Tag Archives: phoenix sewing machine

scandinavia quilt

My dad’s birthday was on Sunday, so I can finally blog the quilt I made him. Last year I wasn’t home for his birthday and then my sewing machine got broken and he only got something small for christmas, so really this quilt covers two birthdays and one christmas 😉
While I love bright, sunshiny colors and the look of patchwork I know my dad definitely likes a more subdued look and scandinavian colours. So when I found this red pinstriped linen blend I knew it was perfect. The backing is a plain dark blue and the plaid binding connects the two colours and livens it all up a bit (I think).

I had originally planned to machine quilt it but it just didn’t work at all with my treadle…no chance without a walking foot. So I sat down to cried a bit and then I picked myself back up and started handquilting. Inspired by Anna Maria Horners new post I did big stitches with embroidery floss (3 strands if anyone wants to know the particulars).
And then I looked at it and the bold, rough quilting looked just perfect for the overall look I wanted to achieve. I think I will do handquilting with embroidery floss from now on on all of my quilts…I love the look of it and it is nice and quick work.

Not that quick though…so when I found out I only had two and a half days to complete it (due to my dad being away on business the whole week until his birthday) I went into panic mode and spend those days quilting and sewing. I never would have believed it but in those two days I got it basted, quilted, bound, washed and dried (though I had to drive over to my mom’s to use her dryer).

Except for sewing the binding on on one side the whole quilt is entirely handsewn and I am pretty darn proud of it. Thankfully my dad loves it so it was definitely worth it.

Want to know one of my guilty sewing-secrets? I never use a hoop for embroidery or quilting…when I learned it I didn’t have one and when I finally bought one it drove me crazy and didn’t work for me at all. So I just stretch the fabric tight with my hands while quilting.
This picture actually has the truest colours for the lovely red fabric (and it was at the beginning of the handquilting…a few hours on my fingers looked considerably more covered in band aid).

dressmaking – my first dress

Dressmaking is FUN! Even though it took me many many many hours to draft a pattern (see this post here) and a lot of patience and seamripping and improvising to get this finished I am thrilled by the end result and can’t wait to make another item of clothing! I have never really sewn clothing before so on this project I not only learned to make patterns but also to make necklines, armholes, sleeves, buttonholes, darts and what not!

This dress looks pretty close to the vision I was trying to recreate and I love it! It has two darts at the back (not visible in the picture) and the skirt part is just a big rectangle which I ruffled to fit the length of the bodice (I prefer wearing it with that belt to emphasize the waist more).
It is made out of a silky soft blue poplin (which at 8€ a metre was pretty reasonable for german prices). It doesn’t wrinkle and you hardly have to iron it at all. It was lovely to sew with also.
I sewed it on my vintage Phoenix treadle machine which worked like a dream. I think treadling is it for me…at this point I find it hard to imagine ever sewing on an electric machine again!
I had to use my mom’s Pfaff to make the buttonholes and finish the inside seams with zig-zag stitch and found it so hard to adjust back to electric.
By the way Cal Patch suggests french seams in her book ‘Design-it-yourself clothes. Patternmaking simplified’ which I used to make the pattern. I just haven’t done french seams before and was already overwhelmed by all the new techniques I was learning making the dress…I’m saving the french seams for my next dress 😉

To the end I never managed to make the sleeves fit the armholes… no matter how often I altered the pattern they were always too big. I ended up making three pleats on each sleeve but in retrospect I should have ruffled the ca. 5 cm on top…would have looked neater I think.
The part that I really screwed up on is the neckline…I tried making my own bias tape and finishing in neatly but it just didn’t work at all! I came out all wrinkly 😦 Also it kind of creases between the neckline and the armholes rather annoyingly. I don’t mind too much though…all in all this dress is a raging success for me and I am so happy with it!