Friday, 22 April 2011

Dad's Special Family Quilt

After making the pillow case and the cushion, both with the embroidered writing on them, I had an idea to make a quilt for my Dad (seeing as he will be the only one without a quilt) and I asked all of the family to write a little message to him like they would in a birthday card or such and send them to me and I would transfer them onto fabric and embroider over them.  I have put quite a detailed description of how I worked out the blocks etc for the quilt in the hope it might help someone else who wants to design the quilt before they sew it all together to get a certain look.

I asked them all to fit their message on a 4 inch square as this would give me room to embroider over it and not lose any of the detail in the writing.  Also I have made quilts before using 4 inch squares so know it would come out a good size. 

After I had asked them this I decided I would actually cut the squares for the quilt 4.5 inches big then this would give me a 1/4 inch seam all round and would not matter if the went near to the edge on their paper square.

I wanted to do a block for each member of the family or there abouts, the block being made up from 6 small squares and one long block that is the size three squares having the message as the centre square.  I also wanted the long blocks to match up in a zig zag pattern across the quilt so I decided to plan the quilt using my Paint Shop Pro software.

There are quite a lot of people in my family so I counted them up and found I had 29 altogether which was a good number as it meant I could do the quilt with 30 blocks (6 x 5) and have one block in the centre saying something like "Dad's Family Quilt".

I drew a rectangle on am A4 shaped white background and then divided it into the 30 blocks using a black line.  Then I went over it again and divided the blocks into threes each way using a grey line so I wouldn't get muddled up.  I then had a blank canvas showing all the quilt as if it was wholly made up with the small squares.  Then I went into each block and covered over three squares in each showing the long rectangular pieces and got them to go in a zig zag.  Next I went to the centre of each block and planned who's name would be in each block.

After this I counted out how many squares I had cut out of the patterned fabrics in each colour.  I am using three main colours for the quilt, brown, orange and a lighter creamy colour.  In the brown and orange colours I have three different fabrics for each and in the creamy section I have two.  I also had some that were a black and white check fabric with a gold line through that looked nice with the other fabrics so I was using these as well.

I had 15 of the black and white squares so my quilt being 30 squares altogether meant I could put one black and white square in every other block so these went on first.  I assigned the color grey for these squares.  Next I did the cream as I had just about 15 of each, one was a light cream and one was more a beige so I went through and put these in alternate squares.  Then I went through and filled up the other squares with either orange or brown making sure no two squares of the same colour were right next to each other.

Once I was happy with the result (took quite a few hours to get it right, best thing of using the computer to do it all so I dont have to keep screwing up the paper and starting again!) I then counted out the individual patterns for each colour and marked these on the grid as well spacing them out.  The three fabrics for the browns were one flowery, one with bricks on it and one that I just called reddy brown, so I put a small initial on each brown square saying whether it was either F, B or R/B.  I did this for the orange too and the cream I just put L or D as to whether it was light or dark.

I now had a pretty good idea of how to make up the quilt.  One last thing I did was to check which fabrics had a pattern that I could turn around so that some were going horizontally and some vertically (as in sort of stripey fabrics.  I then went through the grid again and marked arrows on to show which way to place the fabric.

Then I saved it all and printed out a copy.  This is what the chart looks like now I have it printed out.

The white squares are the ones with the names on.

I had started to embroider a few of the message squares, here is the one I did for myself and also a pic showing it with some of the fabrics I am using for the quilt.

I went through the stash of squares and sorted them all into little piles so I knew which ones would be for each person's block and put them in a pile so I know I have them all correctly sorted out.  Now I was able to start sewing up the blocks of the ones I already had the messages done.  This is a pic of my Grandson Ryan's block with a close up of his little message.

Thats as far as I have gone for now, I have about 5 blocks already made up and a couple more ready to sew.  I am still waiting for the other messages to come in so I can get on with the rest.  I will update the post as I go.

I have managed to get all the squares done now and have pieced them all together and have started the long road of hand quilting it all together.  I will post a pic when it is finished.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

T-Shirt bag

I made my daughter a new bag fro school using one of her old tshirts.

The tshirt fabric was quite thin and very stretchy so I knew it needed a strong lining so I had a look to see what I had in my stash and found some blackout lining fabric which looked like it would work.  It has a fabric that looks like a cream lining on one side and the other is coated with some kind of vinyl.  It feels very supple and hangs nicely and was easy to sew.

I cut the tshirt up the two side seams and then ironed the pieces and cut out two rectangle, I made them about 3 inches longer than I wanted the finished bag to be and about 4 inches wider.  Then I sewed the sides together and across the bottom so the top was open.  I cut out two rectangles the same size from the lining fabric and stitched them up the same way.

Then I boxed the bottom corners to give the bag some depth and did the same with the lining for the bag.

Then I cut out some long strips of tshirt fabric to use for the straps.  I had to make do on this count as there was not much fabric left so I managed to get some strips off the top of the back and some from the sleeves and stitched them together to make two larger pieces big enough to make the handles.  I think they ended up being about 3 inches wide by about 20 inches long.  I cut out the same strips from the lining then folded the lining strip into three width ways and pinned it along the middle to stop it coming apart.  The I wrapped the tshirt fabric around the outside and folded under the raw edge so that it was going to leave me a seam down the centre.  I then just stitched through all layers using a wide zig zag stitch down the middle of each handle making sure I had caught all the edges under the stitiching.

