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Arts & crafts

Sewing, the craft, fabrics, patterns, problems

(234 Posts)
karmalady Sat 05-Feb-22 07:46:01

I have been sewing since age 6, started on an ancient singer treadle and have sewn now for 68 years. I did have a gap, like many people, clothes were so cheap at one time, it was not worth the sewing effort. I did the clothkits range, the children and I wore clothkits, lovely kits, rugged fabric and everything provided

I went back into sewing properly about 25 years ago, learning a lot of new stuff from craftsy, learnt about lots of new gadgets, many very helpful. Such a change from basic sewing, back and forth, basic zig zag but that was the kind of sewing that tought us very much and gave us a very good basis

karmalady Sat 05-Feb-22 07:59:29

Sewing is a lifeline for me, body shape has changed and now my aim is to have a wardrobe purely hand made. I did have a dressform, padded out carefully to my measurements and height, took me a week to do. I have watched my weight since lockdown began and have now been able to remove all that padding. I have a lady valet

re fabrics, I don`t use any polyester, not wanting to add to ocean pollution in the future. I have a massive stash of fabrics, all natural like cotton, linen, viscose, some with added elastane for stretch. I no longer feel guilty at having such a stash, inflation is rising rapidly, it is money well spent

Patterns have changed too, I tend to like indie designers now and pdfs, which I can store on memory sticks. I dislike using A4 to make the actual pattern but patterns can be printed in eg 2 sizes so that tapering is much easier. I also have a humungous pattern selection, many printed from the likes of stylearc. I have started to catalogue patterns in a business card folder. Quick drawing and some details. Later I will sort into catergories such as skirts

I turned a bedroom into a dedicated sewing room, extended an old heavy desk by adding a shelf to the back top and cut the feet of a few cm, to make it more comfortable. I have several machines and hang cones etc on the walls. Such a change to the old days, when I would use a dining table

I won`t be sewing yet, I need to restore my home as the painter is coming soon and everywhere is being used for storage. My mind, however, is being geared up, ready for spring

ayse Sat 05-Feb-22 08:01:41

I’ve been seriously sewing since I was 18 although I learned the basics earlier. It’s gone in fits and starts but these days I do repairs, make dog coats for one dd and help another with curtains and blinds. I recently made a 20s style dress for dd3 from an original pattern. It was quite a revelation.

ATM, I’m sorting through all my saved fabrics, bits and pieces, deciding what to keep and what to pass on. I have enough clothes to last a very long time so I’m planning on doing more hand embroidery and patchwork activities.

Over the years I’ve dabbled in a huge variety of crafts and I’m sure this will continue. It’s such fun learning new crafts and trying new ideas. I’ll have to look at Crafty.

ayse Sat 05-Feb-22 08:10:12

I do have some synthetics, mainly the silky variety used for curtains and these are the off-cuts from shortening etc. These days I steer clear of polyester based fabrics to avoid more pollution.

We have a local hospice shop that specialises in homeward etc. It has a large selection of cotton end of roll curtain fabrics at greatly reduced prices. I made some new Roman blinds and still have a bit left over. I’m planning to buy some more to make a set of table mats for gifts.

Serendipity22 Sat 05-Feb-22 08:24:31

Love sewing. My mum had an old Singer sewing machine that, as a child, i would make various things. Then through my teens into being a mum, i would still sew ( my children's clothes, clothes for me)

Then i started making curtains for friends, i have made loads and loads of curtains, crafts clothes, cushions ohh the list is endless.

Then fast forward to the pandemic and the restrictions plus the past my illness was progressing to the point that walking was extremely difficult, and so the machine then became a close 'friend'. Because i found walking difficult, i stayed at home ( taking into account thats all we could do) and me being me could NOT sit sit sit watching TV alllllll day long, so i made bags ( drawstring make up bags ) and LOTS of other sewing crafts for my GC, its was like a production line ( my kitchen resembled a sweatshop hahaha )

I give all the bags away to people, because a) its given me something to do that i love and b) other people benefit.

My son sends me videos of my GC opening their packages that i post over to them with heaps of exciting sewing gifts in.


