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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

An easy way to embelish almost anything using The Circular Embroidery Attachment

Circular embroidery attachments from Jaycotts.


I do love machine embroidery but I appreciate that it is not for everyone for various reasons. I was intrigued therefore when I was browsing Jaycotts web site and came across these special machine feet.



These machine attachments are perfect for adding circular embelishing to clothing, table wear and anything else you can think of. They make beautiful quilts and make circular applique incredibly simple.
I also like the idea of circular pockets and felt coasters and tablemats.
This is the BROTHER CIRCULAR EMBROIDERY ATTACHMENT  (There is a video showing it in use on the above link.)




Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Serendipity Studio JADE Jacket a MCBN post


This is a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post for Minerva Crafts


This is another pattern from Serendipity Studios which I have been trying out. It gives options for variations on a simple dolman sleeve jacket. It is a fabulous jacket and I have to admit that it has had several outings already. It goes with most things - smart or casual and I just love it.




The fabric is a beautiful, soft crushed velvet and on my blog post I give a few tips on working with velvet.
Do read my post, it is over on the Minerva Craft Blogger network on this link 



Thank you for reading my post, I would love your comments.



Angela 



Saturday, 2 December 2017

Very easy, very cute Christmas Decorations .

My Christmas Blog post



A Jaycotts.co.uk blog post

I wanted to show you how to make some very easy Christmas decorations and table accessories.
These are perfect for you to sew with your children as no special skills are needed for any of them
This post also talks about how to make a narrow rolled hem on your overlocker.

 These are some of the items which I am going to show you how to make, they are all easy inexpensive and fun.



You will need a pattern . This one is by Simplicity and is available from Jaycotts It is     Simplicity 8035   There are other simple toy pattern's in the range so do take a look.
You will need some felt pieces in assorted colours,  I bought mine from MinervaFabrics There are plenty of colour choices plus some sparkly ones see the range here  Various Felt available from MinervaCrafts I used sparkly felt in white, green and black as well as other plain colours. You choose which ones you like best, there are no Rules!


When making the smaller ornaments I found it easier to photocopy the pieces and to cut them out in thin card so that I could then draw around them on the wrong side of the felt to make cutting out easier.
I am starting with the stars which I think are really cute, and I am using white felt which has a sparkle all over it.
Cut the felt shapes out and mark the position for the eyes and the mouth. You will need to embroider the mouth with a back stitch or a stem stitch. The eyes are safety eyes and are available from MinervaCrafts you will need various sizes according to which decorations you are making. The sizes are included on the back of the pattern envelope. Toy safety eyes
The cheeks are made by colouring them with a soft red pencil. You could use a touch of blusher  or lipstick, but practise on a spare piece  of felt first.Once done the features sew two stars together with a blanket stitch, or even  a straight stitch or to be honest any stitch you fancy so long as it is small. Enclose a hanging thread at the top. This can be ribbon or string or a thick embroidery thread as I used. Remember to leave a gap so that you can stuff it.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

My Christmas Dress The Nina Lee CARNABY Dress

It's nice to see a young designer doing well and I am certainly impressed with this pattern by Nina Lee. This Carnaby dress is very Chanel in style, the pattern is very adaptable, simple to make, stylish, fun...what more could anybody ask for?







I was given this pattern to test by Elaine of Sewing Belle. Elaine has workshops on lots of sewing projects held in her premises in Nottingham. This dress will possibly feature in a workshop next year.Sewing Belle Workshops  so do please contact her for details of upcoming workshops
If you want to buy this pattern it is available on Elaine's web site, The Nina Lee Carnaby dress


I wanted to make myself a new dress for Christmas,  a dress which is comfortable and easy to wear. I have a few lunches to go to and this dress will be perfect for them. I will also wear it on Christmas Day. Well,my Christmas Day will be a few days before yours as my son has to work all over Christmas and he is too far away to be able to get home this year. It will be my first Christmas without him, so we decided to do it earlier in the week, which is the only compromise we could come up with.
The fabric I chose is this beautiful wool jersey with a foil print on it. It glitters and sparkles but it is comfortable and snuggly. Perfect! I bought this length of fabric a long time ago and when I spotted it on my shelves I knew it would be ideal.
There are some metallic foil fabrics on The MinervaCrafts web site if you want to take a look Metallic foil fabrics remember the fabric can be woven, it does not have to be a jersey
I also really love these tartans, don't be afraid of using a tartan as these particular ones are not difficult to pattern match, some of these glitter too! What's not to love about them? Sparkly tartans and other fantastic fabrics


