Friday, 16 March 2012

halterneck apron

I felt in need of some sewing therapy after the knit debacle, and this lovely print from Fabric Godmother came to my rescue.

I had bought it with this dress in mind, but something about it seemed to demand a more practical application. And I wasn't sure how therapeutic the dress would be, whereas a nice new apron seemed promisingly safe and potentially rewarding.

So, I traced around a battered old apron...

... and tweaked it a bit, to make the template longer and curvier than the original, with an extension at the top for the halter-neck.

I measured the inside of the halter-neck - it was 31cm. Then I made the tape measure into a 62cm loop and checked that it would fit over my head. 
(There are no photos of that not-very-elegant process, but it worked for me).

I added seam allowances and cut it all out.  My new book (Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch) has taught me that seams should always meet at a right angle. Here are my right angles...

... and here are the neck pieces sewn together with my first ever flat-felled seam - all of 7cm of blissful flat-felled therapy.

I finished the edges with narrow bias tape, sewn on all in one go with a wide zig-zag.

I'd used this finish on bibs in the past, and had thought of it as a short-cut. In Design-It-Yourself Clothes it is described as 'decorative'. Hooray for the rebranding of lazy finishes! I celebrated by using red thread on my cream bias tape.

I cut two ties for the waist...

... each sewn lengthways with wrong sides together...

... and turned to right side before attaching to the body of the apron.

The Fabric Godmother must have been smiling on this fabric because the pattern matched, more by happy chance than actual planning.

All done!

Sewing angst banished thanks to a helpful book and some gorgeous fabric - oh yes, and I sewed patiently, and with care.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Let's never speak of this again

So, I traced a pattern from my Japanese book.

Knowing it was meant to made in a woven, I chose a knit.

A knit which had previously proved disastrous in not one but two other garments.

Knowing that my machine hates and fears twin needle sewing, I threaded a twin needle.

Knowing that baby would soon wake up, I sewed recklessly against the clock.

Did I not listen to myself at all last week?

The machine ate my fabric, and the needle too.

It was just what I deserved.

Time for some sewing rehab.

Patiently, and with care.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A grand unified theory - and an honourable exception

Since last week I've been thinking a bit more about good sewing resolutions, and hoping to happen on the grand unified theory which leads to sewing success every time.

I came up with various theories of my own, and then remembered the clever people at Merchant and Mills:

(Now, I wanted to copy this next part from their website - and had permission to do so - but it just won't copy. So I'll rewrite the words, but it's worth following the link above to see the original.)


That really says all that needs to be said on the subject. It is the story behind many of my favourite things, like this dress, 

and this top.

I had planned to say many more words on the subject, but now they are mostly redundant. Like all good principles, however, it has an exception which proves the rule, and that exception is making fancy dress costumes. Last Thursday was World Book Day, and I sent to school a Harry Potter and a Wild Thing (from Where the Wild Things Are, of course). There was fake fur flying on Wednesday night.  Costume sewing bends all the rules - it needs to be slapdash and scrappy, pulling together unlikely materials against an unfeasible deadline, and usually with a voice at my elbow asking 'is it nearly done yet?'.

For everything else, the mantra will be 'patiently, and with care'.