Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Appliance covers

I decided my kitchen appliances needed covers, so I measured them and made patterns using the 'shapes' feature in Garment Designer. I used the seam length details to make sure the pieces would fit together.

I found some fabric in Dunelm Mill which was wadding and a plain broadcloth bonded together, to use as the lining, and some beige spotted fabric to use, together with some beige and cream fat quarters, as the outer fabric. I layered the outer and lining pieces and sewed them together, then finished the seam with my overlocker. Finally, I finished the bottom edge with some beige bias binding.

Above, the bread maker and the food processor. Below, the rice cooker and the slow cooker. (You can just about see a steamer in the cupboard as well, but that is in a very old purchased toaster cover.)

The blue pyramid is an iPad stand to use when I'm following a recipe on Pepperplate, which I made a while back - I plan to make one in beige to match the kitchen decor better at some time.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Tight sleeved wedding dress

When this dress arrived, the bride was alarmed to find she couldn't easily fit her arms into the sleeves, and when they were forced on, she couldn't raise them. I have added gussets to provide extra width, and to allow more movement. Luckily, the skirt needed to be shortened so I could use the fabric. I still have to sew on some lace motifs to blend the added fabric in.

Once her arms were comfortably in the dress, we discovered the back was too high and wide at the neckline. I made a tuck at the bottom of the illusion panel,

and moved the (shortened) covered boning and the button loops over at the top. Now I have to sew on the buttons.



Monday, November 09, 2015

Another machine cover underway

I have made a start on another machine cover, this time for my overlocker. I have worked out what size to make it, and made the front panel using a crazy patchwork design.



Sunday, November 08, 2015

Amsterdam images

We went to Amsterdam in September, and I took these photographs of a mercantile nature.






Saturday, October 31, 2015

What I keep by my sewing machine.

I thought it might be interesting to describe what tools I keep by my sewing machine to have to ready to use.

I have a small plastic box for these tools, it keeps them together, and makes it easy to move them around between different working areas.

Here are the items in the box, laid out so they can be seen.

Top row from the left: gauge for seam allowances etc., emery strawberry for cleaning needles and pins, thimbles and a rubber fingerette for more grip, needle threaders (in a box to make them easier to find), tailors chalk, fray stopping liquid, tape measure, thread conditioner, sewing machine screwdriver for changing machine needles.

Bottom row from left: sewing machine cleaning brush, point turner that doubles to put under the presser foot back when I'm sewing over a thick place, two wooden skewers for controlling fabric near the sewing machine needle ( I sewed through my finger once, and don't want to again!), fabric marker pen, squeeze scissors for trimming threads, rolling chalk pencil, tweezers for picking out thread ends, another rolling chalk pencil, forceps to pull needles through fabric when they are stiff, a button hook for wedding dress buttons, a craft knife for seam ripping, snag puller, seam gauge, stitch ripper (I prefer this brand for the sharpness, smooth tip, and easy to hold handle), trimming scissors, embroidery scissors on an extending lanyard for trimming threads and clipping in small areas - I can attach this to myself if I need to, seam presser, chalk pencil.

I also (try to) keep my wrist pincushion in the box when I'm not wearing it. I recently made this new pincushion - it has a disc of cardboard in the base to both give it shape and prevent pins from jabbing my wrist when I stab them into the cushion. The pins at the top are glass headed silk pins. They are sharp and go into fabric easily, and are a little longer than regular pins. They do bend more easily, but I think the ease of pinning makes up for this. I also keep some longer glass headed pins at the base of the pincushion, for those thick or difficult to pin situations, such as through multiple layers of fabric or around bones in bodices.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Acer in Autumn

It looks fantastic, but for just a short time each Autumn.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Sewing Machine Cover

It is a very busy time for alterations, but this weekend I managed to make something for myself - a sewing machine cover.

I have been covering my machine with a plastic cover when it is not in use, but it was becoming rather torn and tatty. I previously sorted out some blue and yellow quilting fabrics to make a cover, and I finally got around to making it up. I incorporated some random patchwork I had made in a workshop years ago, and bulked it out with strips of various widths, using the quilt as you go method.

I finished the inside seams with the overlocker, and bound the bottom edge with pre-made bias binding - the photographs were taken before I applied this, it adds a narrow pale blue band around the bottom edge.


Update - to add better photos, pressed and with binding.


Friday, June 05, 2015

Rhododendron is flowering

The rhododendron in my front garden is bursting into flower.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Another two aprons

I splash a lot when I wash up and when cooking, and a cloth apron just doesn't give enough protection. I need a waterproof one to stop me getting a damp tummy.

After my previous attempt at a waterproof apron, I decided that the Tamari Apron pattern that I used was not suitable for this kind of fabric. I decided instead to copy the RTW apron I have had for a few years now which is starting to let water through. I like the full coverage the design provides.

I bought 1.5m butterfly print waterproof table covering fabric from The Range, and managed to cut two aprons from it. The aprons have a continuous tape around the neck, through casings along the angled sides, and tying at the waist. I added hanging loops to the tops of the aprons, as this design means they cannot be hung up by the neck tape.

This time I had more success sewing the coated fabric; possibly it was a little thinner thatn the spotted fabric I bought from Fabricland. I set the needle tension to maximum to prevent loops forming, and I used a teflon foot on the machine to allow the fabric to slide through more easily.

