Tag Archives: sewing

My year.

This year I have spent more time sewing than previously and this was a direct result of following blogs and in particular getting involved in Kids Clothes Week. The content on there is amazing and inspired me to have a go.  Another favourite blog has been http://sanaeishida.com/. The self-deprecating tone and the candid description of the outfit construction made me believe that anything was possible. The move from only children’s clothes to clothes for myself has been driven by Sanae sharing her experiences of sewing for herself and I have worn my sewing with pride.  I haven’t blogged about many of my ‘makes’ as I didn’t feel they offered anything unique or insightful.  I have learned from reading many sewing blogs now that I am not necessarily looking for a revelation, but for a shared experience, so I plan to share more.

I haven’t always had the time that I would have liked to commit to sewing;  I must learn to organise myself better in order to free up that time.  When I first started studying with the OU I had a schedule written each week which would keep me on track, I think that would be of use again. It is so easy to get into a sloppy routine.  I need to make time to take photographs of the stages of my sewing and then document my achievements. Currently, everything is written down and saved in my moleskin notebook but I should take the time to transfer some of that information here.

The blogs I enjoy tend to be succinct with lots of pictures and that is a format that I would like to emulate.  My photography skills leave a lot to be desired and I am constantly berated by my husband for not taking enough.  Practice makes perfect, so I’d better take more.

Here are a some works in progress that never made it to the blog:

A bit random but I love making sourdough bread.

A bit random but I love making sourdough bread.

What more Burda!

What more Burda!

These trousers were just too comfortable and have been made so many times.  Maddy’s school trousers are of this pattern but without the elastic at the ankles.  They are such a good fit, impossible from shop bought.

Numb fingers.

Numb fingers.

This bag has no real purpose, I didn’t need another tote, but I wanted to have a go at the one in the Liberty book I received for Christmas.  Sewing the handles on was a real chore and coincided with a debate about thimbles on Did you make that?  I don’t currently have a good one but I will have one in the new year if not for Christmas! I love the finished bag and it has used fabric from my stash which was the main purpose of starting the blog – attacking my ever growing pile of fabric.  I have increased my pile this year but I have also increased my output so on balance I think I have done OK.  I am looking forward to doing better next year but in the meantime have another bag to get ready for Christmas.  Neil is expecting a Walden Cooper messenger bag.  I’d better get on with it tomorrow, after Scout post, shopping, finishing the cover for the cushion pads in the dining room, kids homework, baking, blah, blah,blah. It will be done and wrapped 🙂


Summer outfit

Summer is sizzling here at the moment and we’re not that prepared.  We haven’t experienced a really warm summer for such a long time it seems.  We’re all short of summer clothes.  I have bought some board shorts for the kids so we can go to the beach without fetching pockets full of sand home and I’ve made Maddy a pair of shorts with matching vest.  The main fabric is left over linen from some trousers that I made for my nephew, and the jersey was bought to go with it.  I’m hoping to make her a casual dress with this jersey too, as it will be so comfortable.

It was a squeeze to get the shorts out of the remnant linen; there was very little left when the pieces were cut out.  Maddy prefers shorts to be longer and I didn’t have enough to do a hem so I trimmed the bottom with ribbon and pulled some threads to give a frayed edge.

IMG_1251Maddy’s inspiration came whilst we were shopping for thread, she spotted a frog that she had to have.  It was supposed to iron on but it didn’t feel very secure so I went round it with some green thread.  The end result was really good and very well recieved.  The shorts are going to have to be smuggled out of the bedroom and into the wash basket but the top has already been removed.  It didn’t last an hour before juice was spilled down the front, not bad enough that she had to take it off so she was able to wear it when we went for a walk along the seafront.  It was so hot yesterday it was the perfect outfit.

IMG_1275The shorts are cut-off trousers from Burda – 142 05/2011 again! The t-shirt is Riviera from  Sewing Clothes Kids Love.  I am going to make another t-shirt for Maddy to wear with these shorts and then maybe go back to the blue shorts.  I do, however, have a commitment to Dom to make some jeans.  He has been badgering me for a while so the blue shorts thankfully will be pushed down the queue.

Navy shorts for Maddy

Kids Clothes Week went by far too quickly and I only got a pair of shorts made for Maddy from remnants of fabric.  The shorts pattern is 134 from Burda 06/11.  I didn’t have enough blue linen left from Dom’s trousers to make a complete pair of shorts so used some other scraps and I’m pleased with the end result.  The pockets are lined with a floral print to add a girly touch.IMG_1243Maddy’s not a girly girl so I have to take what I can get, hidden flowers will have to do.  It took me ages to fit a zip (not very well) as I had to pull some of its teeth AND I’d never done a fly zipper before.  The tabs were also a pain, as the point wouldn’t run under my buttonhole foot, so I had to improvise and use alternative fabric and square the ends instead.  The fabric from Ikea was left over from the roman blinds I made for the dining room; I thought it would be a good idea to change the waistband to match the tabs so they would blend in. I think the shorts actually look better than they would have done had the tabs and waistband been navy.IMG_1244I was particularly pleased with the yoke at the back of the shorts but I made a massive mistake whilst making these – I never fitted them until everything was finished and they are too big.  I don’t know whether to put them away or unpick and take them in, at least that way I can make a better job of the zip but they took sooo long.  I have almost finished another outfit for her so I will decide when it’s done.IMG_1247

