Day Trip!

Last weekend some friends and I traveled from North, South and West to meet in London for a day out!

We started the day in Ray Stitch. I’ve never been there before and it was a lovely shop with great fabrics and a huge variety of dressmaking patterns.

I completely forgot to take pictures so I nabbed the one above from their website! They also had lots of garments made up so it’s definitely worth a visit.

After a nice lunch and general pootle we popped into Loop where we all fell in love with a gorgeous blanket (and pointed at it apparently)!

I managed to resist buying any yarn – although there was a very tempting mini-skein bundle in shades of blue and teal… and lots of other yummy looking yarns!

My mission for the day was to only buy something if I saw an absolute bargain or something that really blew me away…. and then we went to Liberty!

It definitely wasn’t a bargain, but this Tana Lawn did blow me away! I’ve been wanting to introduce more orange and red into my wardrobe and the colours in this are perfect!

I always have a handy little sewing book with me – containing my measurements, how much fabric I need for the patterns I want to make, my colour palette and yarns from garments I’ve already made (for matching).

Having that information with me is great because it stops me buying on a whim. I know that I have enough of this fabric for a t-shirt or vest, it will go with my cardigans and most importantly – it will suit me!

Any shop tips for my next trip to London?

Table Runners

One of the most fun makes for our wedding was the table runners!

I had a massive sort out of my fabric stash last year and created a box of all my favourite pieces thinking that one day I would use them to make a quilt.

Handmade wedding table runners | Jem Weston blog

We had decided to hire some nice tables and chairs so that we didn’t need to think about chair covers and table cloths and as we weren’t having a formal sit down meal there wouldn’t be much on the tables – so I wanted to add some colour and knew it was time to raid the special fabric box!

Handmade wedding table runners | Jem Weston blog

I started by cutting all the fabric into squares and planning it out as a quilt, based on this Anna Maria Horner quilt which I’d seen on Instagram. Not the easiest job on the floor in our little living room!

Wedding table runners/quilt | Jem Weston blog

I made 10 two metre strips of 10 squares for our 10 tables, with each alternate square being formed by two triangles. Each strip is approx 20cm wide which was a good table runner width and will also make the finished quilt nice and big at approx two metres square.

Handmade wedding table runners | Jem Weston blog

I loved that each table had a different colourway.

Handmade wedding table runners | Jem Weston blog

It will probably be a while before the table runners become a finished quilt. I think I’ll sew them together to make the quilt top and then complete it if and when we move house!

Photos by Nettynot.

Festival of Quilts

I love working with the team from Coats/Rowan and have been spoilt over the last couple of weeks, with a workshop tutor meeting in Holmfirth and a couple of days at Festival of Quilts.

I was helping on the Lady Sew and Sew stand with the lovely Emma Osmond – new author of The Crochet Workshop, and we had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Zandra Rhodes who was signing books whilst we sold her fabric on our stand.

I love working at Festival – it’s always busy, exciting and inspiring. People travel from all over the world to come to the show, see the exhibition of quilts, take workshops and shop! I managed to resist spending too much as I have a stash of lovely Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt fabric waiting to be used. I bought a simple Colette dress pattern from Eternal Maker and I’m definitely in the mood for sewing!

Speedy Patchwork Cushion

Many of us spend far too much time working and don’t have much time left for making! I’m lucky that my job involves a lot of knitting and making – but I’m still eager to grab any opportunity I have for selfish projects.

My knitting group has an off-shoot sewing group where we go to each others houses and spend an afternoon sewing and eating cake (or low fodmap granola biscuits!).

The occasional sewing group is perfect for me because I love to sew – but left to my own devices – I very rarely get my machine out. For our group in February I wanted to make a cushion cover for the big squishy cushion pad I bought for my lovely Ercol armchair. I knew that if I didn’t finish it on the day it would sit unfinished until the next group – which probably won’t be until May!

So I decided not to be a perfectionist and just get it done. I had lots of random bits of lovely Parson Gray fabric which were all the same width – and they just happened to be approx half the width of my big cushion.

So I started by cutting my fabric into random sized strips of the same width. I then stitched them together in one big strip which measured just over four times the width of the cushion. I then chopped this long strip in half to create two shorter strips which measured approx twice the width of the cushion. These were stitched together, folded in half, sewn up the side seams and a zip inserted (badly – so you’re not seeing a close up). Simple!

Unfortunately I didn’t get pics while I was making because I was determined to get it done on the afternoon and that would’ve slowed me down!

