Monday, 27 April 2015

Filthy Mouths & Bad Attitudes

That's right folks! 

It's almost that time of month again!

Cult Classic Friday (first Friday of the month) at the Regal Cinema is less than a week away, and this time they're showing The Blues Brothers!!

I know, I know, I missed the April Cult Classic. But as it fell on Good Friday, I just wasn't able to make it there. Due to the Religious element of the day, they showed Monty Python's Life of Brian, and my friends went, with the whole family rocking rather spiffy beards.

But back to the point at hand.

The Blues Brothers!!

Not one to take the easy option, I decided to whip up a penguin (nun) costume from scratch. Luckily I keep a well stocked fabric stash, and was able to make the costume without spending any money. I started work on it on Saturday morning, and was done by Sunday afternoon, even with going out for a few hours Saturday afternoon to do a mosaic class at Bunnings, not to mention Church on Sunday morning.

I started by making the white hood piece, or Wimple if you will. To make things easier for myself, I decided to use a stretch fabric for this part, so I wouldn't have to go crazy trying to get it to fit. I found this picture while doing a bit of Google research, and based my pattern off it

Nun Wimple from Google

I drew out a pattern freehand, cut it out of some fabric, sewed it, tried it on, then tweaked the pattern in a few places to make the fit better. I then cut it out 4 times, so that it would be fully lined and I wouldn't have to worry about stretching out the edge around the face when trying to hem it.

I then made the collar out of white cotton. This I also lined, to make the white a more solid colour against the black, and to also make sure there would be enough stiffness to the fabric, which I achieved by applying iron on interfacing to both the outside piece and lining.

The front and back pieces were sewn together at the shoulder seams, then the outer and lining were pinned right sides together.

The 2 back edges and bottom edge were sewn, then all the curves and corners clipped. 

As this is quite a curved edge, I clipped the seam allowance every 8-10mm

It was then turned right side out, pressed, then I sewed the narrow collar piece on. This whole thing was very similar to the construction of a circle skirt, just smaller and stiffer. A press stud was then hand stitched to the back where the collar overlapped.

Then I tried on the hood and collar together, and draped some black fabric over my head and took a selfie.

Then I got started on the Tunic. Rather than draft something from scratch, which would have been easy enough, I decided to use a pattern I had used before so I knew the shoulders and sleeves would fit well. So I got out my graded up version of Frock 8853 from a 1956 Home Journal that I used to make my Dress for Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, and simply added length, a bit of width at the waist, and of course a higher neckline.

I also used the sleeve pattern piece and  just continued it in a straight line to the length I wanted. I then cut out 2 rectangular pieces for the sleeve cuffs.

I then did something I very rarely do. I changed the thread on my overlocker. This black polyester-ish fabric wanted to fray, so I overlocked around the edge of all my cut pieces, then began the process of sewing them together. It is a very basic tunic, so I didnt take any progress photos, as the process is much the same as it would be for anything else. First the shoulder seams, then the sleeve heads, then the sleeve edge and side seams. I used a scrap of red gingham bias tape to face the neckline, then put a zip in the back and sewed the back seam. Then I put on the hood, tunic and collar, and again draped some fabric over my head and took another selfie. Then I went to bed

I managed to get the cuffs done before heading out to church Sunday morning. The sleeve was gathered in, then the cuffs were folded over and sewn over the raw edge. When I got home from church, I hemmed the tunic, then searched through my stash for more black fabric, as I only had about a 20cm width of the black polyester left. The best I could come up with was some satin fabric with a matte finish on the wrong side of the fabric. So I cut off a section of fabric, overlocked and hemmed 3 sides. I then put on the hood, held the fabric to my head and drew a placement line on to the hood, that way I know it would be sitting at the right spot above my ears, then took the hood off, pinned the black fabric to the hood and stitched it on. After top stitching over where I had just sewn the black on, I hemmed the fabric edge on either side. Yes I know It should be more of a circle than a rectangle to get the shape right when it is draped behind me, but I figured I could do it this way, then I could potentially re-use the fabric at a later date.

So that's how you make a nun costume in a weekend. I still have to find myself a yard stick and a large crucifix to hang around my neck to complete the outfit, but I've got time. You will all just have to wait til the weekend to see the full costume all together.

And now to figure out how to make a weird alien wig/headpiece for a friend's daughter......


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Passing Storm

So if you're an Australian Resident, chances are you have heard all about the storm that has been going on in NSW for the past few days. I didn't get any photos myself, but I have grabbed a few from facebook to share how the storm has affected me and my family and friends

My Grandparents live about 10kms away in a town called Abermain. The flood waters didn't reach their house, but many weren't so lucky

Flooded road in Abermain

Rail overpass in Abermain
The following photo is of a park with play equipment, BBQ's and public toilets, although you wouldn't know it from the photo....

