Happy swoopy :-)

I’ve finished it.

I went at it slowly and carefully, not wanting to make a mistake with such lovely (and incidentally, expensive!) fabric. There was one near miss, but I won’t burden you with that! The body and two-piece collar went together without trouble, but the sleeves were quite finicky. They’re just below elbow length, with a deep, firm cuff, two pleats and a continuous bound placket (opening). They went in quite easily; I got a bit obsessive about making sure all the notches and pattern marks were in place before I started work, and it truthfully does help things fit together better. Mostly I’m a bit cavalier about these things, but not this time. In traditional fashion, the overlocker has decided to go on strike, or more accurately, a Go-Very-Slow, leaving the armholes the only bits un-overlocked. The mechanic I talked to on the phone says it’s probably a bearing that needs replacing, so the overlocker will be going into Janome Hospital in Townsville in mid-August. Till then, I’m back to finishing with zig zag; adequate, but not perfect ūüė¶

I have to say, the buttonholes were a bit of a thing. There are 10 of them on the pattern, and my sewing machine has a history of going freestyle with the buttonhole foot without notice or provocation. So I a) decided to reduce the number of buttons (I’ll never wear this thing done up to the throat); and b) sat down with scrap fabric and made a dozen of them before I was confident the machine was cowed into submission and obedience. They turned out perfectly.

The buttons themselves… I’d originally thought about using little buttons in all the detail colours in the fabric: pale and raspberry pink, yellow and pale blue. Thing is, there was always the chance it’d look like a mistake. I didn’t want dull grey buttons. Mother of pearl would have been nice, but in the end, I decided to go with self-covered buttons. They’re very fiddly, but the effect is such a perfect match that I felt it was worth it. Mind you, the buttons themselves are far from perfectly made (pretty, but soooo fiddly…), but because they’re made of the fabric they blend in invisibly.

I really love the finished shirt. So much so that I bought some fabric to make another one, but this time I’m going to go with shorter, elbow-length sleeves with no cuff. I love the new fabric, which is cotton poplin from a range called Animal Friends, and it’s the Flying Stork pattern, with a tiny touch of silver in the design. I think it’s meant for children’s wear, but in this case, it’ll be Kate wear. Best of all, I got it for an amazing price. Spotlight VIP members (moi, naturally!) are currently getting 30% discount on most fabric lines. This fabric was also marked down to $8 a metre. On top of that, it was on the 75% off table AND I had a 20% discount winning scratch-card from Spotlight’s recent mail-out. I think I got 4 metres for about $2 in the end…

I also got some fabric for sashing the pastel rainbow scrappy quilt, but that’s for another day.

A pretty pick-me-up

I’m in need of a bit of loveliness right now.

Having been due to attend court for jury service this week, I found myself starting a heavy cold last Sunday night. Luckily, I wasn’t going to be needed the next day, or the day after that. By Monday afternoon, it was clear that this was going to be more than your average cold. Reluctant to spray these potent germs all over the court, I went to see my doctor, who took one brief listen to the strange barking noises emerging from my mouth and diagnosed a viral chest infection. One medical certificate later, and jury service is no longer anything to worry about. The rest of it is not so wonderful, of course…. as it’s a virus, I can only ease the symptoms with the aid of my trusty box of cold and flu remedies.

Today, our lovely postlady dropped a box on the back doorstep. Thinking it was some car or mower part the husband had ordered, I brought it in, and it wasn’t till I saw the customs declaration and the fact that it was coming from the Netherlands and addressed to me that I realised it was that most welcome of parcels ‚Äď fabric! The darling, kind sister for whom I made the Bonnard quilt had promised that she’d find me some fabric as a thank you for making her the quilt. And now, here it was; not one but three pieces:

The dolphin fabric is an easy one. I have some beautiful batik in exactly the same colours, and I plan to make a thin summer kimono-style dressing gown from both the fabrics, with a thin piping of bright pink.

