2 April 2014

Sewing Goals 2014

Now you could say I'm a little late in the year to be planning my sewing goals for 2014, it is April after all! Your right, but I thought it's better late than never. Also I've never actually done this before! I think partly because I never really feel confident enough to write it down as then I start to feel the pressure if I don't complete it? Silly I know. Hopefully this year will mark a change, as I've been quite pro-active so far in getting things done. So now a goal list doesn't seem to be quite as daunting because I can already tick off a couple of things ;-)

Garment Sewing
I think first and foremost, I would love to do more garment sewing this year. I made two dresses and a pair of trousers at the end of last year (which I will have to showcase on the blog soon, once I've plucked up the courage to photograph myself in them!). It's an area I don't feel very comfortable in, skills wise - but I want to learn!

- Kanerva button back shirt by Named
- Butterick 8949 shirt (vintage pattern)
- Butterick B5601 dress 
- Butterick 5644 skirt (vintage pattern)
- Improve seam finish skills

I don't want to set myself too many wild quilting plans this year, instead I would like to focus on finishing some WIP's. Once I've got some of those done I crack on with some new projects. 

- Mini quilts for the sewing room
- Finish St. Louis 16 patch
- String block mini quilt
- Round & Round mini quilt, by Thimbleblossoms
- Work on EPP double wedding ring quilt
- Finish farmer's wife quilt top?
- Practice free motion quilting / finish one quilt using FMQ
- Finish #scrappyirishchain quilt (send to quilter)
- Finish Moda Alphabet quilt
- Navy/white solid quilt
- Finish EPP diamond quilt
- Button Up, by Cluck Cluck Sew

General Sewing
Now that I have been bitten by the bag bug, I thought I would include some more making this year! I'd also like to draft a pattern for this amazing bag I stumbled across on Pinterest, as I've not come across a pattern like it? Isn't it perfect?

- 'Madras' tote bag by Noodlehead
- Cargo Duffle bag No.1 (weekender use) by Noodlehead
- Cargo Duffle bag No.2 (beach bag use) by Noodlehead
- Large zip storage bags for bedlinen
- Peg bag
- Ironing board cover for sewing room

So, just a few things to be getting on with! Oh, and I haven't included handmade gifts or the occasional commissioned project I get, it's only my personal sewing and craft goals. I plan to re-visit this at the start next year to see how I get on. Have you made a goal list this year? Do you find it helps you to stay on track and get things done?

1 April 2014

St Louis 16 Patch Quilt - For Sale

I've just finished up a loooong overdue work in progress, the St. Louis 16 Patch - remember that? The finished quilt top has been hanging over my door in the sewing room taunting me to finish for so long! I was getting a little anxious having this and three other unfinished quilt tops on the go at once I had an urge to get this done and dusted. It feels great to get it ticked off my list now. 

The finished top. Unfortunately my very tall photographing partner wasn't available for today's finished quilt photoshoot ;-)

This is my first quilt I'm offering to sell! So I'm hoping one of my lovely readers will find it a perfect new home. It's backed in the most perfect red cherry print by Pam Kitty Picnic, which might be my new favourite backing fabric now. I chose a red and white stripe for the binding, which is always such a classic and it's quilted in simple straight lines on either side of every seam. 

St Louis 16 Patch Quilt, Pattern by Sew With Sass
Fabrics used: Mostly a mix of Pam Kitty Love and Happy Go Lucky from Sew and Quilt
Measures: 81" x 67" 

Drop me an email to: hello@messyjesse.co.uk if you are interested in purchasing, thanks so much. xo

27 March 2014

Oh, Another Mini Quilt*

I did it again. More mini quilts in the bag, or on the wall I should say. 

I really can't stop making these still, they're too addictive! After finishing my Moda alphabet quilt top recently, I hadn't quite got the alphabet letter's out of my system so I made a 'J' for moi and an 'R' for my friend's little boy; Ruan. She's just moved to a new house so I thought it would be a fun moving in present ;-) 

I added the star like Camille has on her mini, for a little something extra as it's quite plain without. You can find the tutorial to make the tiny 2" block over here on the Temecula Quilt Co. blog. Now I made this teeeeeny tiny star at almost midnight - not advised, and I vaguely struggling with the cutting instructions, which was probably due to my inaccurate reading at such a late hour but just double check to be sure ;-) ... and don't try making it at midnight, K?

Next up is the Dwell mini, I finished this a couple weeks ago but realised I never shared the finished piece. I just love that scallop quilting pattern, I then echoed that with my favourite scallop print.

Oh, and then I had to make the Rise and Shine mini as it was just released along with some other fantastic Thimbleblossoms patterns. I used the amazingly cute 'Betty Dear' by Darlene Zimmerman charm pack

I'm fast running out of wall space now so I may have to stop soon... we'll see? 

24 March 2014

Cargo Duffle Bag

Guys, I made a bag! Yep. The Cargo Duffle by ever so talented, Anna of Noodlehead. I'm so excited! I haven't made a bag in such a long time, and I've not tackled a big project like this one before so you could say I 'm rather pleased with myself :-) 

I haven't been big on bag making in the past, but this design really caught my eye because 1. It was a nice simple shape 2. I really needed an overnight bag (I sold my old CK ones on ebay a while back) and 3. This is a free pattern, people! So there was really no excuse I shouldn't try it. I think part of the reason why I haven't made many bags before is because I'm not really into the handmade bag look? You know I love the brighter, cute fabrics for quilting and other sewing projects but it just wouldn't fit my personal style to carry that off in a bag form. So for this, I knew exactly what I wanted. 

