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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

An easy make summer dress in printed Batik

A jaycotts.co.uk blog post

I have been longing to get into my summer clothes here at home and now that summer is here I want some quick easy makes that I can wear in a day or two.I know people who cringe at the thought of wearing summer clothes, assuming wrongly that the sun means baring skin. Not so, some of the coolest clothes to wear are those which offer some protection from the sun. My usual summer clothes consist of pedal pushers and tunic tops, but I guess that's more out of habit than anything else, so I am making myself some dresses.


This is a very pretty dress by Simplicity, available from Jaycotts Simplicity S8294 it is a vintage style dress with the option of having a collar, waist tabs and short cap sleeves. There are also two skirt options so this pattern does offer value for money.
I made a size 12 and it needed no adjustments. You will find that your pattern size differs from your commercial dress size, please do not be alarmed, just make sure that you cut out the size which most closely resembles your body measurements. If your top and bottom halves differ then this pattern allows you to cut out relevant sizes for your top half, and a larger or smaller size for your bottom half . It is easy then to merge the two sizes together at the waist.


I like the slightly lower back in this pattern and as I do not appreciate having burnt shoulders I was glad that one of the options is to include a cap sleeve.
When choosing your pattern think about any parts of your body which you would like to cover up and look for a pattern which will do that. For example if you do not like your arms then think about choosing a pattern with a sleeve - which could be a flutter sleeve, short sleeve or whatever length you prefer. To draw attention away from a problem tummy or hip then choose a flattering neckline to draw the eye upwards.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Simplicity 1940's Style Vintage Trousers


On last month's MinervaCrafts Blogger Network I posted the blouse made from the same pattern, this month I completed the outfit with this lovely pair of trousers.
The trousers are wide leg and as fashionable now as they were in the 1940's.
 Never made trousers before? This Simplicity pattern is very flattering and simple to follow so you won't have any problems.
My post is all about fitting them to suit you so please click on this link and view my post on MinervaCrafts website.Simplicity vintage style trousers on Minerva Crafts Blogger Network



Do let me know what you think about this outfit and please contact me if you have any questions

Angela


Sunday, 28 May 2017

An embroidered tunic top - Continuing from my previous post

This is a continuation of my previous blog post, Making free- standing lace....  I have made exactly the same top but this time I have embroidered it instead of putting applique lace on.
The pattern is as before by  Simplicity -  Simplicity 4149


When I find a pattern I like I keep it in a large plastic envelope to use again. I liked​ the Navy Blue top on the previous post so much  that I wanted to make another one straight away.
The fabric is a length of embroidered Indian cotton from my own stash of fabrics. I have been looking for an opportunity to use it for a few years!



I am using my Embroidery machine Brother Innov-is 800E which is one of a range of embroidery machines from Jaycotts. I absolutely love it.
I also used Gunold tear-away stabiliser on the embroidery hoop underneath the fabric Gunold stabiliser. It really does tear away from the fabric very easily indeed .
The threads I am using are from a box of 40 satin finish embroidery threads by Brother Satin embroidery threads . Everything is from Jaycotts.co.uk and the links take you directly to the product on their web site


I chose a heart design for on the sleeves and on the bottom of the right  front. This is the reverse side as you can see I am picking away at the residue of stabiliser with a pin and some tweezers. It is very easy to remove 


The finished design is rather pretty. When I was choosing my designs I looked for something which would echo the embroidery on my fabric, but the important thing is for you to choose something which you like!


I tacked the front darts in place and marked the cutting line and stitching lines on the tunic front before placing my embroidery.
I then measured carefully where I wanted the centre of each design to be, marking the grain lines and centre with tacking thread which I did not fasten off.
After placing the fabric in the hoop it was then easy to align the centre of the design with my markings which also allowed me to ensure that it was straight and not off-grain. This is important if you are thinking of mirroring a design on a piece of fabric, because if one is off centre or crooked it will be instantly noticeable.
Pull the tacking threads out once you are certain that your fabric is hooped correctly.
The designs are different from each other but I did carry some colours through each, for example I used the same pink and the same yellow and blue to provide a little bit of continuity. Please don't get too hung up about it at this stage,but where there is an obvious substitution then do make it.


