Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Day 82: shout out to my Mum

I've been a bit busy today, and although I've done my flower I've not done anything else even mildly interesting. So this is a shout out for my Mum, who hasn't been well of late.

My mother has forgotten more about sewing, patterns, knitting and embroidery than most of us will ever know. I remember her sewing to make money for the family when I was a wee nipper. I was never interested until I was about 15 and asked her to make me a top and she said 'make it yourself'. So I did. it was a shirt with double contrast top-stitching. What was I thinking?? Since then there have been more disasters than successes, I'm sorry to say.

Mum used to sell stuff in a market that was where the downtown carpark now is. After that she opened a shop. This was just on the cusp of New Zealand's Great Economic Downturn (in my view there has only been one and we're still in it) and while the shop did OK for a while it gradually got more difficult and eventually it closed. These days there are almost no small independent clothes/shoes/knick-knack shops in the suburbs: big box stores with super cheap imports have squeezed most of them out. Us Kiwis do like our cheap shit.

Soon thereafter she started quilting, and that led to embroidery work and dying, and now she is moving on to beading. We both love beads and colours and patterns so I am encougaing her to make a beaded waistcoat. Maybe like this:

In the meantime, stuck away in a cupboard somewhere are Mum's grandmother's lace tatting set and whalebone needles that are, I am told, so worn the bone has worn through to the metal core.

Get well soon, Mum. We need to go for lunch with Miss Dana.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Day 80: 80% there!

Today I did the collar. It's a 2-piece collar and unless you sew a lot more collars and have had a lot more practice then me, they're always time-consuming. Especially when you have one of those days when everything needs to be picked apart at least once. The time factor is added to when the unpicking is through 5 layers of heavy wool fabric. Anyway, it's done and now we can get on with the next bit. Here it is in its glory. I was dubious but my Japanese  friend - whose Dad is a genuine proper tailor schooled in the old way only the Japanese know how - says it looks good so that's good enough for me.

Here's those tricky (time consuming) clips that make the collar sit properly. This process is assisted greatly by a pair of good scissors. Do NOT attempt this with a pair of paper scissors you got from the $2 Shop. (If you're in the market for a pair of good scissors Stitch 'n' Craft in Papatoetoe have what appear to be some re-branded Finney's at the moment. They're not cheap but you get what you pay for. And no, I'm not getting paid to say this.)

Today we found Carol's project (so many awesome projects, so little time!!). Carol''s project is to "draw one page of a storybook each day, using two sizes of black Sharpie pen." No planning, just draw. The result is a charming story about the unlikely adventures of Larry and Rufus which are not yet over. Here's a sliver of the story we like. In our neighbourhood if we walk the dogs we get bailed up by kids asking 'do they fight?'; 'are they a boy and a girl?'; 'will they have puppies?' and so forth. It's entertaining as long as you're not in a hurry.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Day 79: more repair work

Because it's more interesting than another flower.

These are just cheap dyed freshwater pearls I got for another project that flopped. I don't so much design as chuck bits together to see how it works out. Often badly, as it transpires. So while I was in the groove I thought I'd rethread the pearls onto a necklace on their own. The seed beads between the few pearls at the back are just to give a shade more length. When I went looking for a clasp I couldn't find one. So I got the heavy copper wire I salvaged from..where??...and have attempted to make my own. It's hard to find good findings, and many of them are made from metal clay so they're quite brittle.  My next 100 day project is to make ear wires, clasps and jump rings and learn how to solder the gaps up so they look tidy. In the meantime this looks OK. Not spectacular, but OK.

And here's two pairs of earrings repaired. The black ones, one of the black beads fell off and I thought it had been lost forever. Not so. The dog found it. Suffice to say I found it thereafter by accident and it has since been thoroughly cleaned. The other pair has just been made up. The beads are Czech and I've teamed them with a red/brown Gutermann bead. They've come up OK - again, not great but they'll pass in dreary old Auckland.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Day 78: repair jobs

Having done the daily flower (sort of like the daily growl but livelier) I had a bit of spare time so I thought I'd do some necklace repairs for something different.

The first is a clam-shell necklace. The clams are quite fragile, and this one's predecessor had a flaw that meant it broke not long after it was made. Fortunately I found another shell which is a bit thicker and hopefully more robust. The repair entailed winding a couple of bits of heavy-ish copper wire into loops and putting it all together. I suppose I could have used jump rings but I am always surprised by how useless they are. Do you see Harry Winston using copper-plated jump rings to put his expensive baubles together? I think not.

The next was a minor repair on a necklace I made in a bead shop in some small Canadian town in BC. The shop in question had some cool stuff (and I wish I'd bought more of it). When I asked how come, the woman who owned the shop said "oh my husband is from Africa." Because Africa's a country, right? Anyway, this is some trade beads along with some fake copper beads (probably metal clay) and some handmade pottery beads.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Day 77: our dog

I'm bored with flowers and haven't made any progress on the cape so here's a photo of my dog instead.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Day 76: another batch

Cut out, rinsed, and drying by the fire.

