Felted bag

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I’ve been wanting to make one of these for ages and have been keeping my eye out for a suitable woolen jumper. It needed to be pure wool labeled hand wash only in order to felt nicely.  I finally picked up the perfect one at Goodwill for a few dollars.

First I put the jumper through a soapy hot wash in the washing machine. Then I tumble dried it. It came out nicely felted.

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FB_IMG_1491394969269I found some nice scraps that match well for the pocket and zip linings and lined the body of the bag with some leftover grey corduroy. I always think a strap looks more professional if it has at least a bit of metal hardware on it somewhere and I had the perfect piece in my drawers.  The strap’s a bit stretchy but otherwise I love it, especially all the pockets!

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Blue Sailboats

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Quick post of a dress I made just before Christmas. It’s funny I don’t think this dress is the most flattering thing I own but I’ve worn it a lot this summer.  I wore it to my uncle’s 80th in Sydney, and have worn it quite a lot to work on hot days – it’s quite heavy fabric but I think it might be a linen cotton mix as it feels very comfy in the heat. The weight of the fabric means the pleated skirt has a bit of body and flares nicely. And it is most excellent for cycling in because it’s heavy enough not to blow up and show ones knickers!

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The pattern is actually a complete hack of the pattern I made my bicycles dress from.  The bodice of that one is a cross over but it fit so nicely I just overlaid the pattern pieces and used them for this one.  Then the skirt is just randomly pleated by me until I got something I was happy with. It doesn’t really wrinkle like that in the back, that’s just me posing weirdly.

There’s a side zip and  lapped press stud closure hidden inside the side pleats, modeled on the pattern for the other vintage dress I sewed recently. I like this better with a cardie than without so with the heavier fabric I think I might continue to wear it a bit in winter with tights.

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Pretty Birds on a Pinny and a Vampire Bat

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Presenting a threeway collaboration between Laura, me, and my partner in crime (hence forth known as pic)! I bought this gorgeous velour print off the bargain table at Spotlight for maybe $3 a metre. It’s one of those buys where you wonder what on earth everyone else was thinking that no-one had snapped it up before it ended up being sold off. Anyway it was such a bargain that I bought about 5 metres of it. I still intend to make myself a winter skirt, but it in the meantime Laura’s been eyeing it off for a pinafore.

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Laura cut it all out, using this 70s skirt pattern, and cutting the bib parts based on an existing pinafore she owns. When I say she used this skirt pattern, it’s been so completely hacked there’s almost nothing of the original pattern, but it was a starting point. Laura sewed the skirt together and fitted the darts to suit her tiny waist, then asked for my help with the top-stitching… at which point she realised she didn’t have a plan for how to do the side openings. Apparently my description of how to do it involved lots of confusing words and waving my hands around and was all clear as mud, because she decided to just hand it over to me to do the rest.

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It’s not a complicated design, but did take a while to do all the top stitching nice and straight.  Including running out of top-stitching thread and having to wait a couple of days before I could get to the shop and buy some more. The heavy multi-layered seams resisted my best efforts at getting the twin needles to work so I ended up stitching them one row at a time using a heavy jeans needle. They’re not quite as even as a twin needle would have been but overall (see what I did there…) they’re pretty straight. I should have made the side openings a bit longer to make it easier to get on and off, they need a bit of a wriggle (!) but they work.

The third party to get involved was when the pic got asked to hammer in the buttons. I’m adamant we marked the button spots clearly, yet somehow he managed to put one of the side opening buttons further around the back of the waistband, and we had to hunt up another one to add to the side opening. I’m a bit bemused as to how he managed it but he’s sticking by his story that it was intended that way to hang a hammer off the overalls!

We took these photos inside because it’s pouring down rain today. I read online that Adelaide has had the wettest summer in many, many decades and it certainly feels like it. My lounge room floor is looking very much in need of a vacuum but I needn’t tell anyone reading this that there are far better things to do than vacuum! Rather than vacuuming (who am I kidding, I would not have been vacuuming anyway), I’ve been to the most gorgeous baby shower this afternoon for a friend who’s waited a long time for her soon-to-arrive baby girl. I’m so excited for her! We all got given a letter and number to draw things on a wooden block. Isn’t that the best idea? My artwork isn’t up to much but what a awesome and useful memento.

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Jungle January gets gaudy

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I’ve been wanting to do one of the sewing challenges that abound online so when I spotted this Very bright silk it just shouted to be used for #junglejanuary. I won’t say too much about the pattern as I need this to be quick if I’m going to technically scrape into January! I realised the time zone on my blog is handily still on the default US time zone, so even though we’ve roared into February here in Adelaide I’m pretending otherwise.

This is the same pattern I used for my previous Spindle Silk, using the Spindle dress pattern from Ottobre. I was inspired to sew up my Jungle January contribution by Siobhan who used a leafy jungle print instead of an animal print.

Even for someone who likes bright clothes this is a bit out there, so I’ve matched it with entirely black.  The sewing is really a bit dodgy, blamed on my haste and general not-sure-I’m-gonna-like-this mood as I was sewing.  It looks surprisingly good though with the bubbly under arm bindings hiding under a cardie (oops). My workplace is like Antarctica anyway so intentions to wear breezy, light summer gear are always dashed and I end up with wearing woolens and a nanna rug on my lap. What is it with the air con in these buildings? I just had a work colleague say they liked the colour so it can’t be all bad!

Vintage purple floral

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I love this dress!! This is the second time I’ve made the pattern. It’s a Vintage 1961 pattern McCalls 5780 (published 10 years before I was born). I was lucky enough to find the pattern in an op shop and it is the exact right size (miraculous!) The first time I made this lovely pattern was 12 months ago before I fired up my blog again, and I haven’t got around to blogging that one yet. So it was fairly straight forward this time, vintage techniques and all. The fabric is just a cotton from Spotlight but it’s got a nice soft hand. This dress takes a lot of fabric and they didn’t have enough on the roll when I bought it, so I rang around a few other Spotlights and got my lovely partner in crime to pick this up for me at a far flung store when he was nearby for work.This is #5 on my holiday to-do list. Technically I’ve finished my holidays since I’ve been back at work for 8 days so far, but school isn’t back until this coming week so I say it still counts. I’ve just had a four day weekend for Australia Day so I got the chance to finish a few more things off.

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The dress has a lapped side zip, which is really a pain in the neck when it comes to getting the darn thing on and off, but it does give a lovely look with no back zip. The back darts fit perfectly and I’m a fan of the sleeve facings. The pleated skirt is the fiddly bit – I always find it’s pretty much impossible to get pleats exactly right the first time round, so one ends up having to tweak them to get them to fit exactly to the waist stay. Plus the way it fastens is interesting. I’ve put in a photo of the waist fastening instructions and you can see it has an extended underlap, with press studs which do up hidden in the pleat. They’re great pleats though, it sits beautifully. The purple satin ribbon waist stay looks pretty (even though only I get to see it!) and is a nice finishing touch.

I made it a little longer this time than last time, only slightly shorter than the pattern pieces intended (they’re always so long these vintage dresses!) I like it, I think it gives nice proportions. I’m very much looking forward to wearing this to work. I don’t have any fancier occasions planned so I think I might have to remedy that.