darn, darning, darning by sewing machine, easy, fabric repair, make do and mend, mend, sewing technique, stitch

Oops! Darn it!

There I am in the middle of my current project for a workshop at Eternal Maker, when suddenly I realise that I have cut through the largest piece of my project! Accidents happen and while it might be frustrating (the perfectionist in me says buy more material and start again) the realist in me says that its repairable. Ok so not perfect, but then its an opportunity to share a repair technique with you. 
I have used it on clothing and it has been surprisingly invisible, one of my favourite gypsy skirts got caught up in the chain of my bicycle and ripped. After repairing it this way, I was able to wear it again and as the fabric was patterned, no-one noticed (or if they did they were too polite to say!). 
The important thing is to prevent the ragged edges from fraying. 
Thankfully, iron on interfacing includes a heat activated glue that will seal off the edges nicely. 
Match your interfacing colour, use black on dark colours and white on light colours. 
Cut enough so that the piece has at least a 1cm allowance all around the cut. 
Iron the wrong side of the fabric, drawing the edges together as closely as possible.
Lay the interfacing on top, then a pressing cloth (if you prefer your iron to be free from glue)  
Press the iron firmly and try not to move it around. (movement will shift the frayed edges). 
Allow to cool slightly before moving the item so that the glue can set. 
This is the stitch display on my sewing machine, look for something similar. 
Stitch 22, 23, or 24 are all forms of darning stitches. 
If you don’t have multiple stitches then use a zigzag stitch set to a medium width and short length. 
The important thing is to get the right matching thread. 
I find it easier to use an appliqué foot
so I can see the edge and ensure the stitches bridge the cut.
If you use a normal foot just make sure the cut edge runs along the front groove guide. 
Allow the machine to go at its own pace, it will be slower than a straight stitch. 
While this close up shows the stitching its not quite so bad as it looks. 
I will post the project later and you will see for yourself. 
ttfn x 

gypsy top, how to repair a smocked edge, how to sew, remodel, repair, revamp., sewing technique, shirring, shirring on a sewing machine, summer top

Gypsy Top Revamp

I love gypsy tops, especially during the summer, they are so pretty.  I found this one in need of some attention in a charity shop; it has lovely embroidery and rouleau loops around pretty pearlised white buttons at the front. However the elastic smocking had gone at the top and round the bottom, but with a little work the pretty top could be re-vamped. 
For some reason the tops this year have been rather unflattering and it sometimes makes me wonder, firstly why all tops have to be a particular design and why they make clothing that distorts the figure adding pounds. The industry knows that we are four basic shapes and this particular style only suits apples. 
As you can see from my sketch, the top is gathered around the hips, the widest part of the body – because it is loose around the waistline and goes in at the hips – it would swamp nearly everyone, dropping right down from the bust at the front. This style would only suit those who have a bit of a tummy to hide under all that gathered hipline, the rest of us would look overweight. 
The plan is to cut off the gathered edge at the bottom and create a gathered waistband, this brings the top back in to accentuate the smallest part of a woman. By drawing attention to the waist, you can look slimmer instantly! 
I cut off the bottom band of gathering and used the overlocker’s rolled hem to create a pretty finish. The bottom button should be removed as it cannot go under the overlocker foot. 
Not only does an overlocker give a more professional finish to a garment, but the pretty rolled seam would lighten the edge of this top allowing it to ripple gently down from the waist. 
If you don’t have an overlocker, you can use the scallop edge stitch in most machines (see * below)- it looks like a zig zag stitch that has been flattened off at the peaks. 
Elasticated smocking is very easy to do on a sewing machine, you simply wind the bobbin with elastic rather than thread. Take care that you slightly stretch the elastic when you wind the bobbin and when you put it in the case. 
It comes out from the bottom of the stitch plate and is slightly thicker than thread so you might have to adjust your lower tension. 
As you can see from my sewing machine’s display, choose an ordinary straight stitch, set to the longest length. (*You can see the scallop stitch displayed as no 9)
The key with any smocking is to space the rows of stitching evenly. 
I use the foot as a guide: you can see that my fabric is lined up with the inside edge of my foot. 
Slowly stitch round the top; gently stretching it as you go, so that it will gather. 
You will notice the fabric behind the foot will be gathered, keep working round the edge until you reach the other end. 
Use the stitch plate guides to continue working rows of stitching until you have your desired depth of smocking. 
I have roughly calculated that my waistline needs to be about 10cm from my bottom edge.
You can either measure up and mark all round the waistline with air drying pen, but I am fortunate to have an additional guide that slots into the foot. 
Stitch around the top slowly working the fabric through until you have reached the beginning. 
The second row of gathering has been done using the edge of the foot as a guide to keep the stitching lines parallel. Pull the fabric this time so that it is not gathered when it reaches the footplate, otherwise your gathering will double up, ending up with a very small waist! 
You can stitch as many gathered rows as you like to create a broader waistband. 
As you can see from the picture, the top edge has returned to its nicely stretched edge but I also have a gathered waistline that shows off my curves!