Next I turned the bag inside out and placed the lining inside the bag so that right sides were together and pinned all the way round the top inserting the handles as I went.  You need to place the handles between the outside and lining fabric and they need to be upside down so when they are pinned you dont see the handles sticking out the top, they are tucked insdie the bag.  Then I stitched around the top of the bag, the t shirt matierial was very stretchy so I made a little pleat over the top of where each handle was attached to get rid of the extra fabric evenly.  I left an opening of about 3 inches across the top one side so I could turn it all through after, then once turned, pushed the lining inside the bag, made sure the handles were fine and then top stitched around the top closing the gap as I went.

My daughter is very pleased with the bag and it feels quite strong using the blackout lining inside it.  It is not stretchy.

New Denim Quilt with Tutorial (sort of)

Here is the third denim quilt I have made.  I looks lovely but was a nightmare to make.  The extra raggyness if it is made by using deeper seams and then cutting them into a fringe before washing it in the machine to rag it up.  A big problem is though that it blocks up the washing machine and I am still having trouble with mine so I will definitely not be making another one the same way unless I can think of a different way of getting it to rag and getting rid of all the excess bits of rubbish from it as it was going everywhere.

Here is a close up of how the fringe looks.

Here is a sort of tutorial of how I made it but once again I must warn you, it might block up your washing machine at the end unless you can think of a better way of doing it.

First I worked out how many squares I would need to make the quilt.  I wanted to make it out of 4 inch squares as the bits of denim I had left over from the other two quilts were quite small. The four inch squares when sewn together would leave a three inch square showing giving me a half inch seam all the way round.  I wanted a big seam so I can get a better fringe on it. I also wanted to do every other square in a patterned cotton so that it gives a chequer board look to it.

I wanted the finished quilt to be about 54 inches by 45 inches which is what the other quilts are so this would mean I would need 18 x 15 but I changed it to 19 x 15 so that I had an odd number of both.

I then worked out that this would mean I would need 143 denim squares and 142 patterned squares.

I cut these out using a rotary cutter and mat to get them all nice and even plus it was much quicker.  I then found some fabric I wanted to use on the back of the quilt and cut some more 4 inch squares out of this enough so I had one for each square altogether.  This means I needed 285 squares out of the backing material.  The first photo shows the piles, I have already started to sew some of the paterned ones.  The orange coloured ones are the backing fabric.  It was a nice cotton sheet.

I got one orange square and one patterned square and placed them wrong sides together and stiched a line diagonally across from one corner to the opposite, then without cutting the thread did the next one and so on making a chain of them as in the next photo.

 When I had finsihed sewing all of the patterned squares to their paired backing fabric I started doing the denim ones the same as in this photo.
 When they were all sewn across I cut the strings attaching them and made two piles, one with the demin and one with the patterned.
Then I got one denim and one patterned and put them together so that the backing fabrics were together with the denim on the top and the patterned on the bottom and matched the direction of the sewn line and then sewed a half inch seam across the edge.  I fed quite a few through one after the other to save time and cotton but didnt do them all as I was having odd numbers of squares in each row so would not need pairs throughout.  This photo shows some of them sewn together with the denim side up.
The next photo shows what it looks like if I flip it over.  The two pieces of backing fabric are sandwiched in between.
I then cut the strings attaching them to each other, opened them out and sewed them into fours.
Then I joined these together and so on until they had enough squares to go across the length of the quilt.  In my case I wanted 19 squares so I had to add one odd one on to the end of each row.  I alternated making one row start and finish with a denim square, then the next row to start and finish with a patterned square.
As you can see, the seams are all on the top, the reverse of the strip looks like this.
Then I sewed the rows together making sure I kept them going in order of one denim at the top and one patterned at the top.  I placed the backing fabric together and sewed along the top side of the quilt.  I hadnt bothered pressing the seams at all so the fabrics were tending to go so that the denim squares were full and the seams were folded over the patterned squares as if I had pressed them this way.  When I sewed I tried to make sure that the squares matched up as I was sewing and also tried to keep the crossways seams flattened as they wanted to lay towards the denim.
It was hard to make the underneath lay flat, I kept having to lift it up each square and make sure it was laying flat but it worked out ok in the end.  I kept sewing adding on row after row until I had finished them all.

Once all the rows were stitched together I just had to put the binding around the edging.  I didn't photo this as got carried away with it all but it was the same way as binding any quilt.

To make the fringe, when the quilt was finished I went round every square and cut a fringe alog the raw edge of each seam.  The bits that were sewn down in the corners I cut using a small craft knife as my scissors did not have a sharp point on but for the rest of the cutting I did it with a normal pair of scissors.  If you fold the quilt so the raw edge is at the front it is easy to cut through the layers as long as your scissors are sharp enough, just make sure you don't cut through the line of stitching.  I cut about every half inch along the line.

