Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas spent

I wish I had listened to this little guy....... (even though his spelling is atrocious and the look in his little eyes is saying get me out of this get up)

Sydney weather can be unpredictable and Christmas day is usually hot hot hot (one Christmas was so hot we abandoned the outside setting for the cooler indoors - all the roses died and we spent the day trying to keep cool).

Not so much this Christmas. 

Aussie Christmases usually entail lots of prawns and other seafood, cold cuts of meat, trifles and pavlovas. I don't eat seafood (being a Piscean it is like eating your own - although I guess fish do that anyway!!), I am also not a great lover of cold cuts. So we usually have a traditional Christmas - gotta love plum pud with Brandy Custard!

This year I thought I would do a rolled loin of Pork with sausage stuffing. Yum - all that crackling goodness. To keep the kitchen cool I thought I would use the wonderful Weber Baby Q BBQ out on our deck.

So I loaded it up with pork and veges and went inside..... 

Not long after the rain came. Had I acted then - all would have been okay - but I thought it would drizzle a little and then blow over.

Not to be - here in Sydney we had a huge electrical storm and it poured and poured rain.

What to do??? The Weber is a good little BBQ - but is influenced by ambient temperature - and mother nature unleashing all it's glory on the poor lid of the BBQ was just too much for it and the temperature wouldn't rise. Using good old Aussie ingenuity I rigged up a kind of lean to using a ladder, a nearby tree, the window surrounds of the house itself, some bubble/foam like packaging material, a towel and some pegs.

Managed to get the pork done but took an extra hour - not good.

Anyway - despite the challenges a good day was had and presents exchanged.

My favourite present was a couple of hand knitted scarves from my DSIL. Absolutely love them. Not only the thought but the time and effort.

Like a true sewist - my mind was going through my stash thinking of fabric that would go with them - and I have quite a bit

What about you? How was your Christmas. Looking forward to reading all about it.

Off to sew now. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Blog anniversary and give away

Well - I have turned one and what a year it has been.

Sewing wise - not great. When I started sewing a year ago I had envisaged a wardrobe bulging at the seams with newly stitched garments .......

and friends / family and strangers ooing and aahing over my outfits and fabrics.....

I have planned various capsules and spent so much time fantasizing over these luscious plans.

Hmmm....  who would have thought that this sewing gig is so hard!

I was naive at the beginning (knowing nothing about sewing) and thought that you bought magic patterns that came in their little envelopes - delivered straight to your door - you unpack them, throw them gracefully onto a  cutting table, slice through your lovely fabric - take it to the machine where, within mere minutes, it is magically transformed into couture works of fabric art.

I purchased fabulous machines that work hard (not their fault), glorious fabric by the ton; patterns; more fabric; notions; DVDs etc etc etc

Not only was this naive of me - but doesn't acknowledge the years and years of experience it takes to produce the beautiful outfits I have seen on blogs that I follow.

Who knew that patterns rarely fit straight out of the packet - add to that the challenges an apple shape puts on a dress, top or even worse - pants. Who would have thought that an outfit that looks smashing on the twigs on the envelope would have you wanting to smash the mirror when worn on your bod!

How do RTW get it right? Can you imagine going into a shop and looking for the rack that has a sign - clothes for full busted, short waisted, round stomached, deep crotched, flat bottomed, round shouldered, sway backed, hump backed, large biceped, thick necked people. And that would be just the one rack! I would be happy with labels for pear, apple column etc but no luck.

I even tried the Pattern Master software where you put in your own measurements and it spits out a pattern especially done to your measurement - nuh! - I will post about it after I see if I can save the dress.

This is what I ended up with instead of the bulging wardrobe:


Now this is not a whinge fest - I have had so much fun - even with the wadders (some shown on the blog - some didn't even make the photo shoot) and am happily celebrating one year of not only blogging - but sewing.

