Thursday, 16 June 2016

Many Quilts

So, I have to tell you guys something… I’ve started to get in to quilting.  In a big way.  Like, so far this year I have made three quilts, and I have plans, and fabric set aside, for five more… FIVE!  I don’t know what happened! One minutes I’m a dressmaker, through and through.  I don't even really like making things that you might consider crafty, I just wanted to make clothes.  Sure, I’ve made a couple of quilts in the past- I even enjoyed making them, but something has shifted, and now they’re all I can think about (Ok, thats a minor exaggeration).
OK, kidding aside, I am loving sewing up quilts at the moment.  We’re running a couple of quilting workshops at work, which I’m being super inspired by!  Just through eves dropping, I’ve learnt how to properly measure up my quilts, and bind them.
Being a little skint at the moment, I decided to sew Dave a quilt for his birthday in March- I was able to source most of the fabric at work, where I have a tab and discount.  He had picked out the colours (or lack of) himself, but we discussed it a couple of months before and he handily forgot by the time his birthday rolled around.  He chose black and white, which makes a really bold, striking quilt.  And his other request was regarding the length-  at 6’2”, he wanted something that came up to his shoulders and down to his toes.  I chose the pattern- I was aiming to keep it simple and kinda manly. What do you think?
I sewed the strips of the different fabrics in to long lengths, and then measured and cut squares out of those- this helped me with the maths to make sure I ended up with near perfect squares.  I’m quite confident in my maths skills, but didn't want to chance it with such a big project.  Plus, it’s probably faster to do it this way.
I sewed the whole thing on the sewing machine- utilising the long armed machine for the quilting stages.  I had a go at using a ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot, with some success, and think with practice it will make sewing much easier.  I kinda wish I had sewn the binding by hand, as it’s the least neat part, but I’m currently finishing off a smaller baby quilt by hand and it’s taking ages!  So it is probably a good idea not to bother with such a large project.
So, I’ve got like 3 baby quilts lined up to do next, plus I picked up some super barginous Cotton + Steel fabric from the local fabric guild, reduced because it’s from 2014.  Its still beautiful though.  I’m going to make a larger quilt from them that, for me!
One of the best things about quilting is the way you can pick it up and do a square or two in a short amount of time- ideal because work is super busy!  We have a bunch of projects in the works, some of which we’ll share soon, others are on a longer time scale.  It’s exhausting, and so, so much fun.

Monday, 9 May 2016

The Cats Pyjamas

Hey all,

I'm really excited to share with you my latest project- doughnut pyjamas! Totally inspired by Jess Day in New Girl, who's style I've coveted for ages.  In the show, Jess wears some amazing pjs which are just gorgeous.  Each episode has her in a different funky pair of classic pyjamas, which is not my usual sleeping attire- I'm only just moving away from sleeping in old t-shirts (a book I read when I was 14 told me it was cool, and I've never grown up).  

I think many of the pjs seen in New Girl must be made for the show by the costume department, as I've seen her in the most gorgeous Micheal Miller fabric pyjamas, including Candy Land and the bikes fabric.

I looked in to buying the Candy Land fabric to replicate exactly this set, but you need, like 5m of fabric, at designer prices!  It was too rich for my blood.

So when I saw this awesome doughnut fabric at one of our wholesalers, I had to get some in- perks of running a fabric shop.  It was prefect for a cute, fun pair of pyjamas, inspired by Jess.

Using the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn pyjama pattern, which is perfect for replicating this look, btw, 5m of the doughnut fabric and 5m of pink piping, I've finished my first pair of classic pyjamas!

These were a fun, but not an easy make- it's only the second time I've sewn a collar like this, and the first time I've added piping to it. I really enjoyed settling down to a slow sew, which challenged me and made me think more carefully about what I'm doing.  This is one of my goals this year- to sew slower and sew better. 

I've got the next pair cut out and ready to go, with my notes on what I found tricky and how to improve the finish- I'm going to give it a little time before I start sewing them together, just to crack on with some other projects I've also got waiting.

I think they took me about 6 hours in total to make the shirt, and an extra couple for the trousers.  It's hard to keep up with times because I kept forgetting to pick up important elements, like the elastic for the waistband, from work. 

I'm modelling them out the back door of our chalet at Center Parcs, which we visited last bank holiday weekend with my husbands family.  We were having a lovely time, until Dave fell ill, probably with food poisoning.  I really like Center Parcs for short breaks, especially the spa, which we ladies visited on the Saturday. Despite the probable food poisoning, we've rebooked for next year, when we'll have my new little niece or nephew joining us- my SIL is due at the end of May.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Signing up for Me Made May 2016

Various factors have conspired against me joining in with Me Made May of the last two years, but I'm  committing again this year- yay!

I have a lot of handmade clothes in my wardrobe now- between sampling for work and sewing for pleasure, I usually do wear at least one me-made a day.  My first thought was to challenge myself to wear all me-made all the time.  But I have made things like cardigans and leggings or jeans, which would either mean wearing all my dresses on rotation for the whole  month (and getting chilly!) or making things to wear in May, which is against the rules.

