All posts by myntechokolade

Long time no see, blog…

It all started very quickly, three posts in a few days, I was full of enthusiasm and BAM! My attempt at blogging about my sewing adventures suddenly stopped. I don’t remember exactly why, probably something came in the way. (Ok, so it’s not really a dramatic BAM, it’s more of a pathetic PFEEew…) It’s been nearly a year since I wrote something here, but hey I’m back now! And even if I haven’t posted anything during that period, it doesn’t mean that I have abandoned my threads and needles. On the contrary, my interest in sewing has grown and I have made some progress! Not as much as I imagined I would when I made crazy plans back in the days, but I have learned some tricks. And I have actually made stuff with my own hands ! (ok, the sewing machine did most of the work).

First I have cleared a few items off my stash that needed simple alterations such as hems, or turning long sleeved shirts into short sleeved ones. Then I signed up for my first Craftsy class (a great website offering online courses for crafty people and aspiring ones)  and that was a total breakthrough! I managed to make great looking cushions that I now use every day to cosy up on the couch and a pencil skirt with both a lining and an invisible zipper (turned out quite ok, but unfortunately I made it quite wide and lost some weight since, so it looks more like a tent than a pencil skirt now). The class in question was The Sewing Studio and I highly recommend it! I may write a post about it soon if I am not too lazy. Of course after this first great experience, I got hooked and signed up for another class, The Ultimate T-shirt, as I love to wear jersey fabrics. It may not have been the greatest choice as a second sewing lesson, but I managed to finish my t-shirt and learned a lot from my numerous mistakes! I have also made a pincushion and a tablecloth about which I am quite proud of. Oh, and I have acquired a lot of sewing tools. A lot.

So where am I going now? I have taken up several sewing projects at a time: I am in the middle of a fitting class: Sew the perfect fit, and I am working on making more t-shirts with Sewing with knits. (Yes, I am totally addicted to Craftsy). I also have a little pile of clothes in need of serious mending (thank you my dear boyfriend) and I am always on the lookout for interesting patterns and techniques. I am also working on defining my personal style to gain control over what gets into my wardrobe! 

I realise that there is a lot of things I would like to blog about in these past and present experiences. It may not be as regular and ordely as I wanted to be when I started this blog, but hey, that’s how life is!

 

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Hand stitching 101

I have finally managed to take a look at my basement stash and to register its content on Evernote.  It seems that I didn’t find all my fabrics though. Need to dig deeper!

Today was also my first sewing experience in a long time. I gathered some bits of simple white cotton, some red thread, a needle and got working! No machine involved, just my fingers on duty here: I’ve been covering the basics of hand stitching, following the instructions in Wendy Gardiner’s “Start Sewing” for 6 different stitches:

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  • Running stitch: no difficulty here, it’s something I have learned as a child!
  • Backstitch: it looks like machine stitching, no gaps between the stitches, the back looks different from the front. I got a little confused when looking at the pictures in the instructions, as I am a leftie and had naturally started from the left side, contrary to the model.
  • Gathering stitch: simple as a running stitch, but creating a third dimension!
  • Blind hemming: I have actually never hemmed pants with this technique, so it was nice to give it a go.

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  • Slip stitch: this one is a bit tricky, as no thread is supposed to show on the right side nor on the wrong side.

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  • Blanket stitch: I didn’t have any heavy thread available, so it was a bit annoying to make loops with the one I used, but I can certainly see the potential in that stitch!

All in all, it was very easy to understand how to make those stitches, the only problem is regularity, and straight lines! I definitely want to exercise this skill more.

Using Evernote as a virtual sewing room

For my sewing project, I want to have a clear overview of what I am doing and what I own. During the last years, I hardly did any sewing, but I have managed to buy several colours of thread twice! I would prefer to spend my money more efficiently… On several occasions, I have felt frustrated because I suddenly had the opportunity to visit a craft shop but couldn’t remember what I needed to buy for a project I had in mind and made a bookmark for it… on my home computer. So now that I am getting serious about sewing, it’s time for me to get organised! I am going to use Evernote, as I already am satisfied with how it works for my recipe database and my studies:

  • I can save all kinds of documents at the same place: PDFs, pictures, Excel sheets…
  • I can use my smartphone to upload pictures directly
  • I can consult my notes on the mobile, or from any computer with an internet connexion
  • I can search my notes
  • I can choose the way things should be organised

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So far I have created a “sewing” folder, and organised it with a note for each stash item containing a picture (still have to visit the basement to collect my fabrics!), the materials I own, and those I want to acquire. I can imagine that the next additions will be pictures of my work, as well as patterns I would like to make one day. I have a ton of bookmarks to go through first…

Sewing fever

I have watched the Great British Sewing Bee TV programme (shown on BBC2 in the UK) and it totally reignited the sewing flame in me. I have bought a sewing machine a couple of years ago but never really used it, except for hemming pants and other small tasks. In addition, I have never learnt to use my machine properly, which is I guess the reason why I am never satisfied with the result nor with the amount of time I spend to tackle these simple tasks…

I am fascinated by the idea of being able to create my own clothes and would really want to get there one day. I occasionnally buy fabrics and sewing materials, but I feel a little overwhelmed about choosing and starting a project. So all that stuff is piling up in the basement, and I think about it, frustrated about not being able to do something with it (not to mention the boyfriend’s comments about my stash…). But now I have decided that I will learn to sew, and I am going to start today! I have made a list of my objectives:

I want to be able to:

  • repair my clothes
  • alter bought clothes
  • make clothes, bags and furnishings following a pattern
  • design my own clothes (one day…)

To reach all those objectives, I will need to acquire skills and techniques. Here are some that I could think of:

  • Fixing rips and holes
  • Making neat hems
  • Hand stitching
  • Using the right thread and fabric
  • Sewing a seam
  • Choosing the right pattern size
  • Cutting fabric following a pattern, including seam allowances
  • Basting
  • Using tailor’s tacks
  • Creating folds
  • Bias binding
  • Embellishing
  • Adjusting to fit
  • Making buttonholes
  • Inserting zippers
  • Taking measurements
  • Design a pattern
  • Using the right techniques

I am sure that I will discover more skills necessary to learn during my progress!

I will try to dedicate 30 minutes to my new activity every second day. I made space for it in my calendar! For today, I will review my sewing materials. It’s nice to know what I am starting with!

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I’ve got pins, machine (universal, stretch and jeans) and hand needles, a sewing machine, a seam ripper, scissors (but no shears), chalk,  thread (mostly polyester), hemming web, some elastic, and measuring tape. The basics are here, so no excuse… let’s start sewing! For my learning sessions, I plan to use a book called “Start Sewing” by Wendy Gardiner as a guide, as well as several blogs and videos online. Next time I will be looking into hand stitching! I really need to refresh my skills in that area…