Saturday, 3 May 2014

Birthday present - Quiltofax

This make has been such a roller-coaster. I loved it, I loathed it but in the end it was a really great make. As I mentioned in my 'a little bit of everything' post, it was my mums birthday a few weeks ago and this year I decided to make her something with my new found sewing skills. It ended up being a somewhat belated present as I have been so busy at the weekends lately that I just didn't have an opportunity to make it before the big day. 

At the beginning of the year my mum completed a quilting course at The Stitchery in Glasgow. To say that she is now completely hooked is an huge understatement. After finishing her quilt at the class she was quick to put her new found skills to the test and is now whipping up sample blocks to test out different quilting techniques. She is also currently in the final stages of sewing a fantastic lap quilt for my living room. With this new found passion comes the inevitable fabric stashing and collecting of interesting shaped rulers, fabric markers, needles, rotary cutters and a whole lot more. So in an attempt to help with the organisation of all of these new tools, I set about looking for a pattern for a bag or such like.

In the beginning...
Luckily back in February my mum and I went to the Spring Quilt Festival at the Royal Highland Showground just outside Edinburgh. As a non quilter I still found the event really interesting, inspiring and I gained a huge respect for all those quilters who had entered the Scottish Quilt Championships. Their quilts were all on display at the show and even will my limited knowledge of quilting I could still see the amount of time and hard work that had gone in to every one of them.
Anyhoo, whilst we were having a look around the stands I came across Quilting Antics who were selling patterns for the Quiltofax by Denise Maguire. With all is pockets and even a little needle case this was the exact pattern I was looking for.

Work in progress - showing needle case open
Although this came together fairly easily I would say that this is not a pattern for the easily baffled. It took me an entire afternoon to cut everything out and label it all. Looking at all the pieces they made no sense to me at all. Normally you can tell the pattern pieces apart front, back, yolk, skirt etc. However, this was just a bunch of rectangles. having said that I managed to put it all together with a little logical thinking and reading the instructions very carefully it actually came together pretty well.

For some reason I didn't take any photos of the finished Quiltofax with the needle case open so I thought I would put this one in so you can see it. I like the way that is is off set from the center a little so when it is open it lays flat and still looks really neat and tidy.

Work in Progress - crafty use for hair clips
I ended up having to resort to hair pins to hold everything together whilst I attached the binding. The edge at the bottom of this photo had a total of 12 layers of fabric plus the wadding. With all this bulk my standard pins just weren't cutting the mustard as they were distorting all the layers (you can kinda see it in the next photo up). The hair pins worked great though and nothing moved out of place whilst I was stitching everything together. Also, this was the most I had ever sewn with my machine so, I was really pleased when it had no problem with it at all.

Work In Progress - Southern Right Whale (ish)
The first instruction in the pattern is to decide what design you are going to have on the front. I knew instantly what I wanted. I know it is not the first thing you think of when making sewing storage but I wanted a whale on the front of the Quiltofax. My mum has always loved whales and a couple of years ago we all went on a family holiday to Hermanus in South Africa where we did some whale watching. Therefore, I did my best to recreate the Southern Right Whale (the ones we saw on holiday) in felt and thread. 

Ta Da! Finished
So, here is my little whale in pride of place on the front of the Quiltofax. I used some flat sequins for eyes and some carefully placed french knots to look like barnacles.  I think he looks great swimming through the fishy fabric. Also, this was my first time using blanket stitch, I think it turned out quite well.

Quiltofax - Half open
This is the quiltofax half open. This reveals the small and large scissor pockets on the right with the strap to secure them. On the left there is several pouches for holding pens, fabric markers, rullers etc. as well as a large zipped pocket. The pattern also included instructions for a small pin cushion and a take measure strap. I decided not to add these as I didn't think my mum would really need them.
Quiltofax - Outside
The quilofax is finished off with a binding around the outside. As I have never done any quilting before this was the first time I had ever used binding and so I had to check a couple of YouTube videos just to check I was doing the mitred corners correctly. After the first one the rest were really simple. 
Also there is a nice long strip of Velcro on the back to allow for expansion as you put more things inside.
Quiltofax - Inside
This is the inside of the finished Quiltofax. You can see how many pockets there are in this photo, not forgetting the zipped pocket and the other two big middle and side ones. This photo also shows  the needle case after I trimmed the felt back a little and attached the press stud. The needle case is not very big but is good for those needles that you need to keep on hand. I can see a larger needle case being made from the left over fabric some time in the future.  

My mum and I in Hermanus on a whale tail bench!
To finish off, here is a quick pic that was taken of my mum and I when we were whale watching on a family holiday in South Africa.
Happy Birthday Mum, Love you loads xx

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