Thursday, September 29, 2016

Southern India

Images from my travels to Southern India (Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) and Gujarat 2015-16.
To see more, go to a kiwi in india

Ayana’s Homestay, Alleppey ( - highly recommend

Kerala spiced fish - yummy!

Zigzag blouse - vintage Simplicity 3120 (©1959)

Making notes of fitting changes made to patterns is a habit I really need to get into. I have a notebook for this purpose, which has been used, though clearly not as often as it needs to be. Here's the perfect example of how it all can go so wrong when it's not written down.
I used vintage Simplicity 3120 to make this lovely dress earlier this year. The dress is super comfortable and gets heaps of compliments, so I decided to re-use the pattern to make a blouse out of a piece of cotton purchased through TradeMe ($7 for 1.2m + bits). Thinking I didn't make any fitting alterations to the pattern, I cut out just the bodice pieces (and the sleeves this time), adding 20cm to the hem curving upwards towards the side seams like I did for the Crêpe de Chine blouse.
It went together so swimmingly I didn't bother trying it on until I'd finished - I'd already made it once, so it should be ok, right?

Wrong, so wrong. The back neck gapped. Whaaaaat! How did that happen? So I hummed-and-hawed for a bit, then decided really I didn't care enough to unpick and re-cut it, instead coming up with a cunning plan to run a gathering stitch through the neck edge by hand. It took about a minute, and I actually quite like the finished effect. See for yourself in the lower right image.

So once again Jeannie Gandar's saying "Make a feature out of a flaw" has paid gold.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Look who stopped by - Kārearea (New Zealand Falcon)

Sheltering in a tree from the heavy rain on Saturday morning, right outside my living room window.  According to the NZ Falcon Survey, "Looks like a male falcon, probably a juvenile from this season’s breeding, just starting to ‘colour up’ to adult."
Very exciting!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

K. Walker silk and vintage Butterick 9698 (©1960) blouse

Every once in a while I give-in to temptation and purchase a piece of fabric off TradeMe. I do think long and hard before bidding though, because I've noticed there's a bit of ignorance about what fibres some fabrics are made from, and colours can be very different, depending how they've been photographed. I hummed and haa-ed about this piece of Crêpe de Chine until the very last moment before bidding because, although it was listed as silk, it definitely looked like polyester. Happily, it is silk.
At only 80cm (×140cm wide), I needed to think carefully about what to make as there was no room for error. Finally I settled on a blouse using just the bodice pieces of Butterick 9698. I added 20cm to the bottom to make it a better length for a blouse, curving upwards towards the side seams like a men's shirt hem.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough fabric to cut bias bind for the neck edge on Version A, so I went for the bagged out and topstitched Version B. Next time I'd like to make Version A though, because binding will add a bit more definition to the button overlap. From a distance this looks like a fairly run-of-the-mill v-neck blouse with an odd, slightly off centre button. It's only when you come in a bit closer you see whats actually going on.

And speaking of buttons, 20¢ from the Mary Potter Hospice shop in Kilbirnie. These days if I can't find something in the stash, this is the first place I look. They have a great variety of vintage buttons, the tricky bit is finding enough of the same ones to complete a project!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hat, hat and a scarf...

Gosh, where did 3 months go? Time flies...
I've been busy with a new craft - crochet. I spend about a hour on public transport to and from work Monday to Friday, which just feels like such a lot of wasted time. Crochet seemed like a solution to while away the hours without encroaching too much on my fellow commuters'. So at Easter break I set myself up with a couple of balls of wool, a size 4.5mm hook and a bunch of YouTube tutorials.
Crochet is much easier than I thought it would be, and the big bonus is it takes very little time to complete a project, even just spending one hour, five days a week on it. The two Starburst berets each took about a week and a bit, the scarf about three and a half weeks (because I unpicked it and started again with a larger 5.5mm hook. Plus I changed the pattern slightly).
Plus there are two beanies and a pair of fingerless gloves not photographed because they're gifts - shhhh!

All wool was purchased at Holland Road Yarn Company.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's been so long - winter floral shirt

Yet another UFO I can tick off the list, and now that it's finally finish, got to say I love it. It was too mature for my tastes at the time I started making this, but now 10 or so years later, it's perfect.

