Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cape Town to Canada: Beaded Collar

If you read this post from early April, you'll know the backstory of Xhosa collars and remember that I started working on my own version, but didn't think I'd make much progress.  Well, once again, the Sew Weekly came to my rescue and hosted  Embellish This!, so I really had no excuse to let it languish any longer.

When I was shopping for a beaded collar in Cape Town, I could only find Kenyan wire collars like this...

...which I don't think a white girl in Quebec can quite carry off.  I wanted something inspired by, rather than imitation of.  

Ta da!  

Each of these rows took me about 1 - 1.5hours to do, and I was seriously cheating on the couching.  Instead of doing 3 beads / backstitch 2, I did 10+, then backstitched 2.  I think it would have taken me years if I had done this properly.

I thought it would look best if I photographed it against bare skin, but then I chickened out and put on this old linen dress.  

     You could wear this forwards as peter pan collar, but I think I prefer it backwards.  

Friday, 20 May 2011

Red White and Blue

I downloaded this pattern last year I believe, and I cut it out and traced the allowances back in March, then it sat on my desk in a dusty pile for two months.  You know the story.  
I have been trying to follow the Sew Weekly and this week the theme was "Red, White and Blue", so I got the kick up the arse I needed to finish it.  (Aside:  spell check just tried to correct the word "arse".  Really?  That's a word!  Well, in Nova Scotian it is.)

This tie-front blouse from Burdastyle 10/2010 has gotten mixed reviews.  Some people love it, some are indifferent but everyone agrees that the ties are ridiculously long and the instructions are crap.  So I ignored the instructions and just used my common sense.  I did french seams throughout because the fabric is so thin (somewhere between voile and shirting....what would you call that?) and very prone to fraying.  I also cut off about 25% of the tie length:

and now it looks better.  

My man was home this afternoon, so I actually got some outdoor shots.  Imagine that.  

And Lulu had to butt in.  Black wool pants are cat magnets.  


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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Why don't more men sew?

Peter posed this question in February.   Maybe because it's a "girl thing", maybe because they don't learn in school, maybe because their Mamas don't teach them, or maybe they just need a project that inspires them!

Enter the ninja.....

I showed him how to pin once, then he did the rest.  He must have been paying attention all those times I prepped on the living room floor.

Cutting was the hardest part for him because the scissors are too large for his little hands and he is left-handed to boot.  I wonder where I can find kids' left-handed fabric scissors? 

Rightly proud of his results

Ninja!  Complete with Cheerio box throwing star! 

I took these photos about 5 hours ago, and he hasn't yet taken it off.  I doubt I'll be able to get it off for bath time tonight either....

So how was your weekend?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

In which a boring rainy morning is transformed by a pattern jackpot

I've mentioned my special relationship with my neighbourhood charity shop before.  In fact, that was my first post.  With my man out of town and a long, cold rainy weekend stretching before me and the kids, I decided to get everyone dressed up in their raincoats and shlep over to the Saturday market just to get out of the house.

On the way back, I checked in at my VON charity shop, you know, just in case there was a pair of boy's pants for a dollar or two since my little guy has grown about 3 inches since Christmas.  I got the pants (after a bit of negotiation re: khakis vs. camo, but that's another story) when one of the volunteers said to me, "Oh, by the way, there are a few new patterns in the back we were keeping for you if you want to look."

Well, what do we have here......

A cute little set from 1963.  Unfortunately, the pieces for the overblouse and the instructions are missing, but this is a quite straightforward set of shorts with a wrap-around skirt cover-up, so I should be able to muddle through on my own.  

Caftan,  no.  Tunic, yes.  

I like the skirt with the buttoned front, but I will have to lengthen it quite a bit methinks.

My daughter pronounced these "silly pants", and I'm inclined to agree.

This is the pattern that Adey used for her Fly and Chill dress over at the SewWeekly, and I've had it in my favourites on Etsy for a while now, so it was a fortuitous find.

