Monday, 13 March 2017

Fabric storage

After buying some fabric last week I spent the weekend updating my fabric log so thought I would take some photos and share with you how I log and store my fabric.

I start by making a note of the fabric size (selvedge width and metres I have)
I lay the fabric out on the floor folded in half (selvedge to selvedge, right sides together)
laying the fabric flat for measuring
I then fold the fabric around a piece of plastic. These are pieces I have pre-cut to the size of both my fabric shelf and fabric boxes. I know other sewers use comic boards which you can buy from various places. I use the plastic as I can get it free from where I work and can cut it to several different sizes depending on what I need.
I put the plastic in the centre and fold each long side in.
plastic section in the centre of the fabric
fabric folded in on each side
Once both sides are folded in I then fold the fabric along the length of the plastic (short end) until I end up with a rectangle of fabric.
folding along the length
Once folded I put the fabric into a bag (if it is going on the shelf or is delicate) otherwise I just secure the end using either a pin or magic tape.
I then add a number to the fabric (or bag) using a piece of magic tape.
The number on the fabric corresponds to the fabric log binder that I have which holds all the information relevant to that fabric.
bagged and numbered
The fabric then either gets put onto my fabric shelf or into one of my fabric boxes (which I seem to be outgrowing)
these are the boxes
This is an old photo of the shelf - there is a lot more on here now
 The log I have is just in an A4 2 ring binder. I use a sheet by Sew Weekly blog
I have a sheet per fabric type and then just add a sample and all the information I need to use said fabric. I add the numbers so that if I pull a fabric and have several of a similar weight and colour I know which one to refer to in the log.
fabric log sheet
close up showing the information I log
I have a small Filofax that I use index cards in that has a simplified version of the information that I take with me when I go fabric shopping so that I can refer to what I already have or match up a fabric to one I already own.
I also use evernote to log all my fabric so that if I am out and have an impromptu visit to a fabric shop I can still see what I have

I am going to be doing a spreadsheet so that I have an electronic tracking system, this will include photos of the fabrics and also photos of anything I have made from each fabric so that I can keep track of past fabric/project combinations but have not done this yet.

I also use this method to log all of my lace and trims just using smaller pieces of plastic

I hope this has been of some use for those of you trying to organise your fabric.
I will do further post on how I use evernote and when I get around to doing the spreadsheet.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Machines - sewing,embroidery and overlocker

I have always had a fascination with sewing machines ever since I started watching my nan and then sewing on my own toy one when I was about 6-7 years old.

I also like to research machines - especially when thinking about buying new ones.
I like to see what other sewists think of them, how they work, etc as well as trying them out at various suppliers. Big shows (like at the NEC) are good for this as there are normally a few different vendors with different machines all in one place.

I thought as there may be other people out there who can't get to shows and need to purchase online and who would like to see other sewers views I would do a series of blog posts on the various machines I have.

At the last count I had 10 ( I think haha) machines so I have a few to go through.
I have a couple of older singer machines that I haven't tried to sew on yet so they will come last in the series so that I can try them out.
I also have one I inherited from my Nan when she passed away so don't tend to use this one.

The machines I have are;

A Toyota mechanical machine - this was my first machine which I have had about 20 years.
Brother 500D embroidery and sewing combination machine - this was my first embroidery machine which I have had about 10 years.
Brother 950 embroidery and sewing combination machine - this was meant to replace the 500D (oops, I have both still) - I have had this one about 7 years
Brother Innovis V5 - this is my newest machine which I purchased in the summer (2016)  - this was to upgrade from the previous two machines due to the embroidery hoop size. I have however decided to keep them all as they will come in useful as my business gets busier and I need more machines.
A Toyota overlocker - I think I have had this one about 12 years.
Brother 104D overlocker - I got this one at the end of last summer (2016) as my other one was so old I decided it was time for an upgrade - one with easier threading!!!

Hope this is something people will find useful and you join me on my machine journey.
Please leave any thoughts or feelings on your own machines in the comments.
If there is any sewers out there who would like to write a guest post for the series then please contact me.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sewing room redo

Out of need I had to purchase a new desk for my sewing machine (the old table was too small for my new machine, as you can see in the before picture)

After researching different types of sewing table, I thought about building one myself.
I even drew out some plans however time was not on my side so I went the next best route and went to Ikea.
I purchased a set of Alex drawers, an Alex storage unit and a table top.
Here are some before and after pictures.

this is the before
this is my new and improved sewing table
I will do a follow on blog post for anyone interested in seeing my sewing room in more detail.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Plaintain T-shirt

Hi everyone

After looking back through my blog posts and the items I have made, I realised how bad I am at actually blogging about my items (which is the whole point of this blog haha)
I last blogged in Oct 2015 - how bad am I, just as well I am better at sewing than I am blogging.
From now on I am aiming to blog all my handmade items (hopefully within a couple of weeks of making them)

I am going to start with my latest make - the plantain t-shirt by deer and doe.
This is a free to download pattern. The pattern has options for short, long and 3/4 sleeves plus elbow patches.

I had seen a lot of versions made by various people I follow on social media and liked the look of it.
I purchased some cheap jersey to try it out for myself but as I have always had problems with my overlocker it had been pushed to the back of my to make list.
After buying a new overlocker (the Brother 104D - more of which in another post another time)
I decided to take the plunge.

I made the size 44 based on the measurements and was pleasantly surprised to find it fit first time with no adjustments required.
I made the short sleeved version using this jersey from Calico laine - my version used about 1m of fabric.
I used my overlocker to sew all the internal seams, including attaching the neckband. Me and my overlocker had a bit of a power struggle at this point so the neckband is not the same width all the way around.
I used my sewing machine and a twin needle to do the top stitching around the neckband and for the arm bands and hem.
All together the t-shirt took me about 2 hours to make with all the faffing with the overlocker.