Chinamens hollow/Peace Park Weston.
photo Skye Tanika Green

And now, some photos of my town....

Most of these are from the center of town

Vincent St Cessnock

Vincent St Cessnock. photo Crystal Maree Nordem
Cessnock. Photo Joel Fitzgibbon
Cessnock. Photo Joel Fitzgibbon
But I also found one that was pretty close to me....

Davidson st, Cessnock. This is about 3 streets away from my
 house. photo Nicola Mizrakisister Wintle

I also thought I'd share a few of the photos from around Newcastle and Maitland...

Edgeworth. photo Simone De Peak

Maitland Toyota, where my brother works
Part of the Hunter Expressway
Photo by Jo Longmore

Falling tree somewhere in Newcastle
There were lots of photos of trees pulling up the
 curb like this from suburbs all over Newcastle

The following are photos my own friend's have been posting about their flood experience

The street behind my friend Jo's House

My Friend Leki's Backyard, during
the peak of the flooding yesterday

My Friend Laura's Backyard this morning,
as the flood waters subside. Kurri Kurri

I tried to embed a video from facebook, of one of the overflowing, flooded drainways, but I can't seem to work it out....

Also, I didn't manage to credit all the photos, so feel free to let me know if I've used one of yours and not given credit.

Our house is opposite a park, which backs onto an open drain. Our street goes over the drain with a little bridge. During the height of the flooding yesterday, that bridge was under almost 2 feet of water, as well as most of the park, so we were worried the flood waters would reach our house. Fortunately for us it did not. Neighbours on the other side of the street were not so lucky.

I've now heard more and more stories of what people have gone through with this storm. Several people have died, and others that got swept away in floodwaters are still missing. I am very thankful that the worst we had was a boggy yard and 6 hours without power. Many of my friend's are only just now getting power back after losing it yesterday morning, but as far as I know they are all safe, if a little worse for wear, and cleaning up flood damage.

Well, I'm off to go watch more Bomb Girls on my laptop, while I sit in bed and work on my knitting.


Friday, 17 April 2015

New Knitty Kitty Skirt

So I (like all people who sew their own clothes, I think) have a few fabrics in my stash that I know exactly want I want to make from them, but I just haven't gotten around to sewing them yet. One of those was this darling quilting cotton that I purchased from Spotlight some time ago. It features a pale pink background with a print of cats knitting, playing with yarn, wearing scarves, etc and considering my foraying into knitting lately, what could be more suitable?. I bought 2 meters of it, with a definite plan to make a gathered skirt from it. I paired it with some medium pink slinky fabric (perhaps polyester?) that I scored from an op shop, with plans of using that to create a waistband that ties in a big bow at the back of the skirt. And those 2 fabrics have just been sitting in my sewing room cupboard, folded together waiting.

Among my other projects, I have also been trying to make a Hawaiian shirt for my Husband. So far, I have only ever sewn him 2 ties (that match dresses of mine) and I have really been wanting to make him something a little more casual to wear, that he can still match me with (we are a bit odd like that)  But I ran into a few issues with the front button stands, so work on it kinda halted (as I avoided unpicking) and I looked for something quick, easy and hassle free to sew.

And what's more hassle free than a gathered skirt? I think this skirt went together in less than 2 hours. I cut the cat fabric into 3 lengths, sewed them together end to end, then sewed in a zip and a back seam. Ran a gathering stitch around the top and gathered it in to my waist size. I cut the 1m of medium pink fabric in half, joined them together to make one long strip, folded it in half, sewed the ends up, then turned right side out and sewed on to the gathered section at the top of the skirt. All I had to do them was the hem, and it was done!

I have worn it quite a few times since I finished making it, but haven't managed to get any photos. So while I was out op shopping this morning, I snuck in a few quick snaps in a mirror at Vinnies.

You can't see it, but the waistband sash ties in a lovely bow at the back. I wore the skirt with my pink shirt I made earlier this year, Teal bag from Elsie George Boutique and Pink Beret from JayJays. What you also can't see is my pink flats from Big W, and my home made Petticoat (that I made to go with my Floral pleated dress a few weeks ago)

Not much to report from my op shopping today. I bought a mix bag of knitting yarns for $5, 2 sets of kitting needles for 50c each and 2 stitch holders for 50c. I was really happy to have found the stitch holders, as I am almost up the the shoulders of the back piece of the blouse I'm knitting, and I need to put half the stitches on a holder and work each shoulder separately.

