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11  Daydreaming Mermaid Quilt (now with process pics on page 8) in Quilting: Completed Projects by patchyemm on: February 27, 2009 03:26:35 PM

I made this quilt for a competition we have in New Zealand called the Hoffman Challenge - I think theres a similar one in the US.  The rules are that you have to use a recognisable amountof the selected Hoffman fabric (this year it was the one I used in the mermaid's tail), the quilt must be under 1m square in size and it must not be square or rectangular.

Detail of tail

Hand detail

I started doing patchwork a couple of years ago after being really inspired by the picture quilts I saw in a local exhibition.  So I wanted to try a picture quilt and I wanted to try creating a human figure using shading - I've been very interested in this.  So when I saw this year's Hoffman fabric it immediately suggested to me a mermaid tail and I thought this was a great opportunity to try those things out.

I machine pieced the sea with 1 inch squares, paper pieced the rock and then slip-stitched that to the sea, created the mermaid using fusible-web applique (product called Vilesofix in NZ), machine-stitched her to the background using a close zig-zag, used a whole piece of fabric for the sky and needle-turned the hills.  Then it was machine-quilted.  This was my first time quilting and while I'm in love with patchwork I'll say that I didn't hugely enjoy the quilting.  I think that was just cos it was my first time though.  Also, I do think the quilt might have looked better if I hadn't quilted it so densely, but I guess that's all part of the learning curve.  Hopefully quilting will become more enjoyable!  Putting together all the little pieces for the mermaid's skin was easier than I thought it would be - courtesy of patience and a pair of tweezers!

I'm definitely keen to do another portrait type quilt - not sure what the subject will be but I loved figuring out the shading for the body and seeing that come to life.  I didn't sketch the figure by the way - I'm okay at sketching but not that good.  My very kind and patient husband  Wink took some photos of me and I traced one.

Comments and criticism are greatly appreciated  Smiley
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12  Simplicity 3503 Knit dress in Sewing Pattern Reviews by patchyemm on: February 14, 2009 10:01:44 PM

I made this dress for my sister (Simplicity 3503).  I found the gorgeous fabric in a half sale price at the Fabric Barn in Nelson.  The label said it was made in France and it's lovely quality.  According to the measurements on the back of the pattern my sister is a 12-14.  I'd read that this dress runs large so I cut a 10, thinking that would be pretty safe, but I ended up taking a further inch out of each side seam!  So I'm thinking the 8 would've fitted nicely.  Apart from having to resize the dress it all went pretty smoothly.  I'd done top-stitching on the top and bottom of the midriff piece and up the side seams of the skirt so re-sizing was a right pain in the bum - lots of unpicking!  Oh well.  I love the gathers at the shoulders and the way the shoulder seam sits forward, and I love the back.  Think I might have to make one for me!  Grin 

bust and waist gathers

shoulder gathers

back detail

Comments and criticism gratefully appreciated!  Smiley
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13  Wedding outfit - New Look 6515 (lots of pics!) in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by patchyemm on: January 03, 2009 02:51:01 PM
I've just finished this outfit for my stepmum to wear to her son's wedding.  It's in summer in Australia so the outfit needed to be cool and comfy so I've used good quality quilting cottons - from a great online shop in NZ called Stitcher's Closet. 

Sorry about the poor quality of this photo.

I used New Look 6515, view C, for the top.  Had to do a fair bit of alteration to the pattern to get it to fit over the bust.  I learned on Craftster that most patterns are for a standard B cup regardless of dress size, and that was very useful info!  My stepmum's measurements were an 18 according to the sizing on the pattern but I cut a 16 and that fitted perfectly.  The skirt was just adapted from some other dress pattern I had.

