Category Archives: Sewing Projects
I had a super busy weekend but I did get to do some sewing…and some of it was even for me!
Nerdy Husband is so happy with his merino top that he has requested more. At the moment he is working outside for his job and since it is winter it means he is wearing it everyday. I made him a second one in charcoal grey last month but that still means I have to wash them both every 2 days so on Saturday I was taken fabric shopping (squeee!) and more merino was bought. Global Fabrics had it on special at $20 a meter which means I can make his merinos for about $30 each, that is super cheap!
Then we went rubbish bin shopping.
I know right! Fabric shopping AND rubbish bin shopping in one day? I am a lucky woman
The problem is that Harri thinks it’s hilarious to jump into my open-topped rubbish bin in my sewing room and then play in it. Sometimes she just tips it over to play with the contents. Just that morning we were in the kitchen eating brekkie and she trotted in with a paper scrap in her mouth that looked distinctly sewing related.
This is OK if it’s just paper but, as we have already discovered, she really likes thread. She munches on the offcuts and scraps from my overlocker catch bin and I worry she will swallow some and that would be bad. It also means I have nowhere to throw away sharp things like bent pins and old rotary blades. I’ve been putting them in the kitchen bin but one day I’ll forget and she will jab or cut her paw when she jumps in! So the kitten-proofing of the sewing room continues and a pedal bin (green with white polka dots) was purchased and success! It is kitten proof…but not the box it came in
I swear I did not put her there. I turned around from unwrapping the bin and she was looking out at me, true to the Scottish Fold breed, she loves her boxes!
I spent the rest of Saturday cutting out my top secret project:
Then on Sunday the merino tops began, I bought enough fabric for three of them and whipped them up production-line style because I knew that if I made them one at a time I would get halfway through the second one and be super bored and want to stop. So instead I cut all three out first, then attached all the arms.
Next came the decorative top stitching (faux-coverstitch). This is the part that takes the longest, after racing along on the overlocker, switching to the Elna feels so slooooow! To make that stitch formation it feels like 1 stitch forward, 2 stitches back! But I did it!
Then arm/side seams followed by collars and finally hemming, phew!
NH was impressed with his instant merino wardrobe, his next request?
Hey you know this hoodie I’m wearing…
Before I could move onto some me-sewing I had to give my cutting table a good clean:
And then finally! I got to work on my Lady Grey, with Harri’s help of course.
This is actually a really good photo of the wool which is black but with a chunky weave that’s hard to photograph:
So this is as far as I got before it became too dark to sew black (must address the lighting in my sewing room!)
The shell is assembled, seams top-stitched. No sleeves yet but I am already really excited for the final garment. I love the vintage feel to this pattern and I think it will be super flattering and girly with the big lapels and twirly bottom.
Tonight I will make dent in the top secret sewing project stitching. I have to dig out the appropriate coloured thread and then remember how to set my overlocker up for rolled hems. I want to get some tricky and potentially monotonous finishing done first, then I’ll begin to assemble the rest.
On Friday evening I came home from work to find a length of grey thread at the top of the stairs. I thought, “that’s odd” and went to pick it up only to realise that it wasn’t just a small length of thread. One end went to the left, the other to the right. I followed the path to the right first. It went into the kitchen, in and around the table legs, under a chair and into a certain kitten’s bed where is stopped.
The trail to the left, as you might have already guessed, went into my sewing studio. It also took a scenic route, around the ironing board legs, cutting table legs, sewing chair, along behind my fabric shelves, and eventually ended back where it began…at the overlocker.
You know how sometimes when you are telling a story you embellish just a little bit to increase the LOL factor? I swear on my kittens soggy thread trail that there is no exaggeration in the above words. I’m actually quite impressed with her agility but less impressed with the 20 meters or so of overlocker thread I had to untangle and bin.
It’s useless to try and punish a kitten for being a kitten. As far as Harri is concerned everything is a toy…except for the actual toys, she doesn’t play with those. Scrunched up newspaper, plastic bags, a beer box (we are awesome role models) and a plastic Tim Tam (biscuit) tray are the current favourites. So far, the solution for anything that Harri has decided could be a ‘toy’ but that I do not want to be a ‘toy’ has been to remove it from sight. Obviously this strategy will not work for sewing machines and now that Harri can make the jump onto my sewing table the new defence will have to be invisibility.
