The Butchered Linen Upsidedowninsideout Jacketcapecoat

The PR Sewing Bee Round 3 (for which I did NOT qualify) was breathtakingly inspiring.

“Make a reversible garment.”

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Now, I have gone on before about my failed efforts at reversible jackets. But then, eavesdropping on the contest discussion, someone mentioned a reversible Marcy Tilton jacket pattern.  Marcy, my Marcy! Off I googled, and discovered this:

Vogue 8653, centuries Out Of Print.  (Okay, still available on Etsy etcetera, but shipping to South Africa is not something I even want to ask for.  It will triple the pattern cost.)

But I was hooked.  It is not an inside-out jacket, but an upside-down one!  Genius!  Now, just imagine if I could make it with reversible seams….FOUR jackets for the price of one!

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As if I had nothing else to do, I decided to make this work from a Marcy pattern I have sewn before:  Vogue 9140, The Dementor Coat!

I straight away went fabric shopping, you know, that “just looking; not buying anything today” kind of fabric shopping…and came home with 3 metres of ridiculously pricey reversible knit from the most overpriced fabric store in my town. Sucker, I am:

It is summer.  I should be sewing cropped pants and sleeveless tops.  But nooooo. I spent the whole month’s hypothetical fabric budget (as if there was ever such a thing!) on a length of double-knit, inspired by a contest I had been eliminated from! I called my therapist and made certain my next appointment is confirmed. It is.

There are 4 fabric stores near my home:  the glamorous one I mentioned,  another with a less inspiring selection but better prices, a small haberdashery that sells mostly quilt fabrics, and then there is a sad-looking one in the lower part of town that has –  for the last decade – consistently been declaring their “closing down sale”.

To make a long story short:  It was the remainder of this R18/m (in contrast to the R150/m reversible fabric) linen that I butchered to muslin my upside-down-inside-out vision.  I wanted it to be a wearable muslin, but the end result turned out NOT very successful.

Although it looks kind of nice in these pictures, it does not wear comfortably:

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But do check out my nifty reversible pocket:

This is the back:

Big Son is attending a Terry Pratchett day in November. He plans to dress up as an “Igor”…a Frankensteinian character that often features in the Pratchett books:

My Butchered Linen Cape-thing might feature as part of his Igor’s costume! After that, I am going to cut the whole thing apart to facilitate Round Two of “Figuring out the Upside-Down-Inside-Out Jacket-Cape-Coat.”

I am nothing, if not pathologically unwilling to give up! Next time there is a Sudoku Wardrobe or Travel Wardrobe Contest, guess what my starting point will be…

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The Aliana Overcoat

Unable to resist, I entered the Pattern Review Sewing Bee this year.  I didn’t go through to the third round, but sewing the ‘Garment with Fabulous Sleeves’ for Round 2, was very gratifying.

I cut the coat mostly free-hand, and I must confess the sleeve fit could have been better, so it is no wonder I did not make it through: the competition gallery is a showcase of perfection. 

But it was perfect for my son’s 21’s Birthday Party.  Here are some pictures of the construction, the result, and the party {-;

And some “action pictures” from the party:

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Medieval Feast Coming Up

My big son – the one who weaves his own chainmail and sews his own gambisons and costumes – has his 21st birthday this month.  I am planning, and testing recipes, and ordering Honey Mead…because it will be a Medieval-themed party.

This is the Birthday Boy:  in a robe he made for a Medieval Fayre we attended last weekend:

 

 

And this is Friar Tuck-in fraternizing with like-minded folks:

 

 

Though I am (as always) pretty pleased with him sewing his own costume, what  I really want to share is the menu I have painstakingly researched.  This was lots of googling and reading and ongoing testing of recipes.  The food in the Middle ages was actually rather interesting!

I am going to put the menus for every separate course on different scrolls to be delivered to each table as the next course is announced….the anecdotal information should provide some conversation starters!

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(Ah! that is me having uploaded my first ever PDF file on to a blog…)

And of course, having told everyone this is a costume party, I am going to have to do some serious sewing to have our whole family looking the part!

Didn’t quite think that through, now did I?

