Conquering Fear!

I’ve got a bit behind in writing posts, so you’ve got two for one here, a bargain 🙂

Over the summer I bought a new sewing machine, not a standard one, but an overlocker / coverstitch machine. My overlocker was well past it, but what sold it for me was the coverstitch bit. For those of you not familiar with cover-stitch, it’s the machine that does hems on bought clothes, especially things like t shirts. Ive wanted one for a while but they are well out of my price range. This one was second hand and a third of the price of a new one.

Looking at it, I don’t actually think it’s ever been used. The lady selling it admitted it was just too complicated for her, I can understand that – it uses up to five threads at once and has about 14 different stitches! It didn’t have a spot of ‘thread dust’ on it, which is why I don’t think it was actually used to make anything.

Having brought it home it sat in it’s box for more weeks than I care to admit! I now understand when people admit they daren’t get a new machine out of the box! I think that knowing it had beaten one owner, I was a little concerned it might beat me too!

I finally plucked up the courage to make something. I decided to make a long length cardigan for the summer – I know, it’s October, but I’m trying to use up fabrics from my stash in order of bulk!! This took up a lot of room! It’s probably not the best one to choose for a first attempt, it’s a loose weave, bobbly knit with mini sequins on it!

It took a while to get it all threaded and set up, but I got there and sewed the basic cardigan. I’ve used this pattern lots of times so I knew it was pretty simple. It went together nicely, but I then wanted to coverstitch the hems…

Well about two hours later I finally managed to convert it to the coverstitch – you have to change plates, re-thread it, take the needle out of action….I was ready for throwing it out of the window at one point – in fact I had to leave it, walk away and have a large glass of wine! I finally got there and cover-stitched the hem.

McCalls pattern

It was finished! Now you have to use your imagination a bit with this one, as it’s designed to go over long summer dresses and skirts, only it’s October, cold and wet, and I wasn’t going to change for a photo shoot!

McCalls pattern

My second attempt on my new machine was a smock style Merchant and Mills pattern, it’s actually one I found in my mums house when we were sorting her stuff out. It’s not one I would have bought from the picture on the front, but actually I really like it.

The fabric was from Fabworks, it’s one of those where I couldn’t quite decide if it was gorgeous or awful!! I’m not sure what kind of fabric it is but it’s very soft to touch, cuddly! The smock went together very easily, I stitched the seams with my stretch stitch on the sewing machine and then overlocked them to neaten. I still haven’t got the tension quite right to be happy with the strength of the overlocked seam – or maybe I’m expecting too much! It’s got pockets at the front and raglan sleeves – I haven’t made those for years and I’d forgotton how easy they are.

Merchant & Mills smock

I’ve worn it several times and I love it, it’s a very comfortable, cuddly wear! It’s a bit like wearing your dressing gown all day! The pockets are very useful too – especially as I made them a bit bigger than the pattern says.

Merchant & Mills smock

I’ve still a long way to go to really know my new machine, but the second time I changed over to coverstitch it only took me 5 minutes, so it’s getting better! I’m aiming to set aside a day or two and just work my way through the instruction book, making lots of samples.

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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22 Responses to Conquering Fear!

  1. Faby Reilly says:

    Haha! I know just what you mean – I got myself an overlocker (just a standard one, not one that does coverstitch) and although I do use it (and absolutely love it!!)… I dread having to re-thread it!!! I took step-by-step pictures that permanently live in my phone, just in case I have to, but re-threading it seems like such a massive pain that I still haven’t changed the thread colour in the 3-4 years I’ve had it!! One of these days I’ll pluck up the courage. Your cuddly jumper looks soooo comfy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      That made me chuckle 🙂 Do you know you can rethread overlockers by tying the new thread to the end of the old thread and stitching it through – that way you actually only have to thread the two needles – just keep an eye on the needle thread coming down.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Faby Reilly says:

        Oh that sounds like a really good tip!! I shall have to try that!! Thank you so much! The one time I had to rethread my machine was because one of the threads snapped… So I had to take them all out and rethread from scratch, as there is an order to the threading madness, and of course the one that snapped was the first thread to go in… I shall have to try your neat trick 😉 !! Thanks!!


        • Melanie says:

          Juki have an air threading overlocker which threads itself. You put your thread into a hole, press a button and a whoosh of air sends it through the needle. It costs the best part of £1,000, but those who have them swear by them. I saw it demonstrated at a needlecraft show and would love to have one for my sewing group, but we can’t afford one yet Elna have a slightly cheaper one, but it’s still quite a financial outlay. One day perhaps !

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Melanie Maloney says:

    Both of your makes are lovely. I find that a large glass of wine often solves most sewing problems !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. anne54 says:

    Love the cardigan, Margaret. it will be so handy….when the weather warms up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tialys says:

    I like the smock, especially.
    I know what you mean about new machines. When my cheap old overlocker died I decided to get one that didn’t take me an hour to thread and I paid a lot for it. I love it but only use it for standard overlocking really and I know it is capable of so much more if only I would get round to watching the videos online. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have a machine that does all sorts of stitches. I on the other hand normally do a straight stitch. ha.
    My main complaint about womens clothes is that the pockets are too small for anything. I like that you made the pockets larger.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane M says:

    Never heard of coverstitch before but understand the frustration of re-threading an overlocker – fills me with dread – so I haven’t used mine very much.
    Both your makes are excellent

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the style of the smock – I do find the pictures that Merchant and Mills use on their patterns a bit off-putting and have never actually bought one, although I have got some lovely fabric from them that I am currently working with. Well done on overcoming your fear of the new machine… I’m sure you’ll get used to it eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Well done you! Hope you gave yourself a nice treat after that first session… maybe some chocolate with that wine. 😉 Like the smock pattern, and the idea of cutting pockets bigger. Must investigate M&M patterns as I forget they exist.


  9. kathyreeves says:

    Cover stitch!!!! So, does it hem as well as they say it will? I have my serger (overlocker) and thread it just like you do, by tying the new color to the old and sewing it the knots reach the needles. I bet we start seeing lots of knits from you now!


  10. You are well on your way to conquering that new machine. Your clothes are looking wonderful.


  11. mandycurrie says:

    Hello Margaret, I do so admire you for making your own clothes, I’ve never been much of a dressmaker. Your long cardigan is gorgeous and so is the smock, love the fabric. Well done mastering your coverstitch, I’m sure you’ll soon find the time to learn all about your new machine. Regards Mandy xx


  12. lovelucie1 says:

    Well done for persevering! I find if I regularly rethread my overlocker I lose the fear of doing it. But I’ve heard the convertible machines are very tricky!


  13. Nice work! Fear? What fear? I am convinced your can do any textile craft 🙂


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