Monday, February 25, 2013

Fabric Inspiration

Darling readers, I want to show you this fabric from my stash. I adore it - it has so many qualities that I love - floral, border patter, embroidery, black and white done subtly, cotton, crispy and cool - I LOVE it. Did you get that I love it yet? hehe
Recently a woman came into our shop - wearing the most stunning smock top I felt a physical twinge of clothing envy. It was a kurta/smock/tunic/salwa kamiz style, but made in a not very Indian border print fabric. The plastron yoke front was made of the border facing outward on each side of centre front, and it was just SO pretty.
I went into the shop where she bought it the other day and they no longer sell them. I've searched Pinterest and Google for a similar top but I cannot find an image. WAAAH!!!
English Tunic Blouse
Source J Peterman Catalogue

This is the closest thing I could find, in my all time favourite catalogue, J Peterman. I cannot buy their stuff as it is too teeny for me, but I adore the illustrations, the stories that go with the garments, and that sense of timeless glamour and international chic J Peterman captures. This is called their English Tunic, which is exactly what I am aiming for. Although this one is perfectly plain, it is very close to the sihouette/construction.

Tamerlane The Magnificent Coat
Source J Peterman Catalogue

This Tamerlane Coat is a bit of a red herring really as it's not much like my top idea, but I love it. Honestly, if you've never checked out J Peterman, I do suggest you take a look. It's like stepping back into Casablanca.
ANYWAY, I want to make a top like the one I saw out of my fab border fabric. If you can imagine it, I hope it will riff a bit of English country farmer, a hint of Vita Sackville West, a smackerel of Raj, and even a touch of Regency. 
I don't have a pattern, and though normally I would just wing it, I am concerned because the fabric only has one border, and as I am built on grand lines, I need every last centimetre of it to get around the bottom and along the yoke. So, I may toile a bit of it. I'd also like to look at adding maybe a little solid black, maybe a coloured print - I just don't know until I try really. This is going to be a bit of an adventure, and I thought you might enjoy coming along for the ride.
On a different note, I haven't sent out all my giveaways yet - I've been really unwell and have been doing the barest minimum - but never fear they will get posted this week. AND I received one that I will post about soon, promise! But if you ever get that feeling where the world is moving a bit fast to keep up with, I'm in that space right now. Still, the coughing is calming down, no more temperatures and I don't have to have a lie down after walking up the stairs so I must be on the mend! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Can Lampshading be a word, like planking? As in, the art of making a lampshade. Not like planking really then, cos that's just pretending to be a plank.
If it is a word, I've been Lampshading. We recently got in a stock of lampshade hoops so people can make their own lampshades, and I wanted to give it a go.
Here are my two first attempts. The one on the left is covered in a Villa Nova fabric made in England (Yay!!!) and you can see why I had to have it. Fitting all three ladies onto it meant going quite tall.
The one on the right is for my living room eventually. It is hard core Mr and MrsC style! It is wider than the other, and as a result I was a scant 2 inches short of fabric, so I had to add a strip up the back. This is not good lampshade making, but I know for next time.
I've been using Pi times the diameter to calculate the fabric needed, but this isn't exact. The fabric gets stuck to the styrene which is then wrapped around the hoops. Somewhere in that process you gain about 2 inches, which is weird.
Anyway, as I haven't found a source of adhesive styrene in NZ, I've been using spray adhesive instead. It is pretty stinky so MrC set a trestle up on the pavement outside for me to work on. Anyone who has been to Wellington knows it's not called WINDY Wellington for nothing, and I ended up with adhesive spray all through my hair and clothes. Yuk! And such a waste of spray too, as so much of it blows away. We may have to do this in the hallway instead. If we did it in the studio, I'd never get rid of the smell!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Baby Quilts - Everybody say AWWWW

