Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Pondering patterns ...

Sewing machine or no sewing machine, that hasn’t stopped me from ordering more patterns online and then being all excited when getting them in the post. Online shopping is dangerous, it’s too easy. And this time I didn’t get caught up with the ‘tape it together madness’ ...  Talking of which I’ve finally finished sticking it together, good times. And I think I have the perfect fabric in mind for this pattern. 

While shopping for patterns I’ve been trying to look at others than just the Butterick and Vogue retro ones as my wardrobe could do with some sensible everyday pieces rather than big skirts that require petticoats.( I have a stash of Butterick and Vogue Retro patterns that I stroke but haven’t had the courage to make yet.) Keeping this firmly in mind I started browsing the pattern sites and this is what I ended up ordering.

New Look patterns

I can’t wait to try these out. The summer top pattern (6808) has a few different versions which I’m already thinking of making. The collar on view E makes me think of something nautical and view C with the bow on the collar is just adorable. I’m also thinking there might be a dress match for the Alexander Henry fabrics I bought a while back, though the Jackie O dress I made has been a firm favourite so I might make the bat dress using that ... Oh too many decisions.      

And this is where I failed on the think sensible and wearable ... but it is so pretty and it reminds me of a dress I saw in my Nan’s wardrobe on upon a time and I thought it was the prettiest dress ever, my mother agrees with me.    

Vogue pattern

I’m now going to browse some fabric stores sites and read up on sewing machines. Laters.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Dot mad girl - the home improvement edition

Now that I haven't had a sewing machine to keep me busy, I've been re-arranging furniture, changing curtains and doing other bits and bobs around the house. I still have a few ideas I haven't got around trying and I'm also planning on doing some gardening soon, I've heard its addictive ... 

My first project was the spare bedroom a k a my sewing room. I've been gathering ideas and admiring lovely spaces on Pinterest (see the board here ) for a while now and wondering how I could turn my spare bedroom into something similar without losing the guest room feel, though I must admit I do take over the whole room when I don't have people staying and occasionally I leave my work lying around for days, tut, tut.

Turns out swapping the furniture around and having a tidy up does wonders so here it is my new sewing space. I did also get some dotty boxes from Ikea to store my growing pattern and fabric collection.
My 'new' sewing space

The guest bedroom

My fabric and pattern stash or dotty Ikea boxes

Toola-Roola who also likes arts and crafts 

The My Little Pony is a christmas present from a dear friend from a few years back, the whole thing started off from a my little pony sweets pack on my previous birthday. It was decided that my alter ego is Toola-Roola, she's a bit outrageous and over the top, but according the packaging here she likes arts and crafts so it's all good. I thought she deserves a special space on my sewing table.
And the spare room isn't the only place I've been busy, I have some new dotty curtains in the kitchen (though I have not hemmed them yet, shhh don't tell anyone). I also planted some basil, thyme and coriander a few days ago and they're already making an appearace, yay. I'm usually pretty terrible with plants but fingers crossed these will survive and I'll have home grown herbs for the summer.

My dotty kitchen

Pink dotty curtains

The herbs (the coriander is tiny so you can't see it yet)

I also have plans to re-vamp my bedroom, I've made a start, but there's plenty more to do. The bedroom re-vamp started quite innocently during a trip to Ikea where I was encouraged by my mother to buy a chandelier, it's been downhill since... I'm now going to add some floaty purple curtains on top of my blackout curtain and I'm dreaming of a purple velvet headboard and some purple velvet cushions, but we'll see. The lovely Andrea B from four square walls -blog has a pintuck cushion tutorial in her blog, I think I'll be trying that one out once I get a new sewing machine.

Ta-ra for now.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Secret Birthday Bag

I’m still undecided what to do with the sewing machine. I need to take an afternoon off work to get to the dealer; they also do used and serviced machines there so I might have a look at their selection. I’ve also been eyeing up the Singer 160 anniversary edition, it's sooo pretty...

