Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Slow Start

It has been a really slow start to spring this year and so far the days have not been warm enough to entice me out of anything that has sleeves.  This top has been waiting patiently in my wardrobe for a suitable day to show it off.  Today finally we reached the dizzying heights of 23 degrees so I was able to whip off my cardigan, if briefly.  This is yet another version of New Look 6648.  This pattern certainly has been good value for money and I am not quite sick of making it yet, but not far off it.   This time I used a synthetic mesh knit which is a departure from my favoured cotton, but I loved the colour of this fabric.  It kind of reminds me of the colourful tops I admire in the Desigual range.   It also fits my current wardrobe criteria of more colour.  I think this top has every colour in it, from green, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, purple and there may even be a little black (although strictly not a colour).  Today I am wearing it with a denim type skirt blogged about here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Black Day....

but in a good way!

My kids got a taste of the rugby World Cup yesterday when the victory parade came to town.  They donned all of their black gear and plastered themselves in All Blacks temporary tatoos and joined the parade.  They were most excited that their heroes were close enough to touch.....and they did!  They high fived anybody that was within reach and my oldest son was responsible for the above photos.  It was a nice finale to a great tournament.

 All Black jerseys are a little thin on the ground in my wardrobe but I had no trouble finding a little black for the occasion.  Yesterday I was wearing my first pair of Jalie jeans blogged about here and my second attempt at a cardigan.  This time I used the back and sleeve of Simplicity 2603 and cut a front using a rtw out of my wardrobe.  I added a band to the front and to the cuffs and it looks much more finished than the Style Arc version I posted about here.  I am really pleased with the result and will use this pattern again.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Look, No Black!

While not trying to banish black from my wardrobe completely, I definitely need to see more colour.  This is one thing that taking my photograph for blogging has taught me.  Grey is pretty close to black but this is definitely a shift for me.

Today I am wearing my Jalie Jeans version two I posted about here .  I am also wearing a top made using New Look 6179.  This is some of the Op Shop fabric I posted about here.  It is a kind of taffeta in a pink and orange tie dye.  I really like the fabric but my daughter informs me she thinks it feels like a shower curtain...."thanks dear".  While the fit of the blouse is quite nice because it has shape and doesn't overwhelm me, I am a little disappointed that it is a little snug especially around the hips. It is Op Shop fabric so really no big deal.  I will make it again but I will add some width to the body next time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Best Laid Plans....

This week being the second week of the school holidays, my husband decided to take the week of work to spend some time with the kids.  On Thursday we decided to head out  for a bike ride through the trees at the local forest.  This is something we all like to do but it isn't best in the winter months.  This was to be our first ride for the season.  Great, I thought a chance to photograph my new yoga pants.  Exercise gear is not something I really have but I find yoga pants very versatile for a number of energetic pursuits.  In my belt bag I packed my little camera and we set off.

If by now you are envisiging a nice leisurely ride through the forest, let me tell you, that a ride with my kids is anything but!  Usually I bring up the rear with my youngest who has been more my pace.... not this year!  The kids are riding at break neck speed through the forest and my husband is dutifully following me, probably wishing he could ride at break neck speed as well, but feeling sorry for the poor unfit woman at the back who is puffing so hard she is turning purple. To make matters worse, my husband informs me I now have a nice mud line right up my back from riding through puddles.  This was going to make a delightful photo wasn't it.

We had ridden a couple of kilometres when I hear a yell through the trees.  My oldest son had been riding down a hill when his front wheel seized up and his bike came to a screaming halt.  Fortunately, he wasn't injured.  "Don't worry Mum" he says as he hops from branch to branch "I have my cell phone".  "That is great son, but we have no reception out here," I replied.  I don't know who he thought he was going to ring but the cell phone is aparently the answer to every dilemma.   Being the good mother I am,  I offered him my bike and to walk his bike back to the car.  The trouble was, the front wheel wasn't moving and I didn't fancy a two kilometre walk carrying a full sized bike.  My husband, who while not Mr Fix It but not useless either, managed to loosen the wheel enough to push the bike.  So I set off with a warning not to walk over any bumps or the wheel might fall off.....are you kidding me, in a forest, no bumps!  I managed to drag the ailing bike back to the car, the wrong way down a one way track, hoping all the way that another manic family wouldn't run me down.

