textiles Feed

A bit of dressmaking

One of the blogs I subscribe to is Tessuti Fabrics.  They have a shop in Sydney and the most wonderful exotic, expensive fabrics and they have a great blog, full of useful information. This month they included a free pattern for an apron in their post.

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  Now I am a born grub.  I always drop things all down the front of me and when I sew I get threads everywhere.  I thought this apron was just for me.  Only trouble  I don't have any linen, so I just used a fabric out of the draw.  It was the first time I have down loaded a pattern from the web and printing and assembling all 25 pages was a bit of a challenge.

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But I got there in the end.

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There was 11 pages of sewing instructions and they were clear and concise.  They said to add your favourite label so I took the logo off my letter head and printed this onto fabric.  (This might be a good apron for putting on whilst I'm teaching?)  I have to say this was a pleasure to sew.

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By lengthening the straps I found it fitted my fuller figure better but I don't think I would make it for anyone who was size 18 or bigger without re-drafting the pattern.

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I do think it would better made in linen and these would make great gifts.

At this time

Everyone around the world is a bit anxious at this time, about the virus and the economy.  The stock market is all over the place which will severely effect income and jobs. Thoughts turn to 'how will we survive?'  My mind goes back to when I was a child and my paternal grand mother came to look after my sister, my father and myself.  This was my mother's first clash with cancer and we were not sure she would come home.  Nana would have been in her late 70's early 80's at this time.  Things were a mess then and I remember all the talk of when Nana was young and how they had got through things, which most of the time we just laughed at.  She lost a good portion of her relatives to the Spanish Flu, which has been compared to this current virus, but now that takes on another meaning.

This drawing by May Gibbs of a kookaburra and a gum nut baby shows that back then people were equally concerned as they are now.

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We were drilled on how to not waste anything, how to cook cheap nutritious meals, re-use clothing even extract the cotton thread for re-use.  How to grow vegetables, look after each other and trust in God.

I made a trip to the Supermarket yesterday and was able to get most of what I wanted, but no flour.  I was the only one in there with a mask on.  I got some funny looks but when I started to cough I also saw how pleased people were that I had that mask on.  I hope that I don't have to go out again for a couple of weeks at least.  We are a lot better off than back in the early 1900's we have the internet to keep in touch, compare notes and take part in classes.

I have been looking at India Flint's web page and she has a variety of classes on offer.  Some free some for fee, non too expensive.

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I missed this course but someone I know who did it said it was great.

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I think this is the one for me.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 10.44.01 amHave a good weekend.

The Saga of Ted

I told Jasmine (my 7 y.o. grand daughter) that she had to be careful of Ted because I didn't think I could fix him again.  And you guessed it, Nugget the destroyer got Ted again. 

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No telephone call this time, Jasmine would fix him herself.

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She got her sister's machine out and got stuck into him.  She worked for three hours until she got him back together again.

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Not too bad for a 7 year old with no help.

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I think I better have another look at him to see if I can help next time I am there.  I thought this one would be a natural when I was teaching her during the holidays.

Threads of Life

I had a recommendation to read 'Threads of Life' by Claire Hunter from numerous sources.  When I got a comment from Margo that it was worth reading, I thought, the universe is telling me something here.

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So I bought a Kindle version.  It is so good I have ordered a hard copy from Book Depository.  Now that doesn't happen very often!  It had to be good for me to want it on my book shelf as a forever copy.

Back in 2008 I bought an embroidery from an antique shop very cheaply.  I knew it was significant and should not just molder in one of my draws so I ended up donating it to the Queensland Embroiderers' Guilds Collection.

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Reading Claire's book I found there is a whole section on 'Story Quilts' and her research into them.  Oh how I wish I could have gone with her back in 1995 to research all this.  I'm glad that I kept photographs and look at it again and now understand it's true significance. 

This book has a great bibliography but only a short list of links to images.   I wish there were more links to images. Words can paint pictures and the words are beautiful in this book.  But for me, embroidery is about looking at the piece and experiencing the emotions evoked.  I had seen first hand this story quilt (and some of the other works mentioned) and knew just from looking at it that the story it told touched me.  I am sure that more images would have seen this book have even a greater impact.

(Note to self:  Always take photos of things you see on your phone even if you don't think they are important.)

New Equipment

My new sewing table has arrived and hubby has now assembled it for me, twice.  The first time he got it all wrong and had to do it again and he is an Engineer!  I wouldn't have stood a chance at it's assembley.

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It sits in front of the long desk and the table and desk are flush with one another.  Great when you want to support a heavy quilt.

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The table also makes the machine a "flat bed " and is very comfortable to sit and sew at for an extended period of time.  (Notice that woollen cord I made for the scissors.  Soft and easily tires onto the machine.)

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The other piece of equipment I have been working on is my embroidery frame.  I have found it increasingly hard to find pure cotton tape to bind the ring with.  My solution to this has been to cut strips of calico .  I then neatened the edge with a tripe zig zag stitch, to deal with the inevitable fraying, and bound both rings.  Now I'm all ready to start my next Quaker Sampler.

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RIP old sewing machine

It has turned out to be a very expensive week.  I got my sewing machine back and decided that I really needed a new one.  I would have liked a Bernina 710 but they don't make those anymore so I decided on a 720, without the embroidery module.

