Sunday, 6 November 2011

Evolution of a Sewing Habit

This time last year the only machine sewing I had attempted involved straight lines, no patterns and rather a lot of frustration. True, in this time I did manage to assemble several baby quilts (although the word quilt can only be loosely applied) a couple of cushion covers (not removable) and quite a lot of roman blinds.

My 'technique' was to buy appealing fabric, approximate a design in my head and then to begin making my chosen project with a mixture of trial and effort, struggling to marry up the image in my head with the wobbly lines of looped stitching that were emerging. I did have a book borrowed from my Mum for the blinds, which were fairly successful, except for the bathroom blinds (which were the first ones I made) which came out rather too short. Not sure what happened there! When we re-decorate the bathroom I will have to make new blinds.

Luckily, we never close them. Not that we could.

My sewing machine and I had been together for about nine years but I hadn't really taken the time to get to know it properly, hence many of the problems. The only textile lessons I got at school involved me and a couple of friends spending about half a term drawing five-petal flowers onto a very roughly sketched dress pattern that never got off the drawing board.

Around Christmas time last year I decided it was high time I had some proper lessons and booked a short course through the local adult education centre starting in January. This spurred me on to having my machine properly serviced, which cost me what I thought was an eye-watering amount, although several faults were discovered which had probably been caused by my ignorance. I confess now to never having oiled the poor thing in all the years of ownership, or removing any fluff, and only ever having changed the needle when it broke. I still had some of the original needles included with the machine left, I had never bought any or been aware that there were different needles for different jobs.

At my first lesson I discovered that there was a correct way to load the bobbin, something else that had probably caused many of my sewing problems. I also learned about back stitching at the start of a seam. This was also a revelation to me, who had previously and laboriously pulled the threads to the back of my work and tied them together. Every. Single. Time. Roman blinds have a lot of seams and I estimate that over the dozen or so I had made, tying the threads had probably taken me an extra few hours at least!

The lessons were spaced fortnightly, but after the first one I experienced something of an epiphany and was hungry to learn more. I took to the internet and found it to be an amazing resource. I still wonder why I had never thought to look there before.

I had also got the Cath Kidston book 'Sew' for Christmas. My version didn't include the materials to make the bag, but I decided to make a version of it.

For the very first time, I attempted button holes.I don't think they came out too badly, considering.

After my buttonholing experience, I thought I would try zips. I found this tutorial which I found really easy to follow and created this

I had never really thought about patterns until making this bag, but buoyed by it's success I then went on to adapt the pattern several times. By this point I had set up a dedicated area for my machine and this together with the increased knowledge of how to use it has changed my life quite dramatically, but definitely for the better.

Thanks for stopping by,
Beth x

1 comment:

  1. Hi there just found your blog by looking at my blog traffic and following the link. Thanks for doing this, now I shall return the favour. Maybe we'll meet up some time seeing as we seem to be living in the same beautiful part of the world.


I really love to receive comments and will try to reply where possible x