Kiera skirt

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This Kiera Skirt is going to be really useful. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a huge mid season wardrobe. I have plenty of summer/winter but a very compact spring /autumn wardrobe.  It’s something I have issues with every year but never get around to.

So when I was given the chance to use some of the lovely chambray from White Tree Fabrics  I thought of that transitional wardrobe that I don’t seem to be able to gather.  I could wear it with flipflops or boots depending on what the British weather throws at me. The chambray from white tree fabrics is a lovely weight, quite light so that it’ll flow but it still holds enough shape to keep the pleats. The Kiera is lined normally but I didn’t feel the fabric wanted another layer. If I feel it’s a bit drafty then I’ll put on a slip.
The Kiera Skirt from Sew Simple is normally a short affair but I fancied a longer version, so when I was cutting out I drew in a chalk line to lengthen.

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It’s nice and easy to put together though I always keep the pattern pieces close by when I’m making pleats, it’s so easy to pleat the wrong way otherwise.   I pin and then stay stitch to keep in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to put a pocket in on the side without the zip. Who doesn’t like pockets?

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I drew up a pattern to make sure I could match up to the sides of the skirt.

There’s a tutorial for an inset pocket here if you want a stage by stage account.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You put the waistband on before the zip, I left the waistband open at the ends so that I could have nice neat insides.  I’d advise a 10″ or 25cm zip so that you have enough of an opening.  I found the 9″ invisible zip a little short even though the skirt is quite full.

I wanted to wear it before the weather changed so I machined the hem, this is becoming a habit.  It took a week or two to get a photo due to life happening but it did mean that we had a fabulously crisp autumn day.  Boots at the ready…

So, there you have it. A mid season addition to the wardrobe, well I’ve made a start.   I can see one or two projects on the table that would also help bulk out a mid season selection so all I have to do is carve out enough time for some selfish sewing before the weather changes for winter or maybe in time for spring…  Does anyone else lack a mid season wardrobe?

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Keep up to date with the latest makes and musings by clicking follow.

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Falling over / Morecome and Wise pose.

 

 

One size doesn’t fit all.

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I’ve come across a lot of discontent recently.  It happens at the beginning of a term generally, when I meet new students.  New to sewing and the issue of pattern sizing.

It can be quite a traumatic session that one.  How to measure and choose the right pattern.  I’m still working on the best way to deal with it.  Smoothing the frayed nerves and disgruntled cries.

It has a common pattern:

  • Shock, What! No Way!
  • Anger, I can’t be an 18! I only wear a 12/14 normally!
  • Disappointment. We’ve all been there.
  • Resignation, I still want to make the pretty dress.

It’s not a process I enjoy.  This is meant to be fun.  It’s numbers, just numbers but why do they have such an influence on us?  It’s because it’s personal, sizing is a big issue in society and the fact that it’s different wherever you go doesn’t help.  Then again how many of us measure ourselves to go shopping on the high street.

My common cries are

  • ” Don’t think about the sizing, if it fits it will look fabulous”
  • “Nobody will know what size you’ve cut out”
  • “Nobody outside this room will know.  It’s like visiting the doctor, it’s confidential”  or “What happens at sewing class, stays at sewing class”

There’s generally a good 10 minutes of mumbling, occasional re-measuring and double checking but fortunately the desire to make something takes over.

If only it were all standardized.  Well it is, to an extent.  All pattern companies start with the same measurements and blocks.

The big 4 all work with the average measurements of the ASTM who do the research.  Though this hasn’t changed much over the years, they’re getting better.  Most still only work to a B/C cup but some are now adding options for cup sizes.

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The indie pattern companies start with the same charts. Some have developed their own sizing charts, done their own research to ensure the target audience is included.  Be it for the bust or the bottom these will often work better for the modern figure.

Some don’t use sizes,  using letters instead. This is a softer approach, I can see the logic.

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Most will say, if in doubt, go up a size.  I’m kind of with them on this.  It’s a whole lot easier to take a garment in than try to squeeze out a seam allowance on a too tight hip.  None of us want to hear the rip as a seam gives way when bending over.

I think it’s just something we just get used to over time.

