Monday, October 20, 2014

Shopping On Ebay For Sewing Accessories - Good Idea?

Sewing room

Like many sewists, I have an older, used sewing machine.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Bernina 1005 with its pastel 80's color theme and the band name "Slip Knot" etched into the casing, but having an older model makes it hard to find feet and other accessories I want/need for my machine, like a walking foot.

I'm starting my first quilt (a lap quilt), and I really don't want to hand quilt it.  Like, really really don't want to (don't even try to talk me into it, haha).  I don't like hand sewing my garments, and I can't imagine sitting and quilting for hours and hours when a machine can do it much faster.  And yes, I know machine quilting can be tricky for a beginner, but it wouldn't be anything fancy, just straight lines.  From what I've gathered, a walking foot is pretty much necessary for easy(er) machine quilting.  When I checked to see if my local Bernina dealership had walking feet compatible for my 1005 in stock, they said they could order it but it would cost a few hundred dollars.  Insane!

I took to Ebay this past weekend to see what I could find...and a lot of what I found are no-name brand walking feet that say they're "compatible" with my Bernina model.  However, I'm skeptical...heaven forbid I get one of these feet and they mess up the timing or something like that on my machine!  I've always been of the school of thought of only Bernina accessories for Bernina machines.

Which got me to do people buy sewing machines etc. on Ebay?  There's quite a few to choose from on there, like Bernina 930s, my favorite machine my mom has, and some of them have no description of the quality of condition of the machine.  I'm sure you can ask the seller...but it seems so dicey to buy something like that over the Internet without trying it out or being able to return it.

So - have you bought hard-to-find sewing machine accessories on Ebay, or even a sewing machine?  Is/was it a good idea/worth it or do you wish you'd done things differently?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pattern Review: Rigel Bomber [Papercut Patterns]

rigel 1

rigel 2

Pattern: Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns
Fabric: double sided cotton from Metro Textiles; wool ribbing from Mood Fabrics
Size: XXS

Sweatshirt: Sewaholic Renfrew
Jeans: Michael Kors

Words can't describe how much I Love.  This.  Jacket.  It's so versatile - I dressed it up with black pants to wear for an account meeting, and then wore it with jeans and a sweatshirt up in New Hampshire over the holiday weekend.  It's just the right amount of weight for early fall weather, and I know it'll be perfect when spring arrives next year.

The fabric also makes it - this is a medium weight cotton I bought at Metro Textile this summer, not knowing what I'd make from it.  My love for polka dots is unending, and this fabric is a double-sided woven with polka dots...swoon!!  How could I not bring this fabric home with me?

rigel 3

True to how Papercut Pattern sizing runs (way too big on me, that is), I cut out a XXS for the top of the jacket and graded to a XS from waist to hips.  What I can't figure out for the life of me is why jacket patterns don't come with linings by default (ok ok some patterns I can understand...but most, no).  I drafted my own, with a pleat in the center back, to attach to the facings because eww, I don't want to see the pocket bags flapping around and exposed seams of my finished jacket.  Plus, linings help jackets stand up to wear much better.  It really wasn't that hard to draft a lining, so I'm not sure as to why this wasn't an obvious inclusion for the pattern.

rigel 5

See?  Pretty raspberry lining with the white polka dot side of the fabric, much better!  Also, you'd think I'd learn by now to not use stretch fabrics for linings.  This was a beeyatch to hem at the bottom and I had to make some small tucks in the lining fabric to get everything smooth and hemmed nicely.

If you're planning on making this jacket, definitely take your time to get the zips to match up on either side - it'll be really obvious at the neckline if the ribbing collar doesn't match up.  I had to redo mine at least twice, but I'm glad I did.

Oh, this was my second time doing welt pockets - they were much easier on this fabric than the thick wool of my Anise!

rigel 4

The ribbing is a tubular wool ribbing I bought a while ago at Mood for a lightweight jacket project that fell through.  While sewing this project, I realized it probably wasn't the best weight to use with the cotton, since the band at the bottom rolls up occasionally (like in the above shot) and the collars are a little floppy and don't lay as flat as I'd like.

All of that aside, this jacket is going into heavy rotation for the remainder of fall.  On to sewing more jackets!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Tour - Love at First Stitch (and giveaway!)


