Self Imposed Buying Ban

I have put myself on a self imposed buying ban from buying fabric and yarn. The reason is simple I have so much yarn and fabric in my stash at the moment that I am running out of space for anything new. I have lost control of my stashes and to be honest I don’t even know what I even have anymore. It is time to stop buying more and start using more of what I have.

Yarn Stash

My yarn is currently stored in 4 places in my craft wardrobe, my regular wardrobe, a tub in my craft storage room and under my bed. Well I say stored some it is just dumped on top or shoved in a bag. Some of it is grouped together in a drawer unit into WIRES yarn which is 100% wool, cottons and other yarns but I don’t know the amounts I have in there anymore. As for the bags and tubs it is a mix of cottons, acrylics, half finished projects, soon to be projects, leftover yarn.

Some bags I don’t fully know what is in them. I can’t really remember where I put all the yarn I brought when I went down to Melbourne earlier this year. I think I have put them in a tub but I’m not sure. My yarn stash is a mess. I need to go through it all and actually see what I have. My wearable yarn tastes have changed so I want sort things out to yarn I will wear, what yarn I can use in gifts and take stock overall of what I have. There is no point in buying more yarn when I have perfectly good usable yarn on hand already.

Fabric Stash

My fabric stash is a little bigger. I’m just talking about the fabric I have upstairs which is mostly dressmaking fabrics (wovens, knits) and fleece scraps. I again have it store in tubs and in shelving units or on top. I do kind of have a vague organisation system of it grouped into categories such as knits, wovens, WIRES but the system has gotten out of control as I have added to it and just started shoving stuff in.

I have usable (from memory) scraps in the stash but I can’t see them and I don’t know how big each fabric is. Some fabric I’m holding on to even though I know in reality I am not going to use it due fabric tastes changing. I have lost track of what fabrics I have and what I don’t. Some fabrics I have projects in mind for, others I could use in projects if I only I knew they were there.

I haven’t shown my full stash of yarn and fabrics these are just a few pictures but as you can see I am not short of fabric or yarn. It is time to do a stocktake of it all. I need to need to know what is in my stash so that I can use it. It is something I have been thinking of doing for a while as I found myself trying to stuff fabric and yarn into empty places. Last Saturday I did find something in my fabric stash that I didn’t want which was a big silverfish!! No! No! No!

Beth (Sew DIY) is hosting a virtual “I love my fabric party” this weekend and it has come at the perfect time! You can read the details about her party but basically it is a chance for you to show your fabric some love by going through stash whilst joining in with others on Instagram at the same time using the #Ilovemyfabricparty for the weekend. It is up to you what you do during the party. You might organise it better, find ways to keep track of your stash. I’m going to use the party to see what I actually have in my stash. I might try to pair up fabrics with patterns, measure the quantities of different pieces, destash fabrics I no longer will wear or want. Get back in touch with my fabric. My sewjo has returned so I am itching to dive back into my stash.

I don’t have a time limit on how long my buying ban will last. I do have one exception if by chance at Frocktails next month I get discount vouchers to fabric shops I will allow myself to use them if I find fabric I absolutely love. My main aim with my buying ban is to stop all the impulse buying I am doing particularly online. It is time to put a halt on things and use what I have.

Cassiy

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Overlocker Back From Repair

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.

Cassiy

Baggy Pants

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.

Cassiy

Zipper Bags

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.

Zip And Go Pattern

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.

2 Zip Bags Pocket

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.

2 Zip Bags 3

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.

2 Zip Bags 4.JPG

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.

2 Zip Bags 2

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.

2 Zip Bags 1

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.

Cassiy

Knitted Bangle – White

This pattern was one of those patterns in your stash that you keep saying I must make that one day and when you do it comes together so quickly you think why did I wait so long?

Knitted Bangle - White

This bangle pattern is a free pattern by Amber O’Brein. I found this pattern maybe a couple of years ago and I finally got around to making it yesterday. It uses DK weight yarn but you could use any yarn by just adjusting your needle size. For this one I used some white Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton.

Knitted Bangle - White 2

I am clearly not a hand model. Depending how fast you knit you could make this in an hour. To be honest it probably took me longer to cast on the stitches using the long tail cast on method then it did to knit the entire bangle. I was trying to estimate how long to leave my tail by wrapping the yarn around my needle so many times then using that length to fold over the yarn to measure out. My first two attempts left me short of yarn, my final attempt gave me too much tail yarn which I just snipped down to a small tail to weave in at the end.

This will not be the last one you will see me making. This is the first in a set for an outfit for Frocktails hopefully but I’m also thinking of all this other yarn in my stash that would be perfect for bangles. Then of course make a smaller size and you have kids presents.

Cassiy

 

 

Upcycled T-Shirt Pillow

Upcycled T-Shirt Before

In the decluttering that me and my best friend have been doing she found an old t-shirt she doesn’t wear and asked “Can you make this into a pillow?” I had never upcycled a t-shirt into a pillow before but thought sure of course I can.

Upcycled T-Shirt Front

I didn’t follow any tutorials I just looked at the shirt and thought of it as a piece of fabric. I started by cutting off the neck area so it was straight at the top. I didn’t realise the shirt had no side seams, it was one of those tubular shirts. I ended up slicing down the shirt straight on either side which removed all of the sleeve area and gave me 2 squares of fabric. At the time I was making this I had no overlocker as it was away for service. I decided to keep the bottom hem as is because the edges were finished and I could install a zipper into it without too much issue. I used the method where you mark out where you want your zipper to be placed then sew a standard seam with regular stitch length either side of the marking but have a long tacking stitch in between the marks where you then place your zipper and sew around it. As I was sewing 2 flat pieces of fabric it was easy to lay the seam open flat to place the zipper. The first seam I did I didn’t leave enough room for my zipper to lay flat so I unpicked it and redid it.

