Tag Archives: sewing

Patchwork Cushion

9 Aug

I have written a whole blog post about the chair I made this cushion (it was a slight tangent, but a lovely nostalgic one for me). However my original intention was to write about the cushion. I have made many things over the years and not documented them, I used to be able to remember the majority, however I find I stumble across old photos and think, oh I’d forgotten all about that skirt/bag/jumper I’d made. So I’m making a more concerted effort to document things, which Instagram has made easier to do, but I also like to use my blog as a notebook to myself as to the challenges/issues I encounter and had to resolve along the way. That said, although I do plan most of my project, at least to begin with, there is a considerable degree of  let’s just give it ago and see what happens.

I love a bit of Patchwork, and although it’s time consuming I do really like English paper piecing, which I hadn’t done for while after finishing the mammoth task of my Mum’s quilt. However I thought this would be a little project. I sketched a few ideas quite small to begin with and once I found an idea I was happy with I enlarged it and drew it out on some wall paper lining. I quite enjoy the Maths involved with patterns and pieces, I probably enjoyed this process as much as the actual making.

Paper piece template cushion - Nettynot Blog

Once I had my piece draw, in theory all the same shapes should be the same size, so it shouldn’t matter which pieces I sew together along as they are the right pieces, however learning from previous mistake I knew I really needed to be putting the pieces back together in exactly the way I cut them up, as it only takes a few of them to be a millimeter or so out to make it really awkward sewing them together later on (& I’m only human after all). So I numbered each piece and took a photo on my phone, for reference, before cutting up the template.

I often struggle to find enough time to get stuck into a project like this in one big chunk, so I decided I’d try to do the tacking and sewing of 1 set of shapes each evening for a week, so that it didn’t feel like it took too long to complete.

English Paper Piece - round Cushion cover - nettynot blog

It took me longer to decide what to do with back and get my act together to complete it. That didn’t go quite to plan, but I made it work in the end (sort of). I think the errors here were not measuring and cutting properly. I sewed strips of fabric together and made a cardboard template for the triangular shape, which really isn’t accurate enough when using a rotary cutter  (lesson learnt).

Cushion Back - Nettynot blog

The seams didn’t match up on the back terribly well, so I unpicks a couple of seams and tweaked it enough that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, but in the process it had the central two hexigans wonky, I would have prefer them to be symmetrical as intended however it’s not too bad and everyone (hopefully) will be looking at the front and not the back. That said I did get the invisible zip in evenly, though not so invisible with the fabric stretched slightly.

Cushion Back with zip - Nettynot blog

I do like the finished result, and it is the bold eye catching design I had in mind, influenced slightly by the leather 70’s pouffes seen in many retro and vintage shops. However if I was going make one again I would make the cover larger, whenever I make a square cushion cover I make it slightly smaller as it makes for a better plump finish, no one wants floppy cushion, I applied the same principal here, wrongly as I think it looks a little too tight and puckered at the edge. I think even just an extra half inch all round would have made a nicer fit.


I also might try to be clever next time and make a convex shaped cover to eliminate the puckering on the back…..hmmmm the cogs are whirring on that one already.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

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Me Made May 2016 – round up!

1 Jun

This has been a great challenge, I set myself a few goals, some of which I’ve achieved, others I haven’t. However this challenge has got me sewing again (the fear has subsided) it has also made me re-assess my wardrobe.

MMMay16 Round up IG - Nettynot Blog

It wasn’t my intention to necessarily post a picture every day on IG (@nettynot) but I got into it, I enjoyed seeing everyone else so much that I thought why not (this is a little collage). It didn’t feel like a chore but I did put a little more thought into some of my outfits and I now know some of the areas of my wardrobe I need to improve. I want to make some more everyday dresses and skirts as well as more versatile and flattering cardigans.  I hope when I do this next year I’ll have less duplicate outfits and will feel/look less awkward being photographed (we’ll see).

