Sunday, 14 February 2021

A life time of sewing, sewing room organizing.


Sewing room, my favourite place

Yes I do have a life time of sewing memories plus patterns, fabric and notions...more than anyone should own.
But when dressmaking has been your passion and vocation for fifty years plus it's understandable.
My Instagram friends Ali from @arabesquescissors and Lauren from @mollyandmama have been encouraging us all to get sorted in our sewing spaces...to get #seworderly and as my sewing room needed a major re-sort here I am.

Welcome to my sewing room. 




I am incredibly lucky to have a dedicated sewing room, to be able to shut the door on projects in the making and all that creative mess.
 My room is actually a bedroom but used as a sewing space, the wardrobe has been altered for me with a purpose built bench and shelves. Bifold doors close to hide the space if so desired. In the middle of the room I have my old painted wooden table with it's heavy turned legs, it is brilliant as it so stable and has two extensions that can be pulled out for laying long lengths of fabric.
 It's certainly not Pinterest perfect with beautiful glass fronted display cabinets like some that I covet, but it's a pleasant room and serves me well.

The modified wardrobe.


Although my storage system has been in place for a while it certainly needed sorting. Things get put a way in a hurry and not where they should go and that makes for a frustrating time tying to find just that certain ribbon etc.
 And if your wondering where the fabric is ...well that's another story.
I don't keep the bulk of my fabric on display, it's in see through plastic bins in the dark of my linen cupboard and yet to be re-sorted.
Things fade here especially cotton fabric. The light here is just so bright and I have ruined fabric more than once leaving it folded on my table.

A few pics to show you.

 

I like to keep these scissors and snips
in my lovely old china jugs.
  

My Overlocker or Serger as its sometimes called sits
 on the bench beside my ordinary sewing machine
 and I just move between the two.
 
Patterns....a life time of collecting.

Looking for a zip, piping,
 elastic or other essential notions...well here they are.

Vintage trims..ohh how I love these,
 just perfect for finishing off
 some small project or embellishing a little dress.

These are stuck to the wall by my machine,
 I actually bought these in China on one of my visits
and I know you can find them anywhere but I love them
 and the small one is perfect for
 threaded needles if you need to hand stich in a hurry.

Yes I could organize these threads better but
 I find this vintage tin handy as it sits on the shelf directly
 above my machine...and it has memories.💗

Small plastic boxes for labels, ribbons, buttons, lace etc.

Stacking baskets to keep projects separate.

Display your makes and what gives you pleasure.

This little bathroom unit adds storage and beauty.

Bifold doors to close if desired.




All closed away.



 
Well I'm yet to tackle the fabric stash but it's on my list.

Do checkout Ali's Blog and Lauren's blog, wonderful inspirational reading there.

Well happy sewing

Glenis







Sunday, 29 November 2020

Ten great tips for sewing beautiful soft toys

 


Hints and help for creating beautiful and robust soft toys and dolls



soft toy, doll with doll's quilt
'Poppy dolly' all ready for Christmas.



I love to sew for children and one of these loves is of course toys. 
I am hoping that these practical hints will give you the confidence to get started.

Soft toy ,linen rabbit floppy ears



Tip 1. Preparing your fabric.....Press and starch, in my opinion starching is a must, the fabric is wrinkle free, crisp and easy to cut especially little pieces.
 
Tip 2. Fabric 'straight of grain'.....Please follow the straight of grain references on the pattern pieces and cutting instructions.
Cotton, linen and all other woven fabrics have a 'straight of grain' which is in the direction of the weft threads.
The weft threads run parallel to the selvedges and the warp threads run across the width of the fabric. The weft threads are stronger and more stable while the warp threads add more give to the fabric. I often use Minky (velour)and fleece fabric in my toys and they too have a greater stretch across the width of the fabric so the same rule applies.

Tip 3. Accurate cutting.....It's so important to cut these small pattern pieces exactly on the lines because any deviations can completely change the shape of a foot or little face etc.

Tip 4. Stitch length....Set your machine to a small stitch I set mine to 2, this keeps the seams firm and robust enough to hold the stuffing in and cope with loving  handling.

Tip 5. Back stitch....Reinforce the beginning and ends of every seam with back stitch, it will prevent the seams unraveling while constructing and stuffing the toy.

Tip 6. Seam allowance....If the pattern states 1/4 '' seams please stick to this or the feet won't fit the end of the legs, the collar won't fit the jacket etc. Most toy and craft patterns including mine have 1/4 '' seams unless otherwise stated.

Tip 7. Construction.... Read the pattern through first as it really gives you a feel for your project then follow the sequence as laid out in your pattern 'step by step' guide. Most pattern designers have worked hard to achieve the best way to construct the toy.

