Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Amy Butler Weekender bag

The mother Theresa of sewing for others has to be the Amy Butler Weekender bag. There is rather a lot of sewing in it, more if you count how many times you have to unpick and resew those tricky corners. (on average, 6 attempts per corner).

It's an easy bag, except the corners, so that makes it 95% easy, 5% tricky and if you get all Zen about it and accept that you have to unpick each corner at some point you could even say the whole thing is really rather manageable, albeit time consuming.

I added 2 internal pockets: one with a bias finished edge that is open with 2 channels.

The second is one that zippers shut, for all those things you really don't want to fall out if you have to open it in public.

The fabric outer is vintage upholstery I bought on Trademe. The inner is a medium bodied dress cotton which I got from the deceased estate sale. It's actually not stiff enough for the job, requiring additional stitching to hold it firm internally, and had I realised, I would have interfaced it to give it better hold.

This is an early birthday present for one of my sisters. I had to make it this month, my month of saintly generosity to others or she would never get it. Better early than never, huh?

If I was making this for me, I would have made it differently. I would have used the inside lining fabric for the piping, thus tipping it more towards 'whimsy' in style than pure retro. I'm glad I used the black though - it does look better and I thus proved to myself that I could show some restraint and keep to a tight aesthetic if need be.

When it comes to personal style I fall into 2 traps - being carried away by whimsy and refusing to adhere to the constraints of my colouring and figure. I know something is not a good colour but I persist - I know something will not show off my best features and yet I insist on making it. My downfall is not my lack of vision but my lack of discipline.

Oh well, you say, not a big deal, it's just a hobby. Yes, but it's a hobby that I have to wear every day of my life.

Just a couple more aprons to polish off for the rest of the month - and then it's time to say hello to "disciplined December" where I only make things according to the RULES.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sewing FOPs (for other people)

I have been true to my word. I have been sewing for others all November.

I have

1) hemmed 2 pairs of trousers for my husband

2) made 3 aprons. A word about the aprons. Aprons make great gifts, I've discovered. Like socks and underpants, everyone needs them but they never get around to buying them often enough. Aprons are all occasion gifts, saying "I care" from birthdays to bereavements. Aprons require no fitting, can be made in under an hour and can be made from offcuts making them very cost effective.

I have made just one change to Simplicity 2824 - removed the D-rings and added a slider. The D rings mean that the strap hung awkwardly upside down but the slider enables it to drape itself gracefully.

3) Made a bolster for our cleaner. This shows how I've matured as a person. 3 years ago, I told her "no way" when she asked me to do some alterations for her. Now 3 more years of selfishness has been drained out of me by a child.

This was not an easy project - the fabric, a synthetic upholstery grade polyester was left over from her curtains. It did not want to ease and could not be folded. It hugs the lumps of the bolster like lycra on an overweight gym enthusiast. The ends then had to be fitted, which is difficult with circles even with easy fabric, and even more tricky when you factor in the piping. I hope she likes it because it was about as far from fun to make as, well, any of the other projects above.

And if she asks me for another forget it. Maturer, yes, an idiot, no.

And finally some GF/DF cooking. I have been experimenting with the best way to present my findings - I tried an extra page but it's not easy to update since you can't make separate posts. In the end I decided I would just tack it on at the end of a post and those who are interested can read on.

This is the best recipe for GF/DF bread I have found so far.

I have tried 5 internet recipes - 3 of them were inedible, and immediately binned. Absolutely vile. If a recipe goes on about its health content you know you are in trouble.

To make this bread in a bread maker you have to reduce the water content. Instead of 3/4 cup, I found 1/2 cup with 2 extra tablespoons of water to be just right. I also add 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. It tastes really nice and keeps well.

Righty ho, we are only half way through the month, so half a month more of FOPs to go!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nerd alert!

Ottobre 05-2007-08 Jersey shirt blouse

I have a confession to make. Part of the appeal of Ottobre to me is that the designs are often a little on the frumpy side. And since frumpy is a little ugly, a little ungainly, a little anti-fashion and extremely comfortable I rather like it.

The compulsory hand on hip, grimace at the camera nerd shot. I am only sorry I don't have a rubbish bin in the back ground to complement the look. Sigh, weeds will just have to do. (respectful sly wink to you Carolyn)

I added shirring elastic to pull in the back as it was very big on me.

This was supposed to be a shirt to go under the v neck tee to complete my "look" for October. But as you know, the neckline was ridiculously high and I haven't got back to the tee yet, so they're mix and match separates for the time being.

The colours are dreadful on me I know. I probably won't wear this shirt except under a cardy or pullover in a more sympathetic colour way. Or save it for Halloween, might be handy to look really pale sometimes. Come to think of it, it could be a good one to put away for when I go back to work and need to pull a sickie.

The real lesson for me though, is that this top does have great potential. It would be good in a dark colour, short sleeved, and some of the fit issues refined. Now, I've recognised this to be true. I have identified that I could be on to a winner here. But will I follow through, or will I get distracted before I really get a chance to make something I really enjoy wearing?

You see, in the past I have made test garments, identified potential, but never made the final garment. I have done that many times. I am very easily distracted by the latest thing. This is not a good thing if you actually HAVE TO wear the garments you sew because you have nothing else.

This month's theme is "not for me November" - yes boring xmas gifts, mending for husband, birthday presents for a couple of people etc etc. But I might just see if I can make this shirt again, just to show that I can learn from my mistakes after all.