Tuesday, 31 July 2012

useful tip for adding seam allowances

I just saw this post on Pam's Off the Cuff sewing Style regarding seam allowances.  For those of you that like the burda style patterns there is the aggravating issue of adding the seam allowance to the pattern.

Pam uses a surprisingly simple technique with her sewing machine to stitch around the pattern with her sewing machine (unthreaded) using a small stich so that the needle is effectively cutting the excess paper away from the pattern piece.

Click the link above, its simple and I am going to give it a go soon and have to give my thanks to Pam for posting the idea on her blog.

Catch you later...............

Monday, 30 July 2012

Looking back - last 6 months.

Where does the time go.  I can't believe that we are at the end of July tomorrow and it made me think what have I achieved this year?

Well I had a few items on my todo list:

  1. Make a Chanel style jacket
  2. Make a bra
  3. Make a pair of jeans
  4. Organise my pattern stash
Well I made Chanel style jackets in April and May, my test jacket and then the one I made from my Linton Tweed for my sister's wedding.

My bra making journey started when I visited Sigrid in The Netherlands in June, I have now made 4 in total, and for two of them matching briefs.

I uploaded a copy of the Bento software and now have all my current patterns listed on there - I just need to do my vintage patterns now.

So my last item on the list is to make a pair of jeans.  There are some great examples out there for me to glean inspiration from, and I signed up to Kenneth King's jean class so hopefully I will be in good shape when I get going.

I spent a little time gathering my sewing accomplishments together on a month by month basis and here is a reminder of June and July.

June was clearly a productive month with 6 shirts (including mine), two cardigans and a bra, and a pair of trousers for me, however July found my time occupied with many other things such as travelling for work, BBQ's, birthday parties, zoo trips etc., but I still have some items to show.

Two bra lingerie sets and two shirts (doesn't seem a lot compared with June).

Before I used to blog, I would make things and almost forget about them.  I often find myself looking back on my blog or PR to remind myself  of what I have sewn, and am always pleasantly  surprised.

Catch you later...............

Sunday, 29 July 2012


I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have finished the last of my D Mike's shirts this evening.  That is 10 shirts since the 15th May this year when I completed the first shirt for his birthday.

Here are the last two shirts ( the one on the left is made from a beautiful Oxford broadcloth, and the one on the rights from a shot satin which hates to be photographed - too shiny).

This has been quite a journey, and there have been ups and downs during this whole process, but on the whole I have really enjoyed making these.  While the deal I made with my D Mike will result in a beautiful designer handbag, in truth I would have been more than happy to do this just for the love of it, because it is a delight that he is so happy to wear something I have made for him.

As regular readers of my blog will know I have been making other things along with these shirts in the last two months, but here are the stats below:-

Pattern used: Kwik Sew 3883

Alterations to pattern:

  • Added back pleats
  • French cuffs
  • Flat felled seams
  • Embroidery
  • Collar stays

Fabric used: 22.5 meters various fabrics

Equipment used:

  • Bernina Aurora 440QE
  • Janome 350e embroidery machine

Machine feet used in addition to the normal foot:

  • No.10 for top stitching
  • No. 3A for buttonholes
  • No.70 for flat felled seams
  • No. 68 for hems

Mistakes made on this journey:

  •  Sewed sleeves on the wrong way round
  • Top stitching went wrong so had to unpick it
  • Sewed some of the buttonholes too small and had to unpick them


  • Managed to use my No.68 foot for hemming the shirts (I struggled with this foot in the past). 
  • Perfected my method for sewing my collars thanks to Margy posting a very useful tutorial on her blog.
  • Came 2nd in the PR contest (One Pattern many looks) - THANK YOU VERY MUCH IF YOU VOTED FOR ME
  • Learned how to perfect top stitching the points on the collars from an article in the Threads magazine
  • Embroidery in the yoke of each shirt culminating in 10/10 CC (= the last shirt that gets my beautiful bag) - Mike often says I am going to wear number 3 today or number 6 which I think is really funny.
We have chatted about which day we will go to Bond Street in London to purchase the bag, so it will be a week on Tuesday when we will be on vacation.  Now I will be in a panic about what I wear to walk into a Chanel boutique - oh the stress, does this mean another special Chanel shopping outfit.  I wonder if I can do any snoop shopping while I am in there.

