At the February Frocktails in our goodie bag we were given a panel from Next State to make a simple zipper purse. I had it sitting around on my desk waiting to be made up. I decided ahead of Spring Frocktails I wanted to get it made so I felt like I had used things from my goodie bag from last time (I had used the vouchers and other things we had received) Thinking about things I needed, if I was going to make it up I wanted to use it. My crochet hooks were living in a zip lock bag so they needed a proper home.
The panel comes with simple printed instructions on how to make a purse. If you have never made a purse or a bag before it gave you excellent guidance on where to start to transform the flat panel into a 3 dimensional object. Crochet hooks obviously have a hook on one end which can snag on exposed zig zag stitching so I decided I would make a lined pouch. I raided my stash finding some leftover white calico scraps and a zipper that matched. They were only a few small items but a great way to use them up. For the thread I just looked through some half bobbins and spools of thread I had near my machine and used them, again using up stash items.
If you have never made a line purse or pouch before just google or YouTube as there a heap of free tutorials out there. I used a zipper that was shorter than the panel which meant I didn’t have to cut down my zipper and then cover it with zipper tabs. I don’t mind the small open gap at the end. My crochet hooks generally live on top a cart I have so they don’t get moved around a heck of a lot where they may fall out through the end. Eye love the finished pouch!
This was a pretty quick project to do. We received another purse panel in our Spring goodie bag. Instead of making another zipper pouch I’m going to make an easy drawstring pouch for my knitting. The size will be perfect to hold one ball of yarn, needles and a folded pattern. I have one already this size that I’m forever switching projects in and out of when I’m knitting on my travels so I need more this size.
I haven’t posted yet how I went with my “I love My Fabric Party” but during it I did find a piece of leftover fabric which was a white knit from when I made my Derwent pants. I really wanted to make an infinity scarf from fabric so I thought that was the perfect use for it. I followed the tutorial by The Craft Gemini. It was super easy to make.
The fabric was a stable knit and very plain. I decided to add interest to it by doing machine embroidery. I was originally going to do free motion stitching on it but it didn’t work when I first attempted it. Even though it was a stable knit the fabric was too lite and I hadn’t put stabiliser under it so it just wasn’t happening. Plan B using my open toe walking foot I did a couple of different decorative stitches down the length of the fabric. The flipping ♥ is my favourite stitch design to do on my machine.
I roughly divided my fabric into columns and just did the lines from stitching by eyeballing it from my chalk marks. I love how the stitches turned out. The fabric was very long and I got lazy so instead of using the foot control I used the Start/Stop button on my machine to power it. It is feature on my machine that I rarely use but made the task so much easier than having to hold my foot down for the length of it time.
This is so soft and cozy. A black and white scarf was a piece that was missing from my wardrobe so this was the perfect use for this scrap piece. I have worn it a lot since I made it. Now I want to keep making infinity scarves!
When I was at the first Cashmerette workshop last year I did a little fabric shopping and purchased some silk which I had no idea what I would make with. Jenny aka Cashmerette suggested I could make the Cedar Dolman top. You can either make the pattern with knits or wovens. I purchased the pattern and brought some cheap polyester black satin to make a test version. At the second workshop and with Jenny’s help I traced out the pattern on to trace and toile. That was February last year. I finally got around to making up my test version.
As the fabric was very sheer I decided I would try french seams for the first time. Why not try a new pattern and a new sewing technique on only your second time working with slippery fabric. Yes I thought I was a little nuts but doing french seams on this was actually easy to do. I cut my front piece on the fold so really I only had the shoulder and side seams to do. With a lot of pins it was easy enough to do. With the leftover fabric I made continuous bias binding and used that for the remaining raw edges around the neck, sleeves and bottom hem.
Modifications To Original Pattern
- Cut the front piece on the fold
- Added 4″ to both front and back pieces instead of doing the bottom band
- Did french seams on the shoulders and sides
- Used binding around the neckline instead of the neckline facing
- Finished the hem on sleeves and bottom with binding
Yes it is polyester and I’m unlikely to wear it in summer but I love this top. The fit is really good. If anything I may bring in the shoulders in by about 1/2″ at the neckline but that is only a maybe. It doesn’t look to big and baggy but it is comfortable. Even in the polyester I was ok.
Will I make this pattern again? Absolutely!! I’m going to attempt it with the silk I brought. Woven cottons in summer, knits for winter. I’m sure it won’t be the last time you see me making this pattern.
Back in June when I went to use the voucher from the Fabric Store I won at Frocktails in February the second I walk into the shop a bolt of blue velvet jumped out at me. I am a Bower bird so I am attracted to any blue really but to be honest this is my shade of blue is my favourite. I used to love the song “Electric Blue” by Ice House when I was a kid, it is still a great song. The fabric just screamed York Pinafore.
