Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Fastest Costume ever!

Tonight I went upstairs to alter a bra for a show and as I was fossicking around looking for some sequins, I grabbed what I thought was a bit of trim in a pile and pulled out a dress!
Yes, this is an insight into the chaos of my studio!
Amanduh La owns the dress, I think, and I think we were going to alter it to fit her as it is a bit big, but it was so utterly perfect for my next big show, I set about embellishing it.
My go-to was a length of hideous 50cm long ombre fringing. I mean really, what WAS I thinking when I bought it?? I originally attached it to a mini skirt to wear with the outfit below when Polly filla and I did Queen vs Queen. But I couldn't do it.
 Me NOT wearing hideous fringing skirt because...
 ...it looked like a Kapa Haka skirt, as shown on these two poppets. Cultural appropriation much??

Also, I hate associating fringing with the 20s as it really wasn't a thing, contrary to millions of costumes that say otherwise. But, also I couldn't resist putting black and white with black and white.
Here we go! The big white butterflies are in my stash and just give it a bit of extra lift. LOL
The dress is SO itchy as the sequins rub though the very thin lining and trying it on nearly drove me demented. But I will have slippery things on under it so it will be ok. I NEED to wear some shapewear with it as it is a very firm fit indeed.
I think once I'm done with it I will give it back to Amanduh. But don't tell her I'm borrowing it!
That's Amanduh over my left shoulder. Oops i'm wearing one of her costumes here too! But she does borrow mine quite often... ;-)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My sewing wrap up of 2017

In 2017 I EMBELLISHED a LOT! I made a few things too. Overall I got more done than I thought I had so this is a useful exercise!
I'm not including the denim jacket and stool I wrote about already, or the mending I did after Christmas but that was most satisfying too.

1. Robe for CC 

 I cut this out but Kat my sewing fairy made this up as I was up against it early in the year. Made from Wearing History's rayon with musical notes on it, so beautiful! It has CC on the back. It's good to have a robe to throw on over costumes so as not to reveal too much before the show. Here I am with Penny and Hans before the Clever and Constance show in Feb.

 2. The Wedding!

Our Sarah got married in March I overhauled her imported dress with new lace and beading, after remaking it a lot to tidy it up. It was very pretty! Me on the end in my Liberty sundress. I also overhauled June's dress (Matt the groom's Mum second from left) which was gorgeous. The petite lovely in dove grey is Sarah's Mum, Bronwyn. I love that woman.

3. And now, show stuff!

 OK, this outfit is a purchased jacket and me-made trousers, both embellished with a pink sequin trim, by hand, Big job! Same with the pink purchased corset. I love the trousers and am making some flowy ones in rayon for summer.
 Me left, Debbie right being hilarious. A purchased dress embellished with gold sequin motifs for more stageworthiness.
 My pink kaftan. I am not in love with this to be honest - I feel a little like a Nigerian noble in it. Shiny though!
 More embellished RTW from City Chic. This lovely blue flowing top now has a fancy sequinned and beaded neck feature, and I'm slowly sticking rhinestones onto it. Embellishing can be Agile - delivery a Minimum Viable Product and building on it!
This dress I love so much, after I embellished this one with shiny oranges, I bought another for day wear. Sadly it is so polyester I feel in it like I am wrapped in gladwrap. But I have cut a pattern from it as a basis for an outfit. Not the same - besides the ethics, I don't like aspects of it as much as others.
This is a screen grab from our video playlist as I don't have a photo of it. Little blue 3D butterflies on an embroidered net - each of them carefully brushed with tacky glue and "flittered" (fine glittered). It is much more impressive in reality!

4. Flashback!

That's not everything but it will do. And now for a wee flashback to the past - about 1985 I reckon!
An about 20 year old me in my favourite shirt at the time, naturally known as The Sneeches shirt. I don't remember the lass beside me, but she's wearing a similarly shaped shirt! It was a boxy, drop shouldered style popular at the time and I had several of them in different fabrics. TNTs are not a new concept! I think I wore this until it actually fell apart.

