Tag Archives: fabrics

summer hat & fabric stash

can you see the brim's been started?!
can you see the brim’s been started?!

Spent lots of time this weekend going through fabric.  Now have all winter fabrics boxed up, awaiting Aug/Sept time frame.  And have all summer things boxed, with a lot of it washed-since-the-move and ready to cut out.  Phew!

After all that, plus getting me serger back and playing with it, just spent a lotta time crocheting in front of telly.  Hat’s almost done – yeah!

process, process, process… and impatience!

May I report, Dear Readers, that I do not like hot, humid weather? And possibly, as a consequence, don’t have many me-mades for said season??  There’s also the eternal problem of either Not Finding The Right Pattern, or Not Finding The Right Fabric. Am I the only one who struggles with these??? Puh-lease tell me I’m not!

At the moment, am sitting with me feet up by open windows, eating cake* & occasionally typing a word or two, virtuously awaiting laundry to complete its’ wash & dry cycles, totally ignoring the piles of fabric all over the bedroom closet floor.

Because, you understand, moi has decided, once laundry is done, to do a major sort out of The Stash and make 2 piles, Hot and Cold weather fabrics. Upon reflection, I’d thought about doing it before moving, but gave it up when massive indecision over what to pack, one item at a time, hindered the whole removals process. You know I didn’t want to make the mistake of ditching fabric, then later wishing I hadn’t.  ;-(    Now the move’s done, and hope the sort will be easier.


Can’t believe how quickly that 1 pile from last night’s rummage became 2 – it didn’t take 10 minutes! But something tells me that if I do what in my heart I know needs to be done – measure & note length, width & type of each fabric, and take it’s photo – there will be a lot more than 10 measly minutes gone. Maybe I’ll just begin with the summer fabrics, and leave the winter for later…

Read a quote somewhere recently from Ann R, winner of this season’s Great British Sewing Bee. She said that the preparation time of a project can seem to take forever, but is an essential part of the entire process. Hmm. Know she’s right, but it can seem very tedious indeed…

* Josée’s double chocolate muffins, with bran, so I can pretend I’m just eating a daily bran muffin – hehe!

a wee bit more sewing bee!

from the BBC-2 web site
from the BBC-2 web site

Note-This shoulda been a monday or tuesday post, but was too busy to put it up – apologies for not feeling like writing this week, & saving them all up for today – my bad On a brighter note, you’ve the whole weekend to catch up.   he-he!

There’s just something about the camaraderie all 8 contestants displayed that’s knocked a big hole in many people’s hearts around the globe.  If you’re one of those with withdrawal pangs, here’s a wee bit more detail. And lots more piccies!

❤❤  Faithful Readers know I’m a fan of Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place.  Her partner, David, has written a beautiful guest post of his observations of the show, having accompanied Debi to Lauren’s Grand Opening last weekend, when many of the contestants also came to help out. As a man who doesn’t sew, he had time to observe and reflect on what was happening. It’s inspiring reading!  ❤❤

the sewers, in alpha order

  • Ann is on Ravelry, and has ventured into quilting
  • Jane’s gorgeous handbags are available online
  • Lauren’s shop sells online & has just opened in Birmingham, U.K.
  • Mark & his wife spend their evenings making historic costumes for themselves
  • Michelle is a young mum & makes unique fashions for herself & her baby
  • Sandra continues to sew for herself & her 3 daughters… and has started her own label
  • Stuart writes a quilting column for a monthly magazine, and holds quilting workshops around the U.K., including at Lauren’s store
  • Tilly is publishing her own patterns, has a very popular blog, and also does workshops at Lauren’s store

judges & presenter

  • May Martin has taught at Denman College (Women’s Institute Academy) since 1995
  • Savile Row’s Patrick Grant is a director of a bespoke menswear firm and has absorbed their high level of workmanship
  • Claudia Winkleman is well-known for hosting BBC programmes, including Strictly Come Dancing & The Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman

BBC-2 aired the programmes, and this is their site. Note that I’ve tried several times to view clips on their site and have only gotten to see 1 or 2.  Not certain if it’s because I’m not in England, or if the site was overloaded with requests to view.

summer dress~ first steps

You really do need to zigzag a fabric like this, especially if it’s rayon, as this one is. The gathered edges still curl, but they’ll be zigzagged all the way down, making raveling seams less ravely. If you’ve got a serger, that’s an even stronger/better edge finish.