Snapshots from a Life Long Journey

Lately I lost a bit of motivation for this sewing blog.  It feels as if there is really not that much one can say about making comfy winter clothes, but be assured, my daughter and I are still thoroughly enjoying the output, even if I do not write volumes about it! Here are the most recent projects:

Getting stuff properly photographed is just the biggest obstacle!

I must say, that has always been a problem.  I have been wearing my own self-made clothes since high school, and yet I have almost no pictures of me wearing them!

Today, with blogs and Instagram and such, it is so easy to keep a record of everything I make and wear, that it is in danger of becoming an obsession.  Yet I do wish I had been slightly more ‘obsessed’ in the past with keeping record of my handwork!  I remember dresses I created, with fondness.

Making these dresses were a joy, and I wish Instagram existed in those days! The detail on my own dress included small bows on the cuffs of the gathered sleeves, and various widths of satin ribbon stitched on the collar and shoulder flounce. Looking back now, I do not think it was a particularly good style choice…but I loved making it – on a shoestring budget as always.

And then there was my wedding dress, ofcourse.  The one I made from 2m of polyester (which I later recycled for a bathroom curtain) with 50 pearl buttons down the back.  At the time I sewed this dress, I completely disregarded things like grainline or interfacing.  Do be honest, I did not really understand about things like that, since I was self-taught and had mostly worked without patterns! Still, I looked decent enough:

 

But there were so many other ‘everyday’ dresses…

There was for example, one I made when I was in my early 20’s.  It was of royal blue cotton, colour-blocked with cream broderie anglaise.  With stem-stitch and glass beads, I embroidered a free-hand design in cream on the blue, across the shoulders and chest.

One day I was walking to church, arm-in-arm with a blind friend.  She stopped at one stage, running her fingers all along the embroidery.  “Your dress is beautiful!” she exclaimed with a delighted look on her face.

I will cherish that compliment for ever; on of the most precious I ever received.

I can not even remember what became of that dress, though I did find a very poor picture of me wearing it at the wedding of another friend:

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Deep in conversation with the bride.

When I went to college, I made a whole wardrobe in pastels.  The blue pinafore in this picture was a favourite, and I unbuttoned the top when I wanted to wear it as a skirt. At the end of my college years I wanted new clothes…so I chopped up the pinafore as well as a peach skirt and top I had, and combined them to make a crazy-patchwork dress…which I wore to a  job interview.  (I got the job…) I WISH I had a picture of that 1990’s ‘Artsy Craftsy’ creation, but I don’t!

That Graduation Dinner dress was a dream make.  I had  limited length – I think 1.5 metre – of lace that was “blotch-dyed” in various soft pastels. I dyed muslin (real honest-to-goodness cheap muslin) in a lilac colour, to use with my precious lace.  Cream satin ribbon was used to trim the colour blocking, and little bows at the end of some of the satin ribbon lines finished it off…with a few pearl beads above each bow (which do not show on the picture) completing the detail.  I felt like an absolute princess in that dress and wore it to pieces as a church dress. (We really still did not mind dressing up for church in those days!)

But I must include my Mom in my reminisces of “dresses of years past”.  After all, it was on her treadle-Pfaff that I taught myself to sew!

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This is her, with me in a “Volkspele” (traditional Afrikaner folk dancing) dress she sewed for me to wear in the school concert when I was six.  She also made her own dress for the evening, and I thought she looked like a queen.  I also remember that at the concert that night, there was another lady with a dress from the same fabric as my Mom’s!  Well, that happens if you live in a town which really had only one “General Dealer” selling dress fabric!

And a final picture:  This is my Mom with us three girls wearing aprons she made for us as Christmas presents, 1999.  She was in remission from cancer at that time, but died a few years later.  I still have that apron.  I wear it and use it; it was not made to be mothballed!

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That is the thing, with clothes.  They are not made JUST to be admired, are they…they are made to wear, to enjoy, to live life in.

Grey Areas

Not much happened on the PR Pattern Stash Contest Front, I am afraid.  I finished two items and the third has been on the sewing table for two weeks…mostly because disaster struck.

The geyser of our home burst.  It used to be built in behind an oak closet in the spare room.

