Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Blogiversary to Me...

A New Year means it's my blogiversary. Looking back over the past two years worth of posts shows how life has changed. I've gone from working part-time to studying at university full-time, finally graduated, and my kids have grown so much. Sewing has been put on the backburner more than I'd like as I concentrate on studying. Some days all I want to do is sew, others I'm too tired to do more than look through magazines. Hopefully this year I can squeeze out a bit more sewing time. 'Cos I'm going to be so much more organised this year. Snort, yeah right! :)

A new year also means time for a new stash stats counter. I don't really make New Year's resolutions (well, not ones I keep anyway), but this time I've decided I really must do better on the whole buying vs sewing thing. In the last two years I've added 55.35 metres to my fabric stash. Whoops. Obviously this is proof that I don't actually have to be working in a fabric shop to add fabric. I swear I just drive by and the stuff jumps into my car and follows me home. Honest. No? Funny, DH didn't believe it either.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I own how many?!!

I've been in a "kinda wanna do some sewing but really can't be bothered" funk for the last couple of days. (Curse those foreign cold/fluey bugs that my brothers bought from overseas.)
Given that the sewing mojo seems only too keen to go on vacation at the most inopportune times, I thought I better engage in something sewing-related to try to keep the mojo interested. So I decided I'd be practical at the same time and organise all the patterns that had been stuffed into any available spot pulled out and stored for future use and actually file them. You know, with the other patterns, not just in the nearest available spot. Having done that, I felt it was only right to get really carried away and enter them into my Patternreview catalogue. Besides, it meant I could stay sitting down and given the case of the dizzies I had at the time, that was probably a good idea.

The catalogue feature on Patternreview is great. Very useful. Admittedly, perhaps more useful if I took a printout with me when I went to Spotlight, but it lets me know I've bought two of the same pattern as soon as I enter my new purchases in. It even gives me a total of the number of patterns in my stash. Much like the actual count of fabric metreage I own, this is a number that should not be displayed anywhere my DH could see. But I'll take a risk (in the knowledge that he rarely reads my blog) and whisper...


Yes, that was (gulp) 536 patterns I own. Not counting the Ottobre, Burda or Topkids magazines, cos how on earth would I count those? There's absolutely no way I'd be adding them in on a count per magazine. Even just taking each magazine as 1 pattern would push the count up drastically.

Would you believe I was relieved at that number?! Cos folks, I honestly thought I owned more than that. Now I'm left wondering if there is a pattern blackhole somewhere in my lounge just waiting to spit out a box of patterns when I'm not looking.

Next sewing project - cricket trousers for my DS - and I even have a pattern I should be able to use... :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A little bit Grinchy

Christmas shopping tends to bring out one of two sides to me. Some years, I'm giddy with excitement and relish the hustle and bustle of scores of like-minded shoppers chasing a bargain and that elusive perfect gift. Others, I'm not.

Christmas Eve eve was a "not" sort of day. Having been lulled into a false sense of security by the civilised shopping pace in town only a few days before, I ventured back into town again on the 23rd. Apparently, everybody gets paid on the Weds before Christmas because they were all in town. If I hadn't known Judy was at home, I'd have said the entire local population was there. But I didn't start out in a state of Grinchiness. I swear I was relatively upbeat when the woman in the blue station-wagon stole my parking space. The one I'd been sitting waiting for with the indicators flashing while I held up traffic for several minutes. The perfect spot outside the store I needed to go to. But I let it go. Obviously.

When I got to my second stop, queued, then waited again for the "other salesperson who could help me", only to be told that they couldn't do what I wanted because they'd run out of paper, I politely asked if there was another store that offered the same service and left. I didn't even mutter when I got to the next store and saw the long line. Although I may have sighed heavily.

Meanwhile, the day kept getting hotter and somewhere between the photo kiosk and the supermarket, the Grinch made an appearance. Obviously I wasn't giving this much forethought. Because, how could it be any more perfect for a trip to the central supermarket than with bored, tired and hot children in pre-xmas crowds? First came the muttering at the driver who walked away from their car in the queue to enter the mall carpark. Perhaps I missed the memo, but I'm pretty sure that in front of the carpark entry barrier is not a valid parking space. A trip around the block to the second entrance and it was our turn to experience the true joy of the panicked Christmas shopper frantically filling their trolleys with food. It seems the fact that the supermarket is closed for an entire day (Gasp!) necessitates frantic food-gathering worthy of a Y2K scare. I muttered, I griped and I snarked and I made it out with the essentials we really did need now. Like toothpaste. And chocolate. I think I managed to come out still relatively sane, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Luckily Christmas looked up from there. I finished all the baking and present creating after the shopping, plus we had our annual tour around the city admiring all the Christmas lights, which meant Christmas Eve was a bit more relaxed. All I had to do was handsew my Mum's new oven gloves closed, take her to an appointment and take the kids to the children's Christmas Eve Mass.

Christmas Day, the kids actually slept in and didn't wake us until after 7am. A result of letting them stay up late 2 nights in a row. :) We had a fabulous day with my sister and her husband who seem to be vying for favourite rellie status as they spoilt the kids terribly. Everybody overate as usual which relieved me of the need to make dinner for them. There was just one dampener on the day - we're all missing our family Santa.

RIP Dad.

Thank you

Thank you all so much for the kind comments. My father was a wonderfully kind and generous man who I'm proud to have called Dad. We all miss him terribly.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Some sewing to show at last!

Wow. It's been a while since I posted. Christmas is nearly here and life is busy, busy, busy.

