Jelly Roll Jam Baby Quilt

Those that know me well know that I love a Jelly Roll! Made of 2 and a half inch strips of co-ordinating fabrics, jelly rolls are the ultimate way to get in to quilting. There’s also something so beautiful and tempting looking at the way they are sat there with all their patterns on display, they just scream buy me! When I lived in New York for a month, I took the opportunity to grab some Moda jelly rolls which are much cheaper in the US than they are in Germany. Since then, I’ve been steadily sewing through them.

One evening I was in the mood to sew something simple, so I used half of a jelly roll to create a jelly roll jam quilt top for a baby blanket. That finished quilt top was gorgeous, but I didn’t have any coordinated backing and binding so it’s hung around in a drawer for about a year. Finally yesterday I took myself down to Quiltmanufaktur to take some advice from the lovely Andrea Kollath on how to finish this one up, and found my sewjo to back, quilt and bind this bad boy in the rest of an afternoon.

There are three reasons I love this quilt:

1) The colours are an unusual choice but somehow really trendy, I just love the way it’s come together

2) I loved finishing an ancient WIP and getting so much enjoyment out of it

3) I hand sewed the binding whilst listening to the Stitchers’ Brew podcast and it was just a lovely, relaxing, mindful experience!

Overall, finishing this quilt has helped me find my sewjo again!

 

The finished quilt has a really lovely finish to it, I love the contrast grey binding. This quilt will be a gift, but right now I am tempted to keep it!

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Whilst buying the backing and batting for this fabric, I may have been tempted by yet another Moda jelly roll from the gorgeous Gingiber …. I feel a new work in progress beginning! Oops! Some happy autumnal sewing for me though!

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Scrappy Quilted Cushion 

I have finally finished my quilt top for my latest jelly roll quilt and I’m so excited to baste, quilt and bind that bad boy! In the meantime though I was looking for a nice Saturday afternoon project so thought I would use my leftover scraps. When you make jelly roll quilts there are always these little leftover ends where you have squared them off, and with prints as lovely as these there was no way they were going in the scrap bin!

I decided that a quilted cushion cover to match my quilt top would be the best use of my leftovers. I particularly love the fact that this entire project is made of leftover fabric and leftover batting – something beautiful and all from bits I had lying around!

This was quite an easy make from a patchwork perspective as my squares were already sewn in blocks of three where they were leftover from the strip sets. I made 3 rows of 7 strip set ends and then joined them together. I then added some white sashing to mimic the design of my quilt top. If you read my blog often, you will know that I’m not really an accuracy person. This too was a bit of a fudge – I guessed how many squares I would need and let the sashing take care of the rest. It actually worked out pretty well!

One of the reasons I was so keen to make a quilted cushion top was to have an attempt at doing some quilting which was more dense than just quilting in the ditch. A cushion cover is great as its not too unwieldy under the machine and much easier to control. I stuck with straight lines as my free motion quilt foot and I are not yet best buds – I am looking forward to my course with Andrea at Quiltmanufaktur to improve on that front! I actually think the straight lines work well with the geometric prints on this cushion though, so in the end it was a good choice!

I quilted straight lines in a square pattern half a centimetre apart. This took much longer than I expected – mid cushion top I was starting to question the wisdom of choosing quite such a dense quilting pattern! They are also not the straightest lines in the world – not that I really mind though, you have to look pretty closely to notice!

I’ve not made any cushions with binding before and have to confess it felt rather strange to sew wrong sides together instead of right sides together. I trusted in google though and the results are just fine! I bound the cushion using some leftover jelly roll strips from the bundle.

All that remained was for me to hand sew the binding down to the back of the pillow and then add it to the mountain of throw pillows on my bed!

I absolutely adore this pillow! It’s become a new favourite! I love the structure and the texture of the quilting. Now I can’t wait to get my quilt finished and the matching set will be complete! This set is extra special for me as it is going on the couch in my craft room when we move in to our new apartment! I can’t wait – 5 months and counting!

Happy crafting people!

Fabric Shop Tourism

Oo you beautiful fabric haul!

