Another Jasper…and other stuff

In my last post a referred to something else I had made – another Paprika Jasper sweater. This one is without the hood as I had a very limited amount of fabric. I really love this pattern and can see lots more made this winter.

My new favourite sweater

My new favourite sweater

So, the details. The fabric is a piece of (probably) polyester ‘stuff” which has been in the stash long enough to have celebrated multiple birthdays. It’s more likely to have been there for decades. I seem to remember buying it from a market stall in Kidderminster which hasn’t traded in a Loooooong time. I had seen a number of cabled sweaters in the fashion magazines, Pinterest etc. and this fabric came to mind. I had just 1.5m of 150cm wide so I knew I was going to have to get creative with the cutting to fit it all in. Delightfully, it fitted with whispers to spare. I always like to have minimal amounts of scrap after cutting out.

Tiny pile of scrap

Tiny pile of scrap

Unexpected bonus!

Unexpected bonus!

 

I have already worn this lots, and I can confirm that it washes well! It was brilliant to discover I had a ready made ‘spectacle hanging loop’ as I frequently put my specs down and can’t find them again. Must be age.

 

 

Looking good at half way.

Looking good at half way.

My daughter was home this weekend and admired the hoodie while I was wearing it so that is a

Jess on the finish line

Jess on the finish line

big seal of approval. She had run the Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday and managed to beat her London Marathon time on a course with mountains!

 

Which leads me on to the next make. How many of you have used the wonderful Funki Fabrics printed lycra? Yeah, it’s great isn’t it. But how many of you have spotted the winter lycra? Can I send you to the site right now because it’s great – no wait until you  have seen Jess’s leggings.

The lycra has a kind of fleecy back which feels gorgeous. I think it might be just a fraction less stretchy in the width than the standard lycra but has plenty of stretch in the length. I made Jess the normal Shin leggings pattern without any changes and she declared them a success after wearing them on Sunday morning (actually all of Sunday which is probably a good sign). They haven’t been washed yet but I am sure that with the pedigree Funki Fabrics Have it will be fine.

 

Winter leggings

Winter leggings

I have bought more fabric in black for me so I hope to make some warm leggings for myself really soon. They will not only be worth having for running (stretching the definition the way I ‘run’) but also for marshaling at Parkrun, and to wear as an extra insulating layer under my diving dry suit. These are going to be so useful I should really get on ASAP.

I must make a comment about my coverstitching. As you may know I bought the Janome coverstitcher which I have been very happy with. However, on this garment I started to have problems with the thread getting stuck and breaking – lots of unpicking and bad language. I was confident the cops were Moon (which is a Coats thread and usually pretty reliable) and they had behave beautifully on the overlocker. However, I decided to change all the threads to Gutterman reels and try again. Perfection. I can only assume these reels were an inferior brand and the Janome didn’t like them. So, anyone having problems with a coverstitcher – before you start fiddling with all the dials try changing your thread. I will not be saving any pennies with ‘cheap’ thread in the future as it costs too much in time if I make a mistake.

 

Swimming update

You might have noticed from my ticker in the side bar but I have now swum half the distance needed to complete my swimming challenge. I was thrilled to be able to get this far in the official half way point as I had been on holiday for one week, then ill another. I am now pretty confident of finishing the English Channel distance (22 miles) by the required 7th December deadline.

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Coverstitcher truce

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.

They both need to be the small size

They both need to be the small size

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.

Happy with the job this time!

Happy with the job this time!

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!

Matching sizes - hurrah!

Matching sizes – hurrah!

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!

The one in the middle has been fishing!

The one in the middle has been fishing!

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?


Happy November!

But where did October go? Honestly, I have been working – it’s that time of year when my customers all seem to find that everything in their wardrobe for cold weather needs attention, or replace them with new garments. That need attention. I have been reading recently in magazines and online about how it would be nice to lose the ‘busy’ label and be more relaxed and realistic about our abilities. I think it is truly time for me to take this on board.

