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Topics - SewRuthieSews

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House Beautiful / Covering boxes with fabric (so it looks nice)
« on: July 06, 2020, 15:20:41 PM »
I have some storage boxes which fit on my shelves perfectly but are not in harmony with my colour scheme.
I have thought about covering them in fabric or plain paper and wondered if anyone has tried this sort of thing, and if so what approach worked best?

Thanks Ruth

Fun with Fabric / Rainbow cushions
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:29:44 AM »
BBC click has one presenter who sits on a sofa with rainbow cushions.
Every time we watch it I love the cushions.

I am thinking of making a set of my own
-  red faux fur
- orange wool with cutout details
- yellow fleece with sunflower applique
- green textured
- blue like the sea and sky
- indigo made from denim scraps (and hopefully a pocket)
- violet - no thoughts as yet

In the wardrobe / Hot weather clothing and bedding
« on: June 22, 2020, 15:59:00 PM »
Later this week is due to be quite hot, and since I already run a bit hot in the torso since I'm just into the menopause I am dreading it a bit, especially night time.

I am open to suggestions!

I like very thin cotton PJs with an adjustable waist on the trousers and sleeveless top.
Cotton bedding on the bed, and no duvet just the duvet cover.
Shut the curtains in the daytime and open the windows in the evening.

Loose viscose shirts and elasticated waist culottes in the daytime.
Drink water, use fan (and I have a mini swamp cooler).

Then by the next week its normally cooled down again and I am really relieved.

Technical Help / Sewing a Sports Bra/Casual Bra
« on: June 21, 2020, 11:50:40 AM »
I've not really sewn activewear, but would like to try making simple cropped top style sports bras.
I have standard sewing machine with a variety of stitches, also an overlocker and a separate coverhem machine.

I do have some suitable fabric, elastic etc but not any patterns that I can think of.

Any suggestions on where to start?

Fun with Fabric / Using my giant fabric stash/collection/resources
« on: May 16, 2020, 14:34:18 PM »
Whilst I know fabric can be bought online, I thought my existing fabric resources were sufficient to get me through many months without buying anything new.

I had some twill tape and small bits of fabric I made into bunting for VE day. I day say I was better resourced than the folks who made the original VE day bunting.

I am part way through turning an old duvet cover into fixed blinds for my conservatory.
(The conservatory is quite tired and has views one side down into my neighbours back yard where they hang their washing and let the dog out. Its amazing how much better it looks with a bit of a clean)
I go and sit in there now after I've finished working at home all day. Its great to hear the birds and sit in the sunshine.
(If I can work out a way to attach to UPVC I will hang the bunting round the edge of the conservatory.)

I have made several fabric face masks (had all the components in already for the pleated style I am making as per BrendaP's instructions). And will be making some more this weekend.

And I am sure I could sew a whole load of other things as the fancy strikes me!
I have loads of patterns, magazines, threads, buttons, zips etc too.

What have you found you already had that has proved useful already?

Have you found things that have given you an idea for a project?

Fun with Fabric / VE 75 Bunting
« on: April 30, 2020, 12:50:17 PM »
Is anyone making fabric bunting for the VE day celebrations?

I think I shall and hang it out the front of my house

Patterns Discussion / La Maison Victor
« on: November 09, 2019, 18:56:16 PM »
I've picked up a few La Maison Victor magazines as it is stocked in Tesco, next to Burda.
I've not actually made anything from it yet though I am planning to.

Has anyone tried them? How did you find the sizing?

Fun with Fabric / Sewing with Silk Fabric - tips please
« on: October 24, 2019, 07:48:07 AM »
I have some blouse weight silk fabric I bought on a trip to London in 2010.

I'm not experienced with this fabric so am open to all suggestions on the best way to cut, handle, stitch etc.

I don't think I have the skill/patience to make a traditional style silk shirt from it, so am planning to do a silk front top or Tshirt similar to those found at Jigsaw etc
John Lewis Silk Front Tops
There are various styles from Tshirt, batwing, cowl front etc all of which have the silk front and jersey back construction.
And I am more likely to wear something like this than a formal silk shirt anyway.
If I make a test first perhaps the Style Arc Melody Tunic could be a contender

In the wardrobe / Reversible jacket (2 sides of same fabric)
« on: September 16, 2019, 09:07:41 AM »
I'd like to make this fabric into a reversible jacket/coat (lightweight)

I'm thinking simple style, lapped seams, pockets opposite each other, no obvious closure.

Any other tips for making reversible garments from your own experience?

Fun with Fabric / Where, How and Why do you buy fabric?
« on: June 17, 2019, 07:34:54 AM »
Where, How and Why do you buy fabric?

