Wednesday, 29 August 2012

First Signs of Life

Apologies for the lack of communication over the last couple of weeks; I've been struck down with a severe case of the winter blues. Rather than whine online and bore everyone with my woes, I thought it best I take a break.
The weather here has been bitterly cold and wet, forcing me to spend my days inside, and not having worked for over 12 months isn't helping things either. I've also managed to injure my right shoulder - I'm right handed, of course - and my physio has suggested I cut back on the sewing and computer usage. These two activities occupy most of my days so with limited options at my disposal, I've been doing a lot of moping around feeling sorry for myself.
Things are finally looking up though; we've had some warmer days and I've started walking again - I try to do a 45 minute circuit around our estate everyday. I've really missed it. It's amazing how an hour of sunshine and a change of scenery can lift your spirits. Plus, spring is only days away and all the plants are beginning to wake from their slumber. There's colour everywhere and it's wonderful!

The last of the winter violets are barely hanging in there.
I adore violets, they remind me of my Granny.

The ever cheerful wattle tree with its little sunburst flowers
never fails to make me smile... and sneeze!
Speaking of sneezing, there's blossom flying around all over the place, just like little snowflakes without the dampness! Could be time to stock up the antihistamines.
And how about these brightly coloured snapdragons? Their peachy hue brings to mind a balmy summer sunset and the promise of warmer days ahead. Oh please do hurry up and get here soon.
I hope everyone is well and that these beautiful blooms have brightened
your day as much as they did mine.
- Tamara

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Bombs Away!!

I am so excited!! Yarn bombing has finally found its way to Australia!
I had seen it about the Blogosphere a good 12 months ago but had never witnessed it in the wool. That was until a couple of weeks ago...

I spied these two colourful pieces buttoned to a pole in Williams St in Melbourne's CBD. 

These amazing pair of bicycle racks were found in a small side street just off Smith St, Fitzroy. I wish I could have gotten a better photo, there's a lot of work in these guys.

It looks as though the Yarn Bombers have been busy in Bendigo too. They've caused quite a stir; the local paper has featured several stories detailing their activities and it's even bring visitors to the city to see the 'tree-cozies'.

Photo: Facebook

Aren't they wonderful?!
It's such a great way to brighten the dull winter days.

- Tamara

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Choc-Mint Delight

With no outings planned and Mdblm working on Saturday evening, I've managed to get quite a bit of sewing done this weekend. I worked on a couple of annoying UFOs and the 40s blouse that has been testing my patience is now finally finished. Phew!

Butterick 2941

"The bow neck blouse is as feminine as a sigh. We call your attention to the interesting slanting yoke line in front and the placement of the buttons."

This pretty blouse has been demanding to be made for nearly two years now, but despite having found the perfect fabric, I've not been confident enough to get started. Just look at all that gathering and the bow neck was going to be tricky. With all my dreaming of floaty blouses back in June, I decided it was high time to give it a go.

As predicted, the bow neck was confusing but the rest of the blouse was relatively simple; I just took my time and made sure I read the instructions. That said, I did have quite a bit of trouble deciphering this step:

Attaching bow tie yoke to blouse & facing pieces.

In the end, I called in Mdblm to cast his eye over the nonsensical diagram and see if he could work it out. After a fair bit of um-ing and twisting of my fabric, he put a pin in it and said "I think that's how it's meant to go." He was right, clever boy! It sits a bit funny at the neckline but I can't see any way of fixing it, so it will just have to stay as is.

It's been blowin' a gale here today so it was lots of fun trying to get a good photo of the bow. Here I am trying to hold it in place until the wind dies down. It didn't really work.

Note the interesting, slanting yoke line in the front and the placement of the buttons.

I love the double button design but think it may need another set to keep the opening sitting flat. You can also see how the bow is actually attached to the shoulder seam, not the neck opening.

See what I mean about the folded tie bit at the collar bone sitting oddly?
Perhaps I should tack it down? Any suggestions?

And here's my lovely, flat slashed sleeve opening. I'm so pleased with myself; no longer will I fear the slashed opening! Oh, and just look at how well the buttons match! They're a brown and teal tortoiseshell and although they kinda blend in with the fabric, I think they are perfect.

Outfit complete!

- Tamara

Friday, 3 August 2012

A Blast from the Past

Today's Fashionable Friday is brought to you by 'Wit Knits', circa 1985.

This fantastically bad knitwear book from the mid 80s came in to my possession just this morning - I found it at a local church op shop for one whole dollar. It reminded me so much of the 'Twisties' jumper from my childhood - the pattern was given away as part of a promotion for the snack food. Sadly, there are people who would wear some of these designs today, but to be honest, I took it home 'cause it made me laugh. 

Here are a couple of particularly ugly examples from the book; hope you get a giggle too! Feel free to add your own captions...

Have a good weekend one & all!

- Tamara

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Melbourne Open House - Part 2

This year's Melbourne Open House also had three 'mystery' buildings on the program and you can imagine my delight at discovering one of these was to be the Phillips Shirts factory. It seems the chance to see inside a garment factory appealed to quite a few other people too. There was roughly a 40 minute wait before being taken on a tour of the factory, but it was well worth standing out in the cold.

Phillips Shirts was established in Melbourne in 1952 by two Czechoslovakian immigrants - Philip Phillips and Alex Peterfreund. By day the men worked full time jobs, but by night the two friends would cut shirts on the apartment floor from rolls of fabric they had bought in bulk at discounted costs. Phillips had learnt European shirt tailoring techniques in Paris, after World War II - a style which differed drastically to the starchy collars being produced at the time.

The two young men then ventured out, with limited English, and tentatively approached stores to buy their wares. Phillips Shirts was born and the rest is, well... history!

Pattern, patterns & more patterns!

Pretty vintage fabrics.

Cutting & pressing tables on the factory floor.

One almighty fabric stash!

A collar pressing station.

Cottons of many colours.

Fabric sample books.

It was wonderful to see inside a still function garment factory, and even more surprising, who'd have thought it was tucked away in the CBD?!

I can't wait to see what the Melbourne Open House people come up with next year!

- Tamara

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