Thursday, 22 August 2013

Things To Make and Do - Pink Pajamas

Over the last year or so I have been putting a few spare pounds each month into a separate savings account, in anticipation of eventually saving up enough money to buy myself an Overlocker/Serger. It's a total luxury, I know if I am honest I didn't really need it, I can achieve a fairly good result with just my sewing machine and a bit of patience, but my thinking was if I saved up gradually, fighting the urge to splurge on a surger (ooh) then I could justify it.

And so back in June I'd finally saved up enough to buy one, so eagerly I scoured online pondering the various models and reviews and eventually settled on the cheapest (which left me a few pounds spare for fabric!) and what also seems like the most popular choice amongst sewing bloggers the Brother 1034d which I bought from Gur Sewing Machines on eBay (very impressed with the speed and quality of their delivery service, very efficient). It arrived very promptly which was great but also utterly terrifying, so rather than me ripping it out of the box in eagerness I had a quick gander to check all was in order and then put it back in its box, had a mini panic attack at how much money I had spent, then left it to sit in its box untouched for about a month.

It's pretty and terrifying in equal measure
It wasn't until I had got back from my Isle of Wight holiday that I found the courage to have a good look at it. Thankfully my Mum had come back to London with me for a few days so I had the perfect allies to help figure out how to operate this mean machine. We sat down to watch the supplied DVD* which was quite amusing, but it certainly helped in threading the machine correctly, thank heavens for pause and rewind! Once it was threaded, we were ready to go and it worked like a dream and though the blade was a little scary at first, it rapidly became addictive! My quite sceptical Mum, who I am sure (though she hid it well) up until know had thought it was another one of my whims and no doubt an utter waste of money, but once she sat down and had a go was a little bit smitten too!

Our Joint effort, overlocked seam
So the first project I choose to sew, was from the fabric that we had been practising on (just around the edges, nothing too destructive) I had bought it a few months earlier with the intention once I had finished my brothers pullover, I would make myself some summer Pajamas and so that's exactly what I did!

Pink Pajama's
(Stash Buster)

Pattern: Kwik Sew 2811
Size made: Large
Fabric: 4m Cerise pink checked cotton
           White Cotton
           Approx. 1m of Ric Rac Braid
           4 Buttons - I used 5 so as to not break the set
           Elastic - I used white 10 cord elastic from here

The fabric is a really lovely cerise pink checked cotton from Minerva Crafts for £2.99 p/m. It's quite lightweight which makes it perfect for some summer pajamas, I pre-washed it before cutting (trying to create some good sewing habits here) and so far there is only a little colour loss/fading, which with it being a pastel shade is barely noticeable!

The Pattern was really a dream to sew together, I decided I would use the overlocker on as many seams as I could feasibly get away with, joining and overlocking them in one fell swoop, which made things a whole lot quicker and far too much fun! I started by making the Pajama bottoms, which despite my fury friends best attempts to distract me, only took a few hours to complete!

"Move me at your peril woman"
The shirt took a little longer, what didn't help was that I had accidentally ordered about a meter less fabric than I needed and so, as usual, there was no way I was going to be able to squeeze all the pieces out of the fabric I had left. I toyed with the idea of making another Sorbetto Top which I think would look great with the bottoms, but as much as I wanted to take the easy option, in the back of my mind there was the niggling thought that I would be copping out, so I hopped back to Minerva and ordered another couple of meters (and one or two other lovely fabrics, naturally).
Working out my button placement
After that, it was plain sailing or should that be serge-ing. I decided almost as an afterthought that it might be nice to add a bit of stashed Ric Rac braid to liven it up a little, so added some to the pocket, around the top of collar and onto the cuffs, and around the cuff on the trousers. I really had to restrain myself from putting it around every edge, as it is there's just enough and I think its worked out quite well!

I made the largest size in the packet, as I wanted them to feel loose and airy, there is nothing worse to my mind than tight pajamas to give you a bad night's sleep, you want something that has plenty of room for fidgeting about, which happens to be my speciality!