I hope you all had a good weekend.  Catch you later......

Saturday, 28 July 2012

shirts/handbag update.

I am pleased to say that I was quite productive with my tandem sewing today.  The two shirts I cut out last night, I sewed each stage x 2.

I now have two shirts where the backs and fronts are attached to the yoke. Both yokes have been embroidered.  Collars constructed and attached to the shirt bodies.  Front bands sewn and top-stitched, buttonholes and hems sewn and cuffs constructed.

My bag is in sight now.  Tomorrow I'll add the placket to the sleeves, attached the sleeves to the shirt bodies, flat fell the sleeve and side seams, attach the cuffs and sew on the buttons.

If Mike wasn't here I would still be upstairs sewing, but I said I would quit sewing at 9 so I am keeping my promise.

Watch this space.................Catch you later.......

cowl neck top

I have cut out both shirts for my D Mike, so I plan on starting those today - I am going into mass production and going to try and sew them in tandem, however recently a few people have been making cowl neck tops, and I really want one.

Sigrid has made a few and here is the link to her blog showing the one she made, I also saw one of our advisors wearing one under her formal work suit, it was a deep coral colour teamed with a black suit - it looked very smart.  I had a look round on google and found a few to inspire me.

I don't have a pattern in my stash, but I have found a couple in my burda magazines, so time permitting I might see if I can squeeze a quick little top in for me too this weekend - no pressure lol

Happy sewing and catch you later.................

Thursday, 26 July 2012

9/10 and 10/10 cut out

Hi guys - our beautiful weather continues here in the UK but its not so nice when you are locked in a windowless room for 2 days for pension meetings lol.

I am now back at my little cottage on my own tonight, so while it is so tempting to cut out another bra (you know me I never make just one of anything) I felt compelled to push my concentration towards those last two shirts that are on my to-do list

Now if my D Mike is reading this, he will at the very moment he reads this post start to have multiple palpitations because we have this deal you see.  For those reading this for the first time, the deal is: ten shirts = one Chanel handbag.  I have already made eight of them, so I really feel I need to get these last two made so I can drag,  I mean so we can go shopping for my bag.

A few weeks back I purchased the two pieces of lovely fabric you can see below, when I was shopping one day with Mike.  He actually loved the fabric when I purchased it, which makes these last two special.

I have already cut out the bottom fabric, and will cut out the top fabric later tonight/tomorrow.  My target is to get these finished by Sunday evening if I can.

Olympics start tomorrow, so let the games begin..............

Hope you are being productive.  Catch you later.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Pink and Red Rose lace lingerie set complete

Hi everyone - we are enjoying a heatwave after weeks of rain here in the UK - I hope you are having nice weather where you are.

As mentioned yesterday I wanted to complete my matching panties to go with my pink and red rose lace lingerie set and I finished work early enough to do these before supper tonight.

As you can see from the photo below I used the picot elastic that I used for the bra for the elastic top of the panties and then for the legs, I sewed clear elastic on the right side of the pantie legs and then turned it under and stitch another zig zag on the top.

For the centre panel I stitched two pieces of the lace right sides together, I then stitched another row of stitching, trimmed the seam and then folded the two stitched rows over and tidied it up with another small zig zag stitch.

For those of you eyeing up the roses down the front yes I know that the roses are not identical.  I wasn't sure how these would turn out so didn't want to waste the lace matching up the roses - will save that for the next pair of panties.

This is the 2nd complete set I have made now and am really delighted with the results - I almost feel glamourous - well nearly ha ha.

Catch you later........

Black and Pink Roses

Ok, this is a quick post.  Bra No.4 finished tonight.

This was some lace I purchased from ebay and I actually gave some to Sigrid because she kindly helped me out with all my notions I needed to complete this bra.

I love the rose pattern and I have quite a bit of the lace, enough to make another bra and probably 2 or more pairs of pants which is ideal.  There was one little problem with the width of the lace, in that I had to add a little fabric to the end of one or two pieces, but it doesn't show in the bra because it has been disguised in the seam allowances and the wire casing.

