Thursday, 22 March 2018

progress with my weedy beading project

I'm loving the weedy seadragon, although I hit a snag when the background blue was too distracting from the beastie itself. The sudden change is how the light was in the photograph used for my custom pattern, but it just wasn't working as a beaded design.

I had to very slowly undo around 30 rows as there was a trail of the darker blue along the fins that I needed to also work back to. Undoing this was slower than making it, as the body is what I refer to as 'alphabet soup' due to the close colours in the pattern. I had to add the beads back to their respective work piles one or 2 at a time, as some are so close that with my imperfect sight, even with my close work specs on it takes a magnifying light to separate them accurately.



I looked at the colours in my stash for the next couple of projects (Van Gogh's Starry Night, and a beach scene) and found a galvanised dark aqua that works well. I will need to buy more to finish this cuff bracelet and for the project that it's from, and all the work undoing the rows was well worth it.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

An expedition to the sewing room approaches

I need to tackle the mess that is my sewing room. I dumped sewing stuff - unfinished projects and ephemera that I came across as I unpacked my less than strategic moving boxes.  It looks like that exploded or was tossed by burglars so the room isn't functional.

I also need to find my cotton drill to mock up my regency stays, and find the semi-firm cotton organdy that I bought about 5 years ago to make a corded petticoat.  When I was tempted to re-buy both rather than face the sewing room I knew it was ridiculous.  Especially given I'm on a fabric diet and trying to downsize my stash by using it. So this Saturday I'm going in and told a friend I may need an emergency evacuation team by late afternoon.  There may or may not be before and after photos.

I've started my next beaded cuff bracelet - this is wider and of a weedy seadragon (in the seahorse family) and native to Sydney harbour.  I custom ordered the pattern from an Etsy seller who's patterns I've bought and will use, although after this is finished.  It has 22 colours, and I stuck labels to the lids so it's easier on my brain when I need to get the next colour out of a tube.


I've got about 12 at a time out on my work tray, and am enjoying working on it.




Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Sad truth - no sewing, I'm bead loom bracelet obsessed

I'm starting to get twitchy wanting to sew, which is only ever a good thing.

My custom regency stays pattern arrived months early (not questioning it!), although I've taken it to a copy shop to get a back up in case I lose any pieces.  I know myself only too well. I'll be starting the mock up this weekend.

The hobby I took up in the Christmas holidays has been a little addictive.  I now have Miyuki Delica 11/0 beads in colours that I have no project for - they're small, pretty and comparatively inexpensive.

If you're interested the 11/0 beads are 1.8mm so I had to add a dozen extra rows to make it the planned length. I'd worked on 2mm graph to start with (though scaled up to 4mm graph paper cos my eyes hated the smaller graph). I finished the strawberry and thought, "whaaaa why is this shorter?" I worked out the maths when the penny dropped about calculating the number of rows based on 2mm when they're 1.8mm.

Here are the two that I've already done the first stage for. The first one - strawberry bracelet was a learning curve so had some stops & starts and reversing as I realised that I didn't like the colour combination.


Getting the lighting right with my phone camera is a minor challenge, but I'll get a better one once it's turned into a cuff bracelet.

My second project was a shadow of a mermaid, and I completely changed my bead selection. I'd thought that the Lagoon Mix would be great as a background and #2 Blue Iris as the mermaid however the mix included a dark blue that was very close to the Blue Iris, and the blue Iris wasn't opaque but translucent with green lustre that depending on light made it to similar to the lagoon darker green.

So I put both those beads aside and used #83 Silver Lined Aqua as the background with #1 Gunmetal as the shadow.

The chart was found by a google search although I didn't like the background, however while obsessively looking for mermaid cross stitch patterns as inspiration I found one which had heart shaped bubbles in the back ground.  I used #629 Silver lined dyed Lavender as the bubbles as I'd tried white or pearl and that disappeared. The Lavender is subtle but not invisible. Her eye is #608silver lined blue - again not a high contrast choice. Finishing this part of the bracelet is making me want to finish my mermaid dress. That's now a higher priority.

I need to learn the next steps, how to turn the loomed piece into a bracelet and then I'll be wearing them.   I also worked out a different design for a mermaid bracelet (with Orca!), inspired by a mix of cross stitch patterns, and I'm planning to use the lagoon mix so it's not going to sit in my stash for ages.

The weedy and leafy seadragons have fascinated me since I first heard about them, and they are in Sydney harbour.  So I commissioned a couple of patterns and am about to start my 3rd bracelet. It's wider by half as much again and has 23 different colours so I'll need to focus and carefully mark off my rows.

After that I'll make a Van Gogh Starry Night bracelet - yes I have the pattern and 3 of the 11 beads already. The original strawberry seeds, a jet black and the Blue Iris.  I'm also going to do the second mermaid, and work on graphing up a Q*bert design. I loved that game and as it's an old school arcade the images I found are pixellated not modern more realistic images.