See! I've actually managed to stick with it! I might even have it finished by the time Winter starts!

I admit, as I have finally grasped how to follow a knitting pattern, I have gone a little crazy looking for more patterns to make up in the future. I found this great 1930's 3 Hour Sweater pattern that I want to try next. I originally found it through the free pattern links on the VaVoomVintage Blog but after googling "3 hour sweater" I have found the link posted on The Vintage Pattern Files Blog (which recently featured my Free PDF for a Vintage home Journal Frock) as well as finding a knit-along that people did in a forum on Craftster that started back in 2006! As I suspected, it took most knitters much more than 3 hours to complete, but it is still a very quickly knitted sweater, as it uses large gauge needles. I am also hoping to try my hand at knitting a Beret, as well as crocheting a snood (or 5)

Anyone know any good knitting or crochet patterns I should try?


Monday, 13 April 2015

Me-Made May

I recently discovered a lovely little sewing related pledge that is run by Zoe at her blog, So Zo... What do you know? It's called Me-Made-May, which she runs every year, and the idea is to try to wear clothes that you have made yourself (whether that be sewn, knitted, crocheted, upcycled, etc) every day for the whole month of May. Obviously, how far each person takes the challenge is completely up to them. The idea behind it being to help you get your Me-Made clothes into your regular clothing cycle, to discover items you need to make for your wardrobe that have gone so far unnoticed, to help you find your style, to motivate you to finish any lingering UFO's (unfishied objects) or if you're like me and already wear a lot of Me-Made garments, you can use the month to simply show them off and share with a like-minded community.

With that in mind, I am aware I am missing a few key items in my Me-Made wardrobe, but I might not neccassarily get them done in time for May. I do, however, think I have enough clothes sewn to pledge.

I, Dixie O'Dare of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear only me-made garments for each day for the duration of May 2015

The only shop-bought clothes I plan to wear will be undergarments, shoes, bags and hats. The rest will all be handmade by me. I think my biggest challenge will be finding enough suitable work wear in my clothes, as most are bright, fun prints and big voluminous skirts, that aren't very suitable for my day job as a Travel Agent. I also think I need some more basic separates, particularly tops and shirts, as well as a nice winter coat, and maybe a cardigan or 2. Oh well, good thing I have a few weeks to prepare.

Also I am trying to figure out bloglovin, but we'll see how that goes......


Friday, 10 April 2015

Attempting to knit......

Anyone who know's me (or has been reading my blog for a while) will know that I love sewing. I'm good at it, and it just makes sense to me. I also dabble in many other creative pursuits (with reasonable success) but one thing I have always struggled with is knitting.

That's not to say I can't knit at all. I have been able to sew plain squares and rectangles since I was a little girl. I've made many a scarf, including a long black one I wore most winters throughout High School. But that's where my talents ended. No matter how much I tried, no matter how many knitting books and how to's I read, I just couldn't get beyond that.

Then I saw this Cute knitted blouse pattern on The Vintage Pattern Files Blog. I thought, well it looks simple enough (perhaps I'm in denial) and I have quite a few balls of red yarn given to me some time ago by my Sister-in-law (ok, my brother hasn't put a ring on her finger yet, but they've been together for about as long as my husband and I have, so she's as good as) I also have a decent collection of knitting needles that I pick up from time to time from op-shops, so I already had the right sizes needed.

I'll admit, I almost gave up a few times. I pulled the whole lot off the needles 3 times because I kept stuffing it up in the beginning. But, as my Mother will agree, I am Stubborn. I was adamant I was going to make this knitted garment. So I kept at it, and eventually the ribbing started to take shape. I repeatedly told my husband how excited I was that it was actually looking like it was supposed to, I think he got sick of hearing it. I still have a long, long way to go with it, and I doubt I'll finish this year, but I am so excited to finally be able to knit a garment (hopefully) and not just squares or scarves!

To any of you who regularly knit clothes, I applaud you!


Thursday, 9 April 2015

A Finished Capelet, Unpicking Lace and some more photos from Kurri Nostalgia Festival

Here are the final photos of my completed Capelet! Just to refresh your memory, this Capelet was a Sew-along hosted by the fabulous Beccie from Sew Retro Rose, using this 1930's capelet pattern from Decades of Style. The final round up post with photos of all the participants capelets can be found here.

