Sewing, thrifting and the like...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A hop, skip and a jump to me

Hi, me again :)

My dear dear friend Kirsty from Top Notch nominated me for this blog hop that is going around and around and around the world and in and out of all sorts of amazing sewing/crafting blogs. So thanks to Kirsty! I freely admit to stalking her blog and emailing her and FORCING her to meet me because she is just so damn rad. I absolutely adore her style, out of all the blogs in all the sewing world that I read, hers is the blog that I covet all, yes ALL, the goodness! She is totally modest about her skills but her clothes are as amazing in real life as they are in the photos. She is also the sweetest and luckily for me, my real life friend now too... OK girl crush gushy stuff over.... are the answers...i won't bore you too much, not sure anyone is really that interested!!

Why do you write?
I write a blog because well why not. I write it because I didn't write one and I felt like I was missing out on being part of this wonderful online sewing community. I write a blog because I am learning to sew, from literally nothing I have learnt so much in the last year and a half, and this learning has given me a desperate thirst for more skills, more sewing knowledge (more fabric), and more of a connection to those who feel the same.

I am a full-time mum to five little kids and they are my world, I love them and being with them dearly. But they are growing up and I am feeling the itch to do something for me, to explore what I can be. I have always had this creative bent in me but I have never been good at anything creative! I would have loved to be an artist, a designer, an author, a dancer, a musician etc but I have absolutely zero talent in these things! In fact i haven't ever been particularly good at anything, let alone gifted. Then i started to sew, and believe me when I say I ain't good or gifted at this either, BUT it fulfills my creative urge and I am passionate about it. I also feel that with time I will get to the stage when I am happy enough with my garments to actually wear them and be proud of them. So I am writing this blog to encourage me.

What are you working on?

I am always working on zillions of things at once, and when i am not working on them i am thinking about them. I dream designs, and looks, and about fabric. It feels like my head is always working on things, even if my body is too damn knackered to follow through! Anyone else the same??

At CIT I am studying clothing production, and this semester I am doing two courses, pattern making and clothing production 2. So I am working on skirt designs in pattern making (that shiz is seriously cool but seriously difficult on the old grey matter) and about a billion and one samples for zip types, collars, cuffs, etc for clothing production.

At home I have another Grainline moss cut for spring, I am sewing up the By Hand London Holly, and I am altering/up-cycling a shirt dress, but ask me tomorrow and there will probably be something different again that needs doing!

How does it differ from others of it’s genre?
Differ? Well there is probably far more yellow on this blog than is strictly necessary, and probably far too many grammatical errors, and too much cussing (bad me) and crappy sewing. But ya know, I am working on it, well the sewing at least - sorry grandma :) There are so very many very cool and amazing sewing blogs out there with squillions of groupies. They are far more experienced than me in writing and in sewing. I have learnt so much from these ladies (why do we have so few gent sewists/bloggers hey??) but I don't plan to emulate them as such because I think its important to be yourself.

I love texture and fabric and shape and the thought that clothing is wearable art. I don't follow fashion as such and have sadly no real knowledge of the industry. Obviously the clothes I buy and the patterns I make are influenced by the fashion of the day but I just go with what i like, not what I think I should like. So i am probably totally un-cool/un-hip and un-stylish!! But given my status as nearly middle-aged, I am pretty happy with who I am regardless! As I develop my sewing skills I would like to explore this love of texture, fabric and shape more to produce garments that showcase these. This is definitely a sewing blog genre I would like to get into, but I am not sure my skills will ever be good enough!! I think Oona has pretty well ruined it for any that follow as she is just so damn amazing!

As I get older my friends think I am turning into a tree-hugging hippy :) . I feel passionate about the world we live in, the people that live in it and the natural world around us. Sustainable fashion is an expanding market and a topic of real interest to me. I think the home-made movement can fit nicely within this genre. I love up-cycling and refashioning old or thrift shop clothes, clothes swaps and finding fabric and notions in garage sales and charity shops. I love the idea that the fabric, clothes and patterns have a history, and that I can give them a new lease of life. Both So Zo and Charity Shop Chic blogs cover these areas marvelously and I would certainly love to blog more about these things too.

So basically, I don't offer much in blogland at the moment that isn't already done a zillion times over, and in a far better way. But in time I hope to explore some of these areas of interest to me, and I hope people like to read it, and maybe just maybe they will learn from me down the track :) A girls gotta dream right?!

How does your writing process work? 
Well as you can see from the content of my blogs, words come out like verbal diarrhea. I write like i think. I am not a writer but then two years ago i didn't sew either, so who knows! Ha! It is certainly an area to work on. Really, I want the garments that I am making to do the talking, so first I need to work on my photography skills, then there can be more pretty pictures and less of me talking rubbish! Currently there is no process, other than to snatch a second or two where I can, and often it flows better with a glass of wine or a beer in one hand and some music pumping....which is the way I like to sew too ;)

So that's your lot. I am going to pass the blog on to two other ladies, who I am sure, with their talent and experience in sewing and blogging, will be far more interesting than me!

