Brighter Baskets

A quick little in-between project to brighten up some storage baskets and add a little colour to the very useful but fairly characterless utility room. Utility by name and utility by nature – at the moment.

Being a skinflint, or maybe just economical with my precious fabric stash I chopped the tops off the original liners and replaced them with seagulls and spots.

The binding around the handle holes is far from perfect, it was a fiddly little job and my fingers have the pinholes to prove it. But they are tidier than the originals.

I didn’t dislike those original liners at all but a little pop of colour is just right.

Think Pink

IMG_4195This has been the week of the ‘Barefaced Selfie’ on Facebook and millions of pounds have been raised for breast cancer charities. The very best of social media networking!

It all prompted me to blog my ‘Think Pink’ makes. Riley Blake Designs created the ‘Think Pink’ range to support breast cancer sufferers and a proportion of the profits have been donated to charity.

I loved the balconette bra design when I first saw it but didn’t buy it right away, when I did finally buy (from the Little Fabric Bazaar) it I had no immediate plans for it then when I was planning a trip I decided to make some lingerie bags.

IMG_4185I decided on three designs for the bags, first of all the tried and trusted little caddy bag,  then an easy drawstring bag.  Lastly I decided to design an envelope style bag.

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I’ve made so many of the caddy bags and I’m sure I’ll make many more.  This time I made the side pockets a bit deeper and added a button to the top of each pocket.

IMG_4198The drawstring bag is simple and straight forward with the balconette fabric as the main with the cream floral as a border  and an aqua solid from my stash as the drawstring pocket (much the easiest way to add the drawstring).

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The envelope style bag was just an idea that I enjoyed working out. I was happy with the result and can see it working in different sizes for a number of uses.

IMG_4190It’s lined with the floral and padded with a thin wadding so it feels lovely. With my old machine I would think hard about making buttonholes but with my lovely new Pfaff it’s so easy I don’t have to think about it at all. Buttons are no longer just for decoration.

I think I’ll be making lots more of this style too so I’ve written out the how to here.

So a nice little set of bags and an appropriate post for this week!

Feeling chuffed!

This week Jenna sent me a picture of her envelope bag made using the tutorial. Here it is. I’m thrilled to have one of my tutorials tried and tested.IMG_1215I love the fabric choices and it’s beautifully made. I know Jenna is giving it to a friend. I’d love it as a gift, hope she does too!

A little bit of organisation.

Image 07-03-2014 at 22.26I love things to be organised and right now I’m on a bit of a mission to create customised organisation around the house. This week I turned my attention to the little drawer beside my bed. Image 08-03-2014 at 21.55 (1)                          In there are lotions and potions, some bedside necessities; earphones and little book light for sleepless nights; a little supply of very rarely needed night-time medication for just in case (just in case of indigestion, allergy, headache or backache, just in case I don’t want to get out of bed to go looking), and lastly the velux blind remote control so that when I eventually decide morning has arrived I can let the light in without actually getting up. I know exactly what’s in there but I always seem to be scrabbling about to find the very thing I want. So I decided to divide it up and make it easy to lift sections out.

I could have searched around and maybe found some plastic boxes or trays but what fun would that be? What better than to indulge my fabric passion than to  sew some made to measure little fabric baskets. Image 08-03-2014 at 21.56 A little bit of mathematics and I’d worked out that five 6″ x 4″ baskets would fit to perfection.

I love this Makower Henna collection by Beth Studely, I’d seen it here and there and the colours really appealed to me and seeing it in the Little Fabric Bazaar on Facebook was a sign that it was meant to be mine.

Here’s how I made them.

For each basket choose an inner and an outer fabric.                                     From each fabric cut:

* One 6.5″ x 4.5″ rectangle (base)

 * Two 4.5″ x 3′  and Two 6.5″ x  3″ rectangles (sides)

* Cut the same from your chosen wadding

* One 20.5″ x 2″ strip for binding

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Work first with the fabric for the inside. Using quarter inch seams throughout sew the four sides edge to edge, alternate long and short  pieces, and then join them end to end to make the four sides.  Sew the base in place manipulating the turns carefully with the needle down and the presser foot up to get perfect corners. Check that the corners before trimming the points.    For the out outside of the basket lay the wadding on the fabric and sew together in the same way.

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Place the inner basket inside the outer basket.

