Sunday, October 15, 2017

I bought a new handbag

Yeah, so? Well, the last handbag I bought in Barcelona. I was last in Barcelona in 2006. Not that I had been using the handbag for 10+ years - I had to wear out the handbag that came before Barcelona bag. (Where exactly was Barcelona bag bought? Not sure - but somewhere on this map (we had dinner at Taller de Tapas when we bought it; if I'd known I'd want to blog about it over a decade later I would have kept better notes!):

But Barcelona Bag was becoming an embarrassment and had to go. But only when I found the right one. And it was right under my nose - in a shop in Sydney next to the suburb where I used to live. I owe Sarah for telling me to go in and have a look.

And it is my favourite colour (note matching shoe)!























And luck it was, as I was set on getting a bag that had at least 2 internal pockets (in addition to zip pockets and a phone pocket. And it didn't. But that was soon fixed. I made a handbag insert:

The fabric was purchased to mimic heavy duty canvas for an apron for my son's role as a coal carrier in the school musical (right), and has a synthetic canvas on one side and black felt on the other. It's thick enough to stand by itself.





I traced around the bottom of the bag for a pattern for the insert, then simply cut rectangles the height of the bag, and sewed them together with a zig zag stitch to create an insert with 3 compartments. I bound the top of the insert with bias binding (still using my grandmother's stash, last seen in this project. My grandmother is 100 as of a fortnight ago. The saving of these small amounts of bias speaks of the "mend and make do" era. Photos below of grandmother and the bias stash.)




The insert in the bag:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Poppy Skirt

Visiting New York in 2013, I arranged to meet a volouteer guide through Big Apple Greeter. Amazing experience. 
I was essentially on my own during the day as my husband was at a conference, and Angelina, my Big apple Greeter, took the trouble before I arrived to engage with me by email and find out EXACTLY what my interests were. From a starting point (on the online form) or "history, culture, architecture", we ended up shopping for fabric, visiting Ralph Lauren's flagship store, visiting the Frick, thrift shopping, and having my hair cut by "Celebrity Stylist, Antonio Soddu":



But more importantly, Angelina took me to B&J Fabrics, where I found this:


I decided on a straight-ish skirt pattern, using the Easy Pleated Skirt pattern from So Sew Easy via Craftsy. The pattern is designed for softer fabrics than my cotton fabric, so I wouldn't use this pattern again unless I had a softer, more drapey fabric.  

Now, where did I stash that fabric? What?! Your stash isn't kept in window-faced A4 expandable envelopes?






How it turned out:

Pockets in red fabric for contrast:


Raw fabric edges finished with bias thanks to stash of bias from Grandmothers' sewing box:


Nice job on the invisible zip:

Funnily enough, my favourite designer also had a skirt with a poppy design fabric:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Beauty-ful biscuits (cookies)

We've all see time lapse videos of flood icing on cookies (biscuits for the Australians and Europeans reading this), such as this one. Oh, it looks so quick and easy! It's probably a great hobby if you don't have children, or pets, or a house to clean, or meals to cook.... (Having made the dough the night before [maybe 15 minutes work], baking and decorating 20+ cookies took me about 3 hours.)

Never-the-less, I thought I'd give it a go, as I was holding a fundraising movie afternoon screening "Beauty and the Beast" and wanted something special to present to guests... Here's the results:















Fortunately any deficiency in icing technique can be more than overcome by the generous application of decorations (such as these) readily available in most supermarkets:
I used The Decorated Cookie's sugar cookie recipe, and a royal icing recipe from Taste. I whipped the egg white until frothy first, added icing sugar to the desired (flooding consistency) then removed about a quarter of the icing from the bowl, and added more icing sugar to make the icing thicker. I used the thicker icing to pipe an outline, then flooded the outline with the more liquid icing, adding decorations both before and after the flooding.




Wrapped and ready to go:




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dressing up for grown ups

What's Comic-Con but an excuse for wearing costumes in public? Like I need an excuse....

I was a latecomer to the Firefly franchise, but figured I've got the hair and sense of humour for Kaylee - seated left, here: (I wish I had the hair, figure, looks and wardrobe for Inara - standing right - but one must be realistic.)












So here's what we were going for:



and what we got:

And a couple of photos from the Comic-Con photographers



All the bits and pieces:The jacket was made by cutting and sewing together a cheongsam. This turned out not to be the easiest way to make a jacket! Still, it was (close to) the right colour.
The parasol was a plain white one, $6 on Gumtree, painted with poster paint, freehand. I should have been able to work out that there was a way of ensuring the design was even - look at the design when the umbrella is folded - left (even design), and right (going a bit wonky):


I didn't get hold of a pair of overalls like Kaylee wears but went with a khaki shirt and pants. Iron-on decals from Spotlight, and a bear face made from scraps of fur.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Obre silk maxi skirt

In Sydney in the new year I went to Tessuti Fabrics in Chatswood, as I am wont to do... and saw this on the remnant table:

Let's zoom in on that label:











I actually placed it back on the remnant table after picking it up - after all, what was a mother of 2 with few opportunities to dress up going to do with 2m of ombre silk? I then realised that I would regret it if I didn't buy it - especially at that price - so I bought it.

And wouldn't you know, my middle school son presented me with an invitation to a "semi formal" night out, so I sewed the fabric into a tube (the rolled hem foot got another workout - see right), gathered it onto an elastic waistband, and wore it out:



Completing the outfit with an vintage rhinestone ombre brooch I picked up on eBay years earlier, just in case....