Heirloom Quilt 

Today’s post is a real labour of love. I decided about a month a go that I would make a quilt for my Mother-in-law’s 60th birthday. I thought that it would be a great idea to give an heirloom as part of a milestone birthday like that. Let me tell you, there is a reason that I stick to dressmaking. Phew, this one was tough! It was a little beyond my (and my sewing machine’s)  talents and much more time consuming than I realised but it’s done  and I hope I’m not shaming the Quilting world! 

I started off with some templates from Art of Quilting Magazine.  I started to get this when I thought that Quilting was going to be my thing and then realised it wasn’t so I don’t have the full collection but I have quite a few of them. So I took the 2 folders of patterns I did have and got to work cutting and creating. I worked through, cutting 2 or 3 of each block. I used 2 packs of fat quarters in pinks and greens and a couple of spare cotton pieces, including this Liberty Tana Lawn in Green called Oriental Floral Green. I also wanted to point out this one I bought called Utopia Dreamlandia Illuminated which is just brilliant! It took a whole weekend but I felt prepared. 

I then dutifully sewed them all together, using as much chain stitch as I could, but this confused me sometimes and I ended up with a few back to front pieces. Anyone who usually follows me will know that precise isn’t always my strong suit so some blocks aren’t perfect but as my husband continued to remind me, I was just being critical because it’s me who was making it. 

The Quilting magazine kind of haunts me as I don’t have to full set, it’s quite nice and has lots of articles on the history and mini projects but I couldn’t justify paying for it when I wasn’t enjoying it as much as dressmaking. It tells you all about the names of the blocks though, which I love; let me point out a few favourites of mine. 

Sail Boat
Road to Oklahoma

I pressed, snipped and created the posts in a contrast grey. I then placed it out BIG on the living room floor to decide on placement. I labelled it up and sewed them all together in lines, there was a few wonky moments but all in all it looked good. 

Now the tricky bit; the backing! I pressed and laid everything out, I used every safety pin I had to secure everything. I took it to my machine and it was soooo difficult! It was really heavy to deal with, it was sometimes catching and folding at the back, it was too big to go through my machine. I started to unpick some parts and do them again before realising I would literally do this forever. My machine handled it beautifully and I am quite literally proud of it, but it isn’t really big enough for all that quilt so my arms were aching so much from pushing all the quilt up and through!!  I had a MAJOR tantrum, where I dragged said quilt infront of my husband and sank to the floor saying it wasn’t going to get done and she would have to have another present. He immediately started Googling gifts (rude) and mentioned something about a Yankee candle and this brought me out of my paddy somewhat and I returned with new determination. 

In the end I just went with it, it did bunch up a little in places at the back but once it was all done, it seemed to look OK. I just stuck to working round the squares and it worked out fine. I then did the binding. I machine sewed it to the front and then to avoid anything else going wrong I decided to handstitch it together… The day before. It began as a rather relaxing process and finished as a manic race to the finish. Last thing that night on went the label and Phew, she was done. 

It’s a little wonky, not quite perfect and I’m not even trying to compare it to all the amazing Quilts I see on instagram but I still think it’s lovely and I’m rather proud to give it to her as a gift made with lots of love (and swearing) She was absolutely made up! I was so glad to give her something that was so heartfelt and that I had worked so hard on, and, of course, no one pointed out any wonky bits! She’s great to me and we’ll worth it. 

We tried to take some pictures of the full quilt in the garden and ended up not really being tall enough!! I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend x

Hi, I’m Emma and I’m addicted to the Moneta 

It’s an absolute addiction this Moneta situation and I fear it is getting out of hand. I have abandoned all other patterns and replaced my sewing with Monetas! Why wouldn’t I when they are this cool!  I love it so much that I have been making them for other people to share the joy… Not before I’ve  rustled another up for myself though! 

