Wednesday, 31 December 2014

PRIMA Pattern, December 2014 - Evening Dress and Shrug



There's until the end of today to order the December 2014 PRIMA Magazine pattern by phone (my apologies for the tardiness of this blog post - but, better late than never!). 

Prima Magazine - Pattern, December 2014 (01)

For December 2014, Prima Magazine are offering a V-neck evening dress, with or without a keyhole back in 2-lengths, plus a shrug. The patterns as usual both come in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).

Prima Magazine - Pattern, December 2014 (02)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, December 2014 (03)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, December 2014 (04)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.

For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Monday, 10 November 2014

I'm in the #bpSewvember 'Sewing Photo a Day Challenge' Are you?




Image Source: bimbleandpimble.com

I've been having lots of fun on my Instagram account posting photos for Amanda at bimbleandpimble.com's great SEWING PHOTO A DAY CHALLENGE.

The challenge is running for the entire month of November, and a different photo is posted each day - along with the hashtag #bpSewvember. it's a great way to connect and sharing with other sewing fans and to spread the sewing lurve!!


Image Source: bimbleandpimble.com

Here's my contribution so far (a collage of Days 1-9).





Friday, 7 November 2014

PRIMA Pattern, November 2014 - 2 Skirt Styles



The November 2014 PRIMA Magazine pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this month. 


For November 2014, Prima Magazine are offering 2 styles of quick and easy skirts. A gathered skirt with a wide-yoke for a slim fit at the waist - with side-seam pockets, and can be made as a full-length maxi-skirt, or above the knee. The flared A-Line skirt can be made below the knee or in a midi skater-length.

The patterns as usual both come in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).



Prima Magazine - Pattern, November 2014 (03)

When I looked at the copy of the pattern for the flared *A-Line skirt I thought that it looked much like the patterns you see for 'Circle Skirts'. And having measured it and done a little bit of maths, I've determined that it is indeed ⅓ Circle-Skirt pattern



See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.

For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

PRIMA Pattern, October 2014 - Slouchy Jersey Dress



The October 2014 PRIMA Magazine pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this month. 

PRIMA Magazine - October 2014 - Cover

For October 2014, Prima Magazine are offering a super comfy, slouchy looking jersey dress in a round or V-Neck. The pattern comes in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).

Prima Magazine - Pattern, October 2014 (02)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, October 2014 (03)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, October 2014 (04)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.


For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Friday, 5 September 2014

PRIMA Pattern, September 2014 - Jersey Wrap Dress



The September 2014 PRIMA Magazine pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this month. 

PRIMA Magazine - September 2014 - Cover

For September 2014, Prima Magazine are offering a jersey wrap dress in knee, midi or full-length. With, or without collar. Full or three-quarter-length sleeves in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).

Prima Magazine - Pattern, September 2014 (02)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, September 2014 (03)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, September 2014 (04)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.

For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Straight Stitches on Knit Fabrics... I'm Skipping No More!


Settings for straight-stitching Jersey/knit fabric
Settings that work for my machine to sew Jersey & Lightweight knit fabrics!
YES!!! I have FINALLY gotten together a successful formula for setting-up my beloved vintage zig-zag Novum sewing machine for stitching on jersey and other lightweight knit fabrics!

These days, since the Hubster bought me my lovely Overlocker (serger) for my birthday back in 2012 I'm usually okay for 95% of construction for T-Shirts and other knit garments. I just whizz them through the 'ol Brother 1034D with a smile on my face and the wind in my hair ;-) LOL! However, in the absence of a *Coverstitch sewing machine in my life I do like to get a straight-stitch effect on my cuffs and hems using my ordinary, regular sewing machine.

See an example below, of the typical problems I used to have with skipped stitches (from way back in 2012 when I sewed up Zoe's FREE vest pattern).
Skipped stitches
Opps - can we say "Skipped stitches?"

Previously, I struggled badly with skipped stitches and tension problems, all of which resulted in nasty, loose, unsecured, badly sewn seams, and pulled, wavy distorted hems :-(. Sooo NOT a good look for your me-made clothing!