The other two are pretty much demanding to be made into summer tops, and I’m already rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of what I can do with the scraps! For now, they’re going into my dress-fabrics box, to be fetched out and petted regularly. I don’t have any idea who they’re made by, as none of the selvedges has any information, but they are 100% cotton, and the quality of both the fabric and the printing is excellent.

I feel much better already!



Rosita arrived today, but I’m not allowed to play with her.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 5.53.41 pm

Today’s output. My fingers are a bit sore…

Instead, I’m steeling myself for several long days of slogging away at hexies. It feels a bit like being kept back in school and doing detention (for those not familiar with the term, detention is extra punishment schoolwork which had to be done at school after hours while all your friends were outside playing).

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 5.54.11 pm

Miss Rosita is modelling 2metres of a rather fetching spot fabric waiting to be turned into something wearable…

Upstairs in my sewing room, Rosita stands sturdily in the corner, draped discreetly in fabric to conceal from the curious the fact that she’s now very nearly as porky as I am. Her shoulders slope a little more than my very square ones, nothing a couple of shoulder pads can’t fix. Her waist goes in a bit more and will need padding out, but otherwise she’s eerily familiar. Apart from being bright red, that is.

On my cutting table lie the pieces for the Swoopy Shirt and new fabric in lilac cotton with a medium white dot, destined to be turned into a long tunic top, possibly with the same swoopy hem as the shirt.

In the cupboard are numerous pieces of fabric whispering seductively about the garments they want to become. They know I have the patterns already. But worst and most tempting of all is the siren song of the Wedding Quilt….

So you can see why I feel a bit trapped by hexies. I’m still absolutely loving this quilt, but the stupid show deadline is what’s causing all the angst. And all self-inflicted, too…

Ah well, onwards.

Meet Rosita

Rosita is a Lady of Negotiable Dimensions.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 5.54.03 amOr my new adjustable tailor’s dummy, if you prefer, but I think the other description is much more interesting. She’s red, she’s curvaceous, and the name Rosita seems made for her.

The lovely Husband of Chiconia found her for me on eBay, and she’s winging her way to me as we speak. She has dials everywhere, so I can adjust her torso width and depth, waist¬†and¬†hip width and depth, and torso length, which will give me a much better fit than dummies which simply get wider without getting deeper. I can give her a sturdy neck or a slender one. I can make her tall or petite on her stand, and best of all, she has a hem length marker for putting in pins at exactly the same level all round.

I’m thrilled at the new addition to the sewing room, and she’ll certainly brighten up her corner. She’s going to spend ¬†her time being rather portly, because I am, but it’ll make fitting garments so much easier than trying to struggle in and out of precariously pinned pieces in my underwear. The language will be a lot cleaner, to start with! I’ll be able to see where things aren’t lying right, or there’s a saggy or gappy thing in some otherwise invisible place, adjust seams so they lie straight and make sure collars sit right. It’s going to be fab! I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such a clever and thoughtful Husband, but he’s mine! Find your own!

She’s due by the end of this coming week, so I think the Swoopy Shirt is going to be her first mission.

Sewing for a rainy day

It’s a beautiful wet day. Perfect weather to hunker down with some sewing.

I’m in slight danger of becoming obsessive about Worldwide Friends. Some might say it was already too late…. But rather than press on and on, and then get a bit fed up with it, I’m giving myself a slight break.

Screen shot 2014-05-07 at 3.33.42 PMOne of the things I haven’t done anything with (apart from get it out and stroke it occasionally) is the beautiful Amy Butler Lark fabric I bought with a gift voucher I received from¬†Factotum of Arts last year. I need more light cotton tops – shirts with sleeves are fine when it’s hot and dry, to help keep the sun off my arms, but when it’s hot, overcast and wet, something sleeveless is more comfortable.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 10.24.35 AM

All my favourite colours in one place

Using the same pattern as for my lawn nighties but shortened a fair bit, I’ve made¬†a top out of one of these gorgeous¬†fabrics. I don’t have quite enough of it to make the pattern in the suggested way, so it has¬†seams up the centre front and back, but I can live with that, even if it does mean the¬†diagonal fabric design doesn’t match up down the middle – the fabric is gorgeous enough to distract me from that. I hear horrified intakes of breath from the purists, but once again I say Finished is better than perfect… I don’t have enough of the other two fabrics to do the same thing, but I’m sure I’ll think of something equally lovely¬†to make with them.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 10.24.59 AM

I like adding small, hidden details to personalise a garment

This will be Project #1 of A Year of Finishing, Finally (YFF).

