I need to stop with these sewing jokes… I’m running out of good material!

Who knew I could have so much fun with a sewing machine and a plain dyed flat bed sheet?

For years I’ve talked so much about getting a sewing machine and starting to make my own clothes, and learning a new skill that will mean I am set for life. As you’ll probably learn from these posts, I like to talk a lot about things but there is usually a reason not to do them. I’m too busy with work, I have other more important things to spend the money on, the housework needs doing etc. The list is endless. There’s nothing like a pandemic, lockdown and Furlough to take all of those excuses, roll them up into a ball and throw them into the bin.

So I hinted (a lot!) about wanting to get a sewing machine knowing that my birthday was imminent and that Mark was struggling for some ideas. I say hinted – links for reasonably priced sewing machines might have been shared, and on the 30th May (date for your diaries) he delivered one with bells on. My very first sewing machine is a Janome 725s and it’s already had quite a hammering. Paired with the 3 month subscription for the Sew Over It Stitch School, I was well away… except for the fact that lockdown brought with it new challenges called “2-3 week delivery lead times”.

Behold – The bedsheet range was born!

Dying to start sewing, I went digging through the bedding cupboard and found 2 big cream flat sheets. Awful for actual sheets but it turns out great for practicing some techniques and patterns with. The Intro to Sewing course from Sew Over It covers some basic and not so basic skills – cushion covers, toiletry bags (with zip!) and then onto some very tricky pyjama bottoms. I can recommend if you’re starting out on a sewing journey to just get some practice in on something like a bed sheet, pillow case or duvet covers. It gave me confidence in the sense that I already had this in my cupboard; I hadn’t spent any money on some lovely fabric, therefore it didn’t matter one bit if I messed it up and gave me the chance to learn before I did want to have a bash at messing up the real thing. Some of the mistakes or challenges I faced so far on Project Flat Sheet:

  • Maybe I had missed it but I didn’t originally get the “cut 1” or “cut 2” instructions. It wasn’t until I was watching the tutorial video for the cushion cover back that I realised. Pretty obvious when you think about it. Cut 2 = cut 2 of this pattern piece. Apparently not so obvious when I asked Mark what he thought without the context.
  • My fabric cutting technique needed a bit of work even with the “proper” scissors. Although when I came to cutting the good stuff, I found this a lot easier and now blame the poor quality bed sheet. And even easier when I invested in a roller cutter as seen on Sewing Bee. GAME CHANGER!
  • When it came to putting together my trouser legs on the pyjamas, I couldn’t work out why my ‘U’ shape crotch notches didn’t match up – I had the two back notches with the the single front one on both sides. I dragged Mark in to run through the instructions with me. Turned out I’d made 2 left legs. Out came the unpicker!
  • Attempt 2 on bedsheet pyjamas (this time shorts) was a lot more successful – until I realised when I tried them on that I had seams on the outside in the crotch of all places. Making things with plain fabric without marking the “right” and “wrong” sides was my downfall here. Out came the unpicker again.
  • Buttonholes… well these are tricky little blighters but not as bad as I imagined. I even drew myself a little diagram on where best to start with the needle. And then subsequently ignored it. You guessed it. Out came the unpicker, and buttonholes do not make themselves easy unpicking targets.
  • Zig zagging is now my favourite thing. Although I still won’t learn not to try and reverse a zig zag right up to the very corner of the fabric. If only unpicking was the only challenge here. Battle with the sewing machine commences by trying to delicately and forcefully remove it from the space under the needle without having to take the machine apart.
  • Memos to self also included take note of the front and back all the time. I think this related to the pyjama bottoms… be great if I could also include more detail in these memos. Memo to self…

Some shout outs for the sewing supplies:

Thanks for reading!

Em x

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