Tag Archive | sewing

It’s Starting To Come Together…

My first ever clothing sewing project is starting to come together. I’m sure experienced sewists wizz through at lightning speed compared to me, but I’d prefer to do this relatively well and learn techniques along the way.

After my last class I did a little work at home. I removed the pattern pieces from all the pieces I cut last lesson and did tailor tacks to mark the tips of my darts. I also cut out the interfacing and ironed it to the relevant fabric. I didn’t want to do any more as that involved sewing!

At the class I stay stitched around the neckline on all four pieces. I then sewed my darts. Whilst relatively simple I was actually quite proud and pleased with these!

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The joys of a small pattern means sewing lines will be fairly well hidden – I doubt you can see them in this photo.

I then sewed together the back. I pinned it, tacked it and then machine stitched. The pattern advised finishing the seam and one method they gave was to zigzag. Stupidly I zigzagged over both together, which didn’t sit well. The joys of a 5/8″ seam allowance meant that I could cut this off and zigzag over the edges separately. That sits a lot better!

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This isn’t sitting flat as you can tell from the middle, but it will do so happily. It even looks like the back of a top! I also had time to sew together the front, but I haven’t finished that seam yet.

When I wasn’t sewing, Jenny, our tutor went through a few things. I’m amazed that I’ve never noticed the dent in a machine needle before. I now have notes on what size needle and length of stitch to use with a wide range of fabrics.

I also learnt about a wide variety of types of seam. I’d heard of French seams, but didn’t know about mock French seams or channel seams or lingerie seams and more. Luckily I have a handout with instructions on as otherwise I’d never remember how to do all the demonstrated techniques.

Finally, I’ll share a snippet which I will use. Mr M has commented that I do more ironing for sewing than I do day to day. Well I was told in my class that pressing is not ironing, so next time he makes such a comment I’ll tell him I’m not ironing!

It’s slowly starting to come together…

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Dirty Washing!

Whenever Mr M and I go away we always pack plastic bags in which we place our dirty clothes. One of the problems with this is that you can’t always do them up, so dirty clothes can fall out and sometimes we forget to pack them. I decided to rectify this by making a laundry bag which I could do up and keep stored in the suitcase ready to go (although you can use it at home if you want).

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To make this you need to choose fabric which is roughly twice the size of the bag you want to make. I got out some of the fabric I bought on my last day in Vietnam last summer:

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One metre of this cost me under £1! I will definitely stock up on fabric again if we ever return to South East Asia. I used my whole metre for this. For the ties to work as mine have (i.e. pull on one side only) the long sides of your fabric are going to be the top and bottom of your bag. Hem the sides first (although I didn’t as my sides were the selvedges of the fabric). Then hem the bottom and then the top – but make this an extra big hem:

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If you want to applique any thing on, now is the time. Fold your fabric in half to see the end size (approximately) and figure out the positioning of whatever you want to applique.

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Then sew it on!

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Then turn it inside out and pin the bottom and side together. Sew around the side and top, but do not sew over the edge of the hem at the top. Turn inside out, using closed scissors to get the corner sticking out if need be. To add whatever you are using as a closure (I used ribbon from my stash, thin rope would also work well) put a safety pin on the end and thread it though the hem at the top. Once all the way through, gather both ends of the ribbon, tie and trim. You’re done! Here is mine ( on a sofa – the sides are straight, but don’t look it as it follows the shape of the sofa):

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And once the ties have been pulled:

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Now do I make one for Mr M?

Pressing Matters

When ironing for applique or when ironing very delicate fabrics I have been using teatowels for a while to prevent damage. A lot of our teatowels are patterned or in deep colours and I do worry about colours running from teatowels onto my fabric and excess glue going onto teatowels. I have a separate craft ironing board and iron now after leaving glue on our normal one, which later transferred onto one of Mr M’s work shirts. Oops!

When Shona of The Sewing House mentioned using a ironing cloth when doing applique, I thought having a dedicated cloth would be perfect. I even have some natural cotton I thought would be perfect!

