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

Foot

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………….

All boxed off

Front This little number is another garment from the Simplicity pattern 1699 which I received from sewing-online.  I have already made the peplum blouse and trousers which can been seen on a previous post here.  I love this pattern because it has so many gorgeous garments  on it.

The decision to make the jacket came after I purchased the fabric on an impromptu visit to Abakhan fabrics in Manchester.  I love to have a good rummage through their bargain bins and often come away with fabric that, at the time, has no real purpose.Neckline  I particularly like the crochet effect and think it works really well on the jacket (I can’t say what it actually is as I haven’t got the foggiest idea – it looks good though).

Anyway, the jacket is lined on the body with the mid-length sleeves having no lining.  The construction I could have almost done with my eyes shut it was that straightforward, it started with the back centre seam, followed swiftly by the shoulder and side seams for both fabric and lining.  I then attached the lining to the jacket through the front, neck edge and hem, it was turned the correct way around through the armhole.  Finally the sleeves, these have a couple of little pleats on the sleeve head, which gives some fullness at the top.  The pattern suggested adding a trim around the front and neck edge and also in a pocket position on the front but, because the fabric is a little out of the ordinary to begin with I didn’t need to add anything more.Sleeve

Another garment all boxed off, I have coupled it with a dress made last year, the first thing I made after starting sewing again, you can see the post for the dress here. Now I must stress it was the first blog post I did, therefore it is extremely brief as I didn’t have the guts to waffle on the world-wide web that I have now (it was only a matter of time before the real me presented itself), you will also notice that at the time I didn’t have the confidence to put my head on photos………Jaclet(grins) so much has changed in such a short space of time!  With each day that passes on my sewing journey I grow evermore grateful for the opportunities that it gives me and also all the wonderful people I have come to know, on top of the pure joy that comes with each and every (well almost every) creation;  I wonder what will happen next……….?

Stepping into some rather large shoes

Now then, these little beauties are my first attempt at men’s attire. I don’t remember making anything “male” when I was first sewing many years ago. The pattern is Simplicity 3971 which to my amusement is a unisex pattern, you will understand my amusement when we touch on the sizing later in the post. I decided to start with a pair of PJs for two reasons, number one, my husband quite liked the idea of handmade lounge wear and number two, I was reluctant to make a pair of trousers or a shirt in case I had another sewing disaster which wouldn’t venture out of the wardrobe; at least with these, only a select few people will see them in the flesh.

The trousers were extremely easy, especially with an overlocker, sew the inside leg, middle seam, side seams, make the waist casing, insert the elastic and away we go, happy days.

The shirt was more difficult, although the pattern was very easy to follow and the construction was quite painless. I revisited button holes and inserting a collar, both of which I haven’t done for some time now. The hardest part was matching all the stripes. When you’re dealing with so much material, it can be quite daunting. As I mentioned earlier this pattern is for male and female, now my husband is 6’3″, he is not a small chap by any stretch of the imagination. I did a bit of measuring, added a bit of length on the arms and legs and definitely cut the pattern to a size medium, make no mistake folks these are indeed a size medium. (I think he was in short trousers the last time he wore medium clothes) and they still swamp him, huge is not the word!

Anyway, we think jammies are most comfy when they are not restrictive and have more than enough room to lounge around in.

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Buy one get one free

Front View - V8390

Vogue V8390 with gathers

After my euphoric experience with my vogue dress, I seemed to come to a grinding halt where my sewing was concerned. I think the whole experience left me a little too confident and so I rushed head long into making a new dress which I thought would be a piece of cake……oh no, this couldn’t be any further from the truth, it fell spectacularly on its face and left me quite downhearted. But not a person to be put off easily I decided to venture on the safe side once again with some left over material and a pattern I had bought a while ago, Vogue V8390 was created. This garment was incredibly easy to make, it has gathers on the shoulders and along the right side. The left and right front are both double thickness and also overlap each other which makes it lovely and warm for this time of year. My second creation also made from left over material, is an old favourite of mine which appears a couple of times previously on my blog, this pattern is Simplicity 2364, a lovely top which again has a focus on gathers, this time along the side under the arms.

Front View - 2364

Simplicity 2364

This also has double thickness fabric around the neckline. I decided to make the yoke and sleeves in black to add a slight variation but mainly because I didn’t have enough purple left. There we have it, two tops to ease me back into the satisfying feeling that comes with creating my own clothes. What to do next, I have some new material on the way, should I have another attempt at the dress that failed or do I move on to a new creation that will be Vogue V1259, which incidentally is for advanced sewers, we shall see……

The madness that is Vogue V8705

A front ViewIt feels like an age since I updated my blog, there has been a very good reason for it. I decided last month that I needed a challenge, having created a few tops recently from knitted fabric I felt the need for something a bit different that would give me something to think about and test my sewing skills. I shall share with you the journey that was Vogue V8705.Full Back View

It all started with 14 pattern pieces, each transferred into single, double, quadruple pieces of fabric of all shapes and sizes.  Initially it was quite straightforward until I had to attach one of the sections to another. Then I realised that each seam and the topstitching had to lie in the same direction or I would lose at least 2cm of fabric and the sections wouldn’t fit together.  Luckily I realised that very early on in the process and only had to cut out one new piece.

The most nerve-racking thing about doing a new project and something that is totally different is fear of the unknown, as the dress progressed some parts didn’t seem to have a purpose and I didn’t really know until it was finished if I had done something wrong!

Close up back view

The back has a concealed zip which to my surprise went in first time without a problem, given that I was working with knitted fabric and there was a seam through the middle I had to match, I presumed at least three attempts would be necessary.Full Front View

The sleeves gave much head scratching, these were attached and taken off four times, the straps were all sewn double thickness and had to be turned inside out and positioned in the correct places and adjusted to suit, then finally the majority of the topstitching had to be done, as well as the hem.

I can definitely say without a doubt, this garment has been the most exciting, nerve-racking and rewarding one to date, a huge smile spreads across my face every time I look at it.

The garment of many tucks

Neckline

Front neckline with many tucks to create the shape

Front ViewThis garment is from the Butterick B5354 pattern, another easy top to make. the shape is created by the many tucks along the neckline.  The fabric is a medium weight polyester jersey, which was quite easy to sew for a change, previous stretchy fabrics I have dealt with have tended to have a mind of their own.

Once again the biggest difficulty I came across was the sleeves, another variation I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting previously, no gathering this time, the sleeves are attached to the armhole as a flat piece of fabric and the seam is sewn and attached to the garment last, I did have more sleeve than armhole for some reason, this could have been due to the give on the fabric.

The pattern suggests two different lengths, I chose the longer version, it also has long sleeves or no sleeves, another top I can wear for the day job.

I have given myself a bit of a challenge for my next project, as recent ones have been quick and relatively easy to finish, I suspect I won’t be posting on here for quite a while!

Something for the day job

I decided to make something  I could wear for work.  The pattern Lisette 2059 came with a magazine, I found the material in a local shop for £3.  The garment in the pattern had long sleeves but I chose to put shorter sleeves on this one as the warmer weather is upon us. The front is plain with a coupBlouse Frontle of darts, the back is in four pieces with gathers running horizontally across the centre.Back View  The cut is bigger than I would normally wear and I took it in 1″ smaller than the pattern size too.