Instead of the French seams on my previous top I used my overlocker throughout. This enables speedy construction! By that I mean just less than two hours after the embroidery had been completed.
My overlocker is very easy to use and more importantly easy to thread  it is the Brother 3934D Brother overlocker Do telephone for the best price and to discuss other options, the contact details for Jaycotts are at the end of this post.




To hold the facing down I am using one of the embroidery stitches on my Bernina Sewing machine Bernina 350PE  Again do telephone to find out current prices and other options to suit you and your budget.
If you are using embroidery thread in your regular machine then you do need to swop to an embroidery needle
There are various choices depending on what you are sewing on Embroidery needles

Did you know that your needle needs to be changed after almost every project? When I am using my Embroidery machine I remove the needle after I have finished using it. Then when I come to use it again I insert a new needle as part of setting it up ready for use.
The pattern is very easy to make. There are no fastenings to worry about and it has nothing complicated about it whatsoever. It is suitable for all abilities from beginner upwards.


This is my finished top. It is very different from the last one don't you think, I like them both!



Please do not hesitate to contact Jaycotts with any questions about their wonderful products and If you have any general sewing questions I am happy to help you too. There is a contact form on the right hand side of my own blog.

Contact Jaycotts by telephone or by completing the online contact form and why not pay them a visit and see and try out  the machines for yourself?

Contact Jaycotts HERE

I hope that you are interested enough to consider purchasing  an embroidery machine, you definitely will not regret it!
 And I hope that you are inspired to explore how you can get the most out of your sewing patterns by re making them with subtle alterations .I do recommend Simplicity Patterns, they are a good fit, easy to use and fashionable Simplicity Patterns at Jaycotts

We would love to see photographs of your makes by the way!

Angela 



Friday, 26 May 2017

Making free-standing lace on my Brother Innov-is NV 800E embroidery machine

A Jaycotts.co.uk blog post

My embroidery machine does so much more than just embroidery and I am  working through all the different functions and applications. In this blog post I want to show you how easy it is to make free-standing lace and how to add it to a garment. Have you noticed all the embroidered garments everywhere? With this machine your own unique garments can be made quickly and easily.



When summer comes I am the one who reaches for long sleeved tops and white trousers, don't get me wrong I do love the sun but I prefer to cover up and slap on the factor 50.
This tunic is a style of garment which I wear a lot, it is comfortable and I feel cooler when the sun is not directly on my skin.



My embroidery machine is as you know the Brother Innov-is NV800E Brother Innov-is 800E. It is one of a range of fabulous embroidery machines by Brother at Jaycotts. I do urge you to visit the showroom and try these amazing machines for yourself, they have differnet functions too, some are designed for quilters some combine normal sewing with embroidery. Mine is an embroidery only machine, and by embroidery I mean that it does applique and quilting blocks too, but those are for future blog posts.



The machines have a selection of embroidery frames to choose from, your machine may not come with all of the available sizes but they can be ordered by Jaycotts for you.
You need stabilisers too and for the purpose of making free standing lace you need some water soluble stabiliser Brother Water soluble stabiliser


You also need thread. Lace looks much prettier when made with a Matt embroidery thread rather than the normal embroidery thread which has a sheen.
Embroidery threads are on this link, but if you want anything which is not shown then do telephone as there are many more new products coming into stock daily Brother Embroidery threads




I just wanted to include a short video of the machine making the lace as it never ceases to fascinate me



I think that the ability to produce your own stand-alone lace is one of the most appealing techniques that this machine is capable of.
I remember learning to make lace in the traditional way and although pleasurable it took forever. I sat watching this machine produce the most beautiful lace in just a few minutes. There are many uses for it apart from clothing - home decor and linen are just two but you can also produce things like bookmarks and jewellery , doilies and many other items.
You need to choose specific embroidery designs for stand-alone lace as the high stitch count is what holds it together. There are many designs on the internet.
There are other designs for embroidered lace which is stitched onto a fabric background, like the butterfly at the bottom of my design for example.