This is mine, in this lovely purple/grey jersey from The Textile Centre.  I stuck with version 3; no arms on show here! It whizzes together in no time. Though, it would’ve been even quicker if I didn’t mess the neckline up. It stretched out as I sewed and ended up looking a bit of a mess. I tried to unpick it but I was making holes, so I cut along the stitch line and added a neckline, which I’m getting quite good at since I did one for this dress. Any tips on not stretching it out though? Also, does anyone else find the Moneta neckline can be a little too wide? Not to insult my new fave dress pattern!!. 

I’m not very good at making garments in just one colour so I’m glad I have. I also used the scraps for this to put together this little t-shirt for my niece, it’s a Jasmine Top, which is a free pattern you can get from Petit Boo on Craftsy. It doesn’t have separate sleeves so it comes together really quickly. Though it’s a bit wonky in places, I’m still get used to jersey and this is super stretchy. 

I embroidered a row of little flowers too, just to add detail. It’s so cute! 

Anyway, on to dress two. I promised my friend Sam that I would make her a dress for her 30th birthday. She asked for blue and after seeing my pictures, asked me to lower the neckline. She’s the birthday girl so that’s what I did. It’s made using this really cool jersey scuba (much stretchier than normal scuba) that I also got the The Textile Centre. It has these dimples on it which makes it look a bit different. I think it’s really cool. 

This one came together really easily as the scuba is so stable and I’m getting to be a bit of a pro at them now! I left the pockets out too as I though it would be too bulky. I decided to use the scraps to make another for me but only had enough to make the top half.. Which I shall save until I have jersey to match it! More on that when I get round to it. 

Thirdly… I am making a final version for the lovely Charlotte from ChasJos as we are doing a craft swap, more pictures soon and details of what we’re up to. This is my progress so far… 

I’m quite excited about this swap so I’ll be creating a special blog post all about it! I’ve had my swap item and it’s amazing so watch out for my blog post next week! 

Just as an addition, I’m going to join Me Made May this year so here is my pledge… Hem hem… 

 ‘I, Emma of @emmaandhermachine  sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear a me made garment each day for the duration of May 2017 in hope of identifying the gaps in my me made work wardrobe, in particular.’

I feel this is a much needed step to encourage me to make more practical garments and not those which hang in the wardrobe waiting for wedding invites!! Sign Up Here to make your pledge! 

Sewing For Pleasure Haul

What a fabulous day I had yesterday! I won tickets to go to the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham from Elle @sewpositivity. I took my Mum, because she is amazing not because she loves sewing like me!! I want to show off my lovely haul and my plans to people who like to know… AKA not the husband who has, quite frankly, had enough of my dressmaking ramblings! 

Now, I did write a list and I am well aware that I already have my fingers in many pies but I couldn’t resist. Though I did say no more florals and managed to stick to that rule so ‘well done me’! 

There was lots of really cool displays to see and I’m not going to bore you with pictures because if I was reading this I would just want to get to the good stuff but… How cool is this Whitewalker from Game of Thrones made entirely from Textiles?

Anyway… On with the haul. 

Ta dah!

I’ll go through all the lovely fabrics but I also got 2 free patterns from The Sewing Quarter which were the Freya dress and The Granville Skirt. Everyone loves a freebie. My mum, who is so kind also picked me up a little clip which extends for me to attach my snippers too. 

One of the first fabrics to catch my eye was the gorgeous grey with coloured (I think screen printed) blotches. I put it down at first because it wasn’t very wide but then I had to go back!  I have a skirt in mind for this one. I wanted a metre and a half but the woman took a piece off that was one metre forty so I took that instead and she only charged me for a metre!! 

This stall was called The Shuttle which is a fabric shop in Yorkshire aparrantly. I’ve never heard of them before but they do some gorgeous fabrics. I also got this pink and blue flecked cotton. There was a range of these and they really caught my eye. I only got a metre (£5) and I’m thinking a nice Colette Sorbetto for summer. 

Also from The Shuttle is this gorgeous 100% cotton water colour style fabric in purple. I was speaking to a lady there and we were absolutely lusting over it. I bought 2 metres of it as £5 per metre. 

