Monday, 22 March 2010

a little bit o' here and there

I taught another of my Sew Inn classes on Saturday and it was great! A very balanced and focused group. Each one worked successfully on their chosen projects - which ranged from very first stitching pillow cases to sizing and altering op shop found patterns to sewing up vintage Vogue Couture dresses - and while I didn't pause for breath and finished up very tired, it was thoroughly satisfying from a teacherly perspective.

[And I picked up some juicy remnants while I was there which is a very exciting little side benefit of teaching at the most exciting of fabric stores. ]


I paid a visit to the lovely ladies over at Ink and Spindle to lookie over some special sewing that's still on the QT but which show cases the very exciting new print collection they have just launched and meet a few new people in the neighbourhood. Even the junior soozs got a chance to run on the timber floors, chase the dawg, ooh and ahh over the fabric (Amy) and ooh and aah over the superior view of the freeway where not one but two white utes were on the verge with their bonnets up waiting for the 'canic (Wil). We inadvertently crashed a celebration so I got a glass of champers (thank you!) and the kids scoffed handfuls of MMs. Everybody happy.


For the first time in so many months I truly couldn't count, I got a good long stint in the garden. Weeds were pulled, soil was tilled, compost was dug in, seedlings were planted and straw was spread. So deeply satisfying. And soon we can start seeing growth and budding and flowering and producing. Yay to new watering rules!


D went away. A whole new exotic wild overseas location, sans mobile phone contact. Absolutely nothing bad happened (to him or us) and then he came home. I didn't even complain about being a single parent or anything AND we didn't even eat take away AND my mum and chief backstop was out of the country as well! I know, barely believable.

I am sure my new working/childcare arrangements had a lot to do with it. I'm still in shock kind of.


I was the recipient of a wonderful, generous gift from a very talented lady. I am very grateful and surprised and honoured and still thinking through how I might say thank you in an appropriate way, and how I might be able to use some of it for something special.


I broke my no buying clothes pledge.

I saw it might be coming back here, but a couple of devils in my ear were enough to egg me on to looking into it a bit more deeply. Finding the particular model I liked the most had a discontinued colour selling for less than 25% of the original price tipped me over the edge. Anyway, the whole things has snowballed into a major examination of my jeans/pants/shorts/trouser collection. The examination has led me to a few conclusions, and a major project to alter and/or throw away almost every pair of pants I own, AND perfect a couple of patterns for sewing my own. I'm detailing this project over on the Large blog since I think it's more about being big than anything else. Feel free to go over and look at a lot of photos of my arse in poorly fitting pants.

And although I bought some jeans I don't regret it. I feel like it has been a really significant purchase in terms of my longer term goal of only having hand made clothes. These are by far the most expensive pair of trousers I have ever owned (in terms of their full price which was $325, not what I paid which was $75 - which is still more than I have ever paid for jeans but which I understand is not really expensive in regular people's terms), and they are designed specifically for the high end plus size market (also a first). I bought them because I really wanted to see what the very best was like - and I really like these jeans (don't get me wrong!) but I don't feel like the jeans I made myself are really so far away. I feel arenewed enthusiasm for trying to better my last effort to get it closer to a better fit - and indeed a whole new way of looking at what I think a better fit really is.

In a bigger picture way this project is fitting into a new wave of excitement I am feeling about sewing more generally (I know, you didn't think I could get more excited did you?). On the one hand the pants refit project is giving me a focus that's allowing me to really work through a lot of small scale details about design and pattern making. By only looking at one type of garment first off I am getting a much better idea about the interaction of fabric and design without getting sidetracked by embellishments, endless design variations, prints and other variables that make some garments (like tops or jackets) more complex. In turn this is leading me back to a very strong desire to recast my pattern blocks and just generally get more serious about the whole deal.

And then on a parallel track this focus is opening up some other kind of sewing space in which I have been engaging in some real experimentation. A lot of these experiements aren't things I can blog about at this stage, some of them don't even result in something I would wear, but I have let myself take precious sewing time, added some fabric I am OK about losing from the stash and just seeing what happens. It's a lot of fun, and not really something I've done much of before. In an entirely different way it's helping me learn new things too, things I can apply to other garments and other situations, but lessons outside the strictly pragmatic frame I usually stick to when I am sewing.


I've been continuing the more experimental moment with my knitting too, alongside the more pragmatic repeating of a recent success. After countless pairs that were simple variations of the universal toe up sock pattern I have branched out and picked up the wildest sock construction pattern I've ever seen. The pattern was pointed out to me by Di, who has an altogether more adventurous spirit with socks. I launched in and while it has taken me a while to perfect some of the techniques, and at one point I had to unknit one by one oh so so many of the stitches I had knit, and then knit them all again in a slightly more accurate way, I must say I am deeply impressed. I am almost finished the right sock, and slight imperfections aside they are super spunky and even more importantly superbly fitting socks. I will make them again and again, and then I will try them with stitch patterns built in because they are genius.


Two more seriously good tea towels arrived too for the swap - and there's still two more on their way!


This morning as Wil and I were walking to the tram stop to catch the town tram to childcare Wil was mesmerised by the sight of a propped up ute hard top cover.

W: What's dat? What's in dere? Id dat da engine?

S: No, the engine is in front under the bonnet. That's a big space where you can keep things. Like the tools you take to work or maybe your things to go camping.

W: Oh. I no like camping.

S: Really? I like camping! You get to sleep in a tent!

W: Oh! You go camping?

S: Yes! You sleep in a tent and have a fire, it's fun.

W: Like George?

S: (puzzled look)

W: Like Curious George?

S: Yes! Like on Curious George.

W: And sticks? You have sticks at camping? Like Curious George?

S: Yes! Like on Curious George you use sticks on the fire.

W: Sticks? Sticks and bricks? Like the House of Bamboo? [just for you Jus]

I could almost see those neurological connections being born...


Michelle said...

It looked like everyone was having a ball at the class on Saturday. Lovely running into you - a real surprise! I looked hard in the remnants bin, but was too tempted by all the other stuff in the shop ... and I still had to haul it back home!

Ren said...

Ah Wil, he's such a man! Love stories about Wil.

by the way, the word verification for today is "ingat" which of course is indonesian for remember.

Jodie said...

I'm so glad that the class was such fun and envious of your Hollabee deliciousness (and a bit envious of your Wil too I am surprised to say- I do miss those funny conversations with littles)