Refashion, redesign, restart

I am acutely aware that there are likely more posts on this blog about my sewing space and tools than actual sewing posts. And the fact is, not much sewing has been done since before Christmas. But things are back to normal now. I have a new desk, a perfect space, and I plugged in the sewing machine again!

And instead of just admiring my sewing equipment, I used it last weekend!

I started with a refashion / mending job that has been sitting in my wardrobe for 3-4 years. This dress looks perfectly fine, even if a bit more ‘in’ 4 years ago. But it hides a dark and embarrassing secret. That strong and powerful zipper? Completely useless and likely to slide open in the middle of Melbourne Casino. Luckily I was wearing a jacket.

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(sorry for the poor pics)

Considering the size of the zip, and my lack of patience for zippers, I decided not to replace it. Instead, I unpicked and removed the zip, closed the gap up to the top of the thick elastic waist of the dress, closed the raw edge of the soft top of the dress, and then fitted some buttons and loops!

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It took a few goes to get the loops the right length but I am very happy with the end result. Sorry there are no pics of the dress on me. I didn’t want to harass the boyfriend, busy writing his final year project. 🙂 But rest assured it looks cute on…all these years later!

Confidence boosted, I then tackled my first project in months, a simple library bag for my cousins daughter Mia. I made this up as I went, no pattern needed!

20130326_152155 This is my first ever attempt at applique, which is rather wonky, and the corduroy fabric stretched on the corner of the pocket, but over all I was very happy. My sewjo is back! 😀

My sewing room / study is also now at optimum perfection, because boyfriend and I visited Sydney this weekend, first seeing the Royal Easter Show (huge and amazing) and then trying Ikea for the first time! After a full day of walking the show, Ikea the next day was painful, however I had planned ahead thoroughly online and therefore we were in and out in 3 hours, not even having to pay for parking. I picked up a new cube (expedit) shelf and desk as well as drawer and display shelf inserts for the cubes. All for under $400! I did look at the desk chairs but none were as comfy as mine. Mine is a gross green colour so I have decided to attempt to recover it sometime soon 🙂 All I need now is a lamp, and I may return to Ikea later and replace my brown skinny display shelves with narrow expedit ones. We’ll see 🙂

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In final news, I bounced on over to the hairdressers and got myself a fringe (bangs).

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Change is exciting! xo

New home, new tools, new start.

Well, it has certainly been a while!

Boyfriend and I were thrown into a sudden move. It was all our own doing of course, but it was sudden in that I had gotten the dates mixed up and we were able to move to a better rental in Feb, as opposed to April as I had originally thought. And then The. Perfect. House. was found and we got it! 😀

This of course resulted in chaos, but in the midst of said chaos I managed to score a bargain, as previously mentioned in a post in early Feb. I have been keeping an eye out for a while for a Horn cutting table, on Gumtree, ebay etc. I had been using the dining table to cut which was too low and brutal on my back. I knew that a brand new Horn table is around $800. I was expecting to pay $400 secondhand. Most of them are too far away for me to pick up too…it seems there are MANY sewers in Victoria, not as many in NSW? Then a beautiful one popped up on ebay, bundled with a mannequin no less, and I mustered all my sniping skills to chase it down. I swooped in with seconds to spare and lay down a $300 bid (which was all I could afford with the pending move). I waited the final 30 seconds on tenterhooks, watching the frantic bids from competing buyers as the price ticked up. It was at $90 when I bid and reached $202.50 in the closing seconds. I got it, and at a BARGAIN price! The table itself was worth about $400, and I got it for $200 with a bonus mannequin! I haven’t been more thrilled since my very first ebay purchase, an out of print boxed set of the Tomorrow Series by John Marsden. My brother and I drove to Lithgow to pick the items up, a three hour drive away, squishing them into my trooper little hatchback.

This is my baby in all its glory, its even the same colour as my machine cabinet 🙂

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I tried to upload a pic of it all opened up in the seller’s garage but it isn’t working. Just know that it opens up HUGE and I am glad it is on wheels because I will need to relocate it to the dining room whenever I fully extend it 🙂

The neck of the mannequin had come apart (but was unbroken) and for those who have never tried to put one back together it was, to be blunt, a bitch! But I did it, and it is now as good as new 🙂

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And considering the crazy circumstances, that’s all the sewing news I have for you. The costume party I mentioned in a previous post was postponed due to torrential rain, which was just was well as it was the weekend after we moved and I hadn’t even started putting it together. I have all the stuff there so it will definitely happen…I’m just not sure when and can’t share because it’s still a surprise. In other costume news though, I am hoping to afford to go to Supernova for the first time this year, and possible will attempt to make a Cloberella costume.

Other than that I have to make my stepdad’s curtains (still…terrible daughter) and get back to my true desire: dressmaking. I want to start with three thorough wearable muslins: Lily by Colette, Macaron by Colette and Simplicity 2217: Amazing fit dress.

