HandmadebyClaireBear

confessions of a fabric obsessive

Monthly Archives: June 2012

For me – one completed bathmat

As soon as I saw the Cathedral Window Playmat on Amy Gibson’s blog, Stichery Dickery Dock I knew that it was what I wanted as a bathmat for my tiny bathroom.

Although I’ve always admired quilt with circles in and Cathederal Windows blocks in particular, I’ve never done them in any quilt before because circles or curves of any type scare the *** out of me.

I’ve got to say the Amy is a fabulous tutorial writer, but then I should have know that because I’m following her Craftsy Block of the Month course (which I’m hopelessly behind on, but we won’t go there).

Viola, one Cathedral Windows Bathmat, started and finished within 24 hours and I slept for some of that!

I had to wash the print fabric because the cotton towelling I was using was upcycled from a spare bath sheet. I ironed it all properly, and used a dinner plate to cut out the circles. I cut too many circles, it turns out I cut 12 towelling circles when I only needed 9 and I still don’t know what to do with the 9 circles I cut from the stripe fabric.

After posting about this project yesterday, I decided to use the batik print that I love so much (please ignore the state of my bathroom tiles, this is a sewing blog not a diy blog after all!):

Note to self: get larger dinner plates, this would be fab with bigger circles! Also, sewing this with towelling as a backing is harder than I thought, that’s probably why it’s a little wonky. It also probably needs ironing, but is that going to happen?

I’m glad that I decided to do this. I love my new bathmat and I don’t care what anyone else thinks (although if you think it’s lovely too, I wouldn’t mind being told).

I love my new bathmat  🙂

ClaireBear

For me – one bathmat

Ages ago I bought a lovely bathmat from Ikea (I love Ikea – just their fabric section can keep me happy for hours). Well it lasted for ages, looking lovely and blue (my favourite colour and obviously a good colour for my blue and white bathroom) and small and perfectly formed to fit in the minuscule space between the bath, the washbasin and the door. That is, it lasted well until a certain young lady of my family wasn’t as careful as she might have been when colouring her hair and got a big splodge of deep red hair dye on my lovely bathmat.

I put up with it for a bit and then decided that I could use an excess hand-towel for a bath mat instead. I have a whole set of duck egg blue (another favourite colour, which features in my living room) towels in the airing cupboard originally bought to deaden the sound of my son’s drums. When he went off to university the drum kit got packed away and the set of towels went to live in the airing cupboard with their new friends.

I’ve been looking for a replacement for the “dropped towel on the floor” look for a while now.  I’ve seen several I like,

this one:

this lovely one:

this one,

and this lovely one

But while they are all lovely, and importantly, do-able, nothing got me reaching for my clean used towels and quilting cotton stash. Until I saw this photo on Stichery Dickery Dock;

I’ve loved Cathedral Windows quilts since the first time I saw one, but how much work is in one? Too much.

So when I saw the link to Amy’s tutorial on her blog I clicked and then read through the tutorial.

Simple, maybe even easy. I know that this tutorial is for a playmat, but would this work with white towelling for the backing?

Well, I’ve spent all day waiting for the quilting cotton to wash and dry enough so I could iron it. I’ve even ironed all of my laundry while I was waiting for the quilting cotton to dry (desperate times…).  I’ve cut out the fabric circles (using a dinner plate as the template, because I don’t have Amy’s flash circle-drawing thingy) and now I’m stuck.

I have cut too many circles for a start (d’oh!). I think 3 by 3 will be a good size for my bathmat, so I cut out 9 towelling circles, and then 9 each of the two fabrics that I love and want to have in my bathroom. But I only need 4 of one and 5 of the other. Or I could have all the circles in the same fabric, but then I’d have to choose which fabric, and I can’t choose.

So I pinned some circles together to give myself an idea of what the finished mat might look like. I took some photos and I played with them on picmonkey to give myself all the options I could think of.  Now I need some help to decide which is best. Please bear in mind that my bathroom is white, with sky blue and white tiling and pale yellow painted walls above the tiles and pale yellow (non-slip vinyl flooring), and very small. Also the finished mat will be 3 by 3 but  the photos are only 2 by 2.

All batik

All stripe

Alternating batik and stripe

Rows

I really love the batik (it’s not real batik, it’s a print but I love it anyway and I don’t feel nervous about using it for something that’s going to get used a lot), but I want to use the stripe too. I suppose I could make two, one of each fabric and alternate them, but two bathmats? really?

I give up. What do you think?

ClaireBear

If in doubt, rip it out!

I’ve been busy with a birthday gift for the last couple of days. Trying to sew satin in a hurry is never a good idea. Here are a few tips I have been reminded of the last few days while making a dozen dress-up capes for my nephews 6th birthday party. I think they’re going to be knights, but my SIL requested capes rather than amour, which is probably a good thing really.

1) Before you cut anything, measure to make sure you have enough, then iron so you aren’t cutting through creases (I only cut though one crease) which gives you odd lumps here and there.

2) When trying to use a new foot to roll a hem, find and read the instructions.

3) When you’ve given up on the new food and have decided to do the hems the old-fashioned way, fold and pin the hems and then iron them so they stay. This is very important for slippery fabrics like satin or lining!

4) If your sewing machine tries to eat your fabric more than once, unplug it, clean it out properly with the small paintbrush that you keep specially for cleaning it with and then change to a fresh sharp needle.

5) Don’t think that sewing fast means that the whole thing will be finished quicker. (see 1, 3 and 4 above). The tortoise might not always finish faster than the hare, but at least he keeps his fingers, thumbs and sanity intact!

6) If it looks bad enough to annoy you, rip it out straight away, re-iron and resew it. You’ll be happier later.

7) If you’re going to change the pattern/tutorial you are following from double-sided to single-sided because you don’t want to cut/use two pieces of fabric per cape, don’t round off the corners. You’ll need square corners so you can mitre them. Trying to hem rounded corners is a nightmare, leave it to the robots.

8) If you spend a fortnight trying to work out which fabric to use and getting sidetracked by all of the dressing up cape patterns and tutorials out there in blog land (who me?), you’ll only have 48 hours to get all 12 of them cut, sewn, finished, packed and posted off to get to the birthday boy in time for his party. Think faster and give yourself more time to sew!

They’re finished now and on their way to birthday-party-land. Here is a photo of the finished capery.

Ellen over at The Long Thread has the best superhero cape that works really well as a children’s dressing up cape (and therefore a knight’s cape). The instructions are easy and the finished results are pretty good, even after all my modifications and the sewing machine’s attempts to eat them! Plus, The Long Thread is one of my favourite blogs and I’m so glad to have finally tried one of her tutorials (albeit modified).

:O)

ClaireBear

%d bloggers like this: