Industrial sewing machine Advice


Does anyone have any experience with industrial machine sewing? I decided my life would be made so much better if I had an industrial sewing machine and I have been looking at the various options out there. My budget is tight, simply because I won’t be able to justify another sewing machine purchase to Mr. Dibs not long after I bought my Pfaff Ambition 1. I currently have two Pfaff machines, the Select 4 and the Ambition, and I love them to bits. However, I want another machine. My blog name is Dibs and the Machine after all. I can’t help it, I love machines. You know how the uber geeky people go gaga over gadgets? That is how I feel about sewing machines. The only reason my house is not overflowing with machines is because 1) I cannot afford them and 2) Mr. Dibs has threatened divorce and 3) Mr. Dibs is not impressed by my dismal sewing output.

I am a Pfaff girl through and through, but unfortunately, I can’t seem to find affordable Pfaff industrial machines, and, if the internet is to be believed, Adler and Juki are the business in the industrial sewing world. Do correct me if I am wrong please.
I cannot afford an Adler, so Juki it is. I know Brothers also make good machines, but I have not really looked at them. I suppose I should since my budget is quite small for this type of machines.
So back to my question. Any word of advice on industrial machines? Do you have one that you love or know about that you think I should take a look at? I am leaning towards the Juki DDL 8700 but I would be grateful for any other suggestions.

Blog Hop!

Ah, and so it came to pass that Dibs resurfaced after a long spell away from her blog. My friend Mela over at Pincushion Treats nominated me for a blog hop. Those of you who have been reading my blog for sometime will have seen mention of her round these parts. If I ever visit the US, Mela would be one of the reasons why……oh and the various garment districts. Come to think of it, there are many US bloggers I would love to meet. I am looking at you Ginger, and you Nettie (peeps how cool is this woman?), and not forgetting Carolyn, and oh, I want to be best friends with Renee (even though she already has a sewing bff, but who cares, emperors have been dethroned before)….but I digress.

I am not exactly sure how to answer some of the questions as I think they would require me to actually think about stuff, and most often I don’t know why I do somethings. Anyways her goes….

Why do I sew?

I don’t know. I suppose I sew because I like sewing. I like learning new things. 

My mom started sewing bed linen and curtains as a hobby, then later started selling them, while maintaining her day job as an accountant. I hated sewing at that time because it involved my aunt and I unpicking thousands of stitches with dressmakers pins. Either my mom did not know that seam rippers existed, or she just plain hated us. I hated it. Then she decided she wanted to sew clothes, enter Burda. That again, was totally unwelcome as I was responsible for tracing off the patterns she wanted. I had a HARD childhood people.

I suppose what really got me into sewing was wanting my university room to look like those in the glossy home magazines. I told my mom I wanted my curtains to match my bedspread, and I also wanted a strip of fabric round my room as my wallpaper. My mom told me to make it myself. I did, but my room looked so cheesy. I did not care. I loved it. 

When I came to the UK, sewing was not at the top of my list, but a couple of years later, I discovered Burdastyle. I started reading some of the blogs attached to the Burdastyle profiles and when I moved back to London after my Masters, my husband bought me a sewing machine. Searching for fabric shops in London led me to Karen’s blog, and my first sewing meetup. The rest peeps, is history.

What am I working on?

For now, nothing. 

The last thing I made was a denim dress which I did for my high school alumni meeting in Coventry. Unfortunately, when I was finishing off the neck, my needle broke, and when I tried to take the needle out, it fell into the machine. I need to take it to sewing machine repair shop. 

We recently moved from London to Northampton, and I now work in Birmingham. Which is not good for me as I work in the city center, fabric shops. Not good. I have a sewing room to myself now but I still need to kit it out. I have high plans of enticing Claire out to Northampton to plan it out for me.

How Does My Sewing Process Work?

I just sew as the sewing spirit moves me. I don’t like to plan projects. 

When I feel like sewing, I just pick out a pattern, and then match it to a fabric. I get pattern inspiration from other bloggers. I would see a project on someone’s blog and decide I want to make the same thing. Buy the pattern, then never make it. I want to change that though, as I now have many patterns that I know I will never, ever sew. I like sewing mostly from the Big 4, but I recently bought 2 By Hand London patterns ( Charlotte skirt and Holly jumpsuit), to make work related outfits. So watch this space.

