Thursday, 27 July 2017

Ready for the sunshine

Since we have moved to the coast one of the joys in life is sitting outside with a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) watching the passing parade, weather permitting of course, it is Scotland after all!



For a while now I have been wanting to update the tablecloth for our garden table, as it was cotton and purchased before the table, so didn't have a space in the centre for the parasol pole. I did cut a space out a while ago, but as we tend to leave the parasol in the table it meant that the tablecloth had to stay put too. That parasol is too heavy to be lifting in and out on a regular basis :)

I did start to make a new tablecloth a while ago, using some plasticised cotton that I had lurking in my stash. Sadly, I completely messed up the measurements so had to ditch that particular project. However, on a visit to cuddle the gorgeous grandson a while ago, I came across Flo-Jo boutique, which had a great selection of oilcloth. So, after lots of calculating and re-calculating between the staff, my daughter-in-law and myself we worked out how much fabric I needed (lots!) and the purchase was made.

Then the bag sat in my sewing room for several weeks as summer sewing for the boy took precedence, but with a visit from the gorgeous grandson and his parents on the horizon I thought that I had better get cracking with that tablecloth as baby mealtimes are not the most tidy of occasions :)

I measured the radius of the table, cut a piece of string to that length then attached a tack to one end and a Frixion pen to the other and with the oilcloth fabric folded in half lengthwise I drew out a half-circle for the tablecloth. I added an overlap at the middle edge so that I could add hook and loop tape to one of the radii to make the tablecloth easily removable. The weather changes so quickly here that it will be good to be able to whip that cloth off at the first sign of rain!

The measuring and cutting proved to be the easy bit of this process.

As oilcloth doesn't fray I could have just left the cut edges raw and, indeed, that is what I did with the centre cut out for the parasol pole, but I wanted to finish the tablecloth off with a bound edge. Just call me a glutton for punishment :)



My rather rusty maths proved my undoing as I discovered that my order of green bias binding was about 0.5 metres too short. Fortunately, rifling through my ribbon bag uncovered sufficient of this deep pink bias binding to bind the tablecloth and still have some left over.




So, with the Teflon foot attached I set to work.



Boy, was it tough going. The oilcloth wasn't very easy to manoeuvre around and the weight of it kept knocking the needle off centre when I stopped to straighten the fabric under the needle. By the time I had finished stitching the binding to the front my poor arms had had a thorough workout, and I still had to go around again to stitch on the back.

Fortunately, the hook and loop tape that I had purchased along with the oilcloth was the adhesive type not the sew-in, as I really wasn't looking forward to trying to sew that on. I have had enough trouble in the past stitching it to fabric, I can only guess how much more difficult it would be trying to keep to the small margins at the sides whilst wrestling with the oilcloth and using a Teflon foot!



Eventually my tablecloth was complete, but I couldn't rush out to try it out as this was the view out of my sewing room window.

Our forecast for today was sunshine and showers and we have definitely had the showers but the sunshine hasn't been very much in evidence. As I write I have been waiting for hours for the rain to stop and the sun to come out so that I can finally get a photo of the finished tablecloth. If the photo below is of the cloth on the kitchen table you will know that my wait was in vain!

 Five minutes after I finally took this photo the rain came back!

I could do with ironing the tablecloth particularly where the seam is but I am a bit wary of doing it, so if you have any tips I will be all ears :)



So that's my finish for this week's TGIFF, now it is your turn to link up and celebrate your finishes this week. As ever don't make this a solitary celebration click on your fellow linkers and leave a congratulatory comment on their fabulous finishes. Grab the blog button and add it to your post so that your readers can join in the fun too.







Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Shorts, shirts and shirring

Welcome to another New to Me Link Party, come celebrate or commiserate with me on the highs and lows of trying something for the first time!


This month I have sewing related New to Me's for a change.

First up, I tried a New to Me pattern for Baby Bloomers from Vagabond Stitch

The pattern was so easy to follow that I stitched it up twice more!

Of course, shorts need a t-shirt to go with them, so I tried another New to Me pattern from Brindille and Twig

This pattern is free too, so if you need to whip up a t-shirt or two for a child then it is definitely a great one to try. The sewing wasn't altogether without incident, but all troubles were entirely self-inflicted. I was not able to convince myself that no-one would notice the upside down dachshunds from my first cut but, fortunately, I was able to rescue the fabric to make the sleeves! I found attaching the sleeve binding a tad difficult so would probably add that before stitching up the sides next time. This t-shirt is for 12 - 18 months so I suspect it would be even more difficult if I had been making the t-shirt for a newborn. Other than that it was really straightforward to do.

Sadly my third New to Me wasn't anywhere near as successful.


My niece is coming to France for the first time in a couple of weeks and I thought that I would upcycle this dress to make a sundress for her holiday. I don't know her exact size so thought that a shirred top was the way to go. I checked out lots of tutorials, who all stressed how straightforward a technique it was. I found the shirring elastic for sale in the local supermarket, chopped up the dress and set to work.



I stitched the first couple of rows and it wasn't quite as tight as I had anticipated but a couple of the tutorials mentioned that the first few rows might be looser, so undaunted I carried on until I had run out of elastic in the bobbin. Bobbin rewound and replaced I stitched another row, what a difference! Now this looks more like it.

When I had finished stitching with the second bobbin, I had a very tightly shirred piece of fabric but on testing the stretch I think that it is now too tight!

Clearly something is not quite right and I need to find that happy medium between too loose and too tight, so I am hoping that wiser heads than mine out there will be able to tell where I have gone wrong and what I need to do to produce a piece that is gathered but not so tightly that it would be better placed around a wrist than a chest :)

So, these are my New to Me successes and failures this month, now it is over to you. As always the link party will remain open until 23.59 GMT on July 31st, so if you are thinking of trying something new this month but haven't yet here is the nudge that you need. Grab the link party button and take the plunge! Check out the linkers and give them some blogger support for their endeavours too.







Sunday, 23 July 2017

Then there were three

Once I had made the gorgeous grandson some new shorts for his summer holidays, it was time to get cracking on a couple of t-shirts to complete the ensembles.

As ever I used my go-to Brindille and Twig Lap Neck Tee pattern.

First up, this fun Whale Organic Jersey from Jelly Fabrics that has just been waiting on my shelf to be stitched up into a t-shirt.

Next up, this lovely Organic Jersey stripe fabric from Jelly Fabrics again. I have resisted using stripe fabric before as I worried about the difficulty of matching up the stripes but actually it turned out fine. I think it was probably easier that it was a simple stripe that I was matching. I have some knit fabric that looks like a Fair Isle pattern that I am planning to use for a Christmas top for the gorgeous grandson, but I might need a bit more practise with stripes before I attempt that :)

Last but not least was this Lap Neck Tee made with this fun Flying Hedgehogs Organic Jersey from you've guessed it (!) Jelly Fabrics

I found all of the Jersey fabrics to be 'slippier' than the heavier knits that I have made these t-shirts with before, but that makes them ideal for the lovely weather that the boy will hopefully get on his first summer holiday.

I wish these patterns had been around when my boys were little, not to mention access to such fun fabrics, I could have been a Pro at stitching up boys clothes by now if they had been :)


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