Saturday, 30 July 2011

I am officially on holiday and time to put some sewing plans together

I officially start my two week vacation this week and boy do I have plans.

First and foremost I have wasps in my sewing room and the pest control guy is turning up at 11am today.  Now I have been contemplating moving my sewing room around and this is the perfect excuse to tidy up and move some furniture.  The room used to be my son's bedroom and despite the fact he is studying away from home, he still expects to use the room when he comes home.  Currently his bed is at one end and my sewing machine etc at the other end so I want to swap things around.  If I can get cleared up enough I may even repaint the wardrobe doors which he decided to paint dark blue yuck.......................................

Our flat project is coming along great, and it will only be a matter of a few weeks before we will be ready to move in.  I have said I will participate in the Stitcher's Guild 2011 6-Piece Autumn Collection (6PAC) sew-along (August - October) and I think this is the perfect time to put a capsule wardrobe together.  These are my thoughts however colours may change once I put my swatches together:

  1. basic black pants - suitable for work or casual
  2. basic black skirt - suitable for work or casual
  3. basic black jacket - suitable for work or casual (the first three items could form part of a mix and match wardrobe pattern)
  4. Pair of jeans
  5. white blouse
  6. black and white blouse/top
  7. grey cardigan
  8. one each of grey,black and cream polo-neck /turtle neck sweater
  9. coloured blouse/top
I need to get all my fabric swatches together and dig out my patterns to see what I will do, but I was looking for some inspiration and saw the following which I love:

Need to get ready for the wasp man.  More later.....................

Monday, 25 July 2011

KwickSew Panties 3881

I saw these on PR and thought I have to have a go - ordered the pattern from Jaycotts in the UK and the pattern arrived on Saturday morning.

Pattern Description:  FABRICS:

Designed for stretch knits only with 25% stretch across the grain.
Suggested Fabrics: Single knit, interlock, jersey, knits with Lycra®, nylon tricot.
Pattern includes 1/4" (6 mm) seam allowances.

Panties in four styles have waist and leg openings finished with elastic. View A briefs and View B bikini have classic leg openings. View C hipster has low cut waist and boy-cut leg openings. View D thong style panty.

Pattern Sizing: XS-S-M-L-XL

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Hmmm sort of I guess - my first pair were just black with red lingerie lace on them, but as I got more confident, I then realised that I could insert the lace front which makes them more Agent Provocateur rather than something your granny would wear.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes very easy - my last pair took less than 30 minutes to make.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I have actually cut out several pairs of these now - The first pair were what you may call passion killers but very comfortable, I had cut out the large size first of all but then had to reduce them because they were quite big and the ones in the photo here are what I call the perfect end result.  
Fabric Used: a mixture of some cotton knit I had in my stash and I actually cut up an unused corporate t shirt to make the crotch lining (I was never going to wear the t shirt).

Notions: a mixture of serger thread, woolly thread and 1/4" elastic for the one's shown here and lingerie elastic for the others.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: These were produced using a cross between version A and B - B I felt were too low, and A too high, so I just raised the line of view B and got the end.  In the instructions they used elastic in the legs too, I prefer the legs without elastic so used the wave function on my babylock and a mix of white thread with a lilac woolly thread for the lower looper ---- I never thought I would use this function much but am using it more and more now.

Would you sew it again? Yes I would sew it again Would you recommend it to others? Yes they are so easy and when you see the prices of shop bought panties it makes me wonder why I never did this years ago.

Conclusion:  I saw this pattern made up on Pattern Review so added to my wish list and then ordered it from Jaycotts.  I like the fact you can select the different styles from the same pattern.  KwickSew use a heavy weight paper for their pattern, so rather than cut the pattern direct for their paper, I traced the pattern onto some tissue paper so I could make different sizes if required for either myself (when I lose weight) or my daughter.

Monday, 18 July 2011


This is the 2nd item of my 6PAC Simplicity 3786. 

