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Roses are Green, So Are Violets!

10 Feb

Recently Alex who is involved in the Scottish Governments Greener Together campaign asked if I could come up with some hints, tricks and tutorials for a greener Valentines Day.  Obviously I said absolutely and then made myself a cup of tea and set my brain to work(and my Facebook, nothing like crowdsourcing for ideas!).

So the whole premise of greener together is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to make Scotland a greener place to live and to reduce our impact on the environment further afield too. It makes sense really, and it’s just a change in attitude and seeing a use in some things that you wouldn’t normally. I have a cupboard full of glass jars I use as glasses and they actually look great and it means I don’t have to ever buy any!

The first thing I came up with and the best present anyone can ever give anyone else is a sewing class obviously. The gift that keeps on giving! A skill you can utilise to make the best of your home and wardrobe and become an excellent green upcycler! You can find classes for men and women on the website here and you can also buy gift vouchers too. Once you have learned the basics you can move onto my next super green Valentines Gift idea…

 

An Apron!

Inspired by my classes who in their final week have the option of their own project. So many of them choose an apron, either for themselves of for a gift. The great thing about this is it’s useful and perfect for ladies or men. It can also be as simple or as difficult as you like. You can add patch pockets and frills or keep it nice and simple. Here is a tutorial for a nice simple one. I suggest using an old curtain as the fabric. These are a great plentiful source of fabric and often when we take down our old curtains we don’t know what to do with them so just stick them in a cupboard! Time to get them out and put them to good use! It might even inspire your other half to cook you a beautiful meal!

 

You will need:

Curtain
Some spare ribbon, from Christmas pressies perhaps!
Set square
Chalk
Scissors
Sewing machine
Measuring tape
Thread

There is no paper pattern for this. I encourage my students to get used to using a set square because it opens up a world of possibilities. You can thik of something you want to make in your head and then make it happen without having to search the internet for a pattern. The set square ensure you get your angles right. If you don’t have one I suggest getting yourself one they are incredibly useful and will last forever.

The first thing I did was take some measurements. If you are making this for someone else just use you own measurements and adjust them roughly to make the apron longer or shorter. Measure from where you want the apron to start (just below your collarbone) to where you want it to end. My measurement for this is 75cm + seam allowance(4cm). Fold your fabric in half right sides together (so we are chalking on our wrong side) and mark this measurement down the fold.

Now measure from just below your collarbone to your waist/bellybutton. Using your set square measure down and square across where the dotted line is below. Measure what you would want the total width of your apron to be at the bottom. I went for 45cm. Half this and add seam allowance(this time 2cm). For the top part do the same. Now you can chalk the shape below on your fabric.  The curved bit can be drawn freeland, or you can draw a straight line. Don’t make it too curved because it makes it difficult to hem later.

apron plan-01

2. Now cut out your apron shape.

Sewing Classes Scotland

3. Fold down your top edge by 1cm then fold down again by 1cm to enclose all raw edges. Pin in place.

Sew Confident Green Apron
4. Before you sew enclose your neck ribbon. Leave a space of 2cm from the side(I forgot to do this in the photos). This will allow you to turn in the side seams in a similar way you have turned down the top part. Pin and sew.

20150206_140848 20150206_140901 20150206_140923 Green Apron Sew Confident

 

5. Now turn in and stitch the curved side seam and the straight side seam. This time we are not enclosing any ribbon.

Green ApronGreen Apron Sew Confident

6. For my side ties I had enough ribbon to stitch one continuous piece across the front to create my ties. If you don’t have enough to can enclose them in the same way we enclosed the neck tie. Here I pinned my ribbon in place and stitched the top and bottom to secure it.

20150206_143252 Green Apron Sew Confident

Finally hem your bottom edge by turned it in by 1cm, twice and you have yourself a super green upcycled apron!

