Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Evening outfit, inspired by Christian Lacroix

This is an outfit I made for evening wear a couple of years ago.  It's been a wonderful one for when we have some winter function and the weather is really cold as I can pop on a thermal underneath if necessary, and my shoulders are covered.  I was completely inspired by the outfit at right from the Christian Lacroix Fall 2007 Couture collection.
The top is a bodysuit made out of thick stretch black jersey, and for a tiny dressy touch the shoulders were cut high and gathered tightly at the top for a little puff.  The decoration around the neckline is a tube of heavy ivory/cream raw silk that I folded randomly and artistically and hand-stitched down (see detail picture below).
While for the top I was aiming for slimline and body-hugging, I wanted for the skirt to be dramatically flared and with lots of "bits", like the Lacroix design.  I eventually achieved this by making two skirts.  For the underskirt I started off with New Look 6509 as a basic 8-gore skirt but altered by tapering the gores to be much wider at the hemline.  I also added wide triangular inserts in between some of the gores for added volume.  The overskirt is pretty much a circle skirt, plus some extra at the front opening.  The inserts and the overskirt I hemmed in straight lines, forming points, for a gothicky, witchy look.
Oh, (afterthought!) I'm not sure what the composition of the skirt fabric actually is, but it is like a heavy and very stiff satin; with a slight sheen on one side and matte on the other.  Perfect for the look I wanted.

Bodysuit; drafted my own design, black stretch jersey knit with ivory silk decoration
Skirt; drafted my own design, starting with New Look 6509, black stiff fabric
Tights; Kolotex
Shoes; Nina, from David Jones

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lounge room curtains, 2

This is the second set of curtains in our lounge room, opposite the other pair here.  As this window faces the street I made these curtains first, the other set was made a little further down the track, er OK a lot further, maybe a year?!  I know, how lazy am I...!
So, observant readers will notice straight away; this set is of chocolate brown chenille, as opposed to the the other curtains which are crimson.  This is partly because I don't like my rooms to be too matchy matchy; I'm partial to a mishmash of household items each with their own inherent story and beauty that doesn't necessarily relate to the item alongside it, all in one room.  Our family has collected furniture and decorations over years, as sentiments, funds, whimsy and holiday souvenirs have dictated, so my decorating style reflects this; there is no perfectly co-ordinated "House & Garden" perfection around here.  But that's how I like it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Caramel "loopy" scarf

I made this scarf a few years ago, not really sure now how many.  Originally I had done a class at Ivy and Maude, and was so inspired I went on to make dozens of these.  Well, maybe a few more than a dozen, anyhow!  I gave nearly all of them away as gifts.
The stitch is a very clever stitch where you wrap the wool around your thumb as you are knitting and then cast the wool over to "lock" the loop in, creating permanent loops.  A friend once told me she had seen the stitch in a very old knitting book, so it's been around...  I thought for about a split second of trying to describe/draw how to do the stitch on this blog but abandoned that thought; its just too complex for my limited descriptive/illustrative skills...!
The beauty in these scarves is always in the wool you choose.  All the ones I made were out of Colinette Fandango; just bought one ball of this divine all-cotton yarn and knitted up the whole ball in this fashion; bingo, instant beautiful scarf.  The colour ranges available of this stuff are what "make" the scarf, imo.
This one has a mix of caramel, cream, fawn and grey and has long been a favourite (it's got so thin!!)  I have also made ones for myself in red/pink and one in pastel blue/green/pink.  The other ones I made for friends were all of other colours, I never doubled up on shades.  Didn't have to! every time I went into the shop there seemed to be so many new fabulous shades to choose from, my enthusiasm would be re-ignited all over again!

Scarf; made by me, Colinette Fandango yarn
Jeans; Burda 7863, black denim
Top; Ezibuy
Cardigan; Country Road
Handwarmers; Sportsgirl
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies in Dunsborough
Bag; Gucci
(New!!) Sunglasses; Ray Ban

News; I decided to join up to Wardrobe Refashion again, for another 4 months.  I may not do heaps of refashioning this time but I'll be sewing my own (as usual), and staying away from shopping for readymade clothes...
Also I signed up for this: 
'I, Carolyn (Handmade by Carolyn), sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear handmade and refashioned items of clothing and/or accessories and jewellery every day for the duration of September 2010'.

