Quilted Infinity Dots Coat: Easy Cute Straight Sewing

Ivy Arch quilted infinity dots coat

The quilted square coat I made in 2015 from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing book is one of my most worn and loved homemade items. Three years on and the book still isn't available in English translation - I really think publishers are missing an opportunity here! It is as essential as the Stylish Dress Book to Japanese inspired dressmaking and a book I wouldn't want to be without.

With spring in the air, I decided my recently culled wardrobe could accommodate another...

Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing

I used a pinky red cotton fabric which is covered in zillions of tiny lime-green infinity dots (material originally bought for a dress). The lining is an off-register (market bargain) Dutch wax print fabric in ivory with a wavy print in shades of pink and yellow. I quilted the outer fabric with the last of the thin wadding left over from my quilted ukulele bag making days, then made up the lining separately and bagged out the lining and coat together. 

Channel quilting meditation

The quilted layer is thin but substantial enough for the coat to retain a cocoon shape. The cotton lining adds another layer of warmth and comfort making this the perfect coat for our cool spring (so far) and has plenty of room for layering on colder evenings and autumn days. 

Ivy Arch quilted coat

Quilted cocoon coat detail

Bauhaus Self-Draft Kimono

The extraordinary colourful fabric I used to make this self-draft kimono was found in my local fabric shop. It's lawn cotton and I think is by Peter Horton Fabrics, however I there is no imprint on the selvedge and I can't find it on the Peter Horton Fabrics website. The pattern looks very much like Liberty's iconic Bauhaus furnishing fabric designed in 1972 by Collier Campbell. 

Both this and Collier Campbell's fabric are undoubtedly influenced by Gunta Stölzl's complex tapestry Schlitzgobelin Rot-Grün (Red-Green Slit Tapestry). Stölzl was a German textile artist who played a fundamental role in the development of the Bauhaus school’s weaving workshop. She was head of the faculty from 1925-1931 and developed it to become one of the school’s most successful facilities. Stölzl applied ideas from modern art and mathematics to her practice and set a precedent for industrial weaving and dyeing in the late 1920s. 

Bauhaus Women by Ulrike Müller
Bauhaus Women by Ulrike Müller
Gunta Stölzl as seen in Bauhaus Women by Ulrike Müller
Gunta Stölzl 1897-1983
Gunta Stölzl's drawings and ideas for textiles
Stölzl drafted a great many sketches in preparation for
her weaving, tapestries and wall hangings

My simple kimono pattern is self-drafted by measuring and tracing around a favourite well worn and washed H&M kimono. 

Self drafting a kimono

Pinterest has dozens of simple self-draft kimono pins (some of which claim to take 30 minutes to make) which are useful as a guide, but I found this Madebyaya video most instructive.

Bauhaus Kimono by Ivy Arch

The border panel is cut from patched together pieces of Japanese indigo cotton fabric, left over from making this Gather One-Piece dress.

Kimono border panel

Stitching detail

My finished kimono cover-up is simple, colourful and a perfectly clashes with all my printed dresses.

Not quite ready for my close up!

Square Blouse: Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing

A two hour break from General Election fever is all the time you need to run up this simple Square Blouse from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing book.

This is made for my daughter and she chose the fabric herself from the fabric stall at Worthing's Wednesday Market during the half term school holiday last week. It was an absolute steal at £1 a metre!

There was no need to draft a sewing pattern, instead I measured out the dimensions directly onto the fabric, hemmed the edges, stitched the side seams and cut a neckline. The trickiest part was making bias binding from this very slippery fine material, but thankfully once carefully pinned into place it stitched together easily.

I love the drape of the finished blouse and happily my daughter is delighted with it too. I'd forgotten how much I like this sewing book and still have many untried patterns to make.

Four Decades of Gudrun Sjödén

Gudrun Sjödén's watercolours, textile and fashion designs

Gudrun Sjödén: Four Decades of Colour & Design celebrates over 40 years of colourful design and textiles by my favourite fashion designer and offers an insight into her creative inspiration and design process.

Gudrun Sjödén: Four Decades of Colour & Design

This small retrospective exhibition at London's Fashion and Textile Museum shows Gudrun's watercolours, sketches and early handwritten catalogues as well as textiles, trinkets and inspiration collected on her travels around the world. Gudrun's colourful fashion designs are represented in a display of accessorised outfits from the archives alongside stunning pieces from her latest collections (and a preview of what's in store for Autumn 2017).

