Friday, 28 April 2017

Is it me? You decide! and update Saturday

This should really be a tablet and/or phone - and PC too

I've said before that technology and social media are leaving me behind,  though when I was younger I was pretty computer literate. I even did some computer programming editing a medical dictionary during a holiday job from University. The hospital computer took up a whole room and we had to wear a white coat and shoe protectors and walk over sticky mats.  The computer used punch cards. I can't remember the power of the huge computer but this was 1975/1976 (I graduated 1977), before home computing and it probably wasn't more powerful than we have routinely in our hands (tablets or maybe even phones!) and perhaps much less powerful.

The first home computer in the early 80s in the UK I think had only 1 kilobyte of memory!! Expandable to 16. No power hungry bloatware in those days.

As home computing improved,  so we (that is, David and me) improved our home equipment and extended what we did on them. Spreadsheets,  databases etc. I think email was quite a bit later. At first of course everything was slow as all we had was a dial up connection.

Social Media

I began to use social media just over 3 years ago when I started this blog.

I've never struggled with technology until recently.

Maybe I'm complicating things? (I hope it’s this and not a sign of ageing) I have two email addresses. Maybe I should get rid of one of them.
I've just discovered that one of these email addresses has been used to follow some blogs on bloglovin' - that is I accidentally used it to follow without realising. If people link back, they'd find an anonymous profile. So I have two profiles - my proper one with photo etc and a number of followers and the other, with no followers, on which I was following 30 people or blogs - I found that if I linked to a blog via Instagram, it defaulted to this strange account. It has perhaps only appeared since I started Instagram, I’m not sure. Actually, it’s not even that ‘simple’ as both are to the same email address!

I have deleted the 30 people/blogs I was following via the ‘wrong’ account - some I was already following on my proper account and the others, I’ll try to follow on my normal profile.  I’m not sure how to do that but I think that I can follow on my proper account via my PC - can't find how to do it on my tablet (Android). I don’t think the stranger account has been deleted though as when I clicked on a follow, it took me back into this, though it now said ‘follow one other blog to continue’, which I didn’t do. Then I hope I can delete the other. Obviously, I also somehow need to make sure any follows I click are linked into my proper account - I do use the bloglovin' app by the way.

I'm sorry if you are one of the people I have deleted - I will try to re-follow!

Maybe it's time to get rid of one of the email addresses though that's a huge task!

I seem to remember that something similar happened with a secret wedding dress Pinterest account my daughter and I set up. She used the wrong email address to invite me to share in hers. We got that sorted. I do struggle a bit with Pinterest - I initially had problems trying to print out.

A couple of times I've needed to edit after publication but can't find out how to do it. I know it must be possible as others have done it. Please tell me if you know!!
I still can't repost but can take a screenshot and edit it in lieu of that. To repost I think I need an additional app and would prefer to avoid if poss. I'm just not on top of it at all.
Android v IOS
Talking about an Android tablet - I have considered getting an iPad as I can't download Craftsy classes onto Android for offline watching but you can with IOS. There are a few annoyances like that. My phone is also Android.

So,  I can use these but not well.

I link my phone, PC,  tablet for calendar etc but now also photos. Trying to get a photo from my PC (originally from camera) onto Instagram was a nightmare and it was also difficult to get a Google photos photo saved on my PC.  I'm not sure I've sorted this - I installed an additional piece of software as recommended which did complete the task in hand but seems to have taken on a much bigger remit than I wanted it to!

I find the learning curve very steep. These days of course there is no instruction book. I can find most of what I'm after online - but you have to know the right terms to use!

So please excuse my inadequacies.


