Thursday, 18 December 2014

Not the parcel wrapping I expected.

Who'd expect this in the post - it's how my copy of Barbara Johnson's Album arrived, and clearly it wouldn't fit in my mailbox. How could I fault it's secure packing.  I wondered what was in it, and was hoping it was a mystery present. Still exciting though! Inside the sack addressed to me was the book in a corrugated cardboard book box, also labelled with my name.

The book is a big slab of a thing and as it's a fascimile reproduction of her album the household accounts are interesting too. From memory they're about 60 years older than the fabric swatches she glued over the top.Not on every page either.  Nice to see fabrics that I'd wear, even if not all of them are my choice.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

the older dress pattern, from the stash

For the curious, this is the pattern I bought the bundle for, it's an un-marked mail order pattern, for a 48" bust. I'll need to narrow the shoulders more than I would if it was my size, but it might make a nice dress for at home in a lawn. Maybe, but as it's not what I'd wear to work then it'll have to wait a little longer.

Look at those step by step sewing instructions on the pattern envelope! 9 steps in total with no pictures

Vintage dress patterns staying as eye candy

That is to me they're eye candy.  Years ago I bought a job lot of pattens on eBay, to get a specific 1920s/30s dress.  In the bundle were these 2 patterns, and a couple others that I couldn't see myself wearing that I've since given away.  I love the cover art, as well as the design lines. Sadly as both are sized for a 38" bust they won't fit me even with an FBA.
Somewhere I saw the Simplicity dated to 1949, not sure how accurate that is, and the Advance looks like the same timeframe.

I could grade them to my size & alter, but I might just borrow collars & sleeves and franken pattern with another pattern me-sized.

getting ready for my summer, sewing, holiday

I've got both new dress patterns in my grabby hands, and a brooch I'd won on ebay, so the only things left in the mail is an art nouveau ariel Tshirt, and the reprinted book Fitting and Proper, bought from Burnley & Trowbridge alongwith some fabric swatches. I knew that even with the exchange rate going not so well for overseas shopping , that I might as well bags it now cos it could get worse.  If it improves, well I don't mind cos I've hankered for that book since before it was reprinted.

As well as my summer dress sewing, I've got 3 domestic tasks and a spring clean to do. The 3 aren't that exciting so I'll either do them all on a roll, powered by the thrill of achievement with the first, or I'll drag myself along kicking & screaming.
- replace my toilet seat (have it al; ready) for one with a soft close
- put together the Molger shelves that are going into the cupboard I use as a pantry.
- add the Hemnes drawer base supports to my Aneboda drawers

I've also had a flare up of an auto-immune problem so I'm also aiming for some soaks in the ocean over my hols as that seems to help (and I don't question why). 3 big sleeps to go if you include Friday night. Hormones & stress & hot days are probably the trigger. I had the blue sparkle dress, that really stressed me cos I didn't want her to be disappointed. 

Plus I've had to apply for my own job. This time as a permanent position - after 4.5 years contracting with them.  As it's state gov't, it has to be publicly advertised.  Applications closed yesterday and mentally I was prepared to come in for an interview early next week - there's minimum notification days involved for interviews.  But I think that's not going to pan out - guessing based on who I'm assuming is on the interview panel and their leave plans. I know it'll be a couple of senior staff in my unit plus someone else outside it (or 1 snr and 2 outside my unit) and what their leave is.

I'm getting help from another colleague with interview coaching cos I know I don't sell myself well.  They need to follow correct procedures so If I don't sell myself well then I can't get offered the job. This is why I've got most of my permanent jobs after temping. They go 'oooh socialised + nerd skills, lets keep her'.  Interviews, not so much.

So my 2 weeks as well as sewing includes eye check & new specs (broke my sewing distance)  with possibly a new script; haircut & recolour; visit friends up in the mountains; 2 x painful massage therapy appointments - deep tissue + trigger point. This isn't relaxing. Well, I should qualify that with afterwards I'm incredibly relaxed but not at the time. Possibly all the endorphins produced in reaction to pain. I've had 3 treatments and know how bad it'll be. But so worth it.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Plus size patterns aren't new

Though it seemed like they were after the plus-size drought of the 80s. One of the patterns in my previous post has a 52" bust, and one of the reasons I've procrastinated so badly is that I'll need to (1) copy it onto new paper and then (2)grade it down to my size and lastly (3) alter it to fit.

I've a habit of procrastinating cos I want something to be perfect, and once it's done there's a good chance it won't be. Even if the imperfections are only in the eye of myself!

I've come across other equally large vintage patterns, usually one of the mail order brands such as this Anne Adams1960s evening dress currently on eBay. Which I think is quite wearable now, depending on fabric choice and skirt length. And another 52" bust Marian Martin dress and "blouse".

I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons I thought I was so fat when I was in my late teens/early 20s is that most fashion patterns pretty much stopped at 36" bust. I was that as a teenager and then went up 38" until I was about 22/23 when I managed to lose enough pounds to be 36-24-37. Not only was I just above pattern sizes but I was an extreme 8 shape. Tiny waist but D bust and high hips. Trending more an 8 than an X if that makes sense. At a time when an androgenous shape was the fashionable one. No wonder I felt like a heifer, the fashions just didn't suit me.