Tip 8. Curves and clipping seams....You can't make a doll or a rabbit without dealing with sewing curves, the secret is to take your time and have your machine needle set in the down position so you can lift the foot and pivot carefully around the curves. Don't stretch the fabric just guide as you stitch. Clip curves carefully but not to close to the stitches. 
Where the head meets the neck is the trickiest part so clip carefully but not through the stitching line...this is why back-stitching at the beginning and ends of each seam is so important.

Tip 9. Stuffing....I always use cushion inners for my stuffing, the stuffing is hypoallergenic and has a much softer feel than specific toy stuffing. You can buy cushion inners at most household linen type shops. 
Tease out the stuffing and push in small amounts at a time. Push the stuffing up into the head first and manipulate it to get the desired shape, the neck needs to be quite firm to hold the head and then stuff the rest of the toy.

Tip 10. Finishing and hand sewing....Once the stuffing is done close up the openings with very small and close together stitches, ladder or slip stitch is best hide your knots and ends inside the toy. 
Embroidering the face is pretty simple but it is the key to a cute look so take your time, you can mark the face details with a fade away pen if this helps. I use simple stitches like back stitch, satin stitch and sometimes French knots for freckles.
If I add blush to a doll I use pink craft ink dabbing it on with a cotton wool ball. Please practice on a scrap of fabric first to get a light look... just a hint of pink, if you are heavy handed it can mean disaster. 😕



soft toy, fluffy mouse doll very cute
'Miss Country Mouse' one of my favourites.



I haven't dealt with sewing the dolls clothing in my ten tips but all the above principles apply, precise cutting, seam allowance, backstitching and neat finishing off.


soft toy, linen rabbit with clothes
Adding the cute look to 'My friend Molly' bunny.


dressed doll, linen rabbit sewn toy
'My friend Molly' dressed bunny 



Soft toys, plushies in a basket
A basketful of delightful toys.

Soft toy, gee's projects patterns
All the joy captured in that sweet face.

Dressed doll in pink, very cute
Poppy dolly.

soft toy, embroidering the face
Sewing the face details 'Kerah Rabbit'.


soft toy bunny with a halo of flowers
'Bobby Bunny' with her halo of flowers.



These are just a few of my patterns that are available in my Etsy shop , I do try very hard to make them easy to follow, lots of 'how to' photos and 'step by step' instructions.
Hopefully you will practice these simple tips to get that professional look and the joy of creating.

Happy Sewing


Glenis



Thursday, 18 June 2020

How to do jointed arms on 'Hope Bunny' or other small soft toys

'Hope Bunny' jointed arms tutorial




Don't be afraid of tackling jointed arms on a small soft toy, it's easy and I will guide you through the process.
Having made your soft toy or bunny in this case, here's what follows.
1. Thread up a long needle with some stronger thread, quilting thread or extra strong thread at least a metre or yard long, make a knot to join the two ends so you have a double thread.
2. On the side seam of your bunny (toy) about just under 3/4 '' below the neck seam take two tiny stitches to secure the thread then push your needle to the other side keeping it straight.




3. Push the needle through the underside of the top of the arm, now thread through the both holes of the button and back through the top of the arm..through the body and into the other underside of the arm button etc.
4. Repeat the process one more time, carefully pull your thread tight making sure that the body and arms are balanced and equally positioned.
5. Finish off with a secure knot underneath the arm.

And there you have it, not hard at all. my HOPE BUNNY is available in my ETSY SHOP  along with other patterns.












Happy sewing
Glenis




Wednesday, 17 June 2020

'Heart' applique and embroidery fabric coasters and Place mat ... free pattern

'Heart' fabric coasters and place mat...free tutorial










 There is a huge amount of work in producing a pattern so when you the buyer purchases it all the work, the measurements, and thinking are done for you.
I buy patterns even though I know I probably could work it all out for myself...but I don't want to and because it's good to support other crafty women like me and I want to try something new.
But what I'm noticing is that most of the instructions include diagrams to follow rather than pics.
So...I have been teaching myself graphics to help with my pattern making business. I generally take multitudes of photos to help with my step by step instructions... but sometimes the photos are blurred ( a bit like some of my photos here ) or the light is wrong and then you need to start from the beginning again...very frustrating.
I've written this tutorial so you can make these sweet coasters and place-mats but the template and text can be used in many other projects like my fussy cut purse, so I hope you enjoy and take the time to make something from it.
 If I could put a free pattern on Etsy I would but it doesn't work and I don't have the knowledge to put a downloadable file for this tutorial here but if you click on each numbered page below and save image and download them they will be true to size.
Happy sewing
Glenis




































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