Goal for August

I’ve been starting and finishing a lot of things recently which has been very satisfying, all quick makes so it was a little tricky thinking up what could be my goal for August, especially bearing in mind that the children are on school holidays for the whole month.

So I’m going to attempt to finish hand quilting this baby quilt.

baby quilt

I have never hand quilted before but I’ve made a start and I think it’s looking ok!  I cut and pieced the whole top in July along with a pile of other things, it was a fairly quick and very fun make; I’m hoping I can gift it before too long.

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100 quilts for kids

Heather at Quilts in the Queue is hosting this years quilt drive for 100 quilts for kids.  Many of you I’m sure will already be involved in making quilts for children so here’s a chance to link up quilts that you’re donating to a child or children’s charity and encourage others to get stitching too.

Here are some of the quilts that I’ve been involved in making this year that have already been passed on to a charity:

linus 2 photo’s taken from IG streams of Emily, Susy and Jo.

OK so I’m ashamed to say that I can’t find photo’s of these finished quilts!  A group of us made 4 baby quilts in a sewing sessions at my house and then a quilting session at Emily’s.

linus 3

We donated them to teenage mum’s in Torbay via my friend who works as a Health Visitor with them.  I’d asked her if she could find a home for them and she jumped at the chance, some of girls have very little and so a quilt for their new baby would be very welcome.

I’m part of the Siblings Together bee, last year sponsored by Moda and for my month we made this beauty:

Finished bee quilt for Siblings TogetherBlogged here

This will be given to a young person attending one of the summer camps that are run by Siblings Together.  Siblings Together promotes positive contact between brothers and sisters separated by Foster care, kinship care, Residential care or adoption.  73% of siblings in care are separated from at least one brother or sister so these camps are a vital part of building and maintaining contact between siblings.

The last 2 quilts are 2 of 4 that the lovely people of instagram in the UK and Europe contributed blocks for.

Wonky Cross quilt 2

Susy, Jo, Emily and I put them together, quilted and bound them and again they have been delivered to Siblings Together for the camps this summer.

Wonky Cross quilt 1

So hopefully I have inspired you to start sewing a quilt for a child or alternatively donate one that is already finished and just waiting to find a home.  All the details can be found on the 100 Quilts for Kids page if you need any information or ideas.  Lastly don’t forget to link your quilt up!

100 Quilts for Kids

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Sunday Stash #13

Oh yes 13 is lucky for some!

I’ve not bought fabric but have received some gorgeous pieces in the post this week.

First to arrive was a delicious bundle of Rapture by Pat Bravo, 10 fat quarters of Citric Happiness:


I won it in a giveaway from Made Peachy, Laura had had the pleasure of meeting Pat Bravo while she was on a UK tour and was kind enough to giveaway this gorgeous bundle – thank you!

One of the great things about giveaways (other than the free fabric which is truly splendid when you are on a fabric fast) is that it’s an opportunity to get your hands on fabric that I wouldn’t necessarily look twice at.  I am so happy to add this to my stash.

On the other side of the coin there is fabric that I know I want to get my hands on just from one look!  This applies to this bundle of lovelies:


If you didn’t know it’s some prints from Dreamin’ Vintage by Jeni Baker.  Not so long ago I posted a photo on Instagram of Sew Simple Fabric who were having a 40% off for 4 hours, being on a fabric fast I was just drooling over what I wasn’t going to buy and thought it would make me feel better if I shared the sale with others.  Inspired by Felix (Ceri) was hooked in by it and also by the Dreamin’ Vintage fabrics and offered to send me some as a payment for the top tip.  I could have politely refused but I couldn’t resist, it is far too gorgeous to refuse.  So thank you very much Ceri for sharing some of your bundle, it’s going on my birthday wish list.

(I also bought some iron-on interfacing today but that is really boring to look at and has already been hidden away inside some items).

I’m linking up with Sunday Stash despite not buying any fabric although this time next week I hope to be at the Festival of Quilts so there may be a different story to tell!

Molli Sparkles

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Vintage Sheet String Quilt finished (at last!)

