Posts Tagged ‘fabric’


Last Wednesday I was on a lunchtime wander round York, when I passed a curtain shop with a small sign saying they had roll ends from £3 per metre, and bags of scraps from £5. I couldn’t resist a look, and was amazed to find that the bags of scraps were enormous bags of big pieces of lovely fabrics, much bigger than I was expecting. I did go a little bit crazy, ending up with two big bags of ‘scraps’, for £10 each, and £50 worth of roll ends. I had to leave them there as I couldn’t manage it all on my bike, and hold my impatience until I could go in in the car on Saturday. But it was worth the wait! I was like a child at Christmas as I unpacked it all :)


This is the two bags of scraps – all William Morris Sanderson prints, mostly full widths of fabric, and varying between about 20cm and half a metre. There are multiple pieces of some of the fabrics too. I’m very pleased with this lot!


And this is the bigger pieces, more Morris, and a few pieces of more contemporary designs.


This is my very favourite piece, it’s a half width, but it has the full repeat of this beautiful tree on it, which is about 60x80cm. My first thought was to frame it, and I’m still thinking along those lines, but now I’m thinking it’d be nice to embellish it first by sewing over some areas with embroidery thread. So that might be a project for the future.


But my first project was to make a quilt, to keep on the sofa for chilly evenings. I’d come across this old wool blanket a few weeks ago, and was thinking of upcycling it, so this seemed like the perfect chance, especially with the heavier upholstery fabrics. I reluctantly discarded some of the coarser weave ones, thinking they’d probably fray too much, and decided on six floral prints, with a leafy one for the background and backing – that was one of the ones I’d bought a roll end of, and there was more of it in one of the bags.


I did some sums, and decided that for the size of my blanket, I needed 6” squares with 1.5” sashing in between.


So I spent an evening cutting out squares, doing a bit of fussy cutting to centre the bigger designs.


Then worked out a layout that looked random but does in fact have a pattern to it – the first six rows have one of each fabric in every row and column (think sudoku!) and the last row is a repeat of the first one.


I took these photos on my ipad, and it was very handy when it came to checking the layout as I sewed the pieces together – new technology helping an old craft!


I sewed all the smaller sashing pieces in first, then inserted the long horizontal strips, before adding borders.


I didn’t want to quilt this, due to the thickness of the blanket in the middle, so I’ve tied it, one tie in the centre of each cross of the sashing. I hope it holds!


I did sew the binding on by machine, using my walking foot, but as I suspected my machine really didn’t like it – it kept skipping stitches, leaving very long stitches, and generally misbehaving. But I got there eventually, and then spent an evening handsewing the binding down on the back.


And this is the finished thing! It’s lovely and warm, and a good size for the sofa (about 45” x 51” – the blanket was a single bed size, but I think it had shrunk when I washed it years ago).


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So after Kerri and Lucy and I had finished confessing our Wollmeise purchases to each other and finally got up and dressed, Lucy headed home and Kerri and I wandered to Kensington High Street in search of food, which we found in an Italian opposite this amazing Arts and Crafts brickwork –


Which whilst it wouldn’t have looked out of place at Liberty, was actually adorning this –


They don’t make utility buildings like they used to.

Suitably refreshed, we then hopped on a bus to have a quick whizz round Liberty (quick because they close at five on a Sunday, and we didn’t get there until about four thirty).


Liberty is probably my favourite shop ever, it’s like a cross between a stately home and retail paradise, with gorgeous (if pricy) things round each corner. And they have a great haberdashery section. The yarn’s not desperately inspiring, being mostly Rowan and the same as Rowan yarn everywhere, but the fabrics and other bits and bobs are amazing.


I admired the Tana Lawn, but at just under £20 per metre, my finances wouldn’t stretch to it after the battering they’d had on Friday and Saturday.


These ribbons on star shaped cards were so pretty, but they’re the sort of thing you need to have locally, so you can buy them to match a project – tempting as it is to buy them because they’re pretty, I know they’d just sit for years.


Lovely things in tubs.


Now these ribbons were almost irresistible, mainly because of the amazing old bobbins, but I managed to leave them there.


This might be inspiration for a cushion cover in the future.


So what was in the bag? The wall of Rowan/Amy Butler fabrics was my downfall. But at £10 per metre, it was actually cheaper than most other places I’ve seen it, so it would have been rude not to buy some.


And they wrap it so beautifully.


There’s a spotty skirt and a flowery cushion cover there. One day. And all for £19. Bargain.

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Two skirts


Last night I came upon the pretty green spotty Amy Butler fabric I bought a few weeks ago, and decided to have a stab at making a skirt with it. I found the copy of Sew What! Skirts I bought months ago and hadn’t really looked at, and set about drafting a pattern for a simple A-line skirt. I did lots of measuring, and carefully drafted a pattern, realising when I came to apply it to the fabric that one metre really wasn’t enough for a decent length of skirt (ie covering my knees). But I forged ahead regardless – which was probably a pity, because if I’d thought about it I could probably have laid the pattern out differently and got a bit more length, the spotty pattern being reversible. Hey ho, it was cut by that time. I sewed up the side seam and cut out and ironed interfacing onto the facing, but then I was thwarted by the lack of a zip.


This morning I walked to the local shops, only to find that my local fabric shop has closed and is going to reopen on the retail park about three miles away. Just as I was getting back into sewing too. I’m sure the new shop will be better, but not nearly so handy. So I hopped on a bus into town and bought a zip from Duttons for Buttons, and also popped into Grace and Jacob and bought another length of Amy Butler fabric, a metre and a quarter this time.


I finished off the green skirt after lunch, and as well as being too short (it is wearable, I’m just not used to having that much leg on display) it’s also a bit on the tight side – it’s just about okay standing up, but not so good sitting down. So I redrafted the pattern with another 3/4” at the fold, to make it about 3” bigger all round. I also managed to make it about 4” longer.


I put darts in the front and back to take the waist in a bit, now it’s bulging a little at the back about four inches below the waist, but I’m not sure how to cure that.


Its a very simple pattern, just a front and a back and two facings, with a side zip. I top stitched the waistbands and sewed the hems on the machine, just finishing off the facings by hand to hold them down.



The red skirt is definitely a success, I’m not too sure about the green one. I do need to lose a bit of weight before my brother’s wedding in October, if I do it sooner rather than later it might look better. Well, I’m sure it will. Better lay off the Chinese takeaways and ice cream :(

Oh, and Diane – I’m sorry!

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