I finished the Burda shirt dress finally and it has been worn a lot, so I guess it passed muster. The sleeves are normally folded up when DD wears it. DD also hasn't decided on where she wants the belt loops set, as she has worn the belt at both waist and hip level. They will probably never get done. :)

After the shirtdress was out of the way, I turned my attention to a project for the junior classes at school. In the past, I have made quick calico stockings for the 5 and 6 year olds to decorate and fill as gifts for their parents. Usually I take the easy way out and straight stitch everything and turn through, with absolutely no inside finishing. This time, I decided to overlock/serge the edges instead. All those curves were interesting, to say the least. Thank goodness for Debbie's tip on serging inside corners. After the time put in, 60 stockings didn't seem to make a very impressive pile.

The next project up was a tee-shirt for my DS. The kid is growing like a weed and I think he's just passed his father in height. He passed me ages ago, lol. The way he always seems to sprout up in spring and summer, I wouldn't be surprised to find out he is part plant.

I went for the Kwik Sew 3299 pattern that has positive reviews on Pattern Review. By his measurements, DS should have been an XS which would have required sizing down. However, after comparing 2 tees he already owned, I made a Medium. I know he likes a baggy fit, but I think next time I'll go down a size to Small.

For this trial I used a piece of the fabric I bought off Trademe. It's 100% cotton rugby knit with not a lot of stretch, so it was probably lucky this tee is a loose fit. The lack of recovery meant I unpicked the self-neckband and replaced it with a ribbing band. DS aims to put an iron-on print on the front once he finds "THE" picture he wants. Excuse the fold lines down the center - at least they're proof that for once he'd put his clothes in the drawers folded, lol.

And just because I said "other people's sons put their arms out" ....

Blogging might be a trifle quiet for a while. Or busier, depending on how I cope. We lost my father last Sunday to post-surgery complications. As you can guess, things have been hectic and we're all devastated, especially Mum. There is a lot to sort out which will keep me busy.

Anyway, Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bits and bobs

Gosh it's hard to pick more blogs for the Kreativ Blogger award. I am so behind on reading bloglines that I really have no idea who has or hasn't got it so far. Sooooo, I'm going to go the wimpy way and say that if you're on the sidebar and you haven't had it, consider yourself nominated. Of course, my blog housekeeping is as up-to-date as my real housekeeping, so there are many of you not on there yet. Sorry.

I had a lovely afternoon meeting up with my friends. They even remembered what I looked like, lol. I must make sure next year to try and set aside a time to meet everyone more often.

To address some comments:

Thanks for the thoughts about my Dad. It's very much appreciated.

Beangirl asked about my degree. Well, I finally have finished my Bachelor of Arts with a major in Education. More the theory and research of education than teaching. I've also added in Sociology and a couple of Politics papers to widen the theoretical base. Next year I'm starting my Post-graduate Diploma in Educational Research which will be followed the year after by a Masters degree. All going well, and my not having descended into a gibbering insane mess, I'm also planning on my PhD. Hence the 5 years my DH has to still put up with. I'm interested in research into social justice issues in education, especially the effects of socio-economic status (which ties into Bourdieu's theories of cultural capital etc.) and/or the role of gender in achievement. And that's way more information than many of you wanted I'm sure. :)

Mary Nanna - Wow it's a small world! My younger siblings went to St Joseph's and Kavanagh. However, we all grew up in Whangarei, I came down for Uni in the mid-80s, met DH and stayed, and the rest of my family followed on down around 1993. I'm guessing you'll have known teachers like Donna Booth, and Ken and Mary Fahey at St Joes?

Judy - Sorry, still gonna read the textbooks but I promise they won't get in the way of 'girly' days. :)

Rhoto - I totally agree that studying is fun. I get worn out at times and sick of it at times too, but it also makes me feel challenged and alive. I'm really looking forward to the next few years - although I guarantee that I'm bound to grumble at times. :)

And in the continuing quest to prove MP3s should come with warning labels after the cellphone and singing incident - yesterday I had music on in the car at traffic lights when a truck pulled up alongside, allowing the driver to see my fabulous drum rendition on the steering wheel. At least we both could laugh.....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

And the Award goes to....

Exams are over! Woohoo! I celebrated with a glass, ahem, bottle of wine. Then I hibernated for a few days. At the end of semester we found out my Dad has cancer and between that and exams, I was left feeling decidely unsocialable. With the kids at school, I got to spend a few days lounging around in rumpty jeans and tees and reading totally trashy chick lit. But tomorrow I'm being sociable and heading off to meet up with my friends. I'm worried I may need a name badge to remind them who I am, lol.

Sue at Quilt, Sew, Sew Sue has been kind enough to award me this:

Thanks Sue!

As part of this I need to tell you seven things you may not know about me and then nominate seven other blogs I love to follow. What might you not know about me? (Some of these may not come as a surprise e.g. #4)

1. Well you may have gathered this already, but I have finally finished my BA degree and barring some catastrophe will have it in my hand within the month. :)

2. I dislike ironing. I really dislike ironing. To the point that I have been known to wet clothes and put them back through the dryer so I can pull them out and hang while hot. Consequently there is a large pile of clothes waiting to be rehabilitated into household wardobes. Or put through the dryer. ;)

3. I would prefer to clean the bathroom than iron 'the pile'.

4. I purchase on impulse. That's why I have a stash. A very large stash. Not just fabric but patterns too. Far more than I could ever realistically sew.

5. I have six brothers and 4 sisters. And I'm the oldest.

6. My husband is awesome. He truly is. The last few years I have been studying he has been my lifeline to sanity, whether it's proofreading, listening to my recap of lectures or sneaking me into the Uni staff club for cheap hot chocolates. So far he hasn't run screaming from the idea of my post-graduate studies which could take the next 5 years.

7. I have read all the Twilight series and enjoyed them. I also want to see the movies - yay for daughters which give me an excuse to go.