At the beginning of July I set out my goal for the month, to get this quilt top finished:

Vintage sheet string quilt top

Made from vintage sheets strips I must admit the thought of getting on with this was dragging me down.  It took me until the middle of the month to pick it up and deal with it. I knew I had less than two weeks until the school summer holidays (and the end of the month) so needed to get on with it. It was really a bit too hot for basting but I cleaned the kitchen floor and got on with it.

My last child free Friday was cut short by preschool sports event and early pick up from school for the school fair.  But in that short window I quilted the whole thing in the ditch and diagonally through the blue mid stripes and even started stitching on the binding.

IMG_4413 - Version 2

I used my favourite stripy multi coloured vintage sheet binding (now available in my etsy shop along with a number of other stripes) and spent a couple of evenings and a sunny afternoon in the garden hand stitching it to the back.


So it is finished.  Now that I look at photo’s of it I’m loving it!  It has so many different fabrics in it, many of which have memories (recent ones about it’s discovery) attached to them, all are vintage sheets, most from the UK but a few from the US which I’ve found over here.  I know that there are prints in there that will trigger different memories for some of you too.


I backed the quilt with a vintage sheet I found recently and wasn’t convinced that it was suitable for cutting up into charms but I couldn’t leave it behind.  It’s a St Michaels one that I’d not seen before with trees on it.


This quilt is destined to live with us, great for taking out into the garden or to the beach.  Due to the fact that the fabrics have already been well used and washed countless times I think it will wear well and withstand the washing that might be required after being taken to the beach/park/garden, had salt water, ice-cream and dinner wiped on it!


Quilt Stats:

Pattern: Paper pieced 10″ string blocks
Fabric: a wide variety of vintage sheets (50/50 polyester/cotton) from my stash
Binding – stripy vintage sheet (cotton)
Backing – Vintage sheet
Wadding – Super-Soft 70/30 Eco-Blend by Sew Simple
Quilting – in the ditch and across the middle of blocks on my Janome Horizon
Size – Approx 60″ x 70″


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My Kids Clothes Week nightmare!

The fact that this last week was Kids Clothes Week almost passed me by, preschool finished for my son on Tuesday but the girls were still at school and there were a number of events going on that we needed to attend/prepare for.

However, I had been thinking about making my son a Western Shirt from the Little One Yard Wonders book, so on Wednesday morning I taped the pattern paper to the floor and he watched while I traced the pieces:

pattern tracing

I somehow found time to cut the pieces from yardage of Circa 60 Beach Mod by Monaluna which I bought on sale at the beginning of last year (2 metres for £12 of organic fabric is pretty good for the UK).

I was able to get stitching the same evening and was happily getting on with it until I tried to fit the collar and collar stand onto the shirt.  Now, I have some experience of sewing clothes, I would not call myself an expert but I could not get the the pieces to fit, even with a bit of wiggle and stretch for ease there was no way.  I checked the instructions, I checked that I had traced the pattern pieces correctly, hoping that maybe I’d just traced the next size up and that was why I was having so much trouble, but all seemed fine.


The book is new so I wasn’t holding out much hope of finding any pattern reviews or errata but I did search, I also asked for help on instagram and had some suggestions but to be honest there was not much anyone could do without seeing the pattern and garment!  So late on Wednesday night I emailed Rebecca Yaker who is joint author of the book but also designer of this particular pattern. She responded within the hour (although I had gone bed as I was tired and somewhat frustrated!) saying that she would look at it the next day and get back to me.

I fiddled around a bit more with the collar, rereading the instructions and checking every pattern piece again. What I did discover is that the front left piece of the shirt is 1/2″ narrower than the right once the plackets are made, therefore the collar was 1/2″ longer on that side and doesn’t fit. I was pretty convinced I wasn’t wrong but was also struggling with how to resolve the problem.

I occupied myself with other things until late on Friday afternoon I received an email from Rebecca confirming that I was right! Woo hoo! I know I shouldn’t be delighted at someone’s error but really I was delighted at the fact that I wasn’t stupid and hadn’t missed anything!

