Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pie 'n' pillowcase

I call this a productive Sunday afternoon. The house is a trash-pit. Let's focus on the pie.

Blackberry and apple pie, with blackberries picked fresh this morning.
And, the pillowcase I finally got around to making, with this adorable Alexander Henry remnant, oh those dear sad little remnants I can't leave languishing in their online stores. I love that Alexander Henry does a lot of boy-friendly prints.
I could have ironed it better. I could have photographed it better. Pah. It's Sunday.
Happy Sunday.
- Jane x


Two reasons to love blackberries, even though they're invasive weeds in our bushland:

1. They make excellent habitat for bandicoots. My sister-in-law Jasmin has been conducting research on these small critters for her PhD. Surprisingly, she has found the feral blackberries are now quite important to the native bandicoot's survival.

2. Mmmm, blackberries!

This one...

... is not making it into the bucket.

So sad, they keep disappearing into my mouth.

But mama adds more.

Who likes blackberries?

It's written all over our faces.
The pickings at Brownhill Creek are the best for several years. I have promised them apple and blackberry pie for dessert tonight. Sounds like a better idea than cleaning the house.

- Jane x

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Negroni take 2

My dear one had just arisen from a nap so I'll leave his sleepyface off the interwebs
For my second attempt at the Negroni for the MPB Sewalong, I cut a size M but laid the size L neckline over the pattern and traced that, like so:

It really hurt my brain to figure out this alteration, which seems so simple
I kept the L collar pattern piece I already had, and changed the front facing neckline to match as well.

I used the Japanese cotton lawn. Andy expressed grave concern over its floral-ness at first but I think he's coming around now it's taking shape.

I am learning so much from the sewalong. There's helpful advice from Peter and other participants, learning by looking at the photos and notes of others on Flickr, and simply the trial and error of ploughing through it all at home. I'm thrilled to be getting the hang of sleeve plackets and edge-stitching:

I have been using my zipper foot to allow me to do a far more accurate and narrow edge-stitch
and between a few of us we have identified an apparent error in the pattern (which is nonetheless awesome), when it comes to putting together the sleeve cuffs.

The instructions have you make the outer cuff side 1/8 inch shorter than the inner when it should be that much longer, in order to cover the stitching you see here
One of the other sewalong-ers told me that Liberty lawn can be really tough on machine needles, so be prepared to change over once or twice during the final shirt making. I noticed that with this Japanese lawn too. I guess it's the very tight, fine weave. Difficult to get pins through, too. Before the Liberty shirt I will equip myself with more fine machine needles and maybe a set of fine, sharp pins.

I need to put buttons on this shirt and hem it. I would also like to figure out what's going on with the creases running from shoulder to under the arm.

I am becoming more and more fond of this faux-Liberty lawn as I go along
I am hoping for some group advice! I don't know if I have it in me to make another actual muslin before the final shirt. I have a lot of actual, um, 'real' work waiting for me. We'll see.

- J x

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bringing the butterflies

Have you ever tried to photograph a butterfly?

It's a bit like photographing a toddler.

These milkweeds, or swan plants, came from my mum. She grows them to attract the Wanderer butterfly. They have those fabulous yellow, white and black caterpillars which are fascinating to the kids and even to a caterpillar-phobe like me. Later, they decorate the plants, neighbouring plants and nearby windowframes of our house with their superb blue-and-gold cocoons. Then hatch, to begin the cycle again elsewhere.

Thank goodness for digital cameras, so I can snap away and eventually catch the right moment. You can even see a tiny white egg on a leaf here.

I believe they travel far, these butterflies, hence their name. One day perhaps you'll see one of 'our' butterflies at your place. We're keeping this one at home for a bit longer, though.

- Jane x

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Musloni - Negroni progress

I was becoming panicky since Peter has been setting a cracking pace with the Negroni sew-along. However, between Friday night and Sunday night I managed to trace off, cut out and assemble enough of my muslin to give a pretty good idea of fit.
admire ye all the fabric from old disintegrating Ikea quilt cover

Andy's measurements were in between sizes M and L and the advice is to go for the larger. However, it looks like he could easily fit a straight size M, except perhaps in the neck. I'll have to look very carefully at the pattern to see how I might adapt an L collar/neckline to an M everything else. I will shorten the sleeves, for sure.

Some more pics:

I'm... a... dingle dangle scarecrow

general consensus is that the yoke is too wide

fair bit of bagginess all over... the shirt I mean, honey

the very soft old fabric does not approximate the drape of Liberty lawn!
Peter has been super-helpful with hints and suggestions for fit and technique, via the Flickr Group. His photos and instructions on the blog are excellent. I was keen to get his comments on my muslin early in the piece, before he becomes tired of giving free advice to the hundred-odd sew-along-ers!

My plan now is to do a second muslin, well, test garment really, since I hope it will be wearable. I bought some reasonably-priced Japanese cotton lawn. It's really quite nice if I can forget it's a Liberty rip-off from Spotlight. (I think I'm a fabric snob.) I intend to make it up in full detail. After that I should be truly ready for the real-deal Liberty.

- Jane x

Saturday, February 5, 2011

special guest model

I was going to do a serious post about this new dress I made, from Anna Maria Horner's Roundabout pattern, with one of her gorgeous new 'Innocent Crush' voiles, with a little contrast 'Pastry Line'.

I even took some serious 'process' and 'detail' photos. Bottom line is, I love this dress, but reduced the puffiness of the sleeves a bit by taking 1.5 inches off the top of the top curve. But do keep scrolling down, because the best is yet to come.

tracing time

Yup, that'd be me doing awkward timer-photo-pose

Loving the pockets

Original sleeve before excess puffiness removed
Tonight, Jasper disappeared for a while then emerged like this: newspaper, Dada's shoes, taekwondo belt, hat, 'beard' and all. Dress is inside-out, showcasing my seam-work.

Who needs daughters, when there are sons like these?

- Jane x

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spot the difference

I made my soft toy for Monkeymoomoo's Queensland Flood Appeal Dolly Drive today. These come together so quickly (especially when I don't have any small, er, helpers). Yet I'm constantly amazed by how much my boys love them.

Today's (and cool, I just discovered how to make the photos bigger!):

Charlie's that's been slept on for about a year, washed many times, and was mostly made by him:

The eyes on today's bugged me a bit, they are just embroidery thread, and I felt they needed something more. I tried some little eyebrows but spent ages unpicking them because they looked too messy. I think he'll do. Simple can be good, right?

Also just wanted to say, I love chenille. Love it. And this here is good quality chenille, which I didn't realise until I saw some rather thin, crappy stuff at Spotlight. Love a quality novelty fabric :-)

I've been procrastinating about the Negroni sew-along. I haven't measured Andy up yet so I couldn't even start tracing off the pattern today. I hope to make some big progress on the weekend. It's been stinking hot here, although I shouldn't complain because at least we haven't had floods or cyclones in my part of Australia. I feel like I ought to be making about a thousand pieces of smiling chenille comfort to send up north right now.
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