"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #4 - War & Peace

What the item is (and how it is a product of war or a lengthy period of peace: This is a headscarf. I wanted to do something much more complex but I just don't have funds to make any of them from scratch. so I chose that in the spirit of WW2 I would make do and mend.

The Challenge: #4 War & Peace

Fabric: cotton (I think it was a scrap from my stash)

Pattern: none self drafted

Year: 1940's

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it?
I'm not sure whether sewing machines did these stitches in the 40's but I thought it was such a sweet design.
Hours to complete: 1hr-ish.

First worn: today! I'm wearing it now.

Total cost: Nothing really all from my stash.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The captain's shield

So I needed a blond comic book character to cosplay....after running through the ones I knew I chose captain america as he was good in the avengers movie I saw last year. One of the things I needed was a prop...a shield to be exact.
Couldn't afford to buy one and my budget was very tight. I looked up a few tutorials before I settled on buying....

A shallow planter for 99p from...well the 99p shop. It wasn't perfect but it was close enough.
I decided I wanted to use the blue variation of ther shield from winter soldier which would match the outfit I was interpreting.

First of all I had to modify the shape a little get rid of the 'lip' round out the bottom and smooth the sides.
So I built up the areas with newspaper and papier mached over the top. The above image is after the 1st layer. Hopefully this way it will stay light.
Second layer...looking better.

I then did a primer layer of silver spray paint. The inside is a bit scruffy. Then I used craft foam and string to create the star and 'rings'.
Then did another layer of silver spray paint.
Then began painting the rings blue. And glued on the handles.

Finally I drybrushed the shield with black paint to make it look like it had battle damage.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #3 - Stash V2

The Challenge: #3 Stash
Fabric: muslin
Pattern: none. self drafted.
Year: 1780-1812
Notions: ribbon
How historically accurate is it?

This was a bit of a last min random item....so my research consisted of checking out pinterest. lol! I tried to make the right shape. It is more of a re-jig of the bib part of a bib front gown I gave up on because it stretched too much.
Hours to complete: Only took me one morning so a few hours.
First worn: For photo's...it won't be worn till later this year.
Total cost: As this was restashed after I gave up on the dress ages ago I've forgotten the price....and I nearly threw it away. eeep! I don't really know the original price anymore.

Sneaky peek at a WIP cosplay...can you guess who I'm cosplaying?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Singer ONE Sewing Machine - Review

Review of singer 'One' anniversary model in white. This machine was gifted to me.

The Spec

  • ONE TOUCH™ Stitch Selection with 24 Built-In Stitches
  • 2 Fully Automatic 1-Step Buttonholes
  • SWIFTSMART™ Threading System with Automatic Needle Threader
  • QuickView Stitch Setting & Simple Stitch Adjustment
  • DROP & SEW™ Bobbin System
  • Presser Foot Sensor
  • Feed Dog Control
  • Extra-Large Sewing Space (374 mm/14.7”)
  • Extra High Presser Foot Lift
  • Automatic Reverse
  • Free Arm

Included Accessories
All-Purpose Foot, Blind Hem Foot, Satin Stitch Foot, One-step Buttonhole Foot, Zipper Foot, Needles, Bobbins, Spool Pin Felt, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Thread Spool Caps, Needle Plate Screwdriver, Lint Brush/ Seam Ripper and Soft-Sided Cover.

I'm primarily a garment sewer so I was impressed by the number of stitches on offer (My Janome J8-13 only has a few) and the ability to adjust length AND width. I was happy to find the decorative stiches in particular as I usually have to embroider by hand. There's also stretch stitches and overcasting.
I used the auto setting on the tension initially but I'll soon branch out to setting my own tension manually. The stitches seemed even but when using some of the stitches on thin polycotton I had problem with the fabric bunching up.

example of the auto tension giving me the wrong tension

I'm used to a side loading bobbin so having a top loading is something new to me. It all seems rather enclosed so I'm worried about how to clean the machine sufficiantly.
The top bobbin threading confused me with is simplicty. It was when it got to the bit near the needle that (without help of the DVD which I didn't get) and the most ambiguous diagram in the manual that it all went wrong. I kept thinking it'll never stay in the hook when I start sewing it must attach somewhere else. But no it IS that basic. I used the autothreader too. Which only seems to work with the 'official singer needles' that came with the machine. The lower bobbing 'drop in and sew' also threw me, I kept wanting to do the usual pull up the thread thing.
Let me say I've only just got the hang of threading the machine and not having it jam/thread snap/random error message and shouting at it.