The pattern comes with a booklet explaining each stage in great detail. Sewers of all abilities will find the instructions very easy to follow and this pattern is therefore suitable for beginners upwards. Somebody with more experience can experiment with different fabrics and finishes, a contrast skirt would look fabulous as would a dress made in a tweed and lined.
What I really appreciated was opening the booklet and finding size charts, finished measurements and fabric requirements all on the first page. This is a major gripe of mine, hunting for measurements, usually they are hidden away on a bit of the tissue paper, if they are there at all.



The instructions show you very clearly how to insert an exposed zip, so if  you have never attempted one before now is the time to try it out.
The instructions also show you how to make a zip  guard from grosgrain  ribbon which you will appreciate if you are using a metal teeth zip. The teeth can irritate the skin so it is nice to have a ribbon guard to provide a barrier between the two.



This is the back of my dress with the zip in place. I top stitched my zip because my jersey fabric was not behaving itself and it was impossible to get it to lie perfectly flat without.
Which brings me to pressing , do use a pressing cloth, my jersey coupled with the foil print would end up in a terrible mess without using one, so be warned!
 All the seams were finished on my overlocker which gives a neat finish and makes the garment durable .


The pockets are a design feature and are attached to the  front skirt before the top and bottom are stitched together. Because my fabric is soft I stitched some seam tape into the seam to help to support the weight of the pocket.


As this dress features an exposed zipper do choose the correct one to complement your fabric - this could actually be in a contrasting colour and would look especially nice if you matched the zip to the pocket bags.




Finally, I made another version again in a wool mix print.


The pattern includes short sleeved and sleeveless versions but I wanted long sleeves so I cut a new sleeve pattern using my arm length measurement to extend the length of the sleeve. It is a very easy thing to do, try it!

The dress is very easy to wear and improve the style. Smart enough to go out in but equally comfortable enough to lounge around the home in.


Watch this short video clip


Thanks to Elaine of Sewing Belle for the pattern.

Angela x



Friday, 24 November 2017

The Bernina 350PE Sewing machine

This is a review of the Bernina 350PE sewing machine from Jaycotts

This is my own sewing machine and I want to talk to you about why I love it.





This machine is a strong workhorse which will serve you well for many years to come. Bernina are so confident of the longevity of this machine that it comes with a seven year guarantee.

The Bernina PE (Patchwork Edition) comes with a lot of extras making it especially good value.
As you might expect one of the many accessories which are included is a patchwork foot.
Also included is the totally invaluable walking foot and an extension table meaning you can get started on your project straight away.

The machine has a vast selection of inbuilt stitches with 20 utility stitches, 52 decorative stitches 11 quilting stitches Two memory buttonholes and a full range of automatic lettering and font.
It is incredibly easy to select each different stitch in the LCD screen but what really makes this machine so outstanding is its ease of use, smooth running and accuracy whether you are a beginner or experienced sewer.
Take a look at the machine on Jaycotts web site, and if you want more information or to try it out just give them a call, contact details are below Bernina 350PE at Jaycotts




The Bernina 350 PE  comes with a whole range of accessories and features

• Bobbins
• Dust cover
• Extension Table
• Foot control & power cord
• Foot: Automatic Buttonhole
• Foot: Blind Hem
• Foot: Even Feed - Walking Foot
• Foot: Overlock
• Foot: Patchwork
• Foot: Regular Zig Zag
• Foot: Zipper
• Knee Lifter
• Lint Brush
• Needles
• Oil
• Screw Drivers
• Seam Ripper
• Spool Caps
• Thick Fabric Compensator

The bobbins are extra large which comes in handy as one bobbin usually lasts through a project.

