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Ragdolls

The other day when I woke up and decided I’d like to make a rag doll. After a search on the internet I found SourDoughDumpling on Ebay. She has some wonderful patterns similar to Tilda designs and I chose her pattern Matilda to create my rag doll, isn’t she beautiful.

Sourdoughdumpling pattern: Matilda

Sour Dough Dumpling pattern for Matilda rag doll pattern available on her Ebay shop, see link below.

I remember some tips from Create and Craft demos of Tilda dolls so for my project I traced round the pattern pieces and sewed them BEFORE I cut them out. I used pinking shears so that the fabric wouldn’t fray. Stuffed with polyester toy filling and discovered a plastic thick ended chop stick is your best friend when stuffing narrow limbs.

I made my doll out of curtain lining fabric, here’s a top tip if you use the draw around technique. I used a water erasable sewing marker. I used a damp cloth and the colour came off nicely BUT when I ironed one of the pieces the blue lines came back! for the limbs I ran the fabric under a cold tap and this has got rid of the marker and even after ironing it hasn’t come back. So don’t skimp on the warning that comes with these pens and TEST your fabric first to see if it will indeed erase again! I hope I’ll get away with the lines as they are on the edges of the body so those on the head should be covered by hair as will those at the shoulders, the rest will be covered by clothes.

Having fiddled with sewing some of the clothes dress I highly recommend using the draw around and sew limbs together before you cut them out, much easier for little 0.5cm seams. I’ll add pics in the next post about this.

Matilda has a dress cut out, the bodice is made up (well shoulders and neck sewn up) but I have only hemmed the skirt and sleeve sections as RSI has kicked off and fine motor skills are not happening without too much pain. Having to rest up.

Summer Trousers

I also made a start on my second pair of summer trousers before I lost the use of my hands. I am using the New Look pattern 6292 and after a bit of a tweek coz I was in between sizes they are a dream! I can never get trousers to fit and these are wonderful, best fit ever! I made the first pair out of poly cotton and this second pair which are still in construction, are in chambray.

Links

Here are the links to the suppliers on the projects or patterns I am talking about in this post.

If you would like to make a rag doll too but don’t have spare fabric to hand Kath Kidson has a book which includes a printed doll, you just sew round and fill with stuffing. The book also contains a pattern you can trace if you wish to make the doll again in alternative fabric. This is a good one as it also includes several outfits for the doll. I love the PJs.

Hopefully I’ll share some pictures soon, when hands allow.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share pictures of my finished top, the pattern is from New Look that I shared last Monday.

Finished sleeveless top

Finished sleeveless top

Here is the back

Back of my finished top from New Look 6483 sewing pattern

Back of my finished top from New Look 6483 sewing pattern

Of course I can see all the errors and it took me a week not the 1 hour that the cover suggested but that’s a mixture of dyslexia, new to sewing so had to look up every term and also poor dexterity so I had to do it all in small amounts. Got there in the end though and quite pleased with the results. I think I need to get a ham to help me press darts as they look a bit weird. DH says it will look better once washed a few times.

Links

Here is the New Look 6483 pattern on the Simplicity website .

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

 

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Hi All

I bought this pattern last year and found the fabric in the cupboard recently so decided to give it a go.

New Look Sleeveless top pattern

New Look Sleeveless top Pattern 6483

I’m going to make view B without the sleeves for this first attempt at a top, wish me luck.

Best wishes

Billie

PS Twitter followers will know I’ve finished it, so a bit of a tease post. Will show you the finished results next week.

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Hi All

Just wanted to share a pic of my new sewing book

Pattern Making book

Pattern Making book

Its Patternmaking for a perfect fit by Steffani Lincecum. I took her Patter Drafting from Ready to Wear class on Craftsy (once I worked out how to turn the HD off) and loved the class. She mentioned her book during the first episode and as our connection to the internet is flakey I decided to order the book. The class online covered using your favourite item of clothing and creating a paper pattern from it.

I have a shirt which I love and wear lots but fashions change so fast that there isn’t anything quite like it around and getting something to fit is so tricky I would love to make a copy of this shirt. Its got to be almost 20 years old so no chance of getting a replacement. In the book Steff covers making patterns from; a skirt, a dress, a blouse and a handbag. I’d like to copy some trousers but the online class assured me that once you have your head around the technique the same principles apply to any garment.

I attempted to copy a t-shirt which, I thought would be a simple place to start but I’ve managed to get the shoulder pieces different widths for front and back so I’ll have a good read of the book to see where I’ve gone wrong. I used the jigsaw together type of play mat that I bought for blocking knitting stuff on to pin the shirt too and pin through to the paper, found a spiky tracing wheel in my late Mother’s sewing box. The concept went well, just need more practice.

