Friday, 28 February 2014

Seriously what is going on with this!

STOP THE PRESS, what the hell is going on with this fabric!!!!!!!!!!!
So... last night I was getting prepped to make another Sewaholic Renfrew when after an hour of ironing and folding I discovered that my fabric has been printed wonky!!! This black and cream polka dot jersey knit was another of my purchases from the John Lewis NY sale. I decided to get a neat centerline I would fold the fabric along the middle of the centre row of spots. u can see this has left me with a huge tapering 4inch offset between the selvages. What the heck do I do now? I don't want a squinty patern but I also don't want to cut not with the grain. Total nightmare!!!

****UPDATE- I am an idiot! I took this to my dress making class the other day where my tutor promptly informed me that I had got confused as to which edge was the  selvage.  Rookie mistake! All is now well and my Renfrew is back on the list of future makes **** 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My First Renfrew

Having never sewn with knits before I decided that I really wanted to begin with a pattern which had loads of great resources online which I could refer to if I got stuck. Obviously this theory ended up with me deciding that the Sewaholic Renfrew was the way to go. I think that just about everyone in the blog world has at least one Renfrew if not a dozen or so.

As I mentioned in a previous post I bought the pattern from Guthrie and Ghani on a trip to Bimingham last year. I also bought some pale pink lightweight jersey fabric to go with it but I decided that for my first attempt with knit I would use something with a little more body. Luckily I made this right around the time that John Lewis had its Christmas/NY sale. Considering that I had never sewn with knits before I decided to go ahead and buy a couple of different knit fabrics some with stripes and this lovely burgundy flowery one. I decided this was the perfect fabric to start with as is was a nice weight (very similar to my RTW (ready to wear) tops) and it also had really small pattern which I didn't need to worry about matching. 

I decided to sew version A with the 3/4 length sleeves. It really sewed up quite quickly. I think the fact that knit does not really unravel at the raw edges means that there is not as much finishing to be done as there would be with a woven fabric. I also mentioned in another post that I have recently got a new machine, I will be sure to post more about it at a later date. Anyway, my new machine came with a free walking foot. Wow, what a difference that crazy contraption makes when working with knits. I will definitely be using it for all of my future knit projects (of which I am planning many).

It is really comfy to wear except for the sleeve cuffs. They are just a bit too tight for my arms so when I make my next Renfrew I am planning to give just a little more ease in the cuff band. The sleeve is a good size so I think I should be fine to just add a cm to the cuff without having to amend the sleeve pattern. 
I am also thinking that I will try a different finish on the neckline next time. I am sure I have seen a method for enclosing all of the raw edges for a cleaner finish on the inside. 

Having said all that I am delighted with this top and have been wearing it loads since I finished it. Most of my RTW tops are knits as I find them the most comfortable to wear. So, gaining the confidence to use this material has really opened up a world of possibilities. I definitely see several knit tops in my sewing future.

Also, GBSB episode 2 tonight! I loved it last week, really looking forward to it again this week :-)  

Monday, 24 February 2014

Remade in Edinburgh - Jam Jar Pin Cushion

A couple of weeks ago I popped in to Remade in Edinburgh for their Wednesday drop-in and I created this little jam jar pin cushion in their workshop. 

Remade in Edinburgh are a community led initiative which aims to create a reuse and repair centre in Edinburgh.  They have a premises just off the Cowgate where they have shelves stuffed with trims, threads and fabrics as well as computers and tools for all sorts for repairs. The run a series of reasonably priced classes and work shops as well as the free Wednesday drop in session where people can use the resources and knowledge of the volunteers on hand to fix and repair just about anything.

When I was in making my pin cushion the workroom was a hive of activity with folk making lots of repairs. There was a gentleman sewing a button back on to his suit jacket, a lady sewing up a tear in the lining of a jacket she had recently purchased in a thrift shop and even someone reupholstering a computer chair with some leather salvaged from an unwanted sofa. It was really nice just chilling out for a couple of hours with a cup of tea and a chocolate bourbon whilst listening to everyone's remake stories. 

All in all I had a lovely evening and managed to save a jar, some fabric, wadding, ribbon and lace trim from the recycling bin or landfill. I believe the drop in that I went to was I trial run for a class which may run later in the future. The class will include a jam jar pin cushion as well as a needle case, so keep checking the website if your interested.

Dressmaking class - Rooibos Part 2

I have now had another few dressmaking classes so I though I would do a quick progress up date. After what seemed like a lifetime of tracing pattern pieces I finally started sewing a couple of weeks ago. I traced each of the pattern pieces on to Swedish tracing paper so I could sew it together to make a toile in order to check if the fit around the bust was suitable. I have to be honest and say I have no idea what Swedish tracing paper should look like bit I am a little suspicious of this stuff. I bought it off of eBay and the seller clearly stated that is what it is but it looks not like a very lightweight sew in interfacing to me. Having said that it is nice and stable and seems to have done a good job so far (plus it was really cheap). 

I cut the pattern in a size 10 and it seems to be quite a good fit. I am still in the process of fine tuning my dressmakers model so in the photo above it is just not quite the right fit. Since then I have adorned my model with a more true to life bust aka. an old bra and not the fit looks much better. I also spend an evening in my flat with it on and I was fairly happy with it.

