Wednesday, March 4, 2009

iPhone Cross-Stitch

Valentines day has been and gone and luckily for me we are not avid celebrators of the day. My dear husbands present is still sitting uncompleted in my sewing basket. If you have read my blog more than once, you will definitely be starting to notice a theme.

Finally this morning I could take it no longer. I worked really hard doing the first half of it, and I wanted to show him something before we got too far into March. I am making him a plush iPhone for V day.

If you think that is a little strange let me explain.... Ummm on second thoughts if your not Apple fanatic, no amount of explaining is going to make sense! :o)

So far I have cross-stitched the front section. It is to scale. The rest of it will be sewn from shiny black and grey satin. Hopefully soon.

It is a terrible photo (taken with photo booth of course). I must learn to master the macro mode of my camera. Small details for the love of my life include; The service provide is "love", the date is set to 14 and there is a heart shaped App.

Best of all, he really likes it! :o)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

100 Aussie Things

My sewing has been sporadic again. Many things started and nothing finished. To pass time I have a list of 100 Aussie Things to do. Thanks go to my wonderful Sister for the idea.

The ones in purple are the ones that I have done :o)

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.(recorder band counts right? No? Well I was in an orchestra for years...)
4. Visited The Great Barrier Reef.
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think Uluru.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s theme parks – anyone, you take your pick.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning – you get the idea, you’ve been hundreds of metres about earth in a seemingly flimsy contraption.
12. Visited Melbourne. (Airports count!)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Had a child. Raised a child. Worked with children.
16. Had food poisoning.(Why just last night...)

17. Been to the Snowy Mountains.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Visited the Brett Whitely studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Been backpacking.
23. Taken a mental health day.
24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out.
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal. (tick, tick, tick)
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Been in a fun run.

28. Been on the Blue Mountain cableway.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, summer cricket.

32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways.
33. Seen the Daintree.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.
36. Learned a new language.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bush walking.

40. Visit Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art.
41. Been to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. (I have been to Tamworth many times, but I have thankfully avoided this so far!)
42. Sunbaked at Bondi.

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Broome.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing.
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests.
50. Been to the top of Q1, on the Gold Coast.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Driven the Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Norfolk Island.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Guide biscuits.
62. Gone whale watching. (I live in the Whale Watching capital of the world!)
63. Got flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. (Now I have anemia... great)
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.
67. Bounced a cheque. (I'm not sure I've ever owned a cheque book!)
68. Flown in a helicopter.(I wish I hadn't, it was the Helicopter that took Ava to Hospital in Brisbane)
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Federation Square.
74. Been on the Murray River.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Travelled, or climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney.
82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Been to Hermannsburg.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (Don't worry, it was only a fish)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Saved a pet.

95. Been to the site of the Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in The Whitsundays.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a mobile phone.

99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

52/100. Not Bad. And now I have a handy list of things to do when I am bored! :o)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sewing, sewing, busy sewing

Ava had a hospital check up on Tuesday. Not wanting to waste a day of daycare that we had paid for, I sent her and I stayed home to sew.

I thought I would I finish up the dress from the pattern below that I had cut a while ago.
Unfortunately I cut it 10kg (22 pounds) ago. Hmmmmm. Well it is going together really well, so I will keep going. I am being so patient and careful. It is really making a difference in the finished look.

I spent a lot of yesterday on the dress as well and now I only have the zipper and hem to go. I am officially back on a diet.

I had to go out yesterday to get some thread and so I went to the fabric store to see if possibly that had some matching fabric for the Strawberry coat. I patiently waited to be served only to be sniffed at and told the fabric probably came from Spotlight. A simple no, we don't stock this fabric would have sufficed. I was going to buy this pattern

But the complete indifference I faced when asking a question about it, made me decide to order it online. I must have done something bad to the owner of this store in a previous life.

