PJ shorts and a new sewing machine

Well, it’s been a while between posts (anywhere on the internet, actually). Welcome back!

Almost two years ago, I moved to Berlin. When I bought a sewing machine, I thought I’d only be here for a few months, so it didn’t matter if it was a 40€ second-hand sewing machine. But OH it matters. Two years later, it matters.

Sewing has become less an enjoyable hobby and more a chore. I started only doing repairs by hand, or simple things like lavender bags, an iPhone cover, or a toiletries bag as presents for my partner (let’s call him Mr W).

Recently, one of my pairs of pj shorts got a rip right down the back. To be fair, I don’t remember when I got them, but it was probably about 10 years ago and they’ve worn very thin. I thought to myself “oh yes, I’ll fix them, but for now I’ll just use my other ones”. But then the other ones had to go in the wash, and I needed to wear the ripped ones. “oh well I’ll just wear them tonight, then I’ll fix them tomorrow because it’s the weekend.” Woke up the next morning and the rip was even bigger. So I took to my sewing machine and zigzagged that rip right up. But then I thought, “that looks stupid”, so took some fabric from my stash, and started a new pair of shorts.

shortsAfter a couple of wrong turns (eg sewing the legs the wrong way out – wrong sides together, Sarah you are out of practice!) and I finished it. But it was not a pleasant activity. Sewing used to be fun, but now it is not.

So, I’ve pulled myself together, exchanged many many emails with Mum, received an early Christmas present donation from my parents, and will buy a new sewing machine on Saturday. I’m so excited – I even dreamed about it last night. This will be the first time I’ve had my very own, new sewing machine! I used my Mum’s when I was first learning, then when she got a fancy new one I got hers to use just myself. (I did buy a new one off Amazon when I was on exchange, but it was terrible (though not as bad as this one) and was only 70€ or something).

SATURDAY. I hope that this will make me start sewing a whole lot more again, and maybe even start writing here more. Let’s see!

Me-made-…July?

My friend Elizabeth and I really failed at Me-Made-May, so decided a little while ago to have a go at doing it in July instead, when we’d both had more time to prepare.

It’s now July 13th, and although I feel like I’m actually doing pretty well, I don’t have anything much to show for it as some of the projects are SECRET (for a couple more weeks – birthday present), and most of them are just incomplete.

I did finish the onesies for both Justin and myself though, and even in time for the party!

finished onesies

However, today’s rainy afternoon saw me browsing Pinterest, and I came across these cute little pocket handwarmers, which I thought would be a great thing to make for a cold Berlin winter. So I had a go:

Image

Sharp readers will notice that this is leftover fabric from the pj pants I made a couple of months ago. Excellent project to use up scraps! (You’d only want to use cotton, though.)

On Mum’s suggestion I made a little cover for the pouch with the rice in it, in case I want to wash it etc. While talking to Mum we also realised that I probably wouldn’t be able to take wheat/rice/etc into Germany (/the rest of Europe), so my plan is to make them all up – pouches and covers – and then to buy some wheat/rice when I get to Berlin and finish them off.

But for now, one of my hands will be kept toasty warm for a number of minutes! Hooray! Just what I need for a cold, outside party tonight!

An awful lot of sewing

So, after a while not really doing any sewing at all and being highly unmotivated to do anything, you’ll be pleased to know that I have got off my backside (figuratively speaking; I clearly sit down to sew) and have done some sewing in the last few days!

But first, I want to show you a pincushion I made for a friend’s birthday in April.

Image

Here I was trying to decide whether to have the small button or the big. I ended up going with the small one, but foolishly didn’t take a photo of the finished thing. Bonus points if you recognise the small button from this post! I still have a few left. The ‘cup’ part of it is actually a silicone patty pan that I found (6 for $2!).

Image

Then I cut a circle of fabric (in hindsight I think there’s too much blue, but it was kind of last minute and I couldn’t find anything that was better!), did a running stitch around the outside, gathered it a bit, stuffed the patty pan and the fabric with stuffing I randomly had in a box, gathered it a bit more, and craft glued the fabric in there.

I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t stick super well, so I think next time I might line the patty pan with paper (or an actual patty pan!) that is stuck to the silicone, and then stick the fabric to the paper… or I might not. Also I think it needed to be a bit harder than it was, but I couldn’t get much more stuffing in there without making the cake part balloon. It probably just needs some more experimentation, but my friend seemed happy with her new pincushion!

