Wednesday, 17 May 2017

So long without sewing [so another vintage pattern]

My ridiculous ankle sprain/plantar fasciitis has been looping around and around for so many weeks it started to feel perpetual. Every time it was close to going away, it didn't. I now have so many different exercises and stretches that it amuses me.

Anyway, I managed to use my left foot on the pedal and am a whisker away from finishing Lost at Sea. The buttons and overlocking the armscyes.

I'm taking it and my 3 other half made dresses to a 3 day sewing retreat this weekend. I have to remember to pack every thread and notion as the nearest sewing shop is a half hour drive away ... and I dont have my own car. I also need to patch the strawberry dress thankfully its a small tear at a button, so wont be visible once mended.

If I can quickly put my hands on my hello kitty nightie I'll finish it on Friday and sleep in it that night. Plus take some lingerie & lingerie bags to cut out and sew if I run out of dresses to complete.

Some self control helped me not shop for vintage patterns or fabric as a sewing substitute, though I bought two last week. The first arrived today and I got for the collar/neckline which will get frankenpatterned onto another vintage dress, the size 50" bust will be too big everywhere but the bust. The brand is Sew-easy.

Monday, 27 March 2017

I used to joke that sunshine rots the brain ...

Years ago when I worked in a call centre (which I'll never do again), I used to joke that sunshine rots the brain (the way it does curtains). We've had almost a month of rain (one sunny Sunday in the middle) and I'm sure it's not just my feet that are about to become webbed.

Yesterday I headed off to my friend's place to sew, and it was a gloriously sunny day. I was zoned out on the bus from the station to her place and suddenly realised that I'd gone past her place (we'd pulled up in front of a train station that's about 10 minutes after her home). So I leapt out of the bus thinking "where am I, what am I doing" and as the bus pulled away realised that my sewing machine tote with machine, 4-5 vintage patterns and the Lost at Sea dress was still on the bus. I had the lobster print in another small bag, so I waited for the bus back to my friend's and asked the driver where the bus depot was for lost property.

Thankfully, this morning when I called the wheelie bag was there and the driver & office couldn't understand how anyone could forget such a heavy bag.  She hadn't looked inside it yet, and I could hear her saying "yes, it's a sewing machine!" and laughing. Luckily they hold it for 3 months, so I have plenty of time to collect it. Naturally, it'll be collected this week.

So, perhaps yes sunshine does rot the brain, though I'd claim that lack of it for a month was the real issue or I wouldn't be like a bunny in the headlights at it's mere appearance.

I worked on the lobster dress, and it's getting much closer to finished. I need to turn & press the collar, interface the back neck facing and assemble the facing.  The sleeve seams need finishing but are otherwise complete, and ready to insert. The skirt seams are sewn and need finishing. So thankfully I can get back to working on Lost at Sea so that I don't have to change the overlocker thread to dark and then back to light again.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sewing on Sunday, regardless

My foot is slowly improving - it's getting another torture treatment tonight and again on Monday.

I've planned to go sewing again this Sunday anyway and this time I shall make sure I stick with using my left foot on the pedal. I'd love to get at least one of these dresses finished. The Lost at sea is close, and the Lobster is also nearish enough. I won't take the oldest dress so that I can focus on these two.

I gave away a Morris chair that I'd bought about 20 years ago intending to restore. It was Queensland maple, with dreadful 1970s orange and brown plaid upholstery (and with solid sides).  It physically didn't fit in my new home, and I no longer have a storage space so it needed a new home. I wanted it to go to someone who at least wanted it, and as a freebie. One of my friends noticed it and asked what it was (I had it standing on the front so it took the least space). She loved it, so I gave it to her ASAP.  She even has leather in her stash that would look superb instead of the plaid.

I'm instantly going to use the space in my lounge to put up my dining table. The table top's permanent home will be on top of back to back drawers in the sewing room, as a cutting table. The legs are easily stored.

With the table set up in the lounge while I binge watch some TV shows I can fold fabric to store it more neatly in the cupboards, The fabrics will take less space so I can move some of the pile off the floor and into a cupboard.  I'll also use the table to open boxes of sewing "stuff" and spread it out to cull/organise it.

Once more of the existing "too much sewing stuff" is in a useful state (or donated) then I can set up the sewing bench for my machines. The previous sewing Sunday was productive and I came home with a 170cm x 60cm x 4cm bench from a kitchen refit.  My friend had collected an entire cupboard/bench set to use in her craft room and took this last bench "just in case". In one of our many conversations I'd mentioned a trip to Ikea with another friend (to escape driving in a bad storm) in which I'd looked at long narrow benches for my sewing room. It was one of those meant-to-be things, as the bench top she didn't want or need is exactly the size I need. I still need to buy 5 or possibly legs for it, so there is at least one along the back edge. My vintage sewing tables can fold down, and be kept for sewing days with friends. I plan to have a few of them once the sewing room is visitor friendly.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Return of the manky foot

It feels like the achilles tendonitis and the subsequent plantar fasciitis will never completely go away. Two weekends ago the ankle gave a small whinge, and the pf might not have been more than a whisper, but I saw Kasabian at the Opera House the Wednesday after & had to stand if I wanted to see anything ( because the rest of the audience stood).

