Showing posts with label miscellaneous musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label miscellaneous musings. Show all posts

Friday, 2 June 2017

My Maiden Me-Made-May.

I like blog posts with photos. So here is an outfit I sewed for a friend`s 80s themed  party a couple of years ago that I did not blog about. I also did not wear this  for  MMM17 . The suit is made out of taffeta and sounds as loud as it looks !! 

I just finished my first ever MeMadeMay made possible by joining Instagram. Prior to that trying to actively participate was too hard because loading up photos to Flickr takes a long time but Instagram is so easy. Take a photo on your phone or iPad and then load up on the app.
I have unofficially joined in past years by wearing my home made clothes and checking out the flickr or instagram or whatever social media MeMadeMay was on so I was very happy to be a part of this huge , incredible movement celebrating and encouraging home sewing.

Another unrelated MMM17 photo . This is my ( incomplete) collection of button front shirt patterns. I have made most of the patterns. Can you tell I like sewing shirts ?

So here are my deep and meaningful thoughts on MMM17 and wearing home made clothes in general.
It is rare that I don't wear something home made on a daily basis.
It is rare that I wear all home made clothes though.
I feel strange when I don't wear something home made ( incomplete perhaps ?) but that sounds a bit odd.
I managed to wear something different everyday and only repeated my orange cardigan ( I did wear RTW jeans and trackies on multiple days ) twice.
I still had a couple of jackets , a skirt and several shirts/ tops that were seasonally appropriate that I did not wear but  could have worn for MMM17 .
A combination of loving sewing, sewing for a loooong time , keeping my home mades and a stable weight over my lifetime means I have a lot of home sewn clothes.
Perhaps this means I have too many clothes but apart from the blue dress on day one and the suit on day 31 and my brand new Burda tie front shirt all of the clothes have been worn many times so perhaps I don't have too many ?
Lots of my clothes I wore are very old ,like even over 10 years old but I still enjoy wearing them.
I did a little clothes cull though as a result of MMM17. The blue dress on day one went as well as a matching jacket and a scarf.
MMM17 made me get out of bed earlier so I could get a family member to take a photo.
I am terrible at taking selfies !
I again enjoyed looking at everything else people had made.
I don`t know if I will officially join in with MeMadeMay again but I sure had fun completing the challenge.
Happy Sewing everyone.

The little photo I have next to my blogger name is actually this photo of a Kookaburra sitting in ( an old ) gum tree next to my old home. I thought there might be one person in the universe to wonder  what the strange blogger photo is all about. 
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Knipmode Challenge.




Around mid 2012 I discovered knipmode magazines via a friend who was born in Holland . Over the next couple of years I bought several issues via CraftyMamas website , an Australian stockist of fabrics and patterns but sadly they no longer sell Knipmode . Since then I have been slowly trying to sew at least one pattern from each issue and last month I finally completed my knipmode challenge. 


It ended with a wadder and the photo above does not even come close to showing how bad it was. I must at this point emphasize that it was not the pattern that was the problem but the fabric. 
I used a pull on skirt pattern from the supplement magazine to the May 2013 issue. In total I bought 9 knipmode magazines and 5 of these came with supplementary mini magazines with several bonus patterns. Overall I have loved the knipmode magazines and supplements but I struggled to find a pattern out this particular mini magazine. 



Most of the patterns were for very simple and over sized garments . The fabrics used were quite drab and the clothes were photographed with bleak scenery . I finally chose the pull one skirt because it would be very handy to have a well fitting comfy basic skirt pattern. I think this could still be a winner but the fabric I bought especially to complete my knipmode challenge with ( and to add to the insult broke my fabric fasting pledge for !! ) was terrible to sew with . I used a textured navy ? scuba knit from Darn Cheap which looked great but stretched out so easily despite handling it carefully . Overlocking seams caused waviness and applying the waist band was just a plain disaster . I know when to quit and quit I did . I didn`t bother trying to hem the thing - I took a photo for posterity , removed the elastic and binned it . 

Despite this wadder , I have mainly had winners from my Knipmode magazines . Here are all the ones I have made and most are still in my wardrobe being worn regularly. 
 My first Knipmode project was a Michael Kors knockoff pattern. I wear this skirt for special occasions. 
Unfortunately despite being an interesting pattern in a lovely knit the cross over bands kept on shifting and revealing bits underneath which I don`t have :) . I blame myself not the pattern  because I could not work out where to attach the bands and stitch them down so this T shirt is no more :(.