As a result of client work I haven’t done much for me but I did make time to have another play with the coverstitcher. Because I bought a binder attachment. Yes, I know I really need to get to grips with the plain machine, but I knew that this would be used major amounts once I had it sussed. So, lets get sussing!

Lots of time taken on this mess

Lots of time taken on this mess

I spent a good couple of hours just fiddling with the buttons and stitching flat fabric, and then decided to put the binder onto the machine. That took a little longer than I expected (it would have taken less if I had not wasted an age looking for a ‘part’ which turned out to be permanently on the machine. Doh!) but once on I was able to start making a mess pretty quickly. It was largely trial and error (mainly error) as the instructions printed on the inside of the packaging are sketchy at best. Help was at hand on You Tube, but in all honesty I just fiddled and saw what happened. I started with the gingham (woven and not too likely to move too much) which worked pretty well. Then the viscose jersey which is very stretchy.

This is more likely to be the sort of fabric I would use so I really wanted this to work. It would have been useful to have been able to buy an extra hand to enable me to hold/manipulate the strip of binding as well as moving the ‘garment’ piece. I think it is always going to be worth doing a sample before I use this on a garment. Despite being short of a hand I thought it worked pretty well so I went on to the garment I was making.

Old Faithful, Burda 2/13 127

Old Faithful, Burda 2/13 127

I used the Burda pattern from February that I knew fitted, only using long sleeves this time. When I say long sleeves I mean  long – check the pattern before you cut these out because I chopped off 7cm. I cut the binding strips a little wider than the binder instructions (pffft! what instructions) because I knew that when under tension the jersey gets narrower. This worked well and I was pleased with the way the neckline finished. It even looks good on the inside. I did take a picture but it was blurry so I haven’t included it.

Coverstitch binding a neckline. Looks fine!

Coverstitch binding a neckline. Looks fine!

I am happy with the way this turned out, and I am looking forward to making more use of the machine. The problems were all with me. All ‘more haste, less speed’.I have unreasonable expectations of being able to just ‘sit down and do it’ with no practice which never works. Given time (and lots more experience) I can see this becoming a real time saver and very useful machine. Just not yet.

When I haven’t been sewing, and all the sundry other things we ladies have to do, I have finished another pair of socks. These are the ones for my mum and have been knitted almost exactly from the pattern. I say almost as if you had knitted both the same you would not have got a mirror image of the lace pattern on opposite socks. I puzzled for longer than was necessary to get the effect I wanted before realising all I needed to do was start the second sock pattern on row 11 rather than row 1. Sometimes the answers are simple.

Mums Lacery socks.

Mums Lacery socks.

In my last post (so long ago) I did mention a new Patrones magazine that I would review. I haven’t forgotten, and it has now been joined by the new Burda and Threads magazines, so I will make a point of doing that this weekend. Sorry for the delay!


Patrones 308 Dress (Model 8)

Yes, the coverstitcher and I have made an uneasy truce. I decided to try to just play on some easy stuff to gain a little more experience with this new machine, and this Patrones dress seemed perfect for the task. I had hoped to make this ages ago but failed. I have no idea when this was published but my friends have just brought me Patrones 329 so it is a while! (I will check out the contents of the new magazine and report later).

NIce dress!

Nice dress!

I made this in a black double jersey (ponte) from stash, and made a few alterations to the pattern. The neckline was raised 1″, but in truth could probably have been left alone and still been decent. I narrowed the sleeves to the cuff by 2cm, and pegged the skirt hem by about 1″ and made it longer by 1″. I am shorter than the model so it is just above the knee which I think is better on a lady of my vintage. Some might say it was too short but I like it that length, and my legs are still OK so I am prepared to get them out on occasion.

Most of the dress was made on the sewing machine but I made the skirt and sleeve hems on the coverstitcher. There are still a few skipped stitches in this work but not enough to want to tear them out and start again. I noticed that the problem is worse in the wider stitch than the narrow option so I will have to investigate why that might be. I am a bit happier now but know I need to spend more time ‘playing’ with this machine.