My PREVIOUS Solution... 
I had until last night, been able to alleviate some of those problems to get "nearly" okay results by: 
• using a Microtex Sharp 70/10 machine needle (I had tried Universal, Ballpoint, Jersey, & Stretch needles, but counter to universally accepted advice 'Sharps' worked best for me!)
lowering tension on my upper thread (down from my usual 5 to 4), 
• using a medium stitch length (usually 2.5), 
• using a narrow width zig-zag stitch (to "look like" a straight stitch), 
• plus placing pieces of paper underneath the fabric (to aid it's movement through the machine - as it is sandwiched between the presser-foot from above, and by the feed-dogs beneath it). 
 using a super slow speed on the foot-pedal.


NOW, What I Do Instead...

I am now able to do the following to get a straight-stitch on anything from lightweight 100% Viscose knit fabrics, to Cotton/Lycra Jerseys
• using a Stretch 75/11 machine needle,
• lowering tension on my upper thread (down from my usual 5 to 3), 
• using a longer stitch length (increasing from 2.5 to 3.5-4), 
• using a straight stitch
• plus lowering the 'Feed Dogs' to the 'Silk' setting (so the machine "grips" the fabric more gently as it passes underneath the Presser Foot during stitching). 
• using a moderate-to-normal speed on the foot-pedal. 

And, these new-to-me settings don't require me to carefully rip out pieces of paper, or to painstakingly use my tweezers to remove miniscule tufts from the seams ;-) And, the stitching is completed much faster too - bonus!


My Thoughts on What Went Wrong Before Previously...
I'm assuming (and this is just me theorising here) that on my old settings where the 'Feed Dogs' were on the 'Normal' setting; that perhaps the machine was gripping the fabric too tightly? Maybe, that "grip" was causing it to slightly stretch/pull and alternately sometimes allow the jersey fabrics to get stuck just a little bit. Therefore, the irregular movement of the fabric passing under the presser-foot caused missed and skipped/ill-formed stitches. With the 'Silk' setting the grip is less-firm, and I believe that the fabric now moves through evenly and smoothly - thus allowing for a good stitch-formation to occur. I also believe that the reason I previously had to use the Microtex Sharp machine needles was, because the fabric was being stretched under the too-tight grip in some instances, it was effectively overly taut (like a trampoline!) underneath the path of the descending needle. So, the rounded-tip of Ballpoint etc. style machine needles simply "bounced" off of the tight fabric surface - as it was unable to pass through the fabric easily = missed stitches!!!



*Oh, my how I DO covet a Coverstitch machine but with x2 Overlockers, x3 Novums, x2 Brothers, and a Singer hand-crank in my life already I really don't have the space for one *sigh*


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

PRIMA Pattern, August 2014 - Sleeveless Top & Full Skirt



The August 2014 PRIMA Magazine pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this month. 

For August 2014, Prima Magazine are offering a sleeveless fitted top and a flattering full skirt.





Both patterns are on the same sheet in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK). 







See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.

For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Sunday, 6 July 2014

GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!! Simplicity 2404 Dress Pattern




And, the 2 lucky winners of the GIVEAWAY are No. 7 Beady Janet and No. 5 Shelley.

Congratulations Ladies! I've sent you an email requesting your postal address so I can get your Simplicity 2404 pattern sent out to you ASAP :) 



Simplicity 2404 - Dress Pattern  Simplicity 2404 - Dress Pattern
Image Source (L + R): www.simplicitynewlook.com

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

PRIMA Pattern, July 2014 - Women's & Girls Summer Dresses



                                           Don't forget to enter to win yourself a copy of
              SIMPLICITY 2404 Dress Pattern in my GIVEAWAY!

The July 2014 PRIMA Magazine pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this month. 
PRIMA Magazine - July 2014 - Cover

For July 2014, Prima Magazine are offering a classic set of dresses - a short-sleeved women's dress, and a sleeveless girl's dress.


Prima Magazine - Pattern, July 2014 (02)
Grace Kelly-style 50’s frock. With their simple stylish silhouettes, these summer dresses are perfect for girls of all ages. Women's dress and girl's in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK). Girl's dress in Ages 4 - 10.
Prima Magazine - Pattern, July 2014 (03)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, July 2014 (04)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.

For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Monday, 30 June 2014

ANYONE FOR TENNIS? A Simplicity Dress Pattern GIVEAWAY!!!



Unless you've been hidden away on a deserted island avoiding all contact with the outside world, you cannot fail to have noticed that there is great *sporting event currently taking place (*nope! NOT The Football World Cup in Brasil LOL!)... yes, I'm talking about a spot of tennis at The Wimbledon Championships - which this year is running until Sunday 6th July.

