Monday, 29 September 2014

Around the World Bloghop

Hello! I haven't been in here for aaaages. My fellow blogger, and crafty associate, Amy Badskirt has kindly given me the kick up the bum I needed, and nominated me to participate in a little blog hopping fun. Basically, I answer a few questions about my creative process so that you can get to know me a little better, and then I tag a couple of people and get them to do the same. then we can all get to know each other a little better. If you are interested, you can check out Amy's post here, and follow back up to the beginning, or you can follow any of the links off to check out the other nominees' answers. You can see who my lucky victims are at the end of this post.

Delicious Jersey knits

What am I working on?
My major goal for this year is to make more things for me to wear. So far I have been keeping up fairly well with the target of at least one item per month. I seem to be focussed mainly on stretchy fabrics at the moment. This is not particularly a deliberate thing, it has just happened that way. I find stretch fabrics mostly easy to work with (provided they are of good quality), they generally sew up pretty quickly, have less fitting issues than clothes made from woven fabrics, and (most importantly) are comfortable and easy to wear with no ironing. I have a big stack of things all cut out and ready to be sewn for the boys, a fake croc-skin bag that I really need to finish, and there is also a half-knitted cardigan on the bed-side table that I must get to before Amélie outgrows it.

Working on

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a really tricky question to answer. I don't set out to be different, I'm just me. I don't think there are any clear rules about what I do and don't like, I either do or I don't. Many of the "rules" I have, I break anyway.

My tastes are fairly eclectic, but I tend to prefer more saturated colours, rather than pale, pastel colours. Having said that, Amélie's quilt is pretty pale.

Daisies in the Woods

I also have a real thirst for trying something new. I generally don't make the same things over and over, but I have made a heap of Kwik Sew Pajamas.

Pajama boys

I don't like busy florals, but I love Heather Ross fabrics that are floral.


So, you see, I break my own rules all the time. If there is enough to like about something, then I can see past the things that I don't like and go with what I do. I guess I am still figuring out who I am. I wonder if I will ever find myself?

Why do I write/create what I do?
I love to make stuff. I love the thrill of creating something and being able to say I made that, or I did that. I love learning new techniques. I love that my kids feel loved when I make them something that is especially for them. I love that I can make things fit better than they would if I bought them off the rack. I love it when I really get into creating so much that I can switch off everything else and just make... I mostly write about it to keep a record of what I have made and to share with my friends and family.

Redondo Collage

How does my writing/creative process work?

Ok, so in a nutshell,
  • I see things that I like and want to make,
  • I make the stuff, (creating a massive mess in the process)
  • I take photos of the finished items
  • I write about it.
  • I see new things I want to make and the process begins again.
Sometimes the steps get mixed around a bit, or intersect with other projects, as I always have more than one on the go at a time, but that is generally how it works. Lately though, things have not been working for me as such. My biggest flaw, the thing that holds me back, is perfectionism. I'm not saying that I am perfect, far from it. It drives me though, and it also holds me back. If I can see something wrong with something, I have trouble letting it go. If I show a friend something I have made and she says that it's perfect, I will show her the stitch that skipped, or the slightly wonky top-stitching and show her that it is not perfect. I have no idea why I impose these standards upon myself, I don't inspect anyone else's work to see if it is perfect. As time has gone on, I have set my standards higher and higher, and now I feel that they are unreachable. The area where this is a problem for my blog, is my photography. Especially now that I am making so much for myself. This is a really big shame, as I love having my blog as a record of the things that I make. I need to learn to let go and just do it.

Stretchy Skirt

And now it is time to nominate some people to follow in my footsteps and join the blog hop. The rules say I can nominate up to three people to participate; I nominate Karen, from And so, I sew, Jodie from Ric-Rac, and my other friend Karen, from Cakes By Karen.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Purse-frame bag

Purse Frame Bag

Whilst I have heaps of bags, I felt like I needed something that was a bit more suitable for going out (smaller), that goes with more things. I have always thought that a bag with a purse frame would be cute, but I didn't have a suitable pattern, so I made it using Nicole Mallalieu's 200mm Chunky purse pattern....

"You Sew, Girl!" Chunky 200mm Purse Kit

I guess you can tell that I had to make a few modifications to actually get the bag to look like it does using that pattern. I had to slash and spread the pattern to make it bigger in all directions, except for the frame part. I started sewing up a trial bag before I worked on the real thing, but that has mostly been abandoned.

Modified purse frame pattern

The fabric for this bag came from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I think it was about $15 or $16 per metre? It is a fake leather type fabric with a texture that I think is meant to be a bit like snakeskin. The fabric has a bit of stretch in it. I guess it is designed to make skirts or pants out of? I added some iron on wadding to help give the bag some structure and to remove the stretch. There is also boning added behind the straps to give extra support, and help keep the bag standing up straight and tall and not slouching into a puddle.

I love the newsprint lining - I think it adds to the vintage feel of the bag. Mostly, bought bags seem to have a dark lining, which I guess is meant to help hide the grime, but I prefer a light-coloured lining, as it helps me to be able to see inside a bag.

Purse Frame Bag - look inside!

I used the instructions in Nikki's new book "The Better Bag Maker" to help me make the zipped pocket inside. Normally, I would be going through my pattern stash, looking for which patterns have that set of instructions, or check my notes from the zippers for bags class I attended - but now I have the book, so I can save myself heaps of time by just referring to that.

The purse also has a nice hard base and cute little round purse feet on the base. Instead of just using it to go out, it seems to have become my everyday bag.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Made for Me - March Dress

March dress

Ok, so I realise that it is now June and I still haven't showed you the dress I made for myself back in March. I am finding it challenging (on many levels) to take photos of myself, wearing the things I have made. Never mind, I will get over myself and catch up eventually, I am sure...

Anyway, this dress is made using New Look pattern 6429, view C. As I have a long torso, I attempted to lengthen the top half of the dress. There is a seam across the back that is already above the waistline, that would have looked really funny if I had not. Lengthening the torso was not easy, as there are no shorten/lengthen lines to be able to do so, so there was a bit of fiddling around, and some moving of dots and notches. I am still not sure I really got this right, but it seems to work.

New Look 6429

Oh, by the way, this is my mannequin. She has come from my mum's house to stay here. As you can see, she is a bit skinny and it looks like her boobs are in a completely different place to mine, but maybe with some padding, I might be able to sort her out. Or she can just become my clothes horse for modeling my new clothes if I am too shy, or technically challenged to do it myself.


Another modification I made to this dress was that I replaced the neckline facing with some binding that I cut from the same fabric as the dress. I found the concept of a facing in a stretch dress to be a bit strange. Particularly because that facing is to be interfaced, which would make it not stretchy. When I added the binding, I made sure to stretch it a little tighter across the bust area, where the dress "crosses over". This was to help keep everything inside the dress, where it should be. I have a tendency to burst out of cross-over dresses and tops as time goes by, but this dress is safe at least for long enough for me to go out for dinner. I really do wonder about that facing and if there are advantages to having those parts of the dress stabilised in such a way?

Overall, I am fairly pleased with this dress. I may even make it again, out of some better fabric. We shall see...
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