My Latest Project, Some Recycling

What do you do with a bag full of outgrown pyjamas?  Chop them up of course and make a snuggly little quilt for these cold winter nights!

 

Advertisements

My New Sewing Friend

As many would appreciate our shape changes over the years and we find that a pattern needs to be tweaked more than it used to be. Gone is the day when I could whip up a pattern in an afternoon and only adjust the length.  While sewing skills improve over time, I still struggle with adjustments for a full bust and curvy hips.  But I now have a new friend, Hazel, who has come to the rescue.

Hazel is such a help, she tries on items any number of times without grumbling and doesn’t mind if it’s in various stages of construction or if she gets stuck with pins. Hazel is my new self-made custom dress-form.

I’d been thinking of a dress-form for some time and while I had considered a duct-tape version, I thought that there had to be something better. I came across the Bootstrap version when wandering through some favourite sewing U-Tube videos and felt encouraged to give it a go.

The process is quite straight forward. You select the type you want, enter in multiple measurements and, in my case, 20 minutes later I had a custom pattern for my own body double.  The sewing took some time and the instructions are long but not difficult.  Hazel sits very proudly in my sewing room and has been a great help with projects since.

If you are considering doing the same, below are the You-Tube videos that inspired me to give it a go and a link to the site. And before you ask I haven’t been sponsored; just sharing a good find with fellow sewers.  Enjoy!

 

The construction process

Filling out her curves

Standing tall ready for action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pattern

https://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/diy-dress-form-sewing-pattern.html

Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CftuCNwehK8&list=WL&index=10&t=0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYbU45OTvVA&list=WL&index=11&t=236s

How to Make

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjK4NXagI0Y&list=WL&index=33&t=201s

How to Make Detailed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWcb9nJcsl8&list=WL&index=31&t=14s

Borrowing from our Children

Up until the industrial revolution, the pace of change in the world had been fairly sedate.  Since then and in particular since the end of World War II this pace accelerated and continues to accelerate.

I think upon the lifetime of Hazel, born at a time of horse and buggy and corsets; when Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson were at the height of their fame.  There was a decade long drought across Australian and the stirrings of the trade union movement with the Shearers’ Strike and the formation of the world’s first Labor government (although short-lived).  Her birth was in the midst of the constitutional conventions that would lead a few years later to Australian Federation and female emancipation.  By the time she had passed away there had been two world wars, the moon landing, the motor car, television and the beginnings of the computer age.

Through all this the constancy of family and hard work remained steady; each with their own rewards.  Life was simpler; you trusted in social institutions.  You worked the land to feed your family and the community and ultimately to leave it in a good condition for the next generation to run.  Farmers understand the concept of legacy; they understand that if you only take from the land eventually there will be no more to give.  The land needs to be nurtured.

So what will be the legacy from current generations?  Are we nurturing our land or our communities?  Or have we become so greedy that we have lost sight of our legacy?  When was the last time that our political or civic leaders were brave enough to put forward a vision for the future; beyond the next election or financial reporting cycle or their own lifetimes?

I yearn for some vision.  I want to be inspired.  I want to be engaged.  I want our grandchildren to be at the centre of our decisions.

Do we really want a coal mine in the Liverpool Plains?

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” ― David Brower

I know

Yes I’ve been tardy with my blog and no I haven’t done any sewing to speak of in weeks.  I’ve been a little distracted.   Over the past weeks I’ve been focussed upon preparations for an overseas trip; that’s all I’ve been working on in my spare time.  But trips to Paris, Amsterdam, London and Dublin can do that to you!!

If nothing else Hazel taught me to embrace all aspects of life, not just those moments behind the sewing machine.  So perhaps my blog should reflect more than one aspect of a life lived.  There is so much to experience, enjoy, share and love.

So I shan’t be doing much sewing for the next few weeks either.  But I shall be aiming to share our adventure with you; stay tuned!!

Wardrobe Architect Project – Pants Completed

My goal this year is to not buy any clothes for myself and to refresh my wardrobe with items that I like enough wear but also fit well and look good. I’ve just completed the first of my wardrobe basics; a navy pair of pants. You may recall in an earlier post that I decided to try out Butterick B5222 by Connie Crawford; it had been described by several reviews as a great pants pattern that suits all sizes and shapes.

