Friday, June 26, 2015

Coverstitich HELP please !!!!


This the the Ottobre zip up sweatshirt I'm making. In the magazine it is made out of two colours but I am testing it with some merino terry backed nylon/lycra i.e. the merino is a terry loop on the wrong side with the right side being a nylon/lyrcra in a charcoal colour. I bought it at The Fabric Store for $8  per metre. It's great - wears well, is soft, spongy, really stretchy and warm. Washes a treat too. 


I wanted a contrasting zip but couldn't find one at my usual haunt of Trad's so shopped the stash and found a red one so decided I'd use the coverstitch (finally) to contrast stitch with red too. Ordinarily I really detest black (or close enough) with colours other than white ..... I'm not really sure why.... but I digress. I tested the three thread which I really like and it worked a treat on some lycra I had in the machine at the first and only test I'd done. Then I started on my panels but the middle needle thread kept breaking. I'm cutting this short. For about a total of 30 minutes of sewing I've either watched or read about threading and finishing on the coverstitch for about 4 hours. It's so frustrating. I've changed thread (sewing thread in the needles and overlocker thread in the looper as per the Pattern Review posts Belinda from the old blog Sew4Fun has recommended), I've changed tensions, and nothing I did worked for the 3 needles so I decided I'd just use 2 needles.



The photo below is the back which should have been cut on the fold but I didn't so I just overlocked it together. The fabric looks black but it's not. I haven't always got the coverstitching in the exact spot but it's my first time and overall I'm pleased with the results but not the process.


It still breaks the 3rd needle (when using only the 1st and 3rd needles) or the looper thread. Any tips anyone? I bought this machine 2nd hand but it was serviced in December so should work. The threads seem very taut between the spools and the start of the threading. 

Then to make it worse,  the overlocker threw a wobbly and one of the loopers jumped out. Is it just me and machines lately. I've spent way, way more time being frustrated, watching You Tube, reading tutorials and hints and unpicking than actually sewing. I want to get this finished for Saturday so if anyone has any tips I'd be grateful :) Anyone else have this much trouble getting something done?


Monday, June 22, 2015

I fought the Elna and I WON!


I finished my shirt last night. This is how I wore it today, with my jacket. I wasn't sure about it like this but at an appointment I had this morning, I had 3 people go WOW great outfit and then they were super surprised that I made the jacket and shirt.

Thank you for all the suggestions in the comments. I took most of them up. I put a strip of interfacing in between the facing and the front and that seemed to do the trick. I also reset the machine every time too, by turing it on and off. A bit annoying but not very time consuming so it wasn't worth not doing it - just in case ;)!




The cuff and button. I thought the shirt would be just too plain so I decided to put some little details like the pink button holes and sewing the buttons on in pink thread too.


This was inspired by the hanging loop and the feature strip on the the collar. This pattern doesn't have a yoke so changed it to with yoke and also a pleat of fabric in the back so it wouldn't be bigger on my shoulders but fit my derriere! Lucky I did this because if I hadn't there is no way it would have fit.

Changing the yoke wasn't even a matter of drafting the piece. I just put a fold where I wanted the yoke to end, added a seam allowance and then did the same to the bottom piece of the shirt adding the  seam allowance again. Easy peasy. Because I wanted the yoke to be on the bias, I had to cut the outer yoke out of scrap and I had to piece it, but I like the look even though there wasn't enough fabric to actually cut it exactly on the bias hence it doesn't meet up nicely but I tried.

The floral feature fabric was scrap from a dress I made years ago, it was way too small even though I made a 12, and recently I gave it to a friend's daughter. (she loves it). Really there was nothing left of the scraps. I wanted to make the one piece (folded) cuff into a faced one with the floral fabric but I just didn't have anywhere near enough for that.



I did have enough for the inside collar stand. I really like the pink highlights with this shirt and I think it really needs it.


Shirt after wearing so is rumpled, sorry.

I don't know if you can see it (and I wasn't trying) but the buttons have some writing on them. It says "QANTAS" Australia's national airline. Funnily, I did work for QANTAS before having my son, but not with a uniform that had buttons so I didn't harvest these. I must have bought buttons at an op shop somewhere and never noticed! Overall I'm very happy with my shirt even though I feel like a "woman wearing comfortable shoes" in it. Thanks again for your hints in overpowering taming the machine.

What's next? I have many things a zip up merino knit jacket from an Ottobre pattern cut out and I'd like to get this made and a pair of jeans (not cut yet) for a little trip we are taking to the mountains not far away in the future, where it will be much colder than our winter daily of about 21 degrees celsius. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My fire is put out.... why do I sew again??

I was really chugging along with my sewing and my shirt, McCall's 8053 modified, was looking good. I was am really pleased with how it has turned out so far, up until I tried to do button holes. That's when my fire was put out.

