All posts filed under: Crafty stuff

Four Fabulous Sewing Tools thedreamstress.com

Sewing favourites: four awesome tools

I definitely believe that you don’t need all the bells and whistles and fancy ‘toys’ to be an amazing sewer.  Beautiful results can be had with the a very simple sewing kit: a (good quality) pair of scissors, some reasonable pins, a measuring tape, tailors chalk, an unpicker, hand sewing needles, and a basic sewing machine.  And that last one is optional, even if you aren’t interested in historical sewing – when travelling, I’ve made modern frocks without the machine. With that said, there is no denying that there are some extras that will make your sewing much easier and stress free, and if you have the space and money, investing in them is well worth it. As a sewing teacher, I like to try all the fancy new gadgets, but I have also consciously decided NOT to get every spiffy whiz-banger sewing invention, because I don’t want my sewing process to be too drastically different from that of my students, or of those of you who are buying my patterns.  It’s not helpful if I find a …

Sewing for wee ones

While I mostly sew for myself, I do occasionally sew for other people – especially if they are tiny. Well, little.  I don’t love sewing for newborn babies, but if you are a close friend of mine, and you have had a little girl in the last oh, 20 years or so, chances are your wee one has been given a version of McCalls 8121: This poor, battered pattern was my Grandmothers, and ever since I inherited it I have been using it to make little frocks and bloomers for the girl toddlers in my life.  It’s got duckies on it!  And the girl has a kangaroo toy! Most of the early versions of the dress I made have had the duck appliqué (after all, I do love ducks), but lately, I’ve been branching out. Here is a recent-ish duckie one: It’s made from the fabric that remained from making my sherbet stripes dress, and is trimmed with vintage piping, and a bit of replica 1930s floral fabric. Here is dearest Mum-to-be opening it (with admiring …

Adventures in Elizabethan ruff-making

I made an Elizabethan ruff! And it turned out really well (not perfect, but really well). And I am extremely pleased with myself. And it’s really, really close to perfectly historically accurate! Making a ruff turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be simply because there is so much rubbish information about ruffs on the internet. (Granted, there is rubbish information in books too – Tudor Tailor doesn’t do a good job of making it clear when they are using a historically accurate method and when they use a theatre one, for example, and even Saint Janet got things wrong on occasion.  So I like to read EVERYTHING and then collate all the evidence in the hopes of arriving at something at least reasonably plausible.) So I had to weed out all the advice about 1) cutting yourself a really long strip entirely on the selvedge (this immediately read wrong to me because it’s hugely wasteful of fabric, and fabric wastage is rarely historically accurate.  Plus the grain will be wrong and the ruff …