Monday 20 June 2016

A summer bag, and setting my own challenge

- EDIT: Read on for the pattern! -

A month ago we had lovely warm sunny weather and I was thinking of summer projects. Just then, I received an email from Sew Mama Sew asking for submissions. This is nothing special, I have subscribed to those emails and they get sent out once every few months I think. I never dare reply to them...
This time, however, the email stuck in my mind. They were asking for bloggers to make a summer bag using new Manchester Metallics and any other Kaufman solid fabric. Straight away I saw a bag in my mind's eye! So, after deliberating and a lot of hesitation (will I, won't I...), I sent a last minute email outlining my idea, offering to sew the bag and blog about it, including some links to my blog as required, and waited...

After a week of silence, I had to conclude that they would not take me up on my offer. Maybe they had too many offers (quite likely). Maybe they didn't consider my blog or my skills suitable (quite likely, too). Maybe sending the fabric all the way to Ireland wasn't feasible (quite possibly, though there was no indication that there was a geographical limitation to the project). I will never know.

But in the meantime I couldn't stop thinking of that summer bag, I was inspired!
I decided that this bag needed to be made, official challenge or not. I entered into my own challenge!

So my challenge was:
  • Make a summer bag
  • Use only materials I already have
  • Finish in the week of 20 June
  • Blog about it in that week
  • Write a pattern

I previously made a miniature wall hanging with a summer theme, and I love it so much that it is on our wall all year round! The beach huts that can be found at many UK beaches have always appealed to me, it's something I dream of...

This time I adapted the huts a little, scaling them up for the bag, using solid fabrics and changing the roof edges a somewhat:

Because there was so much open space in the sand and the sky, I added some appliqué, too!

For the lining I found a half yard of laminated fabric with light houses and boats, nothing better for a bag that would be used for going to the beach.

And so there you have it!

Now I only have to wait for some nice weather so I can take it to the beach...

In the mean time I am working on the pattern!

EDIT: The pattern is now published and available for FREE download:  

- Beach Hut Tote Bag -

*linking up with:
- Blossom Heart Quilts "Sew Cute Tuesday"
- Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
- Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts
- Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts


Friday 10 June 2016

A batik wall hanging and a winner

(Find the winner of last week's giveaway at the end of this post... )

Back to the Beginning

- Recently, I have been asked a few times about my start in quilt making. It made me realise that not many of my early (and less early) quilts have ever appeared here in my "Studio". Here is another quilt from some years ago  -

This quilt started with a range of batiks and a guild exhibition with the theme "Branching Out". The exhibition was to be held at the Botanical Gardens in Dublin, so the theme was plant related, right up my street! I decided to try and reflect the importance plants play in cheering up our surroundings.

I started off with an improvised centre showing buildings in quite dull colours representing sombre city living. Then borders were added in plant-like batik prints:

The original idea was to add green plants around the city to liven up the piece, but when I placed the leaf shapes it didn't have the right effect. I changed tack and added on pink leaves instead with needle turn appliqué:

In one corner the leaves took on grass-like shapes:

Hand quilting followed:
Quite random straight lines in and around the buildings:

More pink leaves quilted in perle cotton to add to the appliqué:


And subtle swirly leaves filling the remaining border areas:

And there you have it, I called this one "Urban Jungle":


Size: 38.5" H x 37" W
All cotton materials:
    batik fabrics for the top; cotton wadding; cotton threads; quilting cotton backing; batik binding
Finished: March 2011
- Southern Branch of Irish Patchwork Society "Branching Out" exhibition at The Grainstore, Ballymaloe, Cork, in March 2011,
- 30th Anniversary Exhibition "Branching Out" of the Irish Patchwork Society at the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin, Dublin, in July 2011


No, I haven't forgotten!
Last week I showed you what I made using Lara Bucella's method of crafted appliqué as described in her book "Crafted Appliqué" (of course). Thank you all for your comments on that post, there must be such diverse appliqué projects out there, I hope you show them off to inspire others...!! 
I have picked one lucky commenter who will receive Lara's book directly from the author:

 ... which is Anna:
I have contacted you, Anna! Enjoy your new book!

And I am off to do some sewing now... of course!


Thursday 2 June 2016

Crafted Appliqué: New Possibilities

Welcome to my turn in the "Crafted Appliqué: New Possibilities" blog hop!
I am thrilled to have been asked by my long distance friend Lara Bucella of BuzzinBumble to take part in this hop celebrating the publication of her book.

For a whole month now we have been happily hopping, showing what can be achieved with Lara Bucella's new method of appliqué. And still we are not quite finished! If you are new to the party do check out the blog hop schedule at the end of this post for a wide variety of appliqué posts, reviews of the book, and giveaways at every stop!

