An old artist friend of mine is looking for an antique sewing machine to paint. I offered him my Jones but he’s looking for one with legs. Does anyone know of such a machine within reasonable distance of Oxford or London that he could have access to for a couple of hours? If you do could you leave me a message below?
I seem to have so little time these days for anything. I leave for work, on my bike, at 7 in the morning and am rarely home before 8. We’ve been busy doing fund things at weekends and also are in the midst of building works. I’m loving every minute of it so I’m not complaining, but all this activity has left very little time for sewing and even less for catching up on reading blogs or writing my own blog.
Today I had a spare couple of hours. It wasn’t enough time to make anything but it was enough to allow me to do some cutting out. My theory is that cutting is one of those jobs that has to be seen through to completion, whereas once I have the cloth cut I can probably sew it up in lots of short burst. Well that’s the theory anyway, we’ll have to see if it works out in practice.
So what did I cut out? Well, first of all I decided to make some more Tessuti Suzy Pants. I love the style of the ones I made a few weeks ago and they are some of the most comfortable trousers I own (is it giving up to love elasticated waists? personally I think it’s ok providing you don’t make a habit of wearing them all the time).
This time (I’m so proud of this) I used fabric from my stash! When I first started sewing and knew absolutely nothing I found a pattern for a dress that said it could be made out of silk velvet. Loving silk velvet I rushed out to Goldhawk Road (my first trip there) and bought 3m of a lovely dark purple fabric. Once I got home and started to read up how to make the dress I realised that a silk velvet bias cut dress was hardly a beginners project. I also went off the pattern completely, in retrospect it really was a pretty boring sort of dress and not one I would have ever worn, even if I had been able to make it.
So, cut forward several years (3? 4?), and I still have the silk velvet. A few months after I bought it, I read somewhere that you should not fold and stack velvet but should hang it. I checked the velvet and, although it had been sitting under a pile of other fabric, still looked perfect, but just to be on the safe side I refolded it carefully and hung it in the wardrobe on a skirt hanger. Well, when I came to unfold it I found that this was possibly not the best thing to have done and I had all sorts of funny creases in odd places and odd marks where the hanger pressed against it. I’m not sure whether this would have happened if I had left it in my pile – it could just be because it was so old.
Anyway, by cutting the fabric in one layer with the fabric right side up so as to avoid the bad bits, I managed to get the trousers cut out. Silk velvet is quite slippery so I probably would have cut it out in one layer anyway. The pattern is very simple, there were only 10 pieces to cut out, so it didn’t take long.
Next up, I decided to cut out another Vogue 1247. My last one was made out of some very cheap and not very nice cotton moleskin. Actually, it’s not as bad as all that, it’s just got a bit scruffy over the last year, the black moleskin seems to be a fluff and dust trap and no matter how many times I wash and brush it, it never seems very clean. On a roll I consulted my stash again and came up with some cherry red needle cord from Truro Fabrics. It is the most fabulous colour (the picture below doesn’t do it justice) but the fabric itself is a little light weight. I probably bought it in June or July so it’s not really been in the stash that long.
I usually wash my fabric when I buy it so it’s already when I feel the mood to use it, but for some reason I’d forgotten to do it this time so it was still sitting in the plastic bag Truro supplied it in. As I got it out of the bag a reel of thread fell out. Truro give you a free lucky dip reel with all purchases and in the past it’s always matched my fabric. This time, as you can see, they seem to have gone with a contrast colour – very odd but it will do for basting.
Anyway that’s my news for today. Have you been sewing anything exciting recently?
Thank you all for your comments on Vogue 1179 formerly known as the “I’m Not Quite Sure Dress“. I have worn this quite a bit over the last few days with a grey wool sweater I had forgotten I had in the back of my wardrobe. I always thought it would be the most comfortable dress in the world (it is) and now I have got used to the style I also think it is growing into one of my favourites; I’m even thinking of making another. I keep catching a glimpse of myself in mirrors and windows and quite enjoying seeing the unusual silhouette. As Catja pointed out it’s the dress that that’s shape not my body.