I am going to have to do the sensible thing and start by plugging in my sewing machine for the first time in months and making a simple library bag for my cousin’s little girl. She deserves it, and I need to start with something simple and easy to achieve a result with! 🙂

My new sewing space in my new home. I'm in love!

My new sewing space in my new home. I’m in love!

Fresh start in the New Year

I convinced the boyfriend to give me exclusive use of the study, meaning he can take over (and minimalise to his tastes) the dining/living room. A temporary measure until we find a new (larger) rental in the next couple of months, but heaven no less!

Welcome to my writing/sewing room! 😀

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Efficient space.

Ok firstly, I am very aware that the last few posts have not included much actual sewing. It makes me sad, 😦 but I have been doing alot of buying and alot of learning. None of these things result in pictures of pretty projects that I can share but hopefully they increase the chances of more projects in the future, and successful ones at that! 🙂 I have spent this morning cleaning and arranging my new sewing area (yay!) and preparing the slow cooker. Me and boyfriend are taking an icecream break soon (brave, as it is freezing here at the moment: beautiful Aussie sunshine, ice wind), after that I am tackling a pile of mending and then I’m spending some time with my overlocker. I have used it a few times since I bought it off my friend but now need to give it the maintenance and attention it deserves. I have never played with an overlocker’s settings before but found two great articles, one on giving it a clean and one on discovering the right settings and learning to use them. Fun! It probably also needs a service but maybe I will just do it and my sewing machine at the same time in a couple of months. The overlocker does not get used much yet and I have car expenses.

Anyways, after the mending pile and the overlocker today THEN I might get some cute things made tomorrow…yay! 🙂

In the meantime, what I can share is the sewing space improvement. I haven’t been able to upgrade the actual location and so am still holed up in the dining room, however there has been a vast improvement!

This is how things were looking:

Messy! Actually it was even more cluttered with dressform and other add-ons.

And here it is now!

All tucked away

Out and ready to go!

Yay! Doesn’t it all look so much better! And I have at least a foot back in my dining room 🙂

The white cupboard is still the pantry and boyfriend has big plans to clean out the kitchen so that the food in the cupboard can live in there (where it belongs…a pantry in the dining room is so annoying). When that happens I am hoping to replace the white cuboard with something lower to store my fabrics in. At the moment the main fabric stash is in the canvas box lurking in the corner of the first pic and the excess is in the built in robe in our study.

I am so happy with the improved space. Boyfriend is very much a minimalist so given how annoyed I was with the previous set up it must have been driving him insane. We hope to move to a bigger home in about a year and we aim to have a study each (or in my case ‘study/sewing room’). Until then this set up is perfect for us 🙂

What makes this even better is that my new sewing cabinet was only $70! Big thanks to a lovely stranger on Gumtree who insisted on delivering it even though it would have fitted in my hatch just fine. These babies are usually $250 second hand and $500-600 new so I was very excited. It works great, just squeals alot when using the air lift to raise the machine. I called Horn (the manufacturer) to ask if they new how to oil it, but on describing the type of lifter they discovered its over 25 years old! It’s in such good condition I was very surprised. Anyways, they couldn’t tell me how to oil it because their expert on the old models has retired, but that’s ok. It works so I just have to warn boyfriend to block his ears when I go to lift or lower…it’s very ‘nails on a blackboard’. I was not paying $150 to repair my bargain, when I can just buy a new one if it stops working. But if anyone out there knows how to oil the older model Horn sewing cabinets (lifter mechanism attached at the back, as opposed to the sides like the new ones) I would LOVE to hear from you 🙂 Noise aside, I’d love my new toy to last as long as possible.

My new black drawers were also deliciously cheap at $35 from Officeworks. They are perfect for my tools and notions. Hoorah!

Happy sewing and thrifting! 🙂

Sprocket, supplies and splendid buys

Busy, busy, busy! And hardly any of it sewing 😦

I did however make a sproket cushion, inspired by and part of a sew along on The Sewing Library. I had never made one before and I think its very cute…and it was super easy!

The tute for this can be found here: http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2011/03/tutorial-sprocket-pillows.html

It was fun trying to find the right fabrics for it. I have discovered I have trouble visualising things when I have to patchwork things together, which is going to make quilt making interesting when I get around to trying it. In the end I cut up a triangle in each fabric I was considering and then played around with the colours.

I was still struggling a bit with my lack of fabric. I had plenty of the stripes and owls but nothing that looked particularly good with them. And as per my complaints when putting together Mother’s Day gifts, I also did not have any plain fabrics in nice pastels or browns or other muted colours. All my fabrics were too busy! Anyway, I did end up with a sprocket cushion that I love and I will probably give it away as a gift. It doesn’t really “go” in my house and I don’t really need it. I will have to buy a big basket to start putting away any early made gifts!

