Completed: Two Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tees

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Yes, there are alpacas on my t-shirt! We’ve been experiencing some uncharacteristically good weather for the past month or so and with it came the desire for some fresh new t-shirts.

I downloaded Maria Denmarks Kirsten kimono tee pattern in early 2013 (I just saw that there was a pattern update in September 2013 but I used the earlier version which apparently has a slightly different sizing). You can get the pattern for free by signing up for her newsletter.

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I believe I finally printed and assembled the pattern sometime in 2015 but somehow never got around to actually making it. During my recent sewing room clean up it turned up again and it was just what I needed.

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I made a size S without alterations and I am happy with how it fits. For my first version I used a solid rayon knit fabric that I still had in my stash to test fit and the alpaca version is a cotton knit fabric I found in a local fabric store. I really like the background colour. The alpacas are not really what I would ordinarily choose to wear, but I quite like them too.

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The top only requires 75cm of fabric and I can make one in 1.5 hour or so using my overlocker and coverstitch machines. If the good weather continues I may end up sewing another one!

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Completed: A wedding tie and corsage

Last week I showed you the jacket I made to wear to my wedding, today I am showing you my husband’s tie and corsage.

I researched tie making for a bit and bought the PDF of David Page Coffin’s “Custom making neckties at home” booklet. If you do plan to make your own tie I can greatly recommend getting this as I found it very useful for making the tie pattern and constructing the tie.

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It was a time consuming project. Several years ago they had to make a tie in the Great British Sewing Bee and I believe they had 2 hours or so to complete it. I am not surprised most (perhaps even all?) of the contestants did not finish in time. I did do some trial pieces first for sewing the tip section of the blade to make sure I really understood all the steps when I was making the final tie.

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The outer fabric is the same as what I used to make my jacket. This was not ideal as it has a bit of stretch to it. I used a wool tie canvas interfacing and I think this worked well. For the lining I used a piece of quilting cotton.

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I also made corsages for my husband and our families. These were created by cutting 8 fabric circles which were then folded in half twice and then  the bottom of the circles were stitched together to form the flower (for a tutorial click here). I then glued the flowers to a felt circle using fabric glue. The felt circle was glued to another circles with a magnet in between the two pieces. The magnet was used to attach the corsage without having to pin through expensive suits and dresses.

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I didn’t have a bouquet because I didn’t want to have to drag it around all day. To me it didn’t really make sense to give our family a corsage with real flowers when I wasn’t carrying any. By making the corsages from the same fabric as my jacket and my husband’s tie we did have a link to what our families were wearing.

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Picture take by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

 

Completed: A wedding jacket

When my husband and I got married two years ago I knew I wanted to make some things for the wedding. I considered sewing my own wedding dress, for about 5 seconds. With all the other things going on in my life at the time, sewing a wedding dress had the potential to become a bit too stressful.

We had chosen a dark fuchsia colour for our wedding and this was featured on our invitation, a belt on my dress, my jacket, my husband’s tie and the corsages for the wedding party.

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Picture take by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

 

I debated for long time whether I wanted a white dress because white is not the best colour for me to wear and I don’t really care about these kinds of traditions anyway. To both my sisters’ relief I did eventually buy a white dress but I simply had to add some colour. The dress came with a black belt that I didn’t like so it was removed and I replaced it with a dark fuchsia one. I also made a jacket because I don’t like being cold and as it turned out I wore it for most of the day.

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Picture taken by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

My first attempt at a jacket didn’t work out at all (imagine the stress if this would have been my dress!), so I switched to the cropped version of By Hand London’s Victoria blazer that I had made once before (but unblogged). I removed some of the fullness in the back as I found it stood out quite a bit on my first version. I also moved the shoulder seams forward and made some small changes to the sleeves. I used the collar but left off the lapel.

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Construction wise I changed a whole lot of things. The entire jacket is underlined in silk organza. The seam allowances were catch stitched to the silk organza so they remain flat. Sadly, I don’t think I made any in progress pictures of this step. I also created facings and a separate lining pattern. The lining was attached by hand.

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For the lining I originally intended to use a white Bemberg rayon, but I found it was a bit too sheer as you could see all the seam allowances (and catch stitches) through it, which for a skirt lining would have been fine, but not for a jacket where the lining can be on display while you’re wearing it. I found a pretty wild fabric that had some of the fuchsia colour in it and used that, I like how it added even more colour to my outfit.

We had a great wedding day and after two years we still can’t help but smile when we bring back memories of this day.

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Because I know some of you will be curious about the dress without the jacket. Picture taken by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

Completed: Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

180527_1We are having some warm weather and I wore my first (unblogged) Sewaholic Belcarra blouse this week. It made me realize that I would like to have another one because the loose fit makes it very comfortable to wear when it’s hot. Because I had already made this top once before the construction was quite straightforward and I was able to complete it in a weekend.

