Archive for April, 2012

I forgot I’d planted beans. I like purple vegetables, especially when they’re as productive as the “King of the Blues” runner beans. Think the other ones are Blue Lake Runners. I maybe got ten beans, on the two plants that appeared of the eight beans I sowed. The purple ones? All fifteen seeds grew into huge plants. I’ve had at least this many beans a week for three weeks. Maybe more. Like I said, I keep forgetting about them.

The purple cauliflower were a nice surprise this afternoon. I’d forgotten I’d planted them too…


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I made a pair of pants for Rata on… Tuesday? All the days have rolled into one this week. It’s some fabric I have enough of to make leggings for my self with, but there’s plenty for all. I’m still on that $1 bag of fabric buzz, one year later. Rata’s legs and arms are suddenly growing out of everything, so I made these a bit too long for her and put a bit of elastic around the ankles keeps them from tripping her. Just a little trick a mother knows about.

I’m quite keen to get Rata on board with sewing little things for herself. I don’t know if ‘nearly three’ is too early, but I figure we can choose fabric and buttons, I can cut it out and then she can sit on my lap while I sew it and help me feed it into the machine (really slowly. REALLY slowly). I’ll let you know how that goes. It could be an absolute disaster.

Turns out she has got pinning down pat. While I was doing this:

She was doing this:

And yes, there is enough of that black fabric to make Rata a matching wool dress. Though she wants pink buttons.

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Pyjamas in the workplace!

Huzzah! My new dress is luxurious. I felt like I had worn pyjamas to work, and not in the freelance, work in bed kind of a way. The most public of workplaces, the shop floor on a Saturday. So this is my contribution to Karen‘s Pyjama Party, even if I do feel a bit cheeky. Now I am going to go tell Karen about what I’m reading and look at some other pyjamas. Maybe other people are cheating. Want to see the back of my dress? Okay, go on…

So, my deer hunting dress, sans its deer fabric belt. Win. I’ve had a ridiculously productive week at the sewing machine. More to come I guess. But first I think I’ll take advantage of GMT+12 and sleep, sleep, sleep.

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Petticoat Poof!

A piece of calico came my way and I thought it would make an excellent petticoat. I made one when I was 18, and the smell of calico also reminded me of sewing projects when I was twelve when I was obsessed with the Little House books and would ask for things like ‘a bolt of calico’ for my birthday. What a weird kid.

This piece of calico was mysteriously sewn into a loop and hemmed along the bottom edge. This is how the fabric for this dress came to me, and honestly, I have no idea what compels people to make such an object. What on earth is it for? Well it was kind of useful this time. I wanted side seams and a hem anyhow, I just needed to fit it to my waist. With… one thousand darts… oh yes.

The above diagram was me trying to work out how to get the width of the fabric to equal my waist measurement. I didn’t do very well. (You’ll notice I always do diagrams in felt pen now, since they’re the only pens I can ever find around the house these days). Although I (think I) worked out that I need a dart every 6 cm, things were still way too big once I’d done all those darts.
I even got out my ruler.
It did look nice and neat….
And it still did look neat once I’d finished it, except for the fact that I’d snuck in as many tiny darts in between the bigger ones as I could. And then a few more.
Rata helped me to choose a button this time (instead of the ghost). Today she pointed at a pink drawing pin in the wall and said to me ‘Why do I like pink?” I told her I didn’t know why, but that there were a lot of colours I liked better than pink. She replied, “Like blue!” I feel like this is a start.
I made the opening by slashing the petticoat at the centre back, opening the raw edge out straight and stitching binding on. I then finished the raw edge at the waist with bias binding, and made a loop for the button. It still sits below my natural waist, but I think if I need it higher for any reason I can just add another button.
Once that was all done and darted, I folded the hem a few times in decorative but probably frowned upon manner. It does help to give it a bit of stiffness, or fullness, also known as POOF! without the addition of layers of tulle or organza or things I would need to buy. Whether that stiffness lasts several washes is another matter, but I can add things later if required.
I’m happy. I won’t share with you the sorry sight of my old op-shopped petticoat of above-the-knee length except to say that it was that length simply because I had cut off the lace trim after putting my foot through a hole, and the fabric was slowly coming away from the elastic waistband in an extremely unsavoury manner.
Now I won’t have to worry about the state of my undergarments should a train wreck befall me.

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Aunty Chris brought feijoas with her when she came to visit! So many feijoas. I ate a tonne of them and now we are going to bottle a tonne of them.

This is my other conquest – Alfajores, a South American treat. The dough is pretty crumbly, but boiling a can of condensed milk for three and a half hours is thoroughly worth it. There’s also more than I needed to sandwich all the biscuits, so there’s plenty of opportunity for spoon-licking. Unfortunately this photo is of the second round of biscuits and some of the chocolate in the bowl was melted twice, hence the cloudy appearance. I went to a party on Saturday night and placed them on the table in front of a pregnant lady. She was pretty happy about that.

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I was hoping to have finished this today but “de-flea”ing ones home turns out to be quite an involved process when there’s a two year old (two and 3/4’s, actually, geez) dragging clothes, blankets and toys through the house. Fortunately my sewing room isn’t part of the house so when I let off the flea bombs I could hole myself up with lots of easter eggs and no distractions. But then Rata came home and that was that.

But I’m nearly there! The pattern is Butterick 5605 again, the one with the infamous centre front seam that I managed to avoid this time. It turns out I am very scared of plaid though. Good thing I didn’t have enough of any one kind so there are lots of different ones and therefore no matching of seams. I really don’t know how one might go about doing that. But looking at the way the plaid works with the kimono sleeve of this dress I think I might have to overcome that fear. I like it. I like it very much indeed. The skirt is blue and white fir tree flannelette, which I swore never to turn into pyjamas. But a dress? Well, now you mention it…

I have mavericked it with the bodice lining because I couldn’t bear the thought of inserting eight gussets with the sleeves. I thought I had a clever way of avoiding that by just tacking down the front and back lining pieces to the outer gusset seams, but when I realised that would be just as much work, if not more, I chopped it all so there was just three or four inches of facing around the neck and back. I’ll tack some lining to that, which can go all the way to the hem and serve as a barrier between the dress and the massive organza petticoat I am going to need to poof the skirt (I made the full skirt this time, and yes, flannelette does have a nice drape to it actually, to my untrained eye). I’ll keep it slightly above the knee because for the first time in my life I have knee high winter boots. I love my job.

Lining, hem, belt with delightful deer fabric and there we might have it: a thoroughly unexpected deer hunting dress! What a family we will be – Louis with his possum hat and Swanni, me in plaid and fir trees and Rata in her little deer dress… that’s Halloween covered.

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