fabric feasting

Saturday 28 March 2009
So I have broken my fabric diet in a sort of big way. I haven't bought any fabric at all this year, in fact the last I can remember purchashing some was last October although I have a tendency to push it to the back of my mind so who knows..... Anyway, I say 'sort of' big way because the amount purchased was a lot, but only a little bit is stash bound so it's not so bad really!

First up a few weeks ago the nice people at Spotlight sent me a coupon for $40 off any purchase over $100, and who am I to throw away $40 (just ignore the fact that to save $40 I had to spend $60!). I've been wanting to recover a timber chair and footstool in a nice snuggly fabric for winter because it is currently covered in a heavy cotton, and the fabric I've had my eye on was $30/m, so this voucher was the perfect time to make the purchase. It is a heavy upholstery weight chenille, in an eye popping fuschia pink colour which to my husband's credit he didn't blink an eye when I told him what it was for - he knows better than to question me in a fabric store! Now I just have to get on with making the covers before winter actually gets here.....

The next purchase last weekend was 20m of sheer white cotton voile with a self stripe that I bought, washed, ironed and made into curtains within a week of purchasing it so I don't think it really counts in guilty fabric buys since it was for a useful purpose. Making the curtains has taken me all week because even though they were simple to make because I used that easy peasy ruffle tape at the top, all that ironing, measuring and hemming was a complete bore. But they are done and here's a semi bad photo of them - it is so hard to take a photo in this room because it is so bright!:

The triangle windows above are still unpainted and unwashed at this stage, and coming up with a curtain solution for them has me stumped. I think I will leave them unclothed because they don't really contribute to the glare I was experiencing sitting on the lounge but they still let lots of light pour in. Anyway these curtains are only stage one for this room, for winter I plan to make some heavy drapes to go over the top for warmth and energy efficiency reasons but for now this is all that is needed in this room.

And the final purchases this morning were based purely on cuteness factor and because they were on special:

Some cute cotton prints from Spotlight for only $3/m that are destined to become some little dresses for Anna next year. How long before my stash is made up of cute kids fabrics instead of the dress and suiting fabrics I usually buy? I give it less than a year.....

Well my husband is out painting my soon to be sewing studio, and then some flooring will go down next weekend before I do the monumental task of moving the fabric stash up there. And this afternoon we're off to buy a new lounge suite and floor rug because our new living area is a little bare at the moment. Although little Miss Anna's furniture and things are rapidly filling up the space, but when she looks like this I quickly forgive her:

Have a happy and productive weekend everyone

and now for something completely different

Saturday 21 March 2009
thank you all for your advice re Anna's poo habits - she seems to have settled into a routine now of only going every few days which according to you all is normal. I guess it's a good thing because it means less really messy nappies to clean up, especially as now I have a laundry again I'm going to start using cloth nappies which was my intention from the start. While Anna is still relatively small I'm going to use terry towelling flats since I have a stack of them thanks to the lovely Raewyn who gave me a heap last year and they are a better fit on little bot bots.

But you know you've sewn almost everything when you've made one of these:

Ok, sewing your own menstrual pads may be much weirder, which plenty of people do I have discovered while researching nappies! Anyway I'm not going down that path, but I have made a pocket nappy, made from the Wee Weka pattern, and it's designed to convince lazy and recalcitrant husbands that using cloth nappies is no harder than using disposables! It's made from a PUL outer layer, which is some fancy schmancy waterproof but breathable laminated fabric, with a lovely soft microfleece inner against the skin, and in between those two layers (ie in the pocket) I've got some bamboo fleece which is ultra absorbent.

It even has leg gussets to contain leakages, and with the velcro across the front it's just the same as a disposable but won't contribute to landfill and huge energy costs required in it's production and transportation. I know, I know there's huge debate over whether the water and energy used in washing is less evil environmental issue than that of the disposables, but since I have a water efficient front loading machine and will dry in the sunshine since we have that in abundance, for me using cloth nappies makes environmental and financial sense. Rightio, I'll get off my high horse now......