As I mentioned in my last post, last week I was lucky enough to take a whirlwind trip up to Berlin for work! Berlin is one of my favourite cities in the world. I used to live there for a brief time and I had the time of my life. Going back to Berlin is always a mix of nostalgia for the way things were and excitement to see what has changed. However, this time I had a whole new dimension to explore – the fabric scene!

As Germany’s capital city, Berlin is naturally larger and has more to offer than Frankfurt in terms of shops. In addition to being Germany’s political capital though, it is also it’s creative capital! Over the years some neighbourhoods have become decidedly trendy and whether you are for or against gentrification and hipsters, for fabric lovers and creatives, the growing mass of independent shops can only be an advantage! With this in mind, I did a little google search before my trip and happened upon Frau Tulpe. The shop is conveniently located near Berlin’s ever trendier Rosenthaler Platz, which is not too far from my office. As I knew I only had time to visit one store, after perusing the goodies of the online shop and watching their super cute video tour, I decided this was the store for me!

My incredibly patient friend Melissa let me crash our dinner date with pre-dinner fabric shopping. She was amazing as I oo-ed and aa-ed at all the pretty fabrics and the wonderful creations on show. This has to be my favourite thing about the store – the inspiring little handmade bits and pieces on display which just give you an insatiable itch to sew. I left the store overflowing with ideas and 24 hours after my return from the trip I’d already sewed up these Utsensilio‘s similar to what they have on display in store.



So what did I buy? I’m not sure whether a more suitable question would be, what didn’t I buy?! First up, this adorable pattern from Minkrea. I have to say, I’d never heard of Minkrea before I saw them in this store, but their patterns are gorgeous. They are really high quality, multiple language and very simple with great little adaptable add on features. Baby niece is going to look great in this little number. Just got to sew it up before she gets too big!

I also bought some gorgeous bundles of geometric print fat quarters (featured on my utensilios), a couple of funky and decorative lace zips which I’ve not seen anywhere else yet in Germany, a Moda charm pack (fabric line gooseberry), some cream and mint green spotty heavy weight cotton for a weekend tote bag, and the most gorgeous oriental blue floral cotton. I am still deciding for the cotton whether it will become the funkiest blazer you’ve ever seen or some kind of pleated circle skirt. What do you think? I also got some gorgeous fabric covered buttons, which has sort of inspired me to try to learn to make my own. All in all an epic haul! Even better, as my haul was so epic, they gave me a free fabric carrying bag to tote my haul about in AND a loyalty card. What’s not to love?! Here I am with my swag in store (photo credit to the ever-patient Melissa!).

Swag Happy!

  
How about you? Do you know of any fabric stores in cities that I should add to my fabric tourism list? Are you a fabric tourist too? I’d love to hear about your adventures!

 

Utensilios

On Monday I was fortunate enough to take a little trip to Berlin for work. While I was there, I decided to see if I could take advantage of the Berlin Hipster Scene and find a fabric store. Boy, did I find one! I stumbled across Frau Tulpe’s – the most wonderful store full of trinkets, goodies and fabrics. There will certainly be more on my adventure and purchases in the coming days, but in the meantime I wanted to show you something that my trip inspired me to whip up pretty much as soon as I stepped off the plane!

I bought this gorgeous fat quarter bundle of geometric prints. I’m really in to geometric stuff at the moment, and in addition to this we’ve just about settled on mustard and grey as the colour scheme for our lounge in our new apartment, so it was a bit like serendipity. The bundle was really reasonably priced and the fabric is fantastic quality. A pleasure to look at and to use – what more could you want?!

Not only does Frau Tulpe’s supply beautiful and unusual fabrics, they also have lots of handmade things on display. They seemed to be particular fans of little fabric baskets (also known as Utensilios). I decided that they could come in pretty handy for storage of all sorts, either in my craft room, or potentially in the living room. I decided that they really couldn’t be too complicated, and as luck would have it I found this YouTube tutorial, which will tell you how to make one in a matter of minutes. The tutorial is a bit twee, but it is incredibly beginner friendly and the steps are clear and concise. I wish I’d thought to make one of these as one of my first projects, I would have been delighted.

