Friday, 29 April 2016

What's in your sewing machine drawer?

I'm nosey. When I was little I used to ask my Grandma if I could have a "rude" in her sideboard. I meant root, have a look and generally be nosey. There was and still is some pretty cool stuff in that cupboard.

So, today I am asking you if I can be nosey and have a look inside your sewing machine drawer. Share your photo's on Instagram and tag me @dressmakerssocial so I can see or blog about it and pop a link in the comments.

I have a five year old Singer Confidence, it does the job but as my skills grow so does the disappointment in the stitches the machine produces.

This is what my sewing machine drawer looks like...

It's pretty full!

This is what is in it...

Sewing machine needles, I just topped up my stash, there is not normally this many in there.

Machine feet and a test button hole to remind me where to line up the red mark on the fabric because I forget overtime. I use the four on the right hand side most of all. 

Screwdrivers, bobbins and spool holders.

Pins (that have now been re-homed in a pin cushion), a couple of buttons, seam rippers or unpicks depending what you call them, a chalk pencil and my new sewing gauge. 

A couple of cleaning tools. I use the old paint brush most because it's great for dusting underneath the  needle plate. 

So I have shown you my drawer, what's in yours?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fabric choices

Sitting at my sewing machine today got me thinking....

I'm wearing silk and sewing wool. A year ago I mostly sewed with 100% woven cotton and occasionally a viscose or cotton knit. 

So what changed? I came to the conclusion that it is working in Ditto Fabrics and being surrounded by gorgeous viscose, silk, linen, wools and more. Cutting or tearing these fabrics on grain for other people helped me overcome an irrational "fear" of them. I now tell people that there is nothing to be scared of with silk noile. Just take your time with it. Make a toile/muslin if it's a pattern you have not used before. If you have questions about it, attend a class and ask a teacher or look it up online. And most of all it's just fabric - don't be afraid of it! 

I don't let the type of fabric put me off anymore, just the colour of it! But that is another thing I have learnt this last year and another post to come...

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Turmeric Dye

Yesterday morning I was scrolling through the explore section on Instagram and came across this image...

I went downstairs to the kitchen (which is soon to be painted) and the original yellow walls made me think. I love this colour but it isn't right for our small kitchen (I have bought a light grey paint) so inspired by the instagam post I looked up how to dye with turmeric and decided to give it a go. I am thinking of yellow kitchen accessories to go with the grey. 

I found this tutorial on turmeric dying and set to work...
Salt and water were brought to the boil and some unbleached calico (or muslin) was added to the pan to simmer for an hour

The calico was left to cool and removed from the pan, then excess water was squeezed out. I love Japanese Shibori dying techniques so I attempted some of those. 

But I didn't have wooden blocks so I used these plastic trees, I wondered what effect they would have. 

I also fold and twisted the fabric around a ladle handle

Then I made the turmeric dye by boiling the spice and water together before submerging the calico.

I left them in for about 20 minutes.

Rinsed them in cold water and hung them out to dry. They looked amazing until they dried and the colour faded to a yellowy brown. 

The little strip on top below was left in for two hours and the colour is much stronger. The fabric on the bottom is the dried fabric from above. 

I were to do it again I would leave the fabric in the dye for longer and maybe try a different brand of turmeric because the one I saw on the tutorial was more yellow and less orange.

Have you dyed with natural dyes? What were your experiences like?

Saturday, 2 April 2016


Can you guess what I am posting about?

You will need a little more patience until the big reveal!

The suspense is over! Let me introduce you to #dressmakers52
An photo a week challenge on Instagram for a whole year!

So what is it I hear you ask?! Let me tell you!

I loved organising the MIY March photo a day challenge with Wendy. Having a prompt everyday encouraged me to post, I was inspired by all of the people taking part and most of all I loved social aspect of chatting with people all over the world. For me the only downside of the challenge is how intense it was, great for one month a year but it was exhausting! in the end we had nearly 6000 photo's in #miymarch16 and that was a lot of liking and commenting! 

I felt a little lost on the 1st April and missed everyone, whilst being slightly relieved at a day off! It was then that I remembered my friend telling me about an artist doing a 52 Cards challenge where his photo's are theme based for each week of the year. This got me thinking... what if I do a photo a week thing that would keep me in touch with all of the lovely folk I met in March and more?

Hmm, so this is what I came up with...


A Sunday Social, photo a week. A hashtag where we can all hang out!

This is how it will work...
  • I have a deck of 52 cards that I have written photo prompts on
  • Each Sunday morning (i'm in the UK) I will shuffle the cards and post the theme for that week
  • There will be no pre-planning, it's all about the luck of the draw
  • Cards will then be put on the discard pile so that there will be no repeating of themes
  • To join in, post a photo for the theme and use #dressmakers52 so that we can all see them
  • Like I joined Wendy Ward for the running of MIY March Wendy is joining me to host this challenge
  • You can post one or more photos anytime during the week 
  • We will both be posting our fave four on the Saturday* each week. I wonder if we will overlap?!
  • Or post at anytime during the week, it's up to you!
  • This challenge is all about being social (after all it is the reason I started Dressmaker's Social) if you want to repost a photo that you love or even your own favourite four you are welcome to! Just remember to use the #dressmakers52
  • A year is a long time so if you miss a week or a few it doesn't matter, just pop by and join in when you want to
The Rules...
Not really rules, more like guidelines!
  1. Use #dressmakers52
  2. Join in
  3. Have fun
  4. Like and comment on each other's photo's (this may help with the new Instagram algorithm)
So what do you think? Are you with me? See you over on Instagram!

Starts tomorrow Sunday April 3rd 2016!

*updated 6/4/16

Friday, 1 April 2016

Round up of #MIYMarch16

Wow! March was really something! Thank you to everyone who took part in #MIYMarch16 it was great meeting so many new people who sew and seeing all of your photo's!

This is a round up of the last half of the challenge!

The themes...

My photo's 

And the top four for each day!

Congratulations to all of the people list in the top 4's each day, there were so many awesome photo's it was difficult to choose. 

These are my overall favourite 4 photo's from the whole challenge!

Looking gorgeous! @ooobop
@diannebowles you make me laugh!
@makers_note I love your feed!
Very awesome hand tattoos @a.malmin

Looking forward to #MIYMarch17 already!