If you haven’t read my blog before this is now Pinafore number 4. I decided to do the pockets different this time. To recap the pattern the York comes with a couple of options that you can make in full or mix and match to create the Pinafore for you.
Version A – Longer length, scooped neck, rounded pockets
Version B – Shorter length, higher neck, kangaroo pocket
On previous versions I’ve made version B but at the length of A. This time I made version A but with the neckline of B. There is nothing wrong with the kangaroo pocket and trust me I use it a lot in my others but in this fabric I thought it needed rounded pockets. I also took down the higher neckline down by about an inch.
This was a slow make taking me about a month from when I first ironed the fabric to when I finished it. I didn’t mind because I was enjoying making it. Doing little steps here and there when I had the chance like make the pockets, make the binding, sew a seam made me realise I don’t need to sew an entire garment in a week to actually finish something. I can do little steps here and there and come out with a finished project without being mentally or physically exhausted from making it which can happen with me. I am not the type of sewer who can spend 12 hours in a day making something from scratch and finishing it. My disability places limitations on my body so I have to be aware of my limits so that my body doesn’t punish me afterwards for doing something I love to do.
Modifications To The Original Pattern
- Made the pockets patch pockets instead of sewing the sides of the pockets into the side seam line
- Fully lined the pockets to be more sturdy
- Deepened the higher neckline by 1″
- Made continuous bias binding for all raw edge
I love the finished dress. Towards the end when I was top stitching down the binding I thought this could be my Spring Frocktails dress. I won the voucher at the last Frocktails why not wear something I brought with it to this Frocktails next month. It was never my intention when I brought the fabric but a blue velvet dress is pretty fancy for Frocktails, well as fancy as I go anyway.
I think I mentioned I finally got my overlocker serviced. I’m in Sydney and I don’t drive but luckily there is the Sewing Machine Warehouse at Penrith which has a pickup and delivery service to repair sewing machines and overlockers. Over the years I’ve had my machines serviced 3 times there.
The reason I sent it for a service was that my machine was playing up on me. No matter how many times I rethreaded it and changed the needles it was giving me issues and to be honest putting me off sewing. I was going insane as to why it wasn’t working for me when it worked before.
When I got my machine I did learn a couple of things which were causing the issues that I was having.
Wrong Needles Inserted
My machine is a Janome My Lock 664D and the needles that you are to use are HA-1SP. I have changed the needles on this before and had no issues at all but apparently the needles that I had in at the time of service were the wrong ones. I remember running out of overlocker needles and buying some at the shop but not taking much notice. Thinking back now I think it was when I starting using the new pack that the issues started to occur.
Whilst writing this post I happened to find my old empty pack of needles which were sitting by the computer reminding me to buy more online (lucky I don’t clean my desk much) I pulled out the pack that were in my overlocker tool kit. I usually buy the Klasse needles cause you can get them pretty cheap at Spotlight and I knew I had to buy the orange packet. Side by side they look similar but I didn’t know there were different types. By chance previously I had brought the correct ones (Type E) but the ones I picked up last time were Type A. It has been suggested that I use a different brand but if I do have to go back to Klasse at least I know now which ones to buy.
Set To Incorrect Thread Serging
Apparently I had my machine set to do a 2 thread serge or overlock stitch but I had threaded the machine as a 3/4 thread serge. So when I was doing my stitches that’s why they weren’t forming properly.
Ok so I might sound like a total dummy but I have looked at the inside of my machine before and I have seen the little diagram that says 2 with the arrow and dot but I didn’t really know what it meant. I certainly didn’t realise that it could be flick up or down. Yes I have read my manual but that bit never sunk in. When I tried rethreading it I must have pushed it down to the 2 setting and not noticed.
As my blog is here partly as a memory trigger for myself so I can refer back to things as I forget I took a photos of the thread settings so I know the ideal number each thread should be on.
I also took a photo of the dials on the side. I generally don’t touch these dials. I don’t get fancy with my overlocker. I use it to overlock the raw edges on wovens or maybe even make an entire garment in knit fabric. I’m sure my overlocker can do plenty more but I only use it basic and I’m happy with that.
Since my machines return I have used it. I’m in the process of making my blue velvet York Pinafore and I tested it out on a scrap piece before overlocking the edges of my fabric. My machine is running so well, it is so lovely to have it working again. I use my overlocker a lot and I love this machine. It does everything I need it to do…. That’s when I have the correct needles in and have it set to the right settings. I’ve had this machine for a few years and it was interesting to learn these basic mistakes I had made using it. Next time I can think about all these things and check for them before I end up in tears as the blooming thing won’t work.
Confession I actually made these pants in May 2018 but I hadn’t actually got around to blogging about them.