Wimbledon is renowned because all of it's "Competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white." You can't think of a famous Wimbledon Champion without envisaging them all in white sportswear can you :)?


Many have sported the white-tennis attire look over the years, none more famously than the mysterious girl in that 1976 Athena Poster - baring her derrière to the world (whilst her face shies away from the camera). The identity of the cheeky Miss had been unknown for many years - yet her image in a cute, white tennis dress sold over 2 million posters worldwide.

Athena 1976 Tennis Girl Poster - Simplicity Dress
Image Source: Fielding Auctioneers
Now, the identity of the white-dress wearer has finally been revealed after more than 3 decades. And, the original dress is now going up for auction
Athena Tennis Dress
Image Source: The Daily Mail Newspaper
The dress was sewn by Carol Knots, using a Simplicity Pattern most likely using Pattern 8203 (View 4). Carol added lace trim to the front neckline and to the hemline. The dress was lent to her friend Fiona Butler who modelled it in the now world famous poster.
Simplicity 8203 Dress Pattern (1969)
Simplicity Dress Pattern 8203 (1969)
Image Source: Vintage Patterns Wikia
Given the ongoing love affair of fashion for all things vintage, this retro silhouette is something that can still be carried off today with aplomb albeit using a more modern multi-size pattern + perhaps a longer hemline than the micro-mini favoured from yesteryear ;-)?

Enter the modern pattern contender! Simplicity 2404 it's a princess-line pattern (thus has similar style-lines to the vintage 8203 pattern), from their much loved Amazing Fit collection.

Simplicity 2404 - Dress Pattern  Simplicity 2404 - Dress Pattern
Image Source (L + R): www.simplicitynewlook.com

The dress comes with individual pattern pieces for slim, average and curvy fit. Plus it has & A,B,C,D cup sizes too. So, it's a flattering dress on a wide range of ladies 'n' shapes!


The pattern comes in 2-size options:
H5 (6-8-10-12-14), or U5 (16-18-20-22-24).

Now, it occurred to me that anyone wishing to get a style close to the look of the Athena Tennis dress had but only to carry out a little pattern tweaking! And, here's what I plan to do when I get a hold a copy of Simplicity 2404.
Simplicity 2404 - Pattern Hack (Athena Tennis Dress Homage)
My plans on how to tweak Simplicity 2404
to copy the "look" of the Athena Tennis Girl dress

Now, my lovely followers do you fancy getting your sewing-mitts on your own copy of this lovely dress pattern?


If you do, then you're in luck! As the lovely people at Simplicity have offered to GIVEAWAY a copy of pattern 2404 to 2 of my lucky UK readers (my apologies to my international readers - on this occasion the giveaway is for the UK only). The winners of the giveaway will be posted their patterns directly by the Simplicity folks :)

  Here's how to enter the GIVEAWAY... 
   ENTRIES WILL CLOSE ON SATURDAY 5th JULY 2014 AT 5.00PM UK TIME. ENTRIES ARE ELIGIBLE FROM UK ENTRANTS ONLY. THE WINNER'S NAME WILL BE DRAWN AT RANDOM. THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON SUNDAY 6th JULY 2014!
 
  1. Please leave a comment in this post below.

  2. Please, please ensure that I am able to contact you if you're a lucky winner! Make sure
     that your comment is associated to your blog/profile
. If you want to leave an email address in
     your comments feel free to do so - but to reduce
 the chances of you receiving tonnes of spam to your inbox, please
    post it in the style: name[at]domain[dot]com
.


  3. State in your comment which pattern size that you'd like to win.
    The pattern comes in 2-size optionsH5 (6-8-10-12-14), or U5 (16-18-20-22-24) 
    For sizing please see back of envelope, plus see Simplicity's Fit Help too.

  4. [OPTIONAL] Oh, and do please share who your favourite tennis player is and why!

  5. Sorry the giveaway is open to UK residents only.

  6. One-entry per person only is permitted.


PLEASE NOTE: That if I cannot easily find your email address
then you shall NOT be eligible to enter the Giveaway (sorry!)


Good luck everybody

Sunday, 29 June 2014

PRIMA Pattern, June 2014 - Batwing Top & Slim Trousers




So sorry sewing-peops, I've left it to the last minute to post about this one (my bad!). The June 2014 PRIMA Magazine has just until end of tomorrow (Monday 30th June 2014) to be ordered via their phone lines.



