Sewing in a zip can be a bit of a pain. I tend to avoid it when I can, because of the hassle of remembering to buy the right length. And often they don’t sell the colour I want.

But sometimes there isn’t a way round it. For those times, this post on three easy ways to sew a zip is useful.

And while we are on the subject of zips, here is a post about invisible zips.

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Compass quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

I love a good compass block. And here are some absolute corkers from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

How they keep track of all those tiny pieces of fabric beats me. When I made a quilt of sample blocks, I included a compass. It was intended to have each piece cut from a different fabric. The experience of that one twelve inch block has never been repeated. And given the size of the “quilts to do list,” I don’t think it ever will be.

But it does mean that I have proper respect for the makers of these quilts:

And one that needs its own collage, so you can see the details:

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Custom fitting your sewing patterns

Today, I’ve got a collection of posts about dressmaking with a commercial pattern to share:

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Flowers and trees at the Festival of Quilts 2019

If you have ever tried to draw a tree properly, you will know that it is harder than it looks. Somehow, drawing the shapes you see doesn’t always lead to a credible tree picture. Which makes translating it into fabric even more impressive.

Flowers, being smaller, can be easier, but it can be difficult to maintain realism while simplifying the shapes into fabric.

Here are my tree and flower pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. My favourite is the tree with multi coloured bark, almost like flames laping up its trunk, with branches that are remeniscent of a maypole in full operation.

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My new sewing room friend

About a year ago, I made a doll who sits by the sewing machine and holds bits and bobs. I’ve been really pleased. She is a good worker.

But there is a problem. Gradually, all the pins are moving into the sewing room. I sit somewhere else to get myself organised, then I go into the sewing room, and put the pins in the doll’s pincushion when I take them out of the fabric.

So I needed to recruit another one so they can job share. The plan is that when the doll in the living room runs out of pins, I can swap her with the sewing room doll, who will have accumulated loads of pins.

I’ve had an old book for a long time abut the different ways children can make figures out of scraps. One idea in that book is to get a large bead, or a small ball, and glue it onto the top of a milk bottle. You then draw a face on the bead and make clothes out of paper. And you make hair by sticking knitting wool on the bead. This is all very well, but it reminds me of the time Blue Peter encouraged us to make a Dougal from an old washing up liquid bottle. Draw a face round the nozzle (nose), and stick knitting wool over the top and down the sides of the body. Except ours didn’t stick down the sides of the bottle. That was the end of Blue Peter makes for us. Anyway…

I’ve developed that idea, by using a wine bottle as a base, and adding a head and arms made of fabric. I’ve used some jelly roll strips that I’ve had in my stash for a while. I’m really pleased with the result.

I decided to write down what I did as I worked, so I’ve put the pattern on my Etsy shop.

 

 

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India Flint at the Festival of Quilts 2019

India Flint is a pioneer of eco printing. Here are some pictures of her exhibit at the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham:

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Log cabin at the Festival of Quilts 2019

Today’s theme is the log cabin block.

A scrappy  log cabin is great fun to do, but scale is important, as the block grows quickly.

Unless you are using tiny strips, which gives a lovely result. In one of these pictures, you can see my hand, for scale.

Some of these pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, have been included in previous posts. But that map is certainly worth another look:

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Clothing and dolls at the Festival of Quilts 2019

There are always some sections at these quilting events where things other than quilts are on display.

These three dimensional works often result in clothing, and in the case of the Festival of Quilts 2019, also dolls.

I’m not sure if I like the asymetric fronts of this military style jacket. I’m not convinced that there is enough difference.

But I do like the sleeves.

And here is a flavour of the other oarts of this section:

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Producing your own linen

Flax is a beautiful delicate flower. And it produces a fibre that has been in use for many centuries. I wonder when people started to turn against it just because it creases easily? Must look into that.

Anyway, a great deal of work goes into producing linen, as this flax timeline demonstrates. Those of us who are not in Sweden will have to adjust the plan, obviously, but quite a lot of it can be done outside, when the weather is nice. I don’t think I will be giving it a try yet.

This video from the Victoria and Albert museum is also interesting.

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Landscapes at the Festival of Quilts 2019

These landscape quilts from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham really show what can be done with a pictorial quilt.

Some are full blown pictures, while others use blocks to show the skyline in a different way.

This quilt of boats on a beach needs a collage of its own:

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