Sewing machine fixes

Sewing machine fixes

I fix a lot of sewing machines. Some are very poorly and need lots of TLC. But many aren’t actually broken at all, just not used properly. 

Let me  just run through some basics which you should look out for and which I regularly see in my repair shop:

  1. Wrong bobbins being used. Not all bobbins fit all machines. If you use a bobbin that is too tall or too wide or too small your machine will not work well, or at all. Please make sure you use the right bobbin for your machine and if you buy more make sure they are the right size and a decent quality. Bobbins from the poundshop or old plastic bobbins from charity shops can cause huge problems.
  2. Check your needle. Run your finger along the length of it. If you feel burrs or barbs or it is bent it will break your thread, make your stitches skip or worse. If in doubt change your needle and definetely every time you’ve hit a pin or a very chunky seam. A new needle can solve all kinds of issues. Check the size, again not all needles are identical. And make sure you insert it the right way round!
  3. Use the same thread on the bobbin as you are using on top. Don’t use random bobbins with unidentifiable thread. If you’re not sure what it is, take it off. It’s not worth the aggro. Use a decent thread. Stay clear of the super market brands and again don’t buy from the poundshop. Nasty thread will snap and snag and cause tension issues. 
  4. Keep your machine covered up when not in use and keep it clean. Remove threads and broken needles from the bobbin area.  
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Sewing plans for 2016

Sewing plans for 2016

I realised that I once again bought more patterns than I made last year so some of these are being carried over into 2016. 

I kinda feel I’m a bit late to the table with my 2015 review and 2016 plans but hey ho, I’ve been busy with work and life so here we are. 

Some quilting plans then; I’m still taking part in the Farmer’s Wife quilt-along. Confusingly there’s two running at the same time and I’ve kinda done blocks for both. Lots of tiny fiddly paper piecing, very different from how I usually work, enjoyable but slow. And I’ve ground to a halt, haven’t done any blocks for about a month now. I’ve got 10 I think.   

May have to get inventive with them as I’m not sure if I can carry on committing to more. I seem to have no selfish sewing time at the moment and am itching to start something new too. I still want to make the Gypsy Wife quilt and may have to use the blocks I have in there somewhere. I do like going off-piste!

  

I bought the Shimmer quilt pattern from CluckCluck Sew and have to make it. Isn’t it lush?  

And I still want to make my own Swoon…

This one was made by Gnomeangel, also of the Farmer’s Wife QAL:  

I bought so many PDF patterns, I really need to do an inventory and plan but for now I’m sticking to lusting over these paper patterns:    

   
 
And I want to make more bras!

Here’s to 2016. Let there be more time for sewing!

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Best Black Friday sewing deals

Best Black Friday sewing deals

Yes I know, lots of people are taking part in buy nothing Friday and I’m with you. I’m not running to PC world or Argos to buy tons of gadgets or plastic. My kids are once again getting books for Christmas 🙂 

  
But we all need some cheap fabric and patterns in our life don’t we? A nice pre-Christmas present to yourself? Here’s a nice roundup of my favourite Black Friday sewing deals. And no need to go anywhere near Amazon!

Closet Case Patterns is one of my favourites. They don’t have many patterns released but every one is a stonker! The bombshell swimsuit? The only swimsuit I will wear, it is classy and sexy and makes everyone look a bombshell no matter what your size. The Ginger jeans, my go-to jeans pattern. A new one, the Clare coat. Super cute and we’ll written. I’ve just ordered it! And they now have an e-book to help you with your jeans sewing adventures. What’s not to like? The code THANKSGIVER gets you 20% off.

http://www.store.closetcasefiles.com
Plush Addict, another favourite shop. Millions of funky fabrics, the only place to buy colourful cheap poppers that actually work, it’s where I bought my thread stands from, and they have threads and quilting accessories and wadding all on big discounts today: http://www.plushaddict.co.uk/black-friday?utm_source=Plush%20Addict&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=863549_Black%20Friday%202nd%20send&utm_content=Black%20Friday%20hero&dm_i=2D0F,IIBH,4ANXD,179HJ,1

M is for Make have ace patterns, haberdashery and lots of gorgeous Japanese fabrics. They have 15% off with the code blackfriday15

http://www.misformake.co.uk/?ct=t%28April+1%29&mc_cid=2f92f6e102&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D

My Fabrics is the cheapest place for wool, jersey, sweatshirt material and funky European prints. I mean super cheap!! Their code FABRICS271115 gets you £10 off!! The website is here: https://www.myfabrics.co.uk

Just look at that funky fox fabric! 

