Tuesday, 22 December 2009

It's Christmas

Here are a few of my Christmas decorations, I intended to take some last year but my camera broke and I didn't get them done. Inside of my porch.....looking out onto the snow...... brrrr it's very cold.
Close up of wreath which is covered in red berries...artificial ones.
Wreath on the front door..I think this is supposed to be an indoor wreath but I quite like it outside...it survived last winter I hope it survives again.
Close up of my decorations on the tree...some of these decorations are probably over 50 years old, some are years younger but all of them are treasured.
I put my Xmas tree in the dining room.....snow in the back garden and the temperatures are 0 degrees. The log man is coming this afternoon we need to stock up because it is so cold.
I have had this Santa for quite a number of years. I bought 2 one for each side of the mantle but I gave one to my daughter.
Sitting room mantle.
Wreath inside the front porch.....as you can see we have snow. Those little cross stitch decorations were made for me by my daughter when she was very young.
These are flowers my husband bought me....just because he wanted to.....ah

Monday, 14 December 2009

More trousers

I know..I know more trousers.........but I have eventually ordered some samples for a jacket. I have only tried to make a jacket once and it was a total disaster but I have to say I am a little better at fitting now.

I have had some navy chino cotton for about 5 years, it has been washed and ready for cutting for a long time now....so I am making a couple of pairs of summer weight trousers (I am always behind with my sewing e.g. making winter garments in the winter and summer garments in the summer) and they will be ready for the warmer weather.

I have been on a couple of months trying to perfect my blouse muslin but it is still not right, I have put it to one side for now, I am so frustrated trying to fit my top half.....I don't know what I will do about my jacket lol lol.

I am using my TNT trouser pattern, if it's not broken then don't fix it....that's my motto, I hate fitting anyway.

Here are a couple of pictures of my muslin....I changed the front darts to princess seams......this fabric is stiff cotton so it does not have any drape whatsoever, maybe that is my problem, I don't know, or maybe I am just too picky.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


As I said in my last post my Mum hasn't been very well for a couple of months now.......she is 77 years old and still does her daily regime of exercises but lately her breathing has been terrible. She hasn't been to the doctors for years and after much persuasion she finally decided she needed an ambulance.
She has been given every test under the sun but they can't decide whether she has had a slight heart attack or not, but she has had fluid on her lungs....no pain.
We are just awaiting more results.
Sewing is off the cards for the moment...I have more important things to see to.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Sewing through the heartache

At last I have finished these trousers, I have had a trumatic time over the last couple of months and didn't feel much like sewing.....as I have mentioned before we have lost 2 of our old labradors and although they have had a wonderful life I miss them terribly. One of my favourite aunts has also died, I was very, very upset but it was a blessing because she suffered terribly and my Mum hasn't been her usual self lately....so all in all a pretty miserable couple of months.
These trousers are based on my TNT pattern, I have made the legs slimmer and put in a slant pocket instead of the usual side pockets. I had also intended to put studs in the pockets and do a welt pocket in the back, however, I have been on so long with them that I didn't do the welt pocket and I should have put the studs in the pockets before I stitched the side seams because my little gadget for putting in the studs wasn't long enough. This is the back , I am quite happy with the fit of these. I had intended to use these trousers for walking my dogs, hense the cord fabric, but I think they are too good at the moment for pushing into wellies and getting all muddy.

I am not quite sure if these sandals go with these trousers, when I measured the hem I had flat shoes on......my DH thinks they look alright but I'm not sure.

I traced my TNT pattern, I measured the bottom width of another pair of trousers I had, then tapered the bottom of the pattern to about the crotch area ( I didn't want to touch the hips and waist or the darts so I stopped at the crotch). I stitched the darts then underlined each piece, then stitched everything together as one. I also had to adapt the top of the trousers for the slant pockets and make a pattern for the new pocket.....I think I did alright with the pockets, maybe a few tweaks here and there will be needed. I sewed everything together in my usual way but I tacked the side seams for fitting.....I needed to take them in another 1/4" at the bottom tapering to the crotch once again, I will adjust the pattern accordingly.
I am not sure whether it was worth all the hastle of changing the pockets because I can't wear anything tucked into my waist....my figure won't allow it.....so my pockets won't be seen anyway.
I am delighted that I have a new TNT pattern for trousers to work with, it will be well used I can tell you, like all of my patterns.
What is up next?.....the blouse I am wearing in the picture I have made quite a few times now, I might have a go at doing something different with that. I made two of these blouses out of linen, this one and a white one, they have been washed and worn over and over again, I have certainly had my wear out of them.
I could buy a new pattern for a shirt but the shape of it would end up like the one in the picture, so I might as well save myself some money and try to do somthing with my TNT pattern.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Sewing time

