Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A (Little) Dress in the Making

I've been wanting to try my hand at dressmaking for quite a while now (I blame The Great British Sewing Bee myself). It's something I learned a little about when I started learning to sew first, but I quickly got distracted by craft sewing and quilting and never really developed the basic skills I learned. Dressmaking scares me a bit - I think it can be hard to get a good enough finish so that what you're wearing doesn't scream "homemade" rather than "handmade". Garments are less forgiving than quilts, for sure.

When the lovely Courtney at Seamstar offered me the opportunity to try out her dressmaking lawn a little while back, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Not least because she stocks the cutest prints, including the one I chose.


When the lawn arrived, I was even more excited. This print is so gorgeous in real life, really beautiful colours. I was wondering what the lawn would be like from a quality perspective and I was so impressed with it. Its probably a tiny bit heavier in weight than Liberty lawn, which I liked, I found it slightly easier to work with than the Liberty. It is super soft and drapes beautifully. It feels absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't stop stroking it every time I passed it for the first few days after it arrived. I will certainly be going back and buying more of this - in fact, I plan to buy more of the same print to make a summer skirt for myself, I love it so much.  Courtney also sent me some cotton solids for the lining and the contrast ruffle at the neckline, and these were similarly lovely quality. 

I decided to start off easy, and picked the Little Pearl dress pattern from the Liberty Love book. This is an a-line tunic style dress and looked to be relatively straightforward in terms of construction.


I've been gradually working away on the construction of the dress, which has been relatively straightforward so far. It's now all hemmed and ready to do the buttonholes (which, honestly, I am dreading), and the ruffle embellishment at the front.


I have my supplies all ready - I had a momentary wobble about the colour of the ruffle fabric and wondered if a moss green would work better. But I think I'll stick to the mint green.


Apart from the buttonholes (obviously) I can't wait to get the work done on this to get it finished and put on the little lady who is, sadly, extremely sick and miserable this week with a bad throat infection and very high temps. I think sewing time will be hard to come by for the next few days but fingers crossed she will be better before the long weekend.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Starting a Cheerio Quilt...

I got the latest copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting primarily for the quilt pattern of the cover quilt. I had seen pictures of this issue floating around, and thought it looked great. I wasn't disappointed.

Over the weekend I realised that I hadn't pieced a quilt top in what seems like months - its been all small projects here. And I had a lovely stack of fabric waiting to be cut into. So I did.

After making 2 blocks, I was completely and utterly in love. These blocks are so easy and quick to piece, and look great. Addictive.

By the time this afternoon came, I had 4 more complete.

Anyone feel like joining in with me and we can cheerio-along together? I'm posting my progress on Instagram using the hastag #cheerioquiltalong

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sew Together Bag...finished.

 The thing I love most about blogging is the inspiration you get from friends. After I posted my stalled progress on my Sew Together bag last week I got lots of suggestions which got my mind ticking over, and soon, driving to work on Tuesday morning, I had the lightbulb moment. Funnily enough, in those weird coincidences that occur when you're on the same wavelength as your friends, when I got into work and put my phone on my desk, an email popped up on it from Cindy with almost exactly the same idea I had just decided on. That made me sure I was on the right track.

So I got stitching with some little hexies I had in my stash. I did a line across what was to be the front of my bag, and then I decided to do a hexie flower on the back. Some hand quilting with perle cotton and I was all ready to put together my bag.

I was anticipating that putting on the final zip would be the most difficult piece of this bag, but it turned out easier than I expected. My binding isn't perfect but it's not bad either. Actually putting the little tabs on the end of the zip was the fiddliest bit of the whole thing.

I really love how this bag turned out. It's a great concept and a lovely pattern. My only (small) gripe is that there are very few pictures or diagrams in the pattern and without the help of the sewalong run by Quilt Barn I would have struggled in parts as I'm not great on reading instructions that require good spatial sense. But I would definitely recommend the pattern

I love how this looks like a simple little bag from the outside, and then you open it and see all the detail on the inside.

I'm very happy with the choice fabrics I used on the interior of this and how they work together. One of my favourite little details is the exterior lining fabric which is a sewing notions navy print.

All ready now to fill it with my hand sewing stuff.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An Elsa cape for the small girl


If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that my elder daughter is obsessed with the movie Frozen. Actually, both my daughters are. The baby just adores the songs and the music. But the small girl is just totally in love with everything about the film - she watches it (or part of it) pretty much every single day, and weekend mornings mean one thing in this house for the last month - breakfast dates for me or her dad with her, snuggled up on the sofa watching Frozen. We have the DVD, the soundtrack...everything. Except the clothes, obviously - them being sold out everywhere.

