Broderie Anglaise Bed Valance

This was a project for a friend who had seen one and wanted one.  I had to get all the material on line.  Once constructed there was 12 meters in length with 2 rows of trim, to be gathered into half the length.  I didn’t fancy gathering 12 meters in one go, so worked in 2 metre lengths.  Under the advice of my sewing tutor from MakeWith (http://makewithmk.co.uk/), I used waxed dental floss attached with a zig zag stitch to do the gathering.  This worked really well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pyjamas

Success!  These were made from a very, very old pair that I deconstructed to make the pattern.  That’s a first for me – making a pattern.  The old pair were so old that the material ripped whilst being taken apart.  I found the cotton material in my local market at a cheap price which makes them more of a success.

Door Caddy / Hanging

   

This is a replacement for a very useful hanging given to me; I have used the original for years (and years) to store hats, scarfs and gloves.   The original had seen better days and as I had several cat printed strips they seemed a good choice for the pockets.

It has taken years for this to be made – mostly because I didn’t have a pattern to follow and so it was too difficult.  However I found the instructions for a similar item on the internet for a different size and finally got motivated/brave enough to have a go.  If I made another one I would change a few stages;  I used double interfacing to keep it stiff, but these adds to the bulk when adding the binding so I wouldn’t do that again.

Mostly I’m pleased with it, and it’s no longer an Unstarted Object.

Summer Dress

While the current weather ( 4 degrees C) is not conducive to trying this on, I did finish sewing it in just under 2 weeks.  This pattern was a relief from the Shirt Saga (see earlier post), consisting of just 2 pieces, a pocket, a zip (not in the pattern) and the bias binding.  Now I just need the weather to wear it!.

 

Learning Points from The Shirt (see previous post)

During the 6 month journey of ‘making the shirt’ I learned some really useful tips for clothes sewing clothes.  I don’t want to forget these so I’m documenting them and if only one of them helps another beginner I will be pleased to share.

  • Somewhere on the pattern sleeve (at least for the Simplicity pattern I used) is shown the finished measurements of the garment.  Ta Dah! I can see where it needs adjusting to my requirements e.g. longer in body / arms, looser.
  • Iron the paper pattern pieces on a low setting before pinning them for cutting out.  This removes the folds and does make the pinning and cutting out easier and more accurate.
  • It is worth the time and effort to make a sample, not just for fit and adjustments but to get used to the pattern instructions (destructions as a friend calls them)
  • Make notes for any alterations made – if making a sample by the time I got to the real garment I would not have been able to remember.  And if you are planning to make more garments from the pattern you will need the notes.
  • Personally I don’t like interfacing in my soft cotton shirts – this would have been an expensive experiment on the real material!
  • If you are using iron-on interfacing don’t use tailor tacks as they won’t come out!
  • When top stitching on the outside use a longer stitch length e.g. 3 on my Bernina machine
  • When pinning put the pins vertical with the head outside the material – this makes easing curves more successful and they are easy to remove when sewing (if you’ve not tacked).  And many more pins on curves than you think is needed.
  • Tack with small stitches – on the seam line to check for fit.  Small stitches don’t come undone!  In my youth I hated tacking but now I see the benefit.
  • Layering of seams with more than 2 layers such as the collar and yoke.  The seam closest to the body is the trimmed the most, the next a little less and so on.
  • Trim all seams – for a corner cut off the corner point then take a little more off each side.  This reduces the bulk quite considerably.
  • Buttonhole markings need to be on the outside of the material – I put mine on the inside so had to re-mark.
  • Sew on the buttons with your machine, if it has this program.  They don’t come off!  Most of the buttons I sewed onto the sample came off during trying on! Oh and if your button has a design pay attention to the direction of the button when sewing it on.  Mine had a tree design and I sewed on about half upside down so had to re-sew them.

The Expensive Shirt Saga

This has been my FIRST excursion into clothes making.  This is a lengthy saga so please read all of it!

Back in the summer (around June) I went to a local knitting afternoon ‘fete’ with a couple of friends.  There were a few stall including a lady advertising her small sewing classes.  I had been toying with attempting to make a shirt and I got really excited about these weekly classes and decided to join.  One of the stalls had really nice buttons so I bought buttons for the shirt, then we visited a local fabric shop to get a pattern and the material.  All seemed well!!.  I started the classes and the tutor explained reading a pattern and agreed to me making a sample (toile) which I started.  I think there were 5 weeks before the summer school holidays when classes stopped.  By the last week the sample was almost finished – having had to adjust the front band so the shirt wasn’t so tight across my body.  I sewed the sleeves in on the last day and tried it on -DISASTER – the sleeves pulled under the arms.  In the last 15 minutes the tutor suggested changing the shape of the sleeve top and drew a diagram.

I knew I couldn’t do this on my own so I hunted out another tutor with weekly classes, and started going on a Wednesday morning, which was convenient for me.  So I turned up with a non-fitting sample – I did feel for the tutor, but she wasn’t fazed and had some alternate suggestions.  First the back collar/yoke was undone and the mid back pleats re-distributed, and sew back together.  That didn’t help.  Then one sleeve was taken out and it’s gathers re-arranged – SEVERAL TIMES!.  Still pulled.  I think at this point (although it could have been elsewhere in the saga) the shoulders were taken up, which did help.  By now we were in about week 5 (I think!).  That sleeve felt alright, so I tried to replicate the changes in the other sleeve.  I think that went fairly smoothly and the sample was OK.

Hooray, I started on the actual material version.  Several weeks later I had the shirt almost finished with the sleeves in, and tried it on.  THE SLEEVES PULLED!! at the front underarm so one sleeve came out again and sewn back in a couple of times (I forget how many) with various versions of distributing the fullness.  Eventually having the fullness evenly distributed seemed to be ok.  On to sleeve 2; several attempts to stitch it back in neatly it was in.  Tried in on the second sleeve PULLED!!.  At this point I really wanted to give up.  The tutor took pity and re-stitched it in and it was OK!!!. That was at the end of October – which is month 5!!!.  I then had a week off for the house decorators.  On return the collar got put on under advice as I couldn’t make sense of the instructions (again).  This week should have been the buttonholes but I’d run out of the correct colour thread and it hadn’t arrived!.  Yesterday I did the buttonholes and today sewed on the button (using the machine which I’ve never done before ) so

IT IS NOW FINISHED – 6 months of paid weekly classes later.

And yes, I am ready to start the next project next week (foolish of me).

Gerald the Turkey

   2015-08-27 gerald2

Meet Gerald the Turkey who escaped last Thanksgiving and remained in the wild over Christmas and New Year. Only recently has he been persuaded to come and live inside and be a door-guard for my sewing stash room. (He is a door stop).

If you think stuffing and cooking an edible Turkey is hard, Gerald has proved to be a BIG trial. I found the pattern had some flaws and even my expert sewing friends thought it was at best unclear!. So I just had to make some of it up myself. Naturally this took much longer and there were times when I was tempted to let him escape permanently. But I really, really liked the pattern photo so I persevered. Now he is in residence, I am quite proud of my effort.

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