On Friday night I went on the hunt for my overlocker dust cover. Both my machines came with ugly plastic covers and one day I cut one of them up with the intention to take a pattern from it. I imagined a pretty pair of covers but then I realised that spending valuable garment sewing time on a new dust cover for my machines was a stupid idea since my machines never sit idle long enough to gather any dust…but now…well, I needed some Sewing Machine Invisibility Cloaks.
I couldn’t find them, instead I got distracted and began a big tidy of my sewing room and forgot that I was actually meant to be looking for.
On Saturday morning I got up, fed Harri and then let her out to roam (during the day she has the whole house, except for our bedroom, and at night she is confined to lounge/dining/ kitchen). I went back to bed with a coffee and read for a little bit. About 30 minutes later I got up, showered, ate brekkie and decided to finish off my tidying and then do some sewing.
That’s when I noticed a guilty looking kitten in the hall chewing on a tangle of grey thread and watching me while doing it.
Like she knew!
The new thread trail was not as long as the first but this new game was going to have to be stopped immediately so my tidying continued with more focus and eventually I found the dust covers.
Ugh, not very pretty huh?
After just 5 seconds I couldn’t looking at it any longer. Fabric was chosen, machines were threaded and this appeared:
I looked at my Elna…hmm, if I was a kitten and my new favourite ‘toy’ had just vanished, that other spool of thread is looking pretty tangle-rrific right now!
So then this happened:
And now I am happy. Oh wait…this post still requires at least one Harri photo, just so you know I’m not totally mad at her, here’s one:
I was hoping to get my tracing post up today but I am running a bit behind so please bear with me callers, I’ll aim for mid this week so that those of you yet to trace off will be ready to tackle your pattern/s by the weekend!
When we first started discussing the Burda Sew Along idea I claimed to have hardly sewn from any of my many Burda issues.
Perhaps the warm sun on my back had made my mind sleepy because after a little bit of Sewing Archaeology I have to admit that is not entirely true.
More correct would be to say that I haven’t sewn much from them recently. I have also sewn quite a few BurdaStyle downloaded pattern items from the website before the whole Burda-becomes-BurdaStyle takeover thing, but I am choosing not to count those for my challenge.
80% of my past Burda makes are from my pre-blog days therefore we will need to find a way to travel back in sewing time to see them, luckily I have this:
So jump into my Sewing Time Machine, hold down the reverse lever and let’s travel back through my first “sewing-life” to approximately 2003 for the oldest make I can find:
You might remember Skirt 118a from October 2007 that I posted about after returning to NZ and exploring some long forgotten random storage boxes. I love the two-sided stretch denim that I would have originally bought from Spotlight, I wish I had some in my stash right now.
Now jump back in the Elna Tardis and head back towards the light to my current “sewing-life”, now we are in Perth and here are my very first projects after getting the Elna back:
Blouse 109b from April 2008 which I don’t wear any more, although I was super proud of it at the time. I can see now that my skills were rusty, the seersucker was a poor fabric choice and it was never that flattering, but we learn.
Tunic 103b from March 2007 followed quickly after and I learnt about my long torso and the need to add in length to the bodice of my future makes. I wore this blouse quite a bit and I still have both these items, but they are no longer in the regular wardrobe rotation.
Then I took a break from sewing for myself when two close friends (from different social circles) announced they were expecting within a week of each other and I got excited about trying out some miniature sewing. I got Burda July 2008 out from the library for the super cute baby section and chose two items for each friend.
One friend knew she was having a boy and the other was keeping the gender a surprise…long story short, one of those “friends’ turned out to not be that much of a friend after all. A mocking comment about my new “hobby” aimed to draw laughs from the rest of the group towards me meant that the wonderful Nicci received all the pretty baby clothes and later her new daughter looked super sweet even in the dinosaur rompers!
Nicci was so overjoyed she had a little cry (blaming the hormones) and therefore I had a little cry (blaming Nicci!) and I knew I had made the right decision. If nothing else this taught me the lesson that on the rare occasions I do choose to sew for someone other than myself or Nerdy Husband, that I should be absolutely sure they are the kind of person who truly appreciates the skill and love that goes into a handmade garment.