For my first version I had made a muslin (size 8) and on my traced pattern moved the shoulder seam forward, which is a standard adjustment for me, and made a horizontal slice above the bust to drop the front a bit to reduce draglines.

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Because the shoulder seams have a curve I folded the front sleeve to remove some width and sliced through the back sleeve to add the amount that I removed from the front.

The fabric is the sacred seeds Mojave fabric from April Rhodes Wanderer collection for ArtGallery. I really like this colour and the subtle V-shape pattern. It’s a colour I don’t wear often so it also adds a bit of variation to my (very blue) wardrobe.

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The wide neckline is also not something I wear often, I considered narrowing it, but after trying on the muslin I decided that I could live with the occasional bra strap peeking out. If you can’t, there is a tutorial on the Sewaholic blog on how to narrow it.

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The blouse was sewn on my sewing machine and the seam allowances were finished with my overlocker. I did have one mishap when I overlocked the seam of one of the front sleeves as I caught some of the sleeve fabric. Luckily I hadn’t yet overlocked the seam of the front so I could easily remove the sleeve, cut a new one and continue. I do feel so stupid when this happens.

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I am not the only one this happens to, right?

 

The only real downside to these tops is that they really need to be ironed before I can wear them and even then I don’t get them completely wrinkle free, but that’s probably mostly due to my ironing skills…

Completed: Ombre equilateral triangle quilt

180407_3When Vannessa Christenson from V and co. released her first fabric collections for Moda, I was intrigued by the ombre fabrics in her lines, so I bought a yard of each of the 7 colourways. It took a while before I dared cut into them.

For my first quilt with these fabrics I used chartreuse, plum, blue, orange and grey and combined these with 2 flowery prints from my stash that I thought fit with these colours.

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Front, quilted but unbound.

I cut a whole bunch of equilateral triangles from each fabric using an equilateral triangle ruler (really, if you want to make something like this get yourself a dedicated ruler, it makes your life at least ten times easier). At first I just threw the triangles onto my design wall and didn’t really like it that much because it seemed a bit too messy. When I placed them in a diagonal dark to light gradient I started to like it a whole lot more and cut even more triangles to achieve the effect that I was after.

The assembly of this quilt was no walk in the park. I had to unrip it several times because I realized I had made some mistakes in the layout, certainly learning a lesson about being a bit more patient when I am making something and letting the design sink in first before I run to my sewing machine.

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Can you spot the differences with the final lay out that you can see in the next picture? Do you also see that the left part is already pieced here?

Unripping is not something I enjoy so this caused some quite extensive delays. I knew I had to do it because the mistakes bothered me too much but I kept putting it off. The unripping probably also caused some of the triangles to stretch out a bit because in some parts it became quite difficult to match the corners.

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The sun was a bit too harsh when we took pictures of the finished quilt.

For the back I kept the piecing a bit simpler. I didn’t have anything in my stash big enough that I liked, but I still had quite a bit of the ombre fabrics left and decided to make a jelly roll race quilt. Instead of cutting 2.5’’ strips I cut mine 3’’. It turned out slightly too small so I added a strip to the bottom and top to make it tall enough.

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Back, quilted but unbound. The quilting lines are easier to see on the back.

Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Wool/Cotton blend and I quilted it with a light and dark grey Gütermann Sulky thread following some of the patterns that I saw in the design. I quite like how this turned out. For the binding I used a light grey fabric with a subtle print.

It took a while to get this quilt done but I am glad I persevered. It has already been given to a sweet little girl.

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My very first quilt or how I started quilting

My first quilt never made an appearance on this blog because it was made before I started blogging. Since I am doing some catching up right now I figured I might as well show some pictures of it. This quilt has lived on our couch ever since it was completed and it still makes me happy when I look at it. 180502_6I started sewing after taking a beginners sewing class in 2009. At first I mostly made clothing and bags. Quilting I associated with old-fashioned, a lot of hand sewing and a lot of brown and drab unappealing fabrics (the latter may have had something to do with the quilting fabrics that were available in The Netherlands at the time?).

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The quilt top was made by creating nine 16 patch blocks using half-square triangle units.

At some point in the autumn of 2011, however, my interest in quilting began. I had started reading more blogs and came across really beautiful bright and modern quilts and thought “Wow! Quilts don’t have to be drab and boring!”. I still thought it would be difficult to make one but I read (a lot) more blogs and watched YouTube videos on how to make quilts and at some point I realized that I wanted to give quilting a try.

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The back is not as purple as it looks in this picture. The binding in the pictures of the front give a better representation of the true colour.

How to start though? From all the reading and watching I had done I realized that I would definitely need some new tools before I could begin. At Christmas that year I received some money from my parents and in-laws and I knew what to spend it on! During a shopping trip with one of my sisters I bought a large cutting mat, 2 rotary cutters, 2 rulers, marking pencils, pins, a large piece of batting and quite possibly several other items that I now no longer recall. Anyway, the owner of the store probably had a good day because of my visit.

