30/11/2013

Quilting level 2 : Quilt as you go.

And then, stash/remnants busting projects.

With an easy technique.

Create your own vortex !

But be prepared to use a lot of thread... (I must have killed a 100m/91y bobbin with the cushion cover).

And all thanks to this amazing tutorial.



My first try, the placemat.
I used polyester felt instead of batting. It works well once you already have a few pieces on it. As you can see, the middle is a bit warped.


My second try, the cushion cover.

What I learned (with mine and by looking at others) : for a more natural, and irregular look, the center piece needs to be "surrounded" by at least 5 pieces ; for a better 3D effect, the outer pieces need to be quite wide, even if, in the end, just a tiny bit will show.

16/11/2013

"Fast and Fun Machine Quilting" - The book rookie-quilters shouldn't miss.

Starting up on my previous entry, I just wanted to make a small post to review the aforementioned book.

If you want to quilt seriously, this is a bargain investment. You can find it on second hand for a few dollars on Amazon, and despite the unattractive cover, this book is a gem. (I couldn't find bad reviews).



You can find the summary on Amazon, and you'll see that the book is really comprehensive.

What make this book a winner :

- all the steps/examples have a photo, or an illustration. Nothing is left to interpretation. (and if you've had to work with Burda explanations, you know what I mean).

- trouble shooting / comparative tables.


- tips ! Everywhere. Sometimes it's just "remember to take a break", but it's also "instead of washing cotton batting, toss it into the dryer [...] to preshink it".


- an illustrated glossary. Clearly helpful for future shopping.
 

27/10/2013

And so I started quilting (for before I was only piecing)

And I choose, to give me spirit, to begin with boring piecing. Like "out of my mind" boring. Like, straight lines...
To quilt straight lines, too !
(my road to learning must be paved with masochism).


So I made a race quilt.

Oh, the appeal of it : you buy pre-cut fabric (in rolls, no less), and you just have to sew them one after another. So simple !

Searching the web, you can see groups of ladies having the fun of their lives, contesting against each others in finishing sewing one of these, big smiles on their joyous faces.

One conclusion : quilting retreats = free booze.

The lesson learned here : buying a walking foot is necessary. There's a before, and an after. (just like with circular cutter).
You can use whatever basting method known on earth (here to help you chose), your quilt will show directional waves if you dare sew in different directions. (I say this after trying 3 different methods, hand basting, pins, glue).

After this, I told myself (aloud, furthermore), " let's up the level !". Triangle piecing, and roundish quilting.
The result ? See previous story.

With so many triangles, it was now or never to put my industrial sewing training to good use.
(To think I had forgotten about this Lizzy House fabric !)

Chain cutting.


Chain sewing.






Next time  : how I skirted bias finishing ! (I make blankets, not art).

28/09/2013

Easy needle/hook case tutorial - Straight sewing at its finest.


When I started knitting again, my mother felt really happy (relieved ?) to give me her needle collection. (authentic bent 70's needles, yay !) I saw this as a chance to stash-bust, and brainstorm an easy way to create a needle case.
(I'm sure it's nothing new, but I felt the need to share my great discovery).

The method (let's call it flat origami) requires just a single rectangle of fabric.
You determine the width of you needle case, and this will be the width of your rectangle.
The length of your rectangle will be calculated with the diagram below :


"a" is the part that'll be holding your needles/hooks.
"b" is the part where the needles/ hooks will be visible.
"c" is the flap.
So "d" is the important part : it's the length of your needles/hooks.
Once you've determined "a", "c" and "d", calculate 2a+2c+2d and you'll have the length of your rectangle.
("b" serves mostly in concordance with "a", to choose aesthetic proportions).

Add seam allowances on each side of your rectangle and cut.

Fold your rectangle as per the diagram, or the photos below.

Add a ribbon sandwiched in the layers. (if you forget, you can always sew it on later, like on my larger needle case).

Sew around, leaving an opening to turn your case inside out.

Once it's done (and the opening is closed), press, and sew vertical lines to make separations.
You can also fold the flap and make an edge stitch.


If you don't have enough fabric or want to twist it a bit, you can use two fabrics :


For my cable needles, I made a double row :


Once folded :


31/08/2013

Flowery shorts - A Ralph Pink Pattern

Ok. I know what I said about downloadable patterns. But I followed the chart, and the obvious conclusion is just below. 

The pitch :
"The shorts are utterly cute, and the belt detail just adds that extra definition to the waist, complimenting your feminine shape. These would be great in a soft fluid fabric or even a tough leather, play on the use of fabric to create some classic staple pieces for your wardrobe. Even customise them with some studs to be bang on trend."

Ralph Pink is a gentleman (he's a brit) : "complimenting your feminine shape" ; translation : "accentuating your waist and camouflaging your plump behind". 

As you can see, I'm not "bang on trend". (the way I see it, I'm never out of trend either) Nothing fancy. Just good old twill.

What convinced me : the pockets, the folds, the length.




So, what's in a Ralph Pink Pattern ?
+ It's fool proof (poka-yoke we'd say in a manufactory). Calibration, print instructions, instructions, seam allowances, pieces to interface, everything is written.
+ Super detailed instructions. In pictures. (see example below)
+ Average sizes available.
- A mistake in the instructions. 
- Too much ease, maybe.
I've read recently that RP Patterns were purchased in a single size (the one chosen). Mine came in sizes from 8 to 16.

The mistake is in the "interior belt" construction ; it's more like a traditional belt part, whereas the pattern has no showing belt (just a facing). This also changes a bit the way of inserting the zipper.

The only modifications : I narrowed it at the waist and I added belt loops. (it needed belt loops).