Blast from the Past

It has been many, many years since I cut a pattern.

Since it was so long, I didn’t tax myself with anything complicated. Let’s wind this back a little.

The other day, I realised that the backside was out of several pairs of my summer pants, worn thin and in some cases displaying an unseemly amount of underwear. I went shopping and one of the replacements I bought was a pair of wide leg pants in lightweight crepe with a comfortable broad elasticated waist and a slit from ankle to halfway up the calf which resulted in a fun flip of the pants leg when you walk. They have rapidly become my favourite pair, still a little thin for the current wintery weather (yes, OK, 21°C/70°F is not winter as many of you know it, but it’s cold for us), but due to be worn to death in the summer. They were only available in one colour-way, navy with a small white spot.

Well, obviously I was going to try and copy them, wasn’t I? – especially as there are only 3 pattern pieces involved: front, back and waistband.

I had a pencil, eraser, ruler, roll of brown paper, tape measure and pins. That’s all you need to draft a pattern off an existing garment, unless you want to go all fancy and get one of those little spiky wheel things. It’s a bit trickier when there’s elastic involved, as it’s hard to get a garment to lie flat when the waistband keeps wanting to shrink back to its unexpanded size. But essentially you lay the garment as flat as possible and trace around it, using pins to punch an outline where you can’t flatten out a seam or disappear a sleeve, for example.

You then join everything up, add seam allowance, et voilà: a basic pattern. Add marks to ensure things will line up, indicate straight grain and how many pieces to cut, and the job is done.

Now to cut it out from the grey and white bargain-bin fabric I picked up a couple of years ago for the massive total of $6 for 3 metres. Plenty. And I’ll probably have enough to make some sort of matching top.

Watch this space!

Mend it Monday #8

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

Oh joy, another pair of the Husband’s work pants to repair…

I think we can justifiably call this an Heroic Repair, don’t you?  There are already two patches in place from previous incidents, and he really did a number on them this time.

However, despite biting the bullet and buying not one but three new pairs, these are still among his favourites. They’re soft, comfortable and lightweight. So pleeeeease would I mend them. Again.

Oh, very well…

OK, Heroic Mend complete.

That’s better.

ScrapHappy June: Sugar sprinkles

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

I don’t really enjoy improv. It’s too…. disorganised. But sometimes, what you have in front of you cries out for some serious improvisation. Later this year, it’s going to be my turn to receive F2F blocks (Footsquare Freestyle, for those who don’t follow regularly). My chosen colour theme is light and mid greys, whites and brights (except yellow, I’m not a big fan and I’m a bit picky, so I’ll be supplying my own yellow blocks!). Well, I thought I’d warm up to making my own blocks by using some of my scraps.

The F2F blocks will certainly become a quilt, and this being the case, I decided to make a quilted pillowcase (or maybe two) to go with it. And this is the first stage, the pieced front (still to be quilted).

I’ve used some fairly tiny scraps and quite a lot of scrappy grey, many of the darker pieces turned back to front to allow them to blend in. I haven’t allowed myself to get all agitated about wonky seams or strange angles. I think it works…. There’ll be another one in the pipeline at some stage. As I said, I don’t really enjoy the process, although I do like the outcome! If the blocks I receive have the same sort of colour balance (ie, more grey than colour) I’ll probably end up calling the quilt Sugar Sprinkles.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Mend it Monday #7

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

Oh joy, not one but three pairs of the Husband’s work pants to repair…

I’ve told him that it’s probably time to consider a couple of new pairs; many of the existing ones now have multiple patches on the seat, and once they start giving out, there’s only so much you can do to resurrect them. The legs will make useful future patches.

Right, that’s my mending basket empty.

That’s better.

ScrapHappy May: not even $11!

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Those of you who’ve been around this blog a while will remember my scrappy quilt The $11 Rainbow, so called because that’s all it cost to make. A few months ago, the Dowager (aka my MIL), asked if I’d give it to her, as she really liked it. Despite the fact that it’s one of my favourites, I did. On the very day we were first allowed to visit each other again with a slight easing of restrictions, she came by for coffee and home made bickies. During the visit, she asked if I’d make her a cushion cover to match it. She has a memory-foam pillow in her chair, and wanted a cover that matches the quilt, also quilted and ideally with a zipper. Certainly, ma’am.

Scrappy colour selection in progress

$11R was made from my brightest scraps, bordered with an inky dark blue. She didn’t want the dark blue, though. So I made the entire front from bright scraps, shading from blue through purple, red, pink, orange and yellow. I wasn’t even going to try hiding the joins between the colour strips – for this application, life was definitely just too short!

The colours actually blend a little better in real life; that hard line down the centre doesn’t show so much

The back itself is a little more conservative in colour scheme, using some of my pretty red and green scraps in a larger size than on the front. Because this is wrapping an actual bed pillow rather than a cushion form, I needed to put the zip at one end so it could be put on like a pillowcase, instead of my preferred position across the centre back. The zipper is also a scrap, recycled from an old work jacket of the Husband’s. It was too long, so I shortened it by cutting the end off and wrapping the cut end with a strip of fabric.

