corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Same but Different

A little diversion (or two) from my own personal A/W wardrobe which features some sewing for others. Based upon the available evidence I have come to the conclusion that I do not make subtle quilts!

DSCN7371Well, maybe one, but all the rest are riots of colour, patterns and random designs. I follow my personal edic for quilt making: buy fabric, cut it up, sew it back together again and that’s the quilt done.

My oldest cousin’s eldest daughter (have you all followed that line of ancestry?) had identical twin girls at the end of summer. Imagine – two of everything!

My mother knitted two little jackets, other people bought two baby gros, two jammies, two cots, two Moses baskets, two cardigans, two of anything….a double buggy, two car seats etc etc etc…..

I contributed to the next, next generation by sewing two quilts – almost the same but different, as will be these two little girls: identical but with individual personalities.

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The Hungry Caterpillar collection of fabrics featured widely, boosted by Kaffe Fasset designs and a few odds and ends.

These are not pretty pink and pastel shades but vibrant, rainbow, crazy. Hopefully gender ambiguous and therefore can re-used for other offspring.

The block is really simple: a 5″ square with 2.5″ border on two sides. When assembled, it makes a four patch with edges. One fish, one heart, one, rainbow, one alphabet.

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Each quilt has 2 X 3 blocks and are probably more suited to lying on a cot or baby bed rather than a pram or crib.  They measure in and around 28″ X 42″, but that’s an approximation. Always suitable to laying on the floor too. The babies are tiny and currently both of them will easily lie side by side on one of these quilts together. I’m hoping that in time they will both claim each quilt as their own.

I did succumb to a little gender identity to suit the current recipients – one quilt has a pale pink backing and the other a pale lilac. Names and dates regulatory.

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Zoe and Sophie – welcome to the world…..

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I hope you both make it as colourful and as chaotic as your namesake quilts.

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32 Comments

Do You Want More Gravy?

There’s a tradition in our house that, when cooking dinner, you always prepare enough food for the Uninvited Guest. If they don’t show up then there’s plenty for seconds or enough for dinner the next day. I learned this from my mother as a child and she still cooks this way. Another ritual at dinner is purely my mother’s – at a certain point, usually mid-way through the main meal, she will invariably ask each person “Do you want more gravy?”

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It has become a standing joke and now at every family get together dinners, we all take turns asking “Do You want more gravy?”

So what else could I name a quilt made for my mum and dad except “More Gravy”?

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The design is actually Spellbound found free at Moda’s Bake Shop. MBS-spellbound-pinI made mine a little bigger than the pattern for a generous drop off each edge on a double bed. I also choose gentle colours, vignetting from green – pink – blue, on a neutral cream background. A easy and quick way to increase the size of any quilt is to add borders and I added two.

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The fabrics are tea dyed cloth from Doughty’s, which is also appropriate for my parents as they drink gallons of the stuff and no matter what is wrong or what problems are worrying you, a cup of tea will fix it.

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The quilt is sewn in strips, left to right, the squares of one row beginning the row below. There are hundreds of little pieces to make one row:

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The reverse of the quilt has a centre panel made up of all the little cut-offs and a few patches of leftover fabrics.

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And of course there’s always more fabric left over, so I made two matching pillow shams.

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More gravy and cups of tea, sunshine and a handmade quilt – what could be better?

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33 Comments

Trio of the Sun, the Galaxy and a Heart

A few years ago I claimed to have quilted the universe, well, this week I quilted sunshine, our own galaxy and a little bonus.

DSCN5317A few months back I asked my SIL if she’d like a quilt; at the time it was between seasons, I was lacking inspiration and I had enough clothes to get me through spring/early summer but still had the need to sew and create. K said yes and provided a few images for inspiration and suggestions for colours and off I went down the rabbithole of quilts.

This is from Reccamea designs and highlights the contrast between colour and grey.

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I have rarely followed a quilt pattern: I look at patterns and get ideas, then I buy a tonne of cotton, cut it up and sew it up again. However much fabric I purchase – that’s the size of the finished quilt. I like the freedom of this kind of sewing – innovation combined with discipline. To make a double bed or king sized quilt which will be about 4 metres square you need to quadruple the metres purchased, so buy enough fabric for about 6 sq metres to allow for cutting and seams (and mistakes). And then you’ll have some fabric left over to add to your stash to be used for yet another quilting project. You can’t ever do one quilt because there’s always fabric leftover to start another – cunning plan…..

I found this design and was immediately struck by its simplicity and striking visual impact. This was my starting point…. From Esch House Designs, the pattern is available for purchase.

The colour palette suggested by K was grey with a touch of colour. What I came up with is “Sunshine on a rainy day” – anyone remember the 1980’s song by Zoe? The lyrics are perfect and the melody is an earworm.

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Pre-pressing, quilting and binding. Merely a check for finished size.

The whole time that I was sewing this I was also singing – thank goodness it has now been completed and delivered. I’ll now have to find another song to sing…..

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Blocked stripes of monochrome with one third of Kaffe Fassett vibrant orange/pink. The greys represent a cloudy sky and the colour represents the sun peeking out – also possibly a sunset/sunrise.

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The back of the quilt is yellow in a wood-effect design. The quilting is a loose wiggly line across the joins and is more representation of clouds.

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And then I thought….the only person in this little family who doesn’t have a quilt is Lucas, my young nephew. That would just be mean if he didn’t get anything. So I went ahead and made a single bed quilt that hopefully is appropriate for a 10 year old boy.

