Sewing: The Future

Do you know about The Monthly Stitch? Of course you do.  You are most likely much more on the pulse than me.  Although my actual pulse races like an excitable bunny with narcolepsy (I have an erratic pulse), I am slow with all things internetty.  Surprise!

Anyway, in case you don’t and have an aversion to either googling (Ms Crafternoon Nap, I’m peering in the direction of the northern hemisphere at you, which actually meant that I looked up, looked confused and wondered which way north was) or clicking hypertexty* links, my precis is thus:

Monthly themed sewing challenges, hosted by some lovely down under (but a different down under, not this down under) sewing bloggers.  (In case my reference to a different down under was too obtuse, KatMel and Juliet hail from New Zealand.  I reside in Australia.  There is a sort of friendly rivalry between the two countries especially vis-à-vis who invented pavlova, whose accent is more attractive to outsiders and where antipodean famous people actually spring from.)

I love reading about challenges and sew-a-longs etc.  I even vaguely consider joining them except I just know that I will completely fail.  I tried a monthly cooking challenge once.  I cook pretty regularly.  At least three times a week.  But I just could not post a recipe, with pictures, monthly.  I try terribly hard to resist signing onto challenges or make pledges (which is why I am not pledging to AWW 2014) but the Monthly Stitch has serendipitously matched my current sewing plans.  Sort of.

February is the month of pants (tee hee; I think they mean trousers.  Tee hee. Pants.**)  I am currently sewing up the Jedidiah trousers for my partner.  This was even on the sewing plan.  Well done, Me.  I started in, oh, maybe September last year?  Now, don’t expect I’ll finish before February expires or that, should the moon and the stars and the tides align and I actually do finish, that I’ll manage to take pictures and write a blog post (heaven forfend).  Because, you know.  Life.  It’s terribly disruptive of sewing and blogging.  Both of which are part of my life.  Basically, I seem to be saying that my life disrupts my life.  Perplexing.  

Anyway.  Booyah!  I am undertaking the February Monthly Stitch challenge.

Now, March and April challenges, I am going to put together.  March is Miss Bossy Patterns, where indecisive sewing bloggers pick at least 3 unused sewing patterns and ask our dear readers to direct us to make one.  April is Sewing Double, where we must sew something we’ve sewn already.  How am I going to put those two together, seeing that they seem a wee bit opposed? 

I intend to ask you to tell me which of the many pattern repeats I have wanted to do but not yet got around to.  I’m going to use your direction to bump them forward on the list.  I’m going to try my darndest to work on them in March and April.  I make no promises that I will complete them in March or April.  Some of them are sort of new, in that I have to do pattern modifications.  That is a pretty new thing for me because I’m lazy and a bit slapdash but so far fairly lucky with fit because I have a stick figure.  

This year, I hope to not buy as many new patterns and instead work my way through my pattern library, and do more repeats.  Lady Skater and Belladone are firm favourites and I’ve made two of each plus one mash-up of both.  I intend to only buy patterns that are not otherwise similar to patterns I currently own.  This means: no more shift dresses.  I have a bajillion and twenty shift dress patterns.  A bajillion and twenty.  No hyperbole. (okay, maybe a little hyperbole) 

This year, I want to sew more consciously, which means doing fit modifications, sewing things I want to wear and which fill a wardrobe gap.  I have lots of weird wardrobe gaps.  I blame the Brisbane floods and a fairly keen aversion to clothes shopping. 

Also this year I am going to work through my alterations / mending WIPs.  This has to be the most boring sewing category in the universe.  Definitely no hyperbole.

*drum roll* 

And the nominees are:

1.  Tiramisu.

I made, like, maybe the first Tiramisu on the internet.  I wore it, a lot.  My red tiramisu dress is now very much looking like I wore it a lot.  It’s faded.  There are oil stains in terribly noticeable places which may have happened during an enthusiastic dinner.  Laksa oil is forever, my friends.  There are little holes all over it, which may be because the fabric was crap, or little critters ate it, or I sewed badly and unpicked worse, or because of all three things.  I still wear it.  But I need another.  This is the fabric I have long earmarked for my second Tiramisu, intended as a work dress.  I just never get around to cutting, then sewing.  Do you want me to?

