#456

It has been a hell of a day, and I wasn’t able to stream tonight. Sincerest apologies to anyone who wanted to join, but I wasn’t feeling the best, so the stream wouldn’t have been too entertaining.

I spent all day waiting for the plumber to come, but he never did, so I spent some time watching YouTube, playing games and smocking.

I saw a video by Handiworks showing a smocked cushion cover. The version I saw was sped up, so I just copied based on a quick explanation. I have to watch the long version to see how to sew into a cushion, as mine is very diamond shaped still, and the smocking is larger. I just really liked the how the satin highlighted the pattern more dramatically than more matte fabrics, and I’ve been meaning to make cushions for our lounge since we bought it four years ago.

Here’s a view from the back.

I’ve had a pile of sewing projects building lately, so it’s very nearly time for the sewing machine to be brought into daylight. I’ve had to do some research regarding jersey fabric so i can resize some t-shirts, and I watched a couple of seasons of Project: Runway, which made me feel like trying some new things out. Even if I’d never be hold enough to wear them outside, but I have a huge pile of fabric not doing anything else.

No smocking beyond this point…

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#339

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Another run out of money day at the city craft store.
I bought some lovely red fabric to make a top the other day, but I realised that I looked at the wrong top measurements, so I decided to buy more fabric, making sure I got plenty extra. I chose a nice plain navy cotton broadcloth that could be a bit dressy. I made sure to get matching zips, thread and bias binding. This pattern will be quite a challenge for me, which is partially why I picked simple, cheap fabrics. That way, I can practice a few times before I get some fancier fabrknock haven’t tried a pattern like this before, so I’ll have to double read the instructions.
I also found an artists colouring book. It’s like the whole new adult colouring, but on gorgeous thick paper that will hold watercolour and marker ink greatly.  It’s called ‘Secret Garden’ by Johanna Basford, and is filled with lovely floral designs.
I love the fact that this new colouring trend is getting people into the creative, artistic groove, but I’ve always used colouring books as an exercise for my art. Using the simple child’s images and turning them into properly coloured artworks is fun. You can work on colour theory without having to draw an image first, or even modify the images if you like. The point is that you shouldn’t knock something just because it’s deemed childish. I have a box full of pompoms and making supplies, I use paper mache all the time and I have a load of colouring books. These things can be adapted to an adults level, but are intended to bring out a persons creativity. We learn by playing, which is why kids need to play. The problem is, most people stop playing when they decide they’re too old.
You are never too old to learn, so you are never too old to play.

#335

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Adorable cat hinders sewing attempt.
What is it with cats and thinking paper patterns and sharp pins is a game? I was a few minutes from locking them both out of the room, but I discovered if I sat still for a moment, they got bored and walked away long enough for me to pin a few more places. I was making a pair of house shorts for my partner while he was at work to surprise him. I changed the pattern a bit, and messed up a few times, but they’re comfy, which is all that matters (although I might need to take them in a bit.) After watching a reality TV show about sewing, I realised there was so much I didn’t know about sewing and that I should practice. So I finally found my paper patterns at the bottom of a paper box, and looked through for a project. I found three that would be nice, but I had started adjusting the shorts pattern, a while ago, but hadn’t gotten to the cutting section. I washed all my new fabrics that I had bought, and amongst them were some green and black fabric. When I was cutting, I didn’t realise there was a wrong and right side until I had to unpick one of the seams.
Watching the TV show had given me a few tips, and I tried sewing neater, and closer to the edges. This worked, and was beautiful… On the wrong side of the shorts. I had finished the elastic casing at the top, when I went to cut the thread and discovered, bunching and knotting the whole way around. Instead of unpicking, I went over the stitching with a zigzag stitch. I know my partner wouldn’t look that closely at them, so it’s fine. I kind of stopped looking at the instructions, as they were confusing. There was meant to be buttons and flies, and whatnot, but I made them basic, and simple. Not the best plan while learning, but ideal when trying to finish something for a surprise.

#331

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I thought I’d share a card I made for my Father in law, since I can’t show you much else that I’ve been working on.
My partners Father likes carpentry, so we decided to make a wooden card. The biggest challenge with this was finding a small hinge. Unfortunately, the one I found was still too big for the coasters that I bought for the card. I ended up having to hack saw off the ends of each screw, which took a while. Luckily they weren’t too sharp after a couple of whacks with a hammer. For the painting, I stamped the ship and flourishes, then drew the writing with a pencil before painting over it. I added gold paint to the back and inside, and it worked it nicely.

