MCBN December: Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt

It amazes me that I have had Grainline Studio’s Archer shirt pattern printed, taped and cut for over 2 years! I faltered at the step of pairing it with a fabric. Still better late than never. I finally used it for my December MCBN make. When I opened the package with the fabric, it immediately clicked for me that the twill weave cotton would be an Archer. I am mildly irritated with myself for taking so long to make this pattern but that’s something I want to tackle in 2019.

In the meantime…..

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt (It was a cold day!)

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

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MCBN November: Mens Smart Trousers Burda 6873

The thing I was most scared of sewing was smart work trousers for my husband. I have sewn him T shirts, jeans, hoodie tops, shorts, shirts, a coat; but trousers for work? That felt like out of my league. As the year has progressed I have been trying to push myself out of my comfort zones. I had to try it before the year was out. And here I am – feeling like I can finally call myself an advanced seamstress because not only have a made him trousers for work – they are the best fitting pair of trousers he has owned. Ever! Thats my November Minerva project. I am calling it my levelling up project (any World of Warcraft players here?) :-).

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

A Q&A with Diane of Dream.Cut.Sew.com

I am thrilled to have Diane on the blog to talk about starting a blog, BurdaStyle advice, favourite quote and so much more. I have been following Diane on her blog DreamCutSew.com and Instagram for over a year and it’s easy to fall in love with her blog – she is a woman who radiates ease in her being and fabulous style. I had the pleasure of meeting her in real life at The STitchRoom Sewcial earlier this year. What struck me the most about Diane is how she exudes an inner radiance that makes the world shine just that little bit brighter. So I reached out and asked her if she’d like to do a Q&A guest blog post and here we are. Grab a cuppa and settle in.

You will love this guys. Enjoy! Enjoy!

What was your lightbulb moment for starting your blog Dream Cut Sew?

Hmm, I wouldn’t say it was a lightbulb moment as such, but I had been on Instagram for just over a year in Sept ‘16 and whilst on holiday in Greece, I started to get a thought that I couldn’t get rid of. At the back of my mind I kept thinking…why not start a blog?… I think I have a point of view that I could share…

At the time I hadn’t a clue how to do it and wasn’t a bit technical. A lot of Googling of how to start a blog ensued! I started my blog in January 2017

What has been your proudest moment so far on this journey?

Well, I was thrilled to be chosen to be one of the BurdaStyle Influencer team, so I guess that would be it. But also learning a whole load of technical behind-the-scenes blogging stuff that I didn’t know I was capable of doing.

You recently became a BurdaStyle Influencer, can you advise anyone who wants to sew with Burdastyle?

Always add seam allowances! And read all of the instructions through thoroughly before you even start. And then read again as you sew. I would suggest sewing one of the simpler silhouettes up as a starter project and get a feel for how things are described by Burda within instructions. Oh, and if you don’t want to trace from a magazine all of the patterns can be downloaded as PDF’s on The BurdaStyle.com website.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a blog?

Well, this could vary depending on what you’re aiming to achieve. If you’re happy with just starting on a free blogging platform then you couldn’t go wrong with using Blogger or WordPress free sites. However, I wanted full control and my own domain name right from the start. I would say find a good hosting platform and be self-hosted as you have total control over your website. I would also suggest taking time choosing your blog name as it could be a right faff to change it down the line.  Also, take time to connect with comments that people leave on your blog.

How do you balance sewing with your life pursuits?

Hah! Sewing IS my life! I’m not very good at balance and get into ruts easily.

How do you switch off and relax?

I really struggle with switching off or relaxing, but I guess I like to go for a walk, or out to dinner, or maybe watch a good movie.

What does the future hold for Dream Cut Sew?

Ooh, well I want to keep sharing my love of unique designs and my sewing projects. I would also like to build my readership maybe to work with more brands.

What are your other interests/hobbies?

Photography is something that interests me a lot and since earlier this year I’ve been getting to grips with using Lightroom and shooting RAW photos.

I’m also really interested in Fashion and style generally, which goes hand in hand with my sewing.

I also dabble in a bit of gardening occasionally (I’m a bit of a fair-weather gardener though!)

What is your most used swear word when sewing?

I’m not one that swears that much but if I  accidentally chopped a hole in something when I’m sewing then I’m likely to shout  ‘shit’ or’ bugger’ 🙂 I have a strong dislike of  the ‘F’ word so I never use it

Dogs or Cats?……….

Easy to answer this one. It’s cats! I have a gorgeous dark tabby and white cat called Bilbo and we have cat conversations. I even know the word he uses for food 🙂 It sounds like “nang”

Scary movie or happy endings?