RTW doesn’t help with it’s varied sizing.  Isn’t that often why we start to make?  To have something that fits us.  No gaping at the waist, no straining at the bust.

Let’s celebrate our figures!  We have curves.  No-one is a standard size but because we choose to make for ourselves it doesn’t matter.  Making for our own bodies and getting to know how we can make things fit gives us far more satisfaction once we’re over that initial shock.

If in doubt, make a toile!  Use up that old sheet that’s been sitting in the back of the cupboard, try it out.  What have you got to loose?

But I think that’s for another post. I’ve rambled on enough.

I’ll keep on with the calming of nerves, it’s just another type of therapy really.

The fabric Wrangler will see you now….

 

 

A New Year, a quiet determination.

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A happy New Year to you peeps.  Here’s to a happy and healthy one for us all,  I’m hoping this toddler cold disappears soon.

There’s always a lot of talk about fresh starts, breaking bad habits and trying new things coming up and over the new year.  I think we all do it to some extent.  I try not to reflect too much…I don’t want to be reminded of the things I didn’t get round to.  When I look back I only want to linger on the good, the happy times.

Such as when I’ve covered fly zips in a class and the air was blue (yes, really. The language can get quite creative) with frustration.  Only to see the same people conquer a pair of jeans to fit with, yes, a fly zip.  There are many moments of happiness when somebody feels they have sussed a tricky technique.

Also I’m quite pleased with some of my selfish sewing this year.  I used memademay to give me a purpose and finish off some of those part made things.  I can now use them.

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I also managed to make a dress for a friends wedding.  More on that to come as I need to take a couple of photos with me in it.  We got a bit carried away on the day and the only photo I have of me in it is with the bride and groom.  It was a lovely day on the Poppy Line, They got married in the Waybourne waiting room.  We spent the rest of the afternoon on the train watching north Norfolk from an altogether different angle.

 

 

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The sewing weekender. A truly epic weekend.  Where I met other sewcialists and got completely inspired.  The Fold Line and The English Girl at Home really did hit the spot with that most fabulous of weekends.

 

Meeting new people.  I’m not good at putting myself out there but given a group of sewcialists, I’m away.  I certainly didn’t imagine this time last year that I could co-host Norwich Sewcials.  I have Crafty Clyde to thank for that.  We’ve found our feet and we’re running with it.  Who knows where it might lead but most of all we’ve gathered together like minded people to talk sewing, fabric, tips and tricks.

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I’ve just printed off the SewDIY   sewing planner in an attempt to keep track of my personal sewing but if I’m honest I may use it to keep track of my clients too.  It’s clear and simple so it might just work for me.  I’ll put it up on the wall so that I can see what’s coming up.  Along with my usual lists it’ll be a slightly more interesting wall planner.

I’m going to sew bras!  Yes, I’m joining the underwear revolution.  It appears to be a thing.  To make one that fits and stays in place has got to be a good thing.  It’ll also mean that I get to use up some of the lace that I’ve been hoarding for years.  A Watson from Cloth Habit, maybe a Boylston from Orange Lingerie but first a Rosie Bralette by Evie la Luve .  Gifted to me by Emma of Crafty Clyde, she really does read my mind.

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A pair of Morgan Jeans from Closet case files, just because I fancy.  I’m not giving up on my skinnys but I think these could become a staple. A black Friday treat to myself alongside the Kelly anorak.

To try and finish before starting too many projects.  This is a tricky one and it tends to be a sticking point for me but if nothing else it gives me something to work with for Me Made May.   Check this out as it’s a great prompt to get you going.

Last but by no means least, to try and keep this blog up-to-date. Time has disappeared from me this last couple of months so I’ve sadly neglected the blog.  Work and life took over.  I’m going to try and re-balance that.  Let’s see how that goes.  There’s definitely change ahead.  I’m taking control.

Whatever happens, lets make the best of it.   Put out first foot forward into the new year with Joy and determination.  Enjoy that glass of fizz and that last bit of brandy butter scraped onto a warmed mince pie.  Moderation in all things I say.  Except fabric, that’s different.

 

 

Simple Sew High Waisted Skirt

 

 

 

Wow! I appear to actually be a Simple Sew Blogger. Yay!

