28 July 2012

I Love Fabric Mart

Yesterday, I showed you my new SWAP.  I mentioned that I still needed three fabrics to complete the plans.  Well, Fabric Mart came through for me with not only the fabrics I needed, but at a 35% discount to boot.  Yee Haw!  I have updated yesterday's post to reflect the addition of the new fabrics. 

While I was buying the three fabrics I needed for SWAP, I may have also tossed in another three goodies and a mystery bundle.

Behold the bounty:

These three are the SWAP fabrics (silk crepe de chine, silk blend burnout print & silk animal print):

And, these three are the "just 'cause" fabrics (all three are RPL suitings):

And, that my friends is why I <3 Fabric Mart - like a great friend, they are always there for me when I need them.  Now, I just hope that none of the SWAP fabrics sell out before they get to my order.  If that happens, I may have to cut a bitch.  What?  Seems harsh?  It's fabric acquisition, people - there is no room for niceties when it comes to fabric acquisition.  Sheesh, I thought you'd know that by now.

27 July 2012

My Old Friend, the SWAP

SWAP = Sewing with a Plan

Many of you are familiar with this concept, having either read about it or participated in the contests.  Back in the day, Julie of Timmel Fabrics (Julie, if you're reading, I sure do miss you and your fabric!) ran the SWAP contest.  These days, the lovely folks over at Stitcher's Guild Forum have taken over the reins.

The SWAP concept (and subsequent Timmel Fabrics contest) was based on an idea presented in Australian Stitches magazine about a decade or so ago.  The idea was to create a wardrobe that is cohesive, both in colour and style.  The different garments (one jacket, two pairs of pants, two skirts and six tops were required in the original SWAP contest) in a grouping should work together to provide the wearer with several mix and match outfits.

I used to do almost all of my sewing in SWAPs.   However, over the last while I had gotten away from sewing this way.  Well, earlier this week I was perusing back issues of Australian Stitches magazine.  Lynn Cook (one of the editors) had put together a lovely wardrobe (see issues Vol. 15, No. 9 to Vol. 16 No. 4 if they are available to you).  In the first issue, she sewed up a jacket, two skirts, a pair of pants and two tops in black, white and red fabrics.  In each consecutive issue, she added to the mix with further garments.  Along the way, she added in other colours (orange, teal, bone, lavender, etc).  In the end, she created a beautifully coordinated wardrobe. 

This was very inspiring to read, so based on her plans, I put together my own version:

SWAP Phase 1 - based on Vol. 15 No. 9:

SWAP Phase 2 - based on Vol. 15 No. 10:

SWAP Phase 3 - based on Vol. 15 No. 11: 

SWAP Phase 4 - based on Vol. 15 No. 12:

SWAP Phase 5 - based on Vol. 16 No. 1:

SWAP Phase 6 - based on Vol. 16 No. 2:

SWAP Phase 7 - based on Vol. 16 No. 3:

SWAP Phase 8 - based on Vol. 16 No. 4:

The vast majority of fabrics were in my stash.  However, I do have three fabrics that are still alluding me at this point (ETA: I found three fabrics that finished off my SWAP, so the storyboards have been updated).  The patterns are a mix of recent and older ones that I had in my possession.  I may add or modify as I go along if I find it necessary.

I have already started on the plans above - one garment is finished and several more are cut out.  So, stay tuned...

25 July 2012

Button Love

I am a collector.

Actually,  let me correct that.  I am a hoarder.

I hoard fabric, zippers, shoes, food (remind me to show you my pantries some day), books, jewellery...Let me sum it up by saying that if a certain class of objects gives me pleasure, you can be sure that I will buy a wide assortment.

This holds true with buttons as well.  I love buttons.  I love the shapes, the colours and the simple (but powerful) utilitarian nature of buttons.  
My earliest and fondest memory of buttons is probably one that is not unique to me.  My maternal grandmother had a tin, full of buttons.  There were dozens of buttons that had been removed from discarded articles of clothing.  She often gave me this tin to play with - dumping out buttons, putting in buttons, organizing buttons into little piles, feeling the smoothness of some and the roughness of others.  I loved that button tin (and the late grandmother that is so intimately associated with that memory).  To this day the sound of buttons rattling around in a old tin evokes such strong emotion in me.

So, I hoard buttons.

I store all my buttons in small plastic bags.  Each plastic bag holds a different set of buttons.  I so enjoy going through these buttons to find just the perfect match for a new garment that is hot off the machines.  It stirs up fond memories every time I open the button drawer in my sewing room.

22 July 2012

The Taming of the Arse

So, you may be asking, how's that whole 'lose weight/eat healthier/ exercise more' thing going?

Well, I'd be lying if I said I was where I had hoped to be by mid July way back when I started this journey on January 1st.  Last we spoke, I had dropped nine pounds and was feeling much better.

Since then, I have had a few set backs.