 

 

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The Launch of Sew Macho and My Very Witty Friends

14 Oct

So yesterday I had set aside the entire day to develop my new sewing class for men. I get asked by male friends and family members to fix things and take things up and I thought it would really save me some time if they just did it themselves haha! I have also in the past had a fair few men come to and enquire about the classes but a room full of women can be a little intimidating for a man. Also my beginners class is geared towards ladies, with things like a Make-up bag and bunting. It was clear I had to make an entirely different class catering for guys. After a bit of research(read asking every boy I know) I figured guys want to hem thing, fix things and maybe alter things so that is exactly what we will be doing to start with anyway!

The class will be a 3 hour session, probably in a nice pub in the west end(I’m currently talking to a few venues). It will be an evening class from 6-9pm. Th first hour or so we will go through all the machine basics, threading, different stitches, how the actual machine works. then we will move onto hemming, so you can take your jeans up. How to measure them and cut them. How to hem accurately etc. Then we will move onto fixing holes and rips with patches. I know so many men who wander about with rips in their jeans, particularly in the crotch, but they love those jeans, and they sit nice(apart from the giant hole) so they keep wearing them. I will help you fix them! Upon booking everyone will be sent an emailing advising them of what they can bring along to be fixed. If you didn’t have anything I will have scraps of fabric we can work on so don’t worry about that. I hope to have this class sorted end of this week, start of next. If you want to be the first to know you can join the mailing list or like the Facebook

Anyway back to my day of hilarity yesterday – My first problem was finding a name. I wanted to create a brand that was masculine and a bit of a laugh. All my Sew Confident branding is very girly and pink so it had to be the opposite of that. I took to Facebook to ask for some witty and masculine sewing related puns and I can honestly say I spent all of yesterday laughing. I am blessed with a lot of very witty friends and they did not disappoint. I warn you some of the ideas are a bit rude so maybe stop reading now if you are easily offended. I just had to share these with you.

Sew Macho Sewing Classes For Men

Sew Macho Sewing Classes For The Modern Man

 

First up my good friend Gary Thermo. He was one of the first people I messaged because he is hand down one of the funniest people I know he came up with Sew Macho, An Earnest Hemming Way, and Thread Flintstone. I can’t tell you how much I laughed at Thread Flintstone and I ended up using Sew Macho as the name for the new class. I also got Sew Manly from my genuine stand up comedian friend Rosco and I nearly went with that but Macho won in the end!

Some more from Facebook:

Say it ain’t sew – Sadly this is already a hand sewing class in Glasgow but it is a belter!
SewperMan
Stitches n ho’s – The tiny feminist in me will never use the word ‘Ho’ unless it’s followed by another two ‘Ho’s and is relating to Christmas but it’s still a good one!
Bunch of pricks – Such a good name, just too offensive for print!
The “Wadding” “Singer”
You’ve been tapestry’d, hosted by Jeremy Needle – JEREMY NEEDLE! Oh how I laughed.
Hairy Bobbins
I got 99 problems but a stitch ain’t 1 – My good friend Alissa, who I went to uni with really hit it out the park with this one. Good work, I used it as my tagline.
Pulp Stichin’ / True Sewmance
Sew you think you’re a man?
Needle dicks – Unsurprisingly from one of the most offensive people I know, still offending people all the way from New York, Chris Myler :p
TESTOSEWON – a wee play on testoterone
Jennys Sewldiers – This one is from my mum and probably won’t mean much to anyone. I’m not trying to build an army of sewing men to work in a handsome sweatshop(although that is a good idea now that I’ve written it down), but I have 20 sewing machines now and they are always all lined up at the door ‘like soldiers’ so that is where that comes from.
Sew Amusing
Lucky Sew n Sew
SEWspicious Minds
SEWcial Butterfly
Sews Yer Maw 
Guys – Make Ties
Men and (sewing) Machines
And Sew to Thread
Scissor Brothers
Right Said ThreadThese are all brilliant.

