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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hemming Jeans

No 'real' sewing to show, but I have proved that the sewing machine still works :)

Since my MiL died eighteen months ago, there was no-one to shorten George's jeans unless we paid $30 to the nice people in the little alterations place at The Glen. (Who do a great job but that's a bit pricey for jeans. We use them for formal trousers and the like). It's one sewing job I had never felt srong enough to tackle. I have spent six months being stared at balefully by two pairs of jeans/chinos and a husband, who proved the point at the weekend by busting the zip on a pair of summer pants and then tearing a pair of shorts so dramatically that all we could do was laugh hysterically.

I gave this tutorial a go:

and this is the result

I also did a black pair but that photographed badly. I am quite pleased with the result, let's see what George thinks when he gets home.

I also finished the shawl I;ve been working on for some months but haven't blocked it yet, so that can wait until I can post a picture.

Friday, December 12, 2014

On the Trail of My Sewing Mojo

I haven't done any dressmaking for a very long time. I have been in a total funk about fit and whatnot. But I have recently bought LOTS of pretty fabric and read books about fit (reread books about fit, actually) and I;m almost ready to do some real sewing.

This is one pattern I want to try. It is dead easy, so long as I can get some sort of correct fit. It's a bit short for me but that's an easy alteration. Tissue fitting has suggested some slashing and spreading is required. I am using a fabric that I like but won't cry over if I can't turn it into something wearable. I refuse to stand in this silly pose while wearing it though!

I've had this book for a while but had assumed that the clothes would not fit or suit me. After doing some heavy duty measuring and thinking I have decided to have a go at a tunic/dress. Slashing and spreading may be required again, plus lengthening the bodice. Again I;m using a nice fabric but not my favorite.

So I suppose this means I am about to launch into hopefully wearable muslins. Mind you, having washed the necessary fabrics, I really meant to iron them today and I have not, so I still have to do that.

Will post updates - even if they are tears and tantrums!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Warehouse Sale at Phillips Shirtmakers

Last week I went to this place, which was having a warehouse sale. I didn't go through the actual shirts, lovely though they are: I went for the fabric. They were selling off large quantities of shirting fabric, quite a bit of it 'vintage'. I don't know what vintage exactly, but I do know that new was one price and 'vintage' another, and I bought stuff from the vintage section (because I liked it, not because it was vintage in particular).


A hand-picked selection of unworn vintage shirts is availablefrom our archive.

Unbelievably in this era of cheap imports and overseas manufacturing, this company still makes shirts in a tiny factory in the CBD, Little Lonsdale Street to be precise. The fabric sale was held on the factory floor. The fabric storage area was rather cramped and uncomfortable. While I'm sure the women involved are going to do some lovely things with any fabric they bought, I don't think the mother with the small toddler really thought through taking her child to such a location; and I am certain that the mother with the huge pusher did not! I wanted to point out that having a huge pram blocking exits (no matter where she put it) was creating a fire hazard, which is a serious concern in any textile factory, but thought I would get told off for being mean to mothers (and please don't abuse me - if there had been a fire the baby would have been in the most danger of all).

You could fill a shopping bag with remnants for $5. I have a lifetime of remnants, but I did end up collecting a bag of various bits of white and off-white shirting fabric for embroidery purposes (and there was a scrap of pale blue in that lot). There was also a pile of remnants of the lovely fine iron-on interlining that is used in commercial shirts, which I added to the bag.

Baby Bear, fresh from an exciting morning rubbing shoulders with our State Health Minister (as was on the day, we have had an election since) launching a collaboration between Family Planning Australia and YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) to improve sex education in schools, joined me and bought a bag of remnants to do exciting things with.

I also bought three dress lengths. They are all vintage cotton - the green one is seersucker.

