Monthly Archives: September 2013

Success Breeds Success

No, no sewing related post, just for once, just some musings about the wonderful nature of the internet.
A couple of days ago, Karen of  “Did you make that” asked if and how sewing had impacted on our lives. I commented among other things that not very many people read my blog and Karen was nice enough to reply. Now of course Did you make that? is a very successful blog what with Karen having blogged for the Guardian and all that. And look what happened to my blog stats after an innocent little comment:

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The yellow column is for the day I posted the comment. Yep, so many readers of Did you make that? were kind enough to click through to my blog that this made it the most successful day ever on my blog!

Of course Karen was right when she replied that the important thing is the sewing, not the blog stats. But at the same time it is nice that  you bothered to come here and read.

It’s greatly appreciated :-)! Thank you!

My Journey in Quilts 7: Little Baby Quilt

A good friend of mine is going to have a baby very soon – and what better to give to welcome the little girl into the world than a quilt.

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It all started with a Moda charmpack and a good old rifle through my stash.

IMG_4971As my friend has decided against a specifically girly colour scheme I thought you can’t go wrong with yellow. So I found the white fabric with yellow circles for parts of the top and the backing.
IMG_4972This fabric as well as the binding has been in my stash for 15 years! In fact when I first bought it was for the first quilt I made – another baby quilt for my first baby. So making the quilt sent me down memory lane back to the times when I was a new mum. Loads of emotion, lots of memories of this biggest change in my life.

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I quilted very simple – in the ditch along the lines of the smaller pieces. For once the quilting went without a hitch – I think there isn’t a single pucker to be seen anywhere. All that is left to do is to embroider the name and date of birth. As I’m waiting for the impending birth as we speak the whole quilt should be finished soon.

October Resolution: Trying to Conquer the Twin Needle

Who needs the New Year for resolutions? That is far to conventional, don’t you think? Plus everybody keeps telling you that New Years’s resolutions are broken by the middle of January.
So I decided to make an October resolution!In October this year I will try to get the hang of sewing with a twin needle!
Yep, I agree, that’s not all that exciting. It’s not quite like busting over 50 metres of fabrics from  the stash or sewing a new wardrobe or anything fantastic like that. But it is something I would really like to be able to do properly.

I even used to use a twin needle without too much of a problem. But that was years ago (although on the same sewing machine I have had for years). But in the last two or three years I have never been able to get a decent stitch with a twin needle and have finished all my knit projects with a zig-zag-stitch. Of course that works perfectly well, it just looks a bit … well … home-made.

I tried everything: new needle, new type of needle, new thread, different thread, different tension, threading both needles at the same time, threading the needles separately, long stitches, short stitches, change sewing machine, go back to normal sewing machine – no luck! And all that while I have lots of yummy knits waiting to be made into tops (with the sleeves I’m in love with 🙂 ).

So in October I am going to set down and take some proper time to figure out the twin needle issue. Promised!

Who doesn’t want to “Sew Better, Sew Faster”?

When I saw the great results that the Material Lady got in sewing her Islander Jacket Express, I was immediately convinced to try the Craftsy course she had taken too. And then I had some money left over because I was made to serve as support staff for the German elections last Sunday which is a very honourable but very, VERY boring task. They pay you a small sum as compensation and when I realised it would pay exactly for the course Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets I took this as a sign and enrolled.

It’s the first sewing course I have taken in about 30 years and the first online course ever and although I have not even finished watching every lesson I have really enjoyed the experience.

The course is based around the construction of a jacket (like the one from the Material Lady), but I have not received the pattern for this – as shipping times from the US to Germany are like – ages I decided I could not wait (after all I want to sew faster, not wait longer!) and tried to used the new techniques on my latest project, a pair of trousers with a peplum no less.

Everything worked a treat and I have been able to make a whole pair of trousers doing hadly and basting and using almost no pins. Apparently that’s how they do it in the industry so that’s good enough for me!

I am not to sure all of that made me sew faster (speed has never been my issue, that’s why the blog is called Said & Done 😉 ) but my new pair of trousers sure turned out better than the previous ones and with a lot less drama. So so far the course has not only been a pleasure but also a success.

Burda Easy Fashion Autumn/Winter 2013: Easy Made Difficult

Does anybody like to gloat? Sun yourself in another one’s misery?
Then this is where it’s at!! I made the most enormous dog’s dinner out of my latest sewing projects.
All started really well. I love the new edition of Burda Easy Fashion – in fact apart from one skirt in it I have plans for every garment in the magazine.
I started my making blouse #5

5C HW13 B

not as a dress but in a slightly more middle-age-appropriate blouse length. No concerns about the pattern or the drafting – but the chiffony fabric I used pulled and wrinkled every which way until I got all hot and bothered and felt like way back in the home ec class trying to make the first button hole… After a lot of rather unkind ironing and pressing I managed to kind of conquer the pulling and declared the garment wearable – more photos in the next post.