I was after some simple pull on elastic waisted pants, a wardrobe staple. After going through my pattern stash I decided I would try Simplicity 1446. The pattern looked fairly easy and it was what I was after plain pull on pants. To top it off it had in seam pockets!!
Now to be honest I can’t even remember what size I traced out. I would have to hold up the pattern pieces to the pattern sheet to see which one I used. The fabric I used I picked up from a Spoolette’s fabric swap. It was a nice cotton so easy to work with. Considering it was “free” fabric it was great to test out a new pattern with.
After I finished them I knew they were too baggy. The waist was ok but the crotch area was very baggy. It didn’t stop me wearing them and I think I did get a lot of wear out of them last winter.
Sadly they developed a hole in the back centre seam. I put them aside and to be honest I forgot about them and other clothing got piled up over them on a clothes stand I have in my bedroom. Every so often I would do a clean up and see them but I never got around to mending the hole until May this year when I wanted to wear them again.
I don’t know why I put off mending things when it doesn’t take that much time, it was only one seam after all. Once I washed them again and then wore them on a weekend away I discovered with them so baggy the crotch seam actually caused a graze on my inner thigh. I hadn’t wore them since about June or July last year but between then and May/June this year I’ve lost some weight and I think that is why the seam caused the graze.
After washing them again I have put them in the donate pile. I would like to make the pattern again as the pockets were great. I’m not going to use the same pattern pieces as last time. I’ll redo my measuresments and look at which is the best size to trace off now.
Do you ever start a project and think I am really not meant to make this? Originally I had brought the 2 blue fabrics used on these bags to make reading pillows but silly me didn’t read how much fabric was required and I didn’t have enough when I started to cut them out plus I didn’t have the correct size pillow inserts. I also needed to make a 3rd gift from fabric in my stash. No dramas plan b I will make 3 Zip and Go’s, easy pattern which I have made before.
I brought the zippers to match each bag, cut out the fabrics and realised I never had enough fabric to make the straps out of the same fabric. Again no dramas all the fabric had white on it I’ll just make the straps out of white calico from my stash which I did. The Zip and Go pattern has clever instructions where you measure the front panel and slice it at different times in the instructions to insert the zips. I sliced my first panel as per instructions and realised I cut it ¾” too short. Now what to do. I was running out of ideas and time to make the gifts. I had all this usable fabric, I didn’t want to waste it.
Now I think by this point I was up to plan c. Having made the Essential Wristlet pattern more times then I can remember I decided to use the zipper instructions from that to insert top opening zippers on the bags instead with a front pocket. It was a way to save all the fabric I cut and it was a pattern I was very familiar with.
I was originally going to make the zip and go pattern as Christmas gifts this year for the same kids so I had all hardware in my stash. Sewing away it occurred to me that the straps I had made weren’t going to fit the hardware I had in my stash. I make my bag straps on tote bags and regular bags finished size 1″. The zip and go’s have a narrow strap and the hardware I had fitted the narrower strap. I then had to do a quick online order to get 1″ hardware and have it sent Express Post to have it in time to finish them. I also had to remake the D ring tabs for the bags as I had made them for the smaller size. In the end I think having the tabs in white brings the bags together more as they are the same as the straps and it doesn’t make it look like I have just clipped on any old straps I had.
The straps have sliders on them and I always get confused on how to sew them. I have to look at my handbag each time I attach them as even with pictorial instructions my brain get confused. Just as I was sewing the hardware on my last strap I still stitched it wrong so the slider wouldn’t move so I got my un picker out. When I started sewing them correctly I then broke a needle. I had my glasses on but luckily it wasn’t one of those fly off and hit in your face needle breaks which is why I wear my glasses sewing now.
I’m pretty proud of myself. Even though I had drama after drama making these bags and they ended up taking about a week to make instead of a weekend like I’d planned. I never got stressed or angry making them. I ended up with 3 usable bags to give as gifts. I actually did mid week sewing on these which I don’t normally do. Normally my mind thinks if I am going to sew I need a big chunk of time but I did 20 – 30 mins each day and I got them completed. Using white thread meant I was able to batch sew them so I did one task a day during the week. Install one half of the zipper on all the bags one day, the other half of the zippers the next day. Top stitch all the zippers one day. Little chunks of sewing got the small tasks done so when I had a day off work I was able to finish them. By breaking sewing up into small tasks like I did on these bags I might be able to get through sewing all the things I want to make. I’m fortunate enough to not have to pack up my sewing area after each time I use it so mid week sewing is achievable for me.
Even though I have now been sewing for 8 years I’m still learning from every project. This project I learnt how important it is to fully check your materials and instructions before you start. Go back and double check the small details as you are making the project, don’t assume or go on autopilot too much. You don’t need a lot of time to sew, break the tasks into small steps and you can get things done.