And then I found these handsome vintage chappies. Carved from wood - roughly but with beautiful lines - and one of them wearing a silk bow tie. I;m sure they have a history but I couldn't find out anything at the time. Does anyone know anything about them?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Geelong Fibre Forum 2014

I still don't have any embroidery pictures to show from Fibre Forum. I have been too busy studying and, since my last exam last week, slobbing out, to finish my embroidery. But it's next on my list of fun things to do, so maybe photos will come soon!

On our first morning we went down to Limeburners' Lagoon, a little bit of Corio Bay that is very close to Geelong Grammar, to sketch. The idea was to work on something inspired by our natural surroundings. Now, I still maintain that I 'cannot draw' but I can cobble together vague ideas which was all that was required. We spent a lovely three hours in mild sunshine sketching the bay and flowers/plants that were growing around us. A number of us also took photos to give us further ideas if necessary.

I really loved the bark on this eucalypt. In fact it was this photo that I ended using as the inspiration for my main piece (we also did a sampler which was quite prescriptive but very useful for practice). I sketched it when we got back to the classroom, fiddled with a bit of colour (also fiddled with some of the original sketches) and eventually, with guidance from our tutor, I narrowed down to a section of my sketch and used it as the basis for my embroidery.

I took quite a lot of pictures. I especially loved the lines and texture of this cracked mud. Over the years I have taken quite a lot of photos of interesting textures and things and this workshop gave me the confidence to think of them as being potential inspiration for other pieces in due course.

The Geelong Wool Museum is always worth a visit. This time round there was an interesting exhibition by Australian (though resident in the US) textile artist Ruth Marshall, whose exhibition Vanished Into Stitches is still on till 7 December if anyone is interested. She knits perfect reproductions of endangered animal pelts.  Her work is pretty stunning. I really liked her tiny reproductions of native marsupials.

And for some bizarre reason, the Wool Museum has this lovely exhibit above - Super Croc I think it was called - the skull of an extinct (thank god!) giant crocodile. Nothing to do with wool, but native to the area, possibly. With cool lighting. Very strange.

And of course there is yarnbombing outside the Wool Museum!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Citron Blue

This shawl pattern is actually called Citron Grand, but to me 'citron' sounds as though it should be yellow or orange or green, and obviously it's blue!

I knitted this on and off for months. It's an easy pattern but slow work, especially in very fine yarn. I enjoyed knitting it, and would make it again in a thicker yarn, perhaps sock weight. I knitted this one in Morris & Sons Laceweight, which is actually more of a cobweb weight, which is REALLY REALLY fine.

Despite the size (the picture of it on a bed is after blocking, on a queen sized bed) it only took 62 grams to knit!  Which is about a squillion metres.

I finished it off on the trip to Alice Springs and Adelaide in July. It possibly the only time I have ever used an iron in a hotel room - to block it!

And although I did not intend to produce a wedding ring shawl, when I wore it at Fibre Forum last month someone commented that it was so fine that it probably counted as one, So I gave it a go. And it does go through my wedding ring! This picture of it (photographic proof) was taken at Gloria Jeans in Box Hill at a knitting group meeting - they call it my party trick :)

It's as light as a feather and squashes into a tiny ball that can be carried about in a bag if required. Love it!!  But I am never knitting with cobweb again. I;m knitting something else in real* laceweight now, which is still very fine, but preferable. Goodness knows when that project will be finished but I willl photograph it when it is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The guns stopped on the Western Front. Now Remembrance Day commemorates all war dead. 100 years ago many still believed that the war, which started in August 1914, would be 'over by Christmas'. How tragically wrong they were.

Nearly 90,000 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London this year.

I can't find an origin for this affecting picture but it seems to have been used by a wide variety of organisations, often in connection with quotes from 'In Flanders Field' by John McCrae.

This seems to be a poster to advertise poppies for Memorial Day in the US (I hope I have that right, that's what Google suggests).


And this is an alternative to the poppy in the buttonhole on sale for Remembrance Day that I bought the other day. 

Lest We Forget