Black! Yes, a black bag! Oh how exciting ;-) but I know it will definitely get used. I really love the caramel coloured bottom, I think it gives it a bit of a luxury feel. Before I had a proper read of the pattern I assumed (stupidly) it was lined so I purchased some yardage of the Michael Miller Mirror Ball Dots as I thought it would be the perfect amount of 'jazzy' for the inside. Thankfully I found a couple of tutorials online to make the duffle bag with lining. I machine stitched the lining to the bag, and hand sewed at the sides near the zipper ends for a clean finish, as I knew I would never get it neat with the machine. 

I found the construction pretty simple on the hole, considering I'm not an expert in the bag-making area. However I really struggled when I was sewing the top and bottom panels to the side panels, but eventually I got there. That was the only real hiccup I faced. If I'd have to change something about mine, I wish I would have chosen navy for the pocket lining as I did the outer pocket - not the MM Mirror Ball fabric as I did. It's only a small thing, but it shows through the front at some angles and it really bugs me. I actually re-did the pocket flaps while I was making for that reason but didn't bother to redo the main pocket section. I've also not added the snaps for the pockets yet, I initially forgot all about them when I took these photo's but now I'm kind of liking it without? I may add them at a later date. I did add a coordinating navy zipper pull, which I think may be my favourite part!

Cargo Duffle - Pattern by Anna Graham, available here
Fabrics used: Kona Black / Kona Wheat / Kona Navy / Michael Miller Mirror Ball Dot, Rice

There's been a few finished cargo duffle bags popping up on the blogsphere recently, so I thought I would put my two cents in on completing the bag:

Jessie's Tips: 

-  Head over to C'est la vie's blog and follow her sew-a-long. She's amazingly gone through every step of making the duffle bag and broke it down in easy peasy instructions. I don't think I could have done it without that!
-  I used this tutorial by Small Town Thread for the lining addition. I'm a visual learner, so I need pictures - even simple steps always helps with a photo! 
-  Make sure you have the latest Cargo Duffle bag pattern printed. I had the older one initially when I was at the cutting stage, doh! and later downloaded the newer one which has more detail and in assembling the bag and  making the pockets. Oh, and much simpler cutting instructions. Essential. 
-  Anna has some great tips where people have been getting into trouble on construction in this post here
-  Label your pattern pieces. I cut up bits of paper with 'bottom gusset' etc pinned to each section and had it all laid out in piles on the floor which really helps, if like me - you chose to use a lot of one colour fabric. 
-  Square up your front and back panels. They can get wonky after the quilting section, so make sure they are definitely squared. It makes assembling the front/back panels with the gussets a lot easier, and you're less likely to get bunch's - and a wonky shaped bag! (which I think mine is!).
-  Use matching thread on the assembly section, I accidentally had a white thread in my machine when I first tried only to realise it showed through against the black. 
-  Not essential, but personally I would say use a metal teethed zipper over plastic. They give a more professional finish and are more durable in the long run.  

Ok, so I already have plans for another one! … I'm thinking plain off-white canvas for outer - no lining and strip of, maybe orange neon for the coordinating base?! Perfect beach bag I'd say. Watch this space ;-)

21 March 2014

Great Granny Sqaured Book Winner

So, including all the comments and additional entries for IG folk. The lucky winner of Lori Holt's latest book 'Great Granny Squared' is…

Fabulous looking book - my fingers and toes are crossed!!! I am a follower :)
Congratulations Amy, I've just sent you an email. Thank you to everyone for entering. xo

20 March 2014

How To Hang A Mini Quilt - From Hanging Sleeve to Wall!

As you may have noticed recently I've been up to my eyes in mini quilt-making to decorate my sewing room wall. I've been hanging them up with strong parcel tape which has been working well for my really 'mini' one's, as they're so small and I can move them around without worrying about holes in the wall. However,  for my larger Swoon mini quilt I needed a more permanent fixture to hang snugly in our living room alcove. So today I thought I would show you how I made a hanging sleeve to give a nice professional finish. Let's get started.

1. Measure the width of your quilt. Cut a piece of fabric that measures the exact width of the quilt x 7". I like to use the same fabric as used for the backing to blend seamlessly. 

2. With the shorter ends of the fabric, press 1/2" and then again by 1/2" enclosing the raw edges. Sew.

3. Fold in half lengthwise, and sew with a 1/2" seam.

4. Centre the hanging sleeve, and press the seam (you have just sewn) flat. Press well here. 

5. Re-gig the hanging sleeve slightly by sliding it downwards by about 1/4" or so. Press well. This allows for some extra slack when the dowel holds the quilt up - without this the dowel may bulge out slightly.

6. Position the hanging sleeve on the quilt by about an 1" from the top. Keeping in mind in needs to be low enough in that the sleeve is not shown when hung from the wall.

7. Pin in place, and hand sew around all sides. Be careful to only sew through the backing and batting, not the front of the quilt. 

8. Cut a length of dowel just shy of the quilt length. Slide through the sleeve. Hang two picture hooks on both ends of the dowel and position where you want the quilt to hang on the wall - mark two pencil lines where the picture hooks are and hammer them in. 

Hang your lovely mini quilt on the wall, and admire your work! 

Pssst. Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win Lori Holt's latest book; Great Granny Squared. Competition closes tomorrow, enter to win here