Sewing with Oilcloth workshop! June 02 2015
There is so much nice Oilcloth style fabric around at the moment I really wanted to do a workshop using it this year - the first one in March sold out as soon as it was launched and the follow up last weekend was also very popular and sold out as soon as I published the pictures of the first. You guys were keen! The workshop took place in the Gallery space of Fisherton Mill in Salisbury and we could take in the Charlotte Moreton exhibit whilst sewing - well worth a look if you are local!
Oilcloth can be a tricky fabric to work with and is probably more commonly used as a table covering. Look beyond the dried on Weetabix on your own table cloths and there are wondrous things to be made! Traditionally Oilcloth is a wax coated material, and the name is now applied to more generic materials that have a PVC coating on a woven underside. In the workshop I discussed the ways you can sew the fabric and what additional sewing equipment you may need - all provided on a hand out.
We started the workshop discussing how the bag is constructed then got stuck right in to cutting and sewing. The workshop participants were given the opportunity to combine the oilcloth with heavier weight, interfaced fabrics.
'Walking Feet' were fitted to the sewing machines - a must when sewing with PVC coated fabrics - these are a great little addition to your sewing kit!
Here are some photos of the beautiful bags that were made (there were talks of mass production for a school fundraiser) and some small tissue pockets were made with all the offcuts!
Everyone getting creative!
Love the dark blue print in the lining of this one (LOOK at that gorgeous floor at FM!)
The one on the left used a printed canvas as the top section
The base of this bag had a linen base which we strengthened with firm interfacing
Love the red bases on these - very summery (whenever that may come!)
This is a great little workshop which I love to teach - watch this space for another date coming up in the summer, possibly incorporating zips!
Love your Sewing Machine - Some top tips! February 12 2015
We've been sewing for a long old time. Here are some pointers and tips to help you along the way! To start sewing you can get by on a basic kit. A good needle and thread and a few pins or a basic sewing machine will do the job fine until you get more confident.
Your machine will become a real essential item. It’s so satisfying to whizz up cushions and bags at the drop of a hat. You don’t need a machine with all the bells and whistles - a basic model with a few different stitches will serve you just fine. Don’t over complicate things - grab a machine and start stitching!
Most machines will have some basic attachments and different feet for doing different projects along with spare bobbins and screwdriver and oils. You can also buy universal attachments - but check the model against the parts to check that they will fit first.
Some tips and words of wisdom for newbies!
Don’t underestimate your own ability, but don’t start too big. Read through instructions, accomplish some simple projects with success and this will give you the confidence to try new more advanced ones and really get creative.
Get to know your sewing machine - try out the different stitches and stitch lengths and refer to the manual if you need to. They are normally pretty informative and have pictures. If you have a vintage machine, type the model number into Google - you may be able to find a downloadable version.
Always have few scraps of fabric similar to what you are sewing with to hand so you can sew a couple of rows of stitching to check tension and stitch length before you start on the real thing
If you need to sew a short bit, a precise bit or the beginning or end use the hand wheel to manually sew.
If you go wrong, just unpick it. And sew it again, no worries.
Use old fabrics to cut and sew with before you hack into your gorgeous new prints. Old bed covers, denims and shirts are perfect and offer a breadth of materials to practise with.
If your machine isn’t sewing well - rethread and change the needle. This is quite often the problem! Needles get blunt really quickly and will effect your stitch.
When you start to sew turn the wheel to put the needle in the work and have at least 20cm of thread (top and bottom) coming out. This will stop it getting swallowed back in when you start stitching.
Don’t tackle a project if you aren’t in the mood. It should be enjoyable, not stressful and you shouldn’t need to swear at your machine!
Press, iron, press. Keep your work ironed and it will always look neat! It makes such a difference to your finished project.
Remember to put the presser foot down - if the work isn’t secured down the stitches will skip!
Chill out and enjoy it. The machine won’t bite and if you need to stop just take your foot off the pedal!
Take the extra time to be precise if you need to but don’t get too bogged down by perfection - if you’re a beginner you will get better with practise!
And finally, Practice makes perfect!
Happy Sewing, R x
Ready, Steady... SEW! January 13 2015