Other Sewing Projects

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2009-07-12-345-fabricating-an-alibi

From The Saturday Bulletin.

Meantime – I have flu. Swine flu? Who knows.  The doctor said to keep doing what I’m doing (lots of fluids, bed rest, paracetamol, aspirin) and come back immediately if it gets worse.

Poor Mr Beloved is on his first day of the wretched virus now.  Nothing to do but ride it out…

And we’re so faithful with getting our flu vacs super early – not fair when a whole new virus jumps out at ya, is it?!

The girls at the PRDU get together yesterday were rather amazed by my Magic Pattern Book. I must admit, I kind of take it for granted – but their reactions reminded me that others might like to see how I do it!

See, I’m a hopeless pattern-aholic. Seriously. Sometimes I buy patterns just to read the instructions! So obviously I don’t remember all of them. But more importantly – I’m not good at estimating the amount of fabric to buy for a particular design. I know there are common rules to use – twice your length plus this or that – but that often results in having to be rather creative in getting an outfit out of the amount of material available.

So – I either scan (for out of print patterns) or pop over to the pattern company’s website and catch an image of the pattern. Then I stick it in my Magic Pattern Book, and write the amounts of fabric I’ need for my size, and usually any other notions I’ll need. My book is an A5 “visual diary”, available at any office store or newsagents – just blank pages work better for me.

book click to see bigger!

Once I’ve actually made a pattern the idea is to write notes and add swatches of fabric. I don’t always remember to do that! But I did on the left hand side of the page you can see above.

Sue’s version of the book is better organised than mine- she cleverly found a notebook with coloured sections, and has divided heres into the same sort of pattern categories that the Big 4 companies use in their catalogs – tops, skirts, wardrobes, etc.

Meantime, I’ve still lost that koala pattern – methinks there is now a HUUUUUGE Frustration Field in place…

WELL! Yesterday Sue and I ventured down the hill and into the big smoke – and right out of the big smoke again to the faaaaaaaaaar side of BrisVegas. We met up with a bunch of the girls from the Pattern Review Down Under message board – frustratingly, my camera didn’t work, so I can’t show you a picture!!

We started at East Coast Fabrics at Lawnton. A few of us HAD to buy this fabric:
floral
It’s cotton, a good weight for a coat or a skirt, and was only $5.95 a metre!! (That’s my Magic Pattern Book on it for scale – the book is A5, which is 5.8 X 8.3 inches. More on the Magic Pattern Book soon.) I’m thinking it will become either this coat
106(#106 from Burda WOF 4/09 – because I have been in LOVE with this pattern wince I first saw it; and even more so when I saw Anne’s gorgeous floral version!

The other possible pattern is this “Hortensia” coat from Ottobre Spring/Summer 09.
Ottobre Hortensia

We then managed to get lost (It was the Magic Talking Lady’s fault! She kept blanking out her little screen map and tsking at us: “RE-Calc-u-lating!”) and find our way again to Indooroopilly shops, where we had lunch, and a shop at Sckaff’s Fabrics. I was VERY GOOD and though tempted (mostly by their hats!) I didn’t buy anything there – this time!

We were reluctant to say goodbye to the PRDU girls, but were late getting on the road already. Still, we figured a quick stop at Gardam’s (just around the corner from the Indooroopilly shops, after all!) was in order. Sue managed to find exactly what she’d been looking for; and I grabbed this 95% poly/ 5% wool tweedy/herringbone fabric to make a skirt.
poly wool

The trip home was looooooooong! It took us ages to get anywhere – major roadworks combined with the first night of the school holidays left us with plenty of time to put on a CD of ’80s favourites and bop along… two forty-somethings singing “my job is very boring I’m an OFFICE CLERK!” with great gusto, and “air drumming” along with Adam Ant… it passed the time, anyway!

We’d already booked for a girl’s night out with friends from the gym, but I was soooo tired I left early. I did manage to get a leeeetle bit squiffy and attempt to teach my favourite drunk tongue-twisters to a couple of the girls!

