Tag Archives: Spotlight

Reduce, reuse, recycle

I bought mosquito netting at the grand sum of 50 cents for a 25cm remnant at Spotlight yesterday and whipped up some proof of concept dry goods bags. 

A dry goods bag made out of mosquito netting and filled with black beans. The bag is tied closed with ribbon.

I tested the bags today. Concept proven. No good for flour though. I made three bags and each weighs 13-15 grams.

Another Finished Tunic – New Look 6544

I’d made this pattern before, for a trip to Cambodia, where it’s traditionally required that you be modest in your dress. It’s a society where even today a married couple wouldn’t hold hands in public,  though I suspect that might be changing rapidly due to the influence of overseas media and foreign visitors.

New Look 6544 Women's Mandarin Collar Tunic and Pants

The tunic I made then served me brilliantly for our trip to Angkor Wat, where it was very hot and humid. That was a few years ago now and the old tunic needs to be replaced. I haven’t thrown it out yet and I may still rip it up for a rag rug, assuming one day I become the proud owner of a loom. The loom purchase is in plan and I’m waiting for one to come up second-hand at the right price.

I found some fabric called modern tribal  on sale at Spotlight and made up the top again, this time cutting it a little smaller than the first one, which was a touch generous.Finished_Tunic

Last time I sewed this pattern, the front opening gave me a bit of difficulty. This time, I used a trick I picked up in a book or on the internet and sewed just a couple of perpendicular stitches at the point. Those couple of stitches gave me just enough clearance when it came to cutting the slash and turning the facing. That gave a nice clean look at the front though it’s hard to see on the photo.

With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to give it a trial run later this week.

Finished Tunic – Simplicity 2230

I’m disappointed.

I put a lot of effort into this top. All the seams are neatly finished using my shiny new overlocker (serger) and I think I did a nice job of the hand detailing along the neckline.

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

Simplicity 2230, started life as a plus-sized pattern and was, I believe, graded to a misses pattern. But Simplicity did a poor job of that grading process and the pattern remains more appropriate for the generously proportioned. While I certainly suffer from a bit of quilter’s butt,  nothing changes the fact that this tunic drapes at the shoulders and is simply too wide for me.

I cut it to the size that the pattern sleeve indicated was right for my measurements – a standard size 14, but with a little length removed from the sleeves and bodice, as I’m not as tall as some. It should have fit, but it doesn’t.

I’m hoping it might work for my mother. If not, what? Etsy maybe?

Simplicity 2230

Spotlight FlyerSpotlight recently gave out a flyer showing how crafty chicky-babes might make up Simplicity 2230, as a funky modern tunic top, though they called it a kaftan. Have kaftans had a resurgence as a fashion item for hipsters? Did I miss something?

The Spotlight advice was to sew it using Prints Charming fabric (whatever that may be) and Prima Homespun, for the neck band. They weren’t friendly enough to let you know how much of the Prima Homespun you might need to buy. As a result, my facing has a join in it that wasn’t in the cutting instructions. No harm done, but I did feel like a bit of an idiot for under-estimating the quantity. I forgot that you would need to cut two, one for the neck band and one or the facing. And I call myself an experienced dressmaker. We’ll come back to that idea in just a minute.

I would not have bought this pattern had it not been for the flyer, as the pattern sleeve makes it look like it was designed for generously proportioned women and the photo of the garment on the pattern sleeve doesn’t look flattering in my view. The Spotlight flyer showed a completely different interpretation and I picked some fine 100% cotton to make it up in. Melbourne summer can bring some very hot days.

Close up of neck band as stitched

This bit was colourful language inducing

I’m tipping the chicky-babes might have had to pull out some of their more colourful language when making this pattern up. This experienced dressmaker had to unpick the curvy corner of the neck band twice on one side and once on the other and pull out some colourful language from her repertoire. Maybe she isn’t as experienced or clever as she thought. The problem is basically that you’re trying to sew an inside curve on the neck band to an outside curve on the tunic front and that, my friends, is a royal pain in the bum.

The pattern instructions were challenging to follow, too, very cramped and leading you off from time to time to the instructions for a different view, making you hop, skip and jump all over the place.

Too tired to sew (any more today)

Too tired to sew (any more today)

This is where I got to when I declared myself too tired to go on. I’m planning to do some running stitches in embroidery thread on the neck band and I may also stitch in the ditch by machine where the neck band meets the fabric, just to keep everything secure and tidy.

I’m not anticipating any problems finishing the tunic from here, as all I have to do is attach the sleeves, sew the side seams, make a casing in the sleeves, insert the sleeve elastic and then hem the garment. One more weekend, maybe and I’ll be sure to post a photo when it’s done.

