Thursday, October 27, 2011

Long time, no see

I can't believe it's been 5 months since I last posted!

Well, ok I can because it's been hectic. Warning: Pity party bleat to follow - My Mother fell ill and died in August; the work/study thing has been busy, busy, busy; DH is still commuting to long-distance work which adds stress and makes life lonely at times; and I have 2 teens and a tween who's desperately trying to prove she too can exhibit teen behaviour. Phew!!! My hairdresser is certainly proving her worth keeping the grey at bay. Anyway, pity party over.

Still no coat - which is my fault for not chasing up the proper interfacing for a while. Between Spotlight's lack of stock and the rude lack of service I received at Anne's Fabrics when I asked, it was ages before I got around to getting some. By the time I did SL had it back in stock. Plus I found a totally much more beautiful lining at the same time so obviously I was supposed to be slack take my time. It's all at Judy's house just waiting for me to go visit and have a fitting so Judy knows where to start. But no hurry - it's summer now.

Despite everything else I did get away for a weekend in July for the first time in 18 years with my husband and without children. Yep, no children and no guilt about it either. We went to a beautiful wedding in Hanmer Springs and have decided we really need to go back for a family holiday. The weather was beautiful and the Southern Alps had snow on them so it was all very picturesque.

I actually managed to sit at my "sewing" desk last weekend. I was a bit worried that with all the neglect the machines would have turned feral, but after a dust off (yes, my optimism knows no bounds and I'd left them uncovered so I could sew easily, bwah hahha) they consented to work enough for me to fix a few hems. So not 'real' sewing, but baby steps. After all, I wouldn't want to put my machines into shock by asking them to actually convert flat fabric into something wearable straight away.

Life hasn't been all craft-free however. After the scarf which took 23 years to finish last year, I have taken up crocheting scarfs galore, lol. I even have a beret and arm warmers planned for DD2.

Plus I discovered Pinterest. And StumbleUpon. Need I say more. So enjoyable, but I swear time speeds up the minute I login. I can't possibly spend that much time on the internet....

And cos no blog should be without a picture...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A coat, a coat, some chocolate for a coat...

(Apologies to Shakespeare)

It's rapidly becoming winterish here and after shivering away with the knowledge that my schedule was not going to be allowing any coat sewing I came up with a brilliant plan - buy the biggest bag of Reese's Pieces I could find and bribe Judy to make it for me help me make it at her place (tho' who are we really trying to kid here - my 'help' will consist of opening packets and nodding wisely as Judy explains techniques).

So, pattern - Vogue 8626 which has a nice pleated back detail, the collared version.

One visit down and there's progress. A muslin has been examined, Judy has approved it and was very tactful about the modifications she will be making to fit my broad back, full bust and the hollow chest that occurs above the ample aforesaid bust. And perhaps stitching the pleats down for the first few inches.

Then came the big decision. Sensible navy cashmere for which I do have a really beautiful satin lining already picked? OR the purple melton I picked up a while ago (yikes - in 2009!) and for which I do have some purple skulls satin set aside for lining, tho I'm still in two minds about that? Judy made the point that purple is cheerful for winter, so I ignored my inner mumsy voice telling me the navy was more practical and purple it will be! Now I've just got to summon the funds to get interfacing and maybe a different lining.

While I was hunting out the various fabrics and patterns to show Judy, I was reacquainted with fabrics which I also have plans for and I was reminded that I'm missing having sewing time. Somehow, my planned month off was filled with marking assignments and running around after kids.
Must. Sew. More.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I got nothin'

No sewing, no hobbies, nada.

Except for a looming deadline this week,

a growing collection of empty coke bottles,

and one furry helper who seems to feel ignored.

I'll know I've been a bad mom when the the ten year old tries this.

But Friday, Friday.... I'm free for a week!

(anyone else got that irritating song in their head now?)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

It feels surreal today to be sitting down to work as normal when the TV is showing such terrible pictures of devastation from Christchurch. I cannot imagine the day my DH is having up there. There will be no 'normal' for some time I'm sure. I admit that, selfishly, I wish he could quit and come back home.