On Saturday just gone I ventured to Spotlight to tackle the stash issue. I went early as it was ‘Sewing Saturday’, and that combined with the crazy May savings and voucher were going to make for some chaos. I am pretty happy with my buys, this all cost $63 and is worth about $120 😀

I stocked up on pins, stretch needles, a button covering kit, and cottons (which were on special!), and got those lovely plain fabrics on the left. I picked up a bias tape maker that I am very happy with. Best of all are the two fabrics on the right.

This one is a gorgeous flannelette which was only $5 a metre on special. This will be some cozy new pjs for me…yay!

And this  gorgeous quilting cotton is in a ‘writer’ theme. Its so pretty! I am going to make this into my very own ‘writer’s satchel’, big enough to perfectly fit my netbook, my kindle, my little novel planning folder, and wallet/keys/phone. I’m hoping it will be another nudge in the direction of me writing my novel! The sewing of this looks a bit more advanced than what I am used to…time to challenge myself 🙂
Dani xo

Sewing thoughts amid no-sew chaos.

I have hardly sewed at all in the last couple of weeks due to, well, chaos. But I have sewing related things to share and talk about so lets go with that. Bear with me though, I have a yuck headache that isn’t going anywhere 😦

Ok so firstly, I finally finished a gift my mum asked for for my sister, TWO nap kits for her. My sister is epileptic and suffers developmental delay, anxiety and headaches. These are for the car and at home. She needs to block out light when she’s asleep so they will help alot. My sister loves punky type designs but I had a rough time finding “girly, punky skulls” at Spotlight that week even though I have seen them plenty of times. The light blue worked well in the end, however, and I hear she is pretty happy with them. I am going to make her an iPod cover and headphone pouch with the left overs…she asked for those weeks ago but I had to finish the nap kits first!

In supplies news I spent last Friday in Sydney, taking my mum to get her eyes tested. It was a long day for mum and she came home very tired, but it turns out her severe eyesight problems may be able to be managed by some exercises and glasses. Its a relief but also a bit confusing considering how bad they are, so we will see what happens. While she was getting tested I did manage to duck out and do some shopping. I actually ended up in Lincraft which is hardly unique to Sydney, but I got a few great little bargains. I was excited by the below charm pack of 170 x 5″ squares for about $10!

 

I love the autumny colours! This will be used for my first ever quilt, when I finally get the time to look at tutes on making quilts and then the courage to make one. Or I may just sign up for a course! 🙂

I also picked up a button hole chisel to make things easier when I brave buttons soon and some more of the ever running out bias tape. I also went all girl-nerd and bought myself a Wonder Woman comic from a nearby comic book store 😛

Now for the sharing side of things!

For the lovely ladies out there who are secretly coveting a Singer 160, The Sewing Library is celebrating its first birthday and is giving one away!

This is super exciting and I am dying to win it. It’s so pretty! My machine is only 5 months old and I obviously don’t need a new one so I think I will only ever end up with this lovely if I win it 😛

I am not sure if the comp is open to Australian residents only, but head on over to the TSL Blog and check it out. The Sewing Library is an amazing Facebook group and the blog, whilst new, is also really great.

Another thing I want to share relates closely to TSL also. Lovely Renee Webb is the founder of The Sewing Library. She also founded several other sub groups such as The Thrifty Library and The Kitchen Library. She’s a hard working mumma and has entered the CosMediTour May $30,000 Giveaway in hopes of winning the opportunity to have a breast reduction. Renee deserves this SO much! Big boobies hurt 😦 Also the reason she needs this done for free is coz her hubby is about to start a mature ages apprenticeship and money will be tight. Mature aged apprenticeships are SO important to industry. Swing by and vote for Renee! It won’t spam you 🙂

I think that’s about all I have to say today. I have loads of sewing I want to get done but life and headaches are getting in the way. Hopefully the weekend fares better and I will get some sewing done, as well as give some love to my Mum, my boy’s mum, and his Nan. Celebrating all mums! 😀

A case of the wants…its always the wants…

I just love The Haby Goddess. Not only am I taking online lessons through Sew School  but I also wish I had a load of money to spend in the Store. Just check this wonderful stuff out!

The seam allowance guide. It magnetises to your scissors so that you can introduce a seam allowance as you cut your patterns out, rather than tracing one out beforehand. This is the product I want most since I bought Mundial scissors the other day. Hurry up pay day! 😛

This Turn-it-all will save me frustration trying to use chopsticks to turn little straps.

Poke-A-Dots look like a great alternative to thimbles, which I have never used because they are plain uncomfortable.

And this Ultimate Embroidery Kit looks great. I have never embroidered and really want to learn how. Spotlight was devoid of any ‘starter kits’ that weren’t actually expensive basic kits for kids, so when I found this I was very excited.

Since I am well stocked on the necessary stuff at the moment, this lot is going to have to wait a little while 😦 At lease I have plenty to keep me amused in the meantime including this:

Australia Post sent me a Mother’s Day catalogue, and this was only $25! The cheapest online source for this book was at least $37 so I have been putting it off for ages. Very excited to take a look tonight, I’ll post a review soon 🙂