Hmmm…nearly two months of dead silence. Not that I didn’t think of writing a bunch of posts in my head but never actually sat down to do it! What’s with that? I’d blame the Pandemic but that’s such a cliché these days, isn’t it? Dunno. Let’s just carry on from here, shall we?
I did finish a few things whilst I wasn’t blogging. Some new face coverings using a different pattern, this one from the Japanese Sewing Books website called the Contoured 3D Face Mask.
These ones seem to be more comfortable than the venerable Dhurata Davies pattern. Instead of ties or elastics I used narrow crosswise strips of nylon/spandex fabric pulled into a tube. They are softer than elastic on your ears and easier to get on and off than ties. I also discovered that my glasses fog up badly in the cold but wearing them over the mask as far down on my nose as possible helps. Somehow it leaves more space for evaporation of the moisture. Or something. I also interfaced the lining on these with some crappy lightweight non-woven fusible and I think it not only gives them a stiffer shape to help them keep away from my mouth but perhaps adds a bit of extra germ filtering. There are several sizes: L fits me well, XXL fits the Bearded One, and M fits his tiny mom.
I’ve lost track of how many masks I’ve made so far (not gazillions like some sewists though!) but I’m sure we’re still going to need these things for the foreseeable future. It’s a challenge choosing scraps from the stash and even though these have a little more sewing they’re actually very easy and entertaining to make. We have enough for now anyway. Moving right along.
I got plenty of good opportunities to use my new sewing machines while the Janome was in the shop. I made quite a few t-shirts and a couple of pairs of leggings but don’t have any great photos to show. They’re boring light grey, dark grey and brown! The coverstitch machine does have a bit of a learning curve though the threading is easy. Much easier than a serger anyway. Luckily if it goes wonky the stitches are easy-peasy to pull out when you start from the end of the seam. I got lots of practice with it on the tees and I still haven’t finished sewing all the ones I cut out last autumn.
I did finally finish sewing the Grainline Felix dress that I started way back in 2018. I ended up having to do some fixing to make it fit properly – the reason I got annoyed with it in the first place. Sitting in the Naughty Corner for a long while gave me some patience and perspective and now I really love it!
Unfortunately I nicked the bodice with the serger which is something I’ve only done less than a handful of times in the decades since I’ve owned one. Grrr…
I repaired it with Fray-Chek and a piece of fusible interfacing on the back. This rayon/poly fabric frays a lot though so it’s not invisible. Sigh. Now I have no excuse to save this dress for good! I can wear the heck out of it. Heh.
The rest of this fabric was calling me to use it up so I cut out a Tessuti Helga Shirt from the leftover piece. I made some changes since the silver grey test version that I made last year, adding a collar and pockets and reducing the fullness of the sleeve cap. I also lengthened it an inch. Much better!
The pockets are not large but will at least hold a phone or hankie. I quite like the collar.
It lies so much nicer than the original band collar, which I discovered has too much curve in it. Again I added 5 smaller buttons rather than 4 big ones because that’s what was available in stash.
One last sewing project finished is the Allspice Apron from Hey June, offered as a free pattern download. I printed out a size M which turned out to be too skimpy on my current rotund shape so I slashed from hem to armhole and added 4″ to the width. I also raised the underarm a little for more coverage and raised the pocket height (maybe a little too far but hey, Team T-Rex Arms here). I had a great time deciding which fabric to use for the million miles of bias tape needed to finish the mobius-like edges, ending up with a bright batik.
Don’t know whether the straps are going to stay put on my slippery sloping shoulders but only time will tell. The pattern just fit and used up most of a vintage cotton tablecloth that is such a dark navy that I actually thought it was black! This apron is a bit of a challenge to get into but I think it will get used a lot. Next time however I might use the larger side pockets from the York Pinafore since I love them the best.
So I forgot to mention that I rescued Janny the Janome HD5000 machine from the shop in December but all of the above were sewn using my new Brother cs6000i machine. I really love BeeBee! I’m becoming very enamoured of some of the computerised sewing machine’s tricks. I had fun using the walking foot (included!) on the knits and the buttonhole and button feet on the Helga Shirt. It was even fine with sewing the heavier cotton crepe of the apron, though I had some issues with the bartacks I tried to make on the pocket. That was just a bit much for the poor thing and it wouldn’t feed properly on the thick folded top edges. The centre bartack was passable however because that area hadn’t as many layers. I wouldn’t want to sew heavy denim or upholstery on this little guy though.
I have so many machines now that I had trouble keeping track of what needles were in what machine so I made a very quick-and-dirty needle chart out of a piece of closed-cell foam.
These are all used needles that still (hopefully) have some life left in them. The 4 button pins correspond to my 4 machines, one colour for each. I put a pin in the chart to show what needle(s) are currently in that machine. It also helps me to remember what size and type the needles these spare ones are since they don’t all have colour-coded markings. I really should make a better version of this organiser but this one works okay for now. I pinned it to the cork board on the wall right behind the sewing machines.
Well. I was going to count up my 2020 makes for the year but this is already getting rather long. So for now here’s saying a very firm good-bye to 2020 and wishing everyone a much better 2021! Stay safe and healthy and keep on keeping on. Hopefully it won’t be so long until I post again. Hopefully…