When I felt the quake yesterday I wasn't too worried about DH. Must be over in Fiordland I thought, because our house seems to be sheltered from the northern quakes to an extent. However, the realisation that it was from Christchurch and that we had felt it strongly here underscored how big a quake it was. Luckily I was able to ring DH and get a 30 second call so I knew he was ok. However, the ongoing uncertainty and concern over his safety and well-being is wearing. I can only imagine what it is like for those who have not yet heard from family and friends and are having to face the possibility of bad news. The death toll is inevitably going to rise, and the lives of all those affected have been torn apart.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Christchurch today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vintage Sewing Book

My plans to do a bit of sewing may have fallen by the wayside, but I have been reading about sewing. My mother had a clear-out of her sewing books and I liberated this one:

I can't find any indication of the age apart from the illustrations, which I think indicate 1950's (one google result did suggest 1940). The book is in 3 parts dealing with patternmaking, sewing processes and techniques, and garment making. I've been leafing through this enough to know I want to sit down and read it fully. There seem to be copies available secondhand, but with the power of Google I did find it's also available as an e-book.

Adding to the interest was this pattern tucked inside the cover.

It's a supplement pattern from the May 2, 1962 Australian Women's Weekly magazine. I can usually take or leave vintage patterns, but it's quite interesting to try to imagine the woman who once pulled this pattern out to make. I wonder if she ever did? Or did she decide that adding 1/2 an inch at the side seams was too basic and use her book to draft a better-fitting dress? [ Insert your own flashback dream sequence here ;) ]

Back in the modern world, the decluttering continues slowly. Among the kids dress-up clothes being donated to my niece and nephew, I found the "Winnie the Pooh" outfit (complete with padded tummy) that I made for DS's role in the school musical 6 years ago.

Sigh. How quickly they grow up.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

'Handy-womanning' and a cat bed

My DSis recently gave me a large desk which had been left behind in the house they bought. I love the size - perfect for studying with everything spread out and, if I cleared it off, a good size and height for pattern tracing and cutting.

However, the height was uncomfortable when studying, even with my office chair as high as it could go and my feet dangling in the air. After ending up with sore shoulders after just one evening something had to be done. The desk was flipped over and I realised that at some point somebody had added extra to the base. They'd attached it well too with what seemed the longest screws ever invented which had of course, rusted and stuck themselves in there forever. Annoyingly, my drill couldn't reach because the screws had been sunk so far into the wood. What to do? Fetch the hammer and saw of course. :) I cut my way down to those accursed screws, disposed of the wood and got those screws out. Well apart from the one that refused to budge which I, ahem, snapped off in my frustration.

Once that was done I was left with the need to put a (much lower) trim on the base. So off to Bunnings I went with a diagram and measurements, where a very helpful employee offered advice and suggestions which could all be done easily with a saw and a hammer.

The result is a lower (8.5cm lower) smoother base.
And a perfect height for studying.

As well as wreaking havoc on furniture, I also upset one of our cats by moving the beanbag he liked to sleep on. To make it up to him I made a beanbag cat bed. This was essentially a 'free' project, using all stashed fabrics, zip and beanbag fill. I've made the microfleece cover removable for easy washing. As I'm throwing the scraps, that's another 1.8 metres from stash. :)

Sprite on his new bed:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

De-stashing Patterns

With a move in our future later this year, I have started removing the junk clutter in the house.

Judy kindly volunteered to give me a hand with the patterns, so armed with chocolates, coffee and cola, we sat down Monday night and went though the lot. We ended up culling half of my pattern stash!

299 patterns soon to be gone (minus those Judy removed to her house...)

Leaving me with the majority of my remaining 268 patterns in the drawers (the Jalies are on a shelf with the Ottobres) and another 28 'probables' in the blue box you can see in the bottom corner. At the moment these have just been shoved in the drawers and still need to be organised properly. Maybe some others will join the culled pile when that happens. :)

There are also 2 Hotpatterns (my first) winging their way to me after I was inspired by both Debbie's and Michelle's results.

