Monthly Archives: November 2013

I Guess That Answers My Question: Janome Cover Pro 1000CPX

Thank you so much for all your replies on my question “Should I buy a coverlock machine?”! I love love love the online sewing community for many reasons, the wealth of advice and information you guys give being one of them.
I concluded (unsurprisingly, it might have been a leading question…) that yes, I should buy a coverlock machine. Most of you seemed to use theirs to great effect – and after all, we’re worth it, aren’t we??!

A couple of Aniston-like hair flicks later I decided not to wait for Santa and started researching possible options. There seem to be pros and cons of every model, but in the end it boiled down for me to chosing the Janome Cover Pro 1000CPX. I paid 600 € for it new with 5 years guarantee and a couple of accessories (the binder foot not being one of them, unfortunately) and so in three day’s time this baby is coming to live with me.

Oh wait, that is just before the weekend and I have no other plans :-)! Oh wait, I might have to put in another order for knit fabrics, just to prepare. Might I have a few fabrics on my online wish list already?

Well, we all know the answer to that ;-)!

Progress report after the weekend, obviously.


Would You Buy a Coverlock Machine?

By which of course I mean “Should I buy a coverlock machine?”

With Christmas coming up I have been wondering that for a little while. I do like to sew knits and have had limited success with my twin needle efforts. I often zig-zag knit seams and most of the time that looks okay – but not great – so what do you think? Should I flash my eye lashes at Santa re a coverlock machine?

I’m under no illusion that it might pay its way, after all I sew only for myself so a new sewing machine for basically one single applications is always going to be an indulgence.

Do any of you have a coverlock machine? Are you deliriously happy with it, or in the depths of despair? Any advice on make and model? Or should I just live with sometimes slightly wavy seams and be done with it? How do you cope with wavy seam syndrome if you don’t have a coverlock machine?

As always: any advice is eagerly received and greatly appreciated!

Winter Trench Coat: Progress Report

Surprisingly and unexpectedly I managed to get in a couple of hours of sewing today, so the trench coat moved along a little.

Today I made the inside of the bound button holes, the bit on the facing:

20131118_194322Once the lining is in I will have to handstitch them to the outside part – that is in fact the part of the coat I fear! I HATE handstitching! Probably because I have no idea how it is done properly. I just make it up as I go along – and it shows… Anyway, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I also decided to follow the advice of all you kind commentators and go with a light coloured lining. I will have to go and buy some – my stash has come up short re suitable lining. Well, there is a first time for everything ;-).

You will also have spotted the red piping I have added to the facings. This is thanks to Anne, who gave me the inspired idea to add a little spot of colour. I experimented with a few fabrics, but then decided on an English theme of red on white and made some red piping:


Then I played around with ideas for an inside pocket. Using a leftover scrap of leather I experimented with a zip cover/embellishment/thing:

20131118_202724Obviously the zip would lead to a pocket cut into the lining. The zip, which is almost an industrial weight, might be a bit much, but it was what I had at hand to experiment.

So this is where it’s at today:


I don’t quite get the way the epaulettes are to be attached – Burda instructions, ey?! At the moment I have just pinned them – I might have to meditate further to get into the spirit of Burda.

I have ordered the buttons, I will get the lining when I have a chance this week – so I might be able to finish the coat next weekend. They say there will be snow in my parts later this week. Wouldn’t it be so chic if I could greet the snow in a white coat?

Winter Trench Coat: Update


I doubt that any of you is actually interested in this, but I am using the opportunity to use the blog as a journal of my work.
Things are coming along rather nicely with my trenchcoat. Today I managed to finish the main construction of the shell.
This is the front with the collar already attached.

I need to put on the facings next and make the inside of the bound button holes, which is completely new territory for me.
The collar worked first time – I am so pleased about this.
And here’s the back. 20131117_201139

I plan to use dark brown fake leather buttons for this project. I thought about using real leather buttons, but I was told they have to be taken off when cleaning the coat – and with a white coat I don’t want to put myself through this on a regular basis, so fake buttons it will be.

One thing I am not sure about is the type of lining to choose. Should I use normal lining? In cream or a contrast colour? Or a quilted lining for extra warmth? Or something else entirely? I’m really not sure…

What I am Working On: Winter Trench Coat (Burda 2/2008 #114)

For my latest project I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone a little. Normally, my makes are quite fast and simple and go hand in hand with the “not a lot of patience” side of my personality. But now that I managed to lay my hands on a rather delicious cream coloured wool coating fabric I decided to make a trench coat jacket with all the bits and pieces.