Now to nominate 7 others. I always hate having to pick just a few of the many, many blogs I follow, but I know how cool it is to receive an award so....

Everything Just Sew

Rhotos Rag

Quality Time

Beangirl: The Blog

Ummm, Ummmm, I'll come back and add the other three tomorrow. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lost in the books

Ugh! I am sick of studying. Even studying fuelled by pineapple lumps, jaffas and m&ms. I have definitely decided that dry, dusty, memorize-the-facts politics papers are not for me. BORING!!! It really does spell out how different DH and I are as he did an entire degree in this.

At least this will be out of the way in 48 hours. Then just the exam on Sociological theorists Durkheim, Weber and Marx. Does it sound sad to say I find that more interesting? I'm actually looking forward to revising for that. I know. I've obviously been studying too much and have lost touch with reality, lol. Just to add to the geeky nerdiness look, I'll confess that when I was in the Uni bookstore the other day, I found at least 4 textbooks that I'm keen to read over the holidays. I soooo need to get a life!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Non-stash reduction

Sewing time has been scarce as the semester winds down with the subsequent increase in assignments due and then exams. However, only three weeks to go. I'm still checking in at Spotlight to see if the melton goes on special, but no luck so far. Wish they'd get a move on because I do like that purple, although I've found it will fray a bit. I might have to think about finishing the edges.

Meanwhile, I've succumbed to the joys of Trademe and bought fabric, plus I've visited Spotlight a few times ... - which I really don't need with the way my stash stats are going for the year! I will have to do some serious sewing in November and December to even this out a bit. Something stash consuming.... like bedsheets. Or a tent. Or a cover for the house. That should use up a bit, lol.

I bought 3 pieces of knit off Trademe as a test to see what the quality and service were like. I'd have to say thumbs up! Reasonable prices, very quick service ( I bought on the Tuesday, paid on the Weds and received the goods on Saturday) and the quality seems nice. Each piece came with a label with composition and care instructions which can be helpful.

Spotlight has contributed a couple of knits for cardigans for me, some nylon lycra for a swimsuit for DD2, a mesh for a top/jacket for me and a checked fabric for a shirtdress also for DD2. Photos will have to wait for another day as the camera batteries are all flat.

I'm looking forward to sewing some of this up. Just got to get two essays out of the way and 2 more exams. Sigh.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tempted by the Ottobre Coats

Cold, snowy days remind me that I need a winter coat. Of course it's officially spring, the plum trees are covered in blossom, and we've had a few weeks of lovely warm days to end winter on. But today is cold and raining with hail and snowy stuff at times, and did I mention cold? I know that some of you have colder, like if you live in Alaska (Hi Dawn!), but I'm a wuss and I'd let the warm weather lull me into a summer mentality. So I'm declaring it officially cold here. :)

In the latest Ottobre Woman are a couple of lovely coats.

I love this coat and I think it would be lovely out of the navy wool cashmere I have in the stash. But it would need a "little" bit of fit adjustment which requires time.

In the same issue is this coat, which looks like it would be a quicker sewing project. And the sizing is closer.

I even found melton at Spotlight. And in purple. It's so tempting..... but it's $39.95m and this coat takes around 2.6 metres. Maybe I should sacrifice some of my navy cashmere ( I think I have over 6 metres, possibly 9 or 10m). But the purple just looks so cheerful. I will have to think about it some more.

Technologically challenged

First up - a big thank you for the kind comments and support after my last post. I guess my 'Mommy' panic gene kicked in big time for a bit. But, once I caught up on some sleep, had another chat with the doctor and been sent a whole lot of stats by a friend who works in oncology, I was much calmer. Now we're just waiting and seeing (and crossing fingers etc).

Today I discovered why some people (namely, me) should not be allowed to own modern technologies like mp3 players.

To understand why, you have to know some background - for instance, that I am tone deaf. Can't sing for peanuts. No really - I'm awful. Just ask my family. If I busked, people would pay me to stop. (In fact when I sing at home, my kids do ask me to stop - once they've stopped laughing). On a funny aside - I was in the school choir for years. How you ask? Well I'm also a dab hand at lip synching. :)

Anyways, I like singing along with songs on the stereo,..... and the radio,........ and my mp3.... (you get a hint of where this is going?)

Now we add in the wildcard. My cellphone, which has it's own resident gremlin. I have a tendency to shove my phone in my jeans pocket. Note, my phone is not a fliptop, so it can be very easy for the gremlin to 'accidentally' call someone (as Judy knows. Goodness knows how many times Judy has been rung by my phone, or how many dollars have been spent for her to listen to me doing my groceries.)

Soooo, today I'm driving home. I've pulled my phone out of my pocket and put it on the seat beside me; I'm listening to my mp3 and belting out a wonderful (well, if you're tone deaf it sounds good) version of Greenday's 'American Idiot'. All is going well.....

......until I stop at a traffic light and look down at my phone.... Oooops! Still if I had to embarrass myself, at least it was my sister on the other end. Although she's threatening to report me for the use of torture, lol.

Apart from humiliating myself, I've finally finished a cardigan. I blatantly copied a cardigan Judy had made for herself. Heck, I even borrowed the pattern from Judy and got her to explain the changes she'd made. Then for some insane reason I made it a size bigger than I normally would through the shoulders. Mehh, but it's wearable and seeing as we seem to have reverted back to winter, it'll get worn. I'm debating a piece of ribbon across the inside back to keep the shoulders from slipping further down.

This is adapted from Burda WOF 7/2007 #128 The Wrap Shirt. You can see Judy's sketch of how she adapted it. Isn't she clever! I love the neckline/collar on this. Lovely and toasty warm for wintery days.

A couple of blurry photos. I'm not sure what is up with the camera but it seems to be having trouble staying focussed. The dirty mirror didn't help either. I've also lightened these up considerably so you have a slight chance at seeing something....