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

2017 - year in review and planning til mid 2018

Last year was a mixed year personally. It started with me having just being diagnosed the hard way (unplanned trip to hospital emergency) that I have a new chronic health condition. Not curable but manageable and so so far I've managed it pretty well.  I had also recently moved home after 19.5 years in the previous place and although I love where I live now and it's so much better in many ways (more space, close to where my friends now live) it was enormously stressful.  About half way through the year I realised that I had low level depression. That's a sneaky sucker and recognising it has helped me structure things so that it doesn't get worse. It's slowly lifting but not completely gone.

I'd decided earlyish in the year that I wouldn't make any new costumes but concentrate on sewing real life clothing. That's not been entirely productive, but I'll get there.

I finished my lobster print dress - though I don't like the fit of it - and the skeleton cat+fishbowl dress which I love wearing. Both these dresses get compliments whenever I wear them, although the lobster gets a little side-eye as well.

I'm not beating myself up for what I haven't achieved - that would only enable the depression.

I do have grander plans for 2018, which are mostly costume based.  Mainly because I'm going to the Jane Austen Festival in Kentucky and Costume College in LA, both in July.

The reaction when I say I'm going to Kentucky, Cincinatti and Detroit before Los Angeles has most people confused.  Unless they're a costumer or understand how much I love making and wearing historical costumes. Then JAFK makes perfect sense as does CoCo.

I'm trying to set up new habits for sewing, so that I'm productive. If I wake up early, I'm going to do half an hour sewing before heading into work. I'm planning to do 30 minutes of something/anything sewing as soon as I've eaten after getting home.   I'm going to focus on underpinnings first. The less exciting side of things being a corded petticoat for 1830s wear. I have the cotton organdy, and piping cord and pattern/instructions. First I need to find the organdy.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

replacing my laundry hamper lining

The lining on my laundry hamper got shabbier than I'd like, so it was time to make a replacment.  This time not from unbleached calico but a yellow and white stripe cotton twill.  I originally got a different fabric but realised that I was procrastinating because I just didn't like it as much.  I'd gone to Spotlight with a friend who was looking for Grinch fabric (which ended up out of stock) and realised that they had a sale so grabbed the stripe as well as some bargain blockout lining that I need. $14 down to $4, yes please I'll take 6 metres of lining at that price.


The hamper lining is very simple. A tube to fit the widest part of the tapered basket, gathered onto a circle slightly larger than the base inside.  The previous one I made had an elastic casing under the outside lip to stop it from slipping inside but that wasn't as effective as I'd hoped.  So this one has tape n each side that ties through the handles to help prevent the liner from getting dragged down inside. There's also a ridiculously long edge so that it doesn't slip inside at one point and drag the entire liner inside ... which happened a few times with the old one.


I covered the lid also - a circle with an elastic bias tape casing on the edge.




Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Non-garment sewing wishlist for the xmas hols

I realised this morning that the list I posted yesterday was short, because the non-clothing items were missing.

I bought a folding frame knitting bag at an op shop and have fabric to replace the bag.  I got a quilted cotton bedcover (king size) to make a fitted cover for my chaise. I might need to sew that one on my treadle. I need to make a pattern and play pattern tetris with the cover. It's currently draped over the chaise and fitted cover would work so much better.

Make block out curtains for the lounge - or add block out lining to the existing curtains.

Hem the sheer cotton lawn so that I can hang it in my bedroom window and not worry about the neighbours in the next building watching me from their lounge/balcony.

AND one of my friends made me a loom bead bracelet that I love wearing but as it's a wonder woman one it doesn't go with everything. So despite my strong dislike of hand sewing I've ordered a bead loom, have the delica beads and am going to make myself a strawberry bracelet to wear with my strawberry dress. I want to make more bracelets too, but we'll see how the first one goes.

Even when I wasn't overweight, women's watch bands and bracelets didn't fit me - hence a self description of "shetland pony in human form" due to my short & stocky frame. I love bracelets, and delicate ones don't suit me. So the beaded cuff works really well.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Overly ambititious sewing plans for the xmas break

The office I where I work closes for 2 weeks every Xmas. It's not usually my idea of a fun time to go away - hot + school hols. Unless I'm going somewhere they're unlikely to be.

I had come up with grand ideas to sew all.the.things. La Nina was predicted so yes it would rain, but it would be cooler.

Ahem, xmas eve is due to be the fourth 40C or higher in 9 days before xmas. Saturday hit 43.7C, tomorrow is forecast to be 43C and Wednesday 42C Ugh. If it continues over the break I may invite myself to friends' with air-con or up the cooler mountains.

Planned are to finish the November dress, start/finish the December dress. Make a full slip*; anti-chafe wide stretch lace thigh garters to see if they work for me (inspired by Bandalettes but without involving international post); an unwired sports bra to use as a sleep bra; actually two different ones, using MakeBra Ulla as the bodice of a dress-length clone of a nightie that's too short to wear outside (to the clothesline not shopping nor socially). Plus whip up a dress for January.

So yes, ambitious if the weather is favourable, and that now seems to be unlikely.

* from either of these two patterns

Monday, 11 December 2017

December dress plan

I'm not sure why I'm twitching to sew the rayon print, but I have been.  Black in summer - what's wrong with my brain.

So this is the combination I'm going for, though I shall change the sleeves cos my upper arms are the thing I always try to cover/hide.