Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Moody Milkmaid" ... refashioned

Call me crazy.  I am crazy.  I'm insane.  Sometimes I swear I am a complete and utter lunatic.  I took my photos this morning and posted about my skirt (see below).  I even posted on Wardrobe Refashion.  I kept looking at the photos.  I wasn't happy.  My skirt looked somehow unsatisfactory.  The original Celine skirt has a waistband.  I knew this.  I made a conscious decision when I made my skirt that I wouldn't have a waistband.  I didn't want to do a complete knock-off, for heaven's sake.  But my skirt looked ... wrong.
So I attacked it.  I know!  Crazy!  After finishing up in the office, I took up the unpicker and removed the facings from the skirt.  By some miracle there was just enough of the port wine linen left to make a waistband.  Ironed on the interfacing.  Took in the waist darts front and back to bring the top up to waist level.  Attached the waistband, sewed a buttonhole, and added an old button.  You know what?  It looks so much better now.  Celine's Phoebe Philo was right.  The waistband was necessary.
(This photo was taken about seven hours after this morning's photo.  Crazy woman!)

Details: same as this morning!!!

"Moody Milkmaid" skirt

I know I'm not the only one to be completely inspired by the Celine spring/summer 2010 collection.  A deceptively bare collection, almost monastic in its simplicity but oh-so stylish and oh-so now.  Minus the fussy design details and opulent prints that have marked recent collections of other designers, marking defiance in the face of economic crisis; what Celine has realised, in a perceptive streak of genius, is that women do not want to look "fancy" in times of financial hardship, but casually glamourous in well constructed and quietly tasteful apparel.
This skirt first caught my eye when I saw it in Vogue, and I instantly wanted something sort of like it.  Not wishing to buy new fabric I made do with scraps and leftovers.  This is the tawny port linen, left over from the shirt I made for my husband here The contrasting bias binding I used for around the hemline and for the welt pockets is leftover from the crown blue linen that I used for my husband's new shirt, which is nearly-but-not-quite-finished, (should be able to show this off tomorrow.)  I'm pretty proud of this skirt since I drafted the pattern myself!
I really like how in Celine's styling of this outfit the bottom of the white shirt worn can be seen poking out of the bottom of the skirt, a sort of ersatz petticoat effect.  I don't have a shirt long enough for this look, and besides I made my skirt longer than the Celine version which is way too short for my tastes anyhow, so I wore my skirt today with a long petticoat underneath to get the same feel.  Looking at my picture I think I look a little milkmaid-y. My husband suggested "The Hills are Alive" as a title.
Btw, my hemline looks a bit wonky in this photo, please let me point out this is thanks to my posture and the way the skirt is sitting, and the hemline is actually PERFECTLY straight!!

Skirt; drafted by me, linen
Petticoat; Metalicus
Top; Cotton On, tossed out by my daughter and rescued by me
Shoes; Sandler, op shop

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Knotted rope necklace; a tutorial

Even though we are technically well into autumn, with a forecast of 32C today it's still feeling a lot like summer.  Not counting last week's storm, that is.  The past week has been absolutely glorious.  So everyone is still dressing in summer type gear.  When you live here, that often means beachy inspired stuff. Beachside fashion is huge in Australia.  Particularly with teenagers.  I have no wish to go around looking like a teenager, but some beach and surf gear can be quite sophisticated and still fun.  The March issue of Vogue was all surf inspired, and I caught sight of this necklace.  You may be able to read the price of this thing printed there in the middle.  Yes, $110.  Hooley dooley!

This piece is interesting, colourful and ripe for a DIY.  Right up my alley.  Actually, confession, I bought the bits and pieces for this DIY about three weeks ago, and am just only getting around to it now, my experience at making my Chanel style chain belt put me off jewellery making for a while... but I needn't have stressed as this was a breeze.
I bought 3m of brightly coloured cotton rope and some end bits.  This cost me about $10.  Not pictured here, but you also need a needle, scissors and matching thread.  I used embroidery thread, but that's because I inherited a lifetime supply of this from my great-aunt and my grandmother, any thread would do.

Fold the rope into three equal lengths.

Simply knot the rope in five evenly spaced knots.  I spent a bit of time getting them exactly even but I'm a bit obsessive that way, and it would probably look just as good a bit more randomly spaced...