Prima Magazine - June 2014 - Cover

For June 2014, Prima Magazine are offering sewing patterns for 2 garments. A figure flattering top and trousers. This batwing top tapers in towards the hip and has a shaped hemline. Wear it over the slim trousers for a slender silhouette. 

Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2014 (02)

The patterns comes in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).

Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2014 (03)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2014 (04)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.


For my some of my thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .


Monday, 12 May 2014

"Oil Be Back!"

Alternative Post-Title: "Just a Drop Or 2 Please!"



01 - Sewing Machine Oil - Standard, Small Size Bottle (20ml)

I gave *2 of my sewing machines a good clean, de-linting and oil-up a couple of weeks ago. (*Yeeeeessss I own even more...hehe!)


The recipients of the spring-clean were my beloved vintage, all-metal, super heavy (it weighs 19.8kgs / 43.7lbsNovum New Mark IX - Sewing Machine and my Brother 1034D Overlocker (serger).



  


Brother 1034D Overlocker (Serger)
Using my mini-vacuum attachments to suck out all the
nasty bits from the insides of the overlocker. 
I posted the photos shown above of my machines mid-clean onto Twitter and Instagram and @ali_goddard asked me on Twitter which oil did I use? So, I decided to share a few of my thoughts on the topic of purchasing sewing machine oil.

If you pop into your local sewing, fabric, quilting or craft store you'll likely encounter one of these small plastic bottles of sewing machine oil (see below). In my experience these are the typical offering in the shops and online stores here in the UK.



  
Left:  Prym Sewing Machine Oil (Image Source: John Lewis)
Right:  Hemline Sewing Machine Oil (Image Source: Popular Patchwork)

Here are some photos of just such an "average" bottle of oil that I have at home.

Sewing Machine Oil: Standard Bottle 
Typical Size ~ 20ml


01 - Sewing Machine Oil - Standard, Small Size Bottle (20ml)

02 - Sewing Machine Oil - Standard, Small Size Bottle (20ml)
Typical, standard sized sewing machine oil bottle.
The lid unscrews, and you then screw on the long spout/tip
with which to dispense your oil carefully!
Now, if like me you have a vintage sewing machine - then [hopefully] you've read the instruction book and might have noticed that it asks you to oil your machine regularly... my book requests a weekly oiling! I'm guessing that back then, the manufacturers thought a whole lotta sewing was happening each and everyday LOL! Anyway, if you were to oil your vintage sewing machine even on a monthly basis - it's clear to see that you'd soon eat your way through a fair old amount of oil....

...hence why I purchased myself a large, more economical supply. Below, are pics of my Large Bottle: Typical Size ~ 120ml

03 - Sewing Machine Oil - Large Bottle (120ml)

This larger bottle holds 6-times the contents of the smaller, 20ml standard-sized bottles. The metal spout is approx. 10cm/4" tall, and the metal nib can be unscrewed (although I'm not sure of the purpose for that hehe!)

More recently, I purchased for myself a much smaller bottle... in fact it's a Precision Oil Pen, with typical contents of 5ml of oil.


04 - Sewing Machine Oil - Precision Pen (5ml)

05 - Sewing Machine Oil - Precision Pen (5ml)


Needle Length is approx. 25mm/1”.
Total Length is approx. 13cm/51/8”.
1.2mm Diameter Needle Tip.
Needle can be unscrewed to allow re-filling with more oil.

06 - Sewing Machine Oil - Precision Pen (5ml)

The tiny 1.2mm sized tip is what drew me to purchasing the Precision Oil Pen. I had previously been guilty of over-oiling my machine with the standard/large sized bottles (not a good thing as excess oil can attract dust/lint and eventually gunk up your machine, so impeding performance). The tiny tip can dispense very small/fine droplets of oil to precisely where it's actually needed
. This style of oil dispenser is often sold for watch repairers - who work on very small sized machinery and mechanics indeed!

Here's a photo comparison of tip / nib sizes:

07 - Sewing Machine Oil - Precision Pen vs Standard Size Bottle

The Precision Oil Pen tip is approximately x3 times smaller in diameter than the standard/typical 20ml sized "small" sewing machine oil bottle.