Bed day today. If it’s not drizzly tomorrow I hope to get my new fabric washed and the patterns traced – because I neeeeeed a floral coat, don’t you think?!

rhino

So there he is, in all his rhinosity! Little Caitlin, who has just had her first birthday, is the Aussie baby of South African parents, and she apparently thinks that his best feature is his handle – otherwise known as a horn!

And his Grandma – who is about to leave for Namibia to lead a safari tour – was UTTERLY thrilled that not only is he a white rhino, but his mouth is in the right place (not all cartoon-y anthropomorphic) and he has authentically short sighted little eyes.

I’m hoping Mum will send photos of the delighted recipient soon!

I HAD intended to make this pattern yesterday or today, from the same very talented designer. Sue and I met Pauline at the Brisbane Stitches and Craft fair, and I think she was worried that I wouldn’t give her sample Rhino back – he was so soft and cuddly!

KOALA_BABY_SOFT_TOY_PATTERN

But I’ve LOST the @&#$(*@& pattern somewhere in my sewing room….

You can also see one of the mouse wrist rest here – I nicked the photo from over on Sue’s blog.

mouse

The other one was for our friend V who is recovering from some particularly nasty wrist surgery. (and check out Sue’s gorgeous shirt!)

I’ve been using fairly inexpensive polar fleece (from Lincr*p, if you’re an Aussie – it was about $6 a metre, I think) and I’m surprised how wonderfully these toys (and wrist rests!) turn out.

Bet you didn’t know I used to be a full on cloth doll maker, didja? Ahhh, the dim distant past… my total time from tracing the pattern to tying the bow on the mouse was about 40 minutes. The Rhino was about 90.

There are a few tricks to keep in mind – make sure you shorten your stitch length; trace a stitching line template onto freezer paper and then iron the freezer paper to your fabric (using very low temp for polar fleece) and stitching around that – this avoids having to mark the fabric directly, so there’s no risk of the pattern tracing showing through on a light colour;
FP_all
(someone gave me a 150 yard roll years ago – I’m only just coming to the end of it!)
and I find the best tool for turning through teeny pointed parts (like the mouse fingers) is a tube about the same diameter as a drinking straw (sturdier plastic if you can get it) and the blunt end of a bamboo skewer assisted by a lockable hemostat (available from medical supply stores quite cheaply.)
hemostats

Ok – off to find that PATTERN!

sneak
He’s for a little girl who’s turning one year old…. Will show more once she’s got him!
(meantime, see more of his friends at Funky Friends Factory)

I had a WONDERFUL day today!

BFF and I went to a sewing class.  With a very brilliant teacher.  Felicity knows SO much about industry techniques for production sewing, and sewing couture… my mind was in OVERDRIVE! (Fortunately I can read my own scribbled notes, since as we know, my memory is rather dodgy…)

Two important mantras I MUST repeat, especially when sewing samples:

  1. IT’S ONLY FABRIC and
  2. IT’S SEWING, not MICROSURGERY.

My perfectionist tendencies need to be on a tight leash in class time.  In fact, next time I don’t think I should take my seam ripper with me at all.  Hmmm. Does it really matter if somethings out by a milimetre or two on a sample? GET OVER IT!

I really loved the structure of the day – we got to ask questions, veer off into things that weren’t necessarily in the plan, and learned even more on those side excursions.  I’m feeling much more confident and enthusiastic about tackling shirts again.  Yippee!!

And it was funny to see someone else press – I am have been waaaaaaay too timid about really leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaning on the iron.  No more – when Felicity says PRESS, she ain’t kidding!

I even liked sewing on Baby Pfaff.  She’s not at smooth as The Goddess Pfaffalina, and sounds a bit clunkier at first – but she does everything I ask of her with no complaining.

And spending time with BFF is sooooo good for one’s mental health. Should be more of it.

I resisted buying any fabric (good girl, woof!) but did succumb at long lsat to the luxury of my very own Point Presser /Tailor Clapper. Ahhhh!  If you’re not a dressmaking enthusiast, you’ll probably be wondering why on earth I’m so excited about this gadget.

pressers_small

If you DO sew, and you don’t have one of these – GET ONE.  It will improve your sewing immensely.

