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Tag Archives: Christmas sewing

but it wasn’t an entirely no-sew Christmas

Promptly pressed into action

Promptly pressed into action

Because Youngest Aunt and I both worked on Christmas Eve, we decided that we’d be too tired to enjoy our usual Boxing Day lunch, traditionally held at her place. Therefore, we had it on the following Sunday instead. I was reasonably happy about that for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that it gave me a couple of extra days to make her Christmas tablecloth! I generally sew tablecloths with narrow hems but I made these wide because she’ll use the cloth on her outside table and my reasoning was that a wider, thicker hem would give the tablecloth weights better gripping surface and yet minimise the likelihood of their tearing it.

Fabric a-fluttering

Fabric a-fluttering

The fabric is duck, sturdy and good quality as well as suitably bright and cheerful for festivities (even Dr B likes the design on it). What’s more, it was out at sale price. I wish I’d bought more but there’s enough left to make a runner for one of Youngest Aunt’s other outdoor tables. Next there’s some Christmas fabric that was intended for a runner. That will eventuate, but because of Eldest Niece’s not having a dining table and all that – though she does have a breakfast bar, it seems; but she assures me she eats on the run, so even festive napery might not play a big part in her life – it’s folded and put away for another day.

Also fluttering is a red-and-white check fabric that turned into a small tablecloth for the card table that YoungB uses in his cabin. I bought that some while back, but it’s taken me till now to put two hems on it. That fabric was also out at sale price because it was the end of the bolt and there’s a couple of flaws in it. The resulting tablecloth looks quite acceptable and does the job and I can assure you that YoungB won’t mind a bit that it’s less than perfect. He probably won’t notice unless I tell him!

Love hearts, as they say, for a lovely young man

Hearts for a lovely young man. I elected to use what’s probably the wrong side of the fabric as the right side of the tablecloth because I liked it better.

I struggled to fit the sewing, I admit. It wasn’t difficult work – straight hems, no curves at all – but finding the time and a clear space on the table, not to mention somewhere to lay out the fabric so that I could square it up properly, almost defeated me. A larger table would help with space for the squaring, but it would also be simply somewhere else for things to go that shouldn’t.
If there’s any real New Year’s resolution lurking anywhere, it might be in my intention to keep my sewing table as clear as I possibly can – that is, keeping my sew-zone as a no-go zone for everything but sewing because if I don’t, it will be a no-sew zone instead 😉

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Sewing

 

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then some days I surprise myself

Those of you who do a lot of sewing, especially those who make clothes, will no doubt be familiar with the experience of looking at a finished article and finding it good: at least nicely made, having a quality finish and perhaps fabric, and something that you’d pay a lot for – if indeed, you could replicate it – if you had to buy it in a shop. Me? Well, you saw my recent wearable toile. Really, most of my sewing is mending or small household things. For all my grand plans, I don’t actually get much clothing sewn.

And you can't even tell that I had to redo a bit of topstitching where I ran off the edge!

And you can’t even tell that I had to redo a bit of topstitching where I ran off the edge!

I’m not sure if an apron is necessarily clothing, either. Some might argue that it’s an accessory since its main purpose is to protect clothing. Whichever school of thought you support, I made a really nice, stripey one the other day. It’s a Christmas present, of course, and its manufacture had to be slotted in around the usual chores of domestic life because I can’t sew at night (that’s a matter of simple household logistics, not so much that I wouldn’t be happy to sew all night).

Next morning, when I went back to the sewing room to check that it was properly finished – no threads hanging off or things of that unruly nature – I found myself pleasantly astonished by what a fine-looking apron I had in my hands. Wow, the pocket lines up. All the stripes align, except where I had fun playing with a contrasting alignment for the pocket, as you can see in the photo. How regular are those half-inch hems? And, gee, isn’t that a tidy bit of topstitching?! Quite a lot of tidy topstitching, in fact, all around the apron. Impressive.

All praise to my walking foot for managing to skate over so many layers of mattress ticking, which was the fabric I used to make the apron. Thanks, too, to the Purl Bee‘s wonderful Simple Linen Apron pattern and instructions. I have a favourite, tried and very true apron pattern that I’ve used to death for many, many years but decided that it was time to do something different. This is simple but satisfyingly elegant and I’m sure the intended recipient will love it. Because it’s cotton, it might have a slightly lower protective factor than a plastic or coated fabric, but it will be cooler; and when you’re slaving away over a hot stove on a 40-degree day, that’s important.

And you know that old saying about pride going before a fall? Let this be a lesson to you to look at the pictures, chickadees. I had a moment of doubt when cutting out the neck straps, because there didn’t seem to be a sufficient measurement differential but pushed ahead and followed the instructions. I even went ahead and constructed and attached according to the instructions. And, yeah, the instructions are wrong! If you go back and look at the pictures, as I did only after the event, you’ll see that one neck tie is a lot shorter than the other, not just a few inches. Oh, well, a small bit of retro-engineering was able to fix that, but I was cross with myself more than cranky with the pattern because my usual way of dealing with D-rings ought to have given me the tip.

