Category Archives: stashbusting

Some Dyeing and some Dresses

My Merchant & Mills Curlew dress.

The colour is more realistic in the photo taken on the stairs. It’s made of the undyed Irish linen and I’ve used Earl Grey tea to get the gold colour – I am so pleased with it!

The Facts:

Pattern Changes: I shortened the sleeves. I made the top so I didn’t make a toile.

Sewing: I sewed most of the seams by hand and the rest using my 1930s hand cranked Singer. The dress is bias cut so my wonky handsewing holds it quite well. I could have used my modern Pfaff with its zigzag stitch but I wanted to take my time over it.

Dyeing

I made the dress first

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This is the original colour.

Then I made Earl Grey tea with about fifteen used bags (store them in the freezer until you have enough), strained the tea and heated the dress with the tea. Left the dress to cool in the tea and then hung it in the shade to dry. Left it two days and then rinsed it, spun it gently and left it to dry in the shade.

I like the Earl Grey colour better than the more orangey shades of English Breakfast tea and I think I’ll try it again for something else.

I don’t usually post everything I make but I like this batik dress. it’s getting a lot of wear in the warmer weather we’ve been having.

The Merchant & Mills Bantam dress.

I’ve also made tops from this pattern. They are really good with jeans and don’t take much fabric so leftovers are used up.

The Bantam has a shirt style so the back is lower than the front. I quite like that, what do you think?

And here’s one of my attempts to cheer up every day wear.

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Just added for fun!

No pattern. This is just rectangles tucked to fit.

And for those of you waiting for the tunic

The colour doesn’t show up well on the actual tunic so I’ve included the parcel I made for leaf printing to get a better idea.

The sage leaves became blobs (pretty deep yellow blobs though!) rather than leaves when I tried to print with them. I don’t think I bundled them up tightly enough. If I had enough sage I would use it to dye a whole garment – the yellow really is beautiful.

I got interested in the marks the copper pipes from the hot water tank – so I made some more by wrapping the tunic around the pipes. I think the copper enhanced the yellow rather than made a dye themselves, although if you know about this I’d be glad to hear from you.

The tunic is in store waiting to be decorated further. I think it would benefit from fancy threads to enhance the pattern the copper pipes made.  I’m thinking about it.

So that’s it. I haven’t been keeping up with what you’ve been up to so I’ll be around to your blog to check up on your activities very soon.

Have a lovely week.

Norma x

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Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, sewing, slow dyeing, slow fashion, solar dyeing, stashbusting, textiles

Victorian Style Petticoat for a 1930s Skirt

It proved impossible to find a secondhand silk dress to line this oneyearoneoutfit 1930s skirt. It’s made of Welsh wool tweed and needs something underneath to complete it. If I could’ve sourced some very lightweight undyed Irish linen it would have made a great lining. It was not to be.

Instead, I decided I’d have to make a petticoat to work with it. I was inspired by the lovely cotton lace I was given and some white cotton lawn from my stash made it possible.

The top of the petticoat uses one width of the 115cm wide fabric and the bottom frill is 150cm wide. It was the only way to get a long swishy petticoat out of 1.5m of fabric.

Unlike the Victorian petticoat it resembles, it has elastic at the waist. It has French seams, a rolled hem and I’ve satin stitched the lace to the petticoat. All techniques used in the 1930s but I did them all by machine.

I couldn’t resist some handsewing so there’s white cross stitching in cotton perle on the gathered seam.

I’ve used cotton threads throughout so that I can dye the petticoat in the future if I want to. Interestingly, the very fine cotton thread I used for all the sewing behaved well even when stitching the elastic in. It needed to be upright on the sewing machine spindle because it was straight wound onto the bobbin.

It doesn’t count towards oneyearoneoutfit because it isn’t local fabric or thread and I’ve no idea where the elastic comes from, but it does make the skirt wearable. A wool skirt with no lining teamed with a too short petticoat would never get worn, but this combination made me feel fabulous when I wore it. And that’s what we’re all looking for from our clothes, isn’t it?