The instruction book is clear, concise and very easy to follow.There are plenty of accessories included with it including a walking foot which I use a lot. One small touch which I like is that there is a stitch pattern summary card which slots into the handle and which makes choosing a new stitch easy.



Tuesday, 21 November 2017

How to make soft toys, perfect for gifts and fundraising


 A Jaycotts.co.uk blog post

Soft Toys


 Soft toys look daunting to make and I admit they can be fiddly, but follow the instructions carefully and you cannot go wrong. Who would not be delighted to receive one of these creatures as a gift.These are totally delightful and fun to make, they are also great for using up all of your odd pieces of fabrics




This is Donald the Owl showing you just some of the large range of patterns sold by Jaycotts Sewing patterns by Brand the patterns used for these toys are all from the Simplicity range at Jaycotts.


The Owl and the Deer are from the same pattern, and there are more versions to choose from! View the pattern and order it on this link Soft toy pattern


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Machine Embroidery and the Brother NV800E

The Brother Innov-is NV800E 

This embroidery only machine makes short work of embelishing anything from garments to bed linen and home wear. But it is not just an embroidery machine, it does free standing lace and applique too. The long arm makes it suitable for larger projects but it is equally at home with small intricate designs. Interested?


This is one of a set of velvet cushion covers I have been making. Velvet is notoriously difficult too work with but this machine had no problem with it whatsoever. More about how I made them later.



As you know I recently spent a day with Jaycotts to ask owners of the wonderful Brother Innov-is VQ2 sewing, quilting and embroidery machine
 The post is here if you would like to read it. The Brother Innov-is VQ2 .

Many of you already own a sewing machine which you do not want to replace, but if you  would like to own an embroidery machine too,  look no further than the NV800E from Brother.
I have this machine at home and I wanted to tell you more about it and why I like it.



First of all it has a large colour LCD touch screen. This is the place where you select your pattern and make alterations to it.
Once a pattern has been selected you then have editing options, so you can easily change the shape, size and position of the design. Not only that you can also change the thread colours and rotate the design creating a mirror image.
Each design gives the total time to sew and the amount of time before the next thread change.
It is easy to combine patterns and to change the font on your lettering.
A useful feature is that you can easily check that the embroidery fits inside your chosen frame.
Once you start embroidering the LCD screen displays the thread being used and the minutes it will take to complete that section. The colour list and thread number moves after each colour is stitched and puts the next colour at the top of the list.
There are many other functions easily accessible on this screen,  for example you may need to go back a few stitches or save a design to a memory stick. There is also a stitch counter which comes in handy if you need to turn the machine off and come back to it later
Once editing is complete the design is previewed in full colour.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Pauline Alice ALDAIA dress for MinervaCrafts


A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post 

This stunning dress teaches you all you need to know about working with knit fabrics and how to create the perfect fit - even when the pattern has negative ease.



Do you want to know more? I give plenty of tips and hints on the blog post over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network
Go straight to the link The Aldaia dress instructions and fabric details

I hope that you enjoy reading this post. It's a great dress to wear in cooler weather and very smart too!

Angela


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Introducing the Innovative and Intuitive Brother Innov-is VQ2


The Brother Innov-is VQ2 from Jaycotts.co.uk

I recently spent a day instore at Jaycotts finding out from owners of this wonderful machine just what it is that excites them so much.

What became obvious very quickly was the tremendous amount of enthusiasm and passion for this machine shown by both owners and staff, so I had to find out more!

I interviewed a group of  Jaycotts customers who all own this fabulous machine and have put their comments and thoughts together so that you can see it though their eyes

Quilt by Sue from Liberty Bell Chester
Ann has been sewing all her life and has not had the VQ2 for very long so she is still learning. She loves the electronic side of it, in particular the extra-large colour touchscreen which is so easy to use
All Ann needs to do is to simply touch the screen to edit stitches, customise the settings, change to one of 13 built in languages and set the clock. She also loves the on screen video tutorials and built in tutorials and help guides which recommend the perfect settings for her project.
Another feature which she loves is the lighting. This machine has ultra-bright LED lighting giving a crisp natural light, it is also adjustable, so it can  turned down or brighter as you require .The lighting is not just in the needle area as usual though - this machine goes better than that as the whole arm area is illuminated.

