Once again, I am sorry for not blogging recently; it has been over a month. It's not that I don't want to blog, but more so that I don't have any photos taken of anything I've made or any DIY tutorials, since I don't have my sewing machine here with me at uni. I want this blog to have more tutorials, rather than posts about things I've made since I don't use commercially bought patterns, therefore I can't review any companies or patterns like most bloggers do.
I do have an extensive list of blog posts that I want to upload when I go back home for Christmas, which include a variety of DIY tutorials and Christmas decorations. But I though even though I don't have any projects to show off, what better time to give some gift ideas for someone who sews! So lets begin!
1. Machine Sewing Needles Especially for those that are new to sewing or are on a tight budget, one of the items that we sometimes don't invest much attention to are our machine sewing needles. Trust me when I say this but needles can make or break a project.....literally. I've used my far share of blunt needles in my sewing projects which has inevitably lead to me furiously unpicking stitches, wondering why did I put myself through this??? So why not invest your beloved sewer with a stash of needles. Some top makes include Organ Needles, Schmetz, Singer, Janome. Most of these can be bought of eBay, Amazon, John Lewis. They also come in a range of different sizes; I would recommend to get packs with different sizes, maybe ball point needles as well (used for knit or jersey fabrics). An extensive list of needles can be found on the following link: http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/sewing-machine-needle-guide/
2. Fabric Your average person can't have neither too many clothes, too many shoes, too many tools... well the same goes for a sewer. It is definitely a misconception that we can have too much fabric. Definitely for beginner sewers, their stash might be quite small and are scared to add to their collection. But fear not; even for a beginner sewer, having a larger collection of fabric might actually motivate them to keep sewing! I usually get mine from markets such as Walthamstow, however for those buying fabric there are numerous eBay sellers out there which sell fabric.
3. Extra Machine Feet One of the many delights about sewing, is there are so many tools and notions that are required so you can spend spend spend! Even though your beloved sewer might have a sewing machine, they might not actually have many machine feet. These machine feets are quite unique depending on what you are sewing such as a zipper foot, button hole foot, bias binding foot. Of course this requires you to figure out the brand of sewing machine they have. You could also ask them which feet they already have to make your life a bit easier.
4. Good quality thread Good machine needles and good quality thread go hand in hand; the ying to the yang. Again poor quality thread can make or break a project, and again your beloved sewer might feel the burn in the pocket investing in good quality thread, if they are already investing in fabric and other notions. A very good make of machine threads is Gutermann.
5. Tailors Ham and Sleeve Roll
Tailors Ham and Sleeve is one of those objects that a sewer probably mentions in their sewing sessions like "ohhhhhh I wish I had a tailors hem..... it would've been so much easier if I had a sleeve roll". It might be an indirect message to you, but if you are lucky enough to have things made by a sewer such as shirts or tops, then a sleeve roll could actually benefit you as well! It makes pressing sleeves so much easier and can prevent unsightly creases in clothing.
6. Bias binding/ selection of notions It is always good for a sewer to stack up on sewing notions such as bias binding, zippers, buttons, elastic etc. They never know when something might break or something runs out in their stash. These can be bought on eBay (I'm not sponsered by them; I just find it's cheaper and easy to buy things off)
7. Project Bag A nice project bag to put unfinished projects is always handy and would be quite a sentimental gift to buy. You could even try making one yourself for your beloved sewer. Who knows, they might just make you something!
8. Sewing Magazines
Sewing magazines are something that I've always wanted. It's such a great way to past time on the bus or train, or just give ideas for future projects. And they also come with free patterns inside, so what more can you ask for. There are a range of magazines out there. One which I've had my eye on since they first came out with the magazines are the Seamwork magazines. What I love about the magazine, is a lot of the patterns are very contemporary, fashionable and there are also many reviews about the patterns out there.
9. Embroidery Sewing Patches This slightly comes under the same category as sewing notions, but these can be a bit more sentimental. The embroidery patches can be a range of items such as flowers, lettering, smiley faces, dogs, pretty much anything. So why not buy them a gift that they will also remember you by?
10. Dress Form Dress forms...... one of the items that is every sewer's dream. Certainly is my dream. Not only does it help with fitting garments, but can also up the sewer's skills and motivate them to try out new techniques. It is more expensive than the above gifts but maybe you could pair up with someone and invest together. But it is definitely a gift that will be worth the money. I remember for one of my textile classes during GCSE I had to make a bodice for a dress, and my mum was helping me pin the bodice pieces onto me, and I'm pretty sure I got pricked by about 100 pins......
