Sunday, May 21, 2017

So sew, sew, sew... and nothing to wear.



Yes, that's not me wearing a new Kwik Sew K3952 jacket out of black wool crepe stuff I bought in Melbourne last year as a remnant. That's my niece who popped in for a visit yesterday. I was telling her about the little jacket I made and it was just not right on me.  Too swingy, too black? I couldn't put my finger on it. She is about twice as broad in the shoulders as me (hello weights) but about the same height. (Proportion is everything when you are short). I got her to try it on and .. well it fits her beautifully, sits where it should and she also loves the 3/4 sleeves. She was wearing a dress yesterday that this really didn't go with but we agreed with jeans or pants it would be great. And it is. Yeah, it's black and hard to photograph, so here's the pattern.

That's not all.... The McCall's vintage wrap dress I was making is waaayyyy too big in the front bodice. I was debating putting the bodice down but hadn't done it yet. I showed my niece and of course it fits her perfectly... like it was made for her I tell you... so I'll finish it off and pass it onto her too.... so, sew, sew, sew and still nothing to wear!


It's a great pattern. So quick and it takes a smell of fabric. This was a remnant piece of a few scraps and I was go pleased to get this little jacket out of it. I think for me now I will try it in a merino as that's a bit lighter and drapey which will be better for me I think. It's supposed to have exposed seams but I didn't do this and there is an exposed seam at the back of the neck on the collar, but it's so quick. It's a wool, crepe like knit that is quite thick. It's warm but not overly hot so perfect for our Brisbane autumn days of sunny and 25 degrees celsius like it was today. It's really worth a try.



And speaking of today, I wore my Simplicity 1796 made from polka dot royal blue fabric to the  Brisbane Spoolettes picnic in the park today, which was very relaxed, delicious and so fun. I bought the fabric from Janies Fabrics, an online fabric shop in Australia. It's a lovely heavy rayon so it was lovely to sew. It was also pretty cheap at $6 per metre.. it had a few little holes in it near the selvage, but nothing that caused a problem and it was a very generous cut. I paid for 3 metres but I made this dress and a pair of the New Look culottes NL 6459. They have been waiting for a waistband for about a month. But that's pretty good getting both out of that cut.

What a sour puss face! Wonder what I was thinking?
I made view C and while the dress is a good size for me I didn't do a FBA and I could have gotten away with it if I thought to just add about 3 cm to the length of the front only to accomodate bewbs. I had a huge problem with the facings on this dress. They just did not fit and I tore my hair out trying to work out if I did something or if it was the pattern. I'll try another one soon to see. Maybe add those open sleeves. Anyone made this and had a problem with the facings? I ended up making bias and it's on but not the best. I forgot to take into account of the seam allowance and cut it away so the armscye could have used a bit trimmed off for a more comfortable fit. It's not uncomfortable I'm just aware of it.

So next, I've downloaded, glued up and cut out a Lekala pattern. I need something quick that just fits. Lets see how I go.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Togs


I made new togs. These were a bit overdue as  pair I made in January disintegrated. Well the red did that stretch out thing and the aqua (which was at least 20 years old) was still fine, such was the quality of that remnant. I knew they wouldn't last long as the red was very thin and not good quality plus the heat and chlorine from the night aqua classes really eats into the fabric.  So onto the new pair. It is still using the same pattern cut out from a pair of Arena togs that fit well that the last pair was to test if my tracing off was ok. These are made from a remnant piece of lycra from The Fabric Store a few years ago. Really I don't know why I bought it, it's not really my colours but it has a beautiful feel. It was about a metre long and $17 so that's probably why.. it is really lovely quality. I don't know how long they'll last; when you swim in chlorine a few times a week togs don't last long.


The original togs had the bottom piece cut on the fold, but I put a seam in to round out the bottom for a better fit for my round bottom. I fully lined the togs and I used some green power net I cut out from the lining of togs I bought a while ago. I always have to thing about how to do the lining so the seams at the crotch are fully enclosed. I kind of walk my way through it to make sure... I don't want to unpick lycra.  I used some clear swimwear elastic because I couldn't (and still can't) find the new rubber elastic I bought a few weeks ago. I used my teflon foot and a microtex needle which was really good (and expensive).



Until I had most of the elastic put on .. then my machine kept jumping stitches. I thought it was the machine and pulled out the Brother I found on the street but same thing. I changed needles, broke one (damn because they are expensive) and changed thread... nope same thing. Left it for a day (I know when the universe tells me to step away from the machine) and tried again the next day. Same frustration. The only thing left was to turn the togs over and sew on the other side and no problem. Why this happened I have no idea. One minute it's going great and literally the next second it's not working and simply turning the fabric over makes it work fine?? When you sew long enough you realise it's better to not waste time trying to work it out, just go with it.


The is the dress I've been working on using a polka dot fabric from East Coast Fabrics I bought when I was up at Maroochydore at New Year. I was procrastinating doing the facings for a week and then I had the Destash to Restash market and it's still waiting. Hopefully this weekend.

Happy Easter everybody.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

There's a Bouquet and Then There's a Sewer's Bouquet and I Got Both.


The little girl next door had a birthday and a little while ago I noticed she was wearing a mint coloured t-shirt with a pineapple on the front.  I had a scrap of the pineapple rayon I made my niece pj shorts and kimono last year which was a perfect match so I whipped her up a little skirt with pom poms on. It fit perfectly and just as well as that was the last of it. I had to make a kind of tier as it wasn't quite wide enough but a bit of elastic sewn on with the overlocker and then folded and topstitched and there it was.  She loved it and put it on straight away... I love it when kids do that! 

