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.
It is the first weekend in March which means it is time for the annual Rosehill Craft show. I went this morning.
The Rosehill show the little sister to the big Sydney Quilt and craft show which is held in June each year, it is a smaller show but usually just as good. This year the craft show seemed to have a different feel to previous years. I know popular craft trends change from year to year and the show caters for what is most popular but I guess this year the trends that seemed to be at the show weren’t really my taste. Cake decorating seemed to be big this year and wedding planning so if liked those things you had lots of activities and shops to choose from. I’m more into fabric and yarn shops and activities and it seemed there were fewer of those than in previous years at Rosehill. Saying that there was a new store which I was really wanted to visit and basically only went to the craft show for and that was Lefty’s. I had no idea this shop even existed until I saw that it in the exhibitors list prior to the show. As the name suggests they sell left handed products. I discovered they had left handed dressmaking scissors and was hoping they would have them at the show. To recap my issue I’m right handed but cut fabric anti-clockwise which is apparently wrong for a right handed person. To use my seam allowance guide successfully I need left handed scissors. They had a variety of types but talking to the owner and discussing my problem he suggested I went with a pair that had a universal grip. A universal grip doesn’t have a thumb grove it which means you can comfortably use them in your right or left hand. The top blade is on the left hand side which is what I need.
I did do one class as the show which was a last minute decision I only decided this morning before I left home. I discovered a jewellery making class. It wasn’t like a regular class where you met the teacher at a special workshop area at a designated time instead the class was held at the exhibitor’s stand and you basically went up whenever you wanted and made your item. I really liked this as it gave you the flexibility to do it whenever you had time or there was a spot free at the class station. You had the option of making a pendant or a cuff. I decided on a cuff as it is something I am liable to wear more. You stamp your designs onto your item using metal punches and a hammer. You were able to use any of the punches (letters, symbols, zodiac signs, pictures) they had available to create any design you wanted. There was no limit so you could do as many as you could fit if you wanted to. I saw they had a ying yang punch for sale but it wasn’t among the ones you could choose from however the store holder was kind enough to open the packet up so I could use it. Each person was given a practice piece to try out using the punches before they started their actual piece. My practice piece was horrible as it kept slipping. They stall holder gave me some tips and I got the hang of it. For my bracelet I opted for 4 ying yangs, they turned out great so I decided not to do anything else. I adore ying yangs so my bracelet was perfect with just the 4. You do the punching out your design on flat metal surfaces afterwards you curve the cuff to get the round shape. I love my little bracelet.
It certainly was my shortest Rosehill show as I only spent just over 2 hours at it. I did the things I wanted to do so it wasn’t a wasted trip. Crowd wise numbers looked down but Sydney is currently going through a very wet period so I’m guessing that is why. Hopefully next year it picks back up again.
In February my Sewjo got up and left and I never saw it. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I actually sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in the month. Summer in Sydney is always warm (hello it is summer!) but this February has been really humid and the last thing I want to do is sit down at my sewing machine. I don’t have air con which I don’t mind but I don’t want the sewing machine to overheat. Also towards the end of January I had a couple of projects that didn’t work out properly so my motivation and sewing confidence also took a hit. I’m re-thinking a couple of my sewing projects now. February I spent a lot of time crocheting and knitting so it wasn’t entirely wasted time.
For March I want to get back on the Janome and get a few things done so my list is
- Make the dinosaur tail
- Make a wearable toile of a top
- Finish hand sewing secret April gift
- Attend the ASG birthday luncheon
- Block my Sunny Log Cabin Squares
- Make my Quilts of Hope Block
I now have blocking pins and have researched how to block items so I have no excuse now not to block the squares, I have other blankets I wish to start but am being strong and not starting them until I finish the Log Cabin otherwise I know the Log Cabin will never get finished. The April gift I have just a small amount of hand sewing to do from memory. The dinosaur tail I’m hoping to get started on this coming weekend, I still need to cut out some spikes for it. The top is the Sew DIY pattern I chose. I want to test out the sizing on a top that I can wear around the house in some stretch knit I have in my stash. For the Quilts of Hope block I have everything planned out in my head it is now just a matter of getting everything cut and start working on it.
I’m looking more forward to March now. I want to get back to my sewing more. I’ve enjoyed my knitting and crochet but sitting doing that isn’t going to get my gifts made…
Last Saturday night the Sydney Spoolettes had their first ever Frocktail party.
So what is a Frocktail party? It is an event where those who love to sew get together for a night of fashion and fun. Many people made outfits for the night, some wore items they had previously made, some people made bags to match their outfit and one very talented person even made her own shoes! I would not even know where to begin to make a pair of shoes. Originally I wasn’t going to be able to make Frocktails so I never made anything for event specifically. At the start of the year I made my blue rose skirt for an event in March so I decided to wear that and I had made the handbag to match. I had never seen the rose fabric before I picked it up at the swap day last year as normally it isn’t fabric I normally look at to wear. Can you believe some had an outfit on made from the exact same fabric! When I got talking to the wonderful Alison I discovered she had only decided that week to go to Frocktails and the dress was something she had already made so wore that. Fabric fate that fabric was meant to make a Frocktails appearance.
I’m proud of the jewellery I wore as it was all items I had made over the years. My metallic necklace that doubles as a bracelet when you wrap it around your wrist a few times, the pendant I made at Urban Stitches and of course my latest make my viking knit bracelet. Can you see a theme in the colours. Someone jokingly asked me if I wore blue on the night after a previous conversation we had last year… Of course I wore blue if I don’t get to wear blue I’m going to cry.
