Dolphins ahoy!

Yes, OK, that was a bit hearty and nautical, but I couldn’t resist.

You’ll recall the lovely dolphin fabric my sister sent me, along with the two florals. I said I was going to make a summer dressing gown from it, and I’ve been as good as my word. Here it is, hanging flat on the design wall, where you can see the detail a bit better. In case you’re interested in how I did it, here are words and pictures. It’s quite a long post, sorry about that, but if you don’t use a pattern but wing it, you need to do a bit of explaining. Fortunately, it was a fairly easy make.

I did finally dig out the overlocker, which has been sitting in a box since we moved house {mumble mumble} years ago. After an initial clunky-grindy start, I have it cleaned, oiled, threaded, tension balanced and running again. So I almost completely constructed the robe using it. Only the hanging- and belt-loops, the pockets, hem and bindings were done on the sewing machine. I’d forgotten how fast overlockers/sergers are, and that you really, really don’t want to make any mistakes if you have the knives fitted. I didn’t, luckily, as I had only just enough fabric.

The back was one rectangle, cut on the fold. The length was how long I wanted it, the width was half the bust measurement plus a couple of inches. The two fronts were the same length, but I didn’t have enough width of fabric to make them the full width I wanted, so I had to piece together a front edge strip from the dolphin and blue batik.

I did have a long narrow strip left at the bottom from the full fabric width which was just enough to make a long sash. I also had to use the blue batik for the sleeves, and having decided to do that, I decided to insert a band of aqua batik at the top of the sleeve, edge the sleeves with a dolphin fabric turned-up cuff, and make pockets for the front of the robe in the same blue batik with matching aqua binding on the top edge.

I measured 2 inches down from the top edge of the back, and 1/4 of my neck circumference along the shoulder to shape the neck. A dinner plate was a handy size for giving a smooth curve. For the fronts, I added the pieced sections to give extra width to the fronts. It’s important to have enough width, or the robe won’t wrap around enough for full coverage. You also need to make sure the crossover comes high enough; I don’t think the world is ready for the sight of me with a plunging neckline! For this, it was a question of pinning on the extra, putting the garment on and seeing where I wanted it to cross, then cutting the diagonal accordingly.

For the sleeves, I just ran the measuring tape down my arm to where I wanted the sleeve to stop. From this, I subtracted 2 inches for the aqua strip, and another 2 inches for the cuff. I measured how deep I wanted the armhole from the top of my shoulder, doubled this, and cut a rectangle the right size for each sleeve in the dark blue batik. To these, I stitched the aqua band and the cuff whilst still flat.

Then I sewed and pressed the shoulder seams. Laying the whole thing out flat, right side up, I marked the centre of the sleeve rectangles, and aligned these with the shoulder seams. I pinned the sleeve edge to the garment edge, right sides together, and sewed and pressed it flat, repeating this on the other side.

After that, I made the belt and hanging loops, using leftover aqua batik strip. I folded this in half lengthways and pressed. Opening it out, I pressed first one, then the other long edge towards the middle crease, and then pressed the whole thing flat. I top-stitched two lines, one next to the open edge and one next to the fold, and cut from this two belt loops and a hanging loop.

I then turned the garment right sides together, pinned the belt loops into the side seams, and stitched and pressed all the way from the cuffs down to the hem on both sides.

For the pockets, I cut two long rectangles in the blue batik, folded them in half across the short axis, right sides together, and stitched up the sides, leaving the top open. I turned this through, pushed out the corners and pressed it flat. I then bound the top edges with the last of the aqua strip, and top-stitched the pockets in place on the front, after testing to see where I wanted them.

I then bound the raw edge of the opening, using the pink batik strips, using the same process as for binding a quilt.

I made a sash from the long strip left over from cutting the back and fronts. You can either sew it right sides together, turn and press, or you can turn under the edges, top-stitch and press. I loathe turning long thin strips, so I went with the latter method. A bit lazy, but hey, whose robe is this anyway?

Finally, I turned up and hemmed the bottom edge. Done!

It took me a day to do it, interspersed with other jobs. Mostly it was working out how to make the best use of the fabric I had, without any waste. For a large garment like this, there wasn’t enough to do everything in the same fabric, but I like the mixture. It’s also not a sophisticated garment, requiring careful fitting, but it is comfortable and soft, so fits the dressing gown bill perfectly.

And there we have it, a nice lightweight summer dressing gown, in all my favourite colours 🙂


F²F³: FootSquare Freestyle June roundup

It’s time for a round up of the first month of this third series of F²F.

June is Lynn’s month, and all blocks are away safely – she’s even received most of them already, which is good going, considering some were coming from Australia and the US to France! I hope we can maintain this standard throughout the entire 9 months of the series, although I suspect things may slip a bit around Christmas. Lynn had a lovely colour palette to start us all off: shades of grey, beige and vintage rose.

If you want to see the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here, and if you want to check out the colour palettes, go to the Members/ Colours page here. F²F reference is now maintained on a separate blog due to its image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous session is also stored there.

July is Sue’s month, and she has chosen a classic palette of blue and white, from pale through to indigo. I’ve started her blocks already, and I’m having a whole lot of fun!

See you same time next month.

Bee, Myself and I #28

And the next one. This is Block 19.

