Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2014 Resewlutions

Hi all,

I didn't achieve all of my sewing plans for 2013 but time to wipe the slate clean and start thinking about 2014. Time to make my new years Resewlutions (sorry cheesy I know)

Here is what I want to sew in 2014.

Sew something made of this lovely wool jersey fabric

I've not decided what yet, all ideas welcome. This Isabella wool and viscose mix jersey is warm, stretchy and a bit marl. And it is just so scrummy and snuggle that it's perfect for a January project. It will also lead me nicely on to resewlution number 2....

Learn to use my overlocker properly

For my birthday this year I was lucky enough to get a fabulous new overlocker. I have used it a few times (after a couple of teething problems) but I am still not confident. Luckily many of my resewlutions will involve the overlocker so by this time next year I will be a seasoned pro ahem..

Sew some baby clothes

Lots of people in my life have just had or are having babies and there is nothing greater than a home made gift for them. I have made a couple of items (see the dress here) but time to step up my game, I mean they are easy, quick and you can have great fun with them. No reason not to.

Learn to knit

Ok so not technically a resewlution but so many sewers can also knit and I can't, well unless you count a few half started scarfs over the years. So 2014 is the year of Fabric Godmother drawing her needles and facing her wool phobia. Lovely pic from Tilly check out her knitting adventure here

Use piping on a garment

I love piping it is so cool and adds a lovely cute finish to anything it is added to, so this year I decree that I to shall use  piping on at least 1 sewn item. I love this piped neck that Handmade Jane added to this dress 

Make a bag

Colette introduced us to the Walden Cooper in 2013 and whats not to love. I have a piece of coated waterproof fabric in my stash just waiting to be made into a bag. Talking of fabric stashes...

Organise a fabric stash swap meet

I plan to get a group of fellow sewers and blogger together for a bit of a chat, catch up and a chance to exchange any old bits of fabric that are failing to inspire you. you know what they say 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' Let me know if you fancy joining in!

Happy sewing in 2014 xxx

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tartan Trend

Ohh I love all things Scottish (except maybe the weather sometimes) so I am really excited about the tartan trend that has popped up this winter.



Images from here & here

If you want to have a go at making your own tartan clothes try one of our new Bonnie Tartan cotton poplin dress fabric only £10 pr metre

Happy sewing xxx

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Getaway Saltspring

OK, I know it's really cold here now but I just couldn't wait to post these pictures of my Saltspring dress from the wonderful Sewaholic.

I was lucky enough to have a quick break in the Greek Islands recently. While we were there we jumped on a motor bike and visited an idyllic hotel that was perfect backdrop for photographing my Saltspring dress.

I used Pansi a bright floral cotton lawn and I love it! I am quite tall so added a couple of centimeters to the length of the bodice and the skirt. The pattern has a clever lining that means that the top billows out over the elasticated waist perfectly. (The elasticated waist also helps with Holiday tum!)

The length of this dress makes you feel very glamorous and movie star-ish.  I was sad to have to take it off to get back on the motorbike at the end of the trip. So if you have a winter sun getaway planned why not add this to your packing list?

You can buy the pattern here and the fabric here.

Happy sewing xxx

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Leather Satchel Kits

That time of year that we don't like to mention yet is creeping up on us. (Or in the case of my local Co-op it started back in August!!Whaaat!!??? the kids were still on summer holidays we haven't even had Halloween or bonfire night yet and the trees were positively glowing green)
But now with the leaves falling, a slight chill in the air and the nights drawing in we cannot deny it much longer.

Each year I make a promise to myself, as I barge through the Oxford Street crowd trying to find the perfect gift, that next year I will start my Christmas shopping early. So when the clocks change I will have a couple of handmade gifts under my belt, a few more on order and an idea of what the grandparents will be getting.

So if you to have made yourself this promise why not start the list with one of these fabulous real Leather satchel kits?