 
Fabric Rehab. Need I say more? The first for me and still one of the best. Shop their fabric sale: http://www.fabricrehab.co.uk/sale.html?limit=98

Colette Patterns again is one of my all time favourites. I use their gorgeous and well written patterns for my classes, their blog is awesome and they have a monthly e-mag with patterns that just pisses all over Mollie Makes etc. All patterns are 20% off and some 70% off! https://www.colettepatterns.com

 And of course I have all my lovely quilts on sale for you guys in my www.etsy.com/shop/handmadebycheeky shop! 

    
 

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Liberty in fashion – fashion and textiles museums London

Liberty in fashion – fashion and textiles museums London

Today I went on a little trip to the fabulous fashion and textiles museum (Zandra Rhodes’ baby) in Bermondsey, London. 

I love this museum. It’s pink and orange on the outside for starters!

  

 It’s small but perfectly formed and always has interesting exhibitions as well as a gorgeous little shop. They also have a great eductional programme, I’ve done excellent photoshop and marketing courses here and would love to also do the 3 day Illustrator course they offer. One day. 

Today I went to see the Liberty in fashion exhibition. Fascinating and colourful and well worth a visit. 

                          
    
After I went to Islington and did some serious salivating and shopping in Loop yarns and Ray Stitch

                        
    
    
    
    
 

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Sewing jeans: Ginger jeans pattern

Sewing jeans: Ginger jeans pattern

Along with making bras making jeans has been on my to sew list since last autumn. I bought two patterns and enrolled on a Craftsy class and bought denim and then ran out of making time.     

I finally made a pair of jeans a few months ago by butchering the pattern that was written by Angela Wolf who ran the Craftsy class. Her pattern was for a low rise bootcut whereas I wanted a higher rise skinny pair so I took in the legs and added height to the rise. It worked pretty well and fit but the denim I had used was horrible and the zip broke when I tried it on so I left them to languish in the must-sort-one-day pile. I wasn’t entirely happy with the fit, the pockets at the front pulled open where my belly was pushing the fabric out and despite anchoring the corners to the denim I wanted a better fitting pattern. 

   
 I had heard many good things of the Ginger jeans from Closet Case Files (closetcasefile) and last week I set about taping the pattern together and making a pair of jeans. The denim was a nice sturdy dark blue and I used a gorgeous yellow top stitching thread. I read the sew along as well as the instructions and found a very clever way to fix the pulling problem I had found before in the sew along. The inner pocket and facing are extended to make an internal panel to provide support for the front of the jeans and keep unruly bellies in check. Ingenious! 

  
I used my new to me Pfaff 1475 which coped admirably all the way apart from when it suddenly lost its timing on the very last row of stitching. Top stitching is quite heavy on machines, it’s hard to keep the thread from knotting badly underneath and hard to keep an even tension. My machine, being electronic, when faced with a large knot which stopped the needle carried the motion of the bobbin on and hey presto the timing was kaput. It was too delicate a thing to fix myself so off to the shop she went. Luckily I still have an ancient Bernina 700 and used her to finish the jeans off and make another pair straightway!

  
So. The fit is perfect, second time around it only took me about 4 hours and I’m a happy bunny indeed! Even really splashing out on denim and needles and thread you can make yourself a pair for about £35 and being able to doctor the fit exactly is priceless.

So fitting wise I did what I always have to do. I have no discernible waist so had to start with a waist size 15, grading down to a size 12/11 on the legs. As long as you make the line connecting the sizes nice and smooth you can easily go between sizes. I also made the crotch curve at the front and bit deeper and this took out a lot of the extra fabric I had previously had when doing the first fit. 

Once I make my own knickers and knit socks a bit faster I can be totally self sufficient! So cool. 

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cheeky handmades