Monday 12 December 2016

Sweet 2016, Part 11: The Last Mini Dome Cake!

This month it’s time to bake the last of the mini dome cakes, and this one is finished with a decorative stripe detail. Whether it be a vanilla cream, a salted caramel or a chocolate swirl cake, it’s topped off with a gumpaste rose and petals. 
If the stripes are too challenging to applique, consider using thin ribbon or thread to indicate the lines. I had planned on a bold white background with red stripe cake (like a candy cane) but fell in love with a decorative ribbon and brown fabric combination which moved my cake into a chocolate caramel zone—so go with what you love. 
This month is also a good time to make a final decision regarding the scalloped fringes on your trays. I’ve been going back and froth throughout the BOM, regarding whether to fringe some, a mix or all. I’ve finally decided to fringe all the mini dome cakes and I’m still deciding on the larger domes (the scallops remain the same size). You could of course also choose to add ribbon detailing or lace. 
These final details might be influenced by your background fabric and I will make my final choices when I add my cakes to the final print background I’ve selected. Depending on the overall look, I may need to add contrasting lines to the bottom trays to stand out from the background print. I’ll decide when I have it all pinned down.

 Just 1  more block to go!

'Sweet 2016' is my current Mystery Applique BOM
It's just $3.95 per month
Delivered digitally, to your email inbox each month

Understanding the pattern release schedule: anyone can join Sweet 2016 at any time and when they do, they will receive a new block each month from that point onward. The day they receive each new block will depend on the date they signed up and made their first payment. Everyone who starts Sweet 2016, starts at the beginning, Part 1. Specific blocks cannot be purchased out of turn. 

Whenever you choose to start this BOM, be sure to keep us updated on your progress by sharing your work over in our Sweet 2016 BOM Facebook Group, see you there!

***Original starters (those who joined the BOM in or prior to February 14th 2016 will receive both Parts 11 AND 12 this month to wrap up the BOM on schedule.**

Wednesday 7 December 2016

WOW: Saving The Christmas Table Cloth

 WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Last year just before Christmas, I pulled out my favorite Christmas tablecloth. It's a stencilled tablecloth that is based around my quilt Red December. This quilt was released as a free Christmas project several years ago and I loved the motifs so much that I re-used them to create a similar matching pattern on my table. The idea was to hang Red December on my kitchen wall and enjoy this tablecloth on the table. Well, I just loved this tablecloth, but thought it was missing something. So last year I added a red trim. I did this in just under an hour, it was an easy project and it finished the tablecloth beautifully. 

Then, after lunch, I bundled it into the laundry and forgot about it until after the New Year. And after that, I just popped it into the machine without a second thought. I had planned to spot clean it. But you can guess what happened next - I didn't color test my red trim fabric because it was in the 'safe' stash and I was sure it would never run. And it did run, and now my tablecloth has a pink tinge to it. 

The fact that I have a colour testing tutorial on my sidebar is not lost on me - why don't I take my own advice?! I put it away earlier this year as I couldn't deal with my Christmas tablecloth disaster and had thoughts of simply re-making it. So today, I'm soaking it and trying to save it one last time. I'm using Synthrapol and hoping for the best. Just lately I've done this with several batches of my hand dyed stash and have been amazed at the colour run - especially as I did everything so meticulously during and after the dying process. It just goes to show, you can never be too careful. Hopefully from now on, I'll take my own advice. 
What's Your WOW?

Sunday 4 December 2016

Love Entwined by Jenn Dewey Rice

What a wonderful treat it is for me to add yet another Love Entwined quilt to the LE Gallery. Today it's Jenn Dewey Rice's beautiful creation. Oh Jenn, I love your colour scheme here, the yellow and blue really draws the eye into the centre and of course, the pink motifs are gorgeous! LE is such a large quilt and as well as being a big undertaking, it's hard to photograph full in, up front. Jenn, thank you so much for taking the time to send this image in, it's wonderful to see the workmanship of another LE and I'm impressed that you managed to make it within 3.5 years. WOW!

Like Jenn, I also think about the first woman who made the original quilt. Initially I thought it was a girl, but looking at the elements realized that it must have been a woman and that left me wondering about the purpose of the quilt. As with every finished LE, the mystery lingers.

Here's what Jenn had to say about her quilt in her own words:

"My name is Jenn Rice Dewey and I am from Scotts Valley, California, USA 
I loved the pattern from the first time I saw it. I loved working on all of the pattern. Each time I started a new part I loved what I was doing. I love any kind of a challenge. I always seem to pick things to do that will give me a challenge. 