Should be fun!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cute patchwork skirt for a little girl

It is my youngest niece's birthday tomorrow and I wanted to make her a frivolous and girly little skirt because she is luckily still little enough to love pretty dress-up clothes.  A dress I had made her for a previous birthday could well be the most appreciated present I've ever made anyone, as she wore it lots and lots.  It was a hot pink satin princess dress, with a sweetheart neckline, puffy glitter sleeves and a glittery tulle bustle and I was thrilled she was so happy with it.
For this skirt I bought this row of pretty patches joined together.  The idea for this skirt came from the very creative Sophie who owns and operates Materialize.  She had made some adorable patchwork tutus for very little girls and had joined this strip together like this when I bought it.
Now I'm making a skirt here not a tutu, and obviously the skirt was going to be way too short with just these pieces so what was necessary here? of course a petticoat!  So I bought some broderie anglaise and a little bit of broderie edging and cut to the suitable length; gathered the patched strip to fit on top.  I did it this way because I wanted the overskirt to be gathered in an apron-like fashion over a straighter petticoat...  At this point I had also removed some of the patches, partly  because I realised the strip was going to be too long and partly because I didn't like some of the fabrics so much.  Then I attached the broderie anglaise edging strip to the bottom edge...
I also got some of this adorable lime striped bias binding to use for the tie waistband, and attached it to the top edge.  The petticoat, being a rectangle, required only a little gathering to fit my niece's waist measurement.  Using some leftover lilac cotton I made some more bias binding to line the waistband.
The lilac bias binding was sewn to the lime stripe bias binding, leaving the skirt top open to enable turning right sides out.  Here in this photo  the waistband has been sewn together and one tie end has been turned out and pressed.
The waistband opening was slipstitched closed on the inside, and the waist ties topstitched on the right side out.  Finally the centre back of the skirt was sewn closed, leaving enough of an opening for my niece to step into the skirt.  I finished the open edges of the centre back with narrow hems.

Et voila!  This skirt would be a good way to use up scraps of leftover fabric that's too pretty to throw out, or if you've ever been lured into buying a set of gorgeously co-ordinated fat quarters. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Going to the game

Once again, soccer Mum mode... today I lucked out, got myself a nice sheltered spot sitting in the sun and managed to knit continuously throughout the game; bonus!!  Yeah, I can finally knit without having to watch what my hands are doing and it's wunderbar...
Our game was a draw so, m-yeah (shrug) better than a loss, no?  Now the weather is absolutely freeeezing I'm well into the knitting swing once again.  When I got dressed this morning we had just hit our minimum of 1C so I just threw on this blue-hued mishmash of garments and was out the door with a minimum of hemming and hawing half-dressed in front of the wardrobe...  Oh, I did at first have on some little black knitted handwarmers too, but I've taken them off here after warming up in the sun.
Can you believe it?  1C!!!!!  I can't remember Perth ever being this cold before!  I have clear memories of when I was a teenager and hearing on the radio the minimum one morning was 5C and my friends and I thought we were dying...!  I'm kind of over winter already, my least favourite season; it's too cold to sew much, or at least my way of sewing which involves lots of fitting to myself during construction, which necessarily involves undressing... brrrr! just can't do it!
I'd much rather be curled up on a couch or in the sun with a pile of wool and a pussycat on my lap and a dog at my feet.
Can you tell I washed my hair today?  For many years I've washed my hair religiously every second day, and for the past month or so I've been experimenting with leaving it until the third day because I felt it was looking a little frizzy.  Later last night I took another look at yesterday's blog photo (it was day 3 hair)  and felt mildly revolted at the sight of my hair.  If I hadn't been so rushed yesterday I would have washed my hair and re-taken those damn photos!  Too late!  So I've made a decision; my hair is definitely two-day wash hair.

Jacket; Simplicity 4698, navy blue raw silk
Top; Metalicus
Jeans; Soon
Scarf; souvenir from Paris
Boots; Mina Martini, from Marie Claire shoes

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pattern Magic; page 50

I skipped ahead a few patterns to get to this jumper because I totally wanted to wear it this winter!!
This is of course drafted from Pattern Magic. by Nakamichi Tomoko.
This is an amazing top pattern for two reasons; firstly it is cut completely in one piece, and secondly the pattern is drawn all wonky and skewiff, which creates this amazingly interesting twist in the body of the top when you are wearing it.  I love it!
I made two versions of this top, the first is pictured on Bessie below, made out of quite thin mauve-y grey jersey.  This was made up exactly to the pattern and while I don't have big arms by any means these sleeves are skin-tight on me.  This isn't going to stop me from wearing it as the weather warms up around here, but just a warning note to others wanting to make up this top...
The second version, that I am wearing today, is out of a lovely thick warm charcoal marle knit.  I widened the sleeves by about 1.5cm and they are much more comfortable...  Because the fabric is a little thicker the twists don't show up as dramatically on the body of the top, but with the weather as cold as it is in Perth right now that extra fabric thickness is very welcome!  I think it might have been about 3C this morning when I was taking these photos here, brrrr!