It was pretty simple to make, thanks to the wonders of fold over elastic, but a bit fiddly. Given the cost of the fabrics and the time to make it I can see why these are selling for $20 - $30 a pop, although I would never pay that because I'm extremely thrifty (*cough* cheap). For anyone else who may be interested, I got my fabrics online from Green Beans which is a New Zealand company but have such good prices that even with postage it was the best value I could find, plus they posted really quickly. There's also a comparison of the three most popular free nappy patterns here, which helped me decide which to use.

So this week I had what could almost be called a social life! I went out to a restaurant with my parents and Anna slept most of the time in her pram until the end when she sat quietly in my lap, much to the visible relief of the other diners (it was a small restaurant). Then on Wednesday I watched a movie with my mothers club group in a cinema that has one of those crying rooms but none of the babies cried the whole time anyway! And then yesterday I met up with some friends for a walk in the park and yum cha for lunch, and since Anna was being so good I even took a walk around Ikea. That place is baby central during the weekdays, of which I am now one of those ladies of leisure with nothing better to do than shop during the day (ha ha just kidding, I wish!).

In response to Benes' question in the comments to the last post, half of the room has louvre windows, the other half is a big glass sliding door, and the triangle windows on top are fixed glass. They are fantastic in a temperate climate like here in Sydney because you can control how much the windows are open so you can get as much or as little breeze in the house as you want. Unfortunately though the new room is so bright during this summer sunshine we're having it practically burns my retina, so my mission this weekend is to find some fabrics to make some sheer curtains to filter. Looks like it's time to break the fabric fast......

Oh and a big congratulations to Carolyn over at diaryofasewingfanatic who welcomed a second grandson into the world this week! Also congratulations to my friend Jenny who just found out she is going to be a grandma for the second time, which is fantastic news since her daughter had a cervical cancer scare recently but thankfully was ok - go have pap smears ladies, it may save your life.

little sewing

Monday 16 March 2009
This week I only managed a little bit of sewing, but I did trace off three BWOF patterns from the November and December issues in preparation for our coming winter. The sewing I did manage this week were making little things for Anna finally. We've been having sort of in between weather where it's been too cool for the sleeveless body suits and little bloomers Anna has in abundance but also too warm for the hand me down winter pants I was given, so I decided to make some long pants for her in lightweight cotton interlock to get through this crazy weather period. They were so easy and quick to make I managed to make 4 pairs during one of her naps using fabrics from the stash of course. Here is my favourite, a pair of pink polka dot pants:

I used New Look 6310 pattern size, which has sizes for new born to large. I used the small size which according to the pattern sizing is for babies 6-8kg (13-18lb) since Anna was 6kg at her 2 month weight check (yes even my doctor calls her a little buddha!). Well I should have checked pattern review first, because this pattern is HUGE, which the reviewer mentions. So note for anyone else making this for their baby or as a gift, size down for sure. I thought the pattern sizing on women's patterns from the big 4 were way off, but this is crazy - in the photo below the pink stripe pants are size 000 bought from Target that fit perfectly, and the light grey pair are the ones I made that are supposed to be 'small':

In the end, I even had to reduce the new born size a fair bit, tracing off the Target pants to get ones that will actually fit her now, not in years to come..... What I'm extremely embarrassed about though is that I made these pants and top for a friend last year for her baby and if she tried them on her little girl they would be way too big and they must think I'm bonkers or have no idea about babies (which would be right actually!).

Now check this out, my lounge room and dining room have floors thanks to my parents staying at the weekend to help us put the floating floors down:

All that's left to do is put the skirting boards down, paint them and the architraves around the window and get busy decorating with some light fittings, furniture, artwork etc. We're still undecided about the staircase, we may change it for a more modern design but for now it will stay as is.

Outside though is still a complete disaster zone though, with the builder still to remove some rubbish and then some earthworks to be done before we can turf and landscape. But thankfully the builder wil soon be finished his work and will go away, because frankly I never want to see or hear him and his dopey offsiders ever again, they've been hanging around for far too long already.

Of course we still have a mile long list of things to finish off, like painting the outside of the house and garage (eek!), some additional cabinets and new benchtop for our enlarged kitchen, and some more painting in the rest of the house as well as fitting out my sewing studio (which incidentally is at the top of the list!).