After I had finished cutting I took it in the garden and gave it a good shake to try to get rid of some of the bits and then put it in the washing machine and did it on a normal wash cycle.  It came out looking nice although I had to run it through the machine again as the backing fabric was covered in bits like if you leave a tissue in a pocket.  The big problem was that it blocked up my washing machine and although I cleaned out the filter it still sounds a bit cronky so I wouldn't recommend doing it this way but have not thought of a different way to do it instead.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Another Handbag

I made this little hand bag this afternoon. 

I made the pattern for it after watching the brilliant videos on You Tube by  One of the videos can be found  HERE, there are quite a few videos showing you different stages of making the bag, the only one I couldnt find was how to make up the lining for inside the bag but as I had just made another bag with a lining I managed to work out how to do it.

Another Bag

I made this bag this morning out of some more of the Cath Kidston fabric given to me by my Son.  It is lined with the same pink sheeting as the other bag.

Bag for Myself

My son bought me some lovely Cath Kidston fabric for my birthday as I said I wanted to make myself a new bag.  He bought me a metre of two different fabrics, one pink with white stars and one green with roses.

I had a look at some videos on line to watch how other people were making them and decided to make up my own pattern as I went along.

I cut the pattern out of paper first so that if it worked ok I would still have the pattern.

I had an old bag that I was going to through away that had lining inside with zipped pockets so I took that apart to use as a pattern for the lining.  I also reused the zips that were on the bag.

I bought some pink cotton webbing to use as the shoulder strap.  I also had some stuff that I bought in Dunelm Mill ages ago that looked like fluffy wadding on one side and cream cotton lining on the reverse.  I used this in the outer part of the bag to make it stiffer.

The bag was quite easy to assemble although I did have a bit of trouble in parts.  I made up the front pockets first, they have a gusset around the edge to make them stick out.  I had to find out where to put the magnet fastenings on the pockets so that the flap would close.  After these were made up and lined I sewed them to the front side of the bag.

Then I made the back side of the bag with the zipped pocket inside.  Next I made up the lining as it was done on my old bag.  I used some pink cotton sheeting for the lining.  Then I sewed the gusset to the outer bag.

It was now looking more like a bag.  I made up the flap next with the other side of the magnets in it and attached it to the back of the bag.  Then I sewed on the shoulder strap and inserted the lining and stitched it down all the way round.

Looking back on it now I think it was hard to attach the lining at the end like this. I think I should have done it with the lining open at the bottom somehow and then turned the bag inside out and sewed around the top for a better finish.  I am also thinking that the flap could have been a tiny bit longer.

Here are some pictures of the finished article.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Second Shorts and Top Set

This is the second shorts and top set I made for Kayleigh.  I used some blue fabric I had left over from my OH's shirt and made the top out of some white poly cotton I already had adding the "bra" bit of the top in the blue to match the shorts.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Shorts and Top Set

This is the shorts and top set I made for Kayleigh, the fabric for the shorts was given to me by my Sister In Law and I knew straight away it would make a nice pair of shorts as I had just bought the pattern.  The fabric for the top was left over from when I made the dolls for Christmas and went just right with the patterned shorts. 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Monkey, by Kayleigh age 6

This is a picture my Granddaughter Kayeligh has been sewing since the beginning of January.  She got it for Christmas and has been doing a little bit every time she has come to see me and just finished it today in time to give it to her mum for mother's day.  It is her first ever attempt at sewing and I am very proud of her.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Clothes for Granddaughter - Top and Skirt Set

I had some fabric left over from my butterfly top so decided to make my granddaughter a skirt out of it for her birthday.  I had already measured her all over and drew a little diagram in my notebook with all the measurements on like waist, chest, height, length from waist to knee etc.  For the skirt I worked out that I wanted the finished article to be about 30 cm in length.  I wanted the skirt to be in three layers so it gets more flared as it goes down and each layer would be the same length so this meant each layer would be 10 cm finished.  Add on 1 cm each side for seam/bottom hem and an extra 4 cm to the top strip so I can insert some elastic.

This meant that the first strips I cut were 15 cm wide and I cut two of them together and they were 40 cm long.  Next I cut the next layer which was 12 cm wide and I cut two pieces this time double the length of the first layer so 80 cm long.  Then I cut the bottom layer which was also 12 cm wide and I cut two strips each the width of the fabric which was I think about 137 cm.  Next I sewed the two side seams together for each of the pairs of strips.  Then I sewed a row of gathering stitches around the top of the bottom layer and gathered it in until it would fit inside the middle layer, pinned with quite a lot of pins to keep it together and then sewed (right sides together).  The did the same with the middle layer, gathering it in to fit the top layer and pinning and stitching them together.  Then all I had to do was turn up a small hem at the bottom which I stitched up with a zigzag stitch, and then turned over the top making a casing for the elastic about 2 cm turned over.  I measured this first before stitching to make sure it would be the right length and think I had to cut off about 1cm all the way round before actually sewing the casing down, leaving a small gap to thread the elastic through.

Here is the finished article.

I have made a top to go with the skirt using a pattern I bought.