The highs and lows of sewing, 2016

Mostly highs. I’d have to say this has been a milestone year for me, in terms of sewing. I think I’ve moved to the next level and I attribute this to social media……particularly Instagram which has really broadened my horizons. And for that reason I LOVE Instagram. It has been a great source of inspiration for me.

My first intro to Instagram….. and I don’t know how I’ve lived without it

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So how have I moved to the next level?

Its the first time I’ve drafted my own pattern.

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It’s also the first time I’ve got ‘the fit’ right for dresses for me....and that’s a huge first given I’ve been sewing for years. I will say it wasn’t easy. I unpicked until the cows came home but the result is these dresses which I am more than happy with with.

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It’s the first time I’ve  tackled this  jacket.  I’ve been looking at it for years but avoiding it because I thought it would be too hard/too much work. Turns out it was relatively quick and easy  and I think the possibilities for this style are endless . The blue is linen and the straw jacket is made from a heavy upholstery fabric.

Of course the big first was the fabric trip to Shanghai and London with my friend Wendy. That was absolutely brilliant and the highpoint of my sewing year. AND ………..hopefully the beginning of a tradition for Wendy and me……..we had so much fun.

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And of course there were the formal dresses.…..a first because it is the first time I have agreed to step outside the pattern……….very significant if you are a rule follower!!! I agreed to do all sorts of things to these patterns………not really me at all.

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Definitely the first time I have incorporated novelty prints into my garments.……and very effectively I have to say. I love them and will continue to use them. I love the fun side of fabrics.

Lets not forget the swimwear first.……..another whole story which I won’t start here but this was probably not one of my highest highs

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Another first that deserves a mention is knitting with fabric.OMG this is just so fun! That’s all I can say. I got the idea while on the London fabric tour and it’s something I would really like to develop. I think the sky’s the limit here. But I have to fess up that this is a UFO……..but also very much a current WIP and I have some great ideas.

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And not to forget the first time I’ve actively supported my daughter to try her hand at sewing….and with amazing results. She is very creative. Regrettably I am Mrs Rules so I struggle when she says but Mum I don’t need a pattern….it won’t take me long to make this top…all I need you to do is help me thread the machine. She was right. She made it in a couple of hours without a pattern and wore it that day. All I did was help thread the machine…..a learning curve for me!

img_2155img_2158And now for a 2016 sewing low.……...my overlocker was ‘found’ by someone in the carpark when I put it down for 5 minutes (hidden, I thought) behind the car. I hope they have lovely overlocked edges on their seams because  I don’t !

To summarise 2016 sewing for me…….a really big year that I enjoyed. What I have most enjoyed is the online sewing community of which I have become a part.  Thank you to everyone who has ever posted a sewing image on any form of social media. I have found it enormously inspirational and even exciting……..so much so that I try not to look at IG before I go to bed lest I should be so enlivened by a potential project that I cannot sleep!!!!! And that’s the truth.

On a very sad note….. my thoughts go out to David, husband of Katherine Scraper and her family. Katherine was better known in the sewing community as ….Pillows A-La-Mode.

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Katherine was an inspiration to me…….creative, resourceful, positive and clever and the sewing world has been enriched by her generous contributions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Emery dress and an op shop find

IMG_0790.jpgTo say I am thrilled with my Emery would be a gross understatement. It’s still on the dummy in the living room so I can keep looking at it. I just love it…..for several reasons.

The main reason I love it is because of the fit. I would have to say that this is the first time in my sewing history that I have fitted a ‘fitted’ dress as accurately as this. It is just the way I want it to fit and for me, this was no mean feat. But I was determined- a dog at a bone. I spent hours on the darts, all 8 of them and ended up doing some very unconventional things. This is unlike me. I am a ‘rules’ girl. But I’ve had a breakthrough!!!!

A little while back I attended the Australian Sewing Guild’s industry day at McCalls here. Although I  thoroughly enjoyed the day, I was more impressed by what I learnt from the speakers- in particular, Rita Showell. Rita’s store in Armidale (regional NSW) has been in operation for over  30 years and what Rita couldn’t tell you about fabric isn’t worth knowing. As a speaker she was engaging and very generous with invaluable tips. This one I will never forget…..There are no right and wrong techniques. If a technique works, it is right. Those words have removed my sewing shackles forever!!! I am finally liberated! So I went for broke with the Emery. Get this…….I didn’t insert a zipper ….even though the instructions said ‘insert zipper’. You see the dress fits over my head so I don’t need a zipper. But I felt so bad. I have never  ever disobeyed a pattern in my life. I fully expected to be struck down after it. And I won’t tell you what I did with the darts in the back. I’m not sure even Rita would agree with that.

