Friday, 14 December 2018

A Semi-Tailored Coat




The  semi-tailored coat. 

I wanted to make a coat which would be smart and structured and last well. I immediately thought back to my days at college studying Tailoring and actually tried on a few of the garments I still have and noticed that after over 30 years they still look like new. They are timeless and hard wearing and that is what I wanted to achieve with this coat.



I think that you will agree that this coat fits the bill perfectly. It is a classic shape, it fits well, the colour suits me and I will be able to wear it  for almost any occasion.




So, what pattern did I choose? Firstly the pattern is by Kwik Fit and it has princess seams, a high neckline , button front and a vented back. If you want to make the shorter version you will relieve yourself of the need to sew a vent in the back, although it is honestly not difficult.
This is a wool blend coating which is a very reasonable price. Also  choose any sateen or satin though to contrast or match your coat fabric

I was just going to use it for facings but there was enough for the pocket linings and to line the front and back. The sleeves were lined in an remnant of ordinary lining fabric in pink. It is quite acceptable to do this, in fact if your main lining is not very silky you will find that an acetate or silk sleeve lining makes it easier to get the garment on and off.

You need an iron on woven interfacing




I cannot hope to show you how to properly tailor a garment in a blog post, it takes years to master the craft fully, but I will give you some hints and tips to supplement the pattern instructions so that you can make a semi-tailored coat.
What is tailoring? We think of men's suits don't we. But tailoring is the umbrella term used to describe the specialist stitches , methods and fabrics used to construct, or engineer a garment made to last. The horse hair interfacings and the pad stitches are used to put shape into the fabric which will last forever. This is all usually done by hand. If you are interested in learning a bit more do let me know.





Thursday, 29 November 2018

How to sew your own Vogue coat

A blog post showing you how to sew coats. Yes, it's easy!
This pattern is by Vogue




Do not be put off by making your own coat. It really is very easy if you follow a few simple tips. What is it that puts you off most? usually people say buttonholes.Well, this coat uses sew on poppers, so what could be simpler than that? a future post will feature a coat which fastens with a chunky metal zip.


I love coats and being able to sew your own means that you are not stuck with the same one all season, so I am currently making a few, this is just one of them!



This is a very warm wool blend fabrics which I picked up in one of the bargain bins but do have a look at their online store as they have lots of fabrics to choose from. Wool tweed is easy to sew, and very forgiving for beginners so it is a good choice.
There are some very nice Wool Boucle fabrics Wool blend Boucle Fabri at MinervaCrafts Boucle fabric

For other coat fabrics look at this selection in all price ranges Coatings

If you are new to sewing then I would choose something without a definite pattern on it so that you need not worry about pattern matching.



This is the finished coat

Sunday, 4 November 2018

How to sew a man's shirt - great gift idea .

Sew a man's shirt.


Don't be daunted by the thought of sewing a man's shirt. In many ways they are easier than sewing for women. I'm thinking that maybe I might reconsider if I were asked to make one for a muscular body builder type,( I'm picturing "large chest" adjustment, "biceps adjustment", hmm, not impossible but luckily but most men are pretty straightforward to sew for.
They are great for gifting to the man who has everything and so I am busy sewing shirts for Christmas at the moment. They are enjoyable to sew in my opinion and you can add individual touches as you go along.


You can never find a man when you want one can you, so I ended up having to model it myself.
Hmmmm, maybe if I shortened the sleeves I could keep it????



Tuesday, 2 October 2018

A Luxury Lined Pencil Skirt in Italian Wool and Mohair Mix Fabric

A MCBN post


Pencil skirts are really fashionable this year and I want to give you a few hints and tips which will easily turn yours from handmade to designer.





The fabric is Italian Wool and Mohair Mix fabric.  and it is utterly beautiful.

Do read my post on the. Minerva Crafts Blog    and find out how to make and use a toile ( test garment) which you can use time and time again.

I look forward to reading your comments


#sewangelicthreads


#skirt #pencilskirt #lining #toile #fitting #woolfabric #sewing #sew #tutorial 








Monday, 3 September 2018

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Australia Cutest Cupcake Collection

A Jaycotts Post


Sweet Pea "In the Hoop" Machine embroidery designs.