And look - I even mitred the corners!
Well, I'm off to continue my Literature search (Yay for electronic databases!) and torture the cats with my singing.... :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

I need sleep!

This morning I took DD1 to the Doctors. Nothing too urgent we thought, but the only time we could get into see 'our' doctor. We ticked off the few things that needed checking and then DD thought to mention the 'stiff, lumpy neck'.
Now the Doc is great and very calming, but even though it was preceded by "I don't think we need to do a...", the word 'biopsy' is one word that a mother does not want to hear mentioned in relation to her daughter! Rationally, I know he's not too worried, that we're on a monthly check-up for 6 months and often they go away by themselves.... but in my sleep-deprived irrationality, all I can think is that the possibility is still there that in 6 months if the lump is still there, or if it gets any bigger, there will be a biopsy to check for the big 'C'.

I have been slightly freaked out all day. Luckily I had a paper to write to distract myself, although I'm not going to promote it as my best work.

Tonight I think a glass of wine and some mindless telly whilst cuddling with my kids on the couch might be in order.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last week...

Well, okay.... this post has been sitting, all typed up waiting for photos, for 2 weeks now. So, lets just call it 'Last fortnight....' :)

Week 1:
What does 15 minutes at a time get you?

The sleeves got sewn into the check shirtdress. When DD tried it on I found it was a bit tight across the shoulders so I let the back armscye out a smidgeon to provide a bit more ease. It's still sitting on the desk waiting to be finished...

Oops, you can tell this has been sitting 'folded' on my desk for a while. It still needs the hem done, belt loops, belt, and buttonholes. All those buttonholes.

I dug out and hemmed a UFO - Jalie 2682, to wear out to dinner on Thursday a week or so ago. (Sorry, the photo quality is a bit rough. That's what happens when my photo helpers are all tucked up in bed.)

This top was sewn over a year ago and I blogged about it then. When I looked at it I realised that I'd shaped the sides after I'd taken the original photo. It only took me a few minutes to hem this and now I have another top to wear. Tho the static cling factor of this one is irritating, as you can see in the photo. I'm definitely going to make this top again in a better fabric. BTW, a year ago DH said he didn't like the seams in the back. Now he does. Men!

I've also cut out another Ottobre gathered neck tee. This is my favourite pattern for tees and I like having a TNT that I can just pull out to make. I'm hoping to squeeze this in around a couple of big assignments that are due soon.

Week 2:
Hmmm, the assignments are still being worked on - 18 books for one alone! Ah, the joys of understanding social cleavage and electoral behaviour. There has also been a third assignment added with short notice by an ever-so-kind lecturer (sob). Today I read a news article about the link between stress and weight gain.... oh dear. Just what I need - another thing to worry about! ;)

No progress on the shirtdress or the Ottobre tee. Both are still sitting beside my desk.
However, I did borrow a Burda magazine from Judy to make a copy of a cardigan she made as a copy of one another friend bought. In a couple of 15 minute (or slightly more) blocks I managed to get this traced, adjusted and cut out. I started this with no idea of whether this would suit me and DD1 has been kind enough to tell me that it looks like an old ladies cardigan, but I'm ignoring her. Again, this just needs hemming.....It's sitting beside my desk.... (And this, folks, is how you end up with a pile of UFO's.)

So, 15 minute blocks are getting a bit of sewing in. The biggest problem is trying to fit in the 15 minutes. Too often this means I am sewing at 2am. Not the best idea. Also not such a good idea is sewing while cooking dinner. I know this from bitter (well, burnt) experience.

This weeks goals - write an assignment by this Friday, then 2 more by next Thursday. I was going to aim for earlier nights, but I'm thinking that may not happen this week. I'm going to see if I can steal time to hem my cardigan. Maybe if I rope in a child to mind the oven? :)

Monday, July 27, 2009


As I've alluded to before, I'm studying full-time. On top of family life this means a lot of my time lately seems to be timetabled. Not rigidly hour by hour; more in a structured must-do list type of way. Along the way, as I feel stretched every which way, things get shoved to the bottom of the list. I've realised lately that two of my joys in life (and sanity savers), my special group of friends and sewing, have been getting ignored. Shame on me!

So, having had this insight, what's a girl to do when her husband generously shares his tummy bug and it leaves her unable to focus on academic readings over the weekend? Well, I was selfish enough to keep my bugs to myself, lol, but I did risk a bit of sewing. Rated 'Easy' of course - no point in pushing my luck.

The sacrificial garment in question is a shirtdress for DD1 in checked 'poly rayon stretch suiting' from Spotlight (and which melts impressively to the iron if you let it get too hot....). Both the pattern, Burda 7819 , and fabric were bought on the Friday night while I was killing time waiting for DS's basketball to finish. That's a pretty impressive turnaround time for me. I seriously expected this to just make it's way to the great stash pile (well, cupboard) and be forgotten about. Judging by her reaction, so did DD. Now I've just got to put in the sleeves, add the belt loops and hem the thing. Then the buttonholes. Hmmmm. Have I mentioned before that I managed 8 (yes, eight) years without doing a buttonhole? I'm sooooo looking forward to doing 8 or more. This will get gradually finished in 15 minute blocks.

I also played hooky this afternoon and went to meet my friends for a couple of hours. Fun. :)

Photos soon...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Black and White Hoodies

Well, my holidays are over and I don't seem to have got any of the sewing done that I'd planned. It seems my mojo packed and went on holiday too. So, in an effort to kickstart a sewing spree, I started to tackle my DD2's woeful lack of clothing.

