Crafty sew and sew in Dorset

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My Top 10 Sewing Tools

I had a bit of a tidy up in my sewing corner today and started to think about the amount of sewing paraphernalia I own and what items I use almost every time I sew something.

I have shown my sewing space before here, it’s not huge but I’ve packed it with all the necessary sewing gadgets and some other bits that are just helpful occasionally.

I use a plastic tool box for my daily tools, mainly because I needed to be able to take them with me when I attended sewing lessons with Sarah and just kept it.

I have an Ikea desk with two drawers. The large drawer holds craft kits, sewing threads that don’t fit on the wall and haberdashery such as elastic and my bias binding makers.

Clearly my two machines are my best sewing tools but I thought I would run through my top 10 used items.

1.

My walking foot

I was fortunate enough to be given a walking foot with both of my machines. I ignored it for years on my husqvarna Viking machine until I made my Grainline studio Cascade duffle coat at my sewing lessons. Sarah showed me how to fit this scary looking machine foot and it transformed my ability to pattern match all those plaids!!

Now it almost lives on my machine as it makes all pattern matching so easy. I only switch foot if I need to add a zip etc.

2.

Long tweezers and washi tape

These tweezers came from my dad’s engineering workshop!! I was pulling my hair out trying to thread my old overlocker as he offered them to see if it would help. My new janome overlocker actually came with a pair of tweezers and it makes such a difference if you need to rethread (ie when you try to knot the new thread to the old but it gets jammed somewhere!).

The washi tape is really helpful to mark seam allowance on the machine or to tape slippery fabric to pattern pieces when cutting out.

3.

Seam ripper

Need I say more!! I have several cheap and cheerful ones so I have one close by at all times!!

I have seen a few people with larger clover ones and tempted to upgrade but unclear how they keep them sharp. I find these ones are great for a few months then get blunt but at £1 each I just replace them.

4. -7.

Magnetic pin holder

I tried so many different pin cushions over the years and this is definitely the best design.

The ones on my wrist irritate me and i always leave pin cushions in the wrong place (my sewing desk and cutting table are in different rooms). I also like the fact that i can throw pins at this one while sewing and it sort of catches them.

Tape measure

My aunt bought me this sheep tapemeasurebut have another Cath Kidston one and several basic tape ones.

Seam allowance gauge

I can’t remember where I bought this but I use it all the time. I’m pretty good at estimating 1.5cm seam allowance but always good to do a quick check. I also use this when extending pattern length to do a quick check or spacing buttonholes.

Point turner

This has made life so much easier where I need to turn a corner out either on a collar or mitred sweater corner. I tend to use a pin to get a sharp finish but this helps on the way.

8.

Tailors Ham and sleeve press

One of the basics of sewing is pressing seams and is something I always make time to do. I keep meaning to get a sleeve press like my fabric tailors ham but my mini ironing board does the job most times.

The tailors ham is great for armhole seams and darts etc.

9.

Rotary cutters and pattern weights

I always use my rotary cutters to cut out patterns. I find with scissors the pattern pieces move so I have to pin it down (or tape it- see washi tape above!).

I have two sizes inmy drawer, mainly due to availability of blades, this way I can buy whatever is in the sale. It’s worth changing the blade fairly regularly to avoid little inconsistencies when cutting and having odd sections that didn’t actually cut.

I made my pattern weightswith air dry clay and some acrylic paints. I need to varnish them really but think I’m lusting after the macaroon ones I’ve seen online and therefore procrastinating about it!

10.

Fiskars scissors

Invest in your scissors and then guard them with your life!! Mine live in my desk drawers and even my kids know they are only allowed to use the paper ones (with permission!!).

I was given my large pair with my first ever sewing machine 10 years ago ( a second hand singer bought to make curtains for our camper van).

I use the paper ones all the time to cut out my pdf patterns and the sharp ones to transfer pattern marking (I tend to cut little nicks in the seam allowance).

I bought the snips recently and I am a little disappointed for fiskars. They only work if at a certain angle or else nothing happens!

The little sharpening device is really effective and has kept these scissors like new.

What are your top sewing gadgets?

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The Great British Sewing Bee Live 2017

I was lucky enough to win tickets for me and a friend to go to the sewing bee live from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics last week.

This is the first sewing show I have been to so difficult to make any comparison but I absolutely loved it.

This is the first version of this show and was held in one of the units at Excel London. We had a very long day leaving Bournemouth at 6.30am and then risking an Uber taxi across London (which took an hour to go 8 miles at 9.30 in the morning).

We grabbed a coffee as soon as we arrived and sat down to watch one of the catwalk shows.

It was great to see lots of other bloggers and Instagram people walking around. It was a little surreal waving at people like we knew each other although we had never met in real life!!

I was rubbish at taking photos and only have a few to share I’m afraid! There were loads of fabric shop stalls all aimed at dressmaking or quilting with so many beautiful fabrics.

We were very reserved and I only bought a couple of fabrics and patterns.

I bought some French terry jersey from girl charlee uk and have already made a Papercut bowline sweatshirt with it.

