Thursday, April 26, 2012

and the velour madness continues

Velour + overlocker = lots of fine dust. However, velour + boys = happiness right now so I guess I'll just have to keep vacuuming more often.
These are some more Farbenmix Yorik hoodies.

I ordered a bunch of samples of this bamboo/organic cotton velour from the Bamboo Fabric Store and the boys chose the colours they like. Or rather, Jasper was most definite about his colour choices and Charlie ummed and ahhed and then said something agreeable when I suggested the stripe.

Isn't it boring having to trace off one pattern again and again in different sizes? I made a mistake tracing the sleeves in Jasper's size and they are a bit short: the perfect length for him right now but a little out of proportion with the rest of the hoodie. No big matter. Charlie's is the next size up (second-largest on the pattern). It's pretty generous but you know how these boys grow. Actually this one fits me perfectly... I almost didn't hand it over.

The velour, after cutting, is a bit curly at the edges and with right sides together can slip and slide around. I learnt a useful tip when joining three or four layers: baste in twos first. E.g. at the bottom front, I basted the pocket edge to the front edge, and basted the two edges of the bottom band together. I used a long zigzag stitch very close to the edge so it pretty much just got eaten up by the overlocker in the final seaming.

During the week Andy took five roosters to a 'poultry processor' that welcomes backyarders. He said there were small batches of ducks and geese and all sorts there. So now we have a freezer full of rooster  and might even feel capable of a roast this weekend. We also have one remaining rooster, on probation, dependent upon no crowing before sunrise. He's such a beauty, and taking to his new role as king of the chookyard with impressive pomp and bluster. So please, watch your beak, Blue Roo.

- Jane x

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sew U Home Stretch dress: before and after Jane-ification

I have a bit of a velour fixation at the moment. I ordered some more online but when this arrived, had a bit of a 'what was I thinking?' moment because the colour was a bit too pinkish for any of the boys.

So, something for me then. I wouldn't normally pick this particular hue so I'm not really sure what came over me. Some sort of velour madness. Anyway, let's call it a challenge and get on with it, yes?

I pulled out my Sew U Home Stretch book, from which I've made a boatneck top that I wear a lot.
I used the Size L standard bodice pattern and added some width to the skirt so I could put in a few strategic gathers. I cut the skirt longer too 'just in case'.

Since this was quite experimental, I basted it all together with a large zigzag stitch and tried it on.
Fit: pretty good. 

Overall effect: something between Amish and a dress I would have topped off with a really awkward haircut, circa 1984.

Alterations I then made
- shorten bodice a few inches (see where I have pins in the photo above)
- create keyhole neckline and bind in colourful printed jersey
- chop sleeves to three-quarters and finish with same colourful jersey
- shorten skirt
- add pockets with same trim.


(I thought another bad light photo in the same crappy by-the-fridge location was only fair to truly compare the before and after.)

It feels kind of 'me' now. Jane-ificated.
Would it be more age appropriate for a four year old than a forty-one year old? Probably.
Do I care? Not a lot.
It's really, really comfy. And really comfy dresses with pockets are big winners in my wardrobe.
Besides, Clem whispered to me as I was finishing it off "I think you should never never wear t-shirts because you should always wear dresses because I like you wearing dresses".

And because I don't just want to post rubbish photos of me, here are some from a beautiful lunch we had today with Andy's sister and her family - a gift from them for Andy's 40th - at the ridiculously idyllic Kingsbrook Estate.

- Jane x

Monday, April 16, 2012

another hoodie 'n' stuff

I'm excited by the success of Clem's purple hoodie... so excited I have a bit more velour on its way in the post soon for the other boys. In the meantime, I hunted around for old clothes to try my hand at re-purposing. I see a lot of lovely creative use of old t-shirts and sweatshirts around the bloggy world and I really admire the ethic.
I dug out an old grey hoodie of Andy's that I'd started embroidering aeons ago, but it was old and ragged and not worth continuing with. And I found another that had a great print but Andy had never really liked the fit (online purchase). And another Spoonflower scrap.
Chop, chop.
Sew, sew.