Then I tried my luck on trousers #2:

2B HW13 B

I didn’t make a colour block version but used a solid navy stretch fabric from my stash. The whole project was intended as a muslin, hopefully a wearable one – until I was a bit to fast and free with the rotary cutter and cut into one of the trouser pieces! And no, the hole is not at the inside leg near the ankle where no-one can see it, it is at the center front at about mid-thigh! I did try a bit of darning, but clearly that is not something I remember how to do from my home ec class, so there went the wearability aspect of the muslin. Once I have stopped crying about so much stupidity (whenever did I think that using a rotary cutter on dark navy in a room that is not very brightly lit in the middle of the night half asleep is a good idea???) I might make some pictures of the trousers that otherwise are actually very nice.

So there goes to show: You can make even easy things really hard, if you really try…

Sigh…

My Journey in Quilts #6: The Wedding Quilt

As announced in my last post my sister got married last weekend and my present to the new couple was this quilt: IMG_4680IMG_4681

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My sister is a great fan of all things Scandinavian and I thought a colour scheme of red, black and white might be just right. I made it using a jelly roll of – oh dear, my brain is forsaking me, I can’t remember the name of the line! Can anybody help me out? I bought it in New York, I do remember that… Well, moving quickly on, she says embarrassedly…

Aaaanyway: This is  the first quilt I designed myself, but of course the design is very simple, so maybe it doesn’t even warrant that word. I made one star for each member of the family (my sister, her husband, their son and one for the baby my sister is pregnant with. In the middle they all come together to make up the new family.

I tried to spell out that thought again on the reverse:

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There is an initial for each member of the family (and the heart shape for the baby). I made the letters using the technique described by Tonya Riucci. I have admired quilts with writing on for a long time – look at this page on Pinterest, isn’t that just great? However, I didn’t really fall in love with making those letters so  I don’t think I will ever make a quilt that tells a proper story 🙂 .

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The binding is just simple red checkered fabric all the way around the quilt. I had some strips of the jelly roll left, so I contemplated making binding in several colours, but in the end I like the solid effect better.

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The quilting is a miracle! Not because it is so beautiful, but because it happened at all! I have started to overcome my quilting phobia, thanks to the use of relatively light-weight cotton batting that has made things much easier for me. I simple quilted in the ditch (or imaginary ditch across the solid white squares). Clearly this is as nothing in comparison to what real quilters are doing, but for my level of skill it is great and was happy enough with it to give the quilt as a present.

IMG_4683So how about you? Have you ever gifted a quilt? Who was it for? Or have you been fortunate enough to be given a quilt?

Sneak Preview: My Journey in Quilts 6

I have been away on holiday so I have not done any sewing at all for a fortnight – until yesterday when I sprung into frantic action in order to finish a wedding quilt for my sister who is going to get married … next Saturday. Yes, that is in five days’ time… I am not normally a deadline hugger, normally I get stuff finished in plenty of time, so not having finished the quilt before going on holidays made me really nervous. But then there was a reason for that…

Now I can’t show you a whole load of pictures yet, as I don’t want to show of a present before it has actually been gifted (though I doubt my sister reads this blog, especially five days before her wedding 😉 ) so this is just a sneak preview.

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I have actually had a revelation during the construction of this quilt. I have long documented my problems with the quilting part of quilting and because this is the first quilt I’m ever giving away for a big occasion I was very conscious of the standard of my work. So conscious in fact that after finishing the quilting back in August I decided that I hated my work so much that I ripped it all out again. I am not even sure what took longer, doing the quilting or ripping all the stitches on a complete quilt. heartbreaking work in any case!

Yesterday I tried again using a different wadding – and what  a difference that made! Previously I had always used poly wadding, this time I used quite a slim cotton wadding and I had zero problems with slippage of the sandwich layers or crincles on the underside. So in the end redoing everything was the right thing to do!

IMG_4675I did not do a lot of quilting, just rows in the ditch, because I simply do not have the skills to do any more involved quilting. I realise, of course, that even this standard of work is a long way away from perfect, even quite a way away from competent, but it is acceptable and certainly the best I have ever managed. Happily, in this case, there is no German quilting traditions, so very very few people have handmade quilts and my sister will not be able to compare my standards to much other work – all the more lucky for me 😉

After the wedding I will show a few more pictures of the full quilt – I hope you will enjoy them.

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