The closet and carpet was ruined by the water damage.

We decided to make a huge project out of it, installed the geyser outside the house and redecorated the room – which is currently in use as my daughter’s music practice room.

Only the frame and top part of the closet could be saved.  I painted it light grey and the closet space became a nook for her electric piano.  (All carpentry done by Dad.)

 

I painted the ceiling.  Let me just say painting a tongue-in-groove wooden ceiling is a really, really crap job that involves three layers painted mostly with a brush, and I almost had a sense of humour failure.  But it was worth it.

The daughter and her friend painted the walls.  And she finished it off with painstakingly drawn music notation lines, on which she plans to chalk in the “song of the moment” with regular changes:

 

I planned to sew the curtains, but in the end I found beautiful ready-made ones for a lot less than I would have paid for fabric and lining and everything I would need to sew them myself .

However: after hanging them, I discovered the two drops were cut in different directions: one lengthwise and the other one crosswise!)

I still have to go back and sort it out so I end up with a matching pair.

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Serves me right for being stingy and lazy. ALWAYS better to sew things yourself…

 

And one final picture of the happy camper in her new “studio”: (Artworks also done by her, and that organ-thing is a much-loved 1970’s Wurlitzer vintage electric piano that just messes up my interior decorating plans but she is very attached to it…)

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I do not feel too bad about not making inroads into my 20 stashed sewing patterns for the July PR challenge.  At least I have something else to show off!

Some Photo Fun after we finished:

 

***

Afrikaans words of the day:

“Ek is lekker trots!”

Pronounced: “Ack ehse lacquer trawts!”

Translated:  I am very proud!

But that word “lekker”…hold on to it. That is the “lekkerste” (most useful/enjoyable) adjective in the Afrikaans language.  We use it a LOT.

 

 

A Morning Journey to a Place of Vision

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Picture credit: DIDA Clothiers on Facebook
To see more of their beautiful creations follow them on Facebook and
visit their website at  http://www.didaclothiers.co.za/

 

It is a Tuesday morning and the appointment is for 10h00. At 9h20 I send Doris Ikeri an apologetic text.   ‘Might not make it! GPS says I’m 9km away, but something is badly wrong on the N14.’

I get a reply half an hour and 500m later. ‘No worries, I’ll wait for you’.  At 10h15 I finally pass the scene where all 3 lanes had been closed.  Something resembling a ball of crushed tinfoil is being hoisted onto a truck.  If you look closely, you realize it had once been a small white car.

The Pretoria CBD is not somewhere I go if I can help it.  To middle class white housewives like me it is the epitome of Paradise Lost.  Although I find the address easily enough, finding parking anywhere close by proves as impossible as I had feared!  This time I call Doris instead of texting. It is 9h30. I hate being late and my insides feel like that unforgettable ball of metal I saw next to the N14.

She hands the phone to her social media manager.

At that moment I am too busy negotiating one-way streets, minibus taxis and aggressive parking attendants to reflect on the fact that the person assumed to be a relatively small clothes designer for my modest research project about people who sew, has a social media manager.

“I will stand in the street and show you into the warehouse parking. What car are you driving? I will wave!”  A bright yellow Mazda you can’t miss…but it feels like every second person in the chaotic streets is waving to direct me into an alley!

By the time I switch off the car, breathe a sigh of relief and take a good look at the young man who had jumped into the passenger seat beside me at the corner, the morning has taken on a surreal quality.

Phillip has a warm, confident smile and a spunky hairstyle. He introduces himself properly:  he is a social media/marketing consultant and Dida Clothiers is one of his clients.

Doris is in a meeting and we wait on a sofa in front of the rolled-up warehouse door, looking out on to a  peaceful landscape painted on the wall of the opposite building.  He chats to me about his work for Dida and his quest to add value to different customers’ social media platforms by encouraging collaboration.  I learn that Dida Clothiers is just one part of what Doris is all about.  The main focus of her business is hair care products, distributed through a large dealer network.