I was going to pick this pattern because it had the different cup sizings, but it only goes up to D cup, so I am not sure if it would work. I've never done an FBA on top before, I always just make the pattern according to my bust size, which make a loose fit through the stomach and waist. My latest bra fitting made me a little shocked to discover I am a 12F (or supposedly a 10G if I ever want to buy a strapless bra), no wonder tops never fit me properly.

Hopefully I will finish up the dress tonight and post photos tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Refashioning Competition - Finished entry

Here is my Pattern Review entry into the refashioning contest

Pattern Description:
Out of print Simplicity pattern from the 1970's. Girls dress with pleated button down front.

Pattern Sizing:
Size 3

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
No, I changed everything around.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Because I was de-constructing and reconstructing, I didn't follow the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
My favourite part of the pattern was the pleats down the front. Unfortunately that did not make it to the finished item.

Fabric Used:
Shirting Cotton.
Mint green with purple stripes.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
This project is a refashioning of a size XL man's Polo Ralph Lauren button down shirt.
The original garment can be seen here

Originally I wanted to do the dress as depicted on the pattern envelope. No matter which way I laid it though, I couldn't get the pleats to fit into the amount of fabric I had. I ended up cutting the pattern with the pleats folded in.

The pattern was yoked with the buttons at the front, but I ended up putting them at the back so I could have the horizontal and vertical stripes on the front of the dress.

To cut the pattern I joined the yoke and skirt pattern pieces together and cut them as one section from the original shirt.

The facings were cut from leftover fabric.

I changed the buttons on the back of the dress to flatter pink buttons. The original logo stayed on the dress and I haven't decided whether to unpick it or not.

I ended up with cute A-line dress with button down back that looks nothing like the original pattern. But at the same time I did use the pattern to get the dress to look the way it does. I hope that makes sense.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely sew this again, either to refashion another shirt, or else I would love to make this pattern in its entirety.

Very cute way to recycle a man's shirt that would be suitable for a large range of girls sizes.

Bonus Reading my Blog Photos

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Better than Burda Style?

Okay so to call the following website better than the new Burda Style is a probably a stretch, but in the brief time I spent looking at it, I was awfully impressed!

Check out:

Drafting and pattern instructions for lots of up to the minute fashions. Can't wait to have more of look when I've got some time.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I have finished the refashioned dress for Ava, but it has been raining for three days solid, so I haven't been able to get good photos. She wore the dress to daycare yesterday and it made me so happy to have a 3 year old. I can't imagine that in a few years she will still go running into a room saying, "Look, look, look, Mummy made me a new dress!" It made my day :o)

I got out the Strawberry Coat to work on last weekend. I nearly cried when I discovered that I had lost a facing piece. I went through everything and of course I have not even an ounce extra of the fabric that I bought at the Op Shop. My only hope is that the fabric store might have some, but it is a long shot. Between completely mixing up the front and this, I am thinking it might be time to start again. All the lining is right, and I have extra fabric in that print. I also have a really nice navy linen that will work. Sigh... I really need to learn to be a bit more patient and a bit more careful.

I got very distracted from sewing on the weekend and it is all Barbie's fault!

I was seduced by a Rivers ad on Friday promising $9 cotton work shirts. Of course, when I get there, they don't have any. But I really do need some plain white shirts that can be embroidered with the company logo, so I decided to just make some. I trudged off to the local Fabric store to have a look. Now, normally if someone asks, I will just say we don't have a fabric store because the range is small and they're not always super friendly. But in a bout of supporting local stores inspired emotion, I went and had a look at the fabric and truth be told, they do have some nice, reasonably priced stuff in there. Somehow I ended up with white polyester instead of cotton though...

What does this have to do with Barbie you ask? Well I didn't have a pattern for the shirts, so I went to the Op Shop to see if they had any decent ones. I didn't find a good pattern, but I did discover that pattern prices have gone up from 10c to 50c. Talk about inflation! Ha ha, I'm not actually complaining. That is still super cheap, even if they are used. I hear talk of your mystical 99c pattern sales in America, but I've never seen a new pattern here below $10, even on sale.

