Sunday, 19 July 2015

18 month old idea realised: pillow tote

Probably not the first time it occurred to me, but early last year when I caught the train to Canberra I thought how useful a custom made pillow tote would be. I have a spendy pillow which I hate to leave at home, but equally clutching a pillow in changeable weather to/from a train or bus station has some drawbacks.  So with only the purchase of polyester webbing and grosgrain ribbon required, I made myself a tote with stash fabrics.

 I ball parked the size, and it could be reduced a little in height. I used a lightweight but crisp denim that is lime green warp and navy weft, unlike most denim which is white and navy.  I knew I wanted polyster webbing - easier to dry than cotton - but neither navy nor green was right with this fabric, so I chose a navy webbing and a green grosgrain ribbon. The ribbon was slightly narrower than the webbing so I eyeballed it in the centre and topstitched them together.  Then I edgestitched the green ribbon when I applied the handles. I didn't get it exactly even, but it's only fair to say that I was chanting "it's a quick & dirty project" as I ignored the worst of the sometimes imperfectly centred green. It's a pillow tote, and made from scratch in just over an hour including cutting out.

 I put the zip on the side not the top, and the zip pull closing at the bottom edge. It seemed the smarter choice at the time, and as I was sick with a respiratory virus turning to bronchitis, well I can safely claim a lack of oxygen to the brain. ;)

This tote itself is intentionally NOT waterproof - easier to launder and dry if it gets grubby during travel.  However I used some waterproof fabric from a make-your-own-kite kit that I was given before 2008 and have never used to make a vibrant yellow waterproof pillow case.

It's great to use, and easy to carry, and I can even put my pjs in the waterproof pillowcase with the pillow if I need to.  So happy that I finally got this made, even if it's been a long time in the cerebral cortex.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Historic Sew Monthly 2015: March, Stashbusting

I was a whisker away from finishing this back in March and posting in time. But I put it aside to finish my Mrs Whitlow 1917ish dress. The last thing left to do back then was add the waistband of grosgrain ribbon and take a photo.

I didn't iron it after taking it out of the suitcase so I'm happy with it. The only thing I may or may not do is add a boxpleat ruffle to the bottom of the cage.

The Challenge: March 2015 Stashbusting - Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.
Fabric: from a 7metre bolt end of quilters cotton, purchased about 8 years ago on sale.
Pattern: Laughing Moon #112 View D - bustle cage
Year:  1883-9
Notions: thread from stash, bias binding from stash, german nylon boning from stash, buttons and grommets from stash.  The only thing I bought was grosgrain ribbon for the waistband because I really felt it needed to match the fabric.
How historically accurate is it? probably 95%, the waistband ribbon andnylon boning are the only non-period aspects.
Hours to complete: 7-8 hours as a guestimate.
First worn: Saturday 11 July
Total cost: $2 for ribbon, everything else had been stashed for a minimum of a year

A yuletide at Winterfell, and a snow chaser

I'm being forced to admit to brainfail - I forgot to pack Catelyn's wig and my prescription meds but missing 1 day won't hurt as much as leaving the wig at the other end of a 3 hour train trip.

Last Friday night I rewatched - new for my hosts for the weekend - the last 2 episodes of GOT Season 5 which helped me spot that my version of the dress could easily be disguised as a Septa's dress.  So I borrowed some fabric scraps and pinned myself some dodgy veiling, and borrowed bagpipe ropes for her belt. I kid you not, the belt is from a set of bagpipes!

We could see a storm brewing as we drove to the restaurant - and lightening struck the ground in the car park just in front of us. EEEK, at least we were safest as we were still *IN* the car.  The Secret Creek Restaurant menu was fantastic, and I'd already emailed back & forth with the restaurant to check there'd be me-safe food. For once I ended up with far too much to eat - usually I have to go without, but not there. Deliciousness!

Between us we won the trivia contest - not that we're obsessed with the show or anything, and Jo won best costume in her Melisandre. It was a great night and I hope they do it again next year, cos I'll be there with bells on. Or carrying my own bell ... I've found a vintage  brass hand bell (interstate) on ebay and should get it soon. I just need to find some grey linen, or dye some and hand hem it for my own grey veiling.

Because of course "Winter is Coming" the next morning we woke to snow and then sleet which melted the snow (the snow I woke to below). I left town at lunchtime so missed the real falling later in the day.

But I did get the hilarious sight of sulfur crested cockatoos shrieking and flying around as snow drifted down. They're very playful - for fun and not simply for food - so I wasn't sure if they were having a fine time chasing snowflakes or expressing their annoyance at it.

I'll post pics of the steampunk next week - I got sick yet again and am behind with things. Going to a sewing retreat for a long weekend and not taking my little silver laptop.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

steampunk with a chance of snow on Saturday

I haven't seen snow or snow falling since I left London in January 1987, and even though pretty it's not fun to live in if you don't have the right clothes or equipment.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm going over the mountains to Lithgow, for a fun weekend.  Steampunk Saturday at a historic house, and a restaurant is havng their annual Xmas in Winterfell feast. They even cater for the freaky food people like me :D

I only hope my stupidly-still-claggy lungs don't chuck a hissy fit.  It's not the cold weather (or cold virus) that triggered the asthmatic-bronchitis but it doesn't help them recover.

Oh, why have I mentioned snow?  It's winter here below the equator, and Lithgow is colder than Sydney. They have a forecast for snow on Sunday and Monday, with a possible snow on Saturday arvo too.

I'm packing my knee high boots, and my Lamia skirt to go over the one I usually baste shorter cos I want the airflow when it's 37Celsius.  I've never needed wool petticoats, but I can see where one would be useful at times like this.  If this becomes a regular event, I might make one from stash fabric.