He came on board to be involved in social media marketing of the clothing line as well as the development of her Afrocentric lifestyle magazine.  But the more he talks, the more I realize that I have just met one of those enviable people who recognize potential and possibilities everywhere he looks.  Before long I am getting a free but valuable consulting session regarding my sewing-journal project!  It feels as if the very air around Phillip is charged with ideas: his brain is constantly processing everything he sees and hears and working out ways it can be celebrated and shared.

Coming out of the meeting, Doris greets me with an embrace as if we are old acquaintances.  We retreat to her office for the interview.  Spending time with this remarkable woman is like sitting sit down on a rock next to a river in Africa, with someone full of wisdom and patience and all the time in the world.  Doris has a calm, poetic way of speaking.  It is easy to forget this is a businesswoman with a full schedule, and that the tumult of the Pretoria CBD is crunching the streets and pavements outside!

She came to South Africa from Nigeria 12 years ago.  She lives with the conviction of God’s calling on her life, so she moved with the vision of what she could offer in this country.  Never wavering from her calling she steadily developed her business into what it is today.  Her core inspiration is African Identity: across the borders of different ethnicities, tribes, languages and countries, there is a wealth of culture to be rejoiced in.

The clothing range is unashamedly Afrocentric, but because the designs are custom made she finds joy in identifying different African elements which reflect the wearer of each garment’s background – precious to him or her.  It transcends stereotypes.  For Doris, fashion is an authentic part of celebrating identity.

I had sent her a naive list of potential sewing-related questions – I now blush when I realize how off-the-mark my assumptions had been.  She is not a needlewoman herself as I had assumed when I asked to meet her:  I realize she is the creative force that inspires those around her to take pride in their talents and identities, and flourish!

She invites me into the boardroom where her team had been continuing the meeting while she spent time with me.  A room full of faces turn towards me at her introduction and I witter out an inelegant explanation for my visit:  I had noticed the clothes on a mutual friend’s Facebook page because my friend’s blonde daughter was one of the models in a Dida photo shoot.

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Picture credit:   http://www.didaclothiers.co.za/

Including a Caucasian model to showcase an Afrocentric clothing line made me sit up and think differently about clothes I might otherwise have considered to be “not for me”.  A small inclusive gesture made me wish to know more.

Phillip shows me the workshop where under the hands of three men and one woman the Dida artworks take shape. I had not come prepared for this either, and the moment passes awkwardly while I search in vain for the right words to express my admiration to these enormously talented people at the sewing tables.

Fabric of all colours and textures seems to explode from shelves on one side of the room.

“I am designing another display system for their materials,” Phillip tells me. He describes a tree-like wooden structure from which the fabric stash spills as it is draped over branches to be easily accessible for cutting, while at the same time adding joy to the workshop.

I can see it, and it makes perfect sense.

***

The Dida Clothiers showroom is at another address.  With a streetwise young man in the car I find a parking space quickly this time.  Even so we still have to walk a short distance through the ever-flowing river of people on the sidewalk, but it is reassuring to walk next to someone who has the confidence of belonging.

The showroom is a carnival of design, print and embellishments.  No two garments are the same.

“We want to branch out into mass production now,” Phillip tells me. I ask him to define ‘mass production’.  “Well, it means that we will make one of each size of some designs. We also think of things like T-shirts with just a little bit of African detail, which everybody is comfortable to wear as a subtle and affordable way of expressing identity. ”

Now that is an idea of ‘mass production’ which I – with my home-seamstress-dislike of fast fashion – can thoroughly respect!

As we say goodbye after he had walked me to my car, I realize that some of the energy of the Pretoria CBD had seeped into my skin this morning.  I will never again be able to view this place as something “which once was”.  It is not a lost paradise.

Instead, when I look around me I suddenly see life.  The city centre might look messy and apparently chaotic in my eyes, because I carry around memories of the slower-moving, dignified Pretoria where I had lived and worked in long-gone days before 1994. In truth it is still a place full of potential, growth and celebration; embodied in people like Doris and Phillip.  The Africa of today and tomorrow.

I tip the sidewalk car guard who had shunted me into the precious parking spot earlier.  “You must close your window, mama” he cautions: “you must be safe.”

But his morning, this suburban mama is so glad that I opened my window wider than usual!