I hope these gift ideas give you some inspiration on what to get your beloved sewer! Take care! xxx
Its been a while since I last did a blog post unfortunately. I went to university at the beginning of the month (final year.....eeek!), so it's been a hectic few months settling in. But nevertheless I haven't forgotten about the blog!
I wanted to talk about how I get my sewing inspiration as sometimes it can be hard to think of what to make and whether you want something fashionable or comfortable etc. So lets begin!
1) Comfort over fashion!
I'm all about having comfortable clothing. Nearly all my dresses in my wardrobe have an elastic waist because they allow me to not only get it on and off relatively easily but as I've mentioned in the previous blog post, you've got room to maneuver. This doesn't mean all clothing needs an elastic; this is just one of the many examples. But the same principles apply. It's better to be comfortable in the clothing rather than have something which you'll never want to wear again.
2) Assess your life style
Since I'm a uni gal, most of my time is either in lectures or in my uni room. So I don't need to wear formal clothing such as suits etc. That means that most of my clothing I sew has informal clothing. However once I start working, I will probably need more dress shirts, trousers etc. The point I'm trying to make is, make clothing which your lifestyle suits in the current moment.
3) Shop bought or handmade
Recently before I went to back to uni, I realised that I didn't have enough comfy t-shirts. But I also didn't want to spend time making these t-shirts as well since firstly my sewing machine isn't capable of sewing jersey/knit fabric and secondly I knew I would get bored of it. So instead I just bought the t-shirts from primark. So think about the amount of time you have sewing: if you've got limited sewing time, think about whether you could buy the simple garments instead and spend your actual sewing time on more fun projects.
4) Browse websites and shops
My two places I seek inspiration from are New look and Sainsbury's. I usual look on new looks website every now and then and see what the latest trends are and jot them down in my sketchbook. Sainsburys as well has great clothing as well (and quality), so I usually go to sainsburys and inspect the clothing such as seams and finishes to see any new techniques I can learn.
5) Invest in a sketchbook
Since I've been little, I've always loved drawing clothes. So once I do get a little inspiration, I jot these ideas down. Even if the season isn't correct for that clothing, I'll still write it down and come back to it later.
6) Be adventurous
Even though I love comfortable clothing, don't be afraid to make something different. It may work out, it may not, but at least you are learning. The thought process that goes into making something different will gather more inspiration such as improvements and modifications. Hopefully this blog post helps! x
Sorry or hoorah for all the DIY tutorials so far! I thought I would upload the tutorials before I go back to University just in case I have less time on my hands for the blog.
But anyway over the years I have been adjusting jeans myself due to my height (I'm really short), and more recently I've been adjusting the waist of the jeans using elastic since jeans don't seem to fit around the waist for me (I'm a size 14 on the thighs but have a smaller hip especially high waisted jeans).
I came up with the elastic method after realising my love of elastic with dresses:
So easy to use
Gives you an hourglass figure when you take in the waist of a dress
Comfortable/ stretches when you want to eat for your hearts desires!
The jeans I'm using are the high waisted Primark jeans, but the same method can be applied for other jeans with a separate waist band.
Take into account the amount needed to be taken in. For example if you have bought a size 16 jeans but you need to take in to a size 12 at the waist, alot of bunching is going to happen around the waist, which might not be very appealing to the eye. So I would recommend only do this method if you need to take in about 4 inches maximum.
The great thing about this method is that over time if you need to take in more or if the elastic is too tight you can always do the method again and you haven't permanently damaged/ruined your jeans!
Things you will need:
Jeans Needle or size 16 needle
1. Unpick about 2 inches of the waistband at each side seam
2. Since the whole waistband will detach from the jeans, resew the inner waistband back to the seam like so, which will enable only the outer waistband to be free from the jeans
3. Repeat this on both sides of the waistband
4. To prevent the elastic from twisting in the waistband, I like to mark the correct side of the elastic at both ends with chalk so that I know which is the right side
5. Pin down the elastic to the inside of the waistband and sew a zigzag stitch to attach. By applying the elastic like this to the inner waistband, the zig zag stitch will only be visible on the inside of the jeans so that you don't see this stitching on the outside of the jeans.
6. On the other end of the elastic, attach a safety pin and feed the elastic into the jeans and pull out through the other end of the waistband opening.
7. In order for the waist to be brought in, the elastic length needs to be smaller than the waistband. I would recommend to add a temporary safety pin to the waistband, try on the jeans and see if the elastic needs to be shortened.
8. Once you have the correct size of the elastic, repeat step 5 by pinning the other end of the elastic down and sewing a zigzag stitch.