A simple top pattern , slightly oversized but I wear this regularly because it is comfy and cool and my oldest daughter bought me the fabric from Japan so it is sentimental to wear as well. 
Another sentimental make because a friend from England gave me this Liberty fabric . I have never had Liberty fabric before so I took a long time to decide what to make . I am still very happy with my choice of  pattern. 
 A cowl neck top and I still like this although the neckline is low . This top made me get out the rust coloured skirt I am wearing it with above which I made when my middle daughter was a baby but had never worn !! 

I love love love this skirt . I will make this pattern again for sure. The skirt got worn heaps over summer . 
Another winner and I don`t think I will get sick of the pretty fabric. I ended up buying this bird / blossom rayon fabric three times ! Two of my daughters loved the material too so I have made one some PJs and the other a top. We don`t all wear them together . 
I love this dress and the fabric was a gift from another friend so yet another sentimental wear. I wore this dress to Townsville and the cool batik and dress design made life slightly easier in a place where it is so humid my glasses fog up - it`s true I swear. 
Same pattern as above but the cotton knit had no recovery so that neckline was really wiiiide. But you know what, it makes a great nightie !
A hi-lo hem pullover. I got a bit lazy sewing this and the hems were wavy so just recently I chopped the hem off and stabilized the bottom with fusible hem tape and restitched the hems . Much better now . 
A long line vest from another fabric gift . I really like wearing these longer vests - they cover so much which is especially useful for when you like chocolate just a bit too much. 
Another total wadder . When I look at the magazine  photo I can see the top looks huge on the model and she is doing a jumpy pose which I think conceals some of this ( fun fact - Knipmode models jump a lot ) 
I am really happy with my scrappy tunic shortened from a knipmode dress pattern. 
A knipmode mini cargo skirt - another great pattern which I think I will use again. 
Another long line vest and another happy camper . 

I admit it does feel wrong to be blogging about such stuff when the world has experienced yet another sad terrible evil event . I can not even imagine the pain so many must be going through now but I have also read about many brave and kind acts which gives hope that good will prevail. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

2016 Sewing Overview.

My favourite garment of the year. 


For some reason I really love ❤️ reading 📖 about everyone's annual reviews of their sewing and their plans for the coming year. I actually find these musings fascinating and  inspiring. We all have the common denominator of loving sewing but have different perspectives in how we fulfill that love.
My take on sewing is to sew slower so my output is not high. I am not a perfectionist but hate it when things don't go right. However once a garment is completed ✅,  no matter what mistakes , it goes in the wardrobe and I don't seem to care anymore . A few years ago I went through a phase of churning out  more clothes and was a bit slapdash so I have had quite a turn around in attitude. I prefer how I sew now because I have fewer failures .

So in 2016 I sewed 42 items which sounds like heaps. 24 were for me and the remainder of 18 for my daughters mainly but also a friend and Mum.

The 24 items for me included one ☝️ total wadder , 3 underthings, 1 camisole , 1 nightie and 1 pair of long PJ pants. I didn't blog about these but I will have a post about my wadder in the future.
The 18 items for others included 9 short PJ pants , 5 tops and a couple of scarves.
A major goal for me was to use what I had and move a bit more fabric out than what came in. FINALLY after so many years of trying I succeeded with only 9 pieces of fabric in and quite a bit more sewn up. It was also my intention to sew the fabric acquired in 2016 in 2016 ! I almost managed to do this so I found myself have a little cutting out frenzy on the second day of January !


Apart from my one wadder I wore everything I made quite regularly apart from my vintage burda dress which was a special occasion garment anyway ( and my middle daughter likes it so is going to use for a function later this year ) .
 This year I basically just want to continue on with the same theme -  just plodding along really doing my imperfect best and making the most of what I have.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Fast Fasts , Fabric Stash Busting and a WIP .

I am participating in two groups this year - Pattern Review`s  Fabric Fasting  Forum  and a Facebook Fabric Stash busting Group.  I have been telling myself I have to get some kind of control over my fabrics for years but have been unsuccessful so far . So how am I doing this year ?
Well the fabric fast is a bit of a snort but only a little one . I have bought four pieces of fabric and been given a few as well from Mum and sewing friends . As per usual all my purchased fabrics were from various op shops and included  a Liberty of London print in some kind of soft twill !