I still have to go through my mother's even larger stash of patterns. Somehow I ended up with all of them to sort out after I mentioned that old/vintage patterns can be sold. Judy and I had a quick flick through a couple of boxes and spotted about a dozen pre-1970 patterns, but by this stage it was getting on for midnight so have left them for another night (or two).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another UFO done

Just for Judy, some 'real' sewing at last. :)

While I was tidying up the chaos of sewing bits and bobs, I came across a UFO. This was supposed to be a dress for DD1 last summer. I winged the pattern back then using the Ottobre 02/2007 tanktop and an existing dress for the skirt measurements. However, when DD1 tried it on, the top part was a bit short (oops) as well as, apparently, too high a neckline. (You may remember that DD1 and I have had that conversation before.) The dress-to-be was therefore put to one side to be forgotten about while I contemplated what to do and whether I could be bothered digging out more of the purple cotton lycra to make another top. I think it's fairly obvious I couldn't.

So yesterday, whilst scratching for inspiration, my eyes lit upon this in the pile and I decided to take another look at it. DD1 announced that she no longer liked the fabric that much, but DD2 did. I used a size P from Jalie 965 to recut the bodice and was able to use the existing neckline (and therefore binding). Unfortunately, I did have to unpick the armhole binding to reuse on the newly shaped armhole openings. From then on, it was just put it all together.

Just perfect if the weather gets back to summer again.

The back of the tank goes lower, but is covered by the waist ties. DD2 likes this so much that I didn't even get a chance to iron it before I took photos. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

More ch-ch-changes

For some reason I've had that Bowie song going round in my head lately.

You may have noticed I'm trialling a new look for the blog. What do you think? It might take me a while to get used to it. Still, at least my blog is tidy(ish) even if my house isn't.

Today's weather was not summer-like at all so I actually attempted a bit of sewing accompanied by an episode or two of Mad About You.

It was the perfect program to take my mind off the fact I was unpicking armhole binding. I'm resizing a dress for DD2 after DD1 'went off' the fabric. Fortuitous perhaps because it was a bit short in the bodice length for her anyway. ;) Hopefully that means some more sewing to show soon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Still here

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a good Christmas.

Although you'd be forgiven for wondering given the lack of blogging this year, I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. 2010 was such a busy year it simply flew past. To top it off, we found out on Christmas Eve that 2011 is bringing big changes for our family, including a shift to another city. DH will be moving early in the year to take up his new job. However, after I found out I'd been given a scholarship by the university we've decided the kids and I will hang out here until the end of the year to clear up school years, the house etc with DH popping home for visits. There's a lot of clearing out to do over the year. It is amazing how much 'stuff' can accumulate when you've lived in one house for 17 years.

I started this week by dumping gifting an enormous pile of craft magazines to my friends at our regular 'girly night' and didn't come home with any. :) At some point I will have to tackle the stash. Gulp. I'll have to try and sew a bit up this year around everything else. Yeah right.

There has been the odd spark of creativity around the place though. First up was a nightie for me from Kwik Sew 2822 which appears to be Out of Print now. It was the first time I'd made this and it worked well.

I also unearthed and finally completed a 23 year old UFO - a crocheted scarf. Noticeably the tensions are a bit different at the ends, but I'm going with the "it's a design feature" line. ;)

Obviously overcome with the euphoria of a rare completed project I proceeded to relieve the Spotlight sale table of more wool/yarn. I now have a new crochet project - surprise, surprise, a scarf for DD2 who chose the wool and had the cheek to ask if it will be done by winter. She neglected to specify which year...

Finally, yesterday I completed my DSis' housewarming/Christmas present (only two weeks late). She requested bright placemats for their dark brown dining table in their new dark and dreary dining room. Knowing DSis I knew these had to be easycare and washable (and not floral or too cutesy or...). My youngest daughter was let loose in Spotlight to choose fabrics and after DSis had given approval, this is what we ended up with:

A longer centrepiece mat to protect surfaces from keys etc being dumped on it, and 2 sets of placemats which are reversible. I used AnneM's review here as a guide. We dropped them off today and DSis seems very happy with them. Of course, I then opened my big mouth and offered to make the scraps into coasters - D'oh!

Today I began attempting to create order from the chaos that has resulted from moving my sewing desk downstairs. I can't find anything! DH tried to tell me it would be a good time to clear out the desk drawers as well, but he is obviously not thinking straight, lol.