An Alice and Wonderland themed 21st party (what the hell I was doing at a 21st so long after my own 21st I have no idea) was a great excuse to sew my own costume and a simple dress to embellish came from March 2008. Clearly this is not in the usual wardrobe rotation
Next was Blouse 108 from January 2008, worn here with a Kasia skirt, a great staple that I wore to death. Blouses used to be my sewing crack, I have since weaned myself off them and developed more imagination when it comes to tops.
And then I had my first Burda fail. I’ve never had any issues with Burda in terms of fit, I find their draft quite consistent and the construction well tested. However this fail was stunning in its epicness, a combination of poor fabric choice, a pattern that was never going to flatter me. It’s possible this could have been saved but I moved on quickly and so we shall do so now.
There was quite a large break before I picked up another Burda pattern, you might recognise these last three, we’ve travelled back to New Zealand now and I’m sharing my sewing on my blog.
The Gok Coat of Doom doesn’t look so bad now that we’ve had some time apart, still, my trench/mac coat love is firmly with the Robson Coat now…I am considering gifting this coat to my Mum, we are the same size and she loves this shade of purple…her birthday is in July, smack bang in the middle of Winter.
Is this a good present idea, or is that a bit lame to give my Mum what I consider a fail? The fail isn’t a technical one, this coat is beautifully made (if I do say so myself) and the failure is more of the personal style type. Does that make it OK? Is it not better that someone is enjoying the Gok Coat rather than it just hanging in my sewing room?
The Elna Tardis has dropped us back off, almost in the present day, I love this t-shirt from February 2009, in a kiddies print I grabbed during a Spotlight visit. I also made it in a grey Merino (worn to death) and have 2 more Merino copies cut out, waiting to be sewn up.
My most recent Burda triumph was the Nerdy Husband Rugby Jersey however if we are being properly honest, not much remained of the original Burda pattern…maybe the neck line and collar…the rest was slashed and spread and re-drafted beyond recognition…but it worked!
Burda magazines contain so many patterns, including the basics, don’t discount the basics! For someone who cannot draft from scratch they make great base patterns to try out alterations.
Fellow Sew Alongers I encourage you to share your past Burda makes with us too.
Now, get out of my Sewing Time Machine, I’m off back to a few weeks ago to catch a fabric sale I missed!
Here are a couple of terrible dirty mirror selfies. It was dark, Winter is sneaking in here. We just came off of Daylight Savings which is helping in the mornings but a shock it the system to arrive home from work and realise it’s suddenly dark.
This is the rainbow swallow dress, body mostly assembled and requiring some serious fitting. It’s not looking particularly flattering over track pants and a top but I can see the potential cuteness It is one size (maybe one and a half) too big but there are lots of seams there for taking in.
On Sunday I did a little bit of sewing with the Wellington Fabric Hoarders. Johanna came too and it was a lot of fun until some weird power spike blew the bulb of her machine out! Just the glass, it kindly left the metal case part behind inside the machine. It was a bit scary, at first we through it had exploded on it’s own until someone asked, “Has anyone else’s machine stopped working?” and that’s when we realised that the power was out along the whole wall. Poor Johanna and her super cute vintage Bernina, the bulb was a gonner so we switched to tracing and gossiping until home time.
I was a clever girl and managed to leave both my sewing machine foot controllers behind but luckily Emma took them home with her. After I picked them up on Monday I plugged my machines in to check them, a little nervous after the power spike. Both are fine, although my Elna’s bulb was also blown, less spectacularly that Johanna’s, mine is still intact, just a bit black inside.
In my sewing room (and in fact through our entire house) I use a spike-protected power board. It contains a small fuse that pops out or (on the cheaper versions) blows first if there is a power spike, cutting power to whatever is plugged in and protecting those electrical items from getting blown up. I always take a double plug and power lead when I sew elsewhere but have never considered power spikes so next on my sewing shopping list, to add to my mobile kit, is one of these:
Call me paranoid but they are pretty cheap and while both my machines are quite basic and mechanical and I am not sure how much is inside that can actually explode (besides the light bulbs) it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you often take your machines elsewhere for sewing and especially if you have a fancy pants computerised machine, perhaps it would be a good investment for you too, just sayin’ …
Happy explosion-less sewing xx