Of course, I got sick and my weight bolted - so it seemed. Though it's more that the PCOS & other endocrine disorder kicked in hard, most likely cos I was so unwell. I think that whole process of believing I was very plus when I wasn't is one reason I have little shame about being plus size now.

Enough introspection, the original point of my post is to say that thanks to the internet I now have access to a whole range of plus size vintage patterns, not only in my size but beyond it.

Monday, 8 December 2014

summer dresses I might make - 6 each of fabrics and patterns

I've looked at my stash & vintage patterns (as I've failed to live up to my vintage pattern pledge this year) to see what my options are.

Here's a pic of my 6 vintage patterns of choice, and 6 dress lengths I already own. They're not in any particular order, except the top 2 patterns are in the mail to me. 

I've let my subconscious think about it which fabric and which pattern.  The top left pattern gets the martini fabric; the top right pattern gets the 4th teal/navy trefoil print and maybe the red + black print; middle right pattern gets the top splodgy print; bottom left dunno really maybe the olivey print; the bottom right gets the flowers on  black? maybe.

I may not use all patterns, but I want/ need to use all fabrics.  I can't buy another dress length until 4  of the 6 pieces are made.  Must shop the stash first!

selfish sewing, and not ashamed by that

I'm fairly shameless about my selfish sewing. Pretty much only sew for myself, or on a very rare occasion I'll sew for someone else I really care about. Yesterday I finished a formal dress for a friend's daughter, let's call her Salt. Her mum, (let's call her Pepper) was my first bellydance teacher, and I don't see her as much as I'd like now that I don't dance. Here's a link to me performing at the Mid North Coast Bellydance Festival's concert back in 2006. A duet with another long-time friend, and I was a badly dancing bloke who tried & failed to hit on her.

Anyways back on topic, Salt is recently 13, very very petite and loves the Miss Fisher tv show. I made a dress inspired by one of those dresses, though not in purple silk chiffon. I think I'm thankful she didn't want silk chiffon and instead went for a sparkle print knit (blue glitter on black). Foolishly I forgot to take a photo of the dress laying flat but there were 5 godets front & back (ie 10 in total) and I worked out that they made the hemline about 5metres (ie over 5 yards). That's 2x 50cm, 4x 40cm and 4 x 30cm godets. I made a mockup & posted it to her as they live in a city a couple hours up the coast. Pepper basted some changes to the seams (taking it in quite a bit) and marking the shoulder & neckline and posted that back to me. Cos Farrah had a rehearsal yesterday afternoon for a rehearsal I was able to take it over & deliver it in person. Salt came down with her mum so she could see the dress NOW as she was pretty excited about it.

I'm so relieved at how well it turned out, it fit (thank goodness) and she looks gorgeous. The school formal is tomorrow night and although I'll get a photo of her in it, I won't be sharing it online. I may share cropped details of the skirt though :D

Now that's done I can get on with finishing a UFO summer dress for myself. I think it was September when I started it. 3 months does = UFO in my sewing ledgers.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

a second vintage pattern in the mail ... plus patterns I already have

I couldn't resist buying another pattern - simple but that's what I'm really after! it's what happens after staying inside my work building while a big thunderstorm rolled over Sydney. The thunder started just as I was about to leave the office, so I thought I'd wait it out inside. So I trawled the interwebs looking at vintage patterns and new underwear.

Then, when I got home from work I looked in my vintage patterns to remind myself what I already have that I want to use very soon, and was a little gobsmacked to discover that I'd bought the same Home Journal pattern TWICE, in exactly the same size. The 2nd copy will have a home with Desir Brulant(assuming she likes it!).

I also have in my stash Marian Martin 9251 - but will need to add a photo to my album before I post a pic.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A [pattern] blast from the past

I frightened myself when I flashbacked to making this from dark green corduroy back in the 1970s. It was NOT slenderising, but I was asked about a teenage pregnancy!

pattern buying as a substitute for sewing

Well, sewing for myself that is. I'm making an evening dress for a friend's daughter, and a bit behind though it will be ready on time!

That mountain of laundry I had to to (or felt I had to do) to eradicate the flea has seemed to have a flow on effect. I've never quite caught up. Mount Washmore is a little relentless!

Anywho, today it's payday and I celebrated by buying a 1940s day dress pattern from VPLL via ebay. Mainly cos I was already in ebay so why not. I have fabric and can make it over my xmas/NY holidays if it arrives in time. I may need to fetch my pedestal fan from storage so that it's not too uncomfortable to sew.

I've worn my Wonder Woman inspired dress a few times lately and that has been a very strong reminder how much cooler a skimming soft cotton dress is than a skirt+knit top.

