|This should really be a tablet and/or phone - and PC too|
Friday, 28 April 2017
I've said before that technology and social media are leaving me behind, though when I was younger I was pretty computer literate. I even did some computer programming editing a medical dictionary during a holiday job from University. The hospital computer took up a whole room and we had to wear a white coat and shoe protectors and walk over sticky mats. The computer used punch cards. I can't remember the power of the huge computer but this was 1975/1976 (I graduated 1977), before home computing and it probably wasn't more powerful than we have routinely in our hands (tablets or maybe even phones!) and perhaps much less powerful.
The first home computer in the early 80s in the UK I think had only 1 kilobyte of memory!! Expandable to 16. No power hungry bloatware in those days.
As home computing improved, so we (that is, David and me) improved our home equipment and extended what we did on them. Spreadsheets, databases etc. I think email was quite a bit later. At first of course everything was slow as all we had was a dial up connection.
I began to use social media just over 3 years ago when I started this blog.
I've never struggled with technology until recently.
Maybe I'm complicating things? (I hope it’s this and not a sign of ageing) I have two email addresses. Maybe I should get rid of one of them.
I've just discovered that one of these email addresses has been used to follow some blogs on bloglovin' - that is I accidentally used it to follow without realising. If people link back, they'd find an anonymous profile. So I have two profiles - my proper one with photo etc and a number of followers and the other, with no followers, on which I was following 30 people or blogs - I found that if I linked to a blog via Instagram, it defaulted to this strange account. It has perhaps only appeared since I started Instagram, I’m not sure. Actually, it’s not even that ‘simple’ as both are to the same email address!
I have deleted the 30 people/blogs I was following via the ‘wrong’ account - some I was already following on my proper account and the others, I’ll try to follow on my normal profile. I’m not sure how to do that but I think that I can follow on my proper account via my PC - can't find how to do it on my tablet (Android). I don’t think the stranger account has been deleted though as when I clicked on a follow, it took me back into this, though it now said ‘follow one other blog to continue’, which I didn’t do. Then I hope I can delete the other. Obviously, I also somehow need to make sure any follows I click are linked into my proper account - I do use the bloglovin' app by the way.
I'm sorry if you are one of the people I have deleted - I will try to re-follow!
Maybe it's time to get rid of one of the email addresses though that's a huge task!
I seem to remember that something similar happened with a secret wedding dress Pinterest account my daughter and I set up. She used the wrong email address to invite me to share in hers. We got that sorted. I do struggle a bit with Pinterest - I initially had problems trying to print out.
A couple of times I've needed to edit after publication but can't find out how to do it. I know it must be possible as others have done it. Please tell me if you know!!
I still can't repost but can take a screenshot and edit it in lieu of that. To repost I think I need an additional app and would prefer to avoid if poss. I'm just not on top of it at all.
Android v IOS
Talking about an Android tablet - I have considered getting an iPad as I can't download Craftsy classes onto Android for offline watching but you can with IOS. There are a few annoyances like that. My phone is also Android.
So, I can use these but not well.
I link my phone, PC, tablet for calendar etc but now also photos. Trying to get a photo from my PC (originally from camera) onto Instagram was a nightmare and it was also difficult to get a Google photos photo saved on my PC. I'm not sure I've sorted this - I installed an additional piece of software as recommended which did complete the task in hand but seems to have taken on a much bigger remit than I wanted it to!
I find the learning curve very steep. These days of course there is no instruction book. I can find most of what I'm after online - but you have to know the right terms to use!
So please excuse my inadequacies.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
I had an email early this morning to say my blog now has 100 followers via Bloglovin’. Even since starting this post, I've had several additional followers. Oh happy day!
Thank you every single one of you!
A very big welcome to my new and recent followers.I think this is great especially when there seems to be a downturn in the number of blog posts. At least, with the blogs I follow - which are quite a few!