The photo above shows from left to right burnout fabric from my friend ( for a Kimono ) , striped patterned georgette from my Mum ( for Simplicity 1280 ?) , peach-apricot silk for a skirt lining , Liberty of London paisley print ( for an infinity scarf ) , red floral cotton voile and a citrus watercolour cotton voile ( both for youngest DD PJs  ) . I will be using the silk for my next project and I intend to make up that infinity scarf quick smart as well so all in all not too bad . ( I have also been informed that gifted fabric does not count towards stashing  )
In terms of fabric stash busting I have used just over 20 metres,  so more out than in !  A success there .
Now I have been sewing too but not as much because my current project is taking sooo long  . I started at the end of May but the end is in sight . It is a vintage styled coat from Burda Style and has a very interesting different looking flounce at the front . I want to show you the evolution of the flounce .

 The above picture shows the flounce pieces cut out and tacked together with the pleats marked out . I have started making the pleats on the right side. Weird looking pattern piece huh ?

 Next up all of the pleats have been formed .

 Now you bring the two sides together , stitching down the middle and  voila !  It really is a little piece of magic . I do not think I have ever seen another pattern piece like it . I have inserted the lining into the outer coat and just need to sew up the hems and attach some large press studs . Hopefully I can get this done before the end of July and the winter weather ( hey it has snowed near where I live a couple of times which hasn`t happened in about 19 years )

Sewing as also been delayed by my new hobby of bike riding - I don`t think I will ever go down the path of sewing fitness wear though  and  hosting a Japanese student . She will be with us until the end of November . Just as one daughter leaves home we fill up the empty spots . Our exchange daughter gave us some KitKats - sake flavoured !  We have also tried green tea flavoured KitKats   ( yum ) and there is sweet potato as well !!


Vive la France .

Friday, 1 January 2016

Welcome to 2016 And My Corner of Contentedness.

Welcome 2016 - I have been looking forward to you for a long time.
We are hosting a Japanese student for a few months and so I had to clean out my daughter`s old bedroom where my fabric treasures live. Thus my sewing corner has had a transformation .

We moved out an old desk where my youngest daughter used to sew as she has moved the machine I gave her to her own room and prefers it there. We then shifted an old wardrobe that used to belong to my dear husband`s grandmother into that space where I now store my fabrics . 


I managed to get it all in there but the wardrobe is packed pretty full now - the fabric in the shelves is stacked two deep so there is more there than what it looks like . Looks like my New Years resolution this year really should be to sew more fabric than what comes in . I mean I have been saying this for years but all I manage is a sort of status quo . Resolutions never work for me .


The wardrobe is next to the sewing machine table and next to the wardrobe is a cupboard where I keep my patterns . I rearranged my patterns this year and bought two new pretty boxes to supplement my baskets . There are various bits and bobs like bias binding , zips , unused sewing magazines and beading stuff in the glass fronted cupboard and drawers . 


In the opposite corner is Daffy the duct tape model who is really my storage area for clothes to be mended and altered and my Dalek embroidery thread holder . My husband also recently bought a large book shelf  which you can see so I have been able to put my various magazines and books in there . The two dolls in the shelves  were bought for me by my parents when I was a young teenager from San Franscisco . The costumes are handmade and are exquisite although the blue dress includes a real mink muff which I do not feel comfortable about . 

So there is my little corner of contentedness . 

Now I love reading about everyone`s 2015 sewing achievements so I am going to add my 5 cents worth.  I sewed 34 items this year which includes six  for other people / places . I sewed 4 pairs of shorts for two of my daughters and a top for myself was stolen by the oldest DD ( I really don`t mind ). I also made some fitted sheets and pillowcases for work . Not included in my total though is a dozen hat fly nets ( and still counting ) . I have been  making these to sell as a fundraiser for our local sustainability group using all scraps and what is in my collection . 

My favourite garment of the year was my Katherine Tilton top using all scraps. I would also say that my favourite sewing of the year were my scrap projects -my navy flippy skirt and my colour blocked twill skirt . I really did have to think about how to use the restricted amounts of fabric in the best way. 

I was pleased that I used up some fabric that I had had for over 20 years -that was starting to bug me . I have worn my faded denim top lots and the red skirt is lovely to wear , matches with so much and looks good if I might say so. 
The top here is what my daughter took . 
I made up 16 new patterns . I made patterns from all the major companies but the most came from Kwik Sew and Simplicity ( six each ) and then Knipmode ( five ) . I only made the one Vogue but it ended up being my favourite so perhaps I should make more Vogues . 

The most made garments were tops - no surprises there for me - as they are what I love to make the most ! I made 13 . I also sewed 6 cardigan/ jumpers , 4 skirts , 2 dresses  and  3 garments in the nightwear/undergarment type category . I didn`t blog about these . 