Length is a personal thing. Personally, I think mid-calf is good, but I know I have to be careful. Just below the knee is too short for me, mid-calf just focuses attention on my fat calfs, so below the fullest part is my choice. Then I don’t have to lift the skirt every time I climb stairs, and summer breezes can keep me cooler. (Thanks to Karen for taking some photos!)

What’s your choice?

free pattern!

Free blouse pattern from Martha Stewart (photo courtesy marthastewart.com)
Free blouse pattern from Martha Stewart (photo courtesy marthastewart.com)

Martha Stewart has a dress/blouse pattern & instructions on her website here. See photo above (courtesy her site) for one version, and her web site for variations.  Directions/instructions are lower on page, so scroll down.

Remember, if you don’t understand a term, just google the word or phrase. Chances are you’ll find all manner of tutorials, blogs, and YouTube videos to show you/teach you whatever, and lots of encouragement & sympathy as you’re learning, too!  I know I have!    😉

later ~

ACK! I am brain-dead!! My huuuge apologies to Katherine over at Pillows-a-la-Mode because it was HER blog announcement that alerted me to the pattern.  Kudos & thanks to Katherine!

tea dying

IMG_1835If you feel white isn’t for you, but you have a gorgeous fabric in white/with white background/with white in a pattern, think about tea dying your fabric.

Important!  Be sure you can put your fabric in hot water.  Cottons get best results.

I’ve done this many times, when I wanted something more vintage-looking, or just wanted to tone down a too exuberant pattern.

Important!   Try this with a small scrap of fabric first, so you can judge how strong to brew the tea, how long to leave fabric in the hot tea, if there’s any shrinkage, and what it’ll look like when dry.  Fabric colors do look different when dry!

Here’s a large bathroom project I finally completed about 3 years ago.  The pattern was too bright for my purposes – a shower curtain (below) & under-sink storage area curtain (top).  (In these photos, the background looks white, but it’s not!)  Finally, after looking at the fabric for at least a year, I was looking through a magazine one day & it hit me: The problem with the fabric was it was too darn bright.
So I tested a strip of it with some tea and it came out exactly as I’d hoped.  Hurray!

However… with something using this amount of fabric I couldn’t do my usual tea method.  I cheated.  I found some brown Rit dye and put a cap full in the washer with the fabric.  Perfect!

Then I set the dye by pouring in some white vinegar in the final rinse water.  (Never seen any measurement for how much vinegar to use.)  Vinegar’s always worked for me, and is a method I’ve been told and read about forever.

Incidentally, I used tea & vinegar several years ago on some smaller projects.  They’ve never run or faded, and I wash them in the washer with regular setting.

So remember to have fun with your tea dying, and be sure to have some white vinegar around to set it once you’ve got what you want.

any black tea will do, and any white vinegar

 Added later …

Because I did this project 3 years ago, I don’t have a before photo of the fabric. Instead I just now took a photo of a bit of the fabric combined with a white tissue, so you can tell the difference in background colour of the fabric.  Hope it helps explain the subtlty I was trying for.

top is white tissue, bottom is tea dyed fabric
top is white tissue, bottom is tea dyed fabric

photo challenge: happy – dreaming while working…

oops – forgot to reference the WordPress page


and thanks for all you lovely folk who’ve liked this – can’t figure out why you’re not showing up here – everything’s checked & in its proper place… except your gravatars… must be a temporary hiccup on the system… gotta go back to work –