You will get through a lot of stabiliser because the key to good Lacemaking is a firm background to embroider on. I found that a single layer of soluble stabiliser tears and pulls the design out of shape so it is necessary to hoop a double layer and embroider straight onto that. Use the smallest frame for your design.


You will end up with lots of seemingly useless bits of stabiliser no matter what you are embroidering so I looked for a way to use them. I found that Brother make a tiny frame which will embroider small medallions and initials and which is perfect for hooping odd bits of leftover stabiliser. I hate waste so this is a lovely addition to your embroidery equipment. Again, ask Jaycotts for more information and current prices.


Once you have finished your lace ( don't forget to mirror the design if you want it on both sides of a neckline etc) trim away as much stabiliser as possible and soak it in cold or tepid water. This will get rid of the stabiliser. You will need to change the water a few times, if it is still too stiff then a gentle wash will remove any which remains.
It is more durable than you imagine and once it is stitched in place will happily whiz through your wash cycle.


Take it out of the water and blot with a towell before leaving to dry.


These are the finished pieces which I am going to stitch onto my tunic top. Notice that I reversed the designs so that they mirror each other, there is a button to press on the embroidery machine which does this for you instantly.


For the base of my design I embroidered some lace directly onto my stabilised fabric.This still has some stabiliser attached to it and my next step is to get my tweezers out and pick out the remaining bits. Can you see the difference between this embroidered lace and the free-standing lace?  This is not dense enough for stand-alone lace ,but once you get used to the process you will soon understand which designs are suitable.


The pattern I am using is by Simplicity Simplicity 4149. I found that the pattern was true to size and needed no adjustments whatsoever. I cut out size 12.

The Fabric is from MinervaCrafts and is a linen and cotton blend Navy Linen and cotton blend fabric I find that blended linen does not crease so much yet still retains the appearance of linen and is cool to wear.



I have marked the centre front slit on the top with tacking thread and placed the designs so that I could see how they looked before progressing any further.






I stitched the seams using a French seam - there is a blog post all about seams on the website if you need a reminder of how to make them
The shoulders need to be joined first and then the front facing stitched on and turned to the wrong side. The pattern instructions are incredibly easy to follow.


I stitched the lace motifs on using a regular sewing machine. I used an open toe foot and a small zig zag. Before stitching, I placed the motifs where I wanted them and held them in place with some temporary adhesive.
Just stitch around the outside edge carefully to hold them in place.


I deliberated as to whether it was better to stitch the motifes straight onto the fabric before inserting the neck facing or wether it would be better to stitch them on with the facing in place. I decided on the latter as they are quite heavy and I felt that they needed some substance behind them to hold the shape of the neckline. To accommodate this I kept my Navy thread in the bottom and used my neutral embroidery thread ( with an embroidery needle) in my machine.



Make the rest of the top as normal. You may want to add more or less embelishment than I did, it is purely personal preference.


This is the finished top and I have to say that it exceeded my expectations, the navy background really shows the lace perfectly and the firm fabric is so easy to sew.


There are other applications for free-standing lace as I was explaining earlier, this is a bookmark which I made.


I am delighted with the versatility of this embroidery machine and love how creative it enables you to be. It definitely takes dressmaking to a whole new level

For information or to arrange a demo then please contact Jaycotts either by telephone on  01244 394099 . Normal office hours are 8.30 to 4.30 Monday to Friday  
Or by filling in the contact form Contact Jaycotts



This machine is amazing, next time I will show you the same top in white featuring embroidery which was stitched directly onto the fabric
 Thank you for reading this post
Angela 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Embroidered Denim Shirt-dress by Simplicity

A Jaycotts.co.uk blog post


This dress hits all the right fashion spots at the moment, Embroidery is so very fashionable, as are shirt dresses. Have you seen expensive they are too? Denim is practical and wearable anywhere. The embroidery will withstand frequent washing so please do not worry that it makes your garment hard to look after - it doesn't



This denim dress took me three days to make, one of which was spent embroidering the designs and yes, I do confess to sitting watching the machine embroidering away all by itself for the entire day! I was mesmerised by the whole process. I sent a video of it to my father and he couldn't stop watching it either, but then he is an engineer and he manufactored machinery for the cotton industry.