Measure around your neck where you want the necklace to hang and mark each of the ends with a pin.

Using your matching thread sew a few firm stitches through all layers to secure them together.

Cut the ends off, and sew on an end piece, using loose stitches so it stands away a bit from your rope end.

Finish off by winding the thread tightly around the rope ends to bind down any loose ends poking out, and secure the ends.

Voila and ready to wear!  Even though I attached jewellery ends to the necklace I find I can still slip it over my head pretty easily without having to undo the catch.
I like the funky, casual, different look of this necklace; its not your average kind of accessory (and so the perfect accessory for me) and cost a lot less than the original.  Win!

Monday, March 29, 2010

An intense shot of colour

COLOUR!!  Get out your sunnies!  This saturation of colour I'm wearing today was a vaguely imagined "hope for" when I made this skirt.  I've really progressed in my fashion choices since I started writing this blog.  I'm challenging myself to wear all of my clothes I make, to stretch my imagination as far as colour goes and to let go of my beloved neutrals.  Not that I'm ever going to stop wearing my neutrals, mind, but six months ago I wouldn't have dreamed of wearing this particular colour combination.  This would have been completely out of my comfort zone.  So I've grown, fashion-wise.  I'm not trying to be the most noticeable or the most avant-garde person around, but I like to look nice and it's easy to get stuck in a rut with one's wardrobe.  Time after time, I'm reaching for the same old same old.  Not this time!
And I bought some new shoes!  I haven't bought any new clothes in over six months, apart from a few Country Road camisoles.  I consider these camisoles a wardrobe essential, I wear them such a lot during summer, and daily all through winter as an extra layer under everything else, for warmth.  So I felt OK about buying these new sandals!  I bought two pairs of summer sandals, actually, both half price.  The best time to buy summer shoes is now, just as the best time to buy winter shoes is in October.  Which is when I bought two pairs of winter boots, so I'm all set for winter!
Looking forward to a nice birthday morning tea for my friend L today.  So since it's such a beautiful day I'm popping these shoes in my bag and walking to the cafe in my thongs (flipflops); these beauties are sadly not made for walking!!

Skirt; Vogue 1023 view C, turquoise polycotton
Camisole; Country Road
Cardigan; Metalicus
Sandals; Pedro Miralles, from Soletta shoes

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Felted wall hanging

Another felted thing.  I made this last year some time.  This is hanging on the wall in our front room, to be admired by visitors (hehe).  I really enjoyed the process of making this because by this time I had worked out how forgiving felting is and that you really can't mistreat it; as long as you're working with colours you love you really can't go wrong here.
I envisaged this to be a sort of textile visual document in no language, a sort of crafted poem; a felted "page" with embroidered strokes and/or marks and dashes making a "text" on its surface.  I like how the the progression of colours turned out in the felted background and intended the vertical stitches of the embroidery as a kind of visual progression of colours and form in themselves... They bring to mind the tally of days that long-term prisoners scratch out on their cell walls; or the painted wall markings that are sometimes found in pre-historic caves, the homes of primitive people.  This could be a document from an undiscovered isolated culture, made by a people who use fabrics for their record making, and a language of strokes with colours, height and spacing forming an alphabet.
I sewed a bit of thick-ish wire across the top at back to stiffen it so it wouldn't collapse when hanging, and it's hanging from fishing wire which is almost invisible so the piece seems to be floating against the wall.  The size of this is roughly 52cmx28cm  (20.5in x 11in)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pattern Magic; toile 3, "detsubori" no shatsu

The latest toile from this excellent book.  I think this is a fantastic book if you are a reasonably advanced seamstress who wishes to learn something about pattern manipulation and drafting.  I've never done this sort of thing before and I'm finding it challenging and good practice for any pattern alteration and/or drafting I may want to try in the future.  I have no idea what "detsubori" or "no shatsu" mean.  If anyone out there has any Japanese and can enlighten me ...? 
For this one Bessie is obliging by being my model for today.  This blouse is a very clever design in how it incorporated the bust dart in to the sculptural er, "things" out the front making them even more, er, sticky-outy...  it's probably a little eccentric for me, I guess the plus side of these is at least you have a place to tuck a hankie if you need one?  Yeah.  No other plusses occurring to me.
I didn't do a very good job of inserting the sleeves, but, meh...  This one is going to remain for now just a toile.  Maybe someday when I am far more adventurous than I am now then this made up in a stiff crisp white linen may make a wonderfully avant-garde evening shirt ... someday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mossy Feather dress