My professional life was very stressful during April, May and June (let's just say that teachers are often taken for granted by many).  About that time, I noticed that I was becoming a bit obsessed over the whole food thing (not eating disorder level obsession, but rather just a smidgen too focused on every label, calorie and gram - a focus that I can't hope to maintain long term).  So,  I decided to take a step back and reassess my priorities and figure out how to go about getting healthier in a way that I can carry on over the course of my lifetime.  I don't want any quick fixes, but rather long term attitude changes.

Unfortunatley, I became too lackadaisical and my quantity of exercised decreased.  However, my food habits didn't deteriorate completely, so in the end I only gained back two of the nine pounds I had lost.

The last two weeks I have been able recommit myself to a healthier lifestyle and I have been increasing the exercise and cleaning up the eating.  So, I am hoping to shed the last few pounds by the end of the year.  Slow and steady and maintainable is my new mantra.

20 July 2012

Skirty Dozen

Here is another of my "Skirty Dozen" dirndl skirts that I have introduced you to previously.

This time the skirt is made from a mauve/dusty rose/rust print rayon fabric from (you guessed it) Fabric Mart.  It has the most interesting splotchy linear print that really has several more colours in it than I listed above.  I really like prints like this - there are so many mix and match possibilities with the other garments in my wardrobe due to all the colours that are present.

I have paired the skirt with a flouncy and ruffly purple sleeveless shell and a dark brown cardigan.  Both the cardigan and the top are purchased items.

My shoes are a comfortable pair of bronze wedge sandals from Clarks (I love Clarks shoes!). I also have these in silver - when I find a good pair of shoes, I often by multiples.  I can't be the only one that does this, right?

This is my typical uniform for work.  It is professional, but not stuffy.  Comfortable, but not sloppy.  And simple to thrown on - skirt, top, cardi - what could be easier?

18 July 2012

Memories of a Prom Dress

As many of you know, I chaperone Prom every year and this year* was no exception.  As per my usual, I sewed up a spiffy little dress.  I love attending Prom because it allows me to indulge in my desire for pretty party dresses by providing me with a venue to display said dresses.

This year, I revisited a lovely vintage pattern, Simplicity 3323.  I have made this pattern before, so knew how to put it together quickly (since I was coming down to the wire in terms of timing - why, oh why, do I always leave my Prom dresses to the last minute?).  I also had a list of tweaks to make to the dress that I had jotted down from the first go around.  The bodice was lengthened by 1" and I scooped away a 1/2" of the front armscyces, as the original dress was binding on my arms when I would reach forward.  This solved the really rather annoying straight-jackety feeling.

I chose a bright blue taffeta that had black flocked roses scattered over the fabric.  I had received this fabric as a freebie from Fabric Mart a year or so ago and it had been impatiently aging in my stash ever since.  I am absolutely smitten with this fabric, but I never would have purchased it on my own.  Thank you Fabric Mart's Free Bundle for providing me with interesting and unexpected  textiles! 

Only the bodice is lined (with some black silk dupioni that was left over from another project), as the flocked fabric is not transparent at all and I wanted the dress to be light and airy for a warm day.

I accessorized the distinctly 50s dress with a pair of metallic T-strap heels and a small sparkly pin at the waist.

I received many compliments (from students and staff alike) and I was cool and comfortable all evening.  This dress was a definite winner!

* Prom actually occurred at the beginning of May, so let's pretend it didn't take me two months to post this, mmkay?

16 July 2012

Skirty Dozen

I have a backlog of projects to show y'all.  That's probably because I've been MIA for so long.  Hey, what can I say?  I've been busy and to be honest, really rather cranky because of the politics of my job.  But, I don't want to be a Sally-Feel-Sorry-For-Myself, so I'll spare you the gruesome details.  Besides, this is the third week of my summer vacation and I am starting to feel fine.

I have been catching up on a million little projects around the house (cleaning and home dec mainly), so I feel a sense of accomplishment.  Does anyone else feel really virtuous and buoyed up after they clean and organize the house or is that just my neat freakiness talking?  One of these days I'll have to snap a few room pics to share - considering we've been in the new house almost a year now and I have been remiss in not inviting everyone over for a cup of tea (or a glass of wine or a mug of beer - hey, what ever rocks your boat!).

Anyhow, I have another outfit designed around one of my Skirty Dozen to show today.  The skirt fabric is a black/pink/grey rayon woven from Fabric Mart (I bet some of you have this exact fabric in your stash closet right now) that drapes just beautifully.  The top is a sleeveless burgundy shell that has a ribbon swirl design around the neckline and the sweater is a silver metallic fabric.  Both the top and sweater are RTW items.  The shoes are also silver metallic (to tie in with the silver sweater) and my only accessory is a silver Celtic design pin. 

It seems odd to see a long sleeve sweater for those of us suffering in the heat wave in North America right now.  However, I took this photo a couple of months back when it was much cooler outside.

That's all for today - see ya soon!