Friday, September 24, 2010

A5 size covered journals

Mollie had a birthday party last weekend.  We decided on a covered journal as the gift.  Moo picked the design.  I did the rest.

I think the embroidery design would have looked a bit better if I had threaded my bobbin correctly.  With my machine, I have to thread the bobbin through a little finger to increase tension while I am doing embroidery.  I had forgotten to do it!   I took a photo of the back of the embroidery. 
You can see there is lots of white, but really there should be more colour like down on the back of the name.  I ran out of bobbin thread when I got to the name and that is when I discovered my mistake.   The design took me an hour to stitch out, so I wasn't keen to do it over.  I figured a 7 year old girl wasn't going to be that critical!

When I set up to do embroidery, I usually have several projects in mind because if I am going to set up to do it and drag out all of my supplies, I might as well do as much as I can.   So I embroidered some more designs for journal covers.  (all of these designs are by Luzia Pimpinella and are available at Huups.)
a5covered journals
Mollie took the gnome one to school today.  It's a gift for a teacher who is leaving the school. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nighty night

I saw this very cute nightdress pattern in Ottobre last year, 06/09 #38.  I thought Moo could use a couple of new nightdresses for summer.  I also saw this as an opportunity to use up some stash.  The floral knit was purchased through a co-op and when it arrived here, I looked at it and thought, "what the!?!?!".  The pink ballerina fairy knit is very sweet, but is too cutesy for everyday clothes for Miss Moo.

I'd had these nightdresses cut out for a few weeks, but other things got in the way and truth be told I was trying to work up the courage to use the binder attachment for my cover stitch machine.  In the past I'd had mixed results with the binder. This time around I thought I would try two things that I learned at Bernina club when they demonstrated the binder for the sewing machines.  
1.  Don't try to sew too close to the edge.  If you sew too close, then it has a tendency to sew off the edge.   When I sew binding down on my sewing machine, I stitch quite close to the edge, so I had to change my usual habit.
2. Starch the binding strip.

And here's what I ended up with...
binding closeup
Success!!!  Once I had the binder set, it all worked with no fuss!

The completed nightdresses
pink nightdress

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dylon Dye Winner


Congratulations Uta!  

Today I was in Spotlight and saw the price on these dyes.  They were $16.95 each!   If you didn't win the dye, but want some advice on dyeing send me an email.  I'm happy to help.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big ol' rainbow fabric

I offered to dye this very long and wide fabric for school.  I think it was about 8m long and it was 280cm wide.  It was folded in half to create two very long rainbow pieces when it was cut in half, so it was 140cm wide.  I folded it back and forth like a fan in order to get it into a managable size to dye.

Here it is drying on the back deck
giantrainbow fabric

It looks so much better when it was put to its intended use!

And I said I had some dyes to give away...

Back when Dylon relaunched their Hand dyes range a nice gentleman from a PR company asked me if I'd like to try the dyes.  I said yes, but then you know life got in the way.  That pesky home renovation (yes, I will show some finished photos soon)!  He sent me three beautiful colours.  But...I am a dyer.  I am a chemist.  I like to be in control.  I like to know exactly how much dye I use.  I like to play with thickeners.  I like to do my soda ash separately.  I add some other hocus pocus chemicals to my dye solutions.  (and if you are going to dye on a regular basis, it is cheaper to buy dyes without fixative).  So I've never used them.  

They are a fuschia, turquoise and a violet.  They would work well if you wanted to use them together or look beautiful used individually.

Would you use them?  Would you like them?  (I will only post these in Australia.)

Leave me a comment telling me what you'd like to do with them!  I'll pick a winner randomly on Saturday evening sometime.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not long until the holidays

So I am putting it out there, that I am happy to take custom orders for Christmas/Hanukkah presents.   If you think that you'd like something from me, now is a good time to email me to discuss as I am limited by two things...time available to work freely without children underfoot and how I dye.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to talk a little about how I work.  Will attends preschool two days a week.  These are my two days to do work.  I only get about 5 hours each of those days because I have to pick the kids up from school.  And some weeks I have to drop them off although I am fortunate that Col does the dropping off two weeks out of three.   I also try to do some work in the evenings, but some nights I am just too tired or unmotivated.

Because I don't use clothing blanks, I sew each garment or item that I dye.  This is totally intentional on my part as many times the dyed design fits with the shape of the garment.  Or I dye the fabric and cut the pieces as part of the design.  This also means that I am confident in the quality of the construction as I have made the garment myself.

My method of dyeing is such that I tend to mark and tie pieces and then soak them in soda ash. The peices are hung to dry and then I apply the dye.  I don't just slap the dye on.  It is carefully applied to each piece.  Then after the dyeing process I have to rinse out my pieces.  This means that I rinse the excess dye out in the sink and then machine wash it at least 2 times, but usually 3 times.  I do this because I do a lot of rainbow work,  and I want to ensure that the shirt, dress, skirt will look the same wash after wash.  Green loves to run into yellow if it gets a chance!  

For example, to make a rainbow redondo skirt...
It's a rainbow redondo

  1. I cut the skirt out.  For each skirt that would be 11 pieces.  
  2. I have to sew each spiral (each spiral is 2 pieces)
  3. I have to mark and tie each spiral as each piece is dyed two colours.  The marking and tying helps me to make sure that the pieces are dyed evenly, and it also helps to keep the colours separate as the tie is a resist.
  4. Pieces are soaked in soda ash then allowed to dry (the drying takes a couple of days, but sometime more if it is cold or wet)
  5. Pieces are dyed.
  6. Pieces are rinsed/washed out...first in the sink and then in the washer and for the first wash the yellow green pieces are not washed with any of the other colours to help maintain their clarity of colour.
  7. Pieces are tumble dried (to ensure no more shrinkage)
  8. Pieces are ironed
  9. Spiral pieces are sewn together...overlocked and topstitched.  I change topstitching thread for each different spiral so the threads match.
  10. Waistband sewn to the skirt
  11. Skirt finished with a rolled hem
I do all of this myself.  I like doing it, but as you can see it is a process.
Ok, if you've stuck with me though my essay, here are some pretty pictures of some of the silk flannel blankets that I made a couple of weeks ago.  (these two are available)

This talking of dyeing reminded me that I have some dyes to give away.  I just need to photograph them, so keep an eye out for that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yummy Yasmina

After I confessed about having quite a large Farbenmix collection, I realised that I needed to sew up some that I haven't used yet.  So I made Bjarne, and I had this Heather Ross fabric sitting here that told me it wanted to be a Yasmina.

I must remember if something has a front centre seam and it has a print, I need to be careful of how I lay out the pieces.  Right on the front of her top one unicorn has it's head up the bum of another!  Moo doesn't mind.  She loves the top.  It's girly and it has unicorns.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Will is not down with these gnomies

I made Will a top.  I love this top.  He does not.
And he wouldn't even look at the camera and give me a smile.

Pattern is Farbenmix Bjarne.   The fabric is Heather Ross gnomes fabric.   Love the fabric.  It's a brushed poplin.  Oh so soft, so when Will declared it itchy...well, I thought he was full of ....!

But by this afternoon the winds had changed.  Mollie was presented with her shirt (to be shown soon.  I need to get her to model it.), and she told me how much she loved it.  Will then said he likes his new shirt.  Wonder if he will put it on and wear it tomorrow?