Archive for category Sewing

Schoolhouse Tunic Mark 2

It would seem that I’ve finally got my sewing mojo back, phew, that was a worry!  My beautiful machine was waiting oh so very patiently for me, she never criticised or even complained but I knew she was there, waiting.  On Saturday afternoon, a beautiful sunny day with sunlight literally streaming into the house, I thought I’d make a start organising my sewing stuff.  I’ve appointed myself a ‘studio’ (aka the spare bedroom) and am using my Dad’s desk as my sewing table, it works like a charm.  Plus having a bed to lay things out on works really well.   But the best thing about it all (apart from the light, the light!) is the door.  I can close it and know that little fingers are less likely to be moving, poking, disassembling or pricking themselves with pointy sharp things.

So what started as “I’ll just get my machine out, that’s all, no harm in that.”  Ended a few hours later with this to show for it:

Please ignore the strange woman modelling with her ‘cleaning day’ pigtails and general air of insanity, it’s the sewing we are focusing on here.   I made this tunic using a pattern bought from Meg at Sew Liberated.  It really is a brilliant pattern, challenging enough to be interesting but extremely clear with supportive instructions, if you go wrong it really isn’t the pattern.

The fabric I used is a vintage sheet my friend gave to me (yay for free fabric!) that I love.  I intended it to be a summer top and indeed it will be super for that purpose, but for now it is a great layer over a vest top and yoga jeans.   The final product is a teensy bit ‘blousey’ due to the slight stiffness of the fabric, the pattern suggests something with ‘a nice drape’ and I don’t think this is quite it.  I’d love to try it again with a knit fabric, something with a little more weight and movement and I will definitely be making a couple out of super light fabric for the summer.  The fit is so comfortable and I wore the tunic happily all day.

But the real bliss was not just in the product (which I am very pleased with!) but in the making, the sheer unadulterated joy in using my amazing new machine. I love my Emerald, she is utter bliss to sew on and I am already thinking of my next project.  Oh Christmas holiday, how I will sew during thee, as the old saying goes.

And for anyone not interested in tunic tops or sewing (weird) here is a little something extra from my photo shoot this morning,

That’s right friends, a classic Bunty Annual from 1983 courtesy of e-bay and my Dad.  If you were a girl in England in the 80’s (and let’s face it, who wasn’t?) you will be heading down a tunnel so filled with nostalgia you’ll have to take a back pack and a change of socks.  Huwyl is currently enjoying the Bunty experience and I will be doing a bit of e-bay cruising to add to my current obsession collection.   That’s if I can tear myself away from my sewing machine of course.   Hmmmm…Bunty might just have to wait.



Sew Awesome

I can go no further without mentioning a very happy moment in my life.  You may not realise it but October (and my birthday) has already rolled around and Christmas was over a week ago.   Surprised by this news?  Well maybe it was only in our house which would explain this:

I forgive you for being overcome but I caution you that licking the screen could generate some unpleasant static sensations.  Instead simply sit back and enjoy the loveliness of the Viking Emerald 203.  She is shiny, computerised and is as smooth as silk.   She has 103 stitches, speed control, a stop button that finishes a complete embroidery stitch so you never have a half stitch and a needle up down button that allows you to choose where you want the needle to begin and end.  There are so many glories about this machine I can’t even list them all.

The thing that I love the most (well it’s an equal tie with a few different features) is the way this machine starts.  No judders, catching, nesting of the thread, stopping, ripping holes in fabric, going too fast or too slow or both within a weird time frame that then causes the machine to jam up…. No this beauty just goes.

She was a surprise gift from Stephen and my Dad, an early birthday/Christmas gift and, I suspect, partly to stop me from whining continually and generally moping about the place and sighing whilst looking at pattern books.  It worked. I think I am at risk of becoming addicted to sewing, I am just loving using this machine sooooo much.   In the last week I’ve made some shorts for Neirin, repaired a dress, made a table mat with decorative stitching and made Huwyl a play cape.

This is the project I want to share because it is the one I am most proud of and one I made knowing I was going to be using my new machine. All credit to the pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated, a book I am really enjoying and am eying up many other projects for the boys and for gifts.  Like all Meg’s patterns the instructions are really accurate and the patterns work beautifully.  The fabric was actually one I was given, a curtain my friend had no use for that became this lovely hooded cape.

As you can see above this is a serious cape for a serious wizard (that was Huwyl’s serious wizard face), Huwyl has worn it quite a lot since I gave it to him on Sunday and I am really pleased with the way it fits him.  I added a star detail around the hood and bottom of the cape to fancy it up a bit and, well basically because I could.  That’s another thing I love about this machine, it has embroidery stitches that you can happily use for boy things as well as lots of lovely flowers and hearts.  Keep your eyes peeled for more boy embroidery to come!

