the quarter inch foot on my machine I carefully sewed a seam along the long edge of the strip. I then removed the pins, pressed the stitches and had a look. I was pleased with the result.

That was last night. Tonight I continued.

The first few strips joined together.

I then joined several more together and this will be my work for the next few evenings I think.

My night's work.

The Janome

Posted in Quilt for Grace on May 20, 2010 by sticklane

Well since my last post, I placed an order for a new sewing machine. The lovely Janome machine arrived today and came with a quilting table and extra feet as well as some other extras including 5 boxes of thread, tape, bobbins, needles and a pack of scissors.

The Janome

So after doing my chores, I carefully got the machine out of the box and unpacked it. My sister also has the same machine and we thought that if I had the same one then we will both be used to using the machine and can travel to each other’s houses to do some patchwork/craft without having to bring our machines too.

I saw Amanda put thread on the bobbin and thread the needle, but I couldn’t quite remember how to do it myself. By following the instruction manual and taking my time I managed to do it without too much trouble. It is certainly a different task to do this with the new machine compared to my old Jones. Once done, I got a scrap of fabric out and tried some simple stiches and used a couple of the different feet. All went well.

My final task was to have a go at sewing some of the pairs of fabric for Grace’s quilt together into long strips. I used the 1/4″ seam foot to do this and it didn’t take too long to make a couple of them up. More will be done tomorrow.

The strips

Back to it

Posted in Quilt for Grace on May 18, 2010 by sticklane

After a week or so of inactivity, I returned to my current project.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to change the design of my daughter’s quilt. I am making a quilt from small rectangles of various fabrics, using the ones I had already cut up for my initial design. This will mean that the quilt is a larger version of the table runner that I had previously made.

Using the width and length measurements that I had already taken, it was possible to work out how many pieces of fabrics I would need, it would be well over 200! It took a long time but finally I had cut enough pieces.

The paired pieces of fabric

Now it was time to begin piecing the fabric rectangles together. I sorted the strips into colours and then began to randomly pair them up. This done, I got my sewing machine out and started to sew the pairs together. I did a few, pressing the stitches and then pressing them open, before leaving it for the night.

Tonight, I got out the machine again to finish the mammoth task of piecing the pairs together. In the end I finished sewing the pairs using the chain-piecing method. This is a technique where you sew one pair of fabric pieces together and then without stopping or cutting the threads, sew the next pair and so on until you get a long chain of pairs all joined together. (It looks a bit like bunting). The advantage is that this method saves time and less thread is wasted. The disadvantage is that you have to be accurate with your seam allowances otherwise you will have to keep stopping!

All pieces are sewn together in pairs and my next job is to press the stitches and press open the seams. As I began to pack my things away, my machine (which had worked quite hard this evening) had somehow managed to trip the circuit breaker in the kitchen again. This is a bit worrying especially as this is going to be my largest project to date. On the up side, I got a new job on Friday so I may be getting a new machine in the very near future.

Little Girl

Posted in Quilt for Grace on May 11, 2010 by sticklane

After finishing the Christening quilt my attention has now gone back to making a quilt for my daughter. My original idea was to make a quilt using 8-pointed stars in a mixture of white, pink and red fabrics.

I worked out the dimensions and came to the conclusion that 5 inch squares would do the trick. So I started and cut out my squares. I began by joining squares together and then cutting them along the diagonal to make the triangles which will form the points of the stars. However, when I went to piece the points with the square blocks I realised that the points were not big enough.

Oh dear, I made the squares bigger and this sorted out the problem. but, another issue became apparent. As I had already cut out the squares I needed to cut some larger ones for the points. This completed I set about making up the first block. After doing this I decided I didn’t like the combinations of fabrics needed to make each individual block.

Finally, I decided to use a different quilt design.

Binding the christening quilt

Posted in Christening Quilt on May 7, 2010 by sticklane

The finished quilt

The next stage in the christening quilt was to cut the binding strips. This was simple enough but when I looked at the fabric that  I had bought, I thought that there might not be enough. In the end there was.

I cut the sections of binding and now I had the task of joining the strips together. It all seems so simple but to get those strips joined on the bias is not an easy task. Getting the strips to line up neatly is a difficult task for me for some reason. however, in the end I managed it.

Then the strips needed attaching to the quilt. This was much easier to do. I’m not sure if it was because I used a new needle in my machine or the wadding/batting that I used. (I used an 100% cotton wadding this time, which was much denser than the wadding I had used on my previous two projects). Anyway I managed this without too many hiccups.

But, joining the two loose ends of the binding was a different matter. I struggled to do this properly in the last two projects. Any instructions that I found were just not clear enough or did not seem to give accurate or satisfactory results. So I spent over two hours trying to follow a video and then some advice from my hubby. No good, I just wasn’t happy.

As I was about to give up for the night, I decided to have one last search on the internet. Hurrah! I found some easy to follow instructions which worked a treat and only took a few moments to do. The results were very good. At last I have found an method that was simple but did the job. Brilliant.

All that needed to be done was the sewing of the binding strip on to the back of the quilt. I had taken a great deal of care to trim the extra wadding and backing so the edge was nice and neat. This made the final binding much easier to complete and so I managed to finish the quilt.

I am so pleased with the results. I can’t wait to start my next project.