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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!

 

Oops! I accidentally stifled my creativity.

10 Oct

Well, I thought it was a good idea to put aside sewing clothes for myself for a bit. You would have thought so too if you’d seen how full my wardrobe was!

I have Other Projects to do. Like some christmas presents. (Yep, I am organised, I’m working on christmas presents and it’s only early October. But the thing is, you see, I sew or otherwise craft my christmas pressies, so I need time to get them made. And most of my family is overseas or elsewhere in Australia so I need to get them in the mail early.)

I also promised my mum I’d make her some new dresses, her wardrobe, unlike mine was, resembling Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

I also need a new handbag. Of course, I could just go buy one. *chokes* and indeed it was starting to seem likely I’d have to, until… I found this pattern on Etsy. *dies in delight* in the shop Charlie’s Aunt. An independent pattern designer selling bags and accessory patterns with a retro 1940’s-1950’s flavour. Go check it out. It’s awesome!

Sewing pattern to make the Kitchen Garden Bag - PDF pattern INSTANT DOWNLOAD

Miserable thoughts of having to buy a new bag went straight out of my head. Clearly, I needed to make this bag!

Then I saw this bag pattern in the same shop:

Sewing pattern to make the Brideshead Bag - PDF pattern INSTANT DOWNLOAD

omg *drools* I’m sure I need two new handbags, right? Right! Of course I do! Especially as there was this promotion:

2 PDF sewing patterns of your choice

All in all, I thought it would be good to stop sewing clothes for myself, and sew and craft non-clothing stuff (like a new handbag!) for a bit.

That was about 3 weeks ago. And since then a very strange thing has happened. I’ve just stopped making anything. Ok so I’ve been sick, (nasty virus) but that usually only slows me down, not stops me completely.

And my overlocker has been on the blink. But it just needed a good clean and re-thread, which I’d usually do without it even registering I’d done it.

So why the lack of creative crafty sewing-y goodness?

After much thought the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve simply put a damper on my creative energy. I just love making clothes for myself so much I’m almost never out of ideas, or out of enthusiasm for it. (Or fabric, actually, but The Stash is another story!) I also do heaps of other crafting things alongside the clothes sewing, like decoupage, crochet, craft sewing. They get swept up in my overall creativity.

But putting those dressmaking ideas aside for a month or two has just cut my creative verve totally dead.

Weird feeling.

I also took a good hard look at the clothes in my wardrobe and decided very sadly that about 6 or 7 of them (OUCH!) were so faded and worn they needed to be consigned to the rag bin 😦 Clothes just don’t last long in this climate. Now my wardrobe is resembling Mother Hubbard’s cupboard a bit too!

I think I need to go sew some clothes for myself…

😀

Blouse pattern loveliness

10 Nov

I loves me a delicate white blouse. I loves me bias clothes. I loves me this pattern, Colette’s Jasmine Blouse, and I want to make it in some white silk I have in the back of the cupboard. I can order the pattern in Australia!  I just discovered SewSquirrel’s site thanks to sewbusylizzie‘. Er I think Sewsquirrel is in Aust. I’m not getting charged postage at anyrate, and you know what that means! More money for patterns!!!

Now, un-sidetracking from the point of this post, did any Australian readers watch Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries on the ABC earlier this year? I’ve read all of Kerry Greenwood’s books I’ve ever got my hands on, not just the Phryne Fisher ones, and thus just had to watch the shows. Ok ok of course I’m in love with Phryne’s wardrobe. I would have to be 6 foot under to not be. However I also just loved Dot’s blouses. She seemed to have a long procession of sweet often white or a subdued brown blouses with the collars edged in lace. ENVY!!!

Looking around for a pattern so I can have a sweet blouse with a lace-edged collar too, I found the Armistice Blouse from Folkwear.

Folkwear Armistice Blouse

Here is Casey of Casey’s Elegant Musings’ version. Oh I love this.

Then I remembered I have this pattern, which if you look closely and ignore the stamp on it, you can see the bodice and collar on the blue dress are very similar to the folkwear pattern:

Then I saw this fabric in Spotlight – cotton poplin, which I fell in love with and a wonderful friend bought me as a little present. (Thankyou so much S___ :-D). (Bet you can’t see where all this is heading!)

And I have literally a good few metres of this lace I crocheted myself, from an Irish Crochet pattern from the early 1900’s, similar time frame to the Folkwear Armistice Blouse:

I really like the tie-waist of the Folkwear pattern, as with this top, I discovered I like wearing looser-style shirts tied at the waist, so I figured if I used the bodice pieces but didn’t shape them in to the waist, I’d get the same effect.

And I’ve just cut it out! Stay tuned to find out how it all comes together…

100 things challenge – sewing patterns I love #1

2 Nov

Over at Livejournal many of them are having fun doing a 100 posts on things of your choice challenge. 100 books or 100 movies or whatever. I heard of this and immediately thought “What fun! I could so easily write about 100 sewing patterns I love!”