After all  that and a lovely (unexpected!)catch-up with friend C at lunch, and wind-down with Sue over tea and chat, I had the best email EVER arrive in my inbox.  A friend I hadn’t been in touch with for ages – (isn’t it awful that the only time we are in touch with important people in our lives is when there’s a funeral?  That needs fixing) – wrote in reply to a recent snail mail sympathy card I’d sent.

All the store bought cards were a) expensive b) TACKY or c) both.  So I made a card using tools from the art cupboards (Fiskars embosser, if you must know – hey, I never claimed to be a purist!) and wrote about my favourite memories of the person. Turns out this was the right thing to do – far far better than any pre-printed guff from an anonymous card company.  It was so wonderful to know that what I’d written meant something more.

NOTE TO SELF: Make more time to do this stuff!!

And now, the cuppa tea cake is nearly ready; I have a brand new roll of pattern paper, and a sleeve to alter.

On May 4th (Star Wars day – May the Fourth be with you!) Darling Nic from Canberra wrote:

Ok, you’ve rubbed it in – I’m stuck in Canberra with craft shops closing left right and centre. So where is the craft show debrief??? you’ve been back for at least 2 nights? why are you making us wait? where are the great photos of the clever peeps that I’m sure you took, the detail of the fab quilts, who did you hob nob with, how did the clothes shopping (not buying) efforts go? spill the beans Ms Caity.

WELL, since you asked, Miss Nic! I do apologise for the delay in reporting in – I totally wore myself out! (And then the new neighbours moved in with a Very Barky Dog who didn’t shut up all night – for the last two nights in a row. Grrr!)

So here is the somewhat delayed (and I hope not too disappointing) review:

MEH.

There were hardly any stalls – I mean, you know how normally craft fairs are so packed with women-with-backpacks (Guilty! this year:-))and strollers and strolling middle aged women with their Mums… well, you could have swung a cat-printed scarf through the aisles with ease.  Apparently a lot of the stallholders pulled out in the last couple of weeks leading up to the show. (You have to wonder how much of that is due to the heavy promotion being done by the rival mob – who have a show in just a month’s time.)

The hall decorations were cool – although if you saw any of the fab bloggers writing about the Melbourne version of the show, you’ve seen this already.  I did get the chance to see the awesome Selvedge dress (and chair!) however:

That's a LOT of selvedges!

That's a LOT of selvedges!

How clever (and dedicated!) is Jodie of RicRac blog? AWESOME!
I’ve put that pic in at a large size so you can see what I mean (in the dark background) about just how empty the place was.

Also, some things that got fairly big billing on the show’s website were quite – how do I say this – UNDERWHELMING.  “The Teacosy Revolution” had FIVE teacosies.  I had hoped to see a LOT more than that! (Never mind, her blog about them is lovely!)  There were some bead stalls, some of the usual quilt stores, but nothing that really had me falling over with WOW, y’know?

NOW that’s the whinging over – let me tell you about the GOOD BITS!!

And oh, they were VERY good.

First – the company was grand – thanks, BFF!! We met the fantabulous (and so busy!) Nikkishell of BurdaStyle.com, Wardrobe Refashion, and one of the founders of Mixtape magazine.  (Can I be Nikkishell when I grow up?!And Oh my GOSH now she’s gonna be a Melbourne’s Tessuti Fabrics!!  AWESOME!!)  BurdaStyle.com had a fashion parade – which was GREAT (even with those poor teeny weeny malnourished models – seriously, I just wanted to take them aside and say “Have a crumpet and a cuppa before you CUT yourself on your own bones, dearie!).  Seeing clothes In Real Life is so much better than peering at a pattern on a screen…

"Judy" skirt - pattern from BurdaStyle.com

"Judy" skirt - pattern from BurdaStyle.com

Paola wrap dress pattern from BurdaStyle.com

Paola wrap dress pattern from BurdaStyle.com

These were two of the patterns paraded – seriously gorgeous and made me determined to get sewing on some soon!