Back at the car, I load the offending bike onto the trailer and sit in the car, all the while wishing I had a magazine or book to read to pass the time.  As I rifle through the nooks and crannies in the car, I come across a bag of lollies my husband has hid under the drivers seat.....Bargain! 

Yesterday, we thought we would take the dog for a walk around a couple of  lakes that were previously off limits to the public but now had a nice walk around them.  The yoga pants at this point were working there way through the washing system at home so nothing new to photograph even though the setting was stunning.  I had read Carolyns post about photography so what better opportunity to practice.  This time with the big camera.  Today I am wearing my Jalie top blogged about here and a pair of 3/4 length yoga pants I made last spring.  This photo was taken by my oldest son who actually got a small tree in the way so the photo is unsuitable for a close up but the lake makes for a better photo anyway.  We had this entire lake and it's neighbour next door to often does that happen!  I will be back, next time, on a sunny day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Dress That Almost Wasn't!

This dress featured in the April edition of Burda Style was the whole reason I bought the magazine.  I love the simple lines and even the colour.  When I got home I realised that it was designed to be made in suede.  Leather or suede is not something I would normally associate with summer time so I was immediately on the lookout for an alternative.  The original fabric I chose was actually a print which I made up here   .  On further inspection of the pattern, it quickly became aparent that there were far too many panels in this dress to work successfully with such a busy print.

Again I was on the hunt for a more suitable fabric.  My mother inadvertantly came to the rescue with a piece of crepe that had been sitting in her cupboard for a few years.    I was a little concerned that the beige crepe was not quite right for my skin colour so I immediately thought of adding some red piping to trim it.  I had a roll of red synthetic knit fabric which although wasn't ideal because it was a knit, with the addition of some very thick knitting wool actually became a very trim and pliable piping.  Piping added, my thoughts soon turned to lining.  I dug through my cupboard again and found a remnant of dress lining in just about exactly the colour of the dress.  The original dress didn't call for lining so by now I was sewing freestyle.  It was about this time that I became well acquainted with my unpicker.  Although I made my size up according to the measurements in the book, I really could have made the dress a size smaller so I needed to make quite a few alterations.  I was making a phone call while altering what I thought was one of the side seams and actually ended up cutting the wrong panel....oops!  Two new panels had to be cut and restitched.

The final straw with this dress was as I was overlocking the hem of the dress, my commercial overlocker managed to spew oil onto the dress in two places....darn it!  Now I have to spot clean it.    I am really happy with the final result, but had I known how much trouble a relatively simple dress would cause me I don't think I would have made it.
Today was stormy, and the kids are still on holiday so dressing up for a photo was put in the too hard basket.  Next week once they are back at school I will put up some photos of the dress on.....minus the oil stain of course!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Excitement Is Reaching Fever Pitch....

My daughter made cupcakes on Saturday using up the last of the icing from her brothers birthday cake the previous weekend.  How did she decorate them....well, how else....Rugby World Cup of course.

The excitement reached fever pitch in our lounge room last night with another win, this time over Australia in the semi final.  "Our boys" as my boys would refer to them, now go on to play France in the final next weekend. 

While my family could hardly contain themselves, I watched Tom Cruise in  Mission Impossible on the smaller tv while cutting out a new dress.  I have discovered this week that my constant sewing has actually given me a head ache that has lasted four days.  It must be something to do with my posture, so yesterday I pulled back a bit and spent some time in the garden.  The headache is now a distant memory so back to my sewing plans, although perhaps at a more leisurely pace than last week to avoid a repeat.  The dress I am making is one I have admired in the April issue of Burda Style.  It is designed to be made in suede, but that is a little hot for this climate in the summer, so I have a cunning plan........ 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going a little batty......

