Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Charcoal and teal pinstripe cardigan jacket.

I used the cardigan from New Look 6735 for a cardigan jacket to go with the striped trousers I made previously.
I made mine about 2 inches (5cm) shorter than the pattern and did not make the belt.
It will give a soft suit look with the matching trousers.
Here's the pattern. Obviously its for knits, so if you use a woven it needs to have some stretch or you need to size up a little. My fabric is a woven with a little stretch.

I did finish this using the New Home MyLock 134D after all, as Keith the local repairman was able to sort it out the same day. Perhaps it was the threat that I would use the Bernina 800DL instead to finish the jacket that made him so speedy (he previously had a shop which sold Janome machines and so has his favourites).

It has had a general service, a replacement needle plate and a refurbished knife and no longer makes a noise like a pneumatic drill. I wish I had taken it in for a service earlier in its life as things would have been quieter, but I am very happy about this.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

New Home MyLock 134D in for repairs

I bought my first overlocker (serger) over 20 years ago. Somewhere between 1995 and 1998. It is a noisy old workhorse New Home MyLock 134D which is a Janome name. Its not fussy about thread and has cheerfully sewn all kinds of things without any issues.

Today the machine chewed the fabric on my latest project and to sort it out I had to remove the foot and the knife. I then rethreaded it from scratch and reattached the foot and knife. Either I'd done something wrong or it was the same problem which caused the jam in the first place.

Thankfully the local sewing machine repair guy has not yet fully retired so I've taken the machine round for repair (which he reckoned was worth doing) and hopefully will get it back later in the week.

I do actually have another overlocker (serger), a smooth and quiet Bernina 800DL which I bought 8 or 9 years ago but never really bonded with. I had lots of trouble with the threading (operator error!) and hardly used it. I recently got it out again to use the rolled hem which it did absolutely beautifully once I'd watched the videos enough times.

There is a whole series of videos on YouTube by Heirloom Creations for the Bernina 800DL. So I'll thread that up in black thread instead and carry on with my project.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Coverhem Machine

I've been asked about my Coverhem machine, so here is a bit about my machine and process.

I have a Janome Coverpro 1000 CP. I must have had this about 10 years and it is now discontinued. So it might be available inexpensively second hand.
I think the replacement model currently available is the Janome CoverPro 2000 CPX.
I have a Janome sewing machine and an older NewHome overlocker (which is an old name for Janome apparently) so I went with Janome becuase the price was OK and I like my other machines. I have not compared it with anything else.

I really struggled to learn how to use mine as I did not buy it from a dealer. However there are more resources available now, youtube and online discussions showing how to use coverhem machines.
I don't think these were available at the time, or maybe they were but it was pre broadband, anyway the learning curve was quite tough for me so I didn't use it a lot to start with which with hindsight was a real shame.

The Janome Coverpro 1000 CP has a unit on the back to hold the thread spools. I have damaged this on mine, and after the second time of dropping something heavy on it by mistake I removed it and use freestanding thread spools instead. This works very well. I understand from my local repair guy that this is quite a common issue. May be worth checking this if you are buying a second hand one.

I generally use mine with just 3 spools of thread and 2 needles, as I had a lot of problems with the middle needle in. I also flat complete hemming and then construct after as it didn't do well sewing over lumpy seams. These issues may be operator error. I like to put a little snip at the fold line through the overlocked seam and fold the two bits in different directions, this makes it less lumpy and the machines copes better. I don't have any attachments for the machine, though I'd love to do binding with it as they seem very expensive.

I only use my machine to hem knits (and anything else very stretchy) and I really like it for this as it gives a RTW finish on knit hems which I really like. If this isn't a big bugbear for you or you don't sew a lot of knits it is probably not worth having a separate machine for just that task as you can get a similar finish using a twin needle on a regular sewing machine. I like to have the separate machines set up for a single purpose and then sew lots of things so it works really well for me.

I normally use matching thread for all my projects which means, 4 on the overlocker(serger), 3 for the coverhem (2 needles) and another 1 + bobbin on the normal sewing machine. So I do buy 8 spools of the colours so I can get that match. This may not be something you want to do, so again that may influence your decision.

