Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm a cow

... a Friesian cow!
And here I am, out standing in the field.
Ha! whenever I hear about someone, some highly accomplished person gaining recognition for being outstanding in the field of whatever, I cannot help it but that old joke just pops into my head; you know the one... 
How did the cow win a Nobel prize?  Because it was out standing in its field.
And I will have a little inner laugh.  With cavalier lack of regard for the importance or gravity of the accomplishment.   I know, it's not even that funny.  Clearly, I am very easily amused.
So, yes, I am wearing a new skirt, while I'm out standing in my field, here.
*muffled giggle*.  
The fabric is a ivory/black fake fur from Spotlight, plush but with a low pile and not very thick.  I used black silk dupion for the waistband, as the plush was too thick to make a nice clean flat waistband, and I lined my skirt with ivory polyacetate lining fabric.
I used Vogue 1247 with the pieces spliced together so as to make a plain little skirt with no pockets.  I know, Vogue 1247 again! sorry to be boring! it's just that the silhouette of Vogue 1247 suits my current winter wardrobe right down to the ground so it's very much the golden child of my pattern family.  It may or may not fall out of my favour at some point but y'know, when you're enamoured of a pattern and it seems perfect for every occasion so you keep reaching for it over and over and over again.  To the exclusion of all the other, perfectly good, skirt patterns.
Probably all my other patterns hate it, and when the cupboard door is shut and the light goes out and I leave the room, they studiously ignore it and exclude it from their whispered conversations with a disdainful curl to their lips.
She's so full of herself.
Oh, like totally.
(I'm telling you, it's like high school in there...)
Hey guys!  I just got made up; again!  In cow fabric!!
Did she just say what I thought she did?
Mmmm.  Just pretend you didn't hear...
Guys, look!
Omigod, seriously. 
And she lined me!  I'm not even supposed to be lined!
Oh please.  Like half of us don't have lining already.  You don't hear us bragging.
I know right?  Just keep walking.

Vogue 1247 sadly walks away, to eat her lunch.  Alone.
Trying to bravely rise above it.  
Their turn will come.  Oh, their turn will come.

Hmmm, goodness knows how that happened, but somehow I seem to have segued right into the screenplay for a new high school soapie, starring a cast of dressmaking patterns.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!  Will Vogue 1247 be forgiven her teacher's pet status?  Or will a new pattern topple her from her pedestal?  Will there be hair-pulling?  Or will someone steal someone else's boyfriend?!

Hehe, thought about deleting all that nonsense, but nah; left it.

Adios! or should I say; MOOOOOO!

Skirt; Vogue 1247 modified and lined; plush faux fur, my review of this pattern here
Top; the twist top from Pattern Magic, ivory stretch, details here
Tights; black poly stretch, from my own custom-fit pattern, details here
Boots; Roberto del Carlo, from Zomp shoes

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hiking in Italy; a travel wardrobe

Time away:
21 days
Where to:
Italy; primarily Tuscany and the Amalfi coast, a few days in Copenhagen, one day in Singapore
early summer.
Hot in Italy, in fact everyone commented on how unseasonably warm it was! with daily temps of 17-34C.  Then cold, wintery conditions (for us) in Copenhagen, 8-16C.  Singapore; hot and very humid; 27-32C
Expected activities:
Lots of medium to heavy duty hiking, with evenings spent hanging out in small villages.  Some city sightseeing and shopping.
Colour scheme:
cheerful primaries, in solids and in fun gingham, stripes and florals.  
Hmmm, I must've been in a rather whimsical party/holiday mood when I selected this lot!
What I packed:

each garment made by me is linked to its original construction post:
2 cardigans;
turquoise Metalicus cardigan rtw
ivory CR cardigan rtw
2 prs shorts;
greige corduroy shorts
green gingham shorts
2 dresses; 
red gingham dresscasual 
floral dress bit more dressy
6 tops;
cream blouse with black velvet tie
royal blue velvet top
ivory LS shirt
green gingham top
orange/cream stripe top
brown Tshirt
1 red scarf rtw
2 skirts;
blue corduroy skirt
yellow corduroy skirt
1 olive green cap; my husband's, rtw
2 prs pants;
burnt brown jeans 
olive green hiking pants
4 prs shoes; 
turquoise sandals, , hiking boots, white thongs, black sandshoes
green floral bathers
blue raincoat (under)
black tights
3 prs socks; handknitted ginger socks + 2 prs thick hiking socks rtw
chocolate brown leather handbag

also, obviously I took my nightie, toiletries bag and a selection of underwear  :)

