Monday, 19 September 2016

Festive Friends Advent Calendar by Dashwood Studio

I have lots to write about and will post all about Summer soon but for now I'm jumping straight into Christmas! Well not actually but Christmas Sewing and getting prepared. 

Festive Friends by Dashwood Studio ( designed by Aless Baylis is a cute cheerful advent calendar that can be made and used year after year.
It comes as a panel with instructions on it, (in blue) It's available on my website with lots of gorgeous co-coordinating fabric too!
The instructions written remind me a little of a technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off! They are there but if you have not made one before or have limited sewing knowledge you might struggle with it a little!

I have included lots of photos to help along the way. The photos aren't the greatest as when I made the calendar it was a dark grey rainy day so lighting wasn't the best and I'm not a processional photographer.

Okay lets get going.
Grab a cuppa and a biscuit, remember to enjoy sewing and it doesn't have to be perfect so have fun with it.

1, Cut out the back panel following the outer of the green seam allowance.

I gave the panel a press to start with and then used my rotary cutter so I got nice straight edges, scissors are fine if you don't own a cutter.

2, Cut out the pocket strips around the outer edge of the cream seam allowance. 
Again I used my rotary cutter but scissors are fine if you do not have a rotary cutter.

3, Press over the seam allowance on the top edge of each pocket strip and stitch.
It doesn't give a seam allowance so it's up to you. I double folded my hem so there was no rough ends and then stitched a very narrow seam allowance.
4, Make a box pleat between each pocket by bringing the sides together to meet the dotted line.
I folded one edge first, pressed it and then did the second edge, pressed again and then I popped a pin in at the top of each pocket to keep the pleat in place.
 Pin each pocket stops it from moving.
5, Press and tack the side and bottom seam allowances on each pocket strip. 
Now I was very good and did tack, I was tempted to just leave pins in place but I was good and tacked all the strips, and I'm pleased I did as it made sewing it so much easier and stopped any major movement.
6, Pin each pocket strip to the back panel and tack in place.
I tacked down the middle of each pleat where the dotted line is and then down the two side ends and along the bottom. It took a while but it does make life easier in the end. I always use a thread that shows up so I can see the tack stitches.
7, Stitch the pocket strips onto the back panel.
To do this I first stitched down the dotted lines in between the pleats. I started at the top of each one and went backwards and forwards several times just at the top as I wanted to add some strength as the pockets will be getting lots of  use! Once they are stitched I then started at top of the edge of either left or right pocket strip (it doesn't matter which) and stitched all the way down one side along the bottom and then back up the other edge of pocket strip.I took my time and made sure all my pleats lay flat so as I stitched over the bottom the pleats stayed in place.

8, Layer the panel with wadding to give some body and choose a co-ordinating Christmass pattern to back the panel with. Quilt the panel as desired.
Firstly I pressed the pocket strips then removed all my tacking stitches. I used a fat quarter 55cm x 50cm to back my panel with. Placing the Fat Quarter right side face down then the wadding and the advent calendar on top face up. I put a few pins in place to stop it moving, but you can use spray or tacking stitches.
I started in the middle and stitched around on the white, I decided as Phoebe my Pfaff has pretty stitches, to use a star stitch. Once all the middle was stitched I then went all around the green border.
 I decide red festive friends snowflake fabric would be perfect for the binding.
I decided on 2 1/2 inch binding was wide enough. To join the binding together, place one strip face up then the other strip face down as photo.
Draw a diagonal line across the top and mark it. I used a friction pen which will disappear with heat. Stitch on the line and trim away the excess.
 Fold the binding in half with wrong sides together and press.
Place the binding with raw edge of binding against the raw edge of calendar. Start sewing half way down. Leaving a good few inches of binding at the start.

When you get to a corner stop. Then fold the binding up and then back over again. See photo below.
Once you get to the last edge near to where you started stop. Leaving a few inches unsewn. Trim off any extra binding so the binding overlaps by two inches. Fold the bottom binding over diagonally so its at 45 degree angle. Pop a pin in place to stop it moving and then place the top binding over it and stitch in place. If you have a different way of binding then please do it your way.
Once the binding is all stitched, fold the binding over on to the back of the calendar and hand stitch into place. This is my favourite part of sewing. It's gentle and slow and a good chance to sit and watch some TV knowing your project is nearly finished!

9, Make loops or a sleeve along the edge of the panel to hang the finished calendar.
 I decided to just sew two little loops on the back using some striped ribbon from my stash.

Try not to fill with treats just yet until the 30th of November as if you are like me you will only eat them!!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

National Sewing Machine Day

Hello, Are you ready it's a long one.........

It's national sewing machine day today so in honour of that I'm going to try and spend at least one hour sewing, but I thought I would share with you some of my recent makes.

