Monday, 20 July 2015

... finding Shaun the Sheep

We were in Wiltshire at the weekend as my daughter was racing at the Castle Combe Circuit on Sunday, we made a weekend of it and rented a cottage just outside of the beautiful National Trust Village of Lacock. It is often used by Film and TV companies as it's honey stoned period houses are the epitome of the quintessential English village, when we dropped in on Monday morning they were preparing sets for a SKY TV drama/comedy/crime show called Agatha Raisin can't wait for it to come out as the one they aired around Christmas last year was excellent.

We spent Saturday in Bristol and took advantage of two free events that were going on in the city that day, the Harbourside Festival which was a series of community based events on and around around the harbourside area. The second was Shaun in the city where 70 large Shaun the sheep characters have been placed around the city, all have been customised by various artists and organisations, they are free to view and get your photo taken with them, there is an app to help you round or there are free printed maps from the tourist information.  They will be making an appearance in London in September at Covent Garden along with 50 that have already been on display in the capital giving you the chance to see all 120 of them together, this is for a very limited time only and then they will be auctioned off.  All proceeds from the Bristol sheep go the Bristol Children's hospital Grand Appeal and the funds from the 50 London sheep go to the Wallace and Gromitt's Children charity that supports children in hospital throughout the UK




I hope you all had a good weekend, let me know what you got up to

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

....homemade bias binding

In preparation for making my walkaway dress I have given myself the task of using homemade bias binding.  I have researched this and it seems pretty simple provided you have the correct kit.  I brought a package on e-bay that contains 4 different sizes of guides, an awl (a pointy tool to help the process get started) and a special foot for my sewing machine that helps the bias to be attached more easily (so far untried)
Preparing to make bias binding

When making bias binding you need to cut strips of fabric across the grain of the fabric so the selvage edges are top and bottom and you are cutting from corner to corner across  the fabric.  When it is cut this way it is "stretchy" and has more give so that it can go round corners like necks and armholes easily.

The strips need to about twice the size you want your binding to be, eg if you want 1/2 inch binding you cut a strip about 1 inch wide, when it is fed through the guide you will get a 1/4 inch fold on either side and a face of 1/2 inch.

There are two methods that I have found, the strip method where you cut a square of fabric, draw diagonal lines across at your chosen width, you cut the strips and then sew the ends together to create a continuous ribbon of fabric.  This is then fed into the guide and very importantly ironed to keep the folds in place.  The thing to be aware of is that the smaller the piece of fabric the more joins you have in your binding.  I found this on Pinterest that illustrates this method.

The second method is the continuous strip method that involves cutting a square into two triangles sewing them up to to make a parallelogram, marking up your strips across the bias, sewing the whole thing together but lining up the bottom of the first strip with the top of the second strip.  I don't know how but it works but you get a long strip of fabric ready to feed into your guide.

I watched a couple of you tube videos and then found  this illustration on Pinterest which was very helpful.  There is a wealth of tutorials and guides on this subject as it the method used by quilters to finish the edges off their quilts.

Creating Continuous Bias

My top tips for making bias binding

  • Make a small investment and buy the necessary kit, you can make it without but it is hard work 

  • Have a practice first on a  spare piece of fabric so that you are confident in what you are doing

  • Spray starch your fabric once you have cut the square out, it will help the binding to keep it's shape

  • Iron like a mad thing

  • Make sure you work on the bias and not across or you will just end up feeding the bin! yes I did bodge it up

It is time consuming but I am hoping to reap the rewards when I put the finishing touches to my walkaway dress.

What do you think? would you make your own or grab a pack of ready made?

Saturday, 4 July 2015

.....the vintage sewing pattern pledge 2015

My next sewing projects is a reproduction vintage pattern from the 1950's, it is the famous Walkaway dress as featured in the Great British Sewing Bee series 3.

It is alleged that you can start this dress in the morning and walk out in it to lunch, however, I have read the instructions that include  "Step 9, Allow 24 hours before hemming to permit bias to set" so I will not be lunching with the ladies in it today.
Walkaway dress pattern

I saw this as an ideal opportunity to take part in a blog challenge, as I have been following Marie at a stitching odyssey the vintage sewing pattern pledge seemed perfect.  This is co-run by Maria and Kerry at Kestrel makes and the idea is encourage you to sew either a vintage pattern if you are lucky enough to have any available or a reproduction one.

The beauty of this challenge is that you can start at any point through out the year and you make a pledge that is personal to you.  Mine is to make two reproduction retro patterns before the end of the year, however, as I am planning to wear them at the Goodwood Revival weekend in September mine should be completed in less than 9 weeks eek!  I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew!


If you are planning to sew any vintage patterns do think about joining the challenge and if you need some inspiration take a look at what has already been achieved on this Pinterest board

Do you have a favourite vintage pattern? and have you been brave enough to make it up?

Friday, 3 July 2015

....a summer evening in my garden

With temperature rising and the house hotter than an oven there is only one thing to do and that is to decamp into the garden

Hubby had the BBQ in full swing when I got home from work so no cooking for me

Followed by freshly picked strawberries for pud

and a feast for the eyes with the roses in full bloom

Enjoy it while it lasts there are thunderstorms predicted for tonight.

I have sewing plans for the weekend that involve  5 yards of fabric!!  I am feeling slightly light headed at the prospect.  Are you planning to sew or do you have other weekend plans?