Friday, 22 May 2015

Machine embroidered pockets - a tutorial

This whole thing emerged in my head while making my RAF trousers. Of course, at that point they were only trousers. Quite theme-less:)

The original Simplicity #3688 has got no pockets, but my rear really benefit from some kind of embellishment. High waisted things without, just end up up as a whole lotta unflattering flatness.

I drafted the pattern pieces for the pockets myself, but I also wanted them to have some decoration. I noticed that my trousers was the perfect match for my closet-dwelling Smooth aviator blouse, so it had to be wings!

Now, for this project, I could have drawn the design myself. So any image will work, self-made or "borrowed". If you draw something, you need to scan and save to your computer. If you find something online, download and save. So this would be your step 1.

Step 2 is prepping your paper on which you will print the image. Regular pattern tissue/tracing paper is nice and thin for your machine to embroider upon, but it can be tricky for your printer to feed through. So, take a single sheet of printing paper and tape a piece of tracing paper ontop. The size you need will depend on your image, but there is no need to cover the whole sheet. You only need to tape the upper and lower edge of the tissue. Place the sheet into your printer (the right way). It may be a good idea to have some extra paper inserted, I know my printer is a little fussy, and have an easier time grabbing the individual sheet if there is a stack of them in.

Step 3, open the image file and choose print. In the printing menu you will be able to adjust the positioning of the image in the preview window, and so on. I adjusted the side margins inwards so that there were sufficient space around the image. This is helpful when you attaching your paper piece to the fabric. When you're happy, print.

Step 4, carefully remove your tissue from the printer paper, and pin it onto your fabric piece. I made the embroidery before any cutting, or folding of edges or any of that.

Step 5, baste the printed tissue to your fabric and remove pins.

Baste close to edge.

Step 6, start sewing!
My image was rather intricate with all the feathers, so I made several passes over them. Start with the outline and just follow along all edges, and then filling in the "fatter lines". Go slow!

Slowly does it.
(Take breaks and stretch your neck!!)

I didn't worry about filling it in too perfectly, but if I were to make this design again, I would maybe use a thicker thread. I used regular cotton sewing thread. But again, it all depends on your design. It can also be useful to play around with your machine settings before cracking on with the final product. Check if you've got the correct tension and stitch length. If you've got a design with straighter shapes and thicker lines, you might be able to use a small zig zag stitch for example. Make some samples on a scrap first.

When your done, peel away the tissue gently. If you need to, use a pair of tweezers to get the small bits. Also remove the basting stitches. Et voilĂ ! Embroidered pocket fabric. You can now go ahead and actually make the pocket,
and stick it onto your garment!

The navy ring is hand embroidered on.
The rest is Bertha:)

This method is also useful if you need to transfer something for hand embroidery. I don't own any good marker tool that creates a fine enough line, or can be easily removed. So I just use a thread matching the fabric color, trace the shape with my sewing machine, and continue embroidering by hand. It is great for small initials and other simple designs. That way, the markings don't get fudged while you handle the fabric, and are totally invisble after it has been covered by embroidery floss.

I hope you found this useful :)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

While waiting for the sun to shine

Hello springbunnies :)

Spring this year has been unusually chilly, rainy and windy in my part of the woods. May is typically nice and summery, only to turn into a wet and disappointing summer come June. So I take it this is a sign of a lovely warm summer ahead? You are probably not coming here to get the weather forecast, so lets get on with things!

I have been sewing. Oh yes! I finished another version of Simplicity #3688, you know, the fabulous swing trousers. My new ones are forest green, and apart for the slightly scratchy linen fabric, I love them too! When the sun pops out, you'll have the delightful pleasure of me modelling them. Yes, I'm generous like that ;)

On another note, I am all done with the knitting part of the Rainbow jumper!

But I am starting to realize why this is rarely seen when googling it....

Come on. Count the threads. I dare you.


Actually I've done that for you. There are 280 ends in total. I need to be in an exceptionally good mood if I am to sit down and weave in all those buggars.

So while I wait (for the sun AND the urge to wrangle wool), I started a new dress!
The pattern is a mailorder one from sometime in the 1940s. The envelope is adressed to a Mrs Martin Lottmann in Owensville, Missouri. The stamp has no date on it. It is a bit mindblowing to think about this little letter ending up in Norway some 70+ years after. What are the odds? I know Mrs Lottmann didn't see that one coming.

And now, I am getting a new sundress :) Isn't it lovely?

Love those sleeves. And the pockets!

I am finally sewing with polkadots, too! I can't believe it has taken me this long, because I love those little things :) Fingers crossed this will turn out good. So far, I've roughly gotten the bodice together and waiting for the lining fabric to dry. Here's a sneak peak for you ;)

Yes, that is leftover fabric from my pink power shirt :)

So, what excitement have you got going on your sewing table? Do tell!   

Friday, 8 May 2015

A day for remembrance

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Victory and Peace in Europe.

Oslo, May 8th, 1945.

Today is Liberation Day in Norway, and I want to just take a moment to honour all those people who made sacrifices and participated in the war effort many years ago. Not only in Norway, but all nation involved, suppressing evil forces at play.

Stavanger, May 8th 1945.

I can never begin to imagine what people went through in those days, not just the brave men and boys fighting for peace. But all the women at home, the children, the elder. All the hardships, and the heartbreaks. All the fear and unsecurity.


Yet, people managed to keep on going, make the best of things. I am in awe over these people, and I feel gratitude and respect. I really do have it all, I have nothing to complain about. I have everything I need, and more. My problems seems minute, and just plain silly when thinking about the bigger picture. I hope you too, will spend a minute to reflect over this, and be happy about your freedom. I realize that these blogposts are international, and that all countries aren't at peace at this moment in time. My thoughts also includes those people, and just illustrates my point. I am happy to be free.


Today, I have spent my day listening to actual wartime radio broadcasts. Half hours filled with joyous music ment to lift spirits. I have also watched some documentaries, about both the  five years of occupation and the liberation of my country. I was also able to see live footage from the darkest times when my own little hometown was bombed to pieces. By our own allies, by mistake. I remember having older people telling about this when I was little in elementary school. War is absolutely horrid, and I prey I never will have to feel it, see it, live it. Ever.

Paris, May 1945