Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ottobre Twiggy Jeans

DD2 has been growing like a weed with the result that her wardrobe is getting sparse. Luckily, Judy loaned me her Ottobre 06-2007 magazine so I could try out this pattern (#32).

Where do I start? I looove this pattern for DD. I made these up exactly to the pattern and they fit her really well. I think I could skim in a teensy bit more on the hip and leg for a tighter skinny jean but that is to be expected as DD is size 128 measurements with a size 134 length (I made a 134). I've reviewed this over at Patternreview with a few more details.

I used a stretch denim with a metallic pink 'thread' woven through which gives the glitter. This played havoc with my needle, blunting it badly. The metallic thread was also probably the cause of the topstitching thread problems I had. (The thread kept tangling and splitting in this fabric but is fine in normal denim)

A picture after DD had worn them all day so a bit wrinkled but it shows the waistband height.

The front (oops, somehow I've made DD look short-legged, lol)

And the back, complete with the ribbon tag I sewed into the pocket seam.

The instructions seem quite good. However, I followed Debbie Cook's Zipper method rather than Ottobre's.

I think this is a well-drafted jeans pattern. The style is trendy and just what my DD's want. DD now needs more of these (well, in reality she does, but it's funny hearing her try and justify a want as a need ;) )

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Open Letters

Recently I came across this on another blog that I read occasionally. It comes from McSweeney's Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond.


May 26, 2005

Dear Totally Impractical Size Chart for Women's Clothing,

I've been dealing with you for nearly 12 years, since that summer in junior high when I skyrocketed to atmospheric heights, head and shoulders above my classmates, and the clothing in the kids' section of the department store no longer fit my long legs and gangly arms. My mother took me to your side of the store, and, for a moment, I felt mature, womanly, the kind of mystical feminine that one only sees in movies. I was one step closer to being an adult. I was happy. And then I tried on your clothes.

Everything I tried on I had to try on in threes. For years, I've been carting trilogies of skirts and pants into the dressing room, armfuls at a time, because I have no idea what size I wear. I can make an approximation, but that "size" ranges between three of your numbers, depending on the store, because these sizes don't actually mean anything. I'm an 8, but an 8 of what? Inches? Feet? Joules, the numeric value describing the relation between heat and mechanical work that I used in my high-school physics class and then never again? Is that it?

Why can't you just use inches, like the male size chart? Why is that too hard? Do you think women will feel paranoid if we suddenly go from single- to double-digit numbers? We already have to convert in our heads whenever we buy clothes that come from any other country except America.

You have wasted hours of my life, Totally Impractical Size Chart for Women's Clothing. Women spend days each year standing in dressing rooms, one hand on the mirror, the other tugging on a pair of jeans, trying to force them up because, damn it, the label says they're their size. And don't think that women are the only ones hassled. Men spend a good amount of time dealing with your repercussions, too. If we have to buy a pair of pants that are a size larger than what we normally wear, you can bet we're going to go home cranky. When the men watch television with us that evening, we will notice them staring a little too longingly at Courtney Cox or Jessica Alba, and we will pick a fight. "You think she's pretty?" we will say. "Yeah," the men will reply. "Is she prettier than me?" The men will take a split second too long to respond, and we will say "Oh! I see how it is!" When the men finally get the words out, when they finally say, "No, honey. You're pretty, too. And besides, Jessica Alba looks nothing like you," we will interpret that to mean "because you're a fat cow," and then we will cry.

See the pain and suffering you have caused? If only you were a sensible size chart, one using inches, or even centimeters, the world would be a better place. Women wouldn't have to carry pant triplets into the dressing rooms, and couples wouldn't fight over Jessica Alba on television. We could direct our attention to more important things, like world peace. But because of you, we still have war and violence. I hope you're happy.

Claire Suddath

I so get this - which is why I sew.

I also liked The Open Letter to Low-cut Pants. Yup, I've belted up and had baggy butt in the past. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jalie 2805 and Kwik Sew 2894

DS is off camping next week. Even though this will technically be the first week of summer the weather doesn't always take notice of what it's supposed to be doing. As DS has activities like tramping on Mt Cook and apparently walking up a glacier planned, some thermals are considered a good idea. Lacking a specific thermal underwear pattern, I decided to see what I could make work. These were very quick and rough sewing.

I used Jalie 2805 to recut a puchased (on end-of-season sale) XL polyprop top. Yes, I know the Jalie is a womens t-shirt pattern but DS doesn't (yet). ;)

I took the shaping out of the side seams and cut a size smaller than DS chest measurement. The result is a pretty good fit for a thermal top and the benefit is that DD1 can also wear it if necessary. :) DS asked for the topstitching to be in the fluoro yellow cotton which was still on my machine from DD's smiley face jacket. This was one of the projects that suffered from the twinneedle issues - it doesn't look too bad from the outside, although there are the odd skipped stitches.

For the second top I used Kwik Sew 2894, a boys raglan sleeve top.

I cut a size L (10) for my 15 yo and added about 6cm to the sleeve and 13 cm to the body length. This top is made from a (supposedly) merino knit. Even at a size L(10) this top is loose in the sleeve and body, but DS doesn't want it taken in. I used a remnant strip from the polyprop top for the neck binding and gave up on twinneedling and used a zigzag stitch instead. (The top isn't actually as wonky as DS is wearing it here.)