In addition to talking about how I made  and embroidered the dress I am going to talk about Buttonholes and making self covered buttons.


My versions of Tilly And The Buttons ORLA top

A review of Tilly and The Buttons ORLA top 

More about exposed Zips

I really like this top and I now have three versions of it, the latest one being stitched in just half a day last week!
The pattern is available from Jaycotts.co.uk Tilly and the Buttons ORLA top




This is the first top I made which has the unusual snowdrop collar.

The top was easy to make, you need some sewing skills but nothing that you cannot handle.  This top would challenge a beginner in a nice way, so if you have not sewn much, you will gain experience of setting in an exposed zip for example, which is a great skill to learn.



Sew Tilly and the Buttons Françoise - and discover more ways with Zips

How to sew with exposed zips a jaycotts.co.uk how-to post

In this post I am going to show you how to use exposed zips by making up this lovely Tilly and The Buttons dress. The pattern is from Jaycotts Tilly and The Buttons Francoise dress pattern





Tilly and the Buttons has some amazing patterns and I love them. I couldn't wait to try out Françoise. I also saw it as an opportunity to talk more about zips, in particular Exposed zips.







There is no need whatsoever in going through the exact making up of any Tilly and the Buttons patterns, because you cannot improve on perfection, the instructions on her web site Tilly and the buttons.com so do take a look.


I made two versions one in some amazing fabric which has been in my stash for ages waiting for the right pattern to come along. As soon as I saw Françoise I knew it was the one.
I also wanted to make another version in Black, but not totally plain. I chose a twill fabric and used a piece of a Liberty cotton for the clarification to add a pop of colour.
The Paris fabric dress has a concealed zip, but on the black one I inserted a metal zip to add back interest.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

My 1940's Blouse

This is a MCBN post

Sometimes the perfect pattern comes your way purely by chance and this Blouse pattern by Simplicity hits the mark. It has everything! The 1940's design looks as great today as it did then and makes a wonderful change from loose tops and T-shirts.
As a bonus it is easy to sew too with no complicated seams or shaping. The all-in-one collar is easy to sew too making it a delight to sew, even for beginners.


Want to find out how I made it and to see what fabric choices there are? Click on this link   My blouse on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network    and go to the MinervaCrafts website, you won't be disappointed.

Let me know if you made it too, and what fabric you chose

Angela x



#vintage #1940's #blouse #cottonlawn #sewing #simplicity


Monday, 1 May 2017

Reviews of Prym sewing tools and accessories from Jaycotts.co.uk

These are my reviews of some of my favourite Prym sewing tools and accessories from Jaycotts

I wanted to share with you some of the tools I use when sewing to make life easier. I love gadgets of any kind don't you? These are some of the tools I use from the Prym range and I do recommend them. They are all thoughtfully designed to be easy to hold, easy to use and won't break the bank.




How I made my lovely Sew Over It BETTY Dress for Jaycotts.co.uk

Jaycotts.co.uk  were kind enough to send me this Sew Over It BETTY dress pattern and I could not wait to make it. This is a new range of patterns which they  are  now stocking. I was so excited by it that I wanted to feature one in a blog right away

See the full range of Sew Over It patterns, including this one , on their website Sew Over It at Jaycotts



 I originally wanted to make it up in this "Paris" fabric but after trying every way I could gave up trying and raided my stash for this cotton viscose mix.
When choosing your fabric bear in mind the width of the skirt and choose something with a good drape which will hang well. I suggest a viscose mix. Minerva Fabrics have a great range of suitable fabrics and if you look at the selection on this page you will find florals and spots which will all look fabulous Viscose mix dress fabrics




The dress has a full circle skirt so it does take a lot of fabric. The only other things you need are some interfacing, an invisible zip and some thread.  A large spool of thread!



The pattern instructions are fabulous, inside the strong envelope is a booklet explaining each step in great detail. Fantastic.