Top; from Pattern Magic, by Nakamichi Tomoko, charcoal knit
Jeans; Soon
Boots; Mina Martini, from Marie Claire shoes

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blue cable socks

'Nother pair o' socks.
These are made entirely of the Patonyle's wool, but following the shrinkage disasters of the other socks made with this particular wool I've been a lot more careful in the laundering of this pair and they still fit me.  Just.  Looking at this photo I can see my heel isn't really situated in the heel of the socks.. oh, well, may have to pass these ones on too...  I actually originally bought four balls of this wool, in this colour, which looking back was a kind of insane thing to do.  What was I thinking?  The result is lots of pairs of socks in this colour and in this impractical yarn.  I've tried to make each pair just a little different in some way.  These ones have a row of cable up the sides.
When my kids were little I used to get them multiple pairs of socks all the same; the idea was that I wouldn't have to pair them up after washing, or hunt about for that elusive missing half of a "favourite" pair.  I reasoned that if they were all identical there would be no dramas, no wailing "but I have to wear my pink dotty socks with the bow!!".  And it was a great scheme, those heady days when I was in total control of the sock-choosing-and-buying.  Oh how times have changed.  Now they're all grown up, and all of us in the house have our own sock collection, suited to our personalities, chosen as whim, fancy and fashion takes us.  Matching up those gazillion unique pairs of socks is one of my daily chores.  FUN!
Today's random picture below; I'm coming across smiley faces a lot in my life lately.  Here is another where I didn't expect it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Black high-waist straight-leg jeans

I've made some new jeans!  
After being inspired by some of the beautiful examples of other people out there making their own jeans, and the success of my own khaki stretch gabardine jeans I decided to give this a go.  These new ones are made from black denim with only a little stretch in them.  When I first bought this fabric I thought it had more stretch than it actually did, but now they are finished I'm glad they are not too stretchy, as they are more like real jeans in my opinion.  So, even though the pattern envelope says "stretch fabrics only", I would use this advice as a guide only in fabric selection.  Mine turned out alright.  I think so, anyway!
I used Burda 7863 again, and the only variation to the pattern I did this time was to add a zip placket, as seen in the photo below, to protect my tender tummy skin from those sharp (and in winter, cold!) zipper teeth.  Also, I did originally have pocket flaps over the pockets as per the pattern, but removed these as I thought they looked a little "home-made" and not very trendy.  The remaining half of the press stud is still there in the pocket, but I kind of like the look of this.  If I get enthusiastic I might even add some sort of embroidered pocket decoration in the future...  I also made the belt loops a little wider, to accommodate my black belt, but as the waist is so nice and high and because I went to the effort of fitting the waistband to my waist size, I probably won't even be wearing a belt with these jeans.  The pockets are lined with scraps of leftover patchwork fabric that I had used to line my autumn trench coat, and the topstitching throughout is a single row of long stitch in a deep ruby red; because I had some of this colour leftover from my Rosetta ballgown.
So I'm pretty happy with my new skinny leg jeans!  They are a lot warmer than my khaki stretch ones, so will be great for those coooold winter mornings!

Jeans; Burda 7863, black denim
Top; Metalicus
Cardigan; Country Road
Scarf; Sportsgirl
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies in Dunsborough

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Game of 8 questions

Thankyou ladies, for your sweet comments yesterday.  Really lifted my spirits to read your kind words.  I think it's so wonderful that we have this new international community at our fingertips, where women can support each other in our creative endeavours.  Don't you?
The very clever Lily over at House of Mirth tagged me recently for the game of eight questions, thankyou Lily!  It would be fab if we could spot each other at the fabric store one day, no?
So here they are!
1) If you could live in any time and place, when and where would it be?
Ooh, well growing up I read all of Agatha Christie's books and her autobiography and had such a fascination for her life in England during late Victorian and early 20th century times, so it would have to be there.  Must be the explanation for my unquenchable obsession for white lace...  And my family and ancestry is all from there so I feel a very strong affinity for the place, even though I've never been there...!
2) Other than Mr Darcy, who is your most shaggable fictional character?
Have you ever come across Altaiir?  Those of us ladies who have teenage boys and have seen the Assassin in action on XBox are all well aware of the mysterious sex-ay hotness of the spunkiest virtual man ever conceived...  Watch this and be still my beating heart...