Another Me Made Monday

Rescued post - Originally posted 25/11/14 THE LAST RESCUED POST

Today's Me Made Monday (#mmmproutfit is not exciting, but it is cozy and comfortable. It is an animal print fleece top from a self drafted pattern, and another pair of my self drafted trousers in black corduroy.

The top is copied from a favourite garment. I have made 4 in fleece and one in boiled wool, and two full length fleece versions to use as winter caftans (instead of dressing gowns).

The trousers unfortunately shrank in the wash, despite pre-washing the fabric.When I let them down, even with the full width of the hem they were still too short, so I used an old plastic toothed zip as an edging.

Me Made Monday

Recovered post - originally posted 17 November 2014

Pattern Review is running a "Me Made Mondays" event until the end of the year. Since I am usually wearing something me made most days, I thought I would tag my pictures accordingly.
Today I'm wearing Marcy Tilton's Vogue pattern 8430 in brown boiled wool. The fabric had some fade marks that I only noticed after making the garment up, so I stitched the left lapel and right cuff with space-dyed embroidery floss.
Under this I have on a pair of brown corduroy elastic waist trousers made from my self drafted pattern - I must have made at least 40 pairs using this pattern by now. Just about every pair in my wardrobe is made from this pattern, and I can knock a pair out in about 3-4 hours. I really should look at modifying it or combining it with some commercial patterns with more adventurous styling.
On top I'm wearing a brown viscose knit t-shirt that combines features from 2 patterns. The body shape is one I adapted from Vogue 8497, but widened at the hip and with a shark bite hemline. The neckline is also taken from this pattern but I used the neck band treatment from Vogue 8582 to give a more interesting edge.
I also stringed the freshwater pearl necklace and matching earrings.

New Apron

Recovered post, originally posted 16 December 2014

I've been stealth sewing recently, so nothing to post pictures of. I also have been wearing me-made outfits on Mondays (as well as other days), but they are too boring to have posted pictures of.

But on Sunday I decided to make something for me for a change, and I pulled out the Sewing Workshop Tamari Apron pattern and some plastic coated table covering fabric. I bought a light blue with white spots, as the other fabrics available in my local store would have been fine for covering tables at a childrens' party, but not for an adult woman to wear.

The result is  wearable, however I think the stiffness of the fabric is not ideal. I also think for my height I could make the pattern a little shorter.

Sewing the plastic coated fabric was a bit tough. It can't be pressed and I didn't want to pin extensively, so the hems were difficult to stitch. There was also some difficulty in feeding the fabric because it was a bit sticky, and the tension was a bit variable. Maybe I should have cut the fabric a little smaller and made single-fold hems, or even raw edges as the fabric does not fray. I used twill tape for the ties, which works well. 

I prefer waterproof aprons because I am a bit of a splasher when washing up, but I think if I make this pattern again I will go for a different type of fabric that will drape better.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Final Me Made Monday of the year

Recovered post, originally posted 29 December 2014

Today I am wearing a me-made outfit. My trousers are a pair of navy corduroys from my trusty self drafted elastic waist pattern, finished yesterday and worn for the first time today. Also new is a navy silk dupion camisole/shell. I made it just before Christmas to wear under an evening top, but the necklines didn't work together, so again today is the first outing.

Over the top of this, I have a fleece top, again from a trusty self drafted pattern. It has a slight difference in the collar, I used an idea from a Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern, offsetting the attachment of one edge of the cowl. This gives a nice soft rumpled effect.

I made the camisole using an existing garment as the pattern. I laid it on the fabric, with the centre front on a bias fold on the fabric, and traced around it. I angled it slightly away from the fold towards the hem to give a looser fit. I added seam allowances only to the shoulders and side seams. On the front I drafted a lower neckline. If I do this again, I will trace the armholes in the original position before flaring the sides, add front bust darts, and make the neckline a little squarer, but I'm sure this will be a useful garment.

I made French seams, sewing the first pass (WS together) with the three-thread stitch on my overlocker. I bound the armholes and neckline, following the advice given by Thornberry on her blog, sewing the folded binding on the inside, then wrapping it to the outside and topstitching it in place. 

All in, I think this garment took about 1.5 hours to make.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Drafting a cowl necked shark-bite top

Recovered post, originally posted 9 December 2014

I have noticed cowl necked tops and shark-bite hems appearing on blogs recently so I thought I'd show how easy it is to draft one using Garment Designer.
Start with a simple A-line top with the sleeve and armhole you want.
Drag the bottom point of the side seam downwards and outwards.

Reshape the hemline by adjusting the curve control points.
Widen and deepen the neckline. I used the 'wide deep' option but decided I wanted it wider so I adjusted the neck/shoulder point further.
Select the 'collar, joined at the back' option from the extras menu.
Choose the 'stand' collar group, 'band 1' style.
Drag the bottom (outside edge) line down to the width you want for the cowl.

Drag the outside point on this line outwards to widen the edge so the cowl will fall downwards. You will need to cut the cowl with this edge on the fold.

Because Christmas is approaching, there are bundle specials available for both Garment Designer and Stitch Painter. I offer the same discount on UK prices as the Cochenille.com website, so if you are interested, drop me a message and I can let you know the details.

By the way, if you are a Mac user of either Garment Designer or Stitch Painter, and haven't upgraded to Yosemite yet, the advice is to hold off for the present, as the driver for the security key is not compatible. Technicians are working on this, and I will post another entry when the new driver is available.