Saturday, 28 March 2015

DENIM SHIRT TO DENIM SKIRT

I've been experiencing a bit of sewing performance anxiety recently. My parents bought me a new sewing machine for my birthday, a Janome 2030DC. It's awesome. It’s a world away from my old machine, a John Lewis mini. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE my JL mini. It’s red and super cute. It’s tiny and light weight and really easy to transport, which was very handy when I was doing my Åsom sewing course. Not to mention, I’m a bit sentimentally attached to it, as it was a spontaneous gift from Graeme when we first started dating—I’d seen it in store and mentioned to him how cute it was, and then one day I came home and there it was, sitting in my bedroom. I've since used it for tons of projects, including several dresses and skirts and pillows and other projects. But lately the seams have come out a bit wonky. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of things the JL mini just isn't made to do.

Enter the Janome 2030DC. It has a ridiculous amount of functions (especially for someone used to using what is essentially a kids’ machine). Every time I turn it on, I squeal with excitement as the LCD screen lights up. And so many features! It’s got 30 seams! Various feet! It can make button holes like no other. When I made this skirt with my old machine,  I had to do various calculations to determine the button hole size, and then do each one by hand, which took me about twenty minutes each and didn't even end up being even. No more of that! In short, this machine is a bit of a revolution. And I've been pinning tons of inspiration and projects to try. But, where to start? With great sewing machines come great sewing expectations, right? (teehee—see what I did there?)



But eventually, after trying to decide between all sorts of elaborate ideas, I ended up just sewing something that’s been on my to-sew list for a while: turning an old denim shirt into a denim skirt. Said shirt used to be a bit of a favorite (aka. I used to wear it far too often), and I was absolutely gutted when it tore, so it’s nice to be able to breathe some new life into it! To turn it into a skirt, I cut across under the arms, cut and hemmed the bottom, and used fabric from the sleeves to make a waistband. I meant to cut it a bit higher, so that I could use one of the buttons on the shirt in the waistband, but alas I ended up accidentally tearing it and went with plan B: using a clasp from an old pair of suit pants. And as a result of the tearing it ended being a bit shorter than what I had planned, but I’m still pretty happy with the results. Looking forward to wearing it bare-legged in the summer!




Hoping this will put my sewing performance anxiety to an end! Can’t wait to try that button hole function.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

DEC 2014 PHOTO ALBUM

My original plan was to fire out this album in the first weekend of January this year.I was on duty anyway, so a weekend of crafting sounded like the perfect plan. But I don't think I was really prepared for how time consuming it was gonna be, so here we are, well over a month after and it's finally finished.

And I'll be honest, making this album was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me. there was a definite moment where I just wanted to abandon the whole project. I just wasn't into it. Turns out that my printer isn't really the greatest (or if it has hidden potential, I don't know how to unlock it!), and my photos would come out in funny colors or covered in lines.  And I found the whole plastic pocket system really limiting, and felt like I really had to think it through before I used a pocket because I only had a limited amount of them and might need that particular page for something else. And if I changed my mind I'd have to resize and reprint and basically start all over again. Guess I'm a little too used to making photo books and adding pages and layouts as I go and changing my mind about a billion times without it having much of a consequence. I got way frustrated with the whole process and ended up leaving it sitting in a pile in my living room for about a month.


But then I decided I just needed to get it done and out of the way. I started caring a little less about funny colors and lines on my photos. I added personal touches, like journaling a bit on the photos, adding elements and stamping patterns. And that's when it got really fun. I got a little addicted to my gold stamp pad. I started seeing results that I liked, and my head started swimming with ideas. It finally started looking and feeling a bit more complete. There's still tons of flawed photos and pages that aren't 100% perfect, but I'm still really happy with the result.

I still haven't quite decided if I'll be making another one, but at the same time, I have so many ideas. In particular, I've been thinking about making one from the three years I spent living in Doha in the Middle East. I have so many photos and little mementos from this time (like my Qatari health card, notes and pictures from friends and even my old house key!), and I'd love to have them all in one neat album. Ok, maybe I'm a little into it.
(Also, that last photo of me and Graeme where I'm waving my sparkler around and almost hitting us cracks me up beyond belief. Those faces!)

Sunday, 1 February 2015

GINGHAM MEGAN DRESS


Woohoo! I finished my Megan dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes! I actually started this way back in November in my sewing class, but then basically didn't touch it all through December or January, until I finally picked it up again this weekend. And here we are, dress complete! High five for a productive weekend.

I decided to add a contrasting peter pan collar and rolled up sleeves. I didn't actually have a pattern for the collar, so I basically just made it up based on the pattern for the neckline. All the seams are neatly finished with bias binding on the inside. And I'm so happy with the fit. I was a bit worried for a while, when I got to the bit where you're supposed to sew the zipper and I realized it was waaay too big. I guess I was a bit off with my measurements, as I ended up cutting off 5 cm at both sides. I'll need to keep that in mind for next time I make it. Cause there definitely will be a next time. Maybe a floral version?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

LA SARDINA / BYØYENE & BOGSTEINEN

I tend to struggle a little in the winter months, and feel like I'm totally suffering from SAD these days. The darkness and the cold can make me feel a bit blue, and it's easy to get stuck inside when the weather can be so miserable. It's been a while since Graeme and I have been able to head out for a photo adventure, so I figured I'd share some from warmer and sunnier times as a much needed ray of sunshine! We had such fantastic weather last summer, even though it's a bit hard to imagine right now (as the wind roars outside and makes my house creak). Fingers crossed we get a similar summer this year!


These were taken on the islands outside of Stavanger, and at Bogsteinen on the other side of Gandsfjord. I used Graeme's La Sardinia camera with 35 mm film. I've actually managed to break this camera since these were taken, and it's currently being held together by a band aid and I'm not sure it's actually usable anymore. So sad! :( Think we'll defintately have to replace this camera, as I love how dreamy the images come out. That double exposure of Graeme feeding a swan in the sky is my favorite!



Tuesday, 6 January 2015

STAR COWL

So I guess knitting for my sister's baby got me on a bit of a knitting kick! It's totally the season for it too--miserable weather outside is kinda ok when you're sitting in front of the fireplace knitting, enjoying some home baked goodies or a good movie (...what do you mean I sound like an old granny?). And after knitting this blanket, I was inspired to use the same technique to make some cowls to give as gifts for friends and family this Christmas.

It was pretty simple to modify the original Pickles pattern into a cowl pattern, and since you're knitting on such big needles these were done in no time at all--I managed to fire out three of these the last week before Christmas (while also fitting in a weekend trip to my friend's cabin, Christmas baking and shopping!). They're super cozy, and I'm now also very tempted to make one for myself. Or ten. Or one in every color. I might need to get an extra wardrobe for my future cowl collection.

For this cowl, I used four balls of 50 g yarn, or more specifically: Drops Nepal in 65% wool and 35% alpaca. I used 80 cm round 10 mm knitting needles. To make the cowl, start by knitting 81 stitches in double yarn. Join up to make a round, and knit your first row. The way this pattern works, is that for every even row you will knit the star pattern, and every odd row you'll knit a full round. So far all your even rows, start by knitting one (to move the star patter over one), then repeat the following to the end of the row, creating the stars (your last star will overlap one stitch to the next row): purl together three without letting go of the left needle, knit one slip stitch, and purl together three again. Let the stitches on the left needle go, and repeat. Give yourself plenty of space and make big, loose stitches. It might look like a big mess, but keep going and stay consistent, and you'll see the lovely star pattern emerge. Finish on an odd row and then bind off. Attach any loose ends and admire your work!