At the launch of Gudrun Sjödén: Four Decades of Colour & Design

Today Gudrun Sjödén is widely recognised as a pioneer of sustainable fashion and the exhibition highlights how environmental thinking is at the core of every collection. For over 40 years she has been making clothes for women often disregarded by the mainstream fashion industry and has created beautiful, colourful clothes that are works of art in themselves.

Fashion and Textile Museum, London

The show is part of the Festival of Textiles and runs until 7th May 2017. It's well worth a trip up to London to see this, and to enjoy the accompanying displays at FTM too!

Floral Circle Grainline Farrow

Grainline Farrow dress by Ivy Arch in Sevenberry Floral Circle

Since sewing my first Grainline Farrow dress I have made three more, two in novelty print cotton fabrics (glimpse them here and here) and this one in Sevenberry's Floral Circles - my favourite so far.

Sevenberry Floral Circle Canvas Cotton

The material is a lightweight canvas cotton and I have found it hardly creases, even after being worn all day at work. Any minor crinkling drops out if I hang it up over night, ready for another day's wear. It looks smart and is a statement of cheerful intent.
Grainline Farrow dress by Ivy Arch

I bought the fabric at Worthing's More Sewing who currently have a super range of bright and interesting dressmaking materials, so many Farrow dress possibilities...

Ivy Arch: Farrow in the wild

Fruit Pop Colours and Bauhaus Elegance from Gudrun Sjödén

Ivy Arch wears Gudrun Sjöden Spring 2017

Gudrun Sjoden's patterned long cardigans have become an essential part of my year-round wardrobe so I eagerly awaited the landing of this season's Macau cardi-jacket.
Gudrun Sjödén Macau cardigan coat and organic linen dress Spring 2017

The Macau is an eco cotton and wool jacquard knit of five different intricately patterned rectangular panels in contrasting colours which have a pleasing patchwork effect. It has a slightly felted texture, drop shoulder sleeves and a roomy A-line shape. I was immediately drawn to the Goldochre version in hues of strawberry pink, pineapple yellow and gauva green, but also had to try the elegant Graphite in tones that remind me of sepia photographs of Bauhaus Women of the late 1920s and early 30s.

It's a wonderful garment to wear and as well as looking superb with any of Gudrun's clothes it also works well with all my A-line handmade dresses. 
Fruit pop colours of the Macau cardigan coat

The other stand-out pieces in Gudrun's Spring 2017 collection are the Nordic hued and Japanese influenced broad stripe dress in linen and eco-cotton worn with a cotton organdie petticoat with a dramatic open-work lace border. I love the square cut neckline and bodice of the frock and the dressing-up element of adding a soft ruffled layer underneath. It feels like fairy tale costume and swooshes dramatically when I walk. Soft edged, colourful power dressing for the 21st century.
Gudrun's woven linen/cotton blend dress has beautiful embroidered detail on the back!

See more of Gudrun's new season treats in her Spring Magazine.
Gudrun Sjoden Spring 2017 delights

From 25 April – 7 May 2017 the exhibition Gudrun Sjödén: Four Decades of Colour & Design celebrates over 40 years of colourful expression by my favourite Swedish designer and textile artist as part of Fashion and Textile Museum's Festival of Textiles 2017. See you there!

Grainline Farrow Dress made from a Storchenwiege

Ivy Arch Grainline Studio Farrow Dress

Seeing Lempo Bee's version of Grainline Studio's Farrow Dress on Instagram made me want to make one too.  I downloaded the sewing pattern but then dithered awhile and allowed other projects to overtake priority for making this lovely looking dress. I even bought fabric to make the dress with, then lost confidence to cut into new material for an untried pattern so turned to my stash to see if there was something else I could test the pattern out on first.