FannyCornforth Sat 05-Feb-22 08:26:50

Lovely thread ? smile

Tina49 Sat 05-Feb-22 08:48:48

Ooh, I remember Clothkits - we lived in Brighton at the time (early 70s) and I made quite a few of their kits for our daughters. The company were bought out, and closed for a while, then relaunched in 2008. I think a GD might still have one of the kit dolls!

fairfraise Sat 05-Feb-22 08:58:14

I remember Clothkits in the 1980s. I made the lovely padded jacket with animals on and a patch pocket and the little stuffed animals that came with it, for my daughter. I wish I had kept it. I used to make many of my daughter's dresses until she was about 6.

rubysong Sat 05-Feb-22 09:04:09

I sew in fits and starts and haven't done much since the mask making and scrubs bags eased off. My latest project was cookery aprons for the DGC, aged 5 and 2. I was looking through some old photos and found one where I am wearing a dress I made before I left primary school. My next aim to construct a toile for a simple tunic dress with pockets. I'm nearly there, just have to get the sleeves right. I am also a fanon Clothkits and made lots of their things for the DC and myself. I especially remember my green skirt either a herbaceous border around the hem.

Baggs Sat 05-Feb-22 09:05:54

Fascinating two posts at the beginning of the thread, karmalady. I once hoped to make all my own clothes, even bras, but.... well... let's just leave that there. Made a lot of own clothes though including ball-gowns because I went to a lot of Scottish Country Dancing Balls spread over twenty-five years. I'd still be doing it if it weren't so painful (arthritis and fibromyalgia).

About fifteen years ago I made several pairs of baggy trousers with big patch pockets for myself out of old curtains and wore them to death. They didn't owe me anything by the end, having been curtains for fourteen years beforehand! Have added a screenshot of me walking back from taking Minibaggs to school (a lot of years ago caught on ggl maps). Minibaggs found it and went "OMG! That's my mum!" Her friends thought it was a hoot.
Made lots of clothes for my kids too, plus toys, patchwork quilts, cushion covers.

Current sewing efforts are temari, Japanese thread balls. It has been such a soggy winter here and I've been unable consequently to get much done in the garden, that I'm on my fifth. Normally I'd only make a couple. How it started and how it's going pics of the latest one below.

JoyBloggs Sat 05-Feb-22 09:08:36


Lovely thread ? smile

Lovely 'thread'! grin

Will follow this thread with interest... I have sewn all my life. I started when I was very little, making tiny bedding which I left out at night for the fairies who I believed lived in our house! My dad saved the items and I think they are still around somewhere in a toffee tin with similar treasures!

I've done lots of dressmaking and soft furnishings - clothes for myself, bridesmaids dresses for my daughters, curtains, duvet covers etc. My granny taught me how to embroider when I was about 10 and about 40 years later I took this up again and designed cross stitch and crewel projects for magazines and for several years I produced my own range of cross stitch card kits.

After fruitless searches for well-made summer clothes in decent fabrics last summer I have decided to return to dressmaking and make some tops this year. I like simple styles in good quality material so just a matter of tracking down some attractive linen/silk/viscose.

fairfraise Sat 05-Feb-22 09:49:38

I made a loose cover for a sofa once complete with piped edges on arms and cushion pads. It took me six weeks and I thought never again! I haven't made any dresses for years, mainly because fabric is now so expensive. Was able to get Laura Ashley and Liberty remnants back in the day !

AreWeThereYet Sat 05-Feb-22 10:12:52

This is a lovely thread, I do love reading about all the sewing and knitting projects everyone does. So many beautiful things made so skillfully.

For a long time my sewing has been just making blinds and curtains (and of course masks!) but I'm hoping once I've finished this set of blinds to get back to clothes. I haven't made many clothes, but would like to make more.

Serendipity22 Sat 05-Feb-22 10:42:53

I didn't think to post photos of my sewing crafts.
The bags are done on my machine but all the felt cràfts are sewn by hand...

Beechnut Sat 05-Feb-22 10:50:43

Oh Serendipity I love those chips (fries).

Serendipity22 Sat 05-Feb-22 11:09:01

What an absolute patience testing thing they were to sew and stuff .... BUT i got there, sent them off to my GC and received a video of them opening them and the look on faces....

Dickens Sat 05-Feb-22 11:39:22

This is a lovely thread (see what I did there grin.)

I've never sewn a stich in my life apart from putting buttons back on shirts, but these posts have got me seriously interested!

