Family Comes First

Leave a comment

I was looking back at the date of my last post which was a little over a week ago. Since then my focus has been firmly on my family. Even though GMan and I are the only ones living here, we are fortunate to have plenty of contact with family. Sometimes it seems to come all at once as has been the case in the past week.

Last Monday I went to Brisbane. I took my mother to a specialist medical appointment then we treated ourselves to lunch at Fuzzy Duck Cafe. I would recommend it. This was en route to visit my aunt who is in an aged care facility. Visiting has not been possible during COVID19 restrictions so it was good to be able to see her.

I stayed in Brisbane overnight and after another appointment the next day I picked GMan up from a dental appointment and we headed home.

It has been school holidays for the last 2 weeks and our daughter and granddaughters arrived on Wednesday evening. The girls stayed until Saturday afternoon while their mother went to work for the remainder of the week and picked them up again on Saturday.

During their stay we prepared meals, sorted through my fabric stash, went to the gym, shopped for shoes, went to the beach and park and checked out the garden.

Miss O making french dressing and learning the principle of adjusting the seasoning to taste.

Cutting broccoli for the soup.

A successful shopping trip to buy new sandals for Izzy.

More cooking – pizza bases ready for toppings.

The beginning of a dress for Miss O from a piece selected from the stash.

Some of the regular housework goes by the wayside when there are visitors and this time was no exception.

The refrigerator looked somewhat chaotic. There were several leftovers that I could incorporate into meals the following day.

I had invited my sister and brother-in-law for lunch on Sunday but had no specific menu planned for the meal. We did a small amount of grocery shopping late on Saturday afternoon.

Our lunch was predominately a selection of small plates and salads which worked perfectly as we sat outside in the very pleasant spring weather.

Photographing the spread was overlooked until I brought the salads out.

Homemade hummus, guacamole and sourdough bread, rice crackers, vegie sticks and brie for starters then kale salad, rice salad, cucumber and onion salad ad tomato wedges to serve with mini meatballs, vegie kofta balls and spiced cauliflower bites. Fresh fruit salad made the perfect finish to the meal.

While it sometimes works out that a particular period of time is mostly taken up by a single facet such as family events, I am trying to create more balance in the spread of activities in my week. More about that tomorrow.

Not Busy

2 Comments

As I mentioned in a post last year, I have tried to remove ‘busy’ from both my vocabulary and mindset as much as possible.

I have spent the last 3 days occupied in one of my favourite activities – sewing. It has not been just any sewing but specifically dressmaking clothes for myself.

The first project was a dress which was modelled on an oft-used shirt pattern.

I bought the fabric which is a cotton drill from a local thrift shop for $5. I have yet to source suitable buttons and finish the hem.

Another dress. A simple, lightweight shift which will be perfect for hot summer days at home or the beach. The fabric for this one was leftover from a previous project. Of course, both of the dresses have pockets.

A navy linen shirt made using the same pattern as the first dress. This is an extremely versatile pattern which I have used numerous times. The contrasting binding on the neckline and armholes is not visible when the garment is being worn but I think it adds a somewhat whimsical touch. Making my own bias binding allows me to indulge ideas like this. Once again, buttons and hemming are required to complete the shirt.

I have another linen shirt cut out which is black.

This has barely put a dent in my stash of fabric and I am looking forward to making more items to add to my wardrobe.

It is almost 2 years since I last bought any brand-new clothes apart from underwear. In that time I have bought less than 10 pieces from thrift shops and recycle boutiques and made a few items. Some of the clothes that I wore to work are still suitable for some occasions, however, I find that I am gradually changing the mix of clothes in my wardrobe to reflect my retirement lifestyle.

Patterns and Pants

2 Comments

Dressmaking can be a challenge when trying to get a perfect fit.  One of the best methods I know is to disassemble a garment which you love and fits well and then use the pieces to make a customised pattern.  I did this several years ago with a sleeveless, collared shirt and have made numerous shirts from the pattern.  Here are a couple of examples.

This time it was the turn of my white cropped pants which I have had for about 9 years.  They are starting to get a bit thin in places.

003

I generally use non iron-on interfacing for tracing the pattern. It is reasonably sturdy and stands up to repeated uses. However, on Sunday I discovered that I did not have any left so I had to think laterally.  I had a scramble through my stash and found several large pieces which had been part of a donation to Boomerang Bags but were not suitable.  The fabric is medium-weight, cream synthetic with no stretch so I decided to use it for the pattern pieces which worked perfectly.  It was easy to add markings and instructions, too.

2019-11-27 03

This is the fabric that I had earmarked for my first attempt with the pattern.  About 3 metres of a medium-weight cotton drill that I had bought last year for $4 at the local Salvos thrift shop.

2019-11-27 04

I am very pleased with the result.

2019-11-27 05

The only variation I made from the original was not to add belt loops.  I never wear a belt with these pants and the absence of the loops makes for a smoother silhouette.

2019-11-27 06

I call them my ladybird pants and you certainly won’t lose me in a crowd when wearing these.

I have a black, fitted t-shirt which I will be able to wear with them and I plan to make a black linen shirt using the pattern I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Now that I am happy with the construction and fit of these pants, I am working on a pair of lightweight dark navy linen ones.  They will be full-length rather than cropped.

I have several sewing projects underway or planned and I will show you more in future blog posts.

A Gift of Love

Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I became aware that one of my former colleagues is expecting her first child.  As I had done for another colleague, I offered to make a quilt for her forthcoming addition to the family.

I dived into my stash for a selection of suitable fabrics and bought 2 small pieces to supplement what I had on hand.

2019-11-25 01

The first block completed.

2019-11-25 02

All of the patchwork done.  Now to make it into a quilt.