Have you noticed how many babies are being born right now? So many pregnant women, so many prams. I love it - babies are so adorable!
I am going to two baby showers in as many weeks, and so I took the opportunity to whip up a couple of little quilts.
Lovely Japanese printed linens and cottons
Penguins, cars, robots and polka dots - I love the bright blues and greys and browns together. This is really quite different from my usual colour choices, which run to bright and rich, but I really like trying something new.
Gorgeous grubby pinks and apple greens for a girl. Little piggies, mice, Alice, and of course, polka dots! Again, not my thing but so pretty and I think it will be just right.
Both of them were pieced really fast - I just sewed the cuts together, cut them into strips the other way, mixed up a couple of them and sewed them up. It took about an hour. No boards or rulers either, just scissors and my eye. It was strange doing it that way but I wanted a wonky look and so I worked fast and loose!
Both are backed by a lovely cotton shirting I bought on sale - it is so soft and satiny to touch, perfect for babies who just love a bit o' satiny fabric.
For the boy quilt, I quilted it with a simple meandering "stipple."
For the girl quilt, I did a clematis inspired flower and leaf vine pattern.
I really love free-hand machine quilting. It is quite cathartic, requires no measuring or marking, and it is pretty fast. Reading between the lines as you possibly are, it is good for LAZY people like me! hehehe.
But really, folks, straight lines are the bust. Stitching in the ditch looks naff if it's not bang on accurate, I get confused doing shadow quilting (following the lines about 1/4 inch out) with what to do at the ends of the straight lines, you have to keep swivelling the quilt around - it's a mug's game. (which means, I am no good at it so I am envious of people who are, so I am dissing it. Charming eh)
So, is there a baby boom where you live too? Such a great excuse to make adorable presents out of pretty, cosy things! :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Giveaway Winners

Finally the moment of truth! I had an unprecedented interest in these giveaways, so thanks to those of you who have always followed my bog and also to those who discovered it through the giveaways. I hope you hang about! :)
Giveaway 1 - for a ring pin cushion made by The Embroidenator, had 30 entries.

The winner was Kristin from Sew Classic. Soon, Kristin, this little morsel will cross your letterbox!

Giveaway 2 was for a gorgeous pair of Victorian style embroidery scissors. This giveaway attracted 25 entries:

And the winner was Rachel from House of Pinheiro!

Yes, Rachel, scissors just for you! :)

And lastly, the Surprise. I'm still not revealing it, as that is no fun for the recipient. However it doesn't have far to go, as the winner is a local. Now I just have to say here that there were 40 comments but one was removed and resubmitted so really there were 39. I skipped the removed one, which made Jenny from Romany Quilting the lucky winner. :)
Jenny it will be my pleasure to contribute something lovely to your soon-to-be-completed sewing room!

And that's all, folks. I'm of to email the lucky ones! Tooroo!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sew Grateful Giveaway Post #3

Good morning (or afternoon, or evening!) to you! It's a sunny Sunday morning here and I am sitting in a ray of sunshine. I wish I could pop a little of this ray into the post for our friends still in the middle of winter, we seem to be getting far more than our fair share of it!
Instead, we shall settle for the warm delights of receiving giveaway parcels. I adore it when a little parcel arrives from a swap or giveaway -full of exotic treasures from another blogger.
So, what's in the last giveaway?
I'm not telling you.
What I WILL tell you is that all of the contents will be sewing related, useful and pretty.
OHHH the suspense!!!!
So, if you are up for a bit of mystery, leave a comment below. I will be drawing all three giveaways in two days time.
And now, back to my sunshine...xo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sew Grateful Giveaway 2

OK, time for the second Sew Grateful Giveaway! This one is for something we all cannot get enough of - scissors. These gorgeous little scissors were sent to me by a supplier instead of the ones I ordered. I fell for them and kept them anyway. I am beginning to think some of our suppliers have spotted this tendency in me and 'accidentally' send me stuff that they don't want! But anyone could want these. I love the little sheath too.
As I nabbed the photo off their website, it's more functional than fun - imagine them in an artistically set macro photo please? They're still the same adorable scissors. :) The reason this is a day late is not having time to take a photo myself, so better to get on with it, say  I!
So there you go -  a pin cushion, scissors, whatever might the third giveaway be? Keep reading, dear ones!
Same deal - to enter, leave a comment below. You can enter as many of my giveaways as you like and will be eligible for them all. I'll be drawing them all at the same time, early next week.
In the mean time, happy sewing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sew Grateful for...

