Monday, November 26, 2012

A new room

The build is nearly complete. There is just the air conditioner to install later this week and then the room is ready to have things moved into it. I am very excited. It is light and airy. I can't wait to start using my silky oak wardrobe again after a number of years of neglect. The flooring arrived this morning. Oh, and I also have some blinds to put up on the front door.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I've been eyeing this pattern on the various online fabric sites I've recently discovered. It was a little bit pricey in one store but on all the others it was sold out so I finally relented and bought it.

It was more complicated than it looked because the instructions expect you to also sew a muslin lining into the top. In a Queensland summer I just don't think that is going to happen. So I ignored all those instructions which meant I somehow got to the end and the armholes were supposed to finished but weren't. So I improvised with the old faithful bias binding solution and it worked pretty well. It's possible to cut it as a top, long tunic or dress. I went for basic length, decided I didn't need the belt or the flower. Here is the result. I had found this patchwork material for 6 dollars a metre in spotlight during the week so I wasn't too worried that this is the "test" version.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

four tiers

I wasn't planning on sewing this skirt this afternoon. I was just going to cut out the pieces and then cut out some other bits and pieces and sew tomorrow. This is the pattern. It doesn't have any pattern pieces. You have to do some measuring and some maths and then cut the material yourself. It says to use a rotary cutter and mat but I don't have any of that patchwork paraphernalia so I just pinned, used the scissors and hoped my eyes were seeing relatively straight. It's a four tier skirt that you can make look like the pattern with four different patterns. (It's a sideways photo...I think you can all cope).

Or you can do what I did and just use one fabric. I got this in the post this week from Kelani fabrics. It's beautiful material and I had 2.5 metres which was the perfect amount for this skirt pattern. Unplanned!

So in three hours I had cut the four tiers, gathered, pinned and sewed them altogether and prepared the waistband casing. It says there is a choice of drawstring or elastic. I am going with elastic which means I can't finish it until tomorrow because I need a wider, stronger elastic to take the weight of the skirt. It reaches to my ankles. So here's a picture of a nearly finished skirt - just elastic and hem to polish off in the morning!

Friday, November 16, 2012

a kaftan top

 I bought this pattern  a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to find time to try it out. I have had success with the same brand in an A line skirt so hoped this one would work just as well. The part that took the longest was tracing off the pattern pieces. I got some cheap-ish light material from spotlight this morning (in case I totally stuffed it up) and went for it. Two hours later I have this:

There was the option of the short or long placket at the neck. I went for the short and then decided to embellish with some leftover lace. Looks a bit of alright. The pattern is for long sleeves which are then supposed to have a tab to hold them up but I decided given it was summer I would cut the sleeves off this time to just below the elbow. It worked out really well. I couldn't believe how straightforward it was.

Really looking forward to wearing it very soon and perhaps making another one as well :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

my strange addiction

I have a new and disturbing addiction. It's called How I Met Your Mother.

I feel dreadful about it. I'm not sure how it began. Probably I was flicking through the channels one evening after work. Tired of watching Friends repeats for the millionth time, perhaps I was looking for something new and different. Of course there was nothing new and different so I watched How I Met Your Mother instead. It's basically Friends but with only five cast members. See how different it is!! Not really. It's sort of the same way that Friends is Seinfeld but with sentimentality and 2 extra cast members.

So now I record all the episodes that 7Mate chooses to air every evening and watch them in a desperate attempt to catch up to the current series which has just aired. Don't get me wrong. I think there is lots to like about the show. Neil Patrick Harris is a delight as Barney. He can act and strikes a perfect tone for the sitcom. The storyline that has him falling in love with Robyn is an odd choice and doesn't sit that well with me but sitcoms can't get everything right. Remember the "muffin top" episode of Seinfeld? Jason Segel is good as well, as is the actress from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (whose name escapes me and I am too lazy to Google it right now). I'm not so sure about the guy playing Ted. Will he ever get another acting job again? Wikipedia tells me he writes and directs films that are award-worthy. Perhaps that will be his thing. And the other one - Robyn - apparently someone wanted her to play Wonder Woman (source: Wikipedia).

Naturally it has its flaws. The writers are often trying to be too clever for their own good with euphemisms and catchphrases that as far as I'm aware have not caught on. Or maybe there's an entire How I Met Your Mother community out there that's throwing them about in everyday conversation in the same way that I use "taking credit for someone else's big salad" or "these pretzels are making me thirsty" or "I don't wanna be a pirate". The use of flashbacks and forwards can be fun but sometimes over-used. In the end though, there are worse ways to spend half an hour and plenty of really bad sitcoms out there by comparison.

And really, I'm just desperate to know who the darned mother turns out to be (apparently scenes have already been filmed - thank you Wikipedia....again!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

"the build"

It's not quite Grand Designs. The budget and scale of the project are minute. I'm not turning an abandoned chicken shed into a three storey, eco-friendly family home made of straw bales. I'm just turning my unused garage which usually stands empty except for a few cleaning bits and pieces, an old silky oak wardrobe and the cat food into a room. That's right - a whole new room in which I will put the piano, a decent sized table for sewing, teaching theory and other bits and pieces and perhaps a couch of some kind. There will hopefully be enough in the budget for an air conditioner. There will be floor covering and new paint. I may have a feature wall. Last week the first step in "the build" occurred when the cruddy roller door was replaced by a shiny new sliding door with a security screen. Yesterday, my project manager (my father) started on the inside. The plan is an internal wall that cuts the garage in two unequal sizes - one that will give me access to the back door, with enough spaces to keep all the brooms, vacuum cleaner, cat food, litter box etc and then the big room which will be the proper room. Here's how it was looking by the afternoon.

Looking out the front.

Looking towards the back. See the wall frame. It should have the sheeting on it by today. Sheeting? Is that what it's called? I don't really know.

The project manager.

All in all it's very exciting. It means that there will be more than one room in my tiny house to do things in!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

green saucepans and more adventures in sewing

My mum bought me this excellent green saucepan in return for me looking after their garden while they went on holidays. I used it today for the first time. What gourmet delicacy did I cook up in it Nigella-style I hear you ask? Mushrooms. Not just any mushrooms. Mushrooms for the very important meal of lunch which yesterday in my sewing addiction I neglected to eat and then felt light-headed and icky by the afternoon. So this saucepan had an important task today. It provided my lunch. Well done saucepan.

Apart from green saucepans I've been sewing whenever I can in between work and piano teaching and other things. I finished this dress on Friday afternoon. It was my first go of the pattern. I know what to improve next time.

I don't know that it will be a "wearing out to special occasions" dress but it will make an excellent "wearing on stinking hot summer weekends" dress.

Then yesterday I tried a new top pattern. The giant faff-up on the neckline which involved an hour of tiny unpicking and resewing may have contributed further to my headache. Still I was pleased with how it turned out. I got all decorative on its "arse" (so to speak) and added the red border of ribbon at the neckline and around the hem. I will definitely make this pattern again I think.

And then I went to spotlight and bought MOAR MATERIAL. I was hoping to get my green apple dress made this weekend so I could wear it to work on Melbourne cup day but that will depend on the headache situation later today.