I always have a problem with the amount of time dedicated to my sewing, I also think I put too much pressure on myself to finish things. I have decided that I will do approx. 10 hrs. sewing a week, which is quite enough otherwise I sicken myself of sewing altogether. I timed myself this week and this is how my sewing week has gone:
Monday.....10.15am to 11.15am........1hr
4.10pm to 4.35pm.........25mins
9.30pm to 9.45pm.........15mins 1hr 40mins
Tuesday......no sewing
Wednesday....... 10.30am to 11.45am ......1hr15mins
1.10pm to 2.00pm........50mins
3.00pm to 3.1opm.......10mins 2hrs 15mins.
Thursday............ 8.45am to 9.30am.......45mins
11.10am to 11.30am.......20mins
12.30pm to 1.00pm........30mins
2.25pm to 3.oopm.........35mins
6.20pm to 7.30pm........1hr10mins
9.00pm to 9.45pm.......45mins 4hrs 05mins
Friday .................9.00am to 9.30am........30mins
10am to 10.30am.........30mins
2.30pm to 3.20pm......50mins 1hr50mins
Saturday.........no sewing
Sunday.................12.00pm to 12.15pm.......15mins
6.00pm to 7.15pm...........1hr15mins
11pm to 11.45pm.............45mins 2hrs 15mins
Altogether, if my calculations are correct, I have sewn for 12hrs and 5mins. What have I achieved?I have lined the front of my trousers, added the darts, made the side pockets and topstitched them, inserted the zip, I also had to mark and thread trace the lining which takes at least a couple of hours. Not much I know compared to some sewers but I am happy and my sewing hasn't taken over my life this week.

Thursday, 23 July 2009


We have lost another of our oldest dogs.....she was the niece of the one we lost a couple of months ago and she had to be put to sleep because of a womb infection ( both had the same infection ) We think the disease may be in that line of breeding.
We are absolutely devasted, as you can imagine, that we have lost 2 of our girls within a couple of months of each other.
Hannah wasn't my dog as such...she was my husbands dog and only his.....she didn't even like me holding her leader, but I loved her just the same. She was a fabulous working dog, on one occasion I can recall she ran down a river bank, swam a river, up the other side of the river bank, ran across a field, jumped a fence and half way across another field for a retrieve, and I am not joking...she was fabulous to watch. She was also beautiful to look at, glossy coat and very dark sparkling eyes.....these were her good points, but she wasn't a competition dog...she was a free spirit....my husband absolutely adored her and we both miss her so much....he says every other dog he will ever have are measured by her standards.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Slant pockets

This is my pattern that I have drafted for my slant pockets.....I studied a pattern that I had for slant pockets and adapted my TNT pattern accordingly.

Here are a couple of pictures of my sample.....this is not the fabric I will be using, it is a scrap from another pair of trousers that I have made.....I dare not cut into the cord fabric that I will be using because I may not have enough for samples. I must remember to put a fusible interfacing stay on the diagonal of the pocket to stop it from stretching, it did on my sample.

These rivets are queer little things to put in.......this isn't the right fabric to try these but I wanted to practise before the real thing.
I received my moleskin fabric this morning, I only ordered it yesterday from Pennine outdoor so they have been very good at delivery. I am really happy with it....it was expensive but it is good quality fabric.....they also have really lovely quality knits for t shirts, no patterned only plain fabric.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

New style

I am trying to make a new pattern from my TNT trouser pattern. I am making slant pockets in the side instead of my usual side pockets....the legs will also be narrower and I am going to try these studs at the pockets and a jeans button at the waist.

This is the fabric I will be using.....I have only ever used cord once before when I made my daughter a pinafore skirt when she was little...I can remember the bits and pieces that came from it when I sewed it gave me a terrible cough and I have never used it again. I will have to be careful how I press it because of the pile. I have prepared the 2 fabrics....I am doing a half lining and joining the cord and the lining together and treating as one.

I have made the pattern for the pocket and now I am going to make a sample to make sure I am on the right lines. I will post pictures when I have done it.