Sorry the photos aren't great - DS is a very reluctant model.

Judy - Photos of the jeans soon, I promise. They're still in the washing cycle, currently drying.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Egads! I'm sure that's not good for it

A few weeks ago I was hemming jeans in a hurry (because I needed them in 10 minutes and I'm sooo organised that of course I left myself plenty of time...) Anyway, I broke the needle. This was bad enough (did I mention I was in a hurry?) but then I couldn't find all the needle and the machine wouldn't turn because something was jamming the bobbin casing. I had to rush and spent the entire pantomime a jibbering wreck thinking I'd broken my poor machine. Luckily, a couple of hours away meant I could approach my machine calmly and logically when I got home. I ended up taking out the bobbin casings etc and the bottom cover of my machine to find that a piece of needle had pierced the hoo-dakky-whatsit (I think it's the race?) that holds the bobbin hook in.

In spite of myself, I was impressed, especially after the effort it took to pull that bit of needle out with pliers! Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo of the needle in there - I was too busy crossing my fingers and hoping I could get it all back together again!
Why do I mention this? So you can understand and ignore the terrible mess my machine made of twin needling my latest projects. :) The timing is definitely out because it has skipped the odd stitch and the twin needling is wayyyy off. I think a service is in order after Christmas, perhaps after the university year starts again.

Moral of the story - don't hem jeans at the last moment!

Coming up - piccies of Ottobre 06-2007-32 Twiggy Jeans
and Jalie 2805 made as a thermal top.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rip-it, Rip-it

Today I put in a seemingly perfect zip on DD1's Ottobre hoody. It went in smoothly the first time. All the pockets and seams lined up.

But, just as I was about to start topstitching I noticed one teeny weeny problem....

To quote Homer Simpson -D'OH!!!

After some frog-stitching (rip-it, rip-it) I finally got the zip in, the right way round and finished off DD's jacket at last. She seems happy with it. Here she is with her "modelling" pose (and as you can see, struggling to keep a straight face).

One with the hood -

This is Ottobre 05-2007-19: Hooded Sweat Jacket. The pattern comes in sizes 34-52 and I made DD a 36 from her measurements.
This pattern was well-drafted and went together like a dream, well, except for my mistake (see above). It fits DD beautifully and is the shape and fit that she likes.
The fabric is a genuine 1980s sweatshirt fleece which I got from my Mother's stash. I had a very small piece ( see previous post here) and it required some careful placement to fit the whole garment on. At DDs request I changed the sleeve and hem bands to be cut from ribbing. This was probably a good idea as there is next to no stretch in this fleece.

Next job - some thermal tops for DS who is camping next week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oops, sometimes you forget....

...that there can be regional variations in names. :) I know it took me a few years to get used to trousers being called pants on Patternreview. For me, pants conjures up underwear images, lol.

Kat mentioned a few words that I'd used that are taken for granted here in NZ, although I would think that any Aussies (Australians) probably know too. So for anyone who wondered, here's some explanations-

boardshorts - beach/surf shorts. DD's were very long on her at 3/4 length.

and look what I found while googling - How To Make Board Shorts and Swim Suits although the fashion qualities of the demonstrated pair are dubious it's an interesting concept.

gumboots - or Wellies/Wellingtons as they can also be known. The height of fashion to nip off to the shops in, lol. Especially when paired with an old baggy tee and a pair of paint-splattered jeans. ;)

As for clucky needs - that's just those fleeting maternal yearnings for another baby (those feelings that make your husband nervous, lol) that can be satiated by playing with someone else's babies for a while. :)

I'm sure there are other words that can be puzzling at times - for instance I had to look up duck boots. Kinda like what we call snow boots. It's interesting to see the different names people use.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The sewing hasn't gone as fast as I would have liked the last week fortnight. Where has the time gone? It seemed as fast as I made plans for a day, children or fate stepped in and intervened. However, -

I've managed to catch up with Judy and the twins a few times and spent an entire day playing (and fulfilling any clucky needs, lol) with babies last week. We also managed to squeeze in a 'girly' day, which is good because we were at risk of needing name badges soon! (Ja, we'll have to do a Friday soon! If we wear a red carnation we should recognise each other...)

I spent a morning weedspraying around the property. This included the quick dash (in spraying clothes and gumboots) to the hardware shop a few kilometres down the road for more weedspray. These are the times I'm really glad our community is quite casual. :) This weekend we hope to get them all pulled out. The weeds that is.

I've got my vege garden all dug in and planted. It took me 4 hours and despite sunblock and a hat, I was nicely pink by the end. The potatoes are now sprouting in the dark to plant out, hopefully, next week. I've decided that gardening is another of those hobbies that costs a lot to save money - especially when you're trying to turn solid clay into something useful. (Don't ask what happened to the topsoil in that garden - I'll just say unsupervised builders with diggers, grrr)

I've managed some sewing. On the 'Done' list -
- I've got the leggings for the 2 nieces done and a pair of Ottobre legging capris for DD2. I've still got to make the Ottobre Hug Tees to go with them.
- A Zorro cape for DD1 to wear to a Rodeo dress-up event.
- Two wheaties for DD2 (We had snow! In November!)
- 3 pairs of long boardshorts drastically shortened for DD1 from 3/4 length to above the knee
- 3 pairs of trousers mended
- 1 pair trousers shortened

The house is still a mess though. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm free, I'm free!