I also woke up this morning to a text sent at 2.19am from a friend of mine I met when I was a standby in an(admittedly chronic) Gameshow The Lie. Kev is hilarious and was only up at this time because he is filming for Countdown today and he was up swotting for that, reading the dictionary or something. How do you even swot for Countdown? Anyway in an excellent display of absolute procrastination he came up with:

Sewperstar
DJ Sewmy’s Boys of Sewmore
Thread raw
Christiano Sewnaldo/Ronaldsew
Threddy Sheringham

So thanks so much to everyone who joined in and inspired me. Looking forward to teaching a brand new breed of modern dapper men how to take control of their own wardrobe!

Sew Macho Sewing Classes for me

Sew Macho Sewing Classes for me

Elsa from Frozen Dress Tutorial [PART 1]

7 Oct

I must admit that I still haven’t seen Frozen. I don’t have many kids in the family, hardly any of my friends have kids so I’m very rarely subjected to kids movies (although I hear it is quite good even if you are an adult!). Anyway I love a princess dress so I couldn’t resist but make an Elsa from Frozen dress. It’s been so popular that there must be plenty of parents out there thinking of making a dress for Halloween so here is a step by step tutorial that should help you make your little princess the perfect Halloween costume.

The first part asks you yo reinforce the inner corner of the bodice front. A couple of wee stitches will do this. This is necessary as it’s a weak point in the dress and might pull and split with time.

Next it wants you to attach all the bodice pieces like so.

Elsa Dress Tutorial

Then reinforce the same point in the skirt with a few stitches for the same reason as above.

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Stitch skirt back sections together, leaving open above large circles. I have been overlocking as I go because this fabric is fraying really badly. If yours is too you can use a zig zag stitch on the raw edge to stop it fraying.

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Now attach skirt front to skirt back at side seams.

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Now it asks you to ‘Ease Stitch’ upper edge of skirt. This is sometimes used in sleeves to gather them every so slightly to fir into arm holes. Its basically the same as gathering if you have ever done that. Two rows of parallel stitching, within the seam allowance. It must be a stitch length 4(or the longest your have) and you don’t do any back tacking at the start or at the end of the stitches. I atually didn’t need to ease this in, it fitted perfectly anyway!

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Now attached bodice to skirt!

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Now it’s time for the zip. They have a diagram showing you how to put in a zip in with stitching visible on the outside. That’s not really my thing and defeats the point of the invisible zip I’m putting in this dress. You can do it whatever way you like.

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Stitch one side at a time with the zip open. Once you have sewn once side of the zip in pin the other side in and then close the zip to make sure everything is aligned with the zip shut. The seam where the bodice meets the skirt should be aligned and the top of the dress should be sligned with the zip shut. It is very easy to sew a zip in squinty so take some extra time at this part to get it right. You might have to pin it a few times before you get it right.

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And the invisible zip is in, with everything lining up.

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Now time to stitch your overlay together(this is the cape-y bit). Stitch the centre back together from the dot downwards and the side seams together. It also asks you to create a narrow hem in the centre back seam from the dot upwards. This part of the overlay will be sewn in next to the zip later. now pin the overlay to the dress with the right side of the bodice to the wrong side of the overlay. It asks you to baste in place. Basting is like a tacking stitch you do on a machine. Remember back to Home Economics when you spend half your like HAND TACKING things? My God, how dull. They didn’t want us to know you can do it on a machine. It’s just a long straight stitch(stitch length 4). It’s a temporary stitch so no back tacking either.

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Video for help!

Now onto the yoke. stitch the yoke front and yoke back pieces together at the shoulder seams.

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It starts to get a wee bit confusing now. It wants you to pin the yoke front to the bodice right sides together. You should have the bodice right sides up, with the overlay ontop right sides up and the the yoke right sides DOWN. Like a little overlay sandwich! Stitch that in place through all 3 layers.

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It will look like this before you stitch it.

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Now stitch the back of the yoke to the back of the bodice in the same way. Then make up the bodice lining in the same way you made up the outer bodice. The bodice lining is now stitched on in the same way that the yoke was stitched on. You can pretty much got through the same stitches again. To make this a bit clearer you will have the bodice right sides UP, the overlay right sides UP the yoke right sides DOWN and then the lining right sides DOWN. You are stitching along the front bodice and the back bodice where you stitched the yoke on. Don’t stitch in the wee arm holes yet.

