In fine feather

Sometimes, hoarding precious fabric isn’t sensible.

In my last BM&I post, you saw a small piece of fabric featuring all kinds of feathers in shades of grey and light brown. I’ve had that fabric for 7 years, I think. Every so often, I got it out and thought about using it for something. And then I’d put it away again. I used a really quite small piece for the Parterre block, but I still had a sizeable chunk left. Back in the cupboard it went.

The other day I read a couple of things. The first was Anne Lawson‘s comment on my BM&I post, enjoying the feather fabric and pointing out that one of the feathers was from a guinea fowl, one of the types of feathers she has illustrated so beautifully herself. The other was a theme running through a number of Anne’s own posts, expressing a lack of inspiration to continue with much of her creative work, and worrying about how to address it. I thought perhaps I could offer a little encouragement…

Anne derives a lot of benefit and inspiration from artist residencies, taking time out to single-mindedly pursue inspiration and excellence in her work. If she’s anything like me, packing up and preparing creative materials for trips away is half the trick; so often I leave at home something important. Last time, it was my camera…

So I thought I’d make her something that combined the feathers she loves so much with something practical and useful. And here it is: an artist’s tool roll.

And of course – of course – there are plenty of feathers:  a large panel of the fabric on the outside, and one of the two levels of pockets made from it too. What you can’t see very well is that the binding is silver on black, not grey. I love that tiny metallic touch amongst all the softness.

Even the tie is made from the very last scrap of the feathers. And I’m so happy that Anne is the very deserving recipient of all this airy loveliness. 

Look out for it, Anne, it’s coming your way.

Laughing up my sleeve

I’ve finally finished this one.

I’ve been working on it off and on for a few days, doing as much as I could each time before the eye gave out. I cut it all out on impulse before eye surgery, as a sort of distraction from pre-op nerves. Now, it feels almost like a secret sewing project, since I haven’t posted anything about it before, mainly because I had no idea how long it would take.

You may recognise the pattern, this time with a longer sleeve length than the Mango & Papaya top I made earlier. Speaking of sleeves, what do you think? Bright, aren’t they? I bought two half-metre pieces of Kaffe Fassett fabric from his Artisan range for Westminster Fibers. It’s gorgeous, but not cheap (AU$29/metre). One piece was this blue version, and the other is the same print, but in bright orange. In order to make something wearable from the small quantities, I also bought this blender fabric in the same blue. I didn’t have a plan or the pattern at the time, I just wanted to make something that didn’t involve totally cutting up the print.

By shortening the long sleeve from the pattern options, I was able to squeeze both sleeves out of just half the fabric, leaving me a reasonable amount to make something quilty with. I couldn’t resist the acid green binding for this top too, the remainder of what I made for M&P. It’s a great match for colour in the big print, and gives the neckline a bit of zing. The top probably wouldn’t work in northern Europe without sunglasses, but here in the very bright sunshine of a tropical summer, it’s just another colourful garment.

Now I need to get some fabric to go with the other colourway. I still have some coral pink binding from the sleeveless top variant I made from this pattern (did I show that one? I don’t think I did). I reckon coral and orange would work nicely… The question is, same top again, or something different this time? I have a pattern I haven’t tried yet which might utilise the print panel nicely.

Right, on with the next thing!

PS: the eye’s definitely mending. For those who wanted a status update, here’s the new yellow/ brown colourway!

The turquoise twirl

One of my favourite shirts is wearing out.

It has been darned and otherwise mended multiple times, but the fabric’s just getting too thin. Don’t worry, I’ll be recycling the good bits into patchwork fabric, but I love the colour and its absence will leave a hole in my wardrobe. So the other day I went and bought 3 metres of a pretty batik to make myself a replacement.

The original shirt is turquoise, blue and white in a sort of jumbled paisley pattern, and it’s a traditional short sleeved shirt with a collar. The new fabric is turquoise and a little green and white, also in a paisley pattern. But the similarity ends there, as the new garment is collarless and has a deep V-neck and a handkerchief-point hem. It’s a slight simplification of Butterick B6056, without the peculiar pockets, and shorter sleeves without tabs to hold the rolled-up cuffs.