I am now officially on 'holiday'. :)

It turns out that the birthday party is on Sunday, so today was my day at home, but it's after 5 pm and I haven't sewn yet. Instead I spent an enjoyable afternoon baking with my 8yo. We've made a triple batch of Choc Chip cookies made with M&Ms, a batch of Chewy Fudge Brownie cookies where we used the last of the mint crisp M&M's instead of choc chips (Yummm!) and Beer Bread. Hopefully the cookies will sweeten the 'waste' of beer for my DH, lol.

No photo of the beer bread - it didn't last long enough, lol.

Tonight I aim to add the seam allowances to the patterns I traced last week and hopefully cut something out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Only a few more days to go

Less than a week until I can sit at my sewing desk without somebody asking "shouldn't you be studying?". My last exam is Friday morning (woohoo!) and I've already got my Friday afternoon planned - DH is taking me out to lunch then I'm off to visit J and the babies (they're getting so big!) before the school run starts. Friday night is taken up with a school production; Saturday afternoon with a nephew's birthday party, but Sunday I plan on chaining myself to the sewing desk and woe betide anyone who disturbs me! I'm already practicing my "Do not disturb" face, lol.

Monday, October 20, 2008

15 minutes at a time...

I've managed to fit in some sewing-related activities over the past week around everything else..

I traced, and cut out a hoodie jacket for my DD1 from an original 1980s sweatshirting- white with fluoro yellow smiley faces printed on. It was a squeeze. I started off with less fabric than required for the pattern and then there was a corner cut out as well, but I got it all on in the end. It just requires me to dig out a white zip. Somehow, I don't think I'd have much luck finding a fluoro yellow zip. ;)

Today, I went on a stash dive for specific knits. It was helped by 'the map' of my stash cupboard but it still required moving 14 boxes (possibly, just possibly, I might have a bit too much stash). Naturally, one of the boxes I needed was in the very bottom back corner. Then I traced out Ottobre patterns while the fabric preshrank. I've got tops and leggings to make for 2 nieces and a set for my DD2 for summer. That was as far as I got but at least everything is pulled out, ready to get started.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"New" Machines

Last week the number of sewing machines in my house doubled.

First up, my parents gave my DD a second-hand machine for her 12th birthday. It's an old one - a Brother 803 (in fact I'm sure it's the same model I had in sewing classes when I was 10) and it doesn't have a manual, but it's simple and easy to work out. DD is very excited to have a machine of her own and has set it up in her bedroom. This did necessitate furniture reallocations and shuffling, but hey, this is encouraging another sewer/sewist and I need help getting that stash down. :)

Then came another second-hand old machine. A Husqvarna 6440 which, according to the original warranty certificate, was bought in 1977. This was on Trade-me and I got it for $26. Apparently the main cam is broken. I've phoned the repair place that looked at the machine for the previous owner (that's the advantage of a small city - there are only a few places to check) and I can expect a bill of about $90 to fix it. Even if I don't get it fixed, it was worth it for the extra stitch cams and the feet and bobbins. And parts for my machine.

My own baby (below) is a Husqvarna 6330. I love my machine - it may be old but it sews like a dream and seems to handle anything ( well ok, buttonholes may not be that great but that's operator error, lol). My mother picked this gem up at an auction for $5 (!!) when my son was born and all it's ever cost me is a couple of cleans and one repair when the thread take-up lever broke. Other than that, a dream. Even if I won the $30million Lotto this weekend I'd still keep this machine - although it would probably be joined by a few more. ;-)

So, add that to my backup Singer that sits packed away waiting for an emergency and we now have 4 sewing machines in the house. And 2 overlockers. When we do finally get a sewing room there's certainly going to be enough to put in it!

On another note, my Ottobres have arrived, woohoo! I have to say I'm impressed by how quickly Ottobre gets the magazines away and how fast they can arrive on the other side of the world. Now lets hope all the world currencies stabilise so I can dream about a few more issues.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yes, I'm still alive

I've been terribly neglectful of my blog. Uni has been keeping me busy, but I've now handed in my (42 page!) research report. I'm slowly recovering from the effects of typing that much (RSI and, ahem, the effects of all the nibbles necessary for such an undertaking) and now I've just got a couple of exams to go this year. Then it's 8 weeks holidays, so I'll be getting some sewing done then. :)

Because I can't wait to do something sewing, I've been busy stimulating the economy.
First up, I decided to get those Ottobre magazines I've been thinking about before the dollar dropped too far. Winging their way to me are:



and 4/08

So when they arrive I'll have no excuse not to be inspired.

But it's not just magazines I've been buying. ;) Yesterday, I 'forced' myself to head along to Spotlight's 20% off sale and liberated some fabric. (There goes the stash stats!)

