Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sew U Home Stretch

This is my most recent acquisition and tonight I'm going to work on one of the dress variations. I'll get to use my brand new rotary cutter and mat, which I bought on the advice in both of Wendy Mullins books. Fingers crossed for me!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Today Was a Good Day

Today was the day of good things for me and Ruth. Ruth got the sewing machine she originally wanted for 300 dollars less than she went to the shops with and I found some awesome things at the op-shop. I added to my vast empire of tracksuit material (bright blue this time), found a chair upholstered with carpet and the mother of all ironing boards finally found me. I wasn't shopping for any of these things of course, and I couldn't find the thing I actually wanted but I think that is what shopping is all about.

I saw this tatty looking thing sitting behind some even tattier outrageously over-priced chairs and decided it must come home with me. Then I sat in it and discovered it was really comfy, which was a bonus really. This picture doesn't really do it justice at all.

I'm not entirely sure where it's going to go, as my two room flat is already stuffed to the gills with furniture and the two chairs already there sometimes find themselves with nothing to do. That's not even mentioning the arm chair..

A while ago I posted about an ironing board cover I'd made for the brand new board I'd found next to a skip. At the time I had been lamenting the lack of quality ironing boards and the price for even a mediocre example. I poo-pooed Ruth when she assured me that one would eventually turn up in an op-shop, mostly because when you aren't looking for ironing boards you never see them, they're a bit of background item. Funnily enough the most glorious of heavy duty ironing boards just turned up in Ruths local. And it's green. It seems semi-industrial, with a heavy duty base and a wide top. It's even got one of those little arms that holds up the cord as you iron, which I was wishing that I had just the the day.

And it's almost a full year older than me;

Sadly, I didn't find any material for the caftan that Ben personally requested (not under duress I swear).

The real star of the day, however, was the Pfaff Classic Style Fashion, courtesy of Carol at Carols of Midland. Ruth finally managed to replace the sewing machine that I purloined last year with a much better one and it was all good fun.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Unmentioned Choice Three

A while ago I was mulling over my options of what to make next and after deciding that adjusting the pattern of choice 2 was too hard and the fabric I had was crappy anyway, I decided to go with the worst option, which was to copy a top I already have. As predicted, it didn't come out to well. It doesn't resemble the original in any way; the neckline is a different shape, I couldn't the the elastic in the gathered sleeve to do its thing properly and for some reason the back was massive. I ended up taking the elastic out, shortening the sleeves and putting a huge seam up the back.

This ordeal got me down a little so I didn't post it until now, 5 weeks later. I've sewn several things since then, but had no successes. I don't think I have any sort of natural flair or talent for it, I haven't made anything that I would consider even remotely acceptable and it is generally an upsetting chore. Like golf for some people I suppose. Except for Steve. He has natural flair and talent for everything, the bastard.

Here is it is anyway;

Here are two most excellent things I purchased on the internet recently that are on their way to me now.

A coin purse in the shape of an owl;

A pattern that I will probably never make, but for some reason the illustration makes me happy;

Who knew caftans could look so suave? It has an extra great dimension as I just sent it to my mum for giggles and apparently she had this pattern in the 70's and made a few for her dad. He probably didn't look very suave though. He probably just looked like a man in a dress.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Birthday Fun

usAlthough my birthday was a month ago, my inveterate laziness has prevented me from posting anything about it. Which is a good thing, as I only just cashed in a present credit last night. Irons have been weighing heavily on my mind since I went to Target and spent a whole 10 bucks on one two months ago (featured in the previous post). It was a good little iron, for $10 at least, but I needed something with a bit of oomph. I chose one that cost 10 times the amount of my original one, although I would have been ok spending 15 times that if not for a few cash flow complications. And now, because I love material possessions so much, I present to you my new iron;

Isn't it beautiful? It's got buttons instead of a dial to control the heat setting, and it beeps when it's hot enough to be used. It also has an auto shut off thing, where it just turns off after 8 minutes of doing nothing! Amazing! Aaaaahhh, things. How I love them..

Defiantly the late highlight to my birthday. The other highlights include this incredible birthday cake made by my sister in the shape of Soundwave;

And this video captured by my friend of the main event;

Friday, 29 February 2008

I Lied..

Now I'm really, actually back. After my last post I sloped around for a couple of days feeling demoralised by the string of failures. I wasn't even cheered up by my fitting books, which only illustrated how hard it all was. I decided I needed to successfully complete something and not worry about fit, just make it so that it looks good. With this in mind, I dug out the hooded jumper that I had already discarded as a complete failure, as it was cut up and I had all the stuff to make it. I made it out of some cheap track suit material I found at the op-shop, so the fabirc cost less than the zip and the thread combined, even if it does look like a wet-suit. Here is the final product;

The seams are all straight (for the most part..) and the zip looks alright, so it fulfulled its purpose and made me feel better about sewing. Onwards and upwards maybe? I have two choices now, I think. Choice one, make the shorts again but this time make adjustments so that they actually fit. Choice two, make Simplicity 4111 out of a stretch knit that I bought a few weeks ago. The unmentioned choice three is to just make a t-shirt out of it, but I'm not sure I'm ready to run the t-shirt-with-no-pattern gauntlet again. That episode went totally unreported with good reason, as there are 4 red t-shirts stuffed at the very bottom of my supplies box.

I also really want to make this. After finding myself without a bag, I took to carrying all of my things in a calico shopping bag and I think it has finally convinced me that off the shoulder bags are the greatest thing ever. I refuse to call it a handbag though, because it's a watermelon. Very un-handbag like I think..

