Tuesday, June 30, 2009

JCC2 almost done ...

I sewed the buttons on the pinky greeny floraly blouse last night and sewed most of the green paisley one. Here are some crappy pictures taken at six this morning in the mirror. I've piped the front panel, collar and cuffs and used cute little leaf shaped buttons that I will show at a later date.
I've also taken this picture with the jacket, but you can't tell how it looks in this picture. The jacket is still too big and needs adjusting.
Tonight I just need to put the collar on the green paisley and do the buttonholes. The cap needs a lining. I will be down to the wire tonight, but I will make it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Slow sewing ...

I've made little and slow progress this weekend. The spirit is willing, but somehow when I get to my sewing room it all goes away and I stare out the window a lot.
I did, however, make some progress with the June Capsule Contest garments. I made B5250 wide leg pants in chocolate brown wool.
The don't photograph well and the light is too poor today to do outside shots on me (it's raining again). This is a lovely wool blend suiting from Gorgeous Farbics, but because wool and I don't get on very well, I lined them with charmeuse, which feels delightful on my skin and gives these pants a lovely drape and flow.

I had a little fabric left over, so I made a skirt from my TNT pattern, also lined with charmeuse.As well as working for my JCC2, these garments also fit my vanilla choc orange wardrobe.

I've also included a shot of the skirt modelled by Vera, with some fabric that I will use to make a blouse. Although it's hard to tell from this shot, the fabric has purpley brown leaves and a limey greenish flower in it and it ties the jacket and skirt together really well. I just need one more top after that, so the June 30 deadline shouldn't be a problem!

It's pouring rain again, so I'm off to have a glass of Shiraz in the bath and then peruse some patterns for my blouse.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Make it 38 metres ....



I already know what this purple animal print will be.


Not sure about this one yet, but as Carolyn mentions in her post, you should have something snakeskin this season. I knowthe list says accessory, but this will do for me.The rest look pretty boring after the first two, but these three pieces are all planned purchases, with patterns traced and ready to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Some sewing satisfaction ...



After my wasted day yesterday, I am pleased to say that I have made something I am very happy with. It's Kwik Sew 3658 made from the steam heat jersey I fell in love with on Friday night. I love this dress and plan to wear it tomorrow. I also dug from the deepest depths of my wardrobe, a cardigan dress thing I made last year from a vintage pattern and have never actually worn. The colours match perfectly. I'm undecided about whether I will wear them together or not. Together they look a little sack like on Vera, but the cardigan dress thing has more shape than this picture suggests.


I've had a productive day, even though I've only sewn one thing. I have pants and a skirt cut out for my JCC2 wardrobe and a top for my vanilla choc orange thing as well. I've retraced three patterns that I thought I needed to make in a smaller size and I've bought more fabric and washed it. I realise, with some horror, that I have bought 28 metres of fabric in the last week!!

Even though it's winter here, the sun is still very harsh in this part of the world, so I choose to dry my fabrics (particularly the quilting cottons I've bought so much of lately) in the shade on the verandah. The shots of the fabric I posted yesterday where all draped over various bits of furniture. I found Molly asleep on one of them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A frustrating day sewing ...

So I changed my blog colours.



Today started out well. I've been working on this jacket. It's Vogue 8161. I just learned it's now out of print and I only bought it fairly recently. I'm loving this jacket already, made from a chocolate brown sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics. I was ready to fuse and insert the sleeves this afternoon and was horrified to learn that I am out of the interfacing I used on the body of the jacket. I was sure I bought another 10m last time I was in Brisbane, but I can't find it to save my life. Of course, this interfacing is the only one I can't get locally. This project will have to go on hold for a while. Incidentally, I have pinned on some buttons for comment. I bought these because I really like them, not necessarily for this jacket, but I thought I'd show you all and see what you think. I can't figure out how to use the macro feature on my camera very well, so this is the best close up I could get.


After being forced to put the jacket aside, I moved on to a pair of Alice and Olivia pants in a striped twill. The result was so disgusting I did not even bother to photograph it. This is my second attempt at this pattern, made so beautifully by Erica twice so far and the second time this pattern has not lived up to my expectations.
I started working on another version of Cidell's favourite dress. I've forgotten the number, but it's from BWOF 09-2007 and you will see it tomorrow.
Lastly today, to make myself feel cheerful, I washed the fabric I bought last weekend. Here it is in no particular order. First up, another paisley, because I love paisley. I think this will be a shirt.

This one makes me think of flying saucers and crop circles and feels a little retro to me. I have a few dresses in mind.