The small scale of the pattern on the floral didn’t allow me to to pick out the elements with the quilting, as I normally do. So I decided to do a simple grid and I love the ‘quilty’ effect. This is one of the earliest blocks I made, and it’s interesting to observe how my ideas and tastes moved on as I built the fabric collection for this project. I love the fabric, but I wouldn’t use it for this quilt a second time round. Also interesting to see how my appliqué skills improved; later blocks are not quite so wonky 🙂 And in case you’re wondering, the blocks are numbered according to when I quilted them and their position in the quilt, not the date I completed the assembly of each individual block.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column.

Till next time.

A pretty pick-me-up

I’m in need of a bit of loveliness right now.

Having been due to attend court for jury service this week, I found myself starting a heavy cold last Sunday night. Luckily, I wasn’t going to be needed the next day, or the day after that. By Monday afternoon, it was clear that this was going to be more than your average cold. Reluctant to spray these potent germs all over the court, I went to see my doctor, who took one brief listen to the strange barking noises emerging from my mouth and diagnosed a viral chest infection. One medical certificate later, and jury service is no longer anything to worry about. The rest of it is not so wonderful, of course…. as it’s a virus, I can only ease the symptoms with the aid of my trusty box of cold and flu remedies.

Today, our lovely postlady dropped a box on the back doorstep. Thinking it was some car or mower part the husband had ordered, I brought it in, and it wasn’t till I saw the customs declaration and the fact that it was coming from the Netherlands and addressed to me that I realised it was that most welcome of parcels – fabric! The darling, kind sister for whom I made the Bonnard quilt had promised that she’d find me some fabric as a thank you for making her the quilt. And now, here it was; not one but three pieces:

The dolphin fabric is an easy one. I have some beautiful batik in exactly the same colours, and I plan to make a thin summer kimono-style dressing gown from both the fabrics, with a thin piping of bright pink.

The other two are pretty much demanding to be made into summer tops, and I’m already rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of what I can do with the scraps! For now, they’re going into my dress-fabrics box, to be fetched out and petted regularly. I don’t have any idea who they’re made by, as none of the selvedges has any information, but they are 100% cotton, and the quality of both the fabric and the printing is excellent.

I feel much better already!


SAL 64: lots of white

This time, I’ve scarcely changed the colour on my needle.

There were several areas needing some peaceful infilling with white, so I just got on with those. Bliss not to need too much counting, especially as time seemed to whizz past as the weekend approached. Once I’d got the white done, though, I couldn’t resist getting into the greens as well, so there’s a bit more happening on the left as well.

Here’s the usual before:

And here’s the after:

Much better this time – I actually had to unroll the canvas a bit to get at that top part. And I’m now very, very close to having a quarter of the piece done, not counting filling in the background (which I don’t!). The needle shows where the top of the quarter is, and that bit of green at lower left shows where the bottom is.

Do click on the links below and go and look at what everyone else is working on. If there’s no post up yet, try again later, as we’re a scattered bunch, all in different time zones.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLinda, Mary Margaret, Heidi,
Jackie, Sunny, HayleyTony, Megan and Timothy

The next SAL will be on 8th July. See you then.

ScrappHappy June: Raw?

My word, time goes fast when you’re having fun busy…

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps, and although I couldn’t wait till now to show you the finish of the $11 Rainbow quilt, I do have something else to show you.

It is square, really. I just can’t seem to take a decent photo today…

I’ve tested an idea I had a while ago. You know those ‘confetti’ quilts, where people scatter tiny snippets of coloured fabric on a background, then cover it with very fine black tulle netting and quilt all over it? I didn’t have any tulle, but I did want to try the idea of raw edges held down with lots of quilting. I’d like to make a scrappy rug for the bathroom using this technique, but rather than make the whole thing and discover it disintegrates the first time I put it in the washing machine, I thought I’d make a test piece. This cheerful little square will get used as a mug rug for a while, and when it’s received a few brown rings, I shall put it in the washing machine and see what happens. If it works, we’re good to go. If not, well, it’s very little time and effort wasted. (Oh, and the binding’s a scrappy remnant too, leftover from the Bonnard quilt.)

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 scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful 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). We have two new members today!

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn,  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon
and Hayley

See you again, same time next month!




$11R: Completed and bound

I debated whether to wait for ScrapHappy day with this…

But I wanted to share this finish, and I’ll still have a week to come up with a new scrappy project for 15th June. You haven’t seen the back yet, so here it is. It isn’t very harmonious or designed-looking, but it is a scrappy quilt backing in the best tradition 🙂

The binding consists of 6 inch lengths of the blue batiks I used for the sashing on the back, alternating with triples of 2 inch scrappy squares. Because they’re broken up with multi-colour strips, the blues don’t look too repetitive, and doing it this way has enabled me to use up even more scraps without too many thick seams to negotiate.

I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out. It makes me smile just to look at it. There will probably be others of the same sort in my future, because it’s such a good way to use scraps (and I still have those paler blocks to use!), but I’ll try different permutations so I don’t end up with an endless variation on the same theme. What I like about this one is how my $11 dark blue fabric frames the colours and makes each panel seem to be floating on a multicoloured back-lit field. As a previous commenter said: it looks like stained glass.

Now, back to the drawing board. I have a new ScrapHappy project to devise!