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Sunday, 31 January 2010
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Friday, 29 January 2010
Monday, 25 January 2010
- I have three tattoos so far and my mum accompanied me when I got each of them done. My most recent is a simple line drawing of a swallow on my wrist which references my mum's swallow tattoo on her hand. If I have a daughter and she doesn't want to get a swallow tattoo, I think I would be secretly very sad.
- I used to be a croupier and have worked in three casinos. I used to deal Roulette, Blackjack, 5-card Poker, 3-card Poker and Punto Banco (aka, Baccarat). Before you ask, No, it's not well paid (the UK is the only country in the world where a dealer cannot accept tips), and No it's not very glamourous (although at times it was very exhilarating). Also before you ask, the most I saw someone lose was £30,000, and I can't remember the biggest pay out I made, although it was ALOT (I've paid out two big accumulative jackpots). I always wanted to deal Dice (aka, Craps) and Texas Hold'em but found them difficult to get into due to being of the female persuasion.
- I like to carry a sugar sachet round in my handbag to adjust my Caipirinhas to taste, should they require it.
- My favourite type of music is Hip Hop.
- If I could change one thing about my body, it would be my sensitivity (which verges on intolerance) to caffeine. That or my usual difficultly in sleeping, whether I'm abstaining from caffeine or not.
- If I was Catholic, I'd get a bad-ass Sacred Heart tattoo. I have a Catholic best friend and boyfriend, is that close enough?
- I almost always think tasks are going to be harder than they turn out to be. This usually means I am pleasantly surprised.
According to the rules, I must now disclose seven blogs that I feel deserve this award. I am using the criteria of the seven blogs I check the most regularly at the moment (in no particular order):
- The Makeshift project is fascinating and relevant in it's aim to document a year wearing only handmade things (undies, shoes EVERYTHING). It has really encouraged me to take my own philosophies and practices up a notch (check my post here on the subject of Makeshift).
- Veronica Darling's is a blog I came to via Sew Retro. This pizazzy little Australian chica does NOT hold back when it comes to sewing, setting herself fantastic challenges that would make the average sewer weep (her 100 Outfits and Frocktober chellenges being two she conducted last year). Her current vintage pattern challenge is one to watch. I also love her almost complete reliance on op-shopped and end of line fabric and notions, something most sewers would do well to work on (myself included).
- Who doesn't love Gertie and her Blog for Better Sewing? The time and effort she must go to to regularly update this informative, thought provoking and fun blog is exhausting to think about. She's the sewers' sewer! I also love the posts when she discusses broader issues like body image, disposible fashion and the sartorial implications of dressing in a vintage style.
- I must also direct your attention to the super-talented and creative lady Michelle at Naughty Little Epoch who is my homegirl, as in we are friends in the flesh and meet up when in the same country. I could give a million reasons why she is a special lady, but one of them would include that creatively speaking she isn't afraid to attempt any creative disapline, invariably with amazing results.
- I may be accused of bias, but I have to say that the blog on Colette Patterns is really quite awesome. It always was a beautiful and fascinating blog, but now that Sarai has got more people on board to contribute, it has become an even more diverse and prolific blog to enjoy.
- A more recent addition to my list of blogs to check is the sweet and refreshing Ancien-Nouveau. Her technical approach to garment creation shows she isn't afraid of the nitty-gritty that many of us shy away from!
- The final blog I would present this award to is The Last Stitch which I actually only discovered last night, it is so new to me in fact that I haven't yet got round to adding it to my blogs bar. Her posts appear so clear and consise, I guess the polar opposite of my own approach, and I would happily wear every single garment she produces.
There are of course many more blogs I would like to present this award to, like Cheap Opulence who sadly hasn't updated in some time, and EmilyKate who I know also received this award from ShannonAshley, but I'll leave it at that. Enjoy, blog-fans!
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
Aside from the problems I had with getting the collar right (the details of which I won't bore you with because they were stupid mistakes that any seamstress paying attention could have avoided), I ended up having to take it in a little along the side seams and through the sleeves. Next time I'll use a half-size or full-size smaller. But now that it is finished it has become one of my favourite garments to wear. It's jazzy but ok for day wear, it looks great with my jeggings underneath (too cold to try it paired with tights yet) and it's as comfy as you like! Expect more variations on this theme.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
I'm not sure my mum would approve of my showing my crotch on the internet, but this is what the inside looked like at this point:
Now I stitched together the reamining side seam with my overlocker, threaded the loose ends through the seam with a wool needle, and ta daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa:
I finished these about an hour ago, and I'm wearing them now, so I'm not quite ready to give a full evaluation, but first impressions are good. The overall fit looks and feels nice and comfy, but I had a little concern that maybe the elastic at the leg holes may rub against my skin a little. This may be because the overlocking I did to initially attach the elastic and fabric is a little rough, OR because the elastic itself is a little course (some elastics sold for pants making has a plush 'furry' side to sit nicely against the skin). I will evaluate this, make the necessary adaptions for my next pair and duly report back. Over.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
These days in the West, those of us who like to get our sew on choose to do so as a creative outlet. However, but two brief generations ago, women in the UK had to practice their sewing skills in order to make the most of their limited resources as a response to the increasingly strict clothing, fabric and wool rationing during and after the Second World War. The Government assisted by distributing leaflets including tips and tutorials to make your garments last longer as part of the Make Do and Mend campaign. I have long been fascinated by the skills and techniques everyday women deployed as a response to their situations during that time, and feel a huge responsibility to learn and share as much as I can, not only to preserve the skills and techniques and honor these women, but also perhaps so they can form part of the response that people today will hopefully choose to help combat the threat of climate change. Read my post over at Colette patterns, your planet needs you!