On the sunshine side of stashbusting, I'm down 50m from the beginning of the year. Always a nice place to be. 2-3 dresses and it'll be 60m+ for the year

Thursday, 13 November 2014

9 Days of vermin eradication

I've not had a chance to sew in the past week or so. Tuesday last week I picked up a flea - either walking through Hyde Park, in the cinema or in the garden outside my building (to retrieve dropped mail). Anyway it (or them) thought I was a tasty, tasty treat to feast on. Finally I think that's all over, but with approx 40 bites (approx 17 per leg and 3-4 per arm) it was a relentless wee beastie/s.

Since then I've been in a pit of laundry & vacuuming to eradicate it. Vacuuming everything every 2nd day & immediately disposing of the vacuum bag in the outside bin. Plus the use of flea powder (from Bunnings).

I even got bitten while I stripped my bed of everything, including the clean laundry I'd done & dumped on the end of my bed on Monday evening but not put away yet. Plus fabric I'd brought upstairs to sew for summer & was next to my bed. And the winter blankets that I'd got back out of storage after the last cold snap. My winter underblanket and the summer one that I'd just got out to swap over. Everything got carefully tied up in heavy black garbage bags until I could get through the loads. Paranoidly adding Bosisto's dust mite wash to each load, cos while I'm on a death-to-fleas spree I might as well aim for any dust mites too.

Last Saturday was great for getting through most of the blankets - hot, enough wind to be useful, sunny and no showers!

More of the other tenants in my building now hang their laundry up to dry, rather than use the dryers. Previously it was only me an another couple of people who did, but what it's meant this week is that my rate of laundry washing/drying is slower than I'd like. I still have 1 wool blanket bagged up, it's one I crocheted about 20 years ago so pretty heavy, and hard to dry easily. I need a sunny/warm/windy day with no thunderstorm predicted in the afternoon to get it done. Not this weekend then! The price to pay for preferring wool, I guess.

It has felt like an overwhelming process, and I mumbled to myself about future-me putting laundry away immediately, and not getting out more fabric than I can use for the next 1-2 projects.

I still have some winter skirts to handwash (ziplock bagged up) and my UFO sewing projects to work through. Most of those were already in individual zip lock bags, so they're piled up demanding some attention.

On the positive side of things, I'd wanted to spring clean and definitely had enough motivation to get it done fast!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Sleepwear patterns added to the stash.

I've added three sleepwear patterns to my stash, and only one was on sale. That's how committed I was to getting my hands on them.

Both the Burda vintage nightie #7109, and the Simplicity 1950s bra top #1426 I mentioned in my previous November MAGAM post are now near the top of my pattern pile, and I'm letting my subconscious ponder how to do an FBA on the Simplicity pattern. I may have to slash, spread, dart and then mock up for a fitting (wearing it over an actual bra). Possibly even 2 mock ups.

The unplanned addition is McCall's 6250, and I'm not even sure why I bought it for View D, except that I was on the hunt for sleepwear patterns and it managed to fit my criteria (and the pattern I really wanted S1426 was sold out in that store).

Inspired to crochet 1930s hats

I've been watching the blog Advanced Style for a couple or more years now, though not obessively. So when I heard there was a documentary I knew it was on my Must See list.

I told my friend C about it & we saw it on Saturday morning. For a while I've been mumbling to any friend who'll listen that I want to upgrade my wardrobe to have a 1930s influence, and whining that everything is wearing out.

Seeing the documentary was either going to crush or inspire, and thankfully it's been inspiring. Although I'm already in the age group he photographes *whimpers*.

I loved the 90+ year old woman who hadn't been telling her art students what her age was. When asked she'd answer "somewhere between 50 and death". LOL

So, I need to actively do something about my clothes, but also my accessories. Cos I tend to forget them and I shouldn't. After watching the doco, we went up the road and looked in a charity shop where I bought a cotton beret. Wrong colour for me, but if it dyes that's great. And if it doesn't dye well at least it gives me something to aim for. To be worn on the back of my head, not the top/front.

Buying it conceived in me a passion for 1930s crochet hats, and thankfully etsy has a plethora of PDF patterns to buy/download. I think I need this set of jaunty 1930s hats, and this cloche (?).

Saturday, 1 November 2014

MAGAM theme for November - scanning my stash for ideas

MAGAM's theme for November is "November nights: make something for your November nights".

Hmmm, cos I've started looking for a summer nightie that I can make for weekends away/holidays.  At home I can sleep in an old t-shirt or singlet but as I sleepwalk, I feel the need to wear something a little more covered. Lightweight, but coverage.

I have some cotton voiles and have been scoping out suitable patterns. Simplicity 1260 is sort of what I was trying to mock up last year using a tops pattern, but I bodgied it wrong so don't really want to look at it much. It's not yet available in Australia yet (new), so scratch that from my list.

Part of me wonders if I can get Simplicity 1426 and and a skirt section to View A, with criss cross back straps. No halterneck for me (acreage drag factor on my neck!). That appeals. 

Also on my list of possibles is Burda 7109 - a shorter version  of view A

Thursday, 30 October 2014

my bodgy version of the Sleepy Hollow windmill dress

I thought I'd got a photo of me early in the evening but nope I hadn't, and neither did any of my friends who I thought had taken one. So I've found a less flattering photo from a little later in the evening when I'm not so carefully posed (where is the nice one dagnabbit!).