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I was so pleased to be asked. My first pattern to work with was the High Waisted Skirt.  This skirt is going to be perfect for work, maybe even a night out.  So useful.

White Tree Fabrics had some lovely pleather in and this was a great excuse to use it.  Super soft and great to work with, though if I’m honest, when it arrived it was much softer than I’d imagined.  It drapes beautifully.  The skirt would have preferred a fabric with more body but this will still work.

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I checked the back of the envelope to choose the correct size and decided on the 12 as it was closest to my size.  These sizes are much more realistic for the modern figure.

This is also the time to check out anything else you may need.

  • Fabric-depends on your size
  • Scissors
  • Pins-nice sharp ones
  • Machine needles to suit your fabric- I used some fine stretch needles for this fabric as it’s a knit.
  • Interfacing-choose a weight no heavier than your fabric. You don’t need much, just enough for the facings and a couple of strips down the centre back for the zip.
  • Sewing machine feet-regular foot and zip foot.

I checked the size and fit with a toile.  Always a good idea if you’re not sure how the sizing of a new pattern is for you.  I had some stretch sateen left over from another project, if it didn’t need too many tweeks I’d finish it and have another skirt.

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Turns out my hips aren’t as curvy as the pattern so I pinned to mark it and re-shaped the sides.  It’s never easy to fit yourself so try and grab a fellow sewing friend and have a fitting session.  You can pin each other to fit and then enjoy an afternoon or evening of sewing in company. Much more sewciable.

 

 

 

 

 

I followed the layout of the pattern and made sure the grainline was straight.  As crucial on a stretch fabric as a woven to avoid it twisting when made up.

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Once cut ( I’m a pins and scissors girl) I marked the ends of the darts with tailors tacks and made a snip into the seam allowance to mark all of the other notches.  It’s a quick fix when matching up edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s easiest if you interface all of your pieces first.  They’re ready to go when you need them then.

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On the pattern it’s just the facings that need it but I like to put a strip along the Centre back where the zips going.  This helps to stabilize the fabric making it easier to work with and less likely to stretch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, all the prep work is done, I can get on with it now.

First up are the darts, these are nice and thin.   I do these all in one hit, front and back.

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Match up the top notches, pin and continue the fold to the point and pop another pin in.  If you’re new to darts or like a little guidance to get you going then draw yourself a line.  Tailors chalk or a soft pencil if you’re not working on black.  Just check that it doesn’t show through your fabric.

 

 

 

 

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Try to keep the point to a fine edge to avoid it ‘poking’.  I don’t double back on my darts.  I run straight off with the stitch line and then bring the dart back under the machine to double back within the dart waste.  Or I tie it off at the end making sure I don’t do it too tight to the end.

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I use a tailors ham to press the darts out towards the sides.  If you don’t have one then a rolled up towel works just as well.  It just helps to press on a curve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, this is where I go a little ‘Off pattern’.  I changed the order in which I put it together. After many years of altering clothes for other people, I want to make this easy for me to alter in the future. (Or in real terms, in case I eat too many biscuits)

I do the zip next.  Lay the zip, right sides together, so that the teeth sit at the 1.5cm seam allowance line.  Pin and then stitch down using your zip foot.  You’re only anchoring the zip so you don’t need to get too close to the teeth, just holding the tape.

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Next, line up your zip teeth with your zip foot.  I’m an invisible zip foot convert but it’s just as straight forward to use an ordinary zip foot.  I did so for years before hand.  If you’re using an ordinary zip foot curl the teeth back to make sure your needle can get into the groove. (did Madonna pop into anyone elses head then)

 

Don’t try to get too close to the bottom of the zip as the zip slider will be in the way.

 

Both sides are done in the same way.

 

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To finish off the seam and avoid the hospital gown effect, fold right sides together and pull the end of the zip away from the seam allowance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pop a pin in, in line with the end of your previous stitching line.  Put your zip foot on to get nice and close to line it up.  It’s a bit fiddly but it’ll make sure you’re your zip lays flat at the end.  Stitch from the zip down to close the centre back seam.

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Press open to give a nice finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to pipe the back seam where the pleat section attaches.  As this was a stretch fabric I didn’t worry about cutting a strip on the bias as it would move nicely.