Another fashion parade featured garments from Wardrobe ReFashion – I was pleased to see the mob of shcool kids watching the show tooks HEAPS of pics of those!

We also met Justine (The other force behind Mixtape zine – it’s very cool, now I can see why people were excited every time the new issue comes out!) in blog alley – a row of indie/bloggers with their products which along with the fashion shows wsas really the highlight of the event for me.

scanned-mags

We hadn’t seen  peppermint magazine before either – not that I’ve had a chance to read it yet!

I couldn’t resist a couple of patterns from the very clever Pauline of Funky Friends Factory – seriously, how cute is Kiki the Koala? These patterns were all designed to be baby safe, are made of snuggly polar fleece, and I had a great deal of trouble giving back the rhino toy, he was so cuddly…

Sue got some GREAT organic cotton jersey hand printed fabric from Thea and Sami, which I’m sure she’ll show you when it’s made up!

sue-and-stuff

I was worried given the sparse offerings that my two absolute MUST STOP retailers wouldn’t be there – but they came through for me, Yay!!  I always need more scissors  – this time I needed to replace my thread snips, so we had to stop at  Scissorman.  I bought some lovely curved blade snips and a little brush-tipped bottle of oil – gotta have the right tools for the job!(Onya, Trevor!)

And my other MUST visit is of course Stephanie at Can Do Books and Perpetual Patterns.  I knew I wanted at least one pattern – and I got the Liberty Shirt from The Sewing Workshop.  I already have fabric in my stash – I just  need to trace the pattern out and get going…

Then into town across the bridge (slap upside the head to IDIOT Caity – MORE THAN ONE PAIR OF SHOES next time, OKAY?!) and over to Borders bookshop.  Another delightful Canberra pal (I miss you guys!) organised a book voucher for me at Borders, knowing that this was the one day I had access to a big bookshop.  It took me aaaaaaaaaages but I finally decided on two FABULOUS books:

nineteenth-fashionworld-fashion

and one just for fun – the EXTREMELY silly “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiinsssss

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiinsssss

Then Sue and I window shopped for while before going out for dinner – we had the NICEST meal at San Marco’s, overlooking the river. Then eventually to bed.. and more shopping (mostly of the window type!) on Saturday before heading home.  We did stop in at Gardam’s  (fabric heaven!)new location but no fabrics really grabbed us – then to Sckaffs fabrics at Indoorapilly, plus a good look round a lot of other shops there.

And by about 3 pm we were totally shopped out – and I came home and went  to bed for a coupla days!

There is more (and I’m sure I’ve missed out stuff I wanted to show you) but I am too tired…. ttyl!

… my dress sewing has stopped tonight.  I can’t find my camera (hopefully when the TeaBot 5000 reads this post he’ll remember where I put it, LOL!) to show you progress, but apart from the zipper and binding the neck and armholes and doing the hem, it’s done.4505

Simplicity 4505 is long out of print, which is a shame, since it’s a useful pattern, with a jacket, dress, skirt, and pants all in the one envelope.  No linings though, and  I couldn’t be bothered THINKING about linings, so the dress is unlined.

(photo will go here when the camera is found!)

I perhaps should have made a full pattern and tried to match the pattern in the fabric a little (naaah, this ain’t couture!) and I think if I bother to do this one again, a slightly heavier fabric would be better than the 100% cotton I used in this version.

I cut out a 22… but cheated on the seams at the waist and managed to squeeeeeeeeeze enough out to fit in my waist (groan mutter curse curse) It’s okay… not as good a fit as I’d perhaps like, but hey, it’s fabric that was $5 per metre from Spodshite, it’ll do.

In other news….

I got to gym last night for cardio + Pilates, then again this morning for BodyStep.  Managed to do more of the class actually using the step today.  Yay me, huh?!  Tomorrow: cardio + Oxigeno (love those functional movement and stretching classes!).  That’s provided the neighbours let me sleep…

You see, we live in a worker’s cottage.  And very close next door is what started out as an identical worker’s cottage.   So the floor plans are exactly the same in both wee houses.  Which means that THEIR loungeroom? Is about 5 feet from our bedroom.  (Don’t even get me started on uncorrected property boundaries, grrr!)

