Thursday, October 29, 2009

my creative space

... is all about belts this week.
I started making belts a year and a bit ago and they turned out really well. Nice fabric belts with buckles or d-loops. I gave them to my sisters for Christmas and they were very much appreciated (at least that is what they told me).

This week I pulled out my belt making box again and found a very-almost-finished belt sitting in there, along with all my other bits and pieces (it is becoming a bit of a theme in this blog that I am finding all my unfinished projects and finishing them off. It is very rewarding at least! To say nothing of a possible personality trait of never finishing things properly...). So I attached the D-rings and voila - a finished belt which I can now wear (and am, today).

The belts are quite quick and straight forward to whip up. And they are a nice way to showcase some really gorgeous fabrics. I think I might try and make a few more for my sisters in law - on the other side of the family - for Christmas this year. And maybe another one for me too.

Whip on over (sorry that's a bad belt reference) to Kootoyoo to check out other creative spaces.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

pencil skirt 5 years in the making

So at last, one UFO emerges from underneath the 'pile', finds its way to the land of the living and is finally transformed into a finished, wearable piece. Yippee! I literally started this one about 5 years ago and finally finished it yesterday to wear to The Quilt Project last night. It worked out just fine, still fitted and hopefully didn't smell like a musty old cupboard.
The fabric is 100% wool (I don't even remember where I got it from) and is a nice chartreuse and pale blue weave (which results in a greeny colour, sorry its a bit hard to tell in the pics). The pattern is Butterick 3132 and it is a really nice pattern. A pencil skirt with front pockets, three panels at the back with horizontal darts at the bum which give it a bit of difference and quite a nice shape. I added a bit of decorative lace to the two outer panels just for a bit of an edge.
Pocket detail.And here is Nic from Yardage Design and myself, sporting our new frocks, ready to hit the town for The Quilt Project. Nic also made her gorgeous skirt, featuring her own screen printed design, check it out on her blog. A big thanks to Kirsty from Kootoyoo for pulling the quilt together, putting the night on and having the idea for the entire success! I had a great time and got to meet (for the first time) some very lovely bloggers in real life. Although I didn't get to contribute a square (I joined the blog bandwagon a little too late), I enjoyed watching everyone's squares come together and the final quilt was amazing. Congratulations to all the people who helped it to become!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

my creative space

Unfinished project back on the drawing board. We are talking about 5 years in the making for this one. It got pulled out about 2 years ago and had some work done it, then obviously got put in the too hard basket or don't have time category for some reason.

I'm thinking maybe of having it finished for the Quilt Project evening tomorrow night, but let's not get anyone's hopes up just yet. Plus I have no idea if it will still fit. I had to rummage through my habby supplies to find the matching zipper i bought (years ago). Then came the disappointment as I realised it was just a plain normal zipper. I must prefer invisible zippers these days as they are easier to put in (I think) and they look better. It might smell all musty and horrible so I won't want to wear it anyway. Maybe it will just sit there perched over the sewing machine with me looking at it for the next two days. Maybe it won't? So many possibilities. So little time...

Visit Kootoyoo for more creative space musings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leggings and a twin needle experience

Another accolade to the Ottobre magazine I'm afraid. I am very impressed with these leggings. Made with stretch cotton jersey from the Ottobre 3/2009 issue and they were a cinch. I made them in size 74cm intending that they would be too big for my 10 months old, however they fit perfectly now, so any more pairs I make will be the the next size up. I have some pink cotton jersey waiting to made into leggings too. The applique flower came out a treat, it is two layers of different sized flowers embroidered together and then to one of the pant legs. I chose a slightly brighter blue for the cotton and hand embroidered it whilst watching some less than B-grade movie on television the other night. It was very rewarding.

A few months ago, I bought a twin needle from Tessuti fabrics, after it was recommended by Nichola of Nikki-shell and I love it. It gave such a clean professional finish to the edges. And it was REALLY EASY TO USE!

All you have to do is go out and get yourself a twin needle and (apparently) it will work on any machine that can do a zig zag stitch. You insert your fancy new needle as normal, then thread two threads through the machine (in exactly the same place as you would thread one). My sewing machine has a second spool holder (see pic), but if you didn't have that, you could just rig it up otherwise.
The bobbin is wound on as usual. You use a straight stitch and off you go! The top comes out as two straight parallel lines or stitching, and the bottom cotton does a zig zag (which you don't see as it is on the wrong side of the garment).
(The hubby said I should have taken the picture from an angle so you could see the threads on the needle better without the machine foot in the way. Sorry about that. He also said I should have cleared the dining table in the background too...)

The beauty of using the twin needle is that not only is it easy and looks very professional, but is also allows stretching, so the stitching will stretch with the fabric, rather than break. Another fantastic sewing gadget to add to my repertoire. In my trial attempt before doing the actual leggings, I used two random cotton colours and it looked really good so I think this would make an interesting finish for another item one day.