First up was to use a piece of Mickey Mouse themed sweatshirting I had acquired from my mother. This was apparently purchased in the mid to late 80s, so it was certainly time it was sewn into something useful. Everytime I looked at this fabric all that came to mind was those really baggy 80s jackets. I started with hoodie pattern #36 from Ottobre 04/2007, added extra length to the body and sleeves and used the ungathered pockets, sleeves and hood from #34. I made a size 146 so there is plenty of growing room.

Next up was the 'Emo' sweatshirt as it has been titled in our house. I had a small remnant which was not big enough to allow the hoodie DD2 wanted. A bit of digging in the stash and we came up with some white sweatshirting for the sleeves. I used KS 2893, a tee-shirt pattern, in a size 12. I topstitched in pink embroidery thread but it doesn't show up that well.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A New Look

You may have noticed changes in the look of my blog over the last couple of days. I decided I was bored with my old blog colour scheme. After spending an evening playing with almost all the Blogger templates, plus having a look online to see what was available, this is what I came up with.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Is the type easy enough to read? While I'm picking brains, any idea on how to change the colour of the little arrow markers that still show in green? :)

TIA for any suggestions!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Snow Day!

Yesterday we woke to snow to sea level here. As we're fairly close to sea level that meant we actually got some at our house. :) The kids were pretty excited as school was cancelled - which was good because there was no way we could get the car out of the driveway and no buses were running. Instead the kids put the drive slope to good use and had a great time sliding down on old skateboard decks. Then it was down the road for a snowball fight at the park.

This may look like a pathetic amount of snow to some, but for us it's a big deal as normally it's the hill suburbs who have all the fun. Snow this low, that actually settles, only happens maybe once or twice a year at the most.

It snowed on and off for most of the day -

Luckily we didn't have to go anywhere. DH kept in touch with work by phone, not that many others had managed to get in. Fortunately, my exam wasn't until today or I'd have had a problem because the University doesn't cancel exams.

Speaking of which -my last exam was today so I'm free for a few weeks - yippee!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No Sewing, but....

I have a lovely clean bathroom.

Nothing like exam time to get that house sparkling. :)

Oh, and fabric came home with me from Spotlight. Nothing too amazing - black tricot and a printed satin with skulls on. Both have been bought as linings. Yes, I'm shamelessly copying inspired by Judy's idea. I'm sure she'll forgive me. [Insert big cheesy grin here :) ]

Hopefully there'll be some sewing in the next few weeks.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oh my! Two months? Really?

It's been a while since I posted hasn't it?!

I've been busy studying and getting serious sewing withdrawal. Chocolate just isn't cutting it as a substitute, darn it. Shame too, because I have, ahem, had fundraiser chocolate bars sitting on my table, so you'd think I'd have been home and hosed. (as a side note, if you munch away on blue M&M's, be sure to check the mirror before leaving the house.... cyanosis is not a good look at all!)

I've managed to squeeze in dribs and drabs of sewing, but nothing great. I whipped up a 'quick and dirty' tunic for DD2 to her own design. When I say 'quick and dirty', I mean it. Take a remnant of printed satin, fold in half and cut out a neck hole, fold in a small allowance and stitch, sew up side seams to armhole height, finish armhole edges and hem. It looks like a pillowcase with holes cut in it, lol.

Then DD1 was in the school musical and naturally needed a costume. Luckily the only thing we couldn't get out of her wardrobe was a sparkly disco skirt and a bright, short skirt. A quick trip to Spotlight for some sequinned fabric, a dig in the stash for the matching nylon lycra, and a short time later she had an easy, elastic-waisted, reversable skirt. With the short costume change times I made it so that the lycra could be pulled up and flipped out for the non-disco scenes.

I also got started on my 'sweater' remake. I'd started out with a v-neck top, cut it up the centre front and that was as far as I'd got for the last, um.... too many weeks. I've now added bands to the front. I've still got to do the neckline. Then I'm not sure. I'm making it up as I go along. I haven't even decided how I'll fasten it. This is my 'muslin' so to speak. I wonder how it'll turn out. ;)

At the moment I'm contemplating a top I bought:

I bought it specifically for the cardy part and with the idea of cutting out the false shirt front. I mean, how easy is that? All I need is a pair of scissors, 5 minutes, and I'd have a cardy. However, DH likes it as is (tho, he's also terrible at imagining what things could look like). The problem is that I'm just not a frills person and the ruffles on the front irritate me. I keep looking down thinking there's something on my shirt, lol. This would probably be worn over all those Ottobre tops I'm going to be making after exams.... ;)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chocolate smilies

It's nice to get rewarded for something you were going to do anyway. :)

Mmmm, chocolate. I resisted the urge to drive around the block and go through the checkpoint again, lol.

The pen I was given for having multiple passengers (my kids, lol), thereby being ecofriendly, was much appreciated too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The only sewing that has gone on in my house recently is a baby blanket and mending. Not very exciting I'll admit. (Although the fact I have a new nephew is quite exciting.)

The lack of blogging comes with the usual excuses.... life, university courses, etc etc. You know how it goes. That doesn't mean that sewing is far from my mind. I'm still grabbing quick chances to read blogs, although I may not always comment if I'm pressed for time - sorry.

I'm also working on a personal goal to use sewing as an example in every one of my courses. ;) I've mentioned the online sewing community for my sociology paper and am currently working the act of 'sewing a garment' into the Research methods paper as an example of quantitative research: I hypothesise that this jacket pattern will not fit straight from the envelope, test with a muslin, hypothesis correct, modify hypothesis for new experiment 'I hypothesise that making larger darts will help it fit better', make muslin..... :) I'm still not sure how I'm going to get sewing into Political philosophy/Theories of justice, but I'll do my best.

