Sunday, 30 June 2013

Weekend in London and another shirt for Mike.

We decided to spend the weekend in London and this gave me an opportunity to do some things we don't normally do.

Saturday was a nice slow start by shopping for food and then thanks to Boris Bikes we cycled to Waterloo to the Old Vic to see Tennessee William's  wonderful play Sweet Bird of Youth starring Kim Cattrall.  If you get the chance to see this play I can't recommend this enough it was brilliant.

We saw the matinee performance which finished around 5pm and then jumped on another couple of Boris bikes and cycled to Covent Garden, which due to the hot weather was teaming with people.

Today I wanted to finish off Mike's shirt that I started.  I have blogged about these many times before, and I can hear you all yawning as I type, however you never know someone may be reading this for the first time.

I used my TNT pattern kwik sew 3883 as normal, however the only change I made was to use the off-cut roller-blind fabric I had, as the collar and cuff interfacing..... this is a bit of an experiment to see how it holds up with several washes and going through the dryer, so I will let you know.

Sadly the shirt was behaving better thank Mike was lol. Today is the last day of Google Reader, so hopefully you have read all the different instructions on how to read your favourite blogs.  I am using bloglovin and blogger, I hope we don't lose blogger as its my fav.

I hope you have had a brilliant weekend and I'll catch you later..................

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sew Today Magazine - article on my wedding sewing

Yesterday's post landed on the porch floor and included one of my sewing magazine subscriptions, "Sew Today" which I think is like the UK version of the US Vogue Patterns magazine.  To my utter surprise look what I found inside, my photographs I sent in for their "what are you sewing" article.

We had lunch with some of the guys who are in the photograph below, and they said "wow, we have made the big time in Sew Today magazine who would have thought" - they just don't understand ha ha.

We did have a wonderful day, and I would be telling lies if I said that our wedding was done on a budget, but I can confirm that I made 9 dresses in total, and the total cost was less than £450, and when I compared my dresses to a bridesmaid dress I saw in one of the local department stores, which was limp, factory made, and costing over £100 for a little 3yr old, I was really glad I made the decision to sew my own.

For those of you having this dilemma  I urge you to do it.  It is hard work, but you will have created something unique and have the pleasure of knowing that if you want to, you can sew something wonderful on a budget.

Talking of attitudes to people, and charity etc, Ruth, from the blog Corecouture  has just written a very thought provoking post this week, which I urge you all to read.  I won't repeat her thoughts here (you can read them yourself), but it does make you think.

For the record, I never just throw clothing or anything else away, that could help someone else.  We all accumulate a lot of possessions over the years, myself included, and I always take unwanted items to the charity shop in the hope it will provide an income for the charity concerned, and a cheap item for the person who needs it, and I know that many of you do the same.

I hope you have had a good weekend.

Catch you later..................

Friday, 21 June 2013

Brompton Bike Bags & Paris trip

Hi Everyone,

Not too much to report on sewing wise because I had a business trip to Paris.  I arrived Tuesday evening into Paris Gare du Nord and it was really hot and sunny.

Sadly the weather changed the following day, due to torrential rain, and the city became a hot steamy mess but I did manage to get a couple of pictures of the Louvre as the taxi sat in a queue.  Unfortunately, having travelled to Paris many times, I have yet to visit this museum, but one day soon, when I am not rushing around to meetings I'll find the time to go.

I have managed to test-drive my new Brompton Laptop bag - well of course its not just for my laptop because I popped all my thank-you cards and my tiny handbag/purse into the case and cycled to the post office Monday, and today I used it to hold my handbag when I cycled to the garage to collect Mike's car from its service.

The bag is great and ticks all the boxes in respect of what I want to use it for.  I can get my work laptop, my mini ipad, my glasses case, waterproof trousers, a magazine, work papers and my small handbag in the bag - perfect for my daily commute to work.

