I’M HOOKED! but sadly invisible….

Lets start with the invisible bit. My camera wont stay on, there is something wrong with the on/off button and even holding it down hard won’t keep it on, so although I have lots quite a bit to show, a skirt and jacket, a couple of tops, another jumper and a brand new sewing machine*@#!!


This is a product picture, I can’t even take any pictures myself, but this is a pretty good picture of it. When I can borrow a camera from my #5 daughter I will take more. My Frister Rossman is fine, but only does one kind of buttonhole. It was a good basic sewing machine for those like me two  years ago just starting [or in my case] re-entering the world of machine sewing. I shall put it on Ebay most likely. I will also put one of my Singer vintage 99K’s on at the same time – I don’t really need two. So now I have three sewing machines and an overlocker, so I think that is enough, don’t you? I know my DH does.

What am I hooked on? This


I have been lusting and lurking around Alabama Chanin and all their absolutely out of this world gorgeousness, but really thought it was for the younger ones amongst us. But then I saw Carolyn’s Mum’s outfit on  http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.com.au  and I was converted. You must go and look. I have the book and I have the samples and cotton jersey on the way tomorrow – so way to go Moseley! [my yankee s.i.l.'s nickname for me]. I have been practising my stitching and cutting, and when my mylar sheets come later this week I will get going practising my stencil cutting. A busy but happy time ahead my crystal ball tells me. See you again when I am more visible.


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I have sometime spoken in the past about my happy place. I have more than one, as we probably all do, but this one is sewing related.  So this is just a continuation of my previous post with pictures that speak for themselves.

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Many happy, industrious hours are spent here. Whilst it may look like a surplus of sewing machines they all have their uses- the Singer 201 let into the surface in front of the window [previous post] is my main machine for straight stitch. Nothing, nothing can compare to the quality of the stitch on this machine, truly a Rolls Royce! The other vintage model on the window sill is a hand cranked Singer 15-90 which belonged to my mother, and on which she made my clothes when I was a child. In its time it has been a treadle machine, an electric machine and is now hand operated. I still have the light and motor, but has no foot pedal at the moment, although it could be obtained from somewhere, Ebay most probably. This has purely sentimental value, and does still work remarkably well as it would do being a Singer of that era. On the table on the left are my Cooperlock, a good basic overlocker, another workhorse and my Frister Rossman,  which I use for buttonholes and stretch stitches. Oh, I must mention my chair – a charity shop bargain for £20. It is a comfortable swivel office chair, which allows me to swing round and scoot from table to table, such fun and so convenient.

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especially if she is a seamstress! Always on my wish list, but especially since I did my ‘Sew Better, Sew Faster’ Craftsy Course with Janet Pray when she advocated this;
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No, not the machine, but the surface it is let into! It was our wedding anniversary on the 2nd August, and my DH made me a raised surface, the same size as my sewing desk with a cut-out that my lovely Singer 201 fits into beautifully.  My better half is something of a craftsman and anything he does is always finished to a very high degree. Me? I just wanted a platform that could have been stuck on runners for all I cared as long as the surface was there, but always going the extra mile, I got a beautifully smooth and finished new surface. The difference it makes is unbelievable. We just used up some ply that we happened to have, filled, sanded and painted to a smooth silky surface. Definitely the best present ever.[apart from a new super duper sewing machine for buttonholes and zig-zags that I am lusting after needing right now, as sadly my nice cheapy £99 one is chewing up more than she sews].

Finally, just a beautiful burst of colour, just for eye candy. I wish I was as brave to wear these colours together – perhaps one day soon?

August 2014 001August 2014 002

These phlox have the added beauty of a lovely scent too.

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Good finishing touches take almost as long as making the jacket itself. In fact making this jacket was probably quicker than trying to figure out what it was in the first place or the finishing touches.  Unfortunately the linen-type fabric frays dreadfully and all the pieces had to be overlocked separately before putting them together. All except the bottom hem which was in such a delicate state it had to be handled with care, so I decided to finish everything by hand.

I sewed the grey [art] silk lining pieces together on the machine but put the lining in the jacket by hand. I used pure silk thread, silk pins and a very fine needle so that I didn’t leave any unsightly visible marks on the lining itself.006007

AND FINISH IT I DID! I put the lining in by hand, sewing the sleeves in separately as one is supposed to and made a bound buttonhole. Sadly, no pictures were taken because for a day or two I tweaked and hung and looked and tweaked some more and something wasn’t quite right. Granted it sat perfectly and fitted perfectly if you just tugged a little here and there after putting it on, but who wants to keep doing that? In the end, out came the lining. Primarily to see what the problem was, and then I realised it was the lining itself, or rather the fact that this wasn’t designed to be a lined jacket and therefore the added lining made it hang slightly differently. That’s my conclusion anyway, probably way off beam, but taking the lining out suddenly made all the difference. I have to say that the lining was cut from the pattern pieces themselves, so were in no real way different from the jacket, but hey ho! I now have an unlined linen-y type jacket to go over Summer skirts and dresses. For something that was meant to  be a toile in the first place I am quite happy. I have plans for a second one, this time with a little more fitting as this one is a little bit on the biggish side.

Meanwhile back to my original plan of the skirt in the same material. That is currently in progress and should be finished and lined in a day or two and then I will take some photos of the complete ‘ensemble’ ~ having said that they weren’t meant to be such and probably won’t be worn together too often.