This hasn't photographed very well. The background is chocolate brown and the circles are a salmon pink. I definitely see a dress in this one, but I don't know which one yet.

More tomorrow ...

Friday, June 12, 2009

A big thank you ...




A very big thank you to Gail for bestowing me this Lovely Blog Award. I am thrilled and very flattered. Yes, Gail, we must have coffee when I am next in Sydney - or perhaps next time you are up this way?

My main reason for keeping this blog is to motivate myself. If I feel I have a commitment to show my work and write something at least once a week, then I will sew more. Thank you to everyone for support and encouragement. I will pass this award on, as requested, but I need to figure just who to pass it on to next.

In the meantime, I pose a question.

When does a piece of fabric stop being a piece of fabric and become a garment?

Recently I received an order from Gorgeous Fabrics. There was a piece of ivory rayon jersey. When I bought it, I had no idea what I had intended, but as soon as it was in my hand I had a complete picture of the garment it was to become. Nothing earth shattering, I know, but the fabric felt like that top.

There have been times when I've spied a fabric in a shop and could instantly see the finished garment. There are fabrics in my stash that still, years down the track, will only be made into the garment I first saw when I bought it. Meanwhile, other fabrics I forget even buying. Sometimes I go to my stash and something leaps out and demands to be made and it's not what I had intended when I bought it.

Then there are the times when a garment only emerges as I finish the hem, or sew on the buttons. I have a jacket downstairs pinned on Vera which consists only of the two back pieces. The front interfaced pieces are laying across the arm of the sofa next to it and the rest is still in its box, but it is already a garment. It just feels that way.

At the other end of the scale there is the orange safari dress that I started when it was still warm enough to wear short sleeves. All this dress needs is the epaulettes sewn on, buttonholes and buttons and hemming. I can't finish it because it doesn't feel like a garment. It feels like an old scrap of fabric.

Shannon has blogged before about the weight of garments and I think she's right. When the fabric starts to take on a weight and a life in my hands, then it becomes a garment.

Tonight I received another Gorgeous Fabrics order. Top left is a choc brown jersey because I need a plain brown top, top right is persimmon shirting because I was so impressed with the lovely blouse that Karen made and I knew this colour would work with my vanilla choc orange theme. The bottom is a brown wool suiting that will become B5250 wide leg pants to go with my June Capsule Contest wardrobe and my vanilla choc orange. The squiggly jersey is called Steam Heat and I liked it when I saw it on the website and I LOVED it when I opened the package. It will become a dress first thing tomorrow.


The other thing I bought I have no idea what to do with, but I fell in love with it because I adore paisley and I had to have it. Don't know why as it is largely blue and I don't really wear blue, but I'm sure this fabric will tell me what it wants to become!
I'm off to start my weekend sewing. With DH in Sydney at his grandmother's funeral and not back till Monday, I can sew without anyone saying I am not paying them enough attention!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Vanity, thy name is Man ...

With a long weekend ahead of me, I had three garments cut and ready to sew, as well as a rough plan in my head for joining the June Capsule Contest at Stitchers Guild. Sadly, it all went out the window. DH received a call from his parents to say that his grandmother had died. The funeral is on Friday, necessitating a trip to Sydney. I have been offering to make him some clothes for ages, but he kept telling me not to worry because he had plenty of clothes. So, faced with a trip to Sydney and the need to wear something other than the holey t-shirts and ripped shorts he wears at home, he asked me to make him some clothes.

I've been working on a shirt pattern for him for some time. The fitting problems have been numerous. First of all his chest size is about four sizes bigger than his waist. There is a 22inch difference between his chest and his waist. To get a shirt to fit his chest, there is a massive amount of extra fabric at his waist. Add to that the fact that his neck is larger and the muscle that goes from his neck to shoulder is huge and creates a sloping shoulder effect and a large fold of fabric at the front.
When I saw BWOF 03-2009-132 with darts in the back, I thought I would give it a whirl. I did an adjustment to the shoulder, using the technique described in the Threads fitting DVD for a sloping shoulder. This caused DH some concern, because he likes to think he has big square shoulders and didn't like me calling it a sloping shoulder adjustment. So I called it a thick neck adjustment. I don't think he liked that either, but he left me alone after that. The adjustment on the Threads DVD was for a shoulder seam, not a yoke, so I had to make a few guesses. DH is short, so I had to shorten the shirt as well as the sleeves.

Long story short, I made two shirts from the altered pattern. I ended up taking the darts in a little more and shaping the side seams a little more than the pattern, but now DH has two shirts that actually show his shape, rather than hang like a sack. Not that you can tell that from these pictures. Temperamental thing he is, he said he'd tried the shirts on too many times already and why did I want him to put them on again???



