Wednesday 30 October 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part IX - Falling Leaves Necklace

Gosh, I've got so much to share and I'm moving like a cartoon animal whose limbs are a blur...

But here I am, pausing for a second, to update the blog, as I'm delighted to announce that my October instalment in the year of giving (in lieu of the regular February Secret Valentine Exchange) has been received.

When I first put out the call for what to do with my rest time on our annual January holiday, I was delighted with one of the responses: Make me a macramé necklace thingy, said Deb (or words to that effect)

I've been following Deb on social media for many years now. She's a sewist and knitter of extraordinary talent, but I was also captivated by her photography. She would sew the loveliest clothes for her grandkids and pose them on a mannequin, in the snow, in her garden, and a deer would stroll past and be in the frame.

She's moved to a bigger city now so the photos of tapping maple trees are gone, but the recent snap with the Northern Hemisphere* leader we all want, Trudeau, was equally breathtaking.

* qualifier required, as down here in the south we all wish Jacinda Arden was our head honcho

Deb also throws the best looking dinner parties and goes to exatrordinary lengths to get the table, and the attendees, all turned out nicely!

I knew that even if my necklace turned out more costume-y than elegant, and it is string and rock after all, she could make it work for a fall themed dinner party.

So in the heat of the Australian summer I started knotting...

The stone cabochard and 1mm nylon threads came from a bead shop: Wholesale Beads. It is open to the public and you check you handbag in a locker, take a bucket and then wander over two levels finding all the things you need. Good fun for a craft nut!

Following a pattern from the book Bohemian Macrame, I spent our summer holiday knotting away and over the following week I finished all the leaves. Then I let it rest through Autumn

Attaching and knotting each leaf together took a little longer than I'd anticipated, but was a nice 1hr per night in front of the telly, kind of activity.

The back looks a hot mess as all the ends of the threads are cut and melted (the reason it needs to be a nylon thread)

I was delighted to hear it arrived in Canada, and Deb, who rarely shows herself on Instagram posted a lovely photo of her wearing it.

I'm having a lot of fun making things for people and sneaking them off in the post. Only three months left before my 12 months is up. Have you made something unexpectedly for someone? It's quite fun.

Saturday 26 October 2019

A Lush Fabrics T-shirt: McCalls 6963

Sometimes a sewing project has to jump the queue.

This was definitely one of those. Did you know I'm one of the co-organisers of Melbourne Frocktails? It's a cocktail party for people who sew. It all started here in Melbourne about 6 years ago and a friend and I took over the running of the event with last year being our first one.

This year we found some new sponsors, or rather some of the new sponsors found us! An unexpected contact from Lush Fabrics over in WA led to them joining Melbourne Frocktails as a major sponsor and donating a cut of fabric for every attendee to take home in their stash bags. Um, hello, seriously, all 150 of us get 1m of fabric!!They were even kind enough to throw in two spare cuts in case we organisers would otherwise miss out.

The crappy rental we're living in has a particularly LUSH lawn right now (let's see if we can keep that alive through summer, eye roll) so I thought I should take my Lush photos on the grass.

The fabric I chose is a drapey rayon knit. It was very hard to choose as there were cotton knits, solids, prints, French terry, textured knits... All sorts of gorgeous fabrics in those five huge boxes.

Anyway, I figured a drapey knit would suit McCalls 6963 which was in my pattern stash and as yet unmade.

I've made the View B which is the deeper neck drape and short sleeve. I was leery of the pattern's description as "close fitting" as nothing ever seems to be, so I went down a size. Well it is quite close fitting and either this size or the one above would have been fine. But there's nothing worse than too wide shoulders on a top pattern with such an open neckline.

I hadn't paid much attention to the length of the body, and it's long! Of course because I was using the border print, I wasn't about to shorten it, but be aware that it's a good, tunic length and I'm 170/6'7".

Searching for somewhere other than on my back on the lawn to take some pictures we wandered around, found some washing on the line and then gave up. But there you go. It's a T-shirt, the main point is it was free fabric and there's enough for everyone!

Exciting times. Frocktails is only two weeks away and I have a truckload of sewing to do! Bye.