You only require two rectangles of fabric (20cm x 40cm) and one rectangle of interfacing (20cm x 40cm) and away you go. I chose to use the contrasting black and white geometric prints, as I think utensilios look coolest with a contrast flap! I am SO delighted with how it turned out – honestly probably a bit too delighted considering it’s just a little basket after all. However it did really work out just how I had imagined it in my head, which doesn’t always happen that way with crafting. It was just such a speedy and satisfying make! My only regret is not thinking to whip a label in to the side seam as I think that would have looked cool, but now I will know for next time!


I am now plotting utensilios in all manner of sizes and designs. I was sat at work today wondering if it would be weird to put one on my desk and put my stationery bits and bobs in it – or could weird become cool?! I am certainly going to make a much larger one to keep fabric scraps in. I think a few people may be receiving these as gifts too!

How about you – have you ever made a utensilio? Am I behind the times in discovering these little gems?!

A New Quilt

It may have been quiet on the blog recently, but this does not mean I haven’t been sewing! In fact, I have mainly been spending my time on researching a new larger project which I have now set about tackling – a new quilt! I couldn’t help but be inspired by my trip to Quiltmanufaktur a couple of weeks ago and decided to set about a new quilt in a completely different style to what I have done previously. I love to work with pre-cuts, and I particularly love Andrea’s jelly rolls, so I stayed in that direction, but I decided this time to work mainly with white and more muted tones, rather than something super colourful!

I love some of the fabric in these jelly rolls – the prints are absolutely stunning. Some of them have line drawings with a lovely dress making theme, others quotes and writing. It’s one of the things that I love about patchwork is being able to include prints that I really enjoy and the effect of them popping up in little pieces all over the quilt. One of my particular favourites is one of the strips with line drawings of aeroplanes – every now and again a little aeroplane will pop up, but only if you look closely!

In the past I have done some super simple strip piecing, so I thought this time I would like to be a bit more adventurous with my blocks. Most of them have turned out quite well so far – I love the effect! I did have one disaster, which surprisingly I didn’t even notice until the day after. Can you see it?


I’ve realised now where I went wrong … I’d cut my triangles in the wrong direction. After getting the seam ripper out I could salvage half of it at least! The rest I will save for a matching cushion cover made out of all of the left over scraps! Here’s a sneak peek of some of my blocks so far ….

  

As you can tell, I need to work a little on my accuracy. Despite using a quarter inch quilt foot, I still can’t seem to get my blocks completely square every time! I am completely in awe of some of the pictures on Instagram of perfect points and aligned seam lines. I’m not going to get too crazy about it though – I think it adds to the charm!

The plan right now is to make 16 blocks and then finish them with white sashing which should be enough for a large lap quilt. I’d like to back it with one of the prints from the jelly rolls and then a scrappy binding made with leftover jelly roll scraps to finish it off. I’m wondering if by the time I have the top finished, I might brave doing some more adventurous quilting than just straight lines. Towards this endeavour, I have finally purchased an open toe freehand quilting foot and am booked on to a “Basics of Free Hand Quilting” course on April 16th. I am very excited! I had a little practice with my new foot and attempted a quilted pot holder. All I can say is – I am glad I am booked on a course! Think I will be needing some help with that one! Wish me luck!

Crafting with Suede

On Saturday I had a lovely trip to a local independent fabric store in Frankfurt’s Brückenviertel- Die Quiltmanufaktur. What I love about Quiltmanufaktur is that it’s the only fabric shop in Frankfurt that really celebrates the art of crafting, rather than just being a transactional, functional place to buy supplies. It’s run by the lovely Andrea Kollath, who is always on hand to have a chat and share her extensive experience. I love the layout of the shop and all the amazing fabrics which are bang on trend. Andrea also puts together her own jelly roll bundles, which are otherwise practically impossible to come by here in Germany, so there is so much to love. I have to be a bit careful when I go in, as I could always spend a small fortune! However, I do always like to buy something, as I like the idea that I am supporting a local, independent businesswoman with my shopping! This time I came away with this gorgeous French Bulldog fat quarter and a couple of really funky mini jelly rolls!