I think I’m gonna do it too. Why not? No idea how long it will take me, especially as I’m going to try sorting out my pattern reviews so they are on this blog as well, (unless someone has worked out how to do a patternreview.com widget for wordpress by now?) so my blog might be flooded with pattern review posts for a while. But I’m figuring with this 100 things challenge, like so much in sewing, it’s the journey, not the destination that is the point.

Well, let’s start with the one that has been hanging round the kitchen bench cutting table for the past month or so, McCalls 4664:

The trousers! I’ve actually never sewn any of the other views but I think I’m up to 10 versions of the trousers.

Why do I love this pattern so much?

  • Takes 10 mins max to cut out.
  • Takes half an hour to sew up now I’ve got it all worked out.
  • As flattering as that kind of garment that clings round the hips/thighs is ever going to be.
  • I’ve made it in a nice thick cotton/lycra knit, two stretch-wovens, a really flowing knit. All it takes to make it softer and more flowing (and mor flattering!) is just add extra to the side seam. So easy! I’ve also made two pairs of jammie trousers from it. One short, one long and warm for travel, both very nice to lounge round in or sleep in.
  • It’s seen me through a good couple of sizes of weight changes up and down – same as above, simply adjusting the side seams works, I don’t need to redo the crotch-line or inner-leg seams. It’s kind of bullet-proof.
  • I’ve made a really nice straight-leg palazzo-trouser out of the pattern, very practical pilates trousers, simple black shorts (stretch-woven) to wear under flippy dance skirts, as well as (again stretch-woven) a basic grey simple pair of forgettable trousers, that lends itself to beautiful tops that you notice more because of the forgettableness of the trousers.

Piccies? Lemme see…

The Forgettable Trousers (which I’m actually wearing today. So comfy!) See what I mean? Do you see the trousers in this piccie or the gorgeous top? (Click on the link to take you to the blog post)

The travel jammies trousers. (I don’t have the piccie when completely finished, but that purple trim across the shoulder of the top ended up sewn along the neckline, hem of sleeve and hem of the top, and the hem of the trousers. So cute! (Click on the link to take you to the blog post).

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Pattern Love

10 Oct

Thurlow Trousers…

Sewaholic Patterns Renfrew Trouser pattern

The pattern description: Finally, a modern trouser pattern designed for curvy hips, fuller thighs and a narrow waist! The Thurlow Trousers sit below the waistline, with a slightly flared leg. Pockets in front are subtle slash pockets that won’t add bulk to the hips.

Did you read that? Curvy hips, fuller thighs and narrow waist. Me me me. That’s me! Me!

Look at how lovely Dana_knockouts’ linen trousers look. Mmmmm. I could do the Thurlow Trousers in a linen like this. Mmmm…

 

 

I’m intrigued and inspired by these Zoot Trousers by Weekend Designer (who wrote 100 awesome blog posts then sadly went on to other things.) They make me want to dance in them! The author makes it look so easy to draft your own. However if it isn’t so easy after all I have a Plan B. I’ve got some beautifully-fitted wide-legged TNT trouser pattern. I can adjust that as per his directions.

A friend sent me some real Liberty of London fabric, actually from London. So soft and fine! Exquisite. And it is such a lovely subtle floral design.How lucky am I? Thanks Josie!  I think I’ll use it for my version of these.

Weekend Designer's Zoot Alors

Weekend Designer also showed how to design some pleated shorts. We’re heading straight into shorts and tiny singlets weather. I’m thinking I might make a pair.

Weekend designer cuffed shorts

And I have the perfect fabric for them, sent to me by a friend in Florida. Thanks Jackie! Funky Flamingos or what? I’ve only got 1m of it, so I found some blue with white polkadot fabric to co-ordinate with it. I’m thinking pink for the main shorts, blue for the cuffs. Maybe a co-ordinating plain pink for a tie belt, too.

Flamingo cotton fabric

Pleats have really been grabbing my attention lately. This entire dress is lovely. I like the shoulder pleats and the neckline, but it’s the side pleats on the skirt that really drew my attention.

McCalls 4633

Then I saw this New Look pattern and realised for my leafy green cotton lycra sateen, it was perfect. View C (what the model is wearing). I’ve used a TNT skirt pattern, and made the hemline slightly asymmetrical (Good for short people like me!) and the ruffle not as full. Almost finished it.

However I can’t seem to let go of the idea of a pleated skirt. I love this patternless skirt  made by kbenco for her daughter.  I have some red cotton/lycra sateen burning a hole in my stash …

 

There isn’t a pleat at all on this hat, but the shape is so divine I had to have it. My excuse is I live in a climate where hats are almost mandatory, even if almost no one wears them but me. The Heather Bailey Boho ClocheGlam up your wardrobe with Boho Cloche hats. Reminiscent of the flapper hat of the roaring 1920s, this cloche (French for “bell”) offers a comfy design that flatters every face shape. Perfect for a day in or a night out, the Boho Cloche embodies French flair in a carefree style that is très magnifique!

This one is in the mail as I type. Hurry up Mr (or Ms?) postman!

Heather Bailey Boho Cloche pattern

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!

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