Pink Mrs. Darcy Cardigan - Nettynot Blog

On old cardigan, the first garment I ever knitted – at least 8 years ago, has had a lot more wear recently as a result of MMMay16, a dark pinky-red colour it goes with loads of things and I love the brightness. It’s in a acrylic mohair yarn it’s very warm (too warm a lot of the time) but a slight breeze and it’s too cold as it’s such a loose knit. There’s a lot that I don’t like about this cardigan, I sewed the seams too firmly, they look neat, but the arm holes are too sung and it looks very strange when buttoned up and the sleeves are too short (but wearable with the cuffs folders back). But I’m still proud of it and I’m glad it got some more wear, though it’s likely to be worn less now the challenge is over and I’ll soon have another knitted cardigan….

Cross Pockets Progess - Nettynot Blog

I have made good progress on my cross pockets cardigan, though it’s not finished yet, it is much closer; sleeves to finish and then a little bit of sewing up, a block and it’s done. I have set myself a new target, I want to be able to wear it on 18th June which is worldwide Knit in Public day. I have also got carried away and been inspired by all the lovely knit wear that popped up on IG over May and I have just bought myself another Andi Satterlund pattern, Vianne. It’s lovely and this time a DK weight yarn which it a bit more appropriate for summer. I can’t wait to cast it on which has been me more incentive to get a wiggle on with my cross pockets.

Mini Blouse Progress - Nettynot Blog

I have also started a sewing class; because I can already sew and I know how to use a pattern I have struggled to find a course that aimed at my level, I can find loads of beginner classes so had temporarily given up my search then came across all things creative and found a class perfect for me. I can take along whatever project I want to work on and there’s a very knowledgeable tutor on hand to help you along the way. So I have been working on my Mini blouse, each week, a fair bit of progress has been made but it’s not quite there yet, one more week and I think it’ll be finished – this course has been great for me, it’s rebuilt my sewing confidence. There was a definite moment while working on this that had I been doing this at home on my own I’m sure the whole thing would have gone in the bin, but with help on hand, it wasn’t a problem and I just got on with it.

Sorbetto Tops - Nettynot Blog

I was saving my mini blouse to work on at me sewing class which is once a week, however as the sewing bug bit I felt the need to do some more sewing at home too. I had spotted several nice Sorbetto tops on IG so thought I’d investigate. I downloaded the pattern and made one straight away. Fortunately I already had enough fabric in my stash to make a couple of these. My practice one it a little large and also too short (I always have to shorten everyone by approximately 1’’ as I have a high waist and short torso) so I automatically did this, however it wasn’t needed. The second one I made I did a size smaller and longer version which fitted much better, I’m also keen to do more.

Refashion dress - Nettynot Blog

I have also fixed a skirt that was too big for me and completely refashion a once loved dress (I’ll post about the dress separately).

Coco Top - Nettynot Blog

I turned my unfinished Coco dress (which I’d deemed unflattering) into a top so that I could wear it, photographed on a lovely day up in Cumbria earlier in the month with a newly fished necklace too. I have tackled a few jewellery other items too, thought I got too carried away by sewing to do as much as I anticipated, but I don’t really mind about that, I was also aware of the over ambitious challenges I set myself.

Emery dress and Fabric - Nettynot Blog

I have also bought some lovely light weight denim fabric to make an Emery dress (which I can then wear any colour knitted cardigans over & it will work). I have had the pattern for a while and have been really inspired by the many variations I’ve seen on people’s blogs and on IG that I thought it was about time to get one with it. I had previously bought some ruby red polka dotty fabric for this pattern, it was only cheap so I thought this could  be my toile and just hope it’s wearable too (I hate putting all that effort into a toile to not be able to make use of it). So once Mini is finished this is my next project as well as making some simple skirts from my fabric stash.

I’m full of enthusiasm and inspiration which is wonderful and just what I needed. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Thanks for reading and feel free to post your blog link below if you also joined in – I’ve loved seeing everyone’s outfits!

