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A comfortable-sized stash

10 Oct

I’m officially on a Fabric Diet, after my er, being honest, delicious fabric binge while visiting Kerryn’s Fabric World. This was on top of my best friend going over to Bali with $50 of mine, and came back with a sizeable pile of gorgeous batiks and hand-woven cottons for me:

About half of them. Mmm!

AND my sister, in India for a friend’s wedding, sent me another sizeable pile of fabric (*drools at what she got me* No photos though. How terribly remiss of me *shakes head sadly*).

I’m overstashed!  It’s HUGE at the moment. Too huge. It isn’t fitting into little wooden chest it lives in that fits so well under my sewing table. (The chest takes a LOT more fabric than you’d think. In fact it may well be a TARDIS.) (And if the cat my faithful sewing companion, Madame Hat, looks grumpy, yes she is. She loves being grumpy! She adores parking herself right behind my sewing machine, swishing her tail grumpily as she gets covered in fabric and threads.)

My stash has overflowed into two linen cupboard shelves, fighting with the towels for space. It’s too big. I really can’t justify buying more fabric. Although I did fall off the wagon when I had to go to Spotlight to get some thread in a certain colour, and found these two delicious fabrics. Ah well, I’m human…

Cotton/lycra sateen floral on white, in the perfect dress-weight. And pure linen in a much nicer purple than it photographed as, vastly on special for $12pm.

 

Buy Nothing New Month thinks it has the answer. A few years ago I joined ‘Buy nothing new month’ which happens every October. I totally didn’t manage it, I felt restricted and, well, poor. Poverty isn’t nice. And I’ve been poor too much of my life to feel inspired by not buying things. I figure it’s like a friend of mine who was homeless as a kid, who can’t handle restricting her diet. Yeah if I had been homeless I would feel like that about food, too.

Luckily for me I’ve never been homeless. But poverty bites. I LIKE being able to buy something I need when I need it. I LIKE being able to get my hair cut when my fringe is getting too long, not having to save up for a few months to be able to afford it. I LIKE being able to replace old lingerie before it literally falls apart on me.

However, trying to follow the Buy Nothing New challenge that year, did help me see I don’t really over-consume. Apart from fabric! Seriously, some of the stories they linked to were of people having like 200 items of clothing in their closet O_O. Woah! totally not me.

I’m still getting emails about it though, and checking out a few links this year I came across this one about a guy who ‘donated 90%’ of his Stuff.

He suggests his readers ask themselves questions such as ‘Why did I buy this?’ ‘What could I have used the money for instead?‘ By this time I was considering my too-big stash. Next question ‘What would happen if I didn’t have this anymore?’

ARGH!!! I’d run off and buy every bit of nice fabric I could find asap!!!

And that has nothing to do with poverty. I LOVE fabric!

Why does the thought of no stash make me freak out? Well I think it’s a pretty basic creativity issue. If I had no lead pencils to draw with, I’d go out and buy them asap. I don’t draw often but when I do, it’s at the behest of a creative urge inside me to express something with lines, with shadow and light. I rarely play my violin anymore but I don’t sell it, because when I want to play it, I really want to play it.

And really, the same with fabric. I need a stash of fabrics I love, that I want to work with, that I want to wear, so that when my creative mind comes up with the absolutely perfect ‘make’ for it, I have the stuff needed to sew it up.

As for too much fabric, well the obvious answer is to sew some of it up. I’ve been cutting out (my least fave bit of sewing, the bit that tends to stall me on a project) all those ‘Icing’ projects I’ve been putting off till I make some more BORING cake. *happy sigh* So much delicious sweet, buttery icingy sewing to do!

 

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Frilly knickers! or: Granny Undies aren’t actually comfortable.

18 Aug

Carolyn is right. Lingerie sewing is addictive!

The latest addition to my lingerie drawer is too cute for words. The photos don’t the cuteness full justice, but rest assured they look incredibly cute on me. (They were hard to photo. The elastic round the legs would not sit nicely. I ended up ironing the leg openings on a low heat to get them to look this good. That’s right. I ironed my undies. OMG someone call an ambulance O_o )

Pretty frilly legs.

The inspiration

These knickers by Free People via Pinterest.

Free People booty shorts

And these too via pinterest. Oh so pretty! I just wanted my own pair 😀 Have sewing machine, will sew!

Amazon.com: Undrest Signature Bloomer Short Natural/Watermelon: Clothing

Mine look just as pretty on!

But they started life far less glamorously

They used to be a pair of the wonderfully old-fashioned Bonds Cottontails Full Briefs.

 

I am still not sure why I bought the pair. An experiment I think. I blame Sewveravenus and her wonderful Grannypannie pattern (below). It gave me the idea that Granny Undies could be funky, chic, and comfy. After all, you can see the resemblance between the cottontails and the Sewveravenus Grannypannies, right? Right? Sure you can!

There were sadly three things wrong with the cottontails Real Granny Undies

1) The elastic round the waist was so strong it cut into my poor tummy and made me feel very ill. It’s not a size issue, it’s the elastic. It was so strong it could have been used successfully to catapult huge rocks in ancient Roman war machines.