And that's me for now xo

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

I was going to write something about what I'd done this year but today I got some brioche buns on special which meant having to make raspberry and bread and butter pudding. It has pretty much eclipsed anything else I may have achieved this year!
 I hope you are celebrating in whatever way you choose to do so. I couldn't think of anything worse than being at a huge party right now. I think I ran out of people space in my brain about three months ago and this time is for recharging and clearing space for 2018.

xo

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sister Act

Well jumping around, back to Christmas Eve, I was waiting for some photos but meh, instead I've taken some screen grabs of the live video I made for Facebook. That was fun! I only discovered how to do it by accident too.
I can't link the video here but it really is pretty terrible. Here's the "highlights":
Me pointing out the scaffolding on the church, which is being "de-earthquaked."
 Jo, showing us her eye makeup. she's a really good makeup artist for "real lady" looks, and she got into my glitter! She also, obviously, got into my Christmas costume! With multo safety pins too.
 Us mugging it up for the camera. The imbalance of face was because I couldn't work out how to put the camera into selfie mode while it was live so I was guessing.
Silliness indeed!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another UFP Finished

Another UFP (unfinished project) lurking in my house is a footstool I bought a couple of years ago in a junk shop in Taihape as discussed here. But to save you jumping around, here is the photo I took of it when I got it home. Sadly the beautifully executed tapestry top was so badly faded, there was no hope for it. I did try washing it to see if it was just dirt but nope, munted. I binned it and the naked, flock covered inset has been sitting balance on a chair in the lounge while the frame skulked behind the dining room table. This all had to stop today!
Its original magnificence -mine for $23.
 The components. 
 A close up of the fascinating flock stuffing, clearly made from shredded rags. It's revoltingly dusty, over a straw sub layer, but I am reusing it because I can't be bothered spending hours recreating this part from scratch.
To contain it all, I put a layer of the thin non woven stuff we call pattern cloth over it. This also gave me a chance to vacuum it without sucking the whole lot up the cleaner!

Next up, my fabric. It was an upholstery fabric sample from goodness knows where, and I fiddled about for a bit to get the right part of the pattern on top.
The big flower and leaf were the best option, and I am happy with them. I've fiddled with the colour to try and recreate the richness of the fabric but even here it isn't really showing how fabulous it is!
This is the top cut out with just enough underlap. Or so I thought. When I was pressing it I saw that there are holes along one short end from where the sample was pinned to its header. I could have easily cut it a bit longer had I seen, GAH!
See the holes? I managed to just make it fit at both ends by putting the holes here. As the inset is well and truly fitted into the frame I think these will last just fine in their trapped state. But you can see below how short I had to make it at the other end.
After gun-stapling all the way around. I distribute the fullness at the corners into a series of pleats. I think we could have stretched the fabric a wee bit more but it is firm enough. This is the big rookie mistake with upholstery - either not stretching the fabric firmly enough, and/or pulling it into the corners too tightly so the bias distorts and the corners eventually wear through ahead of schedule. Ask me how I know...
And here it is! I decided I wasn't going to chalk paint it because the oak is in such lovely condition and it goes with our house really well as it is. Also, this means it's now DONE.
No more weird bits of furniture in my lounge, but  a lovely foot stool and extra seat for visitors!
I am so not caring that I didn't line the bottom with some pattern cloth to hide the raw edges. I would have, had the sides not been deep enough to well and truly hide it.
What do you think; pretty?

More sewing!

Holiday projects! We lovez them! For years I have had it in my mind to embellish a denim jacket with one of my beloved Virgin Mary panels. The trouble was, I needed to find, or make, a denim jacket. Making one has never appealed to me, and it was only this month that I found one I love at City Chic (ahem).
I love that it comes to the natural waist and is just a really good, classic shape.