Anyway must go and check Anna's nappy - I've become a bit obsessed with her poo habits lately because she hasn't gone for three days which is unlike her so I'm worried she may be constipated. Oh how exciting my life has become.....

You say trousers, I say pants

Tuesday 10 March 2009
Ok enough harping on by me about how none of my clothes fit my post baby body, I figured there were two things I could do about it: either lose the weight or sew some new clothes. Given that I have the means and materials (many, many materials) to sew some new clothes I took the easy option and made some new pants.

I don't often make pants because I'm really bad at it. Well I suppose I'm good at sewing pants, I'm just bad at making pants that fit me! Since I'm a pear shape with quite a large difference between my hip and waist measurements with some saddlebags thrown in for good measure, getting pants that skim over my hips but fit around the waist with any gaposis is actually difficult.

But I have found that Vogue 2907, an Alice + Oliver pattern is actually quite good for my body shape because they are hipsters and they have a centre back seam which allows for adjustment. Although I did make some adjustments to them because they are obscenely low waisted, so I raised the centre back by 5cm, grading down to 2cm at the sides and then blending down to the original waistline at the front. I also put two darts in the back and pinched the centre back seam of the waistband in at the top to get a nice snug fit around my waist and prevent the old 'plumbers crack' whenever I bend over or sit down!

I dug out some stretch polished cotton in a navy colour from the stash which sewed up beautifully and wears really well with minmal wrinkling. However I may have too smart for my own pants (ha ha pun intended) because these pants wear like jeans, they loosen up after a while and then they are a little too big! You just can't win sometimes.....

I also think that the fly zipper method used by this pattern is way too fiddly - it requires cutting out a seperate tab piece for the fly cover and sewing it on, instead of just cutting it out from the fabric and folding it back. Thank god for Sandra Betzina's video tutorial over on the Threads website about how to do a foolproof fly zipper which is the easiest way I've found to do a zipper and it always come out perfectly following her directions.

Jean - in answer to your question in the comments to my last post about the curtains in Anna's room, they are these ones from Ikea. They are a bit Orla Kiely inspired (ripped off?) and similar to the lovely fabric Erin used for her mini duro dress but a bit more bright and on a larger scale.

how to instill a love of sewing in the very young

Tuesday 3 March 2009
By replacing the sound of lullabies and those pesky Wiggles songs with the gentle hum of a sewing machine:

This isn't as bad as it looks, trust me! I haven't completely overtaken my daughter's bedroom just to set up my sewing machines, she has been sleeping in a bassinet beside my bed while we temporarily used her room firstly for the inlaws to sleep in when they were here and then for general storage when our third bedroom (which was being used for storage) had the wall linings replaced. Believe it or not this is the only table in the entire house at the moment, the dining table and all other desks are packed up in storage, but it has turned out to be a good spot to sew because I pop Anna in her cot during the day when she's awake and she generally falls asleep to the sound of my sewing machine.

Hopefully this early exposure will mean she will become a world famous fashion designer with loads of lovely fabric for me to play with! Of course the fashion game will be in between her making oodles of money playing professional golf but only when she's not carrying out brain surgery LOL!

Anyway we are getting so close to finally finishing the house, probably another week or two (fingers crossed that saying that out loud hasn't jinxed the progress). Here's the current status of the house extension:

The inside has been painted, but we are waiting for some faults in the concrete slab surface to be rectified before we can get the timber floors laid. There is some major rubbish removal to happen in the back yard but thankfully that is the job of the builder.

And here is the garage, all that is left to do in the garage is for the plumbing in the laundry to be completed, and a bit of painting inside and out:

That room on top of the garage is going to be my new sewing studio, there'll be room for my machines, a whole wall of shelving for the fabric stash as well as a big cutting table. Doesn't look like much right now, but I'm already planning the decor and I can't wait to get it all set up:

So where has February gone people? Anna is two months old today already! She has just started smiling recently, and she now has tears when she cries too. I'm sure I'll see a few those later this week when she has her immunisation shots, but for now here's a little smile that she has been cranking out lately:

And thank you all for your lovely comments on the skirt, I am still losing the weight quite easily at the moment yay for b/feeding! Although I have started more regularly walking because I still can't get my pre pregnancy pants and skirts past mid thigh so I know that I still have a way to go......