Clem was delighted by the idea of another hoodie with 'this music thing' on it. (Pattern from Sublime Stitching.)
But it's been too warm here to wear it and he was not in the mood for photos.

Pattern was Farbenmix Yorik again. I lengthened the arms and body a little this time. I'm sure it will be worn in due course.

I've actually been sewing like mad lately and have also churned out some new PJ pants for the almost-11-year-old:
totally Franken-patterned, not worth crediting but the fabric is flannelette 'Boabab by 2 Mod Moms'
and a teeny tiny version of the Envelope Neck Tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated, for my brother's soon-to-be-born little boy.

Wow, baby clothes use up such a tiny amount of fabric! I would never have thought I could get an entire garment out of that little scrap I had left of these toadstools. There was a lot of frustration and unpicking over sewing the neck binding. Not the pattern's fault, it's just I was trying to get all clever with my coverstitch machine. I ended up using the single needle 'chain stitch' feature for the first time. The manual rather unhelpfully suggests this stitch is useful for wovens or other fabrics with little stretch.  Uh, isn't that what you use a regular sewing machine for? So I turned to the good old internet and found this reference to my machine, which shows the chain stitch used on stretch fabric. And yeah, it works. It looks like a regular straight stitch on top, but on the bottom is kind of loopy which allows it to stretch. It's fairly simple to swap from cover stitch to chain stitch and back so I can see myself using it a bit. Now I know what the heck it's for.

And you know what? I really really really should be doing some work that's urgently needed for first thing tomorrow but instead I've been watching Home & Away and blogging and reading Harry Potter to the big boys and having a cup of tea and I can put it off no longer.

See ya round like a rissole!

- Jane x

Friday, April 13, 2012

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (Soule Mama)

Because I couldn't think of any other excuse to post this photo:
Happy weekend.

- Jane x

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Clem has recently declared purple his favourite colour. And I have pounced on the opportunity to sew him some colourful clothes.

Purple velour is not easy to photograph! It sort of soaks up the light. Anyhow, this is the Farbenmix Yorik Hoodie pattern in Nicky velour. I probably should have made the next size up but I thought that the purple phase might be over by the time he grew into something huge. The velour is just gorgeous and 90% cotton as opposed to the completely synthetic and inexplicably expensive stuff in my local fabric shop.
The pattern instructions were in German?/Danish? but there's a visual step-by-step on the Farbenmix website and with a bit of concentration it wasn't too hard to work out.
The hood is lined, what fun! I chose - what else - some leftover Spoonflower organic cotton knit.

I bought one metre of the velour and had enough leftovers to make a couple of silly hats (based roughly on one bought for our big boys years ago), which are very soft, stretchy and cosy.
Actually before the purple hoodie came the purple tracky dacks.
I'd had some bamboo fleece in my stash forever but it was a natural cream colour. I winged it with my standard Clem-shorts-and-trousers pattern and added a ribbed waistband that contains wide elastic.

Then I dyed them using the stovetop method with regular Rit purple dye.

Result: great colour, saggy crotch! I didn't take enough off the top of the pants (which is normally a fold-over-to-make-elastic-casing type) before adding the waistband. Plus, the fabric is stretchy.
A bit of unpicking, chopping and re-sewing and the purple trackies are in business. Perfect for Easter-egg hunting:
 And jumping in a muddy pond.
Not sure if the colour is fading or if they just look paler next to the vivid hoodie.

I'm all excited about sewing with velour now. Just got a bunch of bamboo/organic cotton velour samples in the mail from here... only all conflicted about the enviro aspects of bamboo fabric production. Easy plant to grow but apparently not so easy to turn into fabric fibre. Never simple, is it?

