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. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is it too early to hate 2017?

I am already over 2017.

I thought it started well... we went to Maroochydore for a week on 7th January. When we got there, unpacked and went out for dinner. That's when I realised I left my wallet at home. I had taken $50 of my son's Christmas money in case he wanted to buy anything and so we used that. We also found my son had left his togs and swimming bag at home. We bit the bullet and went downstairs to the private, secure car park to drive the 2 hours back home to get my wallet... only to find the two boogie boards we left out next to our car (so it wouldn't mess up the lift and unit) STOLEN.  We drove down and back (four hours driving) to get my wallet and tried to forget. I tried to buy some new boogie boards but everywhere (of reasonable price) had sold out and tried buying some 2nd hand ones... eventually finding 2 for $10... but one died by the end of the week but it served it's purpose by then.

We went for a swim the next day and the surf tore out one of my favourite hoop earrings.. silver with cubic zirconia  all around... a gift from a friend's mother when I hosted them when they were here from the Netherlands about 6 years ago. I am really shattered at losing one (a couple of years ago  I lost one gold hoop a of a pair I bought when I was living in Cyprus in 1984.. annoying). Then a warning light went on in the car... the same one that a part was replaced a month before.  I rang the mechanic who said to get it tested to see if I could drive home safely.. cost me more money :( but it was safe to drive home.

We went to see Matilda the musical at the end of the holidays... I park nearby at a bus station (Gabba for those living here) which is 2 stops from where the theatre is. Of course, our bus passes were at home in my wallet... so had to drive home to get the wallet... we made it but only by 5 minutes. (show was magnificent) Then my son thought he lost his phone which he got for Christmas; luckily we found it. Then my shoe broke so I had to carry my shoe around while trying to look fancy.

Next, I went to a Brisbane Spoolettes event seeing Ladies in Black (also magnificent). I made a skirt (no photos yet) on the day, put on some shoes... the heel cracked... ok other shoes... the soles split while I was running to catch the ferry... drive home get shoes that don't go... but get there and have a great night.

Then my hot water system broke... of course they don't make it anymore and I was without hot water for a week while the plumber, bless him, found a salvaged part so I didn't have to fork out $1400 minimum for a new system. I was having cold showers anyway as it was still 28-30 degrees celsius at midnight... it was the hottest summer ever here with 35 days straight of over 30 degrees ... autumn now and it's still in the 30's!

Then my Dad died.... he was 83 1/2 and had dementia. He had been in a nursing home for nearly two years and I would take him out every Sunday for a family lunch (along with other days of course). Although it is very sad for us, we are happy that he had a peaceful passing and the most important thing is that he remembered us all (for the most part) and on the last Sunday he told his grand boys he loved them and thank you for taking him out every week. We are glad he did not have to get to the stage that he would suffer through forgetting how to eat or drink.  There is some sewing that is part of it but I won't post now about that yet.

Today I get an infringement notice for $243 for leaving ("littering") items at a charity bin!!!! I put stuff IN a charity bin but did not leave anything outside.... I am flabbergasted .... I am disputing it of course. I know the laws and made sure it was inside the bin. (it is illegal to leave things outside a charity bin here).  I don't know ... do you feel for some reason the universe is against you.. I am just over it ... I consider myself very lucky and I always feel I have "enough".  I need a win.

So onto sewing... I did make a pair of New Look 6459. This is in a cotton for testing. They are a nice fit and it's a lovely pattern. I have a pair half made in a polka dot rayon that I also made a dress with... the remnant leftover.  Sorry for the bad phone photo inside at night with bad light. I can't help see these as pyjama pants but they are nice and comfy. Worn with the white cowl top that needs an FBA!


I went to the fabric sale again recently and when I've got more mental energy I'll post my new purchases. Thanks for listening to my rant... let me know if the universe has fought you lately.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sharps

When I break a needle or bend a pin or the head of the pin pops off I put it in one of these little tins of   something... sorry are they gum or lollies? (I got this from my colleague who eats them all day) Anyway, I put them in this as I can't bear the thought of me putting them in the rubbish and someone stepping on them. No one is trying to make a living out of the rubbish tips here (I think) like they must in some places, but still,  the thought that someone would get stuck horrifies me. In the old days I used to use one of those little round flat container that needles of all sizes would come in... you know the one... it had a clear top and you'd twist it to let the needle come out of the little hole on the circumference of the container. When you start using a little sharps container, you really notice how many pins, needles and machine needles you go through. I keep  mine on the window sill just behind my machines.