Brigitte brown/stars jersey knit; Sweethearts jersey Blue knit; double-sided Spots and Stripes knit; Tie-dyed viscose/rayon/elastane; white with blue stars cotton unbrushed sweatshirting; Pink fizz knit swirl, viscose/rayon/elastane

One other piece has already been made up into a tee-shirt for my DD2 using Kwik Sew 2503 again. And what a pain it was too! Not the pattern - the pattern is my TNT for my DDs. Nope. The fabric was shoddy to say the least. Once it was prewashed, the fabric reverted to it's natural shape, which involves being printed quite a bit off-grain. It didn't look like this on the bolt so it must have been seriously stretched when rolled. Plus, 0.8m shrunk to 0.7m! Serves me right for not checking the print against the grainline. DD can wear it, but it'll be a very casual/pj top. (Although she likes it... but do I really want this seen in public?)

This is how far off grain the print is - the ruler is 'on grain'. I'm expecting the side seams on this are going to twist.

Tomorrow I really should get to studying.......

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Frustrating Week

Sometimes life throws you a curveball or two - and if you're my DD, you forget to duck and get hit in the head - again. (Or, you walk into a wall. )

After yet another visit to the ED with DD2 (this time she got an ambulance from school ) I'm threatening to buy her one of these....

or wrap her in a big roll of bubblewrap - it even comes in pink

Somehow we have to stop her "bonking her boko" as my Nanna would say.

Needless to say, no sewing, or schoolwork, has been done. (No housework either, but that I'm less worried about.) The closest I've come to anything sewing related is tracing off a pyjama pant pattern for a teacher at school for costumes. Even then, I'm afraid I did a quick ducking out of sewing the things. I don't feel too guilty about it. After all it's not my child's class and there are other mothers who sew at school, and I've sewn about 80% of the costumes over the last 10 years......... Ah well, at least it'll be easy to avoid the teacher with DD not going to school. :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hug Rugs

Rhoto and Rachelle have asked what the Hug Rugs I mentioned are.

Basically they're polar fleece blankets (given with love and hugs) which the Young Vinnies (the youth section of The St. Vincent de Paul Society) give to members of the community.
This year was for new mothers, other years have been for the elderly or homeless. Although none of my children are currently in the group, the teacher running it at school was desperate for someone to overlock the edges. Sometimes the kids have also done the overlocking, but they were time-strapped this year so I just took them home. The kids then attach the labels and messages of support and go out to deliver them. It's a really nice way for the kids to give to the community and the recipients always seem to appreciate them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Does overlocking a triangle count as sewing?

If so then I get to add making a cheerful, smiley hearts sling for DD to my list. :-)
As it is:
Hug rugs for school done - Check.
Nightie for me - On hold.
Ottobre Jacket - cut out and sitting in the general vicinity of the sewing desk.
I really need this but it's waiting on some spare time (if I can ever remember what that is). I'm making Jacket 17 from Ottobre 02-2006 but I'm using a Ponti Roma knit instead of a woven and I'm not going to line it.

I have a mental image of what I'm aiming for, so we'll have to see if reality matches. ;-)

Meanwhile, any faint hopes I had that a broken arm might slow down my youngest DD have been abandoned. I got a phone call from school last week to say she'd banged her head not just once, but twice, and wasn't feeling too good. Understatement of the year! White as a ghost, nauseaous, dizzy and double vision, on top of the fact that she'd had concussion only ten days before, meant we got to see another 5 hours of life in the Emergency Dept. (And it sure gets embarassing when ED staff remember you, lol.)
Only a few days on and she's already bouncing around again. Sigh. I can feel the grey hairs multiplying.
Thanks Kat, Vicki and Alicia for the thoughts about my DD. I sure hope she remembers the hours I've spent in the ED, then the hours sleep-deprived waking her every two hours because I've told her that when I'm old and break my hip, she's the one who gets first nursing duties, lol.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

If you can't sew, buy

I managed to get to Spotlight this week and picked up a few patterns to add to my (mumble mumble) 500+ stash. Vogues were on sale so I picked up a couple I've had my eye on -

Vogue 1034 Because one day I will make a pair of jeans for myself

Vogue 1036 I like the details on this jacket.

Vogue 2967 I'm not sure about this in a woven but I like the details for a knit top/t-shirt.

Plus I picked up Simplicity 3514 for my two daughters for summer.

I won't get to making any of these for a couple of months. This weekend's plans involve overlocking the edges of a bundle of hug rugs for school, a nightie for me and hopefully I'll get a start on a jacket.

This will all be around looking after my youngest daughter who ended up in the Emergency Dept last night. Friday night is not a time you want to have to go to ED unless you're prepared for a looonng wait. But if you do, a child with blood all over her face who goes really whoozy gets you through faster..... only to be told you have to sit there for 4 hours observation to check for concussion. Let's just say it was a long evening. The result being a diagnosis of mild concussion, broken nose and a minor fracture requiring a cast on her arm. It was a hard lesson to learn that when Mum says you can't rollerblade without helmet, wrist guards and pads, she might know what she's talking about.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The New Ottobre

The new Ottobre Woman Magazine is up on the website - here. A few designs I like straight off. Although I usually find that I like more when I have the magazine in hand and can pour over it.

