31 January 2013

January stashbusting: itty bits

Well hello!

Earlier this month, I took the stash-busting pledge. January's theme is itty bits; that is, projects involving scrap fabric, under a yard in length.

I present, my stashbusting sewing machine cover!

January stashbusting: itty bits

Ok, so this isn't really scrap fabric. But this is using itty bits from my stash, so I think it counts. The "feature" fabric is from a not-very-generously cut fat quarter of quilting fabric. I can't remember when or where I bought it. It's from a line by Alexander Henry, inspired by Matisse, who I adore. I think it's called "La Vie en Rose".

And if I get bored of looking at that lady, I can just rotate the cover, and look at this one instead!

January stashbusting: itty bits

The background fabric is from some random bits of quilting fabric I won in a giveaway an age ago (pre-blog). I used the neutral colourway for the exterior, and a green on the inside:

January stashbusting: itty bits

And I used some left over bits of ribbon from my "bits of ribbon" box for the ties. (Does anyone else have a collection of not especially useful lengths of ribbon, or is it just me?)

January stashbusting: itty bits

I followed this tutorial, but did my own thing with the design. I lined it with fusible fleece (also from my stash - I have no idea why I have so much of this stuff). I think this gives it an extra sturdiness.

All in all, it took an evening to make, and I had a lot fun with it. It was also really nice to finally find a use for the Matisse fabric. And best of all, it does actually smarten up my sewing area:

January stashbusting: itty bits

I might even make another one for my serger who still lives under his plastic cover (how very déclassé). And maybe a nice little scrap bucket, instead of that plastic bag unsuccessfully hiding behind the lamp. Ooo this stashbusting might get addictive!

Anyone else scrapbusting this month?

speak soon!

(ps, thanks for the comments on my last post. I didn't realise I had the dreaded captcha activated! I've got rid of that now)

16 January 2013

Second blogiversary and stash-busting

Well this is exciting: 100 followers (via google friend connect thingy). hello everyone! And thank you for following and reading. I feel like you all know something about me, but I don't know anything about you. So I'd love it if you could leave a comment to let me know one random thing about you.

Also, it was my blog's 2nd blogiversary earlier this month. And I forgot. What a terrible mum. I should do something to over-compensate for this. Perhaps a little giveaway? Maybe a little Liberty-shaped giveaway? Watch this space.

Speaking of Liberty, and because I have no photos in today's post, here's a quite interesting behind-the-scenes video at Liberty's Lancashire factory (try to ignore the slightly too loud dance beat soundtrack):

It reminds me slightly of those trips through the window on Play school, where you'd see behind the scenes at a milk-bottling plant or car manufacturing plant. I'm still really fascinated by things like that.

And if you're into this sort of thing, here's an interesting article on the Liberty archive (also know as the place I'd most like to spend a whole day browsing).


In other news, I have signed up to the stash busting sew along, hosted by Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy. I committed to using up at least 10 pieces of stash fabric in 2013. Should be fun: is anyone else joining in?

speak soon

(ps, Am I alone in finding it a little bit infuriating, and slightly crazy, that blogger's spellchecker doesn't recognise the word "blog", or even "blogger"?!)

6 January 2013

FO: Grainline Moss skirt

Hello hello!

First FO of 2013! But before we get too excited, this is just a (wearable) muslin - I wanted to practise the front fly zipper insertion and check fit before I made it up again in some nicer fabric. And I wanted a version that I could test drive, so I used some passable (but cheapo) denim. There are some fitting issues that I need to sort out (and I'd really appreciate any thoughts/ideas you might have).
(yikes - don't know why I look so cross! Perhaps because it's cold and grey and rainy. again.)
Look  - the curly yellow scarf in action!

(ps, a lot of the creasing you see is because of the cheapo denim and the fact that I was sitting in the car for a bit, before the photos)

So let's discuss the pattern before I talk about my fitting issues.

This is the Grainline Moss Mini skirt. I made View B (with the hem band), and added about 3.5" length to the skirt for a slightly longer version (next time, I'll take some of this added length off). For reference, I'm 5'10" tall, and my measurements are W 26.5", H 40.5". I had to merge sizes 6 - 10. The skirt sits below the natural waist.

What do I like about this pattern? 

I love this kind of skirt - I'm often drawn to similar RTW versions but have never found one that fits: if it fits around the hips and bum, it's usually too big around the waist. The Moss Mini is really well designed and comes together very quickly (if you don't put your zipper in the wrong way around, and don't get distracted by Xmas). This is my first attempt at the fly front zipper, and it really isn't difficult (especially if you follow the great tutorial by Jen at Grainline).

Fitting woes

The front of the pocket gapes a bit - it isn't too much of a problem, but if I could fix that, I'd like to!  Any ideas?

