Category Archives: Sewing

Modifying Vogue 1247

Vogue 1247 is the pattern I have used the most, with five different versions so far.  I’ve stopped blogging them as it got a bit repetitive, especially as most are in denim, to wear at home.  The pocket shape means anything in them is secure, especially important for my keys when I’m crossing the river with the pup!

I was looking at some of my favourite ready-to-wear skirts the other day and wondered if I could replicate the a-line, no-waistband silhouette I like, without buying yet another sewing pattern.  V1247 seemed a good candidate.

I always lengthen this pattern by eight inches, so this time I used a long ruler to make an a-line shape.

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I left off the waistband and finished the edge with a 2″ strip of self-bias.

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The fabric is from Dottie Dolly in Wellington.  I’m not sure what it is (cotton/linen?) but it is gorgeous – love the colour.

I’m really happy with this.  It’s much more comfortable without the waistband, and I like the a-line shape.  In fact, I like it so much I’m already making another!

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The Gigi dress

One of my 2017 Make Nine patterns is the Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs.  I made this for little niece Greta and was very happy that she chose to wear it for a family lunch at our house.

 

The back of the dress – which is what attracted me to the pattern – is gorgeous.  Pleats give fullness, and the bow is so pretty.

I was a bit worried about the front.  The high neckline and short sleeves didn’t look very comfortable, but they are needed because of the low back.  Greta seems to like it though, and the only problem is that the dress becomes quite short when she lifts her arms.  Leggings or little shorts solve that problem, and I’ve made both for her from this bright pink jersey.

She has worn this with a little denim jacket over the top, and it looked adorable – she’s a stylish girl.

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A pattern for a matching doll’s dress is included but that looked far too fiddly to make and play with.  Maybe when Greta is older!

Gifts for men – a denim apron

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Finding presents for men can be really difficult, so I thought I’d share this one with you.  Mr D said yesterday that it was his favourite of all the things I’ve made him – and it was probably the easiest to make!

I traced round an old apron to get the shape.  The denim I used was wide, so I cut it out across the width of the fabric and used less than a metre.

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The fun was in adding the details – orange top stitching and rivets.  The neck strap and ties are cotton webbing, left over from his Cooper bag.

I used navy bias binding to turn under the curved edge.  All the other edges are double folded and stitched.

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This was an easy and fun make, and it’s had lots of use already.  Mr D is a keen cook – lucky me!

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Have you any suggestions for manly gifts?  I’d love to hear them – especially as it’s Mr D’s birthday next month!

Supplies:

Cotton webbing – Habercrafts

Rivets – Dale Leathercrafts

There is a free pattern for a similar apron here

My 5 favourite sewing machine feet

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Do you like reading manuals? I certainly don’t, and this is how my new sewing machine feet stayed for about a year – tucked neatly away in their compartments.

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Then I went to an applique workshop and we were asked to bring a darning foot. And it turned out, I had one!

Since then I’ve managed to use a few more, and these are my favourites.

1. Quarter inch foot

The bar runs against the edge of the fabric so the seam is a reliable quarter inch and your patchwork pieces fit together correctly. Much easier than lining up the edge of the fabric with a mark.

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2. Edge foot

Beautiful stitching along the edge of a piece of fabric, especially good for top stitching. If I want two perfect lines of stitching I use the edge foot, then the quarter inch foot – heaven!

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3. Walking foot

The teeth on this foot pull the top of the fabric through in the same way as the feed dog teeth on the machine pull the bottom. If you are sewing several layers of fabric this helps stop them go out of line.  Walking feet look quite big and clumsy, but don’t let this put you off.

4. Open foot

Using this one means you can more easily see where you are stitching. I use it for sewing on the lines when I am foundation piecing patchwork using a paper template

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5. Adjustable zip foot

If I could only choose one foot, it would be this one.  The foot part slides along a bar, which means you can get as close to the edge of the zip as you want to.  Great for invisible and regular zips, and can also be used as a conventional foot if you slide the needle to the middle.

Do you have a favourite sewing machine foot?  Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.

2017 Make Nine Challenge

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New Year, new challenges – there are so many interesting ideas around, and I’d like to join in with lots of them, but I must be sensible and not over commit!
 
I am going to add one more to my #52weeksofblockprintandstitch though, because I really like the #2017makenine challenge.
 