 It was also my birthday recently and my above said niece brought me this lovely bouquet of flowers which I may add are still in good shape and it has been a couple of weeks. Lovely... but the sewer's bouquet... well that's just perfection and lasts much longer.


Ta Da! I present the sewer's bouquet...a bunch of merino pieces!!!!
Goodness what a niece.. knows the way to her Aunty's heart (and making sure she's in the good books for more merino winter goodness.. if winter ever comes).

Pretty much self explanatory isn't it.


Next up I'll show my new togs (swimmers), hopefully a wrap dress and I'll let you know how the destash went today. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Destash to Restash!


Have you heard of this Destash to Restash fair? I hadn't but some someone brought it to my attention recently and I'm pretty glad. I had been planning on taking my patterns to the suitcase rummages that go on a few times a year but they are on Sundays which were our family day with Dad and so I could never go. I have a week off this week and booked a table and have been busy getting my vintage pattern collection ready to sell. I have hundreds and I have enjoyed looking at them and dreaming but the fabric and patterns are out of control and I need to get them to homes that will let them get used and loved again. I also have some really fantastic buttons that a friend who scours garage sales presented to me about 6 months ago and some lovely fabrics that I love but know I won't wear.

Just to give you an idea, my sewing room is about 2 metres x 4 metres... with a large ikea square shelf thing, a metre long computer desk, a long two drawer table that my machines sit on and a treadle machine. Then there are 4 tubs of fabric and another tub of patterns.... there is no room to  feel relaxed and the mess is distracting.  

I hope you can come along and have a look. I hope I don't restash... 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mickey Dioro

My Dad liked horse racing. He got a few big wins but mostly not... like he used to say "it's a mugs game".  One day he rang me at work. This was unusual ... Dad never called me at work (this is before mobile phones were around). "What's wrong Dad" I asked a little concerned. "Sofie," he said. "I won $15 000".  He was in complete disbelief. "You did not!" was all I could come up with. "Yes, yes I did." He was incredulous. He said, "There's no one home for me to tell." So that's why he rang me.

A few weeks earlier my youngest sister announced she was getting married with her boyfriend and although my parents were terrifically pleased, Dad was worried how he would pay for it... and then suddenly he was flush!

From many, many years ago Mickey Dioro was a horse that Dad used to bet on all the time and would win for him (winning again just this week I was told). He got the nick name from people at the Kafenio he would go to daily for more than 70 years. Most people there only knew him as Mickey Dioro. (His real name was Michael but was called Mick)

When my Dad died recently, all I could think of was a purple sash with white writing and yellow/gold tassel ends. When my sister called after taking Mum to arrange and choose things for the funeral, I told her about my thoughts of this sash and asked her if it was tacky. She said Mum had just chosen the flowers for Dad and they were white roses with purple irises. When they came over I asked Mum what she thought and she thought it was a lovely tribute.


I had used this purple for the lining of a skirt that I wore when the Brisbane Spoolettes went to see "Ladies in Black" (which was fantastic) and I had some left. I showed the skirt to Mum and asked her if she thought it was too 'fluffy' to wear to Dad's funeral and she said that Dad loved purple and black.  

I made two sashes and went to ABC Embroidery at West End and they embroidered it for a very reasonable price. When I picked them up it was exactly as I envisaged them. I was so pleased my vision was realised. We used one draped over the casket and it went with Dad. The other we had on the table at the wake where the food was. It looked lovely. Mum has that one now at home. I miss my Dad a lot and it's so hard not being able to see him. 

My Dad was 83. He had a hard life being orphaned in Athens after the Second World War. For a time he and his only brother were at an orphanage just out of Athens. It was a private orphanage of a very wealthy couple who could not have children ... although there were many children left with only one parent, they decided to take only children orphaned in the true sense. My Dad very rarely spoke of this only to say once that he felt safe and happy there. Look here for some photos of how devastating and desperate it looked. The only other thing he said once was that he remembers walking to the train station in Piraeus to go to the orphanage and they were turned back by German soldiers saying the train line was bombed. He used to get cigarettes from the Allied soldiers and sell them. That's also when he started smoking at 7 years old. In 2001 he was told he had throat cancer and he would be dead in a year if he didn't stop. He stopped the moment he walked out of the doctor's office. He also gave up drinking for two years. He was 67. Obviously he survived after his one shot at chemo and radiation. He was one of the lucky ones. He was devastated (as we all were) when one of my younger sisters was nearly killed in a car accident in 1983. She had horrific injuries and a halo brace for a broken neck and she was in a coma for 4 months. My sister was in hospital for 18 months then did 5 years of outpatients at the hospital every day. A few years after he survived the cancer we found out my father had asbestosis and that it probably caused his throat cancer. Of course, like many men his age, he also had prostate cancer. A few years ago he was diagnosed with dementia. The disease that robs you of your mental life and then takes your body too. We were so lucky that, although it was a terribly difficult 2 or 3 last years, for the most part my Dad still remembered us all till the end, could eat and drink and walk around. Those who dementia has visited will know what a blessing this is. 

Thanks for indulging me in talking about my Dad for a bit. Thank you so much for all your kind words and thoughts in the comments on my last post. 

My thoughts to all of us that have lost loved one.