Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Service Announcement!

Blogging may be a bit hit and miss for a while around here, possibly for the next couple of weeks or so. "Why?" you ask. Well, yesterday afternoon this happened:

Yep, that's my machine with her heart ripped out! For the first time in my seven years of ownership she's in need of some major maintenance. The last couple of months she's had some major issues that I just can't ignore any longer. She'd lost speed control on the motor, having intermittent spells where a light touch of the pedal produced full speed with nothing in between for a few hours of sewing, followed by twenty minutes of normal sewing, only to return to her pedal-to-the-floor speed. On top of this the drive pulley (the little wheel at the top of the second picture which the drive belt goes around to make the handwheel move) has been slipping on its shaft when sewing at high speed. Oh, and there's an awful lot of carbon dust lurking around on the motor and in its housing, so chances are the carbon brushes are worn down and need replacing. It had got to the point where it was annoying me so much that I didn't even want to sew, so I guess that's as good a time as any to take her off the table!

If all of this technical stuff has gone right over your head, don't worry! It all basically means that I'm off to buy a new foot pedal, the most likely cause of the lack of speed control, and spend some time tinkering with a very grotty motor. 

I'll try not to let it get too quiet over here. I have a couple of unblogged things I could share, and no doubt I'll have to find something crafty to keep my hands busy. If I get desperate, there's always boyfriend's mum's sewing machine!

Monday, 24 June 2013

PJ party!

So, in my fevered fabric buying spree I totally forgot to buy fabric for my pyjama trousers so I could join in with Karen's pyjama party. Well, scratch that plan then! I did, however, get plenty for pyjamas for Little One, so she gets to join in!

The pattern I used was from the eBay lot I posted recently. It's probably mid 1960s: we went for the short options to make them suitable for summer nights, with the collar.

Little bloomer shorts!

The fabric is a polycotton print with a pattern of tiny hearts and flowers arranged in circles.  They're certainly nice and roomy!

Tonight's book of choice: Albert Le Blanc, by Nick Butterworth.

Nighty night!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

More new patterns and fabric!

It seems I've been building up the pattern stash recently! To add to the few new ones I got recently, I've bought quite a few more in the last few weeks.

This first bunch of children's patterns were a mixed lot off eBay, bought for the price you'd normally pay for a single pattern. I'd been on the lookout for another summer pyjama and nightdress pattern for little one, which this bundle provided and then some! Most of them are unused still in factory folds, too. My favourite is the Blackmore halter-neck sundress and jacket. The dolls' outfits are adorable too.

I have just realised that there's one missing from this image- the pjs I'm making up already! You'll have to wait for that one.

These two were a gift from my sister for my birthday back in February, but I realised I'd never shown you them. How adorable is that little dress?

McCall's 2186, Butterick 6326

This last pattern was another eBay find for a mere 99p. I have no basic skirt patterns other than my self drafted pencil and circle skirts. This classic gored skirt will certainly fill some gaps, after a bit of grading up. It's also my first Du Barry pattern- the envelope is so tiny compared to other patterns!

Du Barry skirt 2352B, 1940s gored skirt

As well as feeding my pattern addiction, I stocked up on summer fabrics too.

Top to bottom:

1m Stripe viscose jersey
2m Daisy print lightweight viscose
2m Parrot print cotton
1m Turquoise stretch denim
2m Birds print viscose jersey
1m Toadstool cotton jersey
2m Cherry and dots polycotton
1.5m Lilac check polycotton
1.5m Loral circles polycotton
1m Strawberries polycotton
2m Emerald lightweight viscose
1.5m Pirate wincyette

Phew... That's a lot of fabric. There's stuff for both myself and Little One in there, including a couple of lengths for pyjamas for her. Of course, I forgot to get anything for my own pj pants to join in Karen's pyjama party! Looks like I'm out of that one, then.  The parrots cotton was a present from mum, along with a length of navy floral jersey that I forgot to add to the pile. She hasn't been doing much sewing recently so gave them to me to sew up for Little One. Of course, once I got home with it all, my sewing mojo seemed to do a runner. That figures. I had a productive day today though and made a good bit of progress: one of the pyjama fabrics has been made up into a finished set, and I'm working on a dress each for me and Little One. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Picnic by the castle

Today was such a nice day we decided to make the most of it with some time outdoors, so we packed up a picnic basket and headed off out.

The day started out with some duck feeding, and greeting the new babies of the park! Significantly fewer than last year's crazy-huge brood of seven; a much more manageable number.

Once the bread ran out, we headed on up the path towards the castle ruins. Little One refers to this scant patch of trees surrounding the estate as the "deep dark wood", and makes me recite the story of The Gruffalo as we walk through it. Yes, I know it word for word. The perils of parenthood!

Not entirely sure what that face is...

She chose a suitable shady spot, and we tucked in. It was a beautifully quiet spot and we both enjoyed the peace and quiet for a while, before going off to do a bit of exploring and pick up a few bits from town before heading home.

A little about my new blouse! This is a UFO from last year when I first blogged about the pattern illustration of Advance 7114 in this post from last May. I fell in love with the royal blue with polka dot trim and the big bow so much that I had to copy it. For whatever reason, though, it got set aside and left until I had a tidy up a few weeks ago. I finished up the hand-sewing yesterday just in time for the sunny weather to wear it today. I would tell you what pattern I used, but I have no idea!

The stand-up collar is simply a straight bias cut strip folded in half and applied to the edge. Because it is a straight strip sewn onto a curved edge it stands up at the shoulder as in the original image inspiration.  I sewed it raw edges together on the right side of the neck edge, then flipped to the inside and topstitched. Nice and easy. The bow is made separately and sewn on by hand.

I think a few more sleeveless blouses will be on my to sew list now!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Perfect fit jeans: Another Butterick 5895

When I posted about my first incarnation of this pattern a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a denim pair in the works. Well, my fabric arrived and I immediately threw it in a pre-wash, and got started on them as soon as I could. And what a result!

I don't think I've been this happy with a finished garment in quite some time! I changed the front crotch curve a little taking out half an inch below the tummy to eliminate the wrinkles I noticed there, and it's made the fit as near perfect as I'm ever going to get.  I also made a couple of pattern changes for this pair. Firstly, I made the pockets to sit on the outside in a '40s/'50s style. The pattern piece for the front leg and the back part of the pocket were lined up and cut as one piece.

I used the pocket front piece to cut the pockets. I made them a little deeper on this pair: I found them a bit shallow on the pinstripe ones. I lined the pockets too, cutting the lining slightly smaller so the denim rolled to the inside a little.

I also added 5" to the length to make a wide turn-up. One important thing to remember when you do this is to NOT just add a straight extension or to continue the taper of the leg, but to reverse the tapering from the line where it will be folded up, so that the hem width matches the leg width at the point it will sit.

I added belt loops, and went mad with the topstitching. I think the detail of the stitching really makes these jeans: I did my best to keep it neat, though there are one or two wobbly lines!

I'm in love. And I've also finally found a bottom garment to pair with this blouse that I'm happy with. I've never really been all that pleased with the look of this shirt: it came out a little baggy and unflattering. The tight fitting jeans balance it out nicely, I think.

Outfit details


Pattern: Butterick 5895, View B

Fabric: Black denim with lycra

Notions: 8" zip, Hook and bar, thread

Worn with:

Striped blouse: Butterick 4993

Belt: New Look

Now, if only I can get rid of the hideous white marks where my washing machine vomited detergent scum onto them at last wash!