The nine I’ve chosen to sew this year are a mix of patterns I’ve had for ages, a year old UFO, some which need me to learn new sewing skills and a few for my smallest niece and nephew.
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1. This Burda 6987 coat has been hanging unfinished in my wardrobe for over a year! Top priority.
2. Another Banksia top – I loved the first one I made, but the fabric wasn’t great. I have a beautiful soft chambray for this.
3. Vogue 1395 – one of the many patterns I bought with great enthusiasm, and didn’t make up.
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4. Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers – I haven’t made trousers before, and these have had great reviews. I love the shape.
5. Colette Beignet – bought it, didn’t make it. I have some denim for this and the trousers.
6. DKNY Vogue 2941 – the skirt is a beautiful shape, with a gathered hem. I like the camisole and kimono top too…
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7. I’ve had Girls Style Book for ages, waiting for tiny niece Greta to be big enough for the patterns. There are some beautiful things for summer, including this dress, some bubble shorts, a wrap back top – I like almost all of them.
8. Burda kids 9482 – I want to use up some of the larger knit remnants I have left over from other projects. Hoodies seem ideal, and it’s nice to have a pattern for nephews too.
9. Gigi dress by Olive Ann designs – that bow back! And it comes with a matching pattern for an 18″ doll dress. Perfect.
 
I have masses of other patterns I would like to make, and plenty of fabric to make them, but if I can make these nine I’ll be very happy.

Make & Review – Sew Now magazine

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Have you seen the new sewing magazine Sew Now? I’m not a huge reader of sewing magazines – I tend to only buy them if I want the free pattern – but I really like this one.
 
I counted four projects that I’d like to make straight away, and the first was this Spiderman wallet for my smallest nephew. Perfect to give him with his birthday voucher, and he loved that his present was in a present!
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I love all the details – the zip pocket is so cute.
 
Though I must admit I went for a simpler pocket inside. The instructions are for two side pockets and a card holder.
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The next project I want to make is this gorgeous back pack.
 
My beach bag ‘died’ this summer after 12 years (!) so I’m going to replace it with a backpack using these fabrics.
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So what else is in the magazine?
 
Although I’m more interested in the accessories patterns in this issue, the focus is on fashion sewing. Patterns include the Simple Sew Zoe dress and top pattern, a child’s dress, pencil skirt, knickers, refashioning a dress, and a dress/blouse pattern (and several more).
 
There are some very interesting articles about sewing businesses – Madalynne, Baboosh Designs and Kirsty Hartly (Wild Things to Make).
 
I also enjoyed the pages highlighting current fashion trends with some lovely pattern and fabric recommendations to go with them.
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And there are masses of projects in the accessories supplement.
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I was very impressed with this magazine. I’ve subscribed, and look forward to the next issue.
 
There is a ‘3 issue for £6’ offer at www.practicalsubs.com/1224
 
I was given a review copy of Sew Now via Fiona at The Sewing Directory. All opinions are my own.

Make & Review – Sewing Happiness

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I’ve been making a few projects from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida this month.  A while ago, I volunteered as a pattern tester and Sanae very kindly sent me a copy when it was published.

As well as a book of projects, Sewing Happiness is part memoir, and account of how Sanae came to sewing.  Like Sanae, I’m a huge fan of enjoying ‘the practice’ and doing something regularly to get better at it.  Without pressure, but also wanting to improve.

Last year I took part in the 100 Day Project.  Every day for 100 days I cooked a new (to me) recipe. And guess what – I got better at cooking.  I’m more confident, more able to substitute ingredients, more willing to give a new technique a go.  Some days were more successful than others, but it was always edible!  Sanae’s experience of sewing sounds very similar.

I also like her take on using social media “There is an overarching sense of terror about creating something that didn’t exist befoe and putting it out into the world for judgment, but when you do it repeatedly, the confidence muscle strengthens”.

I’ve made four of the projects from the book so far.

The fabric origimi butterfly above is for a tooth fairy pillow.  There is a little pocket formed by the wing folds.  It took me a little while to get the folds right, but I’m delighted with the result.  It is so pretty and delicate.

Then I made a fabric bucket to hold bottles in the bathroom.

The blue triangle bag was my tester pattern and is another project that uses origami folds.  I especially like the strip of contrasting fabric used as the handle.  The infinity scarf is made from double gauze – melissa makes made me one as a gift, and I’ve since made several for friends inspired by her use of contrasting fabrics.

It’s unusual for me to try so many ideas from one book.  The projects are straightforward, but have some interesting and unusual techniques too, and they are perfect for showing off special fabric.

Is still want to make some aprons, a dopp kit and try some sashiko.  And surely  there is room for a floral crown in my life?!

If you want to make beautiful presents which don’t take forever, it is a wonderful book to have.