Posted by: sewsirius | March 22, 2016

Day 2 #100sewingdays

I’ve completed the first round of stitches securing the elastic around the waist of my hand sewn knickers and started the second round. It’s taking a lot longer than anticipated! 
The first round of stitches finished…

…now for the second round!


Posted by: sewsirius | February 3, 2014

New post on main site

Please visit main site for up to date news at

Posted by: sewsirius | November 23, 2013

New Post on New Site

New post available on new site

Posted by: sewsirius | November 16, 2013

New Site for Sewsirius!

I’m moving to my new site very shortly. I would like to keep all my followers in my move over, so please come over and see the site. It’s very similar to this one, but there I’m Sewsirius instead of Sewsirius1!

This free site was a test in the Blogging World and I found I really enjoy putting my blogs together. Now I’m sure I want to commit to Blogging regularly, I felt it was time to set up a site with the first name of my choice. Because I own this domain I can do much more with it and give my readers and followers more interesting articles, challenges, and prizes!!

I will continue to blog on both sites for a month or two and then will just focus on my main site…please follow me on my new site to keep up with my news?

Posted by: sewsirius | November 11, 2013

November’s Sew a Garment a Month Challenge!

I had planned to either make a fabric blocked dress or to start my Christmas present to myself early with some nightwear, but after wearing the trousers I made last month I’ve decided I really need another pair of trousers that fit more than the other two choices.

This month I want to make them from my linen look cotton mix fabric that doesn’t need ironing or lining. I also want to try out a closed slot seam finish I loved from Craftsy’s Decorative Seams class with Katrina Walker. I’m using the lighter green fabric for the trouser and the darker green fabric for the under seam on the princess seams. I’ll be trying this seam finish on the front pieces first and then decide if this would look OK on the back too. I haven’t got an invisible zipper in exactly the right shade of green, but this fabric is a mixture of pale green and linen colours, I’m hoping that this cream zipper will be a good match for the linen colour and blend easily if the zipper should accidentally get seen!


These trousers will have the same back zipper and should be very quick to make up once the princess seams are done, this time there’s no lining!

As I was writing this entry in my sewing room, Baby heard some birds squabbling outside. I put her on top of my smaller wardrobe (aka baby fabric storage cupboard!) and she loved watching them from her high vantage point…she really loves being with me while I sew! I apologise for the “organised mess” on my table, but that’s what happens when two quilts, and a pair of trousers (and other projects) are on the go at the same time!



Posted by: sewsirius | November 5, 2013

Oh No!

I love my new trousers, they fit me perfectly, I enjoyed the process of making them, I loved wearing them. Imagine my horror when they came out of the washing machine to find a hole in the back crotch seam. I don’t think it was made while wearing them, but hoped it was because of the spin cycle of my washing machine. However, you can guess I was mentally thinking back to what I was wearing with these trousers, if there was anything to show, would it have shown…I was in the clear!


The hole was made as a direct result of trimming too close to the crotch seam and even with two lines of stitching the weave of the fabric was too loose for this narrow a finish, I had thought I was being super clever trimming a seam so neatly and small…I’ve learnt an important lesson…leave more fabric than you think you need in a seam until you’re sure it’s secure, and even then use clipping to allow a curved seam to move instead of a tiny seam allowance!

How to repair the damage? I want to wear these again, quickly!

There’s some light interfacing in my stash that was initially used to support the contoured waistband, but it wasn’t strong enough so another heavier weight interfacing was added to give the stability needed. So using strips of this light interfacing the first strip is lined up over the seam line, clipping the curve of the outer edge to allow it to fit around the curve. By ironing on a Teflon pressing cloth the frayed edge of the seam could be fully stabilised without glueing my trousers to the ironing board!


The seam was then sewn on the side not interfaced. My intention was to have two strips of interfacing on each side of the seam to give full support, by sewing one seam before adding the strip to the other side I had a guide for sewing the second side!

The interfacing was applied to the other side the same way and the seam sewn again.

The right side of the trousers were checked for neatness and then the seam given a final pressing before the rest of the trousers were pressed ready for wearing again. Yippee! Fixed and so easy too!


Posted by: sewsirius | October 26, 2013

A Productive Weekend of Sewing

This weekend I was determined to complete the trousers I’d cut out months ago. I am getting desperate for some trousers to wear. I’ve dropped over a dress size now and my usual trousers I love wearing are way too big! These trousers are from Vogue 2948. It’s a pattern I received from enrolling on Sandra Betzina’s Pant Construction Class on Craftsy. It’s unusual in that it’s got princess seams front and back, but this is great for getting the perfect fit. I made my usual crotch alteration along with making it shorter before cutting out the fabric. This is something I learnt on Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Class, also on Craftsy, that it’s not a good idea to simply turn up extra at the hem to shorten the length. Hemming has been much easier since learning that lesson!

