Posts tagged ‘sewing machine feet’

January 29, 2012

What no Fairies?

We’ve had a month of madness here and I’ve barely done any sewing let alone any blogging about it – as you will have noticed! We’ve eaten some fantastically tasty new dinners and been out and about at the seaside with the rellies as well as out walking here but my creativity is feeling a bit squished and I’m getting antsy.

I am struggling with the annual irk of winter which is that we spend too much time indoors and too much mess is made that doesn’t get cleared up. I really do still believe that fairies will come in the night and everything will be cleaned and tidied by them ready to start a new day. Or, if they can’t make it at night then they will come when we are out during the day and I won’t come home to washing that need processing or dishes that need to be washed.

We have been making envelopes at a rate of about six a day for the last week since the wonderful The Crafter’s Companion Enveloper Pro was delivered by a very patient post man. This poor man has to come to our house in a van now to deliver parcel after parcel containing vinyl albums bought for pennies on ebay by El Famosisimo.

We’ve also had a run on badge making so we are surrounded by snipped up bits of paper and magazines as well as all the washing which I have been drying on the really useful Ikea Pressa peg things on the shower rail or the door frame as I can’t be bothered to go to the shed and put them in the tumble dryer. I feel like I am the only person who has piles of clean folded clothes on the sofa which don’t move (no fairies again) as well as piles of clean plates that get dirty then clean again and don’t make it into the cupboards in-between those states and paper everywhere. I just can’t be bothered to keep moving things and putting them away ALL THE TIME…. I think I need to go to housewife boot camp or something to sort myself out as I’m twenty years into this job and I have still not really got the hang of it.

I have a few finished things and more unfinished things to show for a month’s worth of thinking about sewing:

What you see here is what can be sewn from 1 meter of denim: one pair of trousers for Miss Amoo – now 128cm tall, one bodice for a simple A line pinafore for Miss Froo and one back piece sewn from the leftover denim ready to be cut to shape and attached to aforementioned bodice if I can find more denim to make the front.

The bodice is completely lined with a bit of one of Mr G’s ink-stained shirts and finished with poppers so as soon as I get some denim there will be no excuse not to get the thing finished. This is proving tricky though as there is currently absolutely no denim in my favourite shop. Local folks will know that this small town is disproportionately well supplied with dress and upholstery fabrics, notions, yarn and more in three fantastic shops all called Masons. The ladies tell me that ‘He Who Does All The Ordering’ hasn’t been well and some things haven’t been restocked lately as his mojo is taking some time to find again. That and the price of cotton is ridiculously high at the moment and denim is hard to find at reasonable prices. So, disappointingly, the only useful bit of the metre is the trousers which have been well worn already.

The other thing was a last minute birthday gift for Mr G. The story behind this is that the caravan came with a stainless steel tea pot which we have been using on a daily basis. We have had tea pots before but always ended up breaking the lids somehow so the hinged lid of the metal pot is a real bonus.

Now that Mr G is getting into drinking green tea and decaff Earl Grey he needs a littler tea pot at the office doesn’t he (this is my thinking, not his). I left it til the last minute and bought a brand new shiny pot for one from an old fashioned hardware-and-more shop in Oxford that is close to where Miss Froo’s drama thing happens. It is the kind of place where you have to ask if they have something as everything is everywhere. On enquiring, the chap moved some plastic sieves on a high shelf to reveal three different sizes of boxed tea pots. This kind of shopping is much more exciting than buying him yet another pen, I can tell you!

This was the winner and is is seated on a hastily but carefully sewn tea pot mat to save scalding his desk. This is the first time in years that have bound something without using the Singer bias tape foot but the thick cotton (from trousers) the batting (fleece) and the backing (check shirt) wouldn’t fit through the foot so it was old fashioned half machine, half hand sewing that got the binding so neat. I’m so happy with it that I offer you an extreme close up as a bonus.

I have yet to cut any of the Rag Market fabrics to sew anything for myself so I plan to do something about that next month. Or not. Depending on the effect produced by the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Australia.

January 2, 2012

New Year Sewing

We’ve had a busy afternoon with friends with lots of eating after a pretty long walk which was a good way to spend the day.