The skirt is creased cos I didn't get a chance to press it after taking it out of my weekend bag.

With the retrospectascope these are things I wish I'd done differently:
- not bothered with the hip pads with this costume - they're too much for it.
- not raised the neckline so much. Some, but not as much as I had.
- put a modesty panel behind the hook/eye opening as per the screen version.
- cut the skirt longer & wider. I cut it 3" longer than my archery skirt, but it's still too short.*

* the blessing of buying a 9.5metre length of vintage rayon faille curtain fabric from ebay is that I can completely remake it with minimal cost ie time+thread

What I'm happy with overall it's ok for an impression of the costume, not a screen accurate one.

The skirt pattern from NSCT worked really really well. I'm more than happy to pleat the front & gather the back again. So easy to tie 1 set instead of 2. I used grosgrain ribbon cos it was cheap enough and robust enough to use. I'm loving grosgrain ribbon instead of poor quality cotton tape.

And here I am being silly ... again.

Because I raised the neckline too much, the drawstring at the neckline (attached to lining) is obviously gathered. If the topline was lower, there'd be less gather required.

Friday, 24 October 2014

freeforming with the windmill

I really did just freeform cut the revised shape of the lower bodice edge

And the sleeves were too angled for *my* comfort. The pattern may be perfectly period correct, but I'm happy to straighten them a little. I slashed to the centre of the elbow from each side so there was a small hinge, and overlapped the outer edge 1.5cm. (5/8ths of an inch). I can easily return the pattern to it's original shape or adjust it next time I use it.

The body is assembled apart from the shoulder/upper back edge, and the sleeves. Which I know fit and are 4 simplish seams and bodgy cuffs.

The lights in my work's meeting room are yellowing the cocoa beige of the fabric.

frankenpatterning my 1793 jacket pattern

I'm thinking of it as the cheater version, cos it's for a party where 95% of the people wouldn't have a clue about screen accuracy.

The skirt will be near enough, and the jacket is the bodgy part. The striped corduroy arrived from FFC and it's a stretch woven. An abomination in my eyes! But it's for a half in- & half out-door venue and I don't have to care if I spill party food on it. Which is a winner!

It does mean that I can't accurately test the pattern that I'm mocking up, even though I'm flat-lining it with non-stretch. As far as the sleeves go I'm not lining those suckers.

I'm cutting out the jacket at lunchtime today, after I mish-mashed the scaled up to 100% NSCT 1793 pattern with the archery jacket pattern via my 1780s polonaise. I really am leaving it to the last minute along with flying by the seat of my pants. Though I've fitted 2 out of 3 of these patterns already.

Yes, I dithered and finally got the patterning done last night - went to bed really early 2 nights in a row (Tues/Wed)and got 10 hours sleep each night - so I must have needed it. But that was my pattern work & mock up time.

I scaled up the NSCT pattern to 100% and she has approx 31" waist and 38" bust. Which I dont. So I got the pattern Desir Brulant lent me for our georgian archery costume, and I bodgied up a frankenpattern based on it.

Here's part of the back. I stuck the back & side back together along the seamlines. Mostly, I ignored that they didn't meet in the middle as this added not subtracted a smidge). Then drafted a CB piece based on the NSCT but 1" wider, with the pleated hem and then copied the rest of the pattern, guestimating & eyeballing below the waist - based on the NSCT pattern.

The top edge needed to be a bit higher for modesty - as "the girls" were so on display with the archer that its hilariously bad. Giant norks are over-rated. I also straightened out some of the shoulder strap edges - after matching the short section to the front on the seamline.

And cos this is a quick & dirty costume, not a screen accurate one (LOL the thought with the effort I'm putting in for this party) I'm going to stitch down the fringed yarn I have. Forget seperate piecing for the front.

quick.dirty.effective. (Hoping the last one is right).

And if you're wondering what I'm making, a friend is throwing a Tim Burton themed party, and I'm making this

I was hoping to find a cheap sheer table runner to use as an apron but will be skipping it at this point - no such luck. I must have missed that fashion trend. I've got the blonde wig I bought for Lamia a few years ago, and even though I'm not happy with it that's ok. It won't stay on all night the way it would at Supanova etc

Monday, 20 October 2014

back in the zone ...

Yes that is a very bad pun or dad joke, because the jacket in the costume is what we in teh 21st century call a zone front

Underpinnings are first under the needle. From op shop cotton guest towel, to 18th century pockets.

The pocket was made on Saturday (the other can be done if  I have enough time) and tonight I finished the hip pads. I used the pattern in the wingeo set ... at least I think it is. It's the set that I made my bum-pad from.  This time I used poplin ($1/metre that I still have about 5metres of) with pretty stars on it. Anyone sees the stars that means I'm prancing in my underwear, they shouldn't show through a petticoat and skirt.

