Sunday, 4 October 2015

Pattern organizing

I seem to have a problem with patterns (I know I'm not alone )

As my stash was growing I was finding it harder to control them so that I knew what I had and didn't end up with double's. I found a solution which I blogged about here
The problem I then found was that if I was out shopping I was never sure of how much fabric to purchase for a pattern or what notions were required.
My solution to this problem is a programme called Evernote.

I have been using evernote for a while now for other things and decided to start exploring it more and then realised I could use it as an effective sewing tool. It syncs between all my devices so no matter where I am I can access my patterns to see what fabric, etc is required.

Here is step by step of how I filed my patterns.

I have them stored differently to my physical patterns but can still find them easily thanks to tags.

In evernote you can have various notebooks, these then contain notes which you can then tag.
The below photo shows a list of all my notebooks to the left.

 The next picture shows my notes for each pattern brand in my main sewing patterns notebook

The last picture shows how I have a note for each separate pattern I have within each brand.
Each note contains a picture of both the front and back of the pattern envelope.
This includes tags so that I can search for items, eg dresses.

Now when I am out shopping and see a fabric I like I can easily search all my patterns to see if I have a suitable one.
An example - if I search for trousers it will show all my trouser patterns regardless of brand as they are tagged.
I can also add text to each picture so if I have made a particular pattern I add this information.

I am now planning on doing the same for all the fabric I own.

If you would like to try evernote for yourself please use this referral link, I get no money just more evernote space.
evernote referral


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Collette sorbetto top.

I know this post has been a while in coming but here it is. I first posted about Colette sorbetto top here

Since the last post I have been procrastinating about how to finish the top, whether or not to add sleeves or to bias bind as per the pattern. I then came across some wide satin ribbon in my stash and decided to use that to finish the neckline and to add sleeves.
I didn't have enough ribbon to finish the hem as well as the neckline so I just used a double row of stitching.

Pattern UsedColette sorbetto (free download) and Sorbetto sleeve (free download)
Fabric used: White linen from stash

I cut a size 16 in accordance with the measurement given but I then had to take in the side seams by a total of 6.5cms. If I had done the sleeveless option I would also have needed to raise the underarm seam.
If you are in the UK when checking measurements and cutting the pattern ensure you double check your size as this is an American pattern and sizes vary. Also check the test square before printing the whole pattern or your sizing will be completely out - don't ask me how I know this.
Apart from these alterations it was a near perfect fit. I think next time I will cut a smaller size.

I made the sleeve using the pattern from sew weekly. This pattern doesn't state what size it is made for so I made a mock up first. I had to add 5cm at the shoulder seam tapering back to the original size at the underarm seam. To do this I used the slash and spread method. I also added 3cms to the sleeve length as I prefer to cover the tops of my arms.

This is a pretty quick pattern to complete once you have the fit correct. I suggest you make a toile (mock up) first. It took me longer to decide how to finish the top than any part of construction. If I would have made it straight through it would have taken me about 2 days but I am quite slow at sewing as I like to make everything perfect (or perfect to me anyway.)

The only problems I had whilst sewing this top was with my sewing machine. My Brother computerised machine had a slight argument with the linen I was using and just wouldn't sew nice seams so out came my trusty old mechanical Toyota machine which had no problems at all with the linen. 

I really like this pattern and will definitely be making some more. There are so many variations of this top and so much inspiration on sewing blogs like 7 variations at sew weekly. You can also just google Colette sorbetto to come up with plenty of variations.
Just some of the ideas I have thought of are: adding buttons, changing the hem shape, changing the pleat, different lengths. There are just sew many ways to personalise it. 

I think this is a good pattern for a starter project for people as it is so quick (as long as you can make decisions) and easy to assemble. The instructions from Colette are straight forward and easy to understand.

Here are a few pictures of my colette sorbetto top

Me wearing my new top.


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Me and collars are not friends

I hate collars - well making them anyway!!!!

About 5 weeks ago I made a muslin of K1699 (view b top).

All went well with the muslin sewing and it only needed 2cms adding to the centre back for a perfect fit.
I then adjusted the pattern pieces and cut out the good fabric.
Again all was going well until I got to the collar section and then it started to go down hill hence the reason the top is still not finished.

First off I didn't cut enough pieces - fine an easy problem to rectify.
Then when I went to sew the collar I couldn't understand why it didn't fit the neckline until I realised I had forgotten to add the 2cms to the centre back of the collar pieces.

New pieces re-cut.

Sewing the collar pieces together I realised I had ironed (yes ironed!!) interfacing to the right side (should have been on the wrong side) of one of the collar pieces. As this was the 2nd time I had cut the pieces I thought I would cheat and just take the interfacing off and add a new piece to the correct side. WRONG.

This is the result - 1 lovely soft collar and 1 stiff and unflattering collar.

Today I am attempting to redo the collar.
I think I can get away with unpicking the one stiff interfaced piece, re-cutting this piece and stitching back in without touching the rest of the collar.
Here's hoping, wish me luck.

Once this is done I will post a full review of the pattern.