A while ago I was fortunate to meet the Sweet Pea team and see their amazing designs close up.





Sweet Pea were invited by Brother UK to do a roadshow in the UK and Germany and we were very fortunate that Jaycotts was chosen as one of the few locations to host an event promoting their incredible in the hoop embroidery designs


Cutest Cupcake Collection

Since then Jaycotts have been able to stock three of their designs to sell online and in the store. 
If you have not come across Sweet Pea before then you are in for a treat. This is embroidery at its most exciting, the designs are mostly made entirely in the hoop,and what stunning designs they are!


Saturday, 1 September 2018

Bags of style!

A  post all about bags and what you need  to make them.


Fabulous gift idea



There's a youtube video showing all sorts of bags and other interesting things to make 

Labels

Bags
Decovil
Fleece interlining




It's not difficult to make your own bags, in fact they are one of my favourite things to make. I use them myself and give them as gifts. Quite often I am out with one and I end up giving it away and then I have to go home and make myself a replacement!
I sometimes make one to match an outfit or for a specific purpose, such as a beach bag,and I have shopping bags everywhere!
The other great thing is that once you have a few basic supplies you can use up odds and ends of fabrics which you would otherwise not have a use for. It's all win-win!





This is one I finished last night, it's a saddle bag and I made it from remnants of tweed fabrics.



This is a special bag which I made for my school bestie Margaret for her birthday. I was in such a rush to finish it and post it that I didn't take many photographs of it before it went off to Devon!

Please note that in addition to Jaycotts and MinervaCrafts, bag making supplies are available from Crafter's Companion. They sell absolutely everything for any sort of craft from papercraft to sewing and quilting fabrics, they are amazing! Do look Crafter's companion

Bag supplies from Crafter's companion  click on the link to take you  directly to their vast selection of bag making equipment. But do look at the rest of their site.



Saturday, 25 August 2018

How to sew a Blind Hem

This is a Jaycotts post talking about the Blind Hem Foot

I have been asked to show you how to sew a Blind hem using the Blind Hem foot. If you have a Brother Sewing machine it is foot R
This is a great way to stitch the bottom of skirts, trousers, blouses etc the effect is almost  invsible.
Once you master the technique you will find it quick and easy every time.


This is the blind hem foot.
This presser foot has a guide which is positioned against the fold of the hem to keep the stitching the same width all the way round the hem.



Thursday, 23 August 2018

Everything you need to know about Seams

This is a tutorial about working seams and finishing seams. 

A Jaycotts.co.uk blog post


Labels

Seam allowance, self bound seam, Flat felled seam, Hemmed seam, Hong Kong Seam,  French seam, Overlocked seam, Curved seam, stretch fabrics,

What is a seam?


A seam is much more than joining two pieces of fabric together. A seam can provide subtle shaping to a garment and when correctly made can be almost invisible. Decorative seams add design and interest to a garment.
So what are the rules in sewing a seam?
  • Pin the seam together right sides of the fabric together normally, but there are exceptions which we will come to later
  • Pin the seam edges together matching the ends, notches and any other markings
  • Hand tack the seam. You can omit this if your fabric is easy to handle and if you are experienced at sewing.
  • Stitch the seam with thread which exactly matches your fabric and buy the best quality thread you can afford
  • Finish the seam edge appropriately
  • Trim loose threads
  • Press every seam every time. Pressing gives a crisp edge and makes the thread sink into the fabric making the stitches invisible.
NB Please note that in order to show you the different seam finishes  more clearly I am using a contrast thread. The only time you should sew a seam with a contrast thread is when it is a design feature for example top stitching.




Friday, 8 June 2018

The Simplicity 8543 Amazing Fit Dress

 A Jaycotts post. Simplicity 8543 Amazing Fit Dress

Labels

Fitting
Measuring yourself
Toile
Monogram foot
Reading a pattern
Zipper



This is a Simplicity Amazing Fit Dress if you have not made an Amazing Fit pattern before then you should.
This pattern has a choice of sleeves, a shaped midriff and a flattering neckline.
More importantly it has many different size variations within the pattern.
It comes in two choices of size ranges, 10-18 and 20-28.



