Saturday 9 March 2013

Reboot: part 1

Ok so I have been pretty slack with my blog recently.

Honestly, even though I have been sewing, and also now knitting, its been taking me some time to settle into a new life in Bristol.  Work has been really hard, and I've just struggled to find the energy and motivation to sit at my computer in my free time to write up blog posts.

I'd like to get gat back into blogging again, so here's a quick recap of what you've missed the past few months:

After learning to knit just before Christmas, I have been a knitting nut of late.  People, how has it taken me 30 years of life to discover knitting??!!!

In October I booked onto  a 6 week knitting class, and I loved every minute of it. The second I picked up some knitting needles something "clicked", and I'm not just talking about the needles here! That's not to say I'm a natural talent, I've completed afew projects and my stitches are a bit uneven, I can't sew things up very neatly, and my casting on is very loose, but I care not, I'm already addicted.

So here are the first few things I've made, some ribbed armwarmers:
I'm using the leftover woll from the armwarmers to start a blanket, which I'm hoping to add to every time I have left-over aran wool.

I also bought The Gentle Art of Knitting by Jane Brocket and have just finished the slouchy hat:

and just need to sew up the chunky cable cushion.

I have also just finished the honey cowl by Madeline Tosh.  Pics to come soon.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Freehand machine embroidery & knitting

I'm back from a semi-sunny holiday in Spain, and the clocks went back while I was away.  Now the dark nights have set in I am finding it hard to find a time to take pictures of my finished makes, except for weekends!

So last weekend I went to Bath to meet the super lovely Scruffy Badger for a Freehand Machine Embroidery workshp at the Makery.

It was amazing fun, but I did struggle to control the speed of my machine.  It kept going a bit haywire until Susi, the teacher, put me on a different machine.  It seemed the one I was on was misbehaving and the foot pedal was not sensitive enough to recognise when I wanted to GO SLOW.

I made the little piece below. 

Am thinking I might frame it using an embroidery hoop.  You can see ScruffyBadger's amazing creation here.  Check out the lace on the knickers, awesome!!!

Now freehand machine embroidery has so many possibilities creatively.  I want to try more.  The drawback is my machine doesn't have the capacity to drop the feed dogs (the little spiky teeth that push the fabric forwards).  So it seems I am starting to reach a point that my lovely machine is just too basic for what I want to do.  Perhaps it's time to look in to upgrading my machine......

On Monday I started a 6 week beginners knitting and crochet class at the Folk House.  So far I have learnt to knit and purl.  We haven't learnt to cast on yet so I can't start making anything.  But I know what I want to make once we have covered the basics.  hand warmers!

Now lovely blog readers as Christmas is coming up and I want to start writing my Christmas list, can you recommend any good books for beginner knitters?  I want to start with a few simple projects, with a variety of stitches and I like the look of chunky yarns.  I know Karen has recommended The gentle art of knitting, and I do like the look of it.

Also recommendations for pieces of kit I may want to get, and good yarn suppliers would be ace.

Oh also last weekend I made a new Kelly skirt (you can see a sneak preview on Scruffy Badger's blog).  But it's in the wash at the moment, so that blog post will probably have to wait till next weekend, so I can show you pictures of it in daylight.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Kelly skirt = love

I’ve wanted to make a nice simple A-line button-down skirt for a fair while and was mulling over purchasing the Wiksten Tulip skirt as I loved Shivani’s version. However because this pattern is a download I didn’t buy it. Partly due to the lack of a printer at home and also because I couldn’t be arsed with sticking the pattern pieces together and then cutting them out. So it was a real blessing when Megan Nielsen released her Kelly skirt. I snapped that up after seeing Roobeedoo’s awesome versions, (also here and here), and it is still a homage Shivani's skirt because I loved the colour of hers.
I use a cotton chambray for the main skirt and a cute flowery scrap for the pocket lining.
I have to say I love this skirt.  It's so simple and quick to sew up but is really cute and easy to wear.

The only thing is it is a little loose at the waist, and I sewed the top two buttons quite close together so after a days wear, the skirt starts going into a V shape at the front waistband and sags between the buttons on the waistband and the button on the skirt.  Any ideas how to fix this?  I am thinking either adding a third button or a hook and eye  in the bit that gets saggy, to hold it together.
I have already decided to make another one with some wine coloured corduroy I bought ages ago.
Seriously, I love this skirt!  This is the first item of clothing I have made that I am truly happy with.

Wednesday 19 September 2012


Well in truth there was nothing pants about my day on Saturday.  Loads of lovely sewing bloggers, beautiful Bath, yummy food and a great knicker-making workshop, all organised by the lovely Scruffy Badger!

photo courtesy of Scruffy Badger
Winnie and several more of the other lovely ladies have already posted about the day, but in case you're interested here are my knickers:

I'm really glad to have (kinda) mastered sewing elastic onto cotton, it is fairly easy but needs to be done with care.  My stitching was pretty wonky but I don't really mind.

The day was awesome, and it was really nice to meet some more Bloggers.  Thanks Winnie for inviting me!

