I’m doing another Rosalie Quinlan stitchery for myself Birdsong that I purchased at Urban Stitches last month. I’m halfway through it. I know I’m cheating a bit by not doing all the satin stitch work as shown on the front of the packet however that just adds to the uniqueness’ of this piece. I know my stitchery will not be the same as anyone else’s.
I have 3 sewing machines and an overlocker. That might seem a lot but I do use them.
I don’t mean to collect sewing machines but in the last 4 years I’ve just acquired them. I started with my first ever sewing machine which was light weight and easy to move around. Mum taught me to sew on this one and it meant if I damaged it I was breaking my machine and not hers. When I got my 2nd machine this one just sat around for a few years as a spare and I was going to give it away once I got my 3rd machine but then I started going to Sewing Guild and its the perfect size to fit in my sewing tote and take with me.
I got my 2nd machine as it was the same model my mum had but wasn’t available at the time I purchased my first one. This machine is a little bigger and has a cute ♥ stitch that to be perfectly honest I’ve never used but I do like looking at it. Again I was going to give this one away when I got my 3rd one but it is really handy to do WIRES pouches on as you can remove the sewing bed and use the free arm easier. It is still relatively easy to move on and off and table so I won’t hurt myself moving it onto my sewing table.
My 3rd machine is my largest and the one that still scares me. It does machine embroidery but I’m yet to try that element of it. I have the notions to do it now but I have to build up the courage to give it ago. So far I’ve only used this machine to do regular stitching and I did make a samplier tote using some its stitches. I’m confident using it to do regular sewing but as mentioned I’m still yet to try the advanced stuff on it. This one is large and heavy and doesn’t get moved about at all.
My overlocker is a machine I’m finding very useful. Before I’d gotten this one I’d only tried mum’s overlocker once. When I first used this one it did scare me but now I’m confident using it.
I like using the different machines as each has their own features and when you sit down at them you have to stop and think for a second which buttons does this one have and how do I do something. I surprised myself when I went to the sew-a-thon and used an overlocker that wasn’t my own how easily I worked it out. Ok so I know an overlocker isn’t that hard to operate but normally when I’m faced with anything (machine or otherwise) that I’m not familiar with I freak out a little. Using so many different machines you learn that they are all very similar. I use them I love them I’m keeping them all
Before I started making this I never knew I wanted a meerkat now I do….
I found out a young little miss likes meerkats so I googled meerkat patterns and found this softie pattern from Dolls and Daydreams. It was perfect. The instructions were very clear but I’m not sure if I followed them to the T. I used slightly different fabrics to what the patterns said as I never had felt. Because of this I had to change the way I did my applique. I used the method of stitching the 2 pieces right sides together then making an incision on the back and turning them the right way out before appliquing them into place. For me this is easier than learning needle turn applique (which is on my list to learn) This method also gives the pieces a 3D feel. I did this on all the tail, eyes and nose. For the muzzle area I only had to sew the 2 pieces right sides together than turn them right way out before appliquéing them on to the face area. Part of the muzzle fell within the side seams so I didn’t bother appliquéing that area as the machine caught it in the stitching.
I’m sure you will see this meerkat again. I kept him perched on my sewing cabinet and every time I looked at him I envisaged him in different colours.
This little guy started out life as a Softie I was making at last years Urban Stitches. I never got a round to completing him so he has lived in my craft cupboard ever since.
For some time I’ve been thinking he would make a good pin cushion so last weekend I finally took him out and tried him in his new career. He is a great little pin cushion.
Recently I’ve been placing my pins in a plastic container particularly when I have been going to sewing guild. This little guy fits perfectly in the container. I can take him out and place him on the table next to my machine and when its time to pack up put him in the container and know all my pins are secure. From memory he has a body floating around somewhere too I must find that as another pin cushion next to my sewing machine at home as you can never have too many.
I’ve made another batch of WIRES pouches but this time I decided to re-look at the process I have of making them and do things a little smarter. So what did I do differently this time?
- I started with cutting multiple layers at once when I was cutting them out. This cut the time down by half.
- I used my overlocker (serger) to stitch the seams and finish the raw edges at the same time.
- I left a long length of serger tail at the end of each seam to weave in to keep the seams secure. It took hardly any time at all in in front of the tv weaving the ends in
- I used a triple stitch on the folded top hem that was more secure.
These little processes cut down the time it took to make the pouches and made it even easier to make up a bulk batch. I have learnt all these sewing skills so it was a matter of using the most appropriate sewing skill at the right time. It was worth stopping and taking a few minutes to work out smarter sewing processes.
I can now add child skirt making to my list of sewing skills.
The Mikayla Skirt is by Seamingly Smitten. The reason for choosing this skirt (besides knowing a little girl by that name who may just be getting one for her birthday this year) is by looking at it the skirt, it doesn’t look complicated. Reading the pattern it is really simple to follow. The instructions are very clear. At the Sew-a-thon I made 4. The first time I followed each step by step referring back to the pattern. After the first skirt I only needed to refer back to the pattern when cutting the elastic length the rest was really easy to remember and almost instinctive.
I must admit like anything that you do in bulk batches by the time I got to the last one I was a bit over skirt making. It had nothing to do with the pattern but more it was the end of the day and I felt like I was on repeat. 3 will be used as Christmas gifts, one is a birthday gift. I will make the pattern again, particularly as the one pattern can be made for 6months – 8 years. I urge anyone who wants a good little basic skirt pattern for their stash to try this one. You could embellish it with buttons or ric rac. You could do embroidery or put ribbon on it.
I did have a bit of trouble overlocking the elastic on this as it was very bulky to go through the overlocker with the 2 pieces together. On the first skirt I had to do the seam a couple of times as I managed to cut a hole in the seam when forcing it through the over locker. After some advice from more experienced sewers (the friendly ladies at the sewing guild) I decided to overlock the edge of each piece separately before I joined the skirt the skirt with a seam. I wanted a strong seam so someone suggested a triple stitch so I tried that on a couple of the skirts.
I find it interesting to observe people and see when doing hand embroidery those who hoop and those who don’t.
I’m not a strict hooper or a strict free hoop embroider (are they even real terms?) For me it depends on the project I’m working on. If I’m doing a pre-printed stitchery then I always like to have it in a hoop. I like how taut the fabric is in the hoop, I find I can do small fine details easier in a taut hoop. The draw back to a hoop is that often you need to re hoop it a few times due to the size of your hoop or stitchery. I don’t like the creases it leaves even though I know I’m going to iron it out anyway.
I like to free hoop if I’m doing a project where it is simple lettering or features. There isn’t a lot of detail and usually I finish it quickly. For me letters on a kids book isn’t worth the time hooping. If a project is really small like satin stitching an eye onto applique I can easily control it in my hand.
I’m curious as to what others do. Do you have a preference?