Since last Sew Grateful Week, I have so much more to be grateful for. SO much more than last time, sewing is a huge part of my life. My work revolves around it, and my work is a huge part of my life.
I am so grateful to my Mum, Jenny. So many of you who have put a bid in for a gorgeous pin cushion ring made by her have raved about how beautiful her work is. You are SO right! She is so clever, always has been, and embroidery is just one of many creative pursuits she has mastered.
And the best bit? Unlike some people who are very talented, she is open, encouraging and inspiring. Instead of being intimidated by her amazingness, I am always inspired by her to try things. Our styles are very different but that is a good thing really!
My Mum Jenny always allowed me to try things, even if it meant ruining some fabric or driving her nuts. I am a "don't show me, let me do it myself" kind of learner so often this meant her telling me what I SHOULD have done after I'd done it wrong. I find students like that frustrating myself, as I want them to have success and not get despondent, so I am very impressed that she didn't "lose it" more often.
So, I am grateful for my Mum. I tell her she has a bit of an online fan club and she really doesn't get it! Not much of a one for computers hehehe.
Remember, tomorrow is another giveaway. See you then!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sew Grateful Giveaway! First of three Giveaways

Yay to the wonderful Debi at my Happy Sewing Place for instigating the Sew Grateful Week. This is its second year and it is growing, as all good ideas do.
To kick off here at Sent from my iRon, I am giving away something dear to my heart. A pin cushion ring, made by the inequable Embroidenator, aka Jenny Hughes Allan, my darling, clever mother.
This is mine - the winning one will be different but just as gorgeous!
Pin cushion rings are so practical - you put it on the middle or pointer finger of your non-dominant hand and the pins are right there. More comfy than a wrist cushion, and you don't have to keep twisting your wrist to use it.
I may also throw in a few titbits of gorgeousness.
So, if you want to be in the draw for this lovely thing, leave a comment below. 
I will be posting two more giveaways this week - you are very welcome to enter one or all, and I will happily post anywhere in the world. :)
Happy Sew Grateful week!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Year of The Snake, the Week of the Sevens...

Weehee! I just realised that it is my year! If you are turning 24, 36, 48, 60 or 72 this year (after feb I tnink) then you too are a snake. ((OK, 12 too but unlikely to be any 12 year olds reading :))
Naturally, I am turning 24...oh ok 36...oh OK, 48 already, sheesh!
Snakes are, apparently, quite different in Chinese culture than our idea of nasty creatures in the corridors of Hogworts. Snakes are hedonistic, enjoying creature comforts and luxury. We are smart, wise and loving, and discerning. Think bejewelled, graceful creatures basking happily on a rock or in a tree. That's us. :)
It may be pushing things a bit but I do tend to swallow ideas whole and let them digest slowly over time, too.
Currently digesting are shop #2, a line of needlework and sewing patterns and kits, and some masterclasses.
But before any of that really come to fruition, there is (are?) the Sevens!
Seven what, you may ask. Dwarves? Wives for brothers? Deadly sins? Nonononono, Seven aside Rugby played in seven minutes a half. And Wellington has embraced it as only Wellington can.
I am not sure when it began but early on, groups of friends thought it would be fun to dress up. Now, it is like mardi gras, with 98% of attendees dressed up, many of whom I may add, have no intention of even going to the stadium, they just enjoy the party downtown!
We have helped people to dress as babies, Ironman, greek goddesses, cross dressers, The Count from the Muppets (that was fun, measuring out the felt and both of us going Vun UHUHUH, Two, UHUHUH), Robin Hood, the Queen of Hearts...well you get the idea.

Wellington's Stadium, affectionately, and fairly explicably, known as The Cake Tin.
If you want to have a laugh at some of the costumes, check them out here. There is little talk of the actual rugby!
On other fronts, I have a day off tomorrow (yay!) on the proviso that I work on the peacock shirt, so I suspect it will be the topic of my next post...perhaps!