As Spring is starting to truly get going here, I’m posting some wintery photos from our recent cottage weekend. A lovely tradition of getting away for a long weekend with friends, dogs and sewing machines was started a few years ago. It happens twice a year and is something I look forward to immensely.
The focus is sewing. We wake up early in the morning and get on our sewing machines, some of us sleep in because we were sewing until 3am in the morning. Having several days in a row to focus on projects means that stuff gets done! Huge quilts get quilted, binding is stitched, problems are solved and a thousand blocks are pieced. In between all that, there are amazing homemade meals and snacks, walks with dogs and afternoon naps. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get better than this.
Just four months til the Summer Cottage Weekend!
All the Winter Cottage Weekend photos are here.
Leggings were on our original To Do List for The Sewing Factory. They got nixed off the list when we couldn’t find nice jersey that we loved for the project and also we got distracted by Liberty fabric and sewing all the dresses.
A few months later, I picked up some grey jersey in hopes of making leggings. I also finally found a good leggings pattern. I’ve had great success with all the Jalie patterns that I’ve tried. They are the basis for our T-Shirt & Underwear classes. Their patterns include an extensive range of sizes which seems to make the fit of their garments really wonderful.
A few weeks ago, all the stars finally aligned. Our water service stopped at home (here’s looking on the bright side of this situation) and I was stuck waiting about 20 hours for the city to arrive to work on it. With some unexpected ‘free’ time, it seemed like the perfect time to tackle a new but simple project.
These leggings were born without a hitch. I used both a serger and a sewing machine with a twin needle to finish these. I tried them on when I was done and they fit like a glove! I promptly sat down and made a second pair.
My second pair was even better. I made a few changes to my construction process that I’m really happy about. I searched my stash and found enough knit fabric for two more pairs. One of my next pairs will be from bamboo jersey that is a bit thicker. I think this will be the best weight and I’m excited that the workroom will be carrying this bamboo jersey again very soon! (in a range of awesome new colours)
This is perfect project to practice your serger skills on and to introduce yourself to serging with jersey. I’ll be sharing all my tricks and tips in our new Leggings class at the workroom!
We also have the Jalie Leggings pattern in the shop! Plus, the essential twin & jersey needles. A hundred pairs of leggings for everyone!
Lunch Bag class by Guy Latulippe
Outer Fabric : Railroad Denim by Robert Kaufman
Lining Fabric : Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Denim
I wish I had a lunch bag like this when I was in school.
This clever design by Guy is very fun to sew. Right now I seem to be obsessed with anything chambray, denim or yarn dyed. This project is perfect for these types of fabrics. Having a sturdier outer fabric gives the bag the right amount of structure to hold it’s shape. Definitely one of the best details is the cute gusset that truly mimics the classic brown paper bag. If you peek inside you’ll notice it is flawlessly lined with beautiful seam binding. The cherry on top is the hidden magnetic closure.
So many possibilities for this cute bag. Some students suggested it would be a great gift filled with homemade cookies! For me, I’m planning a spring outfit with this as my clutch.
If you’re in Toronto, you can make one at the workroom this Saturday in our Lunch Bag class!
Chunky Twinkle Yarn by Wenlan
This is the first knit project I’ve ever posted on here! I started this Maximus Cowl over two years ago at Sewing Summit. I made good progress while we were in Salt Lake City, I had so many great knitters (Amanda & Amanda) around me on that trip! Somehow when I came home, I tucked the project away and could never manage to muster the courage to pick it up again. I pulled it out again in January and was determined to finish it up, once and for all!
I don’t consider myself a knitter, but I did learn to knit ages ago. I’m very comfortable doing basic knitting, but I’ve never progressed into anything too complicated. When I see the incredible shawls and socks that my friends are making, I’m really quite in awe.
The most intimidating part of this project was the finishing. I just dreaded the mysterious ’3 needle bind off’. When I put a call out regarding this last step, Natalie answered with the promise of her guidance. It really wasn’t that bad and actually it was a really cool technique!
Dare I say that I might like to knit another simple cowl?! Any thoughts on some great/simple cowl patterns that you like?
It was about this time last year that I started my Feather Bed quilt. The quilt top has been done for a little while now. I still need to finish off the back and decide if I’m going to quilt this one. I want to catch up on photographing my quilts in progress, so I took the quilt top with me last week when Maisy and I went down to the Humber River for our Monday adventure.
When we got down to the river that day, the entire park was filled with huge ice chunks that had started to melt over the weekend, cracked and then been pushed down downstream and eventually pushed over the sides of the river bed and across the fields. This has already happened a couple times this winter, but not to this extreme! I’ve never seen anything like it, but it made the perfect backdrop for these photos! These photos were actually taken on the river and you can see how thick the ice is.
I love this quilt top. I had a lot of fun making most of it at our 2013 winter cottage weekend. Both Jacqueline and Katherine let me raid their scraps and stash to add to the fabric I had chosen and to me those additions truly make the quilt top shine. I got the majority of the blocks done over this one weekend, but in the end, I had decided I needed to make the quilt top bigger and add a few more blocks.