The VQ2  with quilting by Elaine
As soon as Elaine saw the VQ2 she knew instantly that she had to have it. She loves the way the fabric is fed through easily which was instantly apparent when she went for her demonstration.
Elaine recommends that when doing free motion quilting you practise first on a small sandwich of your quilting fabric, wadding and backing until you are happy with the effect you want to create.



Friday, 13 October 2017

My Vogue Wool Knit Tops


I wanted to give you some hints and tips for making your own wool pullovers or tops.

I am using two Vogue patterns, both from Jaycotts.co.uk


I love wearing soft snuggly tops don't you. There are so many easy patterns around and such beautiful fabrics that it makes sense to make your own 
Wool jersey is lovely to sew and I want to give you a few little tips to make it all even easier
The patterns I am using are -

And

Both are very easy to sew.


 When you are choosing your knit fabric look for something which will drape well and which is something you will want to feel next to your skin, although as the weather gets colder you will want to put a camisole or even a thin polo underneath.
When you get your fabric home pre-wash it but don't use fabric conditioner, as I find it makes it a little easier to handle. Once the garment is finished then I rinse it through with fabric conditioner to blend the stitches in and make it beautifully soft and huggable.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Sewing Workshop Bristol Dress


This is a MCBN post for MinervaCrafts.




This is perhaps one of the simplest dresses I have ever made, but it really stands out. The design is so very clever and it is stunning, wearable and utterly fabulous.
The pattern is not cheap, but and this is a big but, all you need is fabric and thread and that is it. There are no fastenings, no facings. You can quite literally make it and be wearing it the same day. I have to admit that as soon as I put it in I felt so effortlessly stylish and comfortable that I didn't take it off all day.


Do read the post on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network and I will give you hints and tips so that you can make yours just as easily. 
The pattern is suitable for all levels of ability. So, what are you waiting for? The link to the full post is;. The Sewing Workshop Bristol Dress

I do hope that you read the full post and purchase the pattern. I'm going to make another right away - it is that good!

Comments appreciated

Angela 


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Vogue 1246 Designer shirt by Lynn Mizono in Linen Fabric


 This is a Pattern review for this fabulous designer shirt/ jacket by the American designer Lynn Mizono.




I am delighted with this fantastic Vogue pattern and with the whole outfit



The pattern is from Jaycotts and can be purchased here Vogue 1246. The fabric is quite old and I have been longing to use it for ages but never could decide what to do with it. I thought it perfect for this jacket though, and even though there wasn't enough fabric for the entire garment I decided to go ahead anyway. It is an embroidered linen with flower applique on it, purchased as I said several years ago.There was just enough to cut out the main body of the jacket and a small piece was left over for the contrast panel on the top. I had another piece of linen in the same weight but plain. This went into making the sleeves and collar and the trousers. My final piece of linen went into making the bulk of the top. It was a bit of trial and error with pattern placement bit in the end the fabrics go together very well.

In case you missed my last post I am trying very hard to reduce my stock of fabrics rather than just have them sat there gathering dust. After all I chose them because I wanted to wear them!



I am enjoying working with Vogue patterns immensely, they are challenging with plenty of pattern pieces but very satisfying to work on.  When working with a pattern which has little or no symetry you are most likely working on a single layer of fabric so you need to find somewhere large enough to cut out. I did manage to use my dining table with a bit of judicous folding!



The other thing you need to be aware of is that you must be meticulous about transferring every single pattern marking onto your fabric or you will become muddled and it will be an unpleasant experience. If your fabric has no obvious right or wrong side then you need to mark the back of each piece too. Preparation is key to stress free sewing no matter what pattern you are using.



The top is exactly the same as in my previous blog post, so for instructions and link to order the pattern and supplies from Jaycotts go to this link Vogue fitted linen tops.  On this post you will also find details of tacking thread and other methods of transferring pattern markings onto your fabric.