  • I've found how to edit in Instagram. How come I hadn't managed that before?
  • I've added most of the blogs I followed using the wrong account to the correct bloglovin account. I haven't added the people.
  • I haven't been able to delete the wrong bloglovin account though I changed its name to reflect that 'this doesn't exist'
  • Unfortunately my tablet still links to this wrong account so I can't follow blogs that way
  • My PC links properly. As I don't use Instagram on my PC this makes me feel that it is Instagram which is the issue.
  • I'm no further forward with my photos or re-posting
  • Still, I think I've managed a fair bit. I've certainly wasted some sewing time. I'm now off to complete the alterations to 2 pairs of trousers (too big!) as I want to wear them this weekend. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017


I had an email early this morning to say my blog now has 100 followers via Bloglovin’. Even since starting this post, I've had several additional followers. Oh happy day!
Thank you every single one of you!
A very big welcome to my new and recent followers.
Thank you too to Kate and Rhonda both of whom mentioned my blog this week and  this very clearly contributed to an upturn in numbers of views

I think this is great especially when there seems to be a downturn in the number of blog posts. At least, with the blogs I follow - which are quite a few!

I'm using Instagram now, too. I find it useful and get more or as much feedback via that than I do via my blog. However, I'm not a photo person, I'm more of a word person (word auto-corrected to weird and maybe that's true too!). I haven't been doing so well recently - life gets in the way! - but my blog was to document what I made, how I made it, the difficulties I had, lessons learned for next time - and of course,  to celebrate success! So it's really a personal journal though its original remit has expanded a bit and become a bit diluted in the process. I'm happy though. My blog is not in any way commercial.

I'm trying to improve the photos in the blog posts but sometimes I just want it done and a phone snap, in class or wherever, will fit the bill. These snaps are so useful for fitting, of course. I'm lucky that I can get fitting help. Not everyone can, of course, but these photos do go a long way to help.

I have too many projects planned or on the go. I did get rid of quite a few UFOs either by finishing them or by deciding to abandon. Thank you Ruth for coming up with the term AUFO (abandoned unfinished object) My plan is not to start anything completely new until I get more under control. I did say completely new. I plan to blog garments in progress and when completed.

On my in progress bundle are:
  • The biggy - the xth toile for trousers. Say no more. Though this will feature at a later point. I have an epic post in progress - it just needs the ending of a wearable pair of pants!

  • Rory is fitting a close-fitting torso block ready for David and me to modify a dressmaking model for me. I'm about to cut out and sew up what will hopefully be the final toile. Rory is draping the sleeve in our next session.  This is an exciting project. Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that I modified a dressmaking model 'Missy' to fit my youngest daughter as I had to fit her wedding dress at a distance.  This was only partially successful. This is for me.

The next fitting will be next to the skin - I have a vest on here

Rory had to stretch a bit!

Not easy to see - the changes drawn in

The pieces cut apart - ie turned into princess seams with seam allowances

  • A tank top - this was tissue fitted - it's cut out and darts sewn. I need to check fit before moving on. It should be a simple job. Okay, I've said that before! This isn't from my own pattern - I think it's a McCall's. If it doesn't work, I'll do another of my own pattern

  • Two jackets - a Morris blazer and a McCall's blazer. I haven't touched either for ages. They are leftover from post jacket class sewing. Ran out of time as usual. Both in toile stage. With both, next stage is a fashion fabric. I guess I should check fit first though. My weight loss has stalled and I have a busy food-filled fortnight ahead of me but then...

  • Child's raspberry waterproof jacket. This is our second outerwear class project. The class has finished.  The jacket is nearly finished but Rory wasn't there in the sewing bee this week to help Nicky and me finish

  • Cashmerette Concord tee shirt. I was fitted and modifications made to tee. I've still to transfer modifications to pattern. It's pretty easy to make up after that. I have some suitable fabric
I need to alter the shoulder line on the tee. I haven't shown the sleeve and bodice next to sleeve changes required.

  • I've got the pattern and the fabric ready to try the proper red silk dress for Helen. She didn't want me to start it until I'd put her wedding dress back together (dismantled to clean and repair).

Recently finished
  • Yes, I finished repairing Helen's dismantled wedding dress and returned it to her over the Easter weekend. Yay! The relief! Hopefully it's now safely stored away in Helen's flat. (There are a few bits of the silk crepe left and I'm wondering if I could make a tank for her. I think I need something with lots of seams as there is no big chunk with selvedge. This is way down my list though. As is the red silk dress as I gave her a different Christmas present.)
  • Checked skirt. Previously blogged. I'm not going to alter. For discard. That's a AUFO!
  • Orange gilet. Previously blogged.
  • Checked tank. Previously blogged.
    This one is a success.