In the meantime, fabric is still being acquired, ahem. Most recently a few purchases for DD at the Spotlight 20% off sale. Not that I actually needed fabric, but we'll just say I'm helping to keep the economy going. ;)

Here's the purchases for DD2: a poly knit that she wants as a tunic for over leggings; a knit with gathered/ruched flowers; and a knit which both DD1 and DD2 want tops from. I'll have to be creative because there is only 1.4 metres. I'm thinking short sleeve top with black undersleeves perhaps.

Purchases for me: A 'Pucci' knit from Spotlight, I think this is rayon blend; a wool blend, also from Spotlight - on the clearance table marked down to $4.99. This wants to be the Ottobre jacket from 02/2006 when it grows up; and another piece of the clearance Valencia, also from Spotlight. I seem to have bought a lot at Spotlight. :)

The blanket I made uses the last of the bigger pieces of embroidered polar fleece, backed with microfleece. Nice and cosy for the coming winter.

I better sew something soon or my stash stats will be going the wrong way!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


What is up with these?!

I came across a post about these on a blog I've just found - Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too

How the models walked in these is beyond me. (Video here.) The pink glittery pair about half-way through just look too cloven-hoofed, devil-goat to me!

Given the pain normal style heels give me, I think I'll give these a miss. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It works everytime - as soon as I sew a heap of cold weather clothing (or nightwear) the weather turns hot again. :) Maybe I should hire myself out. I can see a lucrative income from sports teams, parade organisers.... lol.

The magic wardrobe strikes again! And very quickly too. :) I've worn the brown Ottobre cardy 4 times already. For some reason, I feel like I have no other jacket/cardigans to reach for. I will hasten to say, that I didn't walk around half-nekked up till now! Just that I've gone off, got bored with, or plain old worn out most of my other choices. (I really didn't want to spell 'n_ked' correctly! Think of the blog trawlers that could attract!)

On my desk I have a jumper waiting to be refashioned into a cardigan. After seeing some at a market, I felt very inspired. Now I've reached the point where I've overthought it and don't know where to start. Meanwhile other sewing ideas are whirling around in the grey matter, university has started back and my sewing time has decreased dramatically. If I don't want to end up completely under-dressed for the weather and all 'nippy noodly' (from Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging - I can be young and hip. I can. I can!) I'm going to have to turn out something else to wear.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seeing Spots!

I don't know how many readers will be familiar with Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby

but you may see the resemblance......

right down to the wrinkles on the sleeve/arm, lol.

Those who are familiar with the show may understand why I'm saying "Blobby, blobby, blobby" in a funny voice lately. :) If you're not familiar with it, you'd just assume I was mad, lol.

I came across this knit fabric in my stash and seeing as it's a soft snuggly knit and it had been a cold week, I combined it with Simplicity 4327 to make a tent nightshirt . I had 6m, bought at $2m in a Spotlight clearance. I'm not sure what I was thinking of when I bought that much of a bright pink spotted knit.

I chose a size by my full-b ust measurement and it ended up a bit big. Sherril has commented that it's not too bad apart from the sleeve length. And big does = comfy, but I'm feeling very much like I could be this guy -

After I'd made my sleepwear, I decided to spread the pink around rather than put it back into the stash. Besides, I'd already put other fabric into the gap it had left.

I continued with the sleepwear theme. DD2 got a pair of PJ pants from Burda 4222 (which is OOP, but seems to be the same as 9747), with a polar fleece top made using Kwik Sew 3017. She was adamant she wanted a polar fleece top for cold nights, but I think it will get more use on wintry 'Pyjama days'. I'll make her a lighter-weight top for in bed.

After that, I still had some fabric left. DD1 thought she'd like some PJs too so I dug out Simplicity 4798 (which is also OOP btw).

I made the trousers/pants first, which left just enough fabric for the body of the top. Imagine my annoyance when I cut out the top front and back, only to find what looked like a dirty oily mark right in the front near the neckline. I washed with stain remover and it now looks like a paler spot. Ah, well. At least the oily mark is gone. I used a white interlock remnant for the sleeves and neckband. It must be a Simplicity thing because the sleeves on this top are really long too. Or maybe we just have short arms.

On the trousers I ended up lowering the waistband by 7cm and it's still not incredibly low.

As I was on a pyjama roll I decided to use a piece of Barbie wincyette/flannelette I'd found while hunting out the white interlock. I figured if I didn't use it for DD2 soon, she'd be too old for it. Again, I used the Burda pj pattern for the pants. This time I used Kwik Sew 2893 and made a raglan sleeve tee from a blue knit remnant and the white used on her sisters top. I also added a piece of the pants fabric as an applique to tie the two together. Tip - for the applique I used a washable glue stick on the back to help keep it straight whilst stitching.

Both girls wore their new pyjamas last night and have pronounced them 'awesome'. For the moment, I am a popular mummy. ;) I'm sure it won't last.

The great thing is that the pyjama sewing spree helped the stash stats quite a bit. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Cardies...

One wearable, one not.

First up, a big THANK YOU to everyone for their help and suggestions as to how I might save my wadd-ette from full wadder status. I tried most of the tips, from belt (yikes, not a good look) to pinning in waist darts as many suggested. That worked to some degree, but didn't seem to go with the 'style' of the cardigan and also seemed to just cause the front to sit open more. However, I think I have it to wearable status. It might never be a favourite, but it's made it to the wardrobe month-long trial that Belinda/Sew4Fun suggested.

I left the cardy to languish on my desk while I blobbed on the couch relaxed in front of the television until I had a revelation. Dang it - I am a lollipop shape (I'm thinking ChupaChup here, lol). It's my current body shape and, short of liposuction, I can't think of a way to change that overnight. That didn't mean I was going to settle for the octuplet pregnancy look though!

