getting back into the swing of things

Tuesday 30 August 2011
Thank you all for the condolences and empathy regarding the situation with my uncle, I cannot believe how common it is for petty family squabbles at times like these. 

With all that has been going on I lost my sewing mojo for a little while there, and before I knew it almost a week had passed and I hadn't even stepped foot into my sewing room.  Plus we've been having confusing weather lately - some really warm days followed up by some cool days, so I've been at a loss of what to sew next.

But with a little one that is growing so fast, there is always something to sew.  The extra long pants I made for her at the beginning of the year are already becoming a bit Steve Urkel in length! Remember Steve Urkel when he looked like this?:

Well he's now all grown up and looks like this:

I'm starting to feel very old now that kids from tv shows that I watched when I was kid are all adults now - even Winnie from the Wonder Years and Punky Brewster have kids of their own!

Anyway, getting back on topic, I made these cargo pants from the Spring 1/2011 Ottobre magazine:

I made these from a very bright piece of purple gabardine that had been sitting in my stash for a while that I couldn't quite picture using for anything else, but it turns out it's a perfect colour for a little girl.

Ordinarily I find sewing little people clothes quite easy and straightforward because there's not really the complex fitting issues and they aren't usually fiddly because kids don't particularly like fiddly clothes.  Well not these cargo pants, between the endless amount of topstitching, the front pockets, the leg pockets, the rear pockets, the ties on the leg pockets, the zipper and flyshield it all took ages.  But they look cute, I got some lovely comments on them from several people and she who now decides her own outfits was excited and agreed to wear them straight away, so they are a winner!

And they proved perfect for a day of bouncing on a jumping castle at a local school fete on the weekend:

And to keep the enthusiasm going I've already started my next project - a mesh sequined jacket to wear to a birthday party for my husband we're having this Saturday night at a local restaurant.  Lucky me I have tomorrow off work but Anna is off to school (happy happy days) so I can finish off the jacket, get a haircut, and bake a birthday cake - he turns 40 tomorrow so I should make something special and big enough to hold 40 candles!

the sad occasion dress

Tuesday 23 August 2011
At the risk of turning this blog into a soap opera, we've had another week of dramas around my house.  Last Wednesday my grandfather passed away, which given he was 93 was not unexpected but still rather surprising since the last time I saw him a few weeks ago he actually looked healthier than he had in a while.  But it is also a relief that he has finally let go - 93 is a long life and he had been rather sad, anxious and in despair at his failing body.

But that is not the soap opera part.  My rather obnoxious uncle had organised the funeral in the hours between my grandfather's passing and him informing the rest of the family of my grandfather's death.  So not only did my uncle exclude the rest of us in organising the details, he organised it for 5 days after my grandfather's death despite knowing full well that my parents (my grandfathers only other son) are in the desert of Western Australia somewhere on a holiday.  For those of you not familiar with Australia, Western Australia is far far away from Sydney.  He would not change the day either even though we could not reach my parents.  Luckily two days before the funeral my parents finally came into a small town, got some mobile reception and finally heard the news.  Several flights later on very expensive air tickets they managed to get back just in the nick of time much to the feigned relief of my uncle.

But that is not the end of the soap opera part.  The exact same thing happened when my grandmother died about 4 years ago.  Yes, the exact same situation.  My parents were on another holiday this time in the Cape York bush (again far far away from Sydney) when my grandmother passed, and my uncle once again organised the funeral a few days after her death without consulting anyone else.  And again my parents had to rush home to make it in time for the funeral.

The annoying thing is that my uncle was not even that close with my grandparents, and yet he felt he had the right to try to exclude my parents from being able to farewell them. My grandparents were actually living with my parents before they went on their Cape York holiday, and my grandparents had gone into respite care for two months only while my parents were on holiday and afterwards my grandfather continued living with my parents until recently when he was moved into a nursing home.

But this is a sewing blog, and despite a glimpse into other people's family politics being fascinating in much the same way as driving past a car accident, let's have a look at the cute dress I made for Anna to wear to the funeral.  I ummed and ahhed about whether to take her, but I did in the end because the service was held an hour and half away from her childcare and I didn't want to be in a rush to get home to get her in case things went too long.  She behaved herself well though, sitting quietly through the service and then being cute and bringing some much needed distraction and levity during the wake.

Since all of her clothes are brightly coloured in typical toddler fashion I thought about making her an old fashioned style black dress with a white lace collar but was worried that would look too Wednesday Addams! So I made view 1 (the black dress) from this vintage Style 2168 pattern, which is from 1979:

from this fabric which is actually a maxi skirt my mother made and wore in the 70s.  It's a lovely brushed cotton with a pretty floral and graphic print and suits the dress perfectly:

The fit is spot on too, which surprised me since I've found that commercial sewing patterns, especially the vintage ones seem to run large but this one was perfect.  It has an ultra cute peter pan collar, bell sleeves which are cinched in at the wrist with elastic and puffy shoulders. 

Paired with some purple stockings (my choice) and a leopard print jacket (her choice) it was the perfect choice for a sad day.

And now I hope to get back to some regularly scheduled posting. Life without dramas is always best don't you think?

Burda1/2011, skirt 113 done

Thursday 11 August 2011
Sorry for the recent blog silence, we had to take an unexpected trip interstate to visit my husband's parents as my father in law has sadly been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  Even though it's a quite small growth because it was discovered early, esophageal cancer is an aggressive cancer and he's been told that he has about three years even with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

And on top of the trip I've had my own very minor but annoying ailments to contend with: tonsillitis again, a severe migraine and now a stuffy head cold.  Bring on spring I say! So I'm sure you can all understand why I've had nothing to report around here, not that I expect you all to be waiting on tenterhooks for wise words - I know I'm not that interesting.

But I did manage to finish sewing the hem on my recent project: Burda 1/2011, skirt 113:

I even made mine from some glenplaid wool just like the magazine photo, which of course led to frustrations in pattern matching.  Here's my finished product:

I think it looks ok, although I think the waistband yoke is either too wide or I should have made it a bit smaller so it sits higher on my waistline because it looks a little off to me.  And looking at these photos it seems the hem may not be straight either because it looks to be sitting higher at the back than the front, although that could be my dodgy posture though.

The pattern was super easy and would have been quick to sew if I didn't make it from a plaid fabric.  The skirt is excessively long though - there are two versions in the magazine, a long (calf length) and a shorter one (knee length), but I found that I had to lop almost 15cm off the length to get it sit anywhere near my knee.  Which of course meant I had to take out the godet and resew it in higher up the back centre seam.  I also put in a centre back zip instead of a side zip just because I find side zips tend to ripple over my lumpy hips and thighs so I like to avoid that!

Pattern matching on the side was a success:

and successful on the front too, but I should have lined up the apex of the yoke with a stripe instead of having it off centre - I should have paid more attention when cutting out the front skirt on the fold.

Pattern matching on the back was a mixed result - vertically pretty good but horizontally it is way off.  But as many of you have pointed out before no one should be staring at my butt enough to notice that anyway!

I'm pleased to have finished this project, but it certainly doesn't hold the same excitement for me as a newly finished dress I have to say.  Next up I'm working on some pants for Anna since she just won't stop growing taller, and I'm pretreating some wool fabric for a jacket for myself which is the least exciting part of a project but must be done to save tears later right?