Monday, December 8, 2008

Bias cut t-shirt with dolman sleeves

I made this t-shirt over the weekend with a pattern I drew up myself. I traced the outline of one of my t-shirts onto paper and made the sleeves into dolman sleeves. The front and back are the same, except that the front neckline is slightly lower. Instead of having a plain hemline at the bottom, I scalloped the sides.

The fabric is heavyweight cotton knit with terry-towelling backing. I was actually looking for a plain red-and-white stripe jersey when I saw this horizontal striped fabric in the bargain box. Normally I don't go for rugby stripes but since it was cheap ($4/metre, 150cm wide), I decided to make a bias cut top to accentuate the stripes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Playing House: Contemporary Dolls' Houses 1957-2007

Today I went to a dollhouse exhibition at the Canberra Museum & Gallery. The items on display belong to miniature enthusiast Anna-Maria Svlatko.

My favourite one is the Mod House, designed by US company Kaleidoscope.

I was also suprised by the amount of detail and workmanship put into the furniture.
Some chairs were replicas of designer furniture.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tonight's dinner

Pan fried haloumi cheese sprinkled with lime juice. Canned salad (canned tomatoes, canned butter beans, canned peas) with extra virgin olive oil and oregano dressing - my own recipe. Fresh cucumber (leftovers from another dish).

Normally I soak the cheese in water to reduce the saltiness but this is a late dinner and I was too hungry to be bothered.

Sewing aftermath

My carpet floor after sewing that blue jacket.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Artsound Open Day

Artsound radio station had their annual open day today, so I went along to check it out. It was great weather for a BBQ and live jazz performances, and I wore my new jacket that I finished sewing yesterday.

One of the presenters took us on a short guided tour which was interesting because I'd never been inside a radio station before. He told us some interesting factoids about the Artsound premises (well, interesting to me because I don't work in the media). All the studios are identically set up, right down to the chair and desk layout, so that presenters can continue their show in another studio if equipment breaks down.

Artsound also broadcasts 24/7 so there's a music server that will automatically start playing a default track list if programs can't be broadcast. We also went inside the recording studio (Artsound started this service so that local musicians and students didn't have to travel all the way to Sydney to record their work), where the walls and ceiling jut out at crazy angles to divert echoes into the floor.

After listening to a jazz ensemble and a South American folk music group, I went to an exhibition inside the PhotoAccess gallery, which is next door to the Artsound studios. I came in just in time for some cheese and crackers and the launch of Residue, an exhibition by sisters Holly and Valentina Schulte. They had some very striking photos of inner-city and suburban buildings.

I also found a vintage Polaroid on the counter. I wonder if it doubles up as a camouflaged surveillance camera.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cotton jacket

I've just finished sewing a jacket that I started at the beginning of this month. It's
a Burda magazine pattern from February. It's made from canvas-weight stretch cotton drill. The seams are covered with bias binding and the sleeves are lined with contrast polyester bemsilk.

I chose this pattern because I liked the asymmetric front closure. To make the design more streamlined, I removed the horizontal pleats across the chest, omitted the extra row of buttons along the front, and replaced the gathered pockets with pleated ones. I also removed the sleeve cuffs and added epaulettes to the shoulders.

Unfortunately this jacket doesn't fit me properly anymore because I've dropped a dress size since I made the toile last month. I'm certainly not complaining about that but the jacket is baggy around the upper waist area because the front darts don't sit properly anymore. It's too troublesome to fix because I'd have to remove the bias-binding, the pockets and the sleeves; re-position and widen the darts; take in the side seams; then re-attach the pockets, sleeves and binding. I'll stick with taking in the side seams as much as I can.

Extra virgin olive oil

This is extra virgin olive oil from Greece. I only use extra virgin oil because of the strong taste. As you can see, this one is green which I wasn't expecting - the bottle is also green so I couldn't see the colour when I bought it. The oil that I previously tried (also from Greece) was dark yellow. Both are delicious, especially with a few drops of raspberry vinegar which I enjoying eating with bread, but this one has a slight bitter aftertaste.

