Sunday, May 27, 2012

Skirt sewalong

With only a few days left in May, I finally completed a skirt for Cam's Skirt Sewalong. I'd already started another skirt but can already see there are going to be fit problems, seeing as every other skirt I have ever made from that pattern is currently in my mending pile getting serious adjustments done to the waist.

So I made another skirt, and I didn't make it from the skirt fabric stash, and that's OK. Because I totally made this pattern up.

See this skirt?

May 26 - Me Made May

Yeah, well I didn't make that. It cost me $12 at Target and I absolutely love it. It's stretchy, comfortable, warm  and STRIPED. I knew I needed to make some more of these for winter weekend wear so yesterday I went to Spotlight, bought fabric, laid it out on the cutting board along with my $12 skirt, and cut something basically the same shape.

And then I got aquainted with the stretch stitch settings on my sewing machine. I will admit I am scared of stretch sewing.  My first attempt at this skirt "pattern" however was a disaster.

Skirt - failure

Gorgeous Ponti knit, not so gorgeous on my hips. It made my backside very bootylicious, and not at all in a good way. I'd cut it far too small. So I gifted it to someone with a much more superb booty that me at Brown Owls today and she is going to finish it off to fit her. It only needed a waistband and hemming. She'll have it finished in about 20 minutes.

So for round two, I decided to add about 4 inches to the skirt shape, and went from there. And after a lot seam adjustments, an elasticated waisteband and hemming, and only half an hour, I had this.

Skirt finished

And I wore it today. It was super comfy.


May 27 - Me Made May 2012

So that's skirt one of the 4 skirts I promised myself by the end of May. I'll be honest - I'm going to make this knit skirt again and again. I don't have to pull and tug it over my backside and belly like I do with a lot of waistbanded skirts and I don't have to worry about it creasing. This non-pattern is a winner in my book (and I probably should draft it on paper sometime, because that would be the Smart Thing to Do.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Twisted hexagons - an odyssey

On March 6th 2005 I was at the Sydney retreat for the Southern Cross Quilters and attended a class on twisted hexagons taught by Anne Munro. I took a small pack of 1930s reproduction scraps along with me, and learnt the gentle art of English paper piecing from a very gentle teacher. I was hooked.

On March 6th 2012 I finished piecing the quilt top. The fact the quilt top was finished on the seventh anniversary of starting was serendipitous - it was only by searching for the photos I took in that class that I realised what date I started my first twisted hexagon block.

For the last few days I've been preparing the quilt for the machine quilter. First I pressed all the ends, clipped the basting threads and removed the papers. Then I stay stitched the quilt. This made me rather stressed - wrestling a massive and heavy handpieced quilt through my sewing machine was hard, and I was worried about tearing the stitches.

Twisted Hexagon quilt

Twisted Hexagon quilt

But once the stay stitching was done, I trimmed the top and bottom of the quilt so they were straight.

Twisted Hexagon quilt

I still have a lot of papers to remove, but I'm going to do that tonight while relaxing at a friend's place (I hope her cats don't like sitting on half-made quilts).

Twisted Hexagon quilt

I laid the quilt on the living room floor to measure it. Thank heavens our living room is enormous - this quilt measures 235 cm across, and 240 cm from top to bottom. I had to take photos so that I could include them on the entry form for the quilt show I'm entering it into.

Twisted Hexagon quilt

I have to admit I stood in front of the quilt for quite some time just saying "wow". I impress myself sometimes. It's just so damn beautiful.

But my stresses weren't over. I had over seven metres of fabric to join together for the backing.

Twisted Hexagon quilt

Personally I find quilts backed with just one fabric boring. I wish I didn't, because putting the back together would be a hell of a lot easier.

Twisted Hexagon quilt

I laid the backing out on the floor, knowing it was going to be too big. But better too big than too small, right?  And then I trimmed it with my scissors so that I had several inches excess at each edge of the quilt.

Tomorrow after work the whole kit and kaboodle goes to the machine quilter. I am so nervous, but also relieved that I don't have to worry about the quilt again until it's time to do the binding. And I love binding (perhaps I won't love binding after I maneuvre the quilt and binding down those angles at the sides of the quilt).

And perhaps one day I'll stop staring at photos of this amazing quilt which has had so much love put into it from beginning to end. I can't wait to put it on the bed in the spare room.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Celebration of Wool

Carrie was going to sell her Fibrewebs hand-dyed yarn at the Celebration of Wool Day at the Old Bus Depot Markets again this year, and I told her a couple of months ago I'd join her if she'd split the stall fee with me.

And then I procrastinated on making projects sacks, decided to make quilts instead, and then I got a bad cold. And then I had to make 22 bags in the four days before market.

