Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Machine Maintenance

All sewing machines are mechanical instruments, and since there are so many moving parts, taking good care of your machine will ensure it runs effectively for as long as possible.

It's essential to clean and oil your machine after each project; sometimes you will need to clean more often–ideally, after every few hours of sewing.

Here are some general tips that should know while you're sewing. Tools you should keep on hand include soft tissues, cotton swabs, a cleaning brush, colourless machine oil, and scrap fabric.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blag-a-Bag: Canvas Crossbody

This little crossbody purse is made of sturdy duck canvas. It has an asymmetrical front pouch pocket, adjustable straps, and a zipper closure.

There's no inner pocket; it's just lined with some soft brown cotton lawn, which I also used for the pocket edging.

Here's the wrinkly back view, which isn't ironed yet. Because, bleh, ironing. 

The straps are actually attached using some cute clips, which I really like! I'm not sure how I feel about the straps themselves; I considered going to get some webbing, or trying to figure out a leather/faux leather option, but in the end I just did a foldover strap in the matching neutral coloured canvas.

Overall, I really like this bag a lot! I think it'll be showing up in my Etsy shop sometime soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Knit Gathered Skirt

Knit fabrics are pretty awesome. Garment construction with stretchy knits let you get away with so many things–you don't have to worry as much about ease and fit, you don't need as many zippers and clasps, and often you can get away with leaving your edges raw, since knits don't fray like wovens. (Though in all honesty, I hate raw knit edges.)

Sewing with knit fabrics takes a little more attention than your regular plain cotton weave, but with a little extra attention while sewing, you'll end up with better fitting garments in the end. This easy skirt project is a great one to start with, and looks as good as many you can purchase off the rack. It's actually just a more complex sew-a-rectangle project, really.

Friday, October 17, 2014


This blag-a-bag post is here to declare that the shop is open!

Last week, I made two more divided shoulder bags, like the pink one I had made to go with my brideslady dress, but this time using Sunbrella fabric. And then I listed them in an Etsy shop to go with this blag.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Clipping and Notching and Grading, oh my!

Imagine this situation: you've sewn two pieces of fabric, right sides together, and you've turned your project right side out. Only, it looks weird and misshapen, and for some reason it bunches or doesn't sit right. I've done this many times, and usually it means I forgot to trim down the seam allowance.

Cutting your fabric after you've sewn it may seem like an odd idea, but reducing the bulk in key areas can make a world of difference in your final product, and all it takes is understanding a little basic geometry.

If you've sewn a simple rectangle, you've probably already clipped the corners of it. This reduces the amount of fabric that has to fit into the much smaller space when turned. The principle is similar for sewing curves: for convex seams, we have too much fabric in the seam allowance, while for concave seams, we have too little.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Brideslady Dress and Bag

This super late Blag-a-Bag is here in place of my normal Tuesday technique post, for which you will have to forgive me. Usually I write up a tutorial the week before it goes up, but this past week was mostly a frenzy of sewing and travelling for a wedding.

I had most of this dress finished before we went on our three-week trip, but spent half of last week adding that bottom contrast band (which is very slightly high-low, though you can't see it), as well as making a bag to match.

So there, I did make a bag!