Saturday, August 27, 2011

The selfless seamstress

Hot Patterns 1040 Bowling bag

Yes, I'm still here! Yes, I have been sick and on holiday. I have also being doing all that cooking by day. Most of it has been inedible. I'm sorry to say it but it's true. Firstly, because I take a recipe and try to make it more nutritious by the surreptitious adding of nuts, seeds, high protein flours, and at the same time, I try to "healthify" it by reducing fat and sugar contents. The results are rarely edible, except by me, my Scott's ancestry forbidding me to throw them out. (now please note, I consider this frugality to be a very good thing, a virtue-but I only wish we had some chickens I could send all that healthy food to instead.)

Still, things have much improved chez nous with regards to the special diet even if the food has been revolting. (mea culpa! Chocolate chip cookies were not designed to be vehicles for cauliflower, coconut loaf will not hide zucchini,) My son's pre school teachers have said they have never seen a child change so dramatically, so quickly. "Gluten" I said "is the work of the devil." Maybe, maybe not. I don't know if the diet is responsible for the improvement.

On to the sewing! Yes indeed this a birthday present for a friend. Of course it was the dreaded Hot Pattern's 1040 Viviene Westwood *inspired* bag that was so difficult first time round and no easier the second. At least the first time round I was making it for me, this time my act of altruism didn't spur me to completion. I want to keep it for myself, actually, because it was a pain to make, because it's totally my style, and there is no guarantees she will actually like it.

However, my son personally picked the fabric for this person, so now I feel committed to giving it to her, which is as good a reason to be generous as any. ( If I find it dumped in the local Sally Army I will feel no ill will in having to buy it back. A student once made me a set of ducks out of paper mache which I donated to our local thrift shop. I bumped into him in that thrift shop where the ducks were clearly on display. He was kind enough to pretend not to notice. Treasure in heaven for him, lord)

Now let's turn to details. This time, in accordance with my own advice, I rotated the bag straps on d-rings.

I made my own "bag feet" by sewing 2 vintage buttons to the bottom:

This is more Nick's liquidation skippy leather, which I topstitched in silver. The fabric is from that deceased estate - that one where the family ran a 3 day sale and still couldn't clear it all:

This is bag interfacing from Smart Dress Fabrics. It's very cheap but it isn't fusible, which means you have to zig zag it to an interlining after you have trimmed off the seam allowances.

Now let's talk bag handles. The best rope to stuff them with is the type with the woven exterior - it feels lovely on the hands. You have to bind it with tape first, then cut in the middle of the tape, otherwise it unravels something wicked:

I used a light denim for the lining and trimmed the pockets with bias strips of the outer fabric:

At the end of the day, I'll say this for the bag - it's interesting, very useful, and lends itself to a really funky look. But make no mistake: it is no walk in the park to sew.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The twist bubble skirt

I made this skirt (Burda 09-2010-104) last week.

I did 4 photo shoots and ended up with crap photos every time. Each crap photo taught me something useful though. It really showed me what was working with this skirt and what wasn't.

Posting your photos on line is a little like clothing therapy. You are faced with the honest consequences of your work and there's nowhere to hide. It might look OK when you are staring down on it, or in the mirror but the camera says, "this is how it really looks."

The best look was this one - where the yoke was hidden by layers above. Then the pleats and the twist bottom sit quite nicely and there's no weird distortion of lines where my big tummy pulls everything off line.

I like it with the tartan bag (blogged here)

Instead of using a double layer of outer fabric I used a combination of outer fabric and lining. The lining is a very pretty acetate. Although my fabric had good drape it was heavier than the recommended ones so the twist part doesn't really show. It kind of just looks like a messy rumpled pulled-straight-off-the-floor skirt. Just like a school uniform in fact!

The tartan is the "black watch" tartan which I picked up from Nick's. It feels like a cotton-wool blend. I'm not sure if it's exactly the same material as the St Cuthbert's school uniform but a busload of boys whistled at me (not sure if in a good or bad way - there could be a fair bit of mocking involved) as I walked past so I'm guessing it's close enough.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

velour allure

I picked up this grovey 70's pattern from an op shop in Nelson for 10c. I then took it to a cafe and read it, as you do. When I got off my seat to put my son's shoes back on, a couple came and sat at the seats we had vacated. Then they shifted to another table, and when I went back to get my coat and things, the pattern had gone.

Heart racing, I went over to the table. "you've got my pattern, that's my pattern."
Not gracious under pressure, and certainly have been living in Auckland for too long.
"sorry," said the woman, handing it back, "I thought it belonged to the cafe."

Now isn't that a lovely thought, a cafe that supplied patterns for its customers to read instead of magazines?

View B, v neck with collar:

Collar in detail:

Fabric, sports merino from Nick's, but it has the richness and feel of velour - great colour but the fit needs tweaking, maybe a bit longer, hip needs to come in, bust needs darts instead of side gathers. For this version, will probably not unpick overlocked side seams but will consider hem band instead.

Orginally I had planned to make some tartan trousers to go with it but I am yet to see a pair of tartan trousers that looks good on anyone, so instead I'm thinking of some kind of kilt variation. You have been warned.