Me Made May 2016

30 Apr

In May 2014 I was in awe of all the wonderful Me Made May photos popping up on Instagram, at the time I was very much of the opinion of “wow, I’d love to do that… but I don’t have enough handmade items, or the time to do it!” Then May 2015 came round and I there were lots more lovely handmade and inspiring outfits cropping up. However last year I thought, this time next year, maybe I’d join in…!

The knitters and sewers at Knit In Notts have spoken about it a few times with no real commitment being stated so when I saw that Jem Weston had shared her pledge on Instagram (@jemweston) last week it gave me the kick up the bum to also join in!

This is my pledge – stated over on  “So Zo…What do you know?” blog (the creator of the MMM challenge).

 ‘I, Steph Gibbs (nettynot.wordpress.com @nettynot on Instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear a handmade garment, each day for the duration of May 2016, as well as finish some UFO’s!’

MMM16

I feel I need to remind myself that a challenge, which Me Made May is, should test me, if it’s too easy it’s not a challenge. I do not own enough items to wear a different handmade item every day, however I’m already looking forward to being more creative with my outfits. I intend to include garments that I’ve customised in some way too, as that’s always a useful skill and a nice way to rescue clothing or make then your own. I also hope that this challenge will make me more productive and think about how I’m using my time in the evenings, so I can be more efficient and finish some UFO’s.

I’m going to address a few different areas of my handmade wardrobe for this challenge….

Sewing – I’m going to look at all the handmade garments in my wardrobe, mostly skirts, that just require slight adjustments to make them wearable again.

Knitting – I’m going to wear more of my hand knitted garments, I have several that I don’t make the most of, which is madness when I think about the amount of time spent making them.

Jewellery – Almost all of my jewellery I have made myself (occupational hazard) and have so many necklaces and bracelets, yet I always wear the same few on rotation. So I’m going to wear more of the vast array I have (& maybe cull the items that I’m not going to wear again – it is the right time for a Spring clean after all).

There’s a few specific things that I’d like to do during May and this challenge (I am aware I’m being a little ambitious, but if I commit them to computer screen, they’re more likely to get done) and it’s not as though once May is over I’m not allowed to keep challenging myself, right?!

Mimi
I have already cut out all the pattern pieces (about 6 months ago) to make the Mimi blouse from Tilly and the Buttons – Love at first stitch book, I have suitable fabric that already washed n ready to go. I intend to complete this by the end of May!

Cross Pockets
I have brought the problematic Cross Pockets Cardigan out of hibernation and ripped it back to the waist ready to re-knit and hopefully fix the issues I had – I want to complete this by the end of May too!

Mini blouse fabric - Nettynot Blog

Coco
I stared a dress version of Coco last summer, however when it got to the trying on stage I realised it just wasn’t going to be a flattering fit. Disappointed and slightly annoyed with it, it has sat in a cupboard out of sight ever since. However that’s no reason why I can’t turn it into another Coco top, which again I’d like to achieve before the end of May.

Mending/Fixing
As well as fixing and adjusting any handmade items in my wardrobe that don’t fit I also intend to tackle my pie of broken jewellery/not quite finished jewellery.

I’m not a huge fan of a selfie (also I’m pretty rubbish at photographing myself) however I do endeavour to record at least some of my MMM16 progress over on Instagram (@nettynot) if you’d like to follow.

Thanks for reading 🙂

My Liberty Fix

30 Aug

I was recently disappointed to discovered that one of my trusty tee shirts came out of wash with a split in the yoke seam. The thin decorative fabric meant I wouldn’t have be able to sew it up very neatly.

Sad hole in a favourite Tee Shirt - Nettynot BlogI had thought it’d be a good excuse to do something a little creative maybe sew some buttons on or embroider over it. It’s been sat on my ‘to be fixed’ pile for a few weeks while I pondered about it, then a week or so ago, while reading Very Berry Handmade blog post Vintage Look Liberty Hexies my minds started racing with ideas.

