Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sewing - the introduction

I'm starting off small with my sewing projects. I used to do quite a lot of sewing, but this is way back in time, over twenty years ago! I was an enthusiastic member of the sewing club at primary school, where I learnt to use a sewing machine and how to use a pattern, plus we did a bit in textiles classes at secondary school (although I seem to remember dyeing cotton and using it to make a bag, before we spent weeks writing business plans for a hypothetical farm shop, which was rather boring, if probably useful. The school trip to the farm where the hypothetical farm shop was going to be was quite fun though, lots of cows to see!). And in my early teens I made a few things, but then I must have got swamped by GCSEs and then A Levels and then university and then career, as I have done very little since.

So, with a new sewing machine to get used to, I started off by making another one of those bags, this time for a friend's birthday. All went well, and I was impressed with how much easier it was using a zipper foot on the new machine. I'd bought a more complicated zipper foot after a consultation with the saleswoman in John Lewis - this one swops sides and is adjustable, unlike the basic one that came with the machine. It definitely seemed worth buying the extra foot. I also got some thread that properly matched the fabric, thanks to the OH and his Superior Colour Matching Abilities.

I then spent quite a while finding some chocolate that just fitted in the bag! I only got a few funny looks whilst I was shopping.

This is project two, a drawstring bag for a knitting project. I wanted a slightly bigger one, as my existing ones are fine for sock projects, but not bigger things like jumpers. This was a free pattern from Quilting Bees (opens as PDF) and is lined with a cunning channel incorporated into it for threading the drawstring through. So cunning that I only made a hole for it one side, so couldn't actually use it for the drawstring. Oops. So I used a strip of the lining fabric to make an external channel, which does the job (although then it ended up taking ages longer to make the bag as it would have done if I'd not misread the instructions). *sigh*

Next on the list of things to do was to wash my existing fabric stash! The Tilly and the Buttons book suggested washing fabric as soon as you get home with it (which seems a bit excessive on the washing machine front, maybe I'd wait and put it in with a load that's going on anyway?), but it seemed like a good idea to get the stash washed and ironed so that it would all be ready for future projects.

At the moment the fabric stash is quite small, just a few purchases made from two lovely fabric shops I found on holiday, and some organic fair trade corduroy I found at a ridiculous discount online. I'm intending only to buy fabric that I already have a plan for, and not to buy too much as I haven't got room to store it. Unlike yarn shopping, there is a haberdashery in Staines, and there is an absolutely enormous haberdashery/fabric store (Fabric Warehouse) not far from where I work, so there feels like less of a need to stock up as I can get a lot of things without going too far or having to buy online.


Tina said...

So, that's a "new" adventure! Curious to see what comes next! Love the London map fabric!!!

ShinyNewThing said...

Well done on the new sewing machine and I hope you have a lot of fun with it. The doll was adorable, hope the recipient loved it. Also the little Liesl. Best wishes for a creative 2015.

PixieMum said...

I have found Tatters very good for buttons and other notions, bought Hello Kitty buttons for a cushion cover made for daughter.

i do the think the staff are a bit offhand, but then I am used to the John Lewis partners who go out of their way to assist.

Interesting to hear about your sewing machine, recently we retrieved mine from under the stairs. One was my Mother's, it is older than me, it is a Singer, does nothing except sew a fine seam, the other also a 40 year old Singer is model 747 that does a little more. Once DD is settled into the house she is buying she is going to have the older one to try sewing. Up to now she hasn't been interested.

Iris said...

Well done on mastering your new sewing machine - the zip bag and the knitting bag both look great. In fact, I think I prefer the knitting bag with your afterthought-drawstring ribbon, it's a nice contrast to the fabric.

Mary Anne said...

Beautiful projects you've made already with your new sewing machine!! I can imagine the looks when you were fitting the chocolate to the bag :)