Bemberg Lining: The Italian connection

Tuesday, June 23

It is an acknowledged fact that sewing is enjoying a revival in the UK, largely thanks to the Great British Sewing Bee. This has in turn led to the revival in fortunes of various sewing machine vendors, and the proliferation of many sewing related businesses. I feel everyday on the blogosphere there is a post about a new online fabric shop, or independent pattern company. Thats all well and good. The more new companies that come up, the more choice we as consumers enjoy. There is a limit to this resurgence though. Have you ever tried to find good quality lining in the UK? Don't get me wrong, we do have good quality lining, but just not at a budget friendly price. Not at the prices enjoyed by those Americans. They who seem to have everything.

Most of what is readily available here in the UK is regular anti static lining fabric, which does not inspire. Our cousins over in the US wax lyrical all the time about Bemberg rayon lining. A snoop around the Mood website revealed it was being sold at $6.99/yard. Back home, you can find the same thing here for £12.90/m, or here for £11.94/m . MacCulloch and Wallis also sell a version of this called Bremsilk at £11/m. I have for a long time now been on the lookout for this lining at a more affordable price but my forays into the Goldhawk road shops were largely unsuccessful. No one knew what I was talking about.

Fortunately, I recently fell across a post by Sylvia from the Sewing Princess blog, on Italian fabric shops. A couple of them had user friendly websites in English and I spent some time going through each of them. And what do you know, I came across the Pinotti website, and its massive collection of cupro bemberg linings, and other type of linings.

So I got out my calculator, did some maths and ordered 25 metres of white lining, because I could always dye it to any colour.  They have a fixed postage rate to the UK and other parts of Europe of €21,90. So with delivery and tax, it came down to €5.82/m (£4.13/m). Tidy!!

The delivery was by DHL and took a couple of days mainly because they sent me an email about wanting my phone number for communication purposes, and I did not see the message on time. As soon as I sent my number, my parcel was dispatched the same day. Plus they wrote to me in English. All in all, the service was really good.

Have you been using this lining here in the UK? If yes, where do you normally buy it from?

Work in Progress: Sewing Room

Monday, May 25

Ever since we moved from London to Northampton last year, I have been looking forward to the day when I would finally sew something in my sewing room. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but the house we bought had a double length garage, and the old owners converted part of it into a bar, with a proper pub setting. My husband fell in love with the house, I suspect, because he had visions of doing the same thing when we moved in. Unfortunately for him, and since I am awesome, I managed to convince him the room would be better used as my woman cave.

It has taken 9 months, but the sewing room is finally in a state to be used. It is by no means finished, but the foundation has been laid. So here are a few pics of said sewing room.

Machines all laid out on sewing table, next to one of the two bookcases housing my sewing books and magazines.

The husband made a cutting table by doing an Ikea hack using 12 Lack side tables. I totally decided to do this after Mela posted a picture on instagram of her husband and father in law building one for her.

All the fabric I own found a home in an old Ikea wardrobe we had in our old room in London.

And here is the man of the hour with his tools.

My Babylock Enlighten overlocker is giving me life at the moment.

Same goes for this bad boy I won on ebay. The auction was for 213 spools of sew-all thread along with the display case. The person selling them was closing down her business I think. I feel like a proper dressmaker looking at this baby.

There is still some work left especially with my pattern storage. I plan on buying a filling cabinet from an office supply shop to store my patterns, and I also need to find solutions for all my other notions. The space behind my sewing machines is crying out for something. I originally intended to use pegboards there but those things are so scarce here in the UK. I saw a few places selling them for more than I am willing to pay, so I have to rethink that.

I also need to buy a new iron, and think of a way to have a pressing station . For now, all my pressing tools and rulers have been placed under my cutting table. I also need a few wall shelves and wall art. Slowly but surely, I will get there.

How do you organise your sewing notions?

In other news, I spent last saturday at the Millenium Hotel in Mayfair, London, having afternoon tea with a couple of my friends, for my baby shower. My friend and I decided to do a joint baby shower as we are due a week apart. I am currently 34 weeks preggers, and I feel it.

 I totally deserved that glass of champers. Its been a long 34 weeks.

What have you all been up to? Anyone working on a sewing room makeover?

Inspired By: Azzedine Alaia Planning

Tuesday, October 14

I need a little favour ladies ( and guys). I am on the hunt for some leopard sweater knit fabric to sew a dress for an upcoming meeting. Those of you who follow me on instagram will know I made a denim dress last month for my high school alumni meeting. I recently joined the Midlands regional branch because we moved to Northampton and they meet every other month. Each meeting has a theme, last meeting was "Denim Dress", and the next meeting in November is "Fur". A couple of months ago it was "Animal print" I think, and they even had "Onesie" a few months back. Needless to say, that meeting was hilarious.

I found this Azzedine Alaia dress on Pinterest, worn by Giovanna Battaglia.

 I have looked for a sweater knit on Ebay and my usual shopping joints, but nothing has caught my eyes yet. So, can you help? Have you seen a similar fabric anywhere? It does not have to be in the UK only. I won't mind shopping from foreign stores. The meeting is at the end of November so I won't mind waiting for the fabric to get to me from distant shores.

I really like this dress, and I am planning on using faux fur for the lovely collar. I have already seen some faux fur on Ebay that is the exact colour of the collar on the actual dress. All that is left now, is the leopard print fabric.

What are you all working on now?

Industrial sewing machine Advice

Saturday, October 11

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!

Friday, October 3

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.