After writing my post Tracing Patterns I decided to head to Spotlight to see if I could get any of the tracing paper I was out of. I discovered the product that I saw was called Trace and Toile. It is polyester interfacing by McCall’s.
I hunted around and found an entire roll unopened which is what I was after. Although it feels a little thicker than the one I had (mine was very sheer in some parts) I have held it over a paper pattern and I can easily see through it. There is 25 metres on the roll and it will do me a while. At $1.50 a metre I’m not sure if that is cheap or expensive but given the fact I didn’t like tracing paper it is good value to me.
I’ve kept the label so that I know what to ask for next time directly as I won’t be needing any for a while and I’m likely to forget the details.
I’ve always traced out patterns on a roll of paper I had in my stash that I found amongst my mum’s craft items. I had no idea what the product was but I knew it was easy to trace on and cut out. On a trip to Spotlight I discovered it was a form of tracing paper and doing a little research online I think it is similar to Swedish Tracing Paper. It is almost cloth like with a paper weave texture. I’ve always treated it as paper and only use my paper scissors to cut it.
On the weekend I ran out of my roll of never ending tracing paper and had to use traditional tracing paper. It was a good lesson in seeing the differences between regular tracing paper and the stuff that I had been using. For myself I discovered that traditional tracing paper isn’t for me. It is too flimsy for me. I’m a bit heavy handed at times and not used to items so delicate and that easily tear. I also found that I couldn’t see through it as easily as I do with the paper I was used to. After I removed the pins from the paper I noticed I’d torn pieces of it and that I couldn’t fold it neatly. Also it was a bit noisy for me.
The paper I’m used to using I can pin over and over without it tearing or leaving pin marks. It makes no noise and I can easily fold it neatly without it crinkling or getting ruined. I can see through it and mark any lines in easier. It more sturdy. When I trace out a pattern I fold it and keep it in a plastic sleeve in my sewing folder. They sit flat. I don’t think I will be able to get the traditional tracing paper to sit so flat in the folder.
I know that I can purchase the tracing paper I like at Spotlight and may see if I can buy a roll of it as I use it on all my items. I do have freezer paper and wish to try it on some toys but for clothing I will be using the paper that I like. It was a good experience to use traditional tracing paper. For some people it may be great to use but not for myself. Each person is different and that’s why there are no many products on the market to cater for each person.
A lingerie workshop was held by my regions Sewing Guild this past weekend so I went along. Lingerie isn’t my thing but I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn clothing making and a chance to stitch with something other than quilting cottons.
I was completely out of my element. The only clothing I’ve ever made were kids skirts and nightgowns I’ve never made anything for adults. Before the weekend my friend and I went to a fabric store and she had to guild me through the fabric I could use and help me find a suitable pattern that I could make with stretch cotton. I decided at the workshop I would make myself a nightdress / top out of cotton. It’s not lingerie but it did have some elements of lace in it and it was something practical I would be able to wear. I was happy with fancy pyjamas.
I turned up to the workshop with all my fabric that I had prepped and all my sewing gear. I decided which pattern size I would make and started tracing out the pieces when I hit my first hurdle. I ran out of tracing paper. I was using it from a roll but it never occurred to me that I would run out of it. I guess I’m used to only tracing out small pieces for toys and nothing larger. I was lucky that my friend had some spare so gave me a piece. Tracing away I was thinking that this top was going to be very difficult to sew as it had so many pieces. Not knowing patterns I didn’t realise that I didn’t need to trace out all items listed in that group but only certain pieces. I traced out about 4 more pieces than I needed. Oh well it didn’t matter it just gave me experience in tracing pieces out. What I didn’t know was I needed to mark things like grain lines and all the notches so I had to go back and put those on the pattern pieces. I’ve never traced out a paper pattern from a packet before so I had no idea what I was doing.
My 2nd task for the day was pinning all the pieces onto my fabric. This is where I hit my next hurdle. I didn’t have enough fabric to make all the top in purple. At the time I purchased the fabric I had 2 colours and asked for more of one colour than the other but it looks like the shop assistant may have cut the same length for both colours. The other possibility was that in the shop I decided on a smaller size but even at looking at the pattern I should’ve had enough for the larger size and I always buy more fabric than that is required so we think it was more of the wrong amount being cut. Never mind I improvised by cutting the main body sections of the top out in purple and using the blue fabric I purchased (to make matching shorts) as the sleeves and inside neck facing.
My 3rd task for the day was to mark out the darts and stitch them in. I’ve done darts before by hand on soft toys so I had some clue as to them but I did ask the advice of others on stitching them by machine and finishing them so the darts didn’t leave pucker marks. I was able to pin the body front and back together just before it was time to pack up for the day.
As soon as I got there on day 2 I set up my overlocker and stitched the side seams and the shoulders of the top. I then attempted to make the neck facing only to discover that I need to line it with interfacing. I didn’t have any so opted to just do like a binding / rolled facing on the neck to cover the seams. I machine stitched one side of the neck but am yet to finish hand stitching the inside where I rolled the edge over. My side seams matched so I was very pleased
My next step was to attempt the sleeves. I added the cotton lace trim to the cuffs then did the tacking stitch so I could ease the arms into the arm holes. I’ve never done any basting or tacking before so I had to get other people’s advice on stitch lengths and widths to set my machine. The arms were much easier to do than I expected and it was my first time ever sewing a circular shape on an overlocker.
Even though I never got the garment fully finished on the weekend I’m happy with what I achieved. There is only some hand sewing to do now and to snip the cotton tails but it looks and fits like a proper top. I’ve never made myself clothing before so for a first attempt I’m over the moon.
In the afternoon we did a practical lesson on sewing lace and elastic. On my first attempt I did one of the stitch lines in the wrong place but after I unpicked it and started again I got it right. I never knew it was so easy to do lace cutaway. As someone mentioned add a side seam to this and Barbie has a new skirt. We also did a second sample piece where we stitched lace to the bottom of the piece and did another different elastic at the top but my sewing machine kept eating the bobbin thread so after 2 attempts I gave up on it. I will try the experiment another day. It was a hot day so I think my machine was protesting.
As mentioned before this workshop I’ve never read a paper pattern before. I have no idea how anybody folds them up so nicely to fit in the little envelopes. Even thought I wasn’t making the same items as everyone else I was learning things about sewing. I had no idea that certain pins were better for pinning certain fabrics or that there was even a good way to place the pins in the fabric until someone gave me some advice. I listened and absorbed everything everyone was telling me and my mind started to use this knowledge. I started thinking about the direction I would be sewing and the placement of my pins. I started thinking of other areas of sewing that these new skills could be used. The workshop was great. I would like to say a big Thank You to all those involved.
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.