I am currently struggling with another Farbenmix pattern for myself. Will. Make. It. Work.

- Jane x

Friday, April 6, 2012

this is not a shipwreck

Last weekend we visited the glorious Port Willunga beach.
I had brought the boys here last year when Andy was overseas and we read the sign about a ship wrecked in 1888. So we paddled about near the big wooden posts you see above, gathering shells and stones and discussing shipwrecks and pirates and I answered a billion questions about who was on the ship and where they were now and what were their names and making lots up as I went along.
So yeah, last Sunday we went back to see the shipwreck again and muse about the weathering of the timber and talk about pirates and so on. Beautiful day.
Lying in bed that night Andy said to me "you know that's not the shipwreck".
Which is bleedin' obvious now I look at it. Clearly the remains of a jetty/pier and not from 1888. The shipwreck is out a bit further, all underwater. And made of metal.

- Jane x

Thursday, April 5, 2012

new handbag

Yay, I made myself a new handbag, which is from Grand Revival's Flea Market Bag pattern, below. I made the small size with shoulder bag length straps and the optional petal ties.

It replaces this sad old grubby thing made from the same pattern probably about three years ago, using fabric left over from blinds that were made for our bedroom window. Dear bag, what a good bag you have been. Time to rest.

Fabrics are an Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton remnant I bought with this in mind maybe a year ago, and some Heather Ross moons which I adore and had left over from my quilt last year. I used some sturdy iron-on interfacing on the outer fabric which is making it feel a little crisp now but I'm sure will soften up with use. 
Button is a single beauty from my stash acquired during a brief eBay-old-button-frenzy.

I made the inner pocket larger and put a zip in, so that I don't have, you know, Ladies' Things falling out all over the place.
I've never done a zip pocket before and just improvised, sewing the zip into a cutout I made like this:

  And here are those petal ties which is something I particularly love about this pattern.
look at those happy little moons
 Ah, new handbag. A simple daily pleasure.
New handbag came to school sports day today. I particularly like this photo of Charlie.

Doesn't it look like he is quietly summoning strength as the only red team member in view? Ommmmm....   
(We didn't win but much fun was had by all.)

- Jane x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Who's the Flow Man?

The four year old doesn't particularly like to conform to anyone else's schedule. However, he still wants to know what the plan is. Constantly. "Will that be in the morning?"  "When we get home, can I...?" "Are we going back to the house?" "Is Better Homes and Gardens on tonight?" (He has a real thing about Better Homes and Gardens.)

Andy tried "Just go with the flow, man."

Clem: "Who's the Flow Man?"


We were lucky enough to have the use of my lovely boss's beach house this weekend. Even though Clem was incapable of going with the flow man whenever we were in the car, on the beach he was pretty much the flow man himself.

little shoe fits in big shoe for safekeeping
Every time we get our kids on the beach we wonder why we don't do it more often. I'm not the world's most beachy person but I could watch my kids enjoying it forever. And give me a patch of sea-rounded pebbles or trillions of tiny shells to comb through and I'm happy.

We always come home from the beach with pockets and buckets of treasures. Recently we've figured out what to do with them. They've become a little layered, scattered nest of 'offerings' at the foot of a tree outside our front door.

It's a tree with special memories for us and the offerings help it continue to feel special. And I can throw out carefully scatter those treasures and when someone asks "where's my beautiful stick/stone/shell" I can point them in the right direction and they don't have to get too huffy at me because it's a special place, right?

Memories are precious things and it feels good to find the 'right' way to honour something. This week an old school friend lost her husband, in the blink of an eye. I can't imagine how you can begin to compile, condense and hold on to memories in such a situation. I felt so privileged to be spending the weekend with my whole family.
And I made sure I did not spend every moment behind the camera. (I swear, I knew the battery was going to run out and I decided not to pack the charger.)
Did you know that when it rains, dried up old pinecones close back up, and open again when they dry out?

- Jane x
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