I have also ordered some moleskin (not real moleskin I hasten to add) this is very good for outdoor wear and is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.There are 2 weights so I ordered an olive green in the heavier weight and a navy in the lighter weight both together cost me £77.87 which is not cheap. I am trying this new style in the cord before I tackle them in the more expensive moleskin. I will post pictures of this as well when I receive it, I have a busy week so I will do it when I have time.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Better late than never

I have eventually finished my trousers......I have been so busy with my dogs lately that I haven't had much time for sewing. I had decided that 2hrs of sewing a day is quite enough for me and probably is all I have time for.....and I had also decided that if I couldn't manage the 2hrs one day it could be carried forward to the next day.....but I fell so far behind I gave that up as a bad idea lol lol.
I am quite pleased with these trousers, they are fully lined with white charmeuse, which feels lovely on my skin......it is like making 2 pairs of trousers when they are fully lined.

These are cotton and linen mix and they crease just looking at them, you can see the creases in the legs where they have been hanging over the hanger.

White trousers are very versatile and these go with lots of things in my wardrobe, I also invested in a new pair of white shoes.....I love these and they are very comfortable, they have a wedge heel (I am not very keen on wedges, but I love these) with a lovely big bow on the front, they were £40 from Next.
That is about it ......another pair of trousers next, for walking my dogs in......the one's I have got are really shabby. I have received samples of some lovely olive coloured moleskin which is pretty expensive but I like it a lot so I might treat myself.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


This is the answer to a question I received in my comments from Myartistry about fitting......It is not a favourite passtime of mine, I do it because it is necessary but it is very frustrating trying to fit a figure like mine. I mainly read books and other people's blogs trying to pick up fitting tips, believe me when I say it is just trial and error, I could never just make a garment up straight out of a pattern envelope, it just wouldn't fit me....I have GOT to make a muslin which could take me weeks to get the fitting right. Once I have fitted it to the best of my ability I treasure the pattern so I make it over and over trying to do something different with it everytime and using different fabrics. I am learning everytime I alter a pattern but I am far from being an expert in fact I am better at fitting the bottom half than the top. I am also very slow with my sewing, I have four dogs and most of my spare time is took up with them, walking them etc.
All I can say is I love my sewing, not so much the fitting.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

White trousers

I have started my white trousers by making the welt pocket first.......I am still not confident making these pockets and am constantly following Ann Rowley's instructions. The picture above is the inside of the welt pocket, I like to pink the edges rather than overcast so as not to leave an imprint on the right side.
This is the underside of the pocket.....the lining is polyester charmeuse, originally I was going to make some lingerie out of this fabric, then I was going to make a blouse out of it now it is lining my white trousers. It is a little bit shiny for a blouse and I don't think I would wear it.

This is the finished welt...the tab is too long in my opinion and the corners are still not square...I can take a few stitches out and shorten the tab, that won't be a problem.....I didn't practise this welt on this fabric, maybe I should have.

These are my beige coloured cotton and linen trousers that I made last year. I have always thought that I took pride in my sewing and finished off my work to the best of my ability......when I saw this split I was a little bit taken aback because I thought My seams wouldn't come undone.....ha......look at the split in my trousers.

I have mended the seam this morning....when sewing the crotch seam the instructions tell you to stitch the seam and then stitch again 1/4" away.....I have sewn the seam again with a lightening stitch for a little added stretch then overcast it.....hopefully it won't come undone again.

Friday, 1 May 2009


I have an update on the Calvin Klein blouse above .......I was onto my third muslin for this blouse and it took me three weeks of raxing my brains to try and get a decent fit, I know I said I was satisfied with the fit a couple of posts ago but I had another look and decided it wasn't right at all. I have put it away in my cupboard until a later date because I was getting irritated with it.....I may come back to it ....or maybe not.
At the moment I am making a pair of my TNT trousers in a white cotton and linen mix....I am going to put a welt pocket in the back again, hopefully the pocket bag won't be seen because I am fully lining them. These trousers will go with my new black top I have just finished......I haven't had it on yet, I will wait until I have finished my trousers.
Normally when I make these trousers I thread trace all the seams and the hems etc. then I thought to myself, I have made these so many times surely I don't have to do this every time. This time I have only marked the darts, zip and pocket markings to see if I can make them a little bit quicker....it normally takes me anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks ( because I have a limited amount of sewing time ) to make them and I am very slow.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Vogue 8151

