Saturday, 25 June 2016

Creative Paranoia

When I was at school I loved to write stories, news articles and make things for my toys like clothes or cut small pieces of felt and pretend it was food for them. As a teenager I focused on art and music although was rather more successful at the latter! I did music production and music technology at college and got to spend 5 days a week being creative and to be honest I liked it way more than school. After I left college I kind of lost this creative side in the jobs that I did. I have mentioned before, specifically in my bio on here that I started sewing again after my daughter was born. It was almost as if a light bulb switched on in me that gave me back all these creative ideas that I just had to put into practice. Up until recently, I had never made anything for anyone else before and this was a whole new kettle of fish. Suddenly I had to make everything super perfect because I was so worried that the customer would look at me and ask why I had supplied them with a piece of rubbish. I'm not saying that I don't care as much when I sew for myself but I developed what I will call creative paranoia, that my items would not be good enough for someone else. I put myself under undue pressure because of my own insecurities and in a way I still do. I take my hat off to all those crafters who have made a business out of their passion and I always look at their items at fairs or online and think 'Wow! They are amazing! I hope my stuff looks that good!' But it seems maybe I am being too harsh on myself as my customers - as far as I know! - have always been pleased with the items I have made for them. I always wonder if anyone else feels like this or if I suffer creative paranoia on my own? If you are reading this and it sounds familiar please let me know!

At the moment I have all these ideas and projects that I want to do but not enough time to do them! I plan to share some of my new stuff with you on here, as some of it will be things I have never tried before, like hats! Millinery is my new favourite Pinterest obsession and to tie in with my love of vintage Pill Box hats in particular. As mentioned before I will crack Crochet and I also want to try machine embroidery, which fascinates me! So lovely readers, the next few months for me will hopefully be a creative tsunami!

P.S: I am on Pinterest so check out my boards! Mama Likes To Sew

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Handmade Summer Challenge Update!

I am a month into my homemade summer challenge and so far so good! I have been lead into temptation a couple of times but can happily say I have only left a shop with one bra! As underwear was excluded from the challenge I am quite proud of myself.

Over the last month I have made a tube dress, a unicorn half circle skirt and have customized an old charity shop buy. Thanks to my lovely friend Leilei at Von Clair Designs I have acquired the half circle pattern and am planning to make a few more of these over the next few months. I have learned lots of new sewing techniques already which has been a fun process. I have perfected by exposed zipper technique, learned how to create the perfect curved hem and also how to use bias binding, which is my particular favourite.

I have also had some lovely custom orders for my soft furnishing business Pilosity and this has given me the chance to work with some new fabrics and perfect my piping skills. I love to create things for other people and can't wait to see their faces when they see the items for the first time. Thanks to the support of lovely friends supporting my new business venture I am able to add to my portfolio.

All in all it has been a great month for crafting and I am really enjoying myself! It's always good to learn new skills and with the use of Pinterest and YouTube it makes tutorials so much more accessible. I have a huge collection of sewing books but I will always make these my go to sites as there is nothing quite like watching someone else to make learning easier. My next skill to master will be Crochet and I am determined to do this! As a lefty I am finding it quite awkward and have tried doing it both ways but still feel like I am all fingers and thumbs. I think over time with enough practice I should be ok but I can see it being a tough one for me to start with! Watch this space!!   

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Summer Tube Dress

Really excited to make the first item in my homemade summer challenge! I've decided to start off nice and simple with a strapless tube dress made out of some fabric which I found in The Works book shop in their craft section. When I originally got this fabric I was going to make some bags and cushions from it, thinking it wouldn't be that big but when I opened it, I realised it had some serious potential. I'll be using 2 packs of this and priced at only £2 each it's a great start to the challenge! 

For this dress you will need:

Fabric ( my squares are 100cm X 74cm each)
Elastic for top band ( mine is 1inch wide)
Sewing machine

1. As I will be gathering this at the top band I haven't needed to cut my fabric, instead I have put them right sides together and pinned down each side. Then I have used a standard 5/8" seam allowance and straight stitched down both sides creating a large tube.

2. Next turn and press your bottom hem. I've stuck to the 5/8" seam. As my fabric is 100% polyester I don't need to serve the edges, but if your fabric clearly frays it would be a good idea to either serge or zig zag stitch them before turning and pressing.

3. Once the bottom hem is stitched, repeat the process with the top. Once this is done you will need to create the tube for your elastic. I did this by turning my top hem over enough to fit the elastic with a little room to spare. When sewing the tube remember to leave a gap to insert the elastic.

4. When cutting the elastic for your top band you need to make sure it is slightly stretched so that the dress will be held up. Measure under the arms and over the boobies and cut.

5. Carefully thread your elastic into the tube without twisting it. I managed to get mine twisted and had to unpick the stitching! Stitch the elastic ends together and pike into the tube. Now you can see up the gap and even out the gathers.

Now you have a dress! You can either add an elastic waistband or like me wear with a waist cinched belt to pull it in. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Fear of the Unknown

In my last post I wrote about a challenge I set myself to not purchase any new clothes until October. In conjunction with this I have also realised to be successful in making and altering my own clothes, I need to be more educated in the features of my trusty Singer. When I started seriously sewing I was using a beautiful 1955 Singer 201k, which is the ultimate work horse. That baby would sew through leather as if it were the thinnest cotton but the trouble was it only did a straight stitch. I am lucky enough to own an abundance of different attachments for it including a zig zag and button holer. But I found these increasingly frustrating to use with little or no instructions. I decided when I enrolled in a dress making course last year that I would invest in a modern machine to enable me to learn the skills first and then I could transfer these to the 201k at a later date. Anyone who sews will know that modern machines are equipped with up to hundreds of different stitches and all kinds of trickery but on average only a fraction of these features will ever get used. So regarding my challenge, I have been playing about with some of my lesser used machine functions and am actually quite proud of the results! I'd never attempted a button hole until this evening and I'd never tried to sew an actual button on using a machine before! I thank the good people at Singer for the latter as I HATE sewing buttons on at the best of times so this has really changed things up for me! My next experiment will be with the decorative/embroidery stiches which will look great when hemming clothes or adding appliqué to cushions. I've got plenty of scrap material to try this on and hopefully it will yield some productive results. All in all I would encourage anyone with a sewing machine to get out of their comfort zone and try some of these unused functions because you never know, they could become the most useful resources you have.