There are quite a few corners on this garment and the points need to be sharp. So this is how I do it. I trim the corner on the inside, bearing in mind that linen frays so I don't want to trim right up to the stitching, I want to cut away just enough to remove the bulk. I pressed the seams open as far as I could, A sleeve pressing roll is so useful for this, Jaycotts have a fabulous range of pressing tools so take a look, Pressing tools If you do not have any yet I would definitely start with a sleeve roll ,a sleeve board and a pressing cloth. You will be using them for years to come so the initial expense is money well spent. I also love the pressing Mitt and the finger guards.

You also need a point turner in your basic sewing kit, Point turner again this is an item which you will be using in many years to come.


The back of the jacket has ties which can be fiddly to make. Not with this nifty gadget though! The Prym Turning Set makes strap making so easy, you will be thinking of lots of ways to use it!



The sleeves are folded and held in place with buttons.  I chose some cream ones with a gold border but you choose some really special ones to match your fabric . Jaycotts have some very pretty buttons, I particularly like the ones on the first row of this page, but they have others equally as nice. Buttons. My buttons are small so I put two on the front, one buttoning to the inside and two on each sleeve.





I know that you are interested in what sewing machines I use.
My main machine is the Bernina 350PE Bernina 350 PE and it is a fabulous machine. It is robust, reliable and has a wide choice of stitches including decorative stitches and Fonts. I really love and appreciate this machine.
I also have a Brother sewing machine , which is the machine I carry around if I am giving a sewing lesson, or if I want to sit at the dining table for a change.
Brother innov-is 15
Both of these are great machines and come in at different prices. Choosing a sewing machine is something that should be given thought. My only bit of advice would be to choose something you can grow into as you become more proficient - and you will!
You also need to choose one within your budget. Jaycotts know all there is to know about sewing machines so don't be afraid to telephone or call in and ask for advice. They will guide you through the different machines with their various functions and prices so that you end up with a machine which suits you perfectly. Contact details are at the end of the post
Although I did not use my overlocker except for the trousers seams it is by Brother and I find it a dream to use. It copes with all fabrics and is easy to thread. It is the Brother 3034D overlocker. Again though there is plenty of choice at Jaycotts.



I also made trousers, these are the same as on this blog post. Palazzo trousers


As I was saying earlier I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics to make a full garment, except for the trousers, so I had to mix them up. Luckily they are all in the same colour palette so blend together really well


All of my seams are French seams. I have a tutorial all about seams so take a look, it really is a useful seam to be able to do. All about seams. The sleeve head is neatened with a strip of fabric rather like a Hong Kong seam - details of how to do it is also on the post.
There are no raw edges anywhere.



The sleeve was only meant to have one button folding the upper edge upwards, but I didn't like having the other corner flapping loosely so I folded that inwards and added a button to hold it in place.


The sleeve fabric was plain so I did some random freestyle embroidery on my Bernina sewing machine purely to echo the design on the main fabric. I cut out a couple of flowers too and appliqued them onto the sleeves. It just tied the fabrics together nicely.


You tube video    You tube

This is a short video clip of the jacket. If you receive my posts by email it may not appear in which case just visit the post on my blog and you will be able to view it there.


I am really pleased with this outfit. It is very different but extremely wearable, it's a great addition to my holiday wardrobe.

For any product information contact Jaycotts on  01244 394099 or fill in the contact form and they will get back to you on the next working day Contact Jaycotts

Thank you for reading this post. Have a look at your fabrics and see what you could combine to make an outfit.

Angela 


#jaycotts #sewing #sewingmachine #overlocker #Vogue #Vogue1246 #sewingblogger #sewangelicthreads #fabric #linenfabric #tutorial 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Vogue V9004 Fitted tops with seam detail made in Linen fabric

This is a pattern review of the very flattering Vogue 9004.

I have such a lot of fabric in my stash at home and I was thinking about it and came to the conclusion that although constantly buying new fabrics is fun, it can become an obsession. I have so many beautiful fabrics already, each one chosen because I love something about it, be it the colour or design, so I have made a decision to use some of those wonderful fabrics and not to buy any more until my supply has seriously reduced in size!
So, in my fabric collection there is (or rather was) a collection of pure linen of varying weights.
This top pattern from Vogue  is perfect for using some of the smaller pieces.




