Friday, 21 June 2013

Sew Liberated jeans #3

Oh ho, ho I did it...I finished my jeans.  Well I am wearing them unhemmed and rolled up as I wanted to wear them first, and wash them to test the fit. Rolled jeans are one of my favs as well.   

I did some wonky pocket sewing.    For the waistband I used the bottom ribbing of an old sweatshirt Mr Minnado no longer wanted. 

I want to get some good pictures and write up a proper post next week, but couldn't resist just showing you some outtakes today.  Please imagine the voiceover of David Attenborough, describing the wild-beast behaviour of my 17 month old assistant. 

Amid the toy debris...RG hasn't spotted the camera yet

  Now she spots the camera...moving in...

Back view with fast moving blur of RG...she's trying to grab the camera

This morning my new jeans held up on a visit to a childrens' animal farm and a buggy push through a meadow!   Back next week with a "proper" pattern review and I hope better pics.  I have already cut out a red pair though.  Happy weekend.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Words of wisdom..from the passenger seat

"You know, it's strange because electricity can save your life or electricity can finish you off.  It's all to do with the heart really". 
Ah, to be ten years old...figuring out the world.  Now I have an appeal, T would like a penfriend, preferably a boy, aged ten-ish.  He is quite put out that Little I has a penfriend in The Netherlands and he doesn't.  So if you happen to know a ten or thereabouts year old who possibly also contemplates electricity, and who'd like a penfriend, drop me an email here:

I can't add much to this.  Except to say we are happy here as it is June and June means church fetes, school fetes, village fetes. Fetes mean tea in a china cup with saucer, homemade cakes, orange squash and bouncy castles.  White elephant stalls, hook a duck and tombolas. 
Do you have fetes or something similar near you? 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sew liberated jeans - #2

Two spools
After my last post about these jeans a couple of you commented that you had twin needles but had never tried them.  Well, Catherine and Gingermakes ...I am daring you to get to work with your twin needles, because if I can do it, you two certainly can. 
Last week,I looked at my machine and realised the star shaped hole on the right of the top was an extra spool holder hole, a quick look at the accessories that came with the machine and I found a spool holder that fit in the hole.  Cue me: "Ohhhhhh, that's what that's for".  I only had my machine for three years before realising. 

The front faux pockets
I chose to use two shades of blue, influenced by my friend's jeans.  While chatting last week I was surreptitiously checking out her jeans and their two coloured top stitching.  (Since starting this project, I keep checking other peoples' jeans for details and shape.  I have been trying to do it without looking like a staring weirdo.)  Threading the two threads was a bit fiddly as you have to ensure they don't twist and they want to twist!  Then I had a practice go and was pleased I didn't have to fiddle with the tension as I had expected. 
The back with a yoke

So I pressed on and sewed the faux front pockets and the back yokes.  Next, is the patch pockets.  But I was worrying about sizing so I decided I would first tack the jeans together to try them on.  I wanted to make sure I had the size right before spending time on the details.  I cut out a size 8 which I think equated to a UK size 10 but I am not too sure. I had followed Mary's tip of comparing the pattern to my usual RTW skinny jeans.  The pattern looked big next to those especially on the legs.  I cut out the 8.  The front looked so tiny to me that I had to check I could squeeze into it.  Answer: I could!  The legs seem wide though and there are some fitting issues round the crotch.   I am next going to unpick the tacking and carry on with the patch pockets and tackle the leg fit when I sew the leg seams for real. 
Finally, I will leave you with this picture: Little I learning to sew!  Dressed for the occasion in pyjamas and a carnival mask of course.  She was saying " Put the needle in, pull the needle out" over and over. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Two Staple Dresses

The staple dress is a pattern designed by April Rhodes and downloadable as a pdf to buy.  The simple shape and construction lends itself to many iterations.  I have to say the simplicity is one thing that attracted me to the pattern. 

If like me you have seriously limited sewing time and often sew with a small person or two talking or shouting at you while  throwing breadsticks and assorted toys across the room, then you too will welcome this pattern.  It consists of a front and a back piece, armhole and neck facings and two side pockets.  I made it first in polka dot spotted black cotton.  This stuff is hard to photo! I squeezed it out of two metres by making the  pockets in another fabric, and it is a wee bit short. for my liking. I still wear it though, just over cropped leggings.   I shortened the pattern by an inch and cut a small on the shoulders and neck, grading to a medium for the bust and back to a small for the skirt.    