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The problem is that the fabric frays. It is a perfect reason to practice my new found hemming skills.

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I pinned hems at opposite sides of the fabric, and sewed them. Then I rotated it by 90° and repeated.

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Now I have a pressing cloth:

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It is wider than my ironing board, but not too big that it will be a nightmare to store. I have used it quite a few times after making it already!

This is an easy make, but one I will use fairly regularly when sewing. I made it from material in my stash, so cost nothing at time of making (the fabric was originally only 20p, so it was a cheap make). It was good hemming practice too!

Crochet Hook Roll

One of the shops near me had crochet hooks in large and small sizes on sale for only 50p each, so I treated myself to some. After all, I have learnt a little bit of crochet now! I have also won seven plastic ones of a reasonable range of sizes on ebay. So with all these needles I need something to store them in…

I’ve seen many different crochet cases on the web and read a few tutorials. I took inspiration from different cases and formulated a plan in my head. I had lots of purple felt left from overbuying last year so I thought I’d use that as my lining fabric and so hunted for fabric to go with that. My thoughts when buying fabric was that I’d make the slots for the crochet hooks out of the felt, then iron on interface the cover fabric, then sew round the edge to join them together. That is not what I ended up doing at all!

I treated myself to a sewing machine in the January sales. I’ve hardly used it and am not confident sewing straight lines, so my fingers were crossed it would work. However this was for me, so imperfections would be more acceptable.

The first thing I did after cutting my fabric was to zigzag round the edges to stop fraying. That seemed to work quite well!

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Then I backed the fabrics (patterned side inwards) and sewed them together along three edges. To help me do straight lines I drew on the back of the fabric with a fabric pencil. Amazingly I virtually kept to these lines!

Then I turned it the right way around and folded the unsown edge together. I then hand sewed that edge. As the picture below shows initially I sewed in a ribbon for closing it, but then realised that it wouldn’t be half way up after folding, so I snipped it out.

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The material then seemed a bit “puffy” as the edges inside were sticking up a bit. I did consider ironing it, but decided to be brave and sew all around! To make life easier I measured it by having the edge of the foot at the edge of the fabric. This then looked quite good for me!
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After finding that my smaller hooks are 12cm long and larger ones 15cm long I folded over the bottom of the fabric by 10cm and sewed that up at each side (not perfect lines here – oops!). I sewed ribbon roughly halfway down to use as a fastener. To stop hooks from falling out I folded over the top and sewed that along the top to keep it folded.

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Then all I needed to do was to sew the lines for each pocket. I started at one end and used the fat crochet hooks to guide me as to where to sew. Then I did the thin ones at the other end, and went back to the other end and worked back towards the thin ones. At this point I got a little bit irritated! I kept having to rethread the needle after a lot of lines and the cotton was running out! On one line the bobbin emptied partway through and I did actually completely run out of thread, so there should ideally be another division. For the last line I sewed the thread was held in my hand rather than on the reel as it was that short!

Anyway, my final product is below. Sewn lines are roughly straight, but they are not always parallel when they are meant to be. Annoyingly the felt did bunch up a bit too. However overall I’m pleased with it and I’m pleased I managed to make something without a set design using my sewing machine and it worked!

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Ok, it’s long, but the idea is it’ll have room for more than just my crochet hooks I have now (inc ebay purchase still on it’s way here) and be a bit future proof.

When rolled it looks like this: image

The ribbon currently goes round it three times, but this won’t be the case when more hooks are in place.

Do you like the fabric? It was only £3.49pm in Fabric Land. I bought 1/2m and have loads left 🙂

Post Christmas Make…

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I made this with materials from one of my Christmas presents from Pete and with my bargain sewing machine in the January sales. This was the first time I’d put a zip in using a sewing machine and I also hadn’t used a machine in over 10 years, so I was quite happy with this.
It is now a store for crafty bits being currently used!