Monday, August 17, 2015

Safari shirt

A week before we went on holiday at the end of May I decided I wanted another lightweight sleeved shirt to help protect my easily sunburned skin. So I pulled out my trusty self drafted shirt pattern. First made here. And then made again here.

It's actually missing a button at the bottom. 
(It seems I can sew a shirt, but not securely attach a button!)

A little collar to help keep the sun off. 

Simple cuffs and hem.

 Another easy wear, easy travel, shirt for my wardrobe.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A hat trick of NL6968

I'm a terrible blogger for several reasons. One of them being that I never remember to ask MH to take photos of me in the clothes I sew. After far too long thinking "Oh, we'll take photos one weekend", I've decided to just post photos of the clothes without me in them! I don't blog to splash photos of myself around, so I figure we'll all survive without them. Though I do apologise that you can't see how they fit me (you'll have to take my word for it that they do!).

Over the past year I've made three versions of New Look 6968, plus a couple of adapted versions (that I'll post about another time).

 Version 1. It is a simple shift style dress that is great for me to wear to work (I work in an office). I usually wear this one with a hot pink belt (that I forgot to use in the photos, and really, we know I'm not going to retake the photos!). I wear this dress all the time for work, it is comfortable and easy care.

 Close up of the print - 1950s style dresses.

Inside the dress (often the most interesting part for sewists!). 
The pattern didn't suggest lining it, so I didn't. Blurgh, I've discovered I don't like unlined dresses, especially if you want to wear it with tights/stockings. Also, the facing didn't sit very flat without lining to hold it down (more on that later).

 Zip. I made this before MH bought me an overlocker so I used an overcast foot to finish the seams. (Yes, MH researched and purchased the overlocker with no help from me, and he bought a great one - I'm very lucky!)

 Facing without lining. You might be able to see the sneaky stitches I used to hold the facing down.
Also, I used binding to finish the sleeves.

 This is actually the third version I made. I usually wear it with an orange belt (sorry, not remembered for these photos!). Again, I wear this all the time for work (usually every week). 
Those of you with long memories may recognise the fabric from my first ever dress. I bought a couple of metres of it at the time and shift dresses in my size only use about a metre.

 Bodice closeup. You might be able to make out the darts around the neckline.

 Back view.

 Inside view. Facing around the neck plus lining.

 Close up of front inside. I use the same pattern pieces for the lining so there are tiny tucks in place of the darts that are used for the outside.

 The second version I made (but the prettiest!). A friend bought me some fabric while she was in Cambodia. It was just enough to scrape out this dress. I centered the peacocks on the front skirt. You can see the front neck darts more clearly on this version. I wear this if MH and I go out for dinner at a nice restaurant. I don't wear a belt with this version. I also made the waist a bit tighter, so it really cinches in.

 Back view. There wasn't quite enough fabric to centre the peacocks on the back skirt or bodice, but they are close!

 Back bodice close up.

Back zip. Woohoo, the skirt lined up perfectly on either side of the zip!

Inside. I actually quite like the contrast of the purple fabric and the black lining.

Again, I apologise to those of you who like to see people wearing the clothes they make. Maybe one day MH and I will be more organised to take photos!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Southern Africa

MH and I are lucky to be able to travel regularly and I always plan on posting travel photos on this blog, but almost never do. But I really have to share some photos from a recent holiday in southern Africa.

We spent a bit over three weeks travelling through Namibia, Botswana and ending up on both sides of Victoria Falls. Wow! It was more amazing than I ever could have expected. We really only chose southern Africa because we could only take our holidays in June this year and June is either busy northern hemisphere or winter southern hemisphere. We thought maybe southern Africa, while being winter, would still be pleasant.

It was a great time to visit, if you can stand the freezing cold morning starts (and you'll have lots of those if you want to spot animals!).

Namibia is fantastic, and if you've ever wanted to visit Africa, but felt intimidated by it - it is a great place to start. You can drink the water, the roads are good (and wearing seat belts is the law) and most of the country does not have malaria. And then of course there are amazing sights and lovely people!

Here are some of my happy animal snaps (well, I was happy to snap them and then leave the animals to live their wild lives).

Giraffe, Etosha NP, Namibia.
They are easy to spot as you can see them a long way off!

Young male lion, Etosha NP, Namibia.
He completely ignored us, had a drink from a water hole and then walked into the distance.

Rhino, Etosha NP, Namibia.
If you see what looks like a big rock - it is probably a rhino!
Every time we saw a rhino I sent up a prayer that it would keep its horn.

Cheetah, Etosha NP, Namibia
We didn't see him run after prey, but seeing him at all was a treat.

Not for the weak stomached.
Lionesses with a kill (to the left of the shrub), surrounded by vultures.
Vultures were everywhere - on the ground, in the trees. There were probably easily around 50 of them. Waiting for their turn with the carcass.

Okavanga Delta, Botswana
We saw hippos here, but my photos aren't very good. I hope you enjoy the water lilies instead.

 Chobe River, Botswana
We sat in a boat and watched an elephant family cross the river. It was magical watching them help a very young and small elephant across - a real team effort.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
We saw the Vic Falls from both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides - simply incredible (and wet!).

 Zebra, Zambia
This guy was hanging around a posh hotel where we had high tea and watched the sunset over the Zambezi River. I think he is a paid actor though, not a stray wild zebra. (But still a great opportunity to see one a bit closer up).

We were so lucky to be able to visit such amazing places and have the opportunity to see as many animals and sights as we did.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wombats give the best cuddles

Last year MH and I were very lucky to be in the right place at the right time while we were on holiday in Tasmania to meet some orphan baby wombats. I adore wombats, so I was in heaven!

 We met three wombats that day and all of them were found in their mothers pouches after being hit by cars. Thankfully a local volunteer takes them in and cares for them until they can be released back into the wild.

Even as young wombats they have long claws and tough butts. As adults they can use their leathery rumps to crush snakes and other creatures that try to invade their burrows.

Young wombats like humans and cuddles. However, once they become 'teenagers' that all changes and they become the stereotypical grumpy and solitary wombat people know (and love!).

If you can buy or borrow a copy, I'd recommend 'Diary of a Wombat' by Jackie French for more about wombat adventures. She based the story on her own experiences with wombats on her property.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Another year, another quilt

A dear friend had a baby recently, so it was time for me to try another quilt. This time I went for a simple rectangle design.

The hardest part of making this was trying to find nice fabric. There was a lot of pastel blue and pink which weren't the look I wanted.  

 I finally found some cute Japanese bunny fabric to sandwich around a mix of animal prints.

 I do love the jungle print I used for the back as it is very bright and cheery.

Though I'm not sure what a zebra is doing in the jungle with a flower..!