Having gone through three years worth of Burdastyle magazines I then decided on a pattern in my oldest issue, 2/2008 – and the last magazine that I looked through, as is so often the way. In true Burda fashion you wouldn’t look twice when you see the model picture:

20131115_123728Honestly, is she obscuring the garment on purpose? Wait, that is still too clear, you can glean some detail on that photo, the Burda people thought. Let’s make a photo that is even less clear and let’s show the coat in black shiny fabric:

20131115_123652I really don’t know what they are thinking (if anything…) when deciding on those pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I love Burda, all the garments I sew are from Burda magazines, and I have only ever made two things from envelope patterns, but the photo choices they make are ridiculous.

Anyway, rant over. I had to get really creative when cutting out, as I had only 2,20 x 135cm instead of the 2,45x 150cms specified.

20131115_123317Not a lot of extra left! The sleeves in the original are 3/4 length, so obviously I had to lengthen those for a winter coat. So the bottom seam allowance on the front and back parts had to go, so the jacket will end up a little bit shorter than normal. I even had to double all the flaps and epaulettes and whatnots that go with a trench coat in lining fabric. That might even be a good thing, as the fashion fabric is very heavy and doubling everything in it might make it too heavy. And my stash has just the right lining anyway.

20131115_173650Still: this is the rest of my fabric after cutting – nothing can go wrong on this make, at least not anything that involves recutting a part!

After hours spent fiddling (but happy fiddling, not stressful fiddling) I made my first ever bound button holes and some very credible welt pockets:

20131116_210404Excuse the horrible pictures – smart phone alert…

There is one thing that always happens and I never know why. There must be some detail I am doing wrong when inserting the inside pockets. When I want to sew them together they never quite match, One is always a little bit higher than the other. You can see on this picture how the top pocket is out of line with the bottom pocket for about 1cm.


Obviously that is not a massive detail and I can simple cut the pocket a little bit smaller after sewing both parts together. But still: Do you know what I am doing wrong? There must be something fundamental about this type of pockets that I am not getting, because it happens every single time.

Hopefully I will be able to get the coat ready for a first fit. I still need to decide on the lining, so this coat won’t be worn for a little while.

A Facepalm Moment of the First Order!!

Can you believe what’s happened? Earlier today I blogged about the table mats that I made, broadcasting my trials and tribulations to the world and not even giving a thought to the fact that this information is visible not only to all my sewing pals but also to those for whom this should be a top-secret present and one should not show pictures of presents not yet given online.

Well, turns out that unbeknown to me my dad has a keen interest in my blog (Hi Dad!!) and although he does not speak any English he has worked out the whole table mat saga with the help of Google translator.
He did promise not to tell mum anything about it (Thanks Dad!!) but also he did not say anything about how yes they were quite bright and slightly headache inducing but not much and really he liked them. He might have to brush up on his “Sacred Parent’s duty to like all crafts that come from your children” skills, don’t you think?

And I will go to the naughty step and repeat 100 times “If you don’t want it known by everybody, don’t post it on the internet!”.


PS: This post has only one tag: stupidity. Well deserved, I think 😉

Parents’ Duty

You know how it is a parent’s most sacred duty to gracefully accept the handicraft of their child for birthdays and holidays? How they must feign enthusiasm even in the face of the most feebly attempts at glueing, cutting out or sewing? How they must keep in mind that it is the thought that counts?

Well, if you have children then obviously you know!

But did you know that it never stops? That you still have to accept your children’s homemade presents when you are well into your 70s and feel you have the right to something nice from the shops? When your daughter is in her mid-forties and has a family of her own?

That’s what my parents might think come this Christmas – because they will be getting hand-quilted table mats from me, that have turned out just a slight little bit too colourful:

Whoho, I hear you saying, that is bright! Not at breakfast, please! And I fully agree – what is fine individually is a bit too much together. Look at those blocks separately:


They look great, don’t they? They are all from Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. I have to say that my work her isn’t doing the book justice – it is a great resource and I have started another project in more muted colours which I think will showcase what the book has to offer much better.

In order to give the option of simple turning round the table mat I added a neutral backing:


Ahhhh, that’s better. This is the “Have a quiet relaxed breakfast” side to the “Breakfast on acid” side with the pattern.

One thing that is a real achievement for me is the free motion quilting which I managed to execute for the first time ever:


View from the bright side:

IMG_5995Clearly there a lot wrong with the quilting. The stitch length is in no way uniform, there are unquilted patches, the curves are sometimes edgy, not curvy – but still it is by far the best free motion quilting I have ever done. In fact it is the first time I have ever finished a free motion quilting project rather than just throwing it out in tears and frustration. So I am sure those table mats will score highly on the “It’s the thought that counts” front.

IMG_5993And case my parents suffer from memory loss I have even put my name to it ;-). At least they have the option to slip those mats into a drawer and quietly forget about them, given that I come to their house only very rarely.


So how about you: Are your craft projects received gladly? Do you like to receive craft presents? What to do if they are not to your taste?