I also somehow managed to accomplish this;

I had a 10 dollar chipboard ironing board courtesy of K-mart for a few weeks (they wanted 50 for a real one!!) until I spotted one next to the skip at my brothers house. It turned out to be in excellent condition, with no rust and it doesn't scream when it's opened. The cover was pretty scummy though, so I needed a new one. Ruth did too, so we decided to make our own. Finding a print that we liked turned out to be a trek and a half but we found the right one in the end and had fun making them. It was pretty easy and now we have ironing board covers that fit perfectly and look awesome and only cost 6 dollars (excluding the ten dollar felt mat to go under it).

I love my free ironing board!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Back from the slump

As promised in my last entry, I abandoned the shirt projects in favour of some much easier ones. But as with any beginner, the inevitable complete and catastrophic failure caught up with me and I managed to ruin both a skirt and a loosely fitting jumper. That technically made 4 failures in a row (I counted the abandoned projects as failures) and I got a little sad and didn't want to think about sewing for a bit.

A couple of purchases buoyed my spirits though and I have a book on fitting techniques winging its way to me right now, courtesy of 5 dollars and ebay. Op-shopping is always good for the soul and yesterday was pretty successful. I got some ugly corduroy and flannel and Ruth got the most amazing purchase in the history of the universe; a knitting machine for 20 bucks. I didn't think my score of 7.5 metres of black drill for 3 dollars would be topped for some time..

This all ads up to a renewed sense of sewing-purpose and hopefully I will report back soon with some successfully completed projects!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

I Heart Patterns

I rushed down to the fabric store on pay day last week to get some black cotton I'd been eyeing off for days and dreaming about the finished product, and I've spent the interval wrestling with 2 patterns and 5 toiles. I think I'm beginning to understand what sewing is all about; frustration and tears. How does anyone ever end up with a finished product they're happy with?? Even though I was aware from the beginning that the pattern industry had a set standard for body measurements and I was no where near conforming to them, as of 5 days ago I was still convinced making a shirt would be easy. What a poor happy fool I was!

Needless to say, all of my toiles came out tight on top and loose on the bottom. A few clumsy alterations later, I have a useless pile of calico that's no good for anything. The two patterns I tried are the shirt pattern from the 'Sew U' book and a free pattern from Burda (sans the delightful ruffles). The Burda shirt was actually really nice, notwithstanding the fitting issues, and I think that will be the one I'll work on first.

Now all that's left to do is a trip to the library to find some books on fitting, I'm not sure I'm confidant enough to follow written instructions from a message board. Or maybe I'll just move on to an easier pattern..

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Attack of the n00b

After a little late night measurement as a cure for insomnia, I've discovered the magic of "ease of fit". I previously reported that I didn't fit the patterns from the "Sew U" book. However I revisted them again today and I compared the pattern of the shorts that fit me to the pants in the book and they are the exact same size. Hurray! I don't think I'm supposed to fit any of them but the shirt and the pants have a larger ease meant for slimmer people that I will just have to fill out. The skirt still doesn't fit but I'm considering adding a seam allowance to the pattern because the toile fits unsewn.

Expect more idiotic, unfounded complaints as soon as I start any one of these projects.

Monday, 21 January 2008

George Hat

Just a quick note to mention that me and Ruth went out wool shopping today for the most perfect hat in the universe, pictured right (found here).

We got caught in the Bermuda Triangle of craft stores in Subiaco. I found some reasonably cheap cotton that I don't hate for $8 p/m, destined for my next project, and Ruth pored over the wool until I made her leave. The wool we ended up getting was 'Alpaca Kid Lustre' by Jo Sharp, which is sleek enough yet also furry enough for a cat hat. I can't wait to own it.

It's alive!

I have returned after my long and suspiscous absence, hurrah! As anyone could have guessed, my fresh faced enthusiasm for a complicated hobby I hadn't started yet soon waned. It wasn't any ordinary loss of morale, however, because I had chosen shorts as my first ever sewing project (I don't think starting a pillow class in home ec class counts). After two torturous days of sewing I had completed them, only to discover they were two sizes too small and had to go out and buy the fatty version of the pattern. Several more days of sewing later, I realised they were a poor fit for my body, not being aware that it is usually a very good idea to make a mock up first to evaluate the fit and adjust it. I'd already put the waistband on by then, so I did what any normal human would do and threw them in to a dark corner in despair.

I ended up getting Wendy Mullins book "Sew U" for Christmas (the same author as the shorts pattern) and I read it about 6 times back to back. Sadly, the patterns included are too small for me (except the shirt) but it's still a brilliant book. I even took her best tip and got some pretty ribbon and kept thread snipping scissors on it around my neck; greatest idea ever and I don't know how I managed without it. When I got back from my Christmas holidays I felt completely refreshed and finally finished the shorts. If I wear it with a belt no one can tell it's got a bit of a daggy gap at the back.

So here they are! Finally! I made them out of the croffy drill Spotlight has and cut them on the crosswise instead of the lengthwise grain because I didn't read any instructions. I only just learnt how to reverse the stitch direction today, so hopefully my nanna won't examine the seams too closely. In the picture below I'm wearing them with a pair of leggings I made today, from some blue lycra I got at Good Sammys, $1.50 for 3 metres. It's even bluer than the pictures show and I can't think what I'll wear them with but I love them so much! So blue!

I think they illustrate my first blog lesson: don't take pictures that you are going to put on the internet in front of the messiest part of your house. For the curious, the shorts are Simplicity 3850 and the leggings are McCalls 5394 (they're actually fashion leggings, unlike the grandma sports leggings the other pattern companies had).

Now please enjoy some pictures of my favourite aquistions of the last few months.

Some shoes with owls on them and a wookie t-shirt!

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