***

Un(?)(der)wearables…the last frontier

I considered doing a burlesq-ish post here, taking selfies in my underwear and manipulating them into artful pictures to make my BEIGE underwear look as sexy as possible.

I understand it is not PC to say flesh-coloured or nude, and I respect why, but oh! to say I made a “beige bra” sounds SO VERY very middle-aged…

Anyway…to show of my UNDIES. Of which I am proud.  I want to say this is once where the end results really look better on my imperfect body than on the dressform, even though I gave her some extra padding! Good feeling!

(For the record: I LIKE beige.  We could choose anything from purple to silver and black to carnival pink for our kit for a 2-day Basic Underwear Techniques class at the end of last year.  I choose beige.  Because I am adventurous like that, haha.)

It was with a local teacher who designs her own patterns and also sews  custom underwear for clients.  She has been in business since the 80’s! Her website can be viewed here.

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In a thoroughly enjoyable two days  she demystified scary underwear-sewing with lycra and lace.  I finished one bra and one panty during the course (I am afraid I lagged behind because I am a very slow seamstress!) and cut out two more bras from the kit supplied.  But I am afraid those two were in danger of becoming unfinished projects.

A while ago the teacher contacted us to invite us to a morning tea, and come show and tell and ask questions if we had any.  In order to have something to show, I dug out the scraps of lycra and the instruction sheets.  Wow, amazing how quickly one can forget stuff you learned!

I am very thankful that she provided the incentive to get down and dirty again!  I now have three bras from the kit, and could “test drive” the different styles.

The first one – “Charné” –  is an un-wired style ( comfortable, very supportive but not very sexy on me at all).  I don’t think I will use this pattern again. One does want to feel sexy.  Even if one is truly beige and middle-aged…

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The second was an underwired lacy bra –  “Bernadette”.  A little more feminine, but the upper edge of the stretch lace is reinforced with narrow elastic, and that gives me a bit of a “boob-muffin”.  Not nice.  But I will play with this pattern – it has potential.

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The third – “Dolene” is also an underwired style.  I made mine just in lycra, but the upper cups can be done in lace.  This is my favourite.  It fits like a dream and gives a lovely shape.bra3

All the patterns can be padded if you choose – we were taught how to in the class.

I bought a black kit from her as well.  We have now shown we are not afraid of beige, right? Time to release my inner Dita Von Teese…

************

EDIT after the weekend:  “KLARISABET’s SECRET”
(Move over, Victoria!)

I could not resist doing the Burlesque thing.  I, a respectable aunty of almost fifty, took cellphone selfies of my underwear.  And now I update this post with it because I think most of the clicks on it has already come and gone, but still I want to show off to SOMEBODY {-;  

EDIT AGAIN AFTER A FEW DAYS…  Ja-well. I learned my lesson.  No sooner had I modeled my underwear on my little blog which is read by on average 10 respectable-looking fellow seamstresses, than some dude decides to copy my post to his blog (which is quite possibly one of those spammy computer blog things that randomly posts by copying other people’s blogs. ) Anyway, this person never had the courtesy to introduce himself or ask permission to copy anything, so I do not consider him worth my time, but I realised that when you open the WordPress Reader and see “search billions of WordPress blogs” at the top op the page, still do not automatically assume that you get lost in the sea of anonimity and model pictures of your homemade bra on your own little blog.  Lesson learned.

To the bad-mannered bloke I just want to say, on the one-in-a-billion chance that he comes back and reads here:  “Not cool, Mamparra”!

Anyway:

I unpicked a favourite old bra of mine (note the tattered lace and the stretched out lycra!) and made a pattern out of it.

 

 

I lined black lace with a layer of quite heavy beige lycra for the bottom cup.   I love the result, it is even more comfy than the original.

I am thoroughly addicted to lingerie making now!

Of Corseted Maidens and Checkered Bards

My two big kids had their yearly cosplay highlight – Geekfest 2017 – today.

I know that my daughter did not choose to go dressed up in a scary siren (complete with a mutant sword comprised of muscle tissue and bone) because she is bloodthirsty at heart, but because she browsed characters and costumes to choose something that would be (a) doable without physically altering her own appearance too much (b) technically executable (c) a creative challenge (d) economic (e) authentic…meaning that at least she did play the game a bit herself at one stage.