A nude coloured power net has been used for the stretch back, but really isn't a problem and doesn't show through.

The black stretch fabric is from my stash.  If I get time, I want to make the panties to go with this bra tomorrow and maybe cut out those last two shirts before I head off on another business trip this week lol.

Catch you later........

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Visiting friends and going to the zoo

gosh what a busy weekend I have had, Friday I collected my colleague/friend from the Eurostar train ready to drive to Oxford to visit the partner of my old boss/friend who died earlier in the year, however we didn't have a good start to the journey.

I was running late and each time I called her a man answered the phone which was strange.  When I got to the train station she was waiting for me all in a panic because she had left her phone on the train.  We spent half an hour talking to the people there (not much help) but in the end, just before we reached Oxford, the found out the phone had been handed to a guard and was with the lost property.  Several phone calls later the phone was put on an express bike to meet us at the house we were staying - thank goodness.

Saturday we drove back home to meet with my sister visiting from Scotland, so we all enjoyed a take-away Indian meal and Sunday morning we headed off to the zoo with Alana my beautiful little GD and met up with Mike's son and his beautiful little GD so we had a lovely time at the zoo.

Hope you all had a good weekend too.  Catch you later....................

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bra Making journey continues with matching panties

Ok folks I have now just finished bra No.3 and made matching panties.

Following my trip to The Netherlands last week, Sigrid very kindly raided her stash to give me some much needed notions to complete my bra.  For this bra I used some stretch knit I had in my stash (without the power-net) but while its not as firm as when you do use the power-net, it still fits ok and feels comfortable.  Sadly I had already made 3/4's of the bra so it was too late to insert the power-net, but going forward all other bras will have this included.

I wanted to make some matching panties to go with this bra, so I tweaked my kwik sew 3881 pattern to make them look more commercial.  Sadly I didn't have enough of the lace I used for the bra to incorporate much into the panties, but there is a little bit.

I am not sure how much, if any time I will get this weekend to sew, so it feels good to have completed this project.

Catch you later.................

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

I came 2nd in the One pattern many looks contest

You may recall a few weeks back I decided to enter my 8 shirts that I had made for my D Mike in the 'One pattern many looks' contest.

Well I didn't win, but I did come 2nd (yippeeeeeeee), and congratulations go to Sherril Miller for coming first.

I want to thank all the people who voted for me - this is the 3rd PR contest I have ever entered and chuffed to bits that I came 2nd in this one.

Read more about the winner here

Catch you later..............

Like the Costume Fairy, Only Taller

How many times have you been in a position where people hear that you sew, and think that you can run something up for them, really quickly,  at no inconvenience to yourself!

Someone on the the Stitcher's Guild sewing forum made reference to this amusing You Tube clip and I thought I would share it with you because its very funny.

Hope you are getting on with more sewing than I at the moment.

Catch you later........

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sharing sewing tips - tear-away stabiliser

This morning I read a great sewing tip which Bunny from La Sewista! posted about on her blog on how to sew a really narrow hem on difficult fabric using a tear-away stabiliser using Kenneth King's method - click the link above so you can read all about it yourself on her fabulous blog.

On a similar note I was lucky enough to get a copy of my Threads magazine before flying out to The Hague on Wednesday afternoon so it was perfect reading material for my flight - but I digress the bit you are probably interested in is the sewing tip for top-stitching the point of a collar.

As you know, as you get closer to the point of a collar, there is nothing to hold the collar in place, so you can easily wobble at that point edge. They suggest that you place a little piece of tearaway stabiliser under the point of the collar to ensure that the feed dogs have something to grip on to which stops the fabric from slipping, and allows you to maintain consistant topstitching .  This is of course not just restricted to the collar points, but any area where the foot is at a position that is no long gripped by the feed dogs.

Can you believe that after all the rain during our BBQ yesterday the sun is out today.  The weather is still very cool, cool enough for our central heating system to kick in because it fell below the desired temperature......... crazy July weather (come on summer we know you are there somewhere).

I am off on another business trip tonight so I am giving myself an nice start by browsing my blogs etc before heading off to London and then on to Cork in Ireland on a 7pm flight.  Its only a quick trip because I have long enough to get into the office at 9am tomorrow morning and then have to be back at the airport to catch my flight home around 12:30 lunchtime - oh the joy of business travel.

