Its very easy to find something to sew sometimes. You revert to the same old pattern that you can complete without the instructions, or opt for a quick sew like a zip pouch or maybe even a simple quilt block but after a while its time to try something new.
I have never had a sewing lesson, but sewing was one of those things that happened in our house growing up. If there was a big family event than it was pretty much a given that Mum would make outfits for my sisters and me and also herself. I remember fabric shopping (not so interesting at the time) and tracing patterns onto newspaper. The sewing machine was always up and we were each taught how to use it when we were old enough to be interested. Most of my early sewing knowledge came from Mum, the basics of how to thread a machine, using straight line and zigzag stitches and so on. Mum is always there when I have a sewing or fabric question and now that she runs a patchwork and quilting business she is also great at enabling my fabric addiction from time to time! With the help of google and youtube I think you can learn almost any skill these day and sewing is certainly no exception. From ‘how to put in a zipper’ to intricate specialist techniques there is something for every level of expertise and through this I have been working on my own skills.
I often think that the smallest of detail can really make the difference to a piece of sewing, be it home furnishing or clothing or almost anything. Adding contrast piping to a cushion adds instant wow factor and a few pin tucks on a blouse can really smarten up the most casual of styles. With these two tricks in mind I pulled together a few supplies recently. Firstly was a Janome piping foot (prices vary but I found the cheapest here). I watched a couple of youtube videos and gave it a try. I expected a few wobbles to start but it worked like a dream so after just one practice run I got to work on another EveryDay Top adding the pipping between the yoke and skirt. This shirt is perfect for these wet and raining days and I think the pink adds just the right amount of pop!
Next up was to try to add to my patchwork skills and try paper piecing. I have long admired the amazing quilt designs that can be achieved using this technique but had always put off trying it. So I had a little look online for a simple Flying Geese block, grabbed some fabric scraps and got to it. It took a while to get the hang of it, making sure the fabric pieces were the right size, constantly pressing and trimming, a little unpicking here and there but I got there in the end and was quite pleased with the result! I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I love or hate paper piecing but after seeing a few #uglysweaterblocks on Instagram I knew I had to give it another go so I hunted down the pattern and jumped straight in. For my second attempt I was thrilled for this block to come together so well. Yes, a few of the points are a smidge out but its pretty close and the reindeer is just the cutest!
And finally, another technique I’ve wanted to try was pin tucking. I’ve had a pin tuck foot for a while and managed to get the right twin needle on eBay and was ready to go. I think this simple detail can transform a garment when added to a neckline or the front of a blouse. I’m still working on this one, I haven’t quite found the right tension on the sewing machine to really make it stand out but it was easier than I thought and with little more tinkering I might get there.
So I remain a student of sewing. I can’t imagine a time when there won’t be anything new for me to learn and with so much inspiration out there my to do list grows almost daily! Some weeks I sew every day, other times it can be almost a month between my visits to my machines but there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about fabric, think about the next thing I’ll be sewing or the next pattern I’ll buy. The majority of my inspiration comes from Instagram and last week I happened to come across a little hashtag doing the rounds and I instantly wanted to get involved. I am not sure where this originated (if you know please send me the details so I can give credit where due!) but all over the world people were gifting each other fabric after posting their ‘quiltywish’. Some were very specific wishing for particular fabric collections or patterns, some were looking for scraps for hexie making, other wanting to add to their stash or pick up bits of a collection that they had missed. It is truly wonderful to see people gifting things to others for nothing in return. I was able to grant a few wishes myself and have been lucky enough to have a couple of people grant my wish in return. I have sent several packages to the US, some to Germany, Slovenia, Australia and a few more in the UK and am hopeful that there might be one or two more parcels somewhere in the mailing service headed my way. If you have the time do check out #getyourquiltywishesgranted2 and if you have fabric to spare grant a wish or two!