9. Reattach the waistband to the jeans by sewing a straight stitch .
And there you have it; a pair of jeans that fit at the waist!
Today I'm back with another tutorial: how to make roulette/spaghetti straps. These can be used on dresses, cami tops and even for decorations such as bows and button loops. Things you will need:
Safety pin (small and thin)
1. Pin the strap fabric in half (right sides together) and pin across. The letters A and B are written as a guide for later on when turning the strap inside out. Note the fabric does not need to be cut on the bias.
2. Sew along the pinned edge and then trim away excess fabric to reduce bulk:
3. Using a small thin safety pin, at end B pin the safety pin to the side of the fabric:
4. With the safety pin closed, feed the safety pin into the enclosed strap like so:
5. This step is a bit more fiddly so might take some elbow grease and patience.
From the last image above using your fingers pull/feed the safety pin into the enclosed strap loop i.e. from ends B to A.
Remember the size of the safety pin needs to be small enough to fit into the strap otherwise this step will be even more difficult.
You will notice that as you keep feeding the safety pin towards end A, the strap will curl together like the middle image and bunch together.
Firmly holding the safety pin with your left hand, with your right hand pull the bunched/ curled fabric towards end B i.e towards the right and this will smooth out the wrinkles on top of the safety pin like bottom last image:
6. Keep repeating step 6 until you eventually have the whole strap turned inside out. The longer the strap the harder it will be so will take more time but eventually you should have a lovely strap ready to use! Remember to iron the strap as well.
I hope this was easy to follow through with all the images. Until next week, bye!
In this blog post I want to show you a jacket/cardigan (whatever you want to call it!), that I made during the winter. And yes the fabric I used is actually an IKEA blanket! Unfortunately when I made the jacket I hadn't taken any photos of the construction so I'll do my best to explain what I did, but it's actually much easier then it looks because there are not many pattern pieces or seam finishing needed! http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/textiles-rugs/blankets-throws/polarvide-throw-grey-art-50296990/
The blanket measures 130 x 170 cm which was enough to make the whole jacket and there were even some left over pieces which could be used to make trimmings etc.
Bias binding (whatever size you want; I used a 15 mm size polycotton bias binding but I think it would look better in a 25 mm satin bias binding so that the trimming stands out more)
How to make the jacket:
Trace around an existing cardigan; this should be loose fitting otherwise your jacket may end up too tight. The main purpose of this is to get a simple outline which should look like something above.
The length of the jacket depends on how long you want it to be, if you make it longer than the one I made you may need two blankets and depending on the size as well, so I would suggest make the pattern pieces first and then lay them out on the ground and see whether it fits into the 130 x 170 cm size.
Because of the slight stiffness of the blanket and for practicality, I decided instead of having a straight front seam on the front bodice, I removed roughly 1 inch from the neckline and connected it down to the bottom
You will need 2 front bodice pieces, back bodice which can be cut on fold, 2 sleeve pieces and 2 pockets.
Sew the side seams of the jacket, right size together and do the same for the shoulder seam.
The actual throw is a similar fabric to felt so the seams do not need to be finished
Sew the side seams of the sleeve and pin the sleeve into the arm hole and sew onto the jacket.
I then applied bias binding to the WRONG SIDE of the fabric. Usually you apply it to the right side however due to topstitching it is easier to apply to the wrong side first and then fold the bias binding over, pin down all the way round the jacket and top stitch the bias binding down.
I did the same for the pockets and sewed the pockets down. Hem the sleeves and bottom using a slip stitch
I started sewing back in 2012 and more importantly during the summer. It was boiling hot and I wanted a pair of shorts to wear. I was watching a Youtuber and she was showing her haul of clothing she bought from Primark and she bought about 12 pairs of shorts which were £12 each! I remember thinking to myself "I want a pair of shorts!". I felt bad investing £12 into just one pair of shorts especially if it was Primark quality. But ever since I was little my grandma who we call Baa in our culture, would always give me off cuts of fabric. I decided I would watch a Youtube video on how to make a pair of shorts. Unfortunately I don't have a photo to show you what they looked like but all I can remember is that they fitted around the leg but as soon as I bent down, I had realised I hadn't taken into account that I had a bum! Nevertheless it motivated me to carry on sewing and get the fit correct! And that's how my sewing journey started!
My aim of this blog is to not only show pieces of clothing I've made but also to show DIY tutorials, Friday Tips on sewing and I have a bunch of Christmas inspired decorations which I want to post.
Hopefully I can post at least once a week and maybe more during the holidays when I come back from university! Thank you for stopping by!
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