knitting and the life I almost have around it

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sew on and sew forth

So, I told you all I was waiting on this sewing machine? Oh the wait!
In some ways it was useful, in that it gave me time to really consider my options. The Sewing Bug had a really good sale on, and I was torn between three machines. As is human nature, I went with the middle option. But while waiting I considered the next model up. The machine I had ordered was a $699 model with $100 off as part of the sale. But this little beauty was $1299 with $500 off as part of the sale! As you would expect with that kind of price difference, there are plenty more features, including twice as many in-built stitches.

So I forked out an extra $100 and took home the 6260QC last Saturday. I have yet to make anything "real" with it - lots of the buttons and levers are placed differently to my old machine, and I don't want to end up making a crucial error because I forget how to stitch back!

I have, however, been having fun with all the fancy stitch options and the one-step buttonholer!
The snowflake stitch is probably my favourite!

We spent yesterday afternoon looking at open houses, which is an experience at once exhausting, exciting and disappointing!
We were looking in a new built area near Gungahlin, which none of our maps covered, and the maps on allhomes were challenging to the intellect. So we got lost and missed two of the homes we had planned to look at. And one we saw on the fly actually turned out to be the most useful! We are now considering building rather than buying new...
I suppose the thing is, neither of us feels very grown-up. And building feels less safe by far! For starters, I've watched enough Grand Designs to be wary! But in terms of cost, we can dictate the design and landscaping (and all the finishes) for less than a similar new property on the market. And... I suppose I am wary of making an easy choice that I'm not 100% happy with. Building would be a pain in the arse, but the investment of time and patience would result in a more suited product. What do they say? The greater the risk, the greater the reward?

Meeting estate agents is rather like dating. They are all trying to seduce, without letting on that they care too much, and trying to hide all their flaws. We spoke to several, and one guy really made an impression (the one who is keen to do builds). While of course he was selling himself, it didn't feel like bluster, and the finishes on the home he was showing were far superior to the others we saw (and it was cheaper). Being a detail-oriented person, I really respected his work.

Anyway, we're having a little breather to think, so we don't rush into anything. But there's a lovely big block at Sprinbank Rise, facing a park, that excited us both more than any of the homes we saw!

I've also made a real effort in the last week to get more exercise! A friend got me on to Couch to 5k. I've been for two runs now, and will do my third today. I've always wanted to run, but have given myself awful shin-splints every time I've tried in the past. This program, however, leads you into the run gently, so you intersperse running and brisk walking as you build up strength. So far, no shin-splints! I felt awesome after the first run, and less awesome after the second (though I suspect this was due to hormonal interference!). I also went for a nice long bike ride around the lake yesterday.
How virtuous I feel! :)

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Belting out the hits 2

As promised, some "modelled" shots. Apologies for the usual crap-ness of photography!
Peace out,
Ms Spider xxx

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On a roll!

I also whipped up a pair of shorts for the husband out of two of his old t-shirts. I made a pattern piece by laying a pair of his old shorts on some old newspaper.

Then I cut the shoulder seams of two t-shirts, and folded them across the centre of the shirt (to preserve the centre image).
Then I cut the pattern pieces (plus seam allowance). I placed the pieces carefully so that I could use the bottom hem for the bottom of the leg, and made sure they would be the same length.
The (once again in the no-photo zone) I sewed the two pieces together along the J-seams. I then sewed the inner thigh seams from one leg to the other. Then I double folded the waistband (wide enough for elastic) and sewed, leaving a gap to thread elastic through. Inserted elastic (and sewed on an after-thought-y pocket which I really should have done at the beginning).

Not the neatest thing I ever made, but I'm pretty pleased with them. The beauty of this type of project is that both shirts have been washed and through the tumble dryer before, and so it's unlikely to shrink. And they make his butt look cute (important!).

Peace out
Ms Spider xxx

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Belting out the hits

On Saturday I bought a new sewing machine (this one) but there's a delay and it won't arrive for at least a fortnight. Yes, this kills me. But I have decided this is the Universe's way of teaching me patience and maturity. Or something.
But my interest is up, and I've been using my old machine a lot - hey, at least I'll appreciate the new one heaps when it arrives.
I've been spending a lot of time trawling for good DIY projects. I found this one for a floral belt a few weeks ago, and spent a while madly searching for a good second-hand leather item to upcycle. And on Saturday, I hit gold.

Most of the stuff at Salvos (Fyshwick store) was hugely expensive, and I had no luck finding
a skirt. Luckily, I did find a girl's suede jacket!
I made a pattern piece (as per the tutorial) based on my waist measurement (plus about 3 inches). I tried the pattern piece on to get an idea of what it would look like. It took some tweaking, but when it looked right, I cut out a piece from the body of the jacket (I put the wider middle section as evenly across the stitching in the middle back as possible - bonus detail stitching!)
I also cut out a lining piece, using some antique blue satin remnants of one of my grandmother's dresses.

Then I got into the zone and forgot to take ANY progress shots (old readers may sense a theme).

I am still attaching the press-studs - I'm using two, about 1.5 inches apart so there's a nice wide overlap (I'm hoping this will keep it together neater than just one).

Finished belt!
And close up of the floral detail :)
I'm really happy with this! It looks super cute over dresses and blouses. As soon as I finish the fastening I'll post a modelled shot!

Peace out,
Ms Spider xxx

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

military-inspired corsage

Yes, I know, same old, same old. But I'm not going to give reasons for not writing, it's boring and no-one cares.

Instead - project!

I was in DFO a few weeks ago, and saw some of those huge maxi-dresses at Industrie - you know the type, t-shit fabric and super long. So I picked up a couple because I can never find any decent t-shirt fabric, and they were cheap, cheap, cheap! They are destined for many new garments, but this is the first:

1. The dress. I bought a small (they're all pretty big though) but only because it was the largest one in the shop. If you're buying clothes for repurposing, bigger is better! It's a poly/viscose/elastane blend, but for $7 I'm not worried. The fabric feels nice, and I'm not looking for anything with huge long-term wear.2. I cut off a few inches from the bottom hem, in a strip. 3. Then I used a darning needle to thread yarn in BIG stitches along the raw edge. I used most of the front piece - you'll see when you've got enough by gathering the stitches as you go. (Yes, that's sock yarn.)
4. Gather tightly and tie off. 5. Stitch up the raw side pieces (you're admiring my crappy hand-stitching, aren't you?).
6. Now, the middle of your corsage will be raw, so you'll need to cover it up. I was lucky enough to find these vintage military buttons recently, so had plenty to choose from. I finally selected this anchor, and found a brooch-backing in my jewellery-making stash.7. Stitch the button into the centre of your corsage. If it has a shank, you probably want to tug it into the centre of the corsage, in amongst the raw edges, so it doesn't rattle around. Now stitch or hot-glue the brooch backing onto the back of your corsage. This fabric is pretty drop-y, so I'll probably stick a bit of hot-glue discretely around the front of the button to make sure the fabric sticks out neatly.
I may turn the top half of this dress into a tank, it doesn't look half bad! I think I get bonus style points for the tracky-pants underneath ;)Stay tuned for more repurposed maxi-dress projects!

Peace out,
Ms Spider xxx

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