Tag Archives: home sewing

Conquering a fear – trousers

elizabeth's_avatarI made a pledge at the beginning of last year not to buy clothes I could make.  This is easy enough for dresses, tops and skirts.  Doable for knickers, although bras are another proposition, and something of a challenge with knit fabrics.

But!  I gritted my teeth, fitted a stretch needle, found a lovely pattern and did it.

Trousers, with a zip fly, on the other hand, were a challenge on another level.  Fortunately we have Sandra, who can do these things with her eyes closed.  (I’d be prepared to put money on it, but she’d be shy)

So, with her patient and intuitive instruction I have a pair of recognisable jeans.
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The only real difficulty came with trying to sew the waistband.

The denim I’d chosen is rather heavy – I liked the colour – and six layers of top-stitching was beyond my Janome.  But Sandra has an impressive Singer that handled it without complaint.  Likewise the buttonhole.

I’ve not worn them yet, it’s too hot, and there’s one more touch I’d like to add.  I’ve got a rivet kit, but I need to dig out my leather punch as my awl isn’t up to penetrating the four layers at the corner of each pocket where a rivet should go.

IMG_1673I have worn these, though.  They’re indigo linen and don’t even crease too badly.

For a hot day at work, they’re chic and cool and go with a lot of my wardrobe.

The linen was also sufficiently light that I had no trouble with the waistband or buttonhole.

The pattern I’m working off is a much-adapted block.  It’s flattering to my body shape with wide legs and a yoke back.

It translated very well to these:

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Doesn’t everyone need ridiculous trousers?

The fabric is drill from LargeCraftandFabric chain store which I couldn’t resist.  Sadly, not much seems to go with them, but they do make me smile!

Waste not

elizabeth's_avatarIt’s been bothering me for a while the amount of scrap fabric I produce that isn’t big enough to be useful.  Some of it can be composted but a lot can’t, so it goes to landfill.  When you consider the resources that go into producing fabric (water, labour, petrochemicals and so on) this is an appalling waste.

But what to do?

Ignore the cat, it has no patienceHere’s one idea.  Take a remnant of upholstery fabric and cut six equally sized squares.  In this case about 5ocm x 50cm.

Sew the first two together using a basting stitch, then insert a zip along this stitch line and pull out your basting, making sure the ends are secure.

Then sew the rest of your squares together in a hopscotch arrangement to form the top, sides and bottom of a square.  Overlock your seams to make them strong.

Open the zip and turn your square around the right way.  Proceed to fill it with your fabric scraps until it is full and you have a footstool.

Try to keep the cat off the work in progress…

Sewing the everyday

elizabeth's_avatarHere’s a thought:  have a look around your house and see what’s sewn fabric.  Not just clothes and cushions, but things like tea towels and pot holders.  Then have a think about how much we need these things, and how much value we place on them.  They are two different thoughts.

It used to be that young girls would spend their teenage years carefully sewing pillowcases and nighties and baby clothes and tea towels  and table cloths (usually with cross stitch).  These would be put away in a hope chest or glory box to be hauled out when she got married and set up her own home.

Then mass-manufacturing and Women’s Lib (which is a great thing, don’t think I’m saying otherwise) happened and this sort of everyday sewing just… stopped.

It’s easy to go to GreatBigChainStore and buy the things we need, but then we don’t tend to appreciate them.

IMG_1396This cotton duck was on the clearance table at $6 a metre, then 40% off, so the three metres I bought (the lovely sales lady gave me the remaining 50cm on the roll just to get rid of it) cost me $10.80.

I started off measuring careful right angles, then I realised that tea towels just need to be absorbent.  They don’t need perfectly even hems, so I fired up the overlocker and whizzed up 14 tea towels (adding ribbon loops at one corner) in about 20 minutes.  They work perfectly and I’m pretty sure no one else has this design.

IMG_1404Then there are those scraps that are too big to throw away, but not quite big enough to make anything.

This pure wool tweed was a remnant from Potter’s.  It was big enough for me to make a Sherlock Holmes-style deerstalker hat (every gentleman should have one), a pencil skirt, AND three pot holders.

They’re simply folded (one of them is four layers, the other two are three layers) to make them thick enough to insulate the holder’s hand from the lava-ously hot pot, then sewn together in a spiral so they hold their shape.  Again, I whizzed through the overlocker so they don’t fray.

The only downside is that, because they’re wool, if they get grotty, they need to be handwashed.

While I never had a glory box, I now have household necessities that I really appreciate.