Happy swoopy :-)

I’ve finished it.

I went at it slowly and carefully, not wanting to make a mistake with such lovely (and incidentally, expensive!) fabric. There was one near miss, but I won’t burden you with that! The body and two-piece collar went together without trouble, but the sleeves were quite finicky. They’re just below elbow length, with a deep, firm cuff, two pleats and a continuous bound placket (opening). They went in quite easily; I got a bit obsessive about making sure all the notches and pattern marks were in place before I started work, and it truthfully does help things fit together better. Mostly I’m a bit cavalier about these things, but not this time. In traditional fashion, the overlocker has decided to go on strike, or more accurately, a Go-Very-Slow, leaving the armholes the only bits un-overlocked. The mechanic I talked to on the phone says it’s probably a bearing that needs replacing, so the overlocker will be going into Janome Hospital in Townsville in mid-August. Till then, I’m back to finishing with zig zag; adequate, but not perfect 😦

I have to say, the buttonholes were a bit of a thing. There are 10 of them on the pattern, and my sewing machine has a history of going freestyle with the buttonhole foot without notice or provocation. So I a) decided to reduce the number of buttons (I’ll never wear this thing done up to the throat); and b) sat down with scrap fabric and made a dozen of them before I was confident the machine was cowed into submission and obedience. They turned out perfectly.

The buttons themselves… I’d originally thought about using little buttons in all the detail colours in the fabric: pale and raspberry pink, yellow and pale blue. Thing is, there was always the chance it’d look like a mistake. I didn’t want dull grey buttons. Mother of pearl would have been nice, but in the end, I decided to go with self-covered buttons. They’re very fiddly, but the effect is such a perfect match that I felt it was worth it. Mind you, the buttons themselves are far from perfectly made (pretty, but soooo fiddly…), but because they’re made of the fabric they blend in invisibly.

I really love the finished shirt. So much so that I bought some fabric to make another one, but this time I’m going to go with shorter, elbow-length sleeves with no cuff. I love the new fabric, which is cotton poplin from a range called Animal Friends, and it’s the Flying Stork pattern, with a tiny touch of silver in the design. I think it’s meant for children’s wear, but in this case, it’ll be Kate wear. Best of all, I got it for an amazing price. Spotlight VIP members (moi, naturally!) are currently getting 30% discount on most fabric lines. This fabric was also marked down to $8 a metre. On top of that, it was on the 75% off table AND I had a 20% discount winning scratch-card from Spotlight’s recent mail-out. I think I got 4 metres for about $2 in the end…

I also got some fabric for sashing the pastel rainbow scrappy quilt, but that’s for another day.

A little swoopiness to pass the time

Hands up who’s been following this blog for more than 3 years?

Oh hello! How lovely! Well, if you’ve been around that long, you’ll know I have a very slight tendency to make an excited start to a project, only to have it disappear totally into a deep, dark black hole. I have only a few projects like that, but enough to make me embarrassed and uneasy. So I’m resurrecting this one you may remember from three years ago. It’s past time…

Back then, I received a length of Liberty lawn in the design and colourway known as Patsy A, as a reward for making a sister of mine a quilt. (Another sister, another quilt. I have 4 sisters and three of them now have quilts. They all know that fabric is an acceptable trade…) I looked around a while for something worthy of this magnificence, and found a shirt pattern I liked. It has a flared, uneven, drapey hem, and I named it the Swoopy Shirt. I got as far as cutting it out, but with a ¾ length sleeve, for coolness. And then things ground to a halt. I’m blowed if I know why.

Now that I have the overlocker working again, I’ve lost the concern I had before about finishing it off properly inside. Zigzag just doesn’t do a good enough job for such lovely fabric. So it’s time to get cracking again. Rosita has emerged from the box room to assist with fittings and give advice (I’ve never known such an opinionated dress form, but there you go…), I’ve found the self-cover buttons and pearl grey thread I bought specially, and there are No More Excuses. Having laid bare my cringe at lack of progress, I now can’t make the project go away again, so I’ll have to finish it 🙂

Just in time for the summer and the hot, humid days when you need a beautiful, loose lawn shirt.

Dear Friends…

Yes, you lot out there, I mean YOU.

Thank you all so very much for the wonderful support I have received in the last few days. It makes me feel that there is some point to the blogging that I enjoy so much, that the thoughts I share with you are heard even if you don’t all agree with me, and that for some of you at least, my choices are the right choices too. I am not alone.

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Oops-A-Daisy by Keiki for Moda

Now, let’s get on with quilty life. Here is some fabulous fabric recently sent me by my friend Mrs R as a belated birthday gift. It’s bonkers, but beautiful! I’ve never seen a fabric before that seemed to be smiling at me, but this one does. The colours co-ordinate nicely with the colours I have used (in somewhat less intensity…) in my Heirloom Quilt*, which lives on our bed. So this piece of loud and lovely fabric is going to become my sitting-up-in-bed-with-morning-coffee pillow, backed with the same gorgeous lime green shot cotton as I used on my sofa cushions. I plan to quilt it by hand, following the outlines of all the flowers, leaves, birds and butterflies, using some of my Aurifil graduated quilting thread – either the lime green or the orange, I think. The pattern is really large, so it’s not going to be an endless job.

With reluctance, however, I have to put it aside for a while. Worldwide Friends is demanding my attention, it has been sadly neglected recently and I must churn out some more hexies, make flowers and fillers and stitch another big piece together. It has to be finished by early June to be entered into the Mackay Annual Show. No pressure then… Also on the Look At Longingly List is the Swoopy Shirt, which has achieved stasis as a fully cut out pattern, and is sitting folded tidily on the side of my work table. Somewhere between the shirt and the pillow is Claire’s Wedding Quilt, which is trying to emerge into reality from my brain, where it flaps and glitters in fully finished glory.

I admit it. I have a terminal sewing/quilting problem. The joy of making things which are both beautiful and useful is eternal. I hope to die with that joy still lively in my mind, and my hands as active as great age and arthritis allow! 


*Have a look at the Chiconian Quilts page.