Enter “Trish” from “Devil May Cry”  (Mommy winces and stops just short of crossing herself)

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The pattern she used is Simplicity 2067.

And that is as much as I can really say about the construction!

She did not ask me for any help.  The pattern hack was entirely figured out by herself, and she knew she had only one chance to sew on the faux leather, so she did some sort of muslin beforehand.  There was some nursing of sore fingers from lots of  top-stitching faux leather by hand. There was a re-make of the striped cotton insert because the first attempt did not work out. But next thing I knew, she presented the corset.  Pretty good fit!

She hand-painted the detail on the side- panels:

A lot of effort went into the sword construction.  She cut it out of cardboard and covered the shape with expandable foam which she then carved into shape and textured and painted to get the desired effect.  When I first saw it I went: “Uhm…it looks rather like..well…meat…”

“Well yes, Mom, it is supposed to look like meat.  It is a mutant sword that takes on the flesh and bone of victims…”  (Or something like that.  I kind of went into denial at some point.)

But is it art?

Well yes.  Expandable foam, modelling clay, a toilet roll holder somewhere, duct tape, found objects…. Yes. I would say It Is Art.

These two pics I stole off her Facebook page, taken at the venue:

At least her brother – a.k.a. Cacafonix The Bard – lightened the mood:

(Self-sewn, self drafted costume as well… with less than minimum help from me because he does not listen to advice much anyway.)

At the end of the day they both came home with starry eyes after all the good feedback and comments they got at the event.

I may not always understand what they are about, but I am boundlessly proud of their creativity!

***

* I am a Christian and I brought up my kids to be Christians. Their interest in some computer games and subcultures make me uncomfortable.  But I am also a very realistic person, so I know my kids ARE NOT ME and neither are they the sum total of just one of their interests. They are well rounded individuals…(well most of the time)…

Sewing Space and Sudoku Progress

(*Procrastination alert*)

Just look how the Daughter’s winter casual wardrobe is coming along!  I only have 5 items left to sew.  I have grown tired of the black and grey palette. Although I have all the fabric I originally planned for the remaining items, I decided it is time to rather go shopping again.  We need to bring some red in, goodness: woman shall not live by black and grey alone!

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I took some time today to tidy my sewing space, and then I took a few pictures.  High time I also document a blog post about the little corner of the house where I spend most of my spare time!

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The space is really very small.  It used to be a laundry room, and the floor space is only 2.5m x 2.4m!

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I moved my washing machine and dryer to a little corner in a passage linking the laundry to the kitchen.  (There is just enough space in the walk-through to erect the ironing board in front of the washing machines, but when I work I  mostly put the ironing board in front of the built in closets and push the dress form into a corner.  It is then quite a mission to get anything out of the closets – where the household linen as well as my modest fabric stash is kept.)

The wardrobe has been mine since I was a toddler.  It is now the “Unfinished Projects Closet”.  As well as the “This Was A Mistake” Closet.  The mirror comes in handy for quick fittings.

On top of my childhood wardrobe are two vintage suitcases that also used to belong to my aunt.  They are full of my kids’ childhood toys now.

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The filing cabinet and chest of drawers are full of craft supplies and stationery.  I painted everything in the room  – the free standing furniture and shelves – the same cream colour as the built in closets.  It immediately made the little space seem larger.

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My sewing table used to be a neighbor’s woodwork table in his garage.  The table top was very damaged, but after covering it with a layer of the cream paint, I sanded it down again to show the grain of the wood as well as the distressed surface.  I love the result.

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I keep all my sewing stuff in tins.  Each tin has a story or was given to me by a special friend.  The biscuit tin with the Audrey-Hepburn type picture on it, was my aunt’s tin full of sewing things like bias binding and zippers. She passed away two years ago.  When I open it, I still get “her smell” and I miss her terribly.

The red tea tin with the Japanese girl was among my mother’s needlework supplies, filled with curtain rings.

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The wooden fold-open sewing box belonged to my late grandmother. The thread in it comes from her stash.

