Thursday, 23 February 2017

Making a pair of trousers - part 6

This weeks session was my last.  6 weeks has gone so fast and I have learnt so much.  I knew I wouldn't finish my trousers this week, but I got a lot closer than I thought I would.  It helped that over the weekend I sewed up my side seams.  This meant I could also try them on for the first time, which put my mind at rest - they are a great fit.

This week was all about the waist band for me.  I had to sew my lining to my trouser material, then sew the whole thing to my trousers.  To make fitting easier this pattern leaves the back seam to the very end, meaning I could try them on and have it fitted to me.  This bit will be harder in the future!

With the back seam sewn up and the waist band finished it was just a case of finishing off.  In this case adding a button hole - which once again my sewing machine surprised me with how easy it is to make one, and then hemming them.  Adding a button and finishing off the hems is all that is left to do.

I have really enjoyed this course.  Alison our tutor was so kind and knowledgeable, always ready to answer my beginner questions.  I can hardly believe that I have made a pair of trousers!  I will finish them off this weekend and post photos of the finished item.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Making a pair of trousers - part 5

I can't believe this is week 5 already!  Knowing that time is starting to run out I did a little bit of homework before the class this week.  This included adding some darts and preparing for the back pockets.

In the end I only added one back pocket during the class, as I wanted to get the fly done too.  I still have the option to add the second back pocket over the weekend if I want to.  With the inside seam done and the two legs attached to each other, they are really looking like a pair of trousers now!

I also had two brand new experiences this week.  I used the scary overlocker and I used the zipper foot on my sewing machine!  
The overlocker is used on the raw edge of material to stop it fraying. It has a cutting tool which cuts as you sew and then something like 4 needles to do the sewing.  Its a pretty scary machine, but the end results are really good.

The overlocker

What the overlocker does

I love my sewing machine.  It does everything I want.  When I bought it I deliberately bought one with a zipper foot, but as it didn't come with instructions and I've never needed it I had no idea how to use it.  To swap the foot I was expecting a screw or something, but no!  Its just a little button and the foot just drops off, it was sooooo easy! 

So now I have a nearly pair of trousers with two front pockets, a back pocket and a fly.  All that is left to do is add another back pocket if desired, sew up the outside legs, add the waist bands and hem the bottom of the legs.  Easy!
I think I will need to do a little bit more homework this weekend if I want to finish them at next weeks class.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Frensham Cushion Cover

The new house has a lovely big bay window with a seat.  But the seat is a little deep and for it to be really comfy it needs some cushions.  So I had a look for some patterns online.

The first I liked was the Frensham cushion cover.  It's inspired by the Frensham ponds which are quite close to where we live which adds to the appeal.  The original design uses yellow rather than green, which represents the sun glittering on the ponds, but I couldn't find yellow so went with green instead.

This is my first project using super chunky wool, which took a bit of getting used to.  I used Wendy Serenity super chunky from the wool shop in the village.  My 10mm needles finally got a work-out!
The lovely buttons are from The Button Shack.  30mm wood.

I'm very pleased with how it came out, and it definitely makes sitting in the bay window more comfortable.  I've already got a couple more patterns so it should have some friends soon.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Making a pair of trousers - part 4

Today we started to make our real trousers.  First thing to do - make the front pockets.  I started by edging two pocket pieces before attaching them to the lining.  I then attaching the pocket to the trouser leg before using a french seam to edge the bottom of the pocket and attached the back of the pocket to the trouser leg.  Repeat.

It took ages as I was being super careful but now I wonder if I will be able to finish them in the two evenings left.  I still have back pockets to make which are far worse than these and a fly zip to fit which I'm sure will be a pain.

However the two finished pockets do look good, with the cord all flowing in the same direction, so that's a good start and I am really pleased.  Of course I finished the evening covered in bits of blue fluff, which seems to be the main issue with using cord.
The urge to rush is very strong, but I know that is when I will mess it up, so I am trying very hard to stay slow and steady.  I have high hopes for these trousers!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Making a pair of trousers - part 3

At the end of last weeks session I bought myself some material to make my trousers out of (a perfect use of birthday money I think you'll agree).  Although a little nervous about it, with the encouragement of tutor Alison and the rest of the class, I went for some navy needle point cord and a pretty purple lining material.

