Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Holiday fabric

So onto the fabric....I really wanted to go the Clear It but didn't have time and with Alex sick, we just had some rest days. It's in a great food area too which would appease Alex so easily. Not a big problem as I don't need any more fabric (I should just stop saying it or buying it), but you have to look don't you. When we did have time on the last day, I repaid Alex his good nature and we went to the old Melbourne Goal, which was terrific. All my fabrics are from Darn Cheap Fabrics at Glen Huntly, the shop I went to last time. Nearly all of these were either remnants or off the $2 table. 

The coral fabric is a lightweight linen/cotton perfect for a little summer shirt and the cat fabric is for t-shirts for Alex. That's the only full price fabric (at $6.95 per metre it's still cheap). He loves cats and I can use this with other colour blocking.

The colours are a bit off here... the one on the left is a bit more aqua than baby blue an a lovely linen look cotton. I thought it would probably be one of those wash and heavy crinkle fabrics but that's how it looks after washing it two weeks ago and sitting in the laundry basket for that long and if feels terrific still so great value at $2 a metre.  The pineapples fabric is a synthetic but I loved the colour and the aqua matches perfectly with the cotton next to it. It's a bit more limey yellow than just plain yellow but I really loved it.

The floral is also a synthetic, which I rarely buy but it was a big piece as a cheap remnant and it is such a happy print it wouldn't be left. The next one is a deep coral/watermelon linen... holy smokes $2 per metre could you leave it? The next piece is a cotton chino type fabric. I'd been looking for this type of fabric and just never came across it but again bargain as a remnant. The last red piece is again a synthetic, remnant and quite a big piece for little money. It's like a synthetic silk as it has a beautiful sheen and the colour is amazing! It may end up being a lining but that's ok and I don't have a good stock of nice linings.

This it a remnant again... its got sparkles through it and is only a two way stretch knit. I've got it ready to cut out a little cardi to try out a pattern. I really like it though and it seems like a mostly cotton which is nice.

There was a large remnant of a black wooly fabric and it was quite cheap andr the burn test at home confirmed it was wool and the same wool that I have in two other colours already. Problem is now it is just not cold here. This week will go up to 28 degrees celsius! Goodness it's winter people and we'll  be able to go to the beach!! Although I've had lots of winter things planned, is it worth it to spend valuable sewing time on stuff I won't get much wear out of.

 Oops I also just remembered I don't think I've documented the fabrics I bought from Kitten d'Amour fabric sale and I wanted to make a Butterick 6244 coat out of some nice wool I got there. I asked my friend who lives in the US and coming home to get me a couple of patterns that I couldn't get here and that's one of them. I'll get that next week I think.

I've also got a 40th birthday (fancy restaurant) dinner in a couple of weeks with a '70's/'80's theme so I would like to make something but time may let me down. I am so tired at night with my brain being drained in the new job, I don't trust myself to cut things out.... been there, ruined that before.

This is Alex enjoying some of the fabulous food and hot chocolate we had a a great cafe near the Air BNB we stayed in. He's not enjoying much!

I saw this in a shop and absolutely couldn't stop laughing hysterically.... I think it's more funny if you think of someone who fits the bill. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Melbourne holidays and fabric buying.

While those who can try to leave the southern states in the winter for the warmer climes of Queensland, during the recent school holidays we went to Melbourne. I was lucky that I could get time off (without pay) from my new employer for the school holidays and so I decided my first pay packet in 13 years would be spent wisely on the things I love... being with my son, travel and fabric!

Years ago I had a boyfriend from Melbourne so went down firstly to meet his family and then years later I  worked for a travel company that is based in Melbourne and we would go down for training and managers meetings at least twice a year for 6 years and since then, have been going regularly at least once a year. I loved Melbourne from the first time I went down.. the food, the shopping, the comedy, the arts, the theatre and most importantly the very different nature of the people. Of course I didn't just limit myself to Melbourne but visited many top areas in the surrounds too. 

So off we went. We had a terrific Air BNB for the first couple of days out of the city and then moved into town into a terrific apartment opposite Southbank, then we had a last night in another apartment hotel. 

My son kept photo bombing the photos I was trying to take of the cake shops in St Kilda. Of course we had some of those terrific cakes although we were good and had it instead of dinner. Plus gelato... that's our holiday treat always... looking for great ice cream. Lots of great eating in Melbourne.

Evidence of the (mostly) beautiful, but very cold days we had in Melbourne while we were there. Alex is wearing the grey stripe merino top I made a couple of years ago under the new grey hoodie I made.

