Monday, December 31, 2012

Now, sewing for 2012 is done!

NYE's dress DONE! I started at 3pm after I had to meet my cousin's wife at Spotlight to get back the pattern I had loaned her. By the time we caught up and got the fabric and I came home, had some lunch, I didn't start cutting until 3pm. I made a swayback adjustment (pinched in up about 2cm - very exact - not!) and chose the length I wanted. Got out my oldest scissors and started chopping - then they snapped. I think I bought these for $13 (back when I was making $80 per week!) at Coles. They were not very good but perfect for this. When they broke I got out my "dressmakers scissors" from a scissors pack - again so, so cheap I wouldn't care about blunting them. Sewed it up, couldn't find my steam a seam so had to make a facing out of the plain edge on the selvage. Washed up half way and ta-da! Red sparkly number finished at 4.28pm!

It is not so tomato red but a blue based red is probably still big in the shoulders but I cut a 10. The fabric was $49.95 but with 30% off, and then because there was extra glue on the wrong side (and the girl at Spotlight thought it was a flaw) she gave it to me at half price! Bargain.. cost $21! I turned the armhole edges over and zig-zaged it, but the rest I made up with a different zig-zag with a straight stitch with it - all on my sewing machine. The hem is raw. Photos of me wearing it in the following days.

Now I'm done! Thank you to all who read my blog (I still don't believe anyone reads it) and double thanks to those who leave me some comments. I love it. Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sewing actually isn't done for 2012....

I don't like Christmas cake or plum pudding or most things with lots of dried fruit mix. So instead of having any of these 'traditional' treats I make German Stollen instead. My former house neighbour is German and many years ago she was making Stollen at Christmas - I tasted it and was sold. I have made it every year since. 

Another friend is German and she moved to Australia from New Zealand last October. Last year we doubled the recipe (so made 2 kg flour mix) but this year we tripled it!! 

The recipe normally makes two stollen but my half of the mix made 16 small ones. This is about 12cm long by about 6 cm wide. A nice homemade Christmas thought wrapped in cellophane and tied with tinsel. Just realised the photos of the Stollen is on the desktop not the laptop so will give you photos of our Christmas. 

We had it at one of my sister's house (I have 4 sisters) and it was decorated with silver and purple. We don't have table decorations or beautiful place settings as there isn't room with all the food. We had a turkey, a ham, prawns, smoked salmon, vegetarian polenta (2 types), lots of different salads, moussaka (we are Greek) and bonbons.

My sister's house is 130 year old low set cottage - it is built with tree posts and filled in walls, some of the original doorways are only about 60cm wide so not much goes through them. She lives on 2 acres and she has a small (large water tank) pool, a large trampoline and she set up a water slide on the grass. The kids (4 cousins - 3 boys and a girl- all between 8-10 year old) had the best time all day. Presents came second to all the fun. She has a huge (see below) rustic outdoor area where everyone enjoyed the day.

  This was a gingerbread house my son made for his friend's end of school year pool party. We bought it from Aldi and put it together and decorated it. It was awful taste wise, but most of the children didn't care and tore it apart. There were lollies inside! My son had a great time doing it and his friends were impressed.
I also thought my sewing was done for the year but yesterday I fixed up two RTW casual dresses that were a bit big in the shoulders, shortened some straps on a white linen top I bought at the fabric sale and made a skirt that was cut out last summer. It is a Lisette pattern also made with some linen I bought at the fabric sale but about 15 years ago. I will post it tomorrow if I have time but it needs grosgrain ribbon for the waist stay but I don't have it. I will also go out tomorrow and get some sequinned fabric to make a cowl dress for NYE outing tomorrow night. Hope I find what I want! If I don't have time to post - Happy New Year to you all! Bring on 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Before the end.

Before the end of the year I thought I'd better post some things I have made and just never got to photograph. Bear in mind these are probably of the worst photos on the blogoverse but the best I can manage before the end of the year.

This is the Simplicity 9083 from 1984. I bought this pattern from a church jumble sale and I didn't make it up before because I thought the straight skirt wouldn't suit me but I LOVE this dress! It looks great on, is so easy to wear and I have had many, many unsolicited compliments! I will adjust the pattern some more and make this again. The fabric was $4 per metre from Spotlight earlier in the year and is very light cotton jersey. The pattern is a size 14 and has only one clever piece cut twice (it is the same cross over on the back)so I need to work out how to adjust the top better yet again. I did finish it in time and wore it to Simple Minds playing at A Day on the Green with Devo, the church and the Models.

This is at the end of a big day with pool hair! Sorry, didn't realise it was so bad, LOL.