I "auditioned" the various colour and style combos for VM panels and this one won:
Because RED, and an interesting shape, kind of like a ginger jar.
I pressed some Steam-a-Seam onto the back and cut it out like this:
Shown cut out through all layers, the back (this is an old piece of SaS, before the grid markings we get now) and the back after the backing was peeled off.
Just to be sure I didn't put it on crooked, I put a pin at the half way point of the back panel top and bottom, and lined up the cut out panel with them. Then I pressed it into place. Weird photo of me pressing as I am left handed!
See why I called it a ginger jar? 
Never one to stop at a single thing, I decided to add some embroidered motifs, These roses had no iron on back and though the plan was to machine embroider them on, I did want them SaS'ed first so they wouldn't shift about.
 So I had a play; first I finger pressed pressed the rose onto a piece of SaS, then roughly trimmed off the excess paper. Then using the big piece of backing peeled off the main motif as a pressing cloth, I pressed it so I could peel off the backing. The result is bottom left. The back is bottom right, showing how cleverly I left the price sticker on it! You can see a bit of a web of glue left over. Not good. I trimmed this out before pressing it onto the jacket, again using the backing paper as a pressing cloth.
The rose pressed into position - a little bit of glue residue but it will fall off or wash out or whatever!
Still being determined to make this easier, I tried a different tactic. 
I got all the way to the point where I have just hot pressed the SaS onto the rose and peeled off the backing paper, but to get rid of the residue, I laid it onto a scrap of fabric, right side down (so opposite to if I was attaching it) laid the backing paper over it and pressed it. What this did was to melt the residual glue onto the scrap, while leaving the rest on the rose. It was a teeny bit mozzarellaish peeling it off but it was fairly easy.
Hard to see but it has less residue to trim off. 
 Rose two positioned. And now, onto the Birds! I grabbed a symmetrical pair of these gorgeous birds from the shop. They already had an iron on back which was pretty useless but really it is only to hold them in place for a wee while.
Here we are so far. I've machine embroidered this all with variegated thread. I am IN LOVE.
And now, rhinestones.
More is more, right? ;-)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Boxing Day!

We made it through, huzzah! A brunch with lovely friend Chrissie, then lunch with my family at sister Jo's house, then popping into the shop (?!) to deliver iceblocks to the hard working kids who perversely decided to spend the day sorting out the stock room. After they were done we fed them a late vegetarian Christmas dinner of falafel, hummus, and lovely salads. Followed by an espresso pavlova.
This is my second helping. It did not last long.
Pavlova is the WTF of desserts. It is simply sweet, and bland, and to me it is the perfect base recipe on which to get creative. I make rose scented ones, orange and balsamic vinegar with white pepper ones, and I thought I would try one with a shot of espresso in place of the hot water.
This was delicious!
Here is the recipe:

Hot Water Pav with Espresso

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
1.5 cups of caster sugar (I found raw caster sugar so used that)
2 egg whites
1T each of cornflour and vinegar (balsamic gives the best flavour but malt is fine)
a pinch of salt
a teaspoon of really good vanilla paste
1/3 cup of boiling water or freshly made and still hot espresso (stovetop in this case)
Now this is the weird bit. Put EVERYTHING into the beater bowl and beat it. Get it beating fast or the hot coffee may cook the egg whites. It's never happened to me but I worry!
Beat it on max for about 10 minutes, or until it is thick, glossy and not grainy at all. I ended up adding a wee bit more hot water to mine this time
The way I cook it is c/- Nigella, thank you darling. I draw around a dinner plate on a piece of silicon baking paper, turn it over so the drawing is not facing up, and stick that paper to a baking tray with a few blobs of mixture. Then pile the mixture into the circle and shape it nicely. Believe it or not this two egg white mixture makes a dinner plate sized pavlova. Double it and you have a pav big enough for 10-16 people!
Turn the oven down to 120 and pop the pav in. Let it cook about 40 minutes - it is ready when the top is crisp and has a hollow feel to it when lightly tapped. Turn the oven off and leave it in there to cool.
This I topped with vanilla flavoured whipped cream, slices of orange marinaded in triplesec overnight, and grated dark chocolate. I think it would also be delicious with black doris plums.

So, did the kids get the stock room finished? Yes they did! When we popped in to deliver cold drinks and iceblocks about 3pm, I was quite concerned about the enormity of the task, especially as I had to ask them to redo nearly everything because of the shapes and sizes of what was to come. But they got it all done by 7.30!
And here they are in the kitchen after dinner and after gifts were unwrapped, tying each other up with the leopard print ribbons. I KNOW RIGHT? This is what you get from giving burlesque performers too much sugar and too much leopard print! (the gifts were all leopard print too)
For those of you who read long you will know that Charlie (left) and Jack (right) are not the children of my loins but of my adult life choices, and I am their mother for the same reason. And it is rather lovely that they have a very brother/sister relationship. This moment looks rather intimate but was really about concentrating on what to do next with the ribbon. It was hilarious in the way overtired antics can be!
Merry Christmas to you all and may you make sensible life choices, especially in regard to Boxing Day Sales xo