The printed manual appears to say to thread the machine like this.
but as you can see from the online diagram below.
it says to thread it like this
When I thread the second way I get an error message/thread keeps snapping. And when I thread the first way its fine?

The machine came with a standard foot, satin stitch, buttonhole (the kind that calculates the button hole size for you...you won't belive how happy I am about this. *shakes fist at 4 step buttonholes*) and zipper.
So far I've only tried standard, satin and buttonhole. Need to test the zipper one next. I didn't understand what the felt disks were for though?!
The pedal seemed a little flimsy compared to my janome one.

This is quite a noisy machine for an electric one. It does a chugging grunt rather than a nice hum.

The machine manual
Was fairly good, but could have been set out in a more logical manner. The threading diagram is appauling...a dashed line?! what does that mean next to a solid line?

What would you change?
I'm not a fan of the auto needle up and the weird reverse button...still not figured out the coordination with that one. I would have liked to have the required foot for each of the stitches offered.

This is a Diva of a machine. She likes to be given the official singer stuff and to be treated gently. If you don't take your time she'll throw a strop *shakes fist at C6 error message* and can take a little adjusting to.
I still have my janome as back up if she decides to throw a diva strop at least. ;)

Monday, February 16, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #3 - Stash

The Challenge: #3 Stash
Fabric: Cotton
Pattern: Truly victorian 400.
Year: 1870s-1880s
Notions: Ribbon, buttons, boning
How historically accurate is it? Well I used TV patterns which are usually accurate, I used the right historical techniques and can get away with using sewing machine for this era. The boning and buttons are plastic so 90%? Closest I've been in ages.
Hours to complete: lost count...it took me a while just to do the fitting before I started sewing.
First worn: For photo's...it won't be worn till later this year.
Total cost: Now the purple fabric was in my stash as I attempted to make a medieval dress with it and failed, the fabric I used for flatlining was donated to me from someone elses stash, same with the ribbon. I only bought the buttons and boning.

So my concept was HA disney and this was bodice for my victorian mermaid. I took the colours that ariel wears and create my outfit.
 I started by tracing off the pattern and doing intial tissuefit.
Before hand basting my fabric toile and tweaking the fit.
I then unpicked the basting stitches and used it to flatline the purple exterior fabric. Making sure I cliped the curved seams and pressed them. I then made the casing for the boning and attached to the inside of the bodice.
I then sewed the peplum with a scaloped edge to give that seashell effect. Attaching it to the bodice.
 Then I attached the sleeves and finished off the neckline with piping.
Laid out the buttons to work out how to space them.
Then after I finished the buttons attached ribbon trim to the collar and a waist stay.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly 2015 - the plan

Well this is my plan for what I want to make...although its inclined to change.

January – Foundations: make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.
1930s/40s bra

February – Colour Challenge Blue: Make an item that features blue, in any shade from azure to zaffre.
1940s peasant style top

March – Stashbusting: Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.
Purple late 1870s bodice inspired by the little mermaid

April – War & Peace: the extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear.  Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace.

Not sure...something regency I think.

May – Practicality:  Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone, even princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in.  Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.
1920s housedress for sewing in.

June – Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before. 
Sewing velvet.

July – Accessorize: The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.
A purse or chatelaine or maybe something hatwise for my bustle dress or shoes for my 1830s dress I plan to make later.

August – Heirlooms & Heritage: Re-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.
Still thinking this one up.

September – Colour Challenge Brown: it’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.
Ooh, tricky as I don't have any brown in my stash.

October – Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).
I think I'll keep this as a surprise.

November – Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.
Les Miserables 1830s dress.

December – Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.
Decide later

Thursday, January 15, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #2 - Blue

The Challenge: #2 Blue
Fabric: Polycotton
Pattern: Used Butterick pattern.
Year: 1930s-40s
Notions: elastic, ribbon, rikrack
How historically accurate is it? Well I hope it is accurate as I can get it.
Hours to complete: Took me two days but then I handsewed some of it. If I'd used the machine it would have been done in a day.
First worn: 15/1/15 for photo's.
Total cost: £5 Because I only had to buy the fabric everything else was gifted to me.

Couldn't resist a little nod to Snow White. The skirt is one I made in 2012! Can't belive its fits me again now...I nearly took it to the charity shop.