Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 2nd March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 1st March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
An Iron has been on my sewing want list for about a year now. I sew in our dining room and there is absolutley no room for my proper ironing board and big iron in there. Which means every time I need to press a dart or iron the seam on a quilt or dress I have to trek from the dining room into the living room and into the kitchen. Which doesn’t seem like much but then I have to go back and sit at my machine and then I usually have to go back into the kitchen to make sure I’ve actually turned the iron off. So when this Habico Mini Iron came up for review I jumped at the chance to make my sewing life easier.
For starters the iron came in a box marked fragile which is sooo important when your dealing with something small and electrical and when your local postman has a history of just chucking parcels over the fence! It was also wrapped in lots of bubble wrap which kept my five year old nicely occupied whilst I undid the rest of the packaging and worked out how to use it.
The actual packaging was easy to undo I just cut it open with a pair of non fabric scissors. But then I was faced with a small issue.
Yep its a got a European plug on it. Now initially this filled me which dread because I live in a strictly three pronged plug house. Luckily my Grandad had an adapter that meant I could plug a two prong into a three prong so I was back in business! [you can buy these from most shops and online] I have considered changing the two prong to a three prong [my fella is pretty handy with electrics] but then I decided to just leave it and that way I can take it on holiday with me.
Size wise it is dinky! Its fits in the palm of my hand is is very lightweight to use. My first test was to see how it would cope ironing all my scrap pieces of quilting fabrics. [Oh I also purchased myself a cheeky mini ironing board to go with it but you could also use the Prym Ironing Sheet which also has the bonus of having some quilting markings on it and a measuring guide]. It coped really well Ironing my scraps of fabric. I was ironing for maybe an hour and a half and I filled the tank about 3 times, but I did have to steam on constantly. I love that such a small iron has a steam feature because I do tend to use a lot of steam when I’m sewing, so it just makes it a more viable option for repeated use.
The iron comes with a small jug for filling the tank up which is helpful because the hole to get the water in is quite small. And you have the ability to turn the steam on and off via a central button. You can also change the temperature of the iron which will work nicely for if I’m ironing more delicate fabrics. I don’t have a way of testing how hot it gets on maximum but lets just say I managed to burn my hand at one point! Not the irons fault I hasten to add, but being a clumsy person I do tend to burn myself on irons quite often!
After it passed the 1 and half hours of ironing scraps test I decided to give it something a bit different to try. This piece of patchwork was made about 2 years ago and has been crammed into a drawer since then. As you can see its fairly worse for wear and very wrinkly. Mainly I wanted to see if it would be able to remove the wrinkles and if it glide smoothly over some of the areas where the seams are thicker.
Obviously because of the size of the iron I had to do a small area at a time, but I think that encourages me to be more careful about making sure all my seams allowances were going in the right direction. I think if this was a queen size quilt top I might have had to have use my bigger iron and ironing board but for smaller topper it worked really nicely.
I’ve also been finding the little stump handle very nice to use and I think I might prefer it to the traditional iron handle. Personally I just find that it fits my palm a bit more ergonomically and doesn’t make my arm ache as much as a big iron does.
As you can see the iron took all of the wrinkles out of my patchwork and the plate on the bottom slide over the fabric and seams really nicely. I also didn’t have any issues with it sticking to the fabric even though I was using it on the highest setting.
All in all I’d say its a brilliant little iron. My only two quibbles with it are that 1. it has a European plug [easily fixed with an adapter] and 2. there is no switch to turn it off on the iron which means you need to remember to unplug it when you’ve finished with it but I have all of my sewing electricals plugged into one extension strip so when I finish sewing I tend to just unplug everything in one go when I tidy up.
And the pros of the iron definitely out way the cons. Its lightweight to use, doesn’t take up a lot of room on my sewing table. I can change the amount of heat it uses and quite frankly its adorable.
I’ve also found its got a couple of secret uses up its sleeves, i.e. Ironing school uniform quickly in the morning [When I've forgotten to do it the night before] and sorting out collars that have become rumpled in the wardrobe. In general its just a lot easier to get out and use than my big iron.
I hope you like it as much as I do!
Frankie @ Knit Wits-Owls
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 28th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone! I'm Isa, writing to you from Portugal. Usually you will find me over at my blog Uma Crafter Portuguesa Com Certeza but today I'm overjoyed to be writing my first product review for the Minerva Crafts blog.
