confessions of a fabric obsessive

Tag Archives: Problem with technology

If in doubt, rip it out!

I’ve been busy with a birthday gift for the last couple of days. Trying to sew satin in a hurry is never a good idea. Here are a few tips I have been reminded of the last few days while making a dozen dress-up capes for my nephews 6th birthday party. I think they’re going to be knights, but my SIL requested capes rather than amour, which is probably a good thing really.

1) Before you cut anything, measure to make sure you have enough, then iron so you aren’t cutting through creases (I only cut though one crease) which gives you odd lumps here and there.

2) When trying to use a new foot to roll a hem, find and read the instructions.

3) When you’ve given up on the new food and have decided to do the hems the old-fashioned way, fold and pin the hems and then iron them so they stay. This is very important for slippery fabrics like satin or lining!

4) If your sewing machine tries to eat your fabric more than once, unplug it, clean it out properly with the small paintbrush that you keep specially for cleaning it with and then change to a fresh sharp needle.

5) Don’t think that sewing fast means that the whole thing will be finished quicker. (see 1, 3 and 4 above). The tortoise might not always finish faster than the hare, but at least he keeps his fingers, thumbs and sanity intact!

6) If it looks bad enough to annoy you, rip it out straight away, re-iron and resew it. You’ll be happier later.

7) If you’re going to change the pattern/tutorial you are following from double-sided to single-sided because you don’t want to cut/use two pieces of fabric per cape, don’t round off the corners. You’ll need square corners so you can mitre them. Trying to hem rounded corners is a nightmare, leave it to the robots.

8) If you spend a fortnight trying to work out which fabric to use and getting sidetracked by all of the dressing up cape patterns and tutorials out there in blog land (who me?), you’ll only have 48 hours to get all 12 of them cut, sewn, finished, packed and posted off to get to the birthday boy in time for his party. Think faster and give yourself more time to sew!

They’re finished now and on their way to birthday-party-land. Here is a photo of the finished capery.

Ellen over at The Long Thread has the best superhero cape that works really well as a children’s dressing up cape (and therefore a knight’s cape). The instructions are easy and the finished results are pretty good, even after all my modifications and the sewing machine’s attempts to eat them! Plus, The Long Thread is one of my favourite blogs and I’m so glad to have finally tried one of her tutorials (albeit modified).



Live and learn

I thought I’d update you all (and make notes for myself so that I don’t forget) what I have learned from the projects I have completed recently, and from the Craftsy Block of the Month that I am working on as a quiltalong.

Notes to Self

  1. Measure your pieces, especially when stitching HST’s into squares. If you don’t you will get squares the wrong size, see also 2.
  2. Do the Math. If you want to end up with a 12.5″ block, and it will be 4 squares across, each individual square needs to be 3″ across after stitching. A 15″ block just has to be ripped apart and done again. See also 3.
  3. Look after your tools. A 2 by 20″ rule is no use with a big gouge out of one of the long sides.
  4. You need light to sew by. Fix the clamp on the anglepoise and replace the lightbulb in your sewing machine. Stop procrastinating and get on with it.
  5. Learn how to maintain your sewing machine. And then DO IT! Clean it before you start every new project.
  6. Sort out your needles and then use the right one for the job. When you can find them, they’ll do a better job than just sticking with whatever is in there from last time.
  7. Use a small stitch, especially when stitching quilting fabrics. If you don’t, they will unravel once the block is finished.
  8. Clean your iron. Steam rocks!

Please bear in mind the title of the list, and that when I write “you” I mean me.

Sorry no photos this post. You don’t want to see the (hideous) mistakes that prompted me to write this list.

Oh no you don’t.

Claire Bear

I am genius!

Ta-da! With absolutely no training at all, just copying and messing with the code for other people’s  buttons  until it does what I want: I present to you, the Claire Bear Button for your delight and delectation and more than anything, for your blog!!!


There’s the button, down on the left, make sure you get all of the code.

If anyone wants to let me know how to make this more viewable in wordpress, please tell me.

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