2019-11-25 03

The mum-to-be was delighted with the end result.

2019-11-25 04

It is special to be able to use my sewing skills to make unique gifts from materials which would otherwise be likely to end up in landfill.

Sewing Something Different

Leave a comment

While my sewing is generally bags or clothes, occasionally it can be something completely different.

Last week was one such moment.  I decided to make a cover for my newly-acquired overlocker.  I also made a matching one for the sewing machine.

2019-11-22 01

Covers completed and on the machines.

2019-11-22 02

These were all made from salvaged secondhand scraps from my stash.  The one for the overlocker was the quilted side of a decorative pillowcase.  This meant that it had enough body to stand alone.  The sewing machine has a hard plastic case so I simply made a fitted slipcover for the case so that it would match the overlocker one.

As well as looking pretty they do the very practical task of keeping the ever-present dust off the machines.

Completed Quilt

Leave a comment

A month ago I wrote a post about making another quilt.  You can read about it here.  Once again, I had a deadline because it needed to be completed by early this week as it was a retirement gift for a work colleague.

I met the deadline and here is the finished quilt.

2018-03-16 01

This one included some new fabric bought specifically for the project as I simply did not have enough of the chosen colour palette.

I have been busy for the past week or so with finishing the quilt as well as working and being away from home for a couple of nights.  However, it is now the end of the working week and no specific engagements for the weekend.  The weather forecast does not include rain nor super-hot weather so GMan and I are looking forward to spending some time outdoors, particularly getting vegetable gardens back in order and prepared for planting now that the extreme heat is behind us.

I hope to bring you some updates from the home front before too long.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned.

Pretty Patches

Leave a comment

About 3 weeks ago I wrote about starting to prepare the fabric squares to make a baby quilt for a work colleague.

This project was set aside for a couple of weeks while I concentrated on the Boomerang bags but in the last few days I made some real progress.

I needed 180 squares and here they are all cut out and sorted in preparation for sewing.

2018-02-03 01

Each block consists of 9 squares sewn together and then cut into 4 squares which are turned, re-arranged and sewn back together.  Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the step-by-step process.

The next step is to arrange the finished blocks and finally, sew them all together.

Today I finished the patchwork.

2018-02-03 02

All of the fabric has been gifted or thrifted.  I need to buy some batting and then assemble the quilt.  I have a dark pink sheet which I bought from an op shop some time ago that I intend to use for the backing.  I will make the binding from a doona cover that belonged to one of my granddaughters.  It will match some of the fabric used in the patchwork.

While it is far from perfect, I know that it will be loved and appreciated.

A Deadline

1 Comment

A bit quiet on the blogging front as I have been busy sewing.  As always, once I get started on a sewing project I just want to keep going.  However, this is more than just my own interest which is driving me – it is a deadline.

Sunday 28th January will see the official launch of Maleny Boomerang Bags.  In order to make this a successful event, we want to have has many completed bags as possible available on the day.

I have been doing my bit and have finished 10 so far.  Here are some of them.

2017-01-25 01

I have more straps made and bags cut out so hope to be able to add to that number before Sunday.

You would think that would be relatively easy since tomorrow is Australia Day and we have a 3 day weekend but there is the small matter of the Australian Film Festival.  This festival is an annual event hosted by the Maleny Film Society and we will be attending 4 films over 2 days as well as a couple of additional sessions so I am not sure how much sewing will get done.

To my Australian readers – what are your long weekend plans?

Sorting the Squares

Leave a comment

Tonight I pulled out some fabric which I have set aside for patchwork.  In one of my previous fits of organising, I decided to precut some 5 inch squares.  These are stored in bags and are sorted by colour.  Any pieces of fabric which are destined to be patchwork squares are also in the bags.  You can see them here on the third shelf.

2017-12-08 06

I am going to make a baby quilt for one of my work colleagues who is due in a couple of months.  Since she knows she is having a girl, I decided to use some of the pink fabric along with a bit of purple and green.

These are some of the squares already cut.

2018-01-10 02

Some of the other fabric waiting to be cut up.

2018-01-10 03

The pattern I will using is called Disappearing 9 patch.  It is simple yet effective in my opinion.  You can read about it in more detail here.

I am inspired to get started on it seriously and hope to do so on the weekend.  My sewing machine has been serviced and I picked it up this afternoon so now there is nothing holding me back.

 

Fit to Wear

Leave a comment

There are many ways of approaching the goal of producing less waste but for me, one of the most obvious things is to consume less and make do with what you have.

Mending, repairing and refashioning will significantly extend the life of items, save them from landfill for longer and of course, reduce the need to purchase a replacement.

Here is a practical example that I did this morning in less than an hour.

This is GMan’s sweatshirt which he wears on the weekend when gardening, mowing and painting as you can see.  The cuffs and lower band are all frayed and badly stretched but the body of the garment is still relatively sound.

2017-04-25 01

When I said that I could replace the cuffs, he commented how much he liked the fit of it – although I don’t think ‘fit’ is actually the right word.  So, The first thing I did was to make a pattern for future reference.

2017-04-25 02

I use lightweight interfacing for this purpose and have a roll of it.  I find the patterns cut on interfacing are durable and unlikely to tear.

There are only 2 pieces required – one for the front and back (with different necklines marked) and one for the sleeves.

2017-04-25 03

Next, I had a dig in my stash of ribbing to find a suitable piece.  I found some bottle green which was exactly enough for the lower band and sleeve cuffs – no wastage at all.

2017-04-25 04

I then found a piece of black for the neckband and set to work.  I will not try to explain how the ribbing is attached as there are plenty of good instructions which can be found using Google.

The final result.

2017-04-25 05

GMan is happy and I am sure this will see plenty more wear in the garden.