Thursday, 30 September 2010

Spray on fabric - are you ready for this?

The inventor says it will revolutionise fashion... but would YOU dare to wear spray-on clothes?

Dr Torres first had the idea for a spray-on fabric while studying for an MA in fashion womenswear at the Royal College of Art. After switching look-books for the chemistry lab, he teamed up with particle technologist Professor Luckham to research and develop the idea....

Read the whole article, by Laura Stott on Mail Online.

......Now, would I prefer to spray on my clothes or sew them? With my figure, definitely the latter! 

What about you?

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My Faithful Pfaff (and the benefits of it's IDT system)

I have had my Pfaff machine for nearly 15 years. It was a top-of-the-range model when I bought it and I have used it at least four times a week ever since. It is a Pfaff 7570, and came complete with an embroidery unit and a couple of cards of embroidery designs.

I love my machine, it has worked so hard making soft furnishings for myself and my clients, my clothes, my children's clothes, my stepdaughter's wedding dress and five bridesmaids dresses, all the items for my online shops and oh! loads more.

I have it serviced regularly, about once a year, and it has never (touch wood) needed a major repair. I don't hanker after a newer model as my beloved does everything I need.

I see lots of sewing machines in my job as a sewing tutor - everything from fabulous Janomes, to 1920's hand operated, straight stitch only Singers. Many of my students ask me to recommend a brand of machine for them to purchase but with so many out there it is hard to pick just one.

However, I would always recommend a Pfaff, particularly to the ladies I teach as I know it would suit the projects they have in mind. Janome machines come a close second, especially as you get a lot of machine for your money, and I am liking Juki's too.

What I love about Pfaff machines is the IDT system, a walking foot that is permanently attached to the machine, which can be engaged or disengaged as desired.

IDT, exclusive to Pfaff,  stands for Integrated Dual Transportation,.. but known as the only way to feed any fabric with no slippage on a sewing machine for absolute perfect stitching.

I use mine all the time, except when using specific feet that don't allow the dual feed to be used. As it is so narrow and fits neatly behind the foot, it can be used for making and attaching piping and zips: we all know how difficult it can be to stop the fabrics slipping against one another when sewing these, but when the IDT system is used they don't slip and you just get beautiful results.

The IDT is brilliant for matching patterns at seams, with no slippage or movement of the pattern, great at sewing velvets and other pile fabrics, and can manage several thick layers without a problem. You also get no puckering when sewing fine fabrics like silk or polyesters. In fact it makes machine sewing so easy.

Other machines do have walking feet attached, like the Janome 6600p with Acufeed, which is brilliant for quilting and preventing slippage between all the layers, but in my experience, can't be as versatile as Pfaff's IDT system, as the foot is so wide and cannot be used for getting close to piping and zips. Please let me know if any one knows differently!

You can also buy walking feet that you can attach to your machine instead of the usual feet, but these, although good, are quite bulky and do have limited uses.

So, if you are thinking of buying a sewing machine, this post may give you something to think about. What ever you do though, consider buying the very best machine that you can afford, as you will always be wishing you had!

And, despite loving my faithful Pfaff, I'm sure that if I won the lottery I'd go straight out and buy another top-of-the-range machine....another Pfaff,  of course!

Sunday, 12 September 2010


For crafts persons and up-cyclers every where - take a look at this article from Mail Online , Sunday 12th September.

 Waste not, want lots!

A growing band of crafty creatives is tackling the problem of our ‘throwaway’ culture by reinventing yesterday’s trash as tomorrow’s treasure. Here we meet some of the upmarket ‘upcyclers’ who are putting the funk into junk.

Zoe Murphy

To see the rest of this inspirational article click here

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Knit your own dog!

Keen on canines and a sucker for stitching? A new collection of patterns shows you how to combine your passions and knit your own pooch.

Old English sheepdog. The book advises: 'Don't worry if you make mistakes as the loopy stitch will hide most errors' Photo: Holly Joliffe
The knitwear designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne share two great loves: knitting and dogs. And their latest project, Best in Show: Knit Your Own Dog,is the love child. This wryly photographed book contains the knitting patterns for 25 dogs, from the fairly straightforward dachshund to the more challenging old English sheepdog and Afghan hound. You can knit your very own royal corgi, Lassie or even Bo, the Obamas' super-trendy Portuguese water dog.

Read more of this article from the Telegraph (Friday 10th September 2010)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Do you make bags? Then check out this new book by Lisa Lam

Just over a week ago I received my pre-ordered copy of a fabulously informative book on bag making.

It's the long awaited "The Bag Making Bible" by Lisa Lam of U-handbag.

I enjoy reading Lisa's blog posts, and find her tutorials full of valuable information. I also buy my frames, handles and bag hardware from her on-line shop.

Lisa's first book is not a disappointment - it is a wealth of information, fantastic pictures and little hints and tips to make tricky jobs easy!

I have been teaching sewing for 30 odd years, both in secondary schools and Adult Education, so I have seen many 'how to' books on sewing and making, and this is, by far, my favourite and, I think, the best I have seen. 
Lisa has got it just right. 

If you are new to making bags use the actual size patterns, supplied in the back of the book, and follow all the instructions to create a fabulous bag for yourself.

If you already make your own bags, and make your own patterns, as I do, there is still a whole load of information that will make your bags look so professional.

I really like the little 'Need to Know' boxes that appear on most pages, with snippets of information to make the task in hand a little easier.

Lisa's instructions are succinct and easy to understand, supported by the colourful, but detailed photographs. 
The whole book is inspirational and a pleasure to read.

So if you think you'd like to give bag making a try, you really must treat yourself to this book, and if you already make bags, buy it anyway - I bet you'll refer to it time and again!

I'm sure my copy of this book will be well used, and I shall recommend it to all my adult students, some of whom are avid bag makers.

I'm looking forward to seeing more publications by Lisa!