I used a Wool & Cashmere blend that has been woven to form a lightweight “Cool Wool” fabric with a pale yellow (following Sandra’s idea of different coloured linings) crepe lining. I was a little daunted because although I’d cut out the main fabric pieces months ago but I hadn’t cut out the lining or the waistband. After machine basting the main pieces together taking a 2cm seam instead of 1.5cm I was happy to find the pants fitted pretty well! Now I was also really happy I hadn’t cut out the waistband because the front waistband piece could now be adjusted for that 0.5 cm!

I decided that I would make up the lining first. I’m glad I did. By the time the extra bits on the main fabric trousers such as the invisible zipper, pockets was completed I was getting ready to leave it for a bit, but I wanted these trousers completing by the end of October for the Garment a Month Challenge and because the lining was ready to be inserted I got a second wind of energy to keep going!

I also decided to change my plan of having a side zipper and put in my first back zipper in a pair of trousers! Since there was another dress size to loose I figured these would be easier to adjust on the side seams, which would in turn be easier without a zip. I’m all for keeping things easy wherever possible! It’s actually quite comfortable! I think I could get used to it.


I was also inspired by NikkiM at about eating her frogs (aka PhD’s or Projects Half Done!). I have had two T-shirts shouting at me for weeks to get finished…all they needed was their hems turned up with the Coverstitch machine. Even though I love my Brother machines the Coverstich is the most awkward to use. The results are great, sewing with it is great, it’s just getting the fabric off the machine isn’t that great! The difficulty is that I’ve got small hands and to try to pull back on each tension release while the other hand is pulling the fabric ends up with a fight! Anyway I decided to get on with it and managed to cope with the fights with the fabric.

The hem and two sleeve edges from one project is now complete and it’s now in the wash…it needs to have all the embroidery stabiliser washing out from the embroidery added to the front, back and one sleeve. This pattern is from Meg McElwee’s Craftsy class, Sewing With Knits. I can heartily recommend this class not only do you get great tips about sewing knits on a sewing machine, but you also get several patterns to download from Meg. I’ve made over 6 T-shirts and the yoga pants (I use them as PJ bottoms) and a hoodie top, which was a gift for my daughter last Christmas. It’s so much easier to embroider onto a T-shirt before it is sewn up, and this is how I completed this one.


The second top that needed the Coverstitcher was a top that had already been completed and even worn, but when I pressed it after washing, the iron melted the fabric! Luckily it was just a small amount at the end of a sleeve. All what was needed was to cut off the burnt bit, cut off the same amount from the other side, hem and voila! A T-shirt back in circulation! And it looks great with my new trousers!!

Posted by: sewsirius | October 22, 2013

Free Standing Lace – FSL

Last night I found myself too tired to sew without having my seam ripper very close by, but not tired enough to sleep all night and all day ready for my night shift on Tuesday night (which I think is tonight, but I’m in the middle of my sleep so is it tomorrow? Night shifts really mess up my body clock!)

Anyway rather than waste any time watching TV, I decided to add to my stock of FSL ornaments and share some tips I learnt (the hard way!)

Firstly what is FSL?

This is an embroidery design that is specially created to be sewn onto a water soluble stabiliser which is then dissolved in water after the design has been completed. I love to see how these designs sew out…it’s the ultimate in sewing creation…a short time ago there was only thread and stabiliser now there is a gorgeous design ready to be rinsed, dried and either used as an ornament or sewn up into a project.

I tried these designs shortly after getting my Brother Innovis NV machine. But I never got the same results as the pictures showed on the embroidery design website I used, Emblibrary. I then decided to look at their instructions how to do this type of embroidery and realised my mistakes.

First of all choose your stabiliser. The film type of water soluble stabilisers such as Sulky Solvy will only tear with the intense number of stitches involved with these designs (although Emblibrary do recommend Sulky Ultra Solvy it’s heavier weight). I use a non woven Vilene type of stabiliser that washes out easily. For ornaments, I only rinse the designs under running water until the stabiliser has washed away then pat dry with a clean towel and after reshaping it I leave them to dry for a few hours. Lace which doesn’t require this much body I leave to soak all the stabiliser away in a small bowl of warm water for 15 mins.