My sewing day was probably the final straw as by Wednesday it was very painful. I saw my foot person on Friday and it's strapped up and improving. Treatment is agonising, as I said to her this hurts more than my wallet. I'm going to have to use my left foot on the pedal, and set up my vintage Bernina Record 730 (aka Baby) with the knee lever  instead of foot pedal. I bought that when I first had pf, as even a single seam would set off days of pain.

My mantra of "bodies are weird" continues to be true.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Rounding up my dress-a-month fabrics

So that I don't have the same "oops where's this month's fabric choice" I've started putting all the dress-a-month fabrics that I spot in one single place - at the moment the end of my chaise lounge.

I have the chocolate with mint, mermaids and blue flower sprays on black. If I can't find the vintage fabric I could switch to the blue flowers on black and 9030 (with extra skirt width by pleats/darts). Way way back when I made a rough plan it was my April choice so this would be early. Also, it would push me towards switching the overlocker to dark. Incentive to finish the February and the poor sadly unfinished March 2016 dress so that I can stay with dark on the overlocker (martini, lobster, blueflowers, mermaid).

February [Lost at Sea} dress progress

I had a really productive day at my friends. First I used her white overlocker (she has one set up with white thread and a second set up in dark blue) do finish every possible edge of the Lost at Sea dress.  Then I overlaid the yoke on the bodice front and edge stitched that in navy.

Then I sitched the under bust darts; pressed all the bodice darts so I could stitch the shoulder seams; stitched those seams and made the sleeves. I also got the skirt side seams stitched, and cut out the interfacing for the front bodice facing. Reminded myself that I need to interface the fake skirt front to support that keeping shape and the uncut buttonholes etc.

I tidied all that up and got out her dark blue overlocker, where I finished all the edges I could for the martini dress (where is the bodice fronts? and button/zip) and all the edges I could of the lobster dress bodice/sleeves. I would have done the lobster skirt also, except those seams aren't stitched yet. I'm going to do those tonight.

I was also going to mock the bodice for my next dress, but as I couldn't locate the fabric in the disaster zone that's my sewing room, I decided not to spend any energy on that. I swear that for weeks it's been sitting on top of a fabric pile mocking me. After chatting we came to the conclusion that it's in a corner of a pocket universe with the buttons/neck band/front of the martini dress. If I ignore them they might appear!

Unrelated to clothing I have a single curtain I made in 1988 for the bedroom I had in Surry Hills. It was a narrow window so I only needed a single drop. I've loved wistaria for a very long time, and Sanderson UK had a cotton sateen with rose/wisteria so I splashed the cash. My very first ever job after school was in a custom curtain workroom of a furnishing store. I'd finished high school with good results was told I was "too qualified" for an office job. I think they thought I'd quit and go to university, but I was very shy as well as introverted in those days. Definitely lacked the confidence to do it without any family support - emotional if not financial - and that would never happen. Leaving to go to another city for uni wasn't the issue, but the "you can do it" encouragement.

Anyway back on topic, I spent 2.5 years making curtains, so I made a full length drop and lined it which saved the it from sun damage. I kept that single curtain since mid 1990 even though I had no use for it. Wisteria!!!  The print is definitely dated and there's more wisteria than rose, and it's in very good condition. I've realised that it will make new cushion/bolster covers for my chaise and chair. I even have piping cord somewhere, and long white zippers that I can also use. This isn't a priority unless I need a simple hit for motivation or feel good factor.

Friday, 10 March 2017

oopsie, also known as dyeing didn't go as planned

Here's the before of the gaudy blanket, after rinse/spinning so that it's damp for dyeing. It's no more nor less in your face than when dry.

Then I added the gray dye, and should have listened to my gut feeling of dissolve it in hot water likewise the salt. I didn't because the instructions I skimmed for dying in the machine said not to ... but of course in a top loader then you can add the hot water to agitate before adding the item. My machine also is water conservative, so I switched wash settings a couple of times to increase the wash part of the cycle to about 45 minutes.   The grayed green is exactly what I want, however it's not an even colour ... in real life I don't mind it so much but in the photo it's a bit embarrassing.  Ah well, I've never wanted to live in a pristine Vogue Living style even though this is a bit further away from that than I'd like.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Sewing Sunday this weekend

I'm going to a friend's this Sunday for a sewing day, so I'm taking my Lost at Sea to finish, and the March dress pattern to mock up the bodice. I need to remember to overlock everything I've already sewn before then, to make the most of stitching time - and the machine is already set up in the right colours (white/pale grey).

Tonight is an adventure in dyeing. A few weeks ago I bought a sea-green cotton blanket as a throw for my chaise lounge (and a marine blue for the armchair cos I don't want them matchy-matchy). I'd looked around and this seemed a better colour option than anything I'd found by then and they were on sale - the flat rate shipping was cheaper and significantly less hassle than catching 2-trains-plus-a-bus each way from my place to Kogarah on the weekend.

The blue is ideal, but the sea-green is a tropical clear in your face hue like the bright lines in the ocean photo below, and it doesn't make me happy. It doesn't blend with the chaise or curtains so the plan is to overdye it with a gray just enough to take the edge off. Fingers crossed that the fabric hasn't reached dye saturation point or the gray won't take.  I've been watching the weather forecast for a couple of weeks to find a rain/shower free day so that I can dry it easily. Tomorrow is supposed to be one, so I'm dyeing it tonight & hanging it on the shower rail until tomorrow morning. Must remember to get salt before I get home.