Monday, 31 January 2011

Getting on with New Look 6789

Hope everyone had a good weekend, I scheduled in some proper sewing time and got to work on New Look 6789. The pattern and fabric was cut out ready, so I sat down to pin the pieces together and immediately hit a problem. The instructions said to sew the front section to side front sections so in theory I should have had one front and two side sections but I had four side sections... hmmm. An hour later after rereading the instructions several times and actually pinning all four side bits to the front (well you never know, I could have been having a dippy moment) I still didn't understand why I had so many pieces. So I asked my mam for help (I've had to do that a lot up to now *sigh*) so she read the instructions and didn't understand it either. Eventually we got the other piece of paper that tells you which pattern pieces you need for each view and realised that one of the two of the pieces were actually side BACK despite having side FRONT on the pattern piece in capital letters. Grr.

Just started 6789 and already annoyed at the pattern lol
 After correcting that "slight" mistake on the pattern I finally got going and I'm onto putting the interfacing on the band that goes around the top of the dress. Has anyone else ever had problems like this with patterns or instructions? I'm hoping its not just me! =)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Starting New Look 6789

So with my skirt completed I can move on to my new goal, making a dress to wear to a 40th birthday party. I've got the pattern, fabric and all the bits and bobs I'll need (hopefully) and the fabric is cut out, ready to sew. On Wednesday night, I took over the dining room table again, as my desk wasn't big enough and cut out the pattern. I pinned the pattern to the fabric... and the net table cloth underneath, which my mam found hilarious (thank god I realised before I cut it out or my mam would not have found it quite as funny). So I've cut all the pieces out and they are ready for me to sew this weekend.

Above is the pattern and the fabric I'm going to make it from. Instead of putting the ribbon with the bow across the top of the bodice, I'm going to try using a wide piece of ribbon as a sash around the waist because I think it will look nice and nip the waist in. I'll soon find out!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

New Look 6004 finished!

Woohoo my first skirt made "from scratch" and my first time at using a pattern! I worked at it all day Sunday and just finished the hem this morning so I would estimate it took about 8-10 hours including cutting out the pattern, not bad. The pattern was really easy to follow and only had to unpick once (purely due to me being thick and not measuring the seam allowance properly) but there were no real problems.

All pinned and ready to unleash the sewing machine

Woohoo finished!

So with my skirt project done, I finally got around to taking my sewing stuff upstairs and sorting out my "sewing area" more specifically the desk in the corner of my room. Its small but I'm quite pleased with it (and my mam will be thrilled I've moved from the dining room table.)

So now onto my next project... I mentioned my new goal, to make a dress I can wear at my neighbors 40th birthday party. More info on that coming soon.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Shopping and a new goal

So as some people may already know, I'm from the north east (England) and around here there isn't really anywhere to buy sewing patterns, notions and fabric... or so I thought! My mam remembered a shop in an industrial estate that sells all things crafty and she took me there today. I was in heaven and can guarantee I'll be back there again soon, I must have been there for nearly 2 hours running around like a kid in a sweet shop! I bought some fat quarters of fabric to experiment with and a couple of patterns that to get me started so I think I'm all good for now. This is my fave pattern:

New Look 6004

I've decided to do this pattern first instead of simplicity 7141 as its simply and I'm worried that simplicity 7141 is too complicated for my (very) basic sewing skills. I've also set myself a goal... Its my neighbors 40th birthday near the end of February and I'm determined to sew myself either a skirt or a dress to wear at her party. Tall orders but I'm gonna try! =) I'm going to get started tomorrow hopefully so more to come soon.

Friday, 14 January 2011

My first refashion and a new project

Ok refashion may be overdoing it slightly as all I've really done is chop off the sleeves but it's a big improvement.

Shapeless and sack-like
Even though this shirt is 2 sizes smaller than I would normally wear, it still felt too baggy and the sleeves had annoying fiddly cuffs that wouldn't stay fastened. I decided to cut the sleeves shorter to get rid of the cuffs but weirdly it's also given the shirt a better shape:
Much better!
I've also chosen my first "from a pattern" clothing project, Simplicity 7141. Its a high waisted skirt with big pockets and a hidden zip. I've got my material and supplies ready so I can get started today! I'm praying that everything goes to plan and I dont have any disasters or at least no serious ones. Fingers crossed!
I'm making the skirt on the far left, it hasnt got braces and is slightly shorter

Monday, 10 January 2011

Cushion cover

On my Saturday shopping trip I bought a broken cushion cover for 99p as mentioned in my previous post, heres the before pic:

The seams of two of the sides were ripped so I cut them off, made new seams and sewed it up to fit my smaller cushion. I admit I did have a slight problem with the first seam, I finished sewing it, held it up and realised I'd sewn it on the outside *face palm*. Cue a lot of unpicking and muttering under my breath (and laughter from my brother). I finally fixed the seams, sewed up the sides and attached press studs/poppers and I'm really pleased with the result! Ok I had to use my seam ripper more than I would have liked but now I've done it once I hopefully won't make the same stupid mistake again.

