Sunday, 25 November 2012

Welly bloggers finally meet-up!

Warning - picture heavy post!

One fine day in the middle of spring, seven intrepid sewing bloggers (and a baby!) from Wellington (OK, one from Palmy really) finally met to drink tea, eat cake, talk about sewing, look at patterns, ooh and ah over furry fabric and swap ideas, stashes, etc!

Yesterday we met up in Martha's Pantry, a tea room in Wellington. This tea room on Cuba Street is the quintessential English tea room, with fine bone china and high teas. We opted for sparkly cakes and milkshakes instead!

Sparkly cake!

Lots of hundreds and thousands!!

Joy making sure she gets the most out of her shake!

After trying on the hats in the tea room...

we moved on down Cuba Street with the intention of going to Minerva Books. However, we walked past Unearthed on the way, after laughing at the tartan Thermos flasks (remember those from childhood picnics?) Juliet suddenly unearthed (geddit?) a box full of vintage patterns! That was it!

Forgotten was the book shop while we ooh and ahhed and had a good look through the patterns. I believe most of us came away with goodies!

So finally we dragged ourselves away and went on to Minerva books. We had the chance to check out the Drape, drape books and the Pattern Magic books which were in store, but at a price. We left there empty handed!

Next on to Global Fabrics... The linen sale didn't tempt us, nothing really convinced us to buy anything, not even the bright pinks...

Nor the fur...

We left there empty handed too! Perhaps it was the thought of the fabric swap ahead. So final stop for these intrepid sewers was the famous MrsC's shop, Made on Marion where to took over the big table space at the back of the store to swap fabrics, patterns, etc.

MrsC was sewing the ribbons for Tuesday's grand opening of the newly refurbished National Library of New Zealand. This happens to be where I work, so I was definitely interested in that!

I can't wait to see them Tuesday morning at 6am!

And so on to the swap! There was a LOT of patterns there. Juliet had a whole load she'd got from the local op shop, so we were ages cogitating and ruminating over patterns. Whether to actually take that 80's pattern with the massive collar or the party frock straight out of Working Girl!

Joy deciding whether the pink really is her or not!

Anyway, there are loads left so look out for something very special coming next week...

So the intrepid band, minus one, who had left by now, but is in the earlier pics.

Erm, Me, Nikki
Kat (with baby Drake) - Modern vintage cupcakes

Missing from this pic is Mel - the Curious Kiwi

So no doubt you'll be wanting to know what I came away with...

From Unearthed, I got the following...

 Two lovely vintage patterns which will need grading up, but...

 This great fabric! It's shouting circle skirt at me, but I'll need red or navy with it as there's not enough there.

From the swap I got...

The dresses, not the jackets!

Pale blue lining and a dark blue with grey leaf pattern fine crepe which I'm hoping might make a Taffy blouse.

Phew! What a day or afternoon to be precise! I was shattered time I'd wended my weary way home back on the bus, but I can't wait for the next meet-up!

Oh and as for the outfits... We tried to go sixties for the Sew Weekly theme... You'll have to check out the other blogs for their outfits, and mine will follow soon!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

We're having a meet-up!

Calling all Wellington (and those who can get here!) sewing bloggers...

We're meeting up on Saturday 24th November. Please come along, tea, cakes, fabric shopping/browsing, chit, chat, swaps, oh and perhaps a wee drink!

For more information check out Modern Vintage Cupcakes blog! It's going to be a good one! I'm excited already!! :-)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A spring circle

I've always wanted a circle skirt. I love skirts anyway, but a twirly, full skirt seemed perfect. I was itching to join in Casey's circle skirt sew-along last year, but for some reason it didn't happen.

So finally I've got the perfect fabric, so I'll take part albeit a year late! I found Casey's posts really helpful with loads of tips. Also the circle skirt party at the end gave me loads of ideas. I also found this other site, the Snugbug, with a handy Excel calculator. As much as I'm happy playing around with the maths (I did maths at uni), if I can play with an Excel spreadsheet I'm even happier!

Once I got the fabric out, I realised there wasn't enough for a full circle, so me being me goes complicated and decides to go for a 3/4 circle. I could have made a half circle, but no that wasn't going to be circle enough for me. I had to buy some black cotton to trim it, completely forgetting about bias or anything like that... Muggins goes gaily ahead and cuts it all out.

My cutting board was also helpful. I've lost the original paper which came with the board, but it has various patterns on it, including a full circle and half-circle skirt.


I got the board as a present from my parents about 15 or so years ago. It was made in Australia, but can I find it on the internet, nope. If anyone knows if it's possible to find the original instructions for an Australian Sew Easy Designer Board, I'd be really grateful.

Back to the skirt... I cut out the pattern piece and then to make the black section at the bottom, I cut the bottom of the pattern piece so I could cut them out of the different fabrics.


The problem came with attaching the black to the flowery fabric. No way was I going to sew these right sides together. I know, no dedication to the art! I came up with a decidedly quicker and easier method. Why spend ages trying to attach an inside curve with an outside curve, when you can stitch one to the other by just attaching it to the top of the other? I'm all for using shortcuts as many of you know! I certainly made sure it was attached, back stitch and zig zag!

I made the finish neater by attaching a black grosgrain ribbon to the join. I ummed and ahhed for ages deciding whether to use silk or grosgrain, I decided in the end the silk was too shiny. I even sewed the side seam first to ensure the seams all lined up at the seam.

Strangely enough the waist was too small when I came to attach the waistband, so I had to trim some from the top! That was not the easiest, I was afraid I'd cut too much! I actually attached most of the waistband before the zip to ensure it fitted! Fingers crossed the cut was prefect.

The thing that wasn't perfect was the waistband stiffening. It was the fusible interfacing specifically for waistbands, but after about and hour of being stuck, it came unstuck. I was not impressed. Does fusible interfacing go off after a while, since it may have been in my box for a while?

The last big job was to hem the skirt... I prefer a deep hem, as they hang better and stitching a deep hem by machine doesn't look very nice unless it's a blind hem. However, if you think I'm going to stitch a blind hem on a circle skirt, you've another think coming. :-) So I did my usual and handstitched it!

Are we nearly there yet?

It took about three hours to go round this! Plus pleating a lot of the hem to take in the excess. I reckon the hem took the longest to finish of the whole skirt!

So the final thing...

 I think Mr N must have been making me laugh!

I'm wearing a circle skirt in windy Wellington? 

My thoughts on this? Well after one day of wearing it, I love it. The colours are so cheerful. It's also really comfortable and I feel happy wearing it. It's got black in it, so it won't be completely out of place here in New Zealand! I also love the fact that loads of different coloured tops will go with it. Mr N said I need to wear shoes which aren't black. Oh dear, that's a shame, I might have to buy some more :-)  I have a feeling this skirt will get LOTS of wear! A success. When can I make the next one! I need an excuse to wear a big petticoat and go dancing now!

Oh, by the way, I did hang this for about a week before hemming it. The bias did not drop drastically! Hurrah! I was NOT looking forward to unstitching the black bottom and ribbon! For those interested it also has a lapped zip. The fabric came from Fabric Warehouse here in Wellington.

The obligatory spin!