This top was made from some Missoni like fabric I bought at Spotlight I think at the beginning of the year. Didn't realise it was such a blurry photo - sorry! It was a McCall's pattern I think for cowl neck tops. It was super easy but unfortunately it is too wide on the shoulders (as is nearly everything) and so I have gifted it to my friend who LOVES it and the colours are more her. She and her husband manage a luxury boat and at the moment are based in the Pacific. She just had 18 months in Tahiti! Doesn't need ironing and looks quite smart - dressed up or down! I put the scrappy ends of the selvage  as a border for interest.

This fabric below I bought at the Fabric Store for $8 per metre and made the above dress. Same pattern as the black and white one I made earlier in the year (made this at the same time) I cut the whole dress on the bias and is blue and black cross stripes on a beige background... so not me but I loved it and I really like the dress and wear it a lot. It looks like there is a seam down the front but it is a crease line - I just got it out of the ironing basket to take a photo. The fabric is very light weight, but stable and firm (does that make sense?) and I thought it may not crease but it does... I should do a burn test to see what it's made of ... it wasn't marked when I bought it and I didn't think to ask at the time. With the scraps I'm going to make undies (underwear).

Close up of fabric - does it look blue and black?
So I think that is all I made this year that wasn't posted. Oh no it's not.... 
I've also made the Burda strapless jumpsuit in one of the 2012 BWOF magazines  (borrowed from the library). The fabric is a crisp floral silk with lots of orange and pink, and I finished it in one 4 hour block to wear that afternoon and evening for Christmas parties but when I put it on my son shook his head and said "Mum, you look like a clown!" I wasn't even offended because I was just thinking that myself and tried to improve it with a belt but no, still clown like. I've since taken the pants part off and will make it with a plain fabric for the pants and make the flowery pants with elastic or drawstring and a white blouse. Photos in the New Year I think.

Happy new year for 2013. I hope you get enough of everything you need in your life.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Santa being reminded to buckle up by the Victorian Police. Image from here.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you enjoy the break, with family and friends and I wish you all a safe and prosperous 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lekala speaks!

A while ago I wrote this post asking if anyone had used Lekala patterns and what they thought. There were some fantastic patterns there and I'd like to try one in the future. I had a lot of comments (good and bad) but the most interesting were the comments from Natalia. Making a presumption from the comments made,  Natalia works for Lekala and gave some good information and also said she would pass all the comments on to the designers!

I think this is fabulous! It shows they are interested in what the sewing public think of their patterns and how they use them and if they have any problems. Based on this alone I will use one of their patterns at some point even though I hate printing and sticking patterns together. It is interesting that the patterns are printed to your measurements and that is the best part - if they work for you.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Catch up and Christmas sewing.....Warning....Long post

I have been distracted by Christmas sewing instead of finishing the stripy dress in the last post but more on that later. I have just worked out I can put my SD card straight into my MacBook Pro so lots of photos!!

In September school holidays my beautiful boy and I went to Toowoomba just at the end of the Carnival of Flowers. Toowoomba is a two hour drive from Brisbane and it is a lovely city on the top of a mountain. It was just a couple of days but really fun.

Alexander's breakfast

Alexander eating my breakfast!

Some of the beautiful flowers (nice smoker in the background!).

Sewing room mess in process of being sorted! (random photo drop!)

This is the Motorcycle Museum on the way to Toowoomba.

For motorcycle enthusiasts - there are A LOT of fantastic, rare, special and weird bikes here all privately owned!
 Now to the dress I started about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Pattern reminder. So I stalled as the fabric is quite thin I decided to buy some Steam-a-seam - where has this been all my life?? It is great to fix those seams and hopefully make sewing around the neck and armholes - I say hopefully because of course when I finally bought it and used it, I broke my twin needle - arrgh! They are so expensive so I had to make a trip to Spotlight. Finally today (after Alexander's piano concert) I will finish it to wear to Simple Minds (at A Day on the Green at Sirromet Winery with Devo, the Church and Models [?]) tomorrow. But I have proof of my stripe matching of which I am proud!
Dress in the make - nearly done

Stipe matching pride!
 I've made two sets of Christmas napkins for teacher gifts. One is a set of 4 and one is a set of 5 matching the family numbers. It was as remnant fabric and I used my No 6 rolled hem foot. Most machines come with a No 2 but I bought a set with No 2,4 and 6 a couple of years ago. Great for napkins, hankies, hems, aprons and tea towels. I have also  made two little Christmas dresses for a cousin's 1 year old and my new neighbour's 10 week old baby. I used Butterick 5326. I changed it a bit for the 1 year old's dress - I didn't put buttons all down the back..just put 3 buttons on the bodice. The baby's dress will have buttons all down the back. Actually I'm still to finish the baby's but will do that today. Actually the buttons are just for show I have put snaps to make it easy for on and off with little ones.
Christmas napkins - school teacher and piano teacher gift.