Thank you too to Kate and Rhonda both of whom mentioned my blog this week and this very clearly contributed to an upturn in numbers of views
Thank you too to Kate and Rhonda both of whom mentioned my blog this week and this very clearly contributed to an upturn in numbers of views
I'm using Instagram now, too. I find it useful and get more or as much feedback via that than I do via my blog. However, I'm not a photo person, I'm more of a word person (word auto-corrected to weird and maybe that's true too!). I haven't been doing so well recently - life gets in the way! - but my blog was to document what I made, how I made it, the difficulties I had, lessons learned for next time - and of course, to celebrate success! So it's really a personal journal though its original remit has expanded a bit and become a bit diluted in the process. I'm happy though. My blog is not in any way commercial.
I'm trying to improve the photos in the blog posts but sometimes I just want it done and a phone snap, in class or wherever, will fit the bill. These snaps are so useful for fitting, of course. I'm lucky that I can get fitting help. Not everyone can, of course, but these photos do go a long way to help.
I have too many projects planned or on the go. I did get rid of quite a few UFOs either by finishing them or by deciding to abandon. Thank you Ruth for coming up with the term AUFO (abandoned unfinished object) My plan is not to start anything completely new until I get more under control. I did say completely new. I plan to blog garments in progress and when completed.
On my in progress bundle are:
- The biggy - the xth toile for trousers. Say no more. Though this will feature at a later point. I have an epic post in progress - it just needs the ending of a wearable pair of pants!
- Rory is fitting a close-fitting torso block ready for David and me to modify a dressmaking model for me. I'm about to cut out and sew up what will hopefully be the final toile. Rory is draping the sleeve in our next session. This is an exciting project. Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that I modified a dressmaking model 'Missy' to fit my youngest daughter as I had to fit her wedding dress at a distance. This was only partially successful. This is for me.
|The next fitting will be next to the skin - I have a vest on here|
|Rory had to stretch a bit!|
|Not easy to see - the changes drawn in|
|The pieces cut apart - ie turned into princess seams with seam allowances|
- A tank top - this was tissue fitted - it's cut out and darts sewn. I need to check fit before moving on. It should be a simple job. Okay, I've said that before! This isn't from my own pattern - I think it's a McCall's. If it doesn't work, I'll do another of my own pattern
- Two jackets - a Morris blazer and a McCall's blazer. I haven't touched either for ages. They are leftover from post jacket class sewing. Ran out of time as usual. Both in toile stage. With both, next stage is a fashion fabric. I guess I should check fit first though. My weight loss has stalled and I have a busy food-filled fortnight ahead of me but then...
- Child's raspberry waterproof jacket. This is our second outerwear class project. The class has finished. The jacket is nearly finished but Rory wasn't there in the sewing bee this week to help Nicky and me finish
- Cashmerette Concord tee shirt. I was fitted and modifications made to tee. I've still to transfer modifications to pattern. It's pretty easy to make up after that. I have some suitable fabric
|I need to alter the shoulder line on the tee. I haven't shown the sleeve and bodice next to sleeve changes required.|
- I've got the pattern and the fabric ready to try the proper red silk dress for Helen. She didn't want me to start it until I'd put her wedding dress back together (dismantled to clean and repair).
- Yes, I finished repairing Helen's dismantled wedding dress and returned it to her over the Easter weekend. Yay! The relief! Hopefully it's now safely stored away in Helen's flat. (There are a few bits of the silk crepe left and I'm wondering if I could make a tank for her. I think I need something with lots of seams as there is no big chunk with selvedge. This is way down my list though. As is the red silk dress as I gave her a different Christmas present.)
- Checked skirt. Previously blogged. I'm not going to alter. For discard. That's a AUFO!
- Orange gilet. Previously blogged.
- Checked tank. Previously blogged.
This one is a success.
- Shortened legs on new RTW trousers!! I've never/rarely had to shorten before. I think it's because I wear flat shoes and lots of people wear higher heels with wide legs like these. Usually I have to lengthen and add a false hem when there isn't enough fabric to let down.