All it need was to lose the big '70's collar and cuffs. The other changes I made were to topstitch pretty much the entire garment, and swapped out  the nasty plastic buttons I was orginally going to use with some lovely Romanian glass buttons found in Taupo's Oakleaf Antiques a few years ago. Absolutely worth stopping here if you're travelling along State Highway 1 as they have the most fabulous collection of glass buttons bought over from the actual factory where they were made in Romania when it closed down. Be careful if you're on a budget though - those little buttons quickly add up when you can't leave any of the lovelies behind!

The pattern was traced out of an old Burda magazine, and the fabric is lite-weight wool, with a floral barkcloth-style print. I think it may have come from The Fabric Warehouse, but I can't really say for sure after all this time.

Looking forward to wearing this once the weather cools down.

Hello Sailor! frock – vintage Simplicity 3120

Technically, I wouldn't quite classify this as a UFO, as it was only cut out (and fused) last November. But I knew if I didn't get it made this summer, it was in danger of becoming a UFO. And it was so worth finishing - it's my new favourite frock.

I used vintage Simplicity 3120 (©1959) for the neckline, updating it by cutting it straight through with no waist seam, and leaving out all shaping other than the bust darts. I used the sleeve pattern from New Look 6754 (view C), added pockets in the side seams and a tie belt and belt loops to clinch in the waist.
The pure cotton fabric was a Fabric-a-Brac purchase, quite a lucky score because I couldn't get to that particular event until near the end, so everyone else must have past over it for some reason or other. Meant to be mine!

Don't the buttons work fabulously with the fabric? There have been four of them in my stash for a while, not entirely sure where they came from, maybe the Hospice shop in Petone? Or Kilbirnie?
All in all, a really nice new easy breezy frock.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Frangipani vintage Vogue 5434 mash-up

Haere Mai - welcome to 2016.

India was awesome - absolutely in love with the south. Kochi, the Kerala Backwaters and Mamallapuram have been added to Udaipur in Rajasthan, and of course Navsari and Surat in Gujarat (shopping - oh the shopping!) as places I'll visit again.

Back home, there's a well-timed challenge over at The Monthly Stitch - The "UFO Showdown". I confess to numerous UFOs, so there's a pile I'm determined to tackle this month. Scroll down if you'd like a sneak-peek.
Waitangi weekend saw me tackled the first. You'll remember the Frangipani frock was a toilé for the red silk dress I wore to a wedding earlier this year. That dress was a huge success, which prompted me to finish this one.

I unpicked and recut the bodice using Style 1751 again. Dilemma thought, a perfectly colour-matched zip was a wee bit too short. "Make a feature out of a flaw" I could hear my tutor Jeannie Gander saying. So I placed the zip as per usual into the lower back seam opening, hen recut the back facings with extensions and finished the closure with a button and fabric loop at the neck. and finished the closure with a button and fabric loop at the neck. It slips it over my head without being unbuttoned, so no weird yoga moves required to get it done up.

The finished frock is my new favourite!

Onto the remaining UFO's I'd like to tackle this month. These are by no means all of them, just the ones I think I can complete, and would like to see completed, in a month. In no particular order:
1. Self-drafted "Melba" Jacket. Started in 2013. Made up to the point where I was deciding whether to make Spanish Snap buttonholes, or just do regular keyhole buttonholes by machine at the end.
2. Vintage inspired frock with full skirt (flower embroidery at hem) and cute pockets. Started in 2011. Abandoned after the ridiculous looking collar was unpicked.
3. Perfect Purple Pants. Second draft in my quest to make the perfect fitting pants (the first attempt so bad they were never blogged about - they're now odd looking capri pants worn only with 'outie' shirts). Cut in November 2014.
4. 70's inspired floral shirt. Can't actually remember how long ago this was started, sometime between moving back to Wellington in 2005 and my first blog in 2009. Yep, a while. Once again, think I had collar issues. Still, you have to try these things to figure out whether you like them or not.
5. The newbie. Ambitiously cut this dress out about 3 weeks before leaving for India - wasn't going to happen! The teaser was a newly acquired vintage pattern working perfectly with a stashed fabric - how often does that happen?
Wish me luck!