Inside one of my fabric stash boxes I found the long woven organic cotton material which was a baby-carrier wrap I used to carry my baby daughter in, some 11 years ago!
   This Storchenweige wrap had been an expensive purchase in cash-strapped days. Having had a difficult time in childbirth and a slow recovery, I was very weak in the months afterwards and found I couldn't bear the weight of her easily using other slings. (I'd tried a back-breaking Baby Bjorn and an utterly useless wring sling thing). The Storchenweige proved to be wonderful. It was wholly supportive and comfortable and I loved every minute of carrying her. As my strength increased I could walk fair distances while she slept cradled in the wrap. Sweet happy memories, and for this reason I have kept it for all these years.
  Noticing the wrap folded up in my dressmaking fabric box it reminded me of Ace and Jig's clothing and suddenly seemed to be perfect fabric for a test-run Farrow dress.

Diagonal front seams of the Farrow dress.

There wasn't quite enough fabric to perfectly match the stripes, so I decide to go with the flow and have gone for a match and mis-match effect. I altered the neckline of the Farrow sewing pattern as I wanted it to fit easily over my head without a button fastening. Other than that I followed the sewing instructions.

The Farrow Dress, two views.

The sleeves are a dream to wear with ease of arm movement (just as Grainline Studio promised in their blog). I love the front pockets, diagonal seams, and the lack of bust darts. Wearing the fabric that once wrapped my baby feels like I am being hugged!

A finished Farrow by Ivy Arch

All the stripes, all the directions!

Corduroy Contemplations: Ottobre Art Teacher Dress and another Esme

Ottobre Art Teacher Dress in Needlecord made by Ivy Arch

It's two years to the month that I made my first Ottobre Art Teacher dress and I can't fathom why it's taken me so long to reprise this super sewing pattern. The dress is a very quick sew and easy and comfortable to wear. It's perfect for the autumn and winter months and I think would work well in heavy linen, flannel and denim as well as corduroy.

Art Teacher dress in printed needlecord by Ivy Arch

This is my third Art Teacher dress (I made a second one in fleece) and I have to say it's pretty perfect in corduroy. The fabric is a Japanese cotton needlecord bought from Worthing's More Sewing last week.

Colourful corduroy Art Teacher dress

It had been a while since I visited the More Sewing shop and the selection of colourful quality fabrics they now stock is a delight. On my recent visit the small shop was packed with women attending a dressmaking course and I'm sure the convivial atmosphere contributed to my carefree fabric splurge. I also bought some turquoise printed corduroy from which I made another Esme dress.

Turquoise corduroy Esme dress made by Ivy Arch

Rainbow Forest Fen Dress

Rainbow Forest Fen Dress by Ivy Arch

I made this Fen dress back in May but wasn't entirely happy with it at the time so it hung unworn and unblogged at the back of my wardrobe. Sorting through clothes for autumn I tried it on again and felt entirely differently about it. This time round the thick linen/cotton mix fabric with it's bright print of rainbows, clouds and forests seemed to perfectly fit the season, and the cut and shape of the Fen dress felt comfortable and perfect for autumn layering.

Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen Dress made by Ivy Arch

The fabric is another purchase from Worthing's Eclectic Maker. It's by Momo for Moda Fabrics and is from her Rainbow Forest range.

Fen dress pocket

The Fen's neckline and boxy fit had initially felt too wide and baggy across my small shoulders, but worn with a vest or t-shirt underneath feels comfortable. I love the dropped hemline and the gathered waist, and I adore the pockets.  

Fen dress details with rainbows, flowers and trees

Fancy Tiger Crafts have made two gorgeous winter versions of their Fen pattern and I'm now tempted to make another, in cozy plaid flannel too.

Shoegazing in the autumn garden

Happy 7th Birthday Wukulele!

Happy Birthday Wukulele!

The Autumn Equinox seems a fitting time to share my celebratory photos for Wukulele's seventh birthday party uke jam which took place at Worthing Rowing Club last Sunday.
Wukulele party time at Worthing Rowing Club

We are the longest running uke jam in Sussex and probably the jolliest (definitely the most likely to wear party hats). Over the years members have come from far and wide and some have happily gone on to form their own uke jams in neighbouring towns, growing our ukulele community. Wukulele continues to attract newcomers and new strummers and today we are in as strong voice and as purposeful in pluck as at our very first uke jam seven years ago!

Happy Birthday Wukulele! Celebrating 7 years of ukulele joy in Worthing

You can read our story, see more photos and download our world famous free ukulele songbooks here.

Happy Wukulele!
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