Sunday, 10 January 2010
So, seeing as this week this blog is getting a little more exposure than usual (according to Google Analytics) now seems a good time to announce my new project. Largely inspired by the Makeshift project which I discussed here, and a desire to challenge myself by pushing my sewing skills up a notch AND to put my money where my mouth is about striving to be more self-sufficient, I have decided to wear only clothes that I have made myself throughout March. I’m not going as all-out hardcore as Natalie (Makeshift), I am making some exceptions: I will not be attempting to make my own bras, hosiery (love that word), socks or footwear. But a challenge it remains.
- Pants. I think I'll need to get a minimum of three pairs made before March 1st.
- Vest. I spend most of the year freezing, so I like to get my layer on!
- Sleepwear. I already made one pair of Jane pyjamas, but I want to make something/s else so I can alternate.
- Trousers. I have my jeggings, but to be honest my treggings are a little too tight. I'm going to need another pair of trousers for day wear.
- Jacket and/or coat.
- Cardigan. As I mentioned, I loves me some layers. This one is going to be a real challenge to make something halfway wearable.
- Dress. My cousin is getting married in March so I've got to make something fancy. I'm really looking forward to this creation!
If there's time and fabric, I'll also attempt a skirt for day wear and a dressing gown. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions regarding this project, I would love to hear them! Has anyone tried anything similar?
Friday, 8 January 2010
In my recent post about my New Years' resolutions and aims for 2010, I mentioned how happy I was about continuing to write weekly posts for the Colette Patterns blog. One of the main reasons being that these contributions give me a reason to research specific areas that interest me beyond what I would normally get round to in my day to day. My blog post for Colette Patterns this week is the very incarnate of that reason. My love for mid twentieth century printed Barkcloth runs so deep that I wouldn't be surprised if it actually forms part of my DNA! I loved it before I even knew what it was, and now that I have spent a few evenings researching it's history, I love it even more!
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Some sections of society may view such gifts as handmade tat given by cheapskates; I won't disagree that the materials used in a handmade item are often cheaper monetarily than a shop bought gift. But the time and effort taken to make it more often than not is far greater than the mass-manufactured, shop bought alternative. Plus it's a different type of time that is spent. When I do head into town to go Christmas shopping, the sense of shoppers' desperation and frayed nerves, combined with commercial greed often makes me feel nauseous. I will concede that last-minute panic sewing (or other method of creating) of gifts is not the most relaxing experience, but most of the gift creation process is enjoyable. When I am making something for someone, I spend a lot of that time thinking about that person, which I believe does two important things, A) imbeds that gift with lots of good juju, and B) brings the whole point of gift-giving and Christmas back into focus: it's about appreciating the people you care about.
So, in that spirit I undertook my own Christmas gift makery. For obvious reasons I waited until after Christmas to display them in the public domain. Pictured above is a bag that I made using my favourite tried-and-tested shoulder dolly bag pattern, using some of the fabric remnants from this dress.
More remnants from recent creations went into making a range of hand-lined purses/make-up bags. They are a similar shape to versions I have made before, but these have darts at the corners to give them more capacity and a cute ruffle detail. I love how using a different fabric gives each one kind of different feel. I'll definitely be making these again, maybe in printed fabric.
Back in November, Sarai helpfully posted some gift crafting ideas on the Colette Patterns blog here. I was very inspired by this recycled scarf idea and remembered that I had stashed away the remnants from my first handmade jumper. It took about a million years to cut out all the circles in a variety of sizes, but stitching them together by randomly overlapping the pieces and using a red contrast zigzag stitch took all of a minute. If anyone has any advice on how to avoid the last-minute handmaking presents panic (aside from starting them in July), I'd love to hear them!
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
So, 2010. As I probably mentioned around this time last year, I'm a big fan of making New Year's resolutions. It doesn't matter if you don't complete all your intentions, your goals are likely to shift as the months pass anyhow. It's the process of making them that counts as it encourages you to take stock, review the successes and failures of the past year and consider what matters for the year which lies ahead of you. It's all positive stuff.
I have some exciting plans for 2010, but on of my main focuses this year will be to continue to discuss sewing: the activity itself, it's historical and social significance and topics linked to a handmade future. I am also vibe about my continuing contributions to the Colette Patterns blog which gives me a reason to research areas and convey thoughts that interest me beyond what I would normally focus on for this blog.
It's time for me to step up and push many of my thoughts and ideas forward. The next time I do some festive celebrating with my nearest and dearest, and eat one of the above (a Christmas dinner) I hope to be able to reflect upon a 2010 well spent. Do you have any sewing/creating resolutions?