Christmas is coming

My very own handmade Christmas Tree skirt – I drafted the pattern, cut & sewed on a Sunday arvo.

 

ChristmasSkirt

I know…everyone is all urrrrrggggghhhhh about Christmas but if you know me you know that I totally LOVE Christmas time. There is a period of about two weeks which feels like it’s the party to celebrate the end of a full & busy year. It’s the twinkly lights (ooh how I love the fairy lights) and decorations, most people are on holidays and it’s warm (hey..it’s Australia!!!) and and and.

Our tree when it was alive and producing valuable oxygen and before we cut it down so we could stick tinsel on it.

ChristmasTree01

Everyone can bitch all they like but I really enjoy sitting down with friends and family at this time and having a drink and nice food to eat. I love decorating the tree and the excitement from my kids when Finnegan the Elf returns to our house (link to all his previous antics over the years…esp handy to all those people who want their elf to get a few ideas!!).

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The kids version of what a tree looks like when it’s decorated..cough
(insert my O.C.D. right here – yes the tree has been fixed since this pic was taken)

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This year has been bittersweet for me, The good stuff…I turned 40 and started my very own business which I am enjoying so much. It’s so exciting packing the orders and posting them, an amazing sense of achievement for me. I also have a stockist and Martinis and Slippers are now listed on Vintage Pip’s website (more to come in other blog post on that!!).

A few of my Christmas brooches (they are for sale online right now)

AlexXmasBrooch

 

The shitty stuff…My beloved cat Indy died in June. My beautiful 9 year old Burmese boy was my first ‘grown up’ pet and we got him before the kids and after our first year living in our newly purchased home. I still find myself crying because he isn’t around for cuddles and for a long time going to bed a night was a challenge without my little mouse to hug.

I referred to him as my ‘new fur’ in this pic. We hugged like this all the time…silly moushy.

IndyShoulder

Because some cats like to roll around the jumpaline!

IndyJumpaline

 

It’s all those little rituals that I miss – his annoying & constant meowing after I would finish a shower – all because he wanted to put his cat funk all over me again. Him licking/bathing himself at 3am right near my face and waking me up and I would have to yell STOP IT INDY and then he would stop for 5 seconds and then continue cleaning himself…sigh. Breakfast v1, v2, v3 and then him sleeping on my side of the bed for the whole day.

This is how we would snuggle at night.

IndySleeping

 

IndySleeping01

We plan on getting a new pet but not for a few more months, it’s a slow process that we aren’t rushing into. We know what pet we want next and I really can’t wait until that time comes.

Onwards and upwards!

I also had my very first market stall. I was shitting myself the whole day…it was waaaaaay outside of my comfort zone and I knew I could do it but…akhgakljfhsdlfgjhsadfkhsdfjshadd.

Cheeky trial run at home!

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I did a trial run the weekend before and everything looked pretty good and setting up was quick and then I learnt that I can also be an awesome mute!! ha ha…I had my friend Fleur, who suggested I do the market in the first place with me the whole time and she was just bloody brilliant. I was certainly a lot more confident & comfortable with her around to help.

Here is my table BEFORE shot.

MASMarket01The AFTER shot…all set up!

MASMarket02

My goal for the market was to:
1. learn the ropes – how to do a market stall etc.
&
2. Sell 5 brooches.

I did it!!!

MASMarket03

 

I am happy to say that I sold double that and in a 3 hour period at a school twilight market with not many retro, vintage, rockabilly people there I was very happy with that result. I plan on doing another market but not until early next year and probably at a classic car show…because I like looking at classic cars!!!

Cheers

Alex

 

Outfit of the day

 

I love this skirt. It’s called the Jenny Cherry Skirt & I got it from MisKonduct for my Birthday this year. I would love to make a skirt like this but I fear the cost would be outrageous, there is just so much fabric and I don’t need to wear a pettiskirt under it because it foofs out all on it’s own.

The red Marilyn top I am wearing underneath my cardi was also bought from MisKonduct.

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You can’t go wrong with cherries!

Jenny Cherry Skirt

I teamed it with a plain black cropped cardi and a fab brooch I picked up from Savers (which has just opened near me) from memory the brooch cost $3.99. I wore this outfit to do my grocery shopping, it was a bit cold the day I took this pic so I have an ugly pair of panty hose on but they are so robust – I actually chuck them in the wash sans washing bag and they survive!

