Today I went to the Love Desire & Riches exhibition at Old Government House Parramatta. The exhibition has been on since July and closes this weekend. The exhibition is a collection of Australian wedding dresses spanning over 200 years of fashion. The collection includes famous dresses that have been worn in tv and movies including the wedding dress worn by Toni Collette in Muriel’s Wedding and the red dress worn by Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. Sadly I didn’t take my camera with me but I purchased these lovely post cards of some of the garments on display.
On the walls were framed bits of lace and a history on how some of it was made. There were cabinets with hair accessories and hats. Through the entire exhibit you were finding all these little treasures too look at and that was just between the displays of dresses. The work that goes into some wedding dresses in amazing. The fabrics used, the beading, the lace, the sequins. There is one dress where you can see all the construction that goes into fitting the bodice and the skirt. All the hand work to make it a perfect fit is incredible. Some dresses looked so heavy from the amount of beading and fabric that was in them and that is just what you could see on the outside. I’m in awe as to how girls can wear them.
On my mobile phone I did snap this picture of this vintage petticoat still with the label on it. These days you just don’t get that quality anymore. I was fascinated by all of the items. This exhibit travels around the country so if do get a chance to see it than I highly recommend you do. Even if the idea of looking at wedding dresses or any other themed exhibit isn’t your “thing” go and take a look as you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it. Previously but I mentioned that I am not into bridal things or the vintage look but I did enjoy this exhibit as I was looking at the exhibits from a textile and sewing view.
Confession I made another A+ Skirt. I really do like this pattern.
This time I used a printed stretch denim fabric. I’ve never stitched with this fabric before. I instantly was drawn to this fabric as in my current wardrobe I had about 3-4 shirts that would match in with the flowers. This is very practical skirt and I love practical.
I must admit I did have a small issue with the zipper on this one. My side seam wasn’t stitched wide enough so when I went to place the zipper in it didn’t sit in the seam allowance proper. The edges are overlocked so they won’t fray the overlocking thread is showing a bit. I personally don’t care I just hope it doesn’t impact on the zipper and it get caught. Time will tell.
Recently I got a new mobile phone and I was playing around with selecting a photo for the back ground. Flicking through the gallery of photos on my phone I found one of my sewing machine and thought perfect. This is machine was the first real one I brought. Everyone has a fond spot for their first sewing machine. Now whenever I’m a little bit stressed and I’m not at home I can just look at my phone to relax. Not everyone would choose this as their photo but for me I couldn’t think of anything more apt.
Last weekend a 2 day Embellishment Workshop was run in my local Australian Sewing Guild region. The workshop was run by Rhona Feeney who owns Bernina Sewing shop at Chatswood. Rhona is a very talented person who does amazing textile pieces and has been a member of the Australian Sewing Guild for many years.
During the workshop we worked on turning a simple printed flat fabric panel into a 3D piece of artwork. On the finished sample Rhona had transformed that once flat panel with embroidery, beads and shrinking fabric (texture magic) It looked stunning. There was so much texture and colour in it.
We learnt all about shrinking fabric (which I had never heard of before) and were given a demonstration on how the shrinking process worked. The fabric is plastic and shrinks down about 30% Anything attached to the fabric (ie sewn on to it) shrinks with it. It was like watching a magic show seeing it shrink down.
We started to embellish our fabric using free motion quilting to highlight the different areas of the panel. I’ve done a small amount of free motion before but nothing like this. I’ve only ever used tone on tone fabric and thread to fill in the background of a piece, wanting the quilting to blend into the background and disappear. This time I had to really think about thread colour and where I was putting the stitches. Rhona explained it as colouring in but with needle and thread instead of a pencil. I’ve never been able to stay within the lines. I found this really challenging. I’d try to stick to a feather and go off it. I found myself going sideways across the panel instead of following a line down it. You had to think about how it would look once it was shrunk down. Any areas without stitching would puff up. You had to fill in the area with more long narrow stitches rather than circles and shapes unless that’s what you wanted the final piece to puff up. It was really hard to see your stitched lines so you had to keep turning the fabric over to see where you had sewn. I was happy with the amount I’d gotten done day 1
At the start of the day Rhona demonstrated how to attach beads with a spring needle. Spring needles were again another item I’d never heard of. It’s basically a regular sewing needle that has a spring down the shaft. To attach it you remove the foot shank and insert it in like a regular needle (it has a flat back) The spring needle is the only attachment on your machine. The spring allows you to stitch in the centre of the bead.
