Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Me Made May '14

So it's that time of year again! Shortly after starting up the blog last year I embarked upon (and did pathetically) the 'Me Made May' challenge.


In a nutshell it's an initiative started (if I'm not mistaken) by Zoe over at 'So Zo...' which involves sewists endeavouring to work as many of their handmade creations into their daily outfit rotation as possible. The idea is that it builds confidence in sharing projects with the wider world and perhaps also sheds some light on why certain items get neglected thus helping with future sewing plans.

With that in mind, (if you haven't already spotted it) Sarai over at Colette Patterns has been running a brilliant 'Wardrobe Architect' feature which I'll be working into my 'MMM'14' in the hope that by June I'll not only have a few more handmade garments to add to the collection, but a much better understanding of what shapes / colours / garments to concentrate on (and likewise which to avoid).

Last year the aspect I found most tricky was the documenting process of having to take a half decent picture to unleash upon the internet (I really do not like being photographed!) -I also had less 'Me Made's' to choose from so here's hoping I do a better job this year!

So without further ado...

I, Marie, of 'Stokes Croft Stitching' endeavour to wear one 'Me Made' item at least 4 days per week for the duration of May, and to make a further 2 garments. I will also strive to better document this with one 'MMM'14' blog post per week.

Anyone else joining in? Why not join the Flickr group for a little inspiration?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Hand Embroidered Muslin Curtain

Hello there! Thought I'd share my most recent 'house' project (I know -I'm house crazy at the mo. Having only just moved in everything needs doing!). I was hoping to have the finished item ready to share by now but alas, it's taking forever! So here's a peak of it 'in progress' and I'll share a few more pictures when it's finished in approximately 50 years time!

We have beautiful huge windows in our little Victorian terrace which we've just moved to and I love the light which they let in so didn't want to obscure the whole window in our new bedroom -just hang a little something for privacy.

I decided to go with a 'café net' style (covers the lower half leaving the top half of the window clear). I was tempted by voile but really like the texture of muslin, and thought that a little drawn thread work (my latest needlepoint craze!) would really set it off, making it something unique to me.

I cut my muslin (trying to follow the grain as closely as possible -becomes very important when embroidering later) to about 2cm longer than I wanted the finished result using the full fabric width. This is because instead of hemming, I used a really short stitch on my overlocker to finish the edge as I wanted to keep it light and avoid a clumsy chunky hem at the lower edge to spoil the transparency.

For the top channel I overlocked the fabric with a standard stitch length and turned it over by 1cm. Then with a straight stitch on my standard machine I just caught the overlocked edge leaving a channel big enough for the curtain wire and again avoiding excess bulk. (If you don't have an overlocker, simply bind the edge with a short zig-zag stitch or use a standard narrow hem).

If you fancy making a curtain yourself then you could happily stop there -but I decided to hand embroider mine to make it a bit special! So using a technique called 'Drawn Thread Work' I snipped and eased out a few threads from the weft with my seam ripper leaving little 'ladders' in the warp.

These ladders can then be gathered into bunches by binding the edges with tiny hand stitches. You can create decorative patterns with varying gathers or manipulate them with binding or twisting. My tip for this kind of work is to be very patient and quite gentle when handling it (not usually my fortĂ© but oddly I seem to have taken to this technique) particularly when drawing out the initial threads as it's easy to break them.

...and on that note, back to work! I may be some time.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Workshop Fun

For the last few weeks as well as stroking fabric 'working' at the fabulous 'Make & Do' I've been leading a few new workshops for people to dip their toe into some super simple childrenswear. We've been drafting little garments straight onto the fabric using air vanishing markers to create little skirts, shorts and shirred dresses.

With all of the house moving chaos still in full swing I thought I'd share a small selection of pictures of what the ladies have been creating as I've been super lazy with my own projects and have neglected my trusty Bernina of late. It's so nice to see the finished projects -and some of the ladies going on to produce more and more of their own designs... (Steph and Gemma, I'm looking at you!)

The next bunch are scheduled for 28th April (Shirring) 5th May (Shorts) and the 8th May (Pjs). More details on the website.

Kelly's shirred Pj's using beautiful Liberty fabric.
Fear not though, I'm getting my machine out this afternoon for a bit of a sewing session. But what to make? Anyone who knows me will know that I have a permanent 'To-do' list as long as my arm so there's plenty to choose from! Holiday bag, now-extremely-belated Christmas bag, muslin curtains for our new room ...or perhaps I'll just be selfish and make my Pj shorts I've been looking forward to!

Whilst I decide, I think I'll dye my sofa cover. Here we go, fingers crossed...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Home Sweet Home

Why hello again! It feels like an age since I've sat down to write a little post to share. This is because I've recently moved house! I've finally said 'Bye-bye' to Stokes Croft after 10 years (sticking with the name though -where it all began) and I'm now on the other side, (almost) everything has been moved across to our new home and now the lengthy process of sorting through our possessions and deciding on decor etc can begin!

I figured it's only fitting for the first post-move project to be sewing related...

I was given an unwanted antique reproduction dresser by my mother (which lovely though it is, has seen better days so will be primed and painted) which I'm filling with all of my sewing supplies. Yesterday I made a start on the gargantuan task of organising my fabric stash.

Recycling the boxes from our move, I painstakingly cut and wound most of my vintage trims and lace onto cards. It's amazing how many of them I don't remember having seen.

I'm also cutting 'mini bolts' as you can see above for my larger fabric pieces. I'm hoping that having everything in view and easily accessible will reduce the waste involved in buying unnecessarily (unfortunately I didn't even make a dent in the mounds and boxes of fabric still waiting to be sorted!).

With the shelf removed I'm able to fit all three of my machines into the cupboard (Bernina sewing machine and Janome overlocker and embroidery machine) the drawers will hold tools / notions.

So all that's needed now is a lick of paint! ...but what colour? Sounds like a job for Pinterest!