I have to confess that I didn’t really have a plan for either of these, I just indulged and bought them because I liked them! However, late on Saturday night I had a bit of a crafting itch, and decided to finally use a couple of my velour scraps from one of my EUR 5 leather scrap bags. I loved the colours that came in this particular scrap bag, and decided to make myself a little dual colored zipper pouch. I was thinking hard about which fat quarter to use for the lining, when it suddenly struck me that this would be a great project to use a little bit of my Frenchie fat quarter. Those pooches will make me smile every time I open it!

I have to confess I was a bit nervous about the dual colour approach to this pouch. Although I had success on the last coin purse I made, I had another go with nappa leather last week and tried this dual fabric approach and it did not go well. The seamed leather was just too thick to sew through two layers and it resulted in a snapped needle, angry crunching noises from my machine, and two otherwise nice pieces of leather landing in the bin. I had high hopes this time though, as the suede is much much thinner than the nappa leather, so I thought I would come back for round two!

I’m pretty pleased with the result of this one! The dual fabric worked well and I’m really pleased that the seam is continuous and matches well on both sides. The construction was a bit scary though and I think I need to choose slightly wider pieces for these 6 inch zippers as it was a bit close by the time everything got turned out. Overall, I think it turned out well, but it certainly isn’t a reflection of how the sewing looks underneath the lining! One important thing I learnt is also that suede marks so much more easily than leather, so you need to be careful with the presser foot pressure.


The highlight of this pouch though is totally the lining! I LOVE the pooches inside! I also really like how the combination of the bright blue and black turned out, with a bit of a glamorous gold zipper. The sizing of this purse is slightly odd, as it’s too big really for cards and coins, but too small to be a clutch. To be honest, I didn’t really measure it for anything specific, just made the most of the leather pieces I had and tried not to waste any. I think I will use this to bundle together all those little bits and pieces that always get lost in my handbag – hairpins, lip glosses, nail files, hair bobbles … a sort of small carry pouch with style!

Sew Over It: Knickers!

They say there’s a first time for everything … and this will be the first time I share a picture of my underwear with the world wide web! Although not my usual style, I really wanted to share my knicker making experience! As part of my quest for quick and fun projects, I stumbled across Sew Over It’s PDF knicker pattern and thought I would give it a whirl. I’d seen a few positive stories online of people making their underwear, and had never really thought it was for me, however as my sewing experience has grown, I’ve realised that someone, somewhere sews my underwear, so why shouldn’t it be me?! I taped up my PDF and decided to dive in!

The great thing about knicker-making is it is an awesome stash-buster and great for using up remnants of fabric! For my first pair I decided to use some drapey cotton voile from my stash which had been a bit small to do anything useful with. I paired this with some black knicker elastic.

The key to successful knicker making is stretching your elastic evenly as you apply it to your fabric. I have to confess, I didn’t do myself many favours on my first pair by choosing a really floaty fabric as this seemed to make this much harder! Although totally wearable, one leg hole seems to have turned out a bit smaller than the other. The fabric suggestions in the pattern do suggest a lightweight, drapey fabric, so I thought it would be great, but I’ve since made a cotton pair and they were so much easier! I don’t think I can attribute this solely to the fabric, as I think I needed some practice on the elastic stretching technique, but it certainly didn’t help. I did love the print on my first pair though, so I think I might come back for another go at these!

Not to be put off by my slightly wonky first pair, I came back for round two. Knicker making is really addictive once you get going and they are such a speedy project! I decided to dive in to my fat quarter stash for round two, which is perfect as one pair requires pretty much exactly one fat quarter. Finally, an excuse for me to buy more fat quarters! I’ve been waiting for the right project for this blue floral fat quarter for a while and I decided what better project than to wear those flowers close to me! I paired the blue with some white knicker elastic.

