It is officially winter in Australia so a good time to sit around, drink tea and do craft.
Each month I come on here with a list of projects I wish to do and at the end of the month often I haven’t gotten them done instead I have done other random things that weren’t even on my radar at the start of the month. To be honest sometimes I am all talk and no action. This month I’m not going to write a tick list of things to do. I’m not giving up I am just going with the flow this month. Events wise I have 2 craft weekends booked in, towards the end of June is the annual Sydney Craft fair and in the middle of the month I’m going to attend my first knitting camp. I am looking forward to both weekends. We also have a long weekend coming up so I may be able to squeeze in some bonus sewing time on that extra day. I have a few unfinished softies which I’ll work on this month and I’m contemplating starting another valiant cowl as I have been wearing my current one most mornings this week. Now to decide on what crafts to take away with me on my June weekends away…. Hopefully I can report back on here with some finished projects.
Last Saturday NSW Australian Sewing Guild members were lucky enough to have another Industry Day at McCall’s patterns in Sydney. In the Sewing Guild an Industry Day is where members gather together to hear talks from various people within the sewing industry, catch up with friends and do a little bit of shopping of some exclusive deals not offered to regular members of the public.
Our first speaker of the day was Kay Haerland who is a textile artist. I’ll be honest and say before the day I had never heard of her. She brought some of her quilts along that she had made and they were stunning. Listening to her talk on how she did different techniques was brilliant and really got me thinking. Her quilts start as basic calico and from there she builds them up with applique and hand painted fabrics and layers of different textures to create amazing sceneries that look like they are a painted canvas but due to the techniques used some are even 3D. I have an interest in textile art so I brought the dvd’s she has made because it something I would like to do more. Textile art is something that you can incorporate into your everyday sewing and not just something that needs to be placed on a wall.
Our second speaker was Hollie Bell from Tools by Hollie. Hollie invented the Seam Allowance Guide which is really useful. She is currently working on 3 other inventions which she talked about with us. The invention we most got excited about was Hollie has created a custom made dress form for herself using a scanner and 3D printer and is looking in to how she can do this for others. She told us about her plans to make this available to everyone at a reasonable affordable price. I hope she does get to fulfil her plans because the idea sounds brilliant. As someone is doesn’t really fall within the traditional dress form sizes her idea is wonderful.
Our third speaker was Yvette Stanton. Yvette is lovely, we sat on the same table at the ASG 20th Anniversary Lunch is March. Yvette is an amazing embroider and also I would say textile historian. She likes to focus on the traditional methods of doing different embroidery stitches and styles. She gave us a talk on Hardanger which is a Norwegian style of embroidery. It was fascinating to see photos of the traditional style versus the contemporary style of it, both styles look great but it was lovely to see that people are still wanting to learn the traditional style. Skills are lost unless they are learnt and passed on.
Our final speaker for the day was Elinor Lloyd-Philipps from Nylon Swish. Elinor gave us a history of woman’s foundations which basically underwear and how they have changed over the years. We all laughed at the names of the original cup sizes of bras when they were first invented – I don’t know if I would like to go to a store and ask for size Super Drooper. Although I don’t tend to think a lot of underwear the talk was interesting and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would when I saw a couple of mannequin’s in underwear sitting at the stage area.
We are lucky on the day that McCall’s offers us some great bargains, we get to purchase some supplies at discount prices. I am a pre planner so before the day I researched all the patterns I wanted and had a list. I am trying to push myself into trying new patterns and trying different styles but those I am likely to wear. I did get a couple of patterns which I can use for gifts. I purchased a couple of books on clothing fitting of pants and jackets which should help me as I venture into these items. I also picked up a couple of rolls of different interfacing and another roll of Trace and Toile because it will get used particularly if I am doing more clothing making and using bigger pieces.
Industry days are always fun. It was great to catch up with friends old and new. An Industry Day is a day where you can just turn up and know you can have a conversation with anyone in the room as you all share the common interest of sewing. At times I lose my “Sewjo” and I think we all do. Going to an event like this and talking to people makes you remember sewing is fun and it doesn’t matter what you make or how it turns out. Grab some fabric and get sewing.
