Monday, January 3, 2011

What I've Been Up To - Sewing!

I have never been a sewer.  I am almost 30 years old and I am never quite sure if I actually know how to sew on a button correctly.  However, my new-found love of trying new things in the past year has started to change that.  I think I can now add "sewer" to my list of new self-descriptors, along with "runner", "swimmer", and "artist", even  if they all come with "amateur" in front of them :)

I took a couple of great classes at The Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica last year, where I learned to make a pillow and a clutch purse.  I don't own a sewing machine, so hadn't done much since then, until in a sudden rush of blood to the head, my mother decided to buy one.  My sewing skills are inherited, if that explains anything...

In my unemployment (and with the ridiculous price of books in New Zealand, I can't understand why they cost so much!), I also have a great appreciation for the library, which is where I got my hands on Wee Wonderfuls by Hillary Lang.

This is a really good instructional book, especially for new sewers like myself.  There are clear explanations of all the kinds of machine and hand stitches and embroidery techniques.  I am in love with ladder stitch!

Here is my first project from the book.  In the book, she is called "Patchwork Penny", as she has a patchwork strip on the front of her dress that matches a little quilt.  I wasn't feeling that ambitious (or keen to buy multiple pieces of fabric to make the patchwork and quilt), so I just gave her a plain dress.

I learned a lot making this doll.  She could use a little more stuffing in the neck to make her head sit up a bit better, and her hair is a little thin (because I used 8-ply wool instead of worsted weight which I think is 10-ply, and didn't think to increase the number of strands).  But still, she is cute and I'm very proud of her!

It's been pretty hot here at night, so I was in need of some more summer-weight pajamas.  So I bought a pattern (after first trying to construct my own pattern from a pair I own, total disaster), and first made these 3/4-length pajama pants:

Recognize this material?  

The same material as the doll's dress!  I just love the pattern and the color.  I think that gentle teal color is probably my most favorite color in the world.

And then I found this very lightweight cotton in quite a loud print, but it has birds on it (love!) and the shapes remind me of the work of Flora Bowley, my favorite artist (who I just found out is holding a painting workshop in Sydney, Australia in March!  I HAVE to go).

LOUD colors and pattern, suitable only for pajamas.  Or maybe a shower curtain.

Flora Bowley-esque bird shapes.

MUCH fun.  I hope to tackle more adventurous projects over time too.  Three more weeks of unemployment to go!