October Sewing Favourites

October was most definitely a month of slowing down, getting organised and tidying up after the busy ol' month I had in September. Sewing wise progress was most definitely slow and this was down to some good old  procrastination. 

On the 24th I had a wedding to go and I had dreamed of sewing my own dress for the occasion. I picked out the pattern and got the fabric and then stalled. I think I was worried about not being able to do it so I kept finding other things to do until I gave myself a stern talking too and marched myself into the sewing room. I was glad I did because it turned out all right in the end

I also made myself a cape and a bolero for the occasion too. The cape was a bit of an accident make really. I bought the fabric for the bolero and thought I hadn't got enough. However, had I read the instructional diagram correctly it would have shown that I had in fact bought the right amount. Still, I'm pretty pleased with the cape and I ended up with a three piece outfit after buying more fabric for the original bolero. A happy ending!

Anyway, on with the post. 

Merchant and Mills Entomology Pins

Merchant and Mills entomology pins

Merchant and Mills entomology pins

How beautiful and elegant are these pins? These helped a lot when sewing my Kim dress. They are ultra fine pins perfect for silky fabric and they work a treat. They're lovely and long and don't feel like they're doing any damage to those fine threads. As a bonus, despite being used for fine fabrics the pins themselves feel fairly substantial and less likely to bend. They come in a pack of 100 and the package is just as great as the pins - but then you wouldn't expect anything less from Merchant and Mills! 

Merchant and Mills entomology pins

Merchant and Mills entomology pins

If you sew with finer fabrics a lot I think these are most definitely worth investing in. 

1/4" seam foot with guide

1/4" foot with guide - a wonderful addition to a seamstress' sewing arsenal 

1/4" foot with guide - a wonderful addition to a seamstress' sewing arsenal 

1/4" seam foot with guide - for perfect quarter inch stitches

1/4" seam foot with guide - for perfect quarter inch stitches

I was lucky that when I purchased my new sewing machine in May it came with a free quilters kit. Now, I haven't done any quilting so far in my sewing adventures (I do want to make a memory quilt out of my old gig t-shirts at some point though) and if I'm honest I wasn't too sure I would use the kit. How wrong I was. Firstly, the kit came with the amazing walking foot I mentioned last month. This month I made use of the 1/4" seam foot from the kit. 

1/4" seam foot with guide - close up view

1/4" seam foot with guide - close up view

This foot has a built in guide set at 1/4" away from the needle and so you can be super accurate when you need a 1/4" seam. I used this as a guide when stay stitching the tulip skirt for the Kim dress which helped ten fold when hemming. I also used it for a bit more accuracy when doing some topstitching on toile 2 of Rob's Albion jacket (I'm aiming for it to be more of a wearable toile, hence why I'm bothering to topstitch!)

Overall I think this little foot is a great buy. It's one of those non-essential-but-great-to-have-when-you-need-it kinda feet. 

Kim dress pattern

My pattern of the month - the By Hand London Kim dress

My pattern of the month - the By Hand London Kim dress

So it's no surprise that my favourite pattern of the month was Kim. Honestly though I LOVE this pattern. I learned so much whilst making it, from getting an even better fit, to sewing princess seams (which I'm now a big fan of!) and even making FBA and narrow shoulder adjustments. But besides all of that I think it's a great little pattern.

I love that it has two different bodice styles and two different skirt styles with mix and match possibilities. I'm already planning on making version 2 of the dress, which, if I'm honest, is probably the more wearable version of the two. Although I love the first Kim I have made, the tulip wrap skirt does rate fairly high on the incident scale. I didn't mind a huge amount when standing but when I sat down it was a slightly different matter! I could have topstitched part of the front wrap section down and perhaps this would have solved the issue. 

Kim dress, By Hand London - sorry for the creases, this photo was taken after a full day of wear!

Kim dress, By Hand London - sorry for the creases, this photo was taken after a full day of wear!

In any event, this is such a lovely dress and it's not too difficult to make up either - even easier if you use a cotton fabric. It also doesn't take long to sew up. Bonus!

The other thing I really liked about this pattern is the little instruction booklet. Firstly, the instructions are clear and easy to understand. Plus, they have the extra bonus of a sew along on their website so if you get stuck there's more info to help. Secondly, they have space for notes on each page! I have a little notebook where I make pattern adjustment or construction notes but it's so much easier if it's on the pattern and on the relevant page! Genius. 

To summarise, if you want a pattern that will see you from day- night but it simple to make this is it! 

Seamwork Radio

Seamwork radio - the perfect auditory companion for the modern seamstress. I listen to my podcasts on the stitcher app.

Seamwork radio - the perfect auditory companion for the modern seamstress. I listen to my podcasts on the stitcher app.

In case you haven't heard, the lovely ladies over at Colette Patterns have released a podcast called Seamwork Radio. This fits hand in hand with their online magazine which is also called Seamwork. I often listen to music whilst sewing but recently I've gotten in to podcasts and it's great to sit down at the machine after a long day and unwind with some interesting conversation in the background. I have found a few sewing related podcasts that I have started to listen to this but this has gone right up there as a a firm favourite. 

The premise of the series is people talking about their personal stories and how sewing and the related hobbies can really change your life. It's well produced and the topics have been really interesting and thought provoking. In the blog world we often see what people have made and what type of things they enjoy about sewing but we never really hear about how sewing has touched them or affected them. So far I have listened to the first two episodes and it's wonderful to hear the sewing community talking so openly about life's most common struggles - finding your own identity and accepting your body as it- and how sewing really is good for the soul in so many ways. 

The third episode is available now so I'm going to leave this hear, grab a cuppa and sit down at the sewing machine and relax.