Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The quite good perfect jean jacket

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments - I really appreciate them. It feels like we have turned a significant corner now and although there is a long road ahead, it feels a more hopeful one.

Roimata I'd love your Gluten free recipes, and that goes for anyone else who has some winners tucked away. So far I have made some really disgusting bread that got binned, and a passable banana rice loaf. My email address is in my profile - many thanks!

I had this denim for a while and suddenly had this whim to make the Palmer/Pletsch perfect jean jacket (McCalls 5860). The denim was a heavy sample fabric ordered in by Liz Mitchell. She had a factory sale 2 weeks before she went into liquidation and I bought it from the designer herself. Was very sad to learn she closed up that arm of her business such a short time later.

This is a test garment, and there will be changes, for sure. The light is very poor today so I haven't been able to get good pictures, but you get the idea.

I shifted the breast pocket to the hip. I need pockets for keys and tissues and the idea of wadding up my bust line with a bunch of kleenex seemed a bad idea.

Now here's an oddity about this pattern - despite there being 54 illustrated steps, picture 30 shows the under collar being sewn onto the outside of the jacket and there is nothing about turning and finishing the collar stand. Far be it from me to question the perfection of the Palmer/Pletsch perfect jean jacket pattern instructions so if anyone has the answer to this mystery let me know. Haven't been losing sleep over it, but there was a lot of swearing when I realised I had cut and attached the WRONG COLLAR.

So I hope to show you an new an improved version of this jacket soon. This one will probably go to the Sally Army for being a bit snug through the bust - although denim does loosen up in mysterious ways so perhaps I won't be too hasty. At any rate you can see that despite all the cooking of revolting foods I have been doing recently I still found time to sew.

I think we always find time for things we really need to.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Magic closets, magic pantries.

Thank you for your encouragement about the polka dot coat. it is now out of the recycle pile and has been rehoused in the 'magic closet' you know that place when you put things, pull them out a month later and wonder what on earth you were unhappy about.

Actually, the real disappointment with the coat (apart from the poor fit) was I chose a light hearted and whimsical design with the hope that it would make me feel that way when I put it on. If anyone doubts the power of coats to transform a mood, just think about how Joseph's technicolor coat turned his brothers into psychopathic murderers. But the coat failed to make me less of a grump, which is a pity really.

A little sewing has happened around here - I procrastinated on the tee shirts and opted for another merino top - it's a hybrid of the body of the tee shirt from Ottobre 02- 2007-04 and the sleeve from Ottobre 05-2010- 04. I like the way the gather of the band at the front is matched by the gather on the sleeve.

For the next couple of months I don't imagine there will be a lot of sewing or blogging going on here. We have started a serious allergen elimination diet - no diary, no gluten, no peanuts on the recommendation of a specialist pediatrician. That means a lot of cooking from scratch.

So far the signs have been hopeful.
"glasses too big, too dirty, take off"
I took off my sunglasses and put on my ordinary glasses.

That my friends, is a small but very special dialogue. It is the very first conversation I have ever had with my son, who is nearly 4.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It was an unbidden and unwelcome thought, straight from my unconcious mind that leapt in before it could be censured or justified away.

"that coat looks ridiculous"

The polka dot coat has already gone to the recycle pile, fabric to be recycled in some way.

Then I got out the Regretsy book and so many passages spoke to me of homemade folly. The key point though, was the story the author told when she and a friend got dressed to impress at at play they were going to. In the pre drinks melee a pair of women were staring at her. Not glancing, but outright staring. Then she overheard one of them say to her friend, "no, Halloween is tomorrow night."

At that point, she knew she was too old for whimsy dressing.