I heard someone say that in the 1790's they used bright colors. I wondered if the lady that first made the coverlet was a young girl adding to her wedding things for after she was married. I started this quilt 3 ½ years ago. I could only work on it when I wasn't working to take care of my parents. 

I want to thank Esther for allowing us to have this pattern. It was very challenging but also fun. It makes me want to be more challenged in the future."

Are you making LE? We have a dedicated LE Group over on Facebook (click the image above to join) and don't forget to add your own LE to the LE Gallery - and remember, you can always email me updates or more pictures if they occur at any time.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

WOW: Head All In A Spin for 2017

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I've been somewhat quiet this last week - I'm all in a head spin for 2017! 

First up, I'm all excited about my new BOMs being released in the new year. My only problem is, I have 5 designs to choose from and I'm really struggling to narrow it down and commit. If you read my blog, you'll know that I have commitment issues when it comes to quilt related projects and fabrics. I'm really trying to decide which pattern is the right one for 2017 but each time I decide...I end up changing my mind! It sounds like a good problem to have, but it simply ends up frustrating my attempts to be organised.

And then there's the issue of fabrics. Oh boy, don't talk to me about fabrics. Why is it so hard to choose? I find a gorgeous palette but then I think the tones are wrong or it's missing a vital then I have to match it to another range that does have reds but now the greens are all out of balance. I'm exhausted just typing it. Take for example, my background for Sweet 2016, which on last count had 7 very possible and completely gorgeous background options. I loved each version and that's the problem. Today, I've actually cut into this fabric, which last time I reported on it was just being draped for style. Now, I think, that's it- it's cut and it's my official background. I've committed myself and can move onto the next project. Hopefully.

What's Your WOW?

Wednesday 23 November 2016

WOW: Jenny Henry's Love Entwined

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Talk about exciting news! I think Jenny Henry might be the only quilter in New Zealand making Love Entwined and she just let me know last week that her LE had won Viewer's Choice for Amateur Quilt at the Auckland Quilt Show! WOW Jenny, what an achievement! Look at these beautiful tones, they're just incredible and it all looks so lovely, shining with it's own beauty and grace. 

It really makes my day when quilter's let me know how they're getting on and when they share such happy news as this, well it's too good not to share! Well done Jenny!

What's Your WOW?

Monday 21 November 2016

Making The Bra Based Bodice

This is my Bra Based Bodice
In my last post I mentioned how I created a bra based bodice with corsetry elements, specifically spiral metal boning sewn into channels just like a corset but unlike a corset in that it consists of an inbuilt supportive bra and is closed with a zip. It's decidedly not a corset even though I erroneously referred to it in my own mind as one (and the corsetry class  I took on Craftsy was invaluable in mastering it). It's also not a bodice as it's so much more than a simple upper body shaped garment, so I'm calling this hybrid a bra based bodice.

The inspiration for creating a bra based bodice shape came from Marfy's 2630 pattern which I have never set eyes on, but have seen the finished bodice, as below:
This image is of the Marfy 2630 bodice from Poppy Kettle's website (click image to go there)
As you can see, they are very similar, this is because I relied on the Marfy visual to create my own bra based bodice. The major difference is that my bra has been created for large busts DD+ as both a functional support bra and formal gown outerwear. My bra based bodice also has extensive boning all around the waist to lend the required support and structure. Like the Marfy, it is lined internally and externally. I have also added a wide strip over the cups to enforce the stylistic idea that it is a formal wear garment. You can't see it here as my image on the right is already lined but I have also used the save V boning channel as the Marfy appears to have. My V channel is actually a double channel on each side before the side channels start and wrap all the way around. Again, this has been created for support. 
Who knew such a visually simple garment could cause so much hassle? 
When it comes to creating the bodice, you can follow any pattern, it's really very basic sewing. When it comes to creating and using channels to insert spiral boning into for support, I recommend that you take a class on corset making to learn these fundamental sewing techniques. The Craftsy one I used is listed beneath this post. I highly recommend it as I found Allison Smith to be a great tutor and personally very helpful. 

Of course, corsets are not bras and do not have this bra style look about them. For that, you have to create your own custom cups to sew into a bodice base. What is unusual about this bra is that it has no stretch. It is fashioned out of coutil which is very stiff corset fabric. It is then lined for comfort. So the template you create has no 'give', you are creating a bra that is immediately outerwear and the fitting is like stepping into a coutured fabric shell. 

