Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone !

I have neglected posting for nearly a month as its bedlam around here.

But I did want to share some of my handmade christmas gifts with you.   I made tons of little zippered bags, and purses etc.   but my favourite new thing is bunting:

As for received gifts, well the most heartwarming gift was our beautiful new puss cat.   About 3 weeks ago, this very gaunt and bony black cat came on the scene and although his gauntness gave him a bit of an evil leer, he was just the most affectionate and sweet cat.  Obviously not a feral cat, but definitely one who had lost his way from home.   I couldnt have it on my conscience to let a cat starve, so I made sure he was well nourished.

We took this picture and letterboxed the neighbourhood,

And I rang the local pound to see what the procedure was for strays.   I was told to bring him in and if he's not microchipped, he would be kept for 7 days to give the owners time to make contact, and if he was microchipped, he'd be kept for 14 days.

So we took him to the local vet to see whether he had a chip and he did.  Talk about devastation.  I had prepped the kids 'you know if he's chipped that is the best result for him because then he gets to go back to his family, yada yada yada'.   And my girls were sad but ok about it.  Me - I was heartbroken!

Anyway, after 2 weeks of trying to contact the owners to no avail, and me making daily calls to the vet (we even visited him!) I finally got the call to come and collect him if we wanted him!   Did we ?!   So that's how he came to our house.  Its been since 22 December now since he moved in and he's every bit as affectionate and loving as he ever was.   And Slinky (the existing cat) has been adjusting slowly, he's keeping out of Slinky's way.

And get this - his name was "Karma".  But we've renamed him "Snoop Dogg Nelson Karma" because Slinky and Snoopy sound so good together.

Here's the two of them together.  Awww !
Oh - and I bought myself some indigenous art.   One piece I've had framed already, the other is still just the plain canvas

They're Dreamtime Sisters by Colleen Wallace Nungari.   I LOVE THEM !

So that's it from me. I have family up from Hobart, so its all a bit squashy here right now, and not really optimal for sewing, especially now the weather's turned bleak and everyone has to stay inside.  Bring back the sunshine!

Merry Christmas to everyone and have a happy new year etc.   I look forward to following you all next year and making some great kick ass vintage dresses!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bag making frenzy, oh and an apron too.

I do manage to squeeze a bit of sewing in between my hair pulling dress projects.  Behold the latest swag of goodies.

Request from friend going away for a holiday, she wanted something with a zip so pickpockets couldnt get in.   I used the Nicole Mallalieu Sling bag pattern but used her instructions for zippered gusset from the Day Bag pattern.

We had a hot pink lining and zips.   The added bonus of the dropped gusset as you can see is that it fits a water bottle perfectly.  So easy access for your water bottle but everything else safely zipped inside.   She was thrilled of course.

Next up I made another Sling for a friend who chose the Fruit Bowl pattern Daisy Janie Rio Grand fabric from Tonic Living.   My alltime favourite online fabric shop.
This is beautiful fabric to work with.  Its really crisp and sturdy but in a nice way, not cardboardy.  Its organic too.   I highly recommend it, perfect for bags.

And a little makeup bag (also a Nicole M pattern here) from the leftover scraps
Then a request from one of my daughter's friends for a coin purse.  She picked the fabric from my stash.  I suggested a contrast lining but she was having none of that.  So this lovely little Thai silk number from yet another *gasp* Nicole M pattern:

And lastly an Apron for a Kris Kringle / Secret Santa gift swap for yet another work Christmas do.  This gift was for a high flying corporate lawyer who has lived in her house for 2 years and had never used the oven!   She had used the stove top a few times apparently.  So I got her a kids step by step cookbook and made the half skirt apron from Butterick 4945 (which I made another apron from here) in cute polka dot spot with contrast red trim.
It looked gorgeous !
I don't think its going to turn her into a domestic homebody, but it was funny and she does love it.

So that's about it for me - I think I've caught up with myself now.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vogue 1172 - out and about

Poor me, I was so over this dress by the time the party arrived.  But I frocked up and had a great night and EVERYONE loved my dress.   It did look beautiful.  And who cared if the bottom was a bit wonky?

Preserving the anonymity of my beautiful colleague (whose dress is SOO pretty), giving you the full look here.
I knew I couldnt be bothering with hairdos on the night, so I bought a cheap wig.  Accessorised.  And voila!

Thanks everyone for your assistance with my hemming issues.  I thought the string and chalk method wouldnt work for such a full skirt and I just did as an anonymous poster suggested and hung it on a hanger and measured down from there.  The dress had been hanging for a few days so it was well and truly dropped.

It still wasnt perfect but at that stage I just wanted to finish and forget about it.

I feel so liberated now that its finally done !


In summary this dress was easy to make, is very figure flattering and comfortable.
Negatives were definitely hemming.  And the fabric component.  Even cutting off 15cms from the bottom of the pattern pieces didnt save me much.  It took 4.5 metres with a bit left over.
10/10 Vogue 1172 !

If you plan on making it and want to see my progress posts they are here for the toile, here for a progress update, and here for hemming problems with great solutions.

And Sewing Pattern review  here

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vogue 1172 - at the hate stage ... must push through

At the finishing off stage and in this dress that's no frigging party.

The bias on the godets hangs longer and every time I try and straighten it up its still super wonky.  I need a dress form or a twin.

I thought I had it pretty right so I overlocked it.  But is this ready to hem?

Frigging stupid frigging hate frigging bloody (@*#$

But in other news.

