Friday, 21 February 2014

Sewing for others

My current project is making me feel a bit overwhelmed, as though I'll never finish it! So I need to share my thoughts out loud...

I really want to make a dress for my beautiful niece, but I've not made anything before for someone outside the immediate family - I'm getting a bit freaked.

I knew I wanted to make something from HappyHomemade Sew Chic Kids.  This book is AWESOME.  I've spent a long time umming and ahhing, before choosing which one I'd go for: design E with beautiful pin tucks on the front.

Once I'd chosen, I thought "Cool, let's rock!"  I traced out my pattern and bought my fabric. But then I had doubts about my ability to "finish" it nicely enough to give as a gift.  I worried about the elastic in the neckline.

I've never had these anxieties sewing for myself or my own children.  Why am I so freaked out?  She's only 8 years old, so rationally I know she won't judge my sewing.  But I do want it to be nice for her, something special just from me.  My word - I feel as though I've never sewn before!

My doubts multiplied until I gave up on dress E and decided to opt instead for design J - the V neck dress.  It looked easier to achieve.  So I drafted the pattern, cut out my fabric, then realised there will be raw edges on show around the neckline hidden only by some lace.  After mulling this over, I've decided to abandon the lace and line it instead.

Still haven't put needle to fabric yet; and, to procrastinate further I've decided I'd do a "practice" version in miniature for my young daughter Immy, to iron out any construction worries.  Now I just need to crack on.

Did anyone else feel this way the first time they made something as a gift?  How do you feel when you sew for others?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Trousers for the boys

I've recently joined The Monthly Stitch collective.  I'd been reading their posts for a while, but didn't feel I could sew to order like that.

Then, I realised: hey, I don't need to do every challenge, just ones that fit in with my general plans. Well, February's challenge is to sew trousers, and my boys desperately need some new ones, so here goes...


They love a bit of army camouflage! I liked the blue, but versions in green have already been requested by the boys (as that's the proper army colour)!

The fabric is a thick heavy duty cotton; it has the weight of a light denim, and it was a joy to cut and sew.

The pattern is one from my Nan's stash.  She must have brought it to sew for me back in the Seventies.  It feels fab to be sewing it for my boys. It's an easy pattern with no zip, just an elasticated waistband. This suits me as I still need to develop my limited zip skills, and it suits them as it makes the trousers super easy to pull on when you are aged 4 or 7.

I nearly had a coronary trying to work out how to do a blind hem stitch! I've lost count of how many  tutorials I watched online, but I couldn't get my head around it! Eventually I decided I just had to walk away.  Laurie's pair I hand sewed, but with Rowan's I persevered the following day, and eventually managed it. But not without rather a lot of swearing! The trick will be if I can do it again next time.

Even though there is three years between the boys they rather like to be matchy-matchy.  Despite much squabbling, I think they love each other really.

Details include cute little pockets which have already been used for stones, mud and stolen coins!

Theses picture were taken at Emmaus in Portslade, It's so lovely there with vintage finds in the chapel shop, a fabulous cafe and secret gardens to discover.  They had a lovely time and it was a great way to kick-start their half-term holiday.

In other news, Onesmallstitch has nominated me for a Liebster blogging award.  Very chuffed! Just got to put my thinking cap on for my answers...

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Stylish Dress Book Vol 1. Design Q or... my best make yet!

This is the pleated knit tunic from The Stylish Dress book volume 1 by Tuttle publishing.  And I have to say this is my favourite Japanese pattern book to date.  I LOVE each and every design.

The best thing about this tunic is without doubt the tucks; they are beautiful, and they create such wonderful folds in the fabric.  I am glowing at how mighty fine this garment is.

Now I am not saying it was an easy make.  Knit fabric and I are not exactly best friends. But I was determined to become at least nodding acquaintances with jersey knits.

I think the secret of my success here was... practice.  Here is what my first version looked like.  I made this one last week.  Yes, I know it's really wonky, and the stitching is a disaster, but I am a firm believer in learning from one's mistakes.

As wonky and lopsided as this is, the thrill I got from finishing it was immense, and it will do for bed!  Anyway, no sooner had I finished this than the next was cut out ready to go.  I practised the pleats on scrap fabric as well, and over time I got better.

The result is: I love it.

I can't say I didn't have help: sewing bloggers are marvellous at sharing their knowledge. I learnt so much from everyone's tips and tutorials.  Tilly and the buttons advice is good, and she links to other bloggers with even more advice. Really helpful.

The fabric is really pretty, grey and brown with gold - it is lovely, soft and fluid.  A lot of my ready to wear clothes are jersey, easy to wear and no ironing required. Would I sew jersey again? Yes, yes, yes. I have bought some more fabric in preparation.  But I'll tell you what, I can't wait to sew some nice sturdy non-stretchy cotton.  Bring it on.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Go on then - another cossie!

Take an old blanket fit only for shredding, some teeny tiny scraps of yellow fake fur, and put them together.  What to you get?  A scary monster!


 Not that scary, Rowan!

 What big feet it has!

Hee hee! 

In other news this week: I was asked for sewing advice!  My friend thought of me as a sewing expert.  I was rather chuffed.

I helped her to figure out how her machine works, and tutorered her children in sewing a few straight lines.    It was lovely feeling that I'd inspired her to sew too - what a confidence boost.

With my confidence growing, I'm tackling jersey fabric again for a new project. My first make was horrendous, but I finished it.  Time to try, try again.  Is your sewing confidence growing?