- of course I have a giveaway, too, find it at the end of this post -
Winner announced in my next post!

But first, what did I think of Lara's book?
Over the years I have been doing all kinds of appliqué: Starting so many years ago with the Gardener's Choice (Dresden) block in the sampler quilt I showed earlier this week; broderie perse; blanket stitch (by hand and machine); running stitch with raw edge appliqué; reverse appliqué; needle turn for Baltimore style blocks (drafted for a series of classes); shadow appliqué; stained glass (by machine); Hawaiian appliqué (image here)...
There has been an exclusively appliqué quilt inspired by Picasso, needle turned leaves on "Urban Jungle" (did I ever show those quilts? I will have to remedy that), a jungle themed wall hanging for a school reading corner using fusible, and of course my City & Guilds wall hanging which consists of only fused appliqué.

In all those years of exploring appliqué techniques I have never come across a method like Lara's. Time to test it out with a few small projects!

I prepared some small pieces of fabric according to Lara's method, and used a feather and egg pattern I had drawn. The fabrics were then ironed to a fine shot cotton background, layered with wadding, and stitched down. In her book Lara tends to use a straight stitch to stitch her appliqués down, but I carefully (I am not that confident) free motion stitched them instead so I didn't have to turn the fabric this way and that. The appliqué stayed put while sewing, and not a wrinkle in sight! I turned this into a small pouch which now holds the threads I want to keep to hand for my current project(s).

Then recently, I received some solid scraps and was inspired to make a small rainbow project. Again I prepared my fabrics, and this time I used my Sizzix Big Shot and my hexagon die. Perfect hexagons were the result:

Laying out a hexagon rainbow

The hexagons stayed in place while I transferred the fabric from the table to the ironing board and were ironed in place:

Then over to the machine to add some stitching:

Now, if you noticed the coloured panel on the bottom is different in these pictures, that is because I made two! And sure enough these panels, too, were turned into pouches:

Rainbow pouches
Even though the panels went through a fair amount of handling while transforming them into these pouches, the hexagons with their raw edges stayed crisp. And unlike when I stitched my wall hanging, my needle showed no sign of gumming up at all. The backs of the pouches got some decorative stitching, and off they went to surprise their respective recipients. One has arrived recently, the other should be at its destination soon, hopefully is also at its destination.

So while I have used many techniques for appliqué, I am happy to add Lara's new technique to my list of appliqué methods. And if you want to learn her method too, I can only recommend her book!
The book is written in a friendly and accessible voice, she seems to be sitting at your shoulder explaining all. Not only that, she has tested and compared her method, found the best way to use it, and added seven highly original projects for you to try. If you want to know more, do check out the other stops on the blog hop. Lara herself shows images of some book projects, and many other bloggers have tried the method in their own projects, or using patterns from the book. And all stops have the book to give away, too (though some have closed by now, others are still active), and Lara herself is giving away the most generous prizes to be drawn on June 4th - hurry!!

So now for the giveaway:

Comment below for a chance of winning Lara's book directly from the author. If you want a subject, tell me which types of appliqué you have tried. And for an extra entry, tell me how you follow Studio Sew of Course. I will draw one winner after Thursday June 9th. Please be sure I can contact you if you win!

And if you cannot wait and want to buy the book right now (here, here, here, here, or here, and probably in a few more places) go ahead; Lara has said she'll reimburse you instead if you win.

EDIT: please make sure to check if you could be a NO-REPLY blogger, and if so (or you're not sure) leave an email address! I have 10% no-reply bloggers at the moment, and if I can't contact you you can't win!! 

Good luck!

Linking up with:

Midweek Makers

Let's Bee Social

Fabric Tuesday

Sew Cute Tuesday

Linky Tuesday

The Giveaway Roundup


Crafted Appliqué… New Possibilities Blog Hop - May 1st to June 5th 2016

Introduce Tour   

Valerie Smith
Dana Gaffney
Lorna McMahon
Mary Schuberg
Alycia Carmin
Sherri McConnell
Lara Buccella
Guest Post

Christina Cameli
Melissa Corry
Soma Acharya
Angela Pingel
Sandra Walker

Cheryl Brickey
Judy Murphy
Yvonne Fuchs
Cindy Pieters
Connie Campbell
Cynthia Brunz

Jenn Trott-Zisserson
Paulette Horn
Sandra Jansen
Studio Sew of Course
(that's here)

Christine Sherman

Darlene Simmons
Giveaway Winners Announced!