Pattern Description: Misses top with front and sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing: Size 6 - 20

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes pretty much I made the one with the big red arrow pointing towards it.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes except for the pintucks read on.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The only thing I hated were the fine pintucks in the front - probably because I was trying to do them quickly which in the end took me longer because I had to unpick one front - in the end I tailor tacked the line which made it 100% easier to sew and line up.

Fabric Used: Polyester Georgette purchased from Walthamstow Market for £1 a metre and took 2.25 Metres

Notions: Sewing thread and interfacing for the collar

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None I cut a size 14

Would you sew it again? Yes I would sew it again Would you recommend it to others? Yes

Conclusion: I wanted a loose fitting top that I could pop over a pair of jeans and I think this fitted the bill.  I saw it made up on Pattern Review so added to my wish list and then ordered it from Jaycotts.  I like the fact you can select the different styles from the same pattern so will have ago a some of the other variations.

This is in my colour pallet for my 6PAC that I have agreed to join, so makes item No.2 however I am wondering if I will be able to stick to only 6 pieces!!!!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My knock-off blouse

We all get inspiration from the top designers, high end RTW lines etc.  Someone once introduced me to Madeleine and I absolutely love the way they put their collections together, sadly the price range is a little high so I use the site to give me ideas on how to put my "perfect" look together.

So in their latest collection (Autumn/winter 2011/12) I saw this beautiful scarf collar blouse which they have scattered throughout this collection in many different fabrics and colours.

So I searched all my patterns to see if I had anything similar and came up with a very very old OOP Simplicity 9581.
This doesn't have the v.neck front like the Madeleine one does so I needed to adjust the pattern.  After a few hours this is what I came up with.

The Fabric was a lovely crepe with a slight grainy texture purchased from Walthamstow market £1 a metre and took just under two metres.

The construction was done predominately with my serger so this was nice and quick and easy.  This was a very old pattern which I would have made about 25-30 years ago, so needless to say I am slightly fuller than I was then, so I made broad back adjustment and a FBA too.

I am delighted the way this blouse turned out and now I would like to find some mink coloured fabric to make a pair of pants or a skirt to go with this, and this is the start of my late summer/autumn 6PAC for the Stitcher's Guild Sewing Forum 2011 6-Piece Autumn Collection (6PAC) sew-along (August - October).

Saturday, 16 July 2011

More PJ's

I seem to make things in batches and my latest batch sew is PJ's.

McCalls 5977

I decided to use an old tried and tested vest pattern M5977 for the top this time,  but instead of binding the neck edge I made a 1" wide frill first by using the wave function on my babylock evolution serger on both sides.  I then used a long stitch length (6) stitched down the centre with my sewing machine.  Once gathered, I stitched both a pink ribbon and the frill to the neck edge of the top.

For the pants I used my self drafted pant pattern but eliminated the side seams by overlapping the back and front piece to create one pattern piece for both back and front.

I simply sew the inside leg on each piece, insert one leg inside the other and then sew the back and front seams - you now have your pant.

For the elasticated waist I cut a piece of elastic that fitted nicely around my waist and overlapped the two ends together and stitched using a zig-zag stitch.  I divided the elastic into 4 and did the same with the pant waist and stitched the elastic to the pant using my serger.  The next stage is to turn the elastic waistband inwards and stitch using a honeycomb stitch on my sewing machine.  One tip I picked up on my Threads DVD was to steam the elastic with the iron once finished as this helps reduce any stretching during the stitching process (and I am sure it worked).

This is a really nice comfy pair of PJ's (wore them last night) and I have enough of the pink knit left to make a nice long cardigan so I have a 3-piece set to lounge around in.

Long Cardigan next, this is my job for later today..

 and here is the end result - the pink knit is quite thin, so the cardigan give some modesty cover and keeps the chill off when sitting in the lounge.
Here is the PJ top on Edna to give you a better idea on how it looks.

next project has to be something I can wear during the day not at night ha ha.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

My beautiful granddaughter is now 1 year old.