Second time around the results were much better! The fit is great and they are super comfortable!! Using knicker elastic is a bit of a step away from the Sew Over It instructions. I chose this method as I prefer the finish to the satin stitched edges of the fabric as suggested by the original patten. Although the finished make are less frilly than the pattern, I am hoping they will also be more durable and comfortable as a result!

Overall I’m pretty pleased with my final make and I’d encourage anyone out there to give it a go! I’ve already been rummaging through my fabric scraps for knicker sized pieces and have a few more pairs lined up! I’ve also discovered the wonderful world of trims – elastic lace, little bows, buttons and embellishments! It turns out making your own underwear is the ultimate forum for being creative! Have you given it a go? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

I’ve been a bit short on time of late which has considerably slowed my sewing (and blogging!) efforts! As a result, I’m particularly drawn to sewing patterns and projects that can be made in an afternoon. They still give me the satisfaction of sewing something and getting my creative juices flowing, without me looking at a work in progress for weeks on end which just makes me feel a bit frustrated!

The patterns from Seamwork Magazine are absolutely perfect for these purposes. You might remember that back at Christmas time I signed up for a subscription. Since buying the subscription, I’ve made two patterns using my credits and I absolutely adore both of them! The patterns are completely true to their word in terms of the time it takes to sew them up and I always find them fashion forward and very wearable! Today I decided to take on the Oslo Cardigan which is actually from the first ever issue of Seamwork. When I saw the modelled version, I instantly fell in love.

The original photo that made me fall in love with Oslo! Photo Credit: Colette Patterns/Seamwork

I didn’t want to venture too far from the styling that Seamwork had done, which I know isn’t really that creative, but I just knew that this cardigan would be so handy in my wardrobe! Interestingly, the sewing gods were smiling down on me and I happened upon this lightly woven ribbed knit in the Karstadt Habadeshery. Not only did it instantly make me think of the Oslo picture I’d seen, but it was really heavily reduced to EUR 3/m, so I had to take the plunge!

I love the texture and softness of this fabric. It was also an absolute pleasure to cut and sew with. I really can’t believe I got it for the price that I did! I actually now have a nice remnant left over which I am thinking of making a cosy infinity scarf out of!

Apart from the horrors of PDF taping, which I did earlier this week in front of the TV, the cutting out of this pattern went relatively smoothly. I cut an L up top and graded to an M on the waist and hips and it seemed to really turn out quite well. I think I benefitted from the fact that it is a slouchy fit anyway, which is also perfect at the moment with my ongoing weight loss project.

To be honest, the most time consuming and difficult part of this project was rethreading my serger in white. I’ve changed threads on Serge now on numerous occasions, and never with any trouble, but for some reason today it was just not happening! I must have spent an hour cursing my machine, before promptly falling back in love with it as it whizzed through these seams in no time and gave such a lovely finish! It looks so professional and solid on the inside, which is great, as I think this one is going to be worn and washed a lot!


I didn’t have any construction issues and the pattern instructions were really clear and easy to follow. I really am realising that I’m starting to benefit from experience now too, as things like putting in sleeves have started to become second nature.

I’m delighted with the finished result. There are so many features that I love on this one – the collar is chunky and cosy and I love the upturned cuffs! I’m planning on wearing this versatile cardigan both on weekends with jeans and sneakers and at work with some smart trousers and heels! For EUR6 and 3 hours (one hour of which involved me swearing at my serger) I think this project will be well worth the investment!

How about you? Have you made anything from Seamwork? Do you have saintly patience for PDFs? Are you and your serger best buds or sworn enemies? I’d love to hear from you!

Stag Print Button Closure Cushion

 

As I’m trying to lose a little weight at the moment, I haven’t been sewing many garments, as I’m scared of putting all that effort in to them and then only being able to wear them for a few weeks. As a result, I thought I’d focus a little on home furnishings and other smaller projects, just to keep my sewing mojo ticking over! One of my favourite home decor things to make is cushions. They’re such a good blank canvas for really beautiful fabrics!