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Here is a wee video to help.

All that is left is the sleeves, hems and decoration. Part 2 is HERE

Any questions please ask away and I’ll help you out.

Incredibly Cute 121s!

30 Sep

I love a wee 121 session with someone who is perhaps struggling with a particular project or wants to learn how to put in a zip or use a new machine. I have had a few of these over the past two weeks and they’ve been incredibly cute. The first one was a princess dress for an 11th Month old called Nessa. Her Mum Fran had learned to sew at one of my classes about a year ago and wanted a bit of a helping hand with patterns. Everyone knows I love making Halloween costumes so I throughly enjoyed myself. Annoyingly I didn’t take any photos because I was far too engrossed but I’ll ask Fran if she can send me some when it is done. it’s going to be adorable!

Another very cute 121 i’ve had recently was with a girl I used to work with in The Life Craft, you might know her as Diane from Busy Bees! She was up in Glasgow visiting family and wanted to spend a few hours getting to grips with jersey cotton. I have been using a lot of jersey cotton recently and it is fast becoming my favorite fabric to work with but it can be tricky. Diane brought her own machine, and Elna 220 and we used the ‘super stretch stitch’ on there.

Dianes little jersey leggings

Not a tuck or pleat in sight on this tiny leg hole!

 

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No need to protect the raw edges as jersey cotton doesn’t fray!

20140929_123016How adorable are these? These little leggings are for her 10 month old son Calib (I hope that is the correct spelling). Aren’t they just gorgeous!?

Diane loves jersey cotton and by the sounds of it she has an extensive stash of cute prints in the house. I introduced her to the overlocker as it really does make jersey and other stretch fabrics and absolute dream. Maybe Santa will be good to her this year and get her one for Christmas!

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If you are struggling with something at home and need a hand Jenny can come to you or we can meet in Isew2 in Kirkintilloch. This could be useful for Halloween costumes, curtains, dressmaking or revamping old clothes! If you are interested get in touch here 

 

 

Magena Jumper and Sewing Snobbery

22 Sep

When I first started teaching I was quite young at 23. Fairly fresh out of University(about a year graduated) I was also a bit of a sewing snob. My first issue was I could not get on board with the word craft. Craft to me totally belittled the skill involved in sewing. For me it carried connotations of fiddling about with some glitter glue and not making anything productive when I know it to be an incredibly useful skill. I soon realised that it was definitely me getting the wrong end of the crafty stick and I chilled out about it. The second instance of sewing snobbery was about using patterns. For years I would only use patterns if I was against the clock and didn’t have time to make my own. Even then I would alter them, or buy two and amalgamate them. This was a definite case of sewing snobbery. Why draft your own when you can buy great patterns in every style ever(albeit requiring a bit of the imagination on the 80’s style photographs)? I don’t make clothes to sell, only really for myself now so it never made sense to draft absolutely everything from scratch, but I still did it!

This is quite a recent breakthrough for me. I suppose it is fueled by all the amazing funky pattern companies who are making really cool patterns, with nice photographs and in PDF format. I found myself on the Named Patterns website recently. I instantly fell in love with the Magenda jumper and next thing I know I had bought it in PDF format. Autumn is almost here so I thought it would be a cute jumper to wear to class. I had great fun picking the fabric and the bobbly bits. I’m loving working with jersey cotton just now. The overlocker makes jersey the easiest fabric to work with. Previously I have said to people, only buy an overlocker if you are thinking of going into business but now I would say if you like jersey cotton get an overlocker.

Named Clothing Magena Jumper

Named Clothing Magena Jumper

So here is the Jumper from the Named Clothing website. The grey and black doesn’t really do it for me but I could see the potential. I do however love the fringing. Need to get myself some of that!

First impressions, the instructions look pretty concise. I won’t lie I didn’t read the first few pages but it would be very useful for beginners because it tells you things like how to measure yourself, prewashing(sorry what?), how to print the pattern, pattern sheet assembly, tracing the pieces(ain’t nobody got time for that) and basic vocabulary. I printed all my pieces off ans stuck them all together. The first thing that annoyed me was there was a pattern piece printed across all the other pattern pieces so I WAS going to have to trace that piece right enough. It is a pretty big piece(the yoke) so I do understand why they have done it but it’s a bit annoying!