Thursday 6 September 2012

I'm back, and I've made stuff


After a few months not blogging, I have now finally settled in a bit into my new life in Bristol.  Although  have been sewing, I just haven't had the mindset to get blogging again, but now I'm energised and ready to go!

I have managed to make two skirts since moving to Bristol.

I had planned back in February to make a few skirts of different styles (a-line, gathered, pleated) to see which suited me best.  However I have realised by doing some "research" in a few shops (basically just trying a lot of things on in changing rooms) that gathered skirts and my posterior are not friends, so should never go together!  Instead I'm having a go at a few pleated skirts.  Firstly a Simplicity Cynthia Rowley pattern 2215.

I made it from a nice cotton drill so it's more of an autumn-winter skirt, but can work for summer.  I've never used a Simplicity pattern before, and despite checking my sizing on the envelope and measuring the waistband pattern piece before cutting out, it came out way too big, so I had to take the waist in by at least an inch.  I love the a-symmetrical pleats on this, which is handy if you aren't the neatest sewer in the world (I'm not).

 I also added some secret fabric to the pockets, it's some cute animal print that I used for friend's baby blanket way back when I first started this blog.

Although I like this skirt, it is still quite big and flouncy, and doesn't exactly slim down my lower half, so I am not certain that I would make it again.

So next up was a Simplicity Project Runway skirt 2698, which I think is now out of print.  I made View J with yoke B.

This skirt is more a wearable muslin than an actual finished piece, and I haven't hemmed it yet.  Mainly because I'm not sure the back pleats work.

I went down a size with Simplicity this time, and that seemed to work a lot better.  However I am definitely not sure about the back pleats.  I want to make this skirt again from some olive cotton sateen I have, as I love the look of the front pleats, but I'm not sure what to do about the back.  Can I get the pleats to lie flatter, if so how?  Should I move them closer to the centre back?  Could I eliminate them somehow by adjusting the pattern (slash and spread or something??).

What do you think?

My next make is going to be a chambray Kelly skirt, by Megan Nielsen.  I have been lusting after a button-down skirt for a while, and now after several versions of this have been popping up in Blogland I want one even more.  But again the back pleats are causing me concern.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Overlocking action and big changes

Sorry for the long absence, and lack of comments on your blogs, but big changes are afoot in casa de Laura and I have literally not had time to stop this past few weeks.

Due to my boyfriend getting a shiny new job, we are going to be relocating to Bristol in the next month or so!  I’m very excited about moving to the west country, but at the moment I don’t have a new job lined up, or a place to live, or any friends in Bristol, so things are very much crazy hectic.
I’m looking forward to exploring my new local area, and if anyone has any recommendations for good sewing shops, craft cafes or sewing teachers / schools in Bristol or Bath (or anywhere nearby) please let me know!
I’ll admit, because of this, sewing has not been top of my list of priorities recently. A couple of months ago I did buy a overlocker, with big plans to make zillions of jersey garments, which sadly did not happen.  The poor thing has been stuck on my desk literally gathering dust!  Lucikly, I had also signed up to a a 2 day overlocker course, and the first class was yesterday.  Initially we just got to grips with the basics; the first thing we had to do was cut the threads off and learn how to re-thread our machines from scratch!!  That was a bit scary, and actually quite tricky (even though the teacher told me my model was actually one of the easier machines to thread), but once I’d done it a couple of times I had it figured out.  Definitely need to get some good tweezers for the fiddly bits though!
My new baby
We then re-threaded using different coloured threads, so we clearly saw what each thread was doing in the stitching it created. 
Next we made little samples increasing and decreasing tension on the loopers and needle thread, moving the blade plate further away and closer to the needle plate and changing the stitch length.

We also had a practice at sewing curves and swerving the fabric on and off the overlocker.
We each got given a customised vest pattern, which we are cutting out at home and then sewing up next week.  We are also going to learn an easy way to rethread, and how to attach elastic to fabric via the overlocker, and hopefully how to use the rolled hem feature.
I have to say I am not scared of my overlocker now, nor of a thread breaking and having to re-thread the machine.

It's not as scary as it looks!
I'll let you know how the second class goes.

Wednesday 29 February 2012

It's in the bag! First "The Plan 2012" project complete

Yes indeedy I've made myself a bag.  I've been planning this bag for a while, but due to sheer laziness have not got round to making it.  Feeling a bit despondent that my Da Blues dress was a big fat fail, I decided that rather than get into a sewing slump again, I should make something I know wouldn't be issuey.

The main fabric is upholstery fabric I picked up at an Artist open house a while back. The lining is a red mini polka-dot cotton from Ditto (bought on the recent meet-up).

Scuse the markings, I forgot to rub them off before taking the pics
 I love making bags and purses, and really should make more.  The pattern is a freebie by Lisa Lam.  If you like the look of this pattern, check out Stitch and Witter as she has made a fab version of this bag too.

I bought the handles at U-Handbag, Lisa's online shop.  You just hand stitch them on with embroidery floss, as they have holes punched in them already.  Handy!

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