Rebecca not only confirmed that there was a pattern error but also offered a solution to my problem, bearing in mind that I had already cut all the pieces.  I won’t go in to the technical details here but it was a fairly simple unpicking of the placket and sewing it again with smaller seam allowances.  Rebecca is working on a solution for further prints on the book and for the errata page on the Storey website.

So funnily enough Friday night was spent fixing the error on the shirt and finishing the shirt, by 10pm I had finished but was pretty exhausted!

One of the reasons for making this shirt was because Mathias likes a ‘proper’ shirt rather than t-shirts, something to do with being like Daddy (although he generally only wears them for work) and he also like to have the top button done up.

Saturday was another hot day but Mathias was happy to wear his new shirt and model for photographs in the park:


One of the things he loves about the shirt is the ‘gold’ buttons; they are not in fact gold or buttons but they are shiny poppers (bought from the car boot the other week, 50p for a full packet!) and so just like pirate treasure:


I made a size 4 for him, he’s small for his age (5 in October) so this is a good fit on him, in fact at the rate he grows I’m sure it will still fit him next summer!


I wasn’t there for the photo shoot (I was waiting for voile to finish in the washing machine so I could hang it out to dry) but apparently he wanted to do a proper pose:


I’d say he did pretty well!

Aside from the major problem I had with this shirt I really enjoyed making it, I love the detail of the yoke and the pockets and with it being for a child it’s pretty small and easy to work with:


I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again. I mentioned above that I had 2 metres of fabric to work with but as the title of the book suggests you can make this with only 1 yard of fabric (although the selvedge on this fabric was really quite wide so I might have struggled).  Some pieces are not cut on the grainline as you can see in this photo:


I like how this adds to the quirkiness of the shirt and there is also no stress about pattern matching either!

The girls wanted to get in some photographs too, they are both wearing shorts I’ve made this summer, I’ll write about those soon.


So in summary a frustrating but ultimately successful Kids Clothes Week!

kid's clothes week

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Which top to sew in which fabric?

Whilst waiting for a response to a problem this week my sewing was stalled and so I got to thinking about what else I could make.  The weather here is hot and I fancy making a top or two for me.  Yesterday I pulled out my Sorbetto pattern which I’ve made 3 times before and the Meghan Peasant which I’d not yet made.

It was the last day of school so I just had my boy at home, I cut the Meghan out of a vintage sheet that was too worn for the shop and stitched it up to check for fit and to see whether I actually like the style.  My son thought it was beautiful, even in a worn out vintage sheet!

So today I’ve pull out the stash of AMH voile that I’ve had for over a year and dithered about which print to use for which top.  I prewashed 3 pieces and they were dry within a hour in the hot sun!

I’ve got just enough of this print to make a Sorbetto:


I’m debating whether to lengthen it slightly, what to do with the front pleat (leave it out, reverse it…) and also need to decide on what to use for the bias binding.  It is now the school holidays but I know from experience it’s a fairly quick sew, so I’m hoping I might be wearing before the end of the week.

Do you have a favourite top pattern that you sew?  I’ve also been eyeing up the Wiksten Tank.

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Goodbye blouse, hello shirt

A month or so ago a friend, Kate who is sorting out her house ready to move handed me a bag on the school run containing a couple of lovely items.

One was a gorgeous vintage blouse, made in Switzerland for Harrods, very worn on the collar so only really fit for cutting up and repurposing.  The fabric is lush and I spent a bit of time thinking about what to do with it:

harrods blouse

You may remember that I’ve made a pile of shirts using Carolyn Friedlanders pattern, I was thinking about the shirts that I’m waiting to receive back from the swap (hint: round 3 may be happening soon if you want to join in) when inspiration struck; why not turn this blouse into a shirt:


So I pulled out a copy of the pattern and got cutting and stitching.  I decided to make a journal cover, something useful and practical:


I think it is my most lovely shirt yet! It came together perfectly but maybe that is because I’ve made approximately 30 of them! For the background I used Crosshatch in white from Carolyns’ Architexture range. I thought about quilting the piece but decided to keep it simple and just stitched around the block and just inside the block with Aurifil 2530 which was the perfect match to the pink in the shirt.