The Finished Quilt

Blocks in the making

The excellent templates

I joined in with the Lori Holt Bloom sew along and Riley Blake. Lori used her beautiful Calico Days fabric and her Fab templates. I decided as usual to do things slightly different and I used Bloom and Bliss fabric as I wanted flowers flowers and flowers as it was going to be a birthday present and I knew flowers would be very much loved. Because I needed to finish it for the beginning of May, I chose Blanket Stitch applique which I did on my lovely sewing machine. It really is my favourite stitch and I find it speedier than needle turn or hand stitching applique. My lovely friend was very pleased with her birthday present.

Enjoying an early morning Cuppa in our new garden

We have finally got round to laying a lawn in our garden and I can honestly say I am now in love with my garden.

I was very excited to see Top soil being delivered

Beautiful top soil all levelled out.
We were very lucky and had help from our lovely friend Su who arrived wth her wheel barrow and shovel and then our fab neighbour Carol came round with her wheel barrow and shovel so getting the top soil down did not take to long at all. The next day the turf arrived YIPPEE.

 As soon as the first piece was down Miss Mabel decided she needed to test it!

At the end of the day this is how the garden looked. I was so chuffed with how the garden looked.

beautiful beautiful lawn

I am now obsessed with buying flowers and plants and slowly we are filling up the borders. This beautiful Dahlia sadly has been munched so much by Mr and Mrs Slug and Snail! I'm rubbish at killing them so I'm now looking for more plants that don't taste so good!

Fuchsia reminding me of  ballerinas

My beautiful David Austen rose Olivia Rose

I have had this rose for a few years and I adore it. It makes me smile so much. Every year it comes back and it has the sweetest smell ever.
We nearly didn't look at this house five years ago as I hated hated the garden. It was slabs and stones and just grey, angular and hard. I longed for softness and curves and pretty flowers and a green green lawn so after a lot of hardwork and four skips later we have the garden I want. Yippee.

Anyway I thought a summer quilt and cushion would be needed in the garden so I decided to go with a seaside feel. Mermaids and fish  remind me of summer and I wanted cheerful light colours

Saltwater by Riley Blake was picked. I wanted to do half square triangles because I need more practice. I feel I have cracked the half square triangle blip and I want to make another quilt with just them in it. The backing was the cheat panel which I adore.

I recently brought  this lovely book called Lovely Little Patchwork Book and following my own personal challenge to make something from all of my sewing books I selected this cushion and quilt, the cushion is a little different which is normal for me but I stuck to the instructions completely for this quilt, I love it I'm really chuffed with it.

This was my inspiration

Trusty ruler helps

Planning the cushion

Basting the quilt

Aurifil was used for the quilting

The fabric is still available in my little shop if you are inspired to make one yourself.

Have you been watching The Great British Sewing Bee? I love the program and I'm in awe of how they manage to make something in the time they have. I haven't got a favourite this year, I like them all, I do think Joyce and Charlotte will be in the final and possibly Jade too. I go to a sewing class on a Thursday morning and I love it, the ladies who go make me laugh so much, and I have formed some lovely friendships there.
I'm currently making some PJ's for Mr C he has picked skull and cross bone fabric!

I have already made a dress this term.

It called the Kate Dress and is a Sew me something pattern. I love the instructions and the pattern is paper and not tissue paper.  I made it with this. I thought it would be perfect for my summer holidays.

Last term I made the Viola skirt with this fabric combination.

 It's a reversible skirt and I love it Woodland Spring is the name of the fabric and I think it works really well together. I'm enjoying dress making and love how quick garments can be made, but I do love my patchwork and quilting more and I find like anything else the more you do the better you become and just go for it and not be scared.

It has been a real mixture of emotions this month. Sadly my beloved Uncle R passed away suddenly. He was a true legend and was loved by everyone I know. His funeral was beautiful and over 300 people came to say goodbye to him. We walked behind his coffin through the village where he lived and lots of the local shops put boards out with lovely messages. It was lovely to catch up with so many folks and he would of loved it which is bittersweet. His coffin was decorated with his wisteria which had just flowered.
One of the local pubs saying goodbye

Wisteria flowered in time

Lots of happy events have happened too, and one was meeting the beautiful Cooper who was just a delight and full of puppy fun. This was only one of the few photos I managed to get as he was very busy!

We have had a house guest this past two weeks. Miss Bonnie has been with us for her holidays. Her and Mabel are best buddies so I have had two little shadows following me around and keeping the garden safe from pigeons and James Bond the squirrel!

On Guard!

Just keeping an eye on the lawn!

Sunbathing at the end of the day!


Have a lovely week and I hope you all get time to sit and have a cheeky ice-cream or two!

Happy Sewing and Happy National Sewing Machine Day

Sally xx