Free at last

On Tuesday I took my end of module exam, so I now have about twenty hours a week that I didn’t have last week.  It felt like it went ok, so hopefully when I get my result in August I’ll be happy.  Open University is great for flexibility, but I somestimes struggle motivating myself. I am looking forward to the time off between now and October and I no longer need these, yay.

IMG_1149I decided to cut out the fabric for Maddy’s shorts that I had traced a little while ago; I also decided to make myself a dress, a very simple dress to get me going, but nevertheless something for me to wear.  Both of these are now cut out ready to start tomorrow.


There was just enough fabric here for Maddy’s shorts, I only needed to use some scrap fabric for the pocket lining.

IMG_1154I’m not convinced about this fabric, but thought I would use it for the first sewing project for me for a long time.  I bought it a couple of years ago from a sewing event at the Birmingham NEC and have never got round to using it.  I also bought some lovely paisley fabric at the same time, but daren’t cut into that until I have made something else first.  This pattern should be ok as there’s very little to fit.  I have extended it by 4cm because the length looks too short for me to wear without leggings, but apart from that it is the same.  I’m looking forward to making it tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll be wearing it without leggings for a while yet as the weather is not great.

In the meantime I used an old shirt of Neil’s that was going in the charity bag and some more fabric that I’ve had for ages to make Maddy some pj’s.  I bought the fabric as it was in the reduced bin, but I’ve never found anything it could suitably be used for before.  It is perfect for pyjamas and she has gone to bed in them tonight so obviously a success.


KCW Day 3

Well the t-shirt is finished and Maddy loves it.  It has already been washed, dried and ironed ready to wear.  I have learned how to sew stretchy fabric, not mastered it yet, but I’m pleased with my firsMaddy's first Imket effort.  The pattern (Imke) has options for changes and tomorrow I will be cutting and making a start on Dominic’s.  He has chosen a navy jersey.  It will have a round hood and just the straight, full length sleeves.  If it turns out ok I may order some more fabric and run up a couple with short sleeves and a ribbed neck.

I am so please to be taking part in Kids Clothes Week, it has given me the push to get sewing again.  I have never made very much but have always enjoyed having a go.  I intend to continue sewing regularly and trying out new fabrics and techniques.  I have spent a couple of hours each day so far on the challenge and this isn’t sustainable on a regular basis, but three to four hours a week is.  At that rate I will surely have reduced my stash and have some new clothes.  Winner!

Kids Clothes Week

Image This is the fabric I plan to use this week for the challenge, a t-shirt from the book and trousers from the magazine for Maddy and Dom.  I also bought some checked fabric to make a shirt for Dom because I think his choice of navy linen for the trousers and navy jersey for the t-shirt is a bit too much. I’m hoping to find a simple shirt in another Burdastyle magazine, when I finish the other pieces, which will hopefully look ok over the t-shirt.

Today I finally started my first ever t-shirt.  I had bought the fabric, traced the pattern out of ‘Sewing Clothes Kids Love‘, watched the fabric almost leaving the line as it dried in preparation for this week, and today I got to start.  I traced around the pattern with my washable pen and cut approximately 1.5cm from the line, thinking how clever I was, and why aren’t all patterns done without the seam allowance – there is a perfect line for sewing along, what could be better than that?

That was a mistake, approximate doesn’t do it, fab line to follow when sewing but how do you pin the pieces together when you Imagecan only see one line?  Well that’s a lesson learned, it took a little longer than would have been the case to join the pieces, but I have now sewn my first two seams with a stretch stitch, and it looks ok.  There is a little puckering but nothing too bad and I am looking forward to doing more tomorrow.  When this one is finished, and I trace the one for Dominic, I will add exactly 1.5cm.

Not much going on yet……

Lap blanketWell I haven’t had the opportunity to do much sewing since making the bags.  I have been through my stash and earmarked some of it for specific projects.  This lap blanket was a result of buying wadding to make some for the sitting rooms as I have plenty of fabric that needs to be used.  This fabric wasn’t part of the stash though, it just ended up in my trolley with the wadding – so much for reducing my stash! It has, however, been a big hit.  I have used it whilst studying, rather than lighting the fire, the kids have used it whilst watching tv and Neil has used it loads.  I need to make another to use up the wadding but haven’t decide which fabric yet.  I need to do it soon as I now have ordered more to make trousers and t-shirts for the kids as part of kids clothes week challenge.