Wednesday, 29 June 2016
I purchased this round tablecloth recently for the princely sum of £1.99. It was folded up on the hanger and I didn't check its condition. This is because, weirdly, I was hoping it would be damaged because otherwise it was too lovely for me to cut up.
Look at those little birds!
So, I handed over my money, probably being the only one who has ever shopped there hoping to discover a stain on their purchase!
On getting it home and laying it out onto a small round table in the house I discovered a slight rip in the hem - which I fixed before I put it in the washing machine.
Taa daa! Not only a stain - but the perfectly placed stain.
As you can hopefully see in the above picture it was a small, neat, stain that I could hide in the side seam of the skirt - and also I did not have to cut through any of the birds to do it.
This was going well...
... until I did another classic cutting error which I appear to be so fond of!
I had checked two sources (one magazine, one online) and found my waist radius was 12 cm. I therefore used my very clever marking ruler (pictured above). I placed my marking pencil in '12' and off I went. Only to realise after cutting it out that it didn't fit, because it was an imperial ruler and obviously the markings were going up by half inches and not centimetres! So I had cut 12 half inches - 6 inches - just over 15 cms. So I had to hack a wedge off the skirt each side of the seam I had made to make the waistline fit! Although, funnily enough, I still didn't chop any of the birds in half as it all landed in the reeds pattern - which was nice.
The good news was that I could now make a zip placket from the circle I cut out - because it was huge! Also, I used some of the fabric I cut out of the side seams to make a waistband - I had previously thought I would need to find a contrasting fabric in my stash.
Anyway, long story short I'm pleased with the result. I love the birds that are flying around the waistline.
And all the wading birds seem happy enough. :)
Thursday, 23 June 2016
Sewing this dress was not without its problems - but they were all problems of my own making. :)
I purchased this 1970's pattern off Ebay. It was complete, which seems rarer for children's sewing patterns because of all the little fiddly pieces that can easily go astray - the bottom of the envelope was also split so it was even more of a surprise to find it complete!
It should have been fairly easy to construct - but my first mistake was snipping into the facing fabric when trimming the neck seam. My finger points to the evidence above! I decided to cover this with some ribbon I had that I think previously had been used to wrap a present. I did however justify doing this as facings are a pet hate of mine - they always seem to poke over to the front of the fabric as catch stitching at the side seams never seems to be enough to anchor it. Well these are well and truly anchored now.
The second thing that had me flinging this dress across the room was its three inch hem allowance. I cannot sew a wide hem onto an a-line dress/skirt. I can't. I tried gathering, steaming, tiny darting, just 'going for it' (my preferred method) and it all looked like a dog's dinner. I gave up after the third attempt - trimmed the hem allowance down to an inch and did a narrow turned up hem. I have since researched wide curved hems and I could have tried cutting out notches out of the wider turned fabric and closing them in with a whipstitch. Any other tips gratefully, gratefully received.
Despite all that I love the finished dress. How can I not - it's a teeny tiny cherry dress. It consists of the simple (hah!) A-line dress and an apron that is fastened onto the front bodice with buttons. The buttons used were from my charity shop button tin.
The apron then ties at the back.
I put in a handmade label....
...inserted a lapped zip...
... and french seamed all of the seams, apart from the centre back - which I finished with a binding.
I printed out a label for the dress and I hope it raises some funds for the school. A special thank you to my sister who gave me the fabric. xxx
Friday, 10 June 2016
Foundation piecing is not my favourite way of making quilt blocks. I have a hard time getting my head around the technique of flipping the fabric over so that it covers the intended shape in the block plus the seam allowance. I have tackled this in the past by using huge pieces of fabric and trimming them afterwards, but for this wall hanging I cut the pieces with 3/8's of an inch seam allowance instead of my usual quarter inch and it worked - save for a few hairy times when it only juuuuust worked!
Much as I complain about this technique I can find no other way of getting accurate points every time in my piecing.
Those coloured triangles would not be that crisp for me any other way. I am hoping the more I make blocks this way, the more comfortable I will get with it.
I did some research into how to ensure that my wall hanging did not have a wavy edge. It is only a 12 inch block so there is not much chance of it going wrong but you never know. I found the best way to get it to lay flat is to pin it down, steam it with an iron (without letting the iron touch the fabric) and then letting it dry. It did work well so I will try it on a larger scale next time.
The completed wall hanging was given to my friend as a present. The lovely hanger, by the way, was from the CottonPatch website in the UK, and the block can be found here.
Thursday, 2 June 2016
It is a nightmare trying to get a school uniform skirt for my daughter. In fairness to her the selection available in the school's requirement of navy blue is quite poor. Most of the school skirts on the high street are black, and most of the blue ones are (a) pleated and (b) exactly the same skirt going from age 3 to teenage sizes: and my teenage daughter would understandably rather not wear the same pleated skirt as a three year old.
