my Summer Sampler quilt

Today I pieced the last block of the Summer Sampler series! I’m going to make doubles of four of the blocks to make the quilt big enough for my enormous bed, but now I’ve done one of each in the series. What an accomplishment! It feels great.

quilt blocks

I decided to learn to quilt last summer when I found a neat quilting handbook at the library. First I made a hand-pieced couch cushion cover. That was last summer.

kudde

This summer I made this English-pieced and hand-quilted tea cosy. I worked on it while catching up on Pretty Little Liars (no spoilers please! I’ve still only watched seasons 1-3).

tea cosy

And now I’ve pieced a quilt top! It might be a bit ambitious but hey, if you want to learn to quilt, you’ve got to make a quilt some time right? So I’m picturing a nice, cozy winter of handquilting… check back with me in a month or two to see if it’s driving me nuts or if I’m still at it !

I can really recommend the Summer Sampler quilt-a-long if it’s your first time making a quilt (or even if it’s not!). It’s very straightforward and the three quilt-a-long leaders made such wonderful, clear, photo-heavy tutorials. I learned a lot and every block worked out perfectly, which is saying a lot ! I even figured out paper piecing, thanks to the quilt-a-long.

quilt blocks 2PS The pink background fabric is the same fabric I used for the blouse I blogged about here and I don’t know if you can see it, but some of the same fabric from the shirt I’m wearing in this photo is used in the two star blocks on the bottom row.  Sewing win!

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Fabric stashin’

People always want to know what I miss most about Canada (besides friends and family). There are quite a few things to miss about Canada like roadside stands with fresh produce in the summer, Ontario peaches and corn and of course Tim Hortons coffee. But number one on my list is always fabric shopping!

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There’s a chain of fabric stores called Fabricland, which have quite a great selection and terrific prices, and then there’s the street in my hometown that has only fabric stores for a good two blocks! It’s heaven.

I’ve managed to get better at finding fabric in my Swedish town since I moved here, but it’s still nothing like the Canadian stores which are better organized, have nicer displays (why do Swedish stores always want to display their fabric as a pile of rolls you have to root through, so that it’s rather impossible to see everything?) and much more selection. So you know I had to take a day out for fabric shopping when I spent a week in Ontario this summer!

Hilariously I thought I would spend about an hour shopping… ha! Make that three. You have to go into each store one by one, remember the things you like, and then go back once you’ve compared and decided what to buy where, of course!

So what did I get?

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The hedgehog flannel is just a 1/4 of a metre, I think I’ll use it as edging on a set of pillowcases.

Under that are two flowered cottons, one is probably destined for a blouse and the other is a pair of pyjamas (more on those soon).

The pastel plaid looks much nicer in real life than in this kind of queasy photo, and will probably become shorts. Peeking out below that is some plain white batiste for a blouse and a little plainweave linen – which I can actually find here but you know, I got a bit nostalgic over “my favourite store, the one where I always buy the linen!”

And right at the bottom, where you can barely see it, is some plaid flannel for a pair of autumn shorts. I took another picture of the plaid but it looks weird, so let’s wait until I start sewing the shorts and take a more flattering pic!

Hooray! Happy sewing!

Weekend wardrobe

As By Gum by Golly pointed out the other day, summer is officially over! So I thought I’d better follow her lead and show off my summer outfit that I sewed back in June or July.

outfit 2(sorry I didn’t iron these things before taking the photos!)

The pattern is Simplicity 2087, copyright 1957, and perhaps you can tell that I was heavily influenced by the cover art when picking my fabrics! Sometimes my love of the envelope art can leave me disappointed when sewing – when I don’t feel quite as though my garment lives up to expectations, but I feel just like the illustration when I wear this outfit! That sounds a bit strange but trust me, it’s a good thing.

pattern envelope

The skirt is rayon, which I’d actually never sewn with before. I LOVE it! So comfortable to wear and such a fantastic drape. The blouse is a light pink cotton poplin and the shorts and cummerbund are a heavier cotton weave called “sheet weave” in Swedish. It’s my go-to for casual tops and works great for shorts too – it has just the right body.

angled close-up

The envelope describes this as “a simple-to-make weekend wardrobe”, since you can switch out the shorts and skirt and add or subtract the cummerbund, giving you three outfits for the ‘price’ of one. I packed these clothes when I went to Vancouver in August and it really was the perfect summer wardrobe! So really, if I had to rate this pattern I’d give it “Five stars would sew again. Lives up to all the envelope’s promises”.

outfit 1

Like a lot of the patterns I buy, this one was a size too small for me. I graded up the blouse using the pattern-shifting technique from Threads no 194, a new-to-me technique. Grading is so fun and easy using this method! (I promise – I actually look forward to sewing with my too-small patterns now). It gave 100% better results that my old “technique” of adding width around all the pattern edges. I’m actually embarrassed to admit how many patterns I “graded up” with that method – the proper way, whether it be by slash-and-spread or shifting, gives better results. Duh. I traced and then slashed-and-spread the shorts, my old laziness and reluctance giving way now that I knew how much better the results are. The skirt is just a dirndl, with gathered rectangles, so I didn’t have to do anything there but add a little width when cutting. Probably unnecessary but you know, I may be lazy but I’m thorough!

close-upThe zippers are all hand-picked. I did a machine buttonhole for once though, since this is supposed to be a “quick and easy” pattern. I made a hidden flange on the armhole to give it a more flattering line, as described in Claire Schaeffer’s book Couture Sewing. I was going to make lingerie guards but again, quick and easy, so I didn’t bother. The pocket bags are made from the same poplin as the blouse, with a band of green inside the opening so the pink won’t peek out too much.

pocket

zip
ooof what a blurry picture

And that’s about all there is to say about this fantastic outfit!I don’t think I would make the whole outfit again, simply because I am so pleased with it that I can’t imagine why I’d want to sew another, similar, outfit in fabrics and colours that I wouldn’t like as much. I’ll definitely make the shorts again though, the fit is great and they are the perfect length. Super-flattering (I think!) and they have a great cut, the crotch seam is long enough that you don’t get wedgies when you sit down, even though they are very short – pert, as the pattern describes them!  I’d like to make the blouse again too, it fits like a dream and I love boat necks. I’d like to try it in a wool crepe for autumn. And of course the skirt is makeable again, and the belt is great for adding colour to an outfit and doesn’t require much fabric. Oh, who am I kidding, of course I’ll make all these patterns again!

For now though I can finally get back to my neglected Autumn sewing projects, like that plaid dress I’ve left lying around since last October…

Why blog?

I really want to have a place to keep all my projects together – especially a place to see all the stages, from planning to finished result, with plenty of pictures!

I’ve had blogs before and they’ve never really stuck (I’d link you to all my past blogs but oh, who has time – they were legion), yet the idea of blogging keeps floating around in my head. I make so many projects, and I’m proud of them and want to show them off ! I suppose it’s as simple as that.

I’d also like a blog as a place to write and keep longer texts, not about creative pursuits but more about life and opinions in general. We’ll see how it goes with that. Perhaps one aim will win out over the other in the long run – if I manage to keep this blog updated for longer than a week.

As you can guess from the title, I sew almost exclusively with vintage patterns – knit from mostly old patterns too. Why? Well, I’ll get to that in another post!