Monday, 26 May 2014

a productive, stashbusting weekend with an ASG group

My original Australian Sewing Guild group organised a weekend sewing retreat at The Tops at Stanwell Park, an hour south of Sydney and it was fabulous to spend an entire weekend sewing - setting up on Friday night & starting to sew then, sewing from before 9am to 11pm on Saturday taking meal breaks, and sewing til 2.30pm on Sunday when I had a natural stop with my project and packing up was at 3pm anyway. (By original I mean the first group I started attending, at Rhodes. I now bounce between 3 different Saturday groups in a month as I get more done away from housework & distractions, and have found a group for the other Saturday if I need it).

I'll post pics later tonight, and I got 5m sewn from stash including the khaki wool Decades of Style skirt that I'm wearing today, and also finished my brown wool UFO skirt from last year. I almost have the paisley blouse UFO complete. It's self drafted, and I made a drafting booboo. The front facing is 4cm too short! Because I was away from home I didn't have any suitable lawn or voile scraps to patch the end that last little bit. But the rest of the blouse is assembled now, and it only needs the facing fixed, the hem stitched and the buttons/buttonholes done. I'm going to fossick the scrap stash tonight. May have the original fabric but I suspect I tossed it as it wasn't in the UFO project bag with the rest of it.

A weekend of sewing was invigorating, and I came home and mopped my kitchen floor, and started to sprink clean it. At home I sew in my tiny kitchen and I've been avoiding the room because I haven't kept it up to scratch since my cleaner retired at the end of last year. So a kitchen spring clean is needed to help me want to be in the room and sew 20-30 minutes every day. Time to declutter a little so that i don't have to leave anything but a kettle & toaster on my tiny 40x50cm bench!

I also gave a 2metre piece of brown wool knit (probably merino) from my stash to Sharon who did all the organising - 30 of us were there! I bought it from Tessuti way back when they only had a Chatswood store. So possibly 20 years ago. At the time I wasn't familiar with sewing knit fabrics so it intimidated me and I didn't want to ruin it. These days with the inflammatory disorder I overheat in a rayon knit long sleeve top (only want 3/4 length) so wool would be crazy. She loves brown, and I knew she'd been trying to find a brown merino wool knit so it was an obvious thank you gift.

I really enjoy going to the sewing guild groups, there's a mix of personalities, skill levels and I'd love to encourage younger members to attend. I've always had much older friends (also much younger friends now) as well as my age group, so meeting a group with a slightly older average age didn't put me off. Finding a group that shares an enthusiasm for sewing is a good thing, and we don't need to have much else in common - I've never found age to be a barrier if you have a common interest and personalities. You can attend one or two meetings before becoming a member - if you want to see if you'd find it worthwhile. I go to 2 different groups in Alexandria and Rhodes depending on my diary, and am thinking of joining the Top Ryde 2nd Saturday of the month.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Signing up for an outer-wear contest

Outerwear Contest

I've signed up because I need to make a lightweight winter coat, and have already selected a 4m piece of wool from my stash. Today I picked up a parcel from Eva Dress with a 1929 coat pattern 33269.

It really seems worth signing up as I'm already making something, plus it may motivate me to finish!

another Decades of Style #3004 cut from stash

Last night I cut out Decades of Style #3004 in a khaki wool twill, and I was able to raid the stash for matching thread and a good enough zip.  I'm not sure that I could get a better zip in-store so why try. I even have a button that works.  It's a boring colour that's suitably useful in that it won't clash with a lot of colours I wear, though I'm using the not-twill side of the fabric as I prefer the colour.

I was also going to cut out the Butterick retro skirt, however I hadn't yet made the alterations I need to (take out 1" between waist & hip) and I really think I have enough to sew already.

I've got to get everything together for a sewing weekend and no doubt will pack too many projects.  I've got the UFO brown wool skirt, 2x cut out shirts, 1 cut out fitted T and this skirt. Oh, and another UFO blouse in a paisley that I suspect won't be the best colours but it's half made and I love the pattern that I drafted so lets get that sucker into my working wardrobe.

This would almost clear my non-costume UFO list - and boost my options to wear to work. I'm also packing the regency saque hat just in case I'm inspired to hand sew a little. Erm and I'm taking my navy-green twill to cut out a corset.

I realise that I've got more than I can realistically sew in 2 evenings and 2 full days, but I also figure that if I get stuck on something I can put it aside and sew the next thing.  With everything cut out - other than the corset - it's easier to get stuck in and feel productive.  I also don't want to be sewing the same thing over & over.