I have a hat cut out for Huwyl and grand plans for shorts and another play cape for Neirin as well as some t-shirts and bags…that should keep me occupied for a while.  But when you have such an appreciative recipient, could you resist?


Sew Dead

No sooner had I reported on my sewing progress than my sewing machine died.  A lot.  The scene went like this:

Me:  My denim diaper bag really needs to be fixed, I’ll quickly do that before I make Neirin’s shorts.

SewingMachine:  Hmmmmm, not so sure

Me: You can do it sewing machine, it is only two layers of denim and I am using the appropriate needle so all should be well.

SewingMachine: Seriously don’t think this is happening do you?

Me:  I am filled with optimism.

5 or 6 stitches in machine stalled, the needle stuck in the material.  A suspicious burning smell wafted past my nose.  Bugger.

Later that evening I explained to Stephen that my machine wasn’t working, would he look at it for me?  He replies “Sure, as long as there wasn’t a burning smell it can probably be fixed.”  Ummmmmmm.  Oh.

Now I could take it to the repair shop but it would probably cost more to repair than to buy a new machine, it was that cheap.  In fact the sewing machine that I had in the UK 7/8 years ago, that was second hand but great, was a better machine than this one bought new 6 years ago.

It was while I contemplated this fact that I realised something.  I don’t like my sewing machine.  I never did really.  It isn’t very powerful and I’ve not really been able to progress with my sewing because I knew my machine couldn’t handle it.  I did more complicated things before I moved here and I’d sort of convinced myself that I’m not very good anymore.  Fact is it isn’t fun to sew on a machine that constantly snags, catches and sticks.  So maybe it’s good that I now have an excuse/reason to buy a new one, right?

Weeeeeell,  sort of.  Because I’ve gone and fallen in love, yes indeedy.  Before my old machine was fully cold I was out slutting my way round sewing shops test driving new, computerised machines.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It is a whole new world of beauty and wonder.  And cash, can’t forget that part.  The one I really loved was around $800.  That’s right.  And given that we are currently spent up building a house and buying, you know, food and stuff it is going to have to wait.  Which is ok, I can handle that.

Except.  It is weird to not have a sewing machine.  I didn’t notice how much I sew until I suddenly realised that I couldn’t.  No loot bags for Huwyl’s birthday, no quick birthday present for a child’s birthday.  No more experimenting with new sewing books.  I haven’t been without a sewing machine of my own for nearly 20 years and before that I could always use my Mum’s.  I now see how much I take for granted the ability to just make it myself and now I feel at a bit of a loss.  Bereft even.  So while I’m excited at the possibility of a machine with so many bells and whistles it is practically an orchestra, it is a long way off (if you have the patience of a two year old, like me) and in the meantime…no sewing.

For most people it is no biggy to be sans sewing machine but I grew up in a house where creating, making were a part of every day life.  When I was 18 I would buy crazy clothes from second hand shops and adjust them on my Mum’s machine.  My whole life my Mum made clothes and toys for us, it is second nature to say ‘I wonder if I could make that?’.  So while my machine wasn’t the best I will miss it and the fun of making for a while.  Is it weird that the thought of simply buying strikes me as, well, boring?

R.I.P Sewing Machine.  Sorry about the denim bag.


Weekend Sewing

This weekend I finally got around to a bit of sewing, I’ve been meaning to work on a project for weeks now, perhaps even months.  I’ve certainly had the pattern sitting on my shelf for two months, looking at me all accusingly, saying “When are you going to sew me then?”.  Well finally I decided the moment was now.  The pattern in question was the Schoolhouse Tunic from Sew Liberated.  Ever since I saw it on Meg’s website I’ve been in love with the idea of making one but simultaneously worried about the complexity.

On Saturday I decided to bite the bullet and cut out the pattern, from then on I was a woman possessed!  I followed along with Meg’s simple instructions, step-by-step, bringing me a little closer each time to having a finished piece of clothing.  I struggled a bit with fixing the sleeves in place but with a little perseverance I got there.  After about 3 1/2 hours of cutting and sewing on Saturday evening I had a partially finished garment that I happily finished off on Sunday morning and wore all day long.


This is definitely the most complicated garment I’ve ever made and it was a challenge but I was happily surprised by the wonderful results.  The pattern worked beautifully and Meg’s instructions were excellent, allowing me to work carefully through each step and achieve something that fit me perfectly, keeping me comfortably cosy all day long.   This has fired me up to do more sewing and challenge myself to try another project, I’ll keep you posted!

I’m sure you’d like to join me in sending healing thoughts out to Meg’s new little son who has just undergone heart surgery.  I’m sending my humble hopes and prayers to this inspiring woman and her family, wishing them strength and healing over the coming days.