Tuesday, February 25, 2014

UFO's, and the good, the bad and the ugly!

I have a few sewing projects on the go so my UFO collection is, well, expanding.  It would appear that I am expanding too, because I have had some annoying "fitting" issues.  The sewing bug-bear I have is that I have discovered that the amount of time and care spent on the construction and finishing is exactly disproportionate to how much I like the end result. 

Bad: made me mad.
Exhibit A: 
Description: short sleeved top with bust darts and centre back seam.  Minor adjustment made by inserting two slim darts in back to remove excess baggage fabric.  Made from polycotton mix, found in an op shop.  Pattern New Look easy two hour top with neckline variations.

Diagnosis: the problem with this top is that it is slightly too small across the bust and shoulders.  I wanted to tuck it into the waist of the skirt to give a nice silhouette.  It kept coming out.  Getting wrinkled.  However, on the bright side the upper back is possibly the best fit I have ever achieved and the neckline sits very neatly. 

Prognosis: will be worn from time to time, but with a cardigan over the top. 

Here is my cheery cherries top, made from the same pattern:
Badder: made me madder, borderline ugly. Actually I am hating the top right photo.  
Description: pattern same as Exhibit A, made from fabric from Lincraft - a very light cotton.  

Diagnosis: The neck line and front does not sit nicely.  Honestly, the fabric choice was the beginning and the end of the problems with this top.  I opted to use bias binding around the neck because I did not want the pattern to show through if I used the fabric to do the facing, and I thought that white facings would be too stark.  Additionally, the fabric is so thin I had to wear a singlet underneath and although it was fine cotton it felt like it "grabbed" at the top all the time! 

This time I scaled up to what I thought would be a size 16.  I hoped that this would solve the shoulder bust problem and it is a little roomier than the turquoise polka dot version.  The sleeves are much more comfortable. I can almost put my arms out in front of me without worrying about ripping the seams. 

Remedy: will attempt a white cotton facing around the neckline to resolve the neck problem.  Need to wear a nude coloured camisole not a cotton singlet underneath.

Okay, now for something a bit different.  
One day while browsing at the Bond Street Hospice Shop I spied at the back, behind the counter something made of the most gorgeous fabric.  One quick look and it was identified as a cross-over house coat made from 1950s cotton fabric.  I can't remember what I paid for it, but I have blogged about it briefly ages ago.  Anyway, it is now a UFO.  I want to convert it from a house coat to a dress:
Beautiful rose print vintage house coat with wrap front, wide collar and pocket

These three photos are an attempt to show you the original sewing (top right) the cross-over front and wide collar (left) and the pocket detail (bottom right)  the placket is on an angle, not straight and this can be seen better in the left hand photo.  I would like to convert it to a dress, so in the weekend I started by unpicking the facing of the collar which is in two pieces and very similar to a traditional kimono design.  (I have unpicked a kimono and its really fascinating how they are constructed). 

In it's current form, it is not really a UFO - it is not yet altered so it is not yet unfinished.  In my opinion it is beautiful, but not practical. I am a tiny bit nervous altering it, because I might ruin it.  On the other hand it was simply made (there aren't any clippings in the sleeves for example so it could be unpicked completely).  

Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Advice?  Is there a support group for disillusioned sewers?  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In a parallel universe there would be Myday

Hi everyone, 
I seem to be having temporal difficulties.  Yes, I have a problem with time - I don't have enough of it.  I do prioritise - eg I have a ranked list of blogs I like to read.  I do limit my time doing frivolous things - playing Candy Crush for example.  I put aside time for sewing and doing creative things  - I'll even show you the evidence.  But I still think I could do with another day in the week a day just for me.  I would call it myday and it would be after Sunday and before Monday.  

Myday would be like, all for me.  I know it sounds incredibly selfish but this is my blog and I want to be honest with you all.  For me, Myday activities could be changed depending on the weather - if it is sunny then gardening or taking photos, if its raining then several episodes of Game of Thrones or whatever.  Myday would never be cancelled or postponed, neither could it be replaced with a Public Holiday or a sick day.  Myday would not be exclusive to me, no, I am going to petition the political parties (there's an election this year) and request that Myday be inserted into the New Zealand calendar. 