Life has been hectic the last month with uni, kids and associated chaos. To top it all off, DD2 was kind enough to give me the flu. She had it and bounced back in 3 days but it's taken me out for a week. Luckily the Olympics has been on because I've spent a lot of time just sitting dozing in front of the tv.

Back to somnolence and the Olympics....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sitemeter Code Causing Problems

If you've been getting the "IE cannot open the page. Operation aborted" message while trying to read blogs and some websites then the problem is the sitemeter code.
This is why my blog, among others, has been unaccessible today. Grrr. Once the problem is known it's not hard to fix - just login, go to dashboard and remove the sitemeter code. (I saved mine in a text file in case I want to put it back on later.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rain, rain, go away...

It has now been raining for 13 days. Sigh. I'm beginning to feel the need for one of those SAD lamps Chief Celia used in Men in Trees.

I had to cross over the Leith Stream this afternoon.
The normally quiet little stream...
(photo from Wikipedia)

had turned into this...

The first photo has been taken downstream from where I was, but is pretty much how it looks normally from the bridge I was on. The walls are around 4m high so the water had risen a wee bit and somewhere under there is the mid-channel divider.

A few days ago I sadly packed away my sewing machines for a few weeks while I catch up on assignments. :( I can't see myself getting any sewing time until mid-term break at the end of August, so I decided I might as well use my desk upstairs in the warm lounge when I was home alone. I do have to hem some trousers for my BIL next week, but that doesn't count as sewing. I dreamt I was sewing a few nights ago. LOL, if dreams became reality, I'd have a great wardrobe!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Op-shopping, sewing and repairs

No Not much sewing this week. The pace of life has been hectic with uni started and kids on school hols. Thank goodness they go back tomorrow and we can get back to a normal routine.

Friday, DD1 and I snuck in a girly afternoon with some op-shopping and lunch. It was a nice break and something we don't get to do often enough. However, I think I've created a monster, lol. In one hour (and only one shop), DD1 found 3 tops, 2 jackets and 2 pairs of jeans and is now very keen to go back again. I have to say I'm impressed by how fast an 11 1/2yo can shop those racks and gather a mountain of clothes to try on. ( But, Whew! That's one less child with a clothes crisis)

Thank you to everyone who commented on the twist cardy. It was 4 votes for a higher twist, 3 votes for where it is and 1 for either. This really illustrates how different fabrics behave because I hadn't changed the pattern at all. The fabric just grew in the teal knit. Stabilizing the front edges would have solved this. I'll have to remember not to cut corners next time. (hanging head shamefacedly)
Angie, I posted details on how I did this when I first made it in my Ottobre with a Twist post.

Today I actually got a bit of sewing in. Such an exciting project too. I made a new shower curtain. You're probably wondering why I didn't just buy one. So am I! I used white parka nylon (from Spotlight) and sewed a 'privacy' curtain for the outside of the all glass shower on one side (the side facing the windows). This also has the added advantage of screening the loo in case anyone opens the door when.....well, with 3 kids we really, really need to get a lock on the door, lol. It was an easy task. Just a big rectangle with curtain wire in the top to attach it to two small hooks, and wire in the bottom to act as a weight. The hardest thing was getting the sides straight. (Woohoo, the 2 metres I used tipped my stash stats over to a net loss)

I also got time to fix a RTW t-shirt which was incredibly low-cut. I felt like a 17th century barmaid with everything falling out. :-o I replaced the inadequately teensy inset with a better sized piece, lifting the coverage factor by 6cm! Now, I'll wear it, but goodness knows what the designer was thinking. It explains why there were so many left on the sale rack. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Teal Twist Cardigan

Well, I finished the cardy in time to wear out to dinner. Wonders will never cease, lol. Neither of my friends made any rude comments so I figure it's passed muster ;) (Hi J and M!). I'm quite happy with it and I'm going to leave the twist in after all. I am seeking feedback on the twist - DD1 thinks it should be about 5cm/2 inches higher. What do you think?

To make this, I used the morphed Ottobre Tee pattern I created here but left out the inset. I totally forgot about my thought of binding the edge which would have given a nicer finish. It wouldn't have been possible this time anyway, as there wasn't enough fabric left over for bindings, but I'll make a note on the pattern for next time.

Next up is those trousers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where did the time go?

Wow! Three weeks holiday just flies past! And I'm already most of a week down back at school. Naturally, the mojo decided to rear it's head the weekend before everything started again and demand some fulfilment. It must be something about deadlines and time stress that leads to a need to add more to the to-do lists.