I will have to sew another one of these bags for Mike to use, with a couple of small modifications (his needs to be slightly deeper by about 1") so I am not sure if I'll get any other sewing in, but we will see.

Enjoy your Friday evening and hope to catch you again before the working week starts again.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Bespoke Brompton Laptop bag

I have a wonderful Brompton folding bike just like the image you see below and I currently use one of their "C" type bags to carry all my stuff in when I am either commuting between the cottage and the flat in London, or to and from work.

One of the problems with the C bag is that while it is fantastic for carrying quite a bit of stuff, it is a little bulky and heavy and as such, combined with my bike, becomes rather heavy.

So with this in mind, I decided to use the luggage frame that clips on to a bracket on the front of the bike, from my existing bag, and make another bag that I can use just for carrying my laptop and papers to and from work and this is what I came up with. The new bag and existing bag is attached to the frame using a combination of velcro and an inner skin.

Outer fabric nice waxed cotton - true colour more like the bottom right picture.
Cotton batting between lining and outer fabric to protect my laptop
bright acid yellow poly-cotton for lining.

This is the 3rd version of the bag I have made.  The first out of Faux leather (not so neat and tidy), the 2nd from the waxed cotton to hold Mike's messenger bag that he loves and now this one.

Originally I was going to make a sort of "bag carrier" i.e something that would attach to the frame that would take a ready made laptop bag.  But in the end I came up with this.

By making it a little smaller it means I can fit just my laptop, glasses, mini ipad and a few work papers and I am unlikely to stack it out with  too many other things I am unlikely to use.

This may not be the latest fashion item, and its not sexy, but I am thrilled the way this has turned out, and I certainly havent' seen anything else on the market like it but more important, it suits my needs perfectly and I sewed it out of my stash.

We got our official wedding photos through from the photographer this weekend - they are fabulous so I can see us printing off lots of them for the photo frames that were bought for us.

I hope you all had a good weekend.  Catch you later....................

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Alana's sewing lesson.

Hi everyone

I have been sewing, but something for our Brompton bikes, a bag carrier.  The bags we have are huge and I wanted something that would hold an ordinary laptop bag when I cycle to the office via the trians.  I used the frame from my existing bag and made my first template Friday night, and finished a 2nd one made out of waxed cotton today.  Pictures later but I am getting there and it works, just need to refine the whole process.

I thought you would like to share how Alana got on with her first sewing lesson at the ripe old age of 2 years 11 months old.  I am starting her off young.

FYI I am wearing my lace top with white cami underneath first blogged about here.

Later we went to have lunch followed by an ice cream in a great Italian restaurant local to us.

Alana enjoying her Apple Juice at lunch today

Father's day in the UK tomorrow so cooking lunch for the family, but hopefully I can squeeze a little sewing in before everyone arrives.

Catch you later......................

Sunday, 9 June 2013

My Weekend


Friday I had to fly to The Netherlands for a work event, so I didn't get back home until lunchtime Saturday which sort of killed part of my free time this weekend.  But I did get to visit Muiden Castle Friday night, which was first built around 1280 by Count Floris V of Holland.  It has passed through many hands over the years, but now plays host to many school children for historic outings, or corporate events such as ours, because it is so close to Amsterdam.

Quick fix sewing

I am still on my quick fix sewing and just sort of tidied up spare stash fabric by sewing up some more cotton knit to make another twinset/pj combo.  I didn't have enough fabric to make pj bottoms but because this was a pink floral pattern I have teamed the vest and cardigan with some pink pj bottoms I made some time ago and am wearing them now (doesn't warrant a picture).

Serger issues

I was struggling with my Babylock Evolution Saturday and today.   Having experienced no problem switching between the overlocker/serger function and the cover stitch function for several changes, all of a sudden the upper looper refused to thread using the ExtraordinAir which takes your thread through all three loopers at once, with a gust of air.