3) Do you have any hidden talents?
4) Tell me something embarrassing about yourself!
Well, only that I have been known on occasion to take pictures of myself in my outfits in public, hiding from other walkers and often pretending to be taking photos of my dog!  Lol!
5) What really gets on your nerves?
Well as I'm getting older I'm calming down and just the obvious biggies such as sexism and racism and age-ism are left...  It used to be things like using a "k" instead of a "c"; there is a cafe on the way to my parent's house called "Krazy Kow Kafe", (rolling eyes) just too twee for words, no?...  bad spelling like that used to really bug me but I've calmed down on that one, since nowadays I'm just as capable as the next person of punching messages into my phone such as "c u 2moz?"!
6) Do your family and friends read your blog?
Mum and Dad, my husband, my daughter Cassie, and my sister in law Sandi all leave a comment once in a while.  Only a very few of my friends even know about my blog!
7) What's your favourite movie?
I've not come across another movie yet that had such a big impact on me on first viewing as the Sixth Sense.  The weary passion of the characters, the careful measured pace of it, the sombre colours with that significant splash of red, the atmosphere of fear and loneliness, the breathtaking climax.  It was just perfectly constructed in every way.  On a completely different note, last weekend I saw Kick Ass.  I wouldn't recommend it if you're offended by bad language, but I loved every moment!
8) What does your dream cat look like? (Mine is a big fat fluffy orange Persian with a squished face called Darren or Darryl. Not liking cats is not an option!)
I already have three dream felines in residence; but take a look at Missile Cat here!  Funny!
Now I'm going to tag the following:
Trudy, from Sewing with Trudy
Ann, from Ann's Fashion Studio
Shannon; from Mushywear
Angie; from Sew I Thought
A Sewn Wardrobe
Cassie; from After a Busy Day

And if they would like to play they can answer the following questions:
1. What is the first thing you made?  Do you still have it?
2. If you had a daemon (an animal companion that best fitted your personality), what would it be?
3. In which country, other than the one you actually do live in, would you like to live?
4. What colour do you think is your "best colour"?
5. A movie is made about your life; what would it be called?
6. Who would you select to play you in this movie about yourself?
7. If cost and/or cooking ability were no object; what would you most like to have for dinner?
8. Has a song ever moved you to tears?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Except the boots...

Today my outfit is completely handmade by me!!  Doesn't happen with extreme frequency, especially during winter when jumpers and cardigans are in constant appearance, so feeling pretty pleased with this outfit!  And my socks are knitted by me too, although they're clearly not visible here...!  I really like the mix of blues and khaki combination, muted but strong; a colour scheme I really wanted to wear this winter.
Sigh, one of the factors causing me angst at the moment is whether or not to join up to Wardrobe Refashion again.   I've noticed that it is not going to cost us to join up, which is a good thing.  But I keep coming across new Metalicus tops in yummy colours which when I spy them am immediately convinced will fill a gaping hole in my wardrobe...   But do I really need new tops?  No.  Want?  Er, well, yes.... (shamefaced)  Yesterday I got out a woolen Tshirt from winter last year and it had big holes in it, a victim of silverfish (sad face)...  so some new tops should be on my to-get list.  And I have a big craving for some Metalicus.  It's like a drug.  I must resist.
As well, in the West last weekend Rob Broadfield in his restaurant review penned a particularly scathing (and kinda nasty) comment on a certain type of woman who hails from the western suburbs (which I don't) and who wears Metalicus (er, guilty).  My friend D once described the type as a latte-drinking, western suburbs airhead.  I think I'm safe on the latte issue, the western suburbs issue, and the airhead issue.  But I am failing on the Metalicus front...  And I definitely do NOT want to be lumped into that, or any, category of women.  I like to think I have my own style and am different from the herd.  (As we all do!)  So teetering here, on the whole Wardrobe Refashion issue...  
I did some more sewing over the weekend and have some new things to show you, but much better suited to a chillier day than today!
Today's random picture below; cute droplets of water on my benchtop, must be a "sign", no?

