Sunday, 30 August 2015

Making a Delphine, part 1

My first piece of clothing is going to be a Delphine skirt, from Tilly Walnes' "Love At First Stitch" book. I'm making it out of this lovely green linen/cotton blend; and for anyone who has seen or heard of the musical Wicked, you should be able to see why I keep calling it the Elphie skirt...that and the exaggerated a-line shape should 'defy gravity', if all goes to plan. :D
After washing, ironing and folding (which took far longer than it should do, but I do like to procrastinate), it was time to cut out the fabric pieces. I felt so nervous at this point. I still need to get used to that feeling of cutting into fabric and transforming it into something. At the moment, it still feels a bit like I'm cutting it up, rather than cutting into it.
The rotary cutter was a very worthwhile purchase, I find it so much easier to cut with than my scissors. I traced the Tilly and the Buttons pattern onto baking paper (my tracing paper was a bit small), pinned that onto the fabric, and cut out the pieces with my rotary cutter. It seemed to work fairly well, but I'm sure there are other ways of doing it. Any suggestions of a preferred method, or any hints and tips for cutting out, would be most welcome.

This is how the skirt looks now it's cut out (waistband not pictured, I've added the interfacing to that and it needs pinning and sewing together). It's not entirely perfect, but it's the best I've done, and progress is what I try to aim for, rather than perfection.
Since taking this picture, I've sewn the first part of the side seams, so it's looking slightly more finished now. I thought French seams would be perfect for this skirt, firstly because it's the only seams my machine can do, and secondly because it's a pattern with a French name, so it seems strange not to! :)

Progress on the skirt will be halted this weekend, as I'm going to a Steampunk festival tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday) and I have lots of hand sewing to do before we go. My Victorian costume is finished, but I still need to sew some cogs onto my boyfriend's outfit and I have a waistcoat to make for my teddy, for the teddy bear's picnic. First pattern drafting I've ever done, and the whole thing is about 3 inches squared, haha. So I'm still sewing like mad today!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sewing Machine Cover - WIP

I've been working slowly on the sewing machine cover for the past few weekends, because I realised that I'll be looking at it so much that I'll want it to be right. So far, the plan seems to be working! The pattern matching along the top isn't perfect, but this was my first attempt at it and after the third go at unpicking and re-sewing it because it was 2mm out, I paid attention to the Voltaire quote on my noticeboard: "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". I love that quote.

So, the sewing machine cover is to go over the 'coffin lid' box that houses the Singer 28k; mostly to protect the wood from sunlight and wear, and also because my boyfriend doesn't like it (can't blame him, it is rather imposing). This is what it looks like, for anyone unfamiliar with it:

And here it is with the cover on at the moment. And now I can see it's not on quite straight in this photo, but you get the idea.
You might notice that the bottom inch is left uncovered, and that's because that belongs to the actual sewing machine base, so when the lid is removed, the cover will go down to the bottom of that, and won't get crushed under it on the floor.
The cover is made out of 3 fat quarters from Hobbycraft, one for each long side, and two smaller pieces from the final quarter for each end. I interfaced both of the larger pieces to give the cover strength and thickness, and did a french seam to attach the two pieces at the top, along the tape measure section of the design. Of course, despite taking tens of photos, I forgot to get one of that bit.

The bits I haven't done yet are the awkward angles at the top of the ends as you can see here, and the holes for the handles to go through. I'll need to get the handles free, as the machine is heavy and I can't lift it without them; for the time being I'm removing the cover to move the machine (it took a lot of effort to wiggle one handle free to get this second picture).
I'm hoping that my brain is unconsciously thinking on the logistics of these two tasks, because at the moment I'm leaving it until I feel ready. I want it to be right, and I can't think of a way to make the holes for the handles without the fabric fraying; no zigzag stitch on this machine.

One thing I'm really pleased with is the bias binding round the bottom, which was so much better than on my last project, my gardening apron. Although I like to do the best I can, it always makes me happy to see improvement in my sewing.
I added white bias binding all the way round, backstitching at the ends of each section, in case I went wrong and needed to unpick it. With the amount of times I unpicked the join at the top of the cover, I wasn't about to unpick the whole lot of bias binding! But luckily, none of it went wrong. I am definitely learning the value of taking my time, I really enjoyed making sure I was doing it right (amazingly, despite putting my pins in back to front!).
Also, how adorable is this fabric? I have two smaller sections of it left that I cut from the length, so hopefully I can think of something to make with them.

And finally, I mentioned I was having a craft weekend with my best friend last week. As well as doing a lot of the work above, we also went shopping at Hobbycraft (obviously) and the amazing local vintage emporium, Hopkinson. Here's my purchases for the weekend, along with my internet buys, too.
I couldn't resist the printed card A with the dresses on for 30p (which you can't see very well because it's white, clever me), that's going on my wall!
The green zip and vintage pattern were from Hopkinson, and I was so, so pleased to find this pattern! I can't wait to make all of these. At £1 for four possible skirt styles it was an absolute bargain.
Of course, the green zip and Gutermann thread were meant to go with the fabric on the right, but I was silly and bought them before the fabric arrived in the post. I had the wrong green in my head, apparently. But not to worry, I have a fraying bottle green dress that the thread matches perfectly to, so it'll still be used. And that gives me an excuse to go to Hobbycraft again to buy more thread, heehee.
The two zipper feet for my Singer are there too, one adjustable and one invisible. I love the fact that the invisible zipper foot is see-through plastic and therefore invisible itself. A lot of the projects on my 'to make' list feature zips, and it's something I really want to practice. The purple zips are the same as the feet, one invisible and one not.
The disappearing fabric pen has already been used extensively on the sewing machine cover, and it's purple too, which is always a plus with me, obviously.
Which leaves the green fabric to be used in my next project... :)