I’ve been trying to track down another seam ripper clipper to have at my embroidery machine and they’re hard as hen’s teeth to locate and get to Halifax. I bought my original online at Nancy’s Notions in Wisconsin – the tool isn’t expensive but the cost of getting one here is prohibitive! It got me thinking about what are my essential quilting tools.
Essential Quilting Tools
Here they are:
- a seam ripper clipper – it has a small but sturdy/strong point that easily slips under a 2.5mm stitch and fits nicely in my hand. Insert it under a stitch and when you continue pushing, it cuts the stitch on the sharpened interior edge below the point. I needed it yesterday when I had to take out 1000+ quilting stitches to redo the quilting. It’s a must have tool – way better than a conventional seam ripper because there’s less likelihood of cutting the fabric
- a self threading needle – I like to leave tails when I start and end embroideries/quilting which I then embed in the sandwich. A self threading needle with an open back end is easy to thread – place it in the fabric, push the threads into the open eye, pull thread through and trim
- very sharp small scissors – useful for lots of tasks including trimming threads close to the fabric; definitely essential when I’m doing appliqué work
- fine pointed 3.5″ tweezers – I can’t manage without these – they’re perfect for grabbing the pulled up bobbin thread when I’m starting a seam – I always have a pair right at hand at each of my machines. Perfect for pulling out loose threads when I’ve taken out a quilted seam.
- Frixion heat erase pens – I just finished the internal panel of the double convergence quilt I’m currently working on. I was doing an edge-to-edge quilting with three different embroideries adjusted to fit the quilt – I had to do a lot of marking to position the starts and ends of the embroideries/quilting elements. Press the panel and the markings disappear (I’m guessing they would reappear were I to take the quilt out into below zero weather or put it in the freezer….)
These are my five essential quilting/sewing tools; can’t function without them. I highly recommend having one of each at each machine in your sewing space.
Finally got the remaining two tunics done. My friend Janet suggested I add a cowl neck and it would have worked nicely but for the fact that I’d already cut these tunics out and didn’t have enough fabric to make a cowl neck scarf to wear with either. So crew necks I’ve got.
“Feathers” Flared Tunic #3
This is the same printed pattern as the second one I did, just in shades of black/grey/white. It’ll look good with a black turtleneck and pants.
“Grey” Flared Tunic #4
That’s it for garment sewing right now. I still have corduroy for a couple pairs of pants and I need to make another bedspread jacket for a friend but it’s back to quilting right now.
Fabricville was having a sale a couple of days ago for “elite club” members (I’ve been one for years since I often drop into the shop for fabric, notions,…). The poly/viscose fabric was half-price so I looked at the other bolts they had. I chose three more lengths to make tops – here is the second one completed. I liked the bright colours.
Second Flared Tunic
I have the other two lengths cut and ready to stitch up. I am aiming to do one today and probably the second tomorrow.
Two Flared Tunics Cut Out And Ready To Sew
These will replace the tunic tops I made last fall – the fabric pills badly (I have to shave it after every wearing) and they are just a tad snug in the bum. So they will go to Hand in Hand – the St. Vincent De Paul thrift shop in the area. These days my rule is: something new in the wardrobe means something out! My wardrobe is still embarrassingly large I’m just trying to keep it under control.
Came across a pretty poly/viscose knit the other day at Fabricville. Thought it would make up into an attractive flared tunic top.
Flared Knit Tunic
Very simple garment to make – a front, a back, sleeves and a band to finish the neck edge. It’s based on a Marsha McClintock pattern – “T-Shirt Trifecta”
Marsha’s patterns are all about hidden pockets everywhere for travelling. I made up View 2 originally but subsequently attached the diagonal top piece to the bottom and made a single front piece which I later flared a bit more than the pattern since the couple of tunics I made up were just a bit snug through the bum. I sewed the flared single piece front tunic in a black sweater knit last year. It fit well over a pair of jeans.
I’m happy with this latest tunic top which is comfortable and colourful. No pockets, though. To put them in the side seams will drag down the sides once anything is put in them. Same with pockets on the front because the fabric is soft and stretchy. So I have to wear this garment with pants that have pockets so I can carry all the stuff I carry in my pockets!
