Baby steps in embroidery

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I had a bit of a ‘finishing off’ day today at the sewing table (aka the kitchen table…). Tempting though it was just to start something new, I forced myself to attempt some closure on a few projects that have been littering our spare room for far too long now. First up was finishing off these simple, lavender hearts from The Hand-Stitched Home by Caroline Zoob. I managed to complete the needlework on these in just one evening. Never having done any kind of embroidery before, I ignored all fancy stitch terms and just had a bit of a go! I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Sure, they’re far from perfect, but (especially from a distance), they really look quite effective 🙂

Shame I made a bit of a hash sewing them up on my machine (really, this should have been the bit I did get right!). My ‘little tree’ heart is a fairly neat, heart shape, but my ‘flowers’ one is completely misshapen! The lavender makes them smell lovely though…

My second project was to revisit my first pair of trousers. Taking heed of some of your lovely comments, I thought I’d carefully unpick the crotch seam and the four darts. I then resewed them all, but this time all slightly narrower, which worked pretty well. Well, at least in that I can now get them on and zipped up. However they’re still just a smidgen too tight for workwear, which is really the last place I want too-tight pants! I think it was Sheila of Sewchat who suggested inserting a v of fabric in the back. I have plenty of fabric left over to contemplate this, but the checked pattern is making me nervous. It’s a lovely fabric and they’re so close to being just right, that I’m actually thinking of just taking them to a local seamstress to ask her to rescue them for me! What do you think? Is this classed as ‘cheating’? I have an excuse all ready if it is: see above, small, fiddly projects really aren’t my forte!

And lastly I had fun taking my first Megan Dress in on my overlocker. Although it was pretty comfy, its shape really wasn’t doing me any favours, and as a result, it just wasn’t getting worn. Taking in the side seams was really quick and it feels much smarter as a result.

So a pretty productive afternoon all in all 🙂 Even more exciting is the course I’m attending on Sunday. It’s a beginners’ course in embroidery with the one and only Deborah Simms of TGBSB fame. Can’t wait!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Teresa

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Mistakes? I’ve Made a Few…

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But this is probably the stupidest sewing one yet…

After I managed to salvage a Mabel out of the scraps of my Megan, I was left with a metre of this lovely fabric I picked up in the John Lewis sale. A Coco seemed like the perfect use for it. If I didn’t bother too much about pattern matching, then I figured I could just about manage it. I managed to cut it out in a spare hour I had in between finishing school and picking the kids up. Oh, and I was also trying to tidy up the kitchen and sort out the washing at the same time. Stupid idea! Not sure if you can tell from the above where I went wrong, but perhaps the following will help…

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How stupid? Seriously, unfolding the pattern fully, before pinning and cutting, is so basic, it’s not even featured in the instructions. And Tilly’s are pretty  comprehensive! But no, I happily cut it folded… I was so annoyed with myself!

After sufficient time had elapsed for me to calm down (a good week), I decided it was worth trying to rescue the situation. I had nowhere near enough fabric left to cut the whole piece again, but I thought I could try and just cut the missing bit out separately (including a seam allowance) and attach it. The only problem was that as I didn’t have an awful lot of fabric left, pattern matching would be out of the question. And while you can kind of get away with it on the side seams, right at the top of the front bodice was going to just be too obvious. After playing around for a bit, I decided that it would be better to just reverse the fabric instead and attempt to make a ‘feature’ of it. And rather than just have a random section of it in grey, I figured it would be better to reverse the sleeves too.

So, while I did manage to ‘rescue’ it, I’m not fully convinced that it worked! And for a whole host of reasons… It’s a fraction too small and doesn’t really work with jeans. I had to remove my belt for these photos to avoid a rather unsightly bulge around the middle. And really, this pattern was made for wearing at the weekend with jeans 😦 I’m also kind of wishing I’d cut more of the ‘missing piece’ as it maybe looks a little too narrow a section to work? Maybe it’s a touch too long in the body at the same time? Maybe it’s a case of a little of all the above.

So what’s the stupidest sewing mistake you’ve ever made? Tough as it is, could you even beat my stupidity on this project?

 

Cosy Cowl

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‘Knit this up in a weekend…’ yeah, right! You can see how this is going to go…

Back in October, we went off to Cardiff for half term. I packed this project, knowing that I’d have my Mum on hand if I got stuck. I was really pleased with myself: the pattern was from an ancient Molly Makes magazine, and delving into my yarn stash, I spotted three balls of this lovely, soft cashmere / cotton yarn I’d originally bought to make up a baby cardigan for my son. Yes, he’s now nine! Let’s just say I’ve had it a while…

My Mum patiently started me off on my circular needles knitting up the picot edge  and then handed it over. Mmmm…. while the pattern itself wasn’t too complicated, it involved a lot of careful counting and concentration as each of the thirteen lines shifted slightly each time. And when I say careful counting and concentration, I actually mean silence! Yep, the perfect pattern for a busy mother of two, I get oh, so much silence in my life 😉

Anyway the process went like this: I’d knit roughly 5 or 6 lines before I went wrong, then I’d have to wait until I saw my Mum again, who patiently unpicked 3 or 4 of those lines, before I could start again. Lordy, it took all of my patience and was the most frustrating knitting project I’ve ever made! I made on average something like 4 or 5 rows’ progress a week. My Mum kept offering to finish it off for me, but I was determined to see it through. I think it’s what’s called ‘a stubborn streak’.

I copied the pattern out onto separate paper, a few rows at a time, in an attempt to simplify it, with tally charts and post-its carefully marking my place every time I paused. Gradually, it was understood that no one in the room could speak when it came out 😉 There was a lot of eye rolling from various members of my family. Eventually, four months later (take that, ‘weekend‘ project!), it was time to hand it back to my Mum to finish the picot trim, leaving me to finish up all the ends.

To say it was a relief to finish it would be an understatement! Probably even more so for my Mum. And there’s no way I’ll be attempting anything like this again, anytime soon. But it is lovely 🙂 I’m not sure I can take the credit for it at all, as without my Mum on hand, I would never have finished it. I probably ended up knitting about three quarters of it at most, but still, I tried. On the plus side, I know this will get loads of wear. It’s pretty, beautifully soft and a good,neutral colour. It’s also warm, but with the added bonus of looking actually quite fresh and Spring-like. Almost worth the blood and tears…

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