Secondly, choose a good thread. I’m lucky in that most of my designs so far have been shades of white (natural white and super white) so I could use my usual embroidery bobbing thread in the bobbin and get a good result. However, if you are using colour you will need to have the same coloured thread in the bobbin. As embroidery thread isn’t the strongest thread around, I think when I have these to sew up in different colours, I think I’m going to use a normal sewing thread in a matching colour to give a professional result.

Thirdly, slow the machine down! Sewing at 1000 stitches per minute adds tension to the thread resulting in thread pulls, shredding and breaks. I have found 600 stitches per minute and reducing the upper thread tension after the base stitches have been stitched out is the ideal combination for my machine. I would strongly encourage you to try these out on your machine and adjust before you commit to a big lace pattern.

Fourthly, no matter how tempting it is to sew more than one design in a hoop…don’t! The stabiliser shifts too much during the sewing and you will end up with misaligned stitches. I’ve tried this myself and while the first design looks great the rest I have to reject!

I have a friend at work who wanted a lace heart so I embroidered the four heart designs last night, along with a butterfly, a lace leaf and a Halloween ornament that glows in the dark!








The spider’s web is sewn with the glow in the dark thread. This thread, and the solar colour change thread from Gütermann, are not the easiest to work with. They are even more prone to shredding and breaking than metallic thread (I promise to write about tips for this thread soon!), so it is even more important to watch your machine, slow it down and reduce the upper thread tension. I’m happy with the results!

(28th October 2013)

The stabiliser is now washed away and the FSL is now on its own!

Now you can see how spooky the glow in the dark thread is!

I hope my friend likes the hearts…I like them anyway! The butterfly is perfect for an all year round decoration, probably would suit a little girl’s bedroom?

Posted by: sewsirius | October 19, 2013

Visit to Craftland, Dubai

On Thursday we (me and my two teenagers) headed off to Craftland, Dubai.

We live in Al Ain the third largest city in the UAE. The other two largest cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, form an equilateral triangle with Al Ain approximately 150km away from each other. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both on the coast of UAE, Al Ain is well inland at the base of Jebel Hafet a small mountain in UAE. The advantage of living in Al Ain is the reduced humidity and the more family orientated environment. Also there are no high rise tower blocks here (blocked by building regulations)

There are very few sources for my sewing habit here in Al Ain. I’m limited to a few fabric shops (I have got several lengths of gorgeous silk along with some types of stretch jersey!) I’ve found some great finds in the local tailor supplies store such as bond-a-web on a roll! (6aed or $2 a yard!) but supplies are limited and there’s no guarantee of quality. So I was extremely excited when I discovered CraftLand in Dubai soon after arriving here from the UK.

My local stores supply my basic needs such as serger thread, zippers, interfacing and some luxury fabrics, but Craftland supplies the things I need that are quality such as sewing thread for my sewing machine, embroidery thread. They also supply quality sewing machines such as Brother, Pfaff, Husqvarna and Bernina. I got my latest three Brother machines from this store and not been disappointed with any of the machines or the service from Craftland.

I tried the local threads for sewing and embroidery, and it was a disaster! The threads broke so many times I had to eventually abandon an embroidery design part way through, it was a mess, and the cheap sewing thread only created so much lint in the machine it had to be thoroughly de-fluffed before I could use it again…and that was only the fluff I could see! I will stand by anyone who says you get what you pay for!

I try to get to Craftland every 3-6 months, but sometimes it’s longer between trips. The journey is about 90 mins through the UAE desert. While the road is excellent, the heat is very, very hot. It’s over 35 degs Celsius even now in October! I’ve broken down on the road once, my tyre blew, but thankfully some kind guys stopped and helped us change the tyre. That was only recently this year so I was a little nervous about driving there again!

I had my shopping list ready, along with my GPS and we were off! Craftland is in a small Shopping Mall called the Town Centre close to Jameira Beach. I love the bright and welcoming entrance to Craftland. The decor gives customers a feeling they’re entering a home rather than a store, with dining tables covered with quilts inviting customers to sit and browse patterns or books. They have a good selection of Madeira threads, sewing along with other speciality threads in the Madeira range. They also have Gütermann threads and some of this brands speciality threads such as the UV colour change and glow in the dark thread. My favourite thread is the Reingold embroidery threads. These are on a bigger spool for those who enjoy embroidery (like me!). They are more cost effective than the Madeira threads and are a very good quality too! They give me peace of mind that I won’t run out of thread part way through a large design! I am only just running out of my first spool of white thread and I’ve been using it for over a year including making Free Standing Lace projects that require a good quality thread and lots of it!