The princess seams are very flattering for any figure and you have the option of sleeveless or a short sleeve - with or without a flounce.




The pattern gives comprehensive instructions on how the finished dress should look on your body, so I do suggest reading the pattern thoroughly before you get your scissors out!


The pattern has a very good guide on how to choose your correct pattern size and how to take your measurements.
There are separate pattern pieces for A to DD on the pattern size I chose which is the option for sizes 10-18. And there are also separate pattern pieces for slim, Average and Curvy fit.




Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The simplicity New Look Denim Coat and Tote bag

The Simplicity New Look Denim Coat A MinervaCrafts Blogger Network Post


Label
Hong Kong Seam

I was watching the Royal Wedding and looking closely at what people were wearing. What struck me was that the best dressed and most elegant women wore simple A-line coats over a dress. The look is understated but very classy. That got me thinking that I don't actually own a summer coat and how useful one would be.

This is one of my most favourite makes ever. It goes well with trousers, jeans or a shift dress. The pattern comes with trousers top and skirt too and the outfit can be made very smart for a wedding or more casual for everyday wear. I love how the coat has an Indian feel to it with the stand collar and slits up the side. It really is a very useful and wearable garment which I never knew I needed.



Do make one and have fun with the inside, see the post fo how to make the seams.
It looks and feels so special with the Hong Kong (bound) seams and the matching bag is pure inspiration in my opinion!

I guess you have realised that I LOVE my new summer coat! PS there is a tote bag to make too.

NB if this particular fabric is not to your taste then take a look at these alternatives, starting at under £5 A metre. Denim, plain and patterned

The rest of the post is here My Simplicity New Look Denim Coat Do read it and leave a comment


Thank you
Angela

#simplicity #NewLook #denim #coat #sewing #sewingblog #tutorial



I would love to see your version.







Thursday, 31 May 2018

My review of Prym Pressing tools from Jaycotts.co.uk

A Jaycotts.co.uk blog post all about pressing 

What is your most important sewing tool? You might be surprised!


In this post I am going to demonstrate some of the pressing equipment by Prym which you can obtain from Jaycotts and I will show you why they are as necessary as your sewing machine when undertaking any sewing project.



What do you imagine the number one rule of sewing to be? Would you be surprised to learn that THE top rule for any sewing project is to press as you go. That's every seam, every time.
You would be amazed at the difference it makes to your finished garment, it makes all your garments look Handmade (Bespoke) not the dreaded " homemade"
And what is the number one rule in pressing? Its simple, don't rush.
Notice too that I used the word pressing not ironing.When you are ironing your iron is moving back and forth over the fabric constantly, with pressing the iron is set down and then lifted up before moving to the next spot.
Every time you sit down to sew get your pressing equipment set up before you start sewing so that it is easily available.  If you leave pressing until after you have finished sewing you will not produce a quality look to your garment.

So, let's discuss which products you need, and I do mean need. The basics are

  • A good quality heavy steam iron
  • An ironing board with a padded cover. Avoid the teflon coated covers as they reflect heat into the back of fabrics and can cause shine and problems with interfacings
  • A pressing cloth 
  • A Tailors ham and/or sleeve roll
  • A sleeve board


My collection of pressing tools 



Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Brother Adjustable Bias Binding Foot

A mini blog all about this incredibly useful and easy to use foot.

The Brother adjustable Bias Binder Foot


Labeks

Bias binding foot
Hong Kong Seams 


This is my favourite foot at the moment, I love the way it makes adding a binding to an edge so incredibly simple. I have had a binder foot before, but nothing so easy to use as this one, so if you want to treat yourself I really recommend ordering one.  The Brother adjustable Bias Binder Foot   is available from Jaycotts, the current price is £24.99.


If you are making your own bindings as I normally do then ensure that the finished width is between 5 to 20 mm. Any wider and it will not fit into the foot.

Once you have made or purchased your binding simply press it in half.




