Wild Weather

For years it has been dry.  Now the cycle has changed again and the rain is falling.  Along with this we have been having really severe storms.  It is cyclonic.  The kind of storms we used to see up north but there are some here that I think are worse.  We have had several weeks of rain, a couple of clear days, when you get the garden straightened and the lawns mowed and then bunker down again.

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I have to make a woollen skirt as part of my Garment- Maker's course.  Goodness, wool!!!  I haven't worn wool in years.  And then I got thinking about that.  When I was a teenager and into my 20's I did wear wool and even in my 40's.  School's can be cold places so woollen slacks were called for.  But there has been a steady increase in the temperature over the years and there is no need to wear wool.  The change has been gradual and I, and I guess most others, have just adjusted and forgotten that we once wore woollen clothes in winter.

Then I thought back to when I did make woollen garments.  I remember that we used to bind the seams and hems with a tape.  I haven't laid eyes on that for years.  I suppose we use overlockers now and we  hemmed  woolen garments with herringbone stitch.  I was mulling over all this, and then, in the middle of the night, I woke up and had this thought, moths!!  They could ruin anything.  They usually got into your clothes in the summer months and that was the end of your good woollen garment. And then there was 'dry-cleaning'.  I don't know where I would find a dry cleaner now.

Still, I made the trip into Fortitude Valley to the Fabric Store to get some  fabric.  They had sent me an Email saying the had 'short ends' of wool fabric.

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Short Ends are the ends of bolts of fabric from designers.  They usually sell these off cheap to clearance houses.  If you are quick you can  get some beautiful fabrics at a good price.  And I did just that.   It is an treasure trove that place.

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  So this is the fabric on the bolt  that I bought and I got a lining as well.

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Problem with 'short ends' is that  if you don't buy them when you see them you never see them again.  So I bought a few.  Well, I know we will probably be making shirts and blouses, so I will need the fabric for them.  In amongst them is this silk fabric, (the stripe) it will make a beautiful blouse, along with some Liberty Lawn.

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But I have now remembered that there can be problems sewing with fine, silky fabrics.  I seem to remember I used tissue paper to get an even feed into the machine.  Oh boy, this is a whole new world!!

New Book

Just when I thought that there were no books around where the writter used words beautifully and I had the feeling that  the stories I was reading all seemed the same, I was given a book by my sister that has just blown me away.  Day's Without End is a story about the wild west in North America.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 2.50.41 pmIt is so intensely beautiful and terrible that I can only read one chapter a day.  The beautiful words describe terrible things in such a way that you know the situations and characters are often horrific  but also  beautiful and you are able to read the words and feel both the beauty and the horror whilst being engrossed in the story.

This is my first book by Sebastian Barry.  I have looked up all his other books and intend to try and read every other one. These are the ones I want to start with.

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But I know there are more.  Including some movies. I think these will keep me busy for most of 2022.

Some lessons learnt

The dress has re- taught me some valuable lessons.  I had forgotten some of these things in the 10 year break I have taken from dressmaking.

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No 1.   Know the fabric you choose.

The fibre content and weaving technique will determine just how that fabric will behave. 

My fabric was labled100% cotton.  It wasn't 100% cotton but a cotton mixture and I think the other part was rayon.  I should have picked this because it felt too soft but I said to myself it must be some kind of finish added to the fabric because the label says 100% cotton.  I should have followed my instincts.

Knowing the fibre content will also dictate some of your sewing processes.  In my case once I realised what kind of fabric I had I knew it would fray if I nicked or notched any of the curved edges.  This in turn called for different sewing techniques to counter this.

 Supervised the sales assistant when they was measuring the fabric.

I didn't and I missed a discolouration in the fabric that I didn't notice till I had finished and It was right across the front.  It isn't a terrible flaw, but it is a flaw and I will see it all the time.

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Check the selvedge

I missed this and if I had seen it when I was purchasing the fabric I would have taken more notice of other things. 

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Today many fabrics are woven on Water jet looms.  This results in a fluffy selvedge where the thread is cut between each pass of the shuttle. This leaves a weakness in the fabric as every weft thread has been cut, not rewoven as a continuous thread as in traditional weaving.  There are also side by side looms where the shuttle is sent across several warped looms and then this is cut, I think this might have been how my fabric was woven.  Using these processes has considerable savings for the manufacturer, making their profit margin higher and can result in a good fabric but it is a warning sign for the buyer that the fabric could have problems. 


No 2. Be careful what you say to your husband (or other family members)

I said I was never going to dress-make again.  This gave permission for my husband to take my dressmakers shears and use them in his workshop.  That was the end of their usefulness for me.

It also gave permission for my daughter to take my dressmakers dummy.  I've lost that one as well.

But I must have known I would come back to the dressmaking because I had hidden my Gingher Scissors.  There they were just perfect and ready to use.

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I am looking forward to the next class.



I have finally finished my first garment as part of the Garment Makers Question Time course I am doing with Phillipa Naylor.

The dress fits well and is perfect for out hot steamy summer days.

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But I learnt a lot of lessons from sewing this one.  ( I will write a separate post about that.)

I am back to making my zippered box bags and will have them completed for Xmas, I hope.  I seem to be doing a lot of unpicking.

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And I am doing some more of those Kogin patterns for the Pin and Needle keepers

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and have cut out a whole lot of bookmarks using this pattern.

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Never a dull moment here.

My Goodness!! Where did the year go?

It's the end of the month and tomorrow is the first day of Advent!!!

Where did the year go?

I was just sitting having a coffee and my Xmas mouse, (that I hadn't put away from last year), was next to my coffee mug saying, "Ha, Ha, you're not ready!

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(That biscuit is from Aldi and I bought them to serve at Xmas but I find I only have one left!!  I have no idea where they all went!!!)

Luckily I have some work started, but not finished.

Panic stations!!!