Friday, July 30, 2010

Melbourne, you are awesome.



The sounds of trams sliding along their tracks with their bells ringing at every intersection, the gorgeous old buildings, the shopping, the chocolate cafes, the markets, the fashion, the fabric stores.  If it weren't for the abominable weather I would marry you and live happily ever after.

Alas, you are cold, and so I have returned to Sydney.

Indeed I did spend a week there. I fell over a bead store which was closing down and selling everything for one dollar. I visited Rathdowne Fabrics where they film Project Runway. I walked past the Whitehouse School of Design, again, where they film Project Runway. I visited each and every fabric store in Brunswick. I discovered the tiniest trimmings section in the world in the Chapel Street Bazaar which just happened to fit more trims and lace than logic could allow (heart attack much?). In fact I built me a nice little stash of stuff to squish in my bag for the return trip.

And, most importantly, I spent an entire 8 days away from my sewing machine since falling in like with it in April.

Time to sew!!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Pencil Skirt refashioned into a Bag



What happens when you attempt to make a bag with only one piece of material? Creativity happens, that's what.

I bought this green and brown fabric with the intentions of making over an old bag of mine. I got home to realise that one piece of fabric was not going to give me the body, the yoke, the straps and the lining so it was time to improvise...with a pencil skirt.

Time to transform this ↓                                                                      into this 

First I drafted a pattern of each of the pieces from the original bag and cut out the fabric that I needed. I unpicked the waistband of the skirt, unpicked the lining from the original bag and got to work pinning things together to see if they were going to fit.


I realised that two very thin pieces of cotton were going to make for a flimsy bag so I added in a layer of thick white fabric I had in my stash. I'm not sure what it is exactly but it's as thick and strong as canvas. I sewed the outside fabric and the extra layer together and turned them right way out to pin some pleats into the top of the bag.


I pinned my lining inside the bag and sewed around the top edge to cover the lining and the pleats. Then I positioned the waistband around the top of the bag and hand-sewed it on (because I was dealing with 4 layers of fabric by this point and didn't want to fight it out with my sewing machine). My mum had some make it yourself fabric buttons handy so I used them and sewed them onto the waistband (I'm not sure why my photo is being stubborn and lying on the side like that. I told it not to but it wouldn't listen.)




















Time for the straps. I pinned these on and sewed them onto the top of the waistband. I sewed four lines across this part because I was paranoid it would come undone.



And that was it! I had a pencil skirt bag (and a pattern to make more!) Hurrah!
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cheap Fabric, Road Rage and an Embarrassing Zipper Moment

What does Cheap Fabric, Road Rage and an embarrassing zipper moment have in common? Me!

Today I went for a job interview that required me to go on a bus that I had never been on before. It also required me to go to a suburb I've never been to either. But it was ok, I consoled myself in the knowledge that my spiffy little iphone could track my bus and let me know exactly where I was so that I could get off the bus when I was where my phone told me I wanted to be. Two minutes into this bus trip that included said iphone consolation the bus driver started screaming expletives at a truck driver. Now I can understand a little swearing on the inner city roads but dropping the f-bomb in front of a busload of packed passengers? Not cool. Anyway after about 2 more stops silly me assumed the bus driver may have calmed down...until he pissed off a car in front of us so much it stopped right in the middle of a busy inner city street. Now it's one thing to be on a packed bus that's stopped in traffic but it's quite another to be on a packed bus stopped in the middle of the street while the bus driver pulls up the handbrake, opens the doors and leaps out of the bus shouting and swearing at said stopped car. 

This is the point at which I asked myself how much this job interview really meant to me. Unfortunately that thought was interrupted by the people on the back seat of the bus rushing down the aisle yelling in support of the driver. Nervous. Very nervous.

Luckily for everyone involved the bus driver jumped straight back on. The backseat people returned to the back seat and the bus drive resumed with no further incidents. Phew.

And then Lo and Behold I catch a glimpse of a shop on the side of the road called The Remnant Warehouse selling fabric at what seems like ridiculously cheap prices. Silver lining much?

I went into this splendiforous fabric store after the interview (luckily I did not get the same bus driver on the way back) and was absolutely gobsmacked. They had rolls upon rolls of fabric remnants for ridiculous prices. I'm talking 3 metres of gorgeous jersey for $4 kind of ridiculous. Definitely silver lining.

Getting back to my station to catch the bus home it was getting really cold and I hadn't brought a jacket (clever me) but I just so happened to have metres upon metres of fabric on hand (yeah maybe I bought too much). So I did what any sane seamstress would do and swathed myself in my nicest knit jersey which just so happened to match what I was wearing.

So are you ready for the embarrassing zipper moment now? As I swathed myself in this material I looked down at the tag they'd left on it, which was sitting in my lap, only to realise my fly was undone! Completely open. It slowly dawned on me that, not having been to the bathroom since leaving home, meant that I had, indeed, just gone to an interview (for a really great job) with my fly undone! Embarrassing much?