Feed the tape through the guide with the folded edge to the right. Then turn the screw on the foot and align the edge of the tape with the left side of the guage. You may also want to adjust your needle position so that the stitches are as close to the edge of the binding as possible. Don't forget to tighten the screw.
When you are happy then pull an inch or so of the binding through to the back .

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Using the Fringe Foot to embellish almost anything

The Brother Fringe Foot


Label

Fringe foot


I was going to use this foot to embellish a dress but I changed my mind and want to decorate ithe dress another way, but I still thought it worth while demonstrating how to use this foot as I absolutely love it. I fully intend using it to embellish a Chanel type jacket where the fringing will look fabulous.


The foot I used is the Brother FRINGE FOOT  (Ask Jaycotts for other makes)
This foot is not only perfect for embellishing pockets, lapels, table linen etc but also sews tailors tacks in a jiffy. This is fabulous for tailoring projects when I want to sew tailors tacks down all of my seams, it is much quicker than doing them by hand. Ask me if you want to know how to adjust the settings for tailors tacks.
You can see that there is a raised bar down the centre of the foot which you need to  zigzag over to form loops which are then cut into a fringe.


It is so  easy to use. Snap the foot in place, select a wide zig zag stitch and select the settings. You need a very wide stitch but make sure that the needle position is such that it does not hit the metal foot anywhere. Try the stitch very carefully to make sure it is ok.
Then you need to select a very short stitch length because you need the stitches to be very close together so set the stitch length to about 0•6  then loosen your tension to 2 or 3.
Stitch a row of stitches  - or a pattern ( heart, flower, etc) and fasten off.

Then take your normal foot and a short straight stitch and sew the fringe down close to the top.
With your sharpest scissors snip the threads on the reverse and then using your finger nail loosen the threads on the right side
The fringing can be trimmed if necessary

You can make several rows or just one, you can make a frame for an initial or emblem, above all this foot is FUN so treat yourself to one and have a play with it, it is so very easy to create eye-catching and different effects with it.



There is a video on my YouTube channel showing you exactly how to use it, the link is here The Brother fringe foot if you subscribe to my posts by email.

Whilst you are in my page do subscribe. I fully intend making a lot more video's for you to watch as I think it is always much nicer if somebody shows you how to do something.

Don't be afraid to experiment with your sewing, there are a lot of different feet available to fit most sewing machines, doing something a bit different really adds to the fun of sewing and you will be surprised at how quickly you become expert.


For details of sewing machines, feet, or indeed anything sewing related do contact Jaycotts. They are extremely knowledgeable and friendly and enjoy explaining how to use their products.

Please Contact Jaycotts here or just give them a call during opening hours on 01244 394099

Thank you for reading this post

Angela


#sewing #sewingmachine #machinefeet #fringefoot #embellishing

Sunday, 29 April 2018

The Brother Multi-Purpose Screwdriver

Introducing the Brother Multi-purpose Screwdriver


I love Machine embroidery on my Brother machine, but I have been having problems hooping my fabric and stabiliser .

This is a story about how a tiny gadget saved my sanity.




I  love machine embroidery, who doesn't, but  the results I was getting were so disappointing, all this puckering, it just doesn't look nice.


It is just spoiling the effect of my designs. All that work I put in and the results are not good. What is happening?
Have you ever experienced this?



Everything starts off fine, the fabric and stabiliser are stretched tightly across the hoop, but then after a while it all starts to look wrong.

I tried everything and in the end I asked Brother themselves what I was doing wrong.

The solution they gave me was so simple! I don't know why I didn't see it for myself!


You see, these are the tools which typically come with Brother machines. They are used to tighten screws, change needles, tighten embroidery hoops and a zillion other uses. They work fine for most people yes......
But they are so tiny! I struggle to use my hands so  I cannot grip them properly Maybe you have this problem too ? I know my friend has arthritis in her hand and I have Parkinsons, so trying to hold  such a tiny object and fiddle with tightening screws is an almost impossible task. As I have grown older my fingers are less nimble too making it doubly hard work.

It is important that the fabric to be embroidered and the stabiliser under it are secured very tightly in the hoop otherwise the fabric will move around resulting in the puckering shown in the above  pictures. The lack of grip in my hand meant I was not tightening the screw in the hoop sufficiently, giving very poor results.
 So, what is this mystery solution?