I love a hexie, whether it’s crochet, knitting or patchwork. I’ve been working in small scale recently making some fabric patchwork necklaces – still a work in progress, and still very much enjoying the experimenting stage (hopefully I’ll be writing more about this venture soon too).
Patchwork Necklace - Nettynot BlogAnyway back on topic, my holy top, having decided to add some liberty fabric and create some mini hexagons to cover the hole, I made some small paper pieces and started sorting out exactly what I was going to do.
tiny paper patchwork pieces - nettynot blogLiberty Fabric Choice - Nettynot blogPicking fabric – I do have a fair few Liberty Fabrics in stash and it was tricky to narrow down the selection, then deciding whether to go complimentary or contrasting…eek. The bluey fabrics match very well, however I thought that was too safe, plus as soon as I laid out the ever so slightly neon pinky/red fabric with blue crosses I knew that had to be the one. The pattern also lent it’s self to framing the crosses in the centre of each hexagon.

Patchwork placement - Nettynot blogPlacement – then all I had to do was figure out was the arrangement, I played with a few ideas first before settling on the one I was happy with.

They were a little fiddly to sew together, but I actually quite enjoyed it, I think knowing there were only six to sew made this less of a challenge. I decided that since they were so small, I’d make my life easier by using some bondaweb, secure them to the tee shirt first, (I thought it would also make it stronger and hopefully wouldn’t sag when I wear it).

Finished Liberty Fix - nettynot BlogI then hand stitched around the outside and along the small seams and then as a finishing touch I swapped the old small shell buttons for some blue ones to match the tee shirt fabric and used contrasting pink thread to tie them into the liberty fabric.

I’m rather happy with the result and may well introduce some patchwork finishes to more of my sewing projects.

Lilou Dress

16 Aug

I have recently got into what I would call ‘proper’ dressmaking, actually following a pattern and making considered decisions, rather than just making things up and keeping my fingers crossed. I think my problem was I was getting a bit over whelmed and found the idea of adjusting a pattern very daunting. However with the wealth of information on the internet from blog and helpful hints on Pinterest it’s far less intimidating.

Tilly and the Buttons - Love at First Stitch - Lilou Dress - Nettynot Blog

The pattern I choose was the Lilou Dress from Tilly and Buttons – Love at first Stitch book, I thought the style should suit me and having previously sewn a Coco top, the Megan dress and the Margot pyjamas, steadily building up my confidence I thought I’d be alright having a go at the most complex pattern (though not actually too difficult) from the book.

Not knowing how well the bodice would fit I very sensibly made a toile (something I’ve never really bothered with before – rookie error I know). I measured myself, in case I’d changed since my last project, my measurements came out as bust 34’’, waist 29.5’’ and Hips 39.5’’, not quite fitting a single size (as usual). So I initially made one adjustment on the bodice and made the side seams go from size 3 under the arms out to a size 4 on the waist. The skirt pattern I cut out at a size 4 (closest size for my hip measurement).

I completed the bodice, including adding a lining (I wanted the practice), in some floral fabric I inherited from my Gran in a similar weight to my dress fabric. The first bodice was a terrible fit – well it just didn’t fit. I was determined not to get put off even though I was a little frustrated as I’d checked the measurements and everything seemed to go well. It was a little loose on the waist, the back was baggy, there was way too much space across my bust, the straps stuck out and it was too long. I started thinking about how to address each issue. I’ve read about FBA (full bust adjustment) and SBA (small bust adjustment) when I first attempted the hawthorn dress (which I got too overwhelmed by and couldn’t face tackling at the time – it is currently hibernating). So I took a deep breath and starting googling SBA. I came across this great blog post Hungry Zombie Couture – My Cup Does Not Runneth Over I was relieved to find these wonderfully wise words, as I believe the lack of information and “just reverse a FBA” is what put me off tackling previous patterns. So taking on the advice of Shannon before getting too involved in my adjustment, I tried decreasing the depth of my bust dart; I traced off another bodice pattern this time all at size 3, making the waist smaller, then decreased the bust darts by 2cm but kept them the same length, I also shortened it by 2cm and tapered the straps towards the shoulders by 5mm. I also trimmed a little fabric off the bottom of the arm holes as they’d been a little sung. I tried it on at this point without the lining and found the fit on the waist and bust much better, there was still extra space in the back so I just added an extra 5cm in the length of the back darts and that did the job, I then made the lining and attached it so that I could make sure it all worked together and it did – phew!