Thanks for dropping by

Norma x

 

 

 

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Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s, Clothes, dressmaking, fashion, history, sewing, stashbusting, textiles

Scrap Happy April – in Linen

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Back view of my linen tunic made from dressmaking scraps accumulated over quite a few years.

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There’s so much of the bright blue because I thought I was buying narrower fabric.
I’m joining Scrap Happy April over at Tall Tales from Chiconia. Why not take a look?

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Filed under Clothes, scraps, sewing, stashbusting, textiles

Dyeing for the Scrap Quilt

Some of the blocks for my scrap double bed quilt.

I thought I had plenty but I had done my calculations on 12 inch blocks not the 10 inch ones I was actually working on.  Oh dear!

I searched around for more scraps that could be included and cut them out but there weren’t enough. I went for a long walk and came up with this.

Dyeing a piece of self patterned white cotton fabric leftover from the quilt I made for my brother’s wedding several years ago. Enough to make borders. The revolting looking dyestuff is coffee grounds collected and saved in the freezer. It produced a lovely coffee colour!

I used milk as a mordant and left the fabric soaking for 24 hours, stirring and turning from time to time.

I didn’t solar dye this fabric because it was too big for any jar I have and at this time of year would take too long. So I waited for the solar panels to kick in, brought the fabric and dyestuff slowly to the boil, turned off the power and left them to cool naturally.

The only drawback is the difficulty of getting the coffee grounds off the surface of the fabric: a lot of rinsing and flapping in the breeze did it. On the plus side, the dye pot contents can be thrown on the compost heap without fear. They’d have been there anyway if I hadn’t been saving them.

I went through my wadding scraps but can’t come up with anything like enough to piece them to double bed size so I’ll have to buy wadding.

I have plenty of backing choices in store, including the good bits of old sheets or maybe pieced from large leftovers.

I can’t get any further until I have the wadding as I plan to strip piece columns straight to the wadding and backing. Take a look at Mary Fogg’s work if you you want to see  wonderful quilts made using this method.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

PS. Linking this to Scrap Happy March.

 

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Filed under dyeing, patchwork, quilts, scraps, sewing, stashbusting, textiles

Scrap happy February

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A different way of using up my scraps – a fabric pot made with fairly stiff string and the scraps from a hand dyed quilt. Shame not to use them.

There are plenty of instructions to make fabric pots out there on YouTube but these are the basics:

Cut or tear strips of fabric about 1 inch or 3/4 inch wide – depends on the thickness of your string – and wrap the strips tightly around the string making sure that no string shows. Start coiling your string and zigzag stitch the coils together.

My machine can cope with fairly tough string and rope given a jeans needle and some very strong thread – machine quilting thread, hand quilting thread (has to be used on the upright spindle of my sewing machine as the thread is wound straight) and semi-industrial thread.

New strips of fabric are wrapped in as you go along.  When the base is large enough, tilt the pot to make the sides. Keep going until you have the size you want, then neatly sew in the ends of the string and fabric.

I cut my fabric on the straight grain as this is the neatest way – if you use bias strips it’s hard to finish neatly at the end – but practise will show you what’s best for you.

It’s not an easy technique to describe and is better demonstrated – if there is any interest I could do a picture tutorial.

I made several pots before I worked out how to get them looking right. Since then I have made dozens including tiny ones with crochet cotton inside and a wool tweed one with no string inside. It’s something I love doing.

I collect my eggs in a fabric pot and I carry my shopping in one and they’re all made from leftover fabric.

 

The shopping basket is made with rope bought from the local farmer’s store. All the fabrics are leftovers – my own and other people’s.

Rosyragpatch’s blog has the original quilt here if you’re interested.

Linking to Tall Tales from Chiconia –  Scrap Happy February. Why not pop over and see what other people have done with their scraps.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

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Filed under dyeing, fabric bowls, fabric pots and bags, scraps, sewing, stashbusting, textiles

Just a little thing

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Star Cushion

I made this a while ago now and never blogged it. I used English paper piecing to make the star and then machine appliqued it to the background. The quilting was by machine – just an outline, nothing fancy. Some of these dressmaking fabrics will also be part of my ongoing scrap quilt.