Planned over the next year
- I agreed to hack or somehow lengthen a dress for Alison. She loves it but it's too short for work. This is a more complex task.
- Shirt for younger grandson - provided he hasn't grown too big for me to be able to use the fabric leftover from shirt for older grandson.
- I will be fitting in jackets and trousers and tops for me! Well, they're really at toile stage. Provided I get good fitting toiles.
- Shirt and jeans for David. He's not difficult to fit. He has said he's happy to wait - he wants me to do something for me first, before anything else.
- The third term of my level 3 sewing class starts in May. Stretch wear inc swimsuit. I may restrict this to class.
- Helen's red silk dress, silk camisole and tartan skirt are all currently on the back burner. Her birthday is in November so probably the red dress for then.
- A kimono for Joanne. Not a big task- it's just fitting it in. I have the fabric. Her birthday is in August.
|Joanne is on the left. She's wearing the shorts in this photo but very hard to see.|
- Joanne will need new shorts as she's rapidly losing weight. I'll need to get more of the nice fabric I bought for the first pair of shorts. She read my Instagram (she doesn't follow my blog) where I said I'd prefer to make a different colour and has suggested a black or a white floral but not purple which was an option I offered. She also asked about changing up the lace or missing out but I think it needs the weight. Once she gets to her target weight, I'll modify the pattern.
So that's me and my blog. Please do comment!!
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
So there I was ready to make up a final pair of trousers after the pattern had been altered, again. (I'm not ready to post the saga of getting from there to here as yet!) I realised they'd be a bit short after the extra crotch work that had been done. I reckoned I might get away with a tiny hem and they'd still be okay. In reality I thought they'd be another toile. Hopefully a wearable muslin. What's another toile between friends? I wasn't convinced that I could just jump from where I was to a final garment as there had been very major changes between the last toile that didn't fit too badly and this one.
The tops of the trousers were trimmed down in line with the marks previously made during fitting by Rory (with the addition of a seam allowance)
I pinned them together ready to sew but I realised I didn't have thread of a suitable colour or a suitable invisible zipper (I was going to do a side zip for this wearable toile). So I waited until the shops reopened after Easter and bought thread and a zip. The colours weren't perfect but zips come in a limited selection of shades. Good enough. I had a lot of other errands during which the zip fell out of my bag, David noticed and replaced it - but it wasn't there when I got home! No joy tracing it. No word in the days since. What would happen to a naked zip lying on the ground, after all?
I sewed up the trousers and overlocked the raw seam edges. Disaster! I accidentally caught and cut a 2” section at the front near the seam. I've put interfacing behind it and stitched over it but it's very obvious and these trousers are not wearable even as a wearable toile. Still, I had never really thought they would be.
|The area cut by the serger|
I proceeded with the zip insertion which went okay. I actually had a suitable zip after all!
In reality, these trousers are not a good fit. I need to allow more room at my high hip - there was distinct pulling at that level. I've decided I do after all need to raise the front. I'll do trousers with a high waist, waistband and belt loops as I think that will suit my figure type better.
|Lots of wrinkles Not good. The seams don't hang straight|
|I need this extra at the back mid seam|
|I need this extra at the side high hip (2cms)|
Saturday, 8 April 2017
I had cut out the pattern in red cotton blend fabric and started to adjust it some time ago. Over a year ago. Maybe two. I can't remember how far I got with fitting! That is, I couldn't remember whether I had sewn with the 1” seams in mind or the more standard ⅝” seams. Not good, I know. I suspect I started with the 1” and altered. This skirt toile had been previously altered for fit before being abandoned to the great UFO pile.
This time around, I sewed up the red toile and found that the fit wasn't too bad. I needed more space for my full front thighs - my skirts have a tendency to crease across the front. However, I certainly didn't have 1” seam allowances, just the standard ⅝”.
So I made some alterations, with some fitting help in class:
- I allowed additional space at the front princess seams - an additional ½” at each (by sewing the seams at 1cm (⅜”) instead of 1.5cm (⅝”))
- The back seams were not lying correctly and Rory marked them to lie properly - this involved adding/subtracting fabric to the sides of the two vents.