And now to the actual sewing!

My boyfriend and I are going to a onesie party in June or July, so I am making us both onesies to wear. This was my progress on mine as of May 27th, but since then I have sewn the sleeves on, as well as pinned down the sides (though I will have to alter the shape of it a bit, and that’s when lazy Sarah comes out).

Image

Then, I decided that I needed a new pair of pj pants (I did), so I sewed most of my pair in a night (before I was interrupted by going out for a milkshake at about 11pm with an out-of-state friend who was in town for the weekend), and finished them off the next day.

ImageImage

Finally, I bought this super cute fabric on special ($7.50 for 1.5m!). It’s kind of cord, is green and white checks with black and red apples on it. I didn’t really know what I was going to make with it when I bought it, but I got some thread and a zip, and found a pattern of Mum’s that only needed 1.5m.

It was the first time I’d done pleats, and I didn’t really do as many tailor tacks (nor follow them as keenly) as I should have, so they ended up sitting really strangely on me, and made the pocket (which was from a different fabric) gape open. So, I painstakingly unpicked them, unsure whether it would even look any good at all, and this is the result:

Image

I’m pretty happy with the skirt, actually. It’s very autumny and homey. The next day, I wore it with a white t-shirt, and a rusty red/light brown jumper, with wooden earrings. Unfortunately there are no photos (I really should think ahead!).

So with that, I feel like I’m back on track in terms of Me-Made-May 13 (though it kind of feels like I’m cheating a bit, as technically I wear something I made every night – both my pairs of pj pants now were made by me!), but I am also doing a lot of actual sewing, so that makes me feel good. Let’s see how the latter half of the month goes!

MMM13

Well, I am so far well and truly failing at Me-Made-May, even with my watered-down pledge. I have had a very, very stressful week, so perhaps I’ll get into it more this week – I will try to!

So far I’ve only managed to unpick and repin some shirt sleeves on a top I got from a clothes swap a couple of months ago. I have also bought some fabric to make a pair of pj pants! The fabric is bright green with lots of stars all over it – I’m excited to wear them! …when I make them. I can do (a poor version of) this!

UPDATE: today I sewed the sleeves onto my onesie, AND pinned the sides! Will need to take in the sides a bit though, I cut them bigger because of my pear-shaped body, but turns out I perhaps didn’t need quite *that* much pear shape.

Me Made May ’13

I, Sarah of Sezcapades!, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear a self-made/altered garment or work on a sewing/craft project at least 4 days per week for the duration of May 2013.

You can sign up too and read all about it by going to this post: Me-Made-May ’13! SIGN UP HERE.

I’m not sure how I’m going to go, but I would also like to add to my pledge that I will blog on Sezcapades! every week about my progress, possibly even with photos!

Wish me luck and let me know if you’re doing Me-Made-May!

A floral skirt

I have a lot of floral garments, I’m quite the fan. When I was on exchange in Germany for a year, I actually bought a sewing machine because I really wanted to do some sewing – and I did!

Here is a picture of a skirt I made:

Image

And a terribly out of focus photo of the button at the back (there are two on the completed one):

Image

I have a bit of an aversion to inserting zips, so really try to avoid it if I can… usually this means struggling to pull the garment over me which isn’t always terrible, but this skirt has certainly seen some better days now.

My goal is to get better at inserting zips. I’m actually not terrible at it, I just forget that when I haven’t done it for a while.

Yellow is my favourite colour

To get me started and so that there is some content on here, I thought I would post a photo of a dress I made a couple of months ago.

I used McCall’s 6503, view A (the top left one).

mccalls M6503

There are no photos from the making of the dress, as I had not thought then about writing about my experiences and sharing them with the internet, but It was quite a frustrating dress to make, because something kept going wrong. But I got it done in the end, just in time for a photo shoot with my boyfriend Justin, by a friend, Alicia Strous. She was looking to practise shooting couples, so we volunteered.

Here are a couple of my favourite shots from the day, that show off my dress nicely.

57

64

Justin took this next one:

P1140308

I had sewn up the front so that it didn’t gape open, but have recently had to unpick it and change it slightly… not a big deal, but I hate changing things on clothes I’ve made once I’ve decided that they’re finished. Oh well, hopefully it will sit better now!

I really love the fabric of this dress – it’s so pretty and summery. And yellow is indeed my favourite colour.