I have made this top a few times before and have never been satisfied with it....the bands at the front have never been tight and figure hugging ....... I think this top needs to be tight to get the right effect. I did everything you are not supposed to do when fitting.
I made this out of fine black jersey in fact it was among the drapey dance fabrics. It is quite fiddley to work with and I had to put it down once or twice because I was getting quite annoyed and losing my patience with it.
I still haven't mastered my coverstitch machine yet some of the stitching still isn't very straight, more practise is needed in that department I think.
I have had to really lighten thes pictures so that some of the details can be seen. The back is really pulling tight but at least the folds of the ruching can be seen.

I like the extra long length on the sleeves....I love the way they hang over my hands. Some of the ruching can be seen at the sides.

The front bands are pulled tighter than I have made them in my previous efforts, I did this by cutting approx. 2" from the bands. There is a seam allowance of 1" but this time I made a seam allowance of 11/2" to make it tighter.

This isn't fitted right....but who cares?......I like the way it hangs and drapes. The side seams are pulling to the front because I didn't do my usual FBA so there isn't enough room in the front for my bust so the back is pulling tight. When I have made this before it didn't feel right and certainly didn't drape the way it should but because it is tight it looks better...who cares where the side seams are.

Friday, 10 April 2009


My beautiful, beautiful girl, Flynne , ( my oldest black labrador) had to be put to sleep on Wednesday....she had an infection in her womb. She had a wonderful life I entered her in competitions and we travelled the country far and wide, she was very obedient and a real pleasure...I loved her very, very much...she was my friend and I am honoured to have known her for 14 years....she was the apple of my eye, my companion....she didn't have a bad bone in her body and I miss her terribly......although she wasn't very well she would still struggle to come and greet me..my whole body aches I miss her so much.....sigh

Friday, 3 April 2009

Muslin 2

I had another look at this muslin and there isn't enough room in the bust area....I know the problem is there but I have spent so long trying to put it right I am fed up of it.
I have since done another FBA of 1/2" and the front looks better from the side, it isn't pulling up as much but the back is too big now.......so this is still an ongoing project.....I really just want to get on with some sewing......sigh

Friday, 27 March 2009

Muslin continued

Now this really annoys me because I spent a lot of time on this fitting so that the blouse would not pull towards the back......this is one of the reasons why I am pleased I sew, I can't get a nice fit on RTW tops because of this problem........so I am not happy about it, it may be the way I am standing.
I am finished fitting the muslin now, I think I have done the best I can so I will have to live with the rest.....I can get on with the best part now. Not tonight though because I am going bowling..well watching mostly lol lol.
I have a few issues with the back of the sleeve but I can live with them.

I don't think the front looks too bad considering I have pressed and pulled this muslin about....the sleeve isn't the right length, I ran out of fabric so this is as long as a sleeve as I could get out of the length that I had. The sleeve has a cuff or another variation is a pleat and a button, I don't know which yet. This is a dropped shoulder, I don't know if it looks right or not I can't make my mind up....I love the relaxed fit though.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


I took 1/4" out of the neckline. Before I did all of these adjustments I fitted the whole of the blouse with darts, back and front, but there was nothing left of the relaxed style that I like so I took it all to bits and started again..... so it has taken me forever to do these adjustments....these are the ones I have ended up with and are the best I can do to keep the style. I have tried every permutation, taking in, letting out, trying on, taking off and nearly tearing my hair out lol lol. I have actually tried a sleeve in and they are going to take a while to fit....wish me luck.

The neckline on the front is slightly off grain, all the grain lines are where they should be though, I shortened the waist by 1/2", I still think it needs to be shortened a bit more.

This is a straight seam blouse with no shaping at all, my clothes have to have shaping in the back otherwise they will end up looking like the blouse in the picture below.....having said that, I didn't want a fitted blouse. I ended up putting a couple of darts either side of the centre back seam, just gently shaping them, so it isn't fitted. I tried just adjusting the centre back seam...there wasn't enough shape for my curved spine, I tried every shape of dart and this is the best shape I could get without being too fitted. It actually looks as if it is too big just underneath the armhole but believe me if I had taken it in any further I will not be able to move my arms. I am hoping when I get the sleeves in it will be alright.

