Thursday, 27 May 2010

How I got my money's worth out of some spotty fabric

I love patchwork, I do. I buy big bits of fabric sometimes (like, whole metres!) and I think, this time I'm going to definitely make something that's all the same colour. But it never works like that. I think patchwork is for people who can't commit to a whole item in just the one fabric. I don't know if there's a correlation between patchwork and complicated relationship histories but if there is I don't bear it out, because I appear to be programmed to stay with the same mate right until death, like a big boring codependent swan. One of the nice things about patchwork, though, is that you keep finding bits of fabric that you thought you'd used up, and you can look at it and think, look there's that bit left over from The Great Quilt Of 2005 or whatever, and now it's in my skirt. For example: years ago, when I first got my sewing machine, I bought some Kaffe Fassett fabric from Liberty on a weekend in London. I bought half a metre. I think I also bought a book of Biggy Print knitting patterns as well (I made a really nice Biggy Print scarf – this was when I'd just started knitting again and it was basically stocking stitch all the way down – but it felted. I don't think I even washed it: I think it was one of those wools that just felts really easily. Or perhaps I have a hot, damp neck? I don't think I do.)

Anyway, I bought half a metre of purple spotty Kaffe Fassett fabric, because it made me think of amoebas, and when the woman serving me asked me what I was going to do with it, I said, 'I'm going to make a bag!', confidently. I'm not sure what kind of bag I thought I was going to make with only half a metre, no lining, no interfacing, no pattern and no skill. It turned out, I was going to make this kind:
This might have been the first thing I ever sewed on my own (I actually think it was). And you see, even at that early stage I couldn't just leave it be, I had to find some other fabric from somewhere and use the spotty stuff as appliqué. With sequins sewn in some of the spots. I think I was going to sew sequins in all of them but I got bored and went to the pub. I do use this bag though, you can see it is stuffed full (with the sequins actually, ready for a Sequin Emergency).

The spotty fabric disappeared then for a bit, and I lost it. Like the One Ring. Then it reappeared, not via Gollum but via me clearing out a cupboard. So I used it for the Scrappy Cushion which was in Sew Hip. You will see there is a purple and orange theme. You know how people always tell you to trust your instinct with colours/ there is no right and wrong/ all colourways are welcome in the Happy World of Craft? Look at my cushion and beware. (It's comfy, though).
Then I used it as the top of my Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillow. I started making this after my job ended last year. This was at a point in my life when stress had caused me to have no powers of concentration and the Gum Drop Pillow took months (with a hiatus halfway through). If I had known at that point that one year on I would have sufficient capacity for learning to be able to now thread a serger, I would have dropped down dead of shock. I moved Take A Break and the tv remote off the rug to take this picture. That's called styling.
Then I used a bit in a knitting needle case I made for my mother at Christmas. I didn't take a picture sadly but it was modelled on the Colored Pencil Roll from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts (there is a nice version here) and it looked very cool, possibly setting in train my current obsession for Rainbow Patchwork items.

Well, the purple spotty fabric has reappeared again, because I am using it in the Rainbow Patchwork Skirt which I mentioned yesterday. I'm hoping to have finished this monster tomorrow so I can take pics (and move on with my life), but in the meantime here's a taster.
This is the last layer waiting to be serged, hemmed, ruffled and sewn on. It's so long I draped it from my tree to show you the magnitude. Unfortunately the man from a few doors down was wheeling his dustbin back while I was doing this and gave me what is often described as an old fashioned look. Clearly that man is not used to people taking quirky winsome photos for blogs.

I shall go now and eat toast, because there's ruffling to be done, and now I've realised the extent of it I think I need to build up my strength. À demain.