When Minerva launched a call for reviews for the Fall-Winter collection of Named Sewing Patterns I jumped at the chance to try them out, as I never had the chance to try a pattern from Named before. I chose to test out the Stella Shirt Dress Pattern as I was already interested when I saw it at the pattern launch.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the printed pattern: it comes in a sturdy paperboard package, and it’s printed on a nice quality hefty paper. Both the shirt and dress patterns are composed of 7 pattern pieces.
I decided to go for the dress so I traced only those pieces and cut them out of a Georgette Fabric – a swishy sheer fabric that seemed similar enough to the recommended chiffon. For lining I used the light Stretch Lining Fabric that allways feels nicer against my skin than other acetate linings.
I cut out a size 42 and made a 3cm full bust adjustment, and shortened both sleeves and hem, as I’m definitively not a Finnish beauty ;) (I’m 1,64 m tall). Each sleeve is composed by two pieces and I pondered on cutting the sleeves on one piece only, but as it was for testing purposes, I decided against it. In this pattern you’ll find a seam down the front, so you should consider it if you’re pattern matching. There’s only one piece for the back skirt and one for the front.
I was really pleased with the quality of the instructions – the instructions not only contain instructions for lining your dress, but also included instructions for French seams at the sleeves, and the waist is beautifully finished by the casing. But alas I wished they had found out a way of bagging the lining for the bodice, or gave enough room for French seams at the raglan seams. These seams are only 1cm wide, so if you’d like to get a nicer finish than a serged or zigzag seam consider enlarging that seam.
Even though I didn’t make the shirt version I gave a look at the instructions and the sleeve placket construction looks quite interesting – there are no openings and the excess fabric to let your hands get through the cuff is folded in and secured closed with snaps. This sounds like a great alternative to whoever loathes sewing sleeve plackets. For the shirt dress the cuff hems work as casings for a bit of elastic.
The finished dress is super comfy, really light and airy. I think the fabrics I chose work really nicely with the pattern. I’m quite happy with the quality of the dress yet to be truthful about it I think it isn’t really me, I’m quity busty and I think the blousy raglan seams only enhances my bust, or maybe I should have just gone with my default navy and black colors for the fabric, I was trying to choose something different but the print really overwhelms me :S. But, if I use a cardigan over it, I think I can pull it off, what do you think?
Happy stitching everyone :)
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 27th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, Naomi from Naomi Sews again! I sometimes feel that my lovely husband Matt gets all the negatives associated with my sewing. I disappear into the sewing room for a couple of hours on a weekend, make myself something nice and leave him to entertain himself! One of my make nine plans though was to make him a Seamwork Paxton, and amazingly only a month or two down the line it has materialised into reality!
I spotted this really interesting Quilted Jersey Fabric and loved the teal colour. I thought that it would be a great option for this sweater. The fabric feels quite thick, because it is made up of two layers bonded together with some batting between. It still has a good amount of stretch, though the cut edges do fray quite a bit.
I decided to solve the fraying by making this up entirely on my overlocker. This was a great idea in theory, but in practice the fabric was a little bulky to feed through neatly, especially in areas like the neckband. This unfortunately meant that in a couple of places I didn’t quite catch all the layers in the overlocking. Mostly I’ve been able to go back in and sort it, but I think next time I would baste the layers in place first or consider using another less bulky fabric for the band and cuffs.
One of the options with the Paxton sweater is to add elbow patches. I thought that would be quite fun and wanted to try out these pre-cut Patches from Prym. They have a ‘mock-suede’ side, and a side that looks a bit like fusible interfacing. There are some rudimentary instructions with the elbow patches, indicating iron temperatures and timings. I made sure to test a scrap of my fabric under the iron before going ahead just to check it didn’t change the fabric properties. I didn’t have any problems, and the patches adhered to the fabric really well.
Having the patches already fixed in place did make topstitching a doddle! I didn’t have a suitable colour of topstitching thread, so I used two strands of ordinary gutermann sewing thread which has worked fine. As indicated in the Paxton instructions, I increased my stitch length to 3.5mm, and used a new topstitching needle to give the best chance of sewing smoothly through this slightly thicker layer. As you can see, it has turned out beautifully.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with this sweater. The elbow patches ended up a touch low on Matt using the pattern markings, but it is very quick and simple to put together. The only part I'm not totally happy with is the neckband. It doesn’t quite sit right, and I think it might be a touch too long. I don’t mind enough to take it off and do it again though, and Matt seems to like wearing it anyway!
