Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Last Goodbye

Not that I've been keeping up with too many regular blog posts in the last 12 months, and this one doesn't relate to sewing.  But this is not off topic from my blog as it relates to my love of cats. So I'd like to pay special tribute to a much loved family member who left this world last Tuesday.  My family have a long history with cats and have been very lucky to have them in our lives for so many years. Wynton, who was 181/2 was not exception. He was a lovely, sweet natured cat who was just full to bursting with love for all of us.   

I can't believe it was 18 years in February since my mum and I took a drive to see a breeder who had 1 male Burmese kitten left from a litter.  When we arrived we met 2 kittens, one a fiery little girl who was tearing around the living room and a very laid back little boy who wasn't doing very much.  Now, mum will freely admit that she wasn't super keen on him when they first met.  Our previous boy had been a crazy ball of energy with loads of personality.  This new kitty had big shoes to fill. After some quality time together, it was decided that he should come home with us.  He brought such joy into our lives.  Our house was a home again.  We were all smitten with this little brown kitten.  

I stayed living at my parents for another 12 months. Wynt and I developed a really strong bond that remained throughout his life.  There was a point when I was still living there where I was having a bit of a stress in my life due to a theatre production I was working on. I'd come home from rehearsals feeling a little despondent and anxious and there he'd be greeting me at the door. I'd pick him up and he'd be like a big soft valium pill.  He just made you feel relaxed and happy.  And every time I visited my parents, no matter where he was, even sleeping, he'd hear my car pull up and was nearly always at the front door to meet me or on his way down the hallway. 
He wasn't the most crazy adventurous cat, but he still managed to get himself into a few scrapes along the way.  Like a number of cat fights. One in which shredded his ear into 3 sections. Mum said he casually wandered into the bathroom that morning and there was his ear hanging in pieces.  After quite a few stitches it just left him with a slightly pointy ear.  He also liked to get up on the roof of my parents' 2 storey house and look out at the world and the dog next door. Pretty sure he fell off a few times, that would explain the limp he regularly had.  We have so many stories, so many great memories as a family. 

Like all cats in their senior years, Wynton slowed down a bit and started to shrink in size.  He was always such a nice big muscly cat so it was so strange when he started to become a little bony old man.  Sadly, last September, he suddenly lost sight in both of his eyes.  It came at the same time I was due to be recuperating at my parents after a fairly serious operation.  But the family adapted to this new situation, and eventually Wynton did too. I was so glad to have those quality weeks staying at my old home and being able to cuddle with my favourite cat. 


My parents had put their lives on hold as they took care of their much loved cat, but we all knew the day wasn't too far away when we would all have to say farewell.  And now we say the last goodbye.  He will be missed for many years to come and hopefully one day our broken hearts will mend.

Farewell beautiful boy. 



Monday, 8 May 2017

Simplicity 1419

This is my third outing with Simplicity 1419.  Now, you'd think that would mean making it up would be a breeze.  I shall blame the fabric.  I bought this cotton drill at Spotlight. Firstly the colour ran slightly when washed. That's why it is always a good idea to wash your fabrics before use.  I decided to have the material pattern running the opposite way in the bodice to the skirt section. I also had a problem cutting out the skirt section. Turns out the pattern of the fabric wasn't even.  It looks even white triangles and red triangles looked even shaped, but when I was cutting the hem section of the skirt, it was out by a few centimeters.  Very weird, it must have been on a gradual slope. Anyway I made up the dress and it looked really good even if a bit fiddly lining up the pattern.  However, the fit for the bodice was appalling. It was quite tight for some reason and I guess having the fabric going in a different direction meant no give.  So rather than put it in the bin, I had enough fabric to re-do the bodice.  Voila, fit was perfect. 

Now you can kind of see the pinky hue of the fabric in the white triangle sections.  I had intended this for a work dress but because of it's faults it's just another summer frock to wear about.  

I didn't bother with the button at the front. I may do that later, but since I wasn't exactly super pleased with the result I kind of lost interest in perfecting it. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

House Blouse

Here's a much belated post of a blouse I made back in August last year.  I used McCall's 6794. 

I bought this material at Spotlight in Adelaide when I was on a holiday there over 18 months ago.  So impressed that Adelaide have a Spotlight in the city and a K-mart. Lucky ducks.

As this material is 100% cotton it doesn't have a nice flowy effect like my previous version.  

It really is an easy pattern to make.  You could definitely take a bit of the width out to avoid so much gathering.  And it certainly would be easy to adjust the pattern to make a dress. But I still have soooo many dress patterns awaiting my attention.  

