Friday, April 25, 2014

A sewing crisis

He came in from the garden to find me boiling the kettle for tea with a panicked look on my face.

"There's a Sewing Crisis" I said.

"A Sewing Emergency?" he replied.

"No, that would entail forgetting to buy the right coloured zipper, or not having enough thread or interfacing. This is a Sewing Crisis.  It's worse."

"Oh? Worse?"

"Much, much worse."

Let me tell you a story, in the colours of Green Slime and Wet Cement.

Green slime cord skirt

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing for an imminent trip to Melbourne, and realised I had Nothing to Wear. And I also had a spare room cupboard of stash that was full of corduroy. And I also had what I thought was the Best Skirt Pattern In the World (Simplicity 9193 View F).

And so I thought, given the need, the stash and the Best Skirt Pattern In the World, let's have a Corduroypalooza shall we? Let's pull out all the cord, cut out the one skirt pattern, add some extra things like self-drafted pockets... a Corduroypalooza sounds like just the thing doesn't it?

Friends, let me tell you one thing.  DON'T DO IT.

Green slime cord skirt

Firstly, just cut out one skirt at a time, preferably with your least favourite cord. Here's the thing with cord - it's an unpredictable beast. It sticks. It irons funny, it can either flop like a rag, or stand up by itself. And most importantly, the Best Skirt Ever made with cotton/linen in summer with the Best Skirt Pattern in the World may not in fact translate well into a different fabric.

Secondly if you are going to add pockets, for heavens sake make sure you get the nap right (on these, the nap is upside down and it drives me nuts).

Given the issues I had with the fit with the Green Slime skirt above, and having already cut out old Wet Cement thick wale cord, I figured I'd go back to the original pattern and include the side slits. Surely it will fit better.

Wet cement cord skirt

Yeah. No.

Oh, and while we're at it, using red contrast thread for the top stitching and to match your snazzy red zipper was such a magnificent idea. If only the thick wale cord hadn't gotten in the way. Bastard.

Wet cement cord skirt

Wet cement cord skirt

So now we have a dilemma. It's called Denim Cord. It's a much lusted after, much thought over fabric I picked up in Sydney a few years back.  I should have saved it for a Style Arc Sally Jean Skirt.  But I got all stupid and included it in Corduroypalooza. So now it sits, cut out, and I'm going to let it sit there longer. Sally Jean is on it's way, and I have extra fabric and I'm confident I can squeeze a better skirt out of it.


I'm not too sure what has happened. Hence the Sewing Crisis. I have lost all confidence in how to make things, what suits me, and what fits me. I used to sew with knits and ponte and make my own jackets and coats. Now I made skirts, and really bad ones at that. I ask my friends crazy questions like "Should I line ponte?" because honestly I just don't know anymore.  Occasionally I pull an amazing rabbit out of the hat (like my Paron Multi City Skirt which I will have to blog about soon) but those makes are far and few between. Something has to change. I need to get my sewjo back, and escape this Crisis once and for all.

'I, Michelle of Buttontree Lane, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear one handmade item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2014'. I will also endeavour to make at least one new thing that challenges me and restores my faith in my sewing abilities, that is not a tried and tested pattern, even if it is just a muslin'

I haven't participate in a Me Made Month for a couple of years, so I think this will be fun. Who's joining me?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Teaching EPP

A couple of weekends ago I taught a class in English Paper Piecing to five of the loveliest ladies I could have hoped to have in my first ever class. And it was held in the most amazing new crafting facility - The Makers' Hub at Macquarie, run by the gorgeous Mikaela from Canberra Creatives.

All set up

I have taught English paper piecing before, at Brown Owls and to friends, but not an organised class in a fabulous facility, for payment! So I was a bit excited. I made a whole heap of samples for the class, and some kits full of papers, needles, thread and acetate for the template.


Demo models

And then we got cracking with the class.  The needles and thread I like to use are both super fine. Fiona did a great job threading (also - nice nails!!)

Fiona threading.

I brought a whole heap of fabric from my stash, and let everyone pick what they'd like to work with. I love what they picked!

Julie's flower in progress

Jill's flower in progress

Wendy's flower in progress

A busy worktable, full of fabrics and stitching and morning tea!

Work table

Big thanks to Samara from Blonde Ink who taught the blogging workshop the day before, and left behind some beautiful and very delicious cupcakes for us! (Next time I will bake something).

Beautiful cupcake

Mikaela popped by to see what we were up to. She doesn't normally stand on stools to watch (she tells me).

The work table

At the end of the three hour class we had a beautiful array of EPP flowers, and the start of a new set of flowers. I was lovely seeing these ladies so excited about my addiction passion. I hope they carry their excitement through to many years of EPPing!

Thanks again ladies. And thanks to Mikaela for making the crazy idea I had over year ago a reality. Can't wait for the next class (June 29, if you want to come along!)

Canberra Creatives has some amazing workshops going on - cross stitch, painting, jewellery making, lamp shade making (can't wait to do this!) and lots of others. You can check out what's on over here.

Machine stitching tiny hexies to a onesie