Monday, 29 July 2013

Yesterday, when I was mad

Actually this particular attack of lunacy was good for much longer than a day.  More like ten.

I have always held that people who chop up perfectly good fabric only to sew it back together in patterns are completely deranged.  Sorry, quilters, but it's a waste.  Of everything - time, money, sewing machine wear and tear, nervous energy.  It just ends up back as rectangles. What's the point? 

I quite get the idea of using little scraps to make a new fabric, though.  As a person who can't throw out a fabric piece larger than 4cm square, that makes sense to me.  Otherwise they build up in cupboards and one day overwhelm you.  Much better turning them into quilts.

Of course I admit that I'm a little hypocritical here, because what is garment sewing but cutting up perfectly good yardage into funny shapes?  But on the other hand there's a limit to the number of togas one can use.  Sleeves are a good thing.Trousers ditto.  So for clothes the fabric must be cut.  Then at least you can use the scraps for patches.

But none the less, consumed by madness, I have been dabbling in patchwork.


Because I needed pixelated fabric!

And why did I need pixelated fabric? You may well ask and while you're at it do savour the irony. 

Well, I needed pixelated fabric because someone, who was having a birthday, wanted a creeper cushion.

(Anyone reading this who lacks contact with those between the ages of oh eight and thirteen, and wishes to be educated in the ways of the yoof, should google "minecraft" at this point.  Parents, of these ages, will merely sigh and shake their heads.)

creeper head with stuffing
Now some people would just make a flat green cushion and leave it at that.  Some people would not be seduced by the idea of playing with foam to make a free standing creeper.  Some people would not - no - most people would not buy fabric just so they could cut it up to make pixelated patchwork.  But that's not me, I've learnt.

I've  also learnt a great deal about patchwork (and creeper anatomy) during this project.  And that I really don't like chopping new fabric into tiny little bits and stitching it back together, nor am I very good at it.  I've learnt that you shouldn't press patchwork seams open but rather to one side so they are stronger.  I expect this creature to explode like a "real" one pretty soon.

And I would really like to learn how to join the various parts so it doesn't have to stay propped in a corner.

stuffing proved to be an overbalancing problem

Creeper face now unstuffed.
And for my final trick - a naked creeper!

 But I must admit I am rather pleased with it.

Then, when I was nooormal... oh wait, that bit hasn't happened yet.  May never.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Prison Matrons and Sister Wives

I have a terrible habit of attaching a little catch phrase to a new outfit when I put it on.  "Sack of potatoes", "Billy Bunter" (that one's via my mother, from a fat fiction character of the 1930s - so probably via her mother too), "mutton dressed as lamb".  It's a dreadful thing to do to yourself, and worse if you've just spent a large chunk of precious free time crafting the item.  Because you will note that rarely is the tone upbeat or self congratulatory.

off with her skirt

The internet doesn't help, either, there's always a catchy new descriptor to add to the mix.  "Prison matron chic" caused me to commit this act, for example, (and if dresses were people I suppose I would be wearing the style for real).

Yes, I do still chop the bottom of dresses if I feel that they are misbehaving.  I really should hem her before she unravels completely (some things don't change).  But at least when I wear her now she feels ok.  As a dress she was a bit wretched.  I would have thought "prison matron chic' at lease once any time I wore her.  As a top I just admire the neckline, which was always my favourite part anyway.

And then there's this reasonably new top.  Made from another deep stash fabric, with origins lost in the mists of time.  But I think a reasonably good quality challis from Lincraft, from way  back in the day, when Lincraft had fabric, as opposed to crappy overpriced rags of tat. After saving this fabric for so long, it came so so close to "sister wife" territory in the making up.  In the wrong company it can still look .. just puffy and wrong.  But here, I think we, the fabric and me, we've just pulled it off, with the assistance of this high waisted skirt from pre blogging days.

The shirt is the second one from a pattern based on burda 2010.10.119.  I was watching the second series of "The Hour" and while I should have been worrying about the plot and the characters, I was obsessing about the blouse that Bel was wearing, in at least 2 colour versions. 

(Naughty migrants! Poor exploited show girls! Oh, no, will Freddy die?  Oooooh blouses)

So I adapted a burda to make it and the first one has been a great work top.  I've pondered how it escaped the sister wife curse, and I can only conclude that the slight translucence of the fabric tipped it away from that zone.

