Thursday, 23 August 2012

The trick to joining bias strips...

Yes, it takes a while to get the hang of joining them up to make your joined strip for bias binding or piping cord, but here is a little tip.

Place the strips in a pile with matching ends together

Take 1st two strips off pile & match up:

Flip one like this:

Take to sewing machine & sew like this:

Does that help?  I hope so :)
Happy stitching!!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Adapting the dress from the last post

Using the pattern from the 'Dress a Girl' post, I adapted it into a little top & then made ruffled trousers to co-ordinate with the top:

This set is for a little girl who is 7 months old, so the pants will not actually stick out from under the top so much... just wanted you to see them!

Simply take a pants pattern (no Brits... I do not mean knickers, I mean pants as every South African understands the word - trousers) for a little one, remove about 7cm from the bottom of the pattern piece, and then add a 7cm ruffle.

It is REALLY easy to make a ruffle using this method:

Turn your stitch length to the longest (basting stitch)
Change your tension to the lowest tension on the top thread - so that the top thread is as slack as possible
Using a straight stitch, start stitching
Gently hold the top thread between thumb and index finger just past the reel of thread.
If your fabric is not gathering enough, apply more pressure to the thread - just be careful not to snap the thread by holding it too tight.  Best to practice on a scrap.
Gathering too much?  Apply less.

Once you have it figured out, move to your actual project & keep the pressure on the thread even the whole way across.  The result?  Evenly spaced ruffles and no trying to pull bobbin threads after stitching two lines of basting stitch (as you are always told to do this).

Happy ruffling :)

Monday, 6 August 2012

BIWC sewing - for charity!

On Wednesday the BIWC sewing ladies will be doing their bit for a great charity project - Dress a Girl Around the World.

From the website here

We will be making dresses to send on, and adding packs of new knickers into our parcel - coming from South Africa I know that many of the children that have never owned a new dress, have similarly never owned a pair of new knickers, and many simply wear none at all.  

The dresses are very easy to make, and require only basic sewing skills.  I first read about the project in a lovely sewing magazine - the Sewing Collection vol. 1 - 2012, sponsored by Janome.  Being the softie I am, I was tearing up reading the article, and thought this was definitely something worthwhile our BIWC sewing ladies could get involved in!  
When you go onto their website & see the joy on the faces of the girls receiving their dresses, you will want to get sewing too!  This sentence from the article says it all:  'Just imagine if a deprived little girl somewhere in the world could have one pretty outfit of her own to wear - and you were the one who made it for her!'.

Want to join in? 

Pop over to this great tutorial complete with pattern posted by Vanessa over at LBG Studio.

Alternatively you can use this sizing chart from Destri over at The Mother Huddle, and then her tutorial here.  Her various posts on PillowCase dresses pretty much cover everything you could possibly need to know on how to make up different options!

Here is my first one ready:

This is a fun project, you can add bows, ribbon, crocheted lace... anything your heart desires to make a pretty dress for a special little girl who will treasure it.

Let me know if you would like to add a dress (or 2 or 3) to our parcel.

Isn't it great sewing for such a good cause!!

Friday, 3 August 2012

NoodleHead Go Anywhere Bag

I made a new friend at Volksfaden the other day!  I was there to buy the fabric to finish my Jennifer Paganelli dress, and S. was there to get fabric to sew her 2nd ever handbag, and was not 100% sure of the English instructions.  As you all know, I cannot resist 'sewing chat', so after looking at her pattern & discussing what was needed, S. & I decided we would sew this bag together.  We started on our NoodleHead Go Anywhere Bag this morning.

It is a really lovely, well thought out pattern, with easy to follow instructions direct to your inbox as a PDF pattern.  Another good designer - Anna uses loads of testers, and you can see what each of them did on this post on her blog.

When you see the pics of the finished bag I am sure there will be a stampede off to the Noodlehead site to buy this pattern!!  It is reasonably priced too.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

MadeByDi Patterns... coming soon!

I am working on a pattern for a little girl's dress.
Here is one of my 1st prototypes:

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bias Tape made REALLY easy

I have a Simplicity bias tape maker machine on loan, and thought I would review it as I try it out.  As you know from this post here I adore my little simple bias makers, but as I was offered this nifty little machine to try out, why not!

 It comes with one (nice for most projects) size tape maker (I see you can buy other sizes) which works just like my little hand held ones, BUT, it has a built in automatic roller and iron!
Bias tape in a few easy steps:
Cut your strips 5cm each (2 inches) on the bias
Join them (read the post linked earlier to see how)
Iron open seams
Cut off the bits that stick out past the tape
Wind your continuous strip onto the roller
Feed it through the head
Press run!

And off it goes, all on its own!

It did take some time to iron the seams flat (not necessary with the hand tool), and wind your continuous strip (even fitted my VERY LONG one on in one go) onto the bobbin, but otherwise it worked 100%.  You end up with a nice bias tape!

As I write this post, the best price seems to be 85€ on EBay (local) or $44 on

Sorry, the lighting is BAD, but you can watch it in action:

My next Jennifer Paganelli beautiful pattern....

Okay, I am addicted!  Her patterns are lovely!  They arrive (as a PDF) in your inbox instantly, they are super easy to stick together & the instructions have GOOD, clear photos for every step - you cannot go wrong!  

It seems from my time spent looking at the Sis Boom patterns made up online that she has a string of sewing enthusiasts who try out her patterns & critique them before they hit the shelf.  Good news - they work, the kinks are ironed out, and you can see many different people's interpretation of the item.

Here is my Rebecca dress, finished off last night after a trip to Volksfaden yesterday to get the GORGEOUS 100% organic cotton Japanese fabrics.

Bad photo - I know!  I may have to rope Suse over at RevoluzZa into taking some good pics for me - did you notice her gorgeous ones?  Her daughter L. is kindly acting as my size 116 model for my little girl's dress pattern & she is great!  The perfect size 116 & super cute & accommodating!  You can see her in some of Suse's pics - she is a GREAT model.
Watch this space... my little girl dress pattern is coming soon!