It is this utterly brilliant and simple Multi-purpose screwdriver! Who would have thought that such a tiny object would revolutionise not only my embroidery but make little jobs on my sewing machine so much easier too!
The metal screwdriver part is easily rotated to make it suitable for all your needs.

The first position shown in the picture above is so useful for jobs on all your Brother machines. Embroidery machines, overlockers and sewing machines all have screws that need to be tightened.


Take my   BROTHER Innov-is 1300    for example. Sometimes I want to remove the foot attachment and swop it for a different one.  Old screwdriver? Fiddly to hold.
Same with changing the needle, a bit fiddly too.


But with the multi purpose screwdriver set at position 1 both of these tasks are a breeze.



Sometimes there are screws in hard to reach places and I find  the little round gadget which came with the machine so hard to grip.  The result of which was that something which should have taken me seconds to remove was taking forever



But put the multi purpose tool in position 2 and it is so easy to access even the most awkward screw!


Now this is the bit I like best. Rotate the screwdriver bit untl it is inside the rounded end and you will be astounded at what it can be used for.


Just insert it into the tightening screw on your embroidery hoop and turn, keep on turning and suddenly your embroidery hoop is tight and secure and all this without struggling to use a fiddly little tool. I have the BROTHER Innov-is 800e embroidery machine from Jaycotts



Your stabiliser and fabric will now stay put because it is so very easy to tighten the screw properly - no effort required!
And that is the secret of smooth embroidery - keeping the fabric firmly in place in the
hoop without it moving at all.




No puckering around the embroidery on this little pillow! 


And perfectly flat pockets




No puckering to spoil the applique on this pillow either!


You will now be as excited as I am and be wondering how to purchase this wonder tool!
It is called The Brother Multi-purpose Purpose Screwdriver and it is available from your nearest Brother outlet priced £14:99 and worth every penny!

So go on Jaycotts website or call in store and treat yourself. Brother Multi purpose screwdriver

Any queries? Contact Jaycotts for help and advice on any of their products

Honestly, it makes life so much simpler, not only for people whose hands don't quite work as well as they once did, but for everyone.

Who would have guessed that I was struggling for so long but that there was a simple solution just waiting to be discovered



Thank you for reading this post

Angela 

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Explore some different Brother Sewing Machine feet and make a fab blouse


This is a Jaycotts.co.uk blog post

Starting to explore different machine feet.


Labels

Gathering foot
Scalloped edge
Monogram foot
French seam
Buttonhole foot 
mcCallPatternUk


As you know I recently started to use the Brother Innov-is 1300 .If you have not yet read my first impressions of this incredible machine then I urge you to read the blog post. Introducing the Brother Innov-is 1300




I do have rather a lot of Brother machine feet to get through so I am going to go through them all for you one or two at a time, showing them being used on a garment or other project.


The pattern I chose to make is McCalls M7657
The fabric is Plain combed cotton Lawn from MinervaCrafts
This top is tunic  style which pulls over your head. There are two sleeve options but I adapted the pattern to make the sleeves in a different style.
You will need Gutterman Sew All thread in white
You also need a new Sewing machine needle For Lawn I would choose a Fine one. This link is to a large box of machine needles which is great value but they are also sold in smaller packs.




Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Introducing the fabulous Brother Innov-is 1300

The Brother Innov-is 1300 from Jaycotts.co.uk

An introduction.

This is one of the most amazing domestic sewing machines I have ever used, and of course it is by my favourite brand Brother from my favourite store Jaycotts.



 The Brother Innov-is 1300 ticks all the boxes both for versatility and ease of use. It is packed with so many features that I cannot hope to go over them all in this one post, so I am going to concentrate on getting you up and running.
It is fabulous for both dressmaking and quilting having just over 8" workspace to the right of the needle, quilters will know the importance of this.






It has an advanced square feed drive system (SFDS) which delivers a really good feed on all fabrics but - and this is my favourite - it enables the machine to sew sideways as well as backwards and forwards and it means too that it has the capacity of sewing extra wide decorative stitches.