31 bags

In the end I took 31 bags to the market this morning. I debated whether I should make more, but realised my body just wasn't physically able to make any more. If you are a sewer with a stuffed back like mine, you'll understand.

Old Bus Depot Markets - Celebration of Wool Sunday May 20

Here's what our stall looked like at 9.15 am just after our first sale. The markets don't officially start until 10 but people are eager on wool day!

Old Bus Depot Markets - Celebration of Wool Sunday May 20

Old Bus Depot Markets - Celebration of Wool Sunday May 20

By 10 am, the official starting time of the market, I'd probably sold close to half my bags.

Old Bus Depot Markets - Celebration of Wool Sunday May 20

By 11 am they were all gone, and we still had 5 more hours of market left. But that just meant the pressure was off me, and I could enjoy selling Carrie's gorgeous yarn (some of which may have made it's way home with me.)

Here I was thinking I'd definitely have at least ten to put in the Etsy store tomorrow. Knew I should have made more. But I'll be back for the Creative Fibre Day in July and maybe I'll be able to rustle up enough bags for an Etsy store update in a fortnight.

I think I'm going to take a week off from sewing and sit on the sofa for a few evenings and crochet. I'm already showered and in my pyjamas, cup of tea at my side as I type this post. I love doing the markets, especially with Carrie and Jacqui who comes in and does our lunch relief shift. It's so much fun, and I feel so energised, if a tad exhausted, at the end of it.

Thanks to everyone who came to see us today. It was lovely to see your smiling faces.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The next eight days of Me Made May

I'll be honest. While Me Made May is fun and challenging, it's a little bit WTF when it comes to clothing yourself in me-mades while you're home from work sick with a bad cold. The next two days will therefore be challenging, however in the meantime, please enjoy (ha!) the last 8 days.

May 7 - Me Made May 2012

Monday 7 May. My parents were still visiting so I took them for a one hour sprint through the National Gallery of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Art galleries. Have you need there? You need to go. It's MAGNIFICENT. Blah blah me-made Not Sorbetto top and crocheted brooch.

May 8 - Me Made May 2012

I so enjoyed my four day weekend. But I was super excited to go back to work on Tuesday. Can you tell? Me-made skirt.

May 9 - Me Made May 2012

It was going to be 21 degrees this day which was warm. Me-made Not Sorbetto frock.

May 10 - Me Made May 12

Those tights are not pink. They are red. Me-made skirt.

May 11 - Me Made May 2012

Casual Friday. Me-made Not Sorbetto top.

May 12 - Me Made May 2012

Day one of illness. Me-made skirt, me-crocheted cardi, me-refashioned top and leggings. Regretting the combo of stripes and floral quite a lot now, but hey - I had a killer headache and I was thinking like a four-year-old when I got dressed that morning.

May 13 - Me Made May 2012

Day two of illness. Me-crocheted socks, me-appliqued top, mum-knitted Clapotis scarf.

May 14 - Me Made May 2012

Day three and it's starting to feel like I'm not getting better, but worse. I only got dressed today because I visited my GP- a nice man with a good sense of humour, but I doubted he'd agree to a consultation with me in my pink cupcake PJs.

Me-made skirt. Me-crocheted Toscane shawl.

Thoughts on this past week:

  • As much as I bitch and moan about my boring skirt collection, I think they are still pretty awesome skirts. I don't see anyone else wearing them at work and that's always a good thing
  • If it wasn't for sewing for the upcoming market on Sunday, I probably would have made 2 skirts for Cam's Skirt Sewalong by now (I challenged myself to make 4). But after Sunday night I'll be free as a bird to sew what I want.
  • I probably need to stop being so hard on myself.
  • I've come to the realisation that about 90% of the time I wear at least one me-made item of clothing. Cool!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday snippets - a year on

A year ago my life changed forever, and in a good way. But anniversaries are hard things to deal with, no matter how much gratitude you have for life. So I've been distracting myself with a lot of sewing.

Sewing Sunday Snippets

I started making a skirt for Cam's Skirt Sewalong.

Sewing Sunday Snippets

I appliqued some t-shirts for my nephew's birthday present, using these patches.

Sewing Sunday Snippets

I made project bags for next week's market. And also drank lots of tea with a little chocolate.

Sewing Sunday Snippets

I finished the binding for my friend's baby's quilt. It's now in the dryer on a gentle cycle, getting ready for the giving.

Sewing Sunday Snippets

I got a cup of tea in bed, not because I'm a mother, but because I've got a head cold and that's just something he does when I'm sick.