I was thrilled to remember that the 200 Years of Australian Fashion was on at the National Gallery of Victoria. (Although I did forget to see the Warhol exhibition in the other building... doh!) Alex did get a bit sick and when I said we were going to this, he was less than thrilled, but after walking ahead (of course I'm looking at the details on everything so was slow) he raced back and said, "actually Mum, it's pretty good!". That's my boy!

This dress was in the '70's section. I have some silver lurex fabric... maybe a lurex shirtdress is in my future. I do have a '70's 40th dinner in a couple of weeks??

I love this combo above. The pink and red jacket and the spot skirt. I'd like to copy this in some form soon. I also loved how the different light colours gave it a different look and how it reflected under the hat.

I also loved this large print rose dress and the curved hem.

I love this outfit. I took this photo to copy that as well, but not sure how my 158cm frame would actually carry this off.

This dress coat above is actually one piece, including the hat! (obviously not the sleeves. It was so clever and the back had very detailed open louvre look. It is made from wool and from memory it was a Wool Board completion winner.

This was just so fun, but I thought I couldn't bear it having to put all this sequins and feathers on that fabric.

Alex had to see a doctor while we were there and this old Chinese doctor had the most disarming surgery. The bed had a colourful canopy over it and the patient chair was a huge cane number, reminiscent of Morticia Adams of The Adams Family, painted pink. He was also a terrific doctor, him and his surgery put you at ease immediately so we were very lucky to stumble upon him.

Although Alex was not feeling well at all, we had a short day out going to Rippon Lea Estate and Gardens to see the exhibition of the costumes from the film The Dressmaker. We had a lovely morning tea there and then walked through the exhibition. It was such a shame not to be able to go through the gardens too but it was bitterly cold and Alex was really pushing himself. Alex was again very patient but really not well so I rushed it a bit but it was still lovely to see the costumes. There was small films about how the costume department made the clothes for Judy Davis' character appear so old and dirty which I found terrifically interesting, with  tools of the trade for doing this on display.

Is now the time to say I haven't seen the film yet? I live 10 minute walk to two different cinemas and somehow missed seeing it on the big screen. It's on the list. Of course Marion Boyce is the designer and she's the same designer for Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries currently at Old Government House in Brisbane.

On the last night we moved to an apartment hotel across the road from the Immigration Museum and there was groans when I suggested we go to investigate it. It is a terrific building firstly but a great exhibition and with nearly 70% of us descendant from overseas, it is very relevant to a lot of us. In the end I had to drag him away  so we could go to other places but we did spend 2 1/2 hours there.

This shop goes about this length again behind, past the large round thing on the ceiling. It was huge.

I'll leave you with the photo bombing of a lovely cake and coffee shop (so much more than that) in Lygon Street,  a great mostly Italian restaurant strip, just around the corner from where my Melbourne office was... that was lucky!

Because this post is long enough I'll put my fabric purchases on the next post. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Murder most glamorous

In case you didn't know this was coming - looks fun! Coming soon our recent trip to Melbourne.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Kwik Sew 2419 and news!

Well finally it's cooled off a little bit.. I say a little bit because next week, apparently it will be up to 30 degrees on the Queensland (state) coast.  Just a reminder for those not in Australia, this is the start of winter. Currently it's pouring rain on the east coast which is also quite out of season but there you have it.... according to some, there is no climate change; nothing to see here. 

But, I digress. I made a sweatshirt from two sweatshirt fabric remnants from Spotlight. They were both the same size about 70cm long and immediately I earmarked them for Alex. He likes a plain grey sweatshirt and this year he requested one pullover style and a hood. I used Kwik Sew 2419 which is actually described for girls but really, is a hoodie like this just suitable for girls? Unisex me thinks.

It was a made up quickly. I used some scrap Star Wars fabric to interface the pocket openings, purely because I couldn't be bothered to iron on any real interfacing. You don't see it so it didn't matter. I also put some twill tape on the shoulders and some wide edge tape, cut in half lengthwise, to stabilise the hood opening. This allowed the stitching to not bunch up and the fabric not to stretch. I didn't use it on the hem because I was lazy. I stitched twice around the pocket with straight stitch and on the hemming of the bottom and the sleeves, pocket and hood openings I used a coverstitch like stitch on my sewing machine. I really like this stitch, last used on my niece's merino tops. It is a slightly utilitarian but fancy stitch without having to rethread the coverstitch. I'm still a bit afraid of that thing! All made up on the overlocker otherwise.

