the quilted tortoise

Saturday, 31 March 2012

November 2011

26 Nov 2011

Looking back

If you have read my blog before you’ll know how much I love the work of Sarah Fielke, needle turn appliqué, traditional designs using modern bright fabrics and quilts with lots of white. This quilt is all of those things.

The design is called Looking Back by Sarah Fielke and is from the wonderful book Material Obsession Two. In the book Sarah says “the bird in the centre medallion of the quilt is looking back through time to a more traditional quilt”. When I first read this sentence it was a light bulb moment for me to describe the style of quilts that I love the most.
This was one of my longer term projects – I started it over 2 years ago. The fabrics are all from Patchwork on Central Park in Melbourne. The appliqué is hand needle turn and the saw tooth borders, strip borders and blocks are machine pieced. It is 70″ square. Sarah’s original pattern had a lovely large scale wide print border and more birds in the corners. I changed mine to have another border repeating the large corner flowers and tulips.

I machine quilted it myself which was a bit of a drama at times. I don’t think I’m great at machine quilting, but hand quilting would have taken me years and a professional service would have required custom quilting which can be expensive. I chose a simple cross hatch to make it easier.

I didn’t quilt over any of the appliqué. Some of the appliqué pieces such as the large corner flowers are pretty large so they can look a bit puffy. I’m obviously not very good at basting as the backing fabric has folds in quite a few places and on quilts this big I always have this problem no matter which basting tutorials I follow. I chose a high loft batting as I wanted the quilt to be soft and snuggly, however this means it’s very puffy in between the cross hatches. About half way through the quilting I was really worried I’d ruined the whole thing and there’s no way I would rip out that many seams without damaging the fabric. The wise Mr Tortoise told me I was being too harsh on myself, to keep going and wait until it was complete to decide how much of a “disaster” it was. So it hibernated in the cupboard for a few months so I could have a break from it. Then over two days I got serious and got quilting and got it finished. I washed all the blue marker off and you know what? I LIKE it!

I love how fresh and happy it is. I love all those leaves. I love the sawtooth borders. I love the orange.
This quilt was made for a wedding gift for my cousin who is also a wonderful friend. Yes their wedding has been and gone, as has their first wedding anniversary! They have been wonderfully patient waiting for me to finish it. We are about to go to their place for lunch and to gift it. I really really hope they love it and forgive me the parts of the quilt that are a bit amateurish!



6 Nov 2011
Miz Mozelle Dress { 1 }

I am absolutely rubbish at sleeping in on weekends and one Sunday morning at about 6am I followed a link to the dress patterns at Backstitch. I went in search of the Miz Mozelle dress by Jamie Christina as I had been coveting this one by Florence for a while. Alice at Backstitch has a great range of patterns so not only did I find the Miz Mozelle, I also found some gorgeous Colette and Sewaholic patterns. If you’re paying postage you may as well get your money’s worth and order a few patterns right? Like 5 or 6?
So fast forward a couple of weeks and on twitter Katy from I’m a Ginger Monkey is also coveting the Miz Mozelle and since she is a true Liberty of London devotee I asked if she knew where I could get my hands on some Liberty print jersey… Of course she did and that led me to Sewbox and before I had even finished my morning coffee I had this on it’s way and Katy had suggested she might hold a Miz Mozelle-along once she was back from market!!
Fast forward a few more weeks and it’s a perfect 30 degree day in Melbourne and the promise of summer is here and my “must be finished first” list is complete so it’s a guilt free sewing day. The fabric was calling out to me so I had to start my Miz Mozelle and here she is:

Wow is she comfy! And dressy! = perfect dress!! Here are my tips:
Fitting – as always my measurements span a size 10 through 16 on the pattern guidelines. In Australia I wear a 10, in the UK I can often be a 12 and in the US I buy size 6 – go figure!! Since this dress is drapey and gathered in at the waist I decided to go bigger so I chose the 12. I probably could have done the 10, but comfy is my friend so comfy won. I’m only 5’2″ and the waist is right on my waist and the finished hem is right on my knees – so if you’re tall check the length of both the bodice and the skirt before you start cutting.
Bias tape – the pattern requirements include 1/4″ double fold bias tape and 1/2″ single fold bias tape. I don’t know the difference between single and double – I’m sure we only have one type in Australia. Either way I didn’t like the navy of the prepackaged bias tape so I bought half a metre of cheap satin and cut my own bias tape. I cut 1″ strips and finger pressed them in half. Then I used the iron (use a dry iron so you don’t burn your finger tips) to iron one fold in to meet the half way line I had finger pressed. I used the same width for everything. Alternatively you can use a Clover bias tape makers. I have a couple of smaller ones and think I’ll buy a 1/2″ one as they really make the job a lot easier. I would definitely recommend making your own bias to match your fabric if you can’t find something on the shelf.
Collar and keyhole opening – the ends of the collar where it meets the keyhole opening can be both fidly and tricky. My tip here is really only to be patient and take it slow, pin lots and hand sewing parts of it gave my a neater finish. The loop gave me a bit of grief so I gave up on it and sewed the tops of the keyhole together and the button is just decorative. The neck opening is certainly big enough not to need the button opening to be functional. I also followed Florence’s advice to make the keyhole opening smaller so there’s no bra glimpses.

Find the Jamie Christina flickr group here

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