I think I have an addiction!  This New Look batwing tee pattern is certainly getting well  used.  This time I made a longer sleeved version for those cooler spring days.  Instead of the v neck like the pattern, I used the boat neck from the short sleeved version.  These tees are now my go to tees for the season.  This fabric was left over from the tee I made my daughter a few weeks ago.  I wanted to make a style that was completely different to hers. 

I have also added another pair of Jalie jeans to my collection.  This time they are made of a charcoal stretch suiting.  Being synthetic they should keep their colour well and being very stretchy they are super comfortable.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Style or Lack Thereof......

I have invested in a few basic patterns from Style Arc.  I have been reading a lot about their patterns lately online and thought I would like to try them out.  I ordered leggings, a polo neck jumper and a cardigan.  I could have drafted my own but they market themselves as being pattern suppliers to the industry so I took the easy way out.

I really wanted a fine wool cardigan to protect against the sometimes cold spring breezes.  I used Style Arc Cozy Cardi.  I made a size 10.   According to their sizing I am a size 9 so I shouldn't be surprised that it is a little loose on me.  I like the shape of this cardigan but I do feel it is a little Nanaish.  I am not sure how I can improve on it for future reference but making it tighter might be a good way to start.  The one thing I am really disappointed in was the neck facing which when applied as they showed in the instructions, actually stretched ridiculously out of shape.  This could have had more to do with the fabric I chose, but it was particularly frustrating.  Unfortunately with merino, you risk holes if you unpick so I had to add some elastic to pull it back in.  It isn't really noticeable when worn but I am still not happy with it.  If I made this cardi again I think I would leave off the facing altogether and put on a band instead and I would also do this on the sleeves and maybe even make it a little shorter for a more youthful look. 

I will wear this cardigan but I wish now I had tried it out in a less valuable fabric before using my precious merino.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Seeing Red Over Learner Drivers

I was conned!  No doubt about it!  When my daughter first got her learners licence I made it perfectly clear that my nerves would not stand up to driving lessons.  I avoid all of the adrenalin fueled rides at theme parks like the plague and this was one adrenalin fueled ride I was not prepared to get on.  My husband, always the first in the queues at the theme parks could not wait to jump into the passenger seat and impart his driving knowlege or lack thereof.  Yesterday, they came home from another lesson full of confidence.  They sat at the gate and honked the horn until I was forced to see what all of the fuss was about.  I eventually played their silly game and complied before being very much coerced into seeing how progess was going.  Foolishly, I hopped into the car....admittedly against my better judgement, but we all like to show an interest and stroke our kids egos, right!  Aparently she was great, even perhaps one step away from fronting up at Bathurst.  What they didn't mention was that I was in immenent danger from parked cars, oncoming, I sat there white knuckled while I took the longest ride of my life around the block.  When my daughter finally unceramoniously pulled up at our gate, I was so rattled, I even parked the car on the wrong side of our garage.  That is one experience I am not keen on repeating....come back and see me about driving when you have your restricted licence dear!

While my oldest was driving me around the bend over the weekend, my youngest turned 8.  I made him a cake, a Rugby World Cup Ball.  We went out for a meal last night at a local restaurant and stopped to watch the South Africa and Australian Rugby World Cup Semi Final.  This was my son's choice as he is obsessed by rugby.  Anyho, before we left, I asked my older son to take a photo of me.  The above was the result.  He had me cracking up laughing with his "professional photographer" antics. 

I am wearing another version of Jalie 2806.  This time I added a ruffle at the neck and made longer sleeves.  It is made out of a synthetic knit which wouldn't be me first choice normally as I prefer cottons, but this was a roll of fabric I picked up at a factory closing down sale and I do love the colour.  I am also wearing another version of Jalie 2908.  This time in  white. I have added a tiny stitched down pleat in the front of the leg for a little interest.   The fabric is a stretch cotton denim remnant that I bought off a sale table.  I only had a metre but at 150cm wide it is enough.  Once I had cut the jeans out though, I discovered a pen mark on the hip.....don't you hate that!  So, I had to add a couple of fake pockets on the hip to disguise the fact I had cut the marked piece of fabric one would ever know!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I have been a little quiet on the blogging front lately.  I have been busy however and when the weather realises that it is actually spring, I will have quite a few things to reveal. 