The very first thing I did was to make a toille of the bodice. I used some lightweight cotton fabric and transferred all the pattern markings onto it with a fabric marking pen. Jaycotts have a good selection of water and air erasable marker pens. For a toille you need to use a water based or even a permanent marker Marker pens



Thursday, 20 April 2017

How to sew very Easy Totes and Shopping bags

A jaycotts.co.uk blog post







I am often told that many of us are inspired to make our own bags and we go and buy a lovely pattern, but that's as far as we ever get - mostly. The reason seems to be that these patterns require so many different and unfamiliar fabrics,interlinings and other notions which are either hard to obtain or are too expensive, or both.
In this post I am going to show you how to make a very easy Tote bag for your shopping and then I will  adapt the same design by first of all adding a lining, and then by making the bag larger to make a practical beach bag and finally a stylish faux leather large Tote with embroidery. 
Although I am using my wonderful embroidery machine - which is quite honestly the best thing I have ever had - it takes sewing to a whole new level, you can omit the embroidery.
Why not use a patterned fabric, do some simple applique or even hand embroidery, it doesn't really matter. In fact it's a great way to use up fabric scraps or even discarded clothes. The whole point is that we all need shopping bags and if you know how to make your own you will never be short of a bag again. The best thing is that if you use leftover fabric they are free!


Skills learned

  • French seam
  • Machine embroidery (optional)
  • Making a basic tote
  • Adding a lining
  • Sewing with faux leather 
  • Using a commercial bag pattern
  • Adding a zip

Monday, 17 April 2017

How to up-cycle your jeans

This is a mini blog post showing you how to bling your jeans - and how to make them smaller!





It is easy to take jeans in at the waist, and there are a lot of tutorials online showing you how to remove the waistband at the back, add a dart and reduce the waistband before stitching it back on .
There are only a few tutorials showing you how to take them in at the hip downwards, so this is how I do it - adding some embroidery at the same time



 Unless you have some top stitching thread in the same colour as that used on the jeans you need to find a seam which doesn't have any top stitching. In my case the outside side seams are left plain below the pocket, so these are the seams I am going to use.



 Take your seam ripper, mine is by Prym from Jaycotts, it has a soft grip and comes in small medium and large. Seam Ripper
Start unpicking the side seams carefully from just below the pocket, where there is likely to be some top stitching and finish about four inches above the hem so that we do not have a new hem to cope with.



So now we have the side seams open part way. Press at this point, i used some starch to stiffen the fabric.
If you are going to embroider as I did then choose your design and measure where you want to place it. If you are adding a bought applique then you can pin and tack 
 It in place now and sew it in place by machine. You could use a diamante trim!
To hoop the fabric for machine embroidery, your jeans are likely to be in a stretch denim so they need stabilising firmly. I pressed on an iron on stabiliser to the back  first, this one is called Totally Stable by Gutterman Iron on stabiliser  I also used a layer of Gunold tear away stabiliser and hooped it with the jeans fabric Gunold Stabiliser. Stretch fabrics can be difficult to embroider unless they are held really firmly in the hoop.

 

This is my amazing embroidery machine, it has totally revolutionised my sewing and if you find yourself near to Chester I do urge you to call in at Jaycotts and ask for a demonstration. Brother Innov-is 800E . This machine is an investment I agree but if you are serious about making most of your own clothes and household items the money you will save justifies the cost, and you can then easily embelish  just about anything, even your bed linen, giving everything your own personal touch.


This is the design I chose which took twenty minutes to embroider. You can add more embroidery if you like and you could also add some to the back. If you do have some top stitching thread the same colour then you could remove the back pockets, carefully, embroider them and stitch them back on.


Remove the backing stabilisers and turn inside out. Pin the seams together again and stitch along your new seam-line.I took mine in at this point.
Then overlock the seam to match the rest of the inside and press.


This is my finished design . I chose a design in four colours which sits on the thigh . The design would look great repeated just above it.
The whole project took just over an hour from start to finish.
 You will have lots of ideas of your own to embelish your jeans. It will certainly give them a new lease of life and they will fit better too.

Thank you for  reading this post

Angela


#jeans #up-cycle #recycle #alterations #embroidery