Fabric: perhaps half a metre of cotton mattress ticking (nominally 150 cm wide, I think) bought at Spotlight in the city at least a year ago, possibly two. I prewashed, knowing it was very likely to shrink; and it did.

Thread: Coats Drima Polyester in an ecru colourway, which I’ve had for years and is no longer available (no, not white. I like that small contrast and, to be truthful, I wouldn’t have been able to see what I was doing if I’d used a white thread that completely disappeared into the fabric.).

Size: Adult; but one size given that consideration.

Changes to pattern: I stitched the hem on the pocket piece before attaching it to the apron.  That helped avoid the fluff-collecting extra flap of fabric in the pocket and made for a slightly tidier finish (just my opinion; but since ticking is very prone to fraying, I thought too that the zigzagged edges alone might not do the job). And, you know, there was the thing with the neck tie.

All in all, I’m very happy with this. I should have spotted the problem with the neck tie earlier, but it was easily fixed. So, okay, here we are a few days away from Christmas and I’ve finished one gift. Right! Will I have to resort to gift vouchers from Bunnings for the boys (they’re all tinkerers of one sort or another) and Dymocks for the girls (who are mostly rapacious readers), do you think? What’s your emergency plan?

Good luck with it all, anyway.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Sewing

 

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is this really spring?

Springy enough but winterly warm

Springy enough but winterly warm

If it is – and if the swooping magpies didn’t suggest so, then the amount of sneezing and general misery associated with hay fever certainly would – then I think my knitting is likely to be put into some form of storage, the sewing machine come out of semi-hibernation and the seasonal swap take place. I don’t really sew much but I think I do more of it in the warmer months. That’s plain silly, really, when YoungB is always on the lookout for warm, knit-fabric sweaters and the frankensweater is yet to be made. On the other hand, it’s generally far too cold in the sewing room for me to use it during winter. It’s clear, though, because I checked on my Ravelry page, that I have been reasonably productive this year with knitting projects, many of which haven’t been hanging around forever but were actually started this year. Of course, some have been around for a good bit longer. By about now, though, I’ve run out of steam and I’m sneezing too much to be bothered with knitting.

Sewing seems to be the answer. I went so far as to purchase a couple of sewing patterns this year, with stash fabric in mind, but whether I’ll ever actually get around to making them up is quite another thing altogether. The PDF one that I have to stick together, then trace my size onto lightweight interfacing, then actually cut out on fabric, is just sitting there patiently awaiting sufficient clear floor space – and enthusiasm – for all of that to happen. The one that has to be ironed, spread out and then traced and cut out? Yeah, see previous comment about floor space or implied lack thereof. I have made up some shopping totes and lavender bags and no doubt I’ll make a few more of those sorts of things with Christmas in mind. But, you know, I’m tired (hence the lack of enthusiasm). It’s been an odd sort of year and it’s quite scary to think it’s nearly over.

YoungB is nearing the end of his first year at university. I don’t understand that at all. It’s only yesterday, surely, that he was starting primary school. Although, come to think of it, I do have some photos of his last primary school sports day and I can tell you he’s grown some since then. Actually, I have photos of his last assembly at high school. They were taken about a year ago. Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.

We are presently in the throes of organising YoungB’s application for a year of exchange study in Italy. In the interests of assessing his language skills so we can get an idea of his proficiency levels (and what summer courses he might need to do to boost them if they’re not as they should be), I’ve been looking up a few applications and trawling the web for sites that might be of assistance. I tried out a few of them. I have a great verb trainer on my smartphone. It turns out I’m very good at knowing what the verbs mean, even some of the less common ones.

I’m not so good, and this doesn’t surprise me at all, at conjugating anything much beyond fairly oft-used verbs in ordinary tenses but not moods. I think I’ve said before that I get stuck when I’m faced with having to choose between conditionals and subjunctives. It was ever thus, hence my relative silence whilst I was living in Italy. By the time I’d worked out which of them I should be using, the conversation had moved on so far that it didn’t matter any more. YoungB is much more inclined to just jump in and have a go. I’m hoping he’ll have such a fantastic immersion experience that he’ll come back fluent in all conjugations, whatever the moods or tenses and whether it be spring or any other season.

Of course, that’s all very well. But needing a quick, undemanding project (read, something to fill my hands while we’re discussing all the implications of such an exchange at the kitchen table), I had to dash off today to buy some yarn to make a winter scarf for someone in the family. It will be a Christmas present though not required till next year; but if I wait till her birthday, the poor thing will have died of cold in the interim! So, you know, what I was saying about giving up knitting for a bit? Yeah, maybe not just yet.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

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