I read a very funny post by Erin recently in which she pointed out how Anthropologie gave their garments cutesie little names in which to entice customers into buying...  I've decided to give my creations names from now on.  Actually in my head some of my clothes have little nicknames already, you may remember the Bouchee dress, I also have the Straightjacket dress, you may be able to picture it although I've not formally given it this name in this blog yet... and the Maternity dress...  er it's dawning on me these are not enticing names and I need to lift my game up somewhat.  Need to tap into my inner poet (haha!)
So today's dress.  The newly named Mossy Feather dress.  Yesterday I posted about garments I make that are put away and almost forgotten about, well this one was a pleasant surprise when I unearthed it a few days ago.  I made it back in November, and promptly forgot about it over summer.  Doh!  It's from Vogue 2820, an Anna Sui design, and made from the most mouthwatering silk printed with an abstract tracery of feathers and leaves, and in earthy woodland colours, a mix of brown-pinks, chocolate and moss green reminiscent of a Renaissance master landscape...  The trim is a deep chocolate nylon net.  Looking back I was having a love affair with my new Ducky shoes (thankyou Lily for inspiring that nickname!) and was planning for a wardrobe to match...  Still adore these shoes...

Dress; Vogue 2820 view B, printed silk
Shoes; Ducky, bought online from KronKron

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Red floral skirt; 6 different ways

Today I'm doing another "6-ways to wear an item of clothing in my wardrobe" post.  Phew, that's a horribly in-succinct title....
I'm showcasing my red floral skirt, made from Vogue 2894 that has been an absolute little gem in my wardrobe all summer, and I continue to reach for it well into autumn too.  It's become a fast favourite, although I've made some new stuff recently and I should start wearing some of that now ... does anyone else make clothes and them put them carefully away in their wardrobe on a padded hanger, virtually not to see the light of day for a few more months because you consider them "too good" to wear just yet?  I'm terrible that way.
Anyhoo, I've had some fun dressing up this skirt in a few different ways, for hot weather and a few cool weather options in there too.  I've worn it in several different ways already in this blog and here I've searched for a few new options in my wardrobe with which to wear it in the coming months.
The beauty of a multicoloured garment like this one is that it has plenty of colours in it to pick out, which can be colour matched as in below, at left a casual summer version and at right a casual version for cooler weather.  

Also, some colour contrasts will work equally well.  I'm a believer that denim works with practically everything, and especially with red I just love it...

Even though the skirt has neither navy or chocolate in it these contrasting colours fit in tonally with the sharp clear and strong colours in the skirt and work well as cooler weather neutrals with it as here:

In a post-script, my clean up is progressing well.  I took two of these photos today, and can you guess which two photos are the post-storm ones?  No?  Well, that's because I've done such a fab job cleaning up this corner of the garden...!  (hehe)
For interest, the denim jacket and the hot pink cardi version I shot today, and the latter is the version I'm wearing for today...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunshine award

Despite my despondency yesterday (hey, a girl is entitled to an off day every once in a while, right?  We've all been there...) I managed to achieve quite a lot by way of cleaning up.  I've shifted a small mountain of laundry from off my laundry floor.  There are now "piles" of debris around the backyard, as opposed to a general blanket coverage.  I've broken down some big branches into much smaller manageable sizes.  The glass man is expected.  Broken glass has been dealt with.  The pool is getting there...  er, sort of...  
And I'm feeling a lot more positive and sunshine-y today.  So it seems an appropriate day to do this!

Faye very kindly nominated me for this sunshine award, which was so sweet of her and I was thrilled and honoured to receive it.  Thanks, Faye!
The requirements for the award are very simple, and are as follows:

1. Place the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within the post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

I'm following Faye's lead and nominating 6 fellow bloggers for this award.  These are 6 ladies who I find to be wonderfully skilled at combining beauty and functionality in their sewing achievements, and to be proud to wear and show off their creations on their blog in order to inspire us all.

Lauriana, who continues to amaze with her exceptional precision tailoring and cool classic dressing style

Ruta, who is so stylish and clever with her approach to her whole wardrobe... 