A bit of history... my first machine had a 4 step button hole, which I think makes it more fiddly to make exact size button holes. When I bought my current daily machine (Elna Elina 40, Aldi branded machine which I am very happy with), all the upgrade I really wanted was a 1 step button hole. Put the button on the button hole foot and it does the exact size to match the button. PERFECT! I've made a few things the last few years with one button hole here or there, but the last time I made something with lots of button holes was about 1994 maybe; a dress, red swiss cotton with 5cm white polka dots and tiny buttons all down the front - about 20 from memory. I need 12 button holes for this shirt. 

The photo is a bit blurry but you get the idea. 
Good seamstress that I am not, I even did a few tests. I tested if I liked the oval end or the standard button hole and tensions and decided the standard one was a much sharper finish. I started with the collar stand button hole.... went well. (oh there is a reason for the pink button holes - I'll tell you when I show the shirt later today I hope).


Then I made the next hole down..... for no apparent reason, it started not getting fed along properly and then it started making a wider row! I checked there was no bunching underneath, I cleaned out the bobbin area, changed bobbin thread. I unpicked it, did another one and it started doing the same thing (there was a lot of bad words at this stage... no, I mean a lot!).  The fabric is getting a bit worn now. Should I change the needle... I haven't done that.


Then I did another one and ended up with one that was perfect but overall too small! Why it did this I have no idea. Instead of unpicking that one, I just moved to the next button hole and it did a small row of tight, very short stitches. To say I was annoyed is really an understatement.

I thought the automatic button hole was supposed to help me along but boy is it frustrating. Anyone else have this problem? I think maybe the machine was unhappy with me for going for a swim instead of doing the button holes during the day. Anyone else anthropomorphise machines? I mean, think if your overlocker doesn't want to play. That's when I normally have trouble. Then you can go back after you give it (the machine and/or the trying) a rest and everything ticks like a clock.

Any tips anyone? Anyone.....

Saturday, June 6, 2015

On Fire!

Well, I'm on fire... in the sewing mojo sense anyway!

Firstly, I hemmed the black pants and wore them last night. They fit so well and are so comfortable, I will definitely make some more and this time will add pockets. Although I have a Burda pants pattern I want to try next.

I finished my Butterick B5187 jacket. I made view C with view D's notched sleeve detail.


I've made this jacket before (View A) with some wool knit fabric and this one went together perfectly as well. It's an unlined jacket and a pretty quick make. I lined the yoke pieces with some cotton hibiscus print (which I didn't photograph for some reason) and sewed the sleeves in flat. This is a really well drafted pattern and a really simple make. The fabric is some interlined wool in a herringbone weave that my Mum bought in the '70's (I have some white too) and unlike the colour on my monitor, it is a really bright lime green not so subdued as it is here. I made sure I pressed all the way through this sew as I tend to be in a bit of a rush sometimes but it paid off as it looks very professional. 


This jacket was a perfect base for the button I chose to use. This is a large glass shank button that was in a jar of vintage buttons that a friend gave to me. It is the perfect button for this jacket and there was only one of them. It is heavy and I didn't really think about interfacing the inside yoke - remember I cut this out and half made it two years ago and it didn't even occur to me until I went to do the button hole. It worked out ok (the photo here is pre button hole) but later I remembered I thought to sew the button but have a large snap to actually close the jacket which I think would have been a much better idea, but it's done now and it's ok.


Here's the little notch in the sleeve which I think is a lovely detail and so easy to do.


Here's a back view on the mannequin. Yep, it's green but brighter! When my photographer comes back I'll get him to take some photos with me wearing it.


Now I've started a basic shirt. This pattern I've had eons (since 1996 apparently) buying it because it's just a basic and you always need basics... hence in 2015, I finally use it! It doesn't have a back yoke but I made it with one and a pleat in the lower shirt back. (I just put the pattern piece on the fabric, cut it a a depth with a seam allowance, the cut the bottom part on the fold a couple of cm out from he fold for the pleat and added the seam allowance). I made the yoke burrito style so it's fully enclosed. 


This is a peek at the fabric... it's a cotton gingham with the squares about 1cm in a lovely green and white. It's perfect for a shirt but I felt it needed some punch to make it less something and more something else... interesting?  I used a bit of scrap for some little feature bits.. and I mean from scraps. I like the contrast and interest this gives the shirt.


This top is a Sandra Betzina Vogue 1058 top just to try the pattern sizes. It's a t shirt with a dart but the armholes are a little big and I'm testing putting some other dart there (you can see it pinned there at the moment) to try and see if this looks ok. A feature to the outside world. The fabric is a knit but that has negligible stretch and I think is cotton. I lowered the neckline as it was too high for my taste. Hopefully it will be wearable but no real loss as this is a piece from an Op shop a few years ago and cost $2. I tried to 'sell' it to my son for some shorts but he wasn't sold!


