Sunday, February 28, 2010

What I've been up to ...

I haven't done a lot of sewing this weekend, but I have cut a lot of things out. In fact, this weekend my focus has been on cutting out things from leftover SWAP fabric. I've had a pile of leftover fabric sitting on the bed in my sewing room because I didn't want to put it away while my memory of how the fabric handled was still clear. I cut a cropped jacket out of leftover red fabric, I cut black trim from an old dress to finish a SWAP garment, I cut another totally unplanned knit jacket because I wanted to get rid of the fabric and I cut three summer tops out of leftover knits. The one thing that was from new fabric was a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts for Grant's SWAP. It's a good thing that neither of us are particularly tall because I managed to get a both of these garments from 2m of denim. This is all that's left.

Another task I completed today was to finish a cardigan I've been knitting. On top of an enormous fabric stash I also have an embarrassingly large knitting yarn stash. I have decided to just knit it all. There's not a lot of call for knitwear in the subtropics. Fortunately I know a few ladies who have had babies recently, so they have all received knitted gifts. I get a lot of satisfaction from these garments as they have all been knit during the evenings when I watch television, ie time that is otherwise wasted. This one, however, I am particularly fond of.
It's from a Jo Sharp book called Knit Issue 1 and was published in 2006. I've made a few things from it before, but I haven't loved them the way I love this cardi. The pattern is in two lengths and I made the shorter one but in retrospect, if I'd known how much wool would be left, I'd have made the longer one. It has lovely shaping so it conforms to the body to avoid that frumpy look cardigans can sometimes give. The pattern called for alpaca which is probably closer to 8ply, but this is 5ply washable wool (Sunflower) from the Bendigo Woollen Mills and has produced a wonderfully soft and comfortable garment. A large percentage of my stash is from Bendigo Woollen Mills, so you'll be seeing more of it. I love their yarns because they come in 200g balls. The entire back and both fronts came from one ball, the sleeves and most of the collar came from another.
A few weeks ago when I posted the picture of the snake in my drawer, I was so delighted with the various reactions that I thought I would show you another creature who appeared this morning.
I have never seen one of these anywhere on my property before, so how it came to be in the house and inside a lamp is a mystery. I had to pull out a reptile identification book to find out what it was. Apparently, this very relaxed and unstressed visitor is a pink tongued lizard. He flashed his very pink tongue at me to confirm this, but I wasn't quick enough to photograph that. For Australian readers, this lizard is a close (but much smaller) relative of the wonderful blue tongue lizard. Now if I had the right camera I might be able to get a quick snap of the insectivorous bat that flies through my tv room every night ...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another skirt

I made another of the Style high waisted skirts. It's in abstract puffs woven, leftover from my dress. I'm not sure if this will be part of my SWAP or just an addition to my wardrobe.

I actually made this last weekend, but hadn't hemmed it as I've been feeling pretty poorly all week. Friday afternoon gave me a lease of life and I hemmed it today after work. There's not much to say that I didn't say last time, although having worn the red one to work again this week, I may lengthen the facing next time for comfort and neatness as the facing ends at my natural waist and creates a fold when I sit. RuthieK says she has this pattern and to you, Ruthie, and anyone else who has this pattern, I would highly recommend it. I am hippy, the only thing I inherited from my Italian ancestors was round hips, so normally I would stay away from something that emphasised the difference between my waist and my hips, but this skirt is suprisingly flattering and it makes me feel kinda sexy, in a naughty secretary way.

I realised I have no summer black tops anymore (a victim of wardrobe culling) so I need some black knit and possibly even white to wear with this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Boring sewing ...

Yesterday kbenco wrote a wonderful post entitled Boring Sewing and Why I Do It. It's a great post, so go and have a look. The ironic thing for me was that I read it at a time when I was having a cup of tea, reading blogs and avoiding going to my sewing room to do some boring sewing of my own.

Sitting on my table, next to the machines threaded with the appropriate colours, was a pair of jeans for Grant's SWAP that I have been avoiding all week. The colour is boring and I have made this same pattern 5 times in recent weeks. Just like the shirt I made him last weekend. I have made that same pattern 8 times in the past two months. I can do both of them in my sleep. As kbenco said so eloquently, these are things you do for your loved ones and it's part and parcel of a successful relationship. I believe that when we use our skills to make things for others, we are expressing our love for them. I was sick this week and because my bloke is someone who doesn't know how to handle illness, he cared for me the way he knew best. He cooked me a spicy mussel soup.