It’s so pretty!!I knew I wanted a nice dress but I thought to break it up, I would get a block colour for the bodice so it looks like a two piece dress so I also got a metre of this lovely royal purple colour, with my Mum’s advice! 

I’m thinking a stashed pattern like New Look 6262 would be ideal for this. 

I also picked up some lovely Paisley for a mother’s day gift so I can’t say much more on this but it’s lovely and soft and it was only £2.99 per metre from Lili Fabrics. They had a great big stall and an amazing range. 

Finally, I got a kit to make a Peruvian Purse. My mum bought me this because I was so taken with it, I just thought it was so unusual! The little opening is like a looped zip with a snap to catch it at the end.  The company was called Craft and Cotton and the lady was so helpful. I can’t wait to make it up and they sell just the notions on their website so I think I’ll be getting more for gifts! 

That’s it from me! I will of course share the makes as I get round to them. I will also be sharing more of the dress I wore to the show next Friday as I’m in love with it! 

Not enough hands… Not enough time… 

I’m not in a position this week to share a finished make with you, unless you count these infinity scarves I quickly sewed up for my Sister-in-law’s colleagues because they loved hers so much. 

I have been juggling a few things in my sewing room this week. I’m currently working on a present for my Mother-in-law for her birthday, which I can’t share on here but you will have seen a snippet of if you follow me on instagram

I’ve also been working on a project for Fabric Styles, who have asked me to try out some of their Scuba fabric and write and YouTube it,  so watch this space. Here’s the lovely fabrics I chose. 

Isn’t the floral pattern on it amazing? 

Finally, I am also working on another Moneta in a lovely aubergine, purple colour.

And I’ve used my scraps to make a quick and cute T-shirt for my niece for her birthday. I couldn’t face to leave it plain so I have inexpertly embroidered some little flowers on it. 

I will not get much done this weekend either because me and my Mum are going to The Stitching for Pleasure show!! I won tickets courtesy of the lovely Elle from Sew Positivity!! I am insanely excited about this!  

I haven’t got enough hands or time, or head space, for that matter for everything I’m trying to do but I’m sure I’ll get there, plus there’s school holidays on the horizon with lots of sewing time planned for myself! I promise I’ll try and share something completed next week!

Mini Dungaree Dress

A couple of months a go (Sew Saturday in October) I bought some of the Michael Miller Magic fabric range with the intention of making a dress for my niece. I love this range, the fabrics are so pretty and bright; perfect for little girls. The lovely lady in the shop told me a metre would do one of the pillow case type dresses you see for little ones but I wanted to try something different.

She loved the dungaree set I made in October so I decided to make one similar but draft it myself… I used a circle skirt pattern by I Think Sew because I didn’t feel confident drafting one myself after my last one didn’t fit. I did draft the waist band though as I wanted to put elastic in the back to make it child friendly and comfy.  I measured her waist… and her height and her head and everything else she insisted I measured whilst I was at it. I’m 168cm if you’re interested! I then added 4 inches extra to the measurement needed for the back piece to allow for the elastic and gathered the skirt slightly to fit.

I then used the Sunday Set pattern by Cotton and Chalk to draft a tiny version of the top half and the straps. I was going to do a pocket but I literally used all this fabric!

It all came together nicely. I used French seams as I wanted it to last and everything else was stitched right sides together and then top stitched once turned out. I hate hemming circle skirts though so I made a binding out of the tiny bit of fabric I had left so I had a neat finish.

I finished it off with some bright green buttons,  anything pastel just seemed too blah… I added some buttons holes and I was done. I think it is the cutest thing in the whole world and I wrapped it with some white tights…  It’s winter after all.

She loved it and wore it to our Boxing Day party, gorgeous or what?! She’s easily my favourite model! 

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Sorry for the Christmas themed pictures but I needed to share this… It’s just so sweet! 

