Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Reflection on a year of sewing.. I am still not very good at it.

As I prepare for my "100th post, about a year since starting a blog, at the end of 2011 and around 50 followers" post round up, I have to say that this year has definitely been a year of errors. Pretty much the first thing I did with my new sewing machine was put the needle in and wedge my finger somehow under the feeddogs with the needle embedded in it, with the only resource pushing it in much further so I could get the right angle to get it out. Ow. Since then I have proved I have a talent for cutting the wrong bit off things, cutting out small pattern pieces from the middle of bigger ones (when I had no spare fabric to fix it of course) and my personal and ongoing favourite, sewing the front of something to the back that I've accidentally got caught underneath. I misread instructions, don't measure the grain-lines, melt my non fusible interfacing trying to make it stick to things, forget to plug the iron in and think its broken, insist on doing everything in half the time it ought to take and forget if I have included seam allowances. But still, I thought I was halfway competent, until last night.. I am making my flatmates a skirt each for Christmas, and I had rattled through most of an orange pencil skirt for Lindsey and needed her to try it on to see if it fit. I therefore threw in the zip, with remarkable ease and pretty straight for a first try. I was quite pleased. Until she tried to try it on. I had sewed the zip in UPSIDE DOWN. with the pull at the bottom and the unopenable bit at the waist. Brilliant. Sometimes the mind just boggles.

Luckily the thing needed taking out a bit anyway as I hadn't added enough ease for her to sit down properly, so I would have had to re-do it anyway. No harm done. Except to my ego and view of myself as a person with 2 braincells to rub together!

Despite all these flaws and idiocies and mistakes, I still love sewing, and working out how to make things fit together and fit people. One of the things Hannah took away from our recent sewing lesson was that most mistakes are fixable, and teach you something, and I really like that about sewing (though I am not sure what I have learned form the zip incident, except not to be a numpty!).

Even with all my mistakes, I am still very unafraid to sew and try new things. Maybe it is because of them-I can clearly mess up something up if I have done it 30 times just as easily as something new! Some times new stuff is tricky and you aren't sure about the end result, like FBAs (I still can't get the flat pattern versions to work properly) and others it is glorious and brilliant, like my bias strip maker! Last night after my depressing zip low point, I had a fun high from trying my first self covered buttons! A bit fiddly getting the material to hook on but then they just clicked in and looked like proper buttons - awesome!

How about you guys-do you find that the mistakes make you question your sanity? or spur you on to learn more?

Monday, 5 December 2011


Christmas is coming! The geese are getting fat etc. We should be putting up our decorations soon, and to increase the amount we have (for some reason everytime you get decorations back out again there seems to be less of them..) I decided , based on too much time spent on Pinterest (for all those who have not yet experienced Pinterst, only click on the linbk of you are prepared to lose a lot of time to it, sooo addictive) to make some bunting! We have a long hall in the flat, and the bunting should liven it up nicely. I have made 1 string so far, and I am going to make another.

Now there are loads of tutorials on-line, but a fair number of them involved more work than I was planning on. I guess if you are making the bunting for a child's bedroom, or outside, or more long term, or you are far more detail oriented than I am, you might want to hem the flags, but it didn't seem necessary for our Christmas decks.  I therefore came up with a basic hybrid version. I cut the flags out of jolly purple and white material (that's the colour our other stuff is) that I got out of the remnant bin at Edinburgh Fabrics. I have to say that bunting is super fabric efficient, I got about half a yard of each and I could probably make enough bunting to cover most of Edinburgh! I then sewed it on to some bias binding. This part was extremely satisfying, I just put the top of the flag under the top fold of the bias, and sewed it in. It therefore looks super neat on the front and back, for no effort whatsoever!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Oooh, what a good idea

Now, when it comes to inspiration in the blog world, I am not hugely adventurous. I tend to think the same things are nice all the time, and not really consider how I could adapt other people's ideas into stuff for myself if they aren't my usual thing.

Case in point, I am always seeing people's ideas for refashioning the endless T-shirts they own which they feel are a bit blah, embellishing, chopping about, and turning into dresses. My reaction to these has always been- "spare T-shirts-what spare T-shirts?" I can never find T-shirts I like, which are long enough for not continually riding up to my waist showing off the muffin top and tummy, or so long they are dresses. More importantly, when I do, they always end up shrinking over time to be too short. So I never have spare T-shirts.

But then I saw a post on the Refashion Co-op by Amy (her first post-so welcome!) where she mentioned that when her daughter grew so her tops were too short she sewed them onto skirts and made dresses..... a light bulb clicked! Now I am sure I have seen many people sew skirts onto t-shirts before but it was always phrased in the "spare T-shirts" category, which I never felt applied to me- but "too short T-shirts" -YES! I hate fitting  my upper half, and doing fiddly sleeves and necks and stuff, and I have several tops which have all this pre done! (obviously I wont bother with the classic 'too short and now oddly wide' ones).

So that is now my plan, especially for a top I wore the other day which drove me mad riding up. So.. ideas..

Amy sewed on a quick gathered skirt for hers, which is not going to work for me that simple. But it's very cute, with its colour matching from the yellow on the skirt and top.

There is the classic, 'just sew on a skirt and make it look like seperates where the top doesn't ride up' approach so it looks more like this.

Anthropologie has this multi knit version-perhaps I could attach tops to other knit items...

I shall have to see what I can quickly whip up! (I will add it to my list....)