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The champagne box contained a bottle we emptied on my 40th birthday (-;  It now houses a selection of ribbon and lace.  Every container on those shelves is not just sentimental, but serves a specific storage purpose as well.

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(The frog sitting on the Moët box was a toy I bought myself at a Church Bazaar when I was 8 years old…)

Though the space is small, it opens directly into a corner of the garden so I never need to feel claustrophobic.  Sometimes I just sit at “my desk” to have my coffee and browse the net in a quiet moment.

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It really is my “safe” and creative space. Though I still take over the rest of the house when cutting on the dining room table or living room floor, it is nice to have a little nook where I don’t have to put projects away in order for some other family activity to happen.

Finally, just for fun:  The left-over color pencils from my eldest two kids’ school years.  For the last two years I stopped buying any colour pencils for number 3.  He can just grab whatever color he needs from “the stash” {-;

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Art Nouveau Ladies and Vintage Sugar and Lace

 

Sewing is progressing slowly in this house: occasionally stuff happens, it just does not get photographed.  Some fabric for The Daughter’s Sudoko Grid for her winter school wardrobe got “re-deployed” elsewhere.  In the process I started ANOTHER Sudoku grid for a “Performance Wardrobe” for her Jazz gigs.  More about that later.

This jacket/coat is hanging a bit before I hem it:

I want to tell about the little shop where I bought the 1990’s pattern.  We discovered this gem of a vintage shop in December 2015 when we were on holiday the Drakensberg, and visited there again this January.  The proprietress of the shop – Sandra Lemmer – relocated the authentic stock from a pre-1970’s general dealer in another part of the country, to a museum store on a farm near Winterton.  Sandra’s story can be read here.

The first time we visited I did not take many pictures, except for this one where Sandra was filling an old-fashioned paper-bag full of sweets for my little son.

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On display she had sweets from the original store – many, many years old and mostly not sweets you find today any more!  (Sugar really has a long shelf-life…but rest assured, those are not what she sells to the customers, they were for display purposes only. )

When we visited again in January this year, I took a few more pictures:

So now I finally got around to sewing the pattern which I rummaged out of a box full of old patterns the first time we were there. Sandra said if I ever sew it, I must please share a picture to the Shop’s Facebook page… I will do that once I added the dress as well  {-;

Something hugely amusing I almost bought last time we visited.  But my husband assured me I do not need it. (Not yet.)  Do yourself a favour and read the detail:

How about that….

In other news:  because everything I am sewing for The Daughter is black or grey at the moment (aaaaargh….) I just had to take a break from her stuff to avoid getting colour-withdrawal syndrome.  So I sewed a Tessuti Favourite Top (free downloadable pattern here, it is a gem…) in the most gorgeous printed scuba knit.  I wanted to keep it for myself, to be honest, but I actually realised while I was cutting that the fabric design matched a friend of mine’s personality to a T.  I forgot to take a proper picture before I delivered it, but these were the teasers I sent her from my phone:

And finally:  What my son has been sewing.  He is making a “Cacafonix the Bard” costume (the bloke who always gets trussed and gagged on the last page of every Asterix comic:)

I am chuffed with The Son: he cut that shirt free-hand, but he cut it on the bias because the curtaining fabric he bought for it is actually a diamond pattern and he wanted a check.  The shirt ended up being wonderfully comfortable and he now wears it to class at university.  (In case anyone wondered, he is a Financial Accounting student, not an arts or theater or literature student in spite of the hippy image!)

Talking about sewing for men:  The Payer of Fabric Store Invoices wants a pair of tracksuit pants.  Do you think I can find a useable pattern from any of the Big 4?  Vogue has nice formal/office/outerwear patterns.  As for the others, it is just ridiculous.  These are ALL the patterns for men on Butterick’s page:

butterick men

So, the Father of Cacafonix can choose if he wants to look like Nelson Mandela, Inspector Clousseau, a priest or an extra in Grey’s Anatomy.  He can go academic or go to sleep.  But even B5153 looks more like pajamas than tracksuit pants.

If anyone out there knows about a sensible pattern for men’s tracksuit pants, PLEASE let me know!