- The skirt was not hanging properly and I needed to remove some fabric from the front skirt top - effectively dropping the front waist. My waist is rather sloped back to front
I made the changes to the pattern. I had traced some of the pieces, but not all. (I'm lazy)
I was of two minds whether to make up a toile or try in fashion fabric. I decided to make up in checked Ikea cotton. I thought this would be a ‘wearable toile/muslin’. I know that most people don't make a fraction of the toiles I do but perhaps they are easier to fit?
So I went ahead and made up the skirt, basting the seams in the first instance. I found I had to work hard to get the vents at the back to lie properly - it became clear that my original pattern change at this point needed further adjustment. I found it very difficult to match the tiny check. It was liable to induce a migraine! And the photos are showing a distinct moire pattern
The skirt appeared to fit quite well and I went ahead and finished the seams, sewed on one side of the waistband, inserted the side zip, finished the vents etc. Despite having changed the contour waistband pieces in line with the skirt pattern changes, I found that the front band was short so had to make up a new one. My seam lines matched across the zip and at the top.
With the skirt nearly finished, I tried it on again and found that it was a touch loose (I've been losing weight, though it's come to a halt and this project took ages for various reasons). Never mind, it wasn't too bad so I finished and hemmed the skirt.
|Front - stance has altered lie|
This morning (Monday past), I tried it on (a touch loose but not too bad), David took a couple of photos and I wore it to bridge (these are the photos I'm showing). By the time I got home, I thought it might slip off without taking the zip down! The back of the skirt was lying lower than the front and the side seams were sloping towards the front. I could very easily pinch an inch! All from the back.
|Front - you see what I mean about the pattern reproduction!|
|A wiggle to show vent movement. Top out|
|Side - you can see the sloping waist. Lying fairly level at this stage|
At sewing bee that night, still wearing the skirt, I asked Dan to help correct it. I reckoned the front was okay but the back was too big and wondered about adding a back seam or taking in at at the top of the princess seams leading to the vents. Dan concluded that the sides needed reduced by 3.5cms to each side at the waist and by 2.5cms to each side seam. A lot! After the skirt was pinned, it felt much more comfortable. I don't have photos of that.
Question. Do I make the changes to this skirt or accept it as a disposable toile? The fabric isn't nice. It crushes far too readily, it's rather stiff, causes migraine and is difficult to match. It was the wrong choice for this skirt. Also, of course, I might make these changes and find a nice fabric doesn't need the same changes. After all, the skirt grew during the day.
I'm going to put it aside for the moment in any case as I have other more pressing tasks - number 1 is reassembling Helen's wedding dress by Easter. I would welcome your views. I'd also rather wear trousers! The trousers are coming along but are not nearly there yet.
Friday, 17 March 2017
|The new top with contrast bias binding around neck and armholes|
|This is the original top, altered but not quite right. You can see side slits and minor high/low effect|
|Another view of the same|
However, it quickly became clear that it was too tight around the bust as it was riding up a bit and needed a more radical solution. I basically dismantled the top and found that I was unable to make the required alterations and sew together again as there was insufficient fabric available and what fabric there was was very frayed. The side seams were unequal - not because of my alteration attempts but they obviously started that way.
I can't find any of the photos of the front, and can't find the front to allow me to retake the photos. Yes, I need to become much more organised!
I did find the back - here is a photo showing the hugely unequal side - the top is pinned accurately down the centre. This problem was mirrored in the front - much more fabric available on one side than the other, so I just couldn't have more bust space - the fabric just didn't meet. I say much more on one side than the other - I should really say perhaps adequate on one side and much less on the other!
|The side of the top is at the top of the photo - it looked better this way or so I thought!|
I therefore hacked the top, made up a toile to get the bust dart size and position correct and corrected the pattern. In my version, the bust darts are more like French darts. I added a lot of extra space at the hip area. I originally thought I'd keep the side vents and perhaps a bit of the high low but that had been edited out!