Craftland had just announced on their Facebook page that some jersey fabric had arrived from Germany along with some pure linen. When I arrived the Jersey’s were pride of place in the doorway. One was a gorgeous sweater knit (something I’ve been looking for for ages!) and it was in a neutral beige that would blend with the rest of my fabrics I’ve got for my wardrobe. So I’ve got 3 metres to make a loose sweater that is comfortable to wear on cooler evenings or when AC is causing my neck to ache while sewing (often happens in my sewing room)


I also bought 5 metres of plain teal jersey, which would go great with the teal silk fabric I want to make into some trousers, the jersey can make two tops, one very casual the other more feminine and draped. I can also use that fabric to make some PJ bottoms to replace some RTW ones that are falling to bits! I then added 7 metres of a lovely baby blue jersey that can make some PJ bottoms as well as a lingerie set consisting of a vest top, bra, knickers to go with the PJ bottoms. I am thinking of embroidering a white daisy chain on the bra and knickers, but will need to practice on a scrap piece first.


I found some thread for the fabric I bought on my last visit. I have got 10 metres of a ceil blue linen type fabric. It’s wonderful! I’ve mentioned it in an earlier post…this fabric looks and feels like linen, but after making up it can be washed and then just hung to dry then it’s ready to wear…no ironing! I have four colours of this fabric and I think this fabric will be the foundation of my new wardrobe. The ceil blue is going to be made into a princess seamed dress (once I’m close to my goal weight) and it will be a longer length (probably maxi) with blue embroidery at the bottom in the same colour as the fabric. I really like tone on tone embellishments I think they add a surprise element that can be only fully appreciated on closer look of the garment.


I also managed to find some new items they had in stock such as wondertape. They may have had this before, but I only noticed it this visit. Several of my Craftsy classes were advising to use this product especially when inserting zippers. I also bought some wool and double ended needles to attempt to make some socks…I tried to start them last night, but I think late at night is not the best time to learn a new skill! I also invested in some appliqué scissors…I’ve been buying several appliqué embroidery designs and found it difficult to remove the excess fabric in the hoop with my usual scissors.

After a very fruitful visit to Craftland we headed to Mirdif City Centre Mall for our Lakeland fix, but that’s another blog…!

Posted by: sewsirius | October 14, 2013

October’s Sew a Garment Challenge

Was a little late in getting started with my first garment…work unfortunately got in the way! How I long to have a job that fitted in around my sewing and not the other way around I’d be ecstatic!

My garment for October will be a pair of trousers that have been cut out for weeks (maybe even months if I’m honest!). I’ve lost quite a bit of weight recently, my new healthy eating plan is really proving an effective way to loose excess pounds! So my cut out, unmade trousers have been left lying there…nearly forgotten! Now that I’m well into my eating plan I think I need to have some trousers that actually fit! My other two pairs have had their front buttons moved too many times now and the front looks very strange!

In many respects I’m pleased I waited before assembling these trousers, I can now baste them together and make them fit me snugly now and then they’ll fit me even better as my weight reduces even more!

I had a flash of organisation when I put everything together into a bag along with the pattern and other bits I need like thread and a zip (at least I hope the flash of organisation got that far!). As you can see this is a princess seamed pant with either a side or back zip option. As I’ve never owned or made pants with a back zip I’m playing it safe with the familiar side zip. I’m keeping the optional front pockets, I think they’ll be useful for small change or tissues. They’re not that big to be more useful than that. However, as all my trousers so far don’t usually have pockets it’ll be nice to have them for a change!

I’ve just realised that although the main fabric is cut out the lining isn’t…it’ll mean clearing the cutting table again and attempting to control the lining. I don’t usually line trousers, but this fabric is a cool wool mix and so itchy directly on the skin lining is essential!

I like the dark chocolate brown colour, it blends well with the other earthy natural tones that I’m basing my new handmade wardrobe of clothes on. I’m adding colour with my tops. I’ve found that if I have a neutral trouser I can use them for so many things simply by changing the top. My other favourite trousers are a dark green linen blend that has a lighter golden green thread occasionally flashing through the weave and looks great for any casual event as well as being dressed up with a golden coloured top for something a bit more formal. I’ve got the whole day off so let’s see how far I can get. I think the lining can wait for another, I’ll baste the main trouser today and see if my daughter would be kind enough to help me fit the back with me…I promise to post pictures!


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