Handmade market

Last weekend I braved the horrible afternoon weather to visit the Handmade Market. Although I didn't end up buying anything, there were a lot of unique handcrafted items that were interesting. I particularly liked some of the wooden/acrylic jewelry and Amy Butler fabric bags but decided not to splurge because I couldn't think of any coordinates in my wardrobe. Oh well, there's always the next market in February.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Houseproud - not!

When I'm sewing, I don't like to do anything else. That includes cleaning and putting things away. With projects involving sewing or computers, I need to work very intensely and continuously until I'm physically unable to continue - I don't like to stop and start, stop and start.

As a result, this is the current state of my loungeroom:

Note: That white lump in front of the window is a Burda World of Fashion pattern sheet that I used for a jacket pattern. I stick it to the window and use the natural light to help me trace it onto plain paper.

CSS in progress

I never quite got the hang of CSS (cascading style sheets). This blog layout needs an overhaul.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My new blouse

My blouse, which has been a work in progress for several months, is finally finished! If the weather isn't too warm next week, I might wear it to work.

The pattern, Simplicity 4112, is a Built By Wendy design. Although it's meant for cotton fabrics, I decided to make it from a sheer nylon jersey that had been languishing under the bed for 2 years. For the parts that required interfacing, I used polyester organza - just as well I also used it under the puffed sleeves, or they would've sagged.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New cushion cover

Behold my new cushion cover:

"Before" and "After" shots of the loungeroom:

How to buy Burdastyle patterns by credit card

I've been meaning to get the Ute blouse pattern for a while and decided to pay by credit card since the paypal link doesn't work. After some messing around, I was finally able to buy the pattern.

If you're a Burdastyle member and you're buying a pattern for the first time, here's how to do it. Basically it involves clicking on the Shopping Basket link after every step in the purchasing process. This makes the web pages display your updated details so you can move onto the next step.

(Note: the Burdastyle team is working on fixing the technical issues so these instructions may not apply in the near future)

Select the pattern you want to buy and click on Buy pdf. The screen doesn't change so you think nothing's happened, but click on the Shopping Basket link (on the right-hand side of the screen) and your pattern will be in there.

Click on Checkout. Add your billing information and credit card details. Click on the Make Primary option and press Submit. The screen doesn't change but your billing details have been saved as you'll see in the next step.

Click on Shopping Basket and then click on Checkout. Your billing details are now onscreen. Enter your shipping details and click on the Make Primary option. Press Submit. Again, the screen looks the same but your shipping details are in the system.

Click on Shopping Basket and click on Checkout again. You can now see both your Billing Details and Shipping Details. Scroll down the page to the credit card payment option. You should now see a Submit Order button. Click on the button to complete your order. You'll then see a new webpage that has links for downloading the pdf pattern.

If you click on Shopping Basket now, it should be empty.

If you need to change/delete your billing and shipping details, go to Account Info under My Profile.

New patterns

All patterns at Lincraft were half price this week so I bought 2 bag patterns, Simplicity 9949 and McCall's 5198. I've never made a bag before, apart from a basic drawstring bag, but I recently found some nice printed canvas that would look good for summer.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to eat pickled herring

I bought a jar of Swedish pickled herrings out of curiousity recently. Unlike the tangy flavour of pickled cucumbers, pickled herrings are incredibly salty. The texture is like sushi since the herrings aren't cooked.

Apart from seeing Detective Moser from Inspector Rex eat them out of the jar, I wasn't sure how to prepare them. This is what a German friend suggested:

We eat them for lunch together with cooked and buttered potatoes. Or you can make a salad (herring filets, onion, gherkins, apple, pork sausage, boiled eggs). Often people eat it as salad on brown bread (no pumpernickel!). Here´s a recipe for 1 person:

4 spoons plain yoghurt
a.. 1 small gherkin
b.. salt, pepper
c.. 75 g pickled herring
d.. 1 apple
e.. 100 g green salad
f.. 1 small red onion
g.. 100 g beetroot
h.. 2 branches dill
i.. 40 g whole-grain bread

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cushion cover fabric

This is my lounge room. It's rather drab and I'm tired of the boring floor cushions. The ugly blue feature wall doesn't help much either.