Naturally I couldn't just make the pattern up as they are. I read the recent Foundations Revealed article on an extant working class (or not upper) stays with attached hip pads. So I noted that the loop tapes would make the wingeo pads not at waist level but @ 3" below. And the construction in that FR had the padding a coupleish inches below the waist.  Yes these would be larger/longer, but I'm a solid lump, unline the woman who wore those stays.

So I pencilled a line at 7cm from the top edge and stuffed them so that only the outer half would be padded.  Pinned along the pencil line, trying to keep the top section even & flat.

and then I stitched with edge of the foot next to the pins.  (what, you didn't expect hand stitching from me did you? foolishness!)

and then stitched another 5mm close to the waist, just in case any stitches pop, and turning in the seam left open for inserting the padding . After taking out the pins I have 2 pads for my hips that will get basted directly to the stays a smidge below my waist.

I also got the skirt a quarter done. I'm only using 2 widths of my 120cm (47") wide fabric, simply so that I don't have to cut slits for pockets. it's less than the original ... and she wasn't tiny.  I did the maths and her waist is about 33".  I got the lengths cut, overlocked the top edge so it doesn't fray. Stitched the side seams, and basted down the openings. I'm going to use the design structure of the NSCT 1793 outfit - not open at the side waist, cos the back half is gathered on tapes.  It's kosher, period and just a little bit different. The front edge is bound after the pleats are done which is usual, not so much the back section. But then again it's usually high class clothing that has survived in museums. This method isn't as pleat-pretty but perfectly functional with only 1 set of ties to be done when you dress. quicker!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

MAGAM: October plan

The MAGAM theme for October is "Opalescence - sew & shine". Opals being the birthstone for October.

This was an easy one for me ... the fire opal is far more appealing than the milky ones. I have my two Anne Adams pattens and this fabric. Thats' as close to fire opals as I have in my stash.

It also counts in my Vintagw Sewing Pattern Pledge, which I've kinda let slide all year. Oops

spring has sprung - I'm feeling more like a happy baa lamb

It's the 2nd month of spring, but it finally feels like it. Sunny days, and a couple of hot ones too! (33C + not humid + sunny = happy me)

Also, I've been happier with photos of me at a couple events - which I need to post about very soon. I may need to be more selective in styles I wear to feel this way (both real life and costume) but I no longer want to cry at the thought of getting my photo taken.

This weekend I road trip with a Canberran friend to meet another costume buddy from Adelaide in Bendigo. We planned it months ago and finally get to see the V&A underwear exhibition! The somewhat hilarious news is that the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney recently announced their new program of exhibits includes an underwear exhibition from the V&A. All the LOLs that I'm travelling 10-11 hours each way (not flying), for something that is going to be in my home town. Probably next year. It's going to Brissie (12Nov-1Feb) after Bendigo, so presumeably it'll come to Sydney before leaving the country again. But perhaps not, as the PHM gave no dates but announced they had a 4-year schedule including menswear from LACMA.

So, I might finally be out of my fat-funk, and over my winter-blerghs and ready to face the world again with a happy smiling face.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

a medieval fair at St Ives (Sydney) this weekend

It's at the St Ives showground on both days, a parade thingy at 10am (no idea) and it's the first one I've heard of at this location. I'm dog minding for friends so may have to either go in civvies or fetch something to wear. but what? Catelyn Stark is tempting! so is wearing regency. Just cos I can.

I also owe a post about Adelaide and my new cocktail dress from last weekend. I think I'm resisting looking at photos of myself, but really I just need to put my big girl pants on & just deal with it.

I wonder if I'll pass a man with wives & cats

Friday, 5 September 2014

A distinct lack of sewing progress

I've not got any further with any sewing, though I did shop for fabric on my weekend away. I really need to post about the fabric & the costume event ... will get to that over the weekend.

Tonight I'm tryign to squeeze a trip to an art supply store between work & getting to a short film program of the Sydney Underground Film Festival. Someone I've worked with has her work screening tonight, and I'd really like to see it (Kookaburra) as I gave her some of my photos of the kookaburras that woke me up one morning.

At the art supply store I'm buying another roll of Whitetrace, for copying my vintage patterns & to use where my roll of sandwich paper isn't wide enough. the first roll I got is missing, possibly buried somewhere in my storage room, but the only spot it's likely to be is in the heap of things on the sofa. And I've rumaged to no avail. The roll I got first time around was the 46cm wide as it will fit on the Ikea Mala, a kids craft paper roll holder. As I took it out of that holder to take to a sewing guild meeting or 2 (may have left it behind by mistake??), I'm wondering if I should get the slightly wider 61cm as more usefull for wider pattern pieces, or altered pattern pieces. I'll have to decide in the next 3 hours, and then live with my decision. Cos either way I need to use it ASAP.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

progress on the blue UFO shirt

I didn't get as much done yesterday (at the sewing guild group) because I hadn't bothered to change the overlocker thread & neaten the edges that I was going to need (sleeve hem, CB seam etc). I got the darts onto the correct side of the front right piece, and the other front darts sewn, along with the shoulder seams. The irons were busy so I didnt' move onto fusing the interfacing on the collar pieces/facing.