 This is my machine which I unpacked as soon as it was delivered. I know some of us feel out of our comfort zone with a new machine, but please do not worry, take it slowly and you will be fine.
Don't forget that Jaycotts can arrange tuition for you from Brother which I do recommend you take advantage of if at all possible.


I was really pleased that it fits into my horn cabinet even with its hard case. The  extension table for the machine, available separately is not shown.
There are many styles of Horn sewing furniture so there is bound to be one which suits the style of your decor and the size of the sewing space you have available. I love the fact that I can put everything away in a matter of minutes and the room is totally tidy.




There is storage space built into your machine both at the front and the rear so you can keep your spare feet and bobbins safely where you can access them.
There is space in the hard cover to hold you foot control, knee lifter and  manual etc.


All of the instructions are displayed clearly on a large LCD screen. It is from here that you access and amend all of your utility and decorative stitches.
These are the basic utility stitches which you access just by touching the buttons shown. The other features are in "folders" which are again accessed from this screen.



The machine itself has a list of all the stitches it is capable of actually printed onto them inside of the top cover. But don't worry that they look small, they are printed in the manuals too!


The machine comes with a comprehensive instruction manual and also a quick start guide.
It is important to thread the machine and bobbin correctly so follow the instructions in the manual to the letter. There is also a blog post Troubleshooting your sewing machine by Alex Jaycott which explains the importance of correctly threading your machine and choosing and replacing machine needles and much more, so do have a read.


Can you guess which feature I was desperate to try first? Really a normal straight stitch is a good place to start, but I longed to know how the sideways function worked.
The instructions were easy to find in the manual, so armed with some thread and a piece of cloth I set off on a mission to sew sideways!


This function has so many uses, it can be done in a straight or zigzag stitch. Imagine the ease of adding a decorative patch or new pocket  to a pair of jeans or a sleeve ! There is absolutely no requirement to turn your fabric as the machine stitches a perfect square.


Each stitch has its own section in the manual, for example these are the utility stitches. Don't forget that these are easily accessible by pressing the relevant button on the home screen.


Some of the sections are rather longer as there are 182 built in stitches and 10 styles of buttonholes to choose from but the manual breaks down each type of stitch into sections and numbers them  which makes it easy to find them and program them into your machine.
The instructions really are very easy to follow, don't forget this is a Brother machine we are talking about, and Brother machines are very user friendly.




The manual is yours to keep and forever, so don't be afraid of writing in it. Mark the pages you will want to refer to and write down notes and suggestions. Keep it handy at all times so that it is always available when you want to try something new.



 Another thing I often do is to print off certain instructions and fasten them to the cupboard door in my sewing room.( I also do this with my current pattern instructions so I am not hunting around for them )


I was exploring other functions too. I especially like that when you are using a decorative stitch there is a button to press which stops the sewing exactly when the end of the pattern is reached. This is especially useful on garments when you want exact placement of your design or when you want to combine designs



The machine is the easiest one I have ever used for programming characters. It has a massive memory too which is easy to access so when you produce something you like you can save it very easily.



This character embroidery took seconds to program and stitch. And don't forget that this I the first time I have used this machine 



It is easy to combine letters and patterns to make your own designes in fact up to 70 patterns can be combined into one design


 There are so many other things I want to tell you about this marvelous machine but I am going to stop here for now, but I will come back to it very soon when I make my first garment on it, which is going to be a blouse .



There is a video on my YouTube channel which I would like you to watch


If the link breaks or you have subscribed to emails then the link can be accessed here
The Brother Innov-is 1300 on YouTube

Jaycotts as you know sell a large variety of machines, habberdashery and patterns. They sell online but are extremely helpful and knowledgeable if you want to pay them a visit to try out some of their machines.

The   Contact details for Jaycotts   are  on this page or you can telephone them on  01244 394099


Why not sign up for the newsletter and be the first to read the new blogs and to hear about special offers and new products? Newsletter sign up


Thank you for reading this post, if you found it helpful do let me know.


Angela 



#sewingmachine #jaycotts #Brother # sewingblog #blog #newmachine #sewing #sew 




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