Feeling a little flush from being paid for the examiner work completed in July, I went internet shopping and would like to share with you the new purchases and some super links so that, you too, can spend a tonne of money on really useful, beautiful and necessary things.
The Overlocker (Serger)
I have been hmming and haaaing about getting one of these for years. My sewing machine does a zip-zag and an overlock stitch, so what’s the point in having another machine? Everyone I talked to, who has on overlocker, says they couldn’t do without it.
This isn’t the all singing all dancing overlocker that retails at £1000 and upwards (I don’t get paid that much!) – too scary anyway for a beginner like me – but it isn’t entry level either, just a few steps up. DH is a wiz at finding bargains on the net, so I primed him of the model number and off he went.
He sourced this at John Lewis with free delivery in the UK. The price JL were charging for this model was the same price as everywhere else was charging for the model below. So it was ordered on Tuesday and arrived on Thursday! Almost instant!
Within 10 mins of unpacking and testing, I’d broken it – I lost the chain! I rethreaded and rethreaded and managed to make a chain with 3 not 4 thread. Then I joined the Janome forum, watched a hundred YouTube videos and after a few hours got the thing working again. Not the best start and certainly did not endear the machine to my heart. But I have learnt how to rethread and I do understand a little better about the internal workings.
Still not convinced of the value of an overlocker I have purchased Threads Serger Techniques. This thing is costing me money! I have not had time to sit down and watch throughly but I’ve already learnt how to do a hem.
In premature anticipation of the overlocker I enrolled in the Tilton sisters’ Ultimate T-Shirt class on Craftsy. Got the pattern but held off sewing. Just up the road from our hotel in Salisbury (literally, 100m) was Fabric Land. A veritable medieval shop of hundreds of fabrics – I was in awe! I’ve been on the internet site and it’s absolutely barmy – but the shop and the girls were amazing. Such good prices too!
A whole wall of jersey and knits. I bought 1m each of the following and cut the T-shirts on my return home. Two navy and oatmeal stripes, one broad the other narrow; a pink and a dark grey. The actual pattern calls for .75m (3/4yd) of three contrasting fabrics; that equals over 2m per shirt and I’d only a meter of each. A bit of manipulation around the grain line and a bit of squeezing on every last scrap, four full T-shirts have been cut out.
DH wants me to make him a jacket – fully tailored – oh yeah, Welcome to Saville Row! Like I don’t have enough to make for me… Anyway, I also bought 4m of suiting for his jacket from Fabric Land. It’s a poly/wool mix but it’ll be grand for a muslin and lots to play with. He has been checking out Ralph Lauren fabrics at $60/yd – no pressure in cutting into that then!
Even though the overlocker arrived and was working and the T-shirts were cut out and ready to go, I had no overlocker thread. I sourced some at BSK and got three colours best suited to my intended future projects – red, grey and navy. Once again, a very pleasant shopping experience, quick delivery and excellent communication. BSK is now in my bookmarkers for haberdashery and supplies.
The Tailors’ Ham
In all my years of making tailored jacket for myself I’ve used a rolled up towel for pressing the shoulders, collar and lapels. I thought it was about time to get a tailor’s ham – DH’s jacket being a valid excuse. I suppose I could have made my own, there’s loads of tutorials out there but I found an adorable site and couldn’t resist.
Sew Happy makes commissioned hams and other bits and bobs. Caroline was friendly, communicative and produced exactly what I wanted and all within 5 days. I like to support independent craft workers when my time is short and funds allow.
Stuffed with sawdust I just know this will be invaluable in the sewing room (unlike the overlocker!).
Vogue patterns extended their recent sale so I was able to sneak in a few new pattern purchases too. The new patterns aren’t much to write home about but these three tempted me too much and only one of them is from the new collection!
From the left, V1254 Anne Klein – reminds me of Prada off the shoulder dresses this season; DKNY 1362, super sexy; and Catherine Tilton stretch pants 8837 (for overlocker ha ha!)
Still on the quest for the perfect dress and not wowed by Vogues offerings recently I have been reading about By Hand patterns, specifically the Anna dress. My mum is called Anna, so it was fated by the gods that I should have this pattern. Actually, all the reviews have been super positive and results are just as stunning – see this and this and this and this and this.
Not the cheapest patterns on the market at £12 but compare that to the usual price for the Vogue Anne Klein pattern above $32 (£19). Now let me show what’s inside….
Beautifully packaged – just the way a pattern should be. Bit like Collette patterns, you know you are getting something special. A booklet with instructions and layout options and written with a bit of humour and personal touches; the tissue pattern pieces from every size UK 6 – 20; a little card for purse or handbag to remind you of the best types of fabric to use; and last but not least a woven label. All neatly tucked into a lilac folder.
Does anyone else remember getting a woven label with a Vogue pattern? You used to ask the sales assistant for one when you bought a pattern. There were lots of different ones, depending on the pattern. Now if a small independent company like By Hand can do it, Paco does it too and when you buy Linton tweed they include a label – why can’t a giant like Vogue? My own Corecouture woven labels ran out a long time ago – that means I’ve sewn them into 50 garments – so a new order has been placed.
Still another dress pattern is winging it’s way to me as I type and that is the incredible Centre for Pattern Design’s newest pattern and an absolute stunner – The Four Square dress. Four identical pieces cut on the bias, sewed together to produce this elegant and flattering dress. Can’t wait for this one and must go fabric shopping to do it justice.
The Freebies and Nice Links
I’ve found these sites via very circuitous and devious routes but very worthwhile sharing with you. There are lots of things to choose from – dive in…….
How to do Make-up really well – video tutorials by Lisa Eldridge
Full list of free underwear patterns (with pics) along with Deby’s own design free patterns for tops and dresses and an interesting read at So Sew Easy
Rhonda’s wonderful and unique designs – watch out for sleeves on Saturday and Fabulous Free Patterns on Friday (Not new to me, but maybe to you)
Fat free vegan recipes – yeah yeah y’all be hitting this one!
Classical Fabrics – the only shop in Southampton that had air conditioning on a day when the thermometers hit 32 degrees and the polar opposite to Fabric Land.
Doozle – hand made organic skin care. Met Jill at a craft fair in Salisbury and have been using her serum and Gardenia Smoothie since coming home. I can’t say I look 10 years younger but it’s nice to treat yourself once in a while.
And to top it all off I had my eyes tested and needed new specs – gotta see those small stitches! You know how I like to intimidate and scare my students so a pair of full framed tortoise shell were selected, Versace no less! And with the right scowl on my face (I am practising) and maybe having conquered the overlocker (practising that too), I will be a formidable force to be reckoned with come September.