I bought a Rosa shirt dress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and some cotton fabric from Fabrics Galore.

It was so great to be able to sample the quality of the fabric from stores I can normally only access online such as Higgs and Higgs and Guthrie and Ghani. Lauren had some beautiful kits put together for linden sweaters and ginger jeans.

Apart from the fabric stores there were displays of clothing from Liberty and also from the contestants on the tv show. It was amazing to see the quality of the finish garments the contestants had made under such pressure. I have to admit I had assumed that they probably weren’t finished well but the ones on display certainly were. Especially Jade’s beaded finale dress.

We also watched a few of the contestants at the mini theatre demonstrating how to insert zips or Sew with jersey.

We sadly didn’t get tickets for the super theatre so didn’t get chance to see Esme and Patrick.

So who’s up for going next year??! Anyone interested in Dorset look up @dorset_meet_up on instagram as it looks like there might be a few of us!!

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Bowline Sweatshirt

This is the second papercut patterns Bowline Sweatshirt I have made and I love it 💗

My first one (link here to my post) was made in similar french terry jersey from fabricland but is no where near as soft and lovely as this second one.

I bought this green and grey striped fabric at the Great British sewing bee live last week from girl charlee uk, originally with plans to make a coco top.

I decided to make another bowline instead after seeing the stripy version on the instructions and loving how it emphasises the twist.

I used my janome dks100 for all the seams and then overlocked the seams with gold/cream thread. I decided to use the walking foot to try and keep my stripes matching.

I’m pretty pleased with how the pattern matching worked out, especially on the raglan sleeves. I actually quite enjoy the brain ache of figuring out how to match patterns making allowance for seams etc.

This sweatshirt also worked out more spacious than my first one. I did add 3cm to the length but only remembered to do that on the front panel not the back so had to shorten it again!!! I also added 1cm either side of the sleeves to make them looser which is much better when wearing long sleeves underneath.

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Succumbed to the Cleo

Well I finally gave in to the Cleo dungaree dress from Tilly and the buttons. They had a sale and I couldn’t resist any longer (even though I discussed this pattern at @dorset_meet_up with @charlotterunswithscissors and agreed it wasn’t fitted enough to be appealing!!).

I bought this pale blue needle cord at Hansons fabric and craft during the Dorset meet up in July with plans to sew a dungaree dress but from my burda magazine.

I cut the pattern out at full length so I could decide what length to have when I could try it on. I decided to cut it back to the mini skirt version but can see me making another in denim at knee length with a split at the front.

This was a really quick make; 2 hours got me to the stage above including making bias binding for the facing. A further hour finished the hem and facing.

I edged the facing with floral bias binding and the same for the hem. I love these hidden details and this is definitely a satisfying make for little details, including all the top stitching on the pockets, straps and seams.

My original thoughts on this pattern were accurate. I cut a size 4 as this matched my hip measurements and it said that the waist was not fitted so not to worry about this measurement much.

When I went to try it on it was huge and gaping at the waist but fitted on the hips. I had to take off 3cm at each side at waist level and tapered down to the size 4 hip.

This fitted on and off okay but think I got away with it as I am quite small on top half.

I used prymm buckles bought from Tilly and the buttons which went on well without the need to hammer them on, just push fit.

I am really pleased with this dress and glad that I followed the sewing crowd 😊

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A Frilling Top


Back in June I braved the shops to find a smart top to wear to an interview. It was a painful experience even with the decent selection of shops available in Bournemouth for a couple of reasons; I had to find something plain and smart (no prints 😫); and I object to the cost when I know I can make it for less (even if I don't have the time!). I only went shopping this time to reduce pressure on myself before an interview.

So this is the top I settled on from Dorothy Perkins…. it cost £25!! For a polyester crepe top with a necklace. I got it home and looked at it and looked at it…the quality just wasn't there. The threads from the seam allowance were caught in the seam and the edge stitching wasn't very neat!
I decided I couldn't do it and it would need to go back to the shop….so the day before my interview I turned to my sewing machine and made a simple sew pussybow blouse.

The fabric was from fabricland (bought on the way home from the shop!) and the pattern was sent to me from Naomi after my last pussybow blouse was a disaster.

I still loved the design of the yellow top so I posted on instagram and Lynsey came to my rescue with a replica pattern.

https://instagram.com/p/BV1SuDmhvhx/


Lynsey recommended the Farah top from chalk and notch, which was a perfect match.
I picked up some mustard yellow fabric during the Dorset meet up with lovely drape that I thought would work well.

The fabric was lovely to work with, almost like a jersey.

The pattern is well drafted and ensures all edges are finished well with a mitred hem and French seams etc. It has a section to insert under the arm between the frills.

I am really pleased with the finished item and prefer it to the RTW version and only cost £8!!

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Dorset Meet Up 2017

We did it…..a group of us from instagram met up in real life to go fabric shopping together and talk sewing over lunch! It was an amazing day!

