My First Pattern !

My First Pattern !

I first made some clothes when I was a hormonal teenager. One night I decided that I needed a new hoody, had a look at my sisters, rummaged in my mums rather extensive fabric stash and then I made it. It was navy blue and I wore it until it fell off me. When I look back, I’m really not sure how I did it but now as a grown up (pulls a face) I have always wanted to follow a pattern and quite like the idea of ‘me made every day’.

My twenties were a blur of babies and house renovating, I started seriously quilting in my early thirties and now here I am, gulp, in my forties. Its my sister-in-law who really inspired me to give it a go. She was already writing a very successful blog which I always avidly read and every time I see her she has the most fantastic collection of beautifully made clothes. Let just say that she is rocking ‘me made every day’.

So about 18 months ago, I bought my first pattern  The Colette Dahlia. Now I know what you’re thinking, probably not the easiest of patterns to start off with (which I now realise) but I have always been very optimistic!

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I had a beautiful Liberty fabric D’Anjo which I had purchased from Shaukat some time before. I cut it all out and painstakingly marked all the darts and notches, sewed the bodice together, read the instructions about the yoke and then… nothing… I stopped… I was scared. What if it didn’t fit me?  What if, gasp, it looked like I had made it?  I never thought these things when I was 16, sewing stretch fabric with no pattern. I’m ashamed to say that the result of these thought’s were the pattern pieces and partly made bodice being slung over the back of my chair, for over a year.

January 2016 something happened to me. I think it was a combination of Instagram and all the inspirational pictures, my sister-in-law came to visit and I tried on some of her new makes and finally I just really felt like I needed to get stuck into something new. I was ready.

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I used The Colette Dahlia Sewalong quite a bit because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really struggle with reading instructions and actually seeing all the different stages helps it to make sense.  I actually really quite enjoyed making the yoke and managed to catch all of the inside with the topstitching (which you are supposed to).

My proudest moment was making my own bias binding. I used the Continuous Bias Binding method demonstrated here by Colette. It really seems to give the dress a good finish and I didn’t want to use a solid colour to detract from the beautiful liberty fabric.

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What Went Well

Considering its my first ‘proper’ make, I’m really pleased with the general fit and yoke sits really well. The tana lawn was a dream to cut out and to sew and you really can’t beat the feeling of wearing something that you have made from beginning to end.

Even Better If

My first attempt at a hidden zip leave a lot to be desired so lets just say I have been wearing a cardigan with it. I realise my error though and have bought a proper invisible zipper foot which will fix the problem . If I make it again I would also like to splice out some of the back pattern piece as the neckline is a little bit ‘roomy’.

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Striped Squares Quilt

Striped Squares Quilt

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My sister was having a baby girl and I really wanted to make her a special quilt that she could keep forever and who knows, maybe even pass on to her children! I have a ‘go to’ book when it comes to quilts. It was originally my mums and I know she used it a lot too but I love it because it has so many fairly quick quilts that look really complicated !! Even More Quilts For Baby is a book by Ursula Reikes and it is 20 fantastic baby quilt patterns, easy to follow instructions and inspirational pictures.

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One thing I really wanted to get right was the fabric combinations. I chose the Striped Squares quilt and it needed four main fabrics. I went to my local fabric shop and decided on these four.

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The red floral was very liberty style and it was the fabric I picked first. I really wish that I had bought loads of it as I have never seen it again and it is so pretty. Then I found the  Tilda Folk Birds which I love and then matched the two greens. Again I don’t know the manufacturer of the green fabrics but the cabbage roses were a bit different and added texture whilst the stipe was my plain.

Following the book, I sewed 14 strips (cut selvedge to selvedge) of the four fabrics together and then using a 6″square ruler I cut out 24 squares. I then sewed four squares together to make a block. I have since done this pattern another way using a jelly roll. Make squares four strips wide, lay one block horizontally face up and then place a second square vertically face down, sew 1/4″ seam all the way round. Cut diagonally one way and then the other, iron and then sew the opposites back together.

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Both ways have their positives and negatives, it just depends which way you prefer !! There is definitely less waste with the second way but it takes longer !

My sister was very pleased with it and it got lots of use in my niece’s first few years, it now hangs on the end of her bed and still gets a cuddle every now and then!

 

I’ve always hated those tiles!!

I’ve always hated those tiles!!

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Okay, so the first room I decorated in our forever house was the kitchen. I trawled the internet, sent off for tiles samples, visited every tile shop in a 30 mile radius, and brought home several of those unweildy huge boards to see them in a ‘different light’.

I asked the other half what he thought and to be honest I did realise that he barely looked up from his iPad! It was finally (a joint decision as far as I was concerned) decided that we would go for the black/grey marble. They went with the Aga and were very ‘rustic’.

A couple of weeks later and my kitchen was finally finished. Painstakingly tiled by me and then grouted with an off white.

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Now then, fast forward four flipping years! I’m standing in the kitchen, thinking out loud that I’m getting a bit bored of the imposing black marble and darling husband pipes up ‘I’ve always hated those tiles’. I’m speechless, I’m cross, I’m bothered. What???? You’ve only just decided to tell me!

Anyway, not one to make a fuss, the cogs quickly started turning in my brain. ‘Don’t make a fuss, you can turn this to a very advantageous shopping and DIY opportunity and you’re not going to get any resistance’. I trawled the internet, sent off for tiles samples, visited every tile shop in a 30 mile radius and brought home several of those unweildy huge boards to see them in a ‘different light’!! (I’m having a sense of Déjà vu here).

Suddenly there they were, like a shining light in a boring world of cream and beige. They were called Chateaux Collection by the The Winchester Tiles Company. They were beautiful, him indoors like them and they were going to be mine.

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Fast forward two weeks, lots of smashing with chisels, screwdrivers, mallets and anything that would get those black tiles off (blimey, I’d stuck them on well). A plasterer later and lick of paint and an afternoon on the job and voila!! I’m very pleased and the husband likes them… result!

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