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The "Miracles Do Happen" Frock

Five years ago if you'd asked my parents if they'd ever be grandparents or one of their kids would get married, they would probably have laughed  Or hopefully have said, "well we've got a grandkitten". Then a crazy thing happened in 2015, my parents became grandparents for the first time. At the time people asked if I thought my brother and his partner would get married, to which I replied naaah.  But 2 weeks ago they tied the knot.  I've been to quite a few weddings over the years, but given I'm now well into my 40's you don't go to too many and quite a different thing to be at a family wedding. So hard to decide on a pattern to make. I  originally started with a Vogue pattern, which did not turn out to be wedding worthy.  I also had in mind one of 50's patterns, however McCall's 5137 is probably my most favourite make. Ironically my original creation was for a friend's wedding about 8 years ago.  

Soooo, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finished this frock and turned out perfectly.  I bought the fabric on line at Darn Cheap Fabrics and amazingly it was on sale for only $9 a metre. It's a cotton linen blend.  The crush factor isn't too bad. I just loved the palm leaves. And red is definitely my go to flattering colour.  

I really wanted to use some rick-er-rack to emphasise all the panels.  I did try a grey embroidery stitch, but I was unable to get a clear enough picture to show it as it's quite subtle.  

Always a plus, it's such a comfy dress to wear. And no buttons or zips, hoorah.   I also made my necklace and matching earrings.  

There's a actually a bow tied at the back.  But it gets lost camouflage style. This is a great dress to make especially if you use the contrasting panels and it is quite different than other patterns out there.  It's not too complicated, there are just quite a few pieces to put together. And you can wear the tie at the front if you prefer.  I would have only used a little under 3m for this, so all in all the dress cost me $27.  A girl's got to be happy with that.  

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Style 1156

Surprise! I made a new 70's pattern.  I would have loved to find an emerald green fabric to replicate the one on the pattern.  Alas, it's hard to find a good fabric in solid colours. However, I did spot a grand little cotton drill pineapple patterned fabric at Spotlight which did the trick.  

Pretty simple little pattern.  I teamed my feature material with a maroon drill.  

As I've done previously I've used a different skirt section for the pattern.  I'd really like to try the bias cut skirt, but it doesn't suit horizontal patterns on the material. Also you need way more fabric

Pretty happy with the result.  It's a nice cool dress to wear on a summer day.  Drill is obviously a little heavier than some other fabrics, but it's loose fitting enough for the eternal/infernal summer heat.

The buttons were from my selection of vintage buttons. There are no button holes as such, just the fabric lapping over and buttons sewn on.  Even though it's nice and loose fitting, it still has a zip in the back.  

I would love to try this pattern again. I bought a nice navy cotton blend from a sidewalk sale in the city recently.  I'm not sure it would be right for a summer dress because it appears to have some synthetic in the blend.  Perhaps I could try the sleeve version for work.  

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Vintage 50's

It's a crazy rainy/cyclonic day here in Brisbane, so we've been sent home from work. Guess that's a good time to catch up on the blog. 

I've been unable to locate this lovely vintage pattern in the vortex that is my spare room. So can't show you how my dress is supposed to look. I remember buying the pattern from a company in the US, instead of my usual ebay purchase.  It was definitely a much better quality pattern I have to say. 

The cotton drill fabric is from Spotlight. I'd had my eye on it for awhile and managed to get it on sale. Hooray!!  I didn't really consider the material pattern and how it would work with this style of the bodice.  The material would have been better with a single piece bodice.  Ah well, too late to think about that now.  

It was a pretty straightforward make, but I had to fiddle with the bodice after I finished making the entire thing.  I was really happy with the finished product except the bodice was baggy around the armhole section and bit into the middle.  I did some adjustments to the darts and did a new seam for the sleeve to take some of the bulk out.  It was better, but now the bodice is a little tight getting over my head.  Hopefully it won't cause me to have an anxiety attack if I get stuck putting it on.  

The back definitely has more continuity with the pattern of the fabric.  It's a nice fabric to wear and quite comfy which is always a bonus. Even though I'm still not 100% happy with the bodice, I am happy with how it looks.  

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

To Shirr and Shirr Alot

I was off to an afternoon swim one stinky poo, hot Saturday recently, when I realised I didn't have any cool little casual dresses.  I guess when I do go the coast I generally wear a denim skirt and a little shirt.  It has been on my to do list is a beach dress for about 5 years.

I got on line to see what projects people had done with a basic shirred dress.  I found one and set out using this cotton material I bought at a Spotlight sale.  Even though it's very simple to make, it does take awhile doing 12 rows of shirring on both front and back.  The only thing that didn't work out so well was  the fabric above the shirring. I left about 1.5cm and it kept flapping forward.  In the end I just added some elastic to the top. I just eased it directly onto the fabric with a zig zag stitch.  And ticketyboo it did the trick. 

So all in all nothing fancy, just a good cool dress for very casual wear.  Unfortunately not exactly good for the beach with the exposed shoulders, it is good for going to a friend's place for a swim.