Also thank you for all your comments on styling. I’ve decided not to wear it with the belt as I think this is a more sophisticated look and somehow I feel a bit like last year’s teenager with the belt around it; it’s nice to know I have the option however. In the pictures I am wearing some grey suede ankle boots with a medium heel, I’ve also tried it with some old brown lace up ankle boots which have a low heel which also look great.
OK this one my turn into a bit of a rant.
I’ve just been charged eight pounds!
and what I have I been charged it for? Well I ordered some sewing supplies from the States on which I had to pay £5 customs charge, which at 20% is day light robbery enough, but to add insult to injury the Royal Mail charge £8 as a handling fee. Did you know they did that? I didn’t, had I done so I wouldn’t have ordered the goods. This means that my order (for £25) is now costing £38 and increase of more than 50%!!!!!!!!!
So that’s it, never again am I buying anything from outside the UK (………..well until the next time).
I have written before about our potentially fabulous but currently rather gloomy flat. To while away (another) snowy and miserable day I decided to cheer up our entrance hall by making a new curtain to cover the glass panels in our front door. The curtain we inherited with the flat was made out of some dubiously thin fabric of some antiquity which was too long so had a knot tied in the middle of it to ensure it didn’t get in the way when you opened the door. The dust in the fabric made it impossible to tell what the original colour had been but it looked as if it would disintegrate if tried anything as radical as washing it.
As the hall gets almost no natural light (and like the rest of the flat is painted grey) I wanted a cheerful fabric brighten it up. Evalotta from Ikea (where else) provided the perfect solution. I used 2.5m of fabric, hemmed each of the sides to hide the selvedge, created a tube in the top to hold the curtain bar and put a hem on the bottom. A very quick, cheap and satisfying project.
Like the rest of the flat, the hall will only look properly loved once it is painted but in the mean time my curtain does make it look a lot more cheerful.
So this is my first blog post, I have so much to tell you I don’t know where to start.
Well let’s begin at the beginning. My Mother taught me to sew when I was a little girl. I remember her sitting at the dining room table with her Singer machine on a folded up table cloth. I would sit beside her as she explained what to do. I remember her making me a ballet dress in white with a pink sash and school uniform summer dresses in regulation cotton prints, when I was older she made me a bomber jacket in green corduroy and later still she made me woollen and cotton skirts to help eek out my student allowance.
At the age of 10 I decided I wanted a toy sewing machine of my own, my friend had one and I wanted one the same. Mum sensibly thought that I was probably old enough to own my own machine so for Christmas in that year I got a Jones family CS, a beautiful hand cranked cast iron machine, black with gold lettering. I think it was made around 1910 and is still going strong. It sews straight seams only (backwards and forwards!),is incredibly reliable and I love it to bits.
In my early-twenties I bought my first house and decided I needed a new sewing machine to make curtains and a cover for my newly acquired sofa. So I went to Debenhams in Ipswich and bought a fairly basic Toyota machine which has the added benefit of being able to do zig-zag stitches, button holes and handle stretch fabric. I tried to make a couple of dresses. The first was a success sewing wise but being a pale blue, shirt dress made me look a bit like a checkout girl in Woolies. The second was a much more ambitious wrap dress in a fine cream (what was I thinking of?) wool. It became fairly obvious early on in the project that my ambition had outstripped my skill and that was the end of my sewing career; or so I thought.
Role forward ahem years and I decided to take up sewing again. Mark, the lovely painter and decorator was bought in paint the attic and to build me a sewing space. I had both my machines serviced and I was away!
I won’t say it’s all gone swimmingly, far from it, but I am enjoying myself. I am probably the world’s slowest sewer and being a bit of a perfectionist I can always point out the errors in my garments. Having said that I am getting better and will continue to improve with practice. I’ve had loads of lovely encouragement from friends and from the sewing blogging community. I’ve also found masses of good online resources which help me improve my techniques.
During future posts I will share with you some of the garments I have made. I hope you will come back to join me for this,