The Anderson Blouse Pt5

Work on the Anderson blouse continues (I’m sure you’re getting bored of these posts!). The sleeves are made, but completing the flat felled seam inside the sleeve was very tricky.


On the first attempt I managed to catch part of the sleeve, so had to unpick and try again. The first sleeve is now attached to the body.

I went to the local market to pick up some buttons for the cuffs. As they were so cheap (15p each), I chose an ivory coloured pair and a black pair, so I could try and them out against the fabric.

I think I am leaning towards the ivory button.

Sewing is going to have to wait for a bit, the sewing machine is away so I can tidy my flat as I have my parents visiting for dinner tonight. So enough blogging, off to wheel out the vacuum (there are bits of thread everywhere!).

While my daughter was at her friend’s house, I managed to get some more work done on the Anderson Blouse. After unpicking the shoulder seams more than once, I managed to get them lined up in such a way so I could create the flat felled seam. I tried on the blouse shell (sleeves come next), and it fits really well.

My daughter returned home late in the evening bearing cupcakes:

Apparently they are ‘accidentally gluten-free, and taste a bit like rice’, I shall try one later!

I’ve been making homemade lemonade this week and was going to write up the adapted recipe I used for this blog. But the weather was grey and overcast for most of the day, so I’ve been struggling to take a good picture to finish off the post – hopefully, tomorrow…..

Today I thought I would try out some seams on the fabric, especially as I wanted to encase the raw edges of the fabric as it frays very badly. Fortunately, Sew Over It were very generous with their fabric estimations, so I had plenty of spare fabric after cutting out my pattern pieces

As my sewing machine can only do a straight stitch, I tried out a French Seam and a Flat Felled Seam.

When I compared the finished straight seams I definitely preferred the flat felled seam. It lies completely flat and was slightly easier to do (no juggling with seam allowance mathematics). Although the French seam looked neater on the outside, I didn’t like the feel of it on the inside, plus I knew I would have to cope with a gathered seam and a set-in sleeve and they are more difficult with a French seam.

I then decided to test the flat felled seam in both a set-in sleeve shape and a gathered straight edge.

The flat felled seam worked well, but I need to be more careful when sewing so I don’t catch any of the fabric in the seam.

So now I have tested everything I can think of, it’s time to take the plunge and sew the actual blouse!

While my daughter had a friend round (the teenagers spent most of the day eating me out of house and home and watching anime), I traced my Anderson Blouse pattern. Ironed the fabric (it’s one that wrinkles if you just look at it wrong), pinned out my pattern pieces and cut them out.

Then I read the first instruction from Sew Over It.

Hmm, this could be tricky. As you may already know, I sew on a vintage 1920s Singer hand-crank sewing machine.

This lovely sewing machine can only do a straight stitch, and only forwards. You have to physically change the direction of the fabric to go in the other direction.

I think I am going to try and sew 10mm from the edge of a test bit of fabric to see if that works as stay stitching.

Slightly related, if you are thinking of trying a Sew Over It pattern, I can report that the instructions are very clear (with photographic diagrams).

I’ve been admiring the Anderson Blouse from Sew Over It for a while. When I realised that one of their shops was in Clapham North (only a few tube stops from me) I decided to take a trip.

The ladies in the shop were lovely, but annoyingly they didn’t have any physical patterns for the Anderson Blouse. So I picked up some fabric and decided to buy the PDF version of the pattern when I got home.

I must admit that I had forgotten how much I hate PDF patterns, especially the faff I have to go through to print them out. You can’t customise the scale of the page when printing from an iPad, so I had to go and dig out my laptop. After a lot of trial and error (mainly my laptop refusing to recognise the printer), I ended up digging out my printer cable and connecting them together.

Remember to scale your pages to 100% to make sure the pattern prints out at the correct scale. 32 pages later, I had a pile of paper ready to be stuck together.

After a lot of sticky tape and patience (and possibly a little swearing), the pattern was stuck together. Now all I need to do is trace the pattern onto tracing paper, but I think that is a job for tomorrow.

The fabric I picked up is lovely and drapey, I think it is Crepe de Chine. I love the feathers and I hoping it will look nice as a finished blouse.

I found a Sew Over It kit to make a tie when I was last in John Lewis. As it was on sale for £5, I thought it would be perfect for a first attempt at tie making. The kit included the pattern, fabric, domette and thread – so a bargain!

The fabric included was a dark blue cotton with polka dots. There was a small amount of pale blue cotton to make the lining at each end.

The pattern instructions were easy to follow, but it does help if you read them carefully! I made some basic mistakes and had to unpick and try again. But the second time around it worked fine.

Annoyingly the domette pattern seemed too big (either that or my sewing was really off, despite being really careful with my seam allowances). So I had to trim it down.

The finished tie had slightly wonky ends, but I suspect that it due to my poor domette trimming!

It only took an afternoon, and I think I will make more ties in the future. I just need to get some more fabric (and domette fabric) and be more careful with trimming the pieces.

So after a close look at my Singer, I found a thread wrapping itself around the crank wheel.

Black thread on a black machine proved quite challenging! But at least I was up and running again.