In a second-hand bookstore I had found a book by Katharine Guerrier called Scrap Quilt Sensation that looked really interesting so I brought it home and after looking at all the projects I decided to make a scrap quilt. I didn’t have any quilting fabrics, but this was easily remedied by buying several sets of scraps from a webshop. Most were 4’x4’ and some pieces were a bit larger and I cut them down to 4’x4’.

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Two books I used to learn more about the quilting process.

It took ages to decide what kind of design I was going to make. In the end I followed Sew Katie Did’s Value Quilt Tutorial for making a value quilt using half square triangle units, but instead of making a quilt with a single design I made 9 different 16 patch blocks inspired by some of the quilts in Katharine Guerrier’s book.

I had a lot of fun deciding how to lay out the 16 patches and I love how I managed to make some of the designs continue into the next block. I started with 6 blocks but quickly realized I would end up with a super tiny quilt and added 3 more. It’s still a small quilt though; it measures less than 40’’ square.

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Detail of the front.

So, at some point I had a quilt top and still needed to quilt it. I bought a walking foot, a spool of Gütermann Sulky variegated thread and a book on machine quilting by Maurine Noble. After some practice swatches I very carefully basted my quilt with safety pins (which I now no longer do because it is a pain to remove safety pins when you are quilting). For the backing I used a fabric from my stash because I liked how the colour looked with the fabrics on the front. Batting is Hobbs 80/20. I didn’t do any marking on the quilt and just started quilting somewhat following the shapes that were created by the different values.

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On the back you can really see how crazy the quilting is.

I had just enough fabric of the backing left to create the binding and attached it by machine, folded it to the back and then sewed it down by hand. To my surprise I even liked the hand sewing part.

It felt really great when I finished this quilt. Every other quilt I have made since completing this quilt is no longer in my possession, but this one is not going anywhere. It shows me that if you are willing to invest some time to learn a new skill you can end up with something you truly love.

Completed: a round quilt with a sheep in the center

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Does a quilt always have 4 corners? Of course not! One of my friends asked if I could make a round quilt that they could use as a mat in their round playpen. Challenge accepted! Luckily, I already had a 25’’ 9 degree wedge ruler that makes it (almost) a breeze to make a circular design. You can make really spectacular designs with this ruler but I kept it fairly simple for this first attempt at making something circular.

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After a look around the recipient’s living room I decided on a blue with some orange colour scheme. For the front I used some fat quarters from Elizabeth Hartman’s Rhoda Ruth collection for Robert Kaufman. I used 8 blueish/greenish and 2 orange fabrics from that collection and I added some grey fabric from Karen Lewis’ Blueberry Park collection, also for Robert Kaufman.

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From the grey fabric I cut 8x 3.5’’ strips, from each orange fabric 4x 3’’ strips and from each blue fabric 1x 7.5’’ and 1x 5’’ strips. They were pieced in the following order: grey, wide blue, orange, narrow blue. The ruler was used to cut 5 wedges from each strip set, alternating the grey fabric at the wide and narrow end of the ruler.

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Fabric strip sets waiting to be cut into 40 wedges.

Since the quilt will be mainly used as a playing mat inside a playpen the back probably won’t be on display very often so I only used the grey fabric. That I was 4 or 5 months pregnant when I made this quilt also made me want to just move on to the quilting stage instead of piecing something else first. Quilting was done with my walking foot and I kept it simple by just following some lines in the quilt.

To cover the hole in the center I enlarged a sheep silhouette picture I found somewhere (but I made this quilt so long ago that I really can’t recall where, sorry!). It was attached with a satin stitch after quilting. To secure it in the middle I quilted the child’s name inside the sheep.

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To cut the quilt to size (95 cm diameter) to fit the playpen I made a circle out of tracing paper and used that as a template.

The quilt was also bound with the grey fabric. For a square quilt the binding is cut on grain, but since for this quilt the binding had to go around a curve I cut it on the bias so it had some stretch. The outermost edge of the quilt has a larger circumference than the 1/4” from the edge which is the stitching line for the binding as it is attached. To make sure that the binding will fit around the edge as you fold it to the back it is essential to somewhat ease the binding in when it is attached to the front so the binding strip is as long as the outermost edge. I was a bit anxious about getting this right, but in the end it worked pretty well.

This project pushed me out of my comfort zone but I am glad it forced me to finally make good use of that ruler. It was a lot easier to use than I had anticipated. The trickiest part is that you really want to be very accurate with your cutting and piecing because your circle will otherwise not lie flat when it is completed. Luckily, I didn’t run into any problems and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I’ll definitely use this ruler again.

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Oh, the absolute joy I felt when my 1/4 circles were exactly 90 degrees!