I will only plan a project if it is for a specific event, like a wedding or a black tie event. Even then I change my mind countless times.

When I start sewing an item, if I don’t finish it, within 3 days, I run the risk of NEVER finishing it. I have a toile du jour dress I started last year. It is almost finished, but I somehow can’t cross the finishing line.

What keeps me motivated to blog?

I blog because I want to. I don’t blog often, and I don’t know if I will get back to my pre-baby blogging levels, but I will see. If I feel I have something to say, then I will say it. I mostly blog if I have a sewing project to show. My blogging suffers when I don’t sew. No sewing, no blogging. I am hopping to change that though. I have decided I want to bore you all to death with my life. So be prepared for many non-sewing related posts.

So apparently I have to nominate someone. I won’t stop at just 1 person. There so many people whose viewpoints I want to get but for today I will settle on three people I admire. Sandra ( she makes sewing wrap dresses seem so easy.), Vicki Kate(  I still have your umbrella dude) and Ana, who is supa dupa talented and who I used to hero worship on Burdastyle back in the days.

Wedding guest outfit

My friend is getting married next week, and true to form, I have left sewing my outfit to the last minute. How else does one manifest self love than by piling pressure on ones self?

The bride is a Nigerian and, in keeping with wedding trends within the Nigerian community, her family and close friends have to wear the Aso ebi. I found this definition from the Urban Dictionary, and thought I should share it as I could not have explained the concept of Aso ebi better.
    aso ebi

(Pronounced ASHO EYBEE) 
Nigerian outfits made from matching fabric to be worn by a group of people to a party, wedding, or funeral as a uniform. Wearing a certain aso ebi identifies the group of wearers. For instance, at a wedding, all the bride’s friends might wear blue and gold, the bride’s family might wear white and gold, and the groom’s friends might wear black and pink, and so on. Usually at weddings, the various fabrics for the aso ebi are decided by the bride, and are then announced to all the guests months in advance so they can prepare their outfits. Guests are usually expected to buy the aso ebi from the bride, but close friends and family members and certain prominent individuals may be presented with the aso ebi as a gift. Aso ebi for parties and funerals are generally simple, but aso ebi for weddings may involve many complex changes with entirely different aso ebi for different days of the wedding, and for the reception.

The Aso ebi colours assigned to friends in this case, are yellow and red. Yellow guipure lace, yellow silk fabric and a red gele (head tie).

Have you ever been to a Nigerian wedding? If yes, it’s possible you might have already seen the Aso ebi in action. Though people start with the same piece of fabric, the finished items are anything but identical. No one wants to be outdone, so women come prepared. Dressed to the nines, fish tail skirts and all. A simple google search should be enough to show you how serious women take the Aso ebi.
Now to the matter of what I will make out of my lace. I spent the last 2 weeks trying to find inspiration, and thankfully, Lizzy pointed me to a lovely dress, aptly called the Majestic Dress, which I absolutely fell in love with. She posted a picture on instagram of her modelling the dress, and I was sold. Hopefully I will look half as stunning as she looked when I am done with mine.
I have never sewn with guipure lace before, so any piece of advice would be much appreciated. I scoured the internet for tips, and came across Carolyn’s posts about sewing with guipure lace. I also read a 2006 Threads article by Susan Khalje on sewing different types of lace, which is all well and good, but I still am not sure how to proceed, and I still do not understand the descriptions on how to do the zip area. Dense much?
Copying Carolyn, I intend to work with four layers of fabric. The lace, silk organza, stretch crepe, and silk habotai as lining. 
I did not have the lace with me when I bought the silk organza so I was not certain of the colour to go for. There was a deeper shade of yellow that matched the lace, but I thought a paler yellow would be better. How wrong I was. It kind of ruins the look for me, so I either have to go back to Goldhawk road for the correct shade of yellow, or, sew the lace directly to the main backing fabric, or, horror of horrors, applique the lace to the finished dress, one rose at a time. What do you think?
For the pattern, I am still trying to decide between Vogue 82880, view A, with cap sleeves……
……and New Look 6123, view C but with the sleeves of view A. This pattern actually represents my best chance to recreate the Majestic dress, but I really love the sexy neckline of the Vogue 8280. Which would you go for? 
I have 24 hours to decide before I cut into my muslin later today, so I am going to bed now, to hopefully dream up a choice.