So, in return I went down to my sewing room and finished his jeans.
This is a Kwik Sew jeans patterns, altered slightly. I've narrowed the legs and shortened the rise at the front by about 3cm. The fabric came from deep, deep within my stash and it's been there so long, I don't remember where I got it or why I bought it. I suspect it came from Fine Wools Direct, when they were still in operation, so it's pretty old. It's a twill weave, like a drill, I think it is wool. It's very thick and the inside is fluffy like thin fleece. It has some stretch, too, so it remains to be seen how well they wear. Grant says they will be perfect for riding his motorcycle in winter.To make them a little less boring, I used a scrap of quilting cotton for the pockets. I bought this at the op shop for 20c and it was just the perfect size to get two pockets out of. I bound the inside of the waistband with leftover bias tape I made from a 70's print cotton that I used for a dress and a top.
I only have a pair of shorts, a shirt and a jacket left to make for Grant's SWAP.
The highlight of my week so far has been this little purchase. I have wanted a press for a long time, but not enough to pay $400 or so for one. I wandered into a local second hand furniture place the other day (where nearly all my furniture has come from) and saw this. From the other items in the store that day, I suspect they has bought a deceased estate. I warily asked how much they wanted for this little baby, desperately hoping it would around $100. When the reply was $39, I had my money out in light speed. Now this is an old model, but it works. No longer will have spend hours fusing interfacing to entire jacket front with an iron. I used it yesterday for the jeans waistband and it work a treat. Don't know if I'll ever actually iron garments with it, but for sewing it is perfect!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sewing has been a little unsatisfactory this weekend. I finished the last of Grant's long sleeve shirts. This one was made with a fabric called Basketry in Milan from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is a lovely heavy weight cotton that is perfect for winter in the subtropics. Sewing it in summer, however, has been hideous. It's hot sitting on my lap to start with then the heavens opened and we had 200mm of rain in one day. This made the fabric limp as soggy lettuce, making it stretch and warp as I sewed it. I had the dehumidifier pumping right beside me, but I couldn't get the humidity down below 80%. I finally hemmed it on Sunday afternoon and put the buttons on last night. He'll enjoy wearing it in winter as it's the most wonderfully soft and cosy fabric.

I sewed up KS 3658 this morning and I am very happy. I've made this as a dress before and I debated as to whether to make a dress or top with this fabric. I kind of wish I'd made the dress, but I love the top anyway. I will have to redo the hem because my machine is playing up and it did not like the twin needle. Have a look at the closeup on the right. I'm very happy with my pattern matching, you can barely see the seam down the middle.

This week I have to cut out the last of my SWAP, but the end is in sight for Grant's. I only have two pairs of pants and a shirt to go for him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another one ...

I made this top last night. It is Kwik Sew 3338 with the self drafted cowl neck variation that was detailed in Australian Stitches last year. I make this pattern a lot, both as a regular round neck t and also with this cowl addition. It's saved me from having to buy another pattern. I've matched the side seams as best I can, but it's hard to get it exact with a shaped side seam. The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics, the You Look Marvelous print and was a dream to work with. I have enough for a sleeveless top, too. I forgot to mention yesterday's fabric which is the Lady in Red Matte jersey, also from Gorgeous Fabrics. Although it's a matte, it has a slight sheen, which is beautiful. It has a lovely weight, sews perfectly and would work really well as a dress. I'm thinking of getting more for a red wrap dress.
I've got one more SWAP top to make, then it's back to the dresses. I've saved the hardest stuff till last!

Monday, February 1, 2010

This is why I cut things out in advance ...

I knocked this top out this afternoon when I came home from work and was finished in time for dinner at 7pm. It's Vogue 1020 and I've made this pattern as a dress twice before, but decided to give it a whirl as a top. I twin needled the neckline over clear elastic and the sleeves and bottom hem are twin needled. Like most people who make this pattern, I have left out the zipper. This will get a lot of wear come winter.