Monday, 25 March 2013

More things I've made and some toddler-sized sewing first steps

The month of March has mainly been about making. Specifically, I've been sticking to my 2013 goal for generally improving and expanding my needlecrafts and have completed three satisfying projects.

I finished my train project hat just at the point when I thought, 'rats, I won't get much wear out of this at this time of year'. I've since worn it every day to ward off the bitter chill of an English springtime!

Sis-in-law's third baby finally arrived so I got to improve my crochet skills with a pair of bootees, courtesy of a pattern in Simply Crochet mag. They weren't perfect, but hey, the baby won't notice and they should help keep his feet warm at least!

And finally, I completed my first real project using my new sewing machine (I say 'new' - I've had it since November...) I'm not sure why, but I was completely daunted about getting to grips with my sewing machine. I don't remember much about using one from school, other than it seemed to take most of the lesson to get the things threaded, and the only project I really remember completing was to design and create embellishments for a hat - not terribly useful!

So I decided for my first real sewing project in years that, rather than starting with something simple and gradually building up my skills, I'd dive right in and make a dress. At least it was for my toddler, so the cutting out and actual sewing was on a fairly small scale, but I did still need to learn how to:

- cut out from a pattern
- hem
- topstitch
- sew on a curve
- and create buttonholes (really incredibly simple with the buttonhole foot, which is much easier to use than it looks)

The fabrics are an organic needlecord in yellow, and an organic cotton by Cloud9 (Algeria Hearts in Pink), both from Ray Stitch.

And because I never have been able to follow a set of instructions all the way through without adding a couple of extra bits, or tweaks, I decided that instead of the applique design for the skirt I'd add a couple of pockets, which I then designed and made up from scratch.

Here is the finished article:

And here it is being modelled by Isobel!

Lessons learnt?
  1. It always pays to 'seal' the raw edges of fabric - the needlecord I used for the dress constantly frays along the raw edge (inside the hem) - it would have been a good move to run a zigzag stitch along these edges before hemming/joining (but this wasn't included in the pattern instructions and I didn't think of it until I was already finished!)
  2. Keep the big picture in mind - I was so busy trying to make sure that the belt loops were straight and level that I almost made them too tight to get the ribbons through.
  3. I rather wished I'd made the pockets just from the lining fabric, rather than adding the needlecord 'binding' to the top.
I've been rather bitten by the sewing bug now and have a long list of 'next' projects in mind - oh dear, I'm not sure that I'll manage to get out into the garden at all this year!