Making friends with my overlocker!

I was lucky enough to get an overlocker from my parents as a combined birthday and Christmas present last year. I’ve now sewn a few things on it, and I’m really starting to get more confident using it! It’s an Elna 664, which was recommended by my Mum’s local sewing machine dealer (Arcade Sewing Machines, in Huddersfied – I would absolutely recommend them if you are anywhere near, as what they don’t know about sewing machines isn’t worth knowing!)

Today I’ve got two projects to show you, both completed on my overlocker! (ALSO: Apologies about the bad photos – I didn’t have any time to take photos during daylight at the weekend, so you’ll have to make do with photos taken in bad artificial light!)

1. A quick fix…

Every so often, I see things in shops that have a massive ‘damaged’ label on. Usually it’s not something in my size, or where I like the item enough to buy and then fix, but I found this in the Monsoon sale for £15 – it’s a lovely viscose jersey and a size 12. After a quick look for the damage I realised that it was a really quick fix – a 4inch gap in the stitching in the side seam, a 5-minute fix with my overlocker!

Hole in seam…
Fixed!
Fixed! The black thread is the area I sewed up.

I bought this in the Boxing Day Sales, before the New Year, and before I had firmly decided on my RTW-diet, so I’m not cheating, don’t worry!!!

Monsoon dress

2. My first Lady Skater!DSCN4802After a really fun day with my sewing friends Leire and Claire last Sunday, I got home feeling very inspired to sew something, so I reached for the Lady Skater that I cut out on our last sewing day in November. This is my first time working with a Kitschy Coo pattern, and I can definitely say it won’t be my last! This was such a quick make (despite massively messing up the neckline …more below…) – I think it took around 4 hours, mostly on Sunday night, and despite the hiccup, I’m really happy with the result!

Construction was fairly straightforward, and I followed the pattern to the letter except for 3 adjustments:

  • Removed 1 inch from the length of the bodice (this is a fairly standard adjustment for me)
  • Cut the sleeves shorter as I didn’t have enough fabric for long sleeves.
  • Took an extra half inch off from the inner arm seam, as it felt too loose.

The only thing I found difficult about this was getting the neck band right. Originally I didn’t think I had enough fabric to do the neckband, so decided I would finish the neckline another way, and continued to sew the dress up as per the instructions. But, when I got to nearly being finished, I then realised I did have enough fabric to cut the neck band, so put it on the dress… I think I must have stretched it unevenly, as in one small area, the stitches didn’t go through all the layers, leaving a little hole.

When I tried to go over this bit again (on my overlocker, as I was being lazy and didn’t want to baste it first – serves me right), I accidentally cut an extra 5mm off… while this might not matter with another seam, it was really obvious on the neckline, and meant that the neck band was waaay thinner on one side of the neckline than the other. I realised the only way to resolve this was to trim the rest of it down too, so now the front neck band is half the width it is at the back- I didn’t want to re-do the whole thing, and decided as long as it looked fairly deliberate and even, it would be ok! Of course, I’m not 100% happy with that, but I don’t think it’s too bad – it’s certainly wearable!

Neckband (next to my hand). Black on black is so hard to see!
Neckband (next to my hand). Black on black is so hard to see!

Aside from basting on the clear elastic, and hemming, I did this all on my overlocker. The only other thing I would do on my standard machine next time is the neck band – I definitely plan to learn from this mistake! Next time I make this, I will also take off an extra half inch from the waistline as it’s still a little lower than I would like.

Details:

  • Kitschy Coo Lady Skater pattern, size 5, mid length sleeve
  • 1.5m Black floral print viscose jersey from Croft Mill (£8/m –I also seem to remember that postage was really expensive!

What’s on your sewing table at the moment?

New Year’s Re-sew-lution: A new “diet” that means you can eat anything you want…

Happy New Year!

It’s traditional to have some kind of new dieting regime in the New Year, but this year, I’m going to do something a little different – and as this is a sewing blog, it has a lot to do with that!

For a while, I’ve thought about giving up RTW (ready-to-wear) clothing, and I’ve decided to take the plunge and do it as one of my 2015 Re-sew-lutions. I got the idea of doing a RTW “diet” from Sarah of Goodbye Valentino, who ran a RTW fast in 2014, however, while her fast included sewing absolutely everything, I’m going to allow a couple of exceptions (hence why I’m dieting, not fasting!):

  • Underwear, socks & tights
  • Outerwear & shoes
  • Activewear

I’m allowing these as I don’t want my sewing to become a chore – it is my hobby, and so it should be fun and relaxing! I have no particular desire to sew any of those things at the moment, and so I will buy them if I need to.

I am also factoring in ‘emergencies’ – like last summer, when I found myself going on holiday with a suitcase full of summer dresses and only one pair of trousers when there was a forecast of solid rain… dashing out to buy trousers on the morning of departure from my parents’ house was stressful enough, never mind if I had had to sew something in that time! Of course, I’m hoping that it won’t come to using the emergency card – for one thing, I plan on being a little more organised about packing my bags this year! It just means that if I do, for whatever reason, need to buy anything, it’s not going to be the end of the world!

So, instead of buying new clothes, I will be:

  • Making new clothes! I have a pretty hefty stash that I am hoping to work through (at least partially) this year. I might also finally finish knitting that first jumper…
  • Buying second hand: I’m lucky enough to live in an area with a lot of fairly decent charity and vintage shops, so will try to make the most of them.
  • Re-fashioning: I’ve had a few successes with cutting up old garments and making them into something new – I’m sure that more will follow…

    Simplicity 3833 made up from an old batik suit given to me by my Grandma.
  • Re-fitting: Anything lurking at the back of my wardrobe that no longer fits will be either adjusted to fit, or will be given away!
  • Mending – adding patches, fixing holes and reviving tired clothes.

I’m feeling really excited about this new challenge, and hope you’re interested in hearing more about it as I go through the year!

Thanks for reading 🙂

x