Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pattern Matching

Pattern matching takes extra time in planning, cutting and sewing. More fabric is often needed*, but it is all worth it for a smooth uninterrupted look. Even on a small project like this cushion cover.
*to determine how much more fabric you need, measure the length of the pattern repeat from the start of the pattern to the point where it begins (repeats) again. This is one pattern repeat. Next determine how many repeats you need for one side. For a cushion cover it could be less than one repeat, for a curtain making project you might need two or more repeats per curtain drop. Once you know how many repeats you  need then you can calculate the total amount of fabric needed for your project.
Happy sewing!

Friday, September 23, 2016


Recently I have been thinking about using gathers to add interest to my work. When fabric is gathered it creates folds on the fabric surface. The folds (or hills and valleys) create light and dark areas on plain fabric which add subtle visual interest. On printed fabric the gathers alter the look by hiding tiny sections of the print.
To gather fabric start with a piece of fabric at least twice the length of your finished project. Gathers reduce the length of fabric.
Results of the different gathering methods. For the first 3 samples I started with a 10 in strip and gathered it up to 5 inches. From the top hand gathers, straight stitch machine gather, zigzag stitch machine gather and gathering foot with un-gathered top piece.

Basic ways to Gather
By hand- sew a running stitch on the section you wish to gather, pull the thread to create the desired fullness. Tie off thread ends to hold gathers. Hand gathering works best on small projects.
Machine Gathers- use an all purpose presser foot. Set stitch length to longest stitch. Sew a straight row of stitching on the section to be gathered. Leave thread tails long. Do not back stitch. Pull bobbin thread only to create folds.
Alternatively you can use a zigzag stitch and cord. Place the cord along the section to be gathered and centred under the presser foot. Stay stitch the cord at one end then zigzag stitch down the cord length, encasing it in the stitches but not catching the cord. Pull cord to form gathers.
Gathering foot
Gathering foot- a small and easy to use foot. The gathering foot automatically gathers the fabric as you sew. Select the longest straight stitch setting, place the fabric under the presser foot and sew. That's it, fabric will be gathered evenly. The gathering foot can also be used to gather fabric and attach it to a second piece of un-gathered fabric. Simply place the fabric you do not wish to gather in the slot between the top and bottom of the foot. The challenge here is making sure both fabrics are kept straight. Also for a tighter gather place a finger behind the presser foot. This slows the fabric movement and creates more gathers. A ruffle foot is another attachment that automatically gathers fabric.
Finally other ways to gather fabric are by using elastic and gathering tape. Gathering tape is used in curtain making.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Working with Knit Fabric

I purchased 2 yards of a gray knit fabric last week($8 a yard). Its a cotton poly blend with gold polka dots. I have not done much sewing with knit fabric so was eager to try something easy. I chose the 'Go-To Dress' from "Sew What You Love" for my first make (pictured above). To stitch the dress I used the straight stitch for stretch fabric for the seams and a narrow zigzag for all the hems. I used a size 90/14 ball point needle.
Next I will try 'The Walkley' pattern from Simply Sewing. I have just enough fabric to make the top.
Happy Sewing.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The hardest thing

The bag so far. Still needs a zipper closure and lining.

The hardest thing about creating is getting started. Once I begin there is no stopping me. Take 'The Melbourne Weekender' bag, this project has been sitting around and moved around my work table for probably 9 months, maybe more.
This past week I began it and am happy to say its almost finished, just need to make the zippered closure and lining, but first I have to go buy the right colour zipper.
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sew Serendipity - Skirt

I love this fabric is it 100% cotton chambray. I original made it into a gathered skirt for my daughter  but after a year of it sitting at...