Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Handmade Baby Gifts

Friends of ours recently had a baby ...... so I was happy to make a few little things to welcome Baby Luc.

 I used Nicole M's free Bib Tutorial and managed to get some Dick and Jane fabric from Block and Roll at Belmont. The towelling also came from Block and Roll - it's lovely and thick.
 I used 12mm wide blue gingham purchased binding - and it wasn't easy to sew on in one hit - I had to zig zag it on first and then turn and stitch down - quite a fiddly little job!
 This is a cute bib pattern - highly recommend!!

I also made a another little backpack - in the same fabric combinations as before - this time I added a little loop / strap so that it can be hung up.

Baby Luc lives in Indonesia and he's already travelled back to Australia recently, so I think this little fellow will need a back pack with a transportation theme as he grows!  This is a fabulous pattern from Nicole's new book.

Finally, I did a rolled hem around some lovely bamboo / cotton interlock fabric for a wrap.

Welcome Baby Luc!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Art Classes at Marks Point

My daughter started Children's Art Classes with Trish Menegazzo at Marks Point several years ago. She thoroughly enjoyed it, but then stopped for quite a while. Here is some of her work:

In an effort to encourage her back to art, I decided I'd go along with her ..... Trish's work is quite inspiring ....

She uses a wide range of mediums .....

And I could just stare at this all day long!!!!

Anyway, I thought I'd have a go at some fashion drawing, sketching, and have recently completed three little pieces using mixed media ...

And now I'm hooked!!! Trish is a patient teacher with excellent ideas ..... If you're interested in having a go, she is having a special workshop day for this "Fish" on Sept 10th at Marks Point (Lake MacQuarie / Newcastle, NSW, Australia). It will be a full day of fun and creativity - you honestly can't go wrong!!! Give Trish a call on 0403 749 631 - she also sells her artwork if you'd like to add a special piece to your work / home.

I must say, it's with clever people like this in my neighbourhood that I am eternally grateful to live where I do!
Finally, this is my daughter's recent piece she did for my sister's birthday ...

Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Craft and Sewing Show - Reflecting on the Newcastle Show ...... What happened to dressmaking?

Apparently ... it was SEW ME!   I've been going to these kind of shows for quite a few years. Generally I find that they are a variety of crafty pursuits - mainly attracting females. There have been a number of name changes over the years - either with the Newcastle or the Sydney shows / expos / fairs - "Stitches and Craft" "Craft and Quilt" etc.
I think that variety in any pursuit is a good thing. So these shows cover patchwork, quilting, beading, scrapbooking, yarns, dyes, laces, haberdashery, bag making, and so on - essentially just about every craft need is generally covered.  When this show was advertised - I noted that the name had changed to "Craft and Sewing Show", well, at least I didn't think it was called that last year? Anyway, with the word "sewing" featured prominently and the fact that "It's Sew You!", I was a bit more excited than usual this year - sewing - YAY!

OK. Well it didn't take to long to realise that this was just another craft show. Yes, there was variety, but I am perplexed about the lack of attention to the dressmakers amongst us. How many sewing blogs are there out there in the sewing world? How many great new exciting independent pattern makers are there out there? How great is the interest in sewing clothing? Well, from my perspective -  HEAPS and HEAPS and HEAPS!!!

Why aren't the pattern companies interested in promoting their products in these arenas? All of the sewing machine brands were there .... and, as I did my time on the Sewing Guild stand - the question we were most often asked was "Where is the best place to buy good fabric?". The Craft and Sewing Show had tonnes and tonnes of fabric to buy .... patchwork fabric that is .... where were the fashion fabric retailers?
Of course, there aren't many independent fabric retailers left in our local area - but there are a few. I know that we have a large national store that sells fabric and just about everything else that sewing folk need - and that's great - but where were they? I just see so much need in our community for people who want to learn to sew, and for those who want to sew clothes and learn new techniques and to get great results many opportunities .... the TEXSTYLE exhibition (a selection of the Senior Textiles Students major projects) is a case in point - fabulous creativity and technical skills - this section of the Craft Show attracts hundreds and hundreds of high school students  - they come to be inspired and to go home ready to create ..... after the exhibition they wander around the rest of the show - do they see fabulous fashion inspired creations, tools, materials? 
I know that it is very expensive to have a stall at these shows - and that the energy involved in setting up and organising is quite immense - I also realise that internet shopping has changed the way people prefer to purchase - and for many people they really don't have the luxury of choice .... but I do see these shows as a great opportunity to promote garment making skills.