Also, the skirt is a tad too snug around the hips, and if you look at the side seam above, it doesn't hang perpendicular to the ground - it curves slightly forward. This, according to my fitting reference books, is due to "full thighs": ease intended for the back of the garment, is borrowed by the front, so the side seams swing forward (Fast Fit, Sandra Betzina). So I need to add some more ease to the front skirt pieces. Perhaps starting just above the blue arrow. What do you think?

And while the waistband fits quite comfortably, there is a bit of extra room in the tummy area - quite handy for big lunches and food-babies, but I'd quite like to reduce that slightly. I have no idea how to do this because of the pockets and fly front zipper, so would really appreciate your thoughts.

And to the back:
*warning: rear view close-up!*

Truthfully, the wrinkle isn't quite as bad as that  - I pinched it out so that you could see how much extra fabric is involved in the wrinkle. I think that this can mean only one thing: sway back adjustment. Do I just pinch that excess out of the pattern piece itself?  And what about all the other wrinkles? Are they because of the full thighs borrowing ease?

So there you have it. It needs work, which I'm willing to invest because this is a great skirt, which can take you through the seasons in different fabrics.

So please help! and I promise not to look so cross in other photos.

speak soon!

2 January 2013

Liberty Art Fabrics: SS 2013

It's that time of year again! New season of Liberty prints. And oh what a selection!

The general theme for the collections this season is "The Flower Show", and there isn't a dud amongst them.

So without further ado ...


Guerrilla Gardening

I'm quite thrilled about this collection, which is inspired by Richard Reynolds, founder of Guerrillagardening.org, and his nocturnal transformation of the abandoned flowerbeds and roundabouts of the particularly grimy and neglected neighbourhood of Elephant and Castle in London. I live in this general area of London, and have seen the wonderful work of Richard and his gang of midnight gardeners. He came along to talk to my WI about the guerrilla gardening movement last summer, and he is a real inspiration.

Anyway, here are the prints from this collection.

"... capturing the spirit of the ethereal lavender field planted by Guerrilla Gardeners on a roundabout on Westminster Bridge Road, London" (Liberty):
John Larke in A
I pass this lavender field almost daily, and in late Summer it smells like heaven (which is extraordinary for South London):


This print celebrates Richard and Lyla, his soon-to-be (or perhaps already?) Mrs. The "design inspiration was a 1950s archive print which was then re-worked and hand painted to depict Guerrilla Gardeners bringing plants to an urban landscape, creating areas of beauty amongst the architecture" (Liberty):
Richard and Lyla in A

Wouldn't this make a sensational sundress?! I know I said no more fabric this year, but I might not be able to resist this one! This print celebrates International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening day, on 1 May:
Mayrose in A
Each of these are available in other colourways, but these were my favs.


This collection is inspired by Tresco Abbey Garden (on the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall), and its extraordinary diversity of plant life. This is one place I'd love to visit.

Gahhhh! Just love this ditsy floral print:
Xanthe Sunbeam in (clockwise) D, A, B, C

I am this point, weak at the knees. I spent a good 10 minutes in Liberty stroking this one:
June's Meadow in C

"The treasures in the Abbey Garden are not limited to florals, there is also a collection of mosaics and shipwrecked figure heads, all these inspired this design: an exotic floral conversational with spiky palms, tropical plants, huge succulents mixed with mysterious statues." (Liberty)  This is so gorgeous. I want to frame it:
Archipelago in A

I think this print would make a gorgeous whole-cloth quilt, or would be a lovely woven tank top - especially colourway A: the colours in this colourway scream summer, but the other variations are equally stunning:
Beth's Flowers in (clockwise) A, B, C, D

Too pretty:
Amy Jane in D

Chelsea Flower Show

I'm less excited about this collection, though it's still lovely. I like these best:

Fierce in C
Inspired by Delftware tiles:
Matlida Tulip in B


"The motto inscribed above the Secession building in Vienna ‘To the age its art, to art, it's freedom' inspired eminent painters, architects and designers to create art which is admired all over the world. This led the Liberty Art Fabrics Studio to visit this capital city, and the following designs were inspired by the natural plant forms and structures they encountered." (Liberty)

A geometric watercolour inspired by the paintings of Gustav Klimt:
Reuben Nouveau in C
This is classic Liberty:
Aronov in B

The next two are based on Liberty designs originally created in the 1890s. Simply stunning, I think:
Hazel in D

Jugendstil in D

And there you have it. Too much loveliness. I haven't loved a whole season's worth of prints so much since SS 2011 (my all time favourite collection).

So what do you think? Tempted? or are they too floral for your tastes?

speak soon!

(I should add that all pictures, unless otherwise stated, are from Liberty, and I've not been sponsored for this post. But, Liberty, feel free to send some loveliness my way if you are so inclined!).