Monday, 25 November 2013

Hemming web

Normally I make sure that I have plenty of time to do any alterations but sometimes things pop up at the last minute. My Grandad had a function to attend last Friday night but left it to the last minute to get himself some trousers (last minute as in Thursday night). He could only get a 32inch leg which meant he then needed to have them taken up. I got home from my day job at about 7pm on Thursday night and my granddad had just got home from buying the trousers. As it was late and I was hungry I decided to use some hemming web as a quick fix just to get him through Friday night, then take them up when I had a bit more time and wouldn't be so rushed.
I will never use hemming web again if I have any choice. I couldn't get the stuff to stick properly in most places round the hem and burnt my hand with the steam.
The good news is that the trouser hems held up for my granddad to wear for the night.

Has anyone else ever used hemming web?
What did you think?
Would you use it again?


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Elastic buttonholes

I was asked to add some elastic to the waist of a pair of exercise trousers. I have never met the person who the trousers belong to (I was asked through a work colleague) so was unsure as to how small the waist needed to go.
The solution I used was to add buttonholes to the elastic. I made sure the elastic was slightly smaller than the original waist for the 1st buttonhole, then spaced the rest of the buttonholes out by about 1/2 inch gaps. Due to the type of elastic I was using I was able to just make slits in the elastic to create the buttonholes. I then added a button to the opposite side of the trousers. The owner of the trousers can now adjust the trousers to how small they need them and then just need to spread out the gathers around the waist.

Trousers pulled tight

Trousers on 1st buttonhole

Button on opposite side

Buttonholes in elastic

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sewing room re-organizing Machine cabinet

I managed to buy this handmade sewing machine cabinet on EBay. It had been donated and was being sold by someone for charity. It has a removable solid top that reveals a air lift. Sadly my machines do not fit this so I leave the solid top on all the time.
Sewing machine cabinet.
The top is big enough for me to fit both my machines on except when I'm embroidering then one has to be moved. Behind the machines sits my daylight lamp, a mini dummy pin cushion and my sewing box for when I'm sewing on the go.
Sewing box

Daylight lamp and pin cushion

The pincushion was made using this tutorial from Debbie Shore.
As I don't use the air lift the inside cupboard space was being wasted. There was already a piece of wood across the back so I just added two more pieces across the sides (level with the back piece) and then added a shelf. This now holds my embroidery unit and my bobbins box (used Ferrero rocher box). I will also be adding another shelf just below this to hold my thread boxes. The ruler will end up being hung in the side of my bookcase (just need some hooks)

The table also has four drawers down the left. The top one holds my scissors plus machine items (tweezers, tape measures, etc ) the second drawer holds my machine booklets, etc. The third one has some storage boxes made using empty cereal boxes, these hold embroidery stabiliser, etc.

The fourth drawer is currently being used by my dad for his packing materials (he sells his old football programmes on eBay)


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sewing room re-organizing - After

So it has taken the best part of 2 weeks to sort out my sewing room but finally it is finished and I can get back to actually doing some sewing.
Here it is
View from the doorway

View from just inside the doorway
The cot under the table will be staying. Once the other corner (not shown) is sorted the cot and cutting table will be going there with another junior bed going where the cot is at the moment (these are for when my nieces and nephews stay)

I have made myself a cutting table ( details of which will be in the next blog post)
Cutting Table

Cutting Table in use
As you can see the table is already getting good use. The mannequin at the back is a small one I made myself for quickly trying out ideas with draping. The silver box is for keeping the items I am working on in one place, the laptop is my old one that I have to empty and dispose of. The cardboard will be swapped for fabric once the wadding arrives. I am going to use these instructions here (from bee in my bonnet) to do my board.

I will just post quick pics of the rest with more details to follow

Designing table closed

Designing table open


 I will post further details of each section of my sewing room in future posts so that this one isn't pages long and boring.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Wardrobe storage

So as a little aside to sorting out my sewing room, I have been re-organizing some parts of my bedroom, just to give me a bit more storage. One of the things I wanted to sort was the bottom of my wardrobe, where I store all my shoes, which looked like this;

Bottom of wardrobe shoe storage.

After cutting the top for my cutting table I had some wood left so decided to make myself a shelf for my shoes. It basically consisted of a piece of MDF with four 2x3 legs.
This is what my wardrobe looks like now;
Wardrobe with shelf added.
 It's still not completely perfect but is an improvement on what it was.


