Wednesday, 23 April 2014

How long does a needle last?

On your sewing machine that is?  Do you measure needle life in garments?  For example, this needle worked away on two dresses, a shirt, etc, etc, it must need a change?  Or do you think it's been six months, time for a new needle?  Or do you wait till something goes haywire on the machine and troubleshoot?  Obviously if the needle gets bent, you change it.  This is the kind of question I feel I can ask in this space.  So sewing nerdy - but of so little interest to non-sewers.

I am just wondering.  I bought new needles a few months ago.  I bought stretch needles and standard needles.  But how long do I expect them to last?
A small attempt at organising my sewing tools

And, while I  am posting on this sewing nerd-ish topic, do you favour any one brand of needles for sewing machines?

Finally what do you do when you throw away your old needles?  I tend to wrap the point in tape.
But could I be recycling them?

Monday, 21 April 2014


Recently there's   been some cutting out and Lola sewing.  Followed by Lola unpicking.  Oh dear....I will detail the full story in another post. 

 There' s been Pop-Up puppet making
 Digging on the beach...
 and on the school allotment

Pirate fairy time....but there has not been much blogging time or blog reading commenting time.  I hope you are alll okay and having fun.  Back to hacking up my Lola and hopefully rescuing it.x

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

FO: Small sewing for small peoples

I sewed some small trousers for Rocket Girl from a piece of batik fabric I found amongst my mum's fabric stash.  The pattern is New Look 6906 and I am not sure if I bought this about four years ago or if Ms Scruffybadger gave it to me! I am almost certain it came from ScruffyB.  ( If it was one from you Winnie, Thank You!!  And look, I finally sewed from it. )  There wasn't enough fabric to make a matching top, but I am happy to have put one of the many small pieces of fabric to good use. 
The pattern is really straightforward - you just do a casing for waist with elastic insert and sew a casing inside each lower leg in which you insert narrow elastic to create the frilled effect.  For the inside leg casing I used som ready made bias binding I had been given.  I really like the frilled effect and feel I am just too old to wear such things myself so it gave me great pleasure to sew some for RG.
I made life slightly more complicated by adding two patch pockets on the back.  Little Rocket Girl really likes to stick her hands in her pockets.
She wore these trousers to playgroup and they stayed up!  I forgot to take the camera though so will have to take photos another day.
This is such a simple pattern and so quick to sew, I am thinking of making some more  for summer days.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sew Grateful Giveaway

Sorry for the delay, life took over from blogging.  The winner of my giveaway is Phillippa.  I used a random number generator but am too technically incompetent to show the screen image of it.  It came up number 8 and I was so happy it was Phillippa as she leaves me lovely frequent commets and if you don't know her you should go and check out her pretty Coco dress. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sew Grateful Reflections

I was taught sewing at school and it was disastrous.  I made half an A line skirt, green with tiny daisies on it, it remained, a screwed up scrumpled halfmade scrap.

I think I was really taught sewing by my mum.  She used to sew clothes and then in the eighties discovered quilting. She taught me to create a pattern block using "Metric Pattern Cutting" when I was about sixteen.  I loved the freedom of choice sewing gave me.  She bought me a secondhand Elna in my twenties and gave it to me with a box of sewing threads in a range of colours.

Now my mum has Alzheimer's and I can no longer phone her for sewing advice ("Help mum, my needle's jammed".  She'd tell me off for not keeping my machine cleaned and oiled - oops).  Instead I turn to the online sewing community.     And that's what I am Sew Grateful for...that help and support.  I really value those repeat commentators on this blog and feel I have made friends across ages and geographical borders.

Also in my everyday life, who can I turn to to mention french seams, ballpoint needles or the latest Colette pattern?  If I say my new dress is a Victory Lola, I get blank glassy eyed stares, not a nod of recognition.  I think we all like to find like-minded people and through sewing blogging I have.  So thanks people... here's to another year of bad photography and hopefully good sewing.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sew Grateful Giveaway

My Sew Grateful week giveaway consists of  old, new and a few blues.  
The old is Style 1063 A line skirt pattern and an unused Prima magazine shift dress pattern.  
Then there are several sea themes pieces of fabric - this batik turtle print is a fat quarter and 100% cotton.  
NO matter what I do, I cannot rotate this image, so please squint and grimace to see the dress pattern
I teamed it with the blue shell fabric (cotton too I think)  and these machine embroidery threads.  I think they are so pretty and could be used for really effective decoration, or embroidery.Finally the dark blue is 2 metres of heathered fine jersey knit.  
Be warned this is really fine, almost sheer in a single layer, but it does have a fabulous drapey quality.

It is more navy in real life than in the second photo.
If you are interested in winning this bundle, please leave a comment with contact details.  If you are holding your own giveaway this week, please leave details in your comment as it's good to share.  It would be great if you would add a bit about why you are "sew grateful" for the sewing-blgging community. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight Saturday 1st March GMT.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

FO: Victory Patterns Lola Dress

The headlines screech "Woman suffocated by her own junk."

I know, I know, the Victory patterns Lola dress...all the excitement about it was last year.  I am always so late to the party.  I was tipped into buying it by Alessa's multiple versions.  I hate to spend much on a pattern but bought it as a Christmas present ostensibly from my children to me.  Then I just could not decide what fabric to use.  I pretty much prevaricated more than Hamlet.  I looked at lots of options online and looked at lots of other sewers' versions, trying to see what I thought of their fabric choices.
Or maybe "Woman gives up on clearing junk.  Children eventually tunnel out of house.  Woman still sewing, oblivious" 
Finally, I chose the same "subtle animal print" from Minerva Crafts that I used for my  Ottobre tunic top.  I liked the weight of the fabric and knew it would be not too warm to wear nor too lightweight.
The pattern was straightforward and quick to sew up. The instructions are clearly written. I cut it out on a tuesday evening and sewed the dress up in two sessions over the next two days.  I don't have an overlocker so just used the zigzag stitch on my machine.  Then I stopped for about two weeks as I had no ribbing fabric for the neck, cuffs and hem.  I didn't want to do the edgings in the main fabric.  Again I pondered, browsed online shops and found it really hard to decide.  Then I remembered the jersey rib sold in the Ottobre Etsy shop and ordered half a metre.  It took 6 days to arrive, not bad, as it came from Finland. It went on - and there you go.  The dress is easy to wear, the fabric is the right weight for the oversized pockets so they drape rather than bag out.  I like the shape that the princess seams give the dress - I can see that I have a waist when I wear this!  I can wash it and dry it quickly and (yippeeeeeeee) it doesn't need ironing.  I will definitely make it again, probably in a brighter colour for spring and summer and I am tempted to copy Alessa's polka dot version.  Now, that's my review over, do you want to see my out take photos of the Lola?
Possibly the worst picture but so funny.  What is my face doing in this picture?  Where has my fringe gone? Why am I standing in front of a fighter plane?  

And look,  my own mission control.  "We meet at last, Meester Bond"  It's blurry as that's what often happens when a six year old takes the picture
Can anyone else share their out take photos?