There’s just a simple flap around to the inside of the cover:


Before making this gift I’d already stitched up a little something for Kate. I love the label on the shirt and couldn’t resist a bit of fussy cutting:


And with the addition of some webbing and key fob hardware made this for her new house keys:


Keyfobs, I’ve decided are a great way to showcase special bits of fabric, I’m already thinking about other pieces of clothing that children have grown out of or worn out (or in some cases both!) that might be good to use, preserving some memories.

Kate and her family are moving away but won’t be forgotten; I now need to cook up a plan for the other fabric she’s left me (oh and I didn’t use the whole blouse so you’ll probably be seeing more of this fabric!).

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Getting ahead of myself

It’s July but Sue has already put up the info for the Siblings Together bee block for August. For one reason or another both the sewing projects that I have on the go have been stalled so I got on and stitched this:


It’s a simple 14.5″ (unfinished) log cabin made with 2.5″ strips. Sue asked us to choose our colour so despite having not much yellow in my stash I opted for that. All but the Lecien bunnies were pulled from my yellow scraps bin which was really satisfying.

Here’s hoping I’ll be able to get on with my other projects soon!

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End of an era

Way back in October 2007 my eldest child started preschool, my other 2 children have also attended the same wonderful preschool (although thankfully it moved to a purpose built building rather than an upstairs room in a church!).

Today is my youngest childs’ last day at preschool, we are really thankful for the wonderful staff who have had such a positive input into the lives of all of our children over the last seven years.  I spoke to the preschool about making something as a thank you gift for the children to use.  The most popular suggestion from the staff was super hero capes (I think that some of them might have been hoping for adult sized capes!).

I will not say that my heart sank but I will admit that they are not my favourite thing to make; more to the point I’m just not keen on stitching with that slippery, slidey, shiny fabric!

But I did it, Mathias and I made a trip to the local fabric shop and picked out some colours from their varied selection of shiny fabrics.  To be honest he was more entranced by the gold, shiny, sequin stuff declaring it to be pirate treasure.

I’ve made super hero capes on a number of occasions in the past using this tutorial.  No need to reinvent the wheel, I pulled out the template, shortened it by approximately one inch (just to get 2 cape pieces out of the (WOF) and got cutting and sewing.

They didn’t take long:


Hmmm not the most inspiring photo, how about some action shots? Swooping in from somewhere:

Superhero Capes

Pondering the next move:

Superhero Cape in action

Big sister just proving that being 7 years old is not too old for a cape:

Superhero Cape in action

I’m not the biggest fan of wrapping paper and knowing how much children like bags for putting ‘stuff’ in I stitched up a couple of lined drawstring bags in the Project Bag size:

Lined drawstring bags (for superhero capes)

Fill each with 2 superhero capes and hopefully hours of fun for the children not going to ‘big’ school in September.

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Yes I’ve been feeling a little bit sad that I’m not in London this weekend at Fat Quarterly Retreat, I’m enjoying seeing the photo’s appearing on Instagram though they make me miss it even more!

But we’ve been busy here with a preschool sports event, school fair and preschool graduation and fair.  I’ve managed to squeeze in some sewing time and got my vintage sheet string quilt quilted:


I also squeezed in time on Friday to get the binding stitched on one side, the evenings are being spent hand stitching it on to the back:

I’ve also had inspiration for what to do with this:


A vintage blouse from Harrods made in Switzerland, gifted to me by a friend who is moving house, I’m keeping the inspiration under wraps for now but I’m pretty pleased with it.

And if that was enough I decided on the layout for a baby quilt yesterday morning:


Yes, this is the black and white version in case you were wondering!

We’ve nothing planned for today, the children still have a whole week left at school so I feel like we need to reserve our energy for that, I’m hoping therefore that I can make some progress on one or all three of the projects above!

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