Firstly to Rachel who blogs at My Messings, a new sewing friend, also from England but living in Australia. A funny, vivacious, smart and talented lady. It was great getting to know her at Frocktails and I look forward to getting to know her better! So pop over to her blog next week and see her wonderful makes and her blog hop answers!

Last but by no means least, to the delightful Michelle from Buttontreelane. I love this lady. She is fabulous. She wears prints and colours like no other and always looks amazing. She quilts like a crazy woman, and wins national level awards for her work, she crochets (and probably does a zillion other things) and she sews awesome garments. She is a dear dear friend who is part of my sewing circle, and yes support and friendship circle here in Canberra. Over to you rockstar....


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lets Frock This Joint!

Frocktails, ahhh frocktails! I have a few photos from last Saturday night. Look at the amazing outfits people! Amazing and hand-made! Honestly, I was in awe of all the dresses people made. They were all unique, just like the 24 wonderful women who wore them. I entered the venue only knowing the three Canberra ladies, but ended the night with some lovely new sewing friends. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to me, a newbie in sewing and blogging terms. Thanks guys!

The Canberra posse stopping traffic..literally!
The hilarity from Amanda and Bohdana left me with a sore tummy and no voice for three days with all that laughing!
Beautiful Amanda and Myra, two of my darling Canberra sewing posse - love you guys!

Moi and a new found friend Rachel (in the coolest dress!)
Another sewing love Kirsty and another gorgeous new friend Eve

Nic and Amanda and Elizabeth i think (sorry) and the wonderous organiser Kat and Myra

An amazingly agile gymnast and amazingly talented sewer! (name? sorry)

The 24 rocking frockers, man we had fun! And look at all that talent!
And there you have it folks. There are a couple of names i missed, let me know, and i will add them!
Thanks to Kat for organising this event, you did great. I am so excited for next year already!! And hopefully i get to meet some of you before then.
I will be back on Tuesday for my blog hop, sorry lots of me at the moment!! Bye x

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Dance of the Crane

Whilst making this dress i kept getting flashbacks to making my wedding dress. You see i made this dress for my beautiful sisters wedding in August, and i was still making it on the bus on the way to Sydney to catch a plane to the UK! My wedding dress? Well i was still making it at 2am on the night before i headed to the coast to get married last November!! The running theme seems to be that i can't get my shit together hey?!

Anyway, i wore this dress to my sisters wedding and then it got a second outing at the awesome Frocktails event in Sydney last Saturday. 

The fabric is old me thinks, it was bought from Vinnies, $3 for three metres, a steal i tell you, A STEAL! And yes they bloody are cranes and they bloody are dancing a merry jig, just look:

Although shiny and beautiful, it has its flaws. Its rayon/silk blend i think. The rayon means it is a nightmare to iron, those damn wrinkles just don't want to budge. I couldn't use steam because when i tried the ink from the crane's started leaching all over the white, ahhhhh! So the dress remains ever so slightly wrinkled. 

Also, the fabric has a raised polka dot which is woven into the fabric, it is very very delicate and a few of the polka dots have become polka holes [sad face]. But thanks to Mrs Fray Stoppa, the dress lives on. 

It was never actually supposed to become "The" dress, it was supposed to be a muslin or even a wearable muslin. I have this amazing graphic scribble printed silk in my stash, but i fell in love with the crane's, warts and all.

 The dress pattern is a vintage Vogue, the 'Very Easy Very Vogue' 9396 view A. Well when i say vintage its 1995...does that count? Lets hope not, because if it's vintage, that really does make me old enough to know a dinosaur or two (thanks kids!). I am not sure how i stumbled across this pattern, but i love the interesting neckline, short-sleeves and the floaty skirt: a fab combo for me! View B, err, not so much ;)

 As for the construction. Well the dress is fully-lined with some beautiful fine silk (read: soft and delicate but a total bugger to work with) for about $4 for 7metres at a garage sale (the gatherer bit is in my blog name for a reason folks!). The bodice is also interfaced, i used an invisible zipper and used this method by Sewaholic to attach the lining to the zipper. I used french seams where possible and i hand stitched the hem for a cleaner look. 

oops probably should have dragged out the iron [#ihateironing]

I had to make a couple of alterations. I needed to let out just the side seams (there are many panels to this sucker) a tadge, and the back bodice needed considerable work. 

Basically, the original pattern, being from 1995, called for shoulder-pads, which ain't my cup of tea, or my cup of anything really. But not having the pads combined with my old woman hunch back meant there was a ridiculous amount of excess fabric having a party back there. I widened the neck darts and that did a marvelous job in that area, but widening and lengthening the shoulder darts didn't really help much. So in the end i pinched out the excess and made extra panels in the back bodice.