Lilou toile - nettynot blog

I hadn’t done a toile of the skirt, I knew I’d easily be able to adjust it if necessary, however I did have to retrace the pattern as I’d changed the waist size to a 3, so I needed the top of the skirt to also be a size 3. I also lengthened the skirt by about 5cm so it hit my knee and I’d feel comfortable wearing it without tights in the summer.

Invisible zipper foot - Nettynot BlogI decided to treat myself to an invisible Zipper foot – it’s amazing! It made adding the zip so easy, I don’t know why I haven’t bought one sooner (well actually I do it was £19.95 – it made a nice Birthday present to myself).
Once I fitted the zip (before I finished attaching the lining) I tried the dress on and discovered that it was overall a bit big *huge Sigh*! I unpicked the zip and trimmed 1cm off each side of the back edge (including the edge of the lining) and reattached the zip – it did the job and fitted *relaxed sigh*! I hastily finished everything off, including leaving a raw seam in the back and a crude hem as it got to 10pm the evening before I needed to wear it to a friend’s wedding. No one noticed and I can now sort that out while not having a deadline looming over me.

Finished Lilou Dress - Nettynot BlogEek – looking at this makes me realise just how pasty I am, I’m almost blending into the white pebble dash here, I’d also like to point out that these were not the shoes I wore to the wedding, I wore posh navy shoes. The brown summer flats were all I had with me when I got my Mum to take the photo.
Front darts and pleats on Lilou dress - Nettynot BlogI was impressed with how neatly the darts and pleats met at the waist and having never lined a garment before I quite enjoyed discovering how easily it all went together. Overall it has definitely been a great learning curve, as frustrated as I got at points I kept my cool and persevered (including the point when I got the lining stuck in the zip at the final trying on stage – eek). Even though I now have a pattern I could re-use I’m sure about the idea of making this dress again, there’s still a few, minor, fit issues. Although having said that I have decided to make the toile (which isn’t too bad really) into a finished dress with a gathered skirt, I might as well, especially given how much time I’d have spent working on it.

I realise this is yet another lengthy blog post, however when searching for people who’d written about their Lilou dresses I wanted to know more, what exactly they adjusted and why, I decided it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to give a blow by blow account of my journey with this pattern and show that it’s doable for even a relatively novice dressmaker (& if I do ever make it again I’ll have a record of what I did). I’m eager to do more sewing now, I need to practice my button holes, maybe the Mimi blouse would be a good warm up and even give me the confidence to attempt the Hawthorn dress again.

Thanks for reading, I’d welcome any hints & tips to help with my dressmaking adventures!