Anyhow to make sure I won’t just ramble on about sewing machines I thought I’d share this hand bag that I made a few weeks back, but as it was a birthday present I didn’t want to post it here until the birthday girl received it so it wouldn’t spoil the surprise. 

The Sugar Skull Bag  

I used Emma Brennan’s Making Vintage Handbags -book again. I decided to go for the 1950’s pattern called Vivien this time. I chose boring black cotton for the bag part as I thought I would spruce it up with a colourful bow. I knew that the birthday girl had been looking at the House of Holland sugar skull print stuff so I figured the Alexander Henry mini Calaveras would work. I’ve had a FQ of the fabric for ages and I’ve been toying of using it for several times but the projects have never felt quite right, it was obviously waiting for this one, (the Alexander Henry fabrics I posted about arrived after I started this project). I used the same cherry red dotty pink fabric for the lining as the skulls have almost the same colour on them and I like contrasting hand bag lining. 

Skully bow

What's in your bag? 

I’d ordered some magnetic snaps online after it took me forever to find some last time so I now have a stash at home. I’m terrible for hoarding sewing notions, luckily I’m not obsessed with buttons yet, that would probably be the end of me (or the space left in my house).
I must say I had envisioned the finished bag being a tad bigger so it would double-up as a day bag but it’s definitely on the small side, I think it's a even a tad smaller than what the instructions said it would be. You can still fit in a purse, phone, lipstick and keys so I suppose it could be smaller. Also I usually carry half of my earthly possessions with me so I need a suitcase not a hand bag. Anyhow the birthday girl likes the bag and I think she was saying she can fit all the essentials in there for a night out which is all good.

Over&out for now. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Zipper and sewing machine trouble

So the gingham dress still isn’t finished. My arch nemesis the zipper has done it to me again, with some help from my sewing machine that still isn’t doing what’s supposed to. I will have to learn to tackle a ‘normal’ zipper this year as this is driving me insane (or I will have to look for patterns without zips, but all the pretty dresses have zippers). I’ve read several different tutorials on setting zippers and I understand what I’m supposed to do, but somehow this doesn’t translate to practice. I’ve also tried a fair few different methods but it always turns out to be a mess unless it’s an invisible zipper. I’m somewhat tempted to swap this zip to an invisible one, but then I’ve decided I want to learn to set a ‘normal’ one so I will stick with this for a while longer.    

I got around attaching the skirt to the bodice one evening last week, the pattern’s instructions didn’t make much sense (maybe it’s just me) but the skirt is now attached and it looks ok and it hasn’t fallen off so all is well. Then I tried to attach the zip (more than once) with little success and that's how far I've got.

It's beginning to look like a dress

And now it seems that my sewing machine has given up to the ghost. I can’t change the stitch length, some stitches jump for no apparent reason and the feed is all over the place. Needless to say I’m not very happy. The sewing machine I’ve been using since I moved back from the UK is my Nan’s old machine, it’s a Brother VX860. I think it’s from the 80s, it certainly has that look, but so far I’ve not managed to date it. It’s a good and sturdy machine; the insides are metal, not plastic, I’ve cleaned it and oiled it a few times so I know. It doesn’t do the fancy stitches, but it’s been great with thicker fabrics and I had no trouble when sewing the corset.  

The offending machine 

I’m not sure if I should get this serviced or consider getting a new (old) one. The local dealer said it would cost me somewhere between 38€ to 78€ to have it serviced + extra for spare parts which I think is somewhat steep, especially as it will only have a three month warranty. Though this one has sentimental value as it’s my Nan’s but then I have her old Singer and that one is more precious so maybe it’s time to start looking for something else, but the online reviews scare me a bit, there doesn't seem to be one machine above the rest, also I don't think I want to spend too much on one. Recommendations welcome.

The good news is I have a few projects to share here while I ponder what to do with my sewing machine (or get it fixed) so fear not my readers I won’t ignore the blog. Laters.