This one is a bit tricky because I do like both, but I tend to watch an awful lot of sci-fi and thrillers. I love ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Walking Dead’ for instance, but I adore the film ‘Meet Joe Black’

Can you share your favourite quote with us?

This one is easy. It’s a quote by Coco Chanel

 “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”

Thank you Diane, for sharing your answers. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better.

Meanwhile, you can check out Diane’s blog DreamCutSew and her Instagram @Dream.Cut.Sew for fabulous inspiration.

Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

Mens Hooded T-Shirt For Him, Drafted by Me

Honey, can I wear this sharks top?” He called out from the top of the stairs.

Sure you can babe. You don’t need to ask my permission, its in your closet” came my mildly annoyed reply as I hurried to get the laundry going seeing as 3 of the kids had wet their beds.

OK its just that it hasn’t been photographed yet for the blog has it?” with genuine confusion and concern in his voice and on his face as he comes round the door while pulling the top over his head.

I stop loading the machine to look at him and suddenly realise that he was right. I used to be manic in my determination to catalog every single thing I made. When I started the blog that was the purpose – to have an evidence journal of my creative outputs as part of managing depression. An easy to access record.

I relaxed my posture, “its all good now, I don’t have to do a photoshoot”. It is at this juncture that it occurs to me that I have matured in my hobby/craft/passion. Although strictly speaking there are 2 separate things here: sewing and blogging. I am aware that there are many (many) more people who sew and don’t blog about it.

I love blogging and I love sewing.

Maturity is when your identity solidifies a little bit and your energy levels reach a steady level point – nicely located halfway between having no sewjo and being panicked there is no time to possibly sew everything I want to sew.

Maturity means I now curate my fabric collection rather than add to my stash.

It means I mindfully add to my sewing pattern collection not just for me but for possible future generations.

Maturity means my husband is now allowed to wear a new off the sewing machine garment without waiting for photoshoots to be done first! That’s growth people!

But just for the fun of it – here is the hooded T-shirt I made him. Pictures taken on my phone :-). The pattern is self-drafted. This was the first go and it has a few adjustments to be made. He loves the upper half but would like it to be a narrower at the hem – something about it letting in too much of a draft. The next iteration will have cuff bands and a hem band.

The fabric was from Laura whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in person several times. She is just so lovely and please do go check out her small online business she started where she curates the fabric she sells (also reasonably priced). Her online shop is called The Fabric Magpie .

If you have been blogging for a while now do you find that your reason for blogging has changed? Or is it still the same? 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time,

Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

MCBN September: Adventure Sewing–Loungewear Edition

I have been feeling like I am in a rut of late. Though I love sewing, it’s been feeling a bit episodic. I felt a longing to shake things up and realised that I was seeking adventure in my sewing life. Enter adventure sewing.  Here is an excerpt from  my September post

I came across the term “sensation seeking” the other day. Sensation seeking is a trait we all have and includes the search for complex and new experiences; this month’s project is a perfect example of my sensation seeking trait. I have decided to call this “adventure sewing”. Let me start from the beginning….

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

5 Simple Ideas to improve Sewing Room Ergonomics

I have been doing a lot of research into sewing room ergonomics. I have the privilege of having a dedicated room for my sewing and I have been rearranging it using the principles of feng shui and ergonomics. For this post, I am looking specifically at ergonomics and will do a post on Fengshui later.

As someone who practices yoga – posture and alignment are important to me. My posture and small back discomfort have improved significantly since I started practising yoga. A natural extension has been improving posture while sewing.

circa 2015 – the stool was not correct height, no back support and the table where my machine sat was too low.  Unsurprisingly I found that I had a lot of discomfort and pain in my lower back and my neck area. The machine was also located in a corner that got the least amount of light causing me to bend over and squint when sewing.
circa 2015 – doing Sashiko for PRSewing Bee. Even with hand sewing I was not paying attention to my posture. My neck angle is all wrong. Shoulders are hunched.

Sewing involves repeated movements of the arm and shoulder while the spine doesnt move. I was stooped over quite a lot and seeing pictures like this made me aware of the need for change.

 

There is a lot of ongoing research on ergonomics in the sewing industry. Fashion is a billion-dollar industry. It relies on sewing, therefore, sewing is quite important.

A useful diagram for sewing ergonomics is this:

 

 

Image source: Pinterest

I like this image because it shows the wrong way and the right way. I used to be like the top drawing and leaning over which was really bad.

Lighting

The thing I found to have the most difference was the lighting. Adequate lighting to prevent slouching. I moved my working table with the machine directly under the skylight and it made such a huge difference indeed to my posture.

My Machine is now under the skylight. Its also directly in front of the light fitting for night time sewing. Better light on my work all round. You can see my chair  in situ as well.