If I have time this morning I will cut out the remaining two shirts I have to do for Mike so I can work on them at the flat this week. I now have purchased my flat felled foot for my Viking Emerald (my old machine that I have at the flat) so I will be able to get on with them.

I hope you are having a good weekend.  Catch you later..............

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Birthday celebrations for our little girls

Mike and I each have a beautiful granddaughter and collectively currently have two grandchildren who both celebrate their birthday in July.

Alana was 2 on the 11th July and Ella will be 1 on the 21st July, so we decided to hold a BBQ to celebrate the event and invite the family over.   However the weather was not on our side - it rained and it rained and it rained and we had about 30 people over for the BBQ.  Thank goodness for an extra large parasol purchased especially for today and our trusty gazebo which has been our savour from the inclement English weather on more than one occasion.

Strange as it may seem, despite having lots of little gifts to open, Alana loved playing with the balloons that her mother blew up.

During the week I had been watching ebay to purchase the girls a little playhouse and I managed to win this on Thursday night.  Collecting it wasn't easy, took two trips in the car, but I have to say it was such a success - we couldn't get the kids out of it.

Here is Ella and Alana having so much fun.

It rained, it was wet, but it didn't stop us all having fun.

Needless to say, no sewing for me this weekend.

Catch you later............

Thursday, 12 July 2012

What a manic week for me...........

Hi All.  This is a quick post to update you on a manic week for me.

  1. Sunday - dropped car off for a service and told them I would collect it Monday.
  2. Monday night - remembered I had forgotten to collect the car!
  3. Tuesday
    1. Woke at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep
    2. left earlier than normal for work - arriving on my bike hot a sweaty in my bright yellow cycle jacket
    3. My PA walks over to me with two visitors who had flown from Scotland to come and see me for the day (I forgot).
    4. My friend phoned and said "you still ok for the dinner and theatre tonight" - I had totally forgotten and had to make loads of calls to make sure Mike and I were there on time.
    5. Just before I left work I was asked to go to The Netherlands for a business trip the next day.
  4. Wednesday
    1. pack bike bag and take train back to nearest station to collect car
    2. get back to cottage to pack for business trip
    3. shower - few hours work - off to airport
    4. Arrive in The Netherlands around 7pm so had to go straight to a dinner so no time to check into the hotel
    5. Check-in to hotel at 11pm got an upgrade to the biggest 8 room suite I have ever seen but just needed to go to bed.
  5. Thursday
    1. 2 conference calls
    2. Meet Sigrid for lunch and to steal notions for bra making from her stash
      1. spent 20 minutes trying to find parking space -so only half hour for lunch.
      2. was delighted with what she brought for me THANK YOU
      3. had a nice lunch (just not long enough)
    3. Taxi late collecting me to go to the train station 
    4. flight delayed so arrived at 7pm instead of 6:40
    5. had to collect a play house that I purchased off ebay - too big for the car could only get half in the car (need to go back tomorrow)
    6. then drove to Ikea to buy parasol - take back wrong cabinet
    7. got home at 10:30 (no food since 12:30 with Sigrid).
    8. Read Ann's blog who has announced she had now lost 10lbs (congratulations to her) - let hope my lack of food today give me a push in the right direction for my diet.
    9. 11:30pm -  should have finished typing this and need to go to bed.
  6. Friday 
    1. Unload car (too tired tonight)
    2. collect other half of play house in lunch break
    3. finish a load of jobs for my boss
    4. shop for the BBQ food for Saturday
    5. Make a birthday cake for the grandchildren (Alana 2 and Elle 1)
  7. Saturday
    1. tidy house
    2. tidy garden
    3. get food made
    4. try and enjoy BBQ
  8. Sunday
    1. pack bags for next business trip later Sunday.

I hope you have had a better week than me.  Catch you later.....................

Monday, 9 July 2012

Painting, sorting,tidying up and bra sewing

Ok, I had two porches to paint today ready for some units to be fitted in the back one any time during the week (so it had to be ready), so I didn't really have any time to myself until my D Mike left to go to London.