Upcycled T-Shirt Back

The rest of the outer pillow construction was very basic. After ensuring I left the zipper open I just stitched around the big square. As I mentioned I had no overlocker so to finish the raw edges I used the overlocker stitch on my machine. The stitch eats a lot of thread and is a slow process but it is worth it.

Upcycled T-Shirt Side

I am actually super happy with how the outer pillow turned out. The same image is repeated on both sides of the shirt so I didn’t have to be exact with my side seams but they matched pretty well.

Upcycled T-Shirt Bottom

Instead of trying to buy a pillow insert to fit I made one. I just measured around the finished shirt and using those measurements I make one from white calico. I tend to make my turning/stuffing gaps too short so I made sure it was large enough to get my entire hand in. I have plenty of stuffing in my stash and this pillow ate about 500g. I made sure all the stuffing went down into the bottom corners and worked up from there. Before I finished stuffing it completing I put inside the pillow casing to ensure it was going to fit but also so I didn’t over stuff it. It fits snuggly. I ended up sewing the stuffing gap closed whilst still in the pillow as I was too lazy to pull it back out.

Upcycled T-Shirt Home

Now that I have rambled on about all the technical makings of this pillow I’ll let you in on a little secret. This pillow was more than just upcycling a shirt. It was sewing as therapy. I generally don’t get emotional, particularly when sewing. I might be happy sewing but I don’t put emotion into it. Creating this pillow made me feel connected to my best friend who had gone through a tough week after the death of her mother in law. The death brought back emotions for both of us as we both no longer have our mums. Creating this pillow I was sewing for my mum, her mum, her mother in law. My friend and I don’t live near each other so I couldn’t give her a hug but this pillow was my way of giving her the hug I couldn’t physically give. Once it was finished I messaged her to tell this and I explained this isn’t a sad pillow but a happy pillow. To be honest this is probably the best thing I have ever made. It turned out perfect. I am super happy that the most perfect thing I have ever sewn was for her.

Cassiy

 

To Sew List Jul 19

Another 6 months has passed so time to update my to sew list. In January my list was

  • Turner dress – Cashmerette
  • Appleton dress – Cashmerette
  • Pembroke dress – Cashmerette
  • Cedar dolman top – Cashmerette
  • Concord t-shirt dress – Cashmerette
  • Scrundlewear – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Bunzies – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Calista curvy bra – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Quicker knickers – Little Finch
  • Poppy bralette – House of Morrighan
  • Robbie pants – Tessuti
  • Black Winnats top – Wendy Ward
  • Black hoodie/cardigan/jacket (no pattern yet)
  • Hollings Circle skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Rusholme A-Line skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Finsbury  Bubble skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Fallowfield  pencil skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Roehampton culottes – Wendy Ward
  • Brighton Front Opening skirt – Wendy Ward

Ok so I have only managed to get one item off that list made. To be honest I just haven’t been sewing much this year. Even though in my January post I said I wasn’t going to put pressure on myself to sew for myself I did kind feel pressure to sew – I’m my own worst enemy

I have made a couple of clothing items this year. At the time I wrote that post I hadn’t been to Melbourne where I picked up some lovely fabrics including the denim which I turned into a York Pinafore. I have been wearing that dress almost weekly since. I wear it with sneakers, my work shoes, it is the best dress. I did make my Sesame Street skirt too which has been fun to wear at work.

I have acquired a few new patterns as well as fabrics since January. Recently I purchased 2 Helen’s Closet patterns so I am adding to my list.

  • Turner dress – Cashmerette
  • Appleton dress – Cashmerette
  • Pembroke dress – Cashmerette
  • Cedar dolman top – Cashmerette
  • Concord t-shirt dress – Cashmerette
  • Donovan skirt – Helen’s Closet
  • Winslow culottes – Helen’s Closet
  • Blue velvet York pinafore – Helen’s Closet
  • Scrundlewear – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Bunzies – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Calista curvy bra – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Quicker knickers – Little Finch
  • Poncho – Beginner’s Guide To Dress Making magazine
  • Poppy bralette – House of Morrighan
  • Robbie pants – Tessuti
  • Black hoodie/cardigan/jacket (no pattern yet)
  • Bomber Jacket – McCalls M1700
  • Paisley Granville skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Hollings Circle skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Rusholme A-Line skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Finsbury  Bubble skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Fallowfield  pencil skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Roehampton culottes – Wendy Ward
  • Brighton Front Opening skirt – Wendy Ward

I must admit the items I want to sew first are the ones with newly acquired fabrics. The only reason is they are winter fabrics and I would love to wear them this winter if possible. They are also mostly patterns I’ve made before and I am comfortable with, however I think I might go down in the sizing of the Granville skirt. I’m not neglecting fabric that I have in my stash, the lining I’ll use on my Granville is from my stash. I want to make a trial of the Donovan skirt from stash fabric first before attempting it in the Rose Liberty fabric I got during my Voucher shopping trip. Spring Frocktails is approaching in September and I do want to get my Appleton finished for that as I didn’t for the one earlier this year.

My overlocker is back from getting serviced so it is time to start sewing!

Cassiy