So there you have it - my rant for the year ....I'd love to know what you think ......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Newcastle Craft and Sewing Show

  Newcastle Craft and Sewing Show

August 18 - 21, 2011

Newcastle Entertainment Centre

I'll be there Friday morning at the Sewing Guild stand - come along and say Hi!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rose Panel Skirt

Fabric from Tessuti's - a Rose panel printed on Denim.

I've had much trouble loading photos on blogger recently, mainly the ones I have to rotate - they won't upload in their saved rotated form ???? So my lovely daughter introduced me to Picnik and now I have made a collage!

Plain and simple straight skirt from a pattern drafted for me at Studio Faro in Sydney in 2005.

We've had a wet and grey quite miserable day here today, so it was lovely to have a glimmer of sunshine just as I finished this project - down to Pelican Marina for a location shoot.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sirdar Weekend Denim, Style Arc Laura Top and a Satchel

After my last knitting marathon, I was determined to find a pattern that would better suit my needs (that is = easier, quicker) ...
Button from Newtown - All Buttons Great and Small
The lovely people at Stitch Bliss suggested this knitting pattern book ...
I chose this design ...Design I .... and I used Sirdar Denim Ultra Yarn (60% Acrylic, 25% cotton, 15% wool), Shade 502 ...
They also recommended this book which is a fantastic resource, I didn't even have to ask mum to help me make this one - everything is explained ....
step by step with lovely clear photographs
 ... but even armed with all this I failed to change needles after starting the rib rows, by the time I realised I had already made good progress, and my family urged me not to undo what I'd done ... I was willing to .. anyway, I was so carrried away with enthusiasm that I just carried on and so the finished garment is a little out of "whack" - I really don't care - it's wearable - and I've learnt a great lesson!!! This was a great project to work on - very quick and straight forward - I'm keen to make another one - properly this time!
I made a long sleeve tee from my Laura Dress Pattern from Style Arc - just taped together the yoke and main pieces, and of course made it shorter. This is a great pattern - too easy!

And to close with ... one of my students recently finished her Satchel bag, using the Large Tote and Satchel Pattern from NicoleM Design - a very popular pattern around these parts! She chose a great Japanese inspired quilting cotton for the flap. The pattern was modified slightly - made a tad larger. Great work Nic!!!
I've tried 3 times to insert this photo correctly! Arrrrgh! Just stretch your neck gently to the right .... lovely!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My First Ever Colette ... Negroni Men's Shirt

Well, I have actually made the Colette Mini Bloomers previously, but that was a free download pattern. So this is my first proper Colette pattern. I was very impressed by the presentation of the pattern in it's cute little booklet format with a linen finish on the card - the diagrams and instructions are excellent.

Sewing Notes:

I haven't made a men's shirt for many many years, so for the sizing I just decided to go the XXL - the actual measurements were chest (XL), waist (XXL) and neck (L) - so it was a bit all over the shop - I had a look at one of Shaun's (hubby) ready to wear shirts and it seamed to compare well with the XXL of this pattern.
Now, I haven't actually seen this shirt on - I left instructions for my son to take photos  - and Shaun said he was happy with the fit. The sleeves look pretty big to me - hmmm - maybe I'll make them short next time - not 100% sure if I'd change anything else for another shirt - he does have very broad shoulders so the fit may be fine - from the photos anyway!

FABRIC: Poly Cotton Blend for Spotlight - Vintage look - it said that on the label!! About $4 per metre.

As I sew my projects now, I have started to take notes along the way since I've started writing the Pattern Reviews..... so here are my jottings from along the journey....

- I was surprised that the pattern required 3 metres of fabric.
 - The booklet format of this pattern is lovely.
- I block fused the interfacing - I used a lightweight woven interfacing.
- They have the option of downloading pocket options.
- I used the pocket template hint for pressing the pocket.
- The pattern pieces are very well marked - "first fold" and "second fold" .
- The variable seam allowances are clearly noted and make sense.
- They have an interesting and neat way of sewing on the yoke - no hand stitching - all beautifully explained.
- Great diagrams - overall excellent instructions.
- Stitching the sleeve - I put the sleeve against the feed dogs to ease in the fullness - a little tricky - they have you stitching from the centre to each side - mine had too much ease to work that way.
- The curved flat fell seam of the sleeve was very very very fiddly - I'm not sure I would do that again. It's lovely that all the edges in this shirt are stitched down, but if I made it again, I would probably just overlock the sleeve - unless anyone can enlighten me on a better way to flat fell the seam.
- Hemming the shirt - they didn't fold back the front facing to machine stitch in place, but I did.

Summary -  Totally impressed with this pattern. The design is nice, the fit is good and the instructions were fantastic. It was an enjoyable project to complete. Highly recommend!