This is the first time I have had this problem, and googled to see if there anything written by people with similar issues.    PR had a thread which talked about various issues, including the use of the wire that comes with the machine.  Thankfully  I found the thin twisted wire which allows you to manually thread the the machine which allowed me to finish off what I was sewing.  By the way, the lower looper and the chain stich are fine.

I did get a couple of balls of fluff come out of the tubes with the wire, and I was hopeful this would solve the problem, but sadly it didn't.  It seems like the air is blowing the thread out rather than sucking it in.  I'll have to call the dealer where I purchased the machine and chat with them, however I know this is going to mean a trip to drop the machine off.  The problem is, they are around 40 miles away and I don't really want to do several trips, in an ideal world it would be great if I can drop it off - go for a cup of coffee and then collect it - I can hear you all saying "yeah in your dreams", hmmm that's what I think, but still lets stay positive until I make the call in the morning.

Essex Toy Sewing machine

My Essex toy sewing machine turned up last week and its really cute.  There is no bobbin, so it effectively only does a chain stitch, but I figure that this may be useful for sewing leather etc., but only small projects).  I have bought it so Alana can use it when she comes around.  She hasn't seen it yet, but am sure she will love it.  It came in its original box, but no instruction manual, however the wonder of the internet allowed me to download a pdf copy - how great is that.

Shirts for Mike

Last week I cut out another shirt for Mike.  I did sew the collar (complete with collar stays) and the cuffs (which are embroidered), however I didn't get around to doing any sewing at the flat and left to return to the cottage Tuesday evening.

Today I cut out another shirt (thinking I'll have a few prepped and ready to sew) sewed the collar and cuffs again but this time I used a different fabric for the interfacing in the collar and cuffs.

Until today, and maybe again in the future if this doesn't work,  I have used a woven stiff interfacing to give as much body as I can to the collar and cuffs.  A few months ago I bought some nylon roller-blinds for my sewing room.  I had to cut them down by around 12" and kept the remnants of fabric thinking I could use it to stiffen a bag or something.

I experimented with a little of the fabric by cutting it to a 4" square and then holding my iron over it and giving it as much steam as possible to see if it shrunk back or anything.  It didn't.  Encouraged by this I have used it as a sew-in interfacing for the collar and cuffs, which incidentally look really crisp (which is what I want for a man's shirt).  Look it may not work, after a couple of washes it may crease, or lose some of its stiffness, but I figure the worst I lose is a bit of my time, however it may just be the latest invention for shirt interfacing (we will see ha ha).

I hope you are all sewing up a storm, catch you later.......................

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Ink Roller Ball Pen - add it to your toolkit

When I was surfing the interweb the other day I came across a blog - I think it was a quilting blog, I am so sorry I can't remember, but they were talking about the Pilot FriXion clicker erasable gel ink roller ball pen and how when you touched the mark you have made with the iron it just disappears.

Well I had to find out about this and if it really worked, so I bought one and here is a little video clip of how it works.

I apologise for the quality of the clip because I do this so infrequently that I forget how to use the imovie function on my laptop - still it gives you a demonstration on how it works.  By the way, I am almost just hovering the iron over the mark, so I would think that you could just put the fabric near anything that produces heat and it would make the mark disappear.  See what you think.

FYI - I have only tried it on this piece of fabric, so needless to say you would need to test it on a scrap of fabric first just in case it reacts differently on different fabric types.  This is not a direct endorsement of this product - I read about it and thought it a good idea and just wanted to give it a go.  I purchased my black pen from Amazon with 3 refills for just over £10.  A recent search showed that other colours are available.

Catch you later...............

Monday, 3 June 2013

Sewing Machine for Alana

Alana will be 3 years old in July and whenever she comes to stay with me, she always comes upstairs and likes to help me.  She loves to pick up the pins and put them in the pin cushion, or to sit on my lap when I am sewing.

Yesterday her mum asked me to shorten a dress for her.  She followed us upstairs and immediately went to the pin cushion and her mum said "Alana, no be careful".  I replied, its ok she always plays with them, and Alana also said "its ok I always do it", ha ha.