There are some slightly bigger ones my colleague gave me too.. I use these to keep my headphones  nice, instead of tossing them around my bags. I also use one for my phone charging cord. 

How do you dispose of your sharps?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Training togs

Happy New Year. I hope 2017 proves to be a good year. I didn't have a bad 2016. I got a job that I really enjoy after looking for three years and after studying for 3 years so I'm financially on my way to some home repairs/maintenance/renovations. Not sure what I will do yet, but hopefully I'll get some stuff done to make it more comfortable for a (soon to be) teenager and grown up.  The garden needs a good sorting out too.  On the plus side, I can see the floor in my sewing room/computer room/office. No real cull yet but that's on the agenda too. I have collected patterns for a number of years when I was unemployed from secondhand shops. I love the art work, that I could afford them and they gave me lots of pleasure but I will be selling a lot of them this year as I just have too many and not a lot of room.

Although I have a sewing room it's tiny - about the size of a single bed with about 80cm extra width and maybe length as well. I have lots of fabric, most of it that I still love but some that I love but I know is not for me. It may be the colour or something but again I won't have time to sew it all up so I will sell some nice pieces.

However, the stash has come good and is being used. Just before Christmas, I made two fairy skirts to go with some wings and wands I bought for little girls I know. One was just plain in a purple and this one below is a bit more fancy. I bought this sequin elastic a couple of years ago and thought it would be perfect for a sparkly skirt. The fake sequin fabric was remnants from Spotlight about 5 years ago so I'm glad to have that gone to be honest. The recipient of this one is away at the moment but she got a photo and is excited to try it on. I think it will be too big in the waist so I'll probably have to fix that up for her. The skirt is long and she is only 5 but very tall (like about a 7 year old) and I'll cut the hem to the right length. I wanted to use most the this stuff so it have a orchid pink colour for the main skirt and then scraps of the purple as petals and then some lilac on the top for the layered look.


The next thing I just finished is a pair of togs for swimming/aqua aerobics. Again stash comes to the rescue. I needed some new togs 6 months ago when my Jalie togs died. I used to do my aqua training and swimming during the day, but now with working I do a lot in the heated indoor pool (which I hate - it's way too hot) and that accelerates the disintegration of lycra. I didn't have time to make some and bought a great pair of adidas togs for $10 from a discount warehouse place and they were great for a while but then one day a couple of weeks ago I noticed they just died. (Do you notice that... one day the togs are good, then the next time you get them they have that disintegrated bum 😬 Nowhere to go from there! ) I liked the fit and the square shape of the lower back so I cut them apart and pinned them to some small pieces of lycra I had. The red is very thin and so I self lined it. I didn't make a gusset but fully enclosed the join so it should be comfortable. I have had the aqua lycra for over 20 years, it was a remnant from somewhere and it is still in excellent condition attesting to its quality. There is a little left of that but it was a very short piece so not good for the lengthier pieces.


I'm pretty happy with them. They fit like the other ones did but maybe a bit of refining of the upper chest where I am pretty narrow. This is how the back was on the other pair. Obviously for the economy of not wasting lycra the X of the back is one piece and joins the front at the shoulders so fit my small pieces of lycra really well.


The colour scheme is a bit retro really. It reminds me of the togs that were around in the '70's and '80's. The ones the rich kids wore to Friday swim club... we couldn't afford to go to swim club and no fancy togs either.  The photo below is terrible, I know but I wanted to show the ribbed pattern in the aqua lyrca. It's white on the underside if you notice in the photo above. Oh and you may notice I used the coverstitch at the seams on the aqua. I had it threaded in red (from my jacket mid last year when I last used it) and thought it was the perfect opportunity to practice with it. I'm determined to get more use of it and better at it.


Have you made swimwear? If you haven't, you should. It is so easy and overall very forgiving and if you have kids, making them some to practice is perfect. I see more togs in my future. We are going to the beach for a week soon so my son may get some new togs too if I have time. Next up, more culottes I think.