Friday, 24 September 2021

A New Sewing Machine Cover


After finishing my chair cover, I still felt like playing with all my quilt fabric scraps.  I didn't want to make another quilt, but decided to make a new cover for my sewing machine, my old one here, was very faded and just didn't look nice anymore.

Using the vinyl cover that came with my machine as a template for measurements, I pieced together a few scrappy blocks from predominately Anna Maria Horner scraps, and quilted them with some batting and yardage from my stash.  This was the easy part,

Assembling the pieces and stitching them teogether involved quite a bit of finangling through my machine.  The top corners I actually ended up hand sewing in place,  All seams were left exposed, so that I could bind them, again using a beautiful Anna Maria Horer Fabric.

I'm really pleased with how this has turned out.  It definitely brightens up my sewing room, and protects my machine from dust and sunlight.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Please Be Seated


Earlier this week, while aimlessly browsing Instagram, I happened to come across a photo of an office chair, with a quilted seat cover.  This immediately struck a chord with me, I couldn't believe I had never thought to do that to my perfectly functional but plain sewing chair.   That afternoon, I pulled out my bag of Anna Maria Horner scraps ( I had a lot) and randomly started piecing strips, and squares together.  For a little bit of variety, I also added some Amy Butler and Tula Pink scraps.  All  the fabrics are bright vibrant colours with bold designs and meld together perfectly into what I call  a hot mess.

I ended up with two large scrappy quilt blocks, which I quilted with an organic (not perfectly even) diagonal cross hatch.  Batting and backing fabrics were all from my stash.

I rounded the corners on the seat cover, than added a casing for elastic to be pulled through. I was so pleased with how this cover turned out.  The chair back took a lot more work, a little cursing and a bit of unpicking, till I got the shape and fit right.  Again I added a casing for the elastic to pull the base of the back in.  Both seat cover and the back piece are fully removeable, though I don't think I ever want to take them off my chair now.

In a way it was mindless easy sewing, I certainly didn't need to be as precise with my sewing as I have needed to be with the clothes I've made lately, and I didn't really worry about what fabrics or colours were used where.

I am delighted with how it has turned out, and at how cheerful it looks, and am looking forward to more lockdown sewing in my sewing room.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Tide Top

I have had the pattern for the Tide Top (formerly Kobe Top) and this luscious silk viscose fabric tucked away waiting to be used for at least three years.

Once again lockdown proved to be the perfect time to get it done.  The pattern is from New Zealand company Papercut Patterns.  It really is case of business in the front, party in the back with this design, with its simple front and surprise back view.  I love that exposed keyhole of skin, created by the dramatic pleat. 

Based on my measurements I should have made a size XS, however reading lots of blog and instagram posts on this being quite an oversized design, I sized down to XXS, and am glad I did.  It is quite a cropped design in the front, so I lengthened that by  about two inches and shortened the back shirt tail by the same. 

A lot of spray starch was used to make this fabric easier to sew,  I also  French seamed the side seams to give it a more professional finish and hopefully some longevity.  This will definitely be a hand wash only garment. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to find some thread that co-ordinated with the colours in the fabric and a button from button jar to finish it off, seeing as we can't get out to buy any at present.

I'm really pleased I finally used this fabric and pattern, and am looking forward to warmer days and occasions to actually wear it out.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Lockdown Sewing

Well it's been a while since I last wrote something for my rather neglected blog.  I am still regularly writing and putting photos on my Instagram page though, you can find me there on justjulielou.

Currently New Zealand is three weeks into another lockdown, as the dreaded Delta Variant of Covid-19 has made it's way into the community.  After two weeks with the whole country in a level 4 lockdown (this has the most restrictions) the rest of the country except  Auckland  and Northland is now at level 3.  So I am at home with the teens, my husband is still working as he is deemed essential.  I am hoping it's not going to be a long one, like a lot of my friends and family in Australia are currently experiencing.  Luckily my family have all had our first doses of the vaccination.

While I can do some work from home, it does mean I am lucky enough to have more time for sewing. So far I have made two new garments. Both totally seasonally inapporpriate and dare I say simply chic in black

Firstly another Rhapsody Blouse.  This one was in a beautiful soft slightly sheer dobby silk/cotton blend.  Even though it is the same size as the last one I made and frequently wear, this one feels slightly tighter around the armscye.  I'm wondering if it's something to do with the type of fabric. Never the less, I am still going to enjoy wearing this.

The next garment is the Peppermint Wide Strap Maxi Dress.  I had bought the fabric for this about a year ago, and kept changing my mind about whether to use it for something else.  Finally I decided to just get on with it.  I made this in a size D for the bodice, based on my bust measurements, then graded to Size B for the rest of the dress.  It is fully French seamed, has awesome big pockets ( a king size chocolate bar can fit into them) and very bra friendly.  The fabric is a wonderfully soft eucalyptus/linen/cotton blend, which was beautiful to sew. I'm really looking forward to warm summer days so I can waft around in this.

While the black fabrics have now gone from my stash, I still have more fabrics ready to be turned into something new .

Sunday, 20 June 2021

The Joy of Small Hand Sewing Projects


Kismet Kiss Quilt

Fresh Cut

Groove is in the Heart

Most winter evenings after I've finished dinner, the housework and various other domestic duties, I like to sit down in a comfy chair with either a book or a handsewing project. I have a few in progress at present: ( Fresh Cut - a wool felt and embroidery project, Kismet Kiss - my new epp project, Groove is in the Heart Quilt )  but have been thinking about why I prefer to work on some and others not so much.

I've decided that I'm not enamored with my Fresh Cut applique/embroidery project.  While I love the look of the finished ones I've seen, and using wool felt, the beautiful threads and making fancy stitches,  I am not enjoying making mine.  Perhaps it's because I'm doing it on fabric rather than a  felt background, and I don't like the fluff from the parlan fusible batting attached to it coming through the fabric.  It could also be because the blocks are large, my last couple of felt applique projects have had small blocks, which make it much easier to have a portable easy to work on handsewn project. Also sewing on black is hard, even more so if your eyesight is not great.  

I think this is why I really enjoy English Paper piecing.  Yes it takes me forever to select the fabric combinations for the blocks, but the pieces are small and easy to sew, and they don't take up as much room if I'm taking them somewhere as a portable project.  It's an easy project to stop and start, I can baste a lot of pieces ready to stitch, and I know that it will be a long term project anyway.

My Groove is in the Hearts quilt is also an easy to sew small hand sewing project, each heart half fits into a magazine, or manila folder which keeps it flat.  I've taken tis project away on holiday, a few times and  They are quite quick and simple to make and I see results quickly.

Unfortunately I think my Fresh Cut Quilt may be packed away for a while (read forseeable future) while I continue to enjoy smaller and more manageable projects.