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Re-organizing my sewing room (before shots)

When I 1st started sewing my nan said that as she sewed as well I could set her spare bedroom up as a sewing room. It is the smallest room in her house but I still managed to get a sewing table, a old dining table for cutting out on, a chest of drawers for holding fabric, a computer table for all my books, magazines, TV and radio and a few other odds and ends of furniture. However over time I have purchased embroidery machines which have stayed at my house (which is only about 10 houses down the road from my nan's) The new machines being in a different place plus my nan passing away has meant that I spend less and less time in the old sewing room and things have slowly taken over my brothers old room after they moved out. I only need to go the my old room when I want to cut anything as I don't have a big enough space in my new room but this all about to change as my Mum has agreed for me to build a cutting table in my new room as long as it can be moved for the grandchildren to stay. I am planning one that will fit over the top of the cot and can be dismantled by taking the legs off.
At the moment I have roughly 2 sides of the room sharing with a cot and some other items. I have a sewing cabinet which I managed to get on eBay. It has 4 drawers one side and room in the other side for the sewing machine to be lowered. My machine is too big for this so I leave the flat table top on.

Machine table with  embroidery machines, grey bag currently holds scraps of fabric.

Machine table with door open. Boxes inside holds thread and quilting supplies.
I also have a work table which I use for patterns and making cards (which I don't do much anymore). This table also holds my radio and various magazines.

Work table closed. At the moment this has just become a dumping ground including my old laptop.
Storage underneath (in beige tub) holds my card making supplies.

Work table with section opened out for working on.
In the other corner I have a bookcase from Ikea which holds all my card making items but is slowly being taken over with sewing items. The grey drawer unit was rescued from a skip at a school who were doing a refit. It holds all my paper sorted into colours.

Bookcase holding all sorts. Grey drawers hold paper.
The other 2 side of the room holds a cot, a wardrobe plus boxes of football programmes that my dad is currently selling.
Cot and wardrobe.

Boxes of football programmes.
I also have a bit of storage behind the door, which you can see in the shot above and below.

Storage trolleys and filing cabinet.
The tubs hold more card making supplies, finished cards and items I have made. The storage trolleys hold various supplies like glues, etc. The filing cabinet holds all my business items plus embroidery items (hoops,etc)

I am hoping to get this room sorted and add the cutting table in 2 weeks time so keep tuned for after photo's.


Monday, 5 August 2013

Summer holidays

So everyone likes to have a holiday, most people in the summer but who likes all the traffic the holidays bring. Most people sit for hours on motorways trying to get to their destination. If you look around you will see a lot of caravans.
This is normally the point when some people start moaning, stupid caravans making everything go slow, stopping other cars from overtaking, etc, etc.
Hands up how many of you own (or holiday in) a caravan.
I think it is one of the best ways to have a holiday and have been going in a caravan since I was old enough to remember. The earliest I can remember, my brother was still in a travel cot and he is now 27, was of all the family being together. We had so much freedom, there was fun and laughter.
The 1st caravan I can remember going in was my Nan & Grandads' which they shared with my parents so there was 4 adults plus 3 children. It was a big Swift Challenger, double axle caravan. As we grew up and outgrew the space my grandparents sold the challenger to get two smaller caravans (they and my parents have been regretting this ever since so if anyone knows of a 5 berth twin axle challenger for sale from around 1988 let me know) We then had ( and still have) an Ace ambassador caravan whilst my grandparents bought themselves a 2 berth.
For about 7 years as we were growing up it used to be a real family holiday. My grandparents, my parents, my two brothers plus my aunty & uncle and their two kids, my other uncle and his partner and her four kids. We had four caravans, used to make sure we had pitches together, had two of them facing each other with wind breakers around the edges to stop us kids from escaping!!! and just done what we felt like on each day. Some days we went to the beach, some days shopping, some days just stayed on the camp.
As we got older my aunty & uncles stopped coming but some of my cousins continued to come. Now sadly my nan is no longer with us so my granddad has stopped caravanning but my brothers now have families of their own and the tradition of caravan holidays is continuing with them. Our caravan is now in need of some repairs (the floor is giving way) so we have for the last couple been in static caravans. Whilst this is still a joy it's not the same as going in your own, having a fight with the awning, putting the beds up and down, the walk to the toilet block in the middle of the night, all these things are part of the holiday.
I hope that in time when I have a family we can continue to enjoy this wonderful past time, just hook up the caravan and go wherever you want (within reason of course).

What do you think, are caravans the pain everyone things they are?
Do you go on caravanning holidays?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Does a business really need a logo?

I have now been running Sirinadesigns for 3 years. When I first started the business I tried to research as much as possible about finances, taxes, etc. Since I have been running the business I have been researching marketing and selling. One of the things that I have seen a few times is about logos. Most of the things I have read say that if a company has a logo, which can lead to branding, then customers are more likely to purchase or use their services. This is down to confidence of a company with a logo being more trustworthy than one without. Up until this year I haven't really looked any further into having a logo as I thought that with the type of service I provide a logo wasn't going to make much difference. However this year I have been determined to make the business as well known as I can to try to really get it off the ground. This meant looking at my website design and this in turn led me to a logo. I tried to design one myself but wasn't very successful. I ended up with just the name on a beige background

This was fine in the short term but if it needed resizing or anything, for different websites, then it became distorted plus it didn't look like the logo of a professional business. I then researched logo designs and found most businesses in my sector had logos that could also be added to garments. I then researched different places to get a logo designed professionally. Eventually I found one through facebook, I had actually been following the page quite a while just never thought about using them. I got in contact with Helen Scott - graphic designer last week about having a logo made. After being in contact over the last week via email over designs I have received an email today to say that my final design is ready. I just have to wait for the final invoice and then the files will be mine.
I will then update this blog with my new logo for you all to see.

