Monday, 17 February 2014

Thank you to my Secret Valentine!



Made by Amy
A pouch sewed for me by Amy!

I love getting mail!  So I was very thrilled when I opened my mailbox today and found a package addressed to me. It was my present in the Secret Valentine Exchange

The lovely Amy from California sent me this very pretty handmade pouch. It is so cute! Things this shape are so hard to make - there are corners, and whenever I try it, I always put the zipper on really wrong. But this pouch is beautifully sewed.  And look at the cool lining inside:


Made by Amy

Very funky! 
This will be perfect for taking needles and thread around the house with me.

Amy, thank you so much for making me something so cute and thoughtful. 

For more of the gifts swapped in the Secret Valentine Exchange, check out the Flickr pool.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

My Secret Valentine: A Hand-Sewn Wrap Skirt

Alabama Chanin-style hand-sewn wrap skirt by Cicely Ingleside
The front of the wrap skirt
I am very excited that I am taking part in a "Secret Valentine Exchange" between sewers. I have read about exchanges like this on a variety of blogs, and thought it would be fun. Then, the lovely blogger Sanae Ishida (beautiful understated, Japanese-inspired kids' clothes, gorgeous gouache illustrations) decided to organize such an exchange and opened it to anyone who wanted to participate. So, sign me up!

I received the name of the person to whom I was to send a present. It had to be one thing, handmade, using supplies I already owned, and which would fit in a large envelope. From scoping out her internet presence, I had a vague idea of what my secret valentine might like, but no idea what size she was.

I decided to make a wrap skirt, since it would be adjustable. Lately, I have been making some Alabama Chanin-style clothes, which are made by hand. I haven't posted any of them yet, because I am very behind on my posting (aaagh!!), but I am really enjoying using comfortable knit fabrics, and doing some  relaxing hand-stitching. It is more time-consuming than machine sewing, but still less so than knitting.

Alabama Chanin-style hand-sewn wrap skirt by Cicely Ingleside
The back
There were lots of wrap skirt tutorials online, but most of them involved using the measurements of the person the skirt was intended to fit, which I didn't have. So I decided to improvise. I cut an XL simple skirt using a pattern from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, which has a front and back, and then I cut an extra front piece. I cut both a black jersey top layer, and a white jersey bottom layer. I hand-sewed together all the pattern pieces (there were 6 of them).

I used a stencil I already had cut for a previous project: the Magdalena stencil. I had downloaded it from the Alabama Chanin website, and used my Silhouette cutting machine to cut it. I painted sections of the skirt using the stencil with blue fabric paint. (According to Alabama Chanin techniques, I was supposed to sew the skirt together after painting it, but I did it before-hand. Unfortunately, some paint did seep through to the white layer. Ah, I live and learn.)

Alabama Chanin-style hand-sewn wrap skirt by Cicely Ingleside

Then, with the two layers together, I did "reverse appliqué": I hand-stitched around each shape with button-craft thread. (I love this stuff. It is so strong. I am totally using it for buttons and tons of other stuff now that I know it exits.) Then I cut out most of the painted shape in the black, leaving the white layer underneath showing.

Alabama Chanin-style hand-sewn wrap skirt by Cicely Ingleside
The inside front layer.

I really enjoyed making this and I hope the person who receives it will like it too. If it is too small or too large, hopefully she will be able to make it fit. (That's the big advantage of sending a sewn present to another sewer!)

Alabama Chanin-style hand-sewn wrap skirt by Cicely Ingleside
The wrap skirt all laid out.
If you are interested in seeing a sneak peek of more of the items in the Secret Valentine Exchange, check out the Flickr group here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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