My daily outfits:

I think I'm actually getting better at minimising my packing, since this is a far smaller selection that the last time we went to Italy.  True, this was a shorter trip by 6 days, but I felt as though I had plenty of options and probably could have happily eked another week's worth of outfits out of this lot pretty easily!
I did make one ginormous packing boo boo; I neglected to bring a hat, DOH!  You can imagine how hard I was kicking myself when I discovered this, getting dressed for our first day out hiking!!  I had intended to bring my white, wide-brimmed hat, which is fantabulous for keeping off the sun and I thought it would complement all my outfits just perfectly but just forgot to put it in somehow!...  oh well, all the best-laid plans and all that.  Very fortunately my husband had brought two hats so he allowed me to use one of his on our holiday.  Of course I could have bought a new one if need be; but you know how weird I am about not buying clothes, right?
Weather appropriateness: it was very hot hiking in Italy, and to be honest there were times I found myself pining for a few more warm weather options; but really I made do with what I had just fine.  Happily our schedule was such that we could do a bit of hand-washing in our room every few nights and could put something fresh and clean on every morning.
During our time in Italy, we both felt like the cooler weather options we'd brought were a complete waste of suitcase space.  But of course then we got to Copenhagen and it was freezing!  and then I leapt upon my tights and cardigans and my raincoat, rugging up with relief and joy.  Weather!  You just can never tell!
Likewise, I packed the floral dress just in case, and while we were hiking and hanging out in rural and seaside areas with a downbeat, casual vibe, it languished uselessly in the suitcase, bugging me.  However, obviously we did eventually get to cities, with restaurants and cocktail bars where there were beautiful people dressed very smartly indeed; and I was happy I could sashay out looking just that little bit glamorous!
Other, non-sartorial thoughts:
I took my fitbit and was super chuffed that I set two new personal bests! on two separate days.
moment of smug self-backpatting
We did a huge amount of hiking and mountain/hill/stair climbing, and averaged 25,000 steps and 150 floors per day.  Phew!  We sure earned our gelati each day! or sometimes *blush* even two gelati, ahem.
Another "thing" I did was keep a diary.   I always have good intentions to keep travel journals but rarely do I actually manage to keep it going for the whole trip.  This time I gave myself extra motivation by buying for myself a really beautiful book.  It worked!  I loved my book so much it was an absolute pleasure to write in it, and I found myself looking forward each day to summarising the events of the day, recalling funny anecdotes, little thoughts I had, conversations we had, and general stooff like that.
I know I'm going to enjoy reading it one day when I'm old and can no longer remember that we even ever went to Italy, once upon a time, hehe  :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

origami blouse

Hello!  I've made a new blouse  :)
Yes, it is currently winter here in Perth.  I am braving the freezing depths of winter to take these photos.  
Haha, not really!  Actually I am wearing my new blouse responsibly and weather-appropriately here, in warm and sunny Italy!  I made the blouse before we left on our recent hiking holiday and took it away with us so I could enjoy it in the warm weather  :)
This is the Origami Blouse from the book Twinkle Sews, by Wenlan Chia.  My lovely sewing neighbour Megan kindly lent her book to me.  Thank you so much, Megan!