As I was leaving the shop my eye wandered over something. It was a giant doll house. I snapped a shot on my phone and emailed it to my husband, saying "huge doll house, $40." He agreed it was a necessary purchase (yes we both need to work on our definition of necessary) and the doll house came home. The look on Ava's face when she woke up from her nap and saw that thing was priceless. It needs some fixing, but unfortunately there was nowhere to hide it, so we will just work around her dolls. Be prepared for room by room furnishing.

Yes, I spent the rest of the weekend playing Barbie's with Ava :o)

On the plus side, while rearranging the lounge to make room, I found a shirt for me that I cut out 5 1/2 years ago. I was feeling so high and mighty that I only had UFOs from last year... hehehe

Okay, now I have written this big long blog post about nothing in particular. It took me a while though, so I am not deleting it. Read my ramble if you wish. I am only working a half day to today. Maybe I will actually sew this afternoon.

Finally, a Comic Life picture of just how tough it is to be my cat. These were taken over the course of one day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Refashioning Competition

I mentioned the other day that I was going to enter the refashioning competition on Pattern Review this month. My main motivation was that I had some shirts that I bought at the thrift store last year specifically for the purpose of turning them into something useful. I made the shirt-dress below for Ava in Feb last year and have been wanting to make another ever since.

Ava loves this dress and wears it all the time. It fits her perfectly now. Her growth seems to have slowed down. She's gone from being really tall for her age to around average. She is 3 and 1/2 now and is still fitting easily into size 3 clothes.

I wanted to do something a bit different with this dress and have a proper dress with facings. I went through my patterns and eventually settled on this one from 1974.

I had my heart set on the pleated, button down front. But try as I might I could not make the dress from the amount of fabric I had.

I started with this Ralph Lauren shirt that I found at the Op Shop. You can't see so well in the photo, but it is a light mint green colour with purple stripes. Not exactly very manly colours, but perfect for a little girl. I laboriously un-picked all the flat felled seams to get more fabric, but eventually had to admit defeat and give up on the idea of pleats. I decided to still use the same pattern, but fold in the pleats before I cut.

I also decided to put the buttons on the back and the yoke detail on the front. I cut the yoke and skirt as one piece for both the front and back. The back facing was already attached to the shirt and the front facing was cut from a bit of scrap. The armhole facings were cut from the original sleeves.

I'll admit I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to grain line. Everything was moving along perfectly with the construction of the dress when, through carelessness, I got the armhole facing caught in my serger and cut a big hole through it.

At this point I wanted to throw the whole thing in the bin! I was determined though, un-picked everything and went to cut another facing. Slight problem though, no matter which way I lay it, I hadn't left a big enough piece of shirt to cut another facing! In the end I had to darn two pieces together and hope no one would look too closely at the inside.

It was a 11:30pm at this time and knowing I had to be up at 6 I decided to leave the rest until tonight. I did get a couple more seams sewn before work this morning, so it shouldn't take me long to finish it up tonight.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Burda Style - Predictable but disappointing

When I woke up this morning I checked my emails like I always do and went on to read the weekly newsletter from Burda Style. You see, like 150,000 other people around the world I am a member. Like the majority of those people, I signed up because the patterns were mostly free and just like them I raved about this great free website to anyone that would listen.

I remember when I first signed up I thought to myself, I bet their business model is to get as many members as possible and then somehow start charging them (because I am a cynic you see). Well sure enough as of this morning, most of the free patterns are gone. I think thats the bit that annoys me (and many members the most). They haven't said, as of today we will be charging for new patterns, they have stuck price tags on patterns that yesterday were free.

Now if I want to use a pattern I have to pay about $7 Australian dollars on average. A Burda Mode magazine is $16 Aus dollars and I am pretty sure they have more than one pattern in them.