Re-loved Dresses

22 Apr

A couple of years ago, I went with my Mum to a favourite haunt, a large Antique centre near Lancaster. Mostly I swoon over furniture and random bits and bobs of haberdashery and retro crockery, there’s always plenty of new stuff each time I visit! On this occasion I bought two Vivien Smith dresses, (possibly from the early 90’s at a guess). There’s a certain amount of personal nostalgia surrounding these dresses, the designer is not widely known (as a google search proved) but had a few shops near the area I grew up and I have fond memories of my Mum wearing similar dresses  to work when I was growing up.
Vivien Smith Dress - Netttynot BlogI was initially attracted to the fabric and how much there was of it, then my Mum and I shared an “Oh look”, moment when we saw the familiar labels. Then on further inspection I saw they were both the right size-ish and I had actually rather fallen for the lovely neat sewing detail on each one.  However there were no price tags – it’s usually this point where I start to dread the worse. However I took my favourite of the two dresses to the main counter to see if they knew how much it was… they did, it was only £10!!! So a quick dash back for the second dress (also only £10!!!) and I went happily home with both of them, reassuring myself that even if they didn’t fit me I couldn’t have bought that much nice fabric for the same price.
Red Vivien Smith Dress - Nettynot BlogOnce I got them home I tried them on, to be honest I looked like something straight off the set of little house on the Prairie, they were far from flattering, with their large puffy weird length sleeves, high necklines and mid calf length hems. However undeterred I decided with the red dress I might create a pinafore from it, but I don’t think that something I’ll be doing too soon, I’m keeping my eye out for inspiration, as that one will need much more work. With the greeny blue dress (my favourite) I got stuck straight in, made a few simple alterations I took the sleeves off, slimmed them right down reattached them back in place and sewed the cuffs back on. I also chopped a good few inches off the bottom, (some of which made it into my Mum’s quilt). I was pleased with the result, however there was still something not quite right with the fit or style, I’ve tried it on a few times, however I have stalled in my progress and the dress has been hibernating for some time now.
Blue Vivien Smith before and after - nettynot blogWearing the Blue Vivien Smith Dress - Nettynot blogI tried on the bluey green dress on, again, and showed a few friends at our sewing group, after getting over the giggles, they said the collar made it seems quite childish, (I rather like the collar) but I do see what they meant. My Mum thinks I need to raise the waist line slightly; I’m inclined to agree with this, I do have a short torso so regularly have this issue. However I can’t help but feel that in order for me to wear this dress and feel comfortable doing so it might need a bit more modernisation. Something I’ve been considering is cutting a new neckline…. which scares me slightly – what if it all goes horribly wrong.

What would you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’d modernise or adapt the dress without losing the lovely detail.

Thanks for Reading!

Small Quilt

27 Feb

A secret patchwork project, that I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, can now be revealed. The squares I’ve been cutting and sewing together have been turned into a small quilt for a friends new baby. I have given new Mum and baby their gift so I can share the project without ruining the surprise. It went down very well and it’s being used as a colourful play mat.
Cutting fabricI have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the quilting process but I love patch work, even simple squares are satisfying to cut out and sew together. I like the speed of machine sewing patchwork, but don’t get on terribly well with machine quilting and prefer the look of a hand stitched quilt, but just the thought of hand quilting large items is enough to put me off. So making a small a quilt for a baby suited me very well.

I like the preciseness of cutting the fabric and how, if it’s done well, it makes sewing the squares together so easy. I made my squares 6 1/2’’ (with a ¼’’ seam allowance) making it super easy to sew as I have a very handy patchwork foot for my machine with a ¼‘’ guide. I made the quilt 6 x 7 squares making the finished size approximately 36’’ x 42’’ (92cm x 107cm). Which is a size not quite so daunting to hand quilt.
Close up of patchwork - Nettynot BlogOnce I’d bought the fabric, which I’d been doing sporadically since my friend told us she was pregnant (and washed, dried and ironed it), I cut the squares one evening, arranged the order of them and sewed them together in an hour or so another evening. The following night I pinned all the layers together ready for quilting and then did the majority of the top stitching in one afternoon at sewing group while nattering away, drinking tea and eating too much cake. I finished the last bit of top stitching and turned over and stitched the edges in another afternoon.

Finished Quilt - Nettynot BlogNot Knowing what the sex of the baby would be and knowing Mum wouldn’t want a pale or wishy-washy coloured quilt, I started with the green fabric with little foxes, houses and hedgehogs on, which I thought was really cute, then picked other bright and bold colours to go with it.
Close up Quilt - Nettynot BlogQuilt corner - Nettynot BlogAll in all I was quite pleased with how quickly I managed to create the quilt, breaking it down into manageable chunks makes it so much more achievable. This project remained enjoyable the whole way through; some larger projects have a tendency to become chores when they take so much longer than anticipated. I wouldn’t hesitate to make another small quilt, I also discovered a wonderful notion on Pinterest of quilting as you go, which I feel would be a much better way to approach big project and something I may have to try one day.

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