I grabbed the seam-ripper and started frogstitching (why, oh why did I get such a good match for thread?) until the overlocking/serging beat me for the night. Yep, I didn't just baste the cardy together to try it on. Nooooo, I beautifully finished every seam with 4-thread overlocking. Clever, no?

Overnight my subconscious kept working and in the morning I knew where I was going to start. I also knew that if I didn't start right away, it would probably never get done, 'cos that's just me. So, more frogstitching. My seam-ripper and I have become very good friends lately. Once I'd finished deconstructing, it was time to put it back together, but hopefully improved.

I started by digging out the pattern for the plain tee from Ottobre 02-2007 #2. I've done a FBA on this and know it fits so figured it was a good shape to start with. I overlaid the back pattern and used it to mark and trim a more shaped back for the cardigan. I did allow about 5mm on the side seam for a bit more ease as a cardy.

The tee-shirt pattern back on top of the cardigan pattern back, showing the difference in shaping and amount I trimmed -

Next, I did the same for the front, again using the pattern piece from the tee-shirt.

Next was removing some of the gathers, about half the extra fabric allowed for gathers was removed (2.7cm or approximately an inch)

I put all the pieces back together, reattached the satin ribbon binding on the front edges and went to mark button placements. Then I noticed the strange ripple on the front edge... :( A quick check showed one front edge had stretched out between all the unpicking and reattaching. Sigh, you'd have thought I'd notice the ribbon didn't have as much excess length when I was resewing wouldn't you? I can only offer the lateness of the hour as my defence. More frogstitching. Some steam above the fabric encouraged it back to shape and I started again. About now I was wondering whether I really wanted a brown cardy.

But I persevered, right through unpicking a crooked buttonhole (after that I decided the other three weren't that crooked ;) ) and sewing on buttons.

Here's the finished product. For comparison I've put the "before" photo on the left, followed by the "after" photo.

Before ----------/ After----------- / After worn open

Before-an octuplet look --------/ After - down to triplets, lol.

A close-up of the buttons

Like I said, still not perfect. For instance, I can see gathers where I added a ribbon facing to the neckline because I didn't use a bias ribbon (tut tut). I could unpick that and fix it........ Maybe I will if it lasts a month in the wardrobe. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting close... very close to wearable. I was even up to pinning to determine button placement. Then I noticed something was awry. Sigh, somewhere between the unpicking, cutting, and resewing, one of the front edges has ended up longer than the other. Well that would explain why the front was rippled. More frogstitching to be done :(

Next post will either see it in the bin, or on me...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wadder, wad-ette, or wearable?

The sewing mojo hit yesterday. Not for the jacket that has been sitting cut out and waiting for sewing time since before Christmas. Nor for the trousers that have been waiting just as long. Nope, instead I decided to ruin start on a new piece of fabric. Without a muslin. In my defence, I thought I was safe because I had checked the pattern pieces would physically fit.... pity I didn't pause long enough to do a style check! I had to size the pattern up -hmmm, perhaps the Ottobre people were right to stop at a 46.

So, I present Ottobre 2-2008 #10.

With this view I could almost decide to wear it.... a bit baggy but maybe wearable....

then I saw this view -

I could be pregnant with octuplets in there and no-one could tell! I'd like to hope that, because the fabric is fluid, there is enough movement to show there isn't. I'd really, really like to hope that. And I do like the fabric, a chocolate Ponti knit.

I thought about shaping the side seams more but that isn't going to fix that tent effect from the side.

I've also toyed with unpicking the lower front to remove the gathers and excess fabric in front, but would that work with the style? Out of curiosity I wrapped across to try to simulate this idea -
What do you think? Fixable? Or do I just call this a day and a wadder for the donation bins? Or do I ignore the side view and go for comfort?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ottobre Woman Sneak Peeks

There are a few sneak-peek piccies up at The Wooly Thread. I'm liking that grey jacket, as is DD1. The dresses.... well, I'm not really a dress person, but DD likes the beige.

Only 2 weeks to go....

Everything Just Sew

Another blog to read. :)

My dear friend, Judy, has finally started a blog and about time too!

Fifteen years ago I met Judy at a 'New Mothers group'. I'd just had my son and had sewn the grand total of two garments for him. Imagine my surprise/horror when this other new mum leaned over and asked if I'd sewn the all-in-one DS was wearing. Of course, what went through my head was "OMG! Does it look that bad?!!!"

One thing led to another, we chatted, babies played and I borrowed an awful lot of Burda Baby magazines. In a very short time I'd been encouraged to well and truly dive into a sewing hobby. In fact, it's amazing my DH talks to Judy, lol, because I certainly didn't have any fabric stash before I met her!

Over the years, Judy has patiently weathered many phone calls asking for sewing advice and tips (and many requests for buttonholes and invisible zips). She has been my sewing teacher, mentor and friend.

Welcome to the world of blogging, Judy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

All done

Phew! I finally finished the mattress covers for my brother's caravan! I have of course procrastinated over these. First I had to get the more urgent projects out of the way and lets face it, when it comes to a 'have-to-do' project, anything is more urgent, lol. Then I had to wait for the continuous length zipper to arrive at Spotlight. (and wait....and wait....). Then, when DB rang to ask if they'd be ready for the weekend, I had to play imaginatively with the zippers that were in store, eventually coming up with an arrangement butting 2 zippers end to end (pullers in the middle) to get the length. Finally, after facing the fact that I needed to get these finished at some point, I readied myself to tackle them.

In reality these were just very large box cushion covers. They shouldn't have been difficult. However, DB and DSisIL had chosen the fabric from hell.