I can't believe that a year has flown by already and my beautiful granddaughter is already 1 year old and she learned how to walk too just before her first birthday - cleaver girl.

We are having a birthday tea for Alana next weekend so will be busy making cake, jelly and icecream of course.

My partner's son is waiting for his partner to give birth to their first baby, and which point my D Mike can give him the quilt that I made (see separate post) but as at today there is no news.

All these babys - keeps us busy.................................................................

My ebay adventure

I have been looking at the Horn sewing cabinets, and once I pull myself up from the floor because the one I like is over £1000 I thought I would see if any came up on ebay.

I actually want two - one for my home and one to have at my partner's flat so it makes sense if I can buy nearly new at a fraction of the price.

Now every time I want to purchase something on e.bay I seem to be travelling for work and the auction always seems to finish when I am mid flight or can't get access to the Internet which is very frustrating.

So I found a beautiful cabinet that I wanted, waited for a while to see how the bidding was going so I didn't go in too cheap nor too high - and it got up to over £300 and it was at this point when I started to think what is my walk-away price.  I decided that price was £350, and can you believe it someone topped me and got this cabinet for £360 ..................................  I felt gutted - I would have paid that, but I guess I got cold feet.  Perhaps you have to have a real gambling mentality for ebay.

I am looking at another one - have put in a small bid which has already been topped, but it is 2nd best because it is not really the colour I want. so I may let it pass until one in the pale colour come up again.

hey ho I guess that is how it goes.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Another Baby quilt

We are expecting another new arrival next week so I thought I had better get going on my Moses basket quilt that I promised to make. I still need to add some more ribbons etc but this is it so far.

Embroidery on Janome machine using Madeira embroidery thread
Fabric - brush cotton for the backing and bound edges - cotton polyester for the top.
Ribbons and bows from card-making stash

The entire quilt - I basically marked the fabric into four quadrants and then using my embroidery hoop I embroidered something in each quadrant.  I repeated the cat because I know mum and dad to be, like cats and then added the puppy and the sheep.  See below for better close-up of each quadrant.

Because this is for a little baby I like the tone on tone look so have been sparing with my use of colour.  I may well add some more pink bows (yes they know its a girl) but will see where my creative juice take me tonight.

Running and fabric purchases

I have put on weight in the last year - there is no excuse other than I am clearly eating more than I am exercising, so I have decided to get back into my routine.

All the experts say that we should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.  Now on the surface that sounds really quite easy, but at the moment, work has been rather overwhelming and my typical working days are starting at 7am and sometimes not finishing until 9pm or later if North America come on line and need any help.

In the past and at my best weight I was running 3 times a week, doing bodypump 2 times a week and riding my bike to the railway station.  My relocation to an office near Gatwick Airport means that I drive to work now (120 mile round trip) sit at a desk all day, drive home and then pick up my laptop again and sit working.  My leisure time also require much sitting (sewing, knitting etc) so I REALLY NEED TO GET UP AND MOVE MORE.

Last week I was in The Hague for 3 days so other than walking to and from the office I only managed to 2 runs but this week I have been very good.  Monday 1.2 miles, Tuesday 1.5 miles and Wednesday 3 miles.  In addition to the running I am trying to do 50 sit-ups a day and some weights.

I weighed myself this morning and can see a weight loss of a couple of pound - doesn't seem a lot for the amount of effort I have put in but it is a loss and I am delighted - small steps and all that. 

I do always feel better after working out - just hate the thought of it beforehand.

Yesterday I had to drive to Cambridge and the M11 once it reaches the M25 on my way home, is only 7-8 miles from my favorite fabric shop so I decided to take a quick detour on route home.

I spent £30 and managed to get some great fabric, including some light-weight stretch which I can use as a lining for those lighter stretch fabrics that need more substance.

Well best put on my running shoes

more later............

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Vogue 8670

I have had a really productive couple of days sewing, first Temi's blouse yesterday and then today I made 2 tops using the Vogue 8670 pattern.

