Thursday, 30 December 2010

Christmas wrap up

Hi everyone, hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Christmas day here was blisteringly hot (just shy of 40C) but fortunately we went from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned house.  Yes, a lot of running around but you may be surprised to hear that is less than normal so for the first time in about 20-odd years, I got a sleep in on Christmas Day - bliss.

First things first. A massive shout out to Cidell, who posted this recipe on her blog.  The pumpkin and mushroom Wellingtons were a big hit at my family's Christmas vegetarian lunch. Don't they look cute?
Now.  On to the outfit.  This year I fancied wearing linen pants.  I don't know why.  I have never worn linen before, let alone pants but I got the idea in my head that swishy wide legged pants would be cooler than a dress.  Yes, I know they would look better with heels but Christmas is pretty casual in my family and I have a lot of driving to do.  Even I can't wear heels all the time!

I used a stretch linen, probably a bit thicker than necessary - it's almost cargo weight if that makes sense.  I won't do a proper review of this since the pattern is a bit of a fudge.  I started with a Patrones pattern but widened the legs substantially, converted the waist facing to a shaped waistband and added pockets.  I think they came out okay but by the time these photos were taken (after lunch) I could already pinch a good inch on each side.  I may run them in a bit and then do a proper post on them, or I may just keep them as slouch-around-the-house pants.  I need some distance before I decide.

Here's the back, you can see how big they are on me.  Instead of looking relaxed and slouchy they just make me look wider than I already am.

The top is the cool, calm and cowl top which was a free download from Hot Patterns, but now you have to buy it.  I made it for the PR wardrobe competition last year so I have already reviewed it.  I really wish I had gone back and checked my own review so I could have remembered to lower the front neckline a bit.  Ah well, it will do for work.  I did at least remember that the band around the bottom did not work for my body type so I left that off and lengthened the top a little to compensate. The fabric is a remnant I picked up for $8 a couple of years ago.  I am not sure but it could be silk jersey - whatever it is, it feels beautiful!

This is my sister's dog Fergus, isn't he cute?

I am now working on a dress for New Year's Eve and am pretty pleased so far...

As a final note, these photos were taken on my lovely new camera that my fella got me for Christmas - yay!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas everyone.  Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.  I also hope it is a bit cooler where you are than here!

Back soon with a post about this year's Christmas outfit.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Pattern Review - Simplicity 2360 - the spotty ruffle dress

Phew, only 2 more days of work this year!  I cannot wait to have a break!  Apologies, I am a bit knackered so if you want full details you will need to check out the full review (see sidebar).

So this dress was inspired by the fabric, a polyester crepe de chine at a minuscule $5.00 per metre.  I already had loads of thread and elastic so this worked out to be about a $10 dress. 

Here is the front.

And the back.

I had to make a quick fix at the waist as the bodice was too short.  I attached a band in the middle and top-stitched the seam allowances down to make two elastic casings instead of one as provided in the pattern - sorry the picture isn't very clear.

Overall a pretty quick and easy make and the pattern has potential to be used for a heap of different garments.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Inspired by Van Gogh - the sunflower dress

I found this fabric at my local Spotlight for about $6.00 per metre and something abut it spoke to me.  The colours remind me of the Sunflowers painting by Van Gogh.  It is 100% cotton, hence the wrinkles after a full day at work but it is very light and cool in the hot weather.

The pattern is Simplicity 2424 - one of the Threads collection patterns.  I also like the cardigan in the pattern but I will have to give the jacket a miss though - the wide lapels will probably swamp my narrow shoulders and I suspect the poofy sleeves will end right at my widest bit!

I would have liked to have lined the dress but the only lining I had in my stash is the kind that wrinkles like mad after washing so I thought it would be a nightmare to take care of with two layers to iron!  My solution is to wear a full slip underneath which I actually quite like to do anyway.

Here is the back.
The princess seams make it easy to alter for many body types.  I made an fba, a sway back alteration  and narrowed the upper back.  The front neckline is a little high and makes me feel a bit claustrophobic but I can live with it.  I probably should have altered for my forward thrusting neck. 

I forgot to lengthen the pattern so I hemmed it using 2.5cm hem tape, but as you can see this pattern is a little longer than standard - I normally lengthen skirt patterns by a good 5cm.  I quite like the stability it gives the flimsy fabric.

Overall I like but don't love it.  It's not as comfortable as I would have liked, with it's slightly too high neck and the belt carriers are on an awkward part of my waist so the belt digs in a bit (this will not be a problem if your waist goes out gradually to your hips, rather than quite abruptly as mine does).  But I am desperate for clothes, it was super-inexpensive and it will do for one summer.  I would make the pattern again but take more time to fit it properly.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

It's a real thing

Here is how the conversation went:
Me: Do you like my cape?
Fella: It's a bit short.
Me: It's actually a capelet.
Fella: You're making that up, there's no such thing!

So here is my new capelet.

The pattern is the Loose Textured Cape by Jo Sharp, a Western Australian yarn and pattern designer, which I bought as a kit in a recent 40% off sale.  Essentially it is worked as a top-down raglan jumper but it finishes at the point you would normally separate the sleeve stitches and join for the body.  It is knit on 9mm needles and is worked in stripes of the main colour (1 strand) and the main colour plus one or two other yarns to give the thick and thin look.  Overall it was an easy make and only took a few evenings to finish.

Here's a closer look.  Instead of knitting on the placket and using a kilt pin to fasten I crocheted the placket and added a buttonhole so I could close it with an over sized wooden button.  I also worked the lower border in garter stitch instead of rib.

Somewhat disappointingly I ran short on a couple of the yarns, but since the all colours are so similar my substitutions don't show.

Here's one from the archives...Jo Sharp was originally known for her intricate intarsia designs.  Probably about 8 years ago now, when I had just had my mini-breakdown and threw in my job with no plans for the future, I was commissioned to knit probably one of THE most complicated designs you will ever see.  From memory there is at least 20 colours in it.  I never met the person it was for, as it was commissioned through a wool-shop owner and the client lived in the country.  I really hope she loved it as it nearly killed me to knit it.  I would work on it about 12 hours a day and got it finished in about 2 months - and then couldn't knit for about a month after due to straining my wrists!  But it was never boring...I present - the Cactus Flower Coat (and a much younger me!).
For the record, contract knitting is quite good fun but not a great way to cover the mortgage!

Oh and by the way thank you all so much for your kind messages after my last post.  I guess it's easy to lose perspective when you are so focussed on a problem.  I really wasn't fishing for compliments but you have helped me take a step back and see the bigger (no pun intended) picture.