Not soooo bad when all they’re doing is watching (violent, noisy) movies late into the night. Up until about, say , midnight, I don’t care, I’m usually awake anyway.  But combine the loud action flick with even louder sex?  That becomes less tolerable.

The straw that broke this poor old camel’s back, though, was that that decided to DO IT with the lounge (sofa) jammed up against the outside wall of their house.  5 feet from our bedroom and RESONANT.  And they’re young, so they go at it like rabbits.  HYPERACTIVE RABBITS.

"Wait wait! I think I've got a hare in my throat!"

"Wait wait! I think I've got a hare in my throat!"

Bang a bang a banga banga bangabangabangabanga ooooooooohhhhhh bangabangabanga banga YES!  OH YES! bangabangabanga….

This went on until 4 am.

When I overslept the alarm this morning and had to rush to get to the gym, I mentioned that the neighbour’s shagging had kept me awake.  Various suggestions on how to deal with the problem were made:

  • Ask loudly “Is that IT?”
  • Join in the over-the-top moaning
  • Play baaaaaaaaaad 1970s European (*wink wink*) film soundtracks: Chicka booowwwww!

All good – but not as funny as the song that appeared as track 5 or so in the BodyStep Workout: Yep, Acka Dacka’s “YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG”

sing along, everyone!

sing along, everyone!

I was laughing so hard I was nearly crying, and still trying to do the step class!

Ahhh, ya gotta laugh, eh?!

Anyone got any further suggestions?  Would a note saying “HI! We’re your neighbours! Would you mind moving the couch out from the wall when you have noisy fun?” be too much, do you think?

Yep, it’s that time of year again… time for Miss Caity’s Annual Rant about Easterfest (previously know as the gospel music festival, but generally known in our house as “THAT BLOODY NOISE”.)

Usually I’d go on and on about the way the super-amplified bass and drums drive right up the creek and into our house; then I’d have a rant about the way that the entire Queens Park is shut off from the people it’s meant to be there for (pardon grammar) and finish with the fact that the organisers of the event don’t give a shit about noise complaints and in fact won’t even supply the correct number for the regional council to register a proper complaint.

But I’m really tired, have spent a lot of the weekend sleeping (to get away from the noise, and because I’m just feeling like a wrung out dishcloth these days) so we’ll just leave it at that, yeah?

I’m popping into Lincraft tomorrow (not sure how they got dispensation to be open when just about every other shop will be closed – I don’t understand Toowoomba’s trading attitude at all) to pick up two Simplicity patterns for just $7.50 each, plus one Vogue pattern for only $12.  Yay!

Simplicity 4014

Simplicity 4014

Then I really have to sew my little heart out this week. I have to have a decent black dress for Friday (a funeral to go to) and my previous funeral outfits are now way too big.

(I’m just working out what to do with the seam finishes on this unlined dress and jacket –  I can do Hong Kong bindings (like Sue just did) on the straight seams, not quite sure how I’ll finish the princess seams.. maybe just hand overcast? Hmmm…. suggestions welcome!)

Oh yeah – I have to buy black shoes, too – I don’t know about you, but I cannot wear red shoes to a funeral.  Nuh uh.

AND – I fell off the food plan in a bigggg way over the last week or so.  And I didn’t even eat any Easter eggs!  Never mind, I’ll climb back on… unfortunately my plans for attending BodyStep this arvo were hijacked by my overwhelming need for sleep.  THe gym re-opens Tuesday, so I’ll be back into it then…

TWIRL!!

TWIRL!!

So here it is: The McFractured Tartan skirt.  As you might be able to see, I went a teeny bit berserk on the piecing… there was no plan, just lots of hacking fabric apart and then sewing it up again.  I *could* have just used the fabric as it was off the bolt, but – naaaah!  I have more of the same fabric on layby, and the plan is to make a little jacket that is *perfectly* matched across the plaid.  Just to show I can, you know!