The creativity is fantastic! Probably relaxing and 'good for the soul' too...

rockgran Sat 05-Feb-22 12:22:24

I can definitely recommend sewing. Soft craft (and paper crafting) is my happy place. I follow lots of online crafters - sewing, knitting, etc. for ideas and add my own. Youtube is brilliant. I make a lot for a charity otherwise I would be inundated but I love to make a new bag or cushion using a new idea. It has kept me busy and happy over lockdown and I'm rarely bored. My latest is a peg rug using up scraps. I'm lucky to have a dedicated craft room as it would take over the house if not controlled!

effalump Sat 05-Feb-22 12:39:17

I was taught to sew at age 9 on an old hand-cranked machine, with mother watching me. When I started work at 15, I made a lot of my own clothes and some knitted items as I had a knitting machine. Made most of my dresses, skirts, tops, trousers and the occasional jacket until my late 40's. I have a ton of fabrics but, sadly, no patience and lousy eyesight even though I have my eyes tested every year, I'm never 100% happy with the specs. Yes, they seem fine in the Opticians when you're looking at things in a room that measures roughly 6x9ft but when you're home and looking at everything, near and far, it's a different matter and I've tried vari-focals but can't get used to them.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 05-Feb-22 12:49:13

Hand embroidery is my first love, then I went through machine sewing clothes, patchwork quilting and the like. I find it a bit sad that my sister's DIL can't sew at all and takes anything which requires a button to her to do. Everyone should at least be able to sew a button or mend a seam, man or woman.

I love knitting too and picked my needles up again during the second lockdown.

OakDryad Sat 05-Feb-22 13:20:50

I do have a fancy machine but also enjoy the slowness of hand sewing and using fabric snippets in (mainly paper) collage work. Does anyone else here watch Sky Arts Landscape Artist? There have been some very talented fabric and paper collage artsts in recent series.

I must admit I am not terribly good at putting colour schemes together so draw inspiration from painters’ palettes. Does anyone else do this? I use the Bridgeman Images archive to find paintings where the palette appeals to me. I then drag the image into the Adobe Color app which extracts colour themes in moods: colouful, bright, muted and deep. It will also extract gradients for blending and ombre schemes. Then I can visit my local fabric stores with a colour theme in mind although it doesn’t stop me wanting to browse for hours.

The interest in paper crafting developed during the early weeks and months of lockdown with a friend who lives 300 miles distant (and a bit of inspiration from Grayson’s Art Club). We challenged one another to create art from whatever we had to hand. I took to junk journalling. All those fabric scraps that all sewers have came in very useful for making journal covers which are more durable than paper.

I’m lucky to have two sewing machines. The older non-digital one also has a good range of decorative stitches and has been pressed into service in my journalling. Like rockgran, never bored and always inspired by my favourite sewers, fabric and collage artists who very generously share their ideas through social media.

NotTooOld Sat 05-Feb-22 17:35:21

I've always sewed, too. My mum and grandma were both sewers and my mum taught me to use her Singer treadle machine when I was very young. Since then I have made clothes for myself, my children, grandchildren and various dolls. During lockdown I made summer dresses, buying the fabric cheaply from the many textile websites.

I am always on the lookout for a very simple shift dress (not fitted) pattern with extended shoulders for sleeves and no zip. I would want to make it in cotton or linen, not stretchy fabric. Some come close, eg StyleArc, but none are perfect (for me, at any rate). If anyone knows of one, please send me the number!

Fernbergien Sat 05-Feb-22 17:58:47

I’ve done many bits of craft and sewing over the years. In 2019 I was ill and lost weight and had to alter dresses. Always had to shorten long sleeved on jackets etc. Always done ok.
BUT not good on zips so in the end I used to sew round where zip was to be then invisibly sewed in zip on top of stitching. Probably didn’t have right sewing equipment. It worked well.

AreWeThereYet Sat 05-Feb-22 18:41:28

Fernbergien I'm useless on zips too - I seem to get really cackhanded just looking at them. I watched the Sewing Bee and picked up a few tips but haven't applied them yet ?

Ali08 Sun 06-Feb-22 06:09:03

Ask in local charity shops for patterns, as you might get a nice surprise at a decent price.
Some older patterns can be made to look quite modern, and you could find curtains etc in them that can be used to make new things with!