Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pavlova Paradiso!

 Finally, after a long time cheerleading from the sidelines and looking guiltily at the pattern, I finally got into the Pavlova. I bought a length of exquisite bitter chocolate coloured cashmere wool jersey for it and day after Earthquake, I was ready to roll.

 Pavlova by Cake Patterns. I love this wrapover cardi!
When shopping I didn't have the pattern with me and figured 1.5m oughta do it. Hrmph, called for 3m. This stuff on sale was over $30m, so no way was I going back for more.
Second problem. Prewashed fabric shrank about 10%, meaning the pattern didn't fit EITHER way. And I needed to draft it up yet another size from the availables. Plus, I am not the shapeliest of shapes - refrigerators have been known to have more curves than I do. My bust and waist are in fact the same. Ahem. So, wrapping thick cashmere around my waist to tie at the front wasn't doing it for me anyway. What to do?
Answers: By introducing a shoulder seam, I could offset the front pattern piece and leave a wedge of fabric for the other major piece, the tail.I decided to make the tail a lot shorter, and replace the extra length with a tape.
'Scuse terrible annotations! Here is an image of the pattern overlaid with tissue, and me converting the shoulder dart into a seam. I drew in the dart sewing line with my french curve, added seam allowances (see parallel curvy lines running through the left dart dot and off the top of the photo. I traced off the rest of the front of the pattern, added another size including some much needed length, and did the same with the back.
Resulting in two pieces, seen here after cutting out my fabric, because I forgot to take a photo of it laid out on the fabric. Er. Blame the earthquake.
Close up of the front piece shows how the leftover triangle of fabric fitted perfectly as an extension to the wrap around. Yay!

Now, here I have to confess that this is not what ACTUALLY happened. What ACTUALLY happened was that on Monday, the Day After the Earthquake, when noone of us was really thinking straight, I tried to entirely redraft this pattern to try and get it to fit my odd shape. I spent all morning on it, cutting it out in the fab pattern tissue that is like fabric, held it up to myself and...
...it fitted about as well as... a thing that doesn't even remotely fit.  Erk. So, I took myself off to Kat's house. The Day After, the central city was closed and so many folk had an unscheduled day off. Kat's response was to make scones. This is one of the many reasons I love her. Another is she is smart and sensible and the perfect person to take my woes to and run them up her flagpole, while eating her scones. So, a few hours of her and Drake's company, and a bonus visit from Nicola, and the plan above was hatched. Thank you both for your calm, fun and sensible company! 
Finally, Sunday was Eat and Sew Cake meet up! So, I used our social sewing session beforehand to sew it together. Three hours of very interrupted sewing time (in a nice way) and it was all done. Normal sewing machine, twin needle for the edging and brown paris binding for the ties, done!
I must admit I don't love me in this as much as I love it on other people, refer previous comment about lack of curves. But, I wore it out and it was cold and windy, and I was cosy and warm the whole time. The fabric is AMAZEBALLS, almost like a boiled wool but with a finer texture and thickness.
It is my Brown Bear, to borrow Sandra's term. (Sandra is another fab member of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network).
I think I just created a garment that will wear out well before I tire of it.
A PHOTO, you ask?
 The Pavlova girls together. MaryLouise, Sandra, Me and Emma

 Holly in her Cabarita with Gemma and Joy, who ate cake but didn't wear it
 The Humming Birds, Zara wearing the top, Wendy the skirt, and Sandra both!
Tiramisus for four - Melissa, Nikki, Nicola and Jo. I love how this dress looks awesome on everyone who makes it, not matter what shape or size they come in!
 Mix and mingle. Me whipping cream in the far background. First attempt resulted in me getting cream on my wearable Pavlova s well! Erk!
 What a glamorous bunch we are!
The Spread. 
A million thanks to Sandra of Flossie FT for hosting us and being such a fun host too! I thoroughly enjoyed my wooden spoon meets sponge light sabre duel with little Lewis, Jedi in Training!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nevermore Quoth the Raven now Complete!!!!

It is done!! By Wednesday night I was feeling up to facing upstairs by myself, and buoyed by the idea that sewing 30 minutes a day would get things finished in surprising time, I got stuck back in.
This 30 minutes a day idea, it appeals. My default state for getting things done is to try and find a big block of time. Of course this works, but it is not realistic in a busy life. So, I just picked away at it.
Cuffs, hem on Wednesday night. Collar and buttons on Thursday night and OMG, it was done!! Happy Husband, who got to wear it to work on Friday.
This morning (Sunday) at Social Sewing, the wonderful Jo at Making it Well took some excellent photos of MrC with her state of the art camera, and a much better eye for composition than I ever have, thank you Jo! :)
 Contrast inner collar stay - the under collar is also contrast.
Pattern matched front with diamante buttons. Yes, my husband is a showpony ;-)
 Back view - can you see the panel saying Nevermore centre just below the yoke? Then again on his butt? THAT is how long the horizontal repeat is on this fabric. And no vertical repeat at all. So, it is a consumer of fabric all right!
 Just because :)
From the front showing the contrast underside of the cuffs.

