Friday, 13 November 2015

Me & my overlocker. Was it love at first stitch?

So as some of you may know, I bought a Singer overlocker (serger) in the Lidl sale.  I've fancied one for ages and finally thought  I d go for it.  I thought I'd share how I got on!

The day I bought it  (same day I did my fabric haul on Goldhawk rd) I got all excited, unpacked it and wanted to get started... but realised that I needed needles for it and of course thread... a lot of thread.  Cue some online shopping  for these things.

Last weekend, armed with my 4 big spools of cotton, my trusty Agnes pattern and some jersey,  I got cracking.  I sat there with the instructions and puzzled. and puzzled.  Threading this thing is darn complicated.  I didn't understand the instructions at all and I d never seen one in use so I really had no idea how the thing worked.

Anyway some You Tube searches sorted me out and I learnt step by step how to thread it   I still find it complicated- but I did manage.  That also told me what settings to set it all on for a basic medium weight jersey.  Then I was off.  It was like the grand national the machine goes so fast.  I only put the tiniest bit of pressure on the foot and bang- the whole seam was done.

My first sew was a simple Tilly Agnes top - well 2 actually.  The first one is a reversible black/grey ponte and the other is a navy and gold jersey.  Sewing the reversible fabric is so satisfying... i couldn't stop admiring the contrast stitching on the reverse!!

You don't want to make a mistake on this thing.  I was doing a curve, attaching the sleeve to the body.  Well I was watching the needles and forgot that the cutter is before the fabric gets to the needle (doh).  So the point at which I stopped to pivot the fabric, it already had cut it all wrong.  Luckily I cut the fabric big so I had some room to correct (phew!) .  You also don't want to have to unpick.  I tried a bit. No.  I ended up just cutting it off and doing a new hem.

So far I ve not tried anything other than the straightforward 4 thread overlock.  I know it does a bunch of other stuff like hems  (sounds good but I want to enjoy doing my seams for now and I ll get stressed about that another day) and also you can sew using only 2-3 threads - why,  whats that for?, do you just put less threads in the machine?  Which ones you do leave out?

I m impressed. I love it.  In 2 hours I went from wanting to cry because i was totally clueless and couldn't work it out, to adoring it and overlocking everything in sight!!!

So here is what i made...

And this one I was so happy with i took a picture right way out and inside out!!  I didn't want the gold pattern to overwhelm so I only used it for the centre panel on the front... but as a result the inside looks quite nice too!!

Any overlocker tips, tricks etc... let me know...   I think I'm hooked.  And anyone still on the fence... go on. It will be love at first stitch... even if threading it reduces you to tears ;)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

My winter sew list

So I ve bought SO much fabric recently, I have to get cracking through it all and I m so excited to make some fun things with it all.  I thought I'd do a round up of my plans.  Would love your ideas too!

Make 1:  I bought the Mathilde pattern at the Handmade fair and bought the stunning Dragonfly fabric from SewOverIt.  I plan to make this up, using the Liberty Chapel print as a highlight- I plan to use that to cover the buttons for the back and to put a little bit of detail on the front and maybe the cuff).  The photo doesn't show it too well but the colour of the dragonfly with the colour of the Liberty print work beautifully.

Make 2: Still on my Tilly patterns.  I ve already done one Agnes top which I love and now I ve bought an overlocker so I m going to get that up & running & power through another 3 in these fabrics (Assuming I make friends with the overlocking machine ;) ).  One is a grey/black reversible ponte, one is a checked stretchy wool and one is a jersey with a gold print on one side.  I ll use the gold side only not the front panel and use it in reverse for the sleeves and back so I m not too sparkly!!

 Make 3:  I m going to make 2 of these sweaters from October Burda magazine.  One is a dark green boucle with a light smattering of sequins, the other is the Missoni wool I got recently.   Bring on winter woolies!!
 Make 4:  This is going to be a simple wool skirt, using the McCalls pattern I got with a magazine last month. It is going to be the pattern showing white/turqoise skirt.  I ll do vertical stripes down front and then plan to use the fabric on an angle down the sides (assuming I have enough).  I bought this lovely lining fabric to match.

Make 5: Next up is another Simplicity dress. I love my first one, and this is going to be  a fabric combo.  My first one is quite a lightweight fabric and I think it will be even better with something with more body/shape so I ve chased thicker fabrics this time around.  The fitted top section is going to be the wool herringbone tweed (I know it just looks black in these pictures, sorry),  may add a bit of stripe round the middle, then the denim fabric for the skirt.  I need to play around with it.  It looks a better plan in reality than on the photo!  trust me...
 Make 6:  I bought this heavyweight Liberty fabric which I like because the colour pallet is very delicate but the fabric very robust.  I love this pattern, I ve used it once before and it fitted like a glove.  The last one was a very summery number, so this one should be much better for the coming months.
 Make 7: Last but certainly not least, the one I m most excited about- my black & purple wool fabric. Its a 1.4m repeat grading from black to purple. Im thinking black up top grading to purple at the hem.      I want to make it up as a really simple shift dress so the fabric can shine through without any interruption from the cut.  I m thinking of using this Newlook pattern I've got, but a bit longer than the one shown - but any better pattern options let me know,  I definitely want to add sleeves, how long they are depends on how far I can stretch the fabric once I ve cut out the body! Can't wait to be wearing this one this winter.

So that should keep me busy for a few months shouldn't it!!  I may not necessarily tackle them in this order, but I ll keep you posted with the results!  Keep an eye on my Instagram to see the garments unfold .  Any better pattern recommendations, let me know


Sunday, 1 November 2015

todays make- black & grey pleated broiderie anglaise skirt

Happy sew Sunday!

I m very excited to have finished this weeks make- a black & grey broiderie anglaise skirt.

I bought the broiderie anglaise black fabric of eBay ages ago and hadn't decided what to make with it, then I decided I d make  a skirt.  I spent ages deciding which colour to line it with - do I go black and subtle, do I go bright (turquoise/coral) which appeals to me a lot but then I wonder if its a bit tricky to match tops to, so in the end I went with a black/grey combo- enough contrast that you can appreciate the broiderie anglaise but nothing too crazy, meaning its infinitely wearable!  Result!

Its made from Butterick pattern B5929 bought from Jaycotts- pattern was perfect, no complaints, I made it up as a standard size 12 and it was perfect.  For once I didn't change the pattern at all.

So contrary to how I usually line things, I sewed the lining piece by piece to the top fabric as I wanted the top & lining fabric to be tightly together, I didn't want the top fabric to float about.  I used my binder foot to bind the edges so it was nice & neat, then sewed it all together treating the 2 layers like one piece of fabric, being careful to ensure all layers are flat.  That worked perfectly for the effect I was looking for- the only slight challenge is with all the pleats at the top you end up with a lot of fabric to sew through & need a lot of pins to keep it all in one place!

I added a few nice details (well I think they are nice!).  Firstly an exposed metal zip at the back and then where the pockets are, I just used the lining fabric so you get the grey contrast showing through. I'm really happy with those touches.

What do you think?  What did you sew today?

Oh, and I couldn't resist showing it off led on our Edwardian tiled floor that I adore!

My next task is getting my overlocker up & running and making a jersey top to go with this! I ve got some black/grey double sided ponte that i m going to use.  I ll let you know how I get on with my overlocker!

messy essy

-fabric from thelittleworldoffabric on ebay
-pattern Butterick B5929 bought from Jaycotts