Sister wifedom.  prison matron chic.  One poor fabric/pattern matchup choice away.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Maybe not me though.
I was thrilled when Jess Cartner-Morley of the Guardian (I always read Jess Cartner-Morley, she can almost infect me with her enthusiam about fashion) announced the end of the skinny jean and the rise of the “slim boyfriend”. I hate constricting legged garments. I look rubbish in them too. And this style seemed close to the fit I like – which can be best summed up as Burda 2010-4-??? 5 pocket jeans,  but a bit longer and rolled up. Bring it on, I say, it's about time my denim choices were fashionable the world woke up to my impeccable style in denim.

12.8 oz denim laid out for the sacrifice
I needed jeans. I had some prepped black denim in stash. I have read that 12oz is the perfect denim weight for jeans. A complicated but quite effective procrastination procedure involving a kitchen scales and some imperial to metric area conversion led me to the conclusion that the denim was 12.8 oz. I decided that 12 oz is like “4be2”, a useful approximate term. Never actually 4 by 2 inches. Anyway the error factor was probably greater than 12 by the time I'd done the calculations.  So I was satisfied and could begin.

And I got them finished in time to take away with us to the coast and Sydney where I wore them constantly, having overcome the hurdle of forgetting to re stitch the 5mm tacking stitch at the back centre seam (yeah, that's right, the one that gets the most stress!) by backstitchng by hand in my beduroom at the coast. And though I had used a popper that popped (or failed to pop, whichever is bad), that too was overcome by a quickish trip to Birkenhead Pt Spotlight for a jeans button and the hand installation of a buttonhole. They are quite comfy. Maybe a bit tooo comfy. I may take in the inside leg a trifle for a more streamlined effect. 

So, is this the “sexy boyfriend” look?

The "dumpy little boy" look? 

Or just “a pair of black jeans?”

Monday, 15 July 2013

It's Heeree!

Finally, in my post office box today (thankfully, as my letter box key is not working, so saving me some spatula time and the raised eyebrows of my neighbours), was this:

Not, at the risk of sounding somewhat acerbic, that it made much difference to my day.  Because I had already suspected that if you have access to an unlimited amount of brightly coloured, patterned but toning yardage and a verdant backyard, why then you can create a hippy wonderland.  It slightly goes without saying. 

As for the actual clothes, I won't say anything.

And then there's this:

Apparently I can be expecting the August edition any day now. 

I'm trying to decide whether to renew my subscription, too, I just wish it was more of a dilemna.  But I suspect I've fallen out of love.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

So we have a new printer and I'm taking the rather extreme step of scanning the
drawing pages of all of my burda mags. The idea being that when I want a particular pattern, rather than pull down four years of magazines, I fight my way onto a computer and look at the scans. The only problem then being that I still have to find the right mag to know which lines to trace. But I will solve that part later. Rome wasn't destroyed in a day.

This activity prompted by a gloomy cold rainy day, and my need for a pattern for a pair of (very small) men's trousers for a tall but skinny skinny skinny boy. I had been thinking of it for a while, but lacked the combination of need, available technology and a strong urge to TAKE CONTROL AND IMPROVE MY LIFE. Seasonal affective disorder, I expect.

This one seemed a particularly long time ago
As I leaf through each burda in turn, I'm quite struck by how some issues seem to be from long ago and far away. And others seem fresh and new – from yesterday. I suppose this could be correlated with the editions I have bonded with and sewn from. They seem more recent because I engaged with them more – they were more a part of my passing life and so more real. Or I have revisited them more recently and so refreshed them. Or re-engaged when leafing through for a particular item – a dress, or a pair of trousers.

Actually, it's five years ago that I first realised (doh) that there were magazines with patterns, and a whole new way of sewing opened up for me. So that's five years of my life.

Nothing like revisiting old stuff on a rainy gloomy Sunday to make you aware of the swift and inexorable passage of time.

The other thing that strikes me is that I have need of a pattern which is a 28 in circumference and 34 in height. Thank the ineffable for counter irritants.

PS Anyone reading from another country should note how much we pay for 3 MONTH OLD BURDAS.  The distribution here is a joke, and a local subscription costs more than in the shops and comes later. We do slightly better by going dirct to Germany, but I'm still waiting for the July issue.  Fehr Trade will be reviewing August in about a week