Yoshimi, who creates stunning and beautiful garments worthy of the chicest and most exclusive boutiques.  Her latest jeans creation is to die for...

Trudy, who not only is a most inspirational mother, creative artist and a very sweet lady who always leaves such uplifting comments to definitely brighten my day, but also finds time somehow to sew lovely garments

Ann, another lovely sweet lady who always adds a bit of sunshine to my day with her supportive comments.  A very clever seamstress who made stunning jeans for herself (jaw drops in admiration...)

Caroline, who writes in an entertaining and witty way about her adventures with her wardrobe and her life

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The clean-up begins...

So today I'm taking stock of the mess and devastation around our house from yesterday's storm.  Perhaps an outfit post for the day seems inappropriate but now I'm so in the habit of popping my camera into my backpack I just went ahead and set up for a photo as usual.  Apologies for the fairly boring outfit I've chosen today...  Actually I do love the swirling puffy clouds with bruised smudges above, with every so often a blaze of brilliant turquoise to delight us...  The funny thing is it is a pretty hot day again today, and in this photo I was sweltering...  a good opportunity for me to put on my bathers when I got home and get started on a fun activity; I spent three quarters of an hour dredging the pool to the best of my ability.
Paradoxically I've always thought of the wind and rain as nature's way of "cleaning up" the earth's surface, as in the wind can be thought of as nature's broom/vacuum cleaner blowing the dust away and the rain washes everything down clean and sparkling like a new pin all over again.  When we visited Egypt and the streets and buildings were so dusty and dirty I remember thinking what this place needs is a good strong wind followed by a thorough downpour to clean up a bit.  I say paradoxical because after a wild storm like yesterday of course the landscape is so much messier than before, and needs so much cleaning up after!!  I guess my simile isn't particularly applicable after all!
So I'm outside wandering around with rake and broom and the thought "Where do I even begin?" pops into my head regularly.  For one thing, the piles of debris vs. the volume of our household bin.. there's quite a discrepancy there for a start.  This is going to take time.  I'm finding myself lurching from one job to another without seeming to achieve anything very much at all...  One thing is for sure, my dressmaking hobby is going to go on the back-burner for a while.  My laundry where I usually sew is filled knee-high with piles of wet old towels/rags we used to clean up the worst of the inside puddles... and my washing machine is working overtime today.  
I'd have to say the plus-side of being without power last night, after everyone had got over the initial withdrawal symptoms from electronic entertainment (What? we're going to miss Bear Grylls?!  Noooooo...!") was that everybody set to and made their own old-fashioned entertainment by candlelight.  Something we should do more often, methinks...

Lace top; my own design, cut-away embroidered linen
Cargo pants; urban, from Ezibuy
Camisole; Country Road
Scarf; made by me, turquoise silk chiffon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Canal Rocks II

These deceptively calm photos belie the fact that this afternoon we have endured the most massive storm, stronger and more ferocious than I've seen in years!!  Hard to believe a day ago we had balmy summer heat and relentless blue skies, the last ten hours has seen torrential rain (a welcome component, the first rain we've seen here in three months!) and hail (not so welcome, we've lost two windows...), thunder, lightning and flooded roads... my son's car came to a slow standstill in the middle of a puddle, (I admit to a little giggle at that one!), luckily he was just metres from home and managed to glide to the side of the road and just had to make a soggy sprint the rest of the way home, in his words dodging flying tree branches and struggling against buffeting winds.  My other children sought refuge in a kebab shop to escape hailstones "the size of golfballs" and made me a panicked phone call to "please pick them up", of course I was stuck in the most horrendous traffic jam and wondering if my car was going to come out of the storm pockmarked like a golfball itself from the fierce hail rat-a-tatting on my roof....
Finished mopping up and all safe and sound now and only just had power restored in the last few minutes so I'm sharing with you some more photos of a last few rays of sunshine over the ocean; the calm before the storm...
The above photo is my outfit for today; I know I wore these shorts only a few days ago, a wardrobe repeat that is the result of criminally bad packing for a weekend away, but these photos my husband took have such magnificent colours, no?

Shorts; Burda 7723 slightly modified, charcoal gabardine refashioned from old skirt
Camisole and cardigan; Country Road
Thongs (flipflops); Mountain Designs