I did buy new clothes for myself - a lovely jacket , three  pairs of pants and a jumper .An unexpected event  meant I also bought new pajamas and underclothing .  I also bought a few things from op shops - three shirts and a skirt  made out of silk cotton or bamboo cotton , a woollen short tweed jacket , a twin set, a pair of jeans and a leather handbag . I had a big wardrobe clean out this year and only regret throwing away my Winnie the Pooh windcheater but it meant less came in than out . Almost everything I got rid of was disgusting and not even fit for donating so it was time for that to happen.  
Anyway again I wish everyone a Happy New Year . I really love reading people`s blogs from all kinds of sewers with all different styles  from all over the world .

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My Stash.

What is the saying - If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
My eldest daughter left home last week to start university after a gap year mostly spent overseas - in Japan and Peru.
I am very happy for her - It is a wonderful thing for a parent to see their children mature into adults . My daughter is happy and confident and has a very bright future ahead of her. I could say a lot more about her but she would not like it so I will respect her wishes here.
However it does leave a gap at home and I am missing her .
So I took over the central part of her wardrobe and for the first time ever I have all my fabrics together placed on shelves.

I have sorted my stash according to fabric types . It is far from being a SABLE but with my current snail paced sewing this will keep  me out of trouble for a few years.
On the top shelf  I have a few pieces of flannelette , sweater type knits and garment toiles.
The second shelf has bottom or jacket weight fabrics on the left and various types of knits ( including another sweater knit proving I am not as organised as I think I am ) on the right. In the middle are some polys ( with one rolled up piece of cashmere wool on top !)
The third shelf has various cottons on the left, silks in the middle ( with some Japanese cottons on top ) and again proving my organisational skills are lacking pale fabrics of all sorts on the right .
The second bottom shelf has bags of remnants divided into small pieces and large pieces. There is a plastic tub and another bag of patchwork /crafty type material.
The bottom shelf holds my old sewing machine and over locker and the embroidery attachments for my Pfaff.

The rest of the wardrobe still has some of her clothes and bits and bobs she does not need so I have not been entirely awful in taking over the wardrobe :)

Work and helping my daughter move has taken up more time than I expected. SO far this year I have only sewn two garments ( my T shirt project was actually all completed in 2013). I have also made toile after toile for my youngest daughter to sew up some gorgeous ombre lace bought in Paris last year . I am so nervous to cut into this but we almost have the toile right - I am waiting for her to try on the latest version . I tell you trying to fit her simple top has almost made me want to give up sewing - except then I look at the above photo ! I have also made some home dec projects for my eldest DD and have just started on curtains as well - ugh.  I have four more projects to blog about - I would like this blog to be fairly complete sewing diary for me but I have just spent ages trying to get that above photo upright ! I think I may have learnt how to rotate photos so they stay rotated in blogger - fingers crossed.
Anyway Cheers Janine.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.



For a few years now my youngest daughter has pointed out to me that her christmas stocking is somewhat smaller than her two older sisters and I have been able to ignore these mutterings. However as she gets older  it also gets harder for me to put this aside and so finally I decided to correct this injustice.
I bought a chrismassy panel from a local patchwork shop and then trawled my stash to complete the sack. I used some cheap and nasty  dark green and white spotty  patchwork fabric that I have had for at least 16 years for the back and some much nicer vintage red and cream gingham cotton  to line it  and I couldn`t believe it but I found that I already owned a suitable christmassy panel ! ( SewYears Resolution - shop my stash before buying anything else )
Then because it is the silly season I went to town decorating it - using all materials from my bits and bobs box - glitter paint, fluffy sparkly pom poms, gold iron-on motifs, `toy` buttons and charms , lone gilt buttons and little bells rescued from the necks of chocolate Easter bunnies.
Now I hope it doesn`t matter that  this is not a stocking and that this is now much larger than my other daugther`s stockings otherwise I will get to practice my diplomacy skills AGAIN .

With the completion of this ( downright quick and easy ) project my Christmas preparations are done. Presents have been bought, cooked ,sewn and wrapped. The Christmas cake has been baked ( and eaten !) , the tree has been decorated and my daughters are cooking the desserts we need to take for the day. Now I get to sit back and relax and hopefully get to read Anna Karenina and watch the Carols by Candlelight.



Hope you and your families  all have a safe and happy and healthy  Christmas.
I also want to thank everyone for their kind words and awards even during the year. It has made blogging even more fun and enjoyable.
Cheers Janine.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Our Garden

I am excited to be moving in the next few months to a new house but I will miss my garden ( but not all the hard work ) . My garden is just starting to come to life with spring and I wanted to capture some memories so I can look back at all the plants and design that took some 16 years in the making .