This is a very simple dress made special by the sleeve detail. It too is very simple, just a dart to the sleeve head and elastic down the centre to hold the gathers from the sides of the sleeve right the way across. Very simple and effective. I didn’t finish this until late evening and wasn’t able to get a decent photograph in the black fabric so you will have to wait to see the dress but I am happy with the result. I can see this being worn quite a lot as it is fairly fitted and neat, but not in any way ‘stuffy’.

I have also finished one ‘toe-up’ sock, and started the second. Good fun and very relaxing!


More PJ’s and Coverstitch experimenting

The Management asked for more PJ’s, being so pleased with the helicopter trial pair I made so long ago. Unfortunately I still haven’t found any sensible fabric to make them in so he had these made today.

Different transport - spot the pocket!

Different transport – spot the pocket!

So…..John Deere tractors this time. Good fun, but still not going to be suitable should he ever have to go into hospital! I really do have to look out for sensible pj fabric. Having said that, this is a wonderful soft, brushed cotton. They will be fabulously warm through the winter.

As I was spending time on something for ‘family’ I took the opportunity to experiment a bit. I used some of the techniques learned in the recent Janet Pray Craftsy course which speeded things up significantly. I also decided to use the chain-stitch function on the coverstitch machine to attach the waist elastic to the pants. Not the neatest job, but I didn’t even trial this. The stitching looks a bit loose when the elastic isn’t stretched but is perfect under pressure. I had to replace the elastic in a pair of Jean Muir trousers (sadly not mine!) recently which made me think how much easier it would have been just to be able to pull the chain-stitch thread loose, which is why this was so appealing. The whole procedure was very quick too. I love this machine!

Chain-stitched elastic

Chain-stitched elastic

I used the coverstitcher a couple of days ago to hem a jersey dress for a client. Blogger SDBev has a wonderful site called the 900CPX Cookbook in which she shows all sorts of wonderful things she has been doing with her coverstitcher – and explains how to go about getting the same results yourself. She very recently made something and used the seam guide that Janome intend to be used with this machine.  Being a cheapskate thrifty dressmaker I thought I would try other options before I spent any more money on accessories.

Super cheap seam guide

Super cheap seam guide

The first option is well known to many dressmakers. Cheap, move-able, and easily available. Yes, the post it note makes a great seam guide.

Pfaff edge guide

Pfaff edge guide

The second option was the edge guide that is included with the accessories in my Pfaff machine box. It fitted perfectly well into the screw hole on the CPX presser, and could measure out a good few inches before becoming unstable. Although I didn’t try it I am sure this would work to the left of the foot too. I suspect this will be the method I will be using for a little while yet.

I have an alteration project to do for my darling daughter which needs the actual coverstitch function  – but I need to work out precisely what I need to do first. I will report at a later date.


A(nother) new addition! A Janome Coverstitcher

Bev made me do it. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!

My little sanctuary

My little sanctuary

Having left my own little sanctuary in Penzance last Saturday I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I had admired these coverstitch machines from afar and swapped  comments with Bev who was using her own Janome to very good effect. There was a little surplus in the coffers after all the work done recently so I decided to treat myself to it! Hurrah!

Janome 1000 CPX Coverstitch machine

Janome 1000 CPX Coverstitch machine

The machine arrived this afternoon and I have spent about half an hour after finishing client work testing it out. Well, fiddling to be precise. I think this may take a bit more getting used to than I had hoped but with the benefit of the overlocker course on the Craftsy site, which includes a little about coverstitch machines, I think I will get to grips with it. (Look out for desperate e-mails Bev!)

Repeat this now I can coverstitch?

Too good not to have more than one

I have some client work that I must finish during tomorrow and Friday but I think this weekend may turn into a ‘busmans  holiday’ and I will repeat the wonderful Burda top from February 2013. I loved the original version I made in black and will shop the stash to find another fabric to try it using just the overlocker and coverstitcher.

Hopefully I will have something to show you by Sunday!