This is a butter yellow linen with short sleeves. DH requested no collar, so I went with the Nehru look.
This is the long sleeved version, again with a Nehru collar, but this time I made it a little narrower, as DH was worried about looking like he has no neck. I know it's a commonly held belief that women are vain, but I swear that DH is the most vain person I have ever met. Given that I have spent most of my working life in the film industry working with self-centred actors, this is saying something!

Tonight I am making him a pair of corduroy jeans in black. I made him a pair of light cord pants in brown a couple of weeks ago to go with a cord jacket I made him last year, so that gives him two outfits to wear.
As for me, I have joined the June Capsule Contest requiring a four piece wardrobe based on an orphan. Here is my orphan. It's a lovely, soft chartreuse wool that I have lined with a ridiculous purple snoopy fabric. I made this about 7 years ago, when I didn't know much about sewing jackets. It's two sizes too big and it needs to be underlined as well as having buttons put on. I will, at a later date, take it apart and fix the obvious problems, but for now I need to figure out what to wear with it. I'm thinking brown pants. Funnily enough, the brown striped fabric I used for DH's shirt has this very green in it. I'll see if I can get some more. I'm still on the hunt for something else to go with this, so any suggestions are welcome!

Parting shot - here are my scissors. On the left is a brand new pair of Mundial Cushion Soft, This is my second pair - the first are still going strong after 12 years but are currently out being sharpened. The purple pair I bought a few weeks ago while I was waiting on the new Mundial scissors. They are titanium, I've forgotten what brand. I've decided to use these for microfibres and things that blunt scissors quickly. The next ones are my pattern cutting scissors and have served me well over the years. The final pair is my snips. I buy these six a time and chuck them when they start to blunt. I used to have them on a lenght of elastic I wore around my neck, but I kept cutting it, so I don't do that anymore. The ribbon is there because I always bury them under crap on the table.

At least with DH away for a while, I'll have time to sew without anyone hassling me ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Sewing Space ...

Everyone lately has been showing their very neat and organised sewing spaces. I thought I'd show you the disaster that is my sewing room. Bear in mind that I am in the process of having cupboards built (and that went on hold when the floods came) and that is why there is stuff strewn everywhere. The shell of the cupboards is built, but there are no shelves as yet, so I have boxes of fabric stacked in there at the moment, as you will see. First up is my sewing table, mid garment construction, complete with obligatory cup of tea.

Next is my sofa, which is covered in Works In Progress, including 20m of burgundy and gold satin with which I intend to recover the Jacobean sofa in my living room. Note the orange UFO on the corner. Can you tell I don't like that dress??
Here is the bed, also covered in WIPs. These ones are in nice plastic containers. The dresser at the end of the bed is covered in patterns that don't fit in the drawers. Yes, there is a drum kit in there as well. I've had to move it while the carpentry work goes on, so there are drums stashed in corners all over the room. You will see that I can't make it to the fireplace on the left side of the picture because of my drums, which has been annoying as I've wanted to light the fire while it's been raining.

Moving around we come to the ugly pink mirror on a stand which I bought recently with a view to repainting (and obviously haven't done), my ironing board which is abandoned in the middle of the floor and a few more drums tucked into a corner.

In behind the mirror we come to the Cupboard that Bruce Built.


These three show the appalling state of my fabric stash at present, jammed into plastic tubs and stacked on top of each other. But that's still not enough mess for me - here is my solarium, also covered in a pile of fabric.


To show you that I can be neat, here is my collection of pin holders. Each colour is a different kind of pin for a different use. I colour code when I work with knits, heavy fabrics and lighter fabrics. Needless to say, this disorder in my sewing room is driving me nuts and now that the floods are over, I hope Bruce will be back to finish my cupboards this week so I can get back to normal!!!

But it hasn't stopped me sewing. Here is BWOF 09-2007-111 that a made from a heavy piece of caramel coloured stretch sateen that I bought at the op shop for $3. It's much heavier than other sateens and I suspect it may be home dec fabric. It hasn't photographed very well, so you can't see the seaming details. The original pattern has a self fabric belt, but for some reason I don't like self fabric belts, so I tried this with a selection of wide belts and found that the colour I liked best was a dark purple patent leather one, about 10cm wide.Seeing how well purple goes with this dress sent me diving into the stash for this fabric ...It's a matte jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics that I bought a year or so ago. I think I'll make a top to go under this dress for winter wear. I have the purple belt and coincidentally a pair of purple patent leather boots to match ... looks like the vanilla chocolate orange wardrobe is on hold for a few days ...