One of the reasons that I am celebrating is the wonderful sewing people I have met and virtually met during the year. You know I reached out to the sewing world with my recent purchase of my overlock / coverstitch 744 machine looking for a video and I had pictures sent to me; links sent to me for You-tube videos of a similar machine and 2 lovely ladies sent me copies of their DVD. One lovely lady (Barbara) included tips and photos of threading she had taken of the machine and a couple of darning needles to help me with releasing the thread and the other lovely lady (Sandra) sent me a list of tips too. These are people I have never met or spoken with before. I have met some lovely people at my local sewing group - some of whom have blogs I have been following (like meeting rock stars!!), I have learnt from the many tutorials and the people who are so giving of their time and knowledge. The generosity of this global sewing community is amazing.

Most of all I have appreciated the encouragement, wisdom and advice I have been given by fellow sewists.

So - I would like to give back.

I have 2 things on offer.

For the artistic amongst us (not me!!!) I have a fashionary sketch book. Let your inner artist / designer loose. Follow the link to have a better look (and you can also download a sample to try from their site) NB! I purchased this a little while ago so it might be an older version.


For those non artistic amongst us (or those just not interested in design) - I have a pattern from Hot Patterns - Deco Vibe Sarine knit dress and top (sizes 6 - 26 in one envelope) Advanced Beginner level.

I am happy to post anywhere.

Simply leave a comment on this post by the end of the year - indicating which of the 2 give-aways you want and I will draw out a name for each on Jan 1st.

As this blog was started for me to journal my sewing progress I am going to finish with just a few (well maybe several) of the new things I have learnt this year.

  1. How to do a full bust adjustment and other pattern alterations - I actually enjoy the process now. There is something so satisfying about cutting into the paper and sticking more paper on - ending up hopefully - with a much better fitting garment.
  2. In line with the above - sewing is like house painting - 80% of the effort and time should go into preparation. (I made up the 80% in line with Pareto's Principles - I don't really know what percentage!!!!!)
  3. Your foot control isn't a surrogate for a car accelerator - slow down - beautiful garments won't magically appear the faster you go! Sometimes I think I need a sewing cop in the vicinity to give me a ticket - you can tell by my seams - straight - no!
  4. I love machine feet - the more the merrier. 
  5. Starting to learn to look at pattern lines on the packet instead of the pretty pictures. This goes hand in hand with starting to learn what suits me - still a way to go with this.
  6. How to use the gelatin method to make sewing with sheer easier (thanks Lena)
  7. Be careful to test the fabric you are using for stretch - different stretch capacity will really affect your outfit
  8. What my colours are
  9. That the sewing community is fantastic

Slow down and take it easy

Some of my fave bloggers are posting on their most worn self sewn items of 2012. Let's hope that next year I will have enough to do that!!

What will 2013 bring? Some plans:

  • Artisans Square SWAP
  • Jungle January courtesy of Prttynpnk at Pretty Grievances
  • Maybe one pattern many looks competition on Sewing Pattern Review - depends on the rules as it will need to fit my plans with my SWAP
  • Doing zips, buttons and trying the corded buttonholes Sharon from Petite and Sewing was kind enough to demonstrate for me
  • Collars
  • Craftsy courses - tailored shirt and pants fitting
I think that is ambitious enough for now.

Finally - I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

An addition to my plans... Jungle January courtesy of Prttynpnk

The totally hilarious Anne (Prttynpnk) from Pretty Grievances has launched a festival parade of animal print for January (and maybe the following months??). This fits in my current plans for SWAP with Artisan Square as one item is already in my SWAP and the other was planned to sew anyway as a hopefully "wearable toile".

These are the plans:

Wearable toile for Vogue 8815 in a wine coloured cheetah print.

This is a stretch rayon which I think will lend itself well to the pattern.

The last couple of weekends I have been watching "Plus size pattern alterations" craftsy class which uses this exact pattern. I have been altering the pattern along with Barbara (teacher) and am about 3/4 done. I have had to add quite a bit as this pattern doesn't come in my size. I traced the pattern off and have altered the size and am up to changing the dart positions and bust.

I am happy with my progress and should be ready to start on some sewing soon.

Next up is StyleArc Creative Cate top in a earthy toned mish mash of animal.

This top and fabric is already in my SWAP - however I am thinking of adding a matching skirt - the StyleArc Susan skirt.. The fabric is a medium weight ITY knit from

What do you think - matching animal print outfit - too much????