Well I stitched the last stitch to them today and voila!! I’m pretty happy with the outcome for two reasons: firstly this is the first pair of pants I’ve made for about 20 years and secondly, while not perfect, I’m pretty happy with the outcome and know that I’m going to be happy to wear them.

pants 20140127 (2)

The fabric (a poly-viscose from my Tessuti stash) was a dream to sew and they pressed up very nicely. I’m glad I did the muslin beforehand as I ended up making a few adjustments to the pattern. I like the fit around my hips and bottom and across my tummy; given the roundness of these areas a good fit has always been a challenge for me. I adjusted the back seam more that the pattern required and next time I’ll lower the top of the back; it sits a bit high. I should have adjusted the pattern further to take account of required length as I still needed to cut more off each leg and had to make adjustments so that the hem would sit correctly and this is always tricky. But given that pants with side pockets don’t always sit well on me I’m very happy with these.

My only criticisms are minor. Given that this pattern is specially designed for full-figured women’s proportions like me, I’m a little disappointed that so much information was included in the instructions for armhole, bust and shoulder adjustments – a bit odd for a pants only pattern. The adjustment guide for the crotch fit was good and for the back seam but there was really nothing for a round tummy. I would however use this pattern again.

End result: a nice pair of pants to wear to work that will go with a few of my favourite tops.
The cost:
$44 for the fabric,
$5 for the pattern (a special)
$3 for the zipper
$3 for the thread
$0 for the button (stash)
Total of $55

BTW excuse the picture, not my best and doesn’t show off the trousers that well!  Oh well.

 

Elephant Antics

The princesses were together again today – lots of laughter and giggles with princes saving them after a 100-year sleep.  So the elephants were home alone again and being a warm day they were looking for entertainment.

The blue and green elephant enjoyed a book together; the blue elephant in particular.

Image  Image

The silver and gold elephants enjoyed making a lot of noise beating their trunks on a large drum while Buddha preferred the softer music of the water whistle

Image Image

They then returned to their usual places and rested

A Land of Sweeping Plains

We’ve been away over the past couple of weeks having decided to make the trek across the Hay Plains to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley.  Why we would make such a decision at this time of year is another story as we managed to time it with a severe heat wave that hit the south-east of Australia in the same week; some of you may have heard that Adelaide was the hottest city in the world last week!  Yeup it reached 46C/115F after several days of temperatures over 40.  We had 4 days in Adelaide and I think they were the hottest days of my life.  Needless to say that our energy levels were low and we struggled to do any of the things a visitor usually does during a holiday; I only got to one fabric store and it was a very quick visit (no air-conditioning would you believe!!).  Then the bushfires started in the Barossa and various other locations between there and home, so we high-tailed it out of there!

Despite all that my surprisingly favourite part of the trip was the drive across the Hay Plains.  It’s just majestic!  You can see for miles and miles and it is so flat with few trees, mostly salt-bush – it’s just so endless in all directions.  A magnificent blue sky, not a cloud to disturb that blueness, and only the shimmer of the heat sitting on the distant horizons to break the stillness of the land.  A visit on a clear night with my telescope would also be fantastic; the night sky must be magnificent out there so a return trip to the area during autumn might be quite nice.  Besides passing traffic the only other thing we saw during those hours were emus; we saw several busying themselves amongst the brush.

I was reminded of Dorothea McKellar’s poem My Country during this trip and did wonder if the Hay Plains were in her mind when she wrote it:

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel-sea,

Her beauty and her terror –

The wide brown land for me!

hay plains jan 2014.

Wardrobe Architect Project

I was inspired the other day by one of my favourite bloggers, Sarai at http://www.coletterie.com/, to go from a wardrobe builder to a wardrobe architect.  I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

I tend to collect things mostly because they fit and then find something to go with the item I’ve just bought.  And I’m sure that you can relate to all those items in your wardrobe that you rarely wear and really don’t like and wonder why well-earned money has been wasted on them.  This is the main reason I returned to sewing last year, so that I could build a wardrobe with beautiful fabrics that fits, suits me and I’m happy to wear.

My navy pants that I’m currently making is the first item of clothing that is part of my wardrobe redesign.  So Sarai’s project has come up at the perfect time for me.  Have a look at her plan; you too may be interested.  I’m keen to see how it goes!

architect-125