May is almost upon us and it is time to start thinking of what I would like to achieve craft wise in it. I didn’t get all my April to do list done but I did still do a lot of crafting.
My May plans are
- Finish dog softie
- Finish owl softie
- Sew up 3 letter softies
- Finish 3 charity tote bags
- Attend ASG Industry Day
- Gather items for Spoolette swap
- Find patterns and fabrics for remaining birthday gifts for the year
So I am being realistic as to what I can achieve this month. The 2 toy softies are leftover from April’s list that I haven’t finished, I have made progress on the dog. The letter softies are all cut so just need stitching. The Industry Day I have my ticket I just need to finalise which patterns I wish to purchase as we get them for a discounted price on the day. The Spoolette swap I have gathered some items but I need to sort through some more. I don’t want to be in the same situation as I was earlier in the month and discover I need to make a toy pronto so I want to get organised with my patterns and fabrics well ahead of time now for the rest of the year. I have nearly finished one of the tote bags the other 2 are cut out but I did need to do designs on the front of them, I have grand plans so should get them finished quickly.
The next couple of months will be busy but I’m hoping to get still get some sewing and crafting done.
Last weekend I picked up a copy of The Dressmaker at the shops and watched it.
Was it what I was expecting? I don’t know to be honest what I was expecting. It was only after it was finished watching it that I read in the credits it was based on the book which meant it didn’t follow the entire storyline. Throughout the movie I kept comparing it to the book in my head which in hindsight had I known it was only based on the book I wouldn’t have compared the 2 so much. I didn’t really pay that much attention to the previews of the movie when it was at the cinema so I hadn’t seen a lot of it. The movie is a light hearted comedy, it is funny to think of this tiny town in the outback of Australia where the woman are climbing ladders in ball gowns just to change a light globe. The costumes were great and I would’ve liked to see more of them. The acting was good, I enjoyed spotting all the local Australian actors in it. It was a good movie but to be honest not something I am likely to watch again. Both the book and the dvd will go in my swap pile for a Sydney Spoolette’s swap day next month. Once I have seen or read something I generally don’t go back to it a second or third time.
I’m not much of a movie critic as to be honest I don’t really watch movies and dvds. This is a good movie if you do get the chance to see it, I think you will enjoy it. There are some really funny parts and visually the clothing and scenery is lovely. And if your wondering yes it does make you want to get to your sewing machine and whip up an outfit.
April is here and I’m hoping for it to be a very crafty month for me. There are some public holidays with Easter and ANZAC Day so I’m hoping to spend extra time doing what I love which is crafting. My To Craft list is as follows
- Finish 2 spiral toys
- Finish an owl
- Finish a dog
- Read The Dressmaker
- Stitch up a skirt that is cut out
- Cut out and make at least one other skirt
- Start a toy football
- Finish off some toy food
Ok a lot of things on my list are half done projects from March. The 2 spiral toys I need to finish off ASAP as I actually wanted to have them finished by February. The owl and the dog need work done to their eyes before I can finish stitching them and then stuff them. I cut out a skirt weeks ago, overlocked the edges and then it has just sat there waiting to be stitched up ever since. I would like to make up one at least one of the winter skirts from the fabric that I brought on the fabric crawl. The toy football is going to be crocheted, I have the yarn I just need to start it. The toy food I started doing the hand embroidery during my weekend away. I’m doing about 3 different types of food only one is at the stitching stage the rest are waiting for the remainder of the hand embroidery to be done. The toy food isn’t urgent just some extra stuff I’m making. I decided to add reading The Dressmaker to my list, after finally finding my copy it looks like that I started to read the first few pages once but never got back to it so I will start again reading a few pages every day.
I have a lot of hand projects on my list. On the actual public holidays I’m hoping to do more machine sewing so I might even get more done then what is on my list. I have to consider how the projects will be sewn. I can regular use a regular sewing machine at any time of the day but for my neighbours sake (I live in a unit block) I don’t like to use my overlocker in the early hours of the morning, it is just too loud. There is no point of choosing a heap of items to sew only to discover I can’t start sewing before 7.30am.
