Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Has it really been that long?

As many of you have noticed I've taken a rather long blogging break..  It wasn't intentional, it just sort of happened.  Time passed, the blogging break got longer, and whenever I went to write a 'comeback' post the words all seemed as tacky and wrong as the word comeback, so it was easier to log off and try again another day, or week, or month, or year....

So here I am again, exactly three years to the day since my last blog post!
(ok let's be honest, I waited an extra five days just so I could write that!) 

I can't pinpoint why I stopped blogging.

Highly likely it was because my work hours increased - my job somehow evolved into a full-time one. (How did that happen by the way?)

Maybe because not a lot of home sewing was happening anyway.  That teal mohair jacket sat for ages on the mannequin gathering dust!

Maybe because I have so many unfinished projects. I look at them and suffer Instantaneous Mental Paralysis. The only cure for that is to turn around and shut the Unfinished Project Room door.

I certainly started to feel a pressure to post regularly, which was a responsibility I never planned on having. Blogging was supposed to be my hobby, not my job. With the growth in readership I started to feel like a commercial blogger.  I never wanted to work to a blogging schedule or feel like I had to write something.

Maybe I needed to be free of the shackles of a blog for a while - to escape.  Maybe that is why I took up running!

Slowly, but slowly my mojo is coming back - I have done some fun sewing, finished a few projects, and started a few new ones (something I really don't need to do!).  I did finish that teal mohair jacket, and have a sudden urge to finish a quilt I started about 6 years ago, and the new one I've started.  But I still have a massive stash of fabric that sends my brain into overdrive. And a growing sewing queue....

In other words, I haven't really changed!

During my absence, I'd frequently think of my favourite bloggers during the long days at my worktable.  I'd wonder how you were and what you were making at the moment, what the weather was like in your part of the world, how much your kids have grown.  I'd check in occasionally on your blogs, find out some of you had married, had kids, started businesses, or were exactly the same,  but I'd be shy and you would never have known I had stopped by. On my blog, some of you questioned where I was and whether I was alright, and many of you popped on over to my running blog to discover that yes, I am still standing!

Earlier this year I made my neglected old sewing blog private, but after reading this lovely lady's post I quickly made it public again.  I hope to find the time to post a bit more, obviously not as frequently as before but enough to stay in touch.

And you know what?  I'm looking forward to catching up with you all again!
xx Sheryll

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sewing and Running

On January 3 this year I decided to start running again and bought some new running shoes - this is me after my first run lol!

It is a total 'set-up' photo, but I was pretty stuffed!

I used to run quite a bit and did a few 5/10k races until a back injury put an end to any ideas of a half-marathon.  This time I'm taking it a bit more g-r-a-d-u-a-l, and if I just manage a few short races here and there I will be happy.....although I do have a teeny dream of running a marathon before I reach 50.....

Anyway, I just wanted to comment on how many other sewing bloggers go running!  Tasia runs, Shannon runs, Melissa runs - and even better makes her own running gear!  Sarai has just run a half-marathon, and I'm sure I remember Karen and Peter and kbenco mentioning running at some stage.  And I know that there are tons more of you that I can't pinpoint right now in my Olympomania!

Maybe many of us run because sewing is a sedentary hobby and we need to get out and pound the pavement to make up for it!  Or maybe it is because sewing can be frustrating and a good run can sweep those irritating frustrations aside.  Or maybe we just run to maintain our weight so we still fit into our lovingly crafted garments!  If you're a runner, what is it that keeps you tying your laces and heading out the door?

And next question - do you blog about it?  I've just started following a few inspirational running blogs, and would enjoy following someone I already 'know', so please leave a link in the comments if you blog or have recommendations!  (And this is where I shyly admit I started my own running blog the other day so I could record my progress without boring you here!)

So, do you sew and run too?  Tell me about it because I'd genuinely love to know, and I'm sure other sewing runners will too!

I gotta go now because the women's triathlon is starting soon and I'm so excited I don't want to miss a single moment - go Andrea, Kate and Nicky!  I hope you can repeat what our rowers did!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Add Side Seam Splits To Your Trousers Too!