Today I started feeling twitchy - coming down from family drama stress levels mixed with the unusual situation of not dementedly sewing a new costume for the ACG annual ball next Saturday. I'm going to it, but re-wearing my Disney Cinder's Fairy Godmother.

It's a little odd to be honest - the lack of inspiration for a new costume. But that's how life works. I had ideas, but needed time to make all the right underwear. And they will need fitting help.

So today I got myself organised enough to change to blue thread, and did every edge I possibly could to make the next stage easier for me.

Not the first time I've used this fabric and pattern together. The first shirt was such a favourite of mine that I bought more fabric while it was available.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

the paisley no-longer-UFO shirt, and more robot

Last night I whined far too much about hand sewing buttons onto this shirt, but it was worth it as today I got 2 compliments on my new blouse.

I realised why the facing was too short - the facing is the original length of the shirt I drafted this from, but I cut the blouse longer. Silly me!

Something that maybe not everyone does is sew a spare button to a side seam or bustdart.

The reason I sew it into the seam is so that it has the same laundering processes and wear as the other buttons. I've always bought at least 1 spare button, and one time when I got it out of the button box to use I was shocked by the contrast to the other washed & worn buttons. Considering I can have a shirt or blouse last 4-7 years or more that can be multiple washes that affect non-shell buttons.

The other finished item in this post is a hot water bottle cover - a gift for a friend. It's 3 layers of cotton flannelette (2 inner layers of stash!), bound with grey satin binding (stash!) and then folded into an envelope and stitched next to the binding. The elastic is there to hold the cover in place - I've never used that on my previous covers but this is a gift and I had matching elastic, so it doesn't need to be stretched, just able to stretch up over the top section.

I self drafted this by drawing around a hot water bottle and guestimating how much ease I'd need once there was water in it. Snug but not tight. And I got it right first go. :D so I simply copy it each time.

As a sidepoint to why I was confused at losing the buttons for the paisley blouse, I usually keep all parts of a project in a ziplock bag. cut out pieces, pattern, thread, zip/buttons etc.

Thanks to the missing buttons (which turned out to be in the drawer on my sewing table {hits forehead}) I decided to put the thread/bobbin/buttons in to a micro ziplock bag, inside the bigger bag.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

pattern giveaway

had to come home from work before lunchtime - gastro is going through work & myself! Slept a chunk of the afternoon and then spent a small amount of time in the storeroom, found some more things to donate to a charity shop, and some fabric & patterns for the fabric cave.

Does anyone in Australia want Butterick 5331 in multisize 14-16-18-20... not sure why I got it (think it was at my first sewing retreat) though I suspect it was for the collar. But I don't wear vests, not even pretty ones! If I hear by the end of August it's yours, otherwise the first Sunday in September, it goes to the Fabric Cave.

Also found the cut out regency bodice+sleeves - it was in the cascade, which I wasn't expecting. The cascade is back on top of the table ... and I'm sorting through culling things and putting them away. Grit my teeth & salvaged the zip from a dress I made and wore once. I kept kidding myself I could salvage the dress ... but can't. The rayon georgette just kept stretching, and the first time I wore it (to a wedding) what started out 1940s inspired ended up 1920s fugly with dropped waist and ankle length.

So put away, give away (craft vs ordinary charity shop), plus today's grocery bag of rubbish.

no buttonholes, distracted by a fabric cull

Foolishly last night I forgot to do the buttonholes / dart alteration before I headed to my storage room to cull some of my fabrics. I've got a small pile separated out to donate to the Fabric Cave (a charity craft shop), and I found my missing Laughing Moon regency stays pattern. I knew that would only happen after I replaced it. I'd piled fabric & patterns on my cutting table and some had cascaded off. The patterns are from when the drawer base fell out and I'm working my way through culling some, and the fabric is from trying to decide what to sew at a retreat. Inspiration strikes on seeing plenty of opportunities, but the habit of putting it back straight away never got developed.

So by the time I came back upstairs it was just that bit too late for me to start sewing - the building I live in has poor noise abatement, and I don't want neighbours complianing to my landlord about noise.

Tonight, buttonholes and I can wear the shirt tomorrow!

Monday, 18 August 2014

working my way through UFO projects

I went to another sewing guild retreat not the weekend gone but the one before, and will have some photos to post after tonight. I got one of my UFO shirts completed - though I need to adjust the bust dart length, so will do that tonight before taking a photo of it. I realised this after wearing the shirt on Saturday and thought it was too close to bust point cos I was wearing a bikini rather than bra ... all my bras were in the wash. (The bikini is to be built into my next swimwear). I couldn't take the blue UFO shirt because my brain decided not to see it right next to the pink shirt. Selective vision is way too harsh at times. I also finished a navy pinstripe wool/rayon skirt that hadn't reached UFO status and have loved having that in my work clothing rotation.