Fabric was a bargain buy from Gardams.  It’s a wool/ poly/viscose blend, and creases just seem to drop out of it.  It also goes through the washing machine very well!  I used a couple of metres of inch wide black grosgrain ribbon for the waist ties.  Top is a $7 special from Rockmans; shoes are my favourite I Love Billys that you have seen me wearing almost every photo.

Pattern is the wrap skirt included in this book:

49-and-a-half-skirts

which of course I have mentioned previously.  I did alter the pattern for length.  And for width *sigh* since I am CONSIDERABLY larger than the pattern given, LOL! Still got a long way to go on this weight loss/getting fit thing…

caityconnie2

… as the dog and I are both showing our rounded tummies in this pic!

McFractured skirt= FINISHED! Pics tomorrow….

[memedex: pollid#489175]


Threads April/May 2009

Threads April/May 2009

OMFSM!!*  This latest issue of Threads magazine, issue 142, has got to be the BEST EVER!!  And I have every single issue from issue 53, June /July 1994. So that’s really saying something!

(and no, you can’t borrow them.  Unless I really really trust you and value our friendship. And know where you live.)

You know how sometimes you get the latest mag (not just Threads, any magazine) and flick through going “Ho hum same-o same-o yawn blah”? And then sometimes you get an issue and every turn of the page IS EXACTLY SOMETHING YOU NEED RIGHT NOW?

Yep.

It’s not just that this is a fitting special – although obviously, given my changing shape and my desire to actually wear clothes that show I have a waist (YAY!) I’m getting a lot out of that; no, it’s also got a super groovy article on splicing knits (swoon!)…

Connie Long's article on splicing knits looks like fun...

Connie Long's article on splicing knits looks like fun...

(you don’t think they could look too star-trekky, do you?  I mean, that’s the appeal of CURVES over straight lines, but still…)

… and another neat article on various hem finishes .  As well as the usual gorgeous image on the back cover of a divine vintage garment.  Oh, and the Quick to make wrap…. and the gallery of winners of the Threads/ Association of Sewing and Design Professionals challenge… and oooh, the article on making fabric roses, I always like new techniques for those, and….

Well. I’m kinda keen, as you can tell.

No brown paper bags or affils, yada yada – I’m obviously just a huge fan of the mag and the consistently clear photos and instructions.

Now I’m off for a quick cuppa with my bestest sewing buddy (yay!) and then some more sewing on the “MacFractured” wrap skirt before Pilates class.  Whew!

*oh My Flying Spaghetti Monster.

…just hate that day…

Well, not really.  Got up, went to gym for Oxigeno class, sat around and chatted over coffee then did the groceries.

And now I’m off to SEW, yippee!!

(Or at least trace a pattern off so I can sew later…)

Our entire HOUSE would fit into this space!

Our entire HOUSE would fit into this space!

New (old) skirt

New (old) skirt

So remember a few posts back (before the blog was Hjørsejacked for the nano song) I mentioned I was reworking a skirt?  Here it is.

(As you can see, I still have quite a way to go on getting rid of the tummy *sigh*.  I think I’m doing SO well and then I see a photo of myself and get all discouraged.)

Mr Beloved says this is NOT the most flattering outfit, and he’s right; but at least I have a wearable skirt for a little while.  And the trim is so much fun!

trim

Ribbons (mostly from the stash), some measuring tape (which may have belonged to my Nana – or someone else’s Nana, I do seem to get a lot of inherited craft bits and bobs!) that had suffered an unfortunate accident with a rotary cutter; and a flurry of tulle at the hem. (also unintentional but inevitable trim: small feathers from the cockatiels, cat fur, and poodle hairs.)

Anyway, I’m happy with it, it’s a fun skirt to wear, and even though I ended up pretty much remaking the darn thing from scratch, it was worth doing.  PLEASE tell me honestly what you think of the skirt!!

(if you’re interested, the review is here on Pattern Review)

Now if only the new Ottobre Woman magazine would come so I could make some other patterns up….

