It’s time for another round of Nosey Parker In The Neighbourhood with Kat over at Diary Of A Flutter.Kat

This round is all about our sewing…

1)  How long have you been sewing? Are you a first generation sewer or was the knowledge handed down to you? Basically tell us about your journey… 

Hmm, well I can remember doing embroidery when I was little as presents for the grandmothers for Christmas/birthdays, and doing a couple that are still around my parents’ house.  I can also remember breaking my mum’s machine out a couple of times, and sewing a somewhat tent-like pinafore dress to wear to school when I was in 6th form.  When I went to uni I inherited my gran’s old machine, which I used to churn out a whole pile of fleece garments for various people while I was at uni but it was on its last legs, so when it developed a rather bad fabric munching habit, it was retired for good.  I sewed a number of bears by hand over the next few years, and then  I got a proper machine, Baby Brother, in November 2009 so that I could sew up the larger bears faster than by hand.   

Last April/May I went looking for patterns for clothes for the bears and for a friend’s daughter’s Bitty Baby, stumbled across Sew Mama Sew at giveaway time, and found a whole new world of sewing in a variety of blogs.  I think it would be fair to say this latest foray, by far the most serious one, has been going for about 8 months, and I got a new machine, Big Brother, at the start of October, to enable me to conquer bigger and more complex projects. 

For the knowledge inheritance part, my mum does a lot of embroidery and knitting, but I only remember her using her sewing machine on hey-days and holidays roughly once every 5 years or so, so the machine sewing has been pretty much self taught (not least because the newer 2 machines have a whole range of things that neither of the first 2 I ever used actually had on them!)  Although I inherited my gran’s machine, I don’t ever remember her actually using it! 

2 of my babies, Big Brother and Baby Brother

2)  Where do you sew? 

Although I have a flatmate, he lives in his room, so what is officially the living room/dining room is mine, all mine!  I have my sewing area set up at one end of it, with the sofa in the middle, and then the computer and TV unit are at the other end.  After the grand new year tidy, it’s actually still pretty clean, although I need to make some thread catchers for my cutting table and for beside the sewing machine. 

3) What does your sewing room/area look like today in it’s real state. Take a picture of it if possible and show it to us real :o) 

This is what my area looks like now, pretty much identical to the post-Christmas ones, although with some more fabric on the shelves! 

The cutting table, which is pretty clear, just my charms from the Spoonflower swap on the corner and the 2 pattern pieces from the SHQ QAL that don’t actually belong there:

My sewing table.  You can see a roll of fusible pelmet weight interfacing I bought for a project I hope to work on this weekend, and the other contents of my last parcels to drop through the door on the right hand corner of the table (the Echo line, waiting to be refolded and put away)  In case you’re wondering what’s under the table, that’s a load of my scrapbooking stuff (which I can’t wait to put in the loft when that’s sorted out)

Finally the fabric shelves, and the ironing board still set up from last night.  At the end of the board you can see the 2 fabrics I bought for Emily’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow charm swap, and some fusible woven interfacing I grabbed at the same time

4)  What is the first thing that you made which you were really proud of? Show us pics of your favourite project. 

Hmm, well not counting those original embroideries (only one of which I’d like to admit to!) as I have no photos of them, and discounting the mad fleece hat/gilet years, I think my dresses that I made for the SONP to take with me on holiday were my first really proud moments: 

I had to completely adjust the bodice on both of these, since my bottom half is several clothing sizes smaller than my top half in pattern terms, and then my bust apparently wasn’t quite the shape the pattern writers expected either, because both bodices originally gaped a lot above the bust.  Although the dresses are actually from the same pattern pack, the gingham one is princess line, and the halterneck one was originally one solid front piece with darts, however, in order to make the halterneck one fit, I had to convert it to princess line too.  It was a good job I started with the gingham one, because I could re-use the side front parts from that to work out where to adjust the halterneck.  They’re not absolutely perfect, but they are close enough for me! 

In quilty terms, I was proud of my first (and thus far only) quilt that I did in the ATS QAL, and which was the very first thing to go through Big Brother after he was acquired, when I quilted it. 

5)  Do you always stick to the “rules” when you sew, or are you more improvisationally minded? 

Rules?!  Err, well, one of the great things about being self taught, is that you don’t know that there are rules to break.  Of course there may be one or two that would be useful to learn, but for the most part, other than that 1/4″ seam thing in quilting, I tend to improvise as I go.  I can, and do, follow patterns, but I will admit that they rarely actually get completed start to finish exactly as scripted.  I pretty much only use patterns for clothes and bags (and in fact am heading away from bag ones that I haven’t created now), but I did use the ATS QAL one as scripted for my first quilt so that it actually looked like it was meant to ;o)  I have, however, been pattern testing for a friend for a couple of bags recently, and that’s actually been quite cathartic, since for once you get to tell the pattern writer when they’re talking mince :oD  (sorry Sara… ;o) )   

Now pop on over and have a nosey around everyone else’s sewing rooms :o)