I stitched a guide line of 1.5cm on the bottom of the skirt piece and made up the piping.

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I folded the fabric around the piping cord (quite a fine one as this isn’t a heavy fabric) and using my zip foot, stitched nice and close to the cord.  I made sure the raw edge made up 1.5cm so that it should match the seam allowance of the skirt.

 

 

 

 

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I then placed the piping onto the back piece and lined up the stitch lines.  Stitched down the piping and can now treat it as one piece.

 

 

 

 

Before you go too much further, pull some of the cord from each end and snip off about 1.5cm.

This this will then flatten out again and go back beyond the seam allowance.  That way you don’t have to stitch over the cord when it comes to the side seam.

Then I turned my attention to the pleated portion, I always do this sort of thing on the ironing board.  I removed the paper but kept it near to remind myself of the pleat placement.

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I folded the centre pleat first, matching my snips and pinned at the edges.  I then covered it with a tea towel and pressed with a bit of steam.  Always wait for the heat to disappear as it sets the pleats better.  I then moved on to either side.

 

 

 

 

 

Once pressed, I wanted to make sure that the pleats stay in after washing.

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I stitched on the edge of the pleat folds using my blind hem foot.  It has a handy wheely guide to help keep the edge straight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then pin the pleats back into position and attach it to the bottom of your skirt.

You’ll need your zip foot again.  Skirt back up, you can get nice and close to the piping and also see the stitch line made earlier.

Now attach the facings, I always leave the paper on the pattern until I’m using the pieces.  It makes sure you keep everything the right way up and the centre backs together.

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Have you spotted the deliberate mistake yet, I overlocked the wrong edge.  So I attached them first and then overlocked the right edge.  I trimmed back the seam allowance that was overlocked to give the seam an easier turn. No-one will ever know.

 

 

 

 

 

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I then edge stitched, using my trusty edge stitch foot to help keep the facings inside the skirt.

 

 

 

I do the same for the front of the skirt.  Yep, including overlocking the wrong edge.

 

We’re nearly there.

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This is also when I make any adjustments to the hips, to match the toile.  I draw a line with chalk with the help of a pattern curve.

 

I then stitch down in a long stitch to check the fit, this is when I make any other tweeks and adjust if need be.  Softer fabrics will behave differently to those with more body so may need taking in a bit more.  I then re-stitch on a normal length.

 

To hold the facings down I turn the seam allowances together and do a few stitches to hold them.  Once turned back they are fixed.

I turn the seam allowances of the zip edges right sides together and stitch along the seam allowance and this fixes the ends.

Now to hem, I pressed up the hem and then folded over again to create a small hem and machined.  I normally like to had stitch but this fabric wouldn’t have taken that so well.

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I then press again to re-fix the pleats and stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can go wear your skirt.  Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norwich Sewcials- Quiz night

It was a hot steamy evening in September.  Indian summers really do happen in the UK.

The September get together of the Norwich Sewcials was to be a quiz.  Emma of Crafty Clyde and myself had racked our brains for quiz questions that would get everyone thinking but not be too obscure.  We decided on half questions and half picture quiz.

Sadly we forgot to take any photos, imagine the scene.

Sewcialists gathered, settled into seats  with a drink and the quiz sheets were handed out. We had  been given the entire end of Cafe/Bar Marzarno this time  so we had space and tables to work with.  There was much discussion and occasional light hints given.  This was meant to be fun after all.

The pattern and magazine swap was still available so as the quizzes  were finished the patterns and magazines found new homes.  The suggestion box has a new lid for filling with ideas and was ready and waiting.

The quiz sheets were collected up and re-distributed, making sure different sewcialists were marking.  Answers were ticked off and discussed, o.k. half a mark for knowing that Vivien Westwood uses Harris tweed as well as Tartan/Plaid being her signature fabric.

The marks were close but the corner group had the edge, just.

The prize was a bundle of Alexander Henry fabrics, I’m looking forward to seeing what they make with them.

I think it was a success, here’s to the next one! Not next month though…

The next Norwich Sewcials night is a sewing surgery.  October the 11th, come along and bring your queries, thoughts and join in the fun.  All are welcome.  It’s lovely to spend a couple of hours in the company of like-minded people.  A friendly sewciable place to be.