The fabric is a lovely creamy coloured silk/linen; bought as a remnant from Fabulous Fabrics.  I only had about 80cm and with some experimenting to find the most economical pattern arrangement just managed to squeak out the pieces with barely any scraps left at all.  And added 2cm in length to the blouse ...  I cut it that little bit longer just because I had enough length and thought I would get a nice deep hem.  However when trying it on I detected a certain, um shall we say, lamb-ness? to the style, at odds with the general muttonness of my person...   Anyway, I decided any and all extra length that could be got definitely should be got at all costs; and stitched the skinniest of skinny hems that I could!
For that same reason I did not gather up the lower edge of the sleeves with elastic, but just left them straight and ungathered.  The resulting lack of sleeve puffiness raises the maturity level just a touch, I reckon  :)
The origami thingies on the front are rather interesting, and although they look complex are simpler than they look.  Having said that, I still found them quite fiddly to make and mine are not particularly neat, although I tried!  Fabric is not like paper at all, it's springy and thick, especially when seams come into the equation, and true origami perfection is a pretty tall order.  I ended up abandoning all aspirations to razor sharp points and perfectly angled edges and just tried to accept the imperfection.  I think I wrangled them to look passable.  I can almost imagine they are like a flutter of little creamy butterflies, alighting onto my shirt for a little butterfly gathering.
I'm not too terribly distressed at their imperfection, as when I'm wearing the top they are sneakily tucked away behind that black velvet tie anyway, mwahaha...
Verdict: I think it turned out, not too cutesy cute, but nice and just mildly cute, and rather fresh and romantic and just slightly poetic.

My thoughts on Twinkle Sews, the book...
This is a nice book; it contains patterns for 25 garments; 7 skirts, 13 tops and 5 dresses.  The designs include some that are easy and plain, others that are both interesting and unique, with some very innovative ideas in many of the pieces.  If you're interested in something a bit different, basics with a twist, then this book contains some promising projects.
The fabrics chosen for the sample garments and the styling of them is sometimes a little questionable and I didn't always find them visually appealing.  But disregarding fabrics and prints and just paying careful attention to the lines and shapes of the pieces, I reckon there are some real gems in there.  Check out Megan's lovely shibori dress from the book.
The patterns come in sizes 0-16 (US) and are all on a CD included with the book.  The pattern pieces are all whole pieces, meaning, no half pieces to be placed on the fold.  This has advantages; it's easier to lay the full-size pieces on a flat unfolded piece of fabric to obtain the most economical layout: also disadvantages; the most obvious being that you have to do a heckuvva lot more taping!
The early chapters are aimed at a beginner seamster, with some nice and encouraging chat about the joys of fabric and making clothes for yourself; and extensive, clear and helpful explanations of basic sewing terms as well as for all the techniques used in the projects.

Blouse; the origami blouse from Twinkle Sews, by Wenlan Chia, creamy linen-silk with black velvet ribbon
Shorts; Burda 7723, green cotton gingham, details here and my review of this pattern here
Thongs (above); Havaiana
Hat (Craig's); Billabong
Socks (below); hand-knitted by me, details here
Hiking boots (below); Mountain Designs

Sunday, May 31, 2015

me-made May 2015; an overview

So, this year I took part in Zoe's me-made May yet again.  This is my eighth time joining in!
Obviously it's practically an institution now, and even though I'm pretty sure it's not aimed towards people like me; who comfortably wear an entire outfit made by myself every single day and have done for years, well, I still like to join in.  It's fun and maybe I'd feel out-of-it and maybe a bit bereft if I did not!  FOMO!  
ha, did I just successfully employ un buzz-acronym of our time? wow.  Before I know it I might even have got to grips with something else non-dinosaury, like my phone even.  
Or not.
Anyway.  My outfit pictures with the links to everything I am wearing are all in my MMM15 Flickr album here, should anyone wish to have a proper lookie.  I have no idea why some of the pictures are huge, sorry about that.  I think it's the way Flickr organises them or something.

So, the obligatory postmortem...
Did I learn anything?
Nope!  Not really!  That's ok though, I'm fine with just joining in for the sake of it!
Any holes?  Any workhorses?
No holes in my wardrobe, massive surprise, that! haha.  I had a few repeats, but mixed it up some and discovered a few nice new combinations that I liked and will repeat over winter. Most importantly, have reluctantly wrenched some old but tired things, kicking and screaming from my wardrobe and transferred them to the potential Salvoes bag.  *sigh*  The camera is a harsh and wretchedly truthful beast!
Workhorses: in this season; white tops, black tights, little knitted cardigans and brightly coloured little skirts.  For warmth; my moto jacket, and my peppercorn cardigan for lounging around in the evening.
Thoughts on the photos?
I've kind of got my tripod-and-remote routine down pat now and so it's pretty painless and easy.  I kept to one very convenient-to-me location, and allowed myself no more than 1 minute to take a few photos, and just selected one for the Flickr group.
I've thought of doing "interesting" daily photos again like I've done in the past for previous me-made months, but for this year and my current life, just doing boring ones was a good choice for me.