Caz (Useful Box) organised the event and did an amazing job. Lots of different companies sponsored the event donating some amazing lucky door prizes. There were gift vouchers, fabric, sewing packs, patterns. I was lucky to win a pattern by Sew DIY. I can choose any pattern I want and they will email it to me. Naturally my first thought was I make skirts I’ll get a skirt but I’m actually going to get the top pattern as it looks very comfortable. On the night even if you weren’t lucky enough to win one of the fantastic prizes you still didn’t go home empty handed, each person took home a “lolly bag” full of discount vouchers to use at the various sponsors stores. I’m declaring it the best lolly bag ever. Sew DIY is among one of the vouchers so I will be able to get a skirt pattern after all….
Leading up to the night everyone had been sharing the makes on the Spoolette Facebook page and Instagram #sydneyfrocktails It was interesting seeing all the items up close in real life as you watched many of them get constructed over time. You spent the entire night walking around touching peoples fabrics without asking because everyone loves the feel of fabric. People were recognising different patterns and talking sewing. It was a lot of fun. I’m sure everyone is in agreement the night was a huge success. There is talk of another one again next and I hope there is as I’m already planning my outfit….
Stitch Castle Hill by Craft Alive is currently on again for its 3rd year and I went a long yesterday. Each year I go I find it a little different but in a good way not a bad way. Across Australia Craft Alive hold their shows in regional town centres, the shows are a little bit smaller but just as good. Also at the smaller shows you get a lot of shops that don’t go to the larger shows so it always nice to see different shops if you attend regular craft shows like I do. This year there was a good mixture of fabric and yarn shops so I was in my element.
This year I picked up a few items. If you have seen my Instagram feed lately you can see I am going through a bit of a yarn phase, I just want to sit and crochet and knit. I picked up some cottons from The Australian Wool Store. They are a little bit thicker (10ply, 12ply) than I normally work with so I can’t wait to try them out. The blues I have a scarf planned for myself I just haven’t decided on a pattern yet, the purple and green I’m thinking either a dishcloth or maybe even a pot stand trivet as they are thick and if do it double they will be even thicker.
I picked up the knitting pattern books after seeing them last year. The author is a fellow NSW Knitter’s Guild member but at a different group to the one I attend. I would really like to make a sampler blanket to develop my knitting skills. When I got home and sat down with the books the knee rug sampler has confused me a little so I think at this stage it may be a little advanced (but something to work towards) The lace patterns I think I could do and am considering maybe even doing for my scarf. The stripes pattern book I felt most comfortable with and I may even do my dishcloth / pot trivet with one of the patterns. I have a small problem this year I keep buying slipper patterns. I am yet to make any but now I own about 3. I will really need to make a pair for this winter. The “Purple Thang” is a little gadget I have seen online before. It is like a multipurpose tool you can use to poke things with, measure quarter inch, stuff toys. Basically it s one of those useful gadgets for your stash.
This year Craft Alive is support the charity Quilts For Hope, part of your ticket entry goes towards the charity. Members of the public can support the charity even further by donating a quilt block to the charity with a twist. Riley Blake fabrics have kindly donated fabric squares to be used within the block, the only requirement for the blocks you make it that they must be a 9.5″ finished size, contain at least 50% of the supplied fabric and be in the theme of “Future Stars” You can choose any other fabric you want to go with it and the block can be in assembled in any way you want (pieced, appliqued, machine embroidery) The blocks will then be made into finished quilts for the actually patients it supports or the quilts may be raffled off to raise funds for the charity. I love this idea and have decided to take up the challenge. Ideas started ticking immediately and I found a nice fat quarter in light blue to use as my base block and by chance some Riley Blake star fabric at another shop to use as well. It should turn out well.
I did a free workshop by Stick To Your Knitting which is a community group of Knitters who are local to the Castle Hill area. I actually read a knitting chart for the first time and it was easier than I realised. I had a play around with textured knitting which I have done before (excuse the bad photo) but I have never read it from a chart. Now my mind is ticking on how to create a pattern on my own from grid paper.
I had a nice morning at Stitch. I hope they hold it again next year.
I’m hoping the weather will start to cool down soon so I can do more sewing and crafting. In the really hot weather we have been having I haven’t really been in the mood to craft (can you believe it) I have a few things I want to do in February so here are my plans
- Make my March gift (a vest)
- Make my April gift (dinosaur tail)
- Finish off the hand sewing on another April gift
- Weave the tail ends in on a blanket
- Make a dishcloth to practice a new crochet stitch
- Cut out and start a jacket for myself
The vest is going to be the most complicated piece of clothing I have done to date, so far I have read the instructions and traced out the pattern pieces but haven’t made a start on cutting it out yet. I think it is one of those things I need to stop over thinking it and give it a try. The dinosaur tail looks fairly easy to do and I’m hoping to make it this weekend. The hand sewing gift I only need to do a small section so should easily get that finished. In the coming months I’m planning on making a piece that has shell crochet as a border, I have never done this before so I thought I might try it out on a new dishcloth first. The jacket is something I would like to make myself, I have all the fabric (I’m doing it slightly different to the pattern) but so again so far have only traced out the pattern pieces.
I got everything done on my January list so hopefully I can carry on and achieve lots in February.