Dance like no one is watching.
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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Bright Log Cabin Quilt

I fnally got around to photographing my finished log cabin quilt.

This is not for any neutral lovers out there!  My only requirement for the colour scheme was that the fabric scraps had to be bright.  I also wanted the outer strips of each block to be mostly on the yellow spectrum as I fancied the challenge of using a notoriously 'difficult' colour so extensively.  I have used yellow in quilts before but usually just a little bit here and there so as not to be too overpowering, but I have to say I've never really experienced any problems with yellow.  Then again maybe I just have bad taste!

The central blocks were all the same fabric to try to unify the quilt.  They were offcuts from a skirt I bought in a charity shop to make my daughter a cushion.  I hate cutting up perfectly good clothes but my daughter fell in love with the fabric so I am determined to put every last scrap of it to good use.

The binding is the same fabric as I used for the backing.

This stripey fabric was initially a pair of curtains I also got from the charity shop.  Whoever initally had these hanging up in their room was very brave indeed.  I wonder what colour they painted their walls...

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Guess the Weight of the Cake?

The summer school term is hectic for fundraising events.  With a coffee morning, sports day and the summer fair all within a fortnight I've had to put my personal sewing away and concentrate on baking and charity making!

The above cake was the 'guess the weight of the cake' cake for the summer fair.  I am quite used to making cupcakes for fundraisers but this is the first time I have tackled a 'proper' cake.  I ummed and ahhed about how to decorate this homemade maderia and in the end I pretty much treated it like an over sized cupcake and did my usual rose design.  It was well received though and made more money than it cost to make so I was very happy with that.

My daughter and her friends also ran a craft stall at the fair and so I had a lovely afternoon with them over our house beforehand making hairbands and cards for them to sell.  I'm afraid I didn't take any pictures - I was a little bit busy!!!  They had a great time and their stall went really well.

I also managed to make a butterfly hair bobble and I've photographed it on top of a tub full of cupcakes that were sold at the coffee morning.

Hopefully I can get back to finishing my trousers which are almost done.  I have managed to bind a quilt and will photograph that this week - I am just waiting for the weather to improve!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Air Steward Waistcoat

My son's classroom has a 'holiday corner' where the teaching staff have set up a holiday shop and airport.  I decided it was an ideal opportunity for me to use a pattern I had bought from Hobbycraft for the silly price of 29 pence.  

My friend laughed when she saw this pattern.  I realised the styling was a little bit naff (to say the least!) but I thought there were good, fail safe patterns in there.  Surely every little boy needs shorts!

Anyway, the pattern was for up to age 5 and as I was trying to fit 5 to 6 year olds I tried drafting it up a little.  Unfortunately it wasn't as successful as I thought as my son can just about get it on and I would say he is about average size.  (I did check the seam allowance was included this time!)  So maybe my clever buy wasn't so clever after all!

The actual pattern was ok to put together but I wasn't a fan of how they inserted the lining.  It did involve a bit of handsewing and I'm sure if I were to ponder it over a cup of tea I could figure out a better way of putting it in but hey ho. 

As you can see I did take pity on the teachers and put a Velcro fastening on the front instead of real buttonholes.

The buttons were from my charity shop tin of buttons and I was quite pleased with the pocket which I self drafted. 

This last picture shows the detail of the trim I put on the shoulder seams in the hope of making it look a bit more 'air steward' than 'reluctant six year old at a wedding!'

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pirate Ship

Couldn't resist showing what the rest of the HoffiCoffi household get up to when I am sewing!  My husband made this boat out of leftover pieces of wood he had after making our garden gate.

I donated a piece of calico fabric for the sail and our children decorated it in true 'pirate' fashion.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee Portrait

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee has been much celebrated here in Great Britain.  I'm not really one for street parties or wearing red, white and blue together so I thought that the celebrations would pass me by but then I saw a competition in a quilting magazine to make a 'Best of British' postcard.

Now, I thought about appliqueing a cream tea (surely, everyone will do that) or, on the other end of the scale, a kebab (may not be quite what they are looking for!) but in the end I couldn't resist the challenge of trying to recreate an iconic image.  The Queen.  Bit of a challenge...

So I found an image on the Internet of The Queen in 1952 and traced around the image to get the face shape right.

I'm afraid it's more Dr Spock than HRH at this stage but bear with me!  

I fabric painted the background, the blue was originally 'royal blue' but I did have to lighten it a bit with white so that it didn't overpower the image.  As you can see I began by making two copies as I thought a mistake could ruin the version I was working on at any time... confidence is key isn't it!

I then set the straight stitch on my machine to teeny tiny stitches and machine embroidered the face. I began to get quite pleased with how it was turning out....

Then the hair in brown taffeta, oooh still no mistakes!

I couldn't resist a photo of the back of the work.  I love this slightly ephemeral image.

I realised I could improve the skin tone by using a standard chalk set I have for cardmaking, as I didn't have to worry about washing the colours out.  I painted the crown and jewellery with silver fabric paint.  I wasn't very good at this bit as I don't think I have a very delicate painting technique!  It was the only way I could think of doing it though.

Finally, the clothes.  I wanted to keep the sense of movement that was in the original picture and so I tried to pleat the fabrics in various places.  I was surprised that this seemed to be the hardest part of the process - manipulating the real fabric - I think I am least happy with this but I still prefer it to just applying flat fabric with bondaweb.  

This is how the final piece looks at the moment with the raw seam allowances untouched.  It is about 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches.   I can't decide whether to turn it into a postcard and send it off to the competition and risk not getting it back or whether to keep it as I am not sure whether I can make it again!  The Gods seemed to be on my side this time and I don't think I could push my luck a second time.  What do you think I should do?  Answers on a postcard please!!!