Blog Archive

Sewing Miette

I've followed Tilly Warne, of Tilly and the Buttons, ever since I saw her on the Great British Sewing Bee (Oh, I do miss GBSB so much!)

Anyway, I have her book 'Love at First Stitch',  which is an excellent step by step tutorial for anyone wishing to learn to sew, or gain more confidence and develop their skill.  Whilst (without sounding big-headed) I'm not a beginner, I was drawn to the colourful book, with lovely photography and super patterns that can be easily customised. I haven't made anything from the book yet, but have my eye on the Mimi blouse.

I often read Tilly's lovely, inspirational blog, and I decided to make the Miette skirt.  I like wrap skirts as they are comfortable to wear and look casual too.  They have the added advantage that you can loosen them a bit if you have an extra large dessert ;)

Off I went to Cool Crafting in Skipton and I purchased the pattern, along with a couple of metres of the softest, smoothest cotton chambray imaginable.  The pattern gives one fabric requirement for all sizes, but I found I only needed 1.8 metres of 160 cm wide fabric, to make a size 4.

The photo doesn't do the fabric justice!

Unpacking the pattern, you can see that it is made of sturdy paper, instead of the usual tissue.  The pattern is clearly printed and labelled.  I would think the only problem might be trying to pin the pattern, but I use pattern weights, so I didn't find that an issue.

Oh, speaking of pattern weights, instead of using expensive purchased weights, or tins of baked beans, I bought 2 dozen extra large metal washers, for about 30p each, from our local hardware shop and, although they're not very pretty, they work like a dream. Here they are:

Back to the pattern...  Tilly doesn't use the usual 10/12/14 and so on sizes (they don't match ready-to-wear sizes anyway, and often just confuse things) but instead she uses sizes 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on.  I measured myself and decided to make a size 4.  I added 2" to the length - 1" at the bottom (hand drawn, using the spare paper) and 1" at the place indicated to lengthen or shorten.

The pattern comes with a super detailed booklet, with loads of colour photos.  It would be brilliant for a new sewist!  There is also lots of extra help on Tilly's blog.

As I decided against having pockets I cut the front on the fold of the fabric to avoid the centre front seam. 

Making the skirt was a dream.  Everything went together really fast and whilst I initially wasn't sure about so many pieces for the waistband and ties (the facing for both is cut separately) I can now see that it eliminates the ringlet-looking, curly-wurly ties that can sometimes occur when you cut one piece and fold it lengthwise.

You could also use a fancy fabric to face the waistband, which would look fabulous!

I topstitched the entire waistband and ties, to give a casual, but crisp look.

And, here it is... Ta Daaa!  Cue a really awkward looking selfie!  I was home alone and too impatient to wait for someone else to take a photo.  (Despite pressing the skirt carefully, it appears to have an annoying wrinkle on the front.  Never mind...)

After wearing the skirt for the first time (it's sooooo comfortable!) I realise that I would like the wrap at the back to be bigger.  I am also not sure about the back being cut almost on the bias, as it has a slightly wrinkled finished edge (being on the bias) and the pronounced grain on the back is clearly noticeable as being on the diagonal. (Sorry I haven't any photos of that, but I couldn't manage to twizzle around sufficiently to photograph the back!)

I love the skirt and the fabric so much that I went back to Cool Crafting and bought some more of the fabric to make another one. This time I want to cut the back with the finished edge, instead of the side seam, on the straight grain. It wouldn't be possible to do this with any size larger than size 5 and still keep the fabric folded double, but it's easy enough to open out the fabric and cut the two back sections separately, flipping the piece over to cut the second section, to get a pair. (Don't forget that if you do this you would need to allow extra fabric when working out requirements)  I am going to cut a size 5 for the back, to give a little bit of extra coverage on the wrap, but that's just me - it genuinely, as per the pattern promise, doesn't gape!

Before I cut into this fabric again though I will make a trial one in some less-loved fabric from my stash.  

I'll let you know how this plan works out :)

So, my first impressions of my first ever Tilly pattern is I lOVE THEM!  I so want to make some more, and have my eye on Rosa shirt/shirt dress next.  I'm planning to purchase that very soon! Have you made any Tilly and the Buttons patterns?  Do let me know in the comments below.

Donna x 

A new arrival

No, no.  Not THAT sort of arrival!!

THIS sort of arrival!!!

I often look at the Lord's Sewing Centre's website (they are based in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire), just to browse.  I  happened to spot the rather beautiful machine pictured above.  It's a Brother NV1e, pre-owned.

I bought my current machine, the Innovis 5000, from them a few years ago, and it has given excellent service.  I was beginning to feel I could do with something speedier for uploading embroidery designs, as I am doing more of that, as well as applique, as part of teaching-myself-to-quilt.

Lord's are my favourite sewing machine retailers EVER. Keith and all the staff are so helpful, and on the odd occasion I have had a problem with my sewing machine or overlocker, I have been able to get an instant solution over the phone, or have taken the machine in, and more often than not had it fixed there and then.  I sent an email to Keith asking a few questions about the NV1e and he quickly replied, answering all of my questions.  I arranged to see it on the weekend and decided to buy it straight away!

As I mentioned, it is pre-owned as was my last machine, but fully serviced, guaranteed and in superb condition.  

It even comes with a tablet and pen, so you can draw or write on the tablet, upload to the machine, and then stitch it out!  I can autograph my quilts! (Once I have learned to quilt properly, that is...)

I traded in my old machine, and tried to be businesslike about it, and not sentimental (I know, I know; it's a machine...) but it gave me a bit of a jolt when I visited again today to return a part I had forgotten to take in, and then saw my machine waiting to be serviced and, presumably, offered for sale.

Here it is.  I wish I had taken a better photograph of it now! It's so out of focus :(

I brought my new machine home yesterday but was sooooo self disciplined and made myself tidy up my horribly untidy sewing room before setting it up.  I've still more to do in there, but look at my tidy boxes under the table...

Yep.  All yarn. :)

I currently have two tables - one for the sewing machine and one for the overlocker, but the plan is to take out the Big Cupboard that contains all the home office stuff and create a study area downstairs. Then I can have a third table and have my coverstitch machine out permanently, with maybe my 1960s Singer (Big Bertha) at the back of the table, ready for super-heavy-duty projects.  It's all a work in progress.  I'll show you some more photos once it's done.

I had a little go on my new machine today and am making myself a shirt.  Yes, another shirt!  This time for ME!!  I use the same pattern as I do for my daughter, but with a completely different fit through the body.  (I have two sets of darts drawn on to the pattern, and as long as I use the correct ones each time it works well!)

I am not 100% sure about the fabric choice for a shirt, but it was left over from this dress, which I made earlier in the year...

It's a Liberty cotton lawn, and I love the hand painted look, but the print might be too large for a shirt. I didn't have enough left over to make a long sleeved shirt (like I normally do) so am making the short sleeved version - View C...

Ooh!  Just look at that multi-bulb LED lighting!!

Anyway, time will tell whether the shirt works or not.  It's not the end of the world if it doesn't as it was literally left over fabric.

So, that was my exciting weekend with my New Arrival.  The type that doesn't keep me awake at night :)

Donna x