Thursday, 28 February 2013

february blog crushes

Part of "being a sewing blogger" is obviously writing a blog, but as much of it is about reading other people's blogs, getting inspiration and ideas and being part of the online community. 

I really love reading all the blogs around the world and sometimes the posts I particularly like slip back into the 'older posts' obscurity so I thought I'd do a monthly roundup of my highlights of the month. 

So, this month I've been loving... 

Two new blogs I found: 

A recently discovered Australian blog called KazzTheSpazz (even the name just cracks me up). 
I really love when a new post of hers pops up on my feed, she has a pretty individual style and I challenge you not to crack a smile reading her blog. 

A blog from Paris with lots of beautiful clean lines, bags and tutorials, Between the Lines - I saw this tutorial and would love to give it a go: 

A few things I've been joining in on: 

I'm sure there will be meetups as a result of this and it's also a great resource for shopping all over the world. 

House of Pinheiro's Craft Swap

I've signed up and am really looking forward to finding out who I'm paired with and making something on the nautical theme to send off! 

Kate has been holding an envelope clutch sew-a-long this week, with a free pattern and tutorial for making an envelope clutch. I'll be back in a few days with mine!

And even though I haven't got my hands on it (YET), it's been great fun seeing the buzz around Tilly's first pattern the gorgeous Mathilde blouse

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

spring is coming top

The top (view C) version of Lisette Portfolio 2245 pattern - finished! But sewing while doing up a house and making endless decisions about radiators and floors and taps and... and... is slowing sewing down somewhat... 

I made the tunic version of this last year and really liked it so thought I would go for the shorter version.

I used a Liberty fabric that has been in my stash for a while. I really love this fabric and I was almost scared to use it because I wanted to make sure it was going to be a pattern I would really like.

I did a couple of things I haven't done before. The first is, after reading one of Tilly's posts on learning to sew, I actually washed my fabric before cutting. This is something I have always known that you are supposed to do but never do. I've never had any disasters though but I thought rather than waiting for a disaster to happen and THEN deciding to do it from then on, it would be a good habit to get into. 

The other is that I experimented with different ways of cutting my fabric. I have always pinned the pattern to the fabric and cut around it that way. But after reading a few sewing books, I decided to try to use weights (ie tins of chickpeas) to keep it steady and used tailor's chalk to draw around the pattern. It takes a little bit more time but it's not nearly as awkward as cutting around pinned paper and I think it ends up more precise.It means that you can take longer cuts with the scissors than you would if the pinned paper was in the way. 

The collar caused me great pain the last time, and sure did again. But this time, I wasn't letting it go and I'm pleased to say in the Me v. the Neck facing bout, I am the victor!

But boy did it take a long time - I had to access some inner stubbornness. I actually had to go for a run in the middle of it to let off steam. It took me so many goes I actually lost count of the amount I had to rip the stitches and go back to the drawing board. 

I hunted about books and on the Internet and I couldn't really find anything that would help me, let alone acknowledge that this is tricky so I wandered about in the sewing wilderness trying different things to get the bloody thing to work. 

I tried shortening the neck facing, then lengthening it again. The first time I pinned it on with the facing side up and I got a load of nasty puckers in the garment. So I pinned it with the garment facing me and tried sewing it that way... whatever way it pulled I couldn't get the seams to match up. 

So in the end I used ONE pin to start me off and then just tried to ease it in with my hand, not fretting too much about getting the raw edges to match. And it worked!! Hurray!
No puckers here, no sireeee..

And I used my trusty covered buttons which I think look really nice, if I do say so myself: 

And if anyone out there has any other insights into how you attach a neck facing, give a hollah - I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

i'm a sewintist...

I am officially marvelling at the ideas that the sewing blogosphere comes up with...

There's a project sweeping the sewing interweb for the last few days - Map The Sewintists is a completely brilliant idea from Vicki at Another Sewing Scientist where sewers, sorry Sewintists, can pin themselves on the world map... 

So many people have got involved that it seems to have spilled over to three pages (so far!). 

I've pinned myself on there and I took the liberty of pinning a marker for Murphy Sheehy which is my favourite fabric shop in Dublin - we have a limited selection but Murphy Sheehy is a family run business that has been going since the '40s and is the best value you'll find in Dubbulin. 

Everything is stacked against each other and you usually have to squeeze around people and fabric rolls to find what you want but that just adds to the charm! 

So far I seem to be the fourth person to pin in Ireland north and south... but I'm looking forward to seeing who else pops up. To pin yourself head here, click on the red edit button, and pin with the blue pin. (You need to be signed into Google to do it)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

hey lovers!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's my nod to the day of lovin' - appliqu├ęd pillowcases for me and my man for our new house! It's also part of February's Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge!

How I did it: 

I cut two pieces: 
1  - 48cm x 69cm
1 - 48cm x 84 cm 

I folded over 1 cm at one end of the long end, and then folded it again at 15cm. I then applied the letters cut out of ditsy fabric I had in my stash. 

I cut out them out and then stuck them to the fabric using Bonda-web. The Bondaweb was very effective but I'd probably try a different method next time just to see if there is a cheaper alternative. 

Once I had ironed them on, I then made a short and narrow zig zag stitch and went around the sides of each letter. The curves were a little tricky but going slow and being careful is the trick. 

I have to perfect the sewing method for sewing up pillowcases. I folded over a flap on the inside but I ended up with some visible seams that I see on shop-bought pillow cases is not the case, so I need to figure out how to do the seams properly. 

Hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day and I always reckon if you don't have someone to spoil you on Valentine's Day you have to make sure you spoil YOURSELF twice as much! 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

putting my stamp on things....

Printing on fabric is so like being  a kid again. I've tried a few techniques now, like screen printing, stencilling and using freezer paper.  And now... rubber stamping...

I used this rubber stamp that I got in a great craft shop in Berlin. 

I mixed together green and white fabric paint to get a pale green. 

I brushed the paint on to the stamp using a sponge that you get for washing dishes, swiping it across the stamp so it would be covered but not too loaded with dye,and then printed on my design. It's good to practice a bit on some scrap fabric to get a sense of how much dye you need to put on the stamp. 

And I made this little travel laundry bag from unbleached cotton that I got in Ikea (€2 a metre, don't mind if I do - you don't find fabric that cheap in Ireland too often I can tell you!). I lined it and made a little strap and gave it a good iron -  it needs to be really properly ironed to fix the dye, otherwise it will wash out. 

Alrighty, holidays ahoy!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

treasures in the attic...

I found hidden treasures! 

We recently bought a house! It's a lovely terraced house in a town called Dun Laoghaire which is in Dublin but by the sea.

It's very exciting but the inside of the house needs a lot of work to be habitable and we are in the midst of all the dust and the builders and endless decisions about plug sockets and tiles. 

But last weekend, we went up to the attic and took down what was there. 

It's so strange to find the remnants of somebody's life up there. Amidst boxes and boxes of old Smash Hits magazines, there were all of the old love letters between Rachel and Jonathan  - their letters from when Rachel was living in Ireland and Jonathan was away playing in a band in the Isle of Wight. Then all of the Valentine's Cards and Birthday cards.  My favourite was a card with a picture of a woman and a baby on the front and Rachel writes to Jonathan: 
My Dearest Jonathan, 
Do you think I will sing to our baby like this? 
I love you! Rachel. 

And then there was this bag full of clothes and I couldn't believe it when I found handmade dresses in there!! 

And this fabric... waaah!

So we are moving to a house that has been previously lived in by a sewer... it has to be a good sign! 

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