As the blanket rows filled it became more and more unwieldy.

I kept having to fold the filled rows over to stop it from suddenly cascading over the edge of the table. But eventually, I was down to the last row.

Before starting to fill it, I trimmed off the excess fabric leaving just over 1″ for a hem. I also unpicked some of each columns so I had space to fold the edge under.

Then as I filled each pocket I folded and pinned each section to stop the beans from escaping.

Then I carefully sewed along the top, pausing at each column divider to sew down the column to replace the stitches I had unpicked.

And then it was finished (to be fair I feel like my upper body has done an epic workout!)

I think the shark fabric has worked well and looks quite effective with the pockets.

And I think the contrast of fleece and fabric also works well. We’ll just have to wait and see what the reaction is next week when she unwraps it! (I’ll try and take some pictures……)

Following on from last week, today I sewed the channels in the blanket.

I marked them at 10″ intervals to start and pinned the fabric in place, then I sewed from the bottom of the blanket to the top. The fleece stretched and moved while sewing, but I think this would ease if I had a walking foot.

Then I divided it again so I had channels that were 5″ apart and sewed again. This time I didn’t need to pin as the previous channels helped to hold it in place.

I also marked some rows 5″ wide in preparation for filling. I used a 1/4 cup measure (I had some American cups from my muffin making) and poured plastic beans into each channel.

Then I sewed along the row, unfortunately, with my first row lots of the beans tried to escape and it was really hard to hold them in place. So for the second row, I pinned above the beans to secure them better.

1 kg of plastics beans comfortably filled 3 rows of 5″ squares. But after I had sewed 5 rows my beloved Singer 99k started acting up. The hand crank became very hard to turn. I checked all the mechanisms and gave it an oil, but it didn’t help. After posting on a Ravelry forum for help, someone suggested that maybe there was a loose thread that was stopping it from moving, so tomorrow I shall dig out a torch and hunt for a rogue thread – so the blanket is on hold for now!

I have 2 weeks to go until her birthday, so this needs to be fixed quickly!

My daughter’s 15th birthday is rapidly approaching, so I needed to work out what to get her. It just so happens that she has recently been diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum (which has answered so many questions!).

She has used heavy things (like sofa cushions) for years to help calm herself when she gets upset, so when she found out about weighted blankets it seemed like an ideal potential present. The only problem is they are expensive!

So after lots of research into sites like Sharing the Weight, I figured I could make one myself.

So here is the first stage of making a weighted blanket:

I bought fabric.

My daughter loves Sharks, and I managed to find this printed quilting fabric called Yikes!

I also picked up some red fleece for the back and plain black polio to line the fleece (as I had read that the fleece can make it difficult to get plastic pellets in).

I stitched together a large rectangle inside out so that when I turned it the right way round I would get a Shark, Poplin, Fleece sandwich.

Approximate size after sewing is 40″ across and more than 50″ high. I’m going to trim the height once I work out how many rows I want. But I’m aiming for 10 x 4″ columns.

I then topstitched around the sides and base. Next weekend I am going to see the columns and start filling them with poly beads. I have already purchased 4kg of poly beads from a shop called Tinkerbell Creations (as they were the most cost-effective I found in the UK).

I’m a little worried about sewing the beads into the blanket as it is already quite unwieldy when sewing, but that is mainly because I’m sewing on a hand crank machines. So I only have 1 hand to support and steer the fabric. I already have some spectacular scratches on my arms from the pins, so let’s see how mangled I get next weekend!

Despite my lack of postings, I have been quite activity sewing this year. One of my favourite patterns has been the Arielle skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. I’ve already made two for school and am planning on making another before term starts again.

But as I needed a new ‘summer’ skirt to wear this week, I thought that it would work well in a lightweight denim.

I found the lightest denim I could at my local Haberdashery and also picked up some fabulous buttons and almost matching gingham bias binding.

My Singer has a really good buttonholer, especially when you consider it’s from the 1930s. It is oddly soothing to crank the handle and watch buttonholes being created!

This skirt is really easy to fit. Plus as I seem to be a lot taller than Tilly (or her target audience) the long line skirt finishes almost exactly on my knee. I did shorten it by one buttonhole for this skirt as I wanted something a little above the knee.

Lastly, the finish on the inside is really nice, I like how the bias binding completes it.

When I have access to another person I’ll try and get some photos of it on…

This pattern arrived at the start of the holidays. I’ve been looking forward to starting it for a while.

It’s from Simple Sew (and they have quite a few other patterns I have my eye on). I bought this fabric to make it from, a polka dot medium weight cotton and a turquoise skirt lining.

Normally I try and encase my seams, as I don’t have an overlocker and my sewing machine can only do straight stitch. When I make tops I tend to use French seams, but these are too bulky for skirts. Then I came across a flat felled seam (courtesy of this very helpful tutorial). So I thought I would do a test to see if it worked with my fabric.

It worked well on a straight seam, but I was unsure how easy it would be to do on curved seams (and this skirt has a lot of curved seams!).

I am quite pleased with the final finish of the skirt, it fits really well (and I am going to have to make some more with different patterns!)