I was browsing Pinterest ( you have a lot to answer for analog lady!) and saw a pillowcase bag from Martha Stewart’s crafty summer things. Looking at photos of summer sewing stuff was a bit distracting but I got a summery pillowcase out of the drawer and sewed one up.

I didn’t like the idea of a knot on my shoulder so I cut the thing in half from 3″ from the corner instead of right at the corner. In hindsight I did my maths wrong and should have only gone an inch or two in as I have a very wide strap and a relatively deep and narrow bag…

I used my trusty narrow hem foot to finish the diagonal edges to save getting the iron out to press and turn then turn again.

Here’s the finished bag with a square bottom to add a bit more room and shorten the darned thing. The button is there to hold the loose inside diagonal bit which makes a kind of handy-ish pocket inside.

And best of all this was a job that left very little waste so there wasn’t much to tidy up:

What you see above is tiny trimmings from both ends of the pillowcase, the triangle ends left after sewing the gusset and the flappy bit inside that holds the pillow in. As the pillowcase only cost 50p from the YMCA shop last year this was a thrifty make in all senses. the larger piece of leftovers might become something else soon so I’ll keep it in the drawer and throw away the little strips. When I’ve done that I must go to bed and *NOT* look at Pinterest again tonight.

January 25, 2011

Make Narrow Straps with Bias Binding Foot and eat biscuits

I’ve posted before about adding bias strips to the edge of fabric in one easy move but then I was needing some thin bits of fabric to use in a drawstring bag and I thought I’d show you how to do that with your bias binding foot.

You need a strip of fabric 1″ wide. If you cut it on the straight grain it will go a bit twisty but it will be a bit more rigid. If you cut it on the cross grain (bias) then you will need to press it to get it straight and it might stretch a bit once you’ve sewn it. My strip is cut on the straight grain and isn’t too twisty yet.

Cut your strip to a point at one end to help you get the thing into the foot. Pull it trough a good way so that you have fabric under the needle to start with. Guide the strip into the foot as you sew, keeping it equally spread between top and bottom curvy bits and this is what you get

Raw edged strip in, folded in and stitched down strip out = magic.

Here’s another view

Then, eat biscuits. J is our biscuit maker and these are from a recipe by Hugh F-W that was in the paper this weekend. We didn’t have enough butter so he made half the quantity and didn’t bother separating yolks so just put a whole egg in and the whole amount of vanilla. This may explain the stickiness of the dough and the curvaceous finished biscuit! The jam was a pretty sharp homemade mirabelle jam that has been in the fridge for months.

Jammed and ready for the oven

On the plate

He definitely needs to make more of these. Yum.

December 4, 2010

How to sew FOE with your bias binding foot

I have trouble with Fold Over Elastic and gave up on it when trying to sew ‘one wet pants’ for Miss Froo when we were doing Elimination Communication with her. I could never manage to get the elastic folded properly around the edge of the fabric I was sewing and despite reading all sorts of tutorials carefully I never got the hang of it properly. I did a bit on a shirt for Miss Amoo a while back but I wasn’t really happy with it.

Then the other night I was cutting out a vest to keep my chest warm from a slinky-but-stained top my mum had abandoned at my house, I wondered if I could use my lovely bias tape foot to sew some foe on the raw arm hole edges and neck.

I got the foot out and took some pictures just in case it worked and I could share this with you

Thread the elastic into the foot nice and evenly

Add your fabric (this is my vest)

Poke the fabric right up against the midline of the foe

relax your shoulders, keep breathing and sew steadily with a long-ish stitch and a teeny weeny bit of zig zag. Don’t stretch the fabric, don’t hang on to the elastic too tightly either but do keep your fabric feeding in right up against the elastic

Well! It works! At this point I realised that I haven’t been so anxious whilst sewing for quite a while!

It turned out that I only had enough elastic to do the arm holes which meant a hiatus until further elastic was purchased. I am now wearing the vest which has survived washing and wearing with no elastic failure so far. Now that I know I can do this I will be making more winter vests as I am freeeeezing.