2.  Sureau.

I love my Citrus-y Sureau.  But the neck is a bit gapey and it’s a wee bit too tight on the waist.  Like, so tight that if I am sitting down, I have to have really, really good posture or not breathe.  Probably developing better posture is not a bad thing, and not breathing could make me faint like a Regency heroine and that could be fun, but, it just means that even on the limited occasions I can wear a dress with oranges all over it, I might not if I think I will be sitting down most of the time.  And the neck gapes even worse when I’m sitting down. And gapey necks allows everyone to see everything because I am a shorty pants.  So this challenge involves a pattern modification to solve the neck gape issue and also to enable me to breathe.  Oh, and I’m going to switch out the current skirt with the Belladone skirt.  Because the Belladone skirt is perfect.  

There are actually quite a lot of fabric contenders for the next Sureau… so … help!

(The two left fabrics are cotton blends; two rights are linen blends. That’s as much as I know about them.)

3.  Avocado hoodie.

Every time it gets cold (and it has just done so in Melbourne, but it might not stay this way), I realise that I do not have a casual jumper.  I used to have the best hoodie from Threadless but that died an overworn death.  I’ve made the Avo hoodie for my partner (it’s blue) and I want to make one for myself.  So this is sort of new and sort of not new.  And sort of a pattern repeat and sort of not a pattern repeat. 

This is my “blue & brights” knit stash.  Yellow, red, blue & green are all contenders for the Avo hoodie for me.  I might not have enough blue or green, so I would end up colour-blocking (ooh, check me out, so very on trend) them. 


4.  Thurlow trousers

Trousers are what I wear most of the time.  But I don’t have very many and I’ve not bought any more because I am going to make me trousers! Yes I am!  I made a pair of fail shorts as my first major clothes for me sewing project.  I also need to modify the Thurlow pattern – mostly to just narrow the legs. 

 I don’t think I have any suitable stash fabric for this.  So I will have to buy more fabric.  Oh no! Poor me! Everybody feel sorry for me!

 Who will win the Academy Award for Most Mashed Up March & April Sewing Challenge?  

You tell me! 

I’m having serious issues trying to add a poll, so just tell me in the comments, if you would be so kind.  If you ‘like’ this post, I’m counting that as a vote for the Thurlows because then it’s a February, March and April Monthly Stitch mash up. Triple booyah. 

I mean, I’m highly unlikely to start by then.  

And if you tell me to do everything, I’m going to cry.  

Don’t let emotional manipulation deter you, though.

(* I have an aversion to doing hypertext links when writing blog posts on my ipad, so … they happen when they happen.  Much like my blog posts themselves.)

 (** Why, yes.  I might be 5 years old inside.  Why do you ask?)

 (Also, also, I’m sorry if I gave the impression in my last few posts that I was giving up the blogging gig.  I’m not.  This blog is almost ten years old! That’s a decent chunk of my life.  I like it here.  I just want to adjust expectations away from regularity or frequency of posting.  I’m going to post when I want to and when I have time to because, you know, reasons and things.)




After I posted about my Clovers, I realised I wasn’t feeling the love for my little blog anymore.  Instead, all it really seems like I’m saying is, ‘Here! Look! I made this!’  And I was not even taking particularly interesting or good pictures when I was saying the above.  At least show pretty pictures, right?  I mean, I’d much prefer to do both (say interesting things paired with interesting and great pictures) but when I felt like I was doing neither? Time to stop.

Which is not to say I’ve stopped sewing.  Oh no, indeed not.  I still obsess about sewing, more than I actually sew.  I still make a wearable item every now and then, and an item I am particularly enthused about every blue moon or so.  I am still documenting my sewing, and other, obsessions.  But I am actually doing that in almost real time via the media of Twitter and Instagram.  Come follow me on those platforms, if you enjoy my ramblings.  I ramble just as much but in shorter bursts.

And I’ve recently joined Kollabora, where I am now uploading my completed sewing projects.  Kollabora allows me to share my projects, and to say as much, or as little, as I like.  It allows me to do the thing I most like about the internet and sewing: find out who else has made something, and what it looks like on them, what fabric they’ve chosen, and if they so desire to tell me, what, if any, troubles they ran into which might alert me to what, if any, troubles I might run into. I am always alert to the troubles I run into by virtue of being myself. No one else can help me with that.  

