Thursday, October 25, 2012

From the garden

Notable bounty from our garden this week...

Some snow peas, broccoli and our first ever cauliflower.  The cauliflower isn't very big, but that was fine by me because it is one food item I really don't like!  We turned these vegies into a stir fry last night (and my husband ate almost all the cauliflower!).

Pretty rose from the front garden.  It's lovely scent is wafting through the living room.
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed the vase is sitting on the fabric from my Blue Dress.  I cut out and gathered the skirt today - hooray for progress!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beginning a Blue Dress

I've decided to move on to a new dress (one that I have enough fabric for!), so have started the Blue Dress.  (Yes, in keeping with my imaginative titles, this one is, you guessed it, a dress made from blue fabric!)

 Technology is a funny thing - I used the same camera in the same location to take these three photos and the fabric colour looks completely different in all of them!  This photo is far too pale, though it does show the lines and slight texture in the fabric.

  Sketch with fabric swatch (where the fabric looks darker than it really is!).  
A fitted bodice, with an open neckline, a gathered skirt and a back zip.

I cut the bodice pieces today.  This photo shows the fabric closest to the colour in real life (dark navy blue).
 The fabric is almost 150cm wide, so I'm going to cut a full width of fabric for the skirt and gather it at the waist.  I'm a pear shape, so I'll see how I go with that much fabric gathered above my hips.  If it makes me look too wide around the hips I'll recut the skirt into a trapezium to reduce the fabric up top.

I won't be pushing myself to finish this dress quickly, but I am hoping to finish it before I head off to hospital for my shoulder surgery next week.  I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Heritage, sand and a mob of emus

Earlier this year we were in Victoria for a week and while there we took a day trip from Mildura to visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Willandra Lakes.  What an amazing place.  It is a series of now dried up lake beds that were inhabited by Aborigines over 50,000 years ago.  What is believed to be the oldest ritual cremation site in the world, from 40,000 years ago, has been found there.

It was really windy the day we were there and I had to spend a bit of time that night trying to sort out the frazzled, sandy mess that was my hair!  But it was worth it to see such an beautiful place.  I hope you enjoy the photos...

Emu photo taken through the window of the car.  They were running away quite fast so I only managed to snap two photos before they were blurs in the distance.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Silk Dress Progress

I've made some progress on what I call the 'Hong Kong Silk Dress' (creatively named because I was planning to use silk fabric bought in Hong Kong to make a dress!).  This is the dress that I was pattern making from a picture of a 1940s McCall 7285.

I drafted the initial pattern and then made a toile from a second hand bedsheet.  Being an old bedsheet, the fabric is quite thin, so I'm posting a photo of the toile without me in it!

 Apologies for the dim lighting - I opened the blinds and turned on the lights, but it is a very cold and gloomy day here in Canberra (what happened to Spring?!).
I changed the gathering detail above the bust to a box pleat.  Mostly because I was feeling lazy.. (will I regret that I wonder?).  My husband and I both think this looks a little too much like a nurse uniform, though I think that is more because it is white more than anything else.

 Since making the toile I've adjusted the pattern.  I've gained a bit of weight since my accident, so I had to make it all a bit bigger as well as a couple of adjustments to turn the pattern into more of the style I wanted.  I'll have to forage through my cupboard to find some more fabric that can be used for another toile so I can check all my adjustments.

In the meantime though, here is the lovely fabric I was hoping to use for the dress.  Alas, the fabric width is quite narrow, and with my expanding hips there isn't enough fabric for a dress.  I even changed the pattern to have a side zip, to take advantage of the existing side seams to save a couple of centimetres of fabric from not needing to insert a back seam with zip, but I just can't squeeze the last couple of centimetres needed for the dress.  So close, yet so far.

So now I have a dilemma - what fabric will I use instead?  Or will I save the pattern and fabric for when I can be more active and lose the weight I have recently gained?

I thought of using this fabric instead.  I bought it super cheap at The Remnant Warehouse when we were in Sydney earlier this year.  It is quite thin though, so I had planned to use it to make a full skirt.  I'm concerned a straight dress might be too thin for it (even with a good lining).  But then I also don't love this fabric (I like it, but don't love it, and mostly bought it because it was so cheap), so maybe using it to trial a self drafted pattern is a good way to use it.  And it has a huge width, so even though I only bought 2 metres, there is lots of fabric for both the dress and either a skirt or shirt as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Should I embrace the now and use the blue fabric?  Or should I put this project to the side for a while and instead work on the shirts I'm planning to make from some of my recently purchased Melbourne fabric?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Adding to my stash

Part of our recent holiday was a few days in delightful Melbourne and while we were there I had a look around some of the fabric shops (just because I can't sew at the moment doesn't mean I can stock up on fabric for when I can..!!).

Hmm, ok, I probably should have ironed the fabric before I photographed it.
- The dark green pattern is a Liberty print I bought from Tessuti - I'm thinking maybe a skirt?  
- The plain blue is from Lincraft - I'm thinking maybe a dress if I'm lucky?  It was the end of the roll so hopefully there is enough fabric.  Lincraft is a chain, so they have a lot of shops around Australia.  There are a couple in Canberra, but the one in Melbourne City is much bigger and better set out.  
- The blue and white print and the red fabrics are from the swoonworthy Clegs.  I'm thinking probably a shirt and a dress respectively.  There was also a gorgeous white and green silk print at Clegs that I loved, but at AU$99.95 a metre I could only look (ok, there was a bit of touching too!) but not buy it.

 We took a tram ride out to Rathdowne Fabrics, the fabric shop used by contestants in Project Runway Australia.  No fabric caught my eye, but these lovely closures did.

I'm trying not to be a stash builder, but it is hard to pass up some things when they catch my eye!  What about you, are you a stash builder or a strictly buy and make person? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sunshine and happiness

We've been away for a couple of weeks and it is lovely to be home and to walk around our garden.  It always amazes me how much a garden can change in a short time - especially when the warm sunny days of spring arrive.

 Part of our herb garden

 Delightful blueberry flowers

 It is a bit hard to tell in this photo, but the raspberries have escaped from the pots we tried to contain them in and are spreading across the garden bed (at least it means we should get lots of raspberries!).

 Beautiful, delicate apple blossom

 I can't believe that two years ago we couldn't get these rhubarb plants to grow - then we transplanted them into pots and they have loved it!  Last year I cut the flowers before they could bloom, but we left them this year so we could see what they looked like.  They look quite pretty, but they don't smell pretty!

 A lovely late flowering daffodil

 This is the first year we have grown broad beans, we planted them in the autumn, but they haven't grown much until the recent warmth of spring.  They have lovely black and white flowers.

Last year we planted potatoes in this old box, this year it's garlic.

I hope you all have some sunshine in your life at the moment!