The pattern for this quilt top is a free pdf download from Anna Maria Horner! I definitely recommend it. There is one piece of advice that I’d give, that I didn’t catch on to until I was through a lot of the sewing. There is a better way to sew & cut your strips for the plumes that is much more efficient! Luckily, Meredith at Olivia Jane wrote a great tutorial on the method.
I love seeing other versions of this pattern. I was originally inspired to make this pattern when I saw Lalu’s version. I love it on the grey background. Julie made a blue version with the Liberty Stiles collection which is really wonderful, too!
After months and months of working on this project, it’s great to finally be able to post photos of this community quilt made for Debbie’s baby. Sunday was Debbie’s last day of work and it seemed like the perfect time to throw her a little surprise baby shower to celebrate.
The beauty of a community quilt is the incredible personality it reflects. Not only of the person who sews the block, but the person the blocks are intended for. When I look at this quilt, I truly see this.
The parameters we set out for the quilt used this fabric as our colour inspiration along with a required finished size of 9″. Somehow with just those two guidelines, we ended up with this magical patchwork.
A quilt is always filled with love, but when it is worked on by so many people it vibrates that love so strongly. We can’t wait to meet your baby, Debbie!
All the quilt photos from this project can be found here.
Economy block by Karyn
Economy block by Karyn
Hummingbird block by Katrina
Maple block by Jacqueline
Maple block by Jacqueline
Star block with Hexagon centre by Johanna
HST block by Ayalah
Improv block by Ayalah
Feather block by Angelune
Postage Stamp block by Angelune
Improv block by Suzanne
Improv block by Katherine
Improv block by Katherine
Improv block by Elisa
Improv block by Lauren
Improv block by Lauren
Star block by Nadia
Star within a Star block by Carolanne
Cathedral Windows block by Alexis
Porthole block by Maria
Improv bloc by Carolina
Improv block by Rosalyn
Improv block by Jerisse
Vogue 1350 by Rachel Comey
Raspberry Purrfectly Happy from Catnap by Lizzy House,
lined with Freespirit Solid Plum Voile
Here’s my entry for the Lizzy House Catnap Dress Contest!
I don’t think I could have chosen a more difficult pattern to do under a short deadline. This pattern was not a sleepy catnap, it was a real challenge! I had wanted to try something new for the contest. I also wanted the dress to be a bit more formal to contrast the adorable cat print.
This dress is a beautiful design. It is also completely lined. Not just a lining that is dropped into the dress, but a lining that is sewn onto the facings and finishes the insides and hems cleanly. It’s serious. The front placket hides a row of snap closures. There is so much great detail and fitting in this dress. It’s pretty much a work of art.
While I was sewing it into the early hours of the morning before the deadline, I was definitely cursing myself for not choosing an easier pattern. That said, I do love this dress and how it turned out. It seems the perfect way for me to sport some kitty cats. Quite a few people have asked how Maisy feels about this dress – She doesn’t mind, she loves Lizzy House cats as much as I do.
You can check out all the entries into the Catnap Dress Contest here. There are so many wonderful Catnap dresses!
Portfolio Tunic : Lisette for Simplicity
Liberty of London Tana Lawn : Claire Aude
It seems like winter may never end, so it’s best to embrace it! Or in this case, head outdoors in a short sleeved shirt for 15 minutes to catch some natural light!
I have had the Portfolio Tunic in my pattern stash for a while. Amanda sent it to me ages ago but I could never decide which fabric to use and other patterns always seemed more pressing. Recently I spotted this Portfolio Tunic made by Allyson. (Thank you, Pinterest!) Immediately, I knew I had to make one and it had to be this sunny yellow Claire Aude print from Liberty of London that I had in my stash. Just the thing to cheer up some winter blues!
I chose to do the short tunic to see if I liked the fit and the pattern in general, so I missed out on doing the awesome pocket detail with this version. But I already have a next Liberty print set aside for my next version and it will be the longer tunic for sure. The pattern is a dream! Very simple, clear instructions and easy sewing. The front square yoke detail is so cute. The sweet two button closure at the back was the perfect place to use a couple of vintage glass buttons from The Button Dept. My only note would be that you need to really clip the seam allowance for the curve of the sleeve so that it sits properly.
Unfortunately, this pattern is out of print! I didn’t realize it, but quickly found out as people started asking where they could get a copy. Luckily, Liesel Gibson commented on one of my posts that she is working on an updated version of this pattern that she’ll be putting out herself. Hooray!
A few times a year, I pick a month to dedicate to finishing projects. The main objective is to cross things off my list whether they are brand new projects or projects that have been lingering for months (or even years!) Sometimes, all it takes to finish something is sewing on buttons. For larger projects, like quilts, finishing a block or a stage of the project is considered a ‘finish’ to me.
January seemed like the perfect time to start a finishing campaign. I also took a week off work towards the end of the month to just stay home, relax and sew. Heaven! I had ten solid finishes in January, ranging from a quilt top to a duffle bag to a knit cowl that I started over two years ago. Here are a few sneak peeks!
Tomorrow!! I hope to see you there.