2) The legs are finished with a thick band of non-elastic rib. A bit less elastic in the waist and a bit more in the legs would have helped.

3) When my partner saw me wearing them he said ‘They look … comfortable…’

Oh dear.

Hey I swear if there had been no problem number 1 or 2 I would have smiled sweetly at my partner and been too embarrassed to wear them around him ever again and worn them proudly, refusing to sacrifice comfort for any man, not even my beloved. And in his defence I know he’d have just been amused at them, and that would have been that. But … the existance of problems 1 and 2 could not be denied.

What I did to massacre refashion the Real Grannie Undies

I chopped off the leg bindings and waist elastic.

I cut two rounds of fabric about 4 cm wide from the top of the waist.

I sewed one round onto each leg opening using a 4mm seam allowance, to form the frill. The frill was about 1 1/3 longer than the leg openings so I just stretched the leg openings to fit the frill. (Basically I was using the stretch inherent in the knit to gather the excess length in.)

I folded the seam allowance back  toward the main bit of the undies and stretched elastic (decent, normal knicker elastic of the non-catapult kind) round the seam, sewing it down with pretty pique side facing the frill. I wasn’t sure if this would actually work but it did. YAY! And so easy!

I used the same kind of elastic to redo the now-hipster waistline.

Here is the leg-elastic application in progress. Elastic on the left,  frill on the right, the seam allowance folded back towards the main part of the undies.

I haven’t found out my partner’s reaction yet. But if (in the now very unlikely event) it  involves the word ‘comfortable’ I’m going to smile sweetly and say ‘Yes, indeed they are!’ because… they are!

Auramala…

25 Nov

Auramala, I hear you say? A new indie pattern company? A new fabric store?

Nah, nothing so sewing-y. But … it is, nonetheless, something very very awesome. Auramala is a book recently written by my little brother, Ivan Fowler, about a 600 yr old mystery about England’s King Edward 2nd. A real ‘cold case’. And I’ve been working hard helping edit the English language version of it, instead of writing about sewing on my blog. Ahem.

Here it is *drumroll* the trailer for the book! (I feel so old. Since when did books have movie-style trailers? Never mind, check it out 🙂 it’s great fun.)

As you could imagine, I’m pretty proud of my kid brother 😀 I’m not sure when he grew up and got famous in Italy for writing books and operas and stuff, but hey, life does strange things like that, right? I must say, the amount of research he put into the project has been phenomenal. Or maybe that is just the level of research required to write historically accurate novels? My area of editing expertise is more fantasy and contemporary novels, not historical, so it’s been a very interesting process for me professionally. My favourite bit in the editing process was when I got to a scene where the main character carries a burning coal in wet rags against his chest so he can light a fire with it later, causing much mayhem – and of course, an interesting twist in the plot. Little Bro got a note in the editing file from Big Sis saying “I’m not convinced the coal would stay alight wrapped in wet rags like that.”

He wrote back “It does, and it also gets hotter and hotter over time as I described later in the scene. I discovered that when I tried it out.”

See what I mean? Well-researched 😀 And SO like my brother to have the time of his life trying out all the moves to ensure accuracy!

Here are a few more links:

English book trailer: http://youtu.be/QUfoCcNu6GA
English site (a free preview of the Prologue and Chapter One can be downloaded here): http://www.auramala.com/en

My brother, Ivan Fowler’s blog: theauramalaproject.wordpress.com
Facebook page (multiple languages): https://www.facebook.com/auramala.book

And the place to purchase the entire book.

If it looks like your cup of tea, something to read while your mind mulls over your latest sewing project, then please, enjoy 🙂

Heather Bailey voucher giveaway

17 Nov

I recently bought Heather Bailey’s Boho Cloche pattern. I’ve almost finished a hat from it, and I’ve made 5 flowers from her flower pattern!

 

I’m really impressed with the pattern. It’s very well drafted, and looks just the way it is pictured, and is quite an ingenious design of hat. (I know – I’ve sewn heaps of hats in my time). It also came with a little 10% off voucher if I make a purchase before the end of Nov.

I don’t have anything else I want to buy from her shop, and it seems a shame to let it elapse. So I’m taking the chance to say I’m very impressed with her pattern, and offering the voucher to anyone who would use it and find out for themselves the quality of what she is offering. First in best dressed! Let me know if you want it, and your email and I’ll send you the details!

 

I won a pattern pyramid!

18 Oct

I won the So I Sewed This pattern pyramid! Oh wow, how exciting!

Apparently it was her husband who drew my ticket out of the bucket. I have asked her to thank him nicely for me 🙂

And in the spirit of things I am about to make a donation to The Brooke, the organisation Did You Make That (who started the whole fun) requested we support.

I also put the pattern pyramid button on the side panel of my blog.

I’m so happy and excited!

Now I just have to wait for the patterns to arrive. *fidget fidget* In the meantime, I’m doing some dying at the moment, in my front loader washing machine, with procion dyes from Dharma Trading. In Eggplant colour, to be precise, over a royal blue top, and over a very faded pink t-shirt.From reading round on the interwebs, dying with a front loader with these dyes is not a very sure thing. But today, my friends, is clearly my lucky day so here is hoping 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Bloomer love

7 Oct

I’m getting in early with the Christmas presents. Why yes, I am so organised, aren’t I!

