About Me

My photo
Currently, I'm a stay-at-home mum to an inquisitive and often rambunctious three year old girl and her sunny little brother. In a former life, I was a lawyer. I know which I prefer. On the odd occasion that I get some downtime, I knit, crochet, read, sew, sing badly, dance even more so, enjoy a glass of wine and watch bad TV, sometimes in varying combinations of the foregoing and not necessarily in that order of preference.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

I finally finished something!

So, I finally sat down last night and corrected the buttonholes on the sundress that I made for Baby Bird.  I'm so glad I got this finished as this morning, the weather is perfect for sundresses... no, wait... it's throwing it down with rain again.  Oh well.  Small person was undeterred so the sundress is being worn as a pinafore.

I managed to snatch one quick snap before "Oooh, Mummy has the fun black box that makes the clicky noises and shows me pictures of me".
I see this "Oooh" face a lot.  It is normally accompanied by "Oooh" noises and a general need to run away quickly before she grabs whatever prompted it and has a tantrum when you remove said item.  Ah, the joys of the terrible twos.

Anyway, if it ever stops raining, I will take some outside shots.  In the meantime, I've played around with the great Pioneer Woman Photo Actions that I've just downloaded for Photoshop Elements and I'm pretty pleased with how the dress and Baby Bird look given the haste with which these were taken in my slightly gloomy hallway.

As for the dress, I'm pretty pleased with it.  I need to work on my buttonholes and may actually try doing the next lot by hand with embroidery silk for a thicker, more stable buttonhole and hopefully a neater finish.  However I think this set would have come out better had I not muffed up the length and had to tweak them.  Note to self: concentrate!

The pattern is "Watch the Birdie" from Making Baby's Clothes by Rob Merrett, but minus the applique.  This transforms it into the easiest sewing project in the whole world since it is just two pieces (or in my case 3 - I seamed the back so that I could squeeze this dress out of what was left of the 76 cm remnant I snaffled from DotsnStripes after I'd finished making the skirt for the dress she wore to the wedding that I keep promising to show you but failing to take pictures of), some bias binding and two buttons.  The fabric I know very little about: it was called Elisabet and I picked it up in late December along with a bunch of other remnants.  DotsnStripes have a particularly good remnants page I think and  I will be popping back over there regularly to pick up bits and bobs since I rarely need a full metre to make stuff for Baby Bird.  I'm really pleased with the fit - there's growing room but not so much that it looks ridiculous and the A-line is really flattering over her big fluffy washable nappies.  I will definitely be making more of these...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

New skills

I've talked before about how a nap time is proving to be just long enough for me to pick up some sewing, and about my friend's belief in the power of cumulative action.  So on Thursday, when it was close to but not quite close enough to the end of a week of busy Spring Fair planning, and I was in need of some light relief, I decided to pull out my sewing and see if I could finally nail a skill that had stalled two of my current projects: buttonholes.

I was a more than a little afraid of buttonholes.  The need to sew two parallel lines of closely spaced stitches and then snip a hole in your work without cutting any of them, or, most importantly, the little bars of stitches at the top and bottom.  It rather brought me out in a cold sweat.  My gran assured me that the buttonhole function on her sewing machine was fool-proof and that, once I'd tried it, I'd never be afraid of buttonholes again.

I found some scrap yarn and tried.  It started well but then the stitches began bunching and eventually the machine was just jogging on the spot.  I stopped and tried again.  Same thing.  I fiddled with the tension settings.  I fiddled with the pressure on the foot.  I fiddled with the feeddogs.  The machine seemed stiff.  I oiled it.  It helped a little but not much.  I tried doing some simple straight sewing.  The machine laboured.  It clunked.  It whirred.  Then it jammed.

Oh.  As one of the characters in my daughter's favourite TV programme say, "That is not very good".

I dismantled the bits of the machine that I could get to but nothing seemed to co-operate.  Clearly this called for someone who actually knew what they were doing.  I rootled around on the internet, hoping to unearth a sewing machine repair shop.  There were a few, but none particularly close to my corner of London and none who would collect the machine from me, and the closest one wasn't answering the phone.  Just when I was resigning myself to a drive into Battersea and to not doing any sewing for a couple of weeks while I tried to fit in driving back to collect the machine again, I spotted a link to a mobile sewing machine engineer.  The site looked presentable enough and he seemed to have lots of experience, plus a good reference (albeit a few years old now) from a local shop.  What the heck.  I gave him a call.

Which is how on Thursday evening, a little Lithuanian man was sat in my study, servicing my sewing machine (Hubby insists this sounds like the start of a porn film... I think it is the term "servicing") and how, on Thursday evening, I was finally able to do this:

and this:

You might not have noticed the buttonhole in the middle of the cow's head on the pocket flap...
and my sewing machine now runs like a dream.  Part of me feels £50 for the 20 minutes he was hear is rather expensive, but then he has a skill that I don't have, he came to me and he was with me within 4 hours of my call.  Plus I doubt any of the other shops would have been noticeably cheaper and all would have been noticeably more hassle, so really, what's not to like?  His card is now in a safe place for the next time (which he laughed and suggested would probably be in a couple of years).

Of course, I'm still a way off actually completing anything. This is probably why, rather than starting another project when I hit the buttonholes of the dress, I should have bitten the bullet then, but hey-ho.  I did try to remedy that last night by sewing the buttons on the dress.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I mis-measured and my buttonholes are slightly too short, so there will need to be a little jiggery-pokery tonight to fix that and I will need to remind myself of Tim Allen's mantra on 'Home Improvement': "measure twice, cut once".  But the important things are (a) I conquered my fear of buttonholes and (b) I think they look pretty good.  I'll finish the dress so that Baby Bird can wear it tomorrow and hopefully by next weekend, she will be skipping about in a pair of crazy cow print trousers.  The material is pretty bonkers I will concede, but I love it and firmly believe that if you can't dress in bonkers prints at 18 months, I don't know when you can.