The Antipodean Artisan's Story

Monday, 29 November 2010

The borrowed beauty

Hi folks.  Bert is still in the ICU for sewing machines, but a colleague of mine kindly lent me her mother's 1973 Singer.
Isn’t she lovely?  And she sews like a dream.  I just might have to get myself a little work horse like her. 

To test her out I made my very first applique t-shirt. 

I think I’m in love with this fantastic process.  What can I applique next?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Waiting for Bert

Well it’s official.  Bert’s broken!  I have tried all the things in the manual to fix him and all the things on the internet.  He’s still poorly. Proper poorly as they would say here in Devon.
Yesterday I packed him up and sent him off to the hospital for poorly sewing machines – Brother UK.  It was a sad day.

So I have to apologise for the little hiatus in blogging.  I have been wallowing in the despair of the demise of Bert.  Stupid I know, but he made me so happy, and then in one day…. all that happiness was taken away from me.  Who knew a sewing machine could give such joy?

In my mild depression I turned my lounge into a cutting room for a few days and cut all of my Christmas presents out.  Now I just have to get Bert back to get them all sewn up in time for the Big day (or the Big Send-off).

To keep me happy, I’ve been watching The Nameless Cat play in her new box house.  She has a little thing for boxes, I cut some holes in my Lady Valet box and made her a play house.  She loves it!!.

I hope to be back blogging almost daily (my ultimate goal is a blog a day) soon.  I might do an interim post on The Fairy Godmother’s quilts if anyone is interested. 
See you soon, Cyd.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Bert's broke

I just have to share... I think Bert is broken.  I'm not sure, but I'm too scared to do a thorough investigation.  I was trying to complete my 1st dress for a 40th Birthday party last night and at the 85% completion mark, he decided to start eating the fabric. 

Hopefully some rest and a good talking to will fix him.  If he is really broken, I'm afraid there will be many late Christmas presents this year. 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Too much excitement for one day

What an exciting day it’s been here in Devon. 

Firstly  I have managed to felt my first projects with mediocre success.  I bought some wool suitable for felting (the first attempt was a disaster as I didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘super wash’ wool).  I did some cute 5 minute daisies using this free pattern

I looked up how to felt and  A,- I don’t have a top loading machine.  Most people here in the UK have front loaders as they are smaller (laundry/utility rooms are rare),and  B – I couldn’t justify a full load of washing for these tiny darlings.  So I filled a Tupperware like container with hot water and a drop of fairy liquid (apparently this helps bond the fibres), called my mate 'Happy Ness' the quilting queen, in Australia, and shook my little heart out for however long we chatted for (about an hour I think). Ultimately I would like them to be more felt-y but an hour of sloshing some flowers in a box is quite long enough thank you.  Next time I’ll wait until I Skype my friend Sheana… we usually chat for about 2 hours… should be felt perfect.  They are now pinned out on a towel drying into shape ready for some cute button centres. 

Next, I re-fashioned my first thing from my wardrobe.  I have this really comfy dress that had open sleeves which I didn’t like, so I threaded Bert with some brown thread and voila… one re-fashioned dress, fit for a bingo winged antipodean. 
I try to look as glamerous as possible for you all.  One day I'll be as beautiful as Casey, or Gertie

I'm holding in my pot belly for you all.  I'm nice like that.

Then the most beautiful thing happened…. My new lady valet arrived..

I was so so excited, I was squealing with joy.  It took me a little while to assemble her, but eventually I got it together and here she is.

Unfortunately I’m almost the largest size of the small LV (not good for the ego I can assure you), and too small for the Medium LV, so she has some wide gappage, which I hope to fix with some lovely fabric sometime in the near future.  For now, a black tutu (from my only other sewing project since living in the uk) will suffice. 

We could almost be sisters.  I’m the one with the bigger boobs.  Now all she needs is a name.  Ideas welcome.

Also, some of my late night eBay vintage patterns arrived.  Hooray.  I can now start planning some winter wardrobe treasures.  I’m thinking wool tartan/plaid wiggle dress?????

Then… ( I know, can you believe there was so much joy in one day of my life), I found a cute 40s style top in a local charity shop (pic to come later), and a cute modern take on a wrap tea dress.  All for less than £6.  I also found some beautiful vintage embossers, which I am going to go back and get tomorrow for future Etsy/Antipodean Artisan entrepreneurial ventures. 