I also have changes to my sewing table which I need to show, something in my mind for a while at last coming to fruition. I am always looking for ways to organise and keep things under control, sometimes I feel I’m winning other times I know I’m not! Somehow that adds to the appeal for me. Back soon.

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Nothing too drastic this time, but I expect that Kristy Chan would like me to point out that she doesn’t [necessarily] make something out of each Burda magazine, but that she has actually set herself a challenge to make something out of a Burda magazine every month and she quite intelligently calls it ‘her Burda challenge.’ She set this challenge herself as far as I am aware and has actually kept up to it, albeit she may be a little late in showing, but she is a busy working Mum to two small children and her output is phenomenal. Check it out here. Now hopefully I have put matters straight regarding those screaming at me that I have got it wrong. [I hasten to add not Kristy herself]

Secondly, I think I mentioned in passing that about 12 days or so ago I finished a pink version of my blue ‘jeans’ top, but didn’t show a picture of it. Omission rectified below; [usual fuzzy pictures I'm afraid, and a bit scrunched up I can see now!]

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What I really love about this pattern, apart from how quick and easy it is – honestly! – are the dinky old fashioned sleeves [or are they retro? one never knows these days]. They just sit there neatly and fit. Beautiful! The pattern takes DK. but I had only 4ply pink cotton, so I doubled it up with a 4ply pink soft wool, which almost matches, but the difference just gives a subtle shading and lift. What do you think?    second try 005  any of the above images can be clicked to enlarge. Meanwhile, back at the happy place, I have cut out and sewed up the grey silk lining for Burda M104 [I'm sure the M stands for mystery] and will hand sew it in, hopefully this evening. Then, just one bound buttonhole and ‘finito’ – bliss. [I'm off the check Janet Pray's Craftsy tutorial on advance sewing techniques - in particular her bound buttonhole. - Hopefully I will review the lessons sometime in the near future, but don't hold your breath!]

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It’s Hot. I’m English – I don’t do hot. It’s muggy too. Only to be expected after all the rain that fell [remember the floods a few months ago?] and consequently all the residual moisture hanging about. But I like sunny, fresh, breezy, comfortable days, and not just because I’m past my sell-by date either. Even as a child this was what I expected of my Summers. But the world’s gone mad along with the weather and we now do tropical it seems.  But the gardens seem to approve and mine in particular has gone mad and here are the picture to prove it.

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On the sewing front, I helped a friend draft and grade a princess seamed top [Burda 8503, my version 3 posts back]. She was resurrecting her sewing skills after many years and it was quicker to start from fresh in many ways. We had a fun three and a half days and she drove home wearing it happily. I have just got to cut out the lining for the Burda M104 Jacket. I am going to make a second one with a few very minor adjustments in the way I sew it. The drafting of the pattern was excellent considering the cut pieces were cut out yonks ago and sat in bag bundled up, so I am happy it came together very well. I have a few blouses/tops in mind too, so quite a bit to keep me out of trouble. In the garden I have been weeding and weeding and weeding and weeding, but I am losing the battle so I think I will just give in gracefully!.















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If you’re a hoarder, take heart from this post! Bear with me it’s a bit convoluted.

It started with reading this post from Kristy Chan. A lovely skirt to die for, and it started me thinking about skirt patterns and fabric. I found a length of green fabric and just managed to squeeze a skirt from it with a spare strip left about the same length and width as half a back skirt. I thought I’d keep that for waistbands. But I needed pocket linings. Back to the long lost fabric stash [i.e not folded neatly on the fabric shelves but stashed in boxes and drawers]. I began finding more creased up bits of green fabric strangely cut in pattern pieces. Ah, my Burda jacket. The one and only time I have every traced a pattern directly from the magazine. More curious than serious I began putting the pieces together and realised isn’t wasn’t really a bad pattern of a jacket and it was all there except one top sleeve piece, which hurrah, I could cut from the spare skirt strip. All thoughts of the skirt were by this time out of the window. I looked through the meagre stash of Burda magazines I owned but couldn’t recognise it. I  found just a large envelope with the inscription “Burda January 2003 pattern pieces – notched shawl collared jacket” and inside were all the pattern sheets for that issue, laid out in typical Burda fashion on top of one another. I really couldn’t identify which was ‘my’ jacket.

It was then I remember my favourite of Kristy’s makes, her red wool crepe jacket that she sewed from the Burda magazine [also shown in the above post]. In fact Kristy sews at least one item from every issue.  I emailed Kristy, but alas she only started keeping the magazines from November 2007 but gave me a possible third party to ask. Before doing that I decided to stitch what I could without the instructions or clear idea of construction, take a photo and send it on to see if could be identified, but before that I found my original tracing and on the envelope was a sketch of the jacket, the number and the fact that it had only one button, quite low as identified by the sketch. This showed I was pretty much on target. It doesn’t mention a lining, but I have drafted a lining pattern and will line it in pale silver grey silk . Here is the shell, so far. Ta da!  Mystery solved!
****For those of you who are thinking ‘that’s not a shawl collar – it is. ‘Shawl’   it refers to the construction of it [i.e. one lapel/collar piece attached to the front, meeting at the centre back neck. The fact that it is notched is immaterial ['scuse the pun].BURDA M104 007
Posted in coats and jackets, dressmaking, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing, skirts, Works in Progress | 2 Comments