Remember the op shop fabric the other day? Well I made up a piece of it into a wearable muslin using New Look 6050.  The fabric is a brushed cotton and I only just had enough to complete the project.  I like the v neck in the design as well as the shaping at the back and the sleeve tabs which are soooo practical.  These little details and the colour, I feel, make the shirt look a little less masculine than the usual bog standard checked shirt.  I made the shirt slightly longer than shown on the pattern but that is the only alteration I made to the pattern.   I thought it would be interesting now to turn this pattern into a shirt dress.   I am wearing the shirt today with my Jalie Jeans blogged about here

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bagging A Recycled Bargain

Earlier in the week, I paid a visit to the local Op Shop in pursuit of a fabric bargain.  Visiting op shops for fabric is not something I have done before but I have seen it there.  I came away with quite a haul at rock bottom prices.  I have spent the best part of the week scheming in between washing and drying my treasures.  I have found time for a project using one of the pieces but it requires a trip to the fabric shop for buttons before it's big reveal. 

While cleaning out my sewing cupboard today, after said project had been completed, I came across a piece of fabric I had used in the past for cushions and a bag.  It was just begging to be made into a bag.  So, late in the day when I really should have been getting dinner on, I embarked on this project.....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Grey Week

Please excuse my expression in this photo.  I do rather look like I am half asleep...perhaps I am.

I finally got the last spotty child back to school yesterday after a never ending bout of chicken pox.  Aparently returning to High School with spots is akin to social suicide. 

This week is the last week of the school term and this week is also the last week my youngest will be 7, so I am also preparing a is a big deal turning 8 you know.

The weather has taken a turn for the worse so parading around in my spring attire is not going to happen.  The picture above was taken last week when we were actually experiencing a spring.  The skirt is rtw but the top was made using Simplicity 4539 and a small piece out of my leftovers bin.  To make the top a little more interesting I added a ruffle down the front.  It is a little boring I know, but we all need these tried and true type of shirts in our wardrobes for those lack of inspiration kind of mornings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Blast From The Past....

How cool is this caravan?

Today we went and drooled over some seriously cool and seriously expensive caravans and motorhomes at the Caravan and Motorhome show.  My youngest asked me why we were going, because we apparently "will only want to buy something we can't afford"....out of the mouths of babes!  He was quite right.  The $150,000 price tag of some was a little rich for this girls budget but it did sew the seed for upgrading our own caravan.

The caravan above was circa 1969.  This is a replica caravan that has now being reproduced for the market.  It was so cool and even had purple and black upholstery.  It reminded me of those American caravans you see in the movies.  I had to get my husband to take the photo quick before the lady who was selling them noticed.

Today's dress was made a couple of summers ago using Simplicity 2579.  It is made in lightweight blue cotton with beige embroidery.  I love this fabric and this dress.  It is very easy to wear.  While this dress is not quite as vintage as this caravan, because it is now a couple of summers old it is being relegated this year to casual status.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oh, I do love to be beside the.....


The kids were getting cabin fever after a week spent at home so we went to the beach for a change of scenery.  It still isn't swimming weather but this place is a regular haunt of ours at this time of the year.  My husband is a recreational whitebaiter, so usually in the spring we spend many a day out here catching the delicacy.  This year the river is polluted regularly because of the earthquakes so while the hardy baiters are still out, we have decided to stay away.  Anyho, this is our first trip to the beach for the spring and the first visit for the season is always the best.  On a sunny day, the scenery is outstanding with the rivermouth in the foreground and the snow covered mountains as the backdrop.   The Pacific Ocean was looking particularly stunning today, but the easterly wind did spoil it a little.   

My new windbreaker/raincoat had it's first official outing today, the first of many I imagine.  To go with it today, I made another version of New Look 6648 in a black and white stripe.  This time I made the neck opening and arm opening a little smaller and this did help with the falling off the shoulders problem and the gaping armhole issue.