The events of the interview pulsed through my mind. Shaking hands, meeting the other employees, being walked around through each of the areas, sitting and chatting about how great I was in the hope that they gave me the job. And all the while with my fly undone! Noooooooooo.

I'm really not sure what the moral of this longwinded tale is now. Perhaps check your fly, and don't catch  new buses unless you want to witness angry bus drivers and spend lots of money on fabric?

Ahh the joys of Sewing Excursions.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blue Batwing Beauty




Yes folks the batwing top has made it into my repertoire. I found a free pattern on BurdaStyle by pixelink (again, Thanks!). It looked super comfy online and believe me it's even better on.

The top was really quick and easy to make (why didn't I start with this one?). I chose not to finish the neckline and hem because I was working with Jersey and I like the raw edge.

It shall now become a staple of my ever expanding wardrobe. Pin It

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh My Smock!



I've been flicking through "The Art of Manipulating Fabric" by Colette Wolff drooling over the gorgeous ways of making plain fabric pretty. If you haven't had the pleasure of flicking through this book and you're one of those people that geek out at details on a garment then this book is definitely for you.

There are many things I want to try from this book but none so pretty as Canadian Smocking. Don't get me wrong it looks frightening. It deceptively criss-crosses over itself, there are a whole bunch of dots you have to put onto your fabric before starting and you really do need to concentrate for the first couple of stitches. But that, dear reader, is where it gets a lot less scary. You see once you've conquered the dots (this step took me less than 5 minutes and it didn't matter too much to the end result that it was hand drawn by someone with a short attention span who just wanted to get smocking already) and paid close attention to the first couple of stitches...it all makes sense! You quickly fall into a pattern and wonder why you didn't attempt it ages ago.

I tried it out on a test square of plain cotton fabric so that things didn't go horribly wrong on a piece of fabric that I really couldn't live without. Now I shall let this pretty little skill of mine sit in the back of my mind until I can find a great use for it in a top or tunic.


Below are some progress shots of my very first attempt. This was on 2 centimetre spacing between each row of dots but I may make it slightly smaller next time.




Canadian Smocking, I heart you.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My heart for 2 Dollars.



Yesterday I went on another sewing excursion. This time to a suburb called Fairfield. While wandering around hopelessly lost looking for a fabric store I found online I managed to stumble upon another fabric store which just happened to not be the one I was looking for. Happenstance I say. I shall peruse.

Inside not only was there a lovely man ready to tell me about every fabric I touched but there was an entire box full of patterns - all for 2 DOLLARS. I couldn't get my hands on them quick enough. I pored over each and every one of them and ended up deciding on 4. Three for me and one so that I can make pretty things for my nieces (why should I have all the fun?).

Subsequently I walked around the corner and fell upon the shop I was actually looking for. It also had a shopkeeper ready to help you with any fabric, trim or button but alas no patterns for 2 Dollars.

Further to this discussion every single fabric I picked out from both stores just happened to be $4 a metre and I even got a mixture between Jersey and some slinky stuff I don't know the name of.

Fairfield I heart you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just peachy!



Oh look! The Kimono is back. Yes. I loved the pattern and comfiness of this tee enough to create another one. This time with a little feminine touch of the ribbon around the neck. Wanna know how I did it? Yes I hear you say? Excellent. Read on.

1. Find yourself some ribbon that's around 1.5 metres long.
2. Cut out the pattern as per instructions.
3. Fold over the end of the ribbon and pin it at the centre back of the neckline.



4. Now every 3 or 4 centimetres, fold the ribbon underneath itself so that it follows the rounded neckline. Pin into place as you go. Notice the folds are slightly angling to follow the rounded neckline. This is how it should look.


5. Once you get back around to the centre back where you started cut the ribbon off and fold it under so that it sits flush with the rest of the folds.




6. Sew around the top edge of the ribbon and again around the bottom edge to make sure it's all secure.

Ta da! You have a ribboned neckline.


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Ambitious Kimono Tee


First of all it was time to try a new pattern after all the Lydia that's been appearing on this blog (and in my wardrobe). Secondly I really loved the look of this Kimono Tee which is a free pattern on BurdaStyle posted by a member named pixelink (Thanks!).


Now being the ambitious sew-er that I am I thought, you know, this looks like a really simple pattern. Maybe seeing as it's going to be such an easy top to sew I could give it a fancy neckline? So I played around with it and ended up forming this great idea in my head of what it should look like.

And then I tried it. And I kept trying it. And I kept trying. And trying. And trying. I got to the point where I was so far into this idea that it was too late to back out. After a number of hours and a very frustrated sew-er I managed to come out with this. It looks ok on so long as you don't ever peek at the stitching. Really.

So I'm posting it here to show you what losing 3 hours of my life looks like but let's never speak of it again. Okay?



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