Today, I needed a break from hand sewing, so I began designing some clothes, which lead to me beginning to sew a skirt, using an old pair of jeans and some nice thick white satin with yellow rosebuds on it. Hopefully it works out and I can wear it in summer. I’m always nervous wearing my own creations because, even though I know it’s secured well, maybe even better than shop bought, I think it will fall apart. Maybe I have to wear it around the house for a bit. If I get over this, I could make and wear a lot more clothes.

#328

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Gave in to peer pressure. Tried some smocking.

It’s quite fun, if you like to tie off thread all day. For the effort put in compared to the effect it creates, it’s certainly worth it. I’d like to make a dress or top with smocking details on it. I’ll have to come up with a design. It seems you need to plan ahead with this technique. Not something I’m known for.

#324

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Finally got the sewing machine out today. Trying some quilting techniques. I’ve been sewing as much as I can by hand, because I had no room and it was fun, but I can only do ‘sew’ much.. Hehehe.
It was starting to hurt, and I had to use a thimble for the first time. It was awkward and sweaty and more of a burden than the pain. I was using bandaids, but they weren’t much better, so I take it in turns between the thimble and not. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten callouses.
Once I cleared a small space, got the machine out and crawled under the table to plug it in, I was able to try out a tip I had seen ages ago, but hadn’t needed until now. You may notice the strip of washi tape/ masking tape near the foot. This makes it so much easier to guide multiple seams at the same width. Sewing machines usually have a small amount of these marked as grooves for hems, but if you need it a little bit larger, or forget which line you were working on, try this out. Just be sure to remember to keep an eye on the foot. Looking that far out to check your lines takes concentration away from the pointy, fast objects.
Stay safe. Watch out for sharp things.

Day #165

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Welp. My machine needed a dust cover…
I finally dug my way to the fabric box, which was under everything because I couldn’t do much without a sewing machine, but I’ve been collecting remnants as I see them and fat quarters, so I had plenty of colours to get at least two 4 by 4 inch squares each with a load to spare. I’m not usually one to make big things, so all my scraps have to be tiny before I throw them. I wanted to try sewing elastic on, so I put it around the bottom of the cover, which will help protect it. It isn’t lined, but it’ll do its job. It will be a good project to redo in the future, when I get better at sewing, to see my progress.
Next project is a handbag, I think. I can never find exactly what I want, and they break too easily. I have some lovely gothic tartan fabric that I’ve been saving to make something awesome out of.

Day #164

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Guess what I got today! That’s right, a real live working sewing machine! My parents got it for me. So happy! 😀
Sewing machines have a habit of not liking me, but I am determined to be friends with this one. Seems to work well, but I’m getting good use out of the troubleshooting section of the manual. It’s very similar to the machine I learned on, so that’s good.
I began by sewing up a small pencil case that I had cut out and pinned ages ago. It’s not straight and I didn’t use any measuring tools, but it was a test run, and it turned out quite nice. Next I made a small cat toy to keep my girl off of my lap while I was cutting.
Next, I began cutting out pieces for a dust cover for my machine. I’ve not had good experiences with wheel cutters or quilting previously, but I managed to cut out 66 squares without any cuts (apart from the cat using me as a stepping stone). Maybe I’ll have some luck in getting the squares somewhat straight. I’m not the most patient when it comes to sewing, half the time I don’t even iron. Maybe with practice and now that I have more room, I might take the time to make some awesome things.

Day #71

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“Oh mahhhh, she used her camera *shock*”

So, when I get in a really creative mood, I make these hand sewn bears, I love how cute they are, and they are so hard for me to give away or sell. The pattern is originally from the miniature bear in The Complete Book of Teddy-Bear Making Techniques. I’ve practiced using different materials, such as upholstery fabric, suede, felt, and the one on the right was made with actual miniature fur fabric designed for mini bears, After all these, one of my favourite methods is attaching iron on interfacing to panne velvet (which is usually stretchy, and has a tiny plush texture) so it isn’t stretchy, has a nice thickness, easy to trace the pattern onto the interfacing, and doesn’t fray.

The book includes patterns on making basic clothes for your bear, but I have the skills to create whatever makes the bear have their own personality. This is certainly an art aspect to sewing, and often my favourite part.