It's here, it's here you guys!  Tilly's book Love At First Stitch is state-side, and I was tickled pink when asked to review her book (and got an extra copy for a giveaway, more on that later!).  This book is everything I hoped for when I first learned about her book and more.  It's true Tilly-style, from her patterns, friendly and familiar voice, and even down to the color scheme and design elements of the book.


I mean, how cute is that skirt??  And it's styled just how Tilly would wear it in real life.

This book is a book I wish existed when I first started to sew, because it covers everything you may be wondering about when first starting out: what kind of machine should I get?  Why should I give a hoot about pressing (yawn)?  How do I figure out what size to make and get this thing to fit?  And I could go on...but really, everything is right here.  The beginning starts out with basics like how to thread the machine and projects gradually progress from easy to more complex.  I love that after each pattern, she includes ways to customize the pattern, like adding pockets or a cute faux placket.


The photos are clear and make it really easy to follow along, especially when doing something that could be tricky like adding a lining to a garment.  It's one thing to have illustrations, which can be difficult to interpret, and it's another to have pages chock-full of photos that make it evident what a step should look like.


She also goes in depth on topics that may make new sewists scratch their head, like what the heck is ease and how to select the best fabric for a project.


My favorite part of the book, other than her patterns, are the sections that discuss the "sewing lifestyle" throughout the book.  She offers words of encouragement when mistakes happen, tips on setting up a sewing space, how to find time to sew often, and ways to make a handmade wardrobe that fits your lifestyle.

Love At First Stitch is definitely a book geared towards beginners, but that doesn't mean that there isn't value in it to more experienced sewists.  I'll admit it: I'm a Tilly fangirl and love her patterns, so to have a collection of her patterns in a book is worth it for me.  So even if you're not a beginner, there's definitely some cute clothes in here worth stitching.

Ok and now the fun stuff: I have a copy of the book to giveaway to a reader!  Entering is easy: leave a comment below on why you want Tilly's book and follow me over on Blog Lovin'.  Use the Rafflecopter widget below for multiple chances to win!  Since this is a launch of the book in North America, the giveaway is only open to US and Canada peeps.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

From Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, © 2014 byTilly Walnes. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston,  I received a copy of this book from Roost Books, and all opinions are my own.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Leaf Peeping in NH

NH vacation packing

Chris and I are headed up a cabin in NH over the holiday weekend for our last vacation of the year before the year-end craziness sets in at both of our jobs.  It's going to be a bit chilly, at least cooler than then temps in the Boston area lately, and our cabin isn't insulated.  Needless to say, we're packing lots of layers and blankets for when the temps get near freezing at night!  It'll be nice to unplug for a few days - there's no cable or internet where we're staying, but we're bringing up books and games and planning on doing some fun outdoor things like horseback riding and hiking.  Fall is my favorite season, especially in New England, so I'm really excited to see the colors this weekend.

Of course, I'm bringing up all handmade clothes and layers for the weekend, duh!  I'm hoping to get some pictures at the lake of my two new jackets above, a Minoru jacket and Rigel bomber.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gnome Love


Wow, it's October already?  Dang...I have some catching-up to do!  September was mostly a blur of travel for work but there were definitely some fun points, like the sewing weekend I spent with Karissa!  We had a girl's night of fabric shopping, pizza and beer, and hand sewing while watching Heathers, followed by the next day of more fabric shopping and lunch at a cute French bistro.

Surprisngly, during National Sewing Month, the only real sewing I did was for this adorable little sewing kit:


The above is a felt applique kit I found at our trip to Quilter's Way in Acton, MA - isn't it too cute?!  It reminds me of the 80's kid's cartoon David the Gnome, which I loved, and yes I have some episodes downloaded on my laptop, duh.  This was really fun to make and easy to work on while binge watching Breaking Bad, I think the trickiest part was cutting out all of the teeny tiny felt pieces and pinning them all in place just so.  My stitches aren't perfect, but I think it adds to the overall charm.

I said to Chris this looks like us - except he doesn't have a beard.  Or white hair.  Whatever.


I love how the little hoop fits in nicely with my entry-way d├ęcor!

How was your September?  Did you get a lot of sewing accomplished?  I have a backlog of projects I need to get moving on now that the fall weather is officially here.