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He got the galaxy with all the planets and our single star in roughly the right order but with a disclaimer in the title of “Not To Scale”.

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Some planets are appliqued and others are half-circle sewn. Jupiter has an appliqued storm and Saturn has its rings. The earth has its polar caps, the moon including the dark side.

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The sun is a quarter Dresden plate and determines the top of the quilt. Poor little Pluto had to be added onto the end and made the quilt very long and no doubt will hang over the edge of any bed. But in any case, it’s a cold, icy planet and so it’s a suitable position.

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The back side is representative of all the microwaves in the universe with a zig-zag navy and white fabric. You can see the relatively loose machine quilting that sort of mirrored the planets’ position.

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And then I thought, but now everyone in this little family will be receiving something, except Leigh, my niece. She already has a quilt but it’s really not fair to leave someone out. So, she got a cushion with a big pink heart.

The whole family now has at least one handmade, unique item that I hope they will enjoy and value for many years to come.

I received some lovely Thank You letters the next day….

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and yes….. those of you from an older generation may question the value of learning phonetic spelling…..

 

 

 

 

 


20 Comments

Every Quilt I’ve ever Made

Firstly, that title sounds like I’ve been making quilts for 100 years – I haven’t. It’s been two years.

Secondly,within 10 minutes of starting to patchwork and quilt I started to gather and collect all my scraps of fabric from every project. You know how that goes…….

Thirdly,  if you are a quilter you might want to look away now. This is not accurate block making nor a precise method of patchworking but it certainly uses up those scraps.

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So following Demented Fairy’s good advice, I sorted all the scraps into colour-ways and stuffed them into plastic freezer bags and stashed them away.

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However, fast running out of freezer bags and space I decided it was time to do something with all these scraps. Now, when sewing clothes, your scraps might be in the region of 0.5-1m. With patchworking, the scraps are 2″ -4″ and below!

So I delved in and dug out a bag: this one happens to be mostly orange.

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The scraps were then pressed, laid out for possible colour combination options with some being removed, then roughly sorted into shapes ready for sewing.

And start sewing random bits together……..1/4″ seam allowance and a pale grey thread.

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When it becomes too difficult to sew any more pieces, like the angle is too acute and there are no more straight edges, trim to make the patchwork squarish and carry on.

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I kept up this process until the block was close to 15″ or so. Pressed really well…….

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…..and then just picked another bag and started the process all over again, and again, and again. Then all of a sudden, I had 20 blocks! Each block was then trimmed to 14″ in a rare attempt to square things off. Can you spot the original start point in this block?

I bought some plain yellow (now I have scraps of yellow!) and made a quilt top with all these random blocks with 2″ yellow sashing – 4 X 5 blocks and big enough to lie atop a UK king-sized bed.

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In this quilt, there are fabrics left over from summer dresses, shirts, totes, skirts, scarves, wash/cosmetic bags and, of course, other quilts.

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So, I’m feeling quite pious at this point. I’ve put the otherwise useless scraps to good use and made a quilt top. But of course, that’s not the end of the quilt. It now needs wadding and a backing to make it complete. I went and bought some of my favourite fabrics by Kaffe Fassett for the backing (I now have scraps of backing).

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Fabulously bright and happy. The quilting of all layers includes wiggly lines on each block and straight line sewing along the sashing. It looks good from both sides.

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It’s teenage son’s girlfriend’s birthday in March so guess what’s she’s getting as a 20th birthday present? Which reminds me that teenage son will not be a teenager for very much longer – like where did those years go?

Every finished quilt needs a title and a label. This one is called “The Learning Years”. I have learnt so much about patchworking and quilting in the past two years and teenage son’s girlfriend is at university – so it’s a title that refers to both our journeys.

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Of course, there’ll always be more scraps………

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Bin ’em!


12 Comments

Holly Rose

After last week’s regimented sewing time, this last week was slightly unusual.

I accompanied 24 students into the wilds of the Mourne Mountains for three days: no mobile signal, no Internet, no TV, radio or most of anything linked with the 21st century. My goodness, how will we cope? We did however, have hot and cold running water, a roof over our heads, beds and en-suites and tonnes of food, which definitely helped.

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Well, of course everyone survived. Which just goes to prove beyond absolute doubt that Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook/Pinterest/Blogger/Wordpress/Google/Bing/Android/i-anything/email/etc,etc,etc may be wonderful thingies but in reality do not enable us to survive!

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The girls were absolutely frantic, they just kept staring at their blank phone screens at any and every available moment like a signal might miraculously appear while the boys just sort of went “Yeah, no signal, OK. Got a football?”.

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Anyway, while they all went off hillwalking, kayaking, bouldering, mountain biking and other things involving fresh air, I sat on my well padded backside padding it a little bit more doing a constructive project – hand sewing.

BTW – I never take my students out unless the rain stays away and the sun shines – I’m lucky that way – Jinkes !!

A colleague had a baby in early September, well actually, his wife did.

14433048_10210567245760386_5165385499060978708_nI had already completed the quilt top awaiting the imminent arrival and it just needed quilting and binding – this was my hand work for three days. Hand quilted, the binding hand sewn and all completed in time for coming home on Friday to Wi-Fi, email, Facebook and all the other sh**e.

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The pattern for the quilt top is Jelly Roll Jam 2 . Sorry, I can’t remember the fabric but you might just be able to see pine trees, birds, bees and tents – all outdoor things.

The other side is backed with birds.

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James,  it will be years and years before you you can venture up the Mournes again……….

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I hope Holly loves the quilt –  James, but I’m sure you love her way more.

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