Anyway, the costume I'm in below (Ironfest in 2011) is what I'm going to wear tomorrow with fur hat & stole. I'll need the warmth. I'm planning to layer a second linen skirt as well.

Monday, 6 July 2015

a second cloak added to my sewing list

The beginning of last year I was drooling over a plaid wool cloak in the Met and a similar plaid fabric for sale at FFC. It's true I may have spent a lot of time in museum websites, and looking at FFC fabrics.  I would even have been tempted to buy the orange plaid except that yellow and orange make me look severely jaundiced. Not just a little, but deathly and nobody wants to look their worst. Well no reasonable person. I'm not that crazy.

Well early in June this year I came across some plaid wool fabric being sold on ebay AU during a sewing studio clean up.  And there was 5 metres, at under $10 pm. I bagsed it in a heartbeat because there's enough for a regency cloak, and it's lightweight which suits me in the Sydney climate. Most importantly the colours suit me ... muted green, mauve/grey and black. I've hugged it a couple of times since it arrived in the mail

See how lightweight it is:

On pinterest I've tagged 5-6 extant plaid/tartal cloaks from the early 1800s including a fashion plate.  They all seem to have a collar and capelet/s and no hood. Which is a bit sadmaking as there are definitely plain and print cloaks with hoods in this time, but I haven't found a plaid cloak with hood until mid 19th century.

The fashion plate is appealing, found on Robin's Plaid Regency page though in my fabric it'd be less vibrand and more muted like the cloak in the Killerton collection fo the National Trust UK (item number 1360836, c1820-30, lady's travelling cloak).

Part of me - the heart part - wants to make this for the regency weekend at the end of October, but my head is telling me to make the hooded scarlet wool cloak/cape first. Partly cos I've had the fabric longer.  Also I know that I tend to plan more than I can achieve, so a plain hooded cloak is easier and more likely.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

planning for a sewing weekend while recovering

My lungs are on the mend - yayyy!  Though I don't have a lot of energy I've got enough to get bored. So I've been tackling the chair I pile things on instead of putting them away (aka the chairdrobe of doom) and found some interesting things. Hello Kitty & mermaid stickers, several hair nets in a bag that could be keeping wigs tidy, an unopened wig cap, an awl for corsetry and my chemisette pattern.

Next weekend I have a steampunk day over in Lithgow, and there's a Game of Thrones winter yulefest at a restaurant there on Saturday night.  So I need to comb my Catelyn wig and dig out the chemise. I have the dress to hand, and the fish brooch. Plus check my lobster bustle fits over my new corset - I'm hauling it out for the day.

The following weekend I have a 3 day sewing retreat. I wrote up a project packing list based on what I have already cut out. It looks like I have enough already. Though one isn't cut out yet, a pinstripe skirt in a Burda WOF pattern. It's a very lightweight black wool and I'll cut the middle of the front panels with the stripes horizontal - did that with a navy skirt I made with the same pattern and it worked really well.
BWoF 2004 12 148 photo BWoF2004_12_148.jpg  photo black pinstripe lightweight.jpg

So my packing list of already cut out projects is:
1 black wool skirt - not pinstripe, in Vogue 7640
1 purple unlined kaftan coat
1 hello kitty nightie
4 rhubarb bike shorts
1 aqua/teal knit top
1 part sewn UFO blue shirt
1 3/4 sewn summer dress (the UFO Lilly Rose that I started last Aug/Sept)

What I want to cut and take as well as the the alist above is
1 pinstripe black wool dress
4 pale blue bike shorts
1 test run of the SBCC Tonic Tee pattern
Here's Vogue 7640 .... which I used a few times *cough* years ago, and haven't work for about 4-6 years so it's time to have another one.
Vogue 7640 line drawing photo v7640skirt.jpg

Also the Kwik Sew pattern I lengthened for under-shorts that I use as underwear to stop my thighs chafing. One of my street-wear sewing friends was amused that I make these rather than buy bike shorts - these don't have a seam on the inner thigh so they don't wear out as quickly, and they're fast to sew. Plus I can have any colour I want, not just what's fashionably available. I'm trying to make them to match my skirts/dresses .. a hint of OCD rather than a necessity.

KS2529 envelope photo KS2925envelope.jpg

Sometimes you want the sewing version of a palate cleanser. When a project gets tricksy or went wrong, or you've lost the mojo then a quick and simple project can revive you.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Organising my cable chargers etc

I've been sick for a week - asthmatic-bronchitis which is an old nemesis.  I haven't had it for a few years now but it's progress is familiar.  I'm not coughing much in the night so it's not a hideous bout of it. Just tedious dull.

I'm not up to reading much cos it takes too much focus so I've been watching tv catching up on DVDs that are borrowed from the library and friends. Austenland was more fun than I expected. Though terribly cliched.  I've some box sets - the first 3 seasons of Damages, the last season of Torchwood and all of Six Feet Under.

One thing I did today, so I have the resemblance of virtue.  I had ordered a bundle of organdy bags to help sort out tights for costumes and they were in my mailbox on Thursday.  I'm a visual person, so the sheer packing was a random idea cos this way I can see what's in them without getting the air pockets that come with mini (or other size) ziplock bags.  I guessed the size cos I ordered them the minute I thought of it.

Anyway as I was ratting through my container of computer cables for my Kobo, camera etc it occurred to me that the organdy gift bags would be useful here too.  I can see what's in each bag without opening it. They're not tangling each other, and although yes I have to take a few out to find the right one, at least I don't have to take out a tangle and do a similar hunt.

A small thing, but I'm happy with it.