I managed to fit in some cutting out and then even managed to eke out a simple project to take most of a week (I'm following the 'one seam at a time' rule, Sherril - literally!). As a guide to you all - don't sew when you are really tired and trying to rush. I should have known better. Repeat after me - a twist cardigan should have the twist put in before having the shoulder seams sewn. Ahem. Insanity Stubbornness even led me to unpick said shoulder seam before I went to bed. I did, however, have the sense not to put the fabric near the sewing machine again that night. I now only need to hem the cardy but I'm also going to add some clear elastic to pull in the back neck (and hopefully the shoulders) a bit. Last night I was looking at it and thinking of taking out the twist and redoing the front edge as a normal cardy front. Hubby disagrees. He likes the twist. Sheesh! This would be about the only twist he's ever liked. The previous version. So, I will delay the decision by doing the elastic first before I have to decide. ;)

I also have a pair of trousers cut out from Vogue 7608, a Sandra Betzina jeans pattern. I've used a brown bengaline instead of denim, which means I'm either in for a pleasant surprise, or a pair of gardening trousers that won't show the dirt too much. :)

Off to do another seam on the cardy. I might even get it finished to wear out with friends tomorrow. (ROFLOL)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Thanks everybody for the birthday wishes. Hugs right back at ya! 40 (gulp!) doesn't feel that bad, except for this vague nagging suspicion that I just don't feel grown-up enough, lol. It did however remind me to book the appointment at the hairdresser to cover up those 'natural highlights' that have become quite numerous.

My DD lives in her new Hello Kitty dressing gown as much as possible. She loves it and like Sherril, I think she'd be heartbroken if it wore out too soon.

Kat - I'll swap you the cold and the ice for a heatwave anytime!

Sherril -I didn't have the Baileys yesterday but I did have to have some chocolate to 'help', lol. This morning I was so nervous but luckily not much ice today, thank goodness!

Sherril and Rhoto - It's very tempting! But I don't know if it would be fair to inflict my pasty, untanned legs on the other patrons at the water park (and I'd have to shave them! There are some advantages to winter, lol). Floating on an inner tube sounds fun on a hot day though. I'll be thinking of that come Saturday as there's more snow forecast this weekend....

Sharon - Patternreview is great, isn't it? The SewingDownUnder thread is a bunch of very chatty Australians and New Zealanders and anyone else who wants to visit. It's located under the Regional Communities section. Or, if you look under the Active topics it's usually in the first page or two. :)

Jalie and Photos

Last night I was grumbling about net services etc and not being able to post the photo of my Jalie top. Then Hubby made a very good point - why is it I hate having my photo taken because I hate photos of myself, yet I'll happily splash photos of myself over pattern reviews and my blog? Weird, huh? I couldn't come up with a proper answer. The best I could do was that it was perhaps because in those photos the focus will be on the outfit. I hope. :)

Talking of photos... Not the smoothest segue but here it is - Jalie 2682:

Sorry, it is an absolutely awful photo, taken at night. The biggest problem with poly interlock is the static cling factor. Within a few moments this was sticking to me. Wearable perhaps - under a jacket, lol. Oh, and it still needs hemming.

Yesterday I made a quick dress for DD2 to wear for Medieval Feast day at school today. They were told they could just wear their party dresses but my poor deprived child doesn't have one of those that fits either, lol. I used a Topkids magazine pattern (Topkids 45, #9) and widened the sleeves a bit. I managed to squeeze the whole thing out of 2.0m of 112cm wide fabric. To do so I had to take out some of the sleeve flare I'd just put in and slide one of the back skirt pieces a smidgen off grain. That's another piece of fabric out of the stash, yayy!

We also made a Princess cone style hat and hung ribbons off the back. All in all, I felt quite productive getting that done, lol. When she got to school all the little girls were oohing and aaahing and she was beaming from ear to ear, so I think she's happy with it. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I hate ice!

First off - I'm ok.

Let's just say that at 9.30 am the back of my van got ahead of the front of my van for a brief time. :( I don't know who was more scared, me, or the guy on the other side of the road. Luckily he pulled right over as I slid down the hill because I was using the center of the road! I hadn't even touched the brakes. It was simply a huge sheet of black ice which the council hadn't gritted because it was a late freeze (the ice actually got worse when the temp dropped at 9am!). I had to pull over and calm down before I could finish the very slow drive home and it took me about an hour to calm down fully.

Much more of this and I'm coming to visit Sherril for the summer!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Jalie 2682

On the 'Sewing Down Under' thread on Patternreview we're having an unofficial and fairly casual Jalie sew-along which is a good motivator. I had my new Jalies to tempt me, but I decided to try 2682 first - partly because it's winter here and I thought a bit more coverage might be nice, but also because I've liked the look of this top since I saw it. I love the colour of the top the model is wearing. (Of course, I'd love to look like the model too....)

I did some size blending. I traced CC for the shoulders, and went out to EE for the sides. I've read that Jalies can be close-fitting so wanted room to play with and it's much easier to cut fabric off than try to put fabric in! I also took the bodices and bottom pieces down to the length of the EE as I like my tops longer. To allow for 'the girls' I also added 2 cm to the length of the front bodice.

I've used a cheap poly interlock as a muslin and I think it's wearable. I took in the sides (such a lovely feeling, taking in...) another 1cm, so down to a DD size, which fits with my fullbust measurement. I'm thinking I could possibly go down a size in the shoulders? My upperbust measurement would suggest Z as the size to use (2 sizes smaller). I think next time I'd also raise the back bodice length a wee bit. It seems very low. DH isn't very keen on the piecing on the back and has suggested making it all one piece which I'll consider.

Photos will have to wait until tomorrow as our ISP is "experiencing some connectivity problems with international pages" - which translates as "you'll be lucky to get on the net tonight and forget anything requiring bandwidth!"

