28 July, 2010

The flowergirl dress

I made this dress for the daughter of a friend who is getting married on a Queensland beach in a few weeks. My friend that is, not her daughter! I was appalled at the prices being charged for flowergirl dresses in the bridal shop ($250+!) so I figured that this is what sewing is good at - saving money on high-end outfits. Besides, how hard could a flowergirl dress be? Ha! We looked through the pattern books and nothing appealed until we got to Butterick 4967 which was exactly what my friend was after. So we got the organza and the lining for about $70 ($250 bite me!) and I set to work. I finally handed it off yesterday. Phew.

Flowergirl dress

I was really really pleased with it, it turned out pretty much exactly as I'd imagined it. I love the floaty ruffles and they shimmy most delightfully.

Flowergirl dress detail

I'll definitely consider making this up in a heavier fabric as a summer dress for Hazel this year. Though having said that, we're off to Canada mid-December (beginning of summer here) and back end of January just in time for school to start for the year. But I'm sure there will be some summer after that!

I was reading a blog the other day that had a section at the bottom of the posts called "Keeping it Real" and I loved that (though I can't remember which blog it was) Ah, it was Pen 'n Paper Flowers. So this is my version:

"The Honest Truth"
  • I HATE sewing organza. If I never have to again it will be too soon for me. It's just above minky and velvet in the PITA stakes.
  • The ruffles aren't even - I just couldn't keep that darned fabric sitting straight while I was cutting it, despite using a rotary cutter and mat and lots and lots of swearing. Swearing helps keep fabric in place sometimes, honest! Combine that with being cut on the bias (#$&%&!@#!!) and the natural pull up at a seam and the ruffles hoick slightly at the sides and sit a bit unevenly in places.
  • I didn't even try and hem the ruffles as per instructions, I just did a rolled hem on the overlocker with thread that was a little whiter than the fabric. I love my friend but I'm not willing to lose my sanity over hemming organza sheer.
  • The fabric we chose was too sheer and the bottom ruffle sits on its own, and at the last minute I had to add on a bit of lining I managed to squeeze out of the scraps so that modesty was preserved.
  • The sheerness of the organza meant I had to sew the bodice lining into the zipper seam to give it strength instead of slip-stitching it over the top, meaning the zipper tape and fabric edges are exposed and it looks ugly. But hey, I won't be wearing it will I? Plus it's on the inside.
  • I cut one of the extra lining panels backwards so there is an exposed seam on the inside of the dress. Again, on the inside so no-one the wiser (hopefully).
Amazingly though, none of those issues really matter and the little girl literally jumped up and down and clapped when she saw it. And that right there my friends, is why I sew. Though not organza, ever again.

    23 July, 2010

    Mad Style

    I wasn't planning on blogging for a few days but I'm sitting here eating my lunch in my office and reading Tom and Lorenzo's ongoing series on Mad Men called Mad Style.  I'm always excited when I see a new post in my reader (including today's post on the season premiere) so I thought I'd share the fun with everyone!  These guys analyse the minutiae of the women's clothing like nothing else, makes me realise what a passive viewer I am. But it really brings the show alive both stylistically and plot-wise and I'm obviously going to have to start paying more attention! I know you lucky ducks in the States will be into the new season very soon too.  And oh the clothes, the clothes!  Start at the beginning with the post on Bobby Barrett and work your way through, you won't be disappointed.  Now I'm off to find out when it starts here!

    22 July, 2010

    I can't take it anymore!

    I have no doubt that there will be another break after I post this but honestly, how long can one person go without blogging? The first and worst day of lecturing is over and tomorrow's load is heaps less so I feel I can nip in and say "hi!". I've been managing to do a bit of sewing while I've been gone, although it's taken a bit of a hit to say the least. I'm making up a flowergirl dress for a friend's daughter that is proving to be a huge challenge for me because it's made of sheer fabrics, and add to that it needs to be done in two weeks and I'm not sure it's helping my stress levels! I've also joined up Bad Skirt's Icecream Social (button with link over in side bar there) because I want to sew a dress for Hazel's birthday present from this combo

    Ice cream dress beginning

    Of course, I'm behind already but can always sew through in one big blast after I get the flowergirl dress done.