I mean, this fabric has knocked satin from the top of my 'hate-to-sew-with' list. It even put the 'creep' factor when sewing velour to shame. A walking foot might have helped, but I don't have one for my machine. Instead, I had to go for loosening the presser foot pressure by quite a bit. (Much looser and I'd have been darning, lol) To top off the sorry saga, I ran out of upholstery thread but another Dsis came to the rescue by buying some on her way over to visit, which meant I could get the danged things finished tonight and I can deliver them tomorrow morning.

I should acknowledge I learnt several things doing these:

- when it comes to a 'have-to-do' job, it's better to just bite the bullet and get on with it! Whilst trying to summon up the willpower to start these I sewed nothing else. I felt guilty even thinking about other projects. Think of the wardrobe I could have had! (Unless I'd procrastinated on that too, lol.)

- I need kneepads if I'm going to crawl around the floor measuring and cutting out large rectangles. My knees reminded me I was not that young anymore after the couple of hours it took to cut these out. I also need a bigger lounge, or no furniture, if I do this again.

- it is a good idea to open the zipper when you sew the second side of the cover to the boxing strip. Yes, I really did forget this one.

- it is not a good idea to sew large amounts of bulky upholstery fabrics on very hot days!

Unfortunately this fabric doesn't count as from my stash. One of my urgent projects did however.
I had to sew a wrap skirt for DD1 for school last week after the shock of what the uniform supplier wanted to charge for a simple skirt. I took a pattern off the too small version, sized it up, (realised too late that I could have got DBro, the pattern-drafter, to make a pattern for me...) cut and sewed. Luckily I had 1.8m of a perfect navy in the stash bought for this purpose last year. I was working out pockets, pleats etc as I went and I'd change a few things if I was to do it again. Hopefully I won't have to tho, as I took a tip from the suit-hire outlets and sewed the waistband in seperate pieces. If I ever need to let it out, it's a simple sideseam stitchline. :)

Now to find where that mojo is hiding so I can get onto some sewing for me tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We've had a glorious summer here. Yes, I know I'm rubbing it in for those with snow. :)

Of course, sunny, hot days demand a trip to the beach, so last week we packed the kids up and headed south to Curio Bay. This isn't a swimming beach as such, although there's great swimming in the next bay. Instead, this was a leisurely sightseeing trip (in an air-conditioned car! Very nice in the 30+ degree temperatures).

On the way, we stopped at the Tunnel Hill walk - an abandoned railway tunnel, 246m long and pitch black. And we didn't have a torch. The minute we stepped in, all I could think of was the movie, Cloverfield, lol. DH and the kids went all the way through guided by cellphone screen light, while I kept my nephew company in the first half of the tunnel.

Amazing to think the whole thing was dug out and built by hand.

We also stopped at Purakanui Falls. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Very pretty. Except for the toilets. Note to the authorities - calling it a 'Vault' toilet does not disguise the fact that it's a long-drop! Thank goodness for wet-wipes and sanitising handwash!

We timed it well to arrive at Curio Bay about 5pm. As we arrived the yellow-eyed penguins were starting to come in to feed their chicks. They are quite tolerant of humans as long as you are quiet and still, don't get between them and their nests, or within 10m.
Unlike these idiots...
...we stayed the distance and got to see about a dozen penguins. The annoying thing about morons people who won't stay their distance is that it can scare the penguins into returning to sea and abandoning their nest, which means the chicks starve to death.

The other drawcard of Curio Bay is the Fossilised Forest. In the photo above the penguin is on a fossilised tree-stump. The straight lines you can see are fossilised tree trunks. At some time in the past (about 160 million years ago) there was a flood which knocked down the trees and covered the trunks and stumps in silt, preserving and fossilising the remains. The kids were fascinated.

Unfortunately, there weren't any dolphins while we were there although we did catch glimpses of sealions swimming out in the kelp.

We finally started heading homewards with promises of MacDonalds for dinner. Now at one point we were only 37km from Invercargill and in hindsight we should have gone to McD there. But, no, Gore will have McD we thought. Wrongly as it turned out. Nevermind, Balclutha will have one. Wrong again! Luckily, Subways has spread to all small towns so we ended up with a much healthier dinner.

It was a great day out and a wonderful end to the holidays.

(and look, Judy - not a mention of sewing, lol.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gosh, thanks...

Thanks, Sherril for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger Award - although I feel quite fraudulent as I've not been feeling at all creative lately. Sherril inspires me constantly with the wonderful clothes she makes and her impressive ability to manipulate patterns to create 'knock-off' tops which are far better than the RTW originals.

Here are the rules of the award~
1. Copy the award to your site - done
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award -done
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers - ummm....
4. Link to those on your blog
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

I really haven't kept track of who has, or hasn't been nominated already so instead I'd like to point to Carolyn's post. I think she says it so well. I think all bloggers deserve an award for putting the time and effort into sharing their creative endeavours and a part of their lives with us. Through blogs I've learned about people I'd never have a chance of knowing otherwise and I've been inspired in my humble endeavours by others creativity. So, if you read this, I nominate you! If you don't have a blog - why not start one? Go on, it's not hard. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Patternreview Quilt Blocks

I finally got around to making a quilt block for the PR Friendship Quilt. Thank goodness Deepika extended the deadline to the 19th. I'll pop it in the post tomorrow morning but I've no idea how long it will take to wing halfway across the world. It never seems to take too long coming this way.

(As an aside: I am so impressed with - I ordered on Saturday Jan 3rd NZ time, which was Jan 2nd US time, and received them the following Saturday! Wow! Needless to say I'll be using this service again as the local Spotlight never seems to receive new stock. Not the staff's fault.)

I used Kiwiana fabrics (except for the multicoloured border). The boots in the top block are decorated gumboots which just appealed to me. I'm not even going to bother counting this little bit off stash, lol.
As I suspected, I found this small dabble into the quilting world quite addictive. I'm doing my best to ignore it though - the last thing I need is another stash to house!