“Sew” far, “sew” good…

As you’ve read in my last blog, a week in and I was now a sewing pro on the old bedsheets. Time to pluck up the courage to make things using prettier and “proper” fabric.

Rewind the intro to sewing course and to the familiar cushion cover, this time in some nice bright tartan fabric. I now know that cut 2 means cut 2 of this pattern piece. In the space of an hour I had it “covered” (sorry I just can’t stop with the puns!) I’ve done bedsheet pyjama trousers AND shorts now you know? This cushion stuff is a doddle. 

Onto the matching tartan toiletry bag. The bag itself is a simple make, lined with… you guessed it… some left over bedsheet! Zips are still proving slightly tricky. I can’t quite get them to align straight with the opening of the bag and they’re quite difficult to practice with. Must look up some techniques on zips – if anyone has any please let me know via my Instagram page @stitchedupatstraws

Onto the main star of the show. The pyjama shorts. Time to pluck up the courage and give myself a pep talk on how I have learnt from my experiences so far and that this would be fine. No more dodgy zig zag cut fabric – roller cutter at the ready. First task of pinning the pattern to the fabric as per the lay plan was done. I felt like a surgeon wishing I had an assistant to mop my brow. I only had a small cutting mat so I had to keep manoeuvring it cleverly under each bit that I wanted to cut, knowing that I’d be in more trouble if I cut the floor underneath it. *Holds breath* 

Done! Pattern pieces cut with no incidents, accidents or mis-cut pieces. Two legs (yes, a right and a left, front and back!) and a waist band at the ready and I still have enough fabric to attempt a matching top later. Let’s get stitching!

As I had real dramas with zig zag stitching the ends of the fabric. As this was my first time working with Cotton Lawn, I decided to use a small off-cut and have a practice at it. First go and it looked fab as approved by my Mum via WhatsApp who is one of the lucky ones to get spammed with sewing stuff directly. Surely if the zig zag looks this great on attempt one, that’s another great reason to blame the bed sheet for all my previous misdemeanours right?! 

The Sew Over It stitch school videos are really great to follow step by step, especially if you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me as you can pause and rewind as much as you need to to make sure you’re fully understanding what’s next (and more importantly as I discovered with the 2 left leg situation that I have the right sides of the fabric where they need to be!). Learning from my previous mistakes, I used some masking tape to label which pattern piece was front leg or back leg. This helped a lot as I often do things like lose notch marks when pressing things. I use Frixon pens which are great until you iron them off. Masking tape was a help but the biggest lesson learned here is to make sure I use some with ultra low tack, which I thought this was until I needed to peel it off. Really hoping now that they wash well.

Legs zig zagged, and then stitched fronts with backs. Both legs then stitched together with no 2 left legs or visible crotch seams this time! I almost started to get a bit cocky. Waist band prepped, although I still didn’t learn my own lesson on button holes and they ended up slightly too high up the waist band instead of in the middle. We can hide that with some ribbon! Elastic prepped and into the waist. Finishing touches done AND a double hem on each leg with both legs even ending up the same length. I was starting to wonder why I was nervous about this, then quickly reined in the cockiness 😀 

Self appraisal time. The shorts went well and definitely highlighted the benefit of practice with the bed sheets first to get the big mistakes out of the way. As expected as a new sewer, I had a few places with some dodgy stitching but nothing that either wasn’t hidden or that I couldn’t fix. I didn’t have to get the un-picker out much, except for to sort out some corners where I got carried away with the reverse stitch lever (again!). I guess part of being a sewer is learning how to mask the imperfections as much as learning the techniques.

Next challenge – the Alderley Cami in matching fabric, but cut on the bias. Wish me luck everyone – no bed sheet versions next time!

Em x

Fabric choices: 

I’d purchased some fabric from Sew Over It when i first got set up – it was the Lisa Comfort Cotton Lawn in Busy Blossom Navy. –

When I was struggling to get some fabric, I found that Hobby Craft sell it in 2m lengths. I could only get the tartan at the time but I think it makes fab accessories! – 

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