I guess that is my sewing good deed done for now. Does that mean I can go back to sewing for myself again now?
Posted in Projects on Monday the 26th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I'm going to be truthful, I've seen this amazing Lady McElroy Tropical Stems Cotton Poplin Fabric floating around on instagram and the amazing things other sewists have made with it and it was love at first sight. Strictly speaking, I'm more of a solids kinda gal as they're easier to wear, but the colours and print on this beauty really won me over. When I was given the chance to test this fabric I literally did a big 'WHOOP!' and immediately started to form a plan of what I would make with it.
I went back and forwards a few times before deciding exactly what to make with it. It's a large, bold print and I'm petite at 5ft 3" with wide hips, and I was a teeny bit worried about whether it would suit me and be wearable. I had no doubt that I would love whatever I garment I made in this stunning fabric, but whether it looked good on me and was wearable is another story completley.
I've had my eye on the Dove Blouse Pattern my Megan Nielson for some time. I totally dig the big floaty bell sleeves. Very 70's (which I'm also totally diggin' right now). I've put off making this blouse before because again, I just didn't know if this silhouette would suit me or not. I decided that if I loved the pattern and the fabric enough, I couldn't really go wrong. So I went ahead and printed out the PDF version of the Dove Blouse pattern and taped it together. I went for an XL going on my hip measurement.
Meanwhile 2m of this delicious fabric arrived at my door and my heart broke a little just seeing how stunning it is in real life. The print is amazing, the colours perfection and the feel of the fabric is exquisite! It's a very soft cotton which has lots of lovely drape. perfect for the Dove Blouse! I prewashed my fabric within 5 minutes of it arriving in my house, eager to cut out my blouse!
Cutting the blouse was a cinch. I managed to play around with the pattern placement and used up just 1.5m of fabric (leaving just enough left over for me to make a mini Ogden Cami for my daughter. Win Win!). Cotton poplin is easy to pin and cut. No fraying on the edges, so simple and straight forward. I went for view 3 of the Dove Blouse and chose to opt for the biggest sleeve option. Go big or go home, right?!
I don't actually tend to work with cotton that much and I forgot how pleasing it is to sew with. Hardly any pinning needed and it took a good press like a dream making the seams so crisp and lovely. I ended up taking about an inch off of the length of the sleeves before attaching the bottom full circle part of the sleeve, as the sleeve was just sitting a bit too low. Not a surprise though - as I mentioned I am a little shorter than most patterns are drafted for. The one part I was a little apprehensive about was hemming the bottom of the floaty sleeves. A full circle is never easy to hem is it? But, this fabric made it easy as pie! I pressed as I went and i didn't even need to pin as it held the press so well.
What I love about this make is how the blouse is a relatively simple pattern and so it really lets the print of the fabric take centre stage. This fabric was the perfect weight for this make, it holds the shapes well whilst still allowing for enough floatiness in those delicious sleeves.
I'm so happy with this make. All of my reservations about the style have completely disappeared. This fabric and pattern are a match made in heaven! It is a great versatile wardrobe staple and I can't wait to make some more!
Thanks for reading,
Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew
Posted in Q&A's on Sunday the 25th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
My blog is called Sewing Adventures in the Attick. I decided to call it this, because I my sewing studio is actually located in a converted attic, and is my favourite room in the house. I started my blog from the need to try and keep a record of my makes and share with the amazing sewing community my impressions about patterns, fabrics or supplies I use in my projects.
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?
Oh, I was always interested in the clothing. As a child, I used to draw fashion sketches, and dream of actually making them. However, during that time in Romania, I did not know how to go about finding a sewing machine or how to learn how to sew. Hand sewing was not an option. I tried making dolls’ clothes by ruining old clothes or pillowcases and then gave up. Then when I moved to UK, over 10 years ago now, I was gifted my first sewing machine and there was no turning back. I like sewing so much because I make for myself a select few garments that are unique for which I did not pay an arm and a leg. My first project was a simple top. It was similar to view C of New Look 6464 (no longer in print). I no longer have the pattern nor the top. But I remember how happy I was for making it all on my own.