One year old's Christmas dress gift
Pattern used for Christmas dress

On another note, as evidenced above, I am clearing out my sewing room and have started an Etsy shop to sell the patterns I have used, never used, just hoarded or bought because I liked them but will not suit me. I will also sell some of the fabric I have because I have too much and some is just not me but I recognise as beautiful. Some patterns and fabric is vintage so when it is running I will let you know and have a giveaway! Stay tuned - I'm just in the process of photographing it all - boring but necessary! Till next time; happy sewing!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just a tempter ...and I even impress myself!

I'm finished.... uni that is.. until March next year! Phew what a semester. I also had two court dates in the last 10 days (I'm self litigating a property settlement) so I am exhausted but for now I'm free!!

So this is just a tempter as I said as it is nearly midnight and I'm beat. I started a 5km running programmme... this means I do it on my treadmill (I bought a cheap one a few months ago but haven't really used it much). This is from a programme that Fehr Trade mentioned on her blog a few months (weeks??) ago. Anyway I'm not making any claims about wanting to do a marathon next year or anything ('cause I don't want to) I just want to get my fitness from where it is (passable) to much better. I like swimming so I have a pair of training togs (swimmers) ready to be cut out so I can start swimming again soon. 

Bought at a Thrift shop for $1 recently

But before I can do that I had to make my son a pair of boy leg togs today. It is the big school swimming carnival tomorrow and his team is Mercury which is red. His last togs I made too here - right at the bottom, it's not a good photo but he loves them but they are just getting a little small so I made him a red pair this afternoon. I don't have a pattern (I just cut it off a pair we bought in Cyprus in 2009) and sort of made it up as I went, but the front is lined and when he tried them on this arvo he was thrilled (doing a little Elvis like dance!). But no photos yet - I'll get some tomorrow in action.

Now to the tempter...

This is from 1981 - on envelope it says "sale Bayards" that was a department store here - now closed :(
G. Wagner bought this in Bayards in 1981. Bayards was an old department store here in Brisbane and I loved going in there with my Mum and sisters when we went to town. They had a great fabric department downstairs (I have some fabric from Mum that was bought there - I've just looked at some archives and apparently it specialised in fabric!) It was beautiful... all wood shelves and counters and on the top floor was a huge model train exhibition and I remember buying one of my favourite pairs of shoes there when I was young.

Anyway... back to now.. I have nearly finished this dress tonight in a black and white stripe of about 1 cm width. I was just testing it out really, it was cheap fabric ($4 per metre at Spotlight about 6 months ago - but has a lovely feel but it a bit thin) I don't know much about knits to say what it really is but it's nice. Anyway I'll finish it tomorrow or Saturday and post a photo... and here we come to why I impress myself.. it isn't obvious but the pattern has a seam right down the front but my stripe matching is so good you can't even see there is a seam! Yeah and the dress looks FABULOUS! I could do with a sway back adjustment but I'll show you the pattern piece to see how unusual it is making a sway back adjustment difficult (there is ONE piece and a facing which I'm not going to use). Congratulations and thanks if you've read to here! Phew!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy be kind..

To our U.S. friends being battered right now... I hope Sandy is kind and you are all safe. Good luck.
Kookaburra (on right) Here, when you hear the kookaburra call you know it's going to rain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Anyone used Lekala Patterns

Has anyone used Lekala patterns? There are some seriously great designs there and they are so cheap and they fit to your own size. I mean look at those dresses... I love that one with the folds and that top jacket is just dreamy. The coat at the bottom - just simple clean lines. I'd love to hear if anyone other than Tanit Isis Sews has made any I'd love to hear how it went.

Oh... I have my last lecture and tutorial for this year tomorrow and in two weeks my first (of four) exams... but on the 13 November at 7.30pm I am finished for this year!(But who's counting??)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Damn!! that much!

As the Hunters and Collectors song goes "Do you see what I see???" I saw this ad in Gumtree and immediately emailed the seller... all these patterns for $10 - that wasn't what thrilled me (even though some are nice - but I mean really I don't need to get any more patterns - not that it stopped me buying some the other day..oops!).

No, what thrilled me was the Very Easy Vogue pattern in the bottom left corner.... a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress pattern! The anticipation was almost too much - the woman emailed be back... she'd had no response from the Gumtree ad and so she took took them to the salvos!!! Like I said - DAMN!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

More deadlines...but not fun ones!

 I made a pair of running shorts! Ha that's a joke.. I don't run..YET! I made these about 5 months ago from an old pattern (I can't find it at the moment tho). It's a one piece pattern and I didn't hold much hope for it really but it fits really well. I added about 5cm to the length as the pattern was short (too short for my legs). This was a piece of wicking fabric I bought for a dollar off a remnant table. It was the exact size for these shorts. I used my overlocker and a twin needle for the hems and waist and I used contrasting pink thread. 