Left to right:
@patternographer (Nicky) @dogsinstitches_and_me (Sue)
@craftysewandsewindorset (Jenny/me)
@lynsey_makes (Lynsey)
@charlotterunswithscissors (charlotte)

We were a small but friendly group and had such a lovely time chatting away like we have known each other for ages. The online world is so strange like that and something I am still adjusting to having not grown up with it. It offers so many opportunities.

We met up at Hansons in Sturminster Newton as a central location for most of Dorset. They helped us with designing the logo and advertising.

It really is an awe inspiring place to go shopping for fabric. They stock tonnes of beautiful quilting fabric plus so much dressmaking fabric it's hard to know where to start. Plus they had 20% off everything and a stash of fabrics at 50% off!!

I bought 6 different fabrics plus a small sample of ripstop for my daughter to make her barbie a raincoat:

The yellow fabric is to make a farah top to replicate one I took back to the shops as I couldn't deal with the extortionate price tag.
The light denim was originally bought with a pair of Morgan jeans in mind but have decided to make another Sew over it Erin skirt (following an instagram vote):

I need some decent pjs in my life so the plaid cotton is destined to be a pair of Carolyn pyjamas.

I relented and bought the Cleo pattern from Tilly and the buttons last week in the summer sale, so I will use the pale blue cord for that.

The whale fabric and seaside border fabric are for my daughter. She wants shorts from the whales and another Flo dress in the border fabric. The pattern only goes to age 6 so I have had to scale it up and squeeze it on to the fabric.

After exhausting the shop we walked up to Stur of the moment for a delicious lunch.

After we had eaten and taught Sue how to use instagram we swapped some patterns.
I walked away with three new patterns including a sewaholics Minoru jacket pattern:

Lynsey left with a bag of leftover patterns ready for another meet up.
We have set up an instagram group for @Dorset_meet_up or look up #dorsetmeetup
We have over 40 followers already so hoping the next meet up will be bigger and better each time!

Hansons have another sale in January so we are thinking about another meet in the new year…..maybe with a themed sew along or theme to our outfits??!

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Sailor ahoy!!

Over on the monthly stitch it's indie pattern month, sharing lots of different designs away from the big four. Each week in July there has been a contest and this week it has been indie royalty…..sew a whole outfit from independent pattern designers.
As part of this I decided to make a pair of shorts from simple sew to match my nautical theme Bowline sweater.


I used a blue linen fabric from fabricland which was lovely to work with but added some issues with differentiating right side from wrong side! I actually sewed the shorts back and front sides back to front and had to unpick!

The pattern has lovely deep pockets on the front and features buttons along the pockets. I decided to try self covered buttons, which turned out to be much easier than I imagined.

I'm really pleased with the finished shorts and will definitely make another pair.

The blouse is the Cali Faye collection valley blouse made as part of sewmystyle. Follow me on instagram @craftysewandsewindorset for more photos of my makes 😊

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My #Sewtogetherforsummer prize 

Last month I was picked as a winner for my sew over it Florence dress (you can read about the dress here) and the lovely Sew Hayley Jane gifted me a surprise box as my prize.

The parcel arrived beautifully wrapped with string tied around it and a note attached.


I was given the summer garden party box which contained so many lovely things.


Look at all those goodies!! In the box I got:

– four fat quarters to make bunting

– pretty bias binding tape for bunting 

– prym wax for hand sewing 

– white gutterman thread

– a lovely notebook

– a cute jar of jam

– a few metres of gorgeous white eyelet fabric!!

I had already thought about joining in with #anorlaaffair on instagram and  decided that I would use whatever fabric Hayley sent me and I think this fabric will be perfect.


You can download the Orla dress free following this link. As part of the line up of posts Allie showed her version in white eyelet with a yellow slip underneath which looks beautiful. 

Being a tad obsessed with pink I have bought a stretch cotton in bright pink to line mine (as the white was a tad sheer and holey to not be lined!!).


July is turning out to be a very productive month so far. I have a pattern testing top to finish this week for Sinclair patterns (20% off if you join her Facebook page) and then I can get on to this dress! Plus I need to make my daughter’s play suit and my Megan Nielsen darling range dress for sewmystyle!!

A huge thank you to Hayley, Sarah, Suzi and Monika for organising this sew along and for my gift 😘

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Indie pattern month – dresses vote

I’ve been shortlisted for week one ‘dresses’ over at the monthly stitch.


Please could you lovely peeps have a look and vote for me (club Tropicana).

https://themonthlystitch.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/ipm-2017-dresses-let-the-voting-begin/
😋

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Flint trousers 

I made these trousers a few months ago (I can’t keep my blogging up to speed with my sewing) and love them. They are so comfortable and cool in this hot weather.


They are slightly cropped culottes from Megan Nielsen bought during a sale. I have a few Megan Nielsen patterns now thanks to sew my style and I am really happy with the finish of them all.

I made these in chambray from fabricland and made the view with side tie.


The closing is one of the things I like most about these trousers. The ‘entrance’ is through the side pocket yet it still retains both pockets. I used floral quilting fabric to make my pockets.

I have bought some black crepe waiting to make a button up version of these.

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