Quilt Pre-Binding Experiment

I spent all day Sunday getting the lattice quilt ready to layer. This was the second stage after piecing the backing. This lovely cotton shirting woven satin stripe fabric is what I landed on for the binding.

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It looks good with the backing (and you will see it with the patchwork a little later)

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I had spent a bunch of time thinking on how I was going to bind this quilt. The way I had stitched the blocks meant that I couldn’t open the edge seams without cutting the fabric or unpicking the hand stitching, neither of which I was up for. I usually apply the binding after the quilting is done. However if I did it then, I really didn’t think I could apply it this close to the edge with the squishy batting as part of the mix. So I thought I’d try sewing the binding strips on before both layering and quilting. It worked fairly well, but I had forgotten that all the edge pieces are on the bias. So sewing on the binding had the risk of stretching or condensing the edge. I seem to have stretched it just a bit, but I’m pleased with the accuracy in terms of closeness to the edge. I very much hope that slight stretching is tolerable in the finished piece.

First the binding strips are joined to be long enough for each side, then pressed in half lengthways. No pics of this, sorry.

Then I cut the protruding edge squares back to provide a cut edge guide. Leaving a neat 1/4″ from the block edges was the right measure to use the machine foot edge as the seam guide and just barely catch the block edges in the seam.

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The little black offcuts look a bit like moths or bats 🙂

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Machining the binding on:

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Pretty happy with this

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Then the binding is pressed away from the edge. I do like the colours and the stripe effect next to the patchwork. It will be a little less than half this width in the end.

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Peacock Dress

I think I’m supposed to be making some new lightweight jeans type trousers, but this fabric snuck out of the cupboard and demanded to be made up. 2.5m of peacock feather border print rayon. Not a lot of thinking. It just wanted to be a simple sleeveless bodice frock with a gathered long skirt. Having just proven that the bodice pattern I made last year still fits, this was quick to cut.

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I don’t enjoy marking or sewing darts. Sometimes one just needs the shaping though. A lined bodice like this requires a dozen darts. Sigh. The skirt had to be cut on the cross grain to put the border on the hem. I cut the bodice on the straight grain from the less feathered side of the cloth. This was to better take the weight of the skirt and leave more length for the skirt. It also put seams front and back and caused some awkward feather placement at centre front. Hence the addition of the brown lace, which I happened to have (in the large and overflowing lace box, ahem). The lining is fine slippery and cool bemberg rayon left over from lining some wool trousers years ago.

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The advantage of invisible zippers is that they are mostly invisible. Der. One can use a coordinating but non matching zipper from stash without problems.

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A better shot of the glorious hem print. I was lazy and just left the selvage as the hem.

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and a couple of shots of it on in the fading light:

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Chocolate Sack Shirt

I wanted a shirt like garment to sew on the new Bernina 1120. I had a rifle through stash and came up with this.

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A pure cotton single quilt cover set with a really appealing pretend sack print, that I had found for $20. I didn’t want to sleep under it, I wanted to wear it.  I unpicked a few bits to maximise the text print lengths, washed it, cut off the backing (sadly just plain white, will be put aside for other use) and spent a bit of time doing some large scale fussy cutting.

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I used pretty much all the printed fabric, including the pillowcase and produced this:

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Buttons are shell as usual, only with the shiny side down. The backs of these are such a good match for the fabric.

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Here it is on. Ah breasts, spoiling the drape of simple garments for eons. I’m not yet sure if this will be worn as a dress, a tunic or nightwear. Possibly all three at different times.

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Good news. The 1120 performed like a champion. Mostly. I tended to forget I was sewing on a different machine, it is so like the one I’ve used for 24 years. There was a little hesitation during buttonholing and once the needle position didn’t reset on turning her on. We will see.

Getting to things- a black shirt

Wardrobe basics. A plain black shirt. I’ve wanted one of these for a few years. Now I have one.  I’m not quite sure where the fabric came from, the Fabric Store I think? It’s light weight cotton, almost voile, with “double weave” (or whatever the correct term is, tell me if you know) spots.

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I sewed the front bands on my regular machine, the misbehaving Bernina 1230, and boy was she misbehaving that day!! I had to turn her off and back on again about 10 times just to get the front bands sewn. So, the rest was done with the recently aquired 830. I think with a bit more practice, she will do nicely. At least until I figure out what comes next.

The full shirt all buttoned up:

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As it will more likely be worn:

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A Remodeled Wisp

I was wanting another evening dress. I hadn’t been able to settle on a plan for any of the new lengths of fabric from stash. I was however suddenly struck with an idea for remodeling a frock that has been languishing in the wardrobe for a few years. In one day I had the inspiration, cut it up and remade the outer dress.

