Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Painted Portrait Blouse - literally

Painted Portrait Blouse

Here is a Painted Portrait Blouse (pattern by Anna Maria Horner) that took me quite some time to finish. I made some little steps here and there for about a year ... I have to admit that I'm not too happy with it. As soon as I had sewn the yoke to the front panel I saw that I didn't like my fabric combination all that much. I think the yoke is much too dark for the ditsy Liberty print, but it felt too complicated and also unrealistic to change the fabric at that stage. Actually, I first planned to use the turquoise lining fabric for the yoke outer, but then decided to switch things around in the midst of winter because I thought it would be too harsh ... Now that we've got sunlight again I regret the switch. Well, I thought it's still better to soldier on and finish it than let it linger unfinished. It tried to "save" the situation and lighten up the yoke and draw the eye to it a bit more by adding the painted detail with fabric paint which I had sitting around at home.

Painted Portrait Blouse

Now I'm thinking I might have made it worse ... Well, it's nice to try a spontaneous idea, sometimes they turn out well! The pattern is not very difficult to make, I think, and I like that it gives the opportunity to combine different fabrics and there are lots of different options like the dress length and I'd love to try the pieced yoke version with sleeves at one point. The pattern might not be the most flattering for my pear shape, but I think with a little fit adjustment during assembly (which the way the blouse is constructed would make easily possible) the loose fit would suit me a bit better.

Painted Portrait Blouse

Aaah, the print is so pretty, maybe I just feel the the finished blouse can't live up to the loveliness of Liberty ...!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

birthday dress and quilt progress



Here is V.'s 2nd birthday dress, finished in time for the celebrations!



I bought this Tsuru fabric some time ago with making a dress for her in mind and now was the time! This is a Geranium Dress, which I think is such a lovely but simple design perfect for showcasing pretty fabrics! I had one yard and was able to make a size 3T, although I had to opt for a shorter skirt length to make it work. (Please note that this fabric was cut to make use of the border which runs along the selvedge edges, so the hems are aligned with the selvedges and the grainline of the pattern aligned from side to side instead of top to bottom!) It was a bonus for me that I already had the bodice traced for the dress I made for our niece two years ago. I just had to trace the skirt for the pleated version, which I think works better for this print. The lining is a bias gingham print in a pretty pink.



I love that the pleated version has side seam pockets! This border print with the lovely flowers and colours really is so pretty and navy suits V. very well!



I had some problems with the buttonhole setting on my machine. I don't know whose fault it was, mine or "hers", but after a lot of unpicking and fabric starting to look worn and torn around the buttonhole area and a near nervous breakdown I decided to just go with snaps. I left the final unsuccessful buttonhole stitches because I thought it would show less than yet another unpicking. Well, I think it's still cute and it is really only visible up close. I hope I'll get to the root of that buttonhole problem (it could be the buttonhole foot that has seen better days ... My machine is around 30 years old, so it wouldn't surprise me ... or it's just me ...)

 

I've also been making progress on the quilt I'm making for V., although I don't think I'll finish it in time for her birthday.



I really love how this turned out so far! Those really are my favourite colours at the moment and I think they are perfect for little girls and my little girl in particular! :-)



The fabrics are a combination of newer and older favourites from my stash. Among others and some odds and ends there are several Briar Rose prints, some Color me Retro and I cut into some of my long-hoarded Folk Heart prints.



I tried not to overthink the placement of the squares. I aimed to sew the rows together containing a good mixture of  prints and then sorted the rows into an order that pleased me. That four-patch block above was a happy accident that I decided to leave because I think it adds a bit of extra surprise and fun to the quilt.



The backing is pieced from leftovers and Briar Rose yardage. I forgot to take a picture, but I'll show you once the the quilt is finished. I'm so excited to see this come together, I hope I'll be able to finish it soon!!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Berry Border Pillow



This weekend I finally got around to taking some pictures of my finished Berry Border Pillow. The pattern is from Alicia Paulson's  beautiful Embroidery Companion. This was my first cross-stitch project and as suggested in the book it's perfect for a beginner.



The grid of the gingham is very clear, so you don't have to struggle too much counting (I say too much, because if you are like me, you'll struggle a bit anyway ...) and it all comes together quite quickly because of the relatively big size of the squares.



I used different embroidery thread and colours than in the instructions, mainly because I wanted to use what I already had, but also I think this green gingham (a present from my mother-in-law) needs slightly stronger colours than the lighter coloured peachy gingham in the book.



The grid of this gingham is not completely square, so it affects the outcome a bit, but I think it doesn't really matter that much in the overall design of the finished project. At least I think it's pretty and V. likes it, too. She put her head on it almost immediately after she spotted it and said "hieno", which means something like "great/fine/wonderful" in Finnish. She also recognized straight away that there are strawberries in the border. :-)



I decided to use ric-rac instead of piping, again mostly because I had this blue ric-rac in my stash and it fits perfectly with this cute folksy fabric I chose for the back. I'm really happy with how this turned out and the project gave me the confidence to finally begin Alicia's Winterwoods ABCs sampler I had ordered a couple of years ago!



I'm really glad I finally tried cross-stitch, it's really fun and relaxing!



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

more drawstring bags and some stitching

Recently I made three drawstring bags for my sister-in-law's birthday. I chose fabrics I thought she might like and worked from my stash. Some of these fabrics are my very favourites.