Meanwhile, I’m off the to the gym for Pilates class.  I went to the physiotherapist (again) today and he worked out that I have some residual nerve damage from my glorious ankle twist of mid January… also that I have long-standing issues with my C6-C7 neck joint which are in fact the cause of some of my wrist weakness and pain. Huh!  I also have ulna/radius joint weakness as well, so it’s lost more rehabilitation exercises for me and even more phsyiotherapist appointments… it never ends!!  Who knew that hyper-flexible joints were such a problem?

So before I went on my holiday to Adelaide at Christmas, I made a skirt.  Which didn’t fit, and so didn’t go on the holiday with me.  Which was a shame, because it was a CUTE skirt, with a border of this fabric from the “Sew Girls” range by Loralie Designs:

Loralie Designs Colourful Manequins

Loralie Designs Colourful Manequins

And it was this skirt pattern, View A:

McCalls 5591

McCalls 5591

Seriously cute, yes?

But at the time I was still suffering badly from swelly belly (which I’m very glad to say has settled down considerably with a different HRT regime and the new-found love of gym) and so had to add an ENORMOUS amount of width to the front to compensate.

Now – I’m taking the width OUT again!  But since I didn’t want to remove top stitched angled pockets on the front of the skirt, nor did I want to make a centre seam, I’ve had to get a little creative.  Which has involved unpicking EVERYTHING except the front with attached pockets, and the side seams under those pockets.

My sweet wonderful friend Sue *mwah, sweetie!* gave me a book this week – out of the blue – and it’s so INSPIRING I have to jump about when I’m trying to tell anyone about it!

This is the book:

Forty Nine and a Half Sensational Skirts

Forty Nine and a Half Sensational Skirts

(Aussie readers will find the same book under a different cover)

The artist is just … wow.  Talk about really exploring an idea!  Talk about your working in a series!!  So many pieces that share elements but are each unique –  love that!

This isn’t just me going off on a tangent – really!  – because one of the ideas Ms Willoughby explores in the book is cutting new seams in reclaimed (or new) skirts to add embellishments or other features.  That neatly solves my problem – I can make 2 new cuts in the front of the skirt (thereby making it look intentional from the start!) and reduce the width by the necessary amount without an ugly centre front seam.  AND I get to add more splashes of colour to the plain black body of the skirt, so it will look even better with that colourful border!  Très clever, très chic, oui?

Why now? Well, another friend is launching her new business on Friday night – and what better excuse to get this skirt finished than to wear it to a sewing teacher and designer’s party! I’m pretty sure I can get it done.  But not if I don’t get to bed NOW – got a gym class in the morning, then lunch with the girls…. eeek!  GOODNIGHT!!

Sorry to  have been absent – I swear, this sinus/migraine headache pattern is NOT FUN!!  And I have been doing a lot of sleeping again, which is ever so boring to blog about.

However, I did play photographer for Sue one day last week – her sewing is awesome, I think she’s just getting better and better!!!

I took a heap of patterns around to her place the other day to sort out – and discovered that I keep buying similar things!  So it’s WAAAAAAAAAY past time to make up: *deep breath* A pencil skirt, a pinafore, a puffy sleeved blouse, and a tailored jacket.

Possibly this is next up: Do you think the straight skirt or the swingy flared version is that way to go?

Simplicity 3673

Simplicity 3673

With jodphurs and whip and chair, oh my!

With jodphurs and whip and chair, oh my!

Today Sue and I wrassled our overlockers (sergers for my US readers).

WRASSLED THEM TO THE GROUND AND MADE THEM SIT UP AND BEG!!!!

We did have help:

abcs-of-serging

and this one:

easy-guide

I thoroughly recommend both books.  The ABCs of Serging is a great basic book with clear line drawings and great information on the basics. (And since it was published in 1992, reminds me a little too much of the clothes of my misspent youth – frills!!  And MORE FRILLS!  And let’s stiffen those ruffles with FISHING LINE that would catch a marlin, yeah baby!!)

The Easy Guide to Serging Fine Fabrics is exactly the quality we sewing enthusiasts have loved in Taunton’s books: Clear text, informative pictures, and techniques that really lift your sewing out of the ordinary.  (WHY they aren’t reprinting this yet I just don’t know!)