My small girl is a singer and she spends a lot of time treating us to renditions of all the songs. But its hard to sing Queen Elsa's part when you don't have the cape. Towels and safety pins have been in high demand here for the last few weeks and this week I decided it was tie to finally reclaim my towels and for her to have a proper, flowy, glitzy cape.

I took myself off to the local craft shop, Vibes and Scribes here in Cork, where I knew I would find everything I needed. Half an hour later, after a very pleasant rummage around, we emerged with a couple of metres of shimmery turquoise organza, a string of sequins, some glittery feathery things which the small girl picked out and some stick on velcro. (I also found, finally, a twin needle for my sewing machine which I am itching to try out.)

As soon as we got home, I got crafting. I had found this tutorial last week and found it really clear and easy to follow for making the cape. I used an old roll of wallpaper to draw my pattern on. The recommended width for the pattern was 18", mine was 20" and it worked fine as the fabric was wide enough.  I cut it pretty quickly, and then I used the flame technique in the tutorial to seal the edges. I was *highly* dubious that this would work on my (pretty cheap) organza and had visions of setting the house on fire, but it worked brilliantly. You just run the very edge of the fabric quickly along the edge of the flame. It seals it and it gives it a lovely, ripply texture edge too.

I changed the neckline a little - I cut back the collar pieces as they were too long (I might have used too big a bowl to cut the shape) and then, because a girl can never have too much glitz, I sewed a string of sequins around the neckline. This was easier to do than I anticipated. I used a size 16 needle and just sewed a straight stitch over them - I had a turquoise thread which was a perfect colour match, which helped.

Then I cut the end off the feathery thingy, and I used a zig zag stitch to attach to the neck, over where the velcro would go. Lastly I attached that, and, hey presto, we had a cape.

I might go back and use the leftover sequins to sew a snowflake at the bottom of the cape, but to be honest, its not necessary and I will be lucky to get my hands on it that long. It was a huge, massive hit and all her friends were suitably jealous :-)

Now, she can sign "Let It Go" properly. But poor mum now needs to make the dress to go with the cape. Eek.


Saturday, May 17, 2014


Despite having a pinched nerve in my neck, I have been trying to manage a little sewing in the last couple of weeks.

I have been making the Sew Together Bag, which I first saw Kati's version of on Instagram and instantly fell in love with.

So far, its been going together really nicely. My zips were an inch too short so I used tabs, and in fact, I think I would do this in any case if I was making it again, easier sewing all round.

But now that I'm ready to put the exterior on, I am totally stalled. I can't make a decision what fabric to use, whether to piece it or not, and if I piece it, what design. I originally intended to use the nice sewing-themed navy fabric that I used for the exterior of the side panels. But then I thought it would be too dark. And I think I really want to piece it.

Help please, inspire me!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May Craft Club at Seamstar

Did you know my lovely sponsors Seamstar run a monthly Craft Club? Such a great idea.

Each month, a Craft Club box is sent out to subscribers with a Monthly Makeable kit which includes all the supplies you need to make the featured project. I love this idea! We all know how hard it can be to build up supplies to make projects, particularly if you are a relatively new crafter - you see something you love, but have to trek around online or on foot to pull together the various things you need from different suppliers - it can be a total pain.Not to mention that sometimes you only need small quantities of fabrics or other materials which can be very hard to source at a reasonable price. So its lovely to get everything you need in one package through your postbox every month! A little present - to you, from you! I know lots of people buy crafting magazines regularly - honestly (and I don't say this lightly) I think a lovely kit like this is a fab alternative investment of your spending money each month. You get a proper supplies kit with quality materials, plus you learn a practical skill each month.

You can find all the information plus samples of previous Monthly boxes here.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, the Seamstar Craft Club is celebrating its Birthday! They have sent special Birthday gifts to all existing members and are giving away over £200 in prizes. They are giving away 16 Craft Club boxes during May. Each box is worth £12.98 & contains our extra special Patchwork Cushion. A nice little number of those will be given away by me in the coming weeks! For this week's chance, pop over to my Instagram feed (I am @sewfairyface on IG) where you will find details of how to enter - but hurry, the giveaway closes tomorrow!! You might also want to keep an eye on my Facebook page in coming weeks ;-)

 And if you can't wait till then, my followers and Seamstar followers can buy a box for half price during May - just £5 (plus p&p). To redeem this offer, visit  or phone (0044) (0)1829 770733. The code you need at checkout is: ssCraftClub50

The small print: New customers only. Your Craft Club membership starts with a 1 box half price offer. Cancel at any time during Month 1 and you will not be charged for Month 2 onwards. P&P on box 1 is payable. Offer can be ended at any time.