The waist is simply elasticated.  Very forgiving for one like me as I have a fat little tummy and my size is still shifting post baby.  That shifting size means I am wary of making anything too fitted.  The top has quite a lot of ease. 
The cotton fabric used for the first dress is  quilting weigt and you can see it bunches up a bit, creating a pouffy effect.  I still wear it though.  For the second dress I used a lighter weight cotton which hangs better.  It was from my mum's sewing room and looks kind of Liberty-ish.  I can really feel the difference in the way the two dresses hang on me.  I made this one a bit longer than the first as I had more fabric.  I just cut to the line of the shorter version in the pattern. 

I like the side pockets, though I know many sewers feel they spoil the line.  But I always need pockets.  I have noticed in Me Made May that those skirts I have without pockets are hardly worn.  I have to hide my keys and phone and multiple choking hazards  from RG throughout my day. I pick up bits of lego, hairslides, coins and quickly shove them in my pocket to put away later.  I also have hayfever and need a hanky!  

Then, I made the dress a second time using some floral cotton  fabric from my mum's stash clearout.  It is a lighter weight than the dotty cotton and I think it hangs better, and creases less.  I had been saving this fabric to make a crepe dress but realised I didn't have enough.  I made the skirt to the specified pattern length and feel better with this length.  It just hits mid knee when I stand still. 

Close up of the fabric, but also please note my navy nails!  I finally used a Christmas gift of a manicure voucher

I now want to try the dress in a viscose or rayon fabric.... I like the way I can think of multiple variations from this one simple pattern.  Has anyone else tried the Staple Dress?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Giveaway winner

Thank you to those of you who entered the stash giveaway.  I enjoyed reading your ideas for what you would make.

The giveaway winner, chosen by randon number generator, is number one, Charlotte, from Sew Far Sew Good.  Charlotte, can you email me your postal address and I will send the fabric off to you.  I will email you as well.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sew Liberated Skinny Jeans - preparation...sharpening the axe?

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

Some sewing projects require more preparation than others.  I am going to try and share my process of making the Sew Liberated Skinny jeans.  The pattern itself seems simple enough and I think I will be spending more effort on the preparation than on the actual sewing.  Hmm...let's see, shall we?  So far, I have been getting my grubby mitts on the material and notions. 
1. Twin needles
The pattern calls for twin needles.  I have to admit that until a couple of years ago I just thought people sewed two extremely neat parallel rows of stitches and I was in awe of their skills.  Stupid me!  It's a twin needle.  Twin needles have been on my vague to-try list since this discovery and I am happy that the skinny jeans pattern has pushed me to actually buy one and try it out.   I bought mine from Jaycotts. At first I was did I thread two threads?  Thanks to the onders of the internet,  I found a tutorial that I liked here .  Now I am waiting for half term holidays to end and for a peaceful day when I can try out the twin needles.  I have read that you may have to play around with the thread tension before getting it right.  Any twin needle advice?

2. Stretch denim
Buying the denim was a frustrating process all of its own.  I am picky about denim.  I saw some lovely cross hatch denim at Stone Fabrics but I prevaricated too long.  When I rang to order it, I found it was sold out.  I nearly bought some lovely denim on ebay, but my paypal stopped working.  I rang a local-ish fabric shop as I didn't want a wasted journey...their denim wasn't labelled stretch and they couldn't tell me if it was or not.  I went in the end for this dark blue denim from Fabricland.  I was sorely tempted by their scarlet stretch denim and their apple green. Maybe if the pattern works I will try again in red denim.  I have washed the denim and it's waiting to be ironed.

3. Stretch fabric
Oh, I am stumped now. I need a heavy/medium weight stretch fabric for the waistband.  I have no such in my you think a charity shop sweatshirt would do? Or a charity shop tracksuit - if I hack off the waistband and re-use it?

4. Sizing.
I think I have the right size now....I am worried about getting the size wrong.  I have been measuring and reading the size chart. 

That's it so far.  Any advice?