Okay, enough fantasizing, time is of the essence so lets get going:

What did I wear today?  

Dress Made by Me from fabric from Tessuti in Melbourne.  It is digitally printed cotton and I made the effort to interline it.  Not some thing which I would normally do, but felt that the expensive fabric deserved extra special sewing skills and attention.  Worn with old, well loved and very comfortable red shoes.  The bracelets are a mixture of retail and thrifted, but the necklace is a thrifted find - one of my favourite colours and it sits just right too.

On Friday, I changed the mold a bit, and no frocks were worn.  Instead I wore an outrageously beautiful pink, yellow and gold embroidered sari type skirt.  It is lined with the heaviest red satin so only the top bit flares out.  It is very swirly and when I wear it I feel very girly.  

I don't really have a top to go with this skirt - well I do have a pink chiffon blouse top, but its the wrong shape. So I made do with a plain blue tee shirt and a purple leather belt - both from the Hospice Shop I think.  The arm junk is just that - retail, thrifted and found in the street.  I have no shame in picking up stuff off the pavement or from the gutter.  Trust me, if it was gold or diamonds I would hand in to the police, but a brass bangle - nope, it just fitted on my wrist so perfectly, it was meant to be mine.  

Okay, as I said, I am planning my time so you'd best come back here in a couple of days, because I am going to post again.  Really, instead of one mega post with heaps of stuff, I'm going to ration out the Penny-Rose style portfolio and all the stuff I do with my time (except my work which is not really blog-able).  

Bye for now, Penny-Rose xx 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Inspired by Science, St Valentines and other musings

The theme of my outfit today is "science gone wrong".  I am particularly fond of these science beaker earrings which I bought for $2 from a retail store after Halloween.  They were part of a Zombie series of jewellry.  Only the earrings appealed to me. 

I wore the dress/top which was given to me by Indigo Violet as it has a number of swirling patterns and colours which remind me of a science when I was around 12 yo and we mixed various chemicals together.  Likewise, my plastic shoes are a sulphurous yellow, the leggings like carbon, and the plaid jacket makes me think of graph paper.  I am not a scientist but I do know one quite well.  Two cheap thrifted necklaces are like a string of atoms and a mood ring is litmus paper.  The miss-matched nailpolish is an accident (I was experimenting in the weekend). 

In other outfit news, I wore this on St Valentine's Day:

Op-shopped home-made dress which has an evening or formal feel about it - the fabric is lovely and the photo does not do it justice in terms of the colours and the shine - worn with my beloved Melissa shoes, some (fake) pearl and bling jewellery and purple hair coloured by Hair Chalk. 

 and I wore this....one sunny day last week:

The retro cotton print skirt was found at the St Vincent de Paul, and the cardigan is from the Hospice Shop.  More plastic shoes - this time with a chunky heel and in a indescribable shade of orange.  For those who are sewers, I  made the polka dotted top - from a remnant I found at a thrift shop.  I used what was my "never fail" pattern and it failed. It is a bit snug.  So I made it again and scaled it up to the next size.  This time it was too big!  Anyway, I thought I would share some nautical images - the top one is a fancy cruise ship which came to town and the bottom one is the Sea Shepherd which has been campaigning against the drilling for oil/gas.  I did have to use the zoom on the camera to get such good pics, but I know I am so lucky to live on a lovely harbour.  

Lastly, a fabric shop in town is closing down due to retirement and possibly because Lincraft is in town now.  Anyway, I scored nearly 1.5m of this amazing rayon.  Not bad for $3 a metre?

What do you think of the pattern?  Any suggestions on what I should make?  I am thinking a very simple top - to avoid cutting the pattern.

as well as hot air balloons and dancing there are also Miami style buildings and what could be two wise men and horses, a pin up in a bathing suit and palm trees!!