The book also makes mention of how to approximate how much fabric your pattern will need and some assembly tips too. I’ll do a full review once I’ve had chance to have a proper read. In the mean time if you want a copy for yourself the ISBN number is; 978-0-8230-2666-1

Still trying to work out how to pad the dressform I bagged on Ebay last winter. She’s got as far as a bra on her padded to size but I’m struggling how to get the rest of her to size no wonder I can’t buy clothes that fit eh! I’d love to drape on her but being an adjustable one the gaps are a problem. Being 5′ 3″ the top section is going to be ok with the form closed, some padding in the bra sorts out the bust. There is quite a gap in the lower section so I’m considering closing the form and mummifying her to the lower proportions. It would be nice if Crafsty did a class on how to transfer your body measurements to a dress form and how to pad one, it sure explains why there are so many forms on the auction sites, sounds like others get overwhelmed and just sell them on too.

What are you sewing at the moment? If you have a well loved item that you would love to recreate check out

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Welcome Back

Chinelo Bally, who is one of the lovely lady’s in The Great British Sewing Bee has kindly given this interview to become this months Featured Artist. Read on to find out more about her and her work.

Chinelo Bally

Chinelo Bally

I discovered her work thanks to The Sewing Bee on BBC 2.  I loved how she was making her own patterns to her own designs. For those of you who haven’t yet found Chinelo, here is a little more about her an her work.

Who you are:

Chinelo: I am a passionate lady who believes in going for her dream and making it reality.

Where you are (which country you are based in)?

Chinelo: I live in Essex in the UK

What you do:

Chinelo: I am currently setting up my bespoke fashion label “Olivia Kabani” I am currently taking orders for bespoke garment and also working on my website.

What got you started in your creative journey?

Chinelo: I have always Loved fashion and I have always been interested in putting my own signature on clothes. Like you I was never fully satisfied with shop bought clothes so I decided to get a sewing machine and started learning.

What inspires you:

Chinelo: I draw inspiration from any and everything, I love colours, texture, shapes, so I’m constantly being drawn to the unique beauty of something. I have designed a dress that was inspired by red velvet cake; the rich red against the cream and the velvet name given to the cake just made me imagine this dress.

If money, time and obligations were no object, what you would most like to do?

Chinelo: I would love to have a boutique where people come to buy my ready made lines and also have bespoke garments made, but not solely for major occasions.

What do you enjoy most about your creative work/life?

Chinelo: What I love most about my creative work is the fact that I can see a fabric and transform the 2d cloth into an amazing garment. When I were, or when I see someone wear something I have made, it just fills me with so much fulfilment. I have a strong support network in my family and friends, they all know and support my future plans, emotionally mentally and physically.

Links

To find out more about Chinelo and her work, please visit her blog and website, details below.

www.chinelobally.com

Thanks to Chinelo Bally for being our Featured Artist of the Month for April 2014

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Threads;Teach Yourself to sew Season 1

Threads; Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 1

Threads; Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 1

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Threads/ Taunton Press
  • Item number: 978-1-60085-370-8
  • RRP at time of writing: $24.99  (from Taunton press) Around £13 on Amazon UK but price varies
  • Run Time: 150 minutes

Reason For Buying

I have sewing books but being dyslexic I am a very visual learner, I found Threads online magazine and website thanks to a sewing forum and when I saw this series it looked brilliant. The postage to buy them individually from their own site was very high but I found them on Amazon UK. More about that later in the article.

I wanted to learn basic sewing skills and to help learn techniques that will help me make my own clothes. I tell you all this as often reviews are based on how well a product lives up to the expectations of the person buying it.

Contents

The DVD covers the following topics

  • Equipment
  • Notions
  • Patterns
  • Stitches
  • Fabric
  • Seams
  • Darts
  • Edges
  • Hems
  • Bias Binding
  • Zippers
  • Buttons
  • Buttonholes
  • Snaps and Hooks
  • Sleeves
  • Pressing

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Clear easy to understand presentation, no background music to distract you
  • Does what it says on the tin.! No frills, no overkill but superb instruction that you will refer to time and again
  • There are some projects along the way, weren’t exactly to my taste but they did demonstrate techniques and processes which was still helpful.
  • A great help to anyone wanting to try dressmaking and bewildered by all the products they see on the shelves of sewing departments.
  • Find out what items you need to get started, and what things you might want to put on a wish list for later in your sewing career.
  • A very inspiring, empowering DVD, after watching this, I felt I could give dressmaking a go.

Cons

I don’t have any

Build Quality

Good, sound is clear, lighting is fine, some camera work moves a bit quick but not so often as to be an issue. No background music makes it easy to hear what the presenter is saying. There is a full menu system so although the DVD works find to play all the way through, you can also go directly to a chapter when you want to review a particular technique.

Value for Money

Excellent. Covers a lot and is a good investment.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes and highly recommend this title and the series to anyone learning to sew without access to other classes or sewing buddies.

Summing up

This series is superb, I have loved every minute of this DVD and have since acquired  Season 2 and 3 as well, but I will review those separately.

