Sunday, 22 March 2015

Making a Costume

I was invited to a "Leprekhaaaaan!" party and my first thought was "Yippeee! Star Trek!".
I am a real Trekkie. I love the films and the TV series up to and including Deep Space Nine. Voyager and Enterprise I am pretty "meh" about and although I love the reboots (hello Benedict) the true Khan for me is still Ricardo Montalban. With this in mind I decided to make myself a uniform that would look at home on DS9 or earlier. Where else to look for inspiration but Pinterest? This pin seemed to fit the bill.
Pinterest screen catch
I got two men's t-shirts from Thrift Town - a 2XL Black one and a XL red one. Next, making the pattern...
Making a pattern from a tshirt
I was able to keep the collar of the black t-shirt but the rest all needed recutting, including the sleeves. Some sewing, a bit of fitting and a back combed beehive later and...
Me in my Star Trek Costume
My badge was made out of felt.
Star Trek Costume Beehive
I am so happy with how it turned out! And the party, which took place last night, was a great success!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Hands to Help Quilt Challenge - Sign Ups Open

I have got hold of so much free/cheap fabric recently, I am keen to make something good with it but I have a real hang up about the things I make being useful. I hate the idea of making endless quilts with no idea of a recipient. Solution? Make one for a charity! There are three charities benefiting from this challenge and I am aiming for one helping chemotherapy patients. To read all about each of them see this post on Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict

She is encouraging international participants and there are two options to deal with costly shipping. 
1. You post her just your front and back and she quilts it for you. 
2. You give to a local charity other than one of the three main ones - so a hospice or other charity close to you could benefit!

Reasons to take part? Apart from the general feeling of good will and the chance to show off your sewing skills, there will be lots of giveaways with great sponsors and discount codes for fabric shops. 

Click on the image above to read more and sign up!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Patchwork By Machine and Hand

The cover for my Japanese sewing machine ( a borrowed Janome) was quite pale and mellow.
Sewing Machine cover
I left that one with the machine so when my new Singer arrived I needed to whip up something new. I have been quite affected by the beige-y neutralness of the temporary flat so, with our boxes having arrived from the UK, I unearthed a pack of 20 Kaffe Fassett charm squares I'd had for a while.
The 20 squares were only enough for the top and front so for the sides I used "Dysfunctional Family" by Michael Miller.
Side - dysfunctional family fabric
For the back I used a similar black and white print, although it is about sewing!
There's a great thought bubble near the bottom:
"Look at the way she's dressed. She must be throwing Harry's money around."
Except of course it turns out she made her dress herself. Tsk!

My machine came with an embroidery foot so I decided to try a bit of machine embroidery again.
Detail of machone embroidered pebble pattern
Pebbles have always been my favourite pattern so a stream of them go across the top and down the front. I also tried some writing on the top.
Not great but a useful bit of practice.

While digging around in the storage unit I found the quilt I started aaaaaaaages ago for my Mum. All the pieces - hexagons and diamonds - are ready so now it is a case of laying them out and sewing them together. I've started at the bottom which is just hexagons, and this is the biggest bit so far.
Blue Hexagon Patchwork
The challenge is going to be deciding the layout of the rest. There must easily be 50 different fabrics involved with low value neutrals as well as blues so I'll need to go back to my original drawings and see if I can work out what should go where.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Aligning Edges and Corners

Getting points to match in patchwork tends to be something that happens to other people rather than myself. Give me EPP type stuff and I am excellent, but machine piece some patchwork and it all goes Pete Tong.
 Red and Yellow Patchwork
I did read about a way of getting it right about a year ago but didn't re-read it before I got started. Had I done I would have realised you precut the squares, not just the strips, before ironing and sewing them.
Front of strip patchwork
Back of strip patchwork
Still, straighter than my usual efforts.

The reason for this strip sewing is that I am prototyping something to make for Etsy selling. I was hoping to get some regular income that way but as it turns out I've been sent the details of not one, but two jobs that sound ideal for me. I could yet end up working more or less full-time which will come as a bit of a shock after these 16 months of housewifery. My CV has been tweaked and hopefully I'll get something sorted out quite soon.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Free Fabric Fatigue

Can you believe such a thing as "free fabric fatigue" exists? Yesterday saw me at the building in Mountain View, the town where Google has its HQ, about 45 mins drive south of San Francisco. I was with Ambur, who does actual installation art pieces and exhibits them and everything but I had found it and suggested going after some google research consisting of "Fabric San Francisco" typed into the search engine. I therefore felt responsible for our presence and concerned it might disappoint.
Fabrics for the Taking
It didn't disappoint. That is just part of one table and there were at least five, plus rolls of fabric in boxes and stands around the room. And then there was the room of wallpaper samples...
Wallpaper rolls
...and then the room of tile, marble and vinyl bits.
BUT...after half an hour of going through endless piles of silk, wool, cotton and the odd polester/viscose thing I was feeling like I'd had my fill. There was TOO MUCH free stuff. Much like my first visit to Scrap when I first got here. Still, I managed to pick some up.

Neutral linens - either for embroidery backgrounds or for ickle niece's height chart.
Free Fabric from
Interesting patterns - some embroidered.
Free Fabric from
Free Fabric from
Free Fabric from
Wool (yes, that is a real Ralph Lauren label - this was high end stuff).
Free Fabric from
Pure silks and silk/cotton blends.
Free Fabric from
That's most of it but there is more, plus some slate tiles I'm making into coasters, some vinyl for carving and printing and some cotton fabric bits for patchwork.

There can't be many more free/discounted fabric places left for me to find...

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Hunting the White Elephant

When I heard about the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale my mind went back to the flea market I visited a few days before leaving Tokyo. That had been ginormous. There was no way this one could be as big. Ha.
19,000sqft. They had everything. 
(I wanted all of these hangers but limited myself to just five at a dollar each.)
I fecking hate brussel sprouts. Why would someone ever make this tureen?

Since Pooch hasn't yet been paid either wages or transfer costs we are on a budget and I only had $50 with me. Plus I don;t know where we'll be living or what we'll need for the place. My take-home was therefore confined to some pristine photo albums, lovely vintage photo frames, beautiful silk padded hangers and this:
Fabric pieces
Fabric had been washed, ironed and sorted into 1lb bags. I got three plus a few odd FQs. I also got a novelty scrap bag.
Scrap novelty fabric
I'll be adding these to my collection of scraps for my niece's i-spy quilt.

I am hoping there will be similar sales in about a month's time when we'll be moving into our proper flat.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Chinese New Year Parade!

This was my first ever chinese new year parade. I am sure there must have been one in Tokyo but I seem to have missed it. This one is quite epic - even Pooch came along.
Yellow and Blue Dragon
Yellow and red dragon
Lots of big dragons...and a few little ones.
Little Dragons
This float was shooting glitter everywhere. So pretty!
Southwest Airlines Float
Lots of small children dancing and twirling things.
Children with flags
And then there was a dragon overload.
Group of Dragons
Group of Dragons
Group of Dragons
The little kids watching squealed with delight as they came snapping at them. And special mention to the dragons up poles in the back of cars.
High Dragon
Pooch, who like a lot of hounds does not like crowds or loud noises, defied my expectations by liking the marching bands the most.
Marching Band
This one was about two hundred strong. There were also the alternative ones. These kids were playing buckets.
Bucket Marching Band
The kanji for this year's animal can be translated as a goat, ram or sheep. Being a dedicated knitter, I have to go with the sheep.
Three sheep

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