A little bit crafty

3" & 4" pin cusions

3″ & 4″ pin cushions

I have yet another little ditty to share with you this week, which is again steering slightly away from the norm for me. I noticed a couple of months ago, one of my sewing friends has a rather fabulous pin cushion so I decided to tell her so “I’ve got to get me one of those little beauties, it’s gorgeous” I said. Rather than telling me where she got it from she suggested making each other one. My first reaction was, what a great idea, my second reaction was, I make clothes I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to make a pin cushion!

At the time I was in the process of making a couple of projects for sewing-online and didn’t really want to multitask by starting something else (that is my excuse and I am sticking to it). The weeks went by and I continued to make my clothes, still conscious that I hadn’t attempted to start the pin cushion (talk about elephant in the room).

Prompted on by my husband I decided to finally take the bull by the horns and have a go, Firstly I looked into what would be needed to stuff it and then the design itself. Due to this being my first attempt I decided on a basic one, constructed from four pieces of fabric, all of which are leftovers from previous garments I have made. These are all sewn to create a rectangle, the corners are then brought together leaving one of the seams free for the innards. This consisted of part rice and part soft doll stuffing, I used the rice for two reasons, one being to weigh it down at the base and the other to absorb any moisture to stop the pins from rusting. The middle was pulled tight with cotton and the button put in place to give a decorative finish, and there we have it a cute little pin cushion, which has now been sent to my friend (along with some dressmaking fabric) and gratefully received.

Fabric received from one of my friends

Fabric received from one of my friends

Knowing I was about to receive a pressy in the post from another of my sewing friends, I made another pin cushion and sent that in the post too, It has been an exciting week swapping fabric and goodies with my new found sewing pals, it all adds to what has become a fantastic and rewarding pastime. It will be great to see what they decide to create and just as much fun deciding what to make myself out of my new fabric stash.

The pin cushion received from my friend


Two left feet


The little beauty in all its glory

Evening everyone, I thought I would share this little tale with you all, you never know, one of you may come across the same problem I did, or you could read this and think what a numpty.

You might recall I bought a new sewing machine a couple of months ago (whispers under my breath) after my old sewing machine had a melt down and refused to load the bobbin.

I totally love my new machine, it is so quiet I can’t always tell if it’s sewing or not, I have to pause every now and again just to check.

Inserted zip

My concealed zip, fits like a glove

However, I have been struggling of late to insert concealed zips, so much so that they have been unpicked many many times (much more than I normally unpick and that is saying something).  I do eventually get the zip in but not without a fight.

So I decided finally to investigate the problem, surely it couldn’t just be me doing something wrong over and over again, could it?!  After taking a closer look, the foot was out of alignment, which would explain why the sewing on the left was always a few millimetres away from the teeth and the sewing on the right of the zip hit the teeth..  I contacted Janome and asked the question. “Oh you must have the wrong foot” came the reply “you have more than one concealed zipper foot” I said. Apparently I have a horizontal rotary hook model and as such I need a different foot, I went on a mission to find one and the rest as they say is history.

My new foot pictured above has made my zipping life so much more fun, the one I inserted on my last creation went in like a dream, happy days are here again.

Sew retro

2 Full Today I am as giddy as a box of frogs. Why, you may ask? Well I shall share with you the reason why.  It all began with the purchase of Sew magazine back in May this year, which included a free pattern (yet another freebie for me!)  I haven’t bought a pattern in what seems like ages.  Anyway, the pattern is Simplicity K1913,  I made the dress out of (what I would describe as maroon) linen, from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester, I have taken quite a liking to linen this year, last year I had my phase of loving any fabric with a stretch, this summer it most definitely is linen.  So easy to sew even with a tendency to fray, my overlocker loves it and it doesn’t pull or snag easily,  I think its fab.4 Top

The biggest achievement on this particular creation for me is the variation; I have mixed and matched the 4 different dresses and I have also added my own changes (check me out!)  The construction began with the bodice, sewing the princess seams, side, shoulder and back seams, the pattern then called for the bodice to be lined (my first change), I decided to fully line the dress rather than just the top half to enhance the the style. This meant I continued with the construction of the dress before I lined it.  On with change number 2, I had already decided on the straight skirt but preferred darts and pleats rather then the gathered waist. With ruler and tailors chalk to the ready, some careful measuring and marking was in order.  To my relief, once pleats and darts were in place the skirt fitted perfectly to the bodice, the darts in the skirt back match the back seams of the bodice (fluffs feathers and prances around the room like a peacock).

3 ReverseOnce the skirt was safely attached to the top half, I moved on to the collar, time for change number 3.  The pattern called for the collar to be sewn on to the front of the dress; I chose to sew it to the neck edge where the lining was inserted.  What followed stopped me in my tracks (although through no fault of my own, just pure ignorance), let’s just say I had to buy another concealed zipper foot, I will share the story of that little ditty in another post.  Whilst waiting for my new foot I added the extra details, change number 3,  the six buttons along with the tab instead of the suggested tie belt.  Once the zip was inserted in the back (the easiest concealed zip I have ever put in I might add), I added the label, created the vent and hemmed the skirt, all done and dusted in just over a week.1 Full

I am so pleased with this dress for so many reasons, it actually worked without the usual hiccups and head scratching moments, it looks so retro and most of all it is partly my design.  I did have another variation in mind (or rather my husband did) but by the time “we” decided on it it was too late to go back, make way for my next creation………….