The Husband has many wonderful talents, but taking a flattering photo is not among them. I try. I ask that he doesn’t press the button at the moment of maximum hugeness of person, roundness of face or doubleness of chin. It makes no difference. I always look at least 5kg heavier than I should. This is where a daughter would come in handy, to prompt sucking in of cheeks and tummy and the correct three-quarter view pose.

I used the best of them, and it didn’t help that a sleek and slender Mouse photobombed all the others. The contrast is, frankly, cruel. However, I’m happy with my new clothe, and it’s cool, light and very comfortable. The fabric is still a little stiff and new, but once I’ve washed it a few times, it’ll soften. Batik’s a little firmer and more tightly woven than the pattern demands, but I think it’ll soften enough to drape nicely in time. I love the colour, and yes, I do have some gorgeous scraps for the next ovarian cancer quilt!

Worth a tiny baby-elephant-type twirl, I’d say 🙂

Mango and papaya

No, it’s not a gardening post.

The title refers to the colours in the lightweight linen fabric I recently bought, greatly reduced, from Spotlight. It was two separate pieces, each just a hair over a metre long. I just love the design, splashy and really bright in gorgeous acid fruity colours.

The Husband has missed out on a career as a fashion photographer… Not my best photo, but you get the idea.

I had a pattern I was wanting to try, Butterick B6024. I’d originally bought it for View B, with three-quarter length sleeves. I had some pretty blue and white lawn to make it in. I still plan to do that, but the pattern really demanded a short sleeved version for sunny days.  In theory, I shouldn’t have been able to squeeze this top out of the fabric I had, but I had a cunning plan. The design called for a neck binding cut on the bias, which really gobbles up fabric. I decided I could do without that, and made the neck binding from a blending acid green fat quarter, using this method. Not only did I get the rest of the top out of the fabric I had quite easily, I also have some scraps left over, the largest of which is 12×24 inches, as well as some bias strip. I’m wondering what I can make of them. Something to co-ordinate with the top maybe? Any suggestions?

I’m now thinking that this top is so comfortable, it would make a nice summer dress if I extended the length by 18in/46cm. That blue and white lawn is about 4 metres long, it’d do the job perfectly and leave me some quite large scraps for something else. I also have a large scale emerald green and white gingham which would work too, so long as I’m not too fussy about matching stuff up.

And finally, that orchid I mentioned the other day?  I’ve brought it out of the orchid house, and it’s now hanging outside the living room window, where I can enjoy it and keep an eye on it.

Tomorrow’s ScrapHappy Day, but after that, I’ll be getting back to the Hatbox Quilt.

Mousewear

It’s almost finished.

This is cosy. Can we go out again?

Close enough for him to model for you, but I still need to work some sort of buttonhole between his shoulder blades for where the loop on his harness sits. It’s where the lead is clipped on, so I need access to that. Although he wears a martingale collar, I prefer not to clip his lead to that; greyhound necks are delicate and I don’t want to hurt him or cause damage if he pulls hard for some reason.

How do I look?

It’s a simple enough design, and I didn’t have to do a lot of tweaking to the pattern once I had it cut out. I sandwiched the three layers together and quilted it in a diamond pattern – easy enough, given that I could just follow the spot pattern. Once that was done, I overlocked/ serged the darts over his tail to make it fit the slope of his back and keep the draughts out.

Then I had to bind it. I didn’t have much of the red fabric with white snowflakes I wanted to use for the binding, so I used this calculator to work out whether I had enough. Isn’t it a brilliant tool? I knew it would have to be a bias strip because of all the curves, and I ended up using this method to make it. There are a couple of spots where you get two seams in close proximity, which is the only downside of this process, but they don’t make much difference to the ease of attaching and stitching it down.