Here's my new logo

What do you think?
Do businesses need a logo?
Have you done better once you had a logo?


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Reason for starting your business

Just a short post this week about the various reasons people have for starting their own business.

I 1st thought about starting my own business when I was about 18yrs old. I has always enjoyed sewing and thought it would be easy to just start earning money (I wish it was)
I was already working part time in a shop whilst going to college. Once I left college I found that I needed to start working longer hours so the business idea was put on the back burner. I was always saying I'm going to start my own business but never actually put it into motion. Then my nan passed away and gave me the push to finally start the business. My main motivation this time was that I wanted to make my nan proud of me even if she wasn't actually here to see it or tell me.
Over the last couple of years I have slowly started getting more customers and growing the business. Last year my dad lost his job and struggled to get another one so my money was paying the bills and it was a horrid feeling not knowing if we would have enough money. At the same time the place I work also started to let people go. This has made me even more determined to have a successful business so that I don't have that worry of where will the money be coming from, is there a chance I'm going to lose my job,etc.

So I suppose this post is really to ask what was the main reason/factor behind people starting their business?

Friday, 15 February 2013

Review of Simplicity 2017

Back in June of 2012 I decided to make myself a new dress ready for a christening I was attending  - view the post here.

In this post I am going to review the pattern - this is my opinion only.

The fabric I used was one that I picked up at one of the sewing shows held at Shepton Mallet. I saw the fabric and knew I had to purchase some even though at the time I didn't know what I would use it for. As soon as I purchased Simplicity 2017 I knew I had a use for my fabric.

I made a mock up first as I have such an unusual body measurements but it was nearly perfect as was. The one thing I did make sure that I had correct was the height adjustment. The last dress that I made I forgot this stage so at the end I had to just hem it to the correct length which meant that the body of the dress didn't fit correctly.

I'm not sure what the exact fabric I used was but it was some type of polyester satin. As it was quite a thick material I actually skipped the stage in the instructions where it called for interfacing to be added as I thought it would just make the dress too thick.

Being a patterned fabric I made two patterns for each piece and then cut the fabric as one layer with the pattern side up so that I could see where I was placing the motifs. I wasn't overly concerned about the pattern matching at the seams just wanted to ensure there were no big motifs in certain areas (like the bust point)

I had to alter the pattern pieces slightly around the waist area, this was done before making copies.
Once I had cut the fabric the dress went together like a dream, the instructions are easy and straight forward to understand. The only slight letdown in the instructions was the section on gathering - if you haven't done this before then you may need further guidance from a book or video, etc.
I left off the ties as I didn't want the dress to be pulled in at the back but this is down to preference.

Rather than using my nice patterned fabric as a facing - the dress is faced with the same fabric as the outer  - I used one of my normal lining fabrics. Again my fabric was pretty thick so this was more to finish the edges of the dress. In hindsight when I make the dress again I will ensure the lining is the same colour as the outer as you can sometimes catch glimpses of it, especially under the arms.

I decided to add a lace trim rather than rickrac as I thought it would suit the type of fabric better. I purchased a coffee coloured lace with one scalloped edge. I then used the straight edge of the lace to follow the lines of the dress and hand stitched it into place using a coffee coloured thread. This part took me longer to do than the whole of the rest of the dress but it was worth it.
I didn't add any lace to the hem of the dress as I wanted the pattern to be the main focus at the hem.
I wasn't sure on the length but ended up going for just below the knee but am still unsure and may raise this to just above the knee.
I also had to add an underskirt when wearing the dress as the fabric I chose is clingy.

I am planning on making a few more of these dresses in cotton for the summer and would recommend it to anyone both experienced and new dressmakers alike.

Back view of dress

Close up detail of the lace trim.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Long time no post

Belated Happy New Year to you all.
OK I know that I have said this before but I am a really bad blogger. It is something which just seems to get swept to one side with everything else that I do with regards Sirinadesigns business.
I am hoping that this year I will be better at it. I have a really good feeling that 2013 is going to be good for me both in business and my personal life.
I have already started the year in a more positive frame of mind and I think this is helping. I have made what I think are good changes to my website
I have had a few ideas for a while but have been stuck on the mock up stage for a while and have now pushed myself to finish the mock ups. The next stage is to find some fabric that I feel is right for the designs.
I have also finished the dress for myself that I spoke about in my last post plus some items for the website.
I have started the personal year aiming to lose the weight I have been trying to lose for the last 2 years, I am doing zumba at home and so far this year have already lost 3lbs. Only another 2 stone to go.
I am going to sound like a stuck record but I am going to try to post more often.