Tonight we came across Hally's 100 Things. They're cute little critters (they're not really very creepy) and one of them looks like Hunter S Thompson (which works for us). The picture shown is the Grim Reaper asking for a hug. Too cute!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Day 75: plum blossoms

Today the first plum blossoms of spring peeked out into the southerly that's been blasting us for the last couple of days. Welcome, and here's hoping you don't get blown away!

(PS I didn't take this photo - sad to say it's way too good for me.)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Day 74: and more and more

All I've done today is play around with the hue and contrast of the photo in photoshop. A 5 year old could do it. Actually a 5 year old could probably do it better.

Today I will show a drawing from Lucy's project. This is Lucy's second go at the 100 days project, and she describes herself as a part-time closet animal artist. We like anything with animals but we especially like this little guy who's apparently called Lionel. Lionel looks like he is questioning the artist's intentions but is hopeful for good news.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Day 73: the week's work

This extraordinarily bad photo (even by my standards) shows two pairs of black trousers and a bunch of flowers.  Not only can a girl not have too many accessories, she almost certainly can't have too many pairs of black trousers.

That's all for now.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Day 72: tricky trouser pocket nailed

Not a work of art but done with most of the wibbles having been pressed out (a good steam iron is a dressmaker's best friend. Well, nearly.) And yes, today's flower was also done.

Today's diversion is something fron Patsy. I'm guessing Patsy is my age, give or take. It does seem that as we get older and perhaps get over some hurdles we may not have anticipated when we were younger, we do reflect more on the past; in this case the sayings of a parent. I have selected the drawing below because as someone who works in the social sector, I often think that the world would be a kinder place if people could think about walking a mile in someone else's shoes. Perhaps for those with a religious bent, the relevant phrase is there but for the grace of God go I.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Day 71: a real flower

Of COURSE I did today's flower. But here's a photo of my confused magnolia (var. Vulcan)  instead. It's a baby tree and it got messed around by the drought and the warm early winter but now it's decided to flower, long after all the other magnolias in the neighbourhood have flowered. 

Enjoy your weekend: I'm off to put my foot up.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Day 70: tricky trouser pocket

Flower completed, I thought I'd start a pair of trousers. I've stopped here because I'm about to make a huge stuff-up because I haven't properly thought through how to do the pocket. Now there's a big hole where there shouldn't be. Oops. Will have another go tomorrow.

That's all for today because time has crept up and it's later than I thought.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Day 69: an older, better cape

From 1934 a Rose Descat cape and outfit drawn by Willuamez, this is an outfit worthy of the name. (PS I did the daily flower, too.)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Day 68: next steps

The collar and facings. I've registered for the exhibition so the pressure is ON. Oh yeah, and I did today's flower earlier on, too.

Also, we stumbled on this from janine's Flights of Fancy. This reminds me of our house - lots of birds in the trees and lots of green around.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Day 67: oops - and a spare cat

It was always a matter of when not if. Yes, that's right, catching another layer of fabric underneath and sewing two layers. See photo. It won't make any difference, it's just that one flower will be two layers of fabric not one. If you want to go over the whole cape to find it, well you're welcome. 

Also featured tonight is a spare cat we have at our place. We have no idea where he came from but he isn't going anywhere in a hurry. He seems to like stalking the chooks but gets a fright when they squawk and take off. 

Lastly, and for something completely different, here's one of Vicky's paisley patterns. Paisley holds a special place in the hearts of those of us who have a bit of a thing for Liberty cottons, and Vicky has deconstructed the paisley print in a colourful and imaginative way. We love bright colours and we especially like them  here. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Day 66: spring flurry

A flurry of spring flowers, including today's.

And the completed lizard shirt. I managed a major blooper at the very last minute but you can't see it, and it is doubtful anyone will ever notice. But it was a fun experiment, and I'm thinking I might get out my dreary somewhat elderly white shirt and try to make it more interesting. We'll see.
PS The shirt is too big and the sleeves are too long because of the dropped sleeve which I didn't take into account when measuring the sleeve length. But I really like the collar. I might see about splicing it onto another pattern.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Day 65: one plus yesterday's

Caught up. All good. 

And fixed the collar on the shirt. 4 hours to do a collar? Why not just buy one from Glassons? Oh right. No lizards.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Day 64: this guy's fault


And the collar it took me ALL NIGHT to sew on then found it had been sewn on back-to-front.


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Day 63: another stupid flower

And not accompanied by anything entertaining tonight because I want to go do some sewing. Maybe I'll have a lizard shirt to show you in a couple of days. In the meantime I will also leave you with one of CommieMoon's cats. We have had a starving kitten turn up at our place and after being fedfor a couple of days it is friendlier and altogether happier.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Day 62: multi-media lizards

Flowers for yesterday and today.

