Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas and the tale of a red coat

Dear Readers,
Here it is, Christmas Eve. The last minute rush through overcrowded supermarkets and shops has come and gone. Food and presents have been bought, holiday leave arranged and a last bit of sewing squeezed in. I'm also moving so I've been packing up, sending off and giving away my things. I have taken photos of my bicycle and - gasp - sewing machine to put up on the 'for sale' notice board at work in the New Year. Before I sell my machine I want to make one last thing, a cheerful red duffle from the Burda November issue.

Burda 111.11.2011

It is a very simple pattern, not much shaping, loose, easy, right? I'd had it in mind ever since I first saw this issue. I even set off to Amsterdam to meet up with European sewing friends and go to the huge fabric markets there with the aim of buying some red wool fabric expressly for this pattern. I did buy wool but not a woven. I fell in love with a thick double sided knit with a little bit of stretch. The stretch wouldn't matter, would it? I could stabilize it right? Well dear reader this is what comes of putting oneself under time constraints and not listening to the inner sewing voice. I preshrunk my fabric, got eye strain tracing the fiendishly crowded pattern then found I did not have enough interfacing in my dwindling stash to interface to whole thing and decided to go without. This coat was coming back to the mild winters of Sydney. 
I ended up with this. Pardon the laughter-shaky pic ..

To say it is too big is an understatement. I considered chopping it up into something else entirely, then I started playing with it and folding bits back. It wasn't so bad after all. I love the colour and the spongy texture of the fabric.

I did like the style buried underneath all the volume

and the giant hood.

To end the story, I unpicked every seam and took 2cm off everything. I may not have this finished for Christmas but I will finish it.  Merry Christmas to you all.

I have a feeling that 2012 will be a very good year. xx
Thanks for being part of my blog.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

My Image Magazine

Dear People
Recently I did a little review on PR of a quick knit dress that I ran up form My Image magazine.

Dress M1163

Me attempting to model. Heidi Klum's career is not in danger

Click on the pattern Review widget on the sidebar to read the review. Dear reader, apart from being pleased that I had knocked out a dress that worked with no fuss I did not think any further about it. I didn't even mention it here or put a link on my review. I had a new winter dress to wear to church on Christmas day and that was it. I thought the magazine had been around for ages and was just another sewing mag that all the European girls had access to for a few euros *sigh*. Then I got an email from My Image thanking me for my nice review and saying, in effect - we are new please please mention us on the web! Who could resist that? So here goes .. drumroll .. My First Gratuitous Plug, er review. Be assured I would not do this if I thought the mag was crap. Here goes.

My Image is a new sewing magazine that comes out quarterly for each season. It is written with instructions in four languages, English, Dutch, German and French. I don't know where the magazine originates. The cover was in English and the English instructions are very good. There are clear line drawings and nice photographs that allow you to see the actual garment.

There are only sixteen patterns per issue but they are sixteen different styles - not repetitions or variations of the same thing. There was enough of a mix of trendy and classic styles to keep a woman of aahem certain years happy. The patterns are not crowded and are easy to trace. The pattern pieces of the dress I made were meticulously drafted and went together very well.

There is much that I like in this magazine. I would buy it again if the shipping costs are not prohibitive. I must admit I thought of it as a one-off travel treat.

Martin I hope you like the plug!

I mentioned in my PR review that I'd bought it in a delicious lingerie fabric shop called KantjeBoord in the Netherlands. I may as well give them a plug too.
Kantjeboord is a wonderfully poky shop crowded floor to ceiling with material, notions, trims and bra making stuff. There is enough to keep non -bra makers like myself happy too. There is a good selection of knit materials, fake furs, feathers, magazines, even some quilting materials. There are friendly staff and a cute boxer dog behind the counter. He is fenced in but he is friendly. See Cidel's post about Knatjeboord Oops that's supposed to read "Kantjeboord"

That's all folks

Friday, 9 December 2011

Calling Mary Nanna!

Here we are on the evening of Friday 9th December and I am about to announce the winner! Firstly thank you for all of you who stopped by and showed interest. All were good reasons but points were deducted for trying to talk me out of my own give-away, points were added for flattery and attempted bribery! 

Mary Nanna, email me! You've won the giveaway.

On other matters, in reply to Dilliander's question,
There are two fabric shops that I saw in Tromso. One is a place where they make national dress and they have a small but exquisite range of wools and flannels etc. There is another shop but I didn't manage to get to it when they were open - too much sightseeing! BTW Everything there is quite expensive - food, eating out but it is a gorgeous place and well worth a visit. BTW the place is so small you will find both shops, don't worry! If you are a knitter the shop that sells hand made jumpers has a wool emporium downstairs that is knitter's heaven.

The national costume shop

Fabulous hand knit sweater shop 

All are in the town centre. I hope you enjoy Tromso as much as I did. 

Happy travelling

Sunday, 4 December 2011

My seriously warm little winter coat

Dear reader,
About six weeks ago I started making a coat form some pure wool tartan that I had bought on my travels in Edinburgh. I actually love tailoring. It is the opposite of quick'n'easy but ultimately more fulfilling. I like pressing and interfacing and seemingly endless hand stitching. It soothes me. I put on some favourite music and I can go for hours. Well it's December and I am glad to say the coat is finished just as the English weather cools to 6 degree days, something quite novel to this expat Sydney sider. It took a long time to make because it was interrupted by a trip to Amsterdam to see friends and then a trip to Norway to see the Aurora Borealis. No need to feel sorry for me ;)

The coat is V8754 'Very Easy vogue' here  Curiously, the line drawings make it look like the closure is off to one side but that is not the case, the button closures are central. It is a nice pattern with just enough darts and shaping to keep it from being too boxy but simple enough for my first interlining project. It ended up being fully interfaced as well and lined with black satin that I'd bought for another project. The end product is still soft and drapey enough to feel very comfortable on but warm like wearing a blanket, which indeed I am doing as the interlining was originally a thrifted fleece blanket that had been on my bed covers. I couldn't find anything appropriate to buy locally when I was cutting it out! I'll do a PR review with all the blow by blow details soon.

The coat

Here I am wearing it.

The back. that's me running to get in place before the timer on my camera went off!

And a gratuitous travel shot - me in Tromso, Norway.

Edited to add photos of the constellation of Gemini, the Aurora Borealis, and Tromso. Please respect that these are my images.

I had a brilliant time.
Happy sewing everyone.

p.s. don't forget to vote in the 'Give me a Reason" giveaway. See previous post.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Give me a reason

Dear readers,
I am getting ready to move on again. I am sorting, gifting, selling, recycling and generally getting rid of stuff before my long haul back home to Sydney. For all my European friends yes I'll be back! I just don't know where I'll be based yet.
I tend to collect books and material and increasingly now, photo equipment, but I also enjoy the freedom that de-cluttering brings. There is always stuff that is just stuff or stuff that brought great pleasure to me at the time but will surely do the same now for someone else, which brings me to the title of this post.
Give me a reason, dear reader as to why I should give you - out of all the blogger-sewists of the world - this lovely piece of vintage Liberty Hera print Tana Lawn.

Results of this contest will be totally biased and chosen by me. You have till Friday night 9th December, UK time!
Happy writing,