IMG_0787.jpgBut I do love the dress and I think much of that is because I love  the fabric. Castle Hill Spotlight! Purpose Built, it is massive. This store had a greater range of linens than I’ve seen in any other Spotlight and on the day I was there, they were 40% off!!! I loved this colour from the moment I laid eyes on it and it sewed beautifully, of course.

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Incidentally, this dress actually looks better on me than  the dummy. But it’s just too hard to line up my photographer. Speaking of  my 15 year old photographer, she and I did the op shops yesterday. I only mention her because this is the second time I’ve seen this bag and the second time she’s begged me not to buy it because she thinks it is the most hideous thing she’s ever seen! But this time, (feeling so empowered by leaving the zipper out of the Emery!) I held the line. And I love it!

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It’s leather and I just love the colour (not meant to go with the Emery). And I’m so glad I bought it……another thing for me to look at.

And I’ve also broadened my ‘cushions’ horizon….

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Did you notice my new hand made Pillow Parlance tags? My daughter and I made them when she was home for the holidays. I am very pleased with them.

And finally, it is ANZAC Day in Australia and we celebrated it with a walk along North Head which has a beautiful paved memorial to those who have fought in the wars.

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Have a good week.

 

 

 

 

Kissing daylight saving goodbye in Sydney

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IMG_0613.jpgIMG_0610.jpgThis is Clarke’s Park in Sydney- host to a final ‘evening walk ‘ before daylight saving ends tonight. Will I miss daylight saving? Well probably not as much as most and I will certainly not miss Summer. It has been an extremely humid few months and I welcome the Autumn which is just beautiful. That said, I do get a kick out of watching Frankie run through the park of an evening and I will miss that.

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Today has been a very busy day, starting with the flower markets at Flemington. I love the flower markets- they are good for the soul…the flowers are magnificent and there is something earthy and primal about the transacting. I mean, you use  real money (as distinct from EFTPOS) and the stall holders put the takings into the pockets of their aprons. You can actually hear the coins jingle! Remember that sound? And there’s hustle and bustle and excitement and trolleys overflowing with flowers. It’s a happy place. Flowers usually mean  good times- like weddings and parties.

Anyway, I naturally contributed to the jingle. Don’t be fooled. This is only the tip of the iceberg! IMG_0619.jpgIMG_0623.jpg

After the flower markets I headed off to another market that I read about on Etsy…… The Maker and Shakers Market at Marrickville www.themakersandshakersmarket.com.au

This was a seriously mind boggling experience! The quality of the craft at this stall was something out of the box. I am beginning to think I have been away from the market scene for too long because the calibre of these stalls was something else. Of note  was a fellow Etsian who deserves this accolade (even though she is a competitor !!) because her cushions were beautiful i.e. Little Crow Design  – littlecrowdesign.com.au.

A little bit further on I saw a lovely girl feverishly knitting, beside her stall, which was packed to the rafters with the most fabulous hand knitted pieces. As I was thinking to myself  now there is one seriously hard worker…. typical of a crafter, she looked up and low and behold if I didn’t know her!!!! Kitty Choy and I worked together a few years back and it is so funny because we would have had so much in common had we ever discussed our shared love of handmade. But it never came up in conversation. Kitty’s business is called  Marikit and she too has an Etsy shop . She can be contacted on marikit_kitty@hotmail.com or  here 

After all of that, I took my daughter to Spotlight to buy some fabric paint. She is doing some very creative work on a white T shirt and I am full of encouragement.  I would love my children to enjoy a love of craft like I do. I mean, surely countless trips to Spotlight when they were babies in prams must have rubbed off on them? Maybe it had the opposite effect. My other daughter would positively bellow from the pram every time the lift door opened at Spotlight. I began to think she hated the smell of fabric, or was allergic to it! What an affliction!

And now it’s the end of the day and the best is still to come! The Emery dress!!!!!

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You cannot begin to imagine how excited I am about starting this dress. I have waited 2 weeks for the pattern to arrive from the States. Just in case you haven’t heard of it, have a look at it here and to see images of the Emery dress made many times around the globe, google the Emery dress. Its lovely and definitely worth a look.

IMG_0712.jpgThis is my fabric.

Well it’s now 11.30 and normally it would be too late to sew but tonight we get an extra hour’s sleep and……….IMG_0627.jpgI deserve it!!!!!!!!!

 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

 

Jane