Two jumpsuits?  I know they're making a comeback, but I don't know what came over me.  Who looks good in a jumpsuit except a toddler?  

 This one is pretty plain, but I could always use a good basic sheath dress pattern and a princess seamed jacket.  (I've never seen darts in the neckline like this before, have you?)

 Another case of looking past the envelope to see the potential:  I've been on the lookout for a full skirt with pockets to make a Lauren-Bacall-in-Key-Largo-type outfit.....

I haven't yet had the nerve to attempt trousers, but now I have several styles in my pattern stash: narrow, wide leg, low rise, high waisted, etc.  Maybe I can give them a go.

A brand new, FF Project Runway pattern!

There was also a whole whack of patterns for girls:

This one doesn't look like much, but I've been looking for a pattern for girl's leggings, and this one is for sizes 3-8!

Nasty, nasty cover, but there is a basic circle skirt and tired circle skirt hiding under that clown-like styling.

I like this one best; I'll make it in a pillowcase or sheet fabric without sleeves for a nice summery dress.

My son was jealous that there was nothing for boys (yeah, why is that?), but there were a few costume patterns.  Sorry, no photos, but aren't all costume patterns basically a tunic with / out sleeves and some accessories added on?

Oh, and I also nabbed these:  

I've got to stop thrift shopping because frankly, I'll never get around to making most of this stuff.  But they recycle the patterns if I don't take them home, and I feel like I have to rescue them from an undignified death. Now I know how those crazy cat ladies feel...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Best of April

Yay!  My Venda skirt is on Burdastyle's Best of April.
Go vote for me (although I have no idea what I get if I get votes, but anyhoo....)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

We're all going to Hell in a Handbasket

(To be read in my worst pissed-off Mom Voice):  "I leave the country for one week, and look what kind of mess I come back to!  Conservative majority government.  CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY GOVERNMENT!  Now who's going to clean up this mess?!"

What the fruck.  I saw the news on Cuban TV and assumed I wasn't understanding the spanish, since I only speak about 20 words of the language, but oh no, it was only too true.  I had to go get a bunch of mojitos at the bar to dull the disappointment.  Then I had to lie down for a while. 

Anyway, back to sewing. 

I started off with the very good intention of doing the Sew Weekly "Inspired by a TV character" challenge of 3 weeks ago.  I knew right away that I wanted to do something '80s, since I wanted to fill a gap in my Sewing Through the Decades project.  I remembered loving Lisa Bonet's style from The Cosby Show, and I used to think she was the most beautiful girl on TV.  I wanted Denise Huxtable's sloppy oversized style and curly asymetrical hairdo.  I even remembered this cool halter-style belt that the character's friend wore in one episode and decided to try to make it:

But then I thought I should make a dress to go with it, and chose this pattern from one of my Value Village raids.  It isn't dated, but it looks Totally '80s to me. 

I used some polyester that I got from an amazing estate sale, dated 1972 on the selvage. 

I think that this was the first time I have made a pattern without making any size alterations.  I am usually a 12 on top and 14-16 on bottom, but because this is pretty loose, it worked as is.  I had to topstitch the facings down because the polyester would not take a crease no matter how hot I dared iron it, but because of the stripe pattern, it isn't too obvious.  I never got around to making the belt though.  Meh.  I finished it just in time to wear out that evening with some friends who were visiting from Halifax.


Shhhhhhh!  If we're quiet, we'll get a chance to observe the Totally '80s dress in its natural habitat: the Duran Duran show at Le National.  Let's observe:

(I have no idea why I have that odd strained look on my face and neck.  Maybe because I was sweating like a whore in church and I was trying to see above all the heads of all those 40-something ladies who were getting between me and my teen-aged obsession - John Taylor.)

Mmm.  Nice.  My man granted me a 30min. Celebrity Free Pass, but alas, I had eaten an Iranian onion salad before the show, and didn't want to risk killing the poor boy with stink breath.

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