The Big 4 - 0

Another milestone birthday came and went. It was a lovely relaxing weekend. I slept in and got breakfast in bed. The kids got me chocolates. I love my kids. :) Hubby bought me fabric (!) and a gift voucher for more fabric (on his head be it!) and this was after we'd moved my sewing desk to the other side of the lounge and found all the, ahem, Spotlight bags that had 'accidentally' fallen behind my desk. He didn't say a word as we moved it all. My desk is now beside the window so I have a lovely view. Better still, it's out of the traffic path so I'm not getting in the kids way and they don't get in mine when they're running in and out of the lounge. Most amazingly, it was my DH idea - the man who hates moving furniture who suggested it and helped move it all! (I'll be looking for the pod later, lol). We had thought of 'letting' the 2 girls share a room but after much discussion we decided it wasn't worth our sanity, so no sewing room study. Ah well, all too soon they'll be leaving home and I'll have a sewing room and then I'm sure I'll be wishing they were back home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Decorative "domes"

Sherril and Paula both asked what I meant decorative domes. Bad choice of words on my part. I should have called them snaps rather than domes. I picked up a set of 2000 of these type of snaps which have the silver ring-

I've seen a few garments in the shops here that have used the snaps as a decorative feature, on necklines, on skirts etc. Some have used them applied individually, some have used the tape version - With 2000 sets, that's 4000 potential decorative bits ;)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Closing Down Sales...

There's an alarming trend in my stash stats. After that dent from clearing all the baby fabrics to Judy they were quite pleasingly in the negative for the year. Well, we all know how it goes - when you clear a gap, it just begs to be filled again.

My downfall this time was a closing down sale for a local knitwear and clothing company. I have had some beautiful quality fabric from them in the past, so of course I had to check it out (although, showing some restraint I waited a week before I went). Imagine my pleasure when I walked in to see large boxes of knits to sort through and all fabric priced at $15 kg. Yep, by weight. These knits are all excellent quality too. Sigh, heaven is digging through boxes of fabric.

So my stash stats took a major dent. Here's the haul:

The colours are off a bit. From left to right, Top row - There are two different pinks at the top, each one big enough to make my youngest DD a cardy. Middle row - a soft navy lighter knit (this has merino in I think and will be for making thermal tops); A mauve wool acrylic for me; black wool/acrylic; some black ribbings. Bottom row - a deep brown/aubergine knit, it is a lot darker in real life; black wool; black wool/merino. These worked out to about $8 metre. :) I'm sure you can all understand why the stash stats had to be ignored.

I also got some pins....

.... a bunch of zips to add to the drawer of zips I already have, and enough domes to last me a lifetime at $4 for 2000 sets of the small silver ring domes. I foresee decorative domes on everything, lol.

Now to chain down that mojo, cross fingers for a snow day, and hit that sewing machine!

Hello Kitty Dressing Gown

The last week seems to have gone so fast! Unfortunately the exam adrenaline wore off and I've been in a blah state this week so not a lot of sewing has been accomplished. I think my sewing mojo decided to take a break too. :(
On the other hand I have gone and got firewood from my sister's farm several mornings so something got accomplished.

With the cold weather DD2 had been complaining that her dressing gown was too short. Stash to the rescue! I had a Hello Kitty polar fleece from a year ago aging nicely just waiting for it's opportunity. I used Butterick 4340 which I think is now OOP.

This was an easy pattern although I wasn't impressed at having to slipstitch down the upper collar. Hand sewing on a child's dressing gown!? Helloo! What were they thinking? But I did it, reluctantly. Like I said, the sewing mojo had deserted me and I was resorting to following instruction sheets. (Shaking head)

I made a size 10 for my 7 1/2 year old. She's wearing size 8 normally and I figured a bit of growing room would not go amiss. It's ended up the perfect length in the body and about 4 cm too long in the sleeve which can easily be rolled up.

Apparently, it's lovely and warm. :)

The castle project has finally been delivered to school so no more polystyrene bits everywhere, yay! Better still, the table is getting cleared so I'll have a tracing surface to use for a Jalie pattern. I did trace the dressing gown pattern using my cutting board and sitting on the floor. I soon regretted it though - my back hadn't forgiven me for stacking all the firewood under the terrace and working on the floor was the last straw. Must be old age. ;)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Did you all hear that?

That WOOHOO!! was the sound of me finishing my last exam and starting 3 weeks holiday. :)
Now the sewing and myriad other things on my list can start.......
But for tonight, all that is in my plans is to put my feet up and relax. I have a glass of wine and a tv remote and a tape of ER, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Dexter... you get the picture. I'm keen to get to tracing off something but wine kinda puts me in a state where I should not be allowed near scissors, fabric or patterns, lol.

Tomorrow is set aside for collecting wood and helping my 7yo with her castle construction. Hubby has built helped her build a wonder with polystyrene and tomorrow we get to paint and decorate. She wants furniture which should be interesting. I better not drink too much wine. :)

Friday, May 30, 2008


I'm heading into exams over the next 2 weeks but afterwards I have 3 weeks off. Yayyy!! My "in the holidays" list has grown to ginormous proportions. Luckily I didn't specify which holidays I was going to do it all in. ;-)

Anywhoo - whilst clearing the decks a bit and putting the covers on my machines, I unearthed the ever growing UFO pile. I figured I could give one last night to tackling a couple. Any excuse to procrastinate a bit more.