I've wanted new cushion covers for a while but couldn't find any fabric that I liked - until today. This rough cotton fabric is from Japan. At about $24/metre, it's the second most expensive fabric I've ever bought but I really like it.

The colours aren't as bright or as pink-dominated as they appear to be in this photo and the background colour is pale taupe, not off white. I liked it because I wanted a pattern that would brighten up the room without being too bold. I also wanted to get away from typical home colour schemes of brown and beige because it's just too easy to accessorise them with more brown and beige things.

I have to pre-shrink the fabric first before I start sewing but this is what it would look like as a cushion cover.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sneakers in the mail

Today I bought a pair of ecoSNEAKS shoes from the Simple Shoes website (I don't know of any local stockists otherwise I would've bought the shoes instore). ecoSNEAKs are partially made from recycled materials such as old tyres and plastic bottles.

I'm looking forward to receiving them, although I can't say the same about the exchange rate conversion on my credit card.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hmmm, interesting

I've just discovered that I can only access if I change IP addresses, which is bizarre because I haven't had this problem until recently.

Since last week I haven't been able to access the website from any of my computers at home. I cleared out the cache and made sure my browsers and internet settings weren't blocking the site, but still no luck (thanks anyway Alden, it was worth a try).

On my lunch break today however, I was able to view Burdastyle at the local internet kiosk but when I tried again at home, the same problem occurred. So this time I went through a web proxy that gave me a different IP address - and it worked.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flower fashions

A few weeks ago I went to Floriade and saw these outfits on display. They were created by Canberra art students and it's hard to believe they were made using only leaves, flowers and bark - especially the Strictly Ballroom-inspired tango dress with the flounces.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Looks like the Burdastyle website is down again. I haven't been able to access it since Saturday - and just when I started participating again :( Before I stopped visiting around May because I was busy and because the pages took so long to load.

I really enjoy Burdastyle, not just for the free patterns, but also to see other people's projects and find out how they were made. Since I enjoy making things, it's a good place to see what like-minded people are doing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Braille Window Project

I spent half the day at the National Gallery today. In between looking at the exhibitions, I attended a couple of talks at the Fullscreen08 forum. Fullscreen showcases the work of selected artists who use digital media, eg: AV recordings, blogging, computer-generated art.

The stand-out project for me was the Braille Window Project by Anne Walton. This work consisted of a shop window covered in transparent braille texts. People passing by could feel the texts, while blind writers were invited to type up their observations and have them pasted onto the window.

I found this project interesting because art is normally such a visual medium that blind people are excluded from it. I didn't fully realise this until Anne pointed out that art has nothing to offer blind people because they can't interact with it in the way sighted people would (think of your typical art exhibition or museum collection, with objects hanging from walls or behind glass windows).

After meeting blind advocate Bruce McGuire, Anne was very conscious of creating an art installation that would include blind people without tacking them on as an afterthought, or treating them as a "special needs" group. I think she succeeded with this project.

(Interestingly the main toilets in the National Gallery don't have braille signage, so pity the poor blind person who wanders into the wrong toilets by mistake.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Tokyo Look Book

One thing I regret about living in Tokyo (I lived near Shinjuku for a few years) is not taking more photos of the Shibuya/Harajuku fashion scene.

This book, which I found in the Australian National Gallery bookstore, perfectly captures up all the fashion tribes I saw during my time in Japan. On weekends, if you go to Shibuya 109 or hang round outside Laforet or Gap in Harajuku, you can see hundreds of young people all dressed up, to see and be seen with their friends.

Since appearance is very important in Japan (perhaps a bit too important), it's important to get the look right and a lot of these people to spend at least a hour getting ready before they go out(in some Before and After photos I've seen, they look like completely different people). If they're lucky, their efforts may be rewarded with a feature photo in the next edition of street fashion magazines like Fruits or Kerouac.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Works in progress

The pattern used for this shirt is a Built By Wendy design

The material is a fine stretch polyester knit, with organza interfacing.

This design has puffed sleeves. I haven't attached them to the body yet because I haven't made sleeve heads for them (being a flimsy knit, the puffed bits will sag without the sleeve heads).