Simplicity 2444 maxi dress featuring John Kaldor

Don’t you just love summer? I love summer, a lot. When summer comes around, everyone seems genuinely happy. People smile at you on the road, you get to eat ice cream without worrying about getting a cold, the sun is still out at 9pm, and more specifically, I get to wear maxi dresses without heavy coats for protection.

Last week I had a situation regarding an overlocker I bought, which left me really upset, so on Friday I found myself at Goldhawk road, where I spent more money than I wanted to, and got even more upset. In the evening I decided to sew something, to take my mind off unhappy thoughts. I have been craving maxi dresses lately, especially as Summer is just round the corner, and decided to use the bodice of Simplicity 2444.

This pattern does not need any introduction I think, as there have been so many versions on so many blogs. I made this dress about 2 years ago when I just had Noah, and even though I wanted to make more versions, I never got round to it. 
I used a John Kaldor fabric I bought from Abakhan in Manchester when I spent a week there in February. I bought it on sale for about £2.50 or £3. I bought 3 metres, and I always knew I wanted to make a maxi dress from it. I have been slowly collecting John Kaldor fabric, and I really love the quality of their fabrics. 
Since I had sewn this pattern before, there were not any nasty surprises in store for me. It was a pretty easy make. Stress free, which was exactly what I wanted. I did not make any changes to the pattern, but for the skirt, I just used two rectangles, each 40″ long, with the width the full width of the fabric. Not very original I know, but I did not want to complicate my sewing.
The weather was really nice today, and we had my younger brother and a few friends round ours and I just had to wear my new dress. 

I can assure you I was not drunk in this picture. My friend, who is an expert at mixing cocktails, made some using Plymouth Gin, which I had never had, but which I now like….a lot.

Hopefully my overlocker situation resolves itself this week and I can sew more stuff. I used French seams on this dress, but that takes a lot of time and having the overlocker will speed things up for me. I have a major event to attend on Saturday 31st, and I wanted to use my overlocker to sew my dress. I now have to find a backup pattern, to use if my overlocker does not get fixed in time.
On the house front, we have seen a house we REALLY like, so fingers crossed they accept  our offer.
What summer sewing have you been/plan on doing?I know maxis are the way forward for me this summer ( as always).

Beauty: Makeup books

I bought some make-up books guys. Those of you who follow me on instagram (@dibsandthemachine), would know how make-up obsessed I have become. I am not really a make-up girl, but I am learning, and so far I am having fun. Mr.Dibs calls it my war paint, and sometimes I agree. I rarely wear make-up to work. I would say in a month, I might wear it once to work. I am starting to make more and more of an effort with my appearance, after some of my friends staged an intervention.

I have spent countless hours on youtube, learning make-up application. What many of the self proclaimed make-up gurus on youtube don’t tell you are the reasons they do what they do. So I am turning to the experts to tell me why I have to use a crease brush and a base brush. Are you a make up addict?.

Until this week, I never even knew there were so many books on make-up by make-up artists. I was looking for information on Kevin Aucoin, and realised he had written a number of books. Searching for those books online led me to other books by well known make-up artists and in true Dibs style, I ordered a couple, two of which arrived a few days ago. Just in time for the Bank holiday weekend. Make-up brushes at the ready!!

Its funny how I am only getting into make-up and the whole beauty thing in my mid thirties. I’m sure my mom will do a victory dance when she comes visiting this summer. She has been vocally disappointed in my lack of interest in all things make-up and beauty regiments. My mom is so beautiful, and I am nothing like her. I do like look abit like her, but not as much as my younger brother, who is her carbon copy, or as much as she would have wanted me to. She used to blame my dad for me not being breathtakingly beautiful. I have my dad’s lips though, which I consider my best features. Take that, Mother!

Before you all rush to assure me that I am beautiful,  and that my mom is mean, please know that my mom loves me very much, and I am quite confident in my skin. I might not be as beautiful as my mom, who to be honest, judging from her old pictures, was quite the stunner, but I am not ugly either. And by the way, who has the right to call someone ugly? Everyone has something special in them that makes them beautiful to a certain number of people. I am the most beautiful woman in the world to Mr.Dibs(even though I think he only says that for the sake of peace and an happy life), and that is enough for me.

If you like make-up, what make brands do you use?