Hopefully I can get most things done on my list.
This year the Australian Sewing Guild celebrates their 20th birthday and last weekend they held a lunch at Mercure Sydney. For a bit of fun I stayed at the hotel for the weekend and had a great time.
Members from nearly every state and territory across Australia came along to the event. I didn’t know anyone at the table I was sitting at but it turned out we were all from the Sydney area and we all loved sewing so instantly got a long. Some of the founding members of the guild spoke on the history of the guild and why they are so passionate about it. It was lovely to hear their stories. We ate a lovely meal topped off by a delicious looking chocolate birthday cake (sadly I don’t eat chocolate)
We had 2 special guests. Tara Moss who is a renowned author, journalist and most importantly sewing enthusiast. She is the patron of the guild and claims to be a beginner in the world of sewing but anyone who can make a corset I don’t think can be classed as a beginner. Our other special guest and to be honest the person we were all in awe of was Marion Boyce. Who is Marion Boyce? In my opinion she is the greatest costume designer Australian film and tv has ever had, her work includes The Dressmaker, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Crocodile Dundee in LA. I’ll be honest I still haven’t seen The Dressmaker. I have the book and dvd but wish to read the book first (I should put it on my To Craft list) I have seen the Miss Fisher series and seen Marion’s work close up at 2 Miss Fisher exhibitions that have come to Sydney so I am a fan of Marion’s amazing talents. Tara interviewed Marion, the entire room was silent hanging on to every word. Marion talked about how she go in to the industry and what it was actually like working on tv and films. She is under a lot of pressure from a lot of people and has only limited time with the actual actors to do fittings and adjustments.
Marion brought along this divine olive green vintage dress that was part of the Miss Fisher series. She spoke of how it was a 6 week process to construct one outfit like this as she needed to source the fabrics and accessories, have them dyed to match and finally cut out and stitched up. It isn’t a simple process and this is only one outfit, she is usually planning about 6 episodes at once. I thought I have a lot running through my head I’m thinking her brain never shuts down. Marion uses lots of trimmings and fabrics from her stash on the Miss Fisher costumes, her stash must be amazing! It was a great interview that everyone in the room enjoyed (and the wait staff that were outside the room but were sticking their heads in the door to watch)
As a treat each person got a few trinkets to take you home, I am a pen fanatic so love a free pen and the retractable tape measure I may take to work and leave in my office drawer as it will come in handy.
It was a great event. The food was lovely, the speakers were amazing and the company of fellow sewing enthusiasts was fantastic. I chatted with friends old and new and in fact I have a new table of friends whom I’m sure I will see again at the next guild event in May.
I discovered my need for left handed scissors after trying the seam allowance guide. Last weekend I tried them out for the first time.
The scissors I purchased are made in Germany. They are a lot lighter to hold than what I am used to. They have a plastic handle in a universal grip. The universal grip means that they don’t have the shaped handle that your would normally place your thumb for comfort when cutting, this was important as I am using left handed scissors in my right hand. To recap I cut patterns backwards to the standard way of cutting with your right hand and therefore I couldn’t use the seam allowance guide on regular right handed scissors.
I was able to place the seam allowance guide on these scissors and cut anticlockwise with the pattern on my left like I normally do. The top blade that you place the seam allowance guide on is higher which is what I needed. It was easy to place on these scissors.
I’ll be the first to admit that my first result in cutting with these new scissors wasn’t the neatest in the world. In hindsight I should have practiced on some regular fabric and not my good stuff until I got the feel of scissors and using the seam allowance guide. The scissors were very light in my hand and I felt like I was hacking at the fabric instead of cutting smoothly, I’m used to my old scissors which are fully metal and heavier so you had to do bigger cutting strokes. I need to practice with small cuts instead of long cuts with these new scissors. My eyesight isn’t the best at times and I think I need to wear my glasses when using the seam allowance guide to ensure that it is staying inline with the pattern. I was overlocking the edges of what I cut out anyway so it wasn’t the end of the world.
I am glad that I was able to get these scissors. I think once I get the feel of them and practice using the seam allowance guide (with glasses on) adding seam allowance to patterns will be so much easier.