A mish mash of bulbs - the upright bulbs came from my beloved Aunty Pearl`s garden and she has been gone for some 30 years .



Magnolias are amongst my favourite trees - I will definitely plant some in my new garden but it will take a long time before it looks like this. There is a self sown echium off to  the left. I also really love maples and viburnums. I love dogwoods too and planted a genuine Canadian Dogwood but our harsh Australian summers were just too much and it curled up its toes .Living on tank water I can not afford to water too many plants here - they have to be drought resistant and tough .

 
This is a part of my Japanese inspired garden. I have divided my garden into `rooms` - there is the native section, a woodland garden ( with small fairy statues hidden - I must try to find them before we leave ) , the japanese garden, a perennial section , herb garden, citrus area  and `secret` garden ( it has a pergola with a seat underneath - concealed by lots of climbers and shrubs and looks toward the valley and mountains to the south ) . The gardens all blend into each other.
 


This is a part of my perennial garden which is only just starting to bloom. I love the smell of wall flowers - like Johnsons Baby Powder and they must be the easiest plants to grow from cuttings. I also have lots of salvias , some lavenders , lilies , catmints, penstemons  and irises here. I tend to love pinks , purples and whites with small splashes of red and yellow .

 This is the herb garden - I have parsley, spring onions, pizza thyme ( I like the flavour  better than common thyme, ) varigated oregano, a spindly savory bush , curry plant , chives, garlic chives , a potted bay tree, a so called dwarf rosemary bush ( hah ! dwarf if you regularly prune it ! ) and a moroccan mint ( sweeter than common mint and not invasive at all ). There are sporadic cat mints as a border and self seeded feverfews and some decorative roses  ( although I have toyed with the idea of making rose petal jam ).

My Irises and the main rose garden ( and the good old washing line )  - the irises are starting to come out. Again irises are one of my favourite plants - they give so much for little return. I am torn about my roses - most of them I have obtained by cuttings or gifts . However everytime I go near them they spike me- should I take cuttings or do I just leave them. Off the side is a  part of the native garden - mainly indigenous natives but there a couple of ring- ins as well.

Well this is just a portion of my garden. I really bit off more than I could chew in making it .
Hope everyone is having a good day.
Cheers Janine.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The Xmas Aftermath.

Xmas come and gone for another year.
I do love Xmas . - Watching my girls open their presents - they earn pocket money during the year for doing set chores and therefore apart from biannual shopping clothes trips, largely fund their own purchases, social life etc during the year. So I love a chance to spoil them a little.

                           - Over the top lunch - it only happens once a year !  This year we had roast garlic and rosemary lamb, home made baked ham , cold roast chook,  home grown  roast veges including  potatoes ( boiled , then roasted in duck fat and then fried - I don`t think there was much nutrition left at the end !) ,parsnips ( we sowed parsnips years ago and since then they have been self seeding - it`s great to go on a parsnip hunt in the orchard and vege garden ) and pumpkin. Then there were the desserts - dark and white chocolate tart ( made by my youngest DD ) , boiled traditional xmas pudding ( made by my eldest DD ) with brandy custard and trifle. Then afterwards there was the currant and cherry xmas cake ( peel free for my sister-in-law ) and gingerbread building ( a church this year ) and rum truffles ( not to  mention the pre- nibbles , drinks and obligatory healthy salads ) .This year I did not overeat ( finally learning in my middle age )  - just a little of everything and felt just right at the end.

                       - Kris Kringle surprise present - a relative who will not be named goes around her house and picks out unwanted stuff - last year she gave my middle DD a necklace - it just happened to be the necklace my same daughter had lost at her house ! This year she gave my youngest daughter a candle with a gift tag attached indicating it was obviously an old rejected gift.  She also gave a handbag to another relative  ( who is only 8 ) that had an old ( unused thank goodness )  tampon in it !  We actually find this amusing and spices up  xmas day . By the way it is not through lack of funds that this relative does this as she goes overseas sometimes  several times a year - she has been all over the world multiple times. This year it was Canada , the USA and Hong Kong and China.
 

                     - a family game of dictionary - someone chooses a word out of dictionary that no-one knows the definition of and then everyone makes up one - all the definitions including the correct one are read out and you score points for guessing the correct definition and  tricking people - it`s lots of fun and you only need a dictionary and pencils and paper.

At the end of this day  we were treated to a spectacular storm that had a rainbow at the end - quite fitting I think.