PS – I bought three more lengths of this poly/viscose fabric (different prints) today ( a half-price sale). Just finished cutting them out. Intending to replace the solid tunic tops I made last year with a fabric that pills like crazy – it needs to be shaved after every wearing. This fabric didn’t pill when I wore the tunic yesterday.
You might think I’ve not been doing much sewing/knitting but I’ve been busy with additions to my wardrobe.
First, a boiled wool jacket using Marcie Tilton’s V8430 jacket:
Marcie Tilton V8430
The boiled wool came from Blackbird Fabrics in Vancouver. I bought the aubergine which I thought would make a warm addition to my wardrobe.
A simple pattern with just two fronts, a back and sleeves which went together easily and because it’s boiled wool I didn’t need to finish edges! In fact there’s a dart at the bottom of the sleeve which is stitched by abutting the two edges and zigzagging it closed – doesn’t show but gives shape to the lower sleeve. I’m still debating whether to do something similar in the middle of the back at the neckline – I’ve a slight rounding of my back at the neck and I think the jacket would fall better in the back were I to make that tweak.
I chose the pattern because I thought the soft folds for the lapels wasn’t something I usually wear and would look “new”.
New Jacket/Sweater and Corduroy Pants – Front
With a new jacket/sweater I thought dark purple cords a good choice – I whipped those up two days ago.
New Jacket/Sweater and Corduroy Pants – Back
Taking pictures myself is extremely difficult – to position the camera involves twisting which causes the pants to show a bit of pull. I had to take the side seams in after I’d finished them – I didn’t take them in as much as I possibly could because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sit. I’ll see how they are after I’ve washed them – the fabric was washed before I used it but it will shrink a bit more, I’m sure, with further washing.
I have three more lengths of corduroy to make pants – I’m intending to get to at least one of those this weekend.
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I know Christmas is still two months away but a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about a simple-to-make something for the knitting ladies and other friends. I was looking at Ann Williamson‘s blog – she does beautiful garments and accessories using kimono silk which she buys from Ichiroya in Japan. She had some lovely pieced scarves in her shop – I remembered the kimono silk fabric I bought a couple of years ago. I have nothing specific in mind for the fabric – a while ago I attempted a simple silk jacket but it didn’t turn out well and I tossed it. I decided to use some from each bolt to make silk scarves.
This project isn’t meant to create an expensive, elaborate gift like Ann’s scarves are – just something simple, yet useful. Last year it was shoe bags, the year before zippered bags. Two weeks ago I cut 5′ lengths from each bolt – kimono bolts are 14″ wide by 10-12 yards in length. I split each length down the centre to give me two 7″ scarves.
Yesterday I set up my serger to stitch a narrow rolled hem and got to work – I did ten scarves. Today I completed the second batch of ten.
The scarves are long enough to wrap around my neck twice and tie in a loose overhand knot in the front. The silk is soft and smooth and will be warm to fill the neck of a winter coat. I’m pleased with how they turned out.
My next step is to figure out how to make “envelopes” using parchment paper as wrapping for each scarf.
This morning I finally stopped procrastinating on the wall art – I found myself starting on two unexpected projects. Yesterday I was going through fabric in my stash looking for fabric for the Federer piece and came across some Hawaiian bark cloth with large floral patterns which I thought could be turned into an interesting raw-edge appliqué piece on a raw natural silk background fabric:
Raw Edge Appliqué using Hawaiian Bark Cloth Floral Cut-outs
I cut the fabric in thirds, isolating one repeat of the pattern, fused Heat ‘N Bond Featherlite fusible web to the back of the fabric, fussy cut the flower/leaves elements, then fused them to a panel of natural raw silk (backed with Warm ‘n Natural quilt batting).
Now I need to go through my embroidery threads and pick out colours to use for securing and thread painting the raw-edge fabric elements.
I also got a second piece underway – I had a small leftover scrap of a modern floral which I’d used years ago to make a wide-brimmed summer hat. I thought the cut out flowers, placed randomly on a pieced background, would be an interesting vehicle for thread painting – I started that this afternoon. This piece will finish around 10″ x 12″ – it’s a test run to see where this idea can take me.
Raw Edge Appliqué – Modern Flowers on Pieced Background
So I’ve got two pieces to work on and maybe I’ll make some progress by the end of the weekend!
Wide-brim Summer Hat
[Here are instructions for making this wide-brim hat, if you’re interested.]