Mark it in your diaries and sign up for the newsletter to keep up to date with events.

Norwich Sewcials newsletter

So can you do the anagram?   edde fogs

Do you know which French fashion designer co-hosted Euro Trash?

Maybe see you next time.

 

 

 

A rather Epic weekend

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Does anybody else get inspired in the bath?

I lay there, in a slightly too warm, bath contemplating my rather epic weekend.

I’d been surrounded by THE most supportive, friendly and interesting group of people for the weekend.  A sewing community, gathering together to .spend a couple of days sewing, swapping tips and stories and most enthusiastically encouraging each other.  I know of few other groups of people who will openly share their skills, admit their mistakes and joyfully talk to complete strangers.

It was also a chance to put a real person to the IG or facebook page followed.  Whether well known or just normal people followed for interest and inspiration, I was a little in awe of everyone there.  Within moments of arriving I was greeted warmly by Charlotte of English girl at home and Rachel and Kate of The Fold Line with open arms and a goody bag.

I joined a table with someone I knew, Emma of CraftyClyde.  All tables were of 4 people and Mellisa of Fehr Trade Patterns and Elizabeth made up ours.  Have you seen what’s in the goody bags?  Have you seen these?  Were familiar crys for the first 10 minutes.  It has to be said that both bags and boxes were fantastic.  Thankyou to ALL of the sponsors.

Tea was drunk, biscuits were demolished, ideas and tips were shared.

  • Always trial your active wear patterns in a cheap fabric but work out as normal.  This is when you find out if it needs tweaking for you.  That’s tweeking not twerking, unless that’s your thing.

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I finished my skirt.  Worn out for dinner on Saturday night.

We watched and shared as everyone started to finish their garments. We admired beautiful fabrics being used, patterns not yet tried and sewers just coming to terms with the joy that comes with making.  It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect first time round, enjoy the process.  We’re all learning.No matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can always learn something new.  There’s always something you don’t know that someone else can teach you.  We’re all beginners at something.

Elizabeth introduced Emma and I to Geocaching!  I’d heard of it but knew very little.  We grabbed a map and went on a hunt over lunch.  It was fascinating and quite joyful when you find the co-ordinate.  A treasure hunt!

Marilla Walker gave a talk on the sunday about her design process.  What stood out for me was how she learnt.  Taking apart and making 20!!! bras to see how they were made to perfect her own.  Learning through each process, not seeing failure but an opportunity to gain skills and knowledge.  I’m not sure I would have got through more than a couple before making a trip back to M&S.

Gabby of Gabberdashery spoke about her VLog and the process of filming, editing and the joy of sharing her sewing experiences.

Tilly took us through how her patterns are developed through to print/purchase.  Something I found very interesting, I’m glad I’m not the only one who makes a couple of versions before being completely happy.

Elena of Randomly Happy made us feel like we could organise our wardrobe to be both sewable and wearable.  Though not to beat ourselves up about it if we don’t make everything.  It should be a joyful, life has a bigger picture.

Grace of Beyond Measure spoke of her business and drive to get more makers their own voice and worth.  Developing products with them that can and will be used and treasured for years to come.  I’m eying up the leather pin cushion myself, beautifully made.

I wanted to hug her but that would have been wrong.  I would have hugged all of them I was feeling so inspired.  Mad, huggy woman on the loose!

Racheal Pinheiro of House of Pinheiro spoke of our creative selves.  Not to be afraid to try, take a risk.  If it doesn’t work, learn from it.  Don’t stay with the safe.

She asked us to think about what we wanted out of our creative selves.  Who did we want to be?  I don’t think she meant Wonder woman but hey, we can all dream.

Consider ourselves a sandwich…

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O.K.  it sounds like a training excercise, that’s how it started out but she’s right.  If we forget for just a moment what everyone else thinks of us and consider what we want to be at that point.  We could be anything.  Don’t try to hold yourself back, Try something new.

So as I lay in the bath it struck me…

  • My bread would be seeded, to give shots of goodness and a nutty edge.
  • There would be a spicy salsa or sweet chilli sauce, My sense of humour.  Make of it what you will
  • Chicken or prawn lean and tasty.  Hahahahaha, sorry.  I’ll go back to the gym.
  • Rocket and spinach for the  balance.  In my dreams-anyone that saw me wobble across the float on the insane terrain run will understand.