Jeans; Burda 7863, khaki stretch gabardine
T-shirt; refashioned from husband's old T-shirt here
Cardigan; refashioned from husband's old jumper here
Scarf; refashioned from husband's old tank here
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies in Dunsborough

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lounge room curtains, 1

One set of my lounge room curtains!  There is another set, which I will post pictures of next week.  I do try to limit my blogging in some ways, as in, yes, I do post every day which may be excessive but there may come a time when my enthusiasm wanes and you will be left in relative peace from my random sewing onslaughts...  For now I'm steadily working through all the stuff I've made, both past and present and with a smattering of my fashion ideas as they occur to me...  I hope this is not too boring.
This is the window facing onto our courtyard and all the flowering plants in it are red, raspberry or pink in colour, so I went with this cheerful and cosy crimson chenille fabric for the curtains to complement the outlook.  Just a simple (huge!) rectangle of fabric two and a half times the width of the window, with curtain tape sewn to the top and triple pleat hooks inserted in the appropriate places... nothing fancy, but simple curtains are my preference.  These have been up for about four years now.  I love the subdued gloss of the polished steel curtain rods at the top and like to see them exposed.  Thus no pelmets.
Unfortunately, being winter there are not many flowers here on my flowering plants, but in spring and summer it is a lovely rosy red view from here!  I didn't time this post very well with the seasons, did I...?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Spicey Rose chenille scarf

Here I'm in soccer Mum mode again... we lost...
Not to worry, my scrummy scarf is to be talked about here today.  I've possibly worn this before on the blog but not mentioned anything about its province, so today it gets a post of its own.  I wish I could remember the name of the Colinette yarn I used; I bought and knitted it up about four years ago and it's since been discontinued and I can't find any old tags or any info on the net to enlighten me.  The best I can do is to tell you it's a chenille in a beautiful array of toasty, spicy, berry-preserves colours guaranteed to start warming you up before you've even wrapped it around your neck...
I bought 3 balls, cast on 80 stitches and just knitted in garter stitch until all three balls had gone.  Now usually I prefer not to use garter stitch in a scarf as it has a sort of "first scarf" look about it, but it this yarn's case I think it works all right.
Sorry about the slightly blurry close-up.  I didn't notice how bad this photo was when I looked in my camera's viewfinder (I think I might need spectacles!), but no matter as you can still get a feel for these lovely colours and generous dimensions of this scarf which have made it such a "nice" component of my winter wardrobe.  Inverted commas on the rather lame usage of "nice" there, because I couldn't think of a suitably rave-y-type adjective that perfectly encompasses the versatility of a scarf that works just as well as a casual scarf, as here, and yet capably transforms into an evening stole when I want it to... if I wasn't so lazy I would get dressed up to show it in evening mode, but that will have to wait for another post.

Jeans; Soon
Top; Ezibuy
Scarf; made by me, Colinette yarn
Boots; Mina Martini, from Marie Claire shoes

Friday, June 18, 2010

Winterblue shirt

You've heard of "wintergreen"?  Well I've decided this is "winterblue"!  You know, a sort of arctic colour scheme and with the snowflake-like print 'n all...?
Today is my son Tim's birthday, so of course I had to make him a shirt like his brother's, see here...  Tim really feels the cold so I made his out of warm-as-toast plaid cotton flannel, a fabric that caused a few queries about the "pyjamas" I was making but in keeping with my surfwear research of the other week!, and using Burda 7767 (yes, again...)  Again I used press studs in lieu of buttons throughout, and added a tab inside the sleeves so he can roll his sleeves up; the preferred mode of wear.  Although the cuffs and sleeve plackets are there and finished to perfection (if I say so myself!) they will probably never be seen!
Please note that the checks match up perfectly, and that the pockets are mini symmetrical works of art; patched and with the outer half placed on the diagonal, pocket flaps also on the diagonal and stripes going in the opposite direction on each side.  I'm kind of obsessive with my patterns like that!  Do you like the little message I put inside the yoke?  I ran out of the flannel (it came in a much narrower width than I realised when buying it) and so used some of the leftover cotton from Sam's shirt to face the pocket flaps and for the inside yoke.  
He says he loves it, and is wearing it now.  Happy birthday, Tim!
Today's random picture below, an inadvertent experiment by Tim; what happens when you leave a felt-tip pen uncapped and resting overnight against a roll of absorbent toilet paper?  Scroll down to find out...