Amongst all the planned new quilts and ‘official’ sewing projects, let’s see how far I get down the list of UFOs, using up scraps, knitting, crochet and dressmaking before something new interposes itself! ¬†I have plenty to be going on with. (And by the way,¬†projects for AHQ don’t count, they’re Sewing for A Cause and can be introduced at any time).

The road to hell…

… is paved, they say, with good intentions.

You’ve had the Good. Now it’s time for the Bad and the Ugly. In addition to all the swanking about stuff I’d achieved¬†and my publicly-acknowledged UFOs, there’s a second, secret, rogue’s gallery of projects I’d intended to start, but which never got off the ground, or no further than some very tentative initial work.

My Recycle¬†quilt, made from denim, twill and flannel from the Husband’s castoffs. The ultimate recycling project, most of which is still sitting in a large and inconvenient pile on the floor. The Ugliest of all, because the mess is biggest.

Pannier liner bags for Miss Scarlett, our Big Bike. Another pile, but a bit tidier.

Cylindrical fabric boxes with a hole in the top, for knitting or crochet yarn, intended as gifts. Yup, you guessed it. A pile, but a small one.

Posh Nightie, hideously, screamingly expensive Sea Island cotton fabric from Barbados, to make myself the world’s softest, most comfortable nightdress. Still in a box on the shelf.

Dressmaking: two dresses, a pair of pants, a shirt or two. More fabric and patterns sitting about.

Fluffy Thing. I was supposed to finish Woolly Thing and then start knitting that. Yup. No.

And we’re not even mentioning fabrics bought for no particular purpose, yarn ditto, a lap quilt for a sister that I haven’t even looked at, quilts promised long ago to nieces, my One Day Double Wedding Ring quilt.

There’s a line from a poem by Robert Browning, which says “Man’s reach should exceed his grasp”. Boy, have I have done the double-handed grasp without a hope of reaching my goal… I think it’s time to turn that around, stop buying on impulse and start consolidating a bit…

Watch this space.

And a special thank you to Kirsten, who told me how to do a collage of photos, thereby saving you all from visual hideousness. ūüôā

Broken Bottles #12: Quilted, quite

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.49.13 PM Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.49.26 PM Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.49.37 PMIt’s done. The quilting is finished.

A little unpicking, a little re-sewing, but nothing too drastic. It’s finished, trimmed out, de-threaded, and the binding is made, ready to sew on tomorrow. By the end of the day, it should be done, labelled, finished. I must go and dig out a label transfer and a bit of white fabric…. Weather permitting, once it’s done I can hang it on the clothesline as usual to get a better photo. My hands are still a bit sore from all the heavy work of the past few days, but luckily sewing doesn’t seem to make it worse.

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.50.00 PMAlso today, I treated myself to three new dressmaking patterns. Rather good value, actually, since they were half price, and three of the two were for multiple garments. So for $27 I have patterns for a tunic and medium pants, a wrap dress, a wrap top, wide leg pants, narrow leg pants, a coat, a jacket, a vest, and a simple dress / pinafore / jumper in two lengths.

First up will probably be the wrap dress, since I don’t have a really pretty dress to go out in, all my pretty outfits are separates. And for the dress, I’m going with a fabulous slinky matte jersey splashy print in teal and aqua on a white background which I have hoarded for a few years but never done anything with due to lack of overlocker. It’s loud, but this IS the tropics, after all… And then I shall make something from my cream and chocolate floral silhouette print, and then, and then….

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.50.24 PMScreen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.50.35 PMIt’s good to be back at the sewing machine. The baby vegies are fine on their own, I have projects lined up, and time¬†to play.