Check out the machine embroidery on the band under the bust - I'm doing that every chance I get.  She looks beautiful in it  Grin

Comments and criticism always appreciated.  Thanks for looking!
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14  Fake wrap dress - New Look 6429 in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by patchyemm on: November 08, 2008 12:55:27 AM

This was my first serious attempt at working with a stretch knit.  I recently upgraded to a Bernina 1630 from a pretty basic Janome, and the Bernina straight stitch works just fine on the stretch fabric.  I don't love the style of this on my figure, and I think the red is a little bland without something to break it up, but that's okay - it's been a great learning curve.  Instead of doing plain top-stitching around the neckline I did machine embroidery (repeated on the sleeve cuffs too) and I'm just in love with that!  Only wish now that I'd done it in a thread that shows up (but I was too scared I'd make a very visible mistake!)

Machine embroidery detail  Smiley

Word of warning - I thought the pattern was good, pretty straight-forward, but according to the measurements on the back I should've been cutting out a 10/12.  In the high street shops I always wear a UK 6-8 so I cut out an 8, and I had to take it in quite a bit more (probably a 6 would've been a good fit but the pattern sizing didn't go that low).  Beware - either their sizing is out or they've allowed a hell of a lot of ease (and this is a stretch knit pattern!).

The only alteration I made was in the sleeves - I gathered them along the seam just above the elbow, shortened them to 3/4 length and added a cuff.

Comments and criticism welcome. Oh, and I really need some red shoes  Smiley - that might be the next project!
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15  Re: Laptop bag in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by patchyemm on: October 26, 2008 07:47:49 PM
So here's the tutorial - sorry, once I got onto the lining I kind of ran out of steam with taking photos.  If anything's not clear though please let me know and I'll do my best to explain.  I do have a pdf copy I could email if anyone's interested - you can pm me.  Hope this helps anyway!

Laptop Bag Tutorial

You will need:

Fabric (equivalent to just under 4 fat quarters)
Lining fabric
Low loft batting and/or fleece
Thin piping cord for piping
Thick soft cord for handles maybe you can get this in a curtain shop?
2 x 45cm zip (or a 90cm zip with two slides)
1 x 20cm zip

Measure your laptop to see how big you need to make your bag, and add a good inch or so for ease.  So my mums laptop was 15 across so I aimed for a finished width of 16.  When you measure how thick the laptop is remember that youll be putting the adaptor and the mouse in the pocket in with the laptop so youll need extra room in there.  I went for a finished width of 4.

Cut two pieces of fabric to size (I did 16.5 x 12) or assemble patchwork pieces to achieve that size.  These pieces are Front A and Back B.

Curve the corners of these pieces slightly using compass or french curve.  Make a note of how much you curved off so that you can repeat that on the lining.

Cut two pieces of fabric 56 x 1.  Fold around piping cord, wrong sides together, and stitch from edge.  I dont have a piping foot so I used my zipper foot and that worked fine.

Cut two pieces of fabric 13 x 2 for handles.  Fold fabric lengthwise with right sides together and stitch 1/4 from edge.  Then stitch one end closed.  Using a thin paintbrush or something like it, poke the closed end in on itself, and carefully turn the whole length inside out.  Unpick the stitched end of the tube and press the whole thing.

Tape the end of the thick cord tightly so that it will enter the fabric tube more easily.  Take a 16 length of thread and hand sew a few stitches through the end of the thick piping cord, wrap the thread round the cord a few times and stitch through a few more times, then attach the thread to a large mattress or doll needle and poke it carefully through the length of fabric and out the other end.  Gently pull the piping cord through the tube of fabric.  Wow is there an easier way to do this?!

Slide the fabric back from each end towards the middle of the tube so that its a bit scrunched up this is so you can finish off the ends.  Measure the cord to 12 and bind and hand stitch tightly about 1cm from each end to stop it unraveling.  Then cut the cord, and slide the fabric back over each end so theres an even amount of fabric either end of the cord.  Stitch ends closed, from edge of fabric.

Cut two pieces of fabric 2.5 by 55 (or join to achieve length).  These are pieces C and D they make up the top, sides and bottom of the bag.  Lay your zips along the length (zipper slides together in the centre) and mark where they stop at each end of the fabric. 