The back....what is right with it, I took the waist up 1/2" then I did a sway back alteration by taking the middle of the waist up 1/2" and tapering to nothing at the side seams.

Here is my first attempt at putting my muslin right...I took a 3/4" dart at the armhole because it was gaping because of my bust and transfered it to the bust dart, making the bust dart biggar, that worked quite well. I then brought the shoulder seams forward 1/2" to accomodate my forward shoulder.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Calvin Klein Blouse

This Calvin Klein pattern I've had for years and have never tried it (as you do) but I thought I would give it a go. I am doing view C, I love simple, uncomplicated styles because my body shape is so comlicated to fit. Behind the pattern in the photograph is the fabric I am planning to use, it is a white polyester charmeuse at £7 a metre.I originally bought it for a couple of camisole tops but I am going to use it for this blouse. When I make my test garment I will find out if this blouse looks old fashioned, if it does I will try and bring it up to date.... maybe make it shorter or whatever..... or I will scrap it.
Right my alterations even before I make my test garment. This blouse has no dart so first of all I have added my dart, then do a 1" FBA using the Sandra Betzina method, I know I could do it altogether but I like it this way. I then had to make my dart longer because of the FBA. I also made my shoulder seams I" wide because I always have trouble there. My waist was lowered when putting in the dart so I didn't have to do that.
So up to now I have got my bust line and waist in the right place, my dart's in and it is the right length and enough room in the shoulder area for alteration. The back... (no photograph) I have put a 5/8" seam in the centre back and added 1/4" extra at about 5" from the top to allow for my rounded back. I have also lowered the waist 2" to bring it in line with the front I know I will have to alter at the waistline for a sway back during the musin fitting, I have also made a 1" seam at the shoulders to allow for alteration. Here is my test garment waiting to be made up and be fitted, I know there will be a lot of work involved. I only have a limited amount of sewing time, as I am sure everyone has, so it will take me a while.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


After doing the alterations to my blouse and while I still had the thread in the machine, I decided to use some of the fabric that is left to make a scarf. I just tore a strip to keep it on the grain and hemmed the edges. It keeps my neck warm when I have got a v necked jumper on.
Better than wasting the left over fabric, I'm all for saving especially at this time.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

New purchases

Last but not least mundane things like zips and basting thread. I have never used proper basting thread before...I just use embroidery silks mainly, it's nice and soft and easy to pull out. I got a shock at this it is almost like very soft string a lot finer though.
These were my puchases which cost me about £200.....will they be worth it, I shall have to wait and see. I am badly in need of a new pair of pinking shears, I have had my last pair for about 30 years. Before I had an overlocker I used to widen my seams and pink them to stop them fraying. The left handed shears..well I have to buy them when I see them because they are also like hen's teeth to find.

These are studs and buttons for jeans like trousers, I got them for the brown needlecord fabric. I got 3 metres of that fabric so I am hoping to get 2 pairs of trousers out of it. I will use my Vogue basic trouser pattern and narrow the legs, hopefully change the pockets and put the studs in and hey presto......it's easy said, isn't it.

I absolutely love this fabric...... it is silk crepe and is £14.50 a metre.......I loved it that much I didn't look at the cleaning instructions. It is dry clean only, I never buy shirt fabric that has to be dry cleaned, I am hoping I can get away with the handwash cylcle in the washing machine. It goes beautifully with the sage linen.

This is lovely fabric.....it is a little paler in real life. It is linen, has to be hand washed and was£14.50 a metre....I am hoping to make a lovely pair of summer trousers with this and on the left some more of that b.......y lining that I think is not going to work. To be fair the lining is breathable and has an ant-static finish. I suppose they are not bothered if it leaves water marks.

On Saturday I went shopping for some new fabric for the warmer weather, I wanted some nice shirt weight linen ......could I get some....NO, so this is what I bought.
This is brown needlecord..... £8.50 a metre, 100% cotton and washable at 30 degrees, this is for trousers for walking my dogs. I have some moleskin trousers but they are getting a little bit shabby, I saw some moleskin in the fabric shop in a country green, I was delighted but there wasn't enough on the role (moleskin fabric is like hen's teeth to find).
Next to the needlecord is a lighter brown lining......now this lining cost me an arm and a leg, £9.95 a metre. It is hand wash only and as I was coming into the house from the car it was raining and a few drops went onto this lining, the watermarks have stayed on the lining fabric.....I'm not amused I can tell you.