I think that’s enough.  I’m a simple soul.  Uncomplicated (my other half would disagree) and I like to think relatively straight forward in my approach to life.

Well, I’m taking all I’ve gained from this last weekend.  I’m going to try something new.

I’ve had a hankering after a Watson Bra.

I’m going to try not to hold myself back. Quit the shyness, stop hiding behind the face of uncertainty.  It’s going to be a slow process, bear with me but we can only have one life.

Lets live it!

 

Thankyou Ladies, one and all.  Hugs all round.x

Norwich Sewcials

 

We watched from a distance as sewcial groups grew, happenings in Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol…  Nothing in Norfolk!  Why didn’t we have anything like that here?

Emma @Crafty Clyde and I mulled it over.  Are we the only ones that want something like this?  We can’t be.  Well we could try, see what happens…

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Sooo, we created a facebook page and put the word out into the ether.  We asked for pointers from The Fold Line and The English Girl at Home and they were very generous with their response.  We spread the word, told a few people and it would appear we’re not on our own after all. We plotted and planned, realising that this was going to take a little more than first thought.

As the night loomed I think it’s fair to say we got excited and juuust a little bit scared. What if nobody turned up?  If half a dozen people arrive we’ll call it a success.   It was just the first night, a general chat to see if anyone else had similar thoughts.  Fingers were crossed.

The Cafe & Bar Marzano in Norwich, a lovely place to drink coffee and eat cake at any time, were very kind in letting us use a couple of tables.  We arrived early and decorated the space.  Urban Bunting was draped across the edge of a table.  I say urban, I don’t really do normal bunting.  I like to see it but it’s not really me.

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Flowers were arranged (well, put into jam jars) and artfully strewn over the tables with   magazines and patterns alongside, ready to swap.

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Our first sewcialist arrived, Whoop!  Followed quickly by a few more.  Then we had to find more stools. This turned in to a gathering beyond our expectations.  I think you could say we were pleasantly surprised or Well Chuffed!

Everyone was so positive, it would appear it really wasn’t just us.  The suggestion box filled with everyones ideas.  They  mingled (which to be honest, is not something I’m very good at.)  Patterns were swapped, magazines found new homes and we discussed where we could go from here.  They were all keen, some adamant that there would be another.

So, here’s to September the 13th.  Norwich Sewcials another night of sewing chatter.           A QUIZ!  A chance to swap tips, ideas and patterns.  Most of all, meeting new friends.

If you’re close by, come and join us.  Just say hello, we’re a Sewciable lot.

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Alfresco Sewing

The sun has come out!!!  Whoop,Whoop!  Sorry for my over enthusiasm, it’s been a while.

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I love to sew outside.  I have never liked being inside when it’s nice out but to get work done I’ve had to come to terms with the practicalities.

I now sew with the doors and windows wide open.  It keeps the air flowing but without having to move everything.  Occasionally my studio gets too hot in the middle of summer (not for long granted, I’m in the UK.)  So I’ll either get up early before the heat kicks in or make sure I have work to hand stitch.  This is when I’ll go alfresco.

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I’ve found the most important things to consider when sewing alfresco are:

  • Always wear sunscreen-Baz Luhrman has a point.

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  • Hydrate. Keep a drink to hand. Water only mind, it’s the only thing that won’t stain if knocked over.   Don’t even attempt to sew anything that might watermark, hot hands will mark fabric however careful you are.  Enjoy a Pimms after the work is done.
  • Beware of flying bombers!  Stitch under some kind of shelter, be it porch, umbrella or gazebo.  Until it happens you have no idea how quickly a missed placed bird drop can ruin your sewing and in turn your day.
  • Sewing alfresco is never easy if you have cats or pets that like to sit on you.  I’ve found that if you create a seat next to you on the same level they are more likely to stay off whatever it is that’s being sewn.  It’s also cooler for them.
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  • Don’t  bother setting the machine up outside.  It’ll take you longer to set up than sew and it’s a pig to clear at the sudden outbreak of a storm.
  • Rest what you can on a table.  You’ll stay cooler and the outfit will be less likely to crease so much.  A hot steamy body is as good as a steam iron when making creases.
  • Pins.  Please, keep track of any pins you may use.  If possible, try not to use any.  Tack, use clips, anything rather than risk pins in the grass.  You’ll never find them but any small person or pet will pick them up with bare feet without any trouble.  (It’s sods law)
  • Best of all is it’s great for unpicking.  Daylight makes everything so much better to see.  It also makes the process more palatable.