If this WAS the muslin i would have transferred the alterations to the pattern piece to make it smaller and just had darts but i did not have time to fanny around with all that and that re-cutting business, so extra panels it was. Which actually looks fine as they match up with the skirt panels perfectly! Yay!

The bolero is Simplicity 1943 view F made of the MOST awesomely beautiful gold silk brocade, which i bought about 2 metres of from a garage sale for about $3! I KNOW! Crazy! I actually used lots of it to make cumber-bands for my girls bridesmaids dresses (which i now use as neck scarves!), and had just enough to eek out this bolero.

It really was the easiest to whip together. It is just two pattern pieces, cut out of both self and lining fabrics! The only slight iffy bit was hand sewing the hole up after bagging it out. The rest was a dream. I suspect i will make some of the other jackets in the pattern over time.  But i think i will wear this forever, i really love it :)   

This was supposed to also be a Frocktails post, but it's already waaaaaaay tooo long so i will do a little Frocktails photo round up this week too :) Bye x

Monday, 15 September 2014

They call me mellow yellow...

Well actually "they" don't but maybe "they" should? Cos you see, i am addicted, totally addicted to Yellow. Everything i freaking make seems to be yellow these days. This love affair isn't a new thing my friends. We have pictures of me at seven hanging upside down on various things wearing ONLY a pair of yellow flared jeans! Maybe i need a 10-step withdrawal plan?? But after some weekend fabric shopping there is hope, i seem to be leaning towards the dark side, yep, there is orange in my future folks! Ha!

So anyway getting back on me track....

The two handmade items in this outfit would be my black,grey,brown, yellow blanket..oops mean cardi, AND my yellow mini.

I even went all the way to Sydney for location shots - total dedication to my "craft" hey? Actually, i just happened to be there having the most rad weekend with the most rad bunch of girls at #Frocktails and these photos were taken while my darlings Kirsty, Myra, Amanda and i wondered aimlessly in search of a cuppa after some hard-work purchasing fabric yumminess!

The cardi/jacket/blanket is loosely based on Burdastyle 111 Square Cardigan/Jacket. Basically, yes its just a frigging square with a couple of rectangles in for the ride.

It ain't hard folks. I wanted to do something really simple to show off this beautiful fabric which i have had squirreled since Addicted to Fabric had a sale over winter [Kirsty made this amazing cacoon cardi with hers]. This wool/mohair/poly blend is so totally divine, but sooooo totally expensive. Even on sale the cost made me shudder! So the fabric has been lovingly patted for a few months, when really it should have been hugging the icicles off of me...cos Canberra + Winter = Brrrrrrrrr! Until last week when i decided it was now or never, spring is beginning to do its springy thing and temps are reaching 20degrees, yeep!

Construction wise, i just kinda put it together as it should be apart from adding seam allowances. I mean wtf Burda, the "pattern" is just measurements to cut out, which you gave me, then told me to add different extra bits of measurements to make new measurements...again WTF Burda!! So i just ignored it ;) My fabric is a lot stiffer than the fabric in the pictures/suggested material (mohair) and if it was too big it would hang wrong. I wanted a kinda deconstructed look with my seams so didn't bother over-locking the edges. I just top-stitched 0.5cm either side of the seam lines to stop too much fray.  I wanted a little bit of fray, cos it looks fecking cool all fluffy and touchable, don't ya think?? I hacked the hem to the right length for me too, and i do intend to add some fuck-off big pockets too, one day. No fastenings/closures, so its just a blanket with arms. And i adore it.

The skirt is a moss mini of course. We all love Jen of Grainline fame and you don't mess with perfection. So i didn't. I was a very good girl and did as she said - every single step. Possibly a first, apparently i get side-tracked often with the embellishing, hacking, making-shit-up stuff i do [which i don't recommend, i usually just make a red hot mess!!].

The fabric is a beautiful but dreadful upholstery velvet cord that i picked up whilst thrifting in Melbourne with my gorgeous jewellery designer friend, Fran. I love it, cos its yellow and cord: i hate it because it frays like nothing else, it literally disintegrates in your hot little hands. So i had to over-lock every single bloody edge of every single piece before construction. This did help with bulk as i could leave the seams open. I was going to top-stitch but you can't when the wale is so frigging thick, the thread gets lost in wale land. I do love the skirt, mostly, the only issue is it is a tad bulky around the zip/button because of the fabric choice. But i already have it cut-out in a summery cotton fabric with foxes frolicking all over it (thanks for the freebie Myra), that should sit a bit flatter me hopes.

Looking at this outfit, i realised two items are hand-made, and the boots, leg-warmers and silk top were un-wanted clothes from various friends! I only bought the necklace ($2 Zara online sale), tights - Hello Spots - and the delightful tweed flat-cap which i found at the AHHH-MAZING V&A museum in London a few weeks ago. I am really a mish-mash aren't i?!

I will post later in the week about frocktails and my frock and those cocktails and the most amazing bunch of sassy sewers this side of ...well...fecking anywhere really. Bye x