Wednesday, 30 March 2011

What I'm working on (and why it takes me weeks to make anything)

In my Cape Town post, I showed some photos of the gorgeous fabric I bought there.  My favourite was an orange stripey Venda cotton.  My friend helping me shop is from Zimbabwe, so she immediately identified it, even though the tag said that it was printed in ZW (ZM is the usual abbreviation for Zimbabwe, isn't it?).  It was getting toward the end of the day, and my suitcase was getting packed tighter and tighter, so I only bought 1.5m.  When I got home, I though, "What can I do with 1.5m....hmmmm....a pleated skirt".  And so I started:

1.  I ripped an 8 inch strip from one end,

2.  Then I cut the main fabric in two along the printed stripe....wait, Tashi, I'm trying to take a photo.... 

No!  Don't walk on Mamma's fabric!

No!  Don't pull that piece....Oh, for the love of monkeys....

Then I had to clean up a whole bottle of these that were dumped on the floor:

If you've ever tried to clean up sprinkles, you know it is an impossible task.  They fly everywhere, they are very hard to sweep, they evade the vacuum, they stick to your feet and make you yell, "No more sprinkles in this house!", like a crabby Mamma.  I'll post the finished skirt when I get a few evenings to myself.  

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

This is a pattern?

burda style magazine -... #103
Added Yesterday
Munich, Germany
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34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44 See Sizing Chart
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burda style magazine

And they are charging $5.40?  I may be a novice, but even I think *I* could draft this pattern myself.  C'mon Burdastyle.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

1967-ish Skirt

I picked up this 1967 How To Sew skirt pattern at either Village des Valeurs or my local charity shop, so I must have shelled out a whopping 25 cents or (gasp) 65, depending on the source.  Thanks to the glut of patterns available in thrift shops around here, I'm amassing quite a stash and I'm starting to lose track of where I got them.  I think I'm close to the tipping point where I will have to start unloading some.  Anyway, on to the skirt:

Cute, basic, reminiscent of my elementary school days, but a bit too small and not high on my list to make.  Then 6 months later, I found this 1m of polyester knit for 1$ and it seemed so strangely familiar that I had to buy it.  

Since it is a knit, I didn't think I really had to put a zipper in as shown in the pattern; I just added the waist band and hoped for the best.  It pulls on alright, but after a whole day at work, it was getting a bit too saggy.  That will teach me to wing it without proper sewing experience.

Here are some photos taken this morning before dropping the little man off at daycare.  He wanted to get in on the action, but didn't want to hold the camera, so it's camera-balanced-on-the-stereo + timer to the rescue:

I guess this counts toward my Sewing Through the Decades goal, but I'm not terribly proud of the result.  In fact, I have so many beautiful '60s patterns that would look so much better than this.  I'm crossing off the 1960s for now, but may bring in a replacement later!  

1940s  1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s  2000s 2010s

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Another Sewing Scientist - Cape Town edition

Hello from the sunny side of the earth!  I'm in Cape Town for work, with a little holiday tacked on the end.  Two days of travel to get here, straight into the lab to set up the assay strains, a whirlwind day of touristing with my bosses, two days of meetings, followed by three days of hosting a lab training session.....I was wrung out.
Then, during an afternoon break in our lab session, a colleague of mine whisked me off in a share taxi for a little fabric shopping, and Oh! what a time we had!  We unfortunately hit the stores just as they were closing for Friday afternoon prayers (a good thing to remember for the next visit), but they reopened at 13h30 and we got to shopping.

The shwe shwe was available in several widths and interestingly, in pre-printed panels:  the fabric was sold by the section (gore), so you just decided how many sections you needed to go around you and paid accordingly.  Some of the fabric was printed on both sides; I imagine making a stiff pleated skirt with a waistband from the reverse fabric.

My colleague (or by now, I should say friend), lamented that she should buy some shwe shwe and make a skirt too, but never learned to sew and doesn't have the time.  I countered that I have a full time job and two kids, and I still manage to squeeze in a few hours a week, so I may have inspired another sewing scientist.  I mean *another* Another Sewing Scientist  ;)

I also made some great finds at an antique shop in Observatory called Munro's.  (I use the term antique shop very loosely; it was more like one of those junk shops run by a compulsive hoarder.)  She actually started to get very flustered when I opened some drawers....but when I started talking about sewing, she loosened up a bit and showed me a dusty old box of patterns and a drawer full of vintage notions.  I got these two belt slides, two patterns (one Vogue Nina Ricci), a length of machine made cotton lace and an antique hand-tatted lace doily.  I know it sounds heretical, but I'm thinking of cutting the doily to make a lace collar for a black dress.  Since it's a bit damaged and has a stain, I can justify it to myself.

My bag is stuffed, so I think I'll stop there.  Well, if I stumble across more great fabric at a market, I may not be able to resist, but I'll try.
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