Hope you are all having a good week, I am going to watch Person and Interest and unpick a Mambo shirt I got from Toffs for $3.  I want to convert it to a shirt dress/ tunic.  
Bye, Penny-Rose xx

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy Friday

Happy Friday!

To me, its not a real Friday, if there is no Frock on Friday post.  FOF has become an important ritual for me - a celebration of the end of the working week, a HURRAH for the weekend, a homage to thrifty fashion, a thumbs up to wearing a dress and a nose-snub to the idea of a "casual friday".

My cat appears to be on his way to becoming a minor internet sensation - he just can't keep away from the camera. He is all smoochy in a "I adore you when you scratch under my chin" kind of way, until he spies his beloved Alpha Male holding the camera.....

Does anyone actually believe in the adage that quality accessories make an outfit?  Well I don't.  I believe in matching or mis-matching my accessories any way I want to or feel like.  Here I am wearing a selection of bracelets and rings and earrings and a belt all of which cost less than $3 each with a three dollar dress.  Well the price matches.  

Last post I showed you a picture or two from the fabulous book "Fifteen".  I love the cartoons in this book so much I thought I would share some of them with you:

Don't forget readers, a cold suspicious look can wilt even the breeziest boy...and Friends like doing the same thing ...and at the same time.

The perils of fancy dress parties (who is that in the uniform??), the protocol for a Thank-you letter and the evils of chocolate and slothing on the couch with a cat on your butt are all described in detail. 

...fashion, hair, beauty, exercise, social pleasantries....no question is left unanswered, no topic is spared. 

 Everything from polishing vases to helping old ladies, to examining the shape of ones face and ones nose (and how to get rid of spots).

In my house, until relatively recently, the lady on the left would be considered an evil witch - because she is wearing a "wicked queen hat".  Malificent from Sleeping Beauty has a lot to answer for.  

Fifteen is hopelessly outdated in many respects (warnings about going outside with wet hair when you have your period) but has gorgeous cartoons and drawings.  There is an innocence about it which makes me feel a little sad, because when I have a 15yo she will be several years ahead of where I was at her age in terms of her knowledge and experience, and Fifteen will be over 50 years old. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The beginning of a new and beautiful relationship

 Hope you are all having a good week.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that my beloved camera was in a fatal accident last week.  I did not grieve for long - the next day I went and bought a new one.  This post marks the beginning of a new and beautiful relationship!
The last photos from my Canon PSA 2300:

Osti polyester sundress worn with plastic shoes from Factorie

Once I had a new camera (Canon IXUS)  I went a little bit photo-mad - here are some selected hightlights:

Red ASOS dress $3 from Toffs - now almost a completed skirt.  The original sewing was utter shite and I did the dress a favour by cutting off the hideously unflattering top.  Barbie clothes and photo of shopper choosing "off the rack" items from "Woman Alive Sew Exciting! Sew Simple! (1974)" book from the Hospice Shop for $2.

More from Sew Exciting!  So Simple!  an amazing maxi dress for Barbie, a wrap sundress (pattern included in book), look at that maxi dress top right, I can just imagine Vix wearing it.  Bottom left the keen home sewer gazes at her fabric with unbridled passion. 

I don't want to tempt fate but now the little darlings have all gone back to school, my own included, the weather appears to have improved.  Here I am wearing a lovely sun dress in polyester with a thrifted cardigan and some more of the plastic shoes which are now my current obsession..... 

Truly Fair polyester sun dress worn with cotton cardigan.  Both from op shops.  Peach plastic shoes from Rubi Shoes.

Today I wore cotton...I was wearing a petticoat under the polka dot cotton 1980s dress, but I am a bit concerned that the photo may make it look like I wasn't. 

Cotton frock from the St V de P, shoes from Melissa online, various jewellery thrifted or retail, flower from KMART and watch from Lovisa, pin-up pendant from Jorjalicious Jewellry.
I have just done my toes nails a fluorescent green while uploading photos and faffing around with this post because I have a very important meeting tomorrow.  Its my way of thumbing my nose at conformity.  Lap top has melted into my lap now, so must log off!!