list of additional pages, click on any one to view

Saturday, 30 August 2014

How I made sewing machine covers and accessories

Now that I finally have my own sewing room I want to add pretty accessories. I could never have them before. You know how it is, everything has to be cleared away at meal times because you have been sewing on the dining table. Well, now that my son has left home I can leave everything out.
There was a pattern in my SEW magazine which has given me lots of ideas.

Once I have cut the pattern pieces out for the sewing machine cover and overlocker cover I will be able to compare them to the actual machines and make any adjustments necessary. My sewing machine already has a hard plastic cover which I want to keep so I rather think that I will be using it to cut a template to make a cover which will fit over that.
I want to make the lovely accessory holders to go under the machines, but may let the one for the overlocker serve as a catcher for the excess fabric which the machine cuts off in use. I like to adapt patterns as I go and that is the beauty of making things yourself, nobody tells you what to do, what colour to choose,  all the decisions are yours, you can make everything to suit your own personality and style. Thats what I do with the garments I make, they are all individual and I am never slavish,  even to a sewing pattern.

 I looked in my stash of fabrics, these are all smaller pieces of around half a meter which will be perfect. The only problem I can see is in choosing which ones to pick! I do have plenty of clothes to sew but I think it is nice to make something pretty and practical which will make the room a joy to use. I will just choose as I go along I think, in my usual manner.
So, thats me busy for the rest of the evening, I will be sitting cutting pattern pieces out!


I started with this one, only because it is the largest.
I looked through my fabrics and chose coordinating colours, all cotton . I must admit that I was glad that I have a lot of short lengths of fabric available!
I think that the beauty of making something yourself is that you can make it exactly as you want it, so I included some lace and added lots of pockets for accessories. I did a little bit of quilting here and there too.

There is a very large pocket on the front which I decorated with bands of fabric as the pattern suggests, but added some lace instead of the fabric triangles on the pattern.  I made this first, lined it and then attached it to the front piece.

This is the front with the pocket in place.  It is large enough to hold the foot pedal easily

The front shows the different fabrics and how they coordinate. 

The sides also have pockets to hold the instruction book and other accessories.

It took longer to make than expected , about four hours non-stop.   And as I said, it used a lot of fabric and wadding.
Now that I have made one item I cannot wait to get in with the rest of the items!

I totally remade the overlocker cover because it seemed to large and floppy. I alterd it to remove some of the bulk and there was another problem too, the cotton lining was pulling on the threads and you know how time consuming it is to re-thread it every time you want to use it. In the end I cut out a new lining in a showerproof material. Problem solved!

 The next thing I wanted to make was a mat to protect the table which would also catch all the bits of fabric and thread removed by the overlocker. I cut out a mat shape from the pattern and cut out one side in cotton the other in the showerproof fabric, and put wadding between. I overlocked around the edge and added a pocket, lined with the showerproof fabric to collect the waste in.i have to admit it works a treat!

The next job was to make a cover for tne sewing machine, I made it using tne original cover as a template and glued one half of velcro to the machine and stitched the other side to the cover to hold it in place. I then made another mat to protect the table.

Now both my machines are protected from dust and it will be much better for them

The sewing machine cover has a flap which covers the foot pedal pocket, it fastens with velcro

My sewing machine and accessories are from Jaycotts,

  Between them sits my Daschund pin cushion keeping guard.

I thought I would show you more of the room, in the corner is my tailors dummy with a lavender bag hanging from the wardrobe

On tne bed are two cushions which I made using applique which I enjoy doing as you will know if you have looked at my page "how to make a tie and bow tie"

I am happy now that the room looks neat, it is certainly practical.

Please let me have your comments, I would love to hear from you


Added on 16 may 2015

I was getting frustrated at not being able to find scissors and so on, and of having sewing threads all over the floor, so in a matter of minutes I made these

They  are so essy to make. You need some RIGILENE plastic boning.
take a strip of fabric, fold the top over some Rigilene, stitch down to make a hem. For the scissor  holder stitch elastic on top, catching it down at one inch intervals. 
Stitch the side seam, it will form itself into a circle. Gather the lower end and fasten securely, machining over the gathers on the inside. 
Attach a strip of fabric for a handle, I then stitched mine to the sewing machine mat.
SEW easy!

Saturday, 16 August 2014


I was looking through my copy of Make do and mend issued by the ministry of information and it set me thinking.

First issued in 1943 it was written in order to show us how to get every single ounce of use out of our clothes and household items. Whilst I do not entirely advocate every single suggestion in the book could we all not do more to recycle, upcycle, mend, renovate?
For example do you throw good shoes away instead of having them mended or died or whatever?
Do you throw old T shirts away instead of cutting them up for dusters and polishing rags?
Reading the book reminded me of the importance of not putting away an item of clothing or footwear until it has been aired or cleaned. Coats put away whilst still damp take on a musty smell.
New garments can be made from old - your winter coat can be unpicked,the parts cleaned or washed carefully and be remade into skirts, childrens clothes etc using the wrong side of the fabric as the new front side.
Take the sleeves out of a shirt you do not wear any more, make a bow from the sleeves  to tie around the neck and give it a new lease of life!
I quite often visit charity shops where curtains and bedding can be bought for next to nothing, the material can then be cut up for cushion covers or used for patchwork.  These fabrics are perfect to make toilles or muslins out of. And why not save your clothes from spills and make yourself a pretty cooking apron?
For example, i had a dress which just did not suit me. Rather then throw it out I cut it apart, pressed it, kept the lining for another project and made this pretty shell top from the skirt fabric.

So, although I no longer have the dress, I do now have a top which I love and which will get worn, the dress was just taking up space, and I never felt good in it anyway.

Some of the book is dedicated to knitting. I doubt that I would ever unravel knitwear and make fair isle pullovers well, you might,but those of you who know me are fully aware that I am still knitting a cardigan I started four years ago, so that is just never going to happen,but i have cut up jumpers to make fingerless gloves, I  have chopped them up to use as stuffing and i have embelished jumpers and cardigans with beading, buttons, crochet  collars. Have you seen my post on how to make a too small jumper into a cardigan?

This again was a garment I could never wear, now it is my favourite cardigan!

Another point I want to make is this. How many times have you bought a sewing pattern, made it up and it did not fit? How did you choose the size? Did you buy your normal dress size and hope it would fit?  Clothes you buy in shops have changed in size and shape over the years and todays size 12 dress would bear no resemblance to a size 12 in 1960 for example. Unfortunately whilst ready made fasion has changed, commercial patterns mostly have not. I know i have mentioned this before but do cut out a pattern to your actual measurements as printed on the pattern envalope, ignore your normal dress size. Dont forget there are no size lables in your own makes! Any garment made exactly to fit you personally  will look and feel great,and  in this instance size (label) does not matter!

It really does pay to be thrifty with your clothes, I personally have not bought a hand made garment for over a year now, and I doubt that I ever will again, i love my hand made clothes so much more.

I hope you have found this interesting,  do keep your comments coming in, and tell me your thrifty tips.