Where - locally at physical shops/market stalls, on trips to other areas, online.
How - for each project, when I see it, when the price is good etc
Why - to try to recreate something I've seen elsewhere, because its my colours and a good price, I'm not sure bu buying fabric makes me feel good when things are tough etc

I've got some cheap iron on interfacing and my favourite pattern which I rebought because it was getting really tatty.
I'd like to preserve the pattern by ironing interfacing onto it as I recalled someone suggesting it.
Does it work and if so how is it best to approach it?

I know in the US there's some approach using baking paper that is somehow different to UK baking paper. However I've never found any of that so wanted to try interfacing.

Patterns Discussion / Style Arc on Amazon UK 50% off
« on: June 13, 2019, 07:37:11 AM »
Got this email today
"We're finally back on UK Amazon after a LONG break. It's time for us to clear stock urgently! For a limited time only we're offering 50% OFF ALL PATTERNS on our UK Amazon Store. You don't need a coupon code - just shop as usual and the discount will be calculated automatically at the checkout.
How do you know it's a pattern sold by us? Just make sure you see "Sold by Style Arc Patterns EU and Fulfilled by Amazon" on the product page. Click here for the full list. You won't get this offer on Style Arc patterns from any other seller!
Why not make use of the super-fast Amazon shipping and grab yourself a bargain? Be quick though; this very special offer is only available until Monday. Oh... and if you love our patterns please leave a review on Amazon UK. It really does help!"

Fun with Fabric / Interfacing for seersucker/ crinkle cheesecloth?
« on: June 04, 2019, 07:21:46 AM »
Hi, I've decided my next project is going to be a very simple pull over top made from a striped crinkle/seersucker/cheescloth type fabric. The pattern calls for a self faced neckline which is interfaced, however interfacing the fabric will destroy the texture to some extent.
What would you use for this?

1. use very light interfacing and don't iron the fabric for the facing flat.
2. use a different fabric for the facing (e.g. lightweight cotton).
3. change the neckline to be finished another way (e.g. bias binding)
4. Stitch the neckline with SM or coverstitch instead of a binding.

Here's a picture of the fabric. I then washed it which has crinkled it up a little more.

I have apparently got a reputation for sewing quickly. I'm not sure that's really true, but if you want to sew more productively these are my top tips.

1 Have a dedicated sewing space.
Currently I have my own house and I have a whole (small) bedroom as a dedicated sewing room which is great, this hasn't always been possible, but whether it is a desk in the corner of the dining room or bedroom, a table in the hallway or more than that it makes a huge difference if you are able to leave your sewing machine set up. I've seen people use their conservatory, a guest bedroom, basement, area under the stairwell etc. If you have to use the dining table (and it needs to be used for meals as well), then have a cupboard/shelf nearby where you can move the sewing machine, still threaded for the duration of the meal and then move it back. A portable caddy with a handle containing scissors, pins, tape measure etc is also handy. Depending on what you are sewing it is good to have the ironing board and iron set up nearby also (less critical for knits).

2 Sew TnTs
Develop some TnTs (tried and tested patterns) which you sew over and over in different fabrics and with minor variations. You have done your fitting exercise once, and then just cut out and sew. This may seem boring, but with different fabrics, necklines, sleeve lengths, colour blocking, embellishments etc garments can look quite different.

3 Sew multiple garments in the same colour thread
Thread up the sewing machine (and if you have them overlocker/serger and anything extra like a coverhem machine) in a single colour e.g. brown, ivory, navy etc and then construct several garments using the same thread. For example if you are short of summer tops, you could cut out 3 tees all from the same pattern, but different prints but that all had an off white background. Then sew them all up with off white before you have to change thread again.

4 Keep all your sewing stuff together
Where possible keep all your fabric, notions, scissors, thread, patterns etc in the same place in the house. If this isn't possible try to get similar things together, and is as few places as possible. So for example when I sewed on a student desk in the corner of the bedroom I had a bookcase behind me.  I kept thread and other notions in the drawers of the desk, patterns in boxes on the bookcase with my sewing books and had a folder of swatches for the fabric stash which was stored in boxes in the loft. Try not to have some fabric under the bed, some on top of the wardrobe, some in the loft, some in the dining room etc. Pick a single location for fabric and put it all there. This will save you time when you want to sew fabric you have already bought. Similarly keep all your sewing related things in a hobby box or drawer and return them there after use, that was you can always find your buttonhole chisel or fray check.
I previously lived somewhere which didn't have great fabric buying options and tended to stash. I know have fairly easy access to new fabrics and am trying to sew down the stash a bit more.