Non costume UFOs
- replacement cotton sheers for my main room - cut out
- paisley self drafted pattern - 50% sewn
- 2 work shirts cut out
- aqua knit top - cut out
- Go Petunia's T - cut out
- brown wool Burda WOF skirt, partly sewn

Historical UFOs
- pink white stripe regency saque hat, half sewn
- blue (with tiny black diamond) open robe, half sewn
- regency stays: mantua maker pattern cut out for a friend
- regency stays: Missouri Historical Society, cut out
- striped pocket hoops, 80% sewn
- 1850s ruffled petticoat, needs levelling & waistband. therefore needs cage crinoline.
- cage crinoline, bag & vertical straps sewn, needs steels & waistband
- stripe lobster tail cage bustle, sewn, needs canes/steels inserted & waistband
- red bustle dress, part cut out
- 1917 austerity corset, toile cut out

Pop Culture UFOs
- Idris - skirt cut out

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The gaping hole in my wardrobe - formal wear

It dawned on me when I got home from Cabramatta that I have a wedding to dress up for in 5 weeks ... and I'll need to make something as I'm too short & busty for RTW. I've got evening wear for c1800, but nothing else formal/dressy. Well, nothing that fits!  I have a gorgeous eggplanty purple dress that I'm loath to part with as it looked great and has happy memories.

Dress code is formal/dressy, which is the monumental gap in my existing clothing and even in concepts I have thought about making.

I'm thinking of trying a couple of lekala patterns - lengthening this dress & adding a fishtail for walking - 5850 and instead of the bolero shown with it (5853) use bolero 5865 instead. However this will require the purchase of fabric, or wearing black which I really don't want to do to a wedding!

The friendship was made through costuming, & steampunk - and shared geekdom/nerdery.  So I could do something corseted and not the lekala options. Also, the couple is more my age range than my younger friends (also made through costumes and geekery).

The only other thing I can think of, is to use my Dr who corset and make a skirt & bodice/bolero to go with it. The fabric I first remembered in my stash is the shot navy/green twill which I have 2x 3m pieces- and I need to make a bolero from that fabric for my femme 8 Dr for Syd'nova anyway. I could use the same skirt pattern as the femme dr for this.

Then I remembered a gift of dark green silk dupion - I can easily could use that for a femme 8 dr style skirt, a corset + bolero and make a gauzey blouse to go with. I need the gauzey blouse as if it's too warm during the daytime I can leave the bolero off, but when it cools down in the evening I can layer up. I'd love a blingy capelet but that's not going to happen. The twill version for femme8 would let me see how the pattern works on me

I really don't want to buy fabric. OK, I'll be honest and admit that deep down I want to buy fabric but I dont' want to need to buy much yardage for this

Sunday, 18 May 2014

a social day at fabric shops

Kept awake til 1am by party across the road & woken before 6.30am by some sports fanatics watching something from the other side of the world (FA Cup perhaps) I was very glad to leave home before 8.30am today to meet some fellow sewing bloggers out at Cabramatta. The sporting fools (they were some distance from my place but still audible. I reckon the waking me up was instinctive self preservation to to avoid a rioting pack, which they sounded like).

So I got out there half an hour earlier than our meeting time and looked around for something for my breakfast. I couldn't find anywhere open with congee, so I ended up with a slice of pumpkin with coconut-cream custard filling. All the bakeries being open doesn't help if you're gluten intolerant.

It was great to catch up with Sharon (Petite and Sewing), Bev (On The Road to Sew Where) , Alison (Sewing with Cats), Maria (How good is that?) and meet Val (a local) and L from You sew, Girl!

L brought some buttons she'd made, and we got to pick out the ones we wanted ... thankfully we didn't squabble over any so it wasn't quite like kids & a mixed bag of lollies.

... and these are the ones I came home with

We visited 6 of the 8 fabric stores before lunch and I'm not sure what's amusing here but it's better than the other photo I took.

Val's missing from this photo outside the spendy store - no touching of fabric allowed - so no way would I buy anything I can't touch.

 I made it home without buying any fabric - nothing in the last 2 tempted me. There were a couple of enticing ones before lunch. An italian fine wool suiting, around $70pm and a silk/cotton black jacquard at $60 (or above).  Delicious, but given I'm way behind on a stashbusting year and I have plenty of wool fabrics to use I simply couldn't rationalise it.

I had a fun day with a tasty lunch (pork, prawn, crab soup with thick vermicelli noodles) and thankfully no fabric to add to my stash.

Thanks for organising us Bev & Maria for booking the restaurant. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Don't forget to back up photo files etc

I've spent an evening backing up all my photos and other files after having a "moment" on Monday evening when I thought my netbook had died, and my last backup was January. I'd dropped it the night before and that's what killed my previous Little Red netbook. Before going to JAFA I'd also moved files from my camera memory card onto the 'puter so there were definitely panicky moments about losing the missing 2 months.

And the thought of having to download *again* a 2.3gb video file I'd funded through Kickstarter (episode 1 of a steampunk series).

Until I realised that although the charger cable was plugged into the machine and the wall the bit in the middle had come unstuck. Simply put, it had gone dead flat.

Last night I had swollen glands & was off my food so went to bed early. Tonight, I backed up all the photos. And that 2.3gb file! And all my ePub books that I've purchased. One of the vendors is out of business so I can't get those books back again.

So yes do your electronic housework on a regular basis!

planning for a sewing retreat

I've got a weekend sewing retreat later this month, and I need to make sure I have a plan for my sewing time. I'm going to take more than I can physically sew - after all I do this for each Sewing Guild day. The smart thing is to also take things already cut out, so that it's all jam on the toast.

