Saturday, June 30, 2012

A quilt shop! In my town!

Amazing discovery! Rijeka has a quilt shop. An actual quilt shop. They sell finished quilted stuff such as pillowcases and blankets, but they also have oh so pretty cotton fabrics they sell by the meter. They even have charm packs and jelly rolls. Jelly rolls in my town. I am super excited, as you can probably tell. Do you know what this means? No more online ordering of fabrics and, more importantly - no more postage and customs fees. Yay!


This is a great step forward in my quilt making plan. You see, I plant to make a quilt for my bed. It's going to be red and white, to match my furniture. I've been slowly collecting fabrics for the past year or so, most of them I ordered online, disappointed in the utter lack of cute fabrics in my town. Up until now. 

But seeing how I want my big quilt to be perfect, I have to practice first. So I bought a single jelly roll.

It has five strips of 7,5 cm x 140 cm of cotton fabric. Combined with some fabric from my stash and store-bought bias tape, this jelly roll produces this: 

Mini quilt I have no idea what to use for, but I'm super proud of it.

The back. The cream bits are where I used the 5th strip from the jelly roll.

I didn't have any batting, so I used leftover flannel from my pajama making days. The floral pattern of the flannel kind of shows through the cream parts of the backing, but I think it adds to the charm and the general eye piercing loudness of the quilt. 

The piecing of the squares went super fast and was probably the easiest part. I had so much fun arranging the finished blocks on my floor, trying to decide how to sew them up. I probably needed one more jelly roll to make something of a flowing pattern, but this was for practice anyway. 

The actual quilting, well, that was a pain in the ass. And something I really need to practice before I take on an actual size quilt. Controlling the fabric by yourself is really hard. In some places I went to fast, which produced large stitches, and in others I barely moved the quilt, resulting in tiny stitches. I also learned why you need gloves to quilt - your palms just can't grip the fabric and make it move the way you want to. 

The binding went okay. I learned how to miter my corners (thank you Amy Butler, finally some use from In stitches) and really put my patience to the test when sewing the binding on the back. With blind stitches. By hand.  

And now, let me bomb you with way too much images for one post.

Stitch'n'bitch to demonstrate the size.

Some corners are matched up better than others.
Blind stitching the binding on the back took forever.
There's a great bunch of video tutorials I used in making this quilt, all pretty much from the same lady: Missouri Star Quilt Company YT channel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Today's post is brought to you by the letter S and the number 3.

S as in Sorbetto, a free pattern from Colette patterns. This top was a huge hit around the sewing blogosphere a while back. I'm a little late as far as sewing trends go, but I finally decided to see what the big fuss was about. Sorbetto is a simple (relatively) fitted sleeveless top with bust darts and a center pleat. It was my first time ever sewing bust darts and also my first time putting in bias binding around the neckline and sleeves. The result - freaking nailed it. At least I think so.
The instructions were amazingly clear, every step well illustrated, so well in fact, that I decided to buy the Colette book, even tough most of the patterns are for skirts and dresses (and I never wear those).

I made my own bias tape, with my bias tape maker. I bought it years ago, never used it and pretty much thought it was a failed purchase. But now I see that it was the best investment ever.

The fist Sorbetto is all linen. Linen is a great material to sew with, easy to cut and easy to put together. But a total bitch to iron. And to wear, because it creases so easily and isn't really flowy. 
For the life of me, I can't seem to photograph red stuff.

I'm really satisfied with the fit, the darts are hitting my boobs where they're supposed to, and the bias binding experiment turned out great. The neckline is a little too wide/open for my taste, especially in the back, but that's something I tried to fix on Sorbetto nr. 2. I still had some batiste fabric left from my Burda blouse, so I used that. 

I'll iron this thing one of these days, promise.

And the third Sorbetto is for my mom. She wanted a v-neck. Took a while before I figured that one out (many a sheet was sacrificed in the muslin making process), especially with the bias binding. But here's a great tutorial I used. Man, I love the Internet! 


I understand now why the sewing community went nuts over this pattern. It's simple, easy to sew, easy to adapt and you only need a couple of hours of sewing and you have a finished top. Super instant gratification!

In other sewing news: Look what I bought from romantales

This pile of Burdas is keeping me quite busy - I just love leafing through them and making big, big sewing plans. Some of the patterns are truly timeless, some are obviously making a comeback in this years Burda, and some are sooo amusing. Check out the shoulders on this lady: 


Monday, June 11, 2012

Meine Nähmode 1/2011

I got this magazine a year ago from a dude who sells old Burdas, Cosmopolitans and computer magazines on the street. The sewing patterns in Meine Nähmode are pretty much old Simplicity patterns with instructions translated into German. That's great, because Simplicity has really detailed instruction, which are great for beginners like me. Lots of diagrams illustrating almost every step. Super great. What's not so great are the the double sizes. Lots of patterns are listed as 36/38. Or S/M. How can a fitted blouse be 36/38? 

I finally decided to try one of the patterns. This one comes in smallest size 36, which according to the 'Maßtabelle' is pretty much my size (give or take a centimeter here or there. Mostly give.). It's a simple jersey top, the kind that's pretty much all over the stores now. 
I was very careful to cut everything out just right, and followed recommended seam allowance. But I think I either messed up the sewing, or there is no way this thing is size 36. It came out slightly too big. I think. Because the bust darts aren't exactly hitting my bust. But the material is viscose jersey, it falls nicely and the print is so loud it pretty much distracts from everything else.

Things I would have done differently : moved the darts a bit and made the neckline less wide. Omitted the pleat on the sleeves. You can't really tell from the pictures, but there's this pleat thing going on on the sleeves. It was supposed to look cute, but it kinda doesn't. 

Also, let me just say: Sewing with jersey sucks. I managed to make a very neat bias binding neckline with a twin needle, but when I tried to do the same on the sleeves, I failed. So much puckering. Eventually I went crazy, cut the whole bias tape off the sleeves and hemmed it normally with a zig-zag stitch. 
Hemming the bottom hem was a complete nightmare as well. I ended up putting in that no-sewing seam tape thing, and top-stitched with a twin needle. I'm guessing I need to work on my tension adjusting, but my Elna sewing machine only allows me to adjust the top thread tension. 

The more I sew the more I realize I have so much more to learn. Bummer. So much in fact, that I have resorted to knitting therapy.