The only downside to making the largest size is that the sleeves are a bit too long. They are made by attaching a separate cuff to the lower edge of the sleeve which rather than folding back on itself, hangs down adding another few inches to the length. I am toying with the idea of re-doing them and swapping it round (Right side of cuff wrong side of the sleeve) so that the cuff folds up and out from inside, certainly if I make another pair it's something I would change.

I have to say other than the sleeve issue I am really happy with my new pajamas and would highly recommend Kwik Sew 2811 to anyone, as it is a very simple pattern to follow which has produced a great result and something I am really rather proud of!

I really should be getting the dinner on, but you know, lounging about is far more fun!
Wendy x

*Rather bizarrely the DVD supplied with the machine is not actually for the 1034d, it's rather for an older model (I forget the No.) which is fine, it is all the same really. The weird thing is, though, that on youtube you can find a modernised (lets say late 90's) version of the DVD specifically for the 1034d, clearly the same presenter and with more useful tips and explanation for the different feet supplied, so it does exist, its just not supplied with the machine? Perhaps it's just mine? You can find the full 1034d user guide videos here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Victory Garden - June - Gone Too Soon!

"It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes,
And pleasant scents the noses."

Time for a June shaped recap of the goings on down at The Victory Garden, better late than never.  To start with, here is a quick little video snapshot of the plot!

It was such a beautiful quite morning which I felt I had to capture, even if it's just 15 seconds, I've put a birdsong soundtrack (ignore the running water) on this clip via youtube, as sadly as my mobile won't record sound on Instagram, which means you can't here the wonderful sound of the bees, buzzing manically around the poppies. Oh and that figure at the end is the beekeeper, I guess it's his bees pollinating the poppies, not a member of CSI!

The Victory Garden Walthamstow June  watering my crops
Never have I looked so glamourous :)
As beautiful as this morning was there was still plenty to be getting on with rather than stopping to film the flowers. Most of Junes allotmentering was spent watering and weeding it's been quite a challenge to keep on to of the watering as I struggle to get over to the allotment after work during the week, and when I do it's a bit of a fight to fill up your watering can before someone takes the last of the water as the tanks fill quite slowly.

The Victory Garden Walthamstow June

Despite the battle to keep everything watered the plants were all looking rather healthy and green, the only plants that were really struggling from lack of water were the runner beans (they love water) so were making not the greatest progress in climbing up the poles, but sill there not dead!

The Victory Garden Walthamstow June Broad Beans and Peas

As good as the broad beans look , they have got lovely and tall and have lots of flowers ready for beans to form when the time is right, they are suffering from a black fly invasion!

Ewwww, these are really icky! Just looking at this picture makes me itch!
I decided as there was lots of lady birds munching away at them that it would be mean to spray them with an insecticide, so I went with a more ladybird friendly option, a thick mixture of washing up liquid and water, which when sprayed over the infected crop should kill of the black fly, by suffocating them apparently, nice! Fingers crossed this works!

The Victory Garden Walthamstow June Black Fly solution

It was time to plant out the dwarf beans, which once they began to germinate grew up so quickly you could almost watch it happen!

They are now in three short rows in front of the peas in the first section, planting in long rows as per the plan has gone a little awry. I have found that it's been much easier to look after the plants if they are in shorter yet wider rows, as it makes it much easier cover them with netting or fleece, and  treating them for infestation, so this is something I will be bearing in mind for next years endeavours!

I also planted out all of my cabbages and Brussels sprouts which have been slowly maturing in my greenhouse at home.
May to June is the period for planting out your Brussels...Be careful in lifting from the seedbed to see that you get a good ball of soil round the roots. Should the weather be dry, water the seedbed row the night before. Plant with a dibber deep enough to bury the roots and stem up to the first leaves. Press the soil firmly round the plant with the dibber or your heel. (Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide May 1945)
I completely forgot to take a photograph of them once planted, they are in the last section and are currently covered with some netting (you can see it the first picture, right behind me) to reduce the bug attacks!

The Victory Garden Walthamstow June Cabbages

And lastly, to replace the may carrots which failed to grow, I planted another couple of rows in the raised bed at the end of the plot, this time a variety called Chantenay hopefully I will have better luck this time!

The Victory Garden Walthamstow June Carrots Chantenay
Wendy x