Check your sewing machine manual! In regards to [non-vintage] newer machines it's vital to check your user manual / instruction book to find out whether your manufacturer recommends oiling before use. It may seem odd to us non-sewing engineers but many, many modern machines do not require oiling. It seems intuitive that any moving parts where metal moves against, or on another metal part should be oiled, however for new modern machines this is not always the case. Your sewing machine dealer or manufacturer should be able to advise you whether your particular model can or cannot be oiled - and if so, which parts are safe to be oiled (without causing damage to your precious!).

Here's a little table I drew up summarizing my thoughts on these 3 different sizes of bottles:




Shopping... some places to try:
Big Bottles (search for 120ml /150ml size, 'Singer' bottles are often larger too): eBay is great - try
 AlanSews (AlansAlterations)


Precision Oil Pen: eBay again! ClockStoppers seller has some

Standard/Small Bottles: Save on P&P delivery fees and hunt around at your favourite local quilting / sewing / craft shops for Hemline, Prym brand bottles. John Lewis also stock this size of oil too.





Monday, 28 April 2014

Threads Magazine... An App on the Android Platform (At Last!!)




Threads is Available Now for Android

Looks like Threads Magazine have finally gotten around to producing an Android platform app (available via Google Play) for digital editions of the magazine (yay - at last). This is 2 years since they launched the Threads Insider digital service.

Which means that those of us on Android smartphones/tablets have now caught up with our iPad / iPhone wielding chums ;)

If (like me) you are already a print magazine subscriber and get the hardcopy delivered to your door... then fret-ye-not, as the tablet app editions are FREE for us! Similarly if you are a paid-up Threads Insider - then just click on the app links (see this page)to get started.

Hardcopy magazine subscribers will need their customer number (on the mailing label on the outside envelope of your magazine); Threads Insider members need their registered email address.

I've yet to try it out. I only noticed the Google Play/app info. earlier today - with a little section on the top near the banner of the Threads website saying "Now on Google Play for Android Devices" in red text.

So, I need to wait until I get home tonight to have a play around with things on my phone. And, here's hoping that I can get it to work on my Amazon *
Kindle Fire HD too (*the Kindle tablet is based on an adaptation of the Android operating system). I checked the Kindle store online today & there's now sign of a Kindle version of the app - I hope that Threads Magazine remedy that soon (and that it doesn't take a further 2 years LOL?)



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

PRIMA Pattern, May 2014 - Easy Dress




The May 2014 PRIMA Magazine has just landed at the end of last week onto the shelves in the newsagents. 
(As per standard for the publication of magazines, each issue comes out during the month prior to the date printed on the cover - so this specific issue came out during early April.


PRIMA Magazine - May 2014 - Cover

Usually, any non-subscribing customers who wish to receive the monthly *FREE pattern need to telephone through their requests by the end of the month printed onto the front of the actual magazine. E.g. for January's pattern customers would have needed to telephone Prima by the 31st January to place their order in time.


Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2014 (04)

For the May 2014 issue though - Prima Magazine have issued the actual pattern with the magazine itself! Hurray! Long may this continue - although somehow I feel it's a one-off in the wake of the popularity and success of BBC TV's series 'The Great British Sewing Bee' programme. (I remember years ago when Prima always included the sewing pattern in the centre-fold of their magazines.)
Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2014 (06)
The pattern comes with the both the 'Regular' and 'Handbag' sized PRIMA Magazine options

It even looks kind of like a "proper" envelope pattern - being packaged in a medium (roughly C5 sized) envelope.


Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2014 (06)

Therefore, the only way to get the May 2014 pattern is to: 
a) be an **opted-in subscriber, or...
b) purchase a copy from your local newsagents in person (before they run out).


Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2014 (05)

For May 2014, Prima Magazine are offering a casual, easy-fitting dress or tunic in a choice of lengths, with either short or three-quarter-length sleeves. Four looks from one simple pattern.

Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2014 (02)

The dress comes in Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).

Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2014 (03)


*The standard process for ordering the free monthly Prima Magazine patterns is to call a special telephone line. Therefore, their patterns are technically free - except for the costs you will incur telephoning the special order number - which changes each month. See more in my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.


**Prima Magazine subscribers can opt-in or out of receiving the monthly free sewing patterns (guess which one I opted for ;) LOL!).



For my some of my NEW thoughts on PRIMA Magazine's sewing patterns - and how I'd personally like to see them change to make things better and easier for sewing-fans - please see this link here Claire's Tuppence Worth... .