The first top I made was with the white jersey I bought when I was with Elizabeth yesterday together with some stretch lace I had in my stash.  It sewed up beautifully and I will definitely buy some more.

This is has got to be one of the quickest tops I have made.  I was made almost entirely on the serger, only the bust darts were made using the Bernina sewing machine using a stretch stitch. The only thing that held me up was changing my serger from overlock to cover stitch for the hems when I couldn't get the stitch right so took a couple of re-threads to get it right..

So here is the finished top, please excuse Edna's bra not sitting correctly, but I love it and may wear it tonight when my darling Mike and I go out to dinner with some friends. 

A close up of the lace detail in the sleeve.  I guess I will have to wear a strapless bra.

I decide to use the same pattern to make a PJ top too - I had already made the PJ bottoms in lilac about a week ago, and I had bought some nice paisley print to match and here are my new PJ's

The bottom of the PJs were finished using the wave function on the Babylock evolution machine using conventional white serger thread together with some lilac wooly thread.

More later......................

Meeting Friends from the Stitcher's Guild

Friday I arranged to meet up with Elizabeth aka ejv from the Sewing Discussion at Stitcher's Guild Sewing ForumWe had exchanged a few e.mails and found out that we will almost be neighbours when I move into London in what will only be a matter of a few weeks.

As mentioned in my earlier blog I was already going to London for some leaving drinks so arrived early to meet with Elizabeth and her delightful little daughter.

The planned meeting place was outside WHS at Liverpool Street station where we would also see if we could pick up the latest Burda magazine.  I arrived before Elizabeth and thought I would see if I could find the magazine - to my horror there were only two copies left, so rather than buy mine and find that by the time Elizabeth arrived that the other one had gone, I thought I had better get them both.

Elizabeth had her bike with her so after a coffee, and fleeting glance through the Burda magazine we wandered down Bishopsgate to my D Mike's office to retrieve the bike keys so I could use one of the London's free bikes and cycle off to some of Elizabeth's fabric haunts.

We cycled to Dalston Mill.  This is a real treasure find - not so cheap as my normal market finds, but boy do they have some great fabrics.  I purchased some white jersey and some later in the actual market some nice melon coloured cotton.  Dalston Mill have some great cashmere and I am really tempted to buy some for a cashmere coat for the winter.

On our way back to the city, we stopped off at a great haberdashery shop which I will definitely visit again soon when I have more time.

Thanks Elizabeth - we had a great time and I look forward to many more adventures.

Vogue 1127 Blouse

Here is how it all started - I had previously made up V1127 blouse above - in fact I made the whole suit and was wearing the blouse for work one day.  My colleague and I went for a couple of drinks after work because she was leaving the company and commented how much she liked my blouse, and before I could stop myself, I said "oh I will make you one for your leaving present".

Now that was 2 weeks ago, and you would think - yep can run that up in two weeks but I had to go and find some fabric, as close to or similar to the one I had on, and squeeze the sewing project into no free weekend between me promising to make the blouse and a trip to The Hague.

So Thursday night I dashed up to my sewing room - rooted through all my patterns to dig out the pattern and cut out some nice silk fabric that I purchased from my local market.

I had worked the whole of the previous weekend prepping for a meeting with my boss so I told her I was taking Friday off to compensate.  I started the blouse at 7:30am and by 12:20 I had finished the blouse, done a little bit of work, had a shower, dressed and was in a taxi to the railway station to head up to London.

Here is the end result:

I am really pleased with the blouse.  To save time I used little pearl buttons rather than self-covered ones that I used for my blouse.

This is a really simple pattern, however Vogue do not really help much in the instructions for the neck collar - but once I walked away and had a cup of tea I manage to work it out.

I didn't cut the bias strips to bind the armcye edges but just used some bias ribbon.
The Hem was rolled using my Babylock serger.

My friend is delighted with blouse and I am delighted that I managed to finish it in time.  She is starting a new job in two weeks and said that she intends to wear the blouse so that it will appear on her photo ID for ever more.

Enjoy wearing it Temi.