I debated Velcro® versus snaps for closing the coat and belly band, but in the end I went with snaps. He stands still well to be dressed and harnessed, and snaps don’t catch on things or get full of fluff, dust and dog hair. I was worried about getting them through all those layers of fabric, particularly on the belly band, but I needn’t have worried.

It’s a good thing we’re having cool nights and mornings just now, or he wouldn’t get any use out of this till next winter. I’d better crack on with that buttonhole.

After all, a fashionable Mouse must have a decent wardrobe…

UPDATE

I discovered my buttonhole foot couldn’t cope with the size I needed, so I’ve had to improvise – and it’s done. The harness goes on first, then the coat. I flip the ring through the buttonhole, do up the coat, clip on the lead, and away we go. The Mouse and I have done a test run, and he seems pretty content. I’m fairly sure he’ll be rather more enthusiastic tomorrow morning when it’s cool!

What the well-dressed Mouse is wearing…

… on those cooler days

Poor lad, he’s very slender, ripped in fact, and not an ounce of body fat or thick fur to keep him warm. I had a struggle to find suitable polar fleece for the lining; we’re coming to the end of winter, and in any case, most of them are printed with either Frozen or My Little Pony motifs, or soccer balls or camouflage. Plain red took some work. I already had in my stash this lovely canvas spot fabric, intended for either a bag or an apron for myself, but I’m very happy to turn it over to Mouse’s wardrobe. The canvas is actually dark blue rather than black, as it appears in the photo, but that’s OK – I like dark blue!

And that left the batting. I’ll spare you the antics of getting a piece large enough assembled and taped together from my scrap batting stash, or the interesting hoops we had to jump through to get him to a) stand UP and b) stand STILL long enough for me to drape, cut and pin it to size and shape. Suffice it to say that there was extensive praising and rewarding.

So, the batting is effectively the pattern for this greyhound coat. You’ll see that the ‘arms’ at the front are uneven lengths. This is to allow them to wrap round under his neck and overlap on his chest, closing with snap fasteners. There are darts at the back, over the tail, to shape it so it curves down over his bottom instead of gaping. He’ll have a belly strap to hold it on, and I’ll have to work a sort of buttonhole on his back to allow us to clip the lead onto his harness underneath. I need to create a paper pattern from the batting to allow me to make another and adapt the pattern as required once usage has shown us any issues.

It’ll be sandwiched, quilted, bound and ‘snapped’, the belly strap stitched on and the buttonhole/slit worked. And then, it’ll be time to make a matching belt bag for treats, poo bags, garage door zapper and my phone. I’ll be basing it on Jill’s lovely belt bag, as shown in her ScrapHappy post the other day. I need more pockets than hers, but she’s kindly sent me the pattern and assembly instructions.

A stylish outfit, wouldn’t you say?

More squishies in the mailbox!

While I was away, the postman brought me all kinds of lovelies.

First and best was a squishy envelope from Robyn, with three blocks for F²F (Footsquare Freestyle), as it’s my turn this month. Aren’t they fabulous? She’s used beautiful soft colours, just as I asked, and I can tell already that this quilt is going to be A-mazing.

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was my birthday present from the Husband. I’d been given the OK to order myself some fabrics from the wonderful Fifi’s Fabricology. It’s not cheap, but they have fabrics and designers I haven’t found anywhere else. Luckily, there was a sale on and two fabrics I’ve been pining for were in it, so I didn’t hesitate.

You won’t see these fabrics in a quilt except maybe as scraps. They’re going to become wearables, whether garments, scarves or whatever. When they’re worn out, then I’ll turn them into bits of quilt! From left to right, they’re Kaffe Fasset Orange flower border, Kaffe Fasset Blue Flower border, both from the Artisan range, and Holly Holderman from the Pam Kitty Picnic range in Periwinkle.

It’s taking me a while to catch up on things now I’m back from our trip. I’ve had piles of legal stuff to do in the run up to the settlement on our new house, and every time I think I’ve got a spare half hour the phone goes or the email pings. Never mind, only a few more days to go.

First things first, though. I’ve got a pair of wings to attend to!