I also had to fudge the facings on my paisley UFO blouse - cut too short cos of my bodgy pattern drafting. I also lost the buttons for that in the grotto/dungeon. They're probably buried under the fabric & patterns on top of my cutting table. I bought different buttons for it on Saturday & forgot to take the thread with me to the sewing guild day, and as I already have 4 or 5 white spools of thread I wasn't going to buy yet another one to do 5 buttonholes. So I'll stitch them tonight and take a photo. Seeing as I found the blue shirt as soon as I got home, I started sewing it on Saturday. The darts are all done, but I need to unpick one side of the front, cos I did them on the incorrect side of the fabric. A woven fabric with a definite right and wrong side. {foreheaddesk} I blame sleep deprivation cos of family stresses.

I've decided my storeage room should be called Loki cos it's a place of chaos & transformation. I think my new habit for the year should have been putting things away properly instead of just dump+running. I'm also having to start my own shell game, partly inspired by the certain knowledge that I had to do it. Not just put things away properly - but cull my patterns and fabrics again. This time being a little more ruthless in passing on the fabrics that no longer suit me the best. I reviewed my stash spreadsheet and identified 9 fabrics that I've held onto but that I really don't need to keep. Nowadays a little darker suits me better than lighter and they should go to someone who can use and SUIT them. I still have plenty of fabric

I'm happy to at last having more work clothes in my wardrobe, and continuing to add to it for summer (and beyond).

Sunday, 17 August 2014

moth nibbles on stash wool yardage (and a jumper)

I'm going to order some jumbo size ziplock bags to put each piece of wool yardage into for my winter fabric cupboard, as something has nibbled at a jumper - I hadn't worn it for about 10 years and I got it out of my winter clothing tub (not kept with yardage) to cut up & remodel.  Lots of tiny little holes. :(  One piece of yardage I got at The Fabric Cave also has a few tiny holes in it but as I don't remember holding it up tot he light I don't know if that had them before or not. And a piece I gave to Sharon also had some moth holes (which I didn't realise). Once they're ziplocked I can freeze each piece - my freezer is small so I can only do 1 at a time so I need to separate out each piece to prevent any further damage while I do them all.

In other stash news I've cut up & sewn pieces of cotton or rayon lycra knits that I bought for fitted Tees, but realise the colours no longer suit me. I used them for KS2529 - prevention of thigh chafing seeing as 99.9% of the time I wear skirts or dresses.  I cut the legs longer because I find that more comfortable and don't even finish the hem .. in a knit they've never frayed or run and these wear out before the hem is ever an issue.  So underwear or underpinnings but NOT underpants!  I'm very quick to correct that idea. The last batch of yardage I bought for these was skin colour and I realised that I do not like that. A bit nanna-boring if you know what I mean (as in my-nanna not modern nannas).

Of course, I'm not immune to the lure of more fabric. I tossed out a loved but worn burgundy rayon skirt and bought a piece of burgundy pinstripe wool ... more of a flannel than a worsted but I'm looking forward to making it up next autumn.  It's a colour I love, and that suits me but is fairly hard to find. So although I'm trying to reduce the stash, a hard to find fabric made it home. It's not going downstairs until it's safely bagged up.

Editing to clarify: It's freezing that kills moth eggs, not the plastic bag. But to quarantine each piece (I have about 30) and stop it sticking to anything in the freezer I'm putting each in an individual ziplock bag.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

This Saturday - a Regency Fashion Parade at Woodford Academy

Up in the Blue Mountains, Woodford Academy is a National Trust property that dates back to the 1830s. There might be an older single building in the area but not by much as europeans didn't find a crossing over the mountains until 1813.

This Saturday afternoon I'm participating in a Regency Fashion Parade there, in 2 costumes, I'll be first on show and then do a quick change to reappear in a dress that's only 10 years older but quite a contrast in style.

I've had to write a packing list for both costumes so that I don't travel for 2 hours to get there, only to discover I've left something essential behind like stockings (once I packed white cotton ankle socks instead of knee highs).

Monday, 14 July 2014

complete - one robot nightie

My robot print flannelette didn't hang around long enough to be come stash, it's now a nice new snuggly nightie.  Stash thread was used to sew it, and I used up a red bobbin, even though it was a slightly not-quite-right red. Not by much but I'm not entering a competition with it, just sleeping.

progress on crochet blanket - 70% complete

70% of the squares that is, I'll still need to crochet them all together, and do an outside border. Thankfully I'm darning in all the ends as I go as the thought of doing that a the end gives me the shudders - 720 of them is enough for me to avoid the task.

I still need the darkest colour to join them, and sadly Bendigo Woollen Mills don't have a darker purple. They do a plum, but not one that appeals to me for this blanket. I could get a darker green but until I see enough of the wool together I can't pick, and the swatch card sample is too small and an entire ball of 200g is too wasteful if it's not the right colour. I've already done that so am giving away that too-yellow-and-not-dark-enough green wool.

I might have to go to a brick & mortar store to find something suitable. The alternate is to wait until the first weekend in October when I can visit BWM as I'll be in Bendigo for an exhibition at the Art Gallery.

I don't want to lose my motivation though, so it looks like a visit to a larger spotlight or Morris & Sons is likely to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

the phrase "robot nightie" doesn't mean what it sounds like

I've been working on my robot nightie ... but saying that makes me feel like I must be making a nightie for a robot, not from a robot print fabric.