The flower fabric used as my feature in my shirt above was from a Vogue pattern I made years ago but the dress was way too small (even though I cut a 12 and it should have fit - a very small cut) now given to a friend's daughter who loves it. I used a scrap of this fabric for a wearable (hopefully) muslin of a shell top below. This is Vogue 8916. I made a size 10 with a FBA adjustment for a dartless blouse that I used from Maria Denmark. It worked ok, but I will try a shell blouse pattern that has bust cup sizes to see if it's a better fit. This one still needs facings and a button close on the back. Too cold for this now however. 

Should have cropped this so you didn't have to see my Dad's trousers that I'm reducing the waist on. I was pinning them up on the floor... but you didn't need to see it..
 I have started a notebook with the pattens I have started and working on .... I think I have 6 items in there. I really want to sew up the Style Arc Dotty Blouse pattern I have had cut for a while but I can't find the instructions, although I'm sure I can work it out and really, they don't have a good reputation for detailed instructions do they?! How many things do you work on/have cut out at a time?








Monday, May 25, 2015

Pants, trousers, longs.... whatever you call them, I'm finally finished.



I finally finished my black trousers/pants. I made a muslin of this pattern made way back here in January 2014. The fit was pretty good and so I cut out another pair from some aqua and white tiny houndstooth fabric about 6 months ago(non stretch) and modified it by narrowed the legs as I found the bottom of the leg at a shorter length flapped about and annoyed me. Alas, they didn't even come close to fitting and I can't work out why as I cut the 14 like I did with the other pair and this one. They aren't finished and waiting for me to whittle down my bum to fit (ha ha..how long will I wait?).


Sorry I just realised I didn't take a photo of the pants on, or a full length photo either but will do that when my photographer comes home. Hopefully I'll have a blouse to go with them!  When I was just about finished, I made the button hole. Firstly I put it vertical.... unpick, then I made another test button hole and went to make on the pants. Doh, what did my machine do, but the automatic button hole made the first run the right size and the next run was short??? I don't know why... more unpicking and then a good button hole. I haven't hemmed them as I wanted to wash them again in case they shrank up. The fabric is a cotton sateen stretch that is a bit heavy; great for pants. I think I bought this at the fabric sale I go to. I made them plain, no pockets and I think I miss them. I will probably make these again but I bought a Burda pattern recently and I want to try them for fit.

Here's my fly front... pretty good even if I do say so myself. The instructions are good and easy to follow in my opinion and the waistband does meet properly but I wasn't focused on that .. oops.

This it the inside of the waistband and fly. I used some fabric from a dress that's half made (see bum too big above) with rose fabric from Singapore, and some hot pink bought bias binding. I love the inside pop of colour.

Here's the back waistband, which I haven't mentioned is a curved one and gives a great fit. I 'm thinking to make the back waistband piece in 1 piece instead of 2 piece - any thoughts on this? Overall, I love the pants. They fit really well, not perfectly but much better than ready to wear. If you are nervous about making pants, this is a great one to try. They are not narrow at the bottom though, 'cause they kind of look like that on the pattern envelope, but they are pretty straight down which works for ankle length but not cropped for my taste. Next... yawn... school trousers.


I made 4 pairs of school trousers, but boy it really hasn't been cold enough (yet) to wear them ... well you know not me, my son to wear them. After school holidays in June/July I think we'll be using them for sure.  I made two pairs for here and two for Dad's house. The fabric is from East Coast Fabrics and was $3.65 per metre and at nearly 2 metres wide was a bargain. I still have some left and may try my hand at a school polo shirt. I've harvested (I love that term!) the school name collar so it will look pretty good. At about $36 a t-shirt it's worth a go and we only have 7 months left at this school so I don't want to buy any.  I've got a couple of patterns so will put that on the list.


This is the pattern I have used over the years. It has a great fit in all the sizes I have used (7yrs to 11years so far) and worth the $1 I paid for it :)! I have a Burda boys jeans pattern too but while my son is happy to wear the pull on elastic pants, I'm saving up my time and making those.When he wants fly front pants, then I'll use the other one or adapt this one.


In other great news (for me but not the stash) is my gift of patterns from my friend in the U.S. She picked these for me and I love them all. The Connie Crawford pattern is just pants and the vest/jacket with "purchased top".... what?? The drawing shows the top in the same colour as the pants so I think it's a bit misleading and I don't really like a long vest or duster coat pattern, but maybe the pants are good. The rest I love. The See & Sew B5909 is kind of like a cape but not so structured from what I've seen and it recommends boiled wool and I have some red from memory so I may try this out soon. The top B5203 may be made super soon too... I'm not normally a fan of the handkerchief hemline but maybe it'll be nice with some heavy tights. I'm not sure when I'll have time to make a bag but I do want to try and I like the one handle bag in this photo that I have taken badly and you can't see it. I don't like fabric bags as they scream home made to me but I did use one my friend made for a while and liked it.. so maybe it was just fabric choice... these look like ugly table runners to me.

Next up is finishing a lime green jacket that I started last year (or the year before?) with fabric that was bought in the '70's - from Mum's stash. I've got lost of things I want to make NOW, so lets see how I go. Anyone seen or made any of these patterns?