Before cutting it gives you a layplan and a list of what pieces should be cut from what fabric. I decided to use my yoke fabric for the cuffs and hemline panel so you can switch these about if you wish.

Sew Back sleeves to back piece. A super easy way of putting in sleeves. I used an overlocker for most of the sewing but you can use a straight stretch stitch on your normal sewing machine too.

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You then do exactly the same with the front sleeves and the front piece. the front and back pieces look very very similar so I would make sure you don’t mix them up or it will make attaching the yoke difficult.

Now you need to sew the two yoke pieces together to form the neckline. It also tell you to see any fringing/bobbly bits onto the yoke at this point. I stitched mine to my front piece instead, because I’m contrary and a bit of a rebel really…

Magena Jumper 20140919_144831

Now it asks you to pin and sew the yoke to the front piece. Just be careful you don’t sew the back of the yoke to the front of the jumper. I had my pattern piece out just to make sure I had it the right way round.

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Then repeat this step with the back pieces and the back of the yoke.

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Now you are sticthing the sleeves and side seams together in one go. This truly is the easiest sleeve you will ever insert.

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Cuffs now! With right sides together stitch your cuff pieces into a band.

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Fold the band over until the raw edges match. You might want to stitch the cuff together at this point to keep it in place.

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Now matching the raw edges of the cuff and the raw edge of the sleeve stretch the cuff and pin in place. The cuff is intentionally smaller than the end of the sleeve so you will have to stretch the cuff to pin and sew it. Wee bit tricky but just take your time.

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Sorry about this blurry photo!

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TA DAH! Now do exactly the same on the other cuff and on the hemline band and you are done!

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I thought the instructions on this Named Pattern were very user friendly. I would definitely reccommend them for beginners.

 

Laser Cut Bomber

9 Jun

These little bomber jackets are all over the place just now. So I decided to make one. You might recognise the laser cut fabric from my last blog. I love this stuff, and I love polka dots and I currently love mint(I just ordered some mint specs the other day – wild I know).

I drafted this pattern using my own measurements. It’s a loose fitting style for jersey sportswear so it’s really comfy. I toyed with putting buttons or hooks and eyes down the front but then I would have to insert a lining or a facing(ain’t nobody got time for that!) so I opted for a chunky plastic black zip.

Raglan Laser Cut Bomber

This is the perfect little summer cover up I think! The sleeves are full length, I just always roll them up.

DSCN0832DSCN0831This is my ‘Look the zip works’ stance.

 

Bumster Beach

5 Jun

I have a girly holiday coming up, and since I can remember I have had a bit of a problem with bikinis. I bloody love them, I will typically take more bikinis on holiday than there are days to wear them because a girl needs options right? This year I am off to Gran Canaria on a girly holiday with 5 of my best friends – at least one of which also has a love for bikinis. She showed me an amazing fringe-y number she got from Ebay for about a fiver and guess what I need? That’s right a new bikini. She did however warn me to go a size up as the bottoms were a bit on the small size. Did I go a size up? No don’t be ridiculous – that’s far too sensible.

The bikini arrives and it is amazing. I love it. I try on the top, it’s fabulous. I try on the bottoms and true to form they are absolute bumsters. Alexander McQueen would be proud.

Alexander McQueen Bumsters

I decided to try to fix them. I recently bought some amazing laser cut stretchy stuff, I can’t remember the fibre content sorry but it feels like it would be quite at home as part of a bikini, probably a nylon mix. AND it’s black. I was hoping I could wear these black bottoms with different tops so I want to keep them completely black. Using my overlocker and a zig zag on my sewing machine to pull the seam allowance away from the laser cut wasitband, I made the bottoms a more modest, less crack-y design.