    The other big thing that I was desperate to blog about was the lovely lovely lovely parcel that came from Ellie at Petalplum a couple weeks ago. Awhile ago she asked for volunteers for a Pay It Forward (PIF) and needless to say she didn't have to ask me twice! She's also Red Seed Studios so I knew that anything she sent was going to be fabulous. Subsequent to that her kids and Hazel have started writing to each other and a parcel arrived with some lovely (did I mention lovely?) things for both of us. It was like Christmas in July and high standards have been set for my own PIF that must now follow. The photo has tags so if you're interested in what's what, click over to Flickr.

    Petalplum package

    Ok, that's my lot for the time-being. See you all in a week or so, I have some birthday things to blog about!

    09 July, 2010

    Let me tell you...

    it's hard not blogging!


    05 July, 2010

    Taking a break from the crafty side of life

    Lecture Hall, originally uploaded by hey mr. eric.

    Hey people. With lectures upcoming I've decided I need to take a blogging break for a couple weeks. I'm getting SO anxious about all the prep work I need to do to be ready to teach that blogging and sewing are going to have to take a back seat for awhile. I thought I could juggle the two with the result that I'm way behind on the academic side of things and being rather ineffectual at the blogging and sewing side too! So the 200 giveaway will have to wait until I get back which is totally lame I know but the reason it hasn't happened yet is me procrastinating about my whole life instead of just the things that are stressing me out. I've also got Hazel's birthday and first day of school coming up and need to get that planned and executed without imploding.

    With any luck I'll be back in 2-3 weeks with things under control and a few lectures under my belt.

    02 July, 2010

    A bedtime story

    Hazel, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

    Hazel told this story to us tonight.

    "Once upon a time there was a little girl named...Hazel! And one day she went for a walk in the forest without telling her mummy and daddy and she got lost. And there was a bear and a tiger and a wolf coming to eat her. And they ate one arm and then the other arm..."

    [muffled laughter from me]

    "IT'S NOT FUNNY!!!"

    [loud laughing from both parents while she waited very patiently]

    "...and then they ate one leg and then her other leg, and then they ate her whole head! And her eyeballs, and then her mouth [said with great relish]. But luckily for her it all grew back. The end."

    Fairy tales are just so moralistic these days aren't they?

    Friday diversions

    This morning I have been virtuous and read various thoughtful and insightful papers on the beginnings of symbolic thought in humans and considered how we can see this behaviour in the archaeological record so that in three weeks or so I can lecture about it most impressively.

    This afternoon has been a bit less cerebral - I monitored an auction for some vintage sheets I had a bid in on, whilst watching a clip from Glastonbury of Orbital feat. Matt Smith doing the Dr. Who theme.

    How's that for a very modern juxtaposition? And then to round it off I watched a cat video - because what're teh internets for if not for watching funny cat videos?  Especially on a Friday afternoon.

    Dr. Who and the cat via Hard News and the sheets are a result of a sudden panic that I've missed the vintage sheet boat. Which I know I have if I'm paying that much for what I could have had for a few bucks in an opshop a year or so ago!

    01 July, 2010

    There's no place like home, there's no place like home...

    The other day I was out keeping a friend company while she did some shopping, during which I may or may not have accidentally bought some stuff on sale at Max. Anyways, she popped into a shoe store to have a look and while she was trying on some very spangley and gorgeous heels I spotted a pair of red wedges across the way. We contemplated each other for a moment and then the shoes said "Hi!" I pretended I hadn't heard, but couldn't resist looking over again and they just sat there looking inviting. I thought it would be rude not to at least have a look so I did and they were very lovely and I was told they were "very you". But then I said goodbye and we left. But like any good missed opportunity, I couldn't stop thinking about them and so I popped down from Uni to the shop in Queen St. yesterday and there they were - on sale. Life is good sometimes!

    Red shoes

    When I tried them on I couldn't resist clicking my heels and trying to get home. I don't think the sweet young thing who was helping me had the slightest idea what I was going on about. Mat says that I'm showing my age by quoting Wizard of Oz but surely not?

    Red shoes 2

    They are lovely and comfortable, although the laces dig in a bit across the top of my foot. I'm thinking I might put in some ribbons instead.


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