I have tried to solve this problem by making her a skirt, the details of which she chose herself. From the choice of patterns I gave her she chose this one..
Simplicity 9561 View 3. She needed functioning pockets though and so I sketched out various pocket ideas and she chose to have side fronted curved pockets, so I altered the pattern to include these.
She also wanted a side zip so I moved it from centre back, like so.
It may have taken two days of resizing, pattern drafting, and sewing; but if she will wear it before the only other skirt she agrees to wear gives up the ghost, it will be worth it.
Once I had her measurements I was on a roll.
She also liked the following pattern...
Simplicity 8925 View 1. This style of skirt has been all over the high street recently in denim. I didn't have any denim in my stash of fabrics though so I made it up in this camouflage fabric, which is cotton with a slight stretch.
The buttons were from my charity shop button tin and I didn't pattern match the pockets because... well it's camouflaged!
Back View. I made this one up pretty much straight out the packet after resizing it for a smaller size.
The one thing I did do was try out flat felled seams for the first time. The results were certainly a bit wobbly, but I did love the strong seam it gave this stretch fabric so it is definitely something I will use again.
So there you have it, two patterns from the very early 70's brought back to life.
Thursday, 26 May 2016
I was playing around the other day with a bit of freehand machine embroidery, and I created this portrait. There was something about it that I liked, but I was a bit stuck on what to do with it. I thought I could turn it into a brooch but thought I might feel a bit too 'arty' wearing it; so I made a bag.
I used some more of the scrap linen fabric that was leftover from underlining my last make and just attached the felt backed embroidery to the front.
It is a teeny tiny bag! More of a purse really.
The second bag that I made was mainly using three pairs of old jeans. I appliqued the front of the bag by cutting out random boat and wave shapes and sewing them onto a plain cotton backing.
The bag is lined with fabric from a duvet cover. I had a bit leftover after using it a few years ago to back a quilt.
The back of the bag is where I might have gone a bit crazy. I just wanted to make use of all those pockets!
Pockets in action!
I was happy with the bag, but I had purposely appliqued the shapes quite a way inside the cut line. This is because those big waves looked far too calm when completed. Neat - but calm. The idea was to put the completed bag in the washing machine with a lot of towels and then tumble dry it with dryer balls to agitate, agitate, agitate. The denim then frays to reveal the white warp (or is it the weft?) threads in the jeans resulting in a lovely white foam crest of the wave.
The before and after shots. I love the neatness of the first but there is just something about the drama of the end result that I love.
Finally (if you are still reading!) I made a bag for a friend. She handed me a bag of sewing notions that she had retrieved from her grandmother's house as they were clearing her belongings; she gave the notions to me as she knew I would make use of them. I am always honoured when I receive things like this and I wanted to make something in return. The bag I made is on the left there in the above montage.
My friend also gave me a few pieces of clothing she no longer wore, and I used the floral fabric from one of her tops for the front of the bag. The main body of the bag uses the last remnants of black flannel I had after making a dress and a skirt; and the lining is the last of the remaining fabric I had from the pink jacket of my last refashion. The purple button used for decorative purposes was from my friend's grandmother's lovely button box, pictured top right.
Phew that's a lot of bags, a lot of links and a lot of photos. If you have reached the end of all that I applaud you! :)
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Is it too much? Surely not.
I wanted to make an outfit specifically for wearing on the beach this summer. I sort of had a fifties playsuit mix and match idea going on in my head and decided to make a start on a simple top and shorts.
Only the shorts are from a vintage pattern. It's 'Woman Easy-Makes' pattern MP.11, which I have redrafted from my earlier version after watching a trouser fitting class on Craftsy. They now sit very nicely on my natural waist and have more room pretty much everywhere but the hips, which has proved successful... and comfortable!
The back view.
The top is View A, Butterick B6182, which is a modern Lisette pattern and the hat is View B, Burda 7685. No brand loyalty here!
The entire outfit is underlined with a cream cotton linen. Time will tell if it will prove to be too layered. I chose to underline it as I thought I might wear it over a light coloured swimsuit which I didn't want to show through.
I only had two metres of this yellow stripe linen fabric which I purchased some time ago on a trip to Hereford (Doughty's). As you can see I used it from the top to bottom to place the top and shorts pattern pieces on the straight grain. The bits you can see uncovered are all that I had left - which is why it was a bit mad this morning to think I could also make a sunhat to match.
It was a tight squeeze fitting it on the leftover pieces - as you can see in the photo above.
Isn't it typical that my best pattern matching of the stripes is on the back of the hat. I have taken a photo for posterity as I will not be able to admire my
Although, as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day and so I decided to use the photo above...
... to show that I have a matching line running down the entire ensemble... as long as I always stand like this!