Bumster Bikini Fixed

This is probably the easiest modification of anything I have ever done. You don’t strictly need an overlocker for this you could have used just a zig zag. This laser cut stuff doesn’t fray so it’s quite nice to work with. I got it from Mandors in Glasgow.

I turned useless, 100% offensive bikini bottoms into a cute usable, non bum showing pair with the simplest sewing skills. Just one of the many things you could turn your hand to if you joined me for a class!

Buster Bikini Fixed

I fully expect a message from Amy any minute now with a request to fix her bumster bikini bottoms too! Mon over Mrs!

 

Liberty & London

27 May

I have yet to find a fabric fan who wouldn’t have their entire wardrobe and home filled with Liberty prints if they could afford to. I am no exception. Liberty is a little bit more than a great haberdasher and design house to me though.

A couple of years ago one of my best friends moved to London. We both cried like babies at the train station when she left for the last time. We met in 5th year at school and bonded over a love of, mainly wine, that is still a large part of our friendship today. We lived together throughout our entire University days. We discovered how bloody expensive cheese is and how to live on terrible food. Susan exclusively used the oven for her meals with classic such as potato waffles and chicken chargrills. I seemed to exclusively use the hob and the kettle for Pasta ‘n’ Sauce and Pot Noodles(sorry Mum- who just so happens to be a Dietitian). Basically we’ve had a lot of great times together and I get so so excited when I get on that Virgin train to Euston. It feels like the best kind of holiday – it’s usually sunny, we make trips to extravagant cake shops, we eat like queens, drink Champagne and have the most over due catch up. One thing we always make time for is a wander round the fabulous Liberty London shop.

I very rarely buy anything as the whole place is so overwhelming. So many prints and such little time!! Thankfully we are lucky enough to have a shop or two in Glasgow that also stocks Liberty, so I can peruse the prints at my leisure. They give me that holiday feeling, the same way the smell of coconut remind you of lying on a beach! Liberty means good times to me!

Anyway why am I telling you all this? I am telling you this because recently it was Susans birthday(Happy Birthday!!) and I thought I would make her some Liberty Pajama bottoms. She definitely appreciates the finer things in life so I hope she loves them. I picked this amazing royal blue print that is unmistakably Liberty London. It’s from their cotton Tana Lawn range and it is so soft and lovely, perfect for summer jim jams!

Liberty PJs

Liberty PJs

I thought Pajama bottoms were a good option because I have already made her tote bags and make up bags and PJ bottoms are one of the things you can estimate size wise and they’re obviously not close fitting. I used the PJ bottom pattern from The Great British Sewing Bee Series 1 book. I’ll be honest, the sizing is RIDICULOUS. I like my jammies baggy but not MC Hammer baggy. I’m also fairly confident the size M could comfortably fit an adult elephant. Must add that to my list of business ideas for the day “Elephant Liberty Jammies”.  Thankfully I made a toile and adjusted the pattern before I cut the precious Liberty fabric, so they are normal human sized now.

What do you think?

Liberty Print Pj Bottoms

Liberty Print Pj Bottoms

I added a tiny little rolled hem at the bottom too.

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After I made these I googled just to see what the RRP would be on an item like this. The price really would make your eyes water. So that’s my second business idea of the day. My third is inventing a way to clone myself or stop time so I can try out every single idea I come up with :s

Overlocker Adventures : Make yourself a skirt in an hour WITHOUT a pattern!

8 May

I’m a “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is” kinda girl but I assure you this is not one of those false claims. You can make a skirt using your overlocker in about an hour. Of course this depends how many tea breaks you have and whether or not you stopped halfway through to go an teach a dressmaking class for 3 hours. If you work flat out it’ll be done in an hour no bother!

Sew a Skirt in 1 hour! Tutorial.

 

I have recently been trying to work my way through my enormous stash of fabric and this wild print is a true archive bad boy. I made  one of my bessie mates a dress for her 21st out of this stuff. That was 5 whole years ago. My god, my old haggered knees are creaking at the thought of how time flies. Anyway this has been in the collection for a while, that is my point. I have a holiday coming up and I thought I could get away with this print there…who am I kidding I’ll be wearing this in Glasgow tomorrow. SO what do you need?