I've since learned a few things from a Kadiddlehopper post of using twin needles (as I am a learn as you do kind of girl, or jump in and do it, hope it works, then when it isn't perfect, do the research and find out what went wrong):
  • I should have lowered the tension to make the material lie flat between the two layers of stitching (mine is a little mounded as the tension was a bit high).
  • The two cotton spools should be positioned so they are rotating in opposite directions (although looking back at my picture, it looks like I unknowingly did this, must remember to knowingly do this again next time!)
  • I found the two threads twisted around each other every now and then at the needles. Kadiddlehopper advice was to put one thread through the thread guide (above the needle), and leave the other out. I will try this next time.
Sooz has a great and very informative post on sewing with knit fabrics (this reference is as much for me so I have a quick link to find it when I need it).

I can see more twin needle sewing in my future. My suggestion; go out and try it. I was very impressed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

my place and yours

Sounds like a good idea to join in with Pip's new theme, My place & yours.
On my shelf this weekend: my two gorgeous Iittala tealight holders (lovingly carried home all the way from Sweden last year), cotton reels, the hand embroidery job I finished the other night whilst watching some worse than B-grade movie on TV, needles, scissors and the baby monitor. Seems like my windows could do with a wash, as the view out to the garden isn't as clear as it should be...
Now time to get to and finish the leggings (on which the embroidery was done).
Join in to My and place and yours, there's to be a different theme each week. Check out Meet me at Mikes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Food preserving inspiration

Yesterday I attended a preserving foods masterclass at the Queen Vic Markets Cooking School with my sister. It was a fantastic class, presented by an inspiring and passionate chef; Domenic Marzano of Bouzy Rouge, Richmond. We learnt some great techniques for preserving including sardines, gravlax (salmon or ocean trout), mustard pears (yum!), sour onions, fruit, pasta and a few more. All the recipes were then presented for tasting, and the flavours were amazing.
Domenic with the amazing pavlova/preserved berries/mascarpone cream dessert creation. This was absolutely delicious!
Gravlax (cured in herb and salt mix) and salad on the left and sardines with sour onions on the right. Sorry for the messy plate, I should have taken the photo before we started eating it, but it was so appetising that I didn't think of taking a photo till half way through!
I will definitely be finding some time to make up a few of the delicious recipes we were provided with. Preserved fish probably wouldn't have been something I thought to do before, however after tasting the outcome, I look forward to giving it a go myself. And maybe even a night out at the Bouzy Rouge might be in order to sample Domenic's yummy cooking again...
On the topic of food. If anyone gets the ABC delicious magazine (October issue) my sister was the lucky winner of letter of the month! And I was the "sister" she went camping with when she made the blueberry scones (and they were scrumptious too!) It goes to show everybody has their 15 mins in the spotlight eventually.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

summer outfit

An embellishment on a t-shirt to complete a summer outfit for bubs. I made the bloomers earlier. I used some of the same fabric along with some matching ric rac to turn it into a tree. The "dropped" flower on the left is covering up a hole I accidentally snipped in the t-shirt whilst cutting the thread ends on the ric rac. Oops!
It adds a bit of balance to the composition though, so maybe it was meant to be. I am slowly building the summer wardrobe.
I am loving this idea of embellishing existing clothes and have been going through my wardrobe looking at all my plain boring clothes, thinking how I can give them a lift. Plus it is so quick and you get an immediate effect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just one word...

Thanks Nic for sharing this. Just the perfect thing I needed on this rainy Melbourne day (when I am supposed to be getting work done). Its a meme [rolling credits...] via Nic at Yardage, from Pip at Meet me at Mikes ... who got it via Hazelnuts, who found it at PetalPlum who found it via Bits of Sunshine who got it from Leah!
Join in - use just one word to answer the question. Its a challenge. Give it a go!
1. Where is your mobile phone? somewhere
2. Your hair? short
3. Your mother? lovely
4. Your father? tall
5. Your favourite food? Indian
6. Your dream last night? obsolete
7. Your favourite drink? coffee
8. Your dream/goal? now
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? sewing
11. Your fear? disconnectedness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Sweden
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? superhero
15. Muffins? yes!
16. Wish list item? time
17. Where did you grow up? farm
18. Last thing you did? stroll
19. What are you wearing? cords
20. Your TV? slimline
21. Your pet? awesome
22. Friends? important
23. Your life? busy
24. Your mood? procrastinating
25. Missing someone? parents
26. Vehicle? car
27. Something you’re not wearing? earrings
28. Your favorite store? fabric
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When was the last time you laughed? morning
31. Last time you cried? forget
32. Your best friend? invaluable
33. One place that I go to over and over? garden
34. One person who emails me regularly? sister
35. Favorite place to eat? home
And a picture to finish. My field of native flowers in our front yard, all about to burst into flower.
Thanks for visiting. Have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