  • Shortened legs on new RTW trousers!! I've never/rarely had to shorten before. I think it's because I wear flat shoes and lots of people wear higher heels with wide legs like these. Usually I have to lengthen and add a false hem when there isn't enough fabric to let down. 

Planned over the next year
  • I agreed to hack or somehow lengthen a dress for Alison.  She loves it but it's too short for work. This is a more complex task.
  • Shirt for younger grandson - provided he hasn't grown too  big for me to be able to use the fabric leftover from shirt for older grandson.
  • I will be fitting in jackets and trousers and tops for me! Well, they're really at toile stage. Provided I get good fitting toiles.
  • Shirt and jeans for David. He's not difficult to fit. He has said he's happy to wait - he wants me to do something for me first, before anything else.
  • The third term of my level 3 sewing class starts in May. Stretch wear inc swimsuit. I may restrict this to class.
  • Helen's red silk dress, silk camisole and tartan skirt are all currently on the back burner. Her birthday is in November so probably the red dress for then.
  • A kimono for Joanne. Not a big task- it's just fitting it in. I have the fabric. Her birthday is in August.
Joanne is on the left. She's wearing the shorts in this photo but very hard to see.

  • Joanne will need new shorts as she's rapidly losing weight. I'll need to get more of the nice fabric I bought for the first pair of shorts. She read my Instagram (she doesn't follow my blog) where I said I'd prefer to make a different colour and has suggested a black or a white floral but not purple which was an option I offered.  She also asked about changing up the lace or missing out but I think it needs the weight. Once she gets to her target weight, I'll modify the pattern.

So that's me and my blog. Please do comment!!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The trousers that were never meant to be!

So there I was ready to make up a final pair of trousers after the pattern had been altered, again. (I'm not ready to post the saga of getting from there to here as yet!) I realised they'd be a bit short after the extra crotch work that had been done. I reckoned I might get away with a tiny hem and they'd still be okay.  In reality I thought they'd be another toile. Hopefully a wearable muslin. What's another toile between friends? I wasn't convinced that I could just jump from where I was to a final garment as there had been very major changes between the last toile that didn't fit too badly and this one.

The tops of the trousers were trimmed down in line with the marks previously made during fitting by Rory (with the addition of a seam allowance)

I pinned them together ready to sew but I realised I didn't have thread of a suitable colour or a suitable invisible zipper (I was going to do a side zip for this wearable toile). So I waited until the shops reopened after Easter and bought thread and a zip. The colours weren't perfect but zips come in a limited selection of shades. Good enough. I had a lot of other errands during which the zip fell out of my bag, David noticed and replaced it - but it wasn't there when I got home! No joy tracing  it. No word in the days since. What would happen to a naked zip lying on the ground, after all?

I sewed up the trousers and overlocked the raw seam edges. Disaster! I accidentally caught and cut a 2” section at the front near the seam. I've put interfacing behind it and stitched over it but it's very obvious and these trousers are not wearable even as a wearable toile. Still, I had never really thought they would be.

The area cut by the serger

I proceeded with the zip insertion which went okay. I actually had a suitable zip after all!

In reality, these trousers are not a good fit. I need to allow more room at my high hip - there was distinct pulling at that level. I've decided I do after all need to raise the front. I'll do trousers with a high waist, waistband and belt loops as I think that will suit my figure type better. 

Lots of wrinkles  Not good. The seams don't hang straight

I've turned the facing up. That's a bit better

Front much too low. I do have a sloping waist but not by this much,surely?

The photos show both the low front waist and where I'm going to raise it to. I don't have photos with the belt before I marked it (what was going on today?)

Rory wasn't able to take the sewing bee today. Towards the end,  I asked Dan to have a look at the trousers to see if she agreed about the pulling. She did and pinned out and photographed the extra needed, well the gap and measured it, and drew the darts in a better place - the back darts were decidedly wonky and pointing to the wrong place. The side seams are twisted (when they had been so good before!)  but I'll make the other changes and leave this for the moment. Unfortunately only a couple of the photos taken have worked. Different phones!
I need this extra at the back mid seam
I need this extra at the side high hip (2cms)
So there's still quite a bit of work to be done. Who said trouser making was easy?