What can I say? I didn’t spend a cent, let alone $11!

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date. We have a new member, welcome Vera.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Mend it Monday #5

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

Another shopping bag has succumbed to wear and tear. One of the handles has stretched and torn beyond repair, and the one on the other side is heading the same way.

Time for new handles.

I bought this fabric in the John Lewis department store in London in the 1990s, to make a roman blind for the bathroom in my flat. I dearly loved the colours and the rich, nubbly texture, and I was happy about 10 years later to make myself a simple shoulder bag from the same stuff (I’d bought lots, the end of a bolt). I still hadn’t finished it up by the time I emigrated to Australia, and it came with me. The offcut from the earlier blind project was just right for making bag handles. It’s not the neatest job ever, but it works.

And do you know what?  I still have some left!

That’s better.

Mend it Monday #4

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

My turn for a mend this week*.

My favourite pair of cropped jeans is wearing at the top between the legs. It’s through on one side and nearly through on the other. I originally looked at taking patches out of the inside of the waistband, but I’ve come up with an alternative.

As you can see, the jeans are striped dark blue on narrow white, but also a little faded. The striped fabric of the patches is striped the other way, light on narrow dark. Strangely, this opposing pattern works really well, so that’s what I’ve used. The fabric’s lighter weight than the original stretch denim, so it’ll wear out eventually too. When that time comes, I’ll still have the fabric inside the waistband to turn to…

In retrospect, I might have used a light blue-grey cotton instead of the white to blanket-stitch the patches, but I didn’t think of it – and anyway, I’m not ashamed of my mending 🙂

That’s better.

*I have also mended more drill work pants for the Husband; he has a strong tendency to pop the buttons off his jeans waistbands. I  decided that in future, buttons will be sewn on with quilting cotton: heavier, stronger, stiffer, and waxed for easier stitching. But no-one comes here to look at sewn-on buttons, so no photo.

Mend it Monday #3

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

And another one. This one isn’t at all complicated and the effect is pretty much invisible, but it has done the job.I noticed when I was picking up the groceries today that two of my shopping bags were starting to fall apart. The handle was coming off one, and the lining was peeling away from the inside on the other.

They’re not expensive or even particularly robust, but the rest of the bag is in decent condition, so I’m not prepared to replace them if I can fix them.

It was simply a matter of putting the right thread in the sewing machine and setting the stitch to zigzag.

And no, I didn’t bother to change the thread for mending the second bag. Good for another couple of years, I think.

That’s better.

ScrapHappy April: A slight change of direction

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

The past month has been all about hexies, but not the Days Gone By version, so I have nothing to show for progress on that quilt. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything scrappy. A comment I made the other day about good uses for worn-out sheets made me think of this. I had two large enough pieces left over from the pillowcase mend to make two hankies, one 12 inches square for the Husband, and one 10 inches square for me. Well, flu season is nearly upon us, I’m having my shot tomorrow, so I can look forward to feeling a bit ordinary for a couple of days after, as usual. Soft hankies will be welcome…

Back to the process. The trick for a nice finish is to mitre the corners. What follows is the method I use. (There is another way, which seals the mitred corner, but it’s tremendously fiddly on mitres as small as this. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.)

Press a quarter inch seam in towards the centre, all round. Turn this again and press again, so you have two folds.

Open out the corners. In the centre of each corner there will be a square, formed by the overlapping creases. Cut across the corners of this square, diagonally across the corner.

Turn this new diagonal cut in towards the centre, so that the remaining creases of the square line up with the creases of the seams. Press, without disturbing the other creases too much.

Fold up first one side of the corner and then the other, securing with a pin at each side to keep the mitre in place, meeting at the corner.

Pin all round.

Stitch down as close to the inner fold of the seam as possible. Stop with the needle down in the seam of the mitre and pivot. At the end, overlap the stitching a little and secure.

Press the mitred corners to make them lie flat.

Job done. Two new hankies, from scrap.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Mend it Monday #2

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

My word, mends on two Mondays running! I must be getting organised, or something.

That’s my hand you’re seeing through the shredded fabric

I like good bed linen. High thread count, but soft. I’ve had one of my sets for 15 years, a 1000 thread count damask stripe sateen cotton, and it’s still lovely, no pilling, but it is wearing rather thin. The pillowcases especially have become fragile, and I now have two that need repairing. I patched a pillowcase from another set in Pima cotton a while ago, and it lasted a short while, but then the fabric around the patch gave way. Now another one has gone; it emerged from the washing machine torn from side to side.

Damask stripe on the front, plain Pima back.

Well, if you have two pillowcases, each with one torn side, what would you do? Yup, turn them into one pillowcase with two good sides, and from what’s left, make patching material for future repairs. So now I have a single pillowcase with a damask stripe sateen front and a plain Pima back. It feels lovely!

… and the pillow still fits. Result!

That’s better.