Peek through my Victory Roll.

Victory Roll

 Side view of my Victory Roll.

Martinis & SlippersCan you believe my 5yr old Son took the shot below!!! Very talented young man!!

Martinis & Slippers

 

Cheers
Alex

Sewing lessons – week 6

By Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2 , , Permalink 0

I was absolutely convinced that by the end of Monday’s lesson I would have completed my skirt.

HA HA

Nope, didn’t happen. Although I am desperate to get this skirt finished I also understand that there is a process to follow and all the extra little unknown steps actually help to produce a more professional looking skirt.

Ok, so when I arrived into class thinking that I would be trimming some edging on my skirt – maybe iron it down and then getting straight into the hemming I was kinda right but also wrong.

First up – trimming that excess fabric in the corners of the facing and then using the iron to press it down and then stitching it so it doesn’t roll up when you are wearing it.

Ooh messy edges.

Sewing LessonsAll neat & tidy!

Sewing LessonsExtra stitching to the facing to stop it rolling out when wearing (oh and I had to iron this after stitching, with the aid of a Tailors Ham – how amazing is a Tailors Ham!!!..gotta get me one of those!).

Sewing LessonsThen the flap that covers the zipper needed to be pinned into place.

Sewing LessonsThen be stitched over to hold the flap in place.

Sewing Lessons

Then I had to find out what the seam allowance was on this skirt, checking the paper pattern it was 3.2cms so we cheated a little and made it 3cms. I had to get the measuring tape and head over to the iron and measure & iron 3cms all around the hem of the skirt so the fabric would be pressed into place.

Sewing Lessons

Next is to overlock (insert Angels playing on harps here cause I just LOVE using the overlocker) the edge of the hem.

Sewing LessonsAll nicely overlocked and ready for….HAND STITCHING……AHHHHH!

Sewing Lessons

I am kinda getting really excited now. I really really want to finish my skirt and BAM. I am told that I have to HAND STITCH my hem. Thank goodness this isn’t a circle skirt. LOL.

So never having actually been shown the correct way to do hidden stitching and always being very unimpressed with any hand stitching I have done in the past I was actually really surprised that it was actually pretty easy and shhh I actually enjoyed it.

Yup, I totally enjoyed sitting at my table and stitching with my hands and a sewing needle and getting all squinty eyed while I try and find 2 looms that my little needle could go through.

Sewing Lessons

Unfortunately class finished before I could so I will ahem…cheat and actually pick it up sometime this week and finish it while the method is still fresh in my head.

Almost finished!!! I still have 4 weeks of lessons to do so I am curious as to what I will do then – another skirt would be great!!!!

Cheers
Alex

Sewing lessons – week 5

By Tuesday, August 13, 2013 1 , , Permalink 0

The half way point in my first ever sewing lessons as an adult and I am quite happy to admit that I really am enjoying it, I am busting to get this skirt done and just put it.

Week 5 was all about facing. I started pinning the paper pattern to the fabric last week but the class ended so this week I doubled checked that my two paper pattern pieces were in place and pinned down. I cut the pieces out and then got the interfacing out, placed my cut pattern pieces over the interfacing and cut those pieces out.

Pattern pieces overlayed on the interfacing.

Sewing classes

Once the interfacing was all cut I had to cut a nick into the sides of the facing that sits on my hips so I could distinguish which side goes where, it’s easy with my fabric because there is a very distinct front and back to it. If you had fabric that was difficult to determine ‘front’ or ‘back’ the nick/cut comes in handy when fusing the interfacing to the facing – ooh look…technical terms!! lol

Over to the ironing board where we double check that the fusing & interfacing are the right way – fabric pattern facing down (or right side down) and the interfacing with the glue sits on top of the fabric (glue side down). Calico under all the fabric to protect the ironing board. Calico on top of the fabric & interfacing to protect the iron and press away. You need heat & pressure to make the interfacing stick.

Interfacing all fused onto the facing. I trimmed those fuzzy edges.

Sewing classes

Sweet sweet overlocker! Overlock the short edges on my facing (seriously…how fricken amazing is the overlocker…person who invented the overlocker – YOU ROCK!).

Overlocking the short edges of the facing.

Sewing classesShort edges are overlocked and just need to be trimmed.

Sewing classes

Now to match all my pieces up ready to join them up.

