Sewing Room Spruce-up

My sewing room has gone through a few transitions since the last time I shared it. Most notably recently, it has been rearranged to make a space for feeding and changing the new baby. This has meant a big tidy up, clear out, and is going to mean that it needs to be kept a bit neater and tidier in future too to keep everyone safe!

As part of that process, I decided that my machines needed a bit more love. I don’t routinely put their covers on because I don’t really like the plasticky ones they came with, but as a result they do get a bit dusty. It seemed like it was time to make something a bit more attractive to keep them happy and clean, especially if I’m going to have a bit less time to use them for a while.

Closet Case Patterns released these free overlocker and sewing machine cover templates over a year ago. They are simple unlined drop covers designed to be sewn in heavy weight cotton upholstery fabrics. I’ve had this stripe in my stash for a while so it seemed like a good candidate.

The sewing machine cover has a template for a pocket on each side. I opted for just one pocket because my machines are usually stored under this shelf and against the wall so the back side is not very accessible. There wasn’t quite enough of my main fabric to cut the pocket piece too, so I used a little of a similar weight cotton left over from Matt’s waistcoat. It did also free me from any attempt at pattern matching too which made this a much speedier sew!

I think the pocket will be a good location for popping scissors or rotary cutters to keep them well out of reach of wondering little hands, and the foot pedal which I rarely use because I prefer the start and stop button on the machine.

I deliberately cut both covers so that I didn’t need to do any pattern matching at the side seams too, not that I really had enough fabric to cut it out to match anyway! It means that the ends of the covers are not symmetrical, but I’m more than happy to live with that.

Despite measuring my machines, the overlocker cover ended up way too big, so I have ended up with a massive 3.5″ hem allowance, taken as 1.5″ and then 2″. It does fit much better though now, even if it is also a little bit wide.

The instructions suggest adding piping, but I wanted to keep this really quick and easy. The finished covers look smarter and help to keep my machines clean when they aren’t in use. They are just a bit nicer to look at when I’m sat in the other corner feeding the baby in the middle of the night! I’ll have to do a bit more of a tour of the rest of the room sometime soon too.


Roar like a lion

Toby has only just started fitting into his penguin dungarees, and although the body fits pretty well at the moment, the legs are still a little long. We have had some lovely adventures wearing them already!

For this next pair, I decided to size up to the 18-24 month size, but keep the length of the 12-18. I think that it might suit his slightly stocky proportions (and bulky cloth nappy) better!

These are the same Fox dungarees pattern from ‘The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny” and felt very quick to sew up this time. They really are very simple with just two front and two back pieces in each the lining and outer fabrics. This time I’ve used up the remnants of corduroy from Toby’s Bunny coat, and another fun printed polycotton for the lining.

Just like with the penguin dungarees, I chose an image that I liked for the pocket animal design and sketched (or traced) it at a suitable scale. The lion face seemed like a good theme to co-ordinate with the cream corduroy and yellow suns on the lining. Just remember to keep the outer shape really simple. I did decide to simplify mine when I was considering adding the seam allowances on. I realised that the more points there were, and the tighter the curves, the more difficult it would be to turn through the lining neatly.

I finished the hems in the same way was the previous pair, folding and pressing the lining 1cm shorter than the main fabric. This prevents the lining from sticking out at all when they are worn full length and is almost like a mini facing. It gives a really clean finish that I’m happy to have visible when they are rolled up too.

About the only change I did make was to swap the direction of the buttonholes on this pair. The penguin dungarees have horizontal buttonholes at the top of the bib, and I have noticed them pulling slightly sometimes. I’m hoping that making them vertical this time will solve the problem

I did slip another of these little Kylie and the Machine labels in the side seam. It’s nice to be able to show off a little with some cute finishing touches!

Once again I’m not expecting them to fit right away, but I’m expecting sewing time to be a bit thin on the ground in the next few months so it is nice to have something finished to look forward to using! I can see that this is a pattern I am going to keep coming back to as Toby grows so I’m glad that the sizes in the book go up to 4-5 years. Now I’ve got the hang of designing my own pocket animals I’m sure I will be taking requests as he grows up!

Reaching new heights

Since the last blog post I’ve managed to finish sewing my Ascent Fleece, and I’m happy to report that the second half of the construction was much more straightforward. Most of the complicated steps do occur very early on in the construction order. Sadly I can’t model it yet, because there is no way that it will fit over my bump, but I’m really glad to have it finished ready for wearing all winter!

Like many shirts, one of the trickiest or most intimidating parts of this was the collar. The instructions suggest using lots of wash away wonder tape to keep everything aligned while putting in the neckline zip and finishing the collar. This was definitely good advice, especially with the fleece as it can’t really be thoroughly pressed into position.

The tape helped to hold the seam allowances securely while stitching, and I think the finished collar looks pretty neat, even on the inside where I have caught down the bottom edge while stitching in the ditch from the front.

I chose to stitch my sleeves to the bodice flat, before closing the side seams, rather than do as the instructions suggest and add them in the round. I’ve always found that sewing the whole sleeve and body side seam in one go is simpler. I did baste all the intersections between the contrast stripe and the main navy body to make sure that they still aligned really well once I attached them on the overlocker, and I think it did make a big difference to the level of accuracy.

My twin needle did not like stitching over all the seamlines at the hem in particular, so I have needed to redo a few sections. I’m still glad I chose to use the twin needle though over a stretch or zigzag stitch because I think in an athletic garment it probably does look more professional.

Matt would say that one of the markers of success on a project like this one is that it looks like something you could buy, meaning that there is nothing about it which screams ‘handmade’ by being less than professionally finished. For me, that seems like a compliment, especially as this performs better than anything I have seen in shops, with the nursing zips adding a lot of functionality.

I will be tempted to make another nursing version, and I would also consider using it to make basic fleeces in the future too. Without being able to try it on yet it is difficult to know if there are fitting tweaks that I could do with making in subsequent versions, but I am provisionally happy with how it has all turned out!