Hopefully this helps a little. Thanks Ruthie

Sunday, 17 June 2018

What to sew next

I am having a staycation this week. DBF is away with the boys so I thought I'd have the week off work and stay home. This will involve many things  only one of which is sewing (others being (shopping, DIY, socialising, wardrobe clearout etc etc), and I already have a quandary.

As you may have noticed I like to sew multiple garments with the same thread before I change. However this week I have a number of different projects and I probably do need to change thread colour unfortunately. (Photo of my thread drawers from September 2016 shows I do have plenty of thread in many colours so its not really a problem)
Things I want to sew this week (Sunday night version).

1- panels for the conservatory. I decided on a whim to take down the rolled fabric blinds left by the previous people in the conservatory. On one side I overlook the fence and back garden of my neighbours as we are on a slope and they are lower down the hill than my house. So I want a replacement screen of some sort on those windows to give us both privacy. I'm enjoying the extra light on the other side and out the back to my garden however so am not going to put them back there. The old fabric panels have been unpicked and need the raw edges overlocking, before washing, drying and being made into something else. These both need ivory thread on the sewing machine and overlocker. This is my current fun project because I just ripped the fabric down and am enjoying the light. I've left the panels near the neighbour for now so its not actually that urgent to do it today/tonight.

2 - alteration on red linen trousers which are loose on the waist. This needs red thread but only on the sewing machine.

3 - alteration on brown suit trousers which are loose on the waist. This needs brown thread but only on the sewing machine.

4 - sew charcoal and teal stripe cardigan jacket. This needs black thread (the machines are currently threaded in black). It would therefore make sense to cut and sew this next, but I am distracted by the conservatory and lure of reusing the old fabric somehow (no idea why this is). I will try to get re-excited about this!

5 - sew teal summer tops as this is an area lacking in my wardrobe. These would need teal thread on all three machines, so probably needs to happen later on, would then work well with the trousers and cardigan jacket though as work outfits.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Grey check trousers

Having sewn the striped trousers I came across some checked suiting in the stash.And as New Look 6216 was still out from the last pair decided to use it again straight away.
I cut it out single layer to get a pattern match on the main pieces. The waistband matches itself and the legs match all the way round but the pocket insides don't match, however I don't think that's a problem.
The fabric is quite thick so may not see loads of wear during the summer. There's not enouh fabric for a matching jacket but should work with other grey pieces.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Charcoal and teal pinstripe trousers

I made these simple trousers for work over 3 sessions. The first to cut out, the second to do 2/3rds of the sewing, the 3rd to finish the sewing and take a hanger photo.
These are sewn from a charcoal suiting fabric with a fine teal and aqua stripe running through it.
It is an appropriate work look with a little added interest that I love.
I've used my altered New Look 6216 pattern again because I love the easy to sew pockets and comfortable elastic waist. I always leave the tie off as I find that to be an unflattering detail over the tummy as well as making trousers look more casual.
I've not had chance to make the matching jacket yet, but I might still wear them tomorrow if I can find a suitable top for the warm weather (I have lots of teal tops but they are either long sleeved or velvet so will be too warm). I've not made the SWAKOP top yet.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

New Sewing Patterns

I decided it was time to replace my favourite New Look 6735 as the pattern tissue was in rather a mess. The best UK price seemed to be Hobbycraft. I also got 2 other patterns and some machine dyes. I think these must be going out-of-print so glad I picked the pattern up.

I want to make the cardigan in an 18. Perhaps I should trace this time!

This is for a woven, but I plan to make the jacket in an in-between length, probably in a knit, but maybe also in a woven, though need to be careful of bicep measurement.