 I wore mine out to Church on Sunday with my recently made Navy Pants with Moustache lining. My Grandparents attend the same church as me, I've been going for almost 4 years now, and I invited them along a few times, and now they go more regularly than me! My Grandfather recognised it as a Vintage sewing pattern (he thought 40's, but I told him it was 30's) and my Grandma was really impressed when she realised the pants were made with fabric that has absolutely no stretch at all to it. When I got home I then made the Hubby take some photos of me. Not my best photos, but they do the job. To make things even better, the Capelet goes with my dark red shoes I bought a few weeks back, Yay!

Beccie was being a bit of a smartarse saying I didn't look happy with the outfit in my Photos. I would just like to explain, that by this point the sun had come out after raining all weekend, so I had sun in my eyes, and squishy ground underfoot while wearing high heels. So there!!

It looks pretty nice left open

But makes me look really busty when done up

I was looking down, because Princey was about
to photobomb

You can just see his tail in the bottom right

Later Sunday afternoon, I decided to whip up something quick and easy, so I made this Polka dot top out of some cream and black polka dot knit that I picked up from one of my local op shops. It is put together completely on my overlocker

I also got some more work done on my Castaway to Couture Entry. It sure took a long time to unpick that whole dress! the lace was sewn down with lots of tiny stitches. While the dress was fully lined, I was a bit surprised with how messy it was on the insides, there was thread everywhere! But then, just imagine my surprise, when as I am unpicking lace (so after I've taken out the zip, the lining and separated the front and back panels) I found a PIN still in the dress! It was embedded in the front panel in some lace, I didn't even see it, but felt something pointy in the lace while unpicking. Just goes to show the quality of the finish on those cheap Asian-made formal dresses on ebay I guess.

While unpicking the dress, I noticed some of the black colouring was coming off onto my fingers, so I thought it might be wise to hand wash all the fabric pieces before I tried to sew them into anything. I still haven't 100% decided on what I'm going to make, I have a few Idea, but I am going to assess how much fabric I have after it all dries.

And Hey Look! I found some Photos of me at the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival on the Cessnock Advertiser Website, so now you can see the full outfit!

Walking in the Best Dressed Parade
Photo by Sage Swinton

Back in my Flat shoes
Photo by Sage Swinton

Mum in my Hell Bunny dress from Elsie George with 2 lovely ladies we met
Photo by Sage Swinton

My Awesome Boss Rachel, her Daughter Sierra
and Josie who also works at Elsie George
Photo by Sage Swinton

That's all for now!


Saturday, 4 April 2015

A (finally) finished Capelet, Pants and some Unleavened Bread

So when I got back to working on my capelet for Sew Retro Rose's sew along, I realised I had done my bound button holes wrong. I had sewn the "lips" on to the facing, instead of the outer part of the bodice. Urgh. I contemplated unpicking them and doing it to the correct side, but the teeny tiny stitches I had used when stitching in the ditch around them was going to be a headache to unpick, and I most likely would just end up mangalating the fabric. So I simply decided that when I got to the finishing point, I would just hand sew the 2 sides together as neatly as possible, they are going to be hidden behind the buttons for the most part anyway, right?

I also attempted to embellish the back of my cape with some beading, but didn't love how it ended up looking, so I unpicked it all.

Beaded embellishment

Part way through

There was a lot of hand sewing to finish this garment off, and I may have cheated a little and machine sewed my hem facings down (I didn't line mine) Sorry Beccie!.


Now that I'm finished the Capelet, I actually like it a lot more. Even Hubby said it looked quite cute, so I may have another go at it with a more expensive fabric. Photos on the Mannequin are all you get for now, I will be modelling the capelet for some better photos tomorrow for the round up post on Sew Retro Rose.

And now, as promised, here are a couple of photos of the pants I made on Thursday. I wore them out today, and snuck a few photos using the mirrors from the new Elsie George store at 94 Vincent st, Cessnock.

The Pants

Back View

Front View

Yesterday for good Friday, we had some of the family over for a feast of fish and unleavened bread. After discovering last year that store bought flat bread actually contains yeast, we decided to have a go at making it ourselves this year. So before anyone arrived, I got to work in the kitchen.  Thankfully it turned out quite easy to make. I made the dough with 1 cup of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 cup of water. Kneaded on a floured surface, divided into 8, rolled out and cooked in a dry non-stick frypan. I did try cooking them in the oven at first, but found they turned out too dry and crunchy. As we had 9 people coming, I made 2 batches.

Then I spent today with friends, helping their kids melt chocolate and put it into molds to make their own Easter chocolates. Actually, supervised might be a better word for it, I didn't really help, as I didn't want to get chocolate on my new pants.

Happy Easter Everyone!