The moment I made up my Madeleine mini-bloomers I could see my sister loving them too. I mentioned this to my mother. Her reaction was “Oh I don’t think that is the kind of thing K___ is likely to wear.”

“Mum,” I said patiently, “it wouldn’t be for her to wear them, but for her to take them off. Or preferably have her Gentleman Friend remove them for her!”

Since my sister doesn’t read my blog (Hey don’t worry, it’s mutual – she’s got a work blog I never read either :-P) I can put all my ideas down here. I have plenty of white silk dupion burning away in my stash, so I will make her a chemise to go with the bloomers, from Simplicity 9769, undergarments from the America Civil War. Apparently the chemise is quite complex with underarm gussets etc and when finished as per instructions is as beautiful inside as it is out. Sounds like an enjoyable challenge.

The bloomers in this pattern however, don’t appeal at all. I’m pretty sure she’d prefer the Madeleine bloomers. However, just because I know exactly which pattern I intend to use, it didn’t stop me from going on a Bloomer Adventure because …

I got a new overlocker!!!! Ok it is second hand, but in very good condition. And with far more bits and bobs and possibilities than my old one (the motor on it died *sniffles*). I realised if I made myself a pair of bloomers too, all the lace application and pintucks and elastic would be a good way for me to really put my new overlocker through its paces and for me to practise the decorative features on it. Sensible of me eh? Try it all out while making something beyoootiful. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

I’ve put this photo here for inspiration for my sister’s christmas present. Isn’t it lovely?

Although her bloomers will probably end up closer to this in style.

I like the way the leg narrows in and the nice thick frill on this one.

This one is extra-fancy. Pintucks above the leg elastic as well as what looks like two layers of leg-ruffle. I’m quite taken with the concept of a ribbon in colour with the rest of them totally white.
These are about the length I’m looking for for myself. Mid-thigh. A lot of the bloomers I found said the elastic in them is a draw-string and adjustable. I like that idea. The most practical way of doing the leg elastic I think.

This has the virtue of being Very Simple. Maybe too simple to really try out the overlocker. Oh well…

Pretty top! Nice idea of lace along the top and the waist elastic. Oh wait, aren’t I supposed to be looking for bloomers? Oop!

Yum yum! Eyelet lace. Looks like two layers of it. I just love the white wholesomeness of this one.

I rather like the black one below the white. Mmm!

Dancers in bloomers and camisoles! Can it get much better than that?

I’m totally in love with this one. Cami-knickers ie all one piece, top and bloomers. Very nice. If I did it in another colour than white I reckon I could wear it out and about 😛

Pretty top. I really like the double layer of lace. Unusual and pretty. I want! (Not sure why they show it with the woman wearing just plain lace undies. Why not a nice petticoat or something? Meh, wotever.)

Oh look! Lace around the top as well as the legs. YUM!!

This is closest to the overall shape I’m looking for, for mine. Same leg length and same fullness, and that lower waistline. I also like the effect of white trim on black.

Well, that was fun. Yay for Google Image Search. Goodness knows how my sister’s and my bloomers will end up, but never fear, I will blog about it when they’re finished!

Unexpected compliments!

27 Sep

I was in Spotlight yesterday. I know, what a surprise eh? Buying up big on some sagey green cotton lycra sateen. Lovely fabric. Destined (so I think at the moment, I reserve the right to change this at any time) to be a skirt with a bit of a circular ruffle at the hem.

The lovely lady behind the counter asked me how I was going to use it. I explained, and she exclaimed in delight. “You have to come in and show us when it is done. I love seeing the things all made up!”

I realised then that I was wearing these trousers, blogged here,

So I gestured to my trousers and told her I’d made them. “From that ribstop cotton you guys have had for ages that keeps ringing up at $2 per metre.”

At which the woman in the queue behind me said “WOW.” As the sales assistant was looking very impressed.

I said “AND I got the pattern from an op-shop for 20 cents. It’s the same vintage as me. 1976!” All the while thinking “The crotch is a bit funky. I know how to fix it but I haven’t gotten round to it. But I’m definitely not going to point it out, and I hope they don’t notice.” *

They certainly didn’t seem to notice anything untoward about the trousers at all. Hey, I tell you, they were both looking pretty impressed by then. And I felt extremely well complimented about my sewing (and thrifting) skills.

Thanks guys! You totally made my day! And made me feel great about myself 🙂

(It occurred to me on the way home the crotch seam looked fine, it’s just been feeling a bit odd since I started with pilates and built up plenty of muscle tone in my legs. It just needed taking out a bit. Which, of course, I did the moment I got home!)

*This determination not to point out my (or my clothes, or more usually my birds nest hair’s) perceived flaws comes from my mum. When I was a teenager complaining about what I was sure was a huge zit in my face that the entire world must be staring at, mum would say vaguely “Oh, do you have a zit? I hadn’t noticed till you pointed it out.”

Did wonders for my self esteem. I’m planning on doing to my darling little girl when she is old enough to get zits.

 

 

 

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