I'm not showing the toiles or the pattern here but could if requested.
I'm not showing the toiles or the pattern here but could if requested.
I decided I'd make the top in dark navy and ivory checked fabric, a nice fabric though polyester (it was sold as navy but everyone thinks it's black). Originally I intended to enter the Sewing Guild SWAP and later thought I'd also do PR Sudoku as there was so much overlap. I say originally. That idea was quickly abandoned as I'd fallen so far behind due to problems with trouser making and my course projects and life.
I made up the top. This fabric has a little stretch to it, so I ended up taking the sides in a little more. I decided against the side vents as these weren't necessary - I think the slit was there in the original top to make up for the lack of fabric! I made a slight further alteration to the dart length. Trouble is, this particular fabric is quite beefy and spongy and really doesn't take to pressing. The darts required quite a bit of work to look good as a result. I also shaped the waist a bit more. I still thought this top had potential.
I made the pattern without a seam allowance around neck or arms as I intended to use double bias binding as in the original. That is, showing on the outside, not turned to the inside.
This fabric doesn't take well to cutting into bias strips! I struggled for some considerable time but didn't manage. As the fabric had a touch of stretch I tried the tape on the straight grain but that looked horrible - rather wiggly. I looked for some commercial bias tape and at that stage realised that this fabric wasn't navy! I didn't find a suitable tape. So I reckoned I was going to have to find a way to cut suitable bias strips by marking them out with masking tape so they wouldn't squiggle. That seemed quite a good idea.
Last week I met I spent a few days in Grange over Sands and on the way I visited Linton Tweeds in Carlisle, meeting up with Manju of SewManju for lunch. I had asked her about a Carlisle source for ponte de Roma - on her advice, I had some put aside in Fabrics and Threads in the market after helpful FB communication. When I went to collect this, I found a beautifully soft tartan bias tape and bought a couple of metres. I wasn't sure if this would work. I liked it, it was the correct width more or less, was beautifully soft - I thought it could work. I didn't have any of the fabric with me.
I took the top to my sewing bee and asked advice of the others there - do you think this bias tape will go with this top? There was a resounding yes. I find putting different patterns together difficult so needed the advice.
After I decided to go ahead with the bias binding, it was pretty straightforward. I sewed the tape to the wrong side of the fabric, folded the tape over to the right side and edge stitched. When I say fairly straightforward, I did have a bit of a problem with the bias joins. I think I have a bit of a spatial problem! I know I do.
|Straightforward front view - I do like the contrast patterned bias binding. I look as tired as I feel here!|
|Side view with French type dart|
|Back view. The armholes fit nicely|
I had intended a double folded hem at the bottom edge but the fabric didn't like that either, so I simply overlocked the edges, folded over and top stitched at 5mm.
I like the top. I will wear it - though remember it was supposed to be navy to go with the navy trousers I'm making! It will go better with black. I tried on for photos today - it looked awful with navy trousers, I didn't have any black available, so I'm wearing grey jeggings which I do not like but which were a better colour option.
|A rather awkward pose!!|
Friday, 3 March 2017
I've had a couple of recent issues with my sewing machine, a Bernina 350, which I take to classes. I really like this machine, so was quite upset when it wasn't behaving properly.
|Library image - not my machine|
I keep my machine cleaned and lubricated. I try to use the correct needles and thread - though as you will see, I don’t always succeed.