On my last trip to the UK, I treated myself to these gorgeous fat quarters. I really like stag print at the moment and little animals with antlers seem to be turning up on all sorts of my things!I thought they would make a great cushion, and now I have my serger I needed an extra “sewing chair” cushion, so decided to use these fabrics for this special project.

As I’ve made quite a few envelope closure cushions in the past, I decided I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to practice one of the new skills I had committed to learning in 2016 – buttonholes! I thought that doing buttonholes on a cushion would be a great way of practicing without having to worry that I would ruin a garment I had spent the whole afternoon making. It was also a great opportunity to use up some of my buttons from my overflowing button jar!

I decided to test the one step buttonhole foot on a scrap of my fabric first. I have to say, I don’t know why I put off doing this for so long! Although I had to spend 20 minutes or so going through my manual, finding the “button hole lever” and making sure I got my button hole foot on the right way round, it was much simpler than I expected! It tok a bit of practice to get the sizing right, but apart from that, my Pfaff made it super easy! Now I want to put buttons on everything!

Apart from the buttonholes, there wasn’t anything too challenging about this make. I love the finished effect though. I also feel like both sides of the cushion look nice, so it’s nice and versatile! I chose some quite chunky buttons in a complementary brown to finish off the cushion which I think match quite nicely.


All in all I am delighted with my finished cushion! I’m sure it will get lots of use as I get to know my serger! Now I’ve gotten over my buttonhole fear, I’m also ready to finally tackle my Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde Blouse, so watch this space for that one! How about you, how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? I’d love to hear from you!

A Tale of Tea and Scraps

I’m not sure why but sewing seems to have awakened a fanatical recycling obsession within me! Now I can’t throw an old item of clothing away without ripping all the buttons off for re-use, or discard an old hoody without taking the cord out or get rid of an old pillow case without chopping it up for quilting, or put gift wrap in the recycling without saving the ribbons! I have bags literally stuffed full of scraps of fabric from past projects, and there’s nothing that brings me more joy than finding a way to use them!

While I was on my Cambodian travels I found this delightful teapot.


When I returned from my travels I had terrible jetlag and needed something simple to do that would keep me awake, so I set about sewing a quilted coaster for it to sit on. This was a perfect opportunity for me to delve in to my scrap bag! I found these great scraps of Moda jelly roll which I had used to make a quilt. A couple of left over patches were the perfect size for the top and bottom of the coaster, and I finished it off by making my own ‘candy striped’ bias binding by sewing other scraps of the fabric together. I used a remnant of some batting from a quilt project for the insides and I was so pleased with how it turned out!


I still had quite a lot of scraps left over in these colors though and I was still awake, so I thought why not go the whole hog and make a matching tea cosy?!

There are loads of great online tutorials on making your own tea cosy, so I followed this one and then added a few bits and pieces of my own. I drafted my own pattern based on the measurements of my teapot (yep- my teapot has a made-to-measure cosy haha!) and then cut out two patchwork outers from scraps, two pieces of batting and some plain black lining. I then set about quilting in a diamond pattern which I did by eye (shh- don’t tell anyone my diamonds are wonky, I was jet lagged!) All you need to do then is just sew round the top, not forgetting to insert the little loop. Easy!

What I didn’t like about this tutorial is that it doesn’t suggest you finish the inside seam. Maybe I’ve become a bit fanatical about sewing looking as good on the inside as it does on the outside (only my teapot will see the inside of the tea cosy after all), but it just really bugged me knowing that the seam was all exposed and you could see the batting. As a result I improvised with covering the inside seam with some black double fold satin bias tape that I had in my stash. I love how it looks now! (Yes I think I’ve gone quite mad!) I finished it off with some more of my patchwork candy striped self made bias binding.

So here is my finished cosy in all its glory! Never did I think I’d be making a tea cosy, but it was quite a satisfying make and a great patchwork stash buster! There’s something really satisfying about sewing something pretty and useful out of something that could just as easily have been thrown away!


What about you? Do you used recycled materials and scraps in your sewing? Do you have any other fun scrap busting projects for me? Is my need to hide exposed seams in the inside of my tea cosy the final proof that I’ve gone mad?! I’d love to hear from you!