What is your favourite craft?
For me, sewing garments is my favourite craft. I’ve tried other crafts such as knitting or quilting but I just not enjoy them as much.
What do you love most about sewing?
I’d got to say its spending time doing something I love and at the end of it I have something useful. Also, for me sewing is a way of expressing my creativity while solving problems. Many times, I’ve made mistakes that required me to figure out solutions to bring my projects to completion without having to start again or completely abandon them and feeling I wasted my time.
Do your friends or family sew along with you?
I tend to sew alone. My family is not really into crafts. I am the only one obsessed with it. I have a friend with whom we sometimes get together for a sewing day, when we sew together all day. At the end if we manage to finish our projects we might even have a little photo shoot to have a little memory keepsake.
Who do you make things for?
Mainly, I sew for myself. I am quite selfish when it comes to sewing, also because I find it hard to part with my projects. But, I am known to have made a few gifts for my friends and family. All with the help of my cat, Bella, who checks out the project mostly by sleeping on it.
What made you decide to start to blog about your sewing?
The main reason I started my blog was to keep a diary of my projects as well as to improve my English, as it is not my first language. Slowly, it became a way of me to connect with others who love sewing as much as I do, as well as to share my opinions about patterns or fabrics. I feel very happy when my ramblings about sewing are useful to others or they find inspiration in my words.
Do you have a favourite snack when sewing?
No, I tend to be so engrossed into my sewing that, I actually forget about snacks. Which is a good thing, because chocolate is my downfall and need to stay away from it. Sewing helps me do that. However, I do enjoy the odd drink while I am doing sewing related activities such as blog writing or reading sewing literature (this includes, blogs, books or magazines about sewing).
What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
Hmm… This is quite difficult for me. But If I a to pick only 3, I’d say my sewing machines (includes my overlocker), my SimFlex Sewing Gauge (marking buttonholes or button positions is a dream with this) and the unpick (I never fail to use it almost every project I have the need for one). My collection of unpicks is extensive. I have them everywhere, so I never run the risk if not finding one when I need it.
What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?
I do not really have a favourite fabric to work with. I try to challenge myself to work with any fabric. The main thing about the fabric has to be soft against the skin. I used to work mainly with wovens that were quite stabile while working with them. But, with a few tricks up one’s sleeve tricker fabrics such as knits or silks can also be nice to work with. Besides, liquid fabric stiffener that washes out, works wonders on most fabrics.
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
I try too keep myself on track by working on one project at the time. However, sometime, when I make something a bit more complicated, from which I need a bit of a break, also work on a simpler make to get some instant gratification by having something completed.
What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?
Another difficult question for me. I don’t really have a favourite make of all time. Usually my favourite one is also the last project I have made. So at this moment in time, I’d say that the outfit I made for a sewing challenge in December is my favourite.
What is your latest WIP (Work in Progress)?
Right now I am working on a product testing project, using a poly-cotton to make a jumpsuit.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you sew?
I do both. Sometimes I watch TV, other times I listen to music. It all depends on my mood. But there is no rule to it, as I’ve spent many days sewing without TV or music.
What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start sewing?
I do not have a particular process that inspires me to sew. Over the years. I’ve amassed a huge list of projects I want to do, that I don’t need to spend time deciding what to sew. I just need to decide what to sew next form my To Do list. I do sometimes get distracted from my To Do list by new patterns I discover on Instagram or Pintrest or by my wish to join in with sewing challenges going on in the Sewing Community.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Do not be afraid to do it. You do not have to try to come up with something new, that no one else has written. Just write about what make you happy and be yourself. Remember that it’s a hobby and you do not have to stress yourself in creating the perfect blog from the start. As many other things blogging is a learning experience, just embrace it. You never know where it will take you.
Could you sum yourself up as a sewer in 3 words?
Not necessarily, but I’ll try: fabric hoarder, sewing gadgets lover and perfectionist.
What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?
Just try it! You never know if you do not try. I do advise, start small with a little kit, see if you like it. These days for most crafts you can find introductory lessons/workshops where you can use the tools and materials offered by the provider.
Posted in Guest Posts on Saturday the 24th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Friday the 23rd February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 22nd February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 21st February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod