I haven’t mentioned the Janome Coverstitcher for a while but we have been making slow progress together, not perfect, but a truce none-the-less. I had been avoiding the whole ‘sports fabric’ area and just concentrated on the sort of things that enabled me to learn more about this strange machine without completely freaking me out. Then this arrived.
My darling daughter has secured a place in next Aprils London Marathon and is going to have to really ramp up the training through the winter.Just the time that laundry becomes more difficult. So, she needs more sports gear. As many runners out there know some events give away a t-shirt on completion of your run. Rarely are they the right size – hence the need to adapt the orange monster above.
My first attempt at remodeling a ‘too large’ sports top ended in disaster. I really shouldn’t have tried that sort of a project as one of my first experiences of coverstitching. I had skipped stitches, terribly wobbly seams, and in all it was just awful.
One of the problems last time was that I was ‘working in the dark’ with no real idea of what was needed. This time I had a top I knew fitted and was comfortable for her to run in to copy. Using pattern paper and pins/tracing wheel I was able to make a pattern I was pretty confident in – and with the experience I had in general pattern cutting I was able to iron out a few snags before I got to the top ready to start cutting it up.
Thankfully having used the machine more now the second attempt went really well! I didn’t change to another needle, didn’t fiddle with any of the tensions, or any other voodoo and it worked just fine. Maybe it was just because I had relaxed? Anyway, the seams weren’t precisely straight – but were straight enough. They were stitched flat so they wont rub, and didn’t have skipped stitches. I was veryhappy.
When she comes to stay for Christmas my daughter can take these away – and hopefully one of the other two outsized tops that are waiting for attention. She has been advised that in future if she can’t get a top that actually fits to go for the largest available so I have lots of room to adjust!
Whilst I do run/jog I don’t go anything like as fast or as far as her so I enjoy taking in my surroundings (yes, I go that slow!). I was surprised to find penguins in Bewdley the other day on my little circuit from home. More bombing!
They really cheered me up – although the local anglers will probably not take kindly to them fishing! We have a seal in the river at the moment (whom I have looked out for and not seen – boo!) and there is a campaign to have her relocated to the sea as she is reducing the fish stocks. How long before they want to relocate the swans?
After yesterdays rash declaration to make a garment a month in 2014 I had a comment from Gaye who brought this blog to my attention. SarahLiz has a garment a month challenge(?) on her blog and any extra means of making sure I actually fulfill my intention to make me more clothes next year has to be good. So, I’m in.
Admire the widget, then go look at her blog.
Going through my blog reader this morning (when I should have been working – I know) I saw this post from Goodbye Valentino.
Now, I have to confess that I don’t buy a massive amount of clothing anyway so this shouldn’t be too big a reach. However, everyone knows what happens when you ban something. You always want what ever you can’t have…
BUT, when I started this blog it was to encourage me to make more clothing for myself and I have to say that I haven’t noticed a great influx in my wardrobe. What hasn’t changed is my fabric buying habit, even though I am no longer selling on. (Forgive me Father for I
have continue to sin). I am drowning in stash.
So. Next year, 2014, I hereby commit to making one garment a month for me. Possibly even from the Burda magazines I have piling up under the spare bed. Using new/different techniques from the Threads magazines I read so thoroughly. And I will try to learn to get a better photograph of me wearing the garments (not The Managements reluctant photographs or my ‘in the mirror’ selfies).
Wow, that’s a pretty big declaration for an early December Monday morning.
P.S. I am sewing at the moment, but everything I am making is either Christmas presents or a Top Secret project that I will reveal later. Much later.
In truth I thought I always was, though my nephew & nieces may beg to differ, but now it is official. With the arrival of my nephews firstborn I am officially a GREAT Aunt. Both the new mother and I are fans of Converse sneakers so when I found this FREE pattern on Ravelry it was obvious I had to make it up!
My boots are only a size 6/EU 39 so you get an idea of scale. These little boots are just beyond cute! Crochet isn’t something I do lots of, and I struggle a bit with patterns but I managed to make something that looked pretty much like the original picture in not too much time. The yarn was a negligible amount, and all available from stash. It wasn’t as if I had nothing else that should have demanded my attention – but I downed all other tools and enjoyed a few hours immersed in a craft I rarely use. Nice music on the radio, a cup of tea to hand, what more could a girl want? (Chocolate springs to mind!)
I love these, and really enjoyed making them, so I hope that the new parents do too. Now, who else can I make some for….
Between sewing and other jobs I had a trip to a library in the next town to my own. Only 3 miles away – nothing like some of my American blog friends have to cope with (Hi Bev!). Now this library always seems more appealing than my own home library. Why would that be?
Anyway, while I was there I picked up a copy of ‘Dressmaking to flatter your shape’ by Lorna Knight. I didn’t really check it before I had it scanned out, but I have really had a good look since then. A really good look.
This book give such a lot of good, straightforward, sensible advice you want it to be your Auntie. Lorna Knight covers some very elementary stuff in a non-condescending way, but follows with sections on adapting patterns to solve all sorts of problems – but in the sort of way that you might hope to find but rarely do. Bust adaptions are all together, as are sleeves, as are…. you get the idea. Even if you have sewn for some time this is a useful resource.
Whilst this book would be a brilliant ‘go to’ handbook for a beginner there is enough content to make it very useful for any sewer. I checked out all of the adaptions and found variations on the way I usually do things which I will be trying out in the future.
Even if you don’t want to actually spend the money and buy a book I would strongly recommend you have a trip to the library – maybe even a strange library – and see what they have to offer. You might find a copy of this to borrow. You might find something completely different but equally wonderful. If you do don’t forget to tell us about it!
For a long, long, time now I have been seeing a particular skirt in a number of blogs and really liked it. I loved Carolyns, Winnies, Ruths, and about a gazillion others I have seen. It is a classic. It is simple. I wanted it.
However, I really didn’t want to buy another pattern for a very simple skirt that probably would need ‘tweaking’ to fit me anything like as well as my basic skirt block from good old Winnie Aldrich. Lets face it, if you have been sewing for any length of time you are going to have a basic skirt pattern that you like – and more importantly, that fits you well.
This skirt is made from the very basic pencil skirt pattern, but frankly any simple skirt pattern you have that fits well would probably work. By tracing a pattern you are happy with you can make your own pocket skirt pattern at very little cost – and save you money for that spectacularly complicated pattern you are coveting! No original patterns will be damaged – you can use your favorite pattern again as it wont be cut – you will cut your copy.
If you are using an a-line pattern then your pieces will look more like my red outside line. Simply decide how deep you would like the top of the pockets to be from your waistband and draw a line at right angles across the front and back from the center lines (Shown in red on my diagram). These lines should match at the side seams. Bearing in mind that you want the pockets to be wide enough to get your hand in through the gap, and deep enough so that things don’t fall out (but not so deep that you have to work too hard to get to the bottom – unless it is your turn to buy the drinks!) draw a square/rectangle of the size required, you can round the pocket corners off later. Cut out another pocket piece.
The pocket pieces are then added – one heading up on the skirt bottom section, and one heading down on the yoke section. I work without adding seam allowances to any of the patterns I make myself so the main thing to remember is to make sure you have seam allowances added to the sections that you actually cut!
Once you have the pattern pieces looking like those above you can go ahead and cut out your skirt. My pattern took just under 1m of 150cm wide fabric, but that would vary according to how long your skirt is. This is a pretty short version.
Once you have sewn the yoke onto the back section, and sewn the front by working a wiggly line around the pockets, you press the seams down (so you can put your hands down into the pockets),and you can go ahead and finish it off exactly as you would have done before you fiddled with the pattern.
The beige cord I used has been in my stash for longer than I dare think about, but it has finally been made into something I will wear frequently (and will probably make other incarnations of too!). I made use of all of my machines on this project – straight seams on Patience while I get my treadle action perfected, zip and other ‘fiddly’ bits on the faithful Pfaff, the overlocker did duty tidying up the seams (I’m afraid to say I didn’t do lovely bound seams like I have seen some bloggers make – maybe on a skirt I don’t need to line), and Molly made the buttonhole. A real team effort!