Monday, 1 June 2015

New iron for the sewing room

Hi everyone

I have never done a review on my blog before but when I purchased my new iron and put a photo on instagram someone asked me to do a review so here it is.

This is only a brief review on what I think of my new iron as I have only had it for about a month and it doesn't get used everyday so I do not feel I can do a thorough review until I have used it a bit more. This iron is for my sewing room only.
When my last iron broke ( or more to the point my mum overfilled it when I lent it to her) I was unsure on what type to get. I would love to own a gravity feed iron system but don't have the room of the money.
I made a list of all the things I require from my iron, steam, dry iron, variable temperatures, water spray, the weight of the iron, auto shut off and a solid base for standing.
I then spent some time researching irons online, both through blogs and shopping sites. I looked at my list and the reviews of various makes.
I felt I needed to test feel the irons for the weight so went to my local supermarket electrical department and spent some time just lifting and holding the irons (I did get some funny looks from other shoppers but hey I needed to hold them all)
I eventually went for the Tefal 4488. It is an ultraglide steam iron. 

It has a variable steam slide control on the top of the handle. A simple turn button to adjust for the type of fabric you are ironing. There are 2 buttons on the top, one for steam and one for water spray.

The pros for this iron are:
anti drip,
auto shut off,
vertical steam,
large easy to fill water tank,
solid base for standing (that you can fill straight from the tap)
Plus it was a reasonable price - I got it on sale for £25.
So far I have used it to iron some linen and some calico and it seems to have handled both easily and with no fuss. It cuts off after about 10 mins of no use which is fine for me.
I haven't had the iron long enough yet to test all its features or to list any pro's and con's apart from my thoughts above. In a few months once I have tested it a bit further I will do an updated review.

Below are some photos of fabric before and after using this iron on it just to show how well it irons
Crease down centre of fabric

centre of fabric after ironing

after ironing


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Repair not replace

I am really bad at buying new clothes for myself, I prefer to either make new items or if I already own something then to repair or refashion it.
I have this cardigan that I managed to somehow rip a right-angle shape into.

Right angle rip in back

I was trying to work out what to do as I knew just sewing the rip up would be ugly, then I found some nice wide satin ribbon and thought I would give it a try to cover the hole.
I first stitched the hole up, then attached the ribbon around the waist covering where I had stitched.
I used straight stitch around the top and bottom of the ribbon. I then decided it looked a bit plain so added some decorative stitching to the centre of the ribbon, this also helped to anchor the ribbon to the cardigan. 

View of the decorative stitching
I used a walking foot when attaching the ribbon to the cardigan due to the nature of 2 different types of fabric working against each other. With the walking foot attached the ribbon went on smoothly.
Using a walking foot to attach the ribbon.

Once the ribbon was attached the rip is hardly visible from the outside of the cardigan.
Repaired cardigan 


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Thread Storage

When I started to sew more regularly and do more embroidery I purchased a bulk set of threads. The set consisted of around 70 colours plus 5 black and 5 white spools of thread. To begin with I left them in their original boxes. This was fine to start but eventually  I got fed up of trying to find the correct box for the colour I wanted so I came up with my own storage solution for them.
I needed the storage to be solid enough to hold the threads but also be portable in case I needed to move it.
Below is the instructions on how to make your own storage.

First step is to find an old cardboard box that is suitable for you storage needs ( I required 2 boxes and they are both now full)

I then covered the boxes with sticky backed vinyl. I'm lucky that I got both the boxes and the vinyl from where I work.

Measure your threads to see how wide they are. You also need to know the height of your threads and length of your box. Example my thread is 5.5cms high and 4cms wide. Box is 26cms long.
Double the width measurement so that you will have cardboard under the threads, add these measurements together by the length of the box.
I also added an extra 2cms to join to the adjacent divider and made the height just under the thread height. So my final measurement was 4cms x 3 + 2cms = 14cm's x 26cms long.
Mark this out onto a piece of thin card, marking all the sections.
Cut out the amount of dividers you can get across the box width (mine holds 6 cardboard dividers giving 7 sections)
Fold the cardboard on each of your marked line
Attach double sided tape to one of the middle sections, stick the 2 middle sections together (sections B and C)

Attach the cardboard dividers to the cardboard box using double sided tape, ensuring that the 2cms section is attached to the adjoining divider (section A of one divider will be stuck to section D of the neighbouring divider)
Arrange your threads. I arranged mine by colour.

On the second box I changed the dividers slightly.
I  added more cardboard to attach to the adjacent divider  the final measurement was 16cms x 26cms. I put double sided tape to one of the end sections, attached this to the side of the previous divider. Add more double sided tape to the middle section, stuck this to the section I had just taped.

As a final finishing touch I added a colour chart to the inside lid of the box so I know where each colour sits in the box, this helps when replacing colours but also to find the colour you require.

Decorate the outside of the box if you wish.

I have also started to do the same thing with my bobbins using an old ferrero rocher plastic box. I just need to purchase some more empty bobbins to finish.

Hope these instructions are clear, if you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment below.