Sunday Special: this week’s blog round-up

Sewing and Knitting

I read a lot of sewing, knitting and craft blogs and I try to keep my favourites saved for future reference. I’ve been thinking though, that a handy way to catalogue them would be to compile a ‘best of’ each week. So, here’s the first round-up of my favourite posts from the past week:

1. I haven’t tackled any Fair Isle knitting projects yet, but I think I’ve just found my first: this gorgeous 1940s-style hat which By Gum By Golly released this week via Ravelry. Beautiful!

2. Katy & Laney’s “cautionary tale” about pattern placement when making Ikat trousers shows the (sometimes hilarious) perils of working with prints. (On the plus side, Katy did succeed in making a really well-fitting pair of trousers…)

3. I love when Paunnet and Sewing Princess do their very frank two-part pattern review of the latest La Mia Boutique release. I’ve never bought LMB  (or even seen in person), but I really enjoy seeing new sewing patterns and find them great for inspiring sewing projects. Here are part one (via Paunnet) and part two (via Sewing Princess) of their latest LMB review.

4. Needle and Flax (disclaimer: that’s my sister’s blog!) posted this tutorial for making simple notebooks. I love notebooks for storing fabric samples, sewing ideas, noting my adaptations of knitting patterns, etc etc. I’ve never made any before, but the tutorial makes it seem much less intimidating than I’d thought!

5. Ok, this one was actually posted closer to a fortnight ago rather than over the past week, but it was so good that I’m going to bend the rules on this first weekly round-up and include it here at the end: Coletterie’s brilliant run-down of sewing machine maintenance tips to keep your equipment in top condition.

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Hold up…! Preparing projects and building a fabric ‘directory’

I’ve hit a bit of a snag recently with my sewing – for the want of materials!

My New Look 6000 project is currently in limbo while I source a matching zip (!). I’ve never had this much difficulty with zips before and thought I had a matching zip before I started sewing, but realised when I went to inset it that it’s quite a strong colour and I don’t want the zip to be so much of a feature. (I went with a blue zip to match the cross stripe, but it’s a bit too bold in zip form.) I haven’t had any luck since in sourcing a cream or nude zip that will sit in nicely against the dress fabric.

Meanwhile, I keep coming across lots of blog posts and articles about how to organise a fabric stash or proposals for ‘stash-busting’ projects to help cull unwieldy unused piles of fabric, but my problem is getting hold of fabric in the first place!

The main issue for me is the lack of good-quality and affordable dressmaking fabric in Ireland. I much prefer to check the fabric in person before buying to better assess the quality, which makes online purchases either pretty risky or really delayed (if waiting to check swatches and samples before buying).

So, in an attempt to tackle this, I’ve decided to build myself an ongoing personal fabric directory so that I can start planning projects a bit earlier and build a better knowledge of different fabrics.

I used myfabrics.co.uk for the first time recently, buying some soft grey suiting that I figured I could find various uses for if it proved unsuitable (no pun intended…) for making clothes. The site gives five free samples with every order, so I ordered five different samples for fabrics I thought might work with patterns I have ready to use. And those five samples led to me ordering some navy gabardine and soft black cotton over the weekend – and another five samples.

The first batch of swatches from Myfabrics.co.uk

The first batch of swatches from Myfabrics.co.uk

By compiling all of these samples and bits and pieces of fabrics that I’ve been working with before, I’m planning to build up a (gradually!) comprehensive personal directory for planning future projects. I think it will be a lot easier to buy fabric online if I have a better understanding of what the different mixes feel and look like.

I’ve already begun compiling notes and fabric suggestions for a bunch of patterns I have waiting in the wings but which I haven’t been able to source materials for via fabric shops in Ireland:

Planning...

Planning…