Sewing classes

Stitch the matched up facing pieces and then you have one long piece of facing that has a long piece that sits at the front of the skirt and two smaller pieces that sit at the back of the skirt.

Stitching 15mms from the overlocked edge.

Sewing classesOooh look…some stitches.

Sewing classesIron those seams please – nice and flat – this is the BEFORE shot.

Sewing classesPew pew..never underestimate the power of the IRON. lol

Sewing classes

The interfacing needed to be added to the skirt (I was secretly jumping for joy inside…I am that much closer to finishing my skirt). I matched the seams and pinned and then sewed but…BUT had to stop where the back darts are because the zipper has to be done a special way.

Sewing classes

This is where it kinda got tricky, most of what I was shown kinda went in the space between my ears and then flew straight back out – well some of it. I managed to match seams & pin the right hand side of the zipper & facing. Stitched those no probs. Eeek my problems start with matching seams where the flap is that covers the zipper on the left hand side of the skirt.

Sewing classesThe teacher did it and I tried making notes but…I am going to have to do that about 10 times before I remember how to do it.

Sewing classes

Either way, I stitched the seams and a bit of tweaking – literally a millimetre on both sides and I managed to get the fabric to meet at the top of the skirt.

All stitched together!!

Sewing classes

Sooooo I guess next week will be the bottom hem? I heard something about hand stitching ?!?!?!?!?!?! WHAT. Sigh.

 

Cheers
Alex

 

Sewing lessons – week 3

By Tuesday, July 30, 2013 0 , , Permalink 0

Zippppppppppers!!! I nailed this baby! Ok, so it was the second time I have sewn in a zipper BUT both methods were totally different so I have now learnt two totally different ways of achieving the same outcome. The beauty of learning I suppose.

First up – sewing my back centre seam but not all the way up because….<insert heavenly music> that’s where the zipper goes.

Sewing lessonsSeams apart so you can see what was sewn.

Sewing lessonsIron the seams apart.

Sewing lessonsThis is where the zipper is pinned & sewn in – there is a bit over overlap.

Sewing lessonsPin thw zipper in place but only on one side and sew that baby in place.

Sewing lessons

 

Sewing lessonsThen you want to pin the other side of your zipper in place and sew that down too.

Sewing lessonsStitch the other side of the zipper in place.

Sewing lessonsZipper is all sewn in!!

Sewing lessonsThis is the overlap that covers the zipper when you are wearing it.

Sewing lessons

THEN…the next bit. Putting your two pieces together – join up to make sure they are in place and pinning them together.

Sewing lessons

 

Sewing lessonsPins running up along the edges that are going to be stitched together.

Sewing lessons

Sew the seams all the way down both edges and well…you have now got the makings of a skirt.

I had to try it on for sizing – sorry no pics and my teacher helped to pin it in a bit so it would fit. Pins were inserted where it has to be bought in to fit and the job next week. Altering the skirt to fit me.

Cheers

Alex

Sewing lessons – Week 2

By Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1 , , Permalink 0

Ok so after a great start to my introduction to sewing last week, I picked up where I left off ‘THE OVERLOCKER’. I used one in 1992 for about 20mins and it was fun. I love that it stitches and trims the edge of the fabric and leaves your material looking so perfect & finished.

Sewing02

So I had another muck around with some scrap fabric and used a different machine from the one I used last week. Last week the loops were all over the place and looked worse than amateur. So this week I made a point of using a different overlocker and what would you know – perfect. Nice loopy loops and it works out that the good machine also has cream coloured thread which works perfectly against the colours on my fabric.

Sewing03

So I stitched and stitched on my practice scraps and then decided to tackle my pieces of fabric for my skirt and it only took me less than 5 minutes to make a mistake. I stitched the wrong edge. YUP. You see, we overlock the edge that the zipper goes on because later on when the zip is on the skirt it will be hard to overlock it then. Anyway. Not a huge problem as the edge I overlocked will be done when the time comes to do it!

The next part of our class was darts. I have 4 of them on my skirt so it was a matter of learning how to transfer the dart on the pattern onto your fabric and then gathering those darts and stitching them. I tried it on some scrap fabric and it worked. Then tackled my real fabric and it worked again! Whew!!

See that sewn in line…that’s my very first dart!! yay yay

Sewing01

Next week ZIPPERS!!!

Cheers

Alex