The trousers are from the same pattern as my navy ones in previous blog posts.
Palazzo pants These garments are all for my holiday and can easily be mixed and matched





I made both versions of the top, adding sleeves to them but if it your preference for sleeveless tops then instructions are included in the pattern.
This version has A-symetrical seams and I just love it.
The trick with putting together any garment, especially one like this where the placement is slightly out of the ordinary is to transfer every single pattern marking onto your fabric. Otherwise the task will quickly become irritating as you try to figure out where each piece goes - pattern marking saves a lot of time!
My favourite way to mark fabric is with  Tacking thread. Tacking thread is something which you may not have in your work box, you may think you don't need it but think again. The fibres are rough being made out of short cotton fibres so it stays put until you remove it. Normal sewing thread is slippery and is likely to fall out before you get the chance to use the markings! It is very affordable, so do add it to your order.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Troubleshooting your Sewing Machine By Jaycotts.co.uk


A Jaycotts Blog post by Alex Jaycott


I asked Jaycotts about troubleshooting Sewing machines as we all have problems from time to time and we don't always know where to start to sort it out.


This is their advice:

Alex,

The biggest issue we encounter is mis-threading of the sewing machine 


Having sold and serviced sewing machines for over 30 years I can honestly say that the biggest headaches for customers are actually caused by mis- threading the sewing machine!


everyone does it from time to time whether beginner or expert, novice or sewing teacher 

What do you mean by that Alex, what should we be doing?  Angela





Alex

Well , it is important to thread the machine  exactly as shown in your manual.For example  if someone miss-threads the take up lever, they usually don’t notice it and when the machine jams it looks as if the problem is the bobbin area  - when in fact it isn’t

So I guess my point should be that if you have an issue, the first thing to try is: re do your upper thread, taking care that the thread goes right into the take up lever. Incorrect threading can cause the machine to jam almost immediately.
If you  still have problems after that then go on to checking the bobbin area.




Thursday, 7 September 2017

Pattern review of Simplicity 1543 Tunic


The weather is cooler and Autumn colours are starting to appear so I wanted something in rich Autumnal colours to wear.



I chose this pattern by Simplicity. It is available from Jaycotts Order Simplicity 1543 here





The pattern requires a stretch fabric which has a lot of drape. I chose this beautiful jersey from MinervaCrafts.


The fabric is this Damask print stretch jersey from MinervaCrafts Damask print stretch Jersey
This is a very soft and lightweight jersey. It is very slippery to handle and in my opinion you need a bit of experience working with this sort of fabric, so if you are a beginner I would choose something like a textured jersey which is a bit more substantial but which still drapes well Textured Jersey



The construction is simple , I especially like the sleeves which have rouleaux ties to gather them.
There is a simple little tool which I absolutely adore from Jaycotts which makes rouleaux in seconds - seriously, there's no messing about! 
It the Prym Turning set and you will wonder how you managed without it Prym Turning set


Sewing tools from Jaycotts 
The item is on the bottom of this picture, but do read my review of all the items in this photograph on My review of Prym sewing tools





The sleeves are made up before attaching to the body of the tunic. You will need a stretch needle in your sewing machine Stretch sewing machine and a stretch stitch or a narrow zig zag. If you have problems with your tension then try a ballpoint needle and watch out for my next blog post troubleshooting your sewing machine


There is a lot more top stitching on the neckline and in the pockets. Use your seam guide and make sure that the corners are even




I made a scarf from a length of the fabric, rounding the ends and sewing right sides together before turning right sides out.
I found a cheap necklace and used the beaded tassels on the ends of my scarf and tied some leather lacing just above them


In this picture the scarf is being used as a belt. The tunic is very loose fitting by the way and I cut out size small 10/12





I feel that the scarf echoes the style of the sleeves and adds more interest


The scarf is just draped around my neck . The tunic is very long and would look great with skinny pants or leggings


This is a very unusual make, the top is extremely comfortable and forgiving! To make it easier choose a plain fabric so that there is no pattern matching.
It's a nice top. Take your time and have a go at sewing with a warm stretch jersey fabric

Angela xx


#sew #sewing #sewingblog #stretchfabric #simplicity #simplicity1543 #tunic #top