Saturday, 21 January 2012

A mini sewing update

I'm quite excited: I've wanted to start sewing, (dressmaking really but at this stage I'm not fussy: any sewing will do), for absolutely ages. About three years counting from when I got myself a new sewing machine.

It's been going... not well.

Out of five projects I failed on five.  I think.

I got all sorts of things wrong: I hadn't figured out how to set the stretch stitch properly for the first project right ouf of the gate. I cut out the second project with an extra seam allowance because I'm used to having to do that. I cut the next one on the fold as opposed to two separate pieces for the front and somehow ended up with an extra three inches across which makes the sides under the arms stand off like a funny suit.  What else?  The last project has sleeves that hang down to the knees (not quite but you get my drift) and I can't even remember the project in between.

I got things wrong with each and every single item I tried to do.  At least I'm getting more practice with my sewing machine, that counts for something.

On Saturday (a few weeks back) I went to Brighton (that ought to become another blog post) and bought the local crafts shops emtpy.  There are such nice places to poke around in!  And they've got such nice stuff so 'unfortunately' way too much of it made its way home with me.

The nice thing is that I started a bit of sewing on Sunday: it is only some patchwork but it came out beautifully!

Just look at it:

Isn't it completely and utterly pretty?  I am so proud of this.  It's my own design too.

You're probably a bit puzzled about what this is.  This is going to be an inserted strip in a simple sleeveless top for the summer.  Round neckline, relatively fitted.  Perhaps a little bit along the lines of an Empire Line dress that's gathered under the bust.

The strip will be placed under the bust all the way around.  I already sewed another plain black strip to the top of it and I am planning on cutting the top half of the garment in the same black.  I will put in bust darts that originate from underneath the bust and go vertically upwards.

I suppose a side zip would be easiest for getting in and out of the top - it will be plain, non-stretching cotton.  I don't want a front opening and I find back zips or buttons a bit difficult to get to.

Thinking about it: I'll have to find a suitable pattern first (or draw one up) and then spend a bit of time with my tailor's dummy trying to figure out if the pieces will give a good fit.  There is no point in making yet another item that doesn't fit and that won't be made to fit, just to be awkward.  Well, I could adjust some of my mishap items but that's just so tiresome!

I also started another border, in three fabrics.  Two plain ones I had lying around and a patterened fat quarter that I bought in Brighton.  The pattern I made is not as pretty as the one above so this may make it into a quilt as the border around it.  Maybe.  One day.

I also have a hankering to make something in purple (I have plenty of fabrics in my stash to give this a whirl) - I am torn between another border strip or perhaps quilt blocks, something not too big, maybe for a lap quilt.  I could do with one of those.  Keep me nice and cosy as it gets colder out.

I did start another quilt in black, grey and a really great pink but I hadn't thought my design idea through: I used the three fabrics in strips and then turned every second square up.  This forms a windmill shape in both the grey and the black fabric, I didn't realised this would happen! (Lesson: lay the elements out together, then step back and take a proper look!).  I haven't done anything about a border for this yet so it's languishing too.

(Maybe do something different: instead of a patterned border, just a single-colour strip? Hm, might work)

I am hoping to give this black/grey/pink quilt a back in a different pattern.  If I wanted to use a single backing fabric I would have to buy yet more fabric (that's a big, fat 'no') so using some more of the fabrics out of my stash is a much better idea.  That means more patchwork.  It also means reversible!  That's a win-win in my book.


  1. I love the pink/grey/black. A great design & great fabrics. I'll be curious to see how you finish it off.

  2. Thank you so much Bella. I am really glad about your encouragement. I suspect that I will progress with other projects before I go back to this one. I am waiting for ideas about a suitable border to occur to me!
    Any suggestions are very welcome, if you can think of anything.