Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Idle Hands

Today was the beginning of two weeks of holidays for school children across Victoria and with next to no activities available locally, the majority of kids here are sorely in need to something to do. I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw an advertisement in the Community Newsletter for a workshop to teach young women to re-fashion clothes. I too have a whole lot of free time on my hands, I contacted the organiser and offered to volunteer.
The workshop is being led by a crafter from Geelong - I couldn't really find out much about her so I'm not sure what to expect - and is aimed at the 10 years plus age group. The local Community Bank has generously donated some money toward the class, but from my understanding, it is largely self-funded.
June and I re-fashioned some Op Shop clothing for a small display in the local Library, in the hope of generating a bit of interest, and I'm pleased to say, we've managed to get nearly 20 participants! We even have one boy! With so many people interested, we have the potential to offer more workshops and possibly even gain some government funding. But that's a long way down the track, we've got to get through tomorrow first.
I didn't manage to get any pics of the Library display, but I made sure to photograph my two contributions - a neck warmer and matching beret and an embroidered cardigan, both made from Op Shop jumpers. They are simple for beginners and (hopefully) funky enough to appeal to young teens. What do you think?
As you can see, I just unpicked the collar from the existing jumper for the neck-warmer - it's the reason I chose it in the first place - and the beret is cut from the front and back. I used an early 1960s hats pattern which consists of two pieces - one circle and one half circle - and a simple casing threaded with elastic gathers it in to fit your head. Too easy!
Next, take one large, powder blue Target jumper...

Follow Grosgrain's wonderfully easy tutorial from her 'Embellish Knit Month' back in October 2006 - I might be a bit late to the party, but it has really given me some great ideas for more projects.
Then, add a wee touch of embroidery to the front to create interest...
And you've now got yourself a cute, vintage style cardigan!
I think I might have to keep this one.
I'm needed for the workshop from midday 'til five tomorrow (now today) so I best get to bed. Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Chou Business

After all the fiddly-ness of my recent sewing projects, I decided it was time make something simple, something I could (hopefully) whip up in a day or two. My shoulder injury is also limiting the amount of time I can spend at the sewing machine so it couldn't have too much detail. It's so frustrating to only be able to sew a seam or two before needing a couple of hours break!

As you well know, I'm a huge fan of the early Vogue patterns and this adorable blouse has been on my wish list for some time - A 1940s button back blouse with a lovely soft Chou neckline.

Vogue 6422
Looks simple enough, right? There are only two main pieces needed for the blouse- the rest are facings, etc - and judging by the line drawings on the back of the envelope, it was going to be easy-peasy. Oh, how wrong I was! When I pulled out the pattern pieces and studied the markings, I very nearly burst into tears.
Here's why...

Just look at all those tucks and pleats!
I'd assumed it was the tie created that puffy neckline.
And then there are the wonderfully clear and concise instructions...
This was not the sort of project I was looking for at all. It's not that I didn't think it achievable, it's that I wanted something which wasn't going to be taxing on the ol' grey matter. Or my shoulder.
After taking several deep breaths to calm myself down (calm blue oceans, calm blue oceans), I pulled some floral print, stretch satin out of the stash and got to work. Ignoring the confusing instructions, I started with the pleats at the top of the neckline, only to discover I couldn't make darts - the lower neckline was now all bunched up. Out came the unpicker; this was not a good start.
Creating the structure for the Chou was a little fiddly, but once I worked out the order in which they needed to be sewn, it was actually pretty easy. It's amazing what a bit of patience can achieve.
The interfacing I've used might be a little heavy - I didn't take into account it would be doubled over when folded inside - but I'm still pleased with how the neckline sits.
We've finally had some sunshine here so I've managed to get outside and get some pics of my finished blouse in all it's puffy-necked glory. Lovely!

Every single one of those button holes down the back are bound - the pattern called for it so  I had to. I did consider just making an everyday button hole, but it felt like I'd be cheating somehow, especially after I'd worked so hard on getting the collar right. Damn you, Tam, & your perfectionist ways!
Oh, soul-warming sunshine,
I do hope you're here to stay!
- Tamara

Monday, 10 September 2012

First Spring Fair

With limited funds at my disposal, I've tried to stay way from my beloved markets and vintage fairs, but with my mental health hanging in the balance, I was in dire need of a wee shopping trip. 
This weekend was the 1st Ballarat Spring Antiques & Vintage Fair and with the promise of a gigantic Meccano Titanic replica and a Marilyn Monroe 'inspired' exhibition, I thought I'd go take a look. Being the first ever combined antiques and vintage fair, things were a little quiet but there was a good selection of local and interstate sellers and prices were pretty much at market value. Thankfully, not many things tempted me, although there were some fun things on offer...

The latest in personal protection devices
- a torch with a built in alarm!
A divine Art Deco tea set.
A beautifully kept 1930s Manicure set.
I can't even begin to tell you how much I want this aeroplane.
Burgundy evening dress
- a-la Marilyn in How to Marry a Millionaire.
There was even a large display of vintage sewing machines
by the Sew What Museum. I may just have to pay them a visit.
And by far the weirdest thing I've ever seen...
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 'Tou-Crow'!
It is apparently illegal to taxidermy a Toucan, so some bright spark
has loped the beak off the original bird, and I can only assume the eye area (ick!),
and attached it to a Crow! Problem solved.
As you know, I'm a sucker for sewing notions and of course I managed to find the seemingly lone stall with a small selection of bits and bobs. The prices were insanely good so for my meagre budget of $20 I managed to score some faceted glass buttons of various sizes, a large decorative coat button and an unusual art deco style buckle. All good things for the stash!
And this gorgeous (mystery) fur collar!
When the seller said $10, I just couldn't help myself.
It was a very long day with lots of driving but I'm pretty pleased with my haul,
and my level of restraint.
- Tamara
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