If I’d taken more time I would have planned out the fabric so that two of the same print didn’t end up directly next to each other – and I would have inserted the zip better! But I’m happy with this for an afternoons work and I’ve been enjoying sitting in my Ercol armchair. The foam on the base of the chair is currently wrapped in a blanket, but I’m planning to buy some grey tweedy fabric to cover this and also a second squishy cushion for the back. Time to go fabric shopping!

Crafty Plans

Now that dad’s renovated my lovely Ercol armchair and the strapping is done, I’m desperate to make the cushions so that I can actually sit in it!

This might be a slow process because I have an awful lot of knitting to do (still secret – sorry). But I love planning a project as much as I love the making process.

If I’m feeling a bit down, nothing cheers me up as much as looking through my knitting books and shade cards. I love emptying a box of yarn or fabric onto the floor and playing around with colours and patterns. I find thinking about and planning projects almost meditative. It’s very difficult to do nothing and even more difficult to think about nothing! But planning a new project forces me to focus my mind on one thing, which is easier than completely switching off, but better than a busy brain.

So – I’ve got the foam ready for the seat pad, a squishy cushion for the back of the chair and a pile of beautiful Parson Gray fabrics.

The armchair lives in my workroom, which also doubles up as my boyfriend’s gaming room. Luckily we have similar tastes and I chose greys and greens for the room. A patchwork of Parson Gray fabrics will fit in beautifully!

What projects are you planning at the moment?

Skirt in a day

After a busy weekend in Scotland, and lots of driving- I decided to give myself the day off on Monday. One of the perks of being self-employed!

I spent my day off making a skirt with some beautiful Anna-Maria Horner fabric, which I bought at Festival of Quilts. I didn’t plan it very well and made it up as I went along so it’s a bit smaller and shorter than I wanted! But I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’m keen to buy more fabric to try again!

I wanted to make a full circle skirt so I started by taking my waist measurement and working out the radius (I had to google how to do this because I couldn’t remember!). I then decided on the length I wanted and added that to the radius of my waist measurement- this would be the radius of the full circle. This is where is started to go wrong!

Because I wanted the flowers to face upwards on the fished skirt- I had to cut two half circles rather than a full circle. Also- in order to have the flowers facing upwards I had to cut the semi-circles across the fabric and was limited by the width of the fabric- thus it came out shorter than I wanted! This is where some planning would have been good. I probably could have worked out a better way to do it if I had more fabric, but never mind!

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I was scrimping a bit to try and keep as much length as possible, which means I made the waistband a bit too small as well! It’s wearable though- and was quick and fun to make. I’ve learnt a lot- so it’s time to buy more fabric!

No-Sew Cushion

The lovely Stuart Hillard from series one of The Great British Sewing Bee recently came along to our sales conference in Holmfirth. It was the second time I’d met him and I was very happy to discover that I had inspired him to knit some Regia socks after he met me at the Knitting & Stitching show last October!

Stuart taught us how to make a ‘no-sew cushion’. It’s been a great thing to demonstrate to my customers, who are always looking for quick and easy display ideas. I thought I would share it here because it’s also great if you want some temporary cushions while you’re making some patchwork ones (that’ll be me then!). If they’re going to get a fair amount of use, you could put a few stitches in to secure it.

 

You will need:

Approx one metre of fabric (I used Posie by Denyse Schmidt).
A cushion pad (I used 16″).
A helpful cat (optional).

Lay out your fabric, right side down, in a diamond shape with the cushion sitting square on top of it.

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Fold the bottom corner under to make a neat edge and then fold this up to the centre of the cushion.

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Do the same with the top corner and fold it down so that they overlap in the centre.

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Tidy the left and right corners by folding the side bits into points and then bring these both towards the centre as if you’re wrapping a gift.

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Tie them together in a knot.

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Tuck under the loose ends of the knot and-

Ta-dah!

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Speedy Mothers day pom pom flowers

wpid-img_20140321_214217.jpgThis week I’ve been helping Black Sheep to set up their fabulous new sewing room. I love merchandising an empty unit from scratch and our fabrics look so pretty! The grand opening of the sewing room will be on Saturday 5th April from 10am. Stuart Hillard who took part in last years Great British Sewing Bee will be there to cut the ribbon!

I had great fun making a few decorative bits and bobs for display, including pom pom flowers, and suffolk puff brooches.

I particularly enjoyed doing the pom pom flowers, which I found on pinterest, and with Mothers day fast approaching- these would make the perfect bouquet. They’re incredibly easy and it only took me one evening to make all of these. I cut some branches from the garden to stitch them onto and dried them in the airing cupboard for a week, so hopefully they won’t go mouldy!

Are you planning to make something for Mothers day? There’s still time!