5 Have basic supplies on hand
I don't recommend an enormous stash of supplies (though mine has built up over many years), but it does make sense to have some basic supplies on hand of things you regularly use. For me this is things like invisible zippers, iron on interfacing in charcoal and white, elastic in several widths. Where you have got quantities of something like ribbon, lace, buttons, zips, cording etc keep like with like and clearly labelled.  Zip lock bags work well to keep things together and can be tucked neatly into a drawer or box.

6 Sew little and often.
Try to sew every day, even if only for a few minutes and use time away from the machine to read the instructions for a new pattern (fine in a waiting room), measure and pin a hemline (I like to do this watching TV) or small items of hand sewing. Please don't wait until you have a whole sewing day just do a few minutes whenever you get a chance. After a few sessions you'll see fantastic progress and be encouraged to do a little more. Often the day has more of those little snippets of time, so its good to make use of them rather than being online again!

7 Use scraps wisely
I like to keep the scraps leftover after cutting out the garment handy during construction. I use them to test all the machines are sewing correctly, and to experiment with finishes. So if I want to see how the automatic buttonhole will look I mock up a bit of waistband/front band, with all the layers the real one would have and try a few buttonholes, see if the extra thick edges get stuck, if the buttons go through and so on. For a hem, I'll mock up the multiple layers and see whether the cover hem, blind hem, zig zag or top stitched hem looks better on that fabric. 10 minutes experimenting with hem finishes on a scrap can save a lot longer unpicking later.

8 Measure and sew carefully
I find it is actually quicker and easier to spend slightly longer measuring, marking and pinning as this results in less unpicking later. I also like to sew knits on the sewing machine first, then check I don't have any gaps, puckers etc, before putting through the overlocker.  I realise this is not necessarily what everyone else would do, however I don't want pins anywhere near my overlocker blades, and early on I had a few times when I chopped off bits I didn't want to with the overlocker, using the sewing machine first reduces this a great deal. (if you are happy sewing directly on the overlocker and don't have mishaps, then keep doing it, maybe one day I'll get brave and do that too, but for now careful works for me).

9 Hold the ends of the thread when starting sewing.
On fine fabric the sewing machine can 'eat' the fabric at the start of the stitching. An easy way to avoid this is to position the fabric under the presser foot and put the foot down, then using one hand hold the thread ends with light tension and coming out the back of the machine. Put the needle down into the fabric and sew a few stitches whilst still holding the thread, after an inch or so you should be able to let go and sew as normal. This takes 1 second longer, but avoids having to unpick the mess created from a thread snarl.

10 Apply elastic with a zig zag stitch rather than the overlocker.
When doing an elastic waist treatment where the elastic is sewn to the top of the garment, folded over and top stitched at the seams, the directions often advise overlocking/serging the elastic to the garment. This is really difficult to unpick if it is the wrong length later. To avoid this I try the garment on with the elastic sewn into a loop and adjust the length if needed. I overlock just the top of the garment to finish it (usually done earlier) then quarter and stitch the elastic on with a zig zag stitch. This doesn't show at all once folded over but is a lot easier to unpick if the elastic needs to be changed for some reason.

11 Sew knits and stretch wovens
There is a learning curve to sewing knits, but once you are comfortable with them, they make for fast and easy projects. There are lots of books and videos available which help you learn the techniques and they are often more forgiving of figure variations because the stretch accommodates to different shapes. I am a huge fan of knits and although I've had my share of wadders am now fairly confident with simple styles in a wide variety of knits. Stretch wovens, such as bengaline and other stretch fabrics which can be used for trousers can also be great, a bit smarter than a knit and sewn with a combination of knit and woven construction methods depending on the style and the fabric. I find the resulting trousers very comfortable.

12 Sew simple styles
If you want to produce more completed garments, then fewer details will make for a faster sew. Be careful that easy doesn't mean shapeless, a little waist shaping in a knit top or dress will really help, as do shoulders and waists that sit well on the body. An invisible zip is easy with the right sewing machine foot and is smoother under other garments than the bulk (and complexity) of a front fly zip. A simpler style can also be better when showcasing an amazing fabric, as it allows the fabric to shine.

In the wardrobe / recutting and using scraps - ideas?
« on: May 17, 2019, 22:26:20 PM »
I sometimes enjoy using fabric salvaged from other garments, remnants or leftovers from other projects to make garments. There's something about there not being quite enough that spins the creative ideas.Other times it just annoys me and I park it for another time.

What approaches have you used with multiple fabrics or other ways to 'stretch' when there's not enough fabric.
I'm 5' 6" and size 18 so can't make things out of short yardage :-)

I'll share some of my ideas, but hope you can inspire me too.

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