The other day I was asked how I did the side split hem on my black stretch capris, and as quite a few of you liked this design feature I've done a quick tutorial.  This is for you Liza Jane!  It is a handy trick to know, because you can also use it on the hems of sleeves and tops too.

  The first step is to establish the following:
  • your finished hemline
  • depth of the split (mine was 4cm)
  • hem allowance (this must be 1-2cm greater than the depth of the split, mine was about 6cm)

To the side seam of your pattern, add three notches:
  • one on the hem fold
  • one above the hem fold and one below the hem fold, to mark the depth of the split, ie 4cm

Sew the side seam, but leave it open between the upper and lower notches, backtacking at the ends of your stitching:

Press the seam allowances open either side of the notches...

...then fold the hem up along the hemline (don't press the hem until you've finished):

Now reach into the hem and pinch together the seam allowances inside, and pull them out ready to sew them together:

You should have one seam allowance folded at the hem notch with right sides together. Ensure the hem notch is on the foldline, and the split notches match:

Sew the seam allowances together on this side of the split, between the notches:

Turn this side of the split through, and repeat for the other side:

If you've done everything accurately, both sides of the split should be the same length (if you look closely at the very first photo, mine is about 1mm out!).

This is the inside:

And this is the outside:

Now you sew the hem as per normal - I machined the hem on my trousers, but you can do it by hand for a more tailored look.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Teal Jacket Bound Buttonholes - A Pictorial

This fabric is really thick!  I was a bit worried about the bound buttonholes, so did a bit of research.  In the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing the "two-piece piped method" is recommended for thick fabrics.  That's the one where you make an organza window and sew the welts in behind, so that's what I did.

I can't figure out why it is recommended for thick fabrics over my favourite method, as there are actually more layers of fabric in the finished buttonhole, and there is a greater thickness differential between the welts and the main panel. Mmm.  If anyone has any idea why Reader's Digest recommends this way, do share - you know I always want to know the why!

This method looks easy, but is actually quite hard to stitch the welts accurately - I had to unpick and reposition a couple.  I think I'll return to my favourite method in future, which is more foolproof in my opinion.

OK - Pictorial time!

(I've kept this wordless, but have numbered all the images so you can easily ask questions if you don't understand what I'm doing!)


As you can see, I'm doing lots of hand stitching on this jacket, just because I feel like doing so!
Now tell me, what is your favourite method for making bound buttonholes?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Beginning of a Teal Mohair Jacket

If you read my last post you will already have seen a glimpse of my vintage teal mohair fabric.  I salvaged it from a 1950's coat that had the sleeves and collar missing, but the front and back panels were just large enough to squeeze this 60's jacket pattern from:

I love to create something from things that would otherwise be useless - I think that is the bit I like best about projects like this!  There was a bit of creative laying out to get everything cut, and the fabric pile didn't help matters, but I managed to cut all pieces with a few compromises.

I had to add a CB seam on the back and the collar, and cut the undercollar on the bias instead of the straight grain. I added a sneaky patch to the front facings:

and a compulsory cuff:

There are a few places where seam allowances and hems have to err, pretend that they are there:

I'm using the inside of the coat as the right side of my jacket.  Due to wear and tear the mohair was extra fluffy in areas, as you can see in some of the photos!  Here's my progress so far:

Front darts - because of  the thickness of the fabric I slashed and pressed them open to reduce bulk:

  The front interfacing is secured to the front:

and the collar interfacing to the under collar:

I've pinked all the seams, and will catchstitch them down so they lay flat permanently.  That sounds like a lot of work, but catchstitching on this chunky fabric is quick and fun!

I found these two vintage buttons in my stash that match perfectly:

But unfortunately I need four! I would have loved to have used them as they originated from my mother's button box - I even asked her to check for some more, but no such luck.  Whatever buttons I do get they need to be 40mm - because I've already started the buttonholes!

Wish me luck!