When I added the lining (despite the skirt pattern not having a lining – I had to improvise) I was quite pleased to discover that the way I had made it meant that no raw seams are visible!

Sorry – just felt like showing off the fabulous fit of this skirt again!

You may remember that I was going to make a skirt for my daughter using some black fabric printed with roses. Well, yesterday I got the pattern ready and laid it out on the fabric. It was then I realised that I have made a critical mistake – I hadn’t checked the width of the fabric before buying it. The fabric was only 115cm wide, but I needed it to be 140cm, especially as one of the pattern pieces was 60cm wide from the fold.

So after trying to think of a way to use the fabric I already had, I finally admitted defeat and headed to the haberdashery to buy some new fabric.

My daughter had asked for something tartan if possible (if I couldn’t find the same fabric but wider). I sent her the above picture for her to choose a colour and she went with the black (you’ve got to love smartphones!).

Fortunately, as it is polyester it didn’t require pre-washing, so I could start cutting out pattern pieces straight away.

I did a test seam, as the fabric was fraying a lot. I tried out both a French seam and just stitching along the edge before seaming.

The French seam was far too bulky, so I had to go with the stitching 5mm from the edge of the fabric.

The Burda miniskirt pattern instructions were surprisingly difficult to follow. Especially the lack of instructions on how to make the pleated part. Fortunately, I found this set of instructions that helped me work out the pleated skirt.

After a hectic afternoon (and evening) of sewing, the skirt was finished. One happy teenager!

NB: a word of warning, if you are going to make this pattern add some extra for the hem. I added an extra 4cm, but only used 2cm for the hem because it came up very short!

Yesterday was a busy day. I finished my Mathilde Blouse. The adaptations worked perfectly, so now the neckline sits in my collar bone and the blouse finishes just below my hips.

I mentioned before that I have a Singer sewing machine from 1934. Due to my eBay stalking, I also have a 1940’s buttonholer.

It comes with a series of cams that you put inside for different size buttonholes. The first things I did when I received it was to make a buttonhole sample strip. This means I can test buttons to check which cam I need to make the right size buttonhole.

So with buttonholer attached I finished off Mathilde with its buttoned back.

While I had the buttonholer out I also made the buttonholes for a shirt I finished ages ago. I copied an existing shirt to make this, and I’ll post at some point about how I did this (basically brown paper and lots of patience!).

Onto the next project: The Mini Skirt.

My teenage daughter has asked to help me make a mini skirt for her. So I found a pattern on Burda Style for a sequinned pleated mini skirt.

I have spent the morning (while waiting for said teenage to wake up!) printing out and sticking together the pattern.

30 A4 pages that need to be patiently trimmed and tessellated together. I’ve still got to trace the pattern pieces (and add my own seam allowance, because the pattern doesn’t have them), but that will have to wait until I have an awake teenager to measure.

In the meantime here is the fabric she has chosen for her skirt:

Red roses for the main skirt, very dark blue lining. She’s hoping to wear this skirt tomorrow – I think that means I’ll need to go and wake her up (again!).

By sheer fluke, my zip arrived in the morning post. So I had no excuse but to crack on with the skirt. Unfortunately, I don’t have a zipper foot (yet – I am stalking eBay for one), so I put my concealed zip in by hand.

After sewing up all the seams, inserting the lining and sewing on the waistband; it was time to try it on.

It is a pretty good fit, I didn’t need to take any in on the hips. I placed pins on the knees to show where the hem will need to sit. Although the skirt is now finished, I’m going to take photos when it’s light.

Finishing all the hems, waistband, lining and concealed zipper took an awful lot of blind hemming. I forgot how long this takes, but it does look good.

Next project will be this:

I might already have some black polka dot fabric and turquoise lining on its way to me at the moment (love online shopping!).

I’ve been busy today working on my Charlotte skirt (thoroughly enjoying being on holiday from school, so I have time for this!). I sew on a vintage Singer sewing machine. Mine is a 99k from 1934, it only sews with a straight stitch, but I have been collecting different feet attachments to enable my machine to do more.

I knew I needed to finish the edges of my seams, as the fabric was fraying quite badly. Normally I would use a French seam, but I didn’t want the extra bulk along the hip line. So I thought I would try out my ‘new’ attachment: a zigzag foot.

I tried out finishing with both a zigzag stitch and a straight stitch to see which gave a better finish.

The top one is zigzag, the bottom is straight stitch. I felt the straight stitch looked a lot better, so I went with that one. I am planning on using pinking shears to completely finish the edges, but I need to borrow my mum’s shears – until I can get my own pair.

After a busy afternoon of sewing, I have completed the outside and inside shells.

Now I need to wait for my invisible zip to arrive before I can continue. Hopefully, it will arrive tomorrow!

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  1. Cactus Embroidery – Slow Sewing

    It’s taken just over a year, but this embroidery is finally finished!

    Read more…


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    Mushroom Ragu – Vegan and Delicious!

    It's new year's day and I'm making Mushroom Ragu.

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    How I used the school's Cricut machine to make custom stickers for Christmas wrapping.

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  4. The Sewing Weekender

    What did I get up to in the Sewing Weekender 2020?

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  5. Black Lives Matter

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