Tilt Table –

I was lucky enough to find mine on Ebay for £30. It tilts the sewing machine angle which in turn reduces slouching over to see clearly. It improved the view of the needle and meant I could sit back in a comfortable position. I cant find them here in the UK but I did find this site in the US.

Sew Ergo Advantage T1 Sewing Machine Tiltable Table Angled Sloped Platform 18x11x3″ Relieves Neck and Upper Back Strain
My Tilt Table on my Husqvarna Sewing machine
Back View of the sewing tilt table

Adjustable chair with back support and cushioning.

I was using a stool before which meant I couldn’t control the angle of my knees or elbows which caused more strain. It need not be expensive – I picked mine up for £4 from a local charity shop. Ebay and Gumtree are also good sources of preloved bargains.

Adjustable height chair with back support bought from a charity shop for £4.
Image of Boss Office Deluxe Posture Chair from MostCraft.com

Positioning your iron correctly to avoid back pain.

This was a hard one for me because I didn’t think it would make a difference but really I do spend as much time ironing as I do sewing! I press every seam so that follows. Additionally, I iron our laundered clothes. I had never stopped to think about how to do this correctly and what a revelation! I was amazed at what a difference this made towards maintaining my posture and making ironing less tiring.

Basically, shoulders should be relaxed and back in upright position. Adjust ironing board to a comfortable level where you don’t have to stoop or bend over and stand with one knee bent as you iron. You can use a stool as well but adjusting so the elbow angle is at a right angle.

http://www.abackforlife.org/24hrepasser.htm

I placed the  power cable on the ironing board so as to avoid constantly bending over to turn iron on and off.

Hanging iron cord

A final point in my journey is that I found hanging my iron cord so it falls to the iron has made ironing that much more comfortable. I don’t have to pull the cord along. I implemented this based on the pictures and videos I saw of the sewing industry. It’s a simple fix – I installed a hook just over where my ironing board is.

Hook on wall to hang the cable.
Simple knob bought from Anthropologie (during a sale) for £4.50. I could have bought something functional but sometimes pretty is nice too 🙂

 

 

A simple alternative is this Iron flex cord :

Brabantia Iron Flex Guide – Black

These are simple and small things that in the long run have reduced the muscle ache and strain I would get from long periods of sewing. My next project with this is to work on setting up a standing sewing station. However, this requires more financial input than is available so it is on my wishlist for the future but I have read a lot of positive things about standing workstations.

EDIT- A comment mentioned this desk which I have added to my wish list Skarsta SIt/Stand adjustable desk.  It is adjustable and looks quite functional.

Another thing I did was to print out the sewing ergonomics picture and pin it across from my workstation to have that constant visual feedback and reminder.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you have enjoyed this post – do you have any tips to share about improving posture and reducing muscle strain while sewing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Peace and love,

Hila

Further reading

A fascinating site about movement – https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/a-day-in-the-life/

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/sewing/sewingstationdesign.html

http://www.sewing.org/files/guidelines/21_110_sewing_room_setup_for_healthy_sewing.pdf

 

My 8th Moneta needs no introduction….

Hey hey guys!

One of my favourite dresses on the planet is finally on the blog! Whoop! Its a Moneta dress – number 8! Will there ever be a number 10? How many more can I make? Only time will tell. In the meantime this is a pictures post :-)..

Colette Patterns Moneta Dress
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – awesome stripe matching!
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – Pockets are EVERYTHING!
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – Slightly wonky but who cares?
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – Dancing!
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – “Oh no Mr Mad Hatter, I drank from the bottle that said ‘Drink Me’ and now I can almost touch the ceiling!” Caption by Diane DreamCutSew.com
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress Dont know what to call this pose….
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – “I woke up like this and this is how I yawn” 🙂
Colette Patterns Moneta Dress – This is my ” I mean business pose” 🙂

Pictures taken at The StitchRoom Sewcial. Fabric was from Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds Market.

Dress in motion here..

Thanks for stopping by and until next time happy sewing 🙂

Peace and love,

Hila

xox

Sleeveless Peplum Blouse BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114 #burdachallenge2018

BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B

Here is a pattern that I like so much I made several of them in succession! I like the simple look and feel of the pattern. It is something that I have had traced for almost 2 years but never got round to making it. It seems I have made up for that.

Sleeveless Peplum Blouse 07/2015 #114

Sleeveless Peplum Blouse 07/2015 #114

I have the tops in this Youtube video here

So I made it in the John Kaldor Lizzano sateen fabric first. The John Kaldor was something I fell for when my friend Ali (akathimberlina) showed hers on IG and I quickly bought from an online shop. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the shop. Its beautiful vibrant fabric that I used to make a shirtdress the M6696 shirtdress and used leftovers to make some this top.