More exciting is the next stage of the lizards. They were all printed off but I thought I'd try for something a bit flash. I LOVE metallic thread (and all manner of other spangly stuff now you mention it) so thought some embroidered metallic diamonds up the lizards' backs might be cool. It didn't work out as well as I might have liked but they're still quite nifty. And it's all part of learning to use my flash sewing machine.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Day 60: lizards!

As promised, two flowers today, which just managed to be squeezed into the end of the fabric strip. I needed to rethread the machine so opted for the variegated thread. No special reason, just because.

I got overexcited about my screenprinting kit again today and printed some lizards onto some linen shirting bought especially for this project. It's a nicer green than it looks in the photo and works well with the black printing ink. At some stage I recalled printing ink needs to be handled with care because it gets EVERYWHERE. Indeed, one shirt front made the ultimate sacrifice and some more fabric will be required. 

Here's the lizards on the back of the shirt. (Yes I know one of them is smudged but just don't look too hard.)


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Day 59: nautilus

No flower today (two tomorrow I promise). But! I have an excuse, and that is that I have spent nearly all day tarting up a dull old shirt with a nautilus. The aim was to get some more practice in with the sewing machine using different fabric and a slightly different technique. It mostly worked, with a couple of hiccups along the way. And then, because I am still really excited about the screenprinting set and the CRM flowers I thought I'd fill the sections with screenprint paint to see what happened. There was a bit of beginner's luck on hand: no ink got spilled, nothing got painted over the border and no paintbrushes went flying across the room only to land in the clean washing. There's a couple of minor not-quite-rights, but it's a reasonable first effort IMHO.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Day 58: and another

Because I have a broken toe I'm supposed to keep off my feet when at home. But because I am an idiot, and am still very excited about my screen printing kit, I have naturally spent all day on my feet. And that was without going to the march (come to think of it, going to the march would have been easier). So now my feet ache and my legs are tired and I really am going to get off them. Still, I've managed to squeeze in today's flower and here is the evidence.
Bye for now.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Day 57: super excited!

So here's today's flower and you'll see it's managed to capture the self-pattern of the fabric. I'm not sure what happened to the shape - maybe it's got the bloat, or maybe I need a new marker pen.

Today, on a whim (time to kill, happened to be outside the art shop), I bought a screenprint kit. I did screenprinting years ago but have mostly forgotten how it all works. Winkle the cat has taken it over for the moment but he'll move when it's dinner time.

But even better! Someone (thanks, Tracey!) has given me some flower designs to use as stencils. I can't imagine any of the relearning process will go smoothly but as you 100 day project people know (or are learning) it's persistence that is the key.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Day 56: lining

Quick post today - I've done yesterday's and today's flower plus made the lining. Now it's late and there's still dishes to do. The lining is shiny acetate so it's a bit hard to make anything out with the flash but at least there's evidence of progress.
Bon soir.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Day 55: outer completed

As one might have guessed, yesterday's work was a botch up. But today it was remedied, and the rest of the outer mostly completed. Need to do stuff like the collar but hopefully that won't take too long. Next step? The lining.

We haven't shown anyone else's work for a few days but tonight I thought I'd show you something from Marc. Marc is drawing people and their clothes and the drawings are colourful and stylised, with some of them ever-so-gently lampooning their subjects (not in a mean way, I hasten to add). We couldn't go past this hipster with his beard and Chuck Taylors.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day 54: liftoff!

Today I made one of the most serious decisions of the whole project: what buttons to use. I think this has been knocking quietly on my brain for a while but today I realised I have some vintage (and I mean vintage) big red buttons that will be perfect.

Because I was avoiding the news I decided start sewing. I have over 50 flowers and nothing to sew them on to yet. Oops. 

Have you ever been held up on a project because you haven't been able to get past some minor hurdle? Then when you make yourself do whatever-it-is, it's really easy and takes about 5 minutes? So it was with the opening flaps. But wait! It was to be a night where nothing was easy. Somehow I've managed to lose my supersized reel of red cotton. Not a problem, I thought, I have lots of red cotton. Wrong. There's every shade of pink you can imagine in the thread tin but no red. Fortunately there was some of the right red left on a bobbin and I found a dark red that's close enough, at least for the wool seams. This meant topstitching the flaps with the bobbin thread showing (because it was the right colour). It's not ideal but never mind. 

So onto the seams. I only had time for the front seam that attached the side front to the centre front. I finished the first long, difficult seam only to find out that the bobbin thread - you know, the thread that's the right colour - had run out about 3 inches into the seam. So there went another bunch of time.

The seam is shown below. You'll notice the curve is closely clipped. It really is worthwhile taking the trouble to clip seams when they're curved because they sit much better. If it's a jacket from I usually do this (from this helpful webpage):

Yes it takes time but so does anything worth doing.

I haven't overlocked the edges because the cape will be fully lined so no raw edges will show. Plus the seams are wide (1 inch and 1.5cm) and overlocking just adds to the bulk. Tomorrow I'll scuttle down to the local stitch 'n' bitch and get the RIGHT THREAD!