I made a silk petticoat to go under the tulle so its not all scratchy.   
And that's Thai silk that was purchased for $2 at the Salvos.  Score! 

Party this Friday. 


I think hubby's gonna find himself standing on a chair this evening, don't you ?   And if he complains I'm gonna go all Mugatu on him "oh, I'm sorry, did my pin get in the way of your ass ??".


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vogue 1172 - I'd better get moving

The party is next Friday 26 Nov.  I've been sailing along doing other things and suddenly I realised I havent even touched it for ages!   Oops.

Today I completed the bodice and took some woeful pix

So now I have to :
Make the skirt
attach the skirt
put in the zip
fit the waist stay
Then I get to stress again and make the petticoat.

I can definitely finish it this weekend if I totally neglect my family.  Easy.


But that was all at lunch time and look at where I'm at now !
I'm pinching it together because the zip's not in yet.  And I'm headless because I think this dress deserves a decent face and hair.

I'm so thrilled.  Its looking unreal.


Pfaff 260 perserverence pays off

When I bought my Pfaff 260 a year ago it only came with two feet.  The standard foot and what I thought was the zipper foot. 
I've had a search on ebay for pfaff 260 since then and just was usually bombarded with listings that never came up with the goods.  Coincidence listings, you know?

Anyway after one whole year a listing came up with feet, an instruction manual and the wheel for decorative stitches.  I nabbed them for $40.

It turns out my zipper foot was actually an edge stitch foot so now I have a real zip foot.

How fabulous is that haul?   I already had a manual but looking through the one from ebay, it was from an earlier machine and made interesting reading.   I loved this bit:

I know I'll never use all these feet, but I feel good that they've got together with my machine.  I'm sure they're very happy to be living together.

Even though it looks like the ones I got came from 1958 and my machine is (I'm pretty sure) 1965.  Its like the older sister coming back home!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Napkin with mitred border frame tutorial

I am in the process of making 12 napkins as a gift to my generous work colleague who's hosting Christmas lunch for our team at her house.  There are 12 of us in the team so its a big ask from anyone.  I had the perfect napkin in mind, one with a mitred border on one side only.  But how to make?   This is the story of my journey to turn the vision into a reality.

Cue: One length of off white linen purchased at an op shop for $4 aeons ago.
When I purchase fabric I overlock the edges, wash and mark with the price I paid so I can get all smug later when I sew it up.   But back on track.

The linen was 150cm wide x 2m so I calculated that the fabric I had could make 3 x 50cm (19 inch) napkins along the width, and 4 x 50cm (19 inch) along the selvage.  That is 12 napkins all up at 50cm square.   The actual measurements in real life were a bit looser than this, after trying to true them up, they came in about 48cms square-ish.   The size of the napkin is generous and you can go with whatever works for you, but I prefer one that sits over my whole lap.

I had to buy the contrast border fabric, and got far too much because I wasn't thinking.  I got 1.5 metres at $9.95per metre.  Next time I'll figure out the measurements before I buy.   If you are doing a 5cm (2 inch) border then you need this times the four sides.  If the fabric is 112cms wide, then you need 10cms to do one napkin, and you'll have a bit left over.   So I had 12 napkins x 10 cms = 1.2 metres.   So I got 1.5 in case something went horribly wrong.  Or if my maths on the fly was completely out.   As it happened I was right in the first place.

So now onto the construction. 

As my napkins weren't square, I cut 4 strips x 2" wide for each side of the fabric and then sewed them together mitreing the corners.   I made myself up a little template to make life easier, as I didnt want to sew it completely to the inside edge - preferring to fold that inside to finish it off.  I made this little 45 degree triangle and marked it at half inch.  I created this with the help of my quilters ruler which has a 45 degree angle marked on it.  You dont need to create this template of course but its a lot easier to lay this little card on the fabric, rather than getting out your chunky ruler each time.

Then I put it on the fabric where 2 strips are butted up against each other and mark the angle line.
Then marked the 1/2 inch point where I should stop stitching
Sew the 4 corners.
Cut the ends off
Press the seams open and press down the inside excess towards the inside.
I marked the top edge with an 'x' and did the same on the fabric to avoid having a 'which way does this go?' moment.
Pin it on all the way around and sew with a quarter inch seam.
Clip the corners
Turn it to the inside and press into place.   Sew close to the inside edge.  Make sure you have one colour for the top fabric and one colour for the plain napkin.  I had red in the top and beige in the bobbin.
 Like thus:
Give it a final press and marvel at the front:
and the back
Especially your neat mitred corners.
And now, as a bonus for you sticking with me this far, I'm going to show you how I streamlined the process and went hard at it Production Line style.
Just one extra long 2" strip this time.   Butt against one edge - make a marking on the trim and the napkin so you know which is the top edge (not necessary if you have a true square).   Mark a dot at at each of the next three corners, and cut the trim to be equal with the final edge.

Take it to the machine and every time you come to a dot do this:
  Take it under your presser foot and sew just alongside your template and stop at the 1/2" line.  I found it easier to do it this way rather than start at this bit and go to the corner.  You can do either way, but you must securely back stitch at the inside edge where you stop.
I punched some holes in my template to allow for easier pinning after I had a couple of slippage issues.
Then proceed to the ironing board and continue as with original method.

Bon appetit !


Three down. 9 to go.

(and the final tally $4 napkin fabric, $15 trim fabric.  Total $19 for 12 napkins, or $1.58 each.  Smug.  Well and truly)