When searching for idea for my Rooibos I found this dress by Thread Square on Pinterest and knew I wanted to create something similar. After searching for a couple of weeks I found a lovely 100% British wool in Edinburgh Fabrics to use as the main shell fabric. It is fairly lightweight for wool and has a nice drape.  The fabric I chose for the facing is a whole other story which I will go into next time.

This is the stage that I got to in my last class. I am using a lovely I have made a slight change to the pattern. When I sewed up my toile I thought that the back darts looked really severe and didn't create a very smooth shape. So after consulting with the class leader I decided to create a two small gathered sections to replace the darts. I think they look quite good now that the midriff section is attached.

Above is the bodice shell on my reworked model I think it looks a lot better with the undergarments.

I am holding most of my thoughts on the class until it is finished but what I will say is that 2 hours is not enough time to do anything and after 3 weeks of classes I don't feel like much progress has been made. Fortunately it is half term just now and so we have had a week off and I have managed to make a bit more progress over the weekend... stay tuned for more Rooibos action. 


These guys were a great wee Friday night activity whilst watching the telly with my mum. My mum is coming to the end of a quilting course and as her sewing machine seems to have gone a bit funky she came round to my flat for the weekend to borrow my new machine (not the one in the picture). I love having my mum round but I do always seem to gain a bunch of pins after she heads off. To try and help us keep track of who's pin is who's I decided to make us each one of these super sized tomato pin cushions. 

This one is mine...

They were so easy I cant believe I haven't made any before. I watched the short Martha Stewart video on tomato pin cushions and then got to cutting and gathering and stuffing my projects.

...and this one is my mum's.

They were both made from fabric and notions already in my modest little stash. 
  • Butterfly fabric from my Sorbetto (need to make another of these as darts are in completely the wrong place for me)
  • Green felt from my pompom flowers for Voluntary Arts Week 
  • Buttons came from a jar I bought in the John Lewis sale last year similar to this.
  • Finally, the embroidery thread was part of a pack that I bought on eBay for my cross stitch project (still a UFO but it's nearly there)
These are a great project for beginners and would make great gifts. These two are huge so I think next time I might make some smaller ones.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Guthrie and Ghani and GBSB, Sew Excited!!!

Ok I admit it I went totally fan girl crazy on my trip dow to Birmingham a couple of months ago. I actually went down for the Cake International Show at the NEC but frankly there was no way I was going all the way down there with out paying a visit to the Guthrie and Ghani Habadashery!!!!
After being so inspired by Lauren's success on the first series of Great British Sewing Bee I jumped at the chance to visit her shop.

I even got so carried away I asked Lauren for a photo (totaly cringe, but I couldn't help myself).

The shop is beautiful. Very neat and well organised with a great selection of fabrics lots of cottons, lovely corduroys, knits and a few heavier interior cottons. They also have a couple of stands of indie patterns. I was far too excited about the patterns as it was the first time I had seen then in real life. I have not yet found anywhere near me in Scotland that sells anything different from the big 4, so it was great seeing such a fab collection all in one place. 

Gorgeous building too

My mum enjoyed a couple of coffees (handmade by Lauren's husband Ayaz) whilst I was looking about in a bit of a daze. I ended up buying quite a few things, my mum and I figured that we weren't going to be back very frequently so might as well make the most out of it. Along with my lampshade kit and fabric I also bought Collete Ginger skirt pattern, Sewaholic Renfrew top and Cambie dress patterns, fabric for skirt and top and a pack of Sublime Stitching embroidery patterns with cute dressmaking themed designs. 

I'm sure there will be lots of future posts related to this great shopping experience!

So.. I'm sure you can imagine that I am pretty excited about the new series starting tonight on BB2 at 8pm!!!! I watched the last series on BBC iplayer loads of times so I didn't miss a single stitch. I hope this series can live up to my high expectations! Here are all of the contestants taking part in series 2.

Image for The Great British Sewing Bee

Friday, 14 February 2014

Pattern Bargain Alert!!!

Source - By Hand London

By Hand London patterns are in the Anthropologie SALE.
I don't know about you but I have never even seen the patterns in the shop, I just happened to stumble across them online.

Was £12.00
Now £5.95

When I went in to my local store they had loads left over but, I'm not sure how long the sale is on for so, I would get in there quick. They sell all of the patterns except the new Georgia Dress. Also the postage to order online is £5 so is you are near a store I would definitely pick it up in person!

Hello Anna, you will look great in my wardrobe. I already have the perfect silk/cotton fabric looked out.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Dressmaking Class - Rooibos Part 1

I have started a dressmaking class! 
The class is run by my local council as part of an adult education program and runs for 8 weeks. I had my first lesson last week and it all went pretty well. There is not really a structure to the class so that means you can choose any pattern fabric etc. that you want to use. I have therefore chosen to make Colette Rooibos dress. The pattern is an intermediate like the class so my thinking is that it will have enough tricky bits in it so I can get the most out of the class. Last week I spent most of them class the pattern on to a Swedish tracing paper style material which I could use to stitch up the bodice and use as a toile. At the moment it looks like everything is going to be a pretty good fit. 
Watch this space in the weeks to come as I track the progress of my dress... next time my fabric and progress update.