Anywho, here's the the external neck facing:

Part of me wishes that I'd thought through the placement on the fabric even though a small amount of fabric would have been wasted (or the sleeves that bit longer), as the facing covers the top of the robot's face.

The sleeves are assembled and pinned in ready to stitch tomorrow along with the side seams and the flat fell seam that this makes. Then the hem and it's done.

So a bit more than 1 week from purchase to completion but I'm more than happy with that. At least I'll have used it this winter

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A case of the blahs, and it could be winter's fault

I've been aware for quite a long time that I get a mild case of SAD by the end of every winter. And the year it rained all summer I had it then too because there wasn't enough sunlight hours for me to have enough happy chems in my body.

I'm being a bit careful because since my gall-bladder went homicidal not long after I became lactose intolerant I'm also chronically low in Vitamin D - before I never was. As I'm at the lowest end of OK with (1) mid summer and (2) a daily supplement, then I think it's time to increase my Vit D cos last night I had the blahs and went to bed simply to avoid feeling that way. Vit D deficiency is also linked to depression so I don't want to risk the combined glums cos of SAD PLUS low VitD. It takes months of dietary supplements to affect blood levels so I probably should have started before mid-winter.

I'm seeing a movie tonight & tomorrow night, so won't get to sew my robot print nightie before the weekend.

Monday, 7 July 2014

contrast fabric for the next nightie neckline

I like to do a contrast neck facing, not as a fabric efficiency measure, as there aren't enough scraps left over to cut one out.  The first time I had to buy extra fabric it had sold out, so I went for a contrast. And realised that I liked it so continue the theme.  I probably should have bought the robots contrast on Saturday but foolishly I didn't.  So after work today I ventured to the store I now call Lincrap (I remember the days when it had a higher quality fabric stock) only to be disappointed.  Their plain colour flannelette's were of such poor quality I don't understand how they sell at any price.

I was left with an assorted and small choice of patterns, and none of them had a siren song but I want to sew this quickly, and it's already cut out saying "robots are awesome".  So i went with a grey & white stripe, that will kinda blend into the grey of the robots. I don't want the blue as royal blue isn't so flattering for me, and it wouldn't make me happy even if it was a great contrast for the fabric.

It's hanging on my shower rail, already pre-shrunk. Hopefully start stitching on Wednesday night.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

pondering the MAGAM theme for July

The theme for July is "Sew your wish",  and considering how much of what I sew has been purely what I want (a new costume for an event) rather than clothing that I need for work, I'm wondering what I can make that fits the theme but isn't self indulgent.

I've been wishing for a summer dress, and although it's winter now, spring arrives suddenly in Sydney and it's been 39C in September before now.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

finished my nightie for June MAGAM

Thankfully I made few mistakes sewing this as it's a pattern I've used a lot before, however the external facing is uneven. Though I can't be too upset as it's sleepwear, not something I'll be seen wearing on the street. Flat fell seams make it comfy, modelled with socks on my feet as I forgot to pack my slippers (pet minding for friends).

I'm glad to have got another MAGAM challenge complete (missed one or 2 this year).

I have to admit that my stashbusting hasn't been helped by this garment, as I came home with another length for a winter nightie. This time it's robots!  

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

a late entry plan for June MAGAM

I need a sure thing, a winner to revive my sewing mojo. It's usually just below the surface and starting to sew anything helps. Especially when you know it's going to be a winner.  I started using the Past Pattern's chemise #002 as a nightgown pattern when I realised that not only is it period accurate in terms of sleepwear for many (despite my flannellette choices) but it's dead simple to make. I sew it with flat fell seams on the machine and that makes it just comfy on the inside too. I've taken to using a contrast fabric for a self drafted neck facing, and must hunt through my stash for some red with white pinstripes. I like penguins in cartoons, they're usually plotting mayhem.
2014 penguin nightie

Edited to add: The MAGAM theme for June is "June for the wellbeing of women. Celebrate the feminine with brightness and radiance." This fabric certainly is bright & radiant :D

Monday, 30 June 2014

photos from a wedding

Driving out to the wedding last weekend (hired a car) it was hard to believe it was the winter equinox - it was so sunny and I thought I was going to get sunburned arms from driving into the sun the whole way there.

The wedding was lovely - the vows they wrote themselves had geek references and made this old romantic's heart go awwww. The venue was outside an friend's 1850's house way out on the outer edge of Sydney. Probably not quite in it to be accurate. (from LtoR: groomsman, groom, bride, photographer and bridesmaid)

Here's the lovely couple

With their cake (I got to eat the silvery bits)

and 3 of us a the other end of the marquee

It's been a long wait for their wedding - so it must seem even longer for them. Getting the visa approved (he's a canuck) took quite some time.  Wishing them all the very best things for their life together.

I have to admit I didn't even try to get the Lekala bolero sewn. I no longer want the stress of such a tight deadline sewing, so I'm going to have to learn some new time management for projects. I ended up going for more glamour - fur stole & hat - and cleavage to distract from my newer body shape (PCOS belly).