Posts tagged ‘dressmaking’

February 9, 2011


Minnado – this is the pattern I though of when I saw your red dress; what do you think? Should I bite the bullet and sew myself one for the summer? I like the collar but I don’t know if I can carry off the housecoat style and the zip worries me too: not sewing it but using it, or misusing it! Maybe BMF or GOMT have an opinion as they have seen me in the flesh.

I bought a bundle of size 12 retro patterns some time last year on ebay because I was looking for some simple dresses to sew that wouldn’t need too much bust adjustment. I still haven’t sewn one of them so I’m challenging myself to do at least one this year.

Here’s one I might try to ease myself in gently; perhaps just the top.

In the meantime there is a new waistband needed on Miss Froo’s velour trousers, totally new pyjama trousers from El Famosisimo who has finally ripped the pair I sewed him from my dad’s old dressing gown. One of EF’s quirks is that he can’t stand wearing stiff, new fabrics and finding stuff that is pre-softened and not in floral patterns can sometimes be a bit tricky especially as at his age it is hard to find clothes to fit him from charity shops or at jumble sales.

He is bigger than a kid but not as big as an adult and it seems from my experience and evidence before my eyes that boys between about 8 and 16 destroy their clothes before they grow out of them so there is nothing left to hand down to anyone or put in a bag for charity.

I’ve moved the record player off the top of the sewing machine cabinet and put it underneath it instead so that may help with getting some sewing done….

April 15, 2010

Singer 319K presser feet and needles

So now onto the other bits and bobs.

The 319K uses a shorter needle than other machines. If you use a normal needle it will bang on the bobbin casing and break so you need one called a 206×13. I bought a box of a hundred and have now started using a new needle for each new project instead of only changing it if I break one, which by the way is what you should do too!

It also needs a shallower bobbin than more common machines and you can see the difference in these two pictures

There was an unassuming black box with an assortment of feet I knew how to use and some I didn’t. The odd ones are below

The top thing is a ruffler the next row has a satin stitch foot for zig zag stitching, a button foot (for holding a button on the fabric while you cleverly stitch from hole to hole to sew it on) and a straight stitch foot. The bottom row has a free motion foot, a rolled hem foot and a bias tape foot.

I use the ordinary-ish feet as well as the rolled hem foot, the button foot and the bias tape foot. I have played with the ruffler but it scared me! The free motion foot is very cool for doing random quilting but harder to make very planned things like letters and shapes due to my lack of skill.

Here are some close ups. The scroll-y bit rolls the fabric over itself so you can sew a very narrow hem without having to press it once then fold it over and press it again to hide the raw edge. It is great for hemming lightweight fabrics and net as you would for summer skirts and tops or ballerina tutus.

This one sews folded bias tape to the edge of a piece of fabric in one step. You can see a how it works here and here

There is even more… A box of cams to make a gazillion different patterns with thread

So after all that maybe you can see why I was so excited about finding this beauty. I’ve sewn more adventurous garments since I got her and I sew more neatly, more carefully and with more attention to detail than I did on my old (modern) machine. I often use three different feet on one project and the things I sew look better than they used to. I feel that the Singer has some knowledge and skill all of her own and I just add to it with my ever improving skills.

Whatever kind of machine you have, try to get to know it well by sewing and sewing and sewing. Try out the different stitches and feet if it has more than one. The more you know about your machine the less daunting it is to work with it and teh more you will want to sew!

There is nothing worse than starting each sewing job with dread or fear that it won’t be easy because the machine is bound to do something to scupper you. In my experience of machine-driven frustration it has more often than not been user error more than the machine being wrong.

About ten years ago Mr G used to say he didn’t know why I tried sewing anything because it made me so mad; now he is amazed that I can whip up a gift like the bucket without too much bother. The only thing that has changed is that I kept getting the machine out and kept trying to work out how it worked and kept on sewing. Most people don’t get better at doing anything by avoiding doing it, know what I mean?

Nowadays you can find a lot of help with sewing online. Anything from threading your machine to adjusting tension to oiling and cleaning your machine is out there to see on youtube.

So get your machine out and get sewing. For a good start have a look at and go to their free tutorial section. The step by step pictures showing you how to put things together are so much easier to work with than a paper pattern and written instructions written in secret sewing code so give it a go.

Happy sewing.

February 4, 2010


They love them almost as much as they love snipping and ripping paper and leaving it on the floor.

I never had a Barbie. I had a Girls World after the neighbour’s daughters had got fed up tormenting her but I don’t remember even being interested in Barbies.

Our girls are mad for them: they have been on my case to get their own scary, plastic pseudo-women to play with at home for a while now so either they are not like me or they just have more Barbie-loving friends than I did.

In the snowy days after Christmas we went to town on a Barbie hunt and on a swoop of our local ‘favourite shops’ (charity shops) we managed to score 5 Barbies (or maybe they were Sindys or Ariel the Mermaids) and an Action Man for under a fiver. One even had shoes!

“Playing Barbies” is now an official activity in our house, this is new and strange and also leads to both happy play and scratch-your-eyes-out fighting.

Can you tell which doll is dressed in non-shop bought clothing? I had some problems with the fit as I have no experience of Full Bust Adjustments when drafting patterns. I am a AAA cup and I didn’t realise quite how much more fabric I would need to cover Ms B’s ample bosom. The only way to get the dress to fit her was to cut a slit in the back from neck to waist and leave it slashed open. Not the kind of demure look I was hoping for but never mind. At least you can’t see her pants.

And I have so had enough of seeing green paint everywhere. I think the bottle may be empty now.