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and how dangerous could it be to clean your sewing room?

Brother Sewing Machine BOBBINS | eBay

Just bobbin’ along – but not suitable for my machine

You might recall I mentioned having made some inroads with tidying my sewing room? I’ve made no further progress with that, but I can at least get to the machine now. So I sat down to finish a spot of sewing the other day, There was white thread in the bobbin and I was working on some dark blue fabric. I always have spare bobbins. Always. I couldn’t find any for the Janome (but a dozen or so Singer bobbins precisely where they should have been; and, sadly, not¬† interchangeable). I searched high and low, looked in all the likely and unlikely places I might have put bobbins. Nothing. Well, heck.

Today I went off to buy some! And the truly dangerous thing about that? It wasn’t the having to get down on my hands and knees to read the label on the packaging, or even having to brave the industrial aircon at full revs. No. It was that bit of fabric that someone else was buying at a reduction of nearly 70%. I wouldn’t normally be tempted by it at full price. But we have a wedding coming up in a few weeks, and I would like to have something a little bit dressy and decent for the occasion (for once, there’s nothing truly suitable in my wardrobe). So a couple of metres came home with me, as well as the new bobbins.

However, I DID return the fabric I’d picked up to make myself a new summer nightie. I’d thought it was out at sale price, but that proved not to be the case. I couldn’t justify that sort of expense for something I’m going to treat like a rag, though I’ll wear it for years. Of course you’re right to suggest that, balanced out across the number of years – or even only one year – it wouldn’t be an extravagance at all. But I’m sure I can find some suitable leftovers in my stash. Perhaps the fabric won’t be as soft, but that doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t worry about making a new nightie except that the previous one I made is wearing out. I whizzed it up in a hurry five or six years ago. The seams are still neat, the neckline reinforcing is still doing a wonderful job, and the hems are holding up remarkably well. But it’s badly sweat-stained and the fabric has holes in it! It’s truly the baggiest, shaggiest nightie I’ve ever had but it’s been fantastic during hot, summer nights. We get quite a few of those in this part of the world.

So I reckon that’s me sorted for a few weeks. What have you been up to lately that’s proved more dangerous than it seemed at first blush?!

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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almost absolutely random

A tiny part of what I've been doing, but I love the colour combination in these lavender bags :)

A tiny part of what I’ve been doing, but I love the colour combination in these lavender bags ūüôā

Hellooo, here I am again. Did you miss me?! I’ve been¬†to the cinema a couple of times and one night I made those¬†lavender bags to be¬†a raffle prize (nine bags, a bit over 2 hours of work; nobody would be prepared to pay what that would cost). I used stash fabric and some truly venerable ribbon, which came from Great Aunt’s stash and¬†is¬†possibly¬†older than I am. I¬†squashed all nine¬†into a fancy, little presentation box with a handwritten label that read, “Lavender bags: stick ’em in your drawers :)”. I hope whoever picked that particular prize thoroughly enjoys it.

Mostly, however, I’ve been sewing a lot of metres of wedding-decoration bunting: approximately 270, to be precise ūüôā Without further ado, let me deconstruct the process somewhat.

Because we weren’t sure about¬†what would work in the¬†space, we rough-calculated we’d need 15-metre strips and I made¬†18 of them, to ensure adequate coverage. Mission accomplished. There were enough leftovers to decorate one of the outdoor areas as well, plus hang a little strip across¬†the front of the bar.

Another guest asked if there’d been a pattern to the way I sewed the bunting? I responded that it had been almost absolutely random; and before the purists beat me up and insist it’s either random or it’s not, let me explain.

There were plain and striped triangles cut from the large amount of hessian that Eldest Niece provided; two different sorts of lace triangles, cut from some¬†leftover curtaining that was lurking in my stash; and a lot of¬†lace strips cut from the continuous rolls provided by Eldest Niece.¬†I cut and counted every bit of bunting, and divided each total¬†by 18. That gave me a count¬†per item,¬†per tape. Unsurprisingly, there were leftovers, so they were totted up¬†and that¬†total¬†divided by 18, then all of those put into an “add¬†a couple¬†of these to each tape” container, meaning from the outset that no two tapes were¬†likely to be the same.

Dr B helped me square up my sheeting so I could cut it¬†into tapes and¬†purchased an A0-sized self-healing cutting mat¬†for me (at my request; also¬†some new pinking shears). YoungB helped with picking piles prior to sewing¬†and accompanied Dr B to pick up the¬†cutting mat whose delivery they’d missed. They put up with my eating and running – that is, I’d get home from work, have tea with them and vanish into the sewing room till bedtime – and didn’t complain too much about my moving their cycles from the hallway so I could set up my cutting station on the only large, solid bit of floor in the house. Finding an adequate space for cutting was probably the biggest challenge, although I’ve since had some brainwaves around old doors and sawhorses; but with a¬†template made from a plastic¬†chopping¬†sheet, my¬†new metre ruler and the large¬†cutting mat, I managed to get the job done.

Once all the tapes were sewn – five three-metre x¬†2.5 cm strips joined to form a tape just under 15 metres in length – and¬†all the shapes were cut out, counted and sorted into piles, I’d pick the required number and prepare a stack for sewing. This is where the random element truly came to the fore. As I stacked the pile, I’d¬†sometimes turn it¬†pile over before adding the next piece and every now and then that meant¬†a long run of – usually, because there was much more of it – hessian and one lonely piece of lace before an alternating pattern, or a run of two hessians and one lace, but it wasn’t predictable except that I only had a certain amount of pieces to work with for each tape.

I’d then put the pile by the sewing machine and, using the needle plate as a rough measure of distance between pieces, away I’d sew on the sheeting tape. Ideally, the tape would have been folded in half along its length¬†and the pieces of bunting slipped into the resulting crease, but I quickly realised that, while that provided¬†the neatest finish, it¬†would require far more time than I had available to me. I ended up using a wide zigzag stitch and machining the pieces directly¬†onto the tape, leaving about 40 cm either end for tying purposes. Because I used both my Singer and my Janome, the¬†distance between pieces wasn’t precise¬†but it would be fair to say, I think, that the gap¬†was rarely more than 7 cm. I threw in a handful of¬†lavender bags, packed it all into one of those large, striped shopping totes¬†that would probably¬†hold a couple of small children, and Middle Niece collected it the day before the hall was to be decorated. I’m told that unpacking it was akin to a magician’s trick: the bunting just kept coming out of the bag ūüôā

So that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. And now? YoungB wants me to magic up some pockets inside his motorcycling jeans, so that he can add in extra protective armour for a forthcoming long trip. I’m scratching my head about that, because I don’t see how I can do it without unpicking a serious amount of heavy-duty seaming. Should I run now?

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in Sewing

 

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