This is the bodice, firstly after I hacked the skirt off. Silly me forgot to take a proper before photo. Then with the vintage lace separated out for reclamation. That waist section was a little too tight when I first made it and is now even more so. Drat the effects of advancing years.

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The fabric is so lovely, it’s worth reworking it so I can wear it.

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I found enough left over fabric to cut a new bodice. Short waisted, cross over. Based on the T bodice pattern I’ve used for several dresses. Not sure if I’ve posted any of them here? I’ll look later and maybe update. Anyway. I sewed that up the same morning. Then I regathered and attached the skirt, with a facing behind to form a drawstring channel.

It’s crinkle silk chiffon again. Working with this stuff is sort of like sewing air. The sewing itself tends to go fairly smoothly I find. It’s the handling and fabric placement that takes extra time. I do recommend using silk sewing thread. It blends with the fabric, doesn’t fight it.

Here is the resulting wisp of a frock

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Obviously I can’t wear it like that alone. The original frock was fully lined. So I reclaimed the lace trimmed skirt from that and made a new slip on bodice from a coordinating rayon lining fabric with the reclaimed lace strips for the neckline.

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Silly me sewed the back of the slip bodice on inside out. I decided it wasn’t important enough to be worth unpicking. So if I haven’t got my hair down, the label will be visible through the floaty frock. Oh well.

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And here they are together. Floaty, comfortable, sleeved and less formal than the original, if a bit less flattering perhaps. One wearable dress from an unusable one.

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Micro Fortuny Shirt

Sheer stretch without knit in natural fibre even. Slim fit in luxe fabric but comfy. The magic of silk crinkle chiffon.

I’ve done this before by accident. Make a garment in crinkle fabric, wet it, the fabric texture condenses and becomes closer fitting and springy. One of these garments became a favourite. Another I didn’t like because it clung to bits of my anatomy that I didn’t want to show off.  I’ve been meaning to have another go for ages and here it is.

I cut a collarless shirt in black crinkle silk chiffon straight off the bolt. It’s much easier to work with pre wash. Otherwise all the little pleats get in the way and I think it’s harder to estimate the fit, though one could possibly use patterns meant for stretch fabric. Anyway. This is yet again my standard shirt pattern, cut with the centre front on a fold. I’ve left the shirt tails off, shortened the sleeves slightly, gathered the sleeve ends, faced a slit for the neck opening and bound the neck and wrists with straight grain strips of the same fabric. No interfacing, I wanted the fabric to be able to transform freely. The narrow bindings don’t need support and the straight grain prevents unwanted stretch. All sewn with silk thread so that it moves with the fabric and stays fluid. I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon.

Here are three before and after shots of the magic transformation wrought by wetting.

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The “before” shot below was prior to making the fastenings. The tie is a twist cord made from… silk thread of course :-).

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I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon. I’m also mostly happy with how it pulled up. The body fit is lovely. I hadn’t realised that one loses a little length too, so if I make another, I should add a little length to both body and sleeves. The post wash micro pleat version hasn’t been for an outing yet but I’m looking forward to that.

Oh, and extra bonus: with careful hanging after a wash (admittedly by hand), there is no need of ironing.

 

Here we go again

Remember the Liberty lattice patchwork that I thought was finished back in July? I was concerned when I realised that the way I’d had it hanging for months was starting to distort the fabric because the whole thing had gravity pulling at it on the bias. I decided to move on and work towards finishing it. While handling the black fabric to cut the border, I got suspicious. Belatedly suspicious. I did a burn test on the black and found the ruddy stuff is polycotton!! Horrified I was. Still am, though I’ve calmed down a bit a week or so later. Several friends pointed out that polycotton is likely to stay black longer than pure cotton. Which is true, but I’m still sad.

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I’ve solved the bias drag by hanging the quilt on the diagonal, which puts the fabric on the straight. I could just fold it up I suppose, but I’d have to press it before layering. On the other hand, it’s lighter now that we are past spring equinox and perhaps I should put it away to prevent fading before it’s even finished.

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I can’t do anything about all those black squares except live with them. I am however unwilling to feature the black any more than this, so I’ve stepped away from the plan for the bold black border. I checked the measurements of the patchwork as it stands against the bed. If I make another two rows of blocks and add them to opposite sides of the current square it will make a usefully sized rectangular quilt. This needs 28 blocks plus the same number of joining squares. I think I’m up for that. Checking my remaining fabric stocks said there was enough to cut the pieces from 6 different fabrics of the 4 approx colour categories. Hopefully that’s enough variation to prevent the new rows looking like add ons.