handmade nostalgia from the 90's

My sister passed these beauties on to me when I visited her on the weekend. I remember as a teenager, pouring over these magazines, thinking how fantastic my (older) sister was to get them and to be able to make things from them. So I was very pleased to have them handed on to me. They are from the early 90's so there are a few laughs in there, but definitely some other stuff that can quite easily be updated to today's fashions.
There are some great softies and toy ideas and other things inside.
And the green satin & velvet dress (top right).
My sister actually made this (exactly as in the picture) and wore it to one of her Uni balls. I remember it being so divine and I was so jealous that she had that dress (and had made it). And I actually think the dress design could be worn today. I can imagine it in a dark black, brown or grey, maybe with the upper sash in hand printed linen (think Ink & Spindle, Pippi Joe or Thea & Sami). Could be good...

Maybe an early night tonight to have a closer look at them and have more memories come flooding back (and maybe some new ideas too).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

my creative space

Is working out pattern sheets... This week I have been tracing patterns from my Ottobre magazine. I was a bit shocked when I first saw these pattern sheets and wondered how I was ever going to work out the design I was looking for. Ends up that the system is actually really easy (once you read the instructions) and it is amazing how your eyes can focus and find the line number and colour you are looking for. Plus it must be good training for the brain too, so I am stimulating my intellectual intelligence at the same time. Love multi-tasking!

Pop over to Kootoyoo for more creative intelligence.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a party skirt

Tomorrow night we have a party to attend and I was told off by hubby as our poor daughter doesn't own any skirts or dresses to wear! The fact that she is nine months old and I think skirts and dresses are useless until they start walking around at least is besides the point. So alright, I thought, and spent last night putting this one together just so she can go to the party in a skirt. It is my own made up design (although nothing fancy). A simple rectangle with one side seam, gathered at the waist band. The bottom band with contrasting material and finished with gathered pink spotted trim.

The final touch was to add the yo-yo and button. This is the first yo-yo I have ever made (since I left high school anyway). I bought myself one of the Clover yo-yo makers a few months back, but hadn't thought of a way to use it until this project. Once the yo-yo was finished, I kind of wrapped the cotton around from front to back and pulled it in a bit to get the 'petals', so it is a bit of a modified yo-yo.

I have a lot of trouble with getting the gathering even (as in the pink spotted trim). My technique is to place a marker at even intervals along the trim and the base material so when the trim is gathered you can match up the markings, however I still always seem to end up with uneven gatherings. Is there a better method? Or is it just something you need the knack for?
Overall, I have happy with the result. Hopefully, she will look gorgeous in it for tomorrow night!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Baby's summer tunic and bloomers

Have been working on this little number for the past week. The top is the Toffee Tunic from the Summer issue (3/2009) of Ottobre. I love this pattern, it was so easy to make up (although I always struggle a little with getting the the gathering even), and I love it more because I learnt a new skill - "shirring" or using elastic thread. The end of the capped sleeves are gathered with the elastic thread, which is so much easier than the last dress I made (here) like this where I had to fold over, sew and then thread elastic through. There's a fantastic shirring tutorial here, if you've never tried it, do, its so effective. The pocket detail is also really cute.
I did have trouble with finding the perfect matching buttons. I find I am so particular when it comes to finding buttons and the stores just never seem to have the right ones. After a few days of visiting every haberdashery store in the vicinity, I finally came across an old work shirt, slightly stained that was a perfect chartreuse colour (and from my own pile to go to the op shop!). So I pinched the buttons from that which I was very happy with.
The shorts/bloomers, were then made by refashioning the shirt (as it really was the perfect matching colour. I used the sleeves and made then into legs! This is what I did:
  • Traced a pair of bloomers I had already to cut out the sleeves
  • Sewed the two "arm/legs" together at the front and back
  • Put on a new waistband
  • The leg bands were already finished, but I made two incisions at the back and inserted elastic into the band so they gathered a little around the thigh (assumingly a one year old's thighs are not as big as my upper arms).

Because a lot of the finishing on the sleeve/leg bands was already done, they were whipped up in no time. One completed summer outfit - tick! Here it is in action.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

my creative space

From this:

To this:
Things are a changing as my almost-ten-month old is almost crawling. I wouldn't actually say crawling yet, however she seems to get around pretty well. This morning I had my back turned for a half a minute and when I turned back she was having fun pushing the sewing machine pedal. How did she even get there? Time to pack up the cords (x 2 sewing machines plus the laptop cord) and machines and put them away for now :(
However I have almost finished my projects for the week (seeking two perfect buttons - why are they always so hard to find?) so there should be show and tell tomorrow.
Visit Koototyoo for more creative space antics.
Pinch and a punch for the first day of the month!