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 5.07.01 pmBecause the machine is larger than normal I also needed a new sewing table.  I settled on a SewEzi Grande.

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I already have the portable table which I couldn't live without for my back up machine.

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I just can't justify 3 sewing machines so I packed up my Bernina 440 and all the other bits I bought back then, and have used them as a trade-in.   I was really surprised that I could find all the bits and pieces that went with it after moving so many times over the last few years. I have decided against my trip to Japan this year because of the Coronoavirus, so wasn't feeling too guilty about the expense.

Then we started having problems with the electricity, it kept shorting out.  The electrician said he thought it was caused by the charging of one of my appliances.  Then I couldn't charge my Ipad mini and my phone was very slow.  Turns out they are just too old.  I couldn't justify replacing both of them after just spending so much on the machine and table so just settled on a new phone.  An Apple 11. The plus and pro were just too expensive.  I bought a mauve one.

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I took delivery of the machine yesterday.  It was too heavy to carry so I had to book a barge to the mainland and another one back again.  Now I have to learn to use all these new tools.  Actually that is quite exciting.  (Note to my children.  I need a new Ipad mini.)

Toowoomba Visit

So, I made the long drive up to Toowoomba for the sale at Precious Time Patchwork Shop's sale and I think I behaved myself well.  That is, I only bought fabric that was marked down to $5 per metre, but, I did buy quite a bit.

Cats, not sure what I'm going to do with this but I'm sure I will think of some thing.  Big cats,

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and some medium sized and small ones.

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Then there were pieces for quilt backing.  At $5 per metre I got a whole back for just $20, well a few quilt backings actually.

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Then I am very low on light coloured fabrics in my stash, so some of them.

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I have already forgotten why I liked these ones!  It will come to me.

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and the last 2 are just because I wanted them.

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Then on they way home Angela had to drop in some donations at Vinnies.  Whilst she was doing that I found a little bundle to buy.  I spent under $20 for this lot. 

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The rock mellon with the forks is for my niece who is so into "mid century modern" style.  Kate has really bad pain from a medical condition and this is to cheer her up.

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This set is sooo 1950's.  It will look great on her 1950's sideboard.  Now I have to find somewhere to store this lot.


A visit from a friend

My friend Angela came for an overnight stay.  It was great to see her and we hit the shops together.

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Of course nothing was plain sailing.  The builders were supposed to finish the new built in wardrobe in the guest bedroom.  No, the doors didn' t arrive.  Plus builders are so messy.  I spent a lot of time after they left, which was the night before her arrival, just cleaning up.  I do have nearly finished cupboards out on the rear patio but there is still work to be done here as well.  It has been 3 years since her last visit and this had to happen.  Talk about Murphy's Law.

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I only have a couple of patchwork shops in my area but both are good.  Bayside Stitchery is a great store.  Good stock, with a whole range of notions that leave other shops behind.  Only bought a couple of fabrics here.  Not sure how I will use them.

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Then onto the shop at Capalaba.  Angela, who is a long arm quilter found the supplier for extra parts for her machine and I found a whole lot of COTTON gingham.  I have been searching for pure cotton for so long and here I found it on special.  Had to have a metre of each.

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Now I have found it this will be used for a Chicken Scratch in children's class next year.

Not very strong willed

I have run out of batting.  That was something I never thought would happen but I went to cut some and found there was non.  I received an Email from one of my fabric shops saying they were going to have some on special this week so off I toddled to get a bargain.  And I did, get my bargain and the batting I needed.

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BUT, the store was empty and they were unloading some Tilda fabric that I had used in the last block and it was so much cheaper than what I had paid and it looked wonderful.  I had to buy some even though I have enough fabric to sink a ship.

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I couldln't find any more of those little birds in the colour I wanted.  There was also no white on white background fabric.

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Driving home I thought I would go another 10 K to my patchwork shop down on the bay.  They didn't have the birds or the background fabric but I did find a nice light blue batik that will do the job.  I have to say a quilt with lots of white in it isn't all the practical so I am happy with what I chose.

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I really should finish that other quilt I have been working on before I start this one.

A new sewing machine

My eldest grand daughter turned 8 in December.  This is the time to start to teach her how to use a sewing machine.  Small problem.  I could give her one of my machines but mine are Bernina's and that means that they are heavy and I don't want to give any of my machines away.  I did have a Husqvarna Machine, but I have lent that one to a friend and I know she uses it all the time.  Only thing to do was to buy a new one for Monique.

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I am not familiar with the Janome but an entry level machine is less than half the price of the equivalent Bernina.  It is also far more intuitive and quite light to move around.  It has all the stitches that a beginner sewer would need, including some fancy ones.  Grandma just has to work out how to use it so she can teach Monique.

Being a sewer myself I also know the extra things you need for the machine.  Like bobbins, cutters, extra feet, needles etc.  So, I purchased these along with the machine.

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I found the little bag on sale while we were in Caloundra.  I bought it not knowing what I would use it for but it is perfect for all these extras.

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When her sister turns 8 I will buy her a machine as well.  I remember that I hated having to share my mothers machine between her and my sister.  A girl should have her own.  I hope she likes this.  It is not something that you can take for granted.  I taught my daughter to sew at the same age and she loved it and has always thanked me for teaching her.  Fingers crossed.