Getting Shirty for Santa

I’ll start this post by a bit of an explanation of my family dynamic,  I’m the eldest but so far from the coolest of 3 siblings,  my brother and sister are and always have been a billion times cooler than I will ever be and although they love me and we are so lucky to be as close as we are as a family, they consider me to be a complete geek…  Rightly so to be honest and it isn’t a title that I shun. Andrew, my brother, doesn’t usually find my home-made clothes very on trend,  until more recently as I’ve started to get better anyway. When he noticed this, he told me that if I made him a shirt, he would wear it so…  The challenge begun.

I bought Simplicity 6232 Shirt Pattern and cut a small in a lovely dove grey cotton and begun. I didn’t want to get overwhelmed by all the parts so I bought plenty of cotton so I could recut if anything went terribly wrong and tried to take a step by step approach. I really wouldn’t have been able to do it without this tutorial from Male Devon Sewing, it’s a fantastic tutorial and it made the whole thing much easier.  I did also follow this video from Sew Over It when it came to the yoke as I messed up the last one I did. I was doubtful the whole time, until I turned it out and it had only gone and worked!!

I used this brilliant Downton Abbey Fabric for a nice,  manly contrast, even though it is called Dowager Grey Paisley! I used it on the collar, cuffs, yoke and inside the pocket.

dsc_0123.jpgIt all seemed to be going so well and I didn’t have the ‘this doesn’t look right’ feeling but that was such a mistake, as it turned out that I had turned the packets in instead of out. I didn’t realise this until I came to the collar and it was about 1 and a half inches too short on each side. So…  I unpicked the right side and had to do the left side again as I had already done the button holes (gggrrr) Anyway, that solved that, so I moved on. I was dreading the collar but I felt it went really well as I followed the instructions and the tutorial. I found doing the button holes really therapeutic,  which was a good job as I did them twice! I chose these really cool metal buttons to go with it, I wasn’t sure whether they would look cheap or trendy but I decided on the latter.. My father-in-law pointed out that they look like little screws.

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The next problem I came up against was the cuffs,  I couldn’t get them to line up well and they just weren’t really up to standard,  I ummed and ahhed and then unpicked the lot and started again..  I’m glad I did though as it was unwearable with the original cuffs. They look quite neat now and I decided to use more on the contrast fabric the second time round.

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I’m really pleased with it,  this is easily the most complicated garment I’ve ever made and it was a great learning curve. I was really pleased to end a year in which I’ve been learning to sew with a big project like this. I’m very proud of it and Andrew liked it too, which is fantastic. They’ll be no pictures of him wearing it though as he is VERY camera shy!

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Sewing, the gift that keeps on giving…

I’ve had a little unexpected surprise that I’d like to share… I met my hubby at his parents house tonight and they were all looking very suspicious, excited and grinning at me in a strange way. I was ordered to close my eyes and when I opened them…. This was waiting for me…

basket-and-tin-joan

I gave a strange grin right back at them… erm… ‘what is it?’

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THIS is what it is! Exciting or what?! Let me explain…

Kyle’s Nan no longer uses any of her sewing things, she was an avid knitter but is no longer able to sew as she once did. Kyle’s family very kindly thought of me and wanted me to have her sewing things. I’m so thankful, moved and flattered by this as there’s lots of little bits that I’m sure have some good memories for my mother-in-law and her sisters. It’s a real inheritance for me and something I’ll cherish. It’s the things like this that make sewing so special as when you use the things you were given, it makes anything you make extra special and nostalgic. So… overall a very happy sewer here!

All neatly packed away and kept were some vintage pinking shears and scissors, and a knitting equipment kit. Joan was a knitter so there are lots of little pearlised buttons for baby cardigans but also some really cool gold coloured buttons. I love the way it is all so organised, I think it really sums up that generation. There are lots of little boxes and tupperwares with buttons and safety pins; everything seems to have a place. She has bags buttons, tied with matching wool and a big needle, ready to go on her completed knits. Obviously, there are lots of threads for me to dive in to as well and also a huge bag of elastics and various bindings.

I absolutely love the retro Royal wedding tin, so very British Nan and it is full of threads. Every family I know had one of these as we were little but things like this don’t seem to survive anymore and I think it’s so nostalgic. The threads look like jewels; a proper box of treasure.

