Monday, 18 August 2014

I have my very own label!

It was my birthday last week and I got the coolest gift from the hubby.

With no prompting or even having spoken about my secret desire to get some woven garment labels to insert into my me-mades, hubby outdid himself and produced these.

I feel a bit cray-cray with an almost overwhelming desire to stick these babies in everything I've ever made, the entire back-catalogue. But I'll resist because that all feels a little narcissistic and self-congratulatory.

P did a pretty good job picking the colour and text without any input from me. TBH, I'd probably have chosen a different colour combo, but credit where it's due, P was trying to match the coral colour in my blog header. Choices were limited however and candy pink it is.

You might recognise that denim from my in-progress Alder - yep I'm up to speed with the sewalong.

I've performed my SBA on the pattern and have cut all pieces ready to go. I believe today's sewalong will see the button bands, darts and pocket placement completed. The pattern and instructions are perfectly adequate to get going by myself, but I'm really interested to see how Jen tackles some steps, so I'm happy to keep with the program.

In the meantime, I'm off to work out exactly how I prefer these babies sewn in... tight zigzag, gappy zig-zag or something else altogether?

P.S. In Australia and want your own?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Alder-Along? Don't mind if I do!

Have you ever had an occasion when a new pattern is released and you've believed fervently that the designer made it specifically for you, reading your hopes, your dreams and everything in between. Oh Jen, you've truly done it.

Truly, madly, deeply do I love this pattern: The Alder Shirtdress.

Image Source
Maybe you love everything that comes out from the Indie or Big 4 market. I have to say, rarely if ever does anything truly take my fancy. I think perhaps it's why I've swayed towards vintage patterns in the past - they suit my aesthetic and body type.

Or sometimes a pattern will pique my interest, then I find out it's drafted for a C (!) cup and little old me ain't ever gonna go to the trouble of downsizing that baby - it would all but mean a re-drafting, ugh.

But this dress, oh my, you are perfection. I love both your views, A and B. I love all the additional variations Jen has suggested are possible. And I will have one for my own.

If you haven't heard, there is an Alder Dress Sew-Along starting tomorrow, and I will be catching that train. Will you?

I already have my fabric prepped, pattern purchased and view choice sorted.

View A, in a deep indigo blue mid-weight rigid denim - it is still winter over here and I envisage wearing this with knee boots and a cardigan or long sleeved tee underneath (or maybe both) right now and on its own for trans-seasonal wear. So in other words I'm completing ripping off Jen's View A above.

I've made Jen's Tiny Pocket Tank before and it marked my first foray into completing a SBA. So I know pretty much exactly what size to pick and how to alter the bust darts to fit me. My Tiny Pocket Tank was quite a triumph in that regard. Jen does say she'll be covering how to choose a size, so I'll be reading that with a lot of interest. I really wanna get this baby right as I have no time for a muslin.

And if all goes to plan I see at least two more for summer in both views A and B (which is eerily similar to a RTW dress I bought last summer and adore).

Squeee! I'm so excited!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Because who doesn't need a crocheted granny square vest??

...Especially when you are off to mount your horse.

Sometimes you hit gold. Sometimes you enter that op shop with something else entirely on your agenda, but find yourself with a smile a mile wide.

The motherlode of knitting patterns from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Thank you Betty, whoever and wherever you are.

This is but a small sub-selection of the entire load I nabbed. And wait for it... all for the ridiculous price of $1. That's right. Not $1 each, but $1 total!! There's something like a few hundred patterns here contained in 20 odd pattern books.

I grabbed them all because they are actually full of some great basic and timeless patterns and I do in fact see myself using them to knit up a whole stack of things over the next several decades.

But boy do they have some entertainment value, immersing one in the the most iconic fashions of the time. Let's begin... 70's anyone?

I mean I know my hubby needs a beautifully hand crocheted, contrast trimmed and belted tunic for when he's tending the helm of our timber canal boat. How about yours?

Well hello handsome, you really are quite the looker in your lovingly crafted vest, sipping your amber ale.

A little lurex anyone? Oh yeah, take me to the disco.

And this poor lass, she looks a bit apprehensive doesn't she? This totally makes me think of a very special hair salon cape. I still remember my awesome knitted/crocheted green and white poncho from when I was about 5. I loved that thing so much I never took it off.

This one nearly made me wanna go back.

Don't you just wanna be her? No? Just me?

But then the 70's/80's did throw up some lovely numbers I can actually see myself in, with a few modifications.
 Love it! In the right colours, it could be cute.

And this...

...I'd totally keep knitting the sleeves to full length and be happy as a pig in mud. Love that neckline.

And now for some humorous photo captions... I mean really?

 What's she waiting for??

Brave? Is she about to be attacked my a mountain lion? Well, this cardigan will certainly help!

I need to admit I cannot crochet for love nor money. I tried once and it was ugly. But these, these make me want to find someone who can...

 Dresses of awesome.

And this skirt? It's a must have.