We continued colouring in our fabric then had an attempt at beading. At first it feels very foreign. You have to manually turn the handwheel to do the stitch inside the bead to secure it. Once you get your head around it then you have to work out how to hold the beads whilst you stitch them. Tweezers are a must. Even though I’m right handed I’m used to using my left hand so I was able to hold the tweezers with the left hand and operate the handwheel with my right. Once you get the hang of it beading is very fun.
In some areas I was a bit drunken sailor with my stitching, as I mentioned I struggle to stay within the lines. We were told the shrinking process is forgiving and disguises minor errors.
I never got the panel finished but I did get most of the beading done. The most important thing was I enjoyed the workshop. I had an inspirational teacher, were among lovely company and I learnt some new skills. I really like the concept of the shrinking fabric, I brought a piece of it as I’d really like to use it in something. I don’t really do decorative stuff but it can be used in some many ways. Rhona showed up a jacket she had which had a peacock down with shrinking fabric appliqued onto it, a native flower broach where each petal was done with the fabric. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on….
I’ve made another A+ Skirt, well almost it has been hanging like this for a week waiting for me to add the hook and eye closure on the waistband. This is quilting fabric that I found on sale for $5/m I really like the colour tones of it. I’m not a pink or a pastel person but I love the colours of the flowers against the green background. The print is directional to some extent down the length of the fabric but you didn’t need to be precise to pattern match it with the different pieces. Its is a busy print so I got away with just cutting it down the length of the fabric. Even though the print isn’t native it reminds me of the bush. I guess the green gum trees the flowers in the undergrowth on the ground. Now to just finish it so I can wear it next week.
When I made the Bella Bugs I cut the pieces from a fabric panel. Each panel had a picture of the finished toy plus some other decorative detail which was too good to just toss in the bin so I decided to use them up.
Scrappy shoulder bags were the idea I came up with. Each bag has the picture of Bella Bug on it. I folded over a seam around each piece and pinned it in place on the front of each bag which was a piece of cotton drill. I then hand appliqued around each square to secure it. So it wouldn’t just look like a scrap bit of fabric stuck on the front I decided to go machine applique around each one. I gave myself the challenge (I do love a challenge) my MC11000 has something 200+ stitches I decided I would use a different stitch on each side of the panel piece. I couldn’t use the same stitch twice even if it looked really pretty. I only had to find 16 different stitches. That’s not as easy as it sounds. I had to balance out the stitches on each piece so that they were different looking. I didn’t want one to have all wavy stitches or have really dense stitches all the way around. It was a lot of fun having a play and a think. Some stitches look better than others but none look terrible.
Each panel piece had 2 rows of butterflys on it. They were screaming to be bag straps. I stitched them right sides together before turning them out and top stitching along each side. The outside of the strap is one long piece, the inside is 2 smaller pieces joined together. I didn’t put any interfacing in them as they are only kids bags. They hold their shape very well.
For the inside I used some poly cotton that I had in my stash. I don’t usually use poly cotton but the colour of this worked well with the bags as I was going for purple tones. Also it was a way of using this fabric that otherwise would still be sitting in my stash. After I assembled the bag I top stitched around the edge with the same colour thread I did the applique in. Again this to me made the applique on the front tie in with the rest of the bag so not to make it look out of place.
These turned out really well. Obviously I’ll match it up so the toys and the bag go to the same owner. These scraps were too pretty to let go to waste so I wanted to put them to good use. I particularly love the straps. Everything from these came from my scrap or fabric stash. They are a real Sew My Stash project.
Sew Box is celebrating its 1st birthday this month, congratulations Leesa!! This month its time to “Stay Cool For Summer”
In the box this month we got
- 1.5m Lace Trim
- 2 Plastic Head Bands
- 10 Ribbon Flowers
- Thread Snipper
- 1.5m Ice Cream Cross Grain Ribbon
- Ice Cream Cone Buttons
- Sorbet Fabric Pack
- 1m Chambray Fabric
- Reversible Headband Pattern by Arjay
- Iggy Iceblock Free Motion Applique by Stitch Art
- Endless Summer Short Pattern by Rabbit Rabbit Creations
All the colours are yummy this month. Looking at the colour palate you just want to eat it all. The lace trim is so soft. I’m already thinking I’ll use it to jazz up so some t-shirts I have. I may use the chambray fabric to make myself a sun hat. The buttons may get made into a child’s bracelet.
This is a very fun box, I’m going to get a few kids presents made from this. I’m also going to get items done for myself out of this.