Space to Sew UpdateBlog

06 January 2013

New Year's Sewing Resolutions

Happy, Happy New Year! We hope that you’ve enjoyed the Festive Season and that you’ve enjoyed some jolly and restful times over the past few weeks. Almost every member of the Space to Sew Team was involved in some last minute sewing of Christmas presents. I confess to only making one: it’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions to make more next year. In fact I have been told very strictly by our tutors that I am to do more sewing in 2013 as my performance on that front was fairly poor. I made one skirt, a cushion cover, 2 felt needlecases (my favourite project of the year as they were finished in one day!) a silk evening bag and, yes, I did finally manage to finish my famous boiled wool cape (see picture attached!). I almost finished a silk ball dress too. So I made much more than I remembered, but not half as much as I set out to make. Onwards and upwards in 2013! I know my tutors will be keeping my eyes on my sewing goals and resolutions. I hope that sharing some of my plans and aspirations will encourage you to set and keep to some of yours.

First up on my agenda: to finish my lovely 1940s vintage skirt. The toile* was finished before Christmas, however making it up proved more complicated than expected. Little tip coming up for those of you working with similar vintage patterns: check that the grain really is where you think it is. We struggled to establish it on this pattern despite Kate’s expert help. It just wasn’t marked - though I confess to cutting out the pieces incorrectly a couple of times as well. Thankfully Kate’s great eye immediately spotted where the grain should be the first time she saw it sewn up and on me so, despite the setbacks and much unpicking, the toile is now complete, the first version of the skirt is cut out in lovely wool crepe and, hopefully, my first skirt of the year will soon be ready (you can keep me to that!).

Happily that will not be the end of my vintage journey as I received a couple more 1940 skirt patterns for Christmas (I’m lucky enough to have a husband who looks at my Christmas Wish List – thank you!). It’s been a while since I had some new skirts so I’m really looking forward to adding some to my wardrobe. Especially ones that really fit!

Next up on my agenda: more cushions (not least to give as presents next year!) I hope to squeeze into Janet’s Classic Piped Cushion Course if there's room as I’ve not made one with a zip before. If not I’ll carry on developing my cushion techniques in Club as I have a few lovely fabrics to work on. But first it’s time to finish the upcycled cushion I started in Autumn 2012 using up old woollen jumpers fulled (commonly known as 'felted') in our home washing machine a couple of years ago.

For those of you who don’t know anything about fulling (felting jumpers), this is one of the simple ways of doing it and a great way of recycling old jumpers with holes in them. You just put your jumper in the washing machine at 40 degrees or higher and give it a couple of washes until it shrinks quite tightly (I usually felt them at 60 degrees and put them in a smalls bag so that the felted wool doesn’t go into the nooks and crannies of my washing machine drum). You have to make sure your jumper is pure lambswool to start with and not all of them will felt (the very, very thin ones don’t). Then you can just cut and stitch the wool fabric as if it were felt i.e the seams don’t need finishing as they don’t fray. Not only can you sew side seams together but you can also cut out shapes and appliqué them on which, thanks to Janet’s patient help, I am doing on this cushion. If I can just get my stitches in the right place I should end up with a lovely Argyll type design on the front. Very exciting!

So those are a few of my New Year’s Sewing Resolutions. We’d love to hear about yours if you’d like to write in to

And, if you need help to get going, why not come to our “Swish to Sew” Fabric and Pattern Swishing Party specially designed to help us all start sewing again while the January nights are long and cold and money is short after Christmas. For more details click here. Please let us know if you’d like to come along so we make sure there’s plenty of drink and nibbles for all.

Hope to see you there. Either way, Happy Happy 2013 – and Happy Sewing in 2013!

Domini x

*For those of you who don't already know, a toile (U.S. "muslin") is a fabric version of a dress or other garment that is sewn up in calico or other cheap fabric to ensure a proper fit before making up the garment in the intended fabric. In my experience this is a much more satisfying way of testing out a pattern as I am not usually easy to fit. The fitting alterations can be made on the calico version which avoids too much unpicking on fabric that damages easily. Plus, if for some reason you don't like the pattern once it's fitted, it is better to find this out before spending money on an expensive fabric.

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