I also made a little pocket for the front of the waist. This helps me know which is front and back and also, if I ever run outside I can put my key in there. I bought a treadmill recently - just a cheap one from Aldi that was only $300. A (tall)friend suggested making sure it is long enough but I'm pretty short and it 'fits' me well. Now as I can't get out to walk because I can't leave my son I can now do some walking/running every day. I've even taken to get some tips from Sherry's running blog. She's been a runner before but I was a swimmer so running isn't my thing really. But I'm starting with fast walking with a little running in between. Oh and the title.. I have three assignments due on Friday with  only one done (ok it's nearly finished). As I say it's not a fun deadline like "I have to finish this dress by Friday 'cause I have a date/dance/dinner/evening out". Back to it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Boy Pants

 These are some rtw jeans that my son had. The khaki ones fit him like a glove.. the others...look like *rap! The length of that crotch was big enough nearly for me! I find that a lot with pants for boys... anyway we'd had these in the wardrobe, along with two other pairs of pants (pull on ones) with the same problem so i decided I'd tackle them... this is about 2 months ago actually, but just noticed the photos again. So I cut the pants to the same shape as the khaki and voila! Three 'new' pairs of pants and no trip to the shop. Sometimes I just figure, by the time you get into the car, drive 20 mins to the shops, get a get the picture, it's just as easy to adjust (in this case) or make something from scratch yourself!
Notice how the foot tips back due to the thickness of the fabric
With a small spacer it raises the foot, making it easier to move forward

I also thought I'd share a little tip I learned in fashion design college (another lifetime ago). In the top photo; the foot tips down due to the thickness of the fabric and then the feed dogs can't pull the fabric forward. In the second photo I have a spacer (which is the holder from those cheap Sullivan's sewing needles you can get but is the perfect size for this)an just prop the foot up to straight and then the fabric pulls through and you don't get that 1000 stitches in the same spot tension thread jammed problem.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ruffles for distraction.

Hmm.. that mirror was embarrassing so it was cleaned as soon as I saw the photos. It wasn't noticeable in real life! Notice it's at about 8 year old boy height!

So this is a ruffle skirt I made about 6 weeks ago. I got the fabric at the fabric sale I talk about for $8 per metre. It was the only colour. If you hold the fabric up one way; it was just like normal ruffle fabric... nice straight ruffles going across, but if you turned it the other way,the little catches in the knitting made the ruffles scallop and I thought it looked interesting so cut the skirt this way. The skirt is really comfortable and goes with a black merino wool knit top I bought at the fabric sale last year for $5 and the little cotton/linen jacket in the photos is from this years sale for $10. You can't see it in the photos but it has buttons down the centre back - a cute feature.

I cut the skirt in a way that made a little fish tail at the back and you can also wear it to the side and make it asymmetrical instead. The only problem is I made the top of the skirt a little narrow so to sit nicely on my hips it sits right under my bust. I just haven't had time to fix it. My boy has been sick (temp over 39deg for a week!) and I am so behind in my uni stuff that, for the first time, I am putting in an assessment one day late! Oh the shame! I'm pretty disappointed to tell the truth but I have been so tired with my son not sleeping well and needing my during the day (meaning I couldn't hold a thought in my head long enough to write it down)that I just didn't get my three reports finished in time. One still has to be electronically submitted by 11.00pm and I'm nearly done so hence the distraction and desperate need to push that boundary and write a blog post! To make things worse (they can get worse??) I'm just not feeling the one that will be late.

Off to finish those reports... wish me luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oh.. I remember that!

I made half made this jacket about 20 years ago... wow I can't believe it is that long ago but it is! This was my first and only attempt at welt pockets of any kind.... and with at zip!! I impress myself. (maybe only me!)And how is that zip insertion?? Again I impress myself...

This was not at a time when I had any guidance, technical assistance (from books or teacher or anything) bar the pattern instructions ...and there was not a thought in my head that I should do practice welts. Never would have occurred to me until I read it in a blog. So obvious when you read it! I know they are not great but I am pleased with them and the zip.

This is a Kwik Sew pattern that I still have and will try to finish this jacket in the long summer holidays for my Mum when she walks. 

The fabric colour is most like the top photo. It is completely water proof and I got it for less than a song at the fabric sale I go to about once a year.I've got more things I need to complete but some don't fit me any more..oops. The new treadmill may help me with that... as I am a single parent I can't go out and walk early so other than walking part way to uni (which is a good 20-25min fast walking each way)three days a week and general playing with my son, I don't get enough exercise - of course I could eat less (which I will too..soon). How old are your oldest UFO's?