This trench coat was cut from a Simplicity 4084 pattern, which I'm not particularly impressed with. The pictures indicated that it's meant to have a semi-fitted, a-line shape but when I made the toile I found it was rather boxy and goes straight up and down. I had to cut the bottom parts wider to give it some extra flare. The sleeves also needed adjusting because they were way too big and too long.

Another thing I didn't notice until I began sewing with the actual material was that the shoulder flaps get in the way of the roll line. This means that if I were to wear this coat as displayed in the left photo, the flaps would be scrunched up under the roll line.

At the moment, I'm working on fixing the right side, which isn't as curved as the left; adding some shoulder pads and sewing in the sleeve lining. Although the sewing mannequin isn't as sturdy as I'd expected (it sinks when heavy items like this coat are placed on it), it's really made a difference in getting the right shape for this coat.

I hope I can finish it before summer arrives.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New sewing mannequin

Finally! I bought this today after saving up for a while. No more crumpled works in progress, and hemming will be much easier too. But before I unpack it, I have to clean and rearrange my lounge room.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking

This is an an easy to understand book for learning how to draft your own patterns. I bought my copy off eBay earlier this year (mint condition; received as a gift but never used - great bargain \O/). Still haven't had the time to try out any of the patterns in this book though.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lydia top, Autumn 2008

Lydia was the first Burdastyle pattern I tried. It's a simple pattern and I altered the sleeves to make them puffy (they look saggy in the photo but they really are puffed sleeves). The style was too fitted for my liking so I also made it slightly looser.

This top was made over one weekend but it can be done in one day if you have time and are an experienced sewer.

I really liked this pattern and ended up making an identical top in black. I wear both tops quite a lot.

Cotton floral shirts, Summer 1997

I drafted the pattern for these shirts myself, using a block from the now-defunct Making magazine. Making was the equivalent of Mrs Style Book (a Japanese fashion magazine) for young people but was discontinued when Mrs Style Book actually became more fashion forward.
It was a pity since Making promoted local designers such as Milk and Multiple Marmalade and art school graduates.

Tonight's dinner - courtesy of Moro East

Moro East - Sam and Sam Clark

I originally saw this fabulous cookbook in a newspaper review earlier this year, and I'm glad I didn't rush out and buy it on the spot. My hardback copy was recently purchased from the local discount bookstore for $30 (RRP AUD 59.00). So there.

I'm not much of a cook because I'm lazy and rarely buy cookbooks, but the story behind Moro East is interesting. In East End London, there used to be a communal gardening area called Manor Garden where local residents could grow their own fruits and vegetables (Seems to be like Melbourne's own allotment gardens in CERES. Incidentally the photo of the river beside the Manor Garden sheds could even pass for Merri Creek, which runs behind CERES).

When the Clarks moved into one of the allotments, they discovered a multicultural community with its own unique methods of gardening and cooking. The recipes in Moro East incorporate the produce that was grown in Manor Garden and are easy to follow. Several are based on what the Clarks learnt from the other residents, as well as what they experienced in their travels around Europe.

Unfortunately Manor Garden was demolished last year in preparation for the 2012 Olympics and the gardeners were moved onto another allotment.

Tonight I'm going to try the braised celery with tomato, olives and coriander. I didn't have green olives, so I used Spanish black ones instead.

In preparation for future recipes I also stocked up on ingredients such as harissa paste, preserved lemons, red wine vinegar and various herbs and spices commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking.

Handy measuring spoon

Instead of fiddling with several measuring spoons or trying to guess what 1/2 a teaspoon looks like, I found this handy slider spoon today:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Previous projects

Grey flannel jacket, 1997
The design came from an old raglan-sleeve t-shirt which I cut up and traced the basic shapes onto paper. It was specifically made to wear over a couple of batwing and leg-o-mutton tops, but it's still a bit too large for me.

Seam and button details

Not the first post

This is a replacement for my previous sewing blog, which I lost because I don't even remember what it was called let alone which email address it was linked to. I rarely updated it anyway because I was, and still am, stuck on sewing a trench coat. Now with the weather getting warmer, I don't think I'll even get to wear it this year.