One more down. Three at least to go! Well, he has to have at least one for every day of the week, surely?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Quoth The Raven Shirt #2

Finally, I have returned to David's Nevermore - Quoth the Raven Shirt. After cutting it out, I parked it, and while I got a little bit done at the last WSBN social sewing day, it was high time to get stuck in again.
Of course my sewing was cut short by the quake yesterday, but I did make some progress!
 Trying something different/easier with the front - a false placket made by folding under twice and top stitching. With such a busy fabric it's hard to tell the difference. And of course, the pattern matches!
 The pocket already applied. Whaddya mean you can't see it? ;-)
Shortage of fabric brought about by extreme pattern matching of huge repeat meant I lined the yoke with the contrast fabric. MrC loves the blood red. I had no idea he had such a macarbre streak!
One sleeve set in and flat felled. Gosh this fabric is so interesting, I keep seeing new things. Candelabra, filigree, bats...
Progress shot - one sleeve in but underarm not sewn. I got as far as putting the other sleeve in flat when the rockin' rollin' ridin' started and Work Ceased For The Day.
Now I am making myself a Pavlova Top. So, No More Nevermore for a while :)
Total lack of skulls and ravens for a while...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rockin' and Rollin' in Wellington

People of the planet, you probably haven't heard that Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand and my beloved home, is being rocked by earthquakes of increasing magnitude. Starting at 4.6 on Friday morning, working up to 6.5 today.
Oh me oh my! It is Not Nice. Upstairs sewing a shirt for David and taking photos to blog about it (how good am I!?!), I leapt to turn off the iron and place it on the floor while David put his weight against the tall stash cupbards that were swaying happily away. Erk.
Not wishing to be left by myself in a building which is apparently very safe but still feels like it is made of Leggo when this is all going on, I opted to go with David to check the shop (not a single breakage and only a few soft things fell on the floor!) then go to the supermarket.
The city was abnormally packed with people - clearly a few apartment buildings were evacuated. Sirens blaring but really, no signs of any damage.
The supermarket was pumping with people who I suspect also were reacting to being in apartment buildings and wanted to try their luck instead in a big open space. Only one aisle was blocked off - much vinegar had fallen off the shelf by the pickle factory odours emanating! And me specifically wanting balsamic vinegar!
Back home again, we are breathing through the aftershocks like labour pains. The devastation of Christchurch sits upon our shoulders like a banshee. Before Christchurch's quakey troubles, we Wellingtonites were pretty sanguine about earthquakes and just got on with life. Now, we know how bad it can get and we know our little country's economy cannot survive another city devastated, even if we survive in other ways.
Ironically, the dear old building that houses our big shop is apparently 'earthquake prone' and has a cheery yellow sign on its door announcing this fact. In spite of being strengthened 20 years ago with wraps and all kinds of clever things. And it clearly doesn't shake it up much as, like I said, nothing much happened there.
We suspect the yellow sign is a magic sigil. Pretty cool, huh!
So, I am not going upstairs to sew again until the earth stops moving as it is way spookier up there.

Wish us luck!!! xoxo

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eat and Wear Cake!

I'm a lucky member of a group of Wellington based sewing bloggers, and oh my those girls know how to party! So, when faced with the prospect of eating your favourite patterns, the challenge was too great to turn down.
On 28 July, after some serious social sewing, we are getting together to eat Cake in our Cake Pattern makes.
In the unlikely event you've not yet heard about Cake, here's a link!
I LOVE making, and eating, pavlovas, and so it tickled me no end that my favourite pattern is Pavlova.
I love wrapover tops, and it's been so cold lately, a new wrap cardi really appeals. So, come 28 July, when we sit down to eat and wear our cake, I'll be rockin' my Pavlova. That's the theory!!

The challenge:

So, our challenge to the sewing blogosphere is to join us in Sewing Cake, then Eating Cake! You can eat Pavlova, Tiramisu or Hummingbird Cake, or you can wear one of them and eat any kind of cake you like! Plus there's some great riffs. I know there's a Red Velvet pattern coming out soo, probably not in time for this event, but maybe we could eat red velvet cake in anticipation?

On a different note, I haven't forgotten my Fitting series. I just taught a three week course on it and it as great! I'm just flat out - but I will get back to it. Thank you for sticking with me in the face of my attention deficit!