Available in large or small in a number of colours they are pre cut and punched so no cutting required and they are super easy to make. They would make the perfect gift either for somebody to make themselves or if you are feeling generous you could do it for them

See all of the kits available here

Happy sewing xxx

Friday, September 13, 2013

Contrast Sleeve T

I made this little T shirt with prestige crepe in yale blue and used a contrast colour for the sleeves.  The weight and fall of the crepe gives a lovely grown up finish to a simple T shirt, perfect with jeans and trainers or a pencil skirt for work. I didn't use a pattern just drew round an old T shirt that I liked the fit of.

I think if I was making it again I would make it slightly longer as it hovers a little above my hips and when I lift my arms in the air my tummy shows (not a great look)

I really like the slightly scooped neck as it is a bit more flattering than a high neckline.

The fabric Godfather did comment that it looked a little like it could be the new Chelsea strip - ooops maybe a different colour combo next how about black with mink sleeves?

Happy sewing xxx

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sewing with jersey...

I have been writing a monthly column for Sewing world talking about sewing with different types of fabric. The column has now come to an end so I though I would share with you some of my favorite articles. feel free to add any of your own tips underneath, in this game the more help and advice we share the better sewers we become!

Ahoy cotton jersey 

Sewing with jersey...

You don’t need to be afraid of sewing knit fabrics. With a few helpful tips it really is a wonderful fabric to sew with.
What is a knit or jersey fabric? Well most fabrics are woven so they have threads running along the length of the fabric (warp) and threads running across the width (weft), these threads weave in and out of each other to make the fabric. With a knit fabric the threads go across the fabric and are looped to the thread above and below to make a fabric (Quite literally knitted together like a jumper). This looping is what gives knitted fabrics their stretch.
Knit fabrics started to become popular after Coco Chanel used them in her famous suits.  At the time jersey was primarily used for men’s underwear and Chanel chose to use it due to its cheap cost. However the many benefits of knits fabrics started to become clear and even when she opened her now famous fashion houses in Paris she continued to use the controversial fabric.

Roma  jersey

What you need to know about sewing with knit fabrics:

You do not need an overlocker to sew with knit fabrics, though it can help. If you don’t have one try some of the stitch techniques below
Knitted fabrics don’t fray like woven fabrics so you can just trim your edges and leave them without finishing
You should always pre wash knit fabrics, as with all fabrics, especially ones with natural fibres in them can shrink. Fabric is also sometimes dressed at manufacture stage which can affect the handle of the fabric. So I always recommend this.
Test different needles and stitches on a small piece of the fabric you will be using before you start on the main piece
Play around with the tension of your thread, often a slightly lower tension will prevent jersey from bunching up
Make sure you know which way you need your knit to stretch. Think about pulling the garment on over your head, shoulders and hips. Cut it the right way and use a stitch that will allow the fabric to stretch without breaking the thread in all areas where you will be pulling on the fabric

Milano jersey grass


 A ball point or special jersey needle are perfect when sewing knits. These needles have special rounded ends that will poke in between the threads of the fabric rather than piercing straight through them, jersey can ladder (like a pair of tights) if the thread is damaged like this.
Using a twin needle is another way to get a neat finish to your knit fabric, using a straight stitch it will create a zig zag ion the back and 2 neat rows of straight stitches o n the front. This will allow the fabric to stretch and is a great technique for hemming knit fabrics. Any machine that can do a zig zag stitch should be able to accommodate a twin needle. You will also need to make sure that it has an extra spool holder as you need to thread 2 spools of thread onto the machine.

Milo Wool knitted jersey 


Use a stretch stitch if you machine has one, this has a very shallow zig zag in it that allows the fabric to stretch without breaking the thread (hint it looks a bit like a lightning bolt). If you don’t have a stretch stitch on your machine, you can use a zigzag on a very low width setting and long stitch length. Perfect for seams that need a bit of give, I use this to attached facings round the neck and arms.
Some machines have a special knit overlock stitch, this is great for joining and finishing knit fabrics.
Zig zag top stitching can add a nice detail and also will allow the fabric to stretch without breaking the stitches.

Want to have a go?