I had mentioned to her Saturday, perhaps Nanna P should get you a little sewing machine, and yesterday she repeated this to me and said have you got me a little sewing machine.

With this in mind I had a quick look on ebay and managed to win this little machine yesterday

It has a hand wheel which I think will be much safer for her to use and can't wait for it to arrive.  We have a triple swing in mind for the girl's birthdays, because its Alana's and Ella's (our other granddaughter) birthdays both in July, but I somehow think that Alana will love this little machine.

Right off to work.  Catch you later...............

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Productive sewing weekend.

This weekend was very productive in sewing terms, as you know I ran up a cute little nightdress for my DGD Saturday, and cut out another shirt for my D Mike to work on in the flat during the week.

Mike left to go sailing today just after 8am, so this gave me an early start in my sewing room.  First job was to cut out the extra pattern pieces for the collar stay on Mike's new shirt, construct the cuffs so I could embroider them, and make up the collar and collar stand before leaving for London.  This leaves the rest of the construction to be done at the flat.

I have been doing a lot LOADS of sewing for other people, so now it was my turn again.  The same day I purchased my blue cotton jersey that I sewed my PJ set with, I also purchased a really cute stretch lace which has a sort of iridescent pearl look to it.

I didn't have a lot of fabric to play with because I purchased the end of the roll (after my sister had purchased a metre for herself lol).

So what to sew with this fabric.  I immediately saw a top that could work well for evening or day wear, and Diana of Sew SewPassionista by DIANA  (check out her blog its great) had made up Vogue 8323. I loved her top, and subsequently purchased the pattern.

Pattern description   Knit tops with princess seams and stitched hems.  A: sleeveless armholes with bias tape finish.  B: cowl collar neckline with below elbow length sleeves.  C: scoop neckline with bias tape finish.

I made up view C and this is such a quick top to sew.  I think it took me a little over an hour to construct the whole thing - if I factor in the cutting out of the pattern, and fabric, I guess around 1.5 hours in total.

I made a slight change to the pattern instructions, which you really don't need to read, but I did glance at how they finished the neck edge.  The pattern calls for bias tape finish, but because I was using the cover-stitch feature of my Babylock Evolution, I just turned under the seam allowance and  used a wide cover-stitch.  I did the same for the hems.

I have several ideas on how I will wear this (hopefully pictures next weekend).  Because the lace is see-through, I will need to wear a camisole underneath - I could wear white, or black or nude to create different looks.

I love my new top.  The cost was £2.00 - a bargain.

I did sew up another quick-sew 2948 cardigan just before I left for London, but didn't have time to hem it, or photograph it.  I used an ugly fabric (well I think it was an ugly fabric, one man's poison is another man's wine, or perhaps one that someone gave me) and I has turned out lovely.  This will be finished and blogged about next weekend when Mike is off sailing AGAIN..............

I hope you have all had a great weekend.  Catch you later........

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Nightdress for Alana - McCalls 6633

I am definitely not doing selfish sewing these past couple of projects, first a shirt for Mike and now a nightdress for Alana.

Alana loves her princess frocks and mum and dad struggle to get her into PJ's so my Son asked if I could make her a nightdress.

One of my trips to Walthamstow market sent me in the direction of a very pretty pink heart fabric that was shouting Alana's name. This is a sheer fabric so needed to be lined and I had a nice soft light-weight knit that was perfect for the job, but I left the sleeves sheer.

This pattern started as an age 3, and while Alana will be 3 in July, she is an age 2 in the big 4 patterns.

I had to reduce the sleeve length by about 4" and the dress length by 4" too.  The bodice was also a little large, so I just inserted some elastic around the bodice to pull it tighter to her body, but still allowing for her to grow.

I'll drop this off tomorrow for her and hopefully she will not put up such a fight when dressing her for bed.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  Catch you later.............