It’s time for me

Today is Sunday and after a hectic week, it’s my time.

Not going to church, just taking it easy.

Breakfast in bed with a new novel

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and in attempt to find a wrap dress that fits me and also looks good, I am cutting this one out after the fabric has dried from its pre-wash

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The fabric is a light grey cotton knit with random dots that I bought from Spotlight.

It is very warm for Autumn, my daughter is out with friends and my dear son is going to the footy (Aussie Rules), so I will be at home in the peace.

Bliss.

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I am a bag lady

Yep, I like bags.

I have a lot of bags, so unless one is an absolute favourite, I tend not to wear them out.

This bag has been in my collection since around 1986, (now that was good value!).

It is leather and I think is a Japanese brand, although branding has never been particularly important to me.

It has served me well and when the lining (some sort of synthetic leather) started disintegrating I wasn’t ready to give it away. To cut a long story short, it sat unused for a couple of years, thrust into the “too hard ” box.

I thought of a narrow leather belt for the strap, but first attempted to replace the strap lining with a thin leather strip. None of my machines were up to it I’m afraid, so that idea was quickly shelved.

Fast forward to a week ago and I am browsing Spotlight when I find a “high tack” double-sided tape. Hmm methinks, that might come in handy…

Unfortunately, the tape was not suitable for what I had in mind, but it got me thinking about this bag…

Voila!

I had this dark paisley quilting cotton in my stash and I sewed up a couple of linings (one with a ‘phone pocket), double-sided tape and Bob’s your uncle, here it is. The strap was also replaced with the interfaced fabric.

A quick polish and I am very happy with this successful redux

🙂

Look at moi (but not too closely)…

I actually made jeans.

Yes jeans.

Okay, so they don’t have a real fly and the front pockets are fake…but I made jeans!

And, they fit…really well.

And I am never tucking tops in ever again, so I don’t care they have an elastic waist.

And the topstitching got better as I did more of it.

Did I say that they fit?

IMG_20180317_151116.jpg  Gosh that mirror is filthy 😦  IMG_20180317_150838.jpg    IMG_20180317_135439.jpg  My daughter commented that ,”They are very flat”; I told her that flat is good when you’re fat!!!

I am chuffed in case you hadn’t picked it.

They are the Blakley Jeans by StyleArc, bought as a pattern and fabric (the denim has 5% elastane) in a size 14. The only modifications were the removal of 5cm off the leg lengths and the faux fly front put onto the male side (like almost all jeans these days).

Oh happy days 🙂

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum…

Not really, but a funny thing did happen on the weekend.

I went to a party, possibly the first in 10 years! A real party, you know, a band, people dressed in silly green clothes (it was St Patricks Day), substandard finger food and a lot of alcohol.

I have been laid low with a nasty virus and am still recovering, so I ate before I went and confined myself to soda water whilst at the “do”. I went to meet new people, to extend my circle of friends, to see if there are people who might like to get to know me better; I went because I am emerging from the doldrums and wanting to take life by the horns (so to speak).

The funny thing that happened, was that the women I spoke with at the party, melted away when they found out I was in the throes of divorce. Not only that, but they seemed to wander over to their partners and guard them! MjAxMi1mNjRmOGY3ZTdhMmRmNDdh

It didn’t occur to me that this was happening until after I got home and the shame was I thought a couple of them could have been potential friends.

I wanted to shout, “I am not after your husbands and partners Ladies!!!”

My ex is hanging around like a bad smell and I need more complication in my life like a hole in the head! I am not looking for anyone, let alone someone already in a relationship (that has always been a STOP sign for me). I know what it is like to have someone threaten the stability of a relationship, it’s not something I would ever aspire to, men are just not worth it!

When I arrived at work this morning, I discussed this with my work colleague and she said it is common and it definitely happened to her. I think this is quite frankly pretty weird and very sad, are we not better than that???

I would love some comment from people who have experienced this, as the divorced woman, the predatory woman or the wronged woman; I just can’t get my head around it.

Laundering

I know…ho hum, who writes a blog post about doing the washing?

Well, I guess that must be me.

As household chores go, I don’t mind doing the washing. The reward last longer than the next person in the clean kitchen, or the next pair of shoes worn inside the house onto clean floors. Yes, at least with clean washing, you have a day of enjoying the experience of wearing nice-smelling clothing and a whole wardrobe of clean stuff to choose from 🙂

As most of you know, I am living in a rental property at the moment and the design (or lack of it) of the laundry is a sobering experience. My current laundry is little more than a very big cupboard off the passageway, with a trough/cupboard and nothing else.

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Without any cupboard space apart from underneath the trough, I usually keep a lot of washing stuff on top of the dryer. I don’t mind this, but there is no bench space at all and with a rotten back that is a problem. I hand wash quite a bit of my summer clothing, mainly because the fabrics are light voiles dyed in India and the colour bleeds excessively. Hence I hand wash each piece separately rather than hazarding a lot of cross-clothing discolouration.

What to do? I have done the whole bending down to the floor with a second bowl thing and my back just can’t take it any longer, so I have resorted to the bathroom sink.

IMG20180303073255.jpgYes the bowl is small, but it is perfect for these light, filmy pieces and the heaven of not having to bend down and up all the time is just luxury. Not too much water is used because of the small bowl which is an added plus and I don’t get weighed-down by a huge laundry basket full of clothing, because (you guessed it), the washing line is not convenient to either the laundry or the bathroom.

I don’t use a dryer much, with the weather here, most of the time it is unnecessary. I will use it in winter just to take the damp off line-dried washing before I put it away (mainly thick items like jeans and towels), but really, the dryer is just a nice luxury.

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I quite like the position of my (fold away) washing line, it faces south-west, which means it is shaded for quite a lot of the time in summer, this, plus hanging my coloured clothing inside-out means that fading is not really problem. I am not so sure it will be that great when the weather turns autumnal though, I wonder if it will be a problem trying to dry thick items.

Reading through this post, I wonder why I even thought to write it! Boring is the word that comes to mind and I don’t blame you if you switched off a while ago :0

Rest assured though, I am unlikely to blog about the next chore that comes with laundering; ironing (though necessary, especially for a seamstress) is one chore from which  I derive very little pleasure, so I won’t be boring you with that one!

Cheers 🙂

Do you or don’t you [or, a calculated risk]

Here in Western Australia it has been compulsory for many years to wear a helmet when cycling. When the law came in I embraced it wholeheartedly, taking to task anyone who wasn’t “doing the right thing”.

As a nurse, I had looked after several people with traumatic brain injuries and there had been numerous documentaries on television of people and families who had been affected by them; indeed, there has been a big re-think on how to accommodate young people in “vegetative states” as they were often cared for in aged-care facilities, amongst people three times or more older than them.

But I digress, this is not about people with brain injuries, it is about the current state-of-play for cyclists here in Perth.

As time has gone on, I now take a more moderate approach to bike helmets. As I usually commute to work by bike at least 3 days per week, drive one day and catch public transport the other day, I think I have a fairly balanced look at things.

When I cycle in the morning, I stick to cycle paths and ride upright (Dutch style) and fairly slowly, I think my risk of coming off my bike and being hurt is small. Whenever I have had an accident cycling in the past, I have hurt my knees and hands, with no involvement of my head, mainly because out come my arms to break the fall. Therefore I have reasoned stopping wearing a helmet in the morning.

It doesn’t feel reckless, although it did feel odd at first. I dress in work clothes, not cycling gear, I have makeup on my face and I don’t have helmet hair when I get to work.

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Ha ha, this is definitely NOT me, I like her omafiets but I don’t think I have ever been that put together (although cycling in that footwear is a no no for me, too many stubbed toes are a possibility)!!!

Am I being vain? Perhaps a little, the facilities at my workplace for showering are minimal to say the least and there are no places to iron clothing, so personal hygiene and looking professional are compromised if I wear full cycling gear and ride flat-out.  I have done this in the past and been crumpled and a bit stale (Yuck!); I don’t want to go back there.

The cycling community in Perth is growing quickly, people are seeing the benefits of exercise and it is relatively easy on the joints, all good. I think I fall into a minority sub-group of people who cycle for pleasure but with a commute being the driving factor, uni students usually fall into this category. Remember these are just my thoughts on the subject, I think the biggest growth group is the MAMILs. The MAMILs (Middle-age Men In Lycra) are a pretty cocky group. On the whole they are male, but I occasionally see women riding in the ever-increasing numbers and sizes of pellotons around the place.

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The MAMILs give the rest of us a bit of a bad name I think. I have yet to hear any of them ring a bell and I have seen plenty of them getting hot under the collar with other people. They tend to stick to cycling on the roads and a pelloton can often go 3 or 4 riders wide- very rude!!! On a few occasions I have been told off for not wearing my helmet by single MAMILs as they have silently sped past on their bikes at a rate of knots, not caring about pedestrians on the dual-use paths. The last time one of them said sarcastically “Nice helmet”, I retorted, “Nice bell”!!!

Riding home in the afternoon is different for me. I ride a different route and often on roads, so the helmet is firmly on and appearance is irrelevant as I am not out to impress, all I want to do is get home and put my feet up with a nice cup of tea 🙂

Am I foolish to take the risk in the morning? What is your opinion of bike helmet laws as they are at the moment? Do you live in a country where helmets are not compulsory, if so, what do you think about it?

A piece of cake it was not!

Well this piece of cake took forever to make, it was supposed to be my Christmas dress, but never made it to the day.

This is the Piece of Cake frock by Jody Pearl. It is called the Piece of Cake because it is supposed to be a very straightforward make and to be fair to Jody, the troubles I had making this dress were because the bodice is not suited to my body shape, but I was impressed with the photo img_2742 and went ahead without thinking. You can find out more about Jody here.

I am drawn to an empire waistline, I don’t like the feeling of constraint around my body, which is why an empire waistline is one I really like wearing. Unfortunately, this bodice has no provision for anyone with more than a B cup bust, nary a dart or shape is to be found and the length of the shoulder “strap” was just too long for this shorty 😦

I did do some fitting through the making of the first version, but thought I could deal with the bodice length problem afterward.

WRONG!

When I shortened the bodice, it brought the waist up too high and squashed my breasts to billyoh- I could hardly breathe! I became quite despondent and disgustedly put the dress into the too-hard basket.  There was another problem with it and that was the colour of the bodice. There are no pictures (they were quickly erased), but the bodice was a very pretty solid blue poplin, unfortunately it was just too much blue and I hated it.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, Christmas is over and I have 3 more weeks off work to fill, out comes the Piece of Cake. I started unpicking the bodice, but gave up and cut it off the skirt, I thought I might salvage it, but I think it is destined for the bin.

I thought I would try making a new bodice pattern, customised to me. I did a Connie Crawford workshop years ago on making a bodice “sloper”, but tbh it was a bit beyond me at the time. This time, I pulled out my trusty Threads fitting guide and attempted a full bust adjustment. I know many seamstresses do this as a matter of course, but it is a first for me (and it does stick in my craw because I had a breast reduction years ago!).

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So I took the dartless bodice and added side darts and waist pleats and it turned out pretty well, it also gave me a new bodice pattern to use for remaking this dress.

I had to shorten the bodice again, but without worrying about the end result as this white poplin was never going to be the final version. It did however give me a new colour for the bodice and I ended up making the final version in some white bengaline left over from my sage pants (bought from Spotlight last year), the skirt is made from a really nice stretch woven cotton from Knitwit in Nedlands. I did a sway back adjustment, added a waistband to compensate for the shorter length at the shoulder/neckline and raised the back to accommodate a bra band.

It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is okay and I will wear it. The inside is a mess which needs tidying up and there is a bit of topstitching to finish (not compulsory, but I do like a bit of topstitching!). Unfortunately, being sleeveless, it does accentuate my tuckshop-lady-arms (yet another point I failed to take into consideration when buying the pattern), but I am working on those and will probably end up looking like a weightlifter instead of someone with two huge, flaccid bags swinging from my shoulders. The waist darts look a little odd, but I can live with them, I stitched down the skirt pleats (you may have problems seeing them as the skirt fabric hides them), so as to not accentuate my tummy, but it is not the most flattering garment I have ever made.

 

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Forgive the unironed appearance, that will be remedied before it is worn outside the house!

Will I make it again? The jury is out, I may, but probably just the tunic version and in a lighter-weight fabric. I have learned a lot making this little dress and will not shy away from altering patterns to make them fit better in future although I do prefer clothing that is looser to wear.