I thought I might as well start with some UFOs that I can use now.
- brown wool Burda WOF skirt, partly sewn
- aqua knit top - cut out
- 2 cotton shirts cut out.

I'm also going to cut out the khaki twill in my fave decades of style skirt pattern #3004, and the olive green in Butterick Retro 6257. I'm thinking of cutting out another knit top, to see if the SBCC T is a good fit for me - short & plus size sounds like me!

I may also take a corset with me - Sydney Supanova approaches and I'd like to make a new costume for it, but that requires an functional undergarment version of the 1890s, page 71 one from Corsets

Monday, 12 May 2014

a viral vector loose at work; and stash busting options for winter

I've been feeling less than ideal last week, which was my excuse for not making further posts about JAFA & Ironfest. I've lacked the enthusiasm needed, which is a little sad but a sign of a busy immune system.

I have been preshrinking my stashbusting selection of wool fabrics, a length at a time hung over my shower rail. Here below is a pic of what I raided from my winter cupboard. There's a piece of black superfine wool that needs to be included.  The print is a cotton lawn I bought a couple of weeks ago at Spotlight. There's rarely a geometric lawn, let alone in colours that suit me so I had to buy a shirt length.

I'm still dithering over what patterns to use, and perhaps my forced look at my pattern collection as I  emptied the drawers (for repair) has already inspired one choice. The skirt from the Butterick 6257 a retro re-issue of a 1948 suit. I've not quite decided what fabric to use but there's a khaki twill that would be fine. Though a stripe would enhance the 3 panels on the back, there's only one stripe fabric (a navy wool-rayon).

Back to the pattern cull - as my cutting table rests on top of the pattern drawers, it's currently covered in patterns and I need to bag them up while the PVA glue cures. Otherwise the cutting table isn't available and I need to cut out 3 to 4 skirts for a weekend of binge sewing.

Erm, in the interests of honesty today I discovered that 3 fabrics bought online hadn't been added to my spreadsheets, and they total 10.2 metres. Which takes my current stash total to 835.8m - which makes my target of 750m by year end seem very unlikely. I may need to aim for 775m instead.

backfilling - JAFA Friday night dinner

Friday evening was a re-wear event,  wearing my green silk evening gown from a couple of years ago with the green silk toque hat I made for a friends formal dinner later in 2012.

I didn't get many, if any, "nice" photos of me as I may have become rather silly that evening.  Starting with wedgie shots - my friends went along with the pose though they hadn't heard of the Regency Ladies Wedgie Society.

and then and I may have commenced shennanigans of the Godzilla re-enactment variety

and then a zombie outbreak afflicted proceedings. The carnage was dreadful to behold, while only metres away a formal night's entertainment continued blithely and carelessly.

flashback to daytime Friday at JAFA

We started the day with a delicious breakfast, in costume to the bemusement of other cafe patrons who weren't aware of what was happening at the University conference facilities that weekend. Not that we were the only ones in costume.

Here we are in our day gowns

Now I'm not the first person to see the 'wedgie' regency fashion plates and think it was a brilliant thing to emulate, but Jen has done her part to make it 'the' action shot of 2014

In the morning I went to a workshop on an 1814 walking bonnet. Just in case you don't know my thoughts on hand sewing, this photo may clue you in.

See, I'm wearing a chemisette!  I cared so much about having one compared to finishing my shortgown (MAGAM March project) and looked at many portraits which featured them. Online collections of extant garments don't have many to see at all, and almost all have a high neckline, but in portraits there's more variety.  Mine's inspired by this one on pinterest, but I didn't pleat the ruffle - though I did go to a class on mushroom pleated frills. I used the edge of the cotton organdy as it's crisp and clean.

Contrasting back to our suite where I spent happier time sewing that & the next day.

The grounds were lovely, so I wasn't the only one trying for photos of the fish and counting how many dinner sized there were ... we had an equipped kitchen!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

catch up post, JAFA Thursday arvo/eve

I went down the day before, as the train is much more comfortable than a bus. However there's only 3 trains per day, and the midday suited me best. Plus I'd get an evening with my friends in Canberra.  Bonus!

On the train, I told myself that I had to finish the floral diadem before I could get wine, cheese & crackers from the dining car. If I hadn't sufficient motivation, I'd never have started it.  It wasn't too hideous sewing the pink silk onto the wired buckram base.  I can't believe I'm admitting that. I may deny it in the future when in a bonnet workshop.

Thankfully, my friends were able to drop me at University House not long before my roomies arrived from the airport.

Our 2 bedroom suite at University House was bigger than some flats I've lived in, and we had so much room that I'm not alone in hoping it's the venue again.   There was a shop very close that we stocked up on nibbles and wine, and checked to see what we could get for the night of the ball (only a supper not a meal provided which is much easier).  This didn't take too long to happen.

Thursday is only a registration night, with a meal provided. I wore my cotton print open robe and terracotta gown, along with the blue silk toque I made for the heritage dance in Brisbane last July.