First up was the mesh Ottobre Rose top I started a few weeks ago. It was sitting here waiting for the hem to be done. I'm not entirely happy with it and I obviously need some better support with those floobies at the side! The side seam easing from the fba is also off even with taking the side seams in. What the heck - it'll be fine under a jacket. Or, I could just never lift my arms. Of course then I could never do anything. That appeals. See, there's always a silver lining - sewing mistakes mean you can get a housekeeper! LOL, now to just convince hubby... I still want to make a purple top to go underneath this - in my holidays, lol. (Here it's over a teal top which will not be worn with it normally)

The second top I finished was a version of Simplicity 4076. This had been sitting there about 2 years (just checked - only 1 year so that's not so bad is it?) I'd had ideas of making this sleeveless and had it finished except for the hem. What the heck was I thinking?! Well, ok it didn't look too bad, except for the pasty white arms. A black top would solve that. But I'd used clear elastic to stabilise the armholes and they were too tightly fitted. I decided to unpick the elastic and fix that first. By the time that was done (and it was serged on) I was leaning towards sleeves. I hunted out the remnants of the fabric and managed to squeeze out two long sleeves. It's now finished. I'm not sure what's going on with the wrinkles above the bust (you can see them above the camera). I'm wondering if I'd trimmed the armholes 2 years ago? The jury's out on it.

I've been really slack with regard to comments lately, but I just want to say Thank You to everyone who does stop to say Hi. I do appreciate it. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Baby Blankets

Seeing as Judy and the twins caught us all by surprise, I didn't have any baby presents prepared and on hand. Luckily, I had these embroidered polarfleece pieces in the stash along with some velour which will be lovely and soft on little preemie skin. We're going into winter here so I think a nice cotton velour backed by polar fleece should be toastie warm. Hopefully it won't be too long before they get to use them.

And this is why I have a stash!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Congratulations Judy!

Yesterday my best friend, Judy Williment, had her twins. A bit early at 33 weeks but all are doing well considering. (And yes, that's decaf, lol)

This is Isabella - 2.42kg (5.3lb)

And Nicholas - 1.78kg (3.9lb)


Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Very Spotty Top

Or how to score Mommy points.....

Yesterday I handed in the last assignment of the semester. As I dropped the last week of my life through the slot I felt like celebrating. Naturally there's only one way to do that - I went shopping! No surprises when I say for fabric, lol. I actually went to Spotlight for a specific piece - some parka nylon to make some quick curtains for the bathroom windows. When you combine dark mornings requiring lights on, the screening shrubs having been cut down over summer and neighbours potentially going past whilst people are having showers....... Some curtains are in order!

I was happily minding my own business walking to the corner I needed, when this fabric screamed out "Look at me! I'd be perfect for (DD2's ) disco tonight! Buy me, buy me, buy me...." (Well, you all know how the refrain goes.) I didn't even hum and ha for long. One metre of spotty fabric had to come home with me. It insisted. :-)

There was only one problem. By the time I got home at 10.40am, I had to be at Judy's around 12.30pm. After school was going to be taken up with basketball and followed by a quick trip home to get everyone changed for the school disco before we raced off. Whatever I made was going to have to be quick.
By 10.50am I had dug out the pattern I wanted. By 10.51am I'd found I didn't have the size I needed traced out yet. By 11.10am I'd cut out the pattern and was pinning....... I finished the hem at 12.30pm.

Here's the result -

I used Kwik Sew 2503 (OOP) which is the bigger version of KS2502.

I made a size 8 and lengthened it to the length of a size 14. It's a bit big and is going to fit her for a while longer. I wanted a tunic length and it's not too bad. I also cut the neckband twice as wide as the pattern allowed and overlocked it on rather than binding the neckedge. My original plan was to make a small fabric belt attached at hip length and with a buckle. But I ran out of time and as DD2 wasn't there to find out where her hip length was, and I didn't have a buckle or bead, it was going to be difficult. DD wore this with a pink belt around her hips instead and I also made a quick headband for her to wear as well. In the flashing lights at the disco she looked like a wee moving disco ball, lol. Those spots fluoresce under the lights quite nicely.

Next job - Urgent baby presents for my now not-so-pregnant best friend. :-)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Jalies!

The new Jalies are up on Patternreview. And next week some will be winging their way to me! They should arrive around the time my exams finish - great timing. I couldn't blog about this until I broke the news to Judy that Jalie 2787 was also winging it's way over as a present for her. I think she's happy. ;-)

On the way are 2805 - A good basic tee. I can see this getting a lot of use for my 2 DD's.

J 2806 - This one's for me. And maybe DD1.

J 2795- I can just see this on my two DD's . I'm intrigued by the 'Hoddie' title.

and J 2794 - I really liked the top Debbie made so I've decided to give it a go.

And just to make it fun, the stash contest will be running again at Patternreview so I might even get to enter something. :-)

Does anyone else do this? You can't sew, but you keep thinking about sewing so you end up buying fabric and patterns instead. I need to sew something and soon - otherwise I really will be keeping the economy going!