Tuesday 23 March 2021

Fantail Shirt

The Fantail Shirt from New Zealand pattern company, The Sewing Revival has been on my want to make list for a while.  I had planned on making it on a sewing day away, however a cancelled weekend away hiking left me with spare time so I decided to start making it.

I decided to use an animal print rayon from my stash, and made the size 10.  Overall it is an easy pattern, the curved hem is finished with bias binding, and the front band as an elastic insert which gives a nice gathered finish to the centre front. I like the longer shirt tail at the back, am a little disappointed that the elasticated cuffs don't show as much gathering, but, I guess you don't want them to be too tight, and am thinking I should possibly size down for my next version. 

I'm not too sure if I feel a little frumpy in this or if it just the fabric I've used or how I've styled it.  I definitely think it looks better with the cropped jeans and could be a versatile trans-seasonal piece and something I can wear layered over a merino top  with skinny jeans and boots winter too.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Finished - Ice Cream Soda Quilt


All pieced - waiting for borders to be attached

Meeka - my not very helpful assistant

My hand pieced Ice Cream Soda quilt started in May 2017, is actually finished. The pattern and templates were from Tales of Cloth.  Fabric for all the blossoms was from my stash.  It has been a long slow process for me, culminating in getting all the blossoms and joining pieces finished last May in our long lockdown.

After attaching the border pieces, I painstakingly removed all the papers (with help from Meeka, and a teen then telling me all the ones I had missed) and pressed hundreds of seams.  Then it sat, folded carefully away till I decided what I wanted to back it with and how to quilt.

After my holiday in February , I decided that I needed to get it finished and in a useable state. I sent it to  Leeanne of Quiltmekiwi for quilting, I also purchased the wideback backing fabric and batting from her.  I deliberated long and hard about not hand quilting it myself, and still feel as though I have cheated for not doing so, but I know that it would have sat there for unfinished for years.  This way I can use it and love it,  and I feel that the machine quilting probably reinforces my hand stitching a little more too.

A lot of emails and messages were toing and froing between Leeanne and myself, and eventually I decided on an e2e quilting specifying that I still wanted it to be wrapable and not too stiffly textured or heavily quilted, but something that would give interesting texture.  Gingersnap was the design I decided on in the end.  Quilting was not without drama either,  unfortunately even though we couldn't see it, my border was to big for the pieced top, which resulted in a terrible wavy look.  Leeanne unpicked, trimmed and reattached them before she could start quilting again.

Because I had quite a multipatterned and coloured backing, a patterned binding did not look right. When picking the blue background fabric, I always had in mind the idea of flowers floating in water, and after some consulation with Leeanne, I decided to match the binding to the border fabric to create this effect. 

I'm really proud of this quilt, it was a big commitment deciding to handpiece one, and too actually finish it.  Many times I thought about passing it on, I'm glad I persevered and I couldn't be more happy with it.

Tuesday 16 March 2021

Mapua Shorts

My second lockdown sewing project is the new Mapua shorts pattern from The Sewing Revival.

I made up version B , size 10 in a remnant of linen from the Burda culottes I made last year,  They feature a flat front waistband, minimal elastic gathering on the back and angled pockets.  The pattern was very easy, with very clear detailed instructions.  They are a little shorter than I realised (I never check the finished length on patterns) and I could possible size down a little in the back.  I feel that I have a slight excess of gathering from the elastic waistband, which will probably bag out more when I sit for long periods being a linen. 

I wouldn't mind trying the pattern again in a sports style fabric, because I think they'd make quite a comfortable short for hiking, especially with the elastic waist and good sized pockets.  Maybe when we're out of lockdown I can investigate the fabric options available.

I'm wearing the shorts here with one of my bellbird tops, which is another pattern from The Sewing Revival.

Overall a comfortable make, and I'm hoping we get a few more warm days to wear them.

Monday 15 March 2021

Things Here Lately


Auckland is currently in a one week lockdown, so that means we're back to online classes for Miss B and Mr J, and work zoom meetings for me. 

I figured that meant it's a good time to have a little round up of what has been keeping me busy in my spare time over the past month.
  • Hearts and more hearts, I've made 28 blocks in total now,  so I'm over half way.  I'm trying to add some new colours to the background and have some more similarly toned heart halves rather than being totally contrasting. 
  • I sewed another Cuff Top - this time in a bright cobalt Frida Kahlo inspired printed viscose.  I used the round neckline hack from The Assembly Line tutorials and hacks page.  While lowering the neckline,  it seems to have made it a little wider on my shoulders, so not sure how it's going to feel when being worn all day.  I adore the colour of this fabric though.
  • Books - I have been reading a few books lately - Maralinga by Judy Nunn was one I enjoyed a lot. Set in Australia in the 1950's it is about the atomic tests conducted by the British in the outback.  She researches and writes very well, often about controversial aspects of Australian history.
  • Miss B has been semi vegetarian now for over a year, and I suspect when she eventually moves out of home, she will turn totally vegetarian.  I try to serve meat free meals a couple of times a week and one night made a beautiful chickpea curry for the main and a chocolate mousse using the liquid from the can of chickpeas.  Called aquafaba this stuff whipped up like egg whites - quite amazing.  General verdict was that the mousse tasted ok, it had a slightly grainy texture, but that could have been from overheating the chocolate and it was very rich.  Mousse recipe can be found here.
Fingers crossed that the community cases are contained and we are back to normal life soon.
Stay safe, stay home, scan the codes when out, wear a mask.  Kia Kaha