Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas Holiday Quilt

Quilt for the Seaside!
Does anyone ever really regret starting a patchwork quilt when they are half way through and it seems like it will just keep going? Whenever I make a quilt (and I've made loads of them for some reason!). I always swear that I will never bother to make another one ever again and yet here I was struggling through another one...

My chosen Cotton+Steel fabrics.
I started making this when my mum and dad were visiting us in September. I bought the beautiful fabric as soon as the first Cotton+Steel range was available to buy online and knew that they would become a quilt of some sort. I used Stars in Mustard (Mustang), Metallic Arrows in Coral (Mustang), Tacks in Teal (Homebody), and all of these from the C+S Basics Range: XOXO in On The Rocks, Netorious in Plummy and Dottie in Jean Jacket.

I looked at loads of patterns and decided to add some white in and do something a bit different as a of the quilts that I had made previously have been using just square or rectangle blocks (apart from my first one!). I used the Flying Geese block technique from this quilt on the Purl Bee. I was a bit upset with myself for chopping the lovely colourful fabric into such small pieces but I really like the result now! 

Lots of pieces!
The longest part of the construction was putting together all of the pieces. I kept getting distracted by other projects, such as nice dresses and Christmas presents. So I had to set myself a deadline, which was to have this ready to take with us on our Christmas holiday, hence the name of the quilt. 

My design laid out on the living room floor.
After spending a good hour mulling over the sequence of the pieces, it actually didn't take me too long to pull this baby together. I took inspiration from the flip and sew method that I saw ages ago on Pinterest, and sewed each column onto the back fabric and wadding individually which helped bring it all together. I then stitched in the ditch along every other row to make it a bit quilty and get the square pattern on the back. I used some of the leftover backing fabric to bind the quilt, and stitched it to the back by hand. I wanted it to look really nice, and I have got so frustrated with binding in the past that I thought that this would be worth a shot. I managed to (almost) get all of the hand part done in the time that it takes to watch Love Actually!

Quilty squares on the back of the quilt.
Despite my lack of love of this quilt during the process, I am now loving it. I've already spilt tea and crumbs all over it, which I take to mean a symbol of true affection! And I'm already planning my next quilt... 

The finished article.
We had a lovely time away over the Christmas break in Newport, Oregon. We went to the Aquarium, had some lovely walks along the beach, ate lots of tasty food and had some very nice local beer and wine. The view from our cabin, which we found on Airbnb, was amazing and we went to sleep to the sound of the ocean (and sometimes rain) each night. Here's a couple of snaps from my Instagram feed:

How cute is the sea otter having a post lunch nap?

Moody sunset
Newport Bridge

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A Spotty Dahlia

alt="Colette Dahlia"
My first Colette Dahlia.
I've just finished first Dahlia (I say that because this will be the first of many, I'm sure) and it was the first time that I have ever followed a Sewalong, which I really liked and will definitely do again. This was because I spread out the making of the dress over two weeks which meant that I didn't rush, and that I had time to correct things or make slight adjustments without worrying that it was taking me too long. I also had time to make some other gifty things in between as Christmas is quickly approaching. 

I made two muslins to test the size before I cut into my main fabric. As I have a larger waist in proportion to the rest of my body, I initially graded from a 16 to a 12 both up and down. I found that this was way too loose so I made a size 14 waist on my second attempt. I did a small shoulder adjustment, taking an inch out - Devon's instructions for this were really clear and helpful. As well as this, I narrowed the front and back by about half an inch, so that the neckline didn't gape too much. The fabric is a charcoal and white polka dot fabric from Telio, which I bought at Spool of Thread. I forgot to look at the label to see exactly what it was but it's part stretchy, part not and quite thick. I will have to find out... 

alt="Colette Dahlia"
Shoulder Pleat on the Colette Dahlia.
Once I'd sewn the dress together and gathered the neckline, I still felt that it was too wide for me. So I made these little pleats at the top of the shoulder before I attached the binding round the edge. It gives the neckline a bit of a pointy shape but I quite like it now. 

alt="Colette Dahlia"
Colette Dahlia neckline.
The Sewalong was so clear and I will definitely follow one again. As I said above, it was really nice to take my time. Even when it came to the hem, I thought what the heck, and decided to sew it by hand. The fabric that I chose was quite thick so I didn't want to look quilty at the bottom. And I also thought, well I've spent this much time putting the dress together, why not spend another 30 minutes sewing up the hem?! Here is me celebrating finishing the dress:

alt="Colette Dahlia"
Yay, I finished!
I wore the dress to work the next day and got lots of compliments but unfortunately I didn't have enough time to take any photos of me in it during the short daylight hours that we're having. 

We've been having some amazingly clear but cold days recently so over the weekend when I was doing my muslins we went for a walk around the seawall at Stanley Park to see the sunset which was beautiful. 
Seawall Sunset.
I'll do a post about the Christmas gifts that I have made at another point when the receivers have received them - I wouldn't want to spoil their surprises! But one of the things that I've made is this Advent Calendar that I saw on Pinterest for Andy and his sweet tooth. I got so much satisfaction out of this that I don't need any chocolate, but he is being good and sharing with me anyway!

An Advent Calendar for Andy!