You will need a skirt to use as a pattern
Enough elastic to go round your waist, 2.5cm wide should do
About half a metre of fabric, but that depends on the size of your skirt really.
An overlocker

So as I mentioned before this skirt was made completely using an overlocker. The overlocker is different to a normal domestic sewing machine. They are not necessary for sewing, you could follow this tutorial using a stretch stitch on your sewing machine but the overlocker makes life incredibly easy. If you have one already, lucky you, if you want one you can get one here It looks like this:

Elna 664 DREAM MACHINE mate. Anyway fold your fabric in half, right sides together. Place your skirt on top like shown in the photo below. This piece of fabric has been used for other things so no longer has a selvedge, that is why it looks like I have placed it wonky, I haven’t! Overlocker 1 Hour Skirt Tutorial This skirt is the perfect pattern because I love it and it is also a stretchy pencil skirt which is exactly what I want to make. This one is from Zara. I do love a cat print! Chalk round the outside of your skirt adding a 1cm seam allowance all the way round. Leave a bigger seam allowance at the hem if you plan to hem it. Jersey cotton tends not to fray so I don’t need to WAHEY. DSCN0730

You also want to cut yourself a waistband pieced that is 2x width of your elastic +2cm seam allowance and long enough to go round your waist + seam allowance. All your bits will look like this now.

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Here is the tiniest video of what goes on in my sewing room. Always music on full bung and in this case it was very fitting to be playing holiday music!

Pin your side seams. and overlock them together. Take your pins out as you go as you don’t want the overlocker blade getting near one – not unless you want to be changing that blade more often than necessary.

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Now you will have a tube of fabric. Time to try it on inside out and pull it in to make it fit better(if necessary). I had to make a few adjustments at the waist. Remember whatever you do at one side do at the other!

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Now you are happy with the fit time to overlock the side seams of your waistband to make it one continuous strip.

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This bit is a little tricky. Place the waist band piece inside the skirt right sides together. Matching raw edges at the top of your skirt pin and overlock these together.

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Now you need to cut your elastic to size. I usually do this by wrapping a bit of elastic round my waist(or where ever the top of the skirt is going to sit) and pulling it until it is tight enough to keep the skirt up but not so tight that it feels(and looks) like an exterior gastric band. Looking like a pork sausage that has been tied in the middle with a piece of string is not a good look and even the skinniest of skinny minnies can look like this. You get the jist – not too tight! Cut the elestic to size and using a normal sewing machine zig zag it together flat. I went over this about 5 times.

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Pop the elastic over the waistband like so. DSCN0759

Now fold the waistband piece over the elastic until the raw edge of the waistband matches up with the recently overlocked edge of the waistband(which isalso the top of the skirt)

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Pin all the way around, completely encasing the elastic and overlock in place.

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I don’t know at this point  why my photographs go all acidic on me. Get your sunglasses out! What can I say? I am not a photographer and my camera has a mind of its own.

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If you have more of a seam allowance than me you can cut off the extra so the elastic is nice and snug in that waistband. Finally you can hem the, erm hem? I decided to make mine a little fringey by snipping in 4cm all the way around.

And that, my friends, is the simplest no pattern skirt you will ever make!

Sew a Skirt in 1 hour! Tutorial.

Send me photos of yours!

Two Tone Bag with Chain Strap Tutorial

25 Apr

Two Tone Suede Bag

 

This lovely bag can be made in any size and is really simple but looks great. So what do you need?