Being a visual learner it was so much easier to have techniques demonstrated as they were explained. I have books on sewing and will get more use of them now after seeing the concepts demonstrated. If you can’t get to a sewing/dressmaking class in person, this is the next best thing, with the advantage you can watch it as many times as you like. It is also ideal if your internet connection isn’t up to online classes! A superb series and I highly recommend it to everyone wanting to make their own clothes.

Compatibility in the UK

At first I was put off from buying this DVD from Amazon UK, as they are currently listed on there as Region 1, which I cannot play in the UK. On further investigation, the publishers Taunton list the DVD as Region 0 and playable in all regions.

I took a chance and ordered it from Amazon UK and it  has worked perfectly on our TV/DVD set up. Our set up will play NTSC as well as PAL format DVDs so do bear that one in mind and check your machines before you order if you are based in the UK.

Links

Here’s where you can find the DVD Learn to Sew Season 1.

Have you tried this Teach Yourself to Sew series? What did you think of it? Has it inspired you to sew more and try more adventurous projects? Do leave me a comment and let me know how you get on.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the following book; Dressmaking by Alison Smith

Dressmaking by Alison Smith

Dressmaking by Alison Smith

  • Title: Dressmaking The Complete step by step
  • Author:Alison Smith
  • Publisher: DK
  • ISBN: 978-1-4093-8463-2

My Reason for Buying

Having enjoyed Alison’s Sewing Book, I wanted to learn more about dressmaking and had heard there were also patterns in the back of this book. I was delighted when DH gave me this for Christmas and want to share with you how I got on with the book.

I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

  • Tools and Materials
  • Fabrics
  • Patterns and Cutting out
  • General Techniques
  • Garments; The Skirts, The Dresses, The Trousers, The Tops, The Jackets
  • Mending and repairs
  • Customising
  • Patterns
  • Glossary

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • I went for the full size version of the book and it gives nice size print in this format.
  • Clear, easy to navigate layout
  • If you have no prior knowledge of dressmaking/sewing the helpful picture of the items alongside their descriptions help you identify the array of tools and materials available
  • Hard backed book makes it easier to use as with a little added weight to hold pages down, its easy to have the book open next to you as you work
  • The fabric section is brilliant, it lists a range of materials the pros and cons of each them,  gives you tips for cutting out, what type of seams work best, what thread to sew the fabric with. Needle size for your machine, pressing advice and common garments its used on. Ideal if you are looking to use a fabric for the first time and want to know if it would be suitable for the project you have in mind.
  • The pattern reading section helps you understand the information printed on the backs of patterns, all those symbols on the patterns themselves and how to measure your body to choose the correct size garment to create. Read this BEFORE you buy your commercial patterns as pattern sizes are different to shop bought clothes.
  • There is a superb selection of classic garments for you to make at the back of the book, once you have made these you could customise the pattern to your own taste so there is plenty of scope for a whole wardrobe.
  • I like the fact that the book walks you through what to do with each garment in step by step form, if a technique has been explained elsewhere in the book, it tells you which page to find that technique.

Cons

  • Just a niggle but Making a toile section which tells you what to do if your test garment (tiole) is too big or too small, would have been better placed before the pattern alterations, instead of after them. I skimmed through the alterations thinking – ‘That’s great but how would you know what alteration you needed?’ Only to find the information on the toile page at the end of the section?!
  • One thing to bear in mind is that to create the garments in the book you need to print or draw your own patterns from the instructions. Included in the book, there is a picture for each pattern that you can photocopy and enlarge, this has a grid is printed behind the pieces and you are told the dimensions to scale to, so you can re-draw your pattern from that or if you have internet access you can download a PDF of the patterns to print out a page at a time and then stick them together ‘jigsaw style’. So there is what you call ‘Pattern development’ needed. No full size pre printed patterns are included in the book itself. The patterns in the book aren’t to size, you will need gridded paper or need to print LOTS of pages from a PDF.

Value for Money

Excellent, this is a great sewing companion and if you are venturing into garment making for the first time, this and Alison’s other book The Sewing Book are great companions. A lot of valuable information in an easy to find format.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, highly recommended for anyone starting to make their own clothes.

Summing up

Since I already had Alison’s ‘The Sewing Book’, I had wondered if this book would be a waste, with too much duplication of information but it’s not and they work well together. Alison’s ‘The Sewing Book’ is a great reference book if you have a pattern in front of you and you know what technique you need to use and just want to be told how to do it but it doesn’t tell you what order to do things for constructing a complete garment, that is where this Dressmaking book comes into its own.

Even if the thought of the extra work needed to create the patterns from the book overwhelms you, still buy this book as the information about how to construct garments and what order to do things is invaluable. It is a great book when you are new and need some hand holding while you get through the early stages of dressmaking for the first time. A very valuable companion to new dressmakers, I highly recommend this title.

Links

Dressmaking on Amazon Watch out for the book size though it varies on Amazon and on high street. My copy is 28.5 x 23.5 cm

The Sewing Book, here is my review of Alison’s; The Sewing Book which I mentioned in this review.

Alison Smith has her own sewing school and also writes for the Sew magazine

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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