Next time I will take more care when applying the neckband.
Making this t-shirt also made me aware how much I need to buy some jersey tools - ballpoint needles, ballpoint pins and spray starch (to control the edges of the jersey curling)

All in all I am please with the finished item and even though it was a trial run I am planning on wearing the finished t-shirt (even if only to bed )
I am also planning on making many more versions - the fabric for the next one has already been put on the cutting table ready.

Here's a couple of photo's of the finished t-shirt. I will try to get some better ones of me wearing it when the light is better.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Pattern organizing

I seem to have a problem with patterns (I know I'm not alone )

As my stash was growing I was finding it harder to control them so that I knew what I had and didn't end up with double's. I found a solution which I blogged about here
The problem I then found was that if I was out shopping I was never sure of how much fabric to purchase for a pattern or what notions were required.
My solution to this problem is a programme called Evernote.

I have been using evernote for a while now for other things and decided to start exploring it more and then realised I could use it as an effective sewing tool. It syncs between all my devices so no matter where I am I can access my patterns to see what fabric, etc is required.

Here is step by step of how I filed my patterns.

I have them stored differently to my physical patterns but can still find them easily thanks to tags.

In evernote you can have various notebooks, these then contain notes which you can then tag.
The below photo shows a list of all my notebooks to the left.

 The next picture shows my notes for each pattern brand in my main sewing patterns notebook

The last picture shows how I have a note for each separate pattern I have within each brand.
Each note contains a picture of both the front and back of the pattern envelope.
This includes tags so that I can search for items, eg dresses.

Now when I am out shopping and see a fabric I like I can easily search all my patterns to see if I have a suitable one.
An example - if I search for trousers it will show all my trouser patterns regardless of brand as they are tagged.
I can also add text to each picture so if I have made a particular pattern I add this information.

I am now planning on doing the same for all the fabric I own.

If you would like to try evernote for yourself please use this referral link, I get no money just more evernote space.
evernote referral


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Collette sorbetto top.

I know this post has been a while in coming but here it is. I first posted about Colette sorbetto top here

Since the last post I have been procrastinating about how to finish the top, whether or not to add sleeves or to bias bind as per the pattern. I then came across some wide satin ribbon in my stash and decided to use that to finish the neckline and to add sleeves.
I didn't have enough ribbon to finish the hem as well as the neckline so I just used a double row of stitching.

Pattern UsedColette sorbetto (free download) and Sorbetto sleeve (free download)
Fabric used: White linen from stash

I cut a size 16 in accordance with the measurement given but I then had to take in the side seams by a total of 6.5cms. If I had done the sleeveless option I would also have needed to raise the underarm seam.
If you are in the UK when checking measurements and cutting the pattern ensure you double check your size as this is an American pattern and sizes vary. Also check the test square before printing the whole pattern or your sizing will be completely out - don't ask me how I know this.
Apart from these alterations it was a near perfect fit. I think next time I will cut a smaller size.

I made the sleeve using the pattern from sew weekly. This pattern doesn't state what size it is made for so I made a mock up first. I had to add 5cm at the shoulder seam tapering back to the original size at the underarm seam. To do this I used the slash and spread method. I also added 3cms to the sleeve length as I prefer to cover the tops of my arms.

This is a pretty quick pattern to complete once you have the fit correct. I suggest you make a toile (mock up) first. It took me longer to decide how to finish the top than any part of construction. If I would have made it straight through it would have taken me about 2 days but I am quite slow at sewing as I like to make everything perfect (or perfect to me anyway.)

The only problems I had whilst sewing this top was with my sewing machine. My Brother computerised machine had a slight argument with the linen I was using and just wouldn't sew nice seams so out came my trusty old mechanical Toyota machine which had no problems at all with the linen. 

I really like this pattern and will definitely be making some more. There are so many variations of this top and so much inspiration on sewing blogs like 7 variations at sew weekly. You can also just google Colette sorbetto to come up with plenty of variations.
Just some of the ideas I have thought of are: adding buttons, changing the hem shape, changing the pleat, different lengths. There are just sew many ways to personalise it. 

I think this is a good pattern for a starter project for people as it is so quick (as long as you can make decisions) and easy to assemble. The instructions from Colette are straight forward and easy to understand.

Here are a few pictures of my colette sorbetto top

Me wearing my new top.


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Me and collars are not friends

I hate collars - well making them anyway!!!!

About 5 weeks ago I made a muslin of K1699 (view b top).

All went well with the muslin sewing and it only needed 2cms adding to the centre back for a perfect fit.
I then adjusted the pattern pieces and cut out the good fabric.
Again all was going well until I got to the collar section and then it started to go down hill hence the reason the top is still not finished.

First off I didn't cut enough pieces - fine an easy problem to rectify.
Then when I went to sew the collar I couldn't understand why it didn't fit the neckline until I realised I had forgotten to add the 2cms to the centre back of the collar pieces.

New pieces re-cut.

Sewing the collar pieces together I realised I had ironed (yes ironed!!) interfacing to the right side (should have been on the wrong side) of one of the collar pieces. As this was the 2nd time I had cut the pieces I thought I would cheat and just take the interfacing off and add a new piece to the correct side. WRONG.

This is the result - 1 lovely soft collar and 1 stiff and unflattering collar.

Today I am attempting to redo the collar.
I think I can get away with unpicking the one stiff interfaced piece, re-cutting this piece and stitching back in without touching the rest of the collar.
Here's hoping, wish me luck.

Once this is done I will post a full review of the pattern.