I managed to sew this out of just under a meter of fabric. The rest was used to make a sash.

BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B

The instructions tell you to insert an elastic on the waist but opted not to do that as I found (much to my surprise) that I like the free boxy look.

Instead of sewing the armhole bias binding in the round, here is what I did:

After finishing the neckline I sewed up the shoulder seams. Then sewed the armhole binding in the flat. Next, I sewed the side seams. I fell like this was far easier and neater than sewing in the round.

 

So when it came time to think about my #makenine2018 I knew that the barkcloth would look amazing in this pattern and I did not hesitate to cut into it. I love it!

BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B
BurdaStyle 07/2015 #114B

I also had some linen left over from the Hollyburn skirt I made a couple of years ago and it was just enough to make this top too. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures but you can see it on my Youtube channel at the link above.

And then I tried the longer non-peplum version of the top but with a few twists, i.e. adding a knit cuff neckline on a woven like I learnt when I made the Merchant and Mills Tee for my husband. It did quite work out though because I forgot to not stretch out the knit cuffing. I am so used to stretching it slightly when sewing but I needn’t have done it with this one so. It does do a bit of a puddle but never mind. The John Kaldor fabric is so comfy against the skin. I barely had 3/4m left from when I made the Sheath Dress.

Alterations

The line drawing shows that the back has a CB seam which means cutting 2 back pieces. I only did that with the first one. Subsequent ones were cut on the fold. It makes no difference at all because the CB is straight.

Size traced: 38.

Verdict – Definitely, a great top that I have no doubt I will come back to again and again. I had a think about which one is my favourite and………..its…………

Making my first print at The StitchRoom Sewcial, Loughborough University, June 2018. Picture courtesy of Lucy Regan, SewEssential.co.uk

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time

Happy Sewing!

Hila

XoX

MCBN August: Kwik Sew K3389 Coveralls & Allotment Stuff

This heatwave has been so good for our allotment. Berries have never sweeter, pumpkins have never grown as large, our bounty from the allotment is the best we have yet had in the 5 years of allotmenteering! It seemed only fitting that this would be the year that I finally made my OH some coveralls to protect his clothes when he does all the outdoor work. Here are some pictures from the allotment taken on Saturday and…..

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Bright Orange cotton drill Kwik Sew K3389 Coveralls
Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins
Wildflowers
The swiss chard has been a prolific cropper!
Carrots doing well.
Cant wait for the tomatoes to ripen.
I love marigolds – they remind me of my childhood.
A new strawberry bed that has done really well.
Leeks are coming along nicely.

Apples. When we took over this plot this tree only cropped 5 apples in that first year.
Our sunflowers didnt do too well – this was the best one.
The children love the allotment and thats the most important thing for me.
The kids decorated the shed using sample points of paint left over from when we renovated our house.
Another pumpkin variety. This is the first time we have had more than one pumpkin grow to these sizes.
Another massive pumpkin growing. Looking forward to harveting!
I grew globe artichokes from seed and now they are keeping bees very happy.
Globe artichokes are so beautiful!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

Vogue 9259 Short Jumpsuit: Pattern Review Pt 2

I knew that I would be making Vogue 9259 again after the success of the first one. Its a pattern that comes so easily together that when I decided I needed a hot pink number for the summer I reached for it. Except for this time, I made the “shorty shorts” view A.

Here is the line drawing:

I used some crepe fabric that I picked up from The Shuttle in Shipley. It washed well and irons quite nicely. It has what I like to call a “spongy” like texture. I didnt like topsticthing the fabric because of the texture so I opted to use a fair bit of hand sewing where I could. I think it gives the jumpsuit a more luxe look, but thats just my opinion.

Speaking of pictures, do you recall me talking about the StitchRoom Sewcial? And how we had a photoshoot for up to 2 outfits in a professional studio ? Well guess which outfit I took with me for that? :-)…

Vogue 9259
Vogue 9259
Vogue 9259
Vogue 9259
Vogue 9259

Vogue 9259

I used some silk habotai to line the waistband which makes it so very comfortable. Unfortunately I didnt manage to get interior pictures but they can be seen here on my Youtube video.

 

Verdict: a cute and dare I say it “sexy” little number that my hubs loves :-). Good thing its comfortable too!!!

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

xox

MCBN July: Linen Shirt Burda 7525

Blue skies, bright shining sun, birdsong. I love summer, the light grants bright vibrant colours. This July we have been out at dawn and dusk to catch the perfect light for photographs. I love how the linen shirt I made for my July Minerva make is in harmony with the current beautiful weather we are experiencing here in the North of England. Its almost as if when I ordered the fabric 3 months ago, I also ordered the perfect weather to wear it in once finished!

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and love,

Hila