I also, did a little Krimbo stuff.  I think I have got everything I need for everyone.  Now I just need to make and assemble it all.  Only 38 days to go!  AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And finally I got cracking on my first dress for me.  So far I’m only up to the darts, but I love my carbon paper, and my tracing wheel. 

If only I had used these years ago when I was making dresses and costumes.  Now all I have to do is finish it for a Birthday party on Saturday.

What a lovely day.  Back to the sewing machine for me. Thanks for stopping by.  Don't forget to check out my recently updated 'Translation' page. 

Cheers, Cyd.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The stash is building

Ok folks, so Bert (my sewing machine) and I have only known each other for maybe 8 weeks and already I have accumulated quite a frightening amount of stuff. 

Firstly there is the building and growing of the ‘studio’.  After deciding to take a hiatus from my MSc this year (and maybe longer, who knows), I got rid of my old desk and made a new one.  This one had to be big enough to accommodate my old Mac (which I can’t seem to part with, but is only good for Photoshop and iTunes as it is non-upgradable), my printer and enough space for Bert and me to create beautiful things together.  The studio space was markedly changed with the acquisition of the overpriced but ever so lovely wallie tree, and wallie blackboard.  My flat is rented and thus I am not allowed to put any holes in the walls, so when I discovered these I had to indulge myself.  The table was made by yours truly without the help of Hero Boy. 
Lessons learned:  When making furniture, accurate measurements are a must and impatience leads to wobbliness….

…alas, my table is a little wobbly (but I still blame the old Georgian floor).

Next are the patterns.  I had to move my text books up a shelf or two and move some photography gear under my bed to make space and already I've almost run out of room.

I started buying patterns before Bert and I met.  I am yet to buy any actual vintage patterns, but have quite a collection of new vintage from Vintage Vogue and Retro Butterick.  I haven’t sewn anything for myself yet except for a pair of wide leg trousers (I cut the pattern myself  from a friend’s pair).

Fabric.  My first major shopping spree was in Bradford whilst Hero Boy and I were in Yorkshire in early October.  For those of you who don’t know, there is a large Indian and Pakistani population in Bradford and Leeds, which means lots, and lots of beautiful fabric.  I was a complete white Aussie girl in these shops and I’m sure I amused more than one shop keeper.  Alas, I was in my element and after having a little chat to myself to not be scared of the fabric. I dragged HB around for what was almost the entirety of one whole day.  His response to that was – for every hour I make him go fabric shopping, he will reciprocate with an hour of cricked shop shopping.  Hmmm... I think I'll take my girlfriends next time.

And Books.  I have decided if I am going to get better I need to study a little.

Also I have these beautiful saris from my friend Yogi.  Apparently they can't be worn anymore, and so she gave them to me to do with what I want.  I'm really not sure what to do with them, so would be grateful for any ideas. 

Remember there is about 7m of fabric in each of them and quite a lot of embroidery and beading.

Happy sewing


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Little packages of loveliness

Finally, I have sent some of my little packages of home made gifts out into the world for loving.

A Birthday present for one of my girls.

Some Amigurumis for my friend's neice and nephew

and some of those lovely bibs for a very pregnant friend

It feels so great to send of my creations.  I must get cracking on more. 

Friday, 12 November 2010

Babies, babies and more babies!!

All of my friends are breeding or trying to breed. 

Two of my friends and pregnant or ‘duffers’ as Hero Boy calls it. One of his friend's (now our mutual friends) wife is preggers and due in Dec, and three of my friends are starting IVF.  This means BABY CLOTHES and BABY THINGS!!!!!

As some of you know I have already made some very cute bibs, but I have bought a couple of patterns for various cute little people things to make already and some fabric.  I can’t wait to get started.

fabric for Nappy/Diaper bags

fabric for Dungarees/Overalls

more Dungarees/Overalls
Now all I have to do is sew them up.

Oh and it's only 44 days to christmas!!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Guilty pleasures

I just bought myself a dress form. 

It's a birthday present to myself.

It's ok right?

Really.... it's ok?

Sunday night project

This morning I added more stuff to the Translation page.  Take a peek and feel free to add or correct anything.

Tonight though, I was feeling guilty about neglecting HB.  I wanted to sit with him whilst still getting on with my little projects, instead of us being in seperate rooms.  I managed to cut out his trouser pattern and am ready to start making the toil.  It’s going to be white, so I figure they can be his ‘Brit abroad’ trousers when done…Ha ha!