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It’s been long enough since the previous efforts that I actually quite enjoyed this little bit of basting.

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Crab Apple Dyeing: Part 3.

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I was tired of the remaining dye bath sitting about. I nearly threw it out without further use, but then I thought of something to do with it. I still had the white merino rib jersey left over from the Paua Inspired Cardi . I didn’t want to use it white, so I skimmed and reheated the dye bath, washed and vinegar rinsed the jersey, combined the two for an hour or two and got this nice yellowish creamy colour. The ungenerous might call it beige. Anyway, I like it. I’m hoping there is enough to cut a long sleeved Henley top. I could even use the crab apple dyed silk from Crab Apple Dyeing: Part 2 for trim perhaps. This exhausted the dyebath (almost no colour left in the water) so I could pour it away and clean everything up without feeling I’d lost an opportunity.

Crab Apple Dyeing: Part 2

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I had made a dyebath, but what to dye? I decided to do a test first. So I put a couple of tablespoons of the dyebath in a strong glass, added small scraps of a variety of fabrics and boiled it several times in the microwave. This pic is before heating:

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Here are the results after rinsing and drying. Original fabric and dyed scraps. From left to right there is cotton, linen, silk, wool fabric, wool yarn.

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I was not surprised to see that the protein fibres took the colour best. I still didn’t know what I wanted to dye in quantity. Sleeping on the decision meant I lay awake turning possibilities over in my head. Argh.

The dull gold colour didn’t seem that exciting, but not horrid either. I came up with two plans. One, that I would dye a portion of the 100g white skein Bendigo Woolen Mills sock yarn I bought on a whim several years ago. I’ve split that skein into four, with the idea that I might have a go at some other natural dyeing and make socks from whatever colours result. The other plan was to take some of the silk I bought cheaply from a warehouse closing sale and do a variety of shibori folded resist patterns. On the left is silk crepe, enough for a dress. Two different folds that should deliver a stripe and a spot/check. Plus a plain piece for trim. Then the sock yarn. To the right is a selection of folds in a plain weave silk habutai, enough for a shirt, or something.

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In the dyepot. I brought it to the boil, then added the fabric bundles. I let that all sit with a certain amount of poking and reheating for a couple of hours. Silk doesn’t really like being boiled, so I backed off from the “boil for an hour” instruction.

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Then I pulled all the cloth and thread out, rinsed it in warm water and hung it out. This is the fine plain weave silk. The patterns are there, but pale.

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Here is the silk crepe. This took the dye a bit better. All this fabric is still sopping wet, except the thin white piece above which I took out early because of cardboard failure.

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Darkest of all was the sock wool yarn.

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So some success. I’ll be interested in the look of the dry cloth and how fast the colour turns out to be. There is still colour in the dyepot, so I might put something else through tomorrow.

I will say that cardboard compression pieces are less than ideal for the shibori. They go soggy, fall apart and don’t do their job. I will look out for better stuff for use in future dyeing experiments.

Shiny sheer/satin striped silk shirt

I felt the need of a few more evening friendly garments. This shirt is a remake of an old favourite I made for a friend’s wedding many years ago, but in a rather different fabric. It’s a silk/cotton sheer ground fabric with silk satin stripes. Rather challenging to work with! It’s floppy, slithery and doesn’t take a crease well.

It’s my basic shirt again, with the wide plain rectangular collar. I thought the frill was a mistake when I’d only just assembled the front bands, but it is behaving better than I feared now I have the whole shirt together.

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Here are a variety of ways one can wear the collar. I won’t be wearing the first version with this shirt. I decided to tackle the too big neck hole issue and overshot. I can do this collar up while wearing it but it’s way too tight for comfort. Never mind, the other two versions are still appealing and in reality, I rarely fasten the top button of a collar except during laundry!

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In the end, my disappointments with this shirt are both about the collar. Aside from it being a bit small, I got confused and used the under collar as the upper collar. This mattered for two reasons: The under collar is pieced down the middle because the was barely enough fabric, and I had carefully cut the upper collar to have a satin stripe on the edge. Oh well, it’s not very noticeable.

The cuffs are gathered to work with the gathered frill. Also, this fabric takes a gather better than a pleat. I used shell buttons as usual.

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Here it is on. When I cut this shirt, I had in mind the new “corporate” pinafore from this blog post so here is a pic showing it on with that. I must say, the fabric feels really nice against the skin. I rather think I shall enjoy wearing this.

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