This skirt (Ottobre 05-2007-09) however is part of a more disciplined regime to make more clothes that are suitable for my lifestyle. The requirements are as follows:

- fabrics must be comfortable and durable, easy to launder and easy to care for
- styles must allow movement
- clothes must represent personal style, a little interesting, a little quirky, a little ugly, a little old fashioned, a little home made looking, a little fun but ONLY A LITTLE. Smirk, not guffaw

and I think this skirt nicely ticks the boxes, don't you?

back pocket, indearingly wonky:

front pocket, could be lifted from one of their children's editions:

.. and some very cute vintage cotton drill. Very happy with this skirt. Now I really do have to knuckle under and sew those tee shirts. In theory I have nothing against going out and purchasing them. In practice it would be like asking a vegetarian to go to a steak house and only eat off the salad bar. Could be done, in theory.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The bold coat

Well, as you can see, I had a change of mind when it came to my RTW project. I chose another coat (now there's a surprise) and made it more climate and lifestyle friendly by making it in denim.

I liked the idea of this denim very much - polka dots, woven, not printed.

The pattern is Simplicity 2311, which I loved on Elizabeth. I had some doubts about the wisdom of the lapel size on me though. Something Gok said about not adding more to an already generously proportioned area. Mostly though I am concerned by the fit which typically for me with Simplicity is very small on the front (before alterations) and very big on the back.

I really enjoy wearing this coat because it's a lot of fun. When the weather gets greyer it'll come into its own.

The waist band is a bit of a mystery - it doesn't really add any shaping at all but seems to just want to lounge about snuggled into its enormous carrier.

Happy mother's day to all the mums out there. Thank you to Sherry for 'parenting' her sewing babies through this complicated journey!

Monday, May 2, 2011


It's time for some (blog) housekeeping - not the real kind of course, that never gets done around here..

I've been tagged for a me-me and an award so thank you all for thinking of me! ( I mean you, EmilyKate, Big in Japan and Katie)

It is lovely to be included in this wonderful blog community even if saying so sounds such a cliche.

Now I'm going to combine the meme and award together and answer some of the questions of both:

1) shoe size - 38.

2) kissed anyone I shouldn't have?
Of course. I imagine a life of regret otherwise.

3) 30's or 60's

Oh definitely 60's - the time of hope and freedom and the desire to make difference. The 30's were characterised by the Great Depression and the lead up to WW11.

4) Ever been poisoned
Food poisoned many many times. When I first moved up North I got it quite frequently. I think it was because in my home town you don't need to worry about food hygiene so much because of the cold.

5) Famous people you'd like to meet?
This question surprises me and it's simply because it assumed that I thought famous people were - per se - worth meeting. The people I enjoy meeting are kind and funny and you don't have to be famous to be either of those so I have to say "pass." (you know how only 2 billion people watched the royal wedding - I was one of the other 3 billion).

6) There are 3 periods of my life I would describe as extremely challenging. I am in the middle of one of them right now. I do believe it is making me a better person though. Oh yes nothing like fire for refining. I have to say, what keeps me sane is sewing. Having something else to focus on, something enjoyable and useful, is very therapeutic.

7) I recently won a copy of the "Dress Circle" - a wonderful book about the history of fashion in New Zealand. I was amazed to learn that the biggest competition for early designers in this country were home sewers. Apparently New Zealand women were excellent seamstresses - a skill handed down from mother to daughter. I have to say that the only thing I would have learned about sewing from my mother was swearing. (no disrespect intended dear mama)

Anyway, the authors of the Dress Circle are giving a talk in about a month's time - to which I have already purchased tickets and I feel I shall have to put an excellent home sewn outfit together to mark the occasion. If I am brave enough when they ask for questions at the end, I shall ask, "do you ever think home sewers will be a threat to designers in this country again?"

At any rate, I am embarrassed to admit I am almost finished another coat which is the basis of the outfit I shall wear to this talk. It's very bold people, very bold.

At this stage I'm not imagining any New Zealand designers are going to feel under a great deal of pressure.

We have just come back from a holiday in Rotorua - I popped into the local fabric shop and the woman was wearing a home sewn outfit from top to toe - she looked really nice but you could tell it was homesewn. Not because it was unprofessional or weird looking - it was just not ready to wear. There's always a little something that makes homesewn things stand apart. Maybe professional designers need never fear the home sewer - the product is as different and unique as the seamstress who conjured them up.