I have also cut out some of my other patterns for Krimbo, and am almost ready to get started on those.

But I needed instant gratification.

After using my newly acquired pincushion, I was becoming frustrated.  It was not weighted and kept falling over and it was too small. 

So I decided to make my own Sunday night pincushion. 

First thing to do was to cut out a big circle, what better template to use than a side plate (my next one will be dinner plate size).

Next was to add the base so it wouldn’t fall over.  For this I couldn’t find a 50p coin, but I did manage to find a good old Aussie 50 cent coin that was perfect for the job. 

After tracing around it I made a little disc to cover it, and roughly tacked it into place. Then I ran a gathering stitch around the outside.

Then, I needed weight.What better tools than lentils and hosiery.

Stuffing, and pull gathering thread to pull it all together.

Some rick rack, and the perfect ice cream topping combined with my bad embroidery skills. 

and TA DA!!!!!!

One Sunday night pin cushion!!!!  

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A few little things

The sewing has begun.  So far I have attempted most of my intended projects. 


The apron is almost finished.  It took a little longer as I spent most of the day fabric shopping and continuing the stash stock (more bobbins please).  This is it so far.  I will finish it tomorrow.
Lessons learned:  Pattern fabric when cut on the fold – one side will be upside down!  A gathering foot is on my ‘to purchase’ list.

All done.  Ready for wrapping up and sending off.  I’m so proud of these.  They are so so cute.
Lessons learned:  Always always always read the pattern instructions FIRST!  This is a lesson I need to learn for cooking from  recipes  too.

The Crazy Nameless Cat just couldn't resist the camera.

Muslin face cloths
Abandoned…. My sewing machine ate one of them (it got caught in the foot thingie and I had to cut it out) and I couldn’t get my decorative stitches right.  They went all wonky, so they have been added to my home pile.
Lesson learned:  A new sewing machine is like a new oven.  It takes a while to get used to.  Does anyone else have this problem? In particular; figuring out the right tension.  My last machine, I barely had to adjust the tension at all.  This one I have to adjust if I double the thickness of the fabric…… very tiresome, but I’ll get the hang of it.  

Lining for my Lloyd Loom wool basket
Done, and after two attempts I am pleased with the outcome.  The basket itself was thrifted on my last shopping trip for £5.  I thought it was perfect to store all of my wool, knitting and crotchet needles, but it needed a facelift.  I spent a night scrubbing it with a toothbrush and the next day painstakingly painting it, trying not to clog up the holes.  This worked in some places, and I grew impatient in others.  I did a rough measurement of the lining at first and ended up unpicking the whole thing and starting again.  It was worth the effort in the end.
Lessons learned: Guessing is never a good thing. An impatient stitcher is a BAD BAD stitcher. 



How cute are my bows?

So now the to do list is:

Christmas presents – Shall be blogged about on Crafty Christmas blog.  All friends of mine…. unless you want your surprise ruined, please refrain from looking until Dec 25th or until after you have unwrapped your gift.  (I haven’t started my Aussie mates gifts yet and missed the mailing date….. yours might be a little late, but at least this years gift will be better than last).   I think I have all the ideas and fabric, and now am panicking about the volume.
Dress for Hero Boy’s Christmas party (in 3 weeks!!)

Trousers for Hero Boy.  He has one of those delicious sticky-outy bums that he hates, but I love and am determined to create the perfect fit for him. 

Bali Holiday (in Feb) clothes.  Clothes for temperatures above 25 and humidity levels of 75%.  These clothes will also serve me for my family trip to the Philippines in Sept.  If only I could look like this

Monday, 1 November 2010

And sew it begins

The first projects I am going to start are:
Muslin face cloths
Lining for my Lloyd Loom wool basket

I downloaded this (above) free pattern for this apron from the printsew website when I first found out I was going to get a sewing machine.  The apron looks so cute and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when I’ve sewn it together.  The pattern, however, was over 16 pages long and took ages to print out.  For some reason every time I tried to make my printer print a quick draft it didn’t work.

So… many sheets of paper later and much much time later, I had printed the pattern, laid it out, stuck it all together, and then cut it out.  Then I cut it out in the pretty fabric I have chosen, and now all I have to do is sew it all together.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like.