Cushion cover with button fastening

A few weeks ago I finally got myself a new sewing machine (well, when I say ‘ I got’ I mean ‘my mum helped me to get’). I love my old machine but it isn’t terribly modern or indeed practical. It is an old Singer from the 70s that used to belong to my Nana. It looks very pretty and has a lovely retro feel to it. However, it has one speed and that is ‘very fast’ with the pedal offering no opportunities  for slowing down. The tension is a fine art and is prone to altering itself if the table is accidentally knocked. It has two stitches; straight or zig zag. It’s awesome if you want to sew straight stitch in a straight line really fast but not very good for anything else (unless you are much better at sewing than I am!).

While my new sewing machine isn’t nearly as pretty as my old machine it works about a million times better. Anything it lacks in style it makes up for with an automatic button-hole, needle threader (this is the most exciting thing for me..), bobbin winder that works every time you try to use it, ability to sew as slow as you want, 26 stitches, a selection of non broken feet, huge variety of stitches……I could go on but suspect you are very bored by now.

The automatic button-hole is particularly exciting as you just pop the button into the foot and it works out how big the button-hole needs to be and sews it for you. Literally no skill or thought required! Rather than wait for a project that requires button holes I decided to make a cushion cover with button fastenings to try it out.

I got this lovely fabric ages ago. It was going to be a top but I didn’t actually remember to take the measurements with me and didn’t actually buy enough fabric. As I’m a bit lazy rather I just got the old horrible brown cushion cover and used that as a template. I added on a little extra for a seam allowance, hems and button band. I hemmed the sides (so that I didn’t have any fraying edges on the sides or the edge of the fold at the top) and folded it in (half leaving 10cm for the fold) and sewed up the sides.

After a little bit of practice on scrap fabric the button holes were super simple and as easy as I’d hoped. All I had to do after that was dig out some buttons I had lying around (I have a lot of buttons lying around…….I love buttons) and sew them on. I think the pink looks pretty cool with the navy stripe.

I’m very pleased with my finished cushion cover. I didn’t have to buy anything and it’s approximately 100 times better than the old one. I was a bit worried that it would be really obvious that I’d used grey thread (I didn’t have either white or navy and couldn’t be bothered to trek out into the rain to get any) but you can hardly tell.

While I was taking pictures of my new cushion cover I was reminded of this awesome one that my sister made me for my 30th birthday. She has some amazing cross stitch skills and , as you can see, a lot of patience!

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Dress from Prima pattern

My dress (and a bunny in the background)

About a year and a half ago I started making this dress. My mum had given me a free pattern from Prima and I had some pretty fabric lying around so I thought I’d give it a go.

I started off quite enthusiastically but before I could even cut out the pattern pieces I noticed a problem. The full pattern wasn’t included and the body of the dress needed additional length. After quite a bit of faffing around trying to get the line right I gave in and called in the help of a more experienced sewer who showed me how to use newspaper to complete the pattern. I cut out the pattern pieces and did the tucks quite quickly but then I came to the darts….for some reason I was really scared of darts and despite getting instructions and reassurance from various people I just couldn’t bring myself to get started. I should point out that at this point my sewing machine hadn’t been fixed and was temperamental to say the least. It took forever to get the tension right and even then it was pretty hit and miss with actually working. The bobbin winder also wasn’t very happy….. To get the sewing machine to actually stitch was such a pain in the arse that I had to really really want to sew other wise it just wasn’t worth the hassle!

The dress sat about in my sewing box for months and months. Occasionally I’d spot it and feel a bit guilty about not doing anything about it but then I hid it under some clutter and forget about it again. Finally, when I had my sewing machine fixed and got my sewing mojo back, I got around to digging out the pieces, giving them a good iron, and getting started again.

Embarrassingly, after all the fuss I made the darts, they were really simple and only took me one try! I did have to consult my massive 70s sewing book but it was all pretty self explanatory. After I’d got those sorted out the rest of the dress came together quickly. It was just like making a very long top.

the black tights I'm wearing here really don't go......

Now that I’ve finished the dress I’m really not sure about it. I like the pattern of the fabric and the colour but there’s something about the fit and the way it hangs that I’m not quite sure about. I’m not sure that cotton was the best fabric to use. I think it would have been better in something with more movement.  When you wear it without a belt it looks a little bit sack like. However when you put a belt with it the cotton drapes in a weird way and looks a bit unflattering.

it looks very odd with a belt

The other thing I’m not sure about are the sleeves. These were my first effort at gathering a sleeve and I don’t think I’ve gathered them quite enough. They are still a bit big and make me think of kimonos.  On the plus side they are both the same size which is what most worried me when I was making them.

I’m not quite ready to wear this out in public yet so it’s going to go into the wardrobe and hopefully in a few weeks time I’ll be a bit more keen on it.

My sewing machine is working!

After spending many months looking at my sewing machine and hoping that it would magically start working I finally took it to a proper shop to get it fixed. I was a bit nervous that I’d get to the shop and find that it wouldn’t actually be broken but that I’d been doing something wrong. When the sewing machine man pointed out that I’d be using the wrong bobbin it didn’t bode well…. Luckily it turned out that the machine was a bit wonky (something about the timing of picking up the thread) and it could be fixed.

I was really impressed with the sewing machine shop. They were super nice to me and when I picked up my machine they gave me a quick tour around the machine to make sure I was using it properly. They’d even managed to get the tension sorted out (which I’d never managed). Should you be interested here’s the website for the shop – Sew Amazing.

I was so excited to have a working sewing machine that I wanted to get sewing straight away. I dug out some fabric and decided to make myself a bag. I took a lovely evening course at The Make Lounge  on making bags a couple of years ago and luckily the info had stayed in my head. Once again I didn’t bother with a pattern (I don’t think it really matters with a bag unless you need to have certain dimensions) I just got my ruler out to make sure that pieces were square and the straps were the same length, width and depth. I was rather pleased with the finished bag and I think the fabric works really well.