Now, I'm off to knit hubby and I matching Mad Men sweaters.

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Yay! I finally finished something this winter. It was looking doubtful but it happened!

May I introduce my "quick win", the Libby skirt.

Have you ever been in a crafting funk where nothing seems to grab you for long and when something does grab you it simply does not move at a pace that keeps you really engaged? I've been in one of those. This year has shaped up to be incredibly demanding, and has left so very little time for anything extraneous at all. And as much as we'd all like to think sewing and knitting are not extraneous, the reality is sometimes they truly are.

My knitting progress has ground almost to a halt. Knitting takes time dudes. Serious time. Hours daily I just don't have anymore.

But then a few little things happened that propelled me forward.

1. I saw Rachel's awesome Libby skirt and just had to have it. Sorry Rachel! I know this skirt isn't quite the same, but I loved yours so very much that it certainly comes close. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I so hope you think so Rachel.

2. I spent a wonderful half hour or so at Tessuti in Surry Hills chatting with the very gorgeous and generous Colette. And it just made me feel all happy and energised. Thank you Colette!

I knew I was going to make the Libby skirt, I happened to be close to Surry Hills with a bizarrely free hour, and so I thought I'd check out my fabric options at Tessuti. I had black brocade on the brain. And what do you know?? Score!

A gorgeous black baroque brocade in a cotton/elastane/acrylic mix. It goes by the name Fleur de Noir and was clearly a popular fabric as there was hardly any left, and only at Surry Hills. It's very stretchy, and the awesomely free Libby is designed for wovens, but Colette gave me a tonne of sizing advice and assistance, suggesting sizing down to account for stretchy give.

I must admit I actually went against the advice and I'm unsure how it will stand up to stretching out with wear.

I ended up sizing according to my measurements: 8 at the waist and graded out to a "9" at the hip (ie between the 8 and 10) and the fit is spot on. The waist is a little big so it sits a little lower than it's supposed to, but I prefer it lower. I stabilised the waistline by sewing cotton tape into the seam allowance at the waistline of the skirt and also block interfacing the facing (this part is standard).

I lined the skirt with fire red bemsilk which is not stretchy and I figured this would help avoid the outer becoming distorted. I've never lined a skirt before and Colette suggested I attach the lining to the waistband facing, but in the end I sandwiched it between the facing and outer skirt at the waistline. I simply pleated out the excess where the back darts are and it all fit beautifully. Love the feel of a lined skirt. I'm going to line everything now.

The fabric is verrrrrryyyyyy thick and with the skirt, facing, cotton tape and lining, turning the waistline and topstitching it was very difficult - it's seriously thick up there! Somehow it doesn't look bulky though - result!

I picked the mini version and super-mini'ed it! Too mini?? I removed a couple of inches in length and I'm hoping it doesn't make me look like a hoochimumma. Be nice everyone. I knew I'd wear this with flat boots and opaques and I think it works...

But it was soooooo bitchin' freezing with awesome gale force winds taking these photos that upon finishing I immediately changed into my trusty jeans, boots and jumper. I just can't get warm this winter. Anyone else feeling the same?

Freezing my ass off for the blog. Ahhhh the things we do.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I am a bear

I am, I am a bear....

I've been hibernating: figuratively and literally.

I've been a little absent, but I've been reading your blogs every chance I get!

I followed Sarah's advice. And yes, Sarah, it was worth hibernating for a while. My last post spoke of my growing disconnect from, and dissatisfaction with, my latest project. I tried soldiering on and I was just getting miserable. I decided for pretty much the first time ever to just put it aside, potentially never to be seen again.... we'll see.

Then I had to find my mojo again and boy was that hard. But I knew what I wanted to craft. I wanted a cardigan. A variegated green, hand-dyed/artisan yarn cardigan. So I got this...

Oh the squidgy awesomeness of this yarn. Sooooooooo soft (100% merino superwash wool) and so vibrant. It defines perfection.

And I'm gonna knit this...


Isabell Kraemer's Caramel cardigan. Entirely my kind of cardigan - one that makes you feel you've been wrapped in a lovely warm blanket or even a hug. I just won't be doing stripes. The variegated yarn will give me all the texture and interest I need.

Hopefully the endless stockinette will be just the balm my soul needs right now - mindlessness and rhythmic meditation instead of constant stitch counting and concentration (hello Fazie, I'm looking at you). I got no space in my tired brain for that right now (who was it that thought working, studying, caring for my family, crafting and sleeping could all fit nicely into my life?). Can't wait to get started.

I also finally got all I need together to make my New York Cape. Seriously peeps, this pattern has been sitting in my stash for over 2 years. It's about time.

Check out this delicious wool coating from The Fabric Store.

If you can't tell, I am obsessed with warmth and cosiness right now. I'm not much of a winter person.

How about you? Winter or Summer? Does anything weird happen to your mojo in either season?

And now I'm off to wind those skeins into knit-able balls.