Working out which way to cut things out
 Over the weekend I washed the material to make sure it wouldn't shrink later on.  I then started yesterdays class amending my pattern to fit better.  This meant taking off about an inch along the legs and a bit off the bum.  Because I am using cord for my trousers I had to have a think about how some of the parts should be cut out as the cord grain is very apparent.

And then came the nerve-wracking cutting out.  There were two issues here.  1. I was trying to keep the grain of my cord straight with the pattern, but it kept moving! And 2. I have to hope the new pattern sizing will fit!
But I am also really excited, because the material is beautiful and if the pattern does what it says it will they will be a lovely pair of trousers and I really can't wait to start putting them together (although not enough to try and do this outside of class!).

Best tip so far: don't unpin your pattern piece from your cut material until you need it, to help remind you what is what - especially helpful if there is a gap between cutting and making.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Making a pair of trousers - part 2

Last night I was back for part 2 of my trouser sewing course.  We carried on from where we left off last week with our calico trousers, so I started the evening by finishing my second pocket.  

Then I started putting together the legs.  I started by sewing the inside legs up and together, then added a fly.  As we were just making these to check the fit I didn’t add a zip or button so still not 100% sure how that bit will work, but I’m getting the general idea.

Then I sewed up the outside legs and added the pieces to make the waist.
And then I tried them on!!  It is always crazy to try on something you’ve made.  

They were too long and a bit baggy but nothing that can’t be fixed with a little fitting.
So next week I will be able to amend my pattern to make them a bit more fitted then start cutting out my ‘good’ material to make the final pair.

I expect the making of the ‘good’ trousers will take a bit longer as I’ll be adding 2 more pockets, a zip and a lining and generally taking more care than I have with the calico trousers.  I can’t wait.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Making a pair of trousers

Pattern all cut out
For my birthday this year, ‘im outdoors has bought me a 6 week sewing course at our local haberdashery.  This is the same place I learnt to crochet a couple of years ago.  They are really nice there and although small they normally have the things you need.
Yesterday was my first session, 3 hours after work.

I’ve made dresses before but want to be able to make more complex patterns.  However to be honest they scared me, so when I saw a trouser making course I thought it would be perfect.
We started the session by selecting the pattern we wanted to work with.  There were 2 to chose from.  
Both would cover how to fit a pattern, pockets and zips but one was a little simpler while the other was a little more complex.  Of course I chose the most complex pattern.  Mostly because I liked the look of the trousers, but also because if there is a time to challenge yourself it’s when there is a tutor on hand to help you out if you get stuck.

Because trousers are so complex we are making a calico pair first.  This not only helps us to work out if they fit, but also give us some practice on some of the more complex things like pockets.
So most of the session was firstly cutting out the paper pattern, then cutting the pattern pieces out of calico and then there was just enough time left to start sewing, so I finished the class with one pocket competed and a second on the way.  Next week we should go faster as all our pieces are cut out and ready to go.

My first pocket
I was a bit worried that either I’d be out of my depth or too tired after work, but Alison our tutor was really patient with us and happy to answer any questions.  And as with all the best projects I was concentrating so hard on what I was doing that there was no time to feel tired or think about the rest of my day and the time flew.
I really enjoyed my first session and I can’t wait to go back next week and finish that pocket.

Monday, 16 January 2017

A new address

I’m a bit of a traditionalist so knowing that we would be moving soon I started thinking about how to let everyone know our new address.  I think it’s a shame now that often you just get a text or email with a new address - I like something a little more physical.
We’d been hoping to move before Christmas, so my thinking was to send something out with the Christmas cards.  And then we got pushed back to January, but after thinking about it for a bit I decided this plan would still work.
Having worked as a UX Designer for the past year, and working closely with UI Designers at the same time, I’ve learnt that it is totally ok to look at what other people are doing before starting design.  I’m not talking about copying, but competitor analysis and idea generation.  
So I started by looking at the Noun Project to see how people draw houses and what house and home mean to others.
Having done some research I started sketching out ideas for illustrations to show the idea of moving house.  I had a few I really liked, but when I spoke to ‘im outdoors we narrowed it down to one.

Now I had to decide.  Did I draw it by hand and scan it in or should I try using Adobe Illustrator?  Because I only wanted something very simple, line drawings really I thought I’d try with the software first.
Watching how my colleagues do things in Illustrator must have paid off as I managed to create my little houses.  And where I got a bit stuck Google helped me out.
And there we have it, moving from the flat on a hill to a house backing onto a woodland.
I love little projects like this.  A bit different from what I do day to day but with a real purpose behind it.