Monday 14 October 2019

Henri Joggers - Playing with the boys

I was fully prepared to photograph these plain, grey trackpants on a coat hanger...

But I was told there's only ONE way to model grey trackpants. So, stick a Kenny Loggins B side on the turntable and let's do this! I promise, this was entirely HIS idea!!

This wasn't meant to be some kind of weird homoerotic TopGun tribute... He just needed some tracksuit pants for lounging around the house and so I obliged.

The pattern is the Henri Trackpants from Jalie. Straight size as per measurements and no mods. The first pair were in a lovely dark, blue grey, heavy rib knit from Fabric Deluxe.

The fabric was a bit narrower than a regular knit so there wasn't enough for the pockets. I used a lighter weight cotton knit and then some more of that for the drawstring. In attaching the waistband the 2" wide elastic got stretched out. Probably because I'd tried serging the edge of it to make it look nicer. The waistband is wrapped around the elastic but doesn't enclose it fully. That's great to stop it twisting, but hard to get a really neat finish. I like the wide elastic but I'm not entirely sold on this as a waistband finish.

These ones were being worn so much there was a risk they'd never come off for the wash, so I grabbed some cheap sweater fleece on sale at Spotlight and made a second pair. I obviously wasn't all that bothered by the waistband finish to change anything. These are also straight up.

What's not straight up are the muddled character references in our volleyball shoot :)

Who was in a hurry for his date with "Charlie"? Well that was Maverick checking his watch, sure, but he wasn't wearing grey trackpants...

He was in jeans.

And the only one who wore a T-shirt was Goose and when you play at Top Gun it's a truth that nobody wants to be Goose...  (the kids and I did offer to fake tan him and spray him in oil to be shiny sweat, rofl)

Also vetoed was giving his hair the Iceman peroxide treatment.... So Slider it is - and in fact he's the only one who actually wears grey trackpants. But let's not let reality stand in the way of a man's trackpants modelling dreams!!

The drawcord on these ones is some of the recycled denim cotton cording that I bought from String Harvest without nay particular project in mind. It's perfect for drawstrings but I want to give the rest of it a much more exciting purpose than that.

The kids had a blast at the end of our photoshoot going for the accidental ball-to-head outtake. It took a lot of goes to get it just right, hitting the wrong part of the head wasn't good enough for the kids, and I was laughing too much to actually get the photo in time.

Anyway, grey tracksuit pants. There you go. Much love to Flipper who fully earned these two pair of trackpants!

Wednesday 9 October 2019


Finally we've finished our house move and have a computer plugged in and internet access. Time to catch up on everything I was sewing when I was meant to be sorting belongings and packing boxes!

There's no better distraction from real, grown up, life chores than a bit of costume sewing.

At the end of the gymnastics term they always have a dress up theme (previous wild animal and circus themes) and this time it was superhero theme.

What better way to show off my superhero mum skills than to disregard all the tedious jobs and whip up a leotard entirely from stash fabrics and patterns?!

I had been gifted some leftover bits of lycra from the lovely Jorth and whaddaya know, it was all the supergirl colours. Along with my small bit of leftover gold I was set.

The pattern is a mash up of the top half of Jalie 3136 and the bottom half of Jalie 3466. I doubled the skirt so it would have both a front and back portion rather than just being a skort.

The navy fabric was only just enough for the sleeve length to be elbow length, but then I had the inspiration to continue the gold and red blocking and I think it turned out better than plain navy long sleeves would have been.

The leotard was cut and sewn in a day and then I tried plugging in the Silhouette Cameo that I still have on loan. Something was going wrong with the software and the recognition of the connection. The resident IT guy (Flipper) remembered it had been an ordeal the first time and couldn't recall what he'd eventually done. By the time we'd both given up I had handcut a stencilled superhero logo and was ready to iron it on.

Luckily, amongst the few A4 sheets of Picture Perfect Iron on Vinyl I had were yellow and red. Super stashing powers right there, right?!

There's no doubt I impressed the kid. She was delighted! There's a bit of leg creep in the shorts and I think elastic leg holes might be more successful than hemmed boy leg shorts. I noticed her tweaking them all the time which kind of ruined the supergirl vibe. I mean Superman never seemed to get a wedgie, did he?