For those who don't know, or are new to 'So, Zo...'s Me Made May Challenge, the idea is not that you sew specifically for the challenge, but to make more use of the clothes you have already made and maybe evaluate the gaps in your wardrobe, if you want to.  Definitely, NO PANIC-SEWING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!!  This is not a competition.

So, I took it to the ladies at work and asked them how I should challenge myself, and they came up with my personal challenge.  I endeavour to wear full outfits of me-made clothes twice a week for the duration of May.

I'll be posting my daily outfits on Instagram (@freyamaymakes) and do a round up of the month at the end of May.

And, just to specify, this doesn't include underwear, but does include outerwear- I gotta wear my new coat more!  Unless it's too warm, then, well, we'll see.

Anyone else joining in??

Monday, 25 April 2016

A Sweet Vintage Fifi Set

I've now made a few sets of Tilly and the Buttons Fifi pattern- for the window at work, for my sisters Christmas present, and now for me- and I'm still in love with it!

This time, for me, I've finally found a use for the vintage sheets I've been storing away for ages.  I originally picked them up to make sundresses from, but I think that would be a little too twee for me. You know I'm not opposed to some twee in my wardrobe, but I couldn't picture myself wearing this fabric as a dress.

I cut size 5 for the top and 4 for the bottoms, and managed to get both pieces cut from an irregular piece of fabric.  I love how little fabric you need to make this set.  I'm currently in the middle of making a set of the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn pjs, which have taken up over 5m of narrow fabric! Obviously the coverage offered by the garments differs wildly too.

I used my overlocker to make a narrow rolled hem to finish off the shorts and hem, setting it to create the lettuce leaf finish you can see.  I hate turning tiny hems, so this was a bit of a cheat on a garment where the finish wasn't super important.

I need to shorten the straps by another inch or two though, they have twisted around my torso in the night when I wore them, waking me up and generally being a uncomfortable.  That's an easy fix though.  

The little shorts and vest top pjs are so cute, I'm looking forward to the warmer months so I can wear them all the time. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Dimond in the Rough

This is another 'catch up post' of something I made pre-christmas- a fun party skirt using my go to pattern from Alison Smith's DK book called, simply, 'Dressmaking'.  Its a simple a-line skirt with darts, a waist band and side zip.  I've made it countless times.

The fabric is some we bought in at work in November, we had this diamond version and a scalloped version- both of which are reversible!  Its a nice, bottom weight stretch polyester fabric, perfect for skirts, trousers or dresses.  Despite it's stretch, it was pretty stable and easy to work with.

I wore this skirt to my Christmas party, and a few times since- it may have made it's way in to my everyday wardrobe too.  Its super comfortable, and easy to wear.  My go to is to pair it with a black top and a cardigan.

That's all there is to say about this pattern I've used before, but it's nice to make contemporary clothes along side the pretty frocks I love so much.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Blogger's Meet Up With Sew Essential


Hope you all had a lovely weekend- mine was filled with a fun country walk, visiting our friends in the Peak District on Saturday, and going to a bloggers meet up on Sunday with my ladies from Crafty Sew & So.  

I was so glad that there was a meet up local to me! I've been down to London before, and there is Sew Brum, but because I'm working in retail I can't usually take time off on a Saturday, plus a train ticket to London is usually £50!

It's great to meet other people who sew and think it's a perfectly normal thing to spend your time doing.  And, who you can talk sewing and dressmaking to without having to explain where all these random girls names come from!

This meet up was organised by Lucy, who writes the blog for sew an online emporium of sewing goodies, Kat who blogs at, and Samantha, from Crafternoon Tea Hostess.  

We met in the upstairs of the warehouse, which was set up to display the range of sewing machines and for tea and pastries- they'd picked up some gluten free biscuits for me too!  After a wee mingle, we headed down stairs to the main warehouse and spent some time shopping.  

They had a great selection of  products and fabrics.  It was really inspiring, Sarah and I took a lot away to consider in the development of our business. 

I picked up the perfect crepe fabric for my next costume project- I'm planning on dressing up as Agent Carter from the Marvel Universe to Leicester Comic Con, which involves wearing a beautiful blue 1940's dress- yay!

After shopping and noising about, we headed back up stairs for a quick craft session.  We each received a goodie bag, which included a hoop and needle, then Kat and Samantha opened up their boxes of scrap fabrics and we dove in.  

The best thing about crafting in groups is seeing the verity that come out of it- everyone was given the exact same resources and everyone made something different! These three are mine, Sarah's and Bekki's. 

The last stop of the day was in a sweet little cafe by a fishing lake.  They put on afternoon tea for us (again with a gluten free option) and this is where we really sat down to chew the fat.  

I had such a fun day, and I can't wait to go to Birmingham later this month for another meet up to go for dinner, this time organised by Charlotte at English Girl at Home.  Sarah and I are getting the train, should any Leicester folk want to join us.

I'd love to run a meet up in Leicester at some point if people are interested- we're happy to host at Crafty, and I'd love to meet more awesome sewers!  There is also a monthly group called Sew Sociable, which Sarah is involved with, I'm going to start going to that too.

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