One job I could do between drying times was sorting some of my boxes of elastic, trims etc.  They have all been sorted into their own boxes of elastic, trim, bias binding, lace and piping so hopefully they will be easier to find when I want them.  I purchased some more of the handy Ikea boxes to pop them into, and they are now sitting in an old bookcase that was in my old porch (so up-cycled).

Using some lace I had in my stash,  I cut out the cup pieces of a bra.  I am somewhat handicapped because other than the beautiful mink coloured lace and matching elastics etc that Sigrid picked up for me, any other bra making components has to be found in my stash.  I did manage to buy some bra strap elastic (very basic but it will do) which is what I am using for this white bra which is partially made, and I do have some white bra hook and eye closing, which I can use for this one.

I am not sure that I will get this finished until next weekend (unless I am up very early tomorrow), and even that might be a bit of a struggle because we are having a BBQ for the two grandchildren next Saturday, so will be very busy, so lets hope Sunday will be a better sewing day.

I am a little hesitant to sew up the mink lace set Sigrid bought until I have made a couple of bras, just to get me used to assembling all the pieces together comfortably without the expert eye of Sigrid.

I hope you all had a good weekend.

Catch you later....................

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Torch bearer video now working

Sorry to those interested enough to watch the video of the torch bearer  I was babysitting my DGD last night so didn't have a chance to see the comments that it wasn't working- I have now changed the setting from private to public so you should be able to play this now.

Here is little Alana who will be 2 on Tuesday - I can't believe how quickly the time has gone - above she is sitting on the step of my new porch.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Olympic Torch comes to town

Today was our day for the Olympic Torch to run through our little town, and indeed it was passing by the bottom of our road.

Thankfully the weather improved dramatically to greet the torch bearer and there was a good crowd of people who made the effort to wave and cheer the torch on to its next destination.

This was quite an emotional moment.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy 4th July

You can't imagine how happy I was to realise today was the 4th July.  Why is a Brit happy about the 4th of July you ask?  Well it means that I will have a nice quiet evening, and not receive many, if any emails/ phone calls this evening from all my work colleagues who are based in the USA - yippeeee.

So let me extend my good wishes by saying  Happy 4th July to all my readers on the other side of the pond, have a wonderful day and enjoy your celebrations.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

No really productive sewing this weekend

I have had a very busy weekend, but sadly no sewing to talk of.

My son has been building my porch at the front of the house, and renovating my back one, and both back and front porch has been plastered inside and out so both need painting.  I managed to paint the front porch on the outside (nice shade of lemon) but I am still waiting for the plaster to dry on the inside, so I suspect this is a job for next weekend too.

I did look at all my patterns to try and find some inspiration for a party Mike and I had been invited to last night, but I took longer over my deliberations - then wandered up to my sewing room and decided it needed tidying up.  I then picked up a UFO (mint green shift dress) thought about it for a while.  Put it down and set to painting the porch as there was a break in the weather, and that killed 2.5 hours.  I did go back and pick up the UFO and managed to mark up and sew the darts, insert the zipper, sew up the side seams and attach the sleeves.  It was when I read "now repeat the same for the lining" that I decided that I really wasn't going to have time to finish the dress, have a shower, wash and dry my hair etc in the time I had left, so I just decided to jump in the shower and wear something else.

Sadly I didn't do much better today either.  Mike was up very early to go sailing again, too early after a party and a 100 mile drive home, and I decided to make good use of the time by clearing up all the stuff that had been dumped in the kitchen when the two porches were emptied.  I had planned to sew, so went to the supermarket as soon as they opened to buy food for dinner tonight and when I got back decided to do some work in the garden - I finished around 3pm and somehow felt just too tired to concentrate on any sewing, and I still had dinner to prepare so absolutely no sewing today..

So that is my weekend.  I hate it if I haven't finished any sewing projects, I sort of feel like I haven't achieved anything, but I guess that is the way things go.  Sewing is becoming addictive and I suffer withdrawal symptoms when I haven't completed anything... Still that's life - perhaps I'll cut out a shirt to take to the flat with me tomorrow and get those last two shirts made up :-)

Catch you later............