This is how I created the coutil bra to sew into the bodice
Start with a normal bra that fits you well
It must be padded to the degree that it has shape
thoroughly layer the external cup with masking tape - thick enough to serve as a template
Like this. You can see in the background that it took several goes for me to understand which process would work. I started out pinning the bra extensively to map out a pattern. Don't waste your time. Go straight with this masking tape method.
Gently remove the tape, keeping the shape in tact
Maintaining the cup shape, draw in 'segments' 
In this image you can see 3 segments. I ended up using 4 segments (below)
The amount of segments you draw in depends on the cup size
Smaller busts will be fine with 3 segments, larger busts will require 4
Carefully and accurately cut out your segments, one at a time to create templates
This is an extra piece I drafted over the template pieces to add a wide stylistic strip on top of the bra
It's optional
These are my bra template pieces. I cut them out individually, then connected them 'flat' 
and this is my bra in segments, ready to be sewn together for the first fitting
It looks like this
seam detail
Treat this bra as a garment - stitching neatly and pressing open seams
This is the inside, turned inside out 
Both my coutil cups
a sight for sore eyes- my beautiful, 3D cup. I was so happy when I held it in my hand!
Now it's time to sew the cups into your bodice base and alter as required. As you can see, I had a few minor alterations to deal with at this stage. What you are looking at is only coutil. 
After this stage, line inside and out. 
The finished bra based bodice
In this image the bodice is lined with the wedding dress fabric on the outside 
and lining fabric on the inside
Clean, simple lines
a perfect fit ready to be sewn into the skirt. 

And the best bit? This coutil bra is so structured that no other bra is required, for this bodice IS the bra. The fit is also so fitted that no stay is required to be sewn in. This is important as I see so many brides 'wiggle' into their dresses throughout the day and I think it's so unfair that they have to do this. It's something which should never happen and could so easily be prevented if bridal shops simply bothered to sew in basic stays! Of course, if you sew a bra based bodice like this one, you won't need one. My DD was busy all day, got in and out of a helicopter and wore her dress to dinner and never had to wiggle once - all thanks to this bra based bodice.

movement = no problem and no wiggle
I'm ahead of myself showing these photos because, by the time I'd finished the bodice, I hadn't even stitched the skirts, but I did want to show you here how important the bra based bodice was to the dress - and this photo shows it. 
The bra based bodice was the icing on the cake after all my bodice and bra making dramas. Before it came along I was trying to make ordinary bodices do extraordinary things - which they simply couldn't. How I wish I'd started a bra based bodice first! 

It took me so long to conquer bodices and get to this final version, that I was sewing the wedding dress 24 hours before the wedding. In my next post I'll blog about what I did next, against the clock, to finish this dress on time. 

In September 2016 I made my DD's wedding dress using the Butterick Pattern B5731 as a starting point. I then created my own variation of a semi corset with a built in bra as a replacement to the pattern bodice. I took the Craftsy online class 'Sewing Corsets' with Alison Smith which I can recommend as essential viewing for anyone interested in sewing corsets or formal wear bodices with corset elements. In fact I even received personal advice from Alison and am happy to recommend this class to anyone who's interested.
 Sewing Corsets with Alison Smith

Wednesday 16 November 2016

WOW: Ineke Wijer's Love Entwined!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Send in the Clowns! Here is Ineke Wijer's LE quilt, isn't is simply gorgeous?! Today I wanted to share this beauty because it reminds me how much has been achieved by quilter's making LE all over the world. I was in awe of Ineke's vision straight away when I saw her dark background and fun, whimsical mood which she inserted throughout the pattern with bold and fabulous fabric choices. I remember the first time I saw it over in the Group when she shared images and I was simply bowled over. And now, in Maastricht the Netherlands (Open European Quilt Championship) Ineke received a ribbon for her version of Love Entwined named "Send in the Clowns." So well deserved!

It means so much to me when quilter's take the time to share their journey and I'm so grateful that Ineke shared her good news for us to all enjoy. It's a huge motivation and always makes my day to see what everyone is up to. Don't forget that we have a dedicated LE Group over on Facebook that you can join too.

One of these days it will be my own self with my own finished Love Entwined to show and share. And I can't wait until that day arrives. Talk about a work in progress!

What's Your WOW?

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