Burda Style's justification is that by charging for the patterns, they can keep the rest of the site free. They won't have to charge a membership fee and people will still have access to all the knowledge on the site. I'm not sure that anyone has told them, but in this internet age, knowledge is generally free. I have never read anything on their site that someone else hasn't blogged about, better, or more thoroughly elsewhere.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not so cheap that I mind paying for patterns. I do buy them. I understand the time it takes to professionally draft and fit a pattern. I understand they have to pay their staff. But I just can't help thinking that if they had taken the time to do proper advertising on their site to start with, instead of 10c per click Google ads, then their business would have been viable a long time ago.

My guess is that the Open Source bit will be the next thing to go. I think its fantastic that the patterns are copyright free at the moment, but I can't see that lasting long, if someone can pay for a pattern and then have every right to give it to as many people as possible for free. Maybe I misunderstand the terms though. I guess I will be digging through all the patterns I have got saved on my computer.

I haven't seen any other bloggers respond to this yet. Maybe no one used the site, or maybe time zones just haven't aligned yet. The people I really feel sorry for are all the students that used the site and truly can't afford to buy patterns.

I'm sure some people will disagree with my point of view and fully support Burda Style charging for previously free patterns. I appreciate comments either way. But as Sitemeter tells me that 95% of my blog visitors come to look at pictures of Appa, I am beginning to wonder if anyone other than my lovely sister actually reads my blog. That and I am not the most consistent poster, I don't exactly inspire reader loaylty!! :o)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Strawberry Coat Revisited

So the first item I am going to finish for the UFO contest on Pattern Review is Ava's Strawberry Coat. This was meant to be finished for Winter last year (Its summer here now) but it didn't quite happen. Why? Well because like all my unfinished items, something difficult happened and rather than resolve the problem, I moved onto something else. Big flaw I have (but it would seem I'm not alone).

The problems with the coat were:
  • I cut the pieces and then thought I had cut the wrong piece and re-cut, but it was actually the right piece and now it isn't going to be double breasted anymore.
  • Setting in the sleeves was just too darn hard
  • The sleeve wouldn't fit round the sewing machine, which meant it had to be a sewn a different way to how I would normally do it.
When I retrieved it from the pile I found all the cut pieces and the main part of the coat sewn together with one sleeve set in with pins.

I basted the sleeve in, took out the pins and sewed it on the machine. I then set the other sleeve with pins (my skill set having improved considerably since last time I tried), basted and sewed it in by machine. That actually didn't take very long at all.

I lost Ava after that, she wandered off to another part of the house and I needed to do some adjustments. I put the coat aside and worked on ripping the seams out of a re-fashioning project instead. Hopefully I'll catch her when she comes home tonight and get started on the lining.

No great photos as Ava was being coy!

So I have two blogging resolutions as well.
1. Stop starting sentences with so (atrocious grammar)
2. Stop overusing brackets to explain myself

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January Plans and Resolutions

I am enjoying being on Holiday at me Sister's house right now. Very relaxing hanging out and shopping. Had a great time spending up big at Myer the other day. I used to travel a lot for work and so I had a lot of Frequent Flyer points. Having no inclination to travel anywhere, I decided to trade them in for gift vouchers. Much better value in my opinion!

I did get some Barbie clothes finished, but I just wasn't happy enough with the quality to give them to Ava for Christmas (silly, I know). She got a few Barbie's for Christmas and has become obsessed with them. I guess I will have to get stuck back into the sewing when I get home.

I have a couple of big sewing goals for January. I want to enter the refashioning contest on Pattern Review. I also want to enter the UFO contest. No time like the present to get the pile down. Mainly because I really have nowhere to keep it all! I'm not exactly sure what is in the pile, but I know than qualifying items include:

  • Two dresses for Ava
  • A dress for me (might need to loose a few Christmas kilos for that one!)
  • A winter coat for Ava (which I am hoping she will still fit)
  • Can't think of any more, but they are definitely there!
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!