Here's a close up of the bottom hem with side splits, fancy utilitarian (such a contradiction :)) stitch and discreet label. It's a lovely soft fleece and Alex loves it. Of course he isn't here for a photo so floor photos have to suffice.

Remember the pants I made with the metal threads? Well they are terrifically comfortable and I love the style etc, but ... and this is a big but, I cannot wear them too long as the metal threads abrade my legs  - it's just as if you'd used steel wool to rub over your legs. At first wearing, I didn't get it, but wondered why my legs were rough a few days later. On second wearing, which was for a number of hours, the abrasiveness became really uncomfortable. The welts also came a bit undone and I had to topstitch them on the sides. No loss .. that pair was only .50c worth of fabric and a wearable muslin. I still wonder if they'd set the alarm off if I walked through airport security!

In my other news, I got a job! I start Monday and so I am sewing up a few things that are work appropriate. It's a 4 month contract but it's a foot in the door and I'm very excited. Hopefully I'll be able to post a few things that I've made before then but if not, wish me luck! My sewing (and everything else) may slow down for a while as we adjust.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hybrid dress - copying and reusing.

When I was leaving aqua aerobics one morning about 8 weeks ago, I saw someone wearing a dress with a simple elastic gathered A-line, dirndl skirt shape, I think a scoop neck and an action back in woven fabric. It looked so nice and summery and McCall's 6359 came to mind immediately and decided I could and would easily copy it.

What's with the putting views C, A and B in that order? Anyway, I digress. I made View A cut at about 6 cm past the waist measurement on the pattern. At first I made it wider at the side seams to do a sort of lazy simplified FBA, but that didn't work, really changing the shape of the front too much so I cut it back to the right size and due to my small back, there is enough ease in the top.

Let me preface this by saying the top looks better than it does in this photo... I was wearing my swimming sports bra ready to go swimming and it is not a great shape for dresses! (I wear an old but still supportive sports bra under my togs for aqua as I need the support and although this one doesn't give great shape, it's fills a hole for jumping around at aqua letting me be more active). I wore the dress with a convertible bra yesterday and it does sit nicely and the bra gives a much better shape. Why didn't I get someone to take a photo at the glistening pool after aqua yesterday... don't know!

I love the back. It gathers at the  middle part which isn't easy to see in these photos. The instructions get you to put the back straps in between the facing and the right side, so nice and neat, but then it instructs to just sew the straps to the front after finishing the facing. I didn't do this. I like the neat finish with the straps hidden in between the facing and the dress so I sewed them in. I think they do this to make it easier getting the straps the right length but I don't like hand sewing this stuff and really don't see any need. I put the facing on and left the tops of the points open then I pulled the straps through with some safety pins and then adjusted in the mirror and then finished sewing the facing. Much neater. I attached the skirt with a 2cm seam allowance so that I could turn it up to make a casing and thread the elastic through it.

So that's the copying but the reusing is that I made the skirt out of a long pillow case dress I made for myself maybe in January. I usually do this by cutting out a raglan peasant blouse pattern front and back and just turn over the top and back and thread through a tie. This one was from a pattern that was very full and it really just didn't work. I wore it once and my sister was not very complimentary so I chopped at the underarms and fit the skirt to the top here. That's why it may look a little short to some, but I like a maxi right at my ankles so I don't trip!  The tie I used for the straps on the old dress is the waist tie on the new dress. The fabric was part of my only online fabric purchase. I've mentioned this before that it was listed as a rayon but it is definitely a mix as the paisley "print" is heat embossed on and this can only be done with synthetic fibres... it kind of melts the print on... kind of like the iron does to your fabric when you don't want it to! I love the colour and have had a number of nice comments about the dress and colour and although I'm disappointed it isn't rayon, it was only $2 a metre.

It's not perfect as I should have made the back bodice a bit shorter as it blouses much more than the front. I'm pretty short at the back, well probably the same as the front length but the bust pulls the front up and I should have taken this into account, other than that, I'm pretty happy with my hybrid dress. I have started another maxi dress for my sister using View B with the scoop neck - but I made a boo boo and then a save. That'll be next plus some fleecy jumpers (i.e. sweatshirt and jacket) for Alex. Oh and just a quick note about the pineapple kimono and shorts - my niece LOVES, LOVES, LOVES them so I'm super happy that she's happy despite the trials in sewing them.