 

Prepare the binding by pressing a quarter inch turnover at one end of the strip and then pressing in half lengthwise.

With the open edge of the strip edge to edge along  the top of the basket sew in place making sure to tuck the unpressed end inside the pressed end.

Turn the binding over the top edge and pin in place. You can hand sew this in place but I wanted to have a go at invisibly stitching the outside edge so I stitched in the ditch between the binding and the main fabric and I was pleased with the result. The inside seam looks tidy and it was very much quicker than hand stitching. Very useful on some  things but I would definitely still hand finish something like a quilt.

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So a very quick make and I soon had the five to fit perfectly in my drawer and it is so tidy and organised, I think I’ll be able to find everything easily and it looks so much more attractive than plastic boxes.

Oh! I did find the edges are much sharper for a quick press in place once the basket is finished. You could use  a plastic stiffener instead of wadding for a firmer shape.

As an extra I made two more but made the sides of the baskets 1.5″ higher and turned the tops over.  I like these very much and will definitely be making some bigger ones in my quest for organisation perfection!Image 07-03-2014 at 22.28

Sweet Sunshine

IMG_4114Like I said, I need more practise at paper (or foundation) piecing. I do enjoy it and the method is so very versatile. I think it’s really exciting the way it comes together. BUT at the moment it’s very tricky! Placing the first couple of pieces has me laying them on the pattern every which way and I have unpicked more than once on a couple of occasions.                                                                                                                                  I will get there! It will get easier. I am determined and practise is what’s needed so when I subscribed to ‘Love Patchwork and Quilting‘ recently and saw that the ‘Block of the Month’ is paper pieced I decided to give the block and its reverse  a go. I also decided to continue to indulge my current passion Issue-4-peek-slideshow_3-300x189for orange.

Issue 4 Block of the Month is ‘Sweet Sunshine’ and is my first ever attempt at curved piecing so it was a double challenge. So not only were there were a couple of the customary paper piecing false starts (not quite as many) but also some very odd shapes an puckers in the curves.

Most of them I unpicked and did again but I fought the perfection gremlin and left  a couple of puckers in the hope of seeing progress in future blocks.                                                                                                                                     Well it can’t have been too traumatic because I went ahead and made ‘Sunshine Remix’, with the reverse placement of the patterned and plain fabrics.IMG_4119With my usual impatience I missed the step that said ‘remove the papers’ (you wouldn’t with straight seams but the curves are so different to deal with) but I found myself doing just that with the fiddly-ness of fitting the seams together. I felt relieved and just a little self-satisfied when I did read the instructions!                                       Here are the two blocks side by side.IMG_4121Seeing them like this there is one thing I’d do differently next time. I would make the four patterns more evenly dense, The leaf pattern fabric is too open compared to the other three.  So much to learn, so much from every project.                                                                                                     I’m pleased to say that I haven’t been put off, I’m ready for my next paper pieced block and I will be looking out for curved pieced blocks that catch my eye too.

 

Dydd Gwyl Dewi. St Davids Day

Happy St David’s Day. Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

Last year it was all about the knitting and my St David’s Day make was knitted daffodils. This year it’s all about sewing and in particular my new (and needing much practice) skill of foundation piecing.               I found the daffodil pattern on Piece by Number in the free patterns section. Maybe one day I’ll be able to create my own but for now its enough of a challenge to actually follow one. False starts are a feature and the seam ripper is overworked. Making 4 the same did at least give me a fighting chance of getting it right in the end.                      IMG_4091I found the sashing fabric in the Aladdin’s cave that is Calico Kate in Lampeter (two new rooms since my last visit!)

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IMG_4097Well 4 struggles produced 4 blocks to make my square and the sashing was quickly done and the Ikea fleece throw – a bargain at £3 – used for batting added.

Time to let my lovely new toy come into its own to quilt the sashing.

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I chose a simple greek key and a loopy egg stitch and let it work its magic. Doesn’t it look perfect!

What joy to just let the Pfaff sew – unlike  bird’s nest back I got when I started sewing the vermicelli on the block backgrounds without help from the machine!

 

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A bit more unpicking then start again, this time with more success and much, much improved on my free motion quilting of  a year ago.

 

Perfect for St David’s Day and for making the kitchen feel a bit more like Spring! But here it is out on the garden table making the most of the light.IMG_4099