Happy Snippet Sunday! For more Snippets you should check out Tinniegirl.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Buttontree Lane and Fibrewebs stall

Carrie and I are doing a market stall together at the Old Bus Depot Markets 'Celebration of Wool Day' on Sunday 20 May, and I've been sewing up some project bags for the occasion. I missed doing the market last year as I was in hospital, so I'm trying to make up for missing all the fun by making a big effort this year.

People travel from interstate for the 'Celebration of Wool day'. Because it's THAT GOOD. I can't wait. (Having a stall is just an excuse to make money that I can spend at other stalls. Honest)

Project sacks

Because not everyone can make the market on Sunday week, I thought I'd have dust off the cobwebs on my Etsy store and have a little sale in there. Just for Australians - I don't have time during the work day to be arguing the point about international postage at my local post office.

Project sacks Project sacks Project sacks

Project sacks  Project sacks

Update: All sold now - thanks! And sorry!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


My mum and dad are staying with us at the moment which is pretty awesome.

At one stage this weekend, mum, who made all my clothes for me right through to university, said she was surprised I ever became a sewer.

I told her I constantly surprise myself too. I hated sewing growing up. I was keener on those other 70s past times of latch hooking and copper art. And yet here I am at the age of 42 participating in something like Me-Made-May.

This week we had the Festival of Skirts, Tights and Cardigans.

May 2 - I made the skirt. And I got a haircut which doesn't look anything like the Flock of Seagulls 'do I asked for.

May 2 - Me Made May 2012

May 3 - I made the skirt and I started getting bored.

May 3 - Me Made May 2012

May 4 - I made the skirt and OMG how bored? I dyed my hair, I was so bored.

May 4 - Me Made May 2012

May 5 - I made the skirt, and not only that, it was always such a bad fit that on Friday and Saturday morning I cut two inches out of the back of it, including the zip, and sewed it back up with a new zip. I also shortened it by a centimetre and put new bias on the hem and OMG, New Skirt. Therefore no longer bored. This photo was taken at Gundaroo in the kitchen garden of Grazing. I am still daydreaming of the lovely White Jindabyne rabbit I ate at lunch.

Oh! I also made the brooch! Variety!

May 5 - Me Made May 2012

May 6 - we took the parentals to Berrima in the Southern Highlands. Dad's great-great-great grandmother testified against her rapist (a not-so-charming bushranger by the name of Paddy Curran) in court, and he was the first man hanged at Berrima Gaol in 1841 or something. So we went on a little pilgrimage, although it wasn't a family history session or anything. We had a lovely day. The sun was shining, the pies were plentiful and there's a patchwork store so mum and I were very happy.

Also, I made the skirt. WHAT A SURPRISE.

May 6 - Me Made May 2012

I am so sick of skirts, and the same old ones at that. I never thought I would say this, but I am. I would really love to make some new tops that are perfect for winter casual wear, like Style Arc's Lexley, except I am kind of scared of that pattern company, having a whole swathe of Style Arc patterns sitting in the naughty corner.

Or else learn how to sew knit fabric once and for all.

I am sure I'll be able to come up with something. Maybe not in May, but sometime.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Orange you glad it's May?

When I woke before dawn this morning, I realised four things.

1. I had to go to work.
2. It was cold. Really, really cold. Less than one degree Celsius, to be precise.
3. It was 1 May, which meant ...
4. Me-Made-May 2012 started today.

And I still hadn't done anything about increasing the number of winter weight skirts in my wardrobe.

May 1 - Me Made May 2012

Temperature: 1.6 degrees
Conditions: Thick fog
Expected maximum: 19 degrees

I figured if I couldn't make it with the winter weight, I'd fake it with orange. Ooh boy - it ended up being a lot of orange, because I also have a large orange bag in use at the moment.

This skirt is McCalls 2873. I've made two skirts in that pattern and I'll be honest - not a fan. I need a waistband on my skirts, not facings.

So that was day 1. I won't be sharing daily photos here on the blog, but maybe once a week I'll compile a post out of seven days' worth.

Not only is it Me-Made-May, I've decided to add a couple of other challenges to keep it interesting for myself.

The first is Curlypops' "Make it in May" Skirt Sew-Along  

Friends, I am challenging myself to sew not one, but FOUR skirts for winter by the end of May. Heaven knows how I will find the time to do this with a visit from the parentals, two singing groups a week, a market to sew for and a butt-whipping day job, but I am determined to do this.

Because the other part of the challenge this month is to make a serious dent in this.

Stash - half of it

That's less than half of it. There is another row of fabric behind that (deep cupboards) and a few pieces of fabric playing with the power tools on the shelf above. I can't close that door. That door is in my spare room. My parents are coming to stay in 3 sleeps. It would be nice if the door didn't spring open on them at inopportune moments, like when they are walking past it.