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So that’s just a few tips from me, Let me know yours.  Any excuse to get outdoors.

Happy sewing and enjoy the sunshine wherever you may be.

 

U.F.O- A Box of Hidden treasures

I have places to store.  Just occasionally I have to go-a-hunting for something within.

I think it’s fair to say the storage has evolved.  I long to be one of those organised people who have coordinating draws and pastel boxes with carefully folded fabric just peeking out.  I know where most things are and they have their area to be but in my general haste to get stuff done it just tends to get put to one side.  I came across many things in boxes and bags, piled high out-of-the-way.  As I start to put the boxs back I vow to organise the space better, for now I have empty space with a pile of things that need boxing.  Need to buy/gather more boxs to fill, maybe some draws.  I can also get out.  (I turned around at one point and discovered I’d blocked myself in.)

Needless to say when you’ve turfed out a few boxes to find an elusive fabric, you come across some treasures.

At the bottom of one row I found my U.F.O  box. The box with bits of projects that didn’t work or just didn’t get finished.  Samples that never made it into my Embroidery folder but neither did they get thrown away.  They might come in one day.  They haven’t!

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Why did I keep some of these?  Because I was always told that a project may not work straight away, you may come back to it, cut it up and make something that does work.    Hmm, maybe.

What was I thinking?   Well, obviously I’m easily led…

As I sat on the floor I began to surround myself with past projects.  Random bits of fabric, some printed others just pretty.  An old handbag that I’d made and used so much the handles had come apart at the seams ( hems from a pair of shortened leather jeans).  Anyone that has picked up one of my handbags will not be surprised, how do they become so heavy?  20160702_150122

Some hand embroidery that could actually be finished with out too much effort. One was still in the frame with the needle still threaded.20160702_151309

 

One thing that did crop up time and again were a knot stitch (colonial, I think)  Colonial knots (tutorial) and fly stitch.  I’ll admit they’re my favourites.

There was the piece I’d made in a workshop with Helen Stevens, years ago.  I really didn’t have too much to do on this.20160702_155516(1)(1)

 

There was an even number of machine pieces though not quite so many that I could see finishing at the mo.  Most of this will just go back in the box.  I know one day it’ll come in for an experimental sample.

Some standard machine stitches, contemporary applique (read just held on and stitched through the middle)

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Random wriggly lines whilst playing with freehand machining.  There is something very freeing about having control over the position of your fabric.  I’ll finish the dragon I think, maybe a box top…it’s still got some work to do to make it more obvious.

 

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I was going to make a bag with the chenilleing, it’s too heavy but maybe a cushion.  I collected the fabric together for that, it’ll be in a box.  Another time.

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I put the workable pieces to one side and put the rest back in the box.  I left out the bag of fabric bits, beads and threads that had obviously been collected together for a reason.  I’m more likely to use them if they’re with the rest of my threads/beads.  I don’t think I’ll be finishing that piece.

At the bottom of the box I found another, smaller Terrys chocolate box.  It didn’t seem familiar but I must have put it there.

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When opened it was filled with tubes of beads and smaller pin and match boxes.  Opened up these delivered even more treasure, tiny beads in soft blues and greys.broken bits of pearl necklace. A bag filled with beautiful brass buttons.  This didn’t go back in.  I’m not hiding this treasure again.

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So, I’ll make another list and pin it to the board. Embroidery to finish.  I’m definitely not starting anything else until I’ve finished these.  I’ve got until half way through August before I do a couple of printing days.

I think it must be a creative thing, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  We always have more than one thing on the go at  time.  Our minds are never still, it’s what makes us interesting.  Or annoying to those that can focus on one thing at a time. We’re drawn to shiny things, texture, colour and contrast.   We are butterflies, occasional moths but always looking for the beauty in what we make.