And that's it! I think?  Until next year.  I'm sure I'll probably continue to join in and do this as long as Zoe chooses to host it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Orange is the new Black

We don't even get that show on TV here, but I've heard the name bandied about and thought it remarkably apt for my newest creations!
Now, is everyone else joining in the latest pretty underthingies making-fest?
Haha, sorry, of course it really goes by a far more lovely and grammatical name; "Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers", and is the brainchild of Susan of Measure Twice Cut Once.  It's on its second year and I sadly missed last year.  Well, partly because I didn't know about it then.  Which is a bit sad because I love making underthings! it's fun! and also I'm an any-excuse kind of a seamster, as y'know.  Anyway, as soon as I read Susan's IG post I signed up.  Couldn't resist!  
The sweet nothings extravaganza starts 31st May running until 6th June.  So, I'm sorry to jump the gun, but I have a few things coming up on my plate at that time and if I was going to join in and make something I knew I had to get onto it right away  :)
My new set is a re-cycling of an old thing... some tights!
I think I used the pair on the left.. no, the right.. no, the left.... no, wait, maybe the right...
A few years ago I made two pairs of deep orange tights, and wore one pair a bunch until it sprouted holes in the toes.  I even gave them a 6 different ways post, that's how useful they proved to be in my wardrobe.  Anyhow, one pair were finally on their last legs (haha) and I considered cutting the feet off to make leggings from them, stretch a bit more wear out of them.  But the second pair was still hole-free and going strong, and instead I thought I could re-cycle the fabric from the worn-out pair into something different instead.  I managed to cut out the pieces for a new lingerie set, avoiding the areas of highest wear from the tights which were the knees and soles of the feet.
Paprika poly stretch originally from Spotlight, black stretch lace from Fabulous Fabrics.  Sliders, rings, hook/eye tape, black ribbon for bows, shoulder strap elastic and knicker lingerie elastic from Spotlight, bra foam and other remanding bra findings from MakeBra Some of the findings were recycled themselves from older bras that have bitten the dust too.
Patterns; I used MakeBra 2610, a balconette style bra pattern and my old McCalls 2772 bikini pattern for the two pairs of matching knickers.  I know right?, same old patterns, like a broken record, story of my life underwear drawer.  Well, when a thing works, etc etc...
black lace, and I made black ribbon bows
Sometimes I used red topstitching thread, sometimes black 
Shown here on Cassie's dummy Clarissa.  Confession time; my bras, while they fit me, are an awfully tight squeeze on my own dummy Bessie.  Whenever I've used her to model bras in the past I've had to stretch the bejeezus out of them, or pin them open at the back.  She is a wee bit, ahem, broader in the chest than I!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

pale pink Issey Miyake skirt

Why a pale pink skirt, 
I hear you cry?
why not a pale pink skirt,
is my reply.

