I have at last completed the top sheet for the quilt I’m making!
It’s taken a little longer than I would have liked to get to this stage but I’ve been stopping and starting with it. The next steps will be to attach the back sheet (which I’m keeping plain!) and the wadding to make it nice and warm.
It will then be a case of doing the actual quilting (sewing through the three layers to emphasise the design aspects of the top sheet). I’m also debating adding a border to the top sheet but I’m still a little unsure.
My Mum sent us this gorgeous little peg bag that she made as a housewarming gift.
Thanks Mum :)
I cannot express how excited I got upon discovering the new notion of “Sewing Cafés”…and then how disappointed I was to learn that no such thing exists in the UK…yet.
“Sweat Shop” is a brand new concept store in the heart of Paris. The main idea is similar to that of an internet café, but rather than hiring the use of a computer you are paying to get your hands on a sewing machine at its own individual workstation! At six euros an hour (with special offers and student discounts) I believe you are getting much more for your money than simply the use of a good quality machine.
For example, for someone who is an infrequent sewer and feels loathed to pay for their own machine if it’s only going to see the light of day a couple of time a year it could be the difference between repairing those old jeans or shelling out sixty quid for new pair. It would be a place to go to try something new and perhaps even discover an unknown talent. Most importantly I see the venues as a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded people, swap tips, spread ideas and have a good slice of cake at the same time!
Aside from the tempting allure of such delicious organic baked delights and fresh coffee, the sewing cafés are also offering structured evening classes to enhance customer’s skills across many areas of needlework and knitting.
Sweat Shop is undoubtedly becoming the talk of Paris amongst fashionistas, students and sewers and I can only hope that news spreads as quickly as possible to the UK. To quote the cafe owners, “Sweat Shop is the place where your dreams and projects come alive. And it’s here for those wanting to learn, create, transform, practice or recycle in a stress free and well equipped environment.”
As promised I’ve gone into a bit more detail to show how some of the quilt squares were created and I’ve decided to split each design into a separate post. To create a pinwheel stripe square begin by cutting four strips of equal width in different materials. Pin and stitch each strip to the next using a 1/2cm seam allowance. After each strip is attached take time to press the seam flat on the wrong side. Tip: Press the seam onto the side of the darker coloured fabric so that it doesn’t show through from the right side.
Cut two equal squares from this pieced fabric (by cutting along the dotted line shown below) and cut each of these squares along their diagonal to form a total of four triangles.
These four triangles need to be pieced together by joining their points in the centre to create one large square as pictured below.
….and it really is a skill I admire. I’m currently in the process of making a quilt, I knew when I began that it would be a difficult task but wasn’t aware of just how much patience would be required. Anyway, I’m jumping ahead…
My inspiration for this project was originally instigated after I visited London’s Victoria and Albert museum a month ago to attend their “Quilts 1700-2010” exhibition.Quilting originally began much earlier (the earliest surviving quilt dates back to the thirteenth century) as a means to stay warm on a budget. They used old scraps of fabric layered up to achieve an effective insulating blanket. The designs steadily became more elaborate and their decorative potential became more recognised.
The V&A exhibition displayed sixty five quilts spanning the mentioned time period. Some of the subjects covered in their design included landscape, politics, religion and British eccentricity as well as the documentation of births, deaths, marriages, war and fashion. I think this is why I am particularly interested in quilting as not only do they demonstrate sewing ability but also act as historical insights into the era in which they were created.
Unfortunately the exhibition is now closed but I’ve come away with the inspiration needed to design my own quilt. The V&A are also organising the “Quilt of Quilts” project, whereby members of the public submit photographs of their creations to be joined to form the most elaborate quilt composition. I plan on contributing mine upon completion (hopefully they’ll still be accepting submissions by the time I finally finish!).
So far I have been sewing squares of fabric, ranging in difficulty level in their intricacy (from the very basic to the “Keep calm and continue” stage). A few of them are pictured below and I will be posting their step-by-step methods in the near future!