I followed Jeni Baker's pattern and made three sizes, The Artist Bag, The Project Bag and The Everything Bag.





I made these assembly-line style and while I was at it I made an Everything sized one for myself as well.



These are so practical, I could use a couple more in all sizes! :-) I used ribbon, so I was able to skip the drawstring making stage and also use up those pretty ribbons I bought quite a while a go. It's nice to know these are in good use now! I use mine to store my embroidery hoop, scissors and the floss for my current project:



I'm making the Winterwoods ABCs cross-stitch sampler by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy. Over Christmas I stitched a simple cross-stitch project from her book and it gave me the confidence to start this at last! I bought the kit back in 2012, but didn't really have to courage to start until now. I've really been enjoying the process, it's very relaxing to concentrate on these simple stitches and the pretty overdyed flosses and little plants and creatures are so lovely! In the past I thought I wasn't really the type for cross-stitch, but now I'm hooked. I just needed the right project to motivate me to try it!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

drawstring bag



I made this drawstring bag using two practise blocks I made during the patchwork course I'm taking. We had an Amish patchwork theme for some lessons and were asked to bring several fabrics: some favourite colours, a neutral colour (I wanted solid black to go with the traditional Amish vibe I had in mind, but didn't have any so the text print was a great stand-in) and a colour we're not particularly fond of.



We all had huge fun guessing at which colour was the others' "least favourite" and realizing that a little bit of something out of one's comfort zone can add quite a bit of flair and contrast. Above is the first block I made and my not-so-favourite colour is the orange. Yes, you might think the same as my coursemates (and in fact myself now) that the orange actually "makes" this block. Another fun thing to notice was to see how the same colour can look very different according to which other colours are next to it. For instance the pink looks a lot darker in the small squares than in the bigger squares next to the black.



In my second block I moved the colours around a bit. It really looks different, but I can't decide which one I like better ... It really was a fun exercise and the more I sew the less colours there are I don't like all. It's all just a question of the right amount and context, I guess.



I've been wanting to make a drawstring bag for myself for some time now to store WIPs and other sewing stuff in and this was the perfect project to use up those blocks! I lined it and added a tunnel of pink with an opening on one side. I made a two-toned lining since I didn't have enough of either colour for the whole lining. I really like it and I think it goes really well with the look and "using stuff up"-theme here. I'm happy I got some use out of those blocks (and that string and closure had been in my crafting stash for years ...!), plus it makes me happy to see them on a regular basis.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Swappen auf Deutsch 5 completed

Washi Patchwork Tote

Now that the swap is completed, I thought I'd share a bit more information on the tote I made and of course show you what I got in return! :-)

Washi Patchwork Tote

My partner left me quite a lot of freedom for creating something for her, so I tried to figure out where to start from looking at her inspirational mosaic. Then I mainly used this, this and this picture to work from. So, there was the washi tape fabric which I had in my stash as well, then there was improv piecing and geometric forms plus a combination of bright colours and neutral backgrounds. The idea of trying to recreate the layout of the washi fabric in patchwork emerged and I started to work from there.

Washi Patchwork Tote

Since I wanted to make things a bit easier for myself I took the dimensions and general construction of the tote from the book Zakka Style (be sure to look at the errata before making the Zig Zag Tote from that book!!).

Washi Patchwork Tote

I decided to add a (nearly) solid panel on the bottom of the tote using the same fabric I used for the handles to pull it all together and make the tote less prone to stains if placed on the floor.

Washi Patchwork Tote

The inner pocket is made from the inspirational fabric.

Washi Patchwork Tote Innentasche

I quilted some individual panels in dense straight lines on one side of the tote, which I think looks really nice. On the other side I quilted in the ditch of the "tapes".

Washi Patchwork Tote

Washi Patchwork Tote

Washi Patchwork Tote

Washi Patchwork Tote

I'm really happy I took part in this swap again. Seeing all the others make such an effort to create something original really pushed me to come up with something of my own and get out of my comfort zone a bit! I think that's the most fun in a swap, you never know who you're getting to sew for and you'll have to come up with something that both pleases them and yourself. :-)

And now to the beautiful bag I recieved:

Swappen auf Deutsch - empfangen

Isn't it stunning?! I am so happy with it and as you can see in the pic couldn't wait to fill it up with my stuff and use it! It was made by Monika, be sure to check out her blog and her flickr account, she makes some amazing stuff!

Swappen auf Deutsch - empfangen

Monika really listened to my wishes when it came to colours and patterns and she put so much work in the bag, adding such beautiful details!

Swappen auf Deutsch - empfangen

Swappen auf Deutsch - empfangen

An especially lovely touch is my name embroidered on the other side of the tote! Such a great idea!

Swappen auf Deutsch - empfangen

Swappen auf Deutsch - empfangen

Thank you so much again, Monika!!! :-)


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas preparations

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

decorating the tree

decorating the tree

decorating the tree

There have been some Christmas preparations going on. It's fun to share some traditions with V. now she can participate in some of them like decorating gingerbread cookies with sprinkles and decorating the tree. I finished her Christmas stocking in time for her second Christmas, yay! :-) Also, I finished one of four potholders I started two years ago. Well, I suppose it's nice to have some seasonal projects to pick up next year, too.

Today is the shortest day of the year in Finland. From tomorrow on we'll be moving back into the light minute by minute! To everybody a wonderful Festive Season/Christmas/solistice!