There’s also a little popper mechanism which is packed neatly in this little box, which I also love.

wilds-ashton

Kyle is originally from Ashton and Katherine Street it still there – though no shops like this anymore, unfortunately. I love to see traditional old embossing and professional shop memorabilia like this from when packaging was quality and not ‘throw-away’, especially when people remember it and it means something. After investigations with Kyle’s other Nan, I discovered that Wild’s was once a jewellers… when Joan came to replace a nice pair of earrings with poppers, I will never know!

Lastly, but not least, is this beautiful metal, antique thimble. The detail in the metal is so gorgeous and I feel very privileged to own it.

It makes me want to sew RIGHT NOW!

My Sister’s Top

Read the title as you will folks! The observant amongst you will notice that the girl in the picture isn’t me… though she does look rather like me… it is, of course, my sister. So I have myself a new model, which is the stipulation if I make anyone anything!

I wanted something I had made for her birthday, even though I had some gorgeous hand-made earrings I bought up in Northumberland. So I decided to put another New Look 6483 one hour top together. Which I’ve made previously here and here, amongst others. I wanted to change it up a little so I’ve hacked it a bit.

I took the back piece and added a couple of inches to the fold edge and cut 2 back pieces. I then put the t-shirt together as normal, using a green contrast bias binding. I then edged the 2 back pieces in the binding as I wanted to create an open back, which you see a lot in the shops at the minute.

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Rather than just sew the top of the back pieces together I made button holes and put 3 buttons to hold it together, I used green buttons here too. I think it’s so cute and Rach loves it too and was a brilliant blog model. A simple hack, which I definitely recommend, especially is you have broad shoulders and/or chest like me and my sister!

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Pretty PJ Pants and the Nicest Neighbours!

I had some of this gorgeous floral polycotton left from making this 1970s vintage dress.

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So I printed a pattern for some PJ bottoms thinking it would fit quite nicely with The Monthly Stitch’s Nighty Night September challenge.

To say I’m pleased with myself would be an understatement! I know that they are just a basic PJ bottom pattern but this is an achievement for me! Every time I have tried to make anything resembling trousers or shorts, it has gone terribly wrong, including some wonky seams on a pair of PJs I tried from this very same pattern. These worked! I’m so pleased to have a functional, fitting pair of pants! Woo! 🙌

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I used narrow seams and zig-zagged the edges. I also had my first try at button holes (which need some major improvement) in order to put this ribbon in, purely for decorative reasons. I created the band and inserted the elastic before sewing it shut. I did a nice thick hem on the bottom and I’m so so pleased with the result. 

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I used the XL size on the pattern but it needed extremely small seams to fit me. It meant that the waist band was too small so I had to recut it, they’re a great fit though!

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Comfy Cosy

This fabric is so soft, comfy and so easy to work with that I may have just ordered some more in red!

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IN MORE EXCITING NEWS! Check out my New/Old sewing machine!

My father-in-law was chatting to his lovely neighbours about my sewing escapades and she gave him her sewing machine for me!! How exciting is that?!

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It’s an old Riccar Reliant 58. We looked it up and the company is Japanese and was quite influential in electronic sewing machines at the time. We reckon this one was from the early 1980s. Isabel bought it on the Isle of Man and has really looked after it (she was a keen seamstress in her day and tells me she was in to tailoring and even made her own wedding dress.) She thought I would get more use out of it now though. It runs like a dream and I hope I can do it justice.

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It overlocks, does buttons and embroidery. You can do free embroidery on it too for letters etc. It comes with all the original parts. She’s also donated me the bobbins, needles and an eyelet set. There’s so much I’ve wanted to try which I can now do. I literally cannot wait to get my hands on it!!

AND… alongside this my mother-in-law gave me a Christmas ‘put away’ of new pinking shears, a large and small rotary cutter and some Christmas fat quarters!! Eeekkk! Get me on that machine!

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I say this but what I’m actually doing is settling down for a Friday night with a glass of wine, my lovely hubby and Sherlock! In my new PJs of course!

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