Saturday, 8 April 2017

A checked skirt - warning if you suffer from migraines!

This is from a commercial pattern. An amazing fit pattern from Simplicity 2475. I'm not sure what size I started with.  That's not true,  I know where I cut but as the pattern has 1” seam allowances, I'm not sure where I ended up! You see,  this was a UFO.

I had cut out the pattern in red cotton blend fabric and started to adjust it some time ago. Over a year ago. Maybe two. I can't remember how far I got with fitting!  That is,  I couldn't remember whether I had sewn with the 1” seams in mind or the more standard ⅝” seams. Not good,  I know. I suspect I started with the 1” and altered. This skirt toile had been previously altered for fit before being abandoned to the great UFO pile.

This time around, I sewed up the red toile and found that the fit wasn't too bad. I needed more space for my full front thighs - my skirts have a tendency to crease across the front. However, I certainly didn't have 1” seam allowances,  just the standard ⅝”.

So I made some alterations,  with some fitting help in class:
  • I allowed additional space at the front princess seams - an additional ½” at each (by sewing the seams at 1cm (⅜”) instead of 1.5cm (⅝”))
  • The back seams were not lying correctly and Rory marked them to lie properly - this involved adding/subtracting fabric to the sides of the two vents.
  • The skirt was not hanging properly and I needed to remove some fabric from the front skirt top  - effectively dropping the front waist. My waist is rather sloped back to front
I made the changes to the pattern. I had traced some of the pieces,  but not all. (I'm lazy)

I was of two minds whether to make up a toile or try in fashion fabric. I decided to make up in checked Ikea cotton. I thought this would be a ‘wearable toile/muslin’. I know that most people don't make a fraction of the toiles I do but perhaps they are easier to fit?

So I went ahead and made up the skirt,  basting the seams in the first instance. I found I had to work hard to get the vents at the back to lie properly - it became clear that my original pattern change at this point needed further adjustment. I found it very difficult to match the tiny check. It was liable to induce a migraine! And the photos are showing a distinct moire pattern

The skirt appeared to fit quite well and I went ahead and finished the seams, sewed on one side of the waistband, inserted the side zip,  finished the vents etc. Despite having changed the contour waistband pieces in line with the skirt pattern changes,  I found that the front band was short so had to make up a new one. My seam lines matched across the zip and at the top.

With the skirt nearly finished,  I tried it on again and found that it was a touch loose (I've been losing weight, though it's come to a halt and this project took ages for various reasons). Never mind,  it wasn't too bad so I finished and hemmed the skirt.

Front - stance has altered lie
This morning (Monday past),  I tried it on (a touch loose but not too bad),  David took a couple of photos and I wore it to bridge (these are the photos I'm showing). By the time I got home,  I thought it might slip off without taking the zip down! The back of the skirt was lying lower than the front and the side seams were sloping towards the front. I could very easily pinch an inch! All from the back.
Front - you see what I mean about the pattern reproduction!

A wiggle to show vent movement. Top out
Side - you can see the sloping waist. Lying fairly level at this stage
At sewing bee that night, still wearing the skirt, I asked Dan to help correct it. I reckoned the front was okay but the back was too big and wondered about adding a back seam or taking in at at the top of the princess seams leading to the vents. Dan concluded that the sides needed reduced by 3.5cms to each side at the waist and by 2.5cms to each side seam. A lot!  After the skirt was pinned,  it felt much more comfortable. I don't have photos of that.

Question. Do I make the changes to this skirt or accept it as a disposable toile? The fabric isn't nice. It crushes far too readily, it's rather stiff, causes migraine and is difficult to match.  It was the wrong choice for this skirt. Also,  of course,  I might make these changes and find a nice fabric doesn't need the same changes. After all,  the skirt grew during the day.

I'm going to put it aside for the moment in any case as I have other more pressing tasks - number 1 is reassembling Helen's wedding dress by Easter. I would welcome your views. I'd also rather wear trousers! The trousers are coming along but are not nearly there yet.

Update and Continuing with Machine Embroidery Course

I haven’t been sewing anything recently. I’ve managed a few alterations and repairs and a little bit of machine embroidery - though I’ve f...