Poetry.  Nailed it.
Sorry.  I'm in a silly mood and obviously having trouble thinking of intelligent-sounding stuff to write...
Ok.  So, at the beginning of the year I pledged to sew five items from my vintage patterns... this latest effort is my first; woot!
The pattern is Vogue 1384, a 1984 Issey Miyake design.  30 years old is pretty "vintage" yeah?  yup I reckon so.
I'm slightly amused at myself that I signed up actually since a few years ago I was so allergic to the very word "vintage" and could not hear it without an involuntary eye roll.  I was like, o gawd, so done-to-death!!  I should say I wasn't against any thing vintage, in itself, in fact I love antiques, and old things.  It was just the word "vintage".  Hehehe.  I must be mellowing somewhat.
Anyhoo, back to The Thing: my cool new skirt.  Or should I say, my skirt of a very very cool design.  As we can usually expect from Issey Miyake, it a quite unique, intriguing and interesting approach to a skirt; being a few oddly shaped rectangles cut, spliced and resewn together at seemingly random places, and boom; you end up with an asymmetric skirt.  Fabulousity!
I know, and I agree; creations made from "vintage" patterns can be a little annoying to read about on blogs, thanks to the patterns being so rare and hard to come by.  Not very helpful; and sorta inspirational rather than aspirational.  I'm sorry!
I used a heavenly soft pink poly crepe from Fabulous Fabrics, the same fabric I used for my other Sea Change top.  So the two make another matching skirt/top set, should I desire to wear them together.  But I think it will go with lots of other tops in my wardrobe too.
The pink poly crepe is on the sheer side, so I lined my skirt with ivory polyacetate fabric.  I managed to cut the lining as just one piece: I worked out how to do this after sewing the skirt pieces together and could see how the skirt "worked", so to speak.  I spliced the skirt pieces together at the relevent joining points and marked and sewed in the waist shaping darts at the top.  It ended up looking kinda like a big quarter-doughnut shape.  Then I just included it in with the skirt when sewing on the waistband at the top.   Simple dimple.
The waistband is of matching, pale pink silk dupion, also from Fabulous Fabrics.  I chose this because it is nicely stiff, inflexible and very stable, which is really good in a waistband for a skirt like this.  While the floaty, ripply, slithery poly crepe is really lovely for the skirt part of the skirt, it is not the slightest bit stable.  And this is very much a waist-defining skirt design, for which a structurally sound waistband is imperative.  
Some skirts are loose and flowy all over and are ok sitting low on the hips in a casual bohemian way; others need support, and the waistband is it.  This design is firmly in the latter category.
What do I love: the asymmetric shape, and the random waterfall-y ruffle-y thing falling down into a handkerchief like hem at the front.  Divinely floaty fabric in the heavenliest soft pale pink.
What don't I love; it's nearly winter here and I'm going to have to put it away for a few months.  Boooo!
OK, I have nothing else remotely intelligent to add; so, until next time, amigos!

Top; the loose drape top, modified, from drape drape by Hisako Sato, linen cotton jersey.  I discovered a little hole while I was putting this on this morning, aaagh! Immediate emergency darning ensued!  I love this top!
Skirt; Vogue 1384, pale pink poly-crepe
Cardigan; I also wore my calico cotton cardigan today...
Sandals; Zomp, from Zomp shoe boutique

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kryptonite lingerie

As soon was I saw this kryptonite-ish print I was just like, o gawd! must have....  And, naturally, lingerie was the very first thing that popped into my brain.  Well, of course.  It was only logical.
Mixing up my sci-fi sources there, but y'know wot I mean, right?
Haha! I've gotta be honest, this set gave me such a giggle to make.  I've been humming the Superman movie theme in my head the entire time I was making it.  Really.
Da dadadaaaaaaa! Da da dada dadaaaaaa!
I'm pretty rapt with them!  I think they're super cute.  Super cute, gettit?   Haha.  I think even Superman might approve.  Or at the very least, Sheldon.
Sorry.  I just can't help it!  The thought of superhuman underthingies just cracks me up  :)

Technical blahdy-blah...
Well, aside from the loud print the set itself is quite plain and featureless, really.
I used MakeBra 2610, and McCalls 2772 for the two pairs of matching undies.  All black findings and elastics.  The kryptonite print stretch fabric is from Fabulous Fabrics, the lingerie elastic I used for the undies is from Spotlight, and all the other bra elastics and findings are from MakeBra.
And I followed the absolutely fabulous MakeBra Youtube tutorial when making my bra.  Honestly, MakeBra is fair dinkum the best resource for bra-making I've come across, not that I'm an expert or anything, but just in my experience in making 16 of my own bras; that is my honest opinion.  They have a very nice range of findings and tutorial is the most brilliant little tute, well worth taking the quarter of an hour or whatever to watch, if you have ever been tempted to have a go.  It demystifies bra-making and takes the difficulty out of it, but totally.  If you've been intimidated by the thought of making a bra, please do not be; it's really not actually that hard!
My original review of the MakeBra pattern is here
squeezing detail close-ups into one jumbled-up shot