This looks like a fun and easy coat style in different lengths and also without the sleeves. I've seen some versions with an altered collar shape. It does take quite a lot of fabric though so I may not be able to get it from some of the fabric lengths I have.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Leaf print top in sage and ivory

Using the same pattern again, I used this lovely drapey leaf print fabric in sagey grey-green on an ivory background.
This sagey greyed green is the alternative to olive for cool coloured soft palettes espeically if you have greenish eyes.
I bought this fabric in February 2017 on holiday in Madeira and its really nice to sew it up.
You can read more about the fabric here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Brown floral top

Here's the second of the tops sewn with ivory thread, which could also work with lots of the SWAP pieces.
I don't know when/where I bought the fabric so it might have been in the fabric resources for a while.
It is the same pattern as the last top and was completed in small bits over two days around other things.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Teal and brown print top

This top didn't make it into the SWAP, but I sewed it up recently.
Ivory, teal, grey and brown animal print. This is a slightly more subtle animal print than some, and I like the fact that grey and brown are included as it gives more options. My brown hair has quite a few streaks of grey and my eyes are teal blue so hopefully this will reflect elements of my personal colouring.

I bought the fabric last April from the Monday Market Man.
I've not sewn up the other fabric yet, but they could work in well with future plans.

The tee is made from the same pattern I've used many times before which I created by tracing from a favourite RTW sweater.

I'm a UK RTW size 18 at the moment, but trying to lose some weight, so I've now slightly changed my construction order on this top and coverhem all the hems before sewing together. I then thread the serger stitching back into the seams for neatness. If I want to make the top smaller in future it should be easy to take in at the side seam (and sleeve if needed), and the dropped shoulder will just become slightly more dropped.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Charoal and teal plans

I have been wearing the 'suit' I made in my chocolate brown period and finding it ideal for work, so think I want to sew some more of these simple styles as my purchased work suits are currently too tight :-(
If I had 4 then I would be able to get dressed in the morning without too much thinking!

I dug out some charocal grey suiting with a fine teal stripe which I think would be great for the next one.

I used this in SWAP 2009 for a pair of trousers but there is plenty of it left so I can definitely get trousers and a cardigan jacket from the same fabric.
I will use New Look 6216 for the trousers and New Look 6735 for the cardigan jacket.
Once those are done I will see how the rest of the 6-PAC spins up around those pieces.

A top from this knit
And maybe a different top from this knit

And a blouse from this fabric
I do have the machines all threaded up in ivory though...... so switch or sew that is the question!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Wearing the pinstripe suit

Today for work I wore the dark brown pinstripe trousers and cardigan jacket as a suit for work.
Very comfortable and practical.

I only included the trousers in the SWAP and had the jacket as an extra.

I really need to make some more of these comfortable suits, they look reasonably smart but are like secret PJs! 
(The fabric is a stretch suiting, the trousers have an elastic waist and the jacket is just a cardigan cut and fairly loose fitting, hence the comfort).

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

SWAP 2018 - Winners

The results of the SWAP 2018 are out

2018 SWAP winners are:

3rd place:  Medea's Cocktail and Casual Chic

2nd place: Treefrog - What a Galah

1st place: Sew Ruthie Sews - Sew Ruthie Style 2018
My collection here

I was blown away to be the winner as my thoughts (and votes) had been for the others who placed to win, Treefrog actually wove her own fabric and then used it to make a top.

Monday, 21 May 2018

New fabric purchases

Tecidos Zarco, three floors of fabrics, in a side road near the Cathedral in Funchal.
Top left brown woven, jacket for work.
Top right burgundy and ivory snake print jersey for a tee.
Bottom left a sheer self stripe fabric for a kimono style layering piece.
Bottom right, ivory and teal print for a jersey tee.
I also bought some invisible zips.
I had a lovely time going through the remnants in the bins.

I used my Sophisticated colour fan from Imogen Lamport and also checked the fabrics aginst my reflection in the mirror before purchasing.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

More wardrobe sewing - SWAKOP at The sewing place

I've now started planning for the wardrobe contest at The sewing place.

This has slightly different rules to any of the other wardrobe contests I've done, but I could still find a way to make it work for me.
Here is my plan.
Theme stripes
Colours teal and black

Pod 1
Black ponte trousers
Teal and black stripe tee
Black and teal striped cardigan

Pod 2
Black pinstripe trousers
Black and teal print top
Black boucle cardigan jacket

Pod 3
Dark teal trousers
Dark teal top
Turquoise cardigan

Wild card
Dark grey raincoat
(Or may revisit the teal wool coat!)