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Bit of a mull whilst thinking about quilting

It's been a long crawl from Christmas to be honest, but so cheering today to see that spring has begun to make things grow. I just love the fresh growth on this shrub whose name I can never remember. It was given to me by Linda Kemshall on a visit some years ago now, and after DH said how lovely he thought it was. It's leaves have featured in numerous of my art based bits and bobs.

I've been doing some drawing with a view to making a still life quilt. I haven't done any quilting since I finished the Life Series. A few days ago someone contacted me saying what a shame I'd stopped, and although that was very lovely, it made me think. I'm not sure if I've stopped or not, or am just resting before starting on a new idea (of which there's loads btw). I love the processes of sewing and painting.

Trouble is, all the ideas I'm having are better suited to painting. Yes, I can make still life quilts, or portrait quilts, but in the back of my mind, there's a little voice saying why not just paint it and how will making a quilt make your ideas better?

So I'm at an impasse! I'm thinking - a slow process at the best of times.

I began a spot of sketching yesterday whilst mulling.

The Avid Seamstress - The Blouse

I only twigged about an hour ago, that it wasn't The Arid Seamstress but The Avid Seamstress. Doh, a mix of daftness and a difficult font.

You'd think patterns would be quite similar, but this one by the Avid Seamstress is quite lovely (no affiliations by the way)

It comes in a large fat package which includes various bits and bobs including photos of the finished blouse, back and front, a card for you to fill in and keep with your measurements, good quality paper pattern which is printed so it's easy to read (no struggling with brown tissue paper and blue lines) and an instruction booklet, with lots of photos, taking you through the stages with great thoroughness!

If this was your first pattern, I think you'd be able to manage it well, as there are also only 4 pieces.

The fabric I've chosen is a light cotton lawn by Lady McEllroy at £15.99 a metre (quite expensive for me but it was lovely and cheerful) The pattern says you need 2 metres, but to be honest I could have done it with much less and now have about 3/4 metre left over.

Very easy to make, a good fit. The sleeves are elasticated, and if I make again, I think I'll put a cuff on instead to ring the changes.

Fabric from Japan

I have gone a little fabric mad, finding I can suddenly make reasonably fitting clothes, and having access to the world of cloth through on line shopping! I never seem to do things by halves and get completely lost in my various enthusiasms 😍

This lovely piece is 100% cotton poplin and is for a kimono jacket I have planned. I'm delighted with it, but would give a warning if you're from the UK. VAT is payable on all sales from around the world and this was levied at about £4, but also because the Post Office have to do the paperwork, they charge an additional £8.

This puts the price of the cloth up a fair bit and I hadn't factored it in. It won't stop be from buying - in fact next time, I'll just buy more so that the whole purchase is worth the extra!!

Today I'm popping a stand up collar on a shirt I'm making, but will blog the pattern details, fabrics and threads later.

Imperial War Museum North

I'm digressing a bit for this posting. On a recent visit to the Imperial War Museum North, I came across the above sewing machine which I stared at for some time. It belonged to Hetem and Syleme Ahmeti.

Their house and contents were destroyed by NATO cluster bombs during the 1999 Kosovo War. Before the war Mrs Ahmeti had earned an income mending clothes with a sewing machine which was destroyed in the attack. One year after the war ended, the Ahmetis were still living in a United Nations refugee tent. They could not rebuilt their house because of the danger of unexploded bombs.

On the 11th September 2001 the Twin Towers were destroyed They were the tallest towers in the world when they were completed in 1974, standing as glistening beacons of structural innovation. They employed a radical framed tube structure to carry the load in their facades – thereby doing away with the need for columns inside, freeing up the interior for more office space. Imperial War Museum North has part of the towers - many were sent to museums around the world - to remind everyone of the horrors of the day and war in general.

The scale of the mangled metal and the destructive power needed to do this to a building were horrifying.

Vogue pattern V8793 - stretchy top by Katherine Tilton

This pattern worked well.  I chose 3 different jersey fabrics with moderate stretch and although trickier to sew on a domestic machine, it did have a stretch stitch which coped well. I double sewed all the seams and zigzagged the raw edges. An overlocker would have been good to try, and it's on my shopping list for this year I think.

I may put an extra bit on the bottom to make it longer (I did hold the pattern against me at the beginning to check but can't have got the placement quite right.) I also deliberately put the collar on slightly sideways as I thought it looked better. I didn't bother with the zip decoration on the collar as I wasn't sure it was quite me but it looked very doable.

Fits well, reasonably easy if fiddly to do, no pattern problems, and I'll probably make another one with the leftover fabrics.