One of the regular complaints I hear from some of my clients about garments they have purchased relates to the buttons. How they have been sewn on to a garment isn’t something many of them think about until it is a difficulty for them. I recently resewed all of the buttons on a coat that were too tight to fit through the ‘turn of cloth’. That made me realise I have another ‘tool’ I use regularly that isn’t really a sewing tool – but is an essential part of my box. Step forward – the toothpick.
This little gem can be used built up to as many ‘picks’ are necessary to make a stalk behind you button long enough to accommodate the cloth. So simple, but another ‘You use what?’ moment for some of my friends.
I am very happy with my skirt. But, you know I did this adjustment to save buying and fiddling with another new pattern? I have been attending a kettlebell class at my gym and I have lost 1.5″ off my waist and ended up having to take the skirt waistband in! I’m not complaining, but honestly……
P.S. I was reading another blog today (Hi Robyn!) and read a fantastic quote which I have to share.
She said ‘Stash is like compost – it fertilizes your mojo, but it’s better if you turn it over once in awhile’.Love it! Robyn makes some fabulous garments – if you aren’t familiar with her work go have a look!
It is also the name I have chosen to give my Singer treadle sewing machine. Those of you with very long memories will remember her arrival from here. I was quite excited by her arrival – but knew I was going to take a while to sort her out. Not least because she was locked up solid. Absolutely SOLID! I couldn’t persuade the treadle to move at all and I knew I was going to have to just leave the oil to work it’s magic.
Well, after a long time the poor old dear started to look like this:
Yes, it is too good a dumping ground to waste. And since I couldn’t use the machine I dumped massive amounts of ‘work in progress’ on the top. The only way to stop was to get the old girl up and running.
The main problem (the lack of motion) had been quietly soaking in oil for months, but the cabinet and machine were both in need of a good clean. I have no intention of this becoming a ‘desirable antique’. All I want is a functioning machine so I got going with the well wrung out cloth and gently buffed away the muck of ages.
I was quite surprised at just how much filth came off, and just how good the decal looked when it was clean! It is well worn, you can see exactly how the person who used this machine most leaned in over the machine and rested their forearm on the base.
Once the outside was clean and dry I got inside and brushed away all the lint, dust, and rusted pins before giving everything that moved a little drink. I was able to undo the plate on the front and side but couldn’t move the cover from the feed dogs or back of the machine (despite a lot of lubrication and many unsuitable words of encouragement). Once all the dirt had been transferred from the machine to me I decided to leave the oil to work it’s magic and have a bath.
The following day I was able to gently try out the machine mechanism by hand (purred along beautifully with no ghastly noises) before refitting the treadle belt, which had also been given a drink of oil, and trying to move the pedal. Which moved! It is still a bit ‘dry’ sounding but it is now moving freely and operating the machine as it should.
This was the point I was able to replace the needle (which I had removed whilst I ‘fiddled’), thread up, and try it out on a piece of scrap cotton. After all the time this machine had been unused I was delighted to find that the stitch was pretty much perfect. A few snafus while I got my treadle legs going, but this old lady remembers how it is done. I can’t wait to give her a proper job. I think she really suits her new name, having waited patiently to come back into work.
Flushed with success (and I have to admit having just found the box again!) I put the Singer Auto-Pilot buttonhole attachment I bought on e-bay on my Janome 1580. This is the machine I use as a spare and I thought I could leave this attachment, which has plastic guides to create eyelet buttonholes, set up to use if I needed it. I hadn’t read the advert properly – I thought this would go on the hand crank machine – and it needs to be fitted to a zig-zag machine. It took longer to work out how to disable the feed dogs than to get anything else going – and I think the results are OK. But , I wasn’t able to shorten the stitch length despite fiddling for quite some time. I checked online for help (this box didn’t have any instructions so I am working in the dark here) to no avail. Sewing around the buttonhole several times helps, but some of the stitches just ended up spaced out, but on top of each other. Not quite the effect I was looking for. Does anyone out there know how I get a denser finish with this attachment?