New Project: Starry Night Improvisational Cot Quilt

If you reached this post via a search engine and you want to fast forward to the finished quilt, here it is. Otherwise, please read on.

Spotlight had a Scratch and Win card bundled in with their mailing recently. I scratched and I won.

My prize was a modest $5 gift voucher but it made me feel like a winner.

I had the card with me when I went to Spotlight to get a zipper for another project. The sale bin was on the way to the zipper section so I stopped to take a look. In it was a fat quarter batik bundle. The bundle was marked down from $24.95 (outrageous!) to $8 (totally acceptable.)

I took home a set of eight navy blue batiks. The eight became seven almost immediately.

navy blue at quarter batik bundle

Note the poor registration of the dotted fabric to the right

I culled one of the fat quarters straight after the pre-wash. It developed some red watermarks that make me think the colours weren’t stable. Between that and the really poor print quality on one of the other fabrics I was really glad I hadn’t paid full price. If I had, I would probably have marched right back to Spotlight and requested a refund by now.

The plan is to make a cot quilt. I’m going to use friendship stars and call the design Starry Night.

This will be designated an improvisational quilt. Here’s why:

  • I won’t be following a pattern.
  • If I run out of one fabric, I’ll pick another.
  • I have some sparkly thread that tones in wonderfully with the batik at the bottom of the pile in the photo.The sparkly thread will feature in the quilt, somehow.

Finally (and this is unrelated to being improvisational), it won’t be professionally quilted. I’m still suffering sticker shock after getting long-arming quote for the bento boxes. Without disclosong the full amount, let’s just say it was more than $100. Ouch!


Setting a Quilt on Point

Quiltbug.com has a handy page about setting a quilt on point which includes a table on what size to cut the triangles. It was very useful for the modified Dolly Madison Star quilt which I started not too long ago.

Dolly Madison Star 9 inch blocks laid out on point

Modified Dolly Madison Star 9 inch blocks laid out

I am now sewing all the blocks together after laying the components out on my quilt floor (I don’t have a quilt wall.)

The end is in sight, apart from the quilt sandwich, the quilting and the binding of course. OK, so maybe the half-way mark is in sight.

This quilt will be quilted in a combination of stitch in the ditch and hand quilting as I need to save the long arm jobs for my biggest quilts. After my last visit to the long arm quilter I decided I needed to take responsibility for my own quilting. This delightful hobby gets too expensive otherwise. Pam, the professional longarm quilter does a wonderful job and I will continue to use her services, just not for everything.

I am in the market for a 12 inch quilting hoop so I can hand quilt using it. I went to Spotlight yesterday but didn’t buy as the quality was horrible (wood splitting and rough, already) and the smallest hoop they had was a 14 inch diameter where I’ve decided a 12 inch diameter is where I want to start. I’ll most likely add a hoop to my next online order.

For anyone attempting to set a quilt on point, with some order assigned to where all the blocks go, I recommend to check and check again that you’ve remained true to your intended layout. Its amazing the mismatches that can occur between the quilting floor and the sewing machine.

Omnigrid 96L

I saw from my blog stats that someone found their way here after doing a search on Omnigrid. I had recently been looking for an Omnigrid myself and had trouble finding pictures or information.

The reason for wanting to research the Omnigrid 96L is that this is the half square triangle ruler recommended in the Jelly Roll Quilts book that I posted about a couple of months ago. Specifically they recommend it for the friendship braid quilt featured on the cover of that book. I desperately want to make that particular quilt and having ‘earned’ some money by selling off a couple of bits and pieces on eBay recently, I decided to go ahead and get the Omnigrid 96L. Here it is.

Close up of the Omnigrid 96L Half Square Triangle Ruler

Omnigrid 96L Half Square Triangle Ruler

As I’ve mentioned before, the jelly rolls at Spotlight, my local fabric and home furnishings store are thin and not to my taste so I have little choice but to cut my own. Their half square triangle ruler (choice of one, if my memory serves me correctly) didn’t impress me either so I turned to eBay and bought mine from Getta Notion in Creston Iowa.

Now, I’ve been to Iowa and I know it’s a long, long way from my home here in the South Pacific. I was delighted when the delivery took just over a week. The price, including that lightning fast delivery, was only a couple of dollars more than what Spotlight would have charged, for a different (and to my eye, inferior) brand.

The friendship braid can’t start until I’ve finished the tumbling spools quilt top, where I have three more spools blocks to go, and the jelly roll sampler quilt along, where I have two blocks to go.

In the next couple of weeks though, there will be more cutting and house cleaning done than piecing because my Husqvarna Viking is going in for a service. Maybe it’s just the cold weather but it seemed to be struggling a bit just lately so I thought a service might be in order. Here’s hoping that all is well with my machine and that those other chores get done while it’s away.