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.



Wednesday, 8 March 2017

March dress plan: vintage aqua abstract + 9392

My work is relocating later in March and I'd mentioned to a couple of colleagues that I had the ideal fabric to go with the colour scheme in the renovated floor in the new building.  So I'd like to have this to wear on my first day in the new building ...


I like this bodice, and will do a quick mock up to see how high that neckline is. I'll probably have to move it down a little, as too high a neckline doesn't work with the family chest. I like the skirt also, but will add more pleats to the back skirt so long as I have enough of it.


The forecast but abandoned plan for January would also work, however I think that pattern will take more altering to fit, so I'll possibly make that in April.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

sewing progress

I didn't get any pretty pictures, but I've sewn all the first pass seams on Lost at Sea, and need to do some overlocking before I can attach the front yoke. The yoke is overlayed with an edge-stitch onto the front bodice, rather than seamed right sides together. The yoke seam allowance is pressed under, and I may not need to do more than pink the edge, and overlock the bodice edge so that it doesn't fray like crazy. I remembered to cut the upper collar in two pieces, and it's not easy to see but the swallow is at the same on each side, easily too thanks to the gridded cutting mat. Not a quality photo, but it's the one I have.  The selvedge will be in the seam allowance & trimmed back, so it's not an issue as I carefully measured before I cut. The undercollar is in one piece so that's what counts.


I remembered to cut out the interfacing (found it in stash) for the collar and back neck facing, but completely overlooked cutting out the front facing. I'll get around to that this week.

I couldn't resist buying some fabric, the surprise is that I bought none for two months so it's my first for the year. Almost unprecedented given that I've been to fabric shops for thread/zips.

I got enough for 1970s wrap dress pattern I keep meaning to use. I couldn't resist as it's a viscose, and colours I can wear. I just don't do poly as I overheat in it.

I also have a case of sewing room envy - and my room isn't even close to being organised yet. I keep finding non-sewing stuff to cull and clear out. I saw a newly set up sewing area on a FB sewing group I recently joined, and immediately wanted the long bench for sewing at. My vintage sewing tables were ideal for my old home, as they were on opposite walls, but now I'm better off with a long bench so I can move from sewing to overlocking more easily. I ended up at IKEA today - friend was taking me to pick up a lampshade elsewhere, and we wanted an escape from driving in a deluge. The desk used by the FBer was too long for my space, and I don't want to cut it even if I could iron on new edging myself. Other tables are too wide, but the PS2014 outdoor table is the right width and depth. I'm hoping it's strong enough for my Janome and overlocker, but I can always replace the legs with others. Having this to look forward to may motivate me to keep working on culling and organising.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

A small but handy win

I'm a little bit excited at finding the martini dress pattern this morning.

I moved a decorative mirror that's leaning against the wall until I get some non permanent hooks to hang it.  There was the ziplock bag with the pattern. I've not yet checked if the neckband pieces are in it or with the missing cut out bands.  So it may not be a complete win .... still a great find.

Also behind the mirror was a USB,  which I think is the missing one with my fabric stash spreadsheet. I'll see if it is when I get home from the sewing guild group. I haven't been since September. I tried in November but counted Saturdays wrong,  so it was a sad/stupid moment when I saw a quilting group of strangers not my peeps.