Pattern Review is also great for the above, and actually better if you’re seeking information about a pattern.  Kollabora is fabulous for inspiration and The Pretty. I’m a member of Pattern Review, too, but not a reviewer.  Those questions allows me little room to freestyle ramble,* which is clearly something I enjoy doing.

So, that’s where I am at the moment.  Elsewhere.  Come visit, if you’re so inclined.

* Once, a long time ago, I made an unrehearsed thank you speech.  After the speech, one of my friends said, “Impressive.  That was both brief and rambling at the same time.  Well done.” If you have a talent, use it.

AWW 2013 & 2014

Another AWW over. 

A new one just begun!

I bet you thought you’d got all the Christmas earworms out of your system.  Not with me in the blogosphere, you won’t. 

So, I signed up for AWW2013, with some reservations about my ability to review.  Hoo boy, was I ever correct.  I signed up for the Franklin level (read 10; review 6) as a devoted eclectic (mix your genres, branch out).

Sewing has pretty much displaced reading as my main hobby, and this year I tried some audiobooks (though not by Australian women as they were difficult to source from the library).  I had tried audiobooks in the past, but never quite ‘got’ them.  I certainly did not enjoy listening to books as much as I enjoy reading them.  The only time I successfully listened to a book was when I was at home very sick, too sick to read but well enough for my brain to race, when I was awake.  So I found some audio-crime-books and half heartedly listened.  And I sort of enjoyed audiobooks this time round, as I listened to them while I was sewing, but not quite enough.  Sometimes, when there was a good bit, I just stopped sewing to listen.  I mean, the machine is noisy. (Well, mine is. But it recently been serviced, so maybe … It’s got quieter?) This is too much mingling of my hobbies, and I still prefer MY voice when reading.  For sewing, I prefer listening to issues podcasts, especially NPR and ABC Radio National, so I’ll stick with them. 

So here’s my tally:

Books by Australian women

1. The Apricot Colonel by Marion Halligan (Crime/Romance)

2. The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta (YA/Fantasy); actually three books.  

3. Whipping Boy by Gabrielle Lord (crime)

4. I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington (crime/thriller)

5. Murder with the Lot (crime/humour)

6. Animal People by Charlotte Wood (literature, about families)

7. Return to Coolami by Eleanor Dark (literature, about families)

8. The Pellinor Serioes by Alison Croggan (YA/fantasy), actually four books!

9. Shattered Sky by Helene Young (crime)

10. Siren by Tara Moss (crime)

11. Devils Food by Kerry Greenwood (crime; I like Corinna Chapman much more than Phrynne Fisher, just, you know, by the by.)

12. Manhattan Dreaming by Anita Heiss (romance)

13. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (thriller)

14. Dark Places by Kate Grenville (literature)

15. Tom Appleby Convict Boy by Jackie French (YA)

16. The Alphabet of Light and Dark by Danielle Wood (literature)

17. Addition by Toni Jordan (literature)

18. This is Shyness series by Leanne Hall (YA/sci-fi) two books! Not sure (but hope) there will be more!

19. Behind the Moon by Hsu Ming Teo (literature)

Books by Australian men

1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (romance)

2. Look Who’s Morphing by Tom Cho (short stories)

3. The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Kenneally (literature)

Books by non-Australian women

1. A Cotswold Killing by Rebecca Tope (crime)

2. All Good Children by Catherine Austen (YA/sci-fi)

3. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey (personal/memoir)

4. Outback by Robin Stevenson (YA)

5. The Bridge by Jane Higgins (YA/sci-fi).

6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (thriller)

Books by non-Australian men

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin (sci-fi)

2. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson (suspense)

3. the Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (literature?)

4. Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (crime)

6. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville (YA/sci-fi)

I actually have read more than I thought I read, especially as I am counting completed series as one book rather than the multiples that form them.  It is Goodreads laziness that leads me to do this…

But AWW 2014? I won’t sign up.  Not that I don’t think it is an excellent idea, and a magnificent resource.  I still read the AWW blog, and squirrel away authors’ names to investigate in the future.  I doubt very much my ability to review books here very often; most of my reviews are on Goodreads, and they are not reviews as such, more like memory notes for myself.

Here’s to more reading.  (That’s not a resolution. I always want to read more.  Time is my problem. Time. It’s not on my side.)

Thought I’d close with another earworm for you.  You’re welcome.