Monday, 25 May 2015

My First Completed Project - The Bow Belt

Hello! It's been a while since my last post, I wanted to wait until I'd actually done some sewing so that I had something to share.

A few weeks ago, I came across this adorable bow belt tutorial on Tilly and the Buttons (blog of Tilly Walnes from GBSB1 who is brilliant and who makes me want to sew something every time I see a new post). As soon as I saw this belt, I knew I needed to make one because:
- It's adorable
- I had the perfect dress in mind for it, complete with currently empty belt-loops
- The process involved practice with interfacing, which I've never used before
- It's got 3 easy pattern pieces, with simple and easy to follow instructions; perfect for a beginner

So, today was sewing day. My fabric arrived last week, I procrastinated for 3 days about how to wash and iron it, then this morning I set about making the belt. Here's the finished piece:
A close up of the bow, because it worked and I am still amazed at it. I made this bow! :D
And here it is on one of my favourite dresses, the one I'd planned to wear the belt with. Big sigh of relief, it fits into the belt loops and it fits me, hooray! I'm very pleased that I got my measurements right first time, it's comfortable and sits nicely.
Sorry for the slightly mannequin-like photo, I've got a cold and it's late...I may also have been struggling with my camera's 2 second timer which I was using for the first time haha.

I am really pleased with myself, the belt came out really well and it looks just how I wanted it to. And now for a few notes because, as usual, I learnt a heck of a lot while making this belt!

1. It took all day. I loved it, and I planned for it, but I did need to set aside a whole day to work on it properly, and to allow for things to go wrong. And for tea and biscuit breaks, of course.

2. I am rubbish at cutting patterns out, and especially at cutting in a straight line. Number one purchase for tomorrow is a giant pair of scissors! However, I made alterations to the sizing to make the belt thinner and that worked perfectly, so successes as well as struggles at the pattern cutting stage.

3. I need a thinner cloth for the top of my interfacing application. The interfacing mostly stuck, but it came unstuck again when I was turning the belt the right way round. Incidentally, turning the belt the right way round took a lot longer because I'd altered it to be thinner; but it was worth the extra time.

4. The thread tension on my Singer changes between every use at the moment, and needs to be checked. Whether this is age, or the fact it needs cleaning, or where I'm storing it, I'm not sure. But this rather horrified me the first time I tried to stitch the belt:
This scary mess was my bobbin thread. I'd put the bobbin in the shuttle the wrong way round, and the tension on the shuttle was, understandably for a 107 year old machine, a bit loose.
Lesson learnt with that one, but at least I got to sit with my boyfriend and watch wrestling while I unpicked this monster.
Also, sorry about the seams at this stage, they needed a lot more careful cutting later.

5. At this early stage of learning to sew, I will be using the unpicker a lot. Most of today's unpicking was because the machine tension was wrong. It got very frustrating, but I kept going and managed to fix it, with help from another wonderful Lizzie Lenard tutorial. That's another thing to remember. If I'm struggling with something, chances are that someone else has encountered the same thing and knows how to fix it.

6. I took my time and it worked. There were hair-grabbing moments, there were times when I walked away and ate a biscuit until I calmed down, but the moment when I walked in the room wearing my favourite dress and a belt I'd made that day will stay with me forever. I am so, so pleased with myself. First sewing piece made!

And finally. Last week while I was waiting for my fabric to arrive, I organised my sewing boxes. One of the biggest tasks was sorting through my stash of ribbon. Despite knowing I own 'too much ribbon', I was still amazed by just how much there is when I laid it all out!

Even sorted by colour there's still a lot of it. I'm sure I'll find a use for it all someday...right? It's all so pretty. :)