The square directly above is definitely my favourite but was also the most time-consuming by far!!! The quilt is still in it’s early stages but watch this space…
I’m in love with these tea cups!
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a brilliant website recently…Rosie’s Armoire is an independent textiles business located in Lancashire (not far from my own Yorkshire roots) selling a wonderful range of home accessories and gifts.
I think I’m particularly in love with the unique vintage feel to the products, all seem to possess a sort of old-fashioned romance about them, especially the European themed postcard-esque purses.
From a sewing perspective I’m particularly attracted to these lace ribbons…I have visions of using them as a finishing touch to the bottom hem of a floaty tea dress. My wish list for this site grew exponentially as I browsed, I’ve also noted the sewing “tidier” which would be ideal as I’m currently living amongst scattered piles of folded fabric and haberdashery items.
All-in-all a brilliant site that I shall definitely be keeping my eye on!
I must firstly admit that I cannot take credit for this initial design, but as it’s a relatively good item for beginners and inexpensive as it largely uses odd remnants of fabric, I thought it would be an ideal place to start. I owe the inspiration to Cath Kidston and the pattern came from an amazing little book called “Sew!”
It’s full of cute homewares, fairly comprehensive instructions and most importantly inspiration.
My (slightly adapted) guidelines for making the tablecloth are as follows:
- Buy a good quality plain fabric to act as the main tablecloth. Try and find something that will endure a hot wash (say 60 degrees) as this is a practical item that will undoubtedly need to be washed many times (as I discovered to great dismay when my partner accidentally tried this out with red wine.)
- Cut the fabric to the desired size and shape and hem using a 2cm seam allowance.
- The great thing about this design is that you can now use remnants/scraps of old fabric in almost any colour or pattern to make the applique figures (here I have used doves and hearts but anything will work…be creative!). Wash the remnants before use to allow for any shrinkage, then press flat with a cool iron. I cannot express the need to iron fabric enough, I hardly ever iron clothes but sewing without ironing first is a recipe for disaster.
- You now need to make yourself a template for the applique figures using tracing paper or even grease-proof paper. Draw the design out in pencil and cut out. You can now pin this re-usable template to your fabric and cut around it to ensure they are all the same size and shape. I recommend using glass-headed pins purely for the reason that any rogue ones are easier to spot on carpets etc (I will forever remember my Dad telling me off when he repeatedly stood on pins that had gone astray).
- When the desired number of pieces have been cut (I made four hearts and eight doves to produce a symmetrical arrangement) you then need to decide which method of applique you will use to attach them to the main tablecloth. Applique is just a fancy way of saying “a method of attaching small pieces of fabric to a larger one to make a design”. The slightly more difficult way is to turn under the raw edges by 1/2cm and press firmly. Then the piece can be sewn straight onto the tablecloth using a straight stitch. Due to the curved shapes that I used I found it more simple to use the following described method.
- I arranged the pieces systematically and pinned them to the main tablecloth. I then undertook the task of lightly “tacking” the figures to the cloth, it may take some time but this ensures they are in exactly the correct position. Use a contrasting thread so that this hand-sewing can easily be spotted and removed later.
- Using a sewing machine “zig-zag” over the edges of the pieces ensuring that the entire edges is caught with the thread to discourage fraying.
- For the finishing touches I raided my button stash (salvaged from thrown-out items of clothing and spares that come with new ones) in order to give the doves a little eye. These are easiest to hand-stitch.
- The bottom edge of the tablecloth can be finished with ribbon or lace detailing, it’s an easy step that can really make a large difference! Measure the perimeter of the main tablecloth and buy a length of something pretty slightly longer than this to make sure you don’t have to stretch it to fit. Pin the ribbon/lace around the edge and straight-stitch using a sewing-machine.
The design possibilities for this tablecloth really are endless and I plan to make a couple more (especially a more festive one for Christmas time).