I made this one out of my enormous fabric stash. I had some suede lying around that I wanted to use and the stripey stuff was left over from some cushions I had made. I also got my hands on some amazing proper vintage blue print that was given to me by a friend of my Mums. Those who know me know I don’t band about that ‘vintage’ term lightly. Real deal here! I also had some bobbly trim in one of my baskets full of sewing bits n bobs. I did have to go and buy the chain but you can get it from any B&Q. Hombase type shop. You will also need a closed end zip(the kind that doesn’t come apart). The size of this will determine the maximum width of the bag so have a think before you buy one. I used a 25 cm zip.

things you need to make a bag

  • 2 Lining pieces 42cm x 27cm
  • 2 Outer pieces 32cm x 27cm
  • 2 Outer contrastin pieces 12cm x 27cm
  •  1 25cm closed end zip
  • 1m chain(cut to size in shop!)
  • 27cm trim(optional)
  • extra little bit of fabric to attach handles

Chain and clippers

 

So I went to my local Homebase and found this nice black chain. It is pre cut in 2m length so I also got some wire cutters after a member of staff pointed me in the right direction. I thought I would probably use 1 m for this bag and the rest for another. I got home and tried to cut the chain. Turns out you could anchor a cruise ship with this stuff and my cutters won’t even cut a flaming marshmallow in half so I had to just use it all. Lesson learned! Get them to cut it for you in the shop. They have industrial looking cutting machines.

First thing we need to do is cut out all our pieces. Although I used suede in mine you don’t have to. I would actually say if you are not a confident sewer don’t use it at all. It’s not easy stuff to work with. You don’t have to use a contrast at all. You can cut another 2 pieces the same size as the lining. This works fine! Use a set square to cut your rectangles, otherwise they will be weird 4 sided shapes that won’t fit together. If you don’t have on you can get one here!

Use a setsquare

 

Firstly you want to sew your contrasting front pieces together so that your front pieces are the same size as your lining. your seams allowance is 1cm. places pieces right sides together and attach.
Sew front pieces together

Then they should all look like this:
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Now we want to insert the zip. Place a lining piece in front of you right side facing up then place the zip right side up on top matching the raw edges.

inserting zip

Then place your outer piece right side down on top. I like to refer to this as a ‘zip sandwich’ because, well it IS a zip sandwich and I’m always thinking about food.

inserting the zip

Now you want to pin and sew between the top raw edges and the teeth. You will want to use a zip foot on your machine as a normal foot will not let you anywhere near those teeth. If you sew on the wrong side of the teeth you’ll soon know about it because the next step won’t make any sense. If in doubt, pin it turn it out and see if the next part makes sense before you sew it. Or just unpick it, it’s good practise!

Next step, turn your pieces out so your zip is exposed. Your lining and outer pieces should now be attached to the zip like so.

Inserting a zip

Now we are going to do EXACTLY the same step again so lay your lining right sides up in front of you. Now take the zip(that is now attached at one side to the other pieces of fabric) and place the raw edge of the zip against the top raw edge of the lining piece. Then take your outer piece and lay it over the top, right sides together/down and make that zip sandwich! Sew across the top in the same way as before.

Inserting a zip

inserting a zip

Now you have inserted your zip wahey! It really wasn’t that difficult was it? Now you want to take the two lining pieces and put them right sides together and take the two outer pieces and place them right sides together. Take your chain and thread a little bit of fabric or sewn bias binding through a ring at either side. This is how we are going to attach the handle as obviously we can’t sew through the chain. I used a little bit of scrap fabric, folded all my raw edges in and stitched it to make almost a little tiny tote bag handle. It is about 6cm long.

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Now here is where a lot of people make mistakes. It is really easy to sew these handles in the wrong way so that they are actually on the inside of the lining instead of the outside of the whole bag. So flip back one of the outer pieces and position your handles as show below. I measures down 10cm from the zip.

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Now flip that outer piece back and find the handles in place. Pin all the way round the outside, so all the raw edges together. Make sure the zip is nice and flat as we’ll be sewing over those ends. Sew all the way around the outside in one continuous row of stitching leaving a gap of about 10 in the lining. usually

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Now I know what you are thinking, WOW LOOK AT THAT ILLUSTRATION! This girl is a graphic design genius! Yes this is a photo of a pencil drawing. Life is too short to relearn Illustrator every 6 months. ANYWAY, start sewing the middle of the lining and sew right around the outside. then you can turn it out through the wee hole you have left in the lining.

Inserting a zip

 

And you are done!

zipped bag