Place pieces C and D right sides together and stitch from edge from one end to your mark, baste until you reach the next mark, then stitch again to the end.  Press open the seam and baste the zips to the fabric (zipper slides together in centre).  Sew the zips in place.

Cut out a piece of batting to 13 x 17 (or slightly larger than your assembled front piece).  I used a piece of fleece and a piece of iron-on low-loft batting to give a bit of extra protection.  Lay the Front A onto the batting and pin in place.  Quilt as you like.   Repeat for the bag Back B.

Place the bag Front A and the zip section C&D right sides together, with the piping in between them.  In the photo below the red fabric in the middle is my piping.  Make sure to tuck the handles down inside the layers, between the zip section and the piping.

Sew the layers together, stitching as close to the piping cord as possible.  I kept nice and close to my piping by keeping my finger on it so I could feel where it was!

When you need to join the piping cord you could line it up with a seam, or just join it in the centre bottom.  You can join the piping cord by just overlapping it a bit like I did in this photo.

To get the zip section the right length, I started sewing from the top centre and stopped when I got close to the bottom centre, then I did the same in the other direction starting at the top centre again.  Then, when I was confident how much of a gap I had left I joined the ends of the zip section, stitched those, then carried on stitching the zip section to the bag front.

Repeat for Back B, placing the bag Back B and zip section C&D together, right sides facing, with the piping in between the layers and stitch.  Remember to put the handles in between the zip section and the piping.

Go over the seam by the handles a few times to reinforce them.


For your lining, cut 2 pieces 16 x 11.5 (just smaller than your bag pieces) These are Front E & Back F.

Place a pocket on Front E if you like.  Heart of Mary had a link to a good zipper pocket tutorial.  Attach Velcro to ribbon (or to some fabric if you can be bothered!) and pin to Back F at top and bottom check that theyre going to overlap and join correctly.

Cut two strips of lining fabric 3 x 55.  These are the partners of the zip pieces and well call them G and H. 

Cut two strips of fleece or batting 2.5 x 55 and lay one along each fabric strip G and H. 

Measure the length of one zip on piece C&D, mark that at either end of pieces G and H.  Place G and H right sides together, and stitch between your marks.  Wow hard to explain, much easier to do heres the diagram!

Place the pieces Front E and G&H right sides together and stitch (like you did with the outside of the bag).  Repeat with pieces Back F and G&H.  Press the outside edges of piece G&H under and pin to the main bag wrong sides together.  Top-stitch all the way around the edge, joining the lining to the bag.

And youre done!
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16  Laptop bag (now with tutorial on page 2) in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by patchyemm on: October 25, 2008 10:01:21 PM

Heres a laptop bag that Ive made for my mum.  I got inspired after seeing the bags on here and fancied a go at it!  I have taken photos of the process and done a tutorial (though Im not convinced my instructions are totally clear...) so let me know if you want to see that.  The colours in the last photo are most accurate.

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17  Sampler quilt - what do you think about a border? in Quilting: Discussion and Questions by patchyemm on: September 09, 2008 02:47:39 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this so I hope I'm posting in the right place.  I've been learning patchwork from a wonderful woman and have been making a sampler quilt.  Well, I'm pretty close to finished but I'm not sure what to do for a border.  At the moment I'm thinking maybe something fairly narrow - perhaps a strip of the cream calico (muslin) and then a narrow border pieced from all the leftover fabrics.  Or nothing - just go straight from the sashing to the binding.  What do you think?

The finished quilt doesn't have to be a particular size because it's just for snuggling under while my husband and I watch movies  Smiley  The blocks are six inch and the sashing is two inch, so the quilt is currently measuring 50" x 66".  

At the moment the quilt is in quarters because my mentor has advised me to quilt each quarter separately and then assemble it - to make it easier for me because it will be my first attempt at quilting.

Any suggestions will be very gratefully received  Smiley
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