If you are new to sewing with knit and want to have a go i would recommend that you start with a stable knit fabric (This is a jersey fabric with less stretch in it. Test it by pulling the fabric, a stable knit will have little or no stretch in one direction.)
I LOVE the Renfrew top from Sewaholic. This is perfect to people who are new to sewing knits and as it has clever bands and the sleeves and bottom so you don’t need to worry about wobbly hems

Happy sewing and don't forget to share your tips below xxx

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fabric Godfather

 Finally after months of selfishly only sewing for myself I made a shirt for the Fabric Godfather. He is the man in my life without whom Fabric Godmother simply wouldn't be possible. He religiously packs and posts the parcels for me every day. He does most of the photography for the website (he is a film maker so he knows his way round the back of a camera)and he carries the heavy rolls of fabric up 2 flights of stairs to the stockroom. All without complaining (mostly)

Probably should have ironed the shirt before taking the pictures!
I know he isn't smiling but he does like the shirt really.

The pattern I choose was the Colette Negroni pattern, I made a few adjustments as I think the style is a bit too western for the Fabric Godfather so I changed the front to create a fake covered button opening and rolled the sleeves for a more up to date look. It was really easy to change the front I simply folded the front back to cover the button holes then hand stitched it down. I didn't add the button loop at the top instead added an extra standard button just below the collar. By doing this the collar matched in the centre. If you fancy trying this yourself make sure there is plenty of room in the neck as it will come out smaller than the original pattern intended. As the pattern is American sizing it was perfect as the Fabric Godfather is very tall and broad shouldered and their sizes tend to come up on the generous side.

The fabric I used is a lightweight cotton lawn perfect for this weather (sorry I have now sold out of this fabric but you can find more like it here)I also think this pattern would look great in a floral cotton poplin like the ones here)

Special trick shot!
Sorry I am not as good behind the camera as he is but he couldn't take his own pictures

Here is the Colette version

I am now tasked with making him an entire new wardrobe!

Happy sewing xxx

P.S. I have only just discovered Bloglovin (doh I know sooo late to the party) so why not sign up and follow me it is such an easy way to manage your blogs

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

My First Anna

I have named this post My First Anna, because hand on heart I WILL be making this dress again. 
The Anna dress is the fourth offering from those oh so clever girls at By Hand London.
I choose a light washed denim for my mid length, slashed neck version of the Anna. The great thing about this dress is you can make it is an fabric with plenty of body like this denim as well a wonderfully slinky floaty silk and it would still look great.
I didn't make a muslin (I never do, I am such a lazy sewer!! I usually choose an easy to sew fairly cheap fabric for my first try of a pattern, that way I can wear it if it works and if not well I haven't wasted too much money or time) So I guess this is my wearable muslin.

My favourite part of the pattern are the double bust pleats. Not only because of the way they are described in the pattern instructions "opening up almost flower like to accommodate your boobies" but also be because they make my 'boobies' feel flower like and me feel all girlie and special!

Next time I make the pattern I will adjust the neck a little as it gaped slightly at the front, unless I am standing up very straight like I should. Probably  because I have a narrow back so often have to adjust patterns.
I also found the neck facing didn't seem to sit quite right, something I have read in a couple of other blogs. But easy enough to fix by tracing the neckline and making my own facing.

As I said before, I am a lazy sewer, however with this dress I made an extra special effort with the finishing. I promise this dress looks almost as good inside out as the right way round. I pressed and stitched all the seam allowances and bound the waist seam and facing. Then I used bias binding to finish the hem for a really un-bulky finish. I am sorry no pictures of this, believe it or not I am actually stood in the middle of Peckham for these pictures (See Peckham gets a bad press and it really has it's beauty spots)and I didn't fancy stripping off to turn the dress inside out to prove that point you will just have to take my word for it!

Next time I want to make a long dress in something altogether more floaty and girlie, not my usual style, but I just feel this dress would work so well in a long floral version..Though maybe will have to leave the bike at home for that one!

Denim fabric available here
Dress pattern available here 

Happy sewing xxx