The instructions for making bias tubing in the Fine Fabrics book had us rolling on the floor –  not because they were WRONG in any way (in fact, we’ve both decided that this is THE way to make those tricky little filled cordings) but because Ms Benton instructs that once you have your turner-looperer- thingummy (ok, she used the real name, I don’t have the book in front of me!)

92-must-have-tools-03

hooked at the end of the tube, you put the circle handle end over one of your thread spool holders and “Back away slowly” to turn the tube through.

“Don’t spook the sergers – they’re skittish beasts!”

“Maybe if we blow in their nostrils and offer them a carrot?!”

“*snort*” (that was me making an unladylike noise after too much giggling, not the sounds of the unruly overlocker!)

ANYWAY, the point is that while we may not be qualified Serger Whisperers yet, we can now at least approach from the correct end and saddle up the beasties.  WIN!!!

And now – I shall tackle threading the upper looper with *drum roll and audible intake of  breath from the crowd* WOOLLY NYLON THREAD.

woolly-nylon

If I’m not back by sunrise, bury me with my boots on.

chocolate_moose

Caity will explain Møøse later. Probably after Caity discovers Møøse.

  • Made it to Pilates even though I woke up exactly 45 minutes before class start time
  • Remembered to pack both clean undies AND a clean bra to put on post-class-shower/ pre-going out
  • Went with Sue to our first time at The Australian Sewing Guild meeting at Highfields, which was worth the trip. And while there I  traced the pattern to make the tunic featured on the cover of this magazine:
Ottobre Woman 2/2008

Ottobre Woman 2/2008

(Now I just have to grade it up *very* slightly, add seam allowances, tissue fit, choose which fabric to use, and actually sew it up)

  • Did a VERY intense session with the psychologist, working with a technique that I have scoffed at previously but which today saw me burst into tears… I remember now why I don’t usually wear mascara to these sessions!
  • Managed to eat and enjoy two hot cinnamon donuts even though buying three would have been better value – I only wanted two, so that’s all I had.  And they were GOOOOOD!
  • Spent another couple of hours STILL trying to find these back issues of Ottobre Woman (so far without success, obviously, and it’s driving me NUTS)
  • Ottobre Woman 2/2007

    Ottobre Woman 2/2007

    (And then I asked the Teabot5000 if he’d seen that cover and YES, he’d saved a magazine called Ottobre  in a box that he’d mentally marked “Important Textile Magazines KEEP THESE”!!! YES YES YES!!) So now I just have to locate the 2/2006 issue somewhere in our house/shed/combined clutter and I can stop obsessing:

    Ottobre Woman 2/2006

    Ottobre Woman 2/2006

    Why were these suddenly VITAL, I hear you ask?  Well, because I am now so very very close to fitting into some of the patterns that I adored in these but which would have been just too hard (I told myself) to re-draft to fit my larger size. Now I don’t have to re-draft, just trace, add seam allowances, tissue fit, and sew!  I suspect only another delusional sewing nut would understand the difference, but trust me, it’s VERY motivating!)

  • Watched the second auditions episode of So You Think You Can Dance – you all know I LOVELOVELOVE that show, right?
  • Did I mention that part of all the work I’m doing with the psychologist is clearing out unhelpful attitudes?  And that part of this is examinning what’s really important in my life?  So a lot of PHYSICAL clutter is getting sorted through, too; and I decided that the hugely expensive machine embroidery component of my fancy schmancy sewing machine is something  I want to  – hmmm, conquer isn’t quite the right word – perhaps – feel confident about exploring?  Yes.  So I *eventually* located the necessary bits and pieces (software, dongle, serial to USB converters and so on) and – TA DA – reinstalled the software and started to learn the programs over again.  Woo, yes?
  • Tomorrow: The physiotherapist.  And maybe some sewing.  And possibly a gym workout before those things.  So I must away to bed.

PS: Several LOVELY blogfriends have nominated for awards – I will get to them soon, thank you sweeties!

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