I must work on my "camera face"
Today I went searching through all the charity shops in town and I found "The Laura Ashley book of home decorating" from 1982 for £1.99! It shows you how to sew cushions, curtains and duvet covers and has gorgeous pictures and a fabric bound hard cover. Safe to say I'm very happy with that purchase.

For my next project I really want to make something I can wear but I can't decide what. I need something fairly easy to start with, my biggest fear about sewing apart from impaling myself on my sewing machine, is my creation discintegrating in a public place. I was thinking about pajama bottoms but if anyone has any other ideas please comment.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

So far sew good!

Excuse the rubbish pun in title. I havent posted the last few days because I've been really busy and a bit ill over the weekend unfortunately. Anyway I finally got my sewing machine on wednesday and got some strange looks from members of the public as I dragged it across town to the bus stop. The fun part was trying to keep my balance as I walked down the bus to get off, with my arms full of sewing machine box! But I got it home and had much more success this time with setting it up and getting it started. No jams, no cutting out and no strops (from me!).  So here it is!

To try it out, I had a go at making a bow belt using Tilly's great tutorial and really enjoyed it... I admit it didnt work out first time, purely due to me stitching almost diagonally and one end being twice as thick as the other. I tried again the next day and this was the result:

Can you tell I don't feel ready to put my face on the blogsphere yet? It's not perfect but much better than the first attempt and so much fun to do. Thanks Tilly!

So yesterday I was out shopping and found a home/interiors shop selling gorgeous cushion covers (worth £19.99) that were damaged for 99p. I bought the cover below, you cant see the size but it was for a very large cushion, cut off the torn seams, made new ones and sewed it up to fit a smaller spare cushion I had in my room. I removed the zip as I had to cut through it anyway and sewed in press studs/poppers instead and it looks great! Full story and finished pics to come tomorrow. For now here is the "before" photo.

I'm feeling quite pleased with myself for fixing/remodelling the cushion cover, would not have thought I week ago that I would be able to do that, admittedly with some help from my mam but I'm still proud =]
Tomorrow I'm going "treasure hunting" in all the charity shops in town, see if I can find some gems, fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I'll get there in the end

I had really wanted to start sewing yesterday or today but it seems fate isn't on my side. The mini sewing machine I originally wanted to buy was out of stock the last few days (according to my argos iPad app) but this morning it said they had them in. So after the morning school run (I escort disabled children to and from school for a living) I got dropped off in town and went to buy it. The app was lying, they were still out of stock *sigh* but I got a different mini machine that was really similar. So I get it home and tried it out. Nearly two hours later after several jams, it cutting out once, the thread coming undone and many failed attempts at rethreading the machine using the cryptic and completely useless instructions, I gave up and threw it back in the box. It's going back tomorrow and my grandad has really kindly gave me the extra money I need to buy a proper sewing machine.

I got a surprise this afternoon when my mam presented me with her old sewing box. When I was younger my mam used to sew now and again, mostly repairing mine and my brother's clothes but she sold her old (and huge) sewing machine. She is being really supportive with my resolution to take up sewing, so now I'm the new owner of the old sewing box. It really is a treasure trove, there's loads of thread in assorted colours, buttons, hooks and eyes, interfacing, ribbons, lace, press studs and velcro. I can't wait to put it to good use, fingers crossed I can get my sewing machine tomorrow and nothing else goes wrong. I'm really eager to get started :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Well this is my 1st post so hi to everyone in the blogging/sewing community! My New Years resolution this year is to learn how to sew, refashion clothes, knit and generally make things by hand. It occured to me over the last few weeks that skills such as sewing, knitting, quilting etc just aren't passed on anymore. It's such a shame. Personally I blame my school, I had a few horrendous textiles lessons that weren't useful or interesting and didn't inspire me (or anyone else) to start sewing at home.

A couple of years later, at college studying childcare, I had to design and make a soft toy for a child at my placement to play with. Under the much more patient instruction of my lecturer, I soon got used to using the sewing machine and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I tried to make a toy rabbit with different textures for it's arms, legs, ears and stomach which was too advanced for my very basic sewing skills. I should have tried something simple but once I get an idea in my head that's pretty much it. The result was the scariest looking soft toy rabbit you can imagine and the baby I presented it to at my placement crawled away terrified.

So basically I'm a complete beginner but I'm getting my sewing machine tomorrow hopefully and who knows what will happen from there. I've been browsing some great sewing blogs to find a nice simply project for me to get started and I have a vague idea but if anyone has any suggestions please do comment!