Another stash bust! I’ll get the room sorted in the end.

1930s Dress Progress

After much thought, I am pretty certain that Irish linen will be my fabric. I have just requested a sample in any lavender / purple shade. I don’t want to start my toile until I know what the fabric’s going to be.

I would like to use more local fabrics in my wardrobe – I have been reading about One Year One Outfit here and here – and I am very tempted to sign up. I’ve made a pinstripe skirt from wool fabric woven in Yorkshire and I know there are knitting wools from UK sheep but I think it would be really interesting to find more local fabrics and use them. What about local buttons and threads? It would take a lot of research.

Have you ever thought about dressing more locally?

Solar Dyeing

I took some fabrics out of jars today – results to be posted soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

 

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Filed under 1930s, dresses, dressmaking, patchwork, quilts, sewing, stashbusting, textiles

I’m on a Mission….Stashbusting!

Scrap blocks

I found the three inch windmill blocks in a drawer. I cannot remember when they were put together, but it must be a long time ago as I’m a bit better at matching points now. The individual pieces are tiny so I don’t think errors like that will show up – the quilt will be double bed size and these blocks make up only a tiny part of the whole.

I’m trying to clear myself some space in the room where I sit and sew. The amount of stuff I have in cupboards and drawers is invading my head as well as the room. If only I could get rid of my chest of drawers ….. so I’m on a stash busting mission. I went through all my scrap boxes and slightly bigger boxes trying to get fabrics which would blend. There are dressmaking leftovers from the late 1980s and early 1990s, recent leftovers, tiny bits of quilt fabric and because there wasn’t quite enough, my solar dyed pieces.

I’ll machine piece into 3 inch blocks before assembly. I want to produce one of those really old fashioned unplanned quilts such as our foremothers made out of every last leftover bit of fabric. And just in case you’re wondering, I am still hand sewing the tumbling blocks but that’s only for when a bit of hand sewing is needed.

After reading this post from Kate I am going to piece the wadding too and maybe the good bits of my stashed old sheets for the backing.

 

Remember the solar dyeing? Remember the summer?????

These were previously leftover pieces, some of them very small. I’ve cut them all up to include in this scrap quilt and I’m fascinated that every tiny piece is different. So much more interesting than the bits of commercial plain fabric I cut up.

1930s Dress Update

I am toying with the idea of dyeing my own fabric for my 1930s dress and maybe trying to get some shade variation. Only trouble is I think I want lavender or maybe purple and I don’t think I’ll get that with a natural dye. I’ll keep on thinking.

1,000 mile update

74 miles by foot and bike this month – weather forced me into the gym instead and I don’t count indoor miles.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

 

 

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Filed under 1,000 mile challenge, 1930s, dressmaking, dyeing, patchwork, quilts, sewing, solar dyeing, stashbusting, textiles, traditional quilts

Some Quilts in Progress

Detail - Tumbling Blocks

The idea behind this quilt is to use only fabrics and techniques that could have been used in the 1890s. As many of you will know, I have been making it for a very long time. But look! It’s growing!

I haven’t counted how many pieces it will need but I think the finished article will probably have more than 2,000 pieces. I get tired of doing it and put it aside for a while but every so often I get going again.  I’ve used my stash (once extensive and now rapidly declining), bought a bag of fabric in a charity shop, swapped pieces and been given some by generous quilters. One day I’ll be able to show you the finished article.

Landscape quilt

Another English paper pieced quilt

Landscape Quilt Detail

I plan to cut this one into three and make generous sized bags. The fabrics are silk and the handles and trim will be cut from my silk evening skirt – made by me and worn to a New Year’s party a few year’s ago. I used the leftover fabric for the binding.

Whatever possessed me to make something and wear it only once???

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

 

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Filed under quilts, stashbusting, textiles, traditional quilts