Recently in class we have been making a child's padded gilet. The outer fabric (ripstop nylon) wasn't the easiest to work with but no major problems. The jacket is lined in nasty, very nasty, fur fabric. Disgusting stuff which stretches and sheds. Two weeks ago, I had to stay stitch this lining. This was at the end of the class. My machine threw up its hands in horror and refused to sew. I gave up for the night. Afterwards, the machine seemed fine when I used it at home during the break for other projects.
|View of the fur, right side|
|Fur and zip facings - I haven't got this far yet|
|Not mine - I haven't got as far as this yet. Overall view of jacket inside|
This week, back at class after the mid term break, I still had to do the stay stitching (I hadn't done my homework, hangs head in shame). My machine hated this. It kept jamming with threads caught underneath. Worse, fur scraps were getting caught in the eye of the needle, on the thread, everywhere - very difficult to sort out. I gave up and stay stitched on the industrial machine in class (not without issue!). No one found the fabric easy to work with, and I include the tutor here, though others did manage. The tutor says she would use polar fleece another time. I can assure you I won't be using this fabric again! Polar fleece - maybe.
After the stay stitching and attaching sides and shoulders, the next step was to attach the facings. I tried to join the back lower facing to the side lower facings, so no fur involved at this stage - no thank you, said my machine. Now, I had very loose stitching underneath; I had noticed that the machine sounded 'rougher' than usual but the stitching on the top had seemed okay for the couple of inches that I stitched. That pointed to an upper threading problem, I thought. I checked and rethreaded repeatedly, both upper and lower threads. I changed the needle as I wondered if there was a slight burr (afterwards btw it became clear that there was). I made sure there was no fur caught. The machine appeared clean.
I asked the tutor for help. She went through the same processes. She thought the shuttle had a bent part and demonstrated this with a card comparing it to the shuttle from another older Bernina. She advised me not to use the machine and I agreed to take it to my dealer. In the meantime, I worked on the older Bernina without issue. With all the shenanigans, I am way behind, of course - we were supposed to finish the gilet in class so I have that to do.
At home, I emailed the dealer to say I'd be coming and described the problems and my tutor’s thoughts. I rechecked my machine and got David to look at it too. Clean as a whistle. David didn't think there was any evidence that the shuttle was distorted (nor did I). It fit in the race perfectly. I thought it might be the thread I was using as this was a cheaper thread in order to get the colour I needed for the gilet. I changed the thread to a good quality thread in both bobbin and top. I then did a test straight stitch. No problem. So had it been the thread? I tried a zigzag stitch and things went pear shaped. The stitch became very narrow and no longer a proper zigzag stitch. It became clear that the thread was caught up in the upper innards of my machine. I couldn't do anything about this. Off to the dealer this afternoon.
|Thread stuck tight|
I got to the dealer who was very intrigued following my email. He asked me what the tutor had meant and I demonstrated. Long story short, there was no problem with this - newer machines have a different shaped part. I understand that this is a cutout to allow zigzag stitching. The bend is there for a reason.
He untangled the thread - there was no obvious reason for this. He had to open up the machine and there was no fur lurking there! He found that the bobbin tension was much too loose and corrected that. He told me that vibration is the culprit here. I had never even once checked that my bobbin tension was correct as I understood that this wasn’t for the likes of me to tamper with! I’ll keep an eye on it in future. I’d never had to alter tension there as my sewing is all pretty standard dressmaking. Until recently, I hadn't noticed any issue with stitch quality.
I said about the foot pedal occasionally not working. He quickly found that there was a break in the cable and fixed that.
He also replaced my broken manual cutter.
In test stitching , he changed my needle to a bigger one. You actually can’t use the threader with a 70 - I had been using a microtex 70 for this test and this is clearly rather on the small side.
My 3 year service is due in June - the machine has a 7 year warranty but the 3 year service is mandatory to keep that valid. This was a quick repair and I’m more than happy. For the service, they do a lot more and need to keep the machine for a few days.
- I believe my needle was too small for the thread I was using, and possibly for the fabric
- My thread wasn't the best quality, though reasonable. I usually use Guterman, but it was black Guterman that jammed in my test at home
- The bobbin tension was much too loose - I guess this was the primary problem
- There was, indeed, a break in the cable to the foot pedal causing the issues I’d found
- There was no problem with the shuttle/race
- My machine is perfectly fine
Maybe if I’d had David’s assistants helping me I wouldn’t have run into these problems!
|Lego Repair Team|
Photo by David - his machine, Dolly
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