27 January 2013

Australia Day 2013

Australia Day started early, playing at the local Australia Day Ceremony - a big citizenship ceremony and the  "Local Australian of the Year" awards, with lots of music and fun and games. It is where we hoped we would become Australian last year, but our application was approved too late so we missed out on the fun!

In the afternoon, we had some people around for a BBQ. There is a push to finally do away with the adage "throw another shrimp on the barbie", since we don't call them shrimp and its rare to BBQ prawns anyway! So the suggestion is to "throw another steak on the barbie", which is exactly what we did.

And I made Green and Gold cake with lime icing- the colours of Australian sport, based on the Wattle- our national flower.

I forced my over-enthusiasm onto everyone, even poor Nixon!

In the evening we headed down to the Skyworks, and managed to get much further around the foreshore than previously, so we had a great view!
This year they ran a vote to choose some of the fireworks, so may I introduce Koala Fireworks!:

We recorded some of the fireworks- take a look at how awesome shaped fireworks are!
From around 50s - 1m20s.

We took the obligatory "Australia Day Foreshore" photo to add to the collection:

And had a nice evening walk back home.
Here are some more of the fireworks:

24 January 2013

Things are getting a little hot in the kitchen

Hot indeed! *swoon*

When I saw the "Pin-Up" christmas fabric, I just had to have some. And while I was ordering, I just couldn't say no to some of the other easy-on-the-eye fabric either. Hence I have 2m of semi-naked firemen in my sewing room. What girl could say no?!
This wasn't just random purchasing though. Two of my friends have birthdays in the next couple of weeks, so the plan was to make aprons...

The first is a slightly off 1/4 circle (longer in the middle than the edges) with a ruffle around the bottom and a super long waist band that can be tied around the front.

For the other I got slightly more adventurous, with a more rounded shape, fat ties and a thick shaped waist band with interfacing to help keep its shape:

One recipient is spending her birthday in America, so it kind of ties in there, and the other is part of the volunteer rescue team, so I'm sure she will appreciate it!
I still have plenty of fabric, so I'm thinking I might need one...

21 January 2013

Damn it, Janet...

We're off to see:

And I'm excited. I love Rocky. The first time I went I was 14... afore mentioned bestie and I went dressed as 14 year olds just shouldn't be dressed, accompanied by my mum dressed as a nun with red glitter shoes. We took the train to get there. Then walked through the city. I think the trendy thing to say now is "YOLO"!

We went again for my mothers 50th birthday. This time I was a slightly more appropriate 17, but dressed slightly less inappropriately.

We went again a few years ago when it came to Syndey, and I hate to admit we didn't dress up at all! It was just The Boy and I, and he'd never been before. It was great to go with a virgin. He'd never even seen the movie, never mind experienced the atmosphere and audience participa------tion of a stage production. It was almost as much fun watching his reactions as it was watching the stage!

And slightly less few years ago we went to see it at the outdoor cinema. We didn't dress up. I didn't think people would. Perth is quiet a reserved city, at least on the surface, so I was very happy to see people in the middle of the park in 6 inch heels, fishnets and basques. And that was just the men.

This year we're going again. I'm dragging anyone I can get interested, and dressing up regardless of whether they do. Its been too long! But I'm not feeling the basque and high heels look. I thought about being Magenta, but everyone goes as Magenta. French maid outfit plus big hair:
While I've always wanted to try Columbia, I'm just not feeling it this year. But just imagine the possibilities- gold sequinned fabric jacket and ribbon embellished shorts. big bow tie and cheapo party hat.

But this year I'm thinking I will try and get the Boy to dress up too, and I think the easiest way to do that will be to take away all erotica from the outfit. And how much fun will it be to make a pretty pink 50s dress?!

I may have to work hard combing the op-shops for a jacket like that. Maybe I'll give up and attempt to make one. But I think as long as he has that preppy look we'll be good to go.

As for me... I bought some baby pink poplin at Spotlight. Its in the wash in preparation.
I'm thinking a plain-ish bodice (coffee-date?), with a sorbetto style pleat to make a fake button placket, simple collar, maybe some little sleeves, maybe sleeveless, and 1/2 circle skirt. 
I need to find a white cardigan, and a white belt. I swear spottie has always had them, but not today. I have my six white buttons. Accessories will include a hair clip made from shrinking plastic. *Light bulb moment* maybe I could make my own buckle with the shrinking plastic. Its not like it needs to survive every day wear and tear... plain white pumps and a bag made of the scraps of the dress lining.
I might even try for a Janet necklace, but that might be a step too far!

Oh yes.

20 January 2013

Meringue 2.0

Sewing with a plan... I'm starting to like you!

Seperates? Tick.
Wearable? Tick
Nice finish? Passable.
Feel like a toddler? Nope!

Meringue out of synthetic charcoal moleskin that I bought in the half price sale at Homecraft Textiles last year. I took this to the BurdaSewingClub meet yesterday to work on, but managed to forget the front skirt piece! So I just enjoyed that chat and the tasty goodies, and got to work when I got home.

Doggie photo bomb! Needy dog needs to be by my side at every second of every day!

The scallops didn't come out quite so well this time. This fabric is hard to sew with and doesn't take well to an iron so the scallops and the darts aren't as smooth as I would really like, but I think it looks OK for everyday:

The inside is all party! Made from scraps from the first dress I ever made, for our "come in bright colours" birthday/engagement/residency party

This time I traced the 10 and graded down to an 8 at the hem, and its pretty much a perfect fit- maybe a teensy bit tight across the bum, but hopefully not for much longer as I slowly try and reduce the kilos that spending a couple of months in Italy tends to add!

I think I like it!
This will be the last meringue for a while. I think the originally planned bird print needs a straighter skirt to not feel toddler-ish.

19 January 2013

Best craft book ever!

My Christmas present from by bestest friend arrived this morning. We very rarely both meet the 25th December deadline- never have, never will!

But included in my package was this...

How cute is the soup dragon!

Now all I need to do is learn to knit...

18 January 2013

A(nother) Ruffle Sorbetto

So I've had this in mind for a while, but never quite got around to it! Strange, huh! But now I've got a bit of  a break I'm getting so many of those planned things done, finally!

So... introducing yet another Sorbetto. 2 inches longer, no pleat, and I think I finally figured out the bust dart thing- this one is about an inch and a half lower than the pattern suggests and points pretty much exactly along the bust line. Apologies for the wrinkles- Its really comfy so I've had it on all day! And trust the photo to show me the threads I missed!

The fabric is a light and breezy lawn in nice muted colours, so I though a nice light and breezy ruffle would go nicely. Instead of an "in your face" gathered ruffle, I went for a more subtle flounce using a circular strip of material. Two, in fact, if we're being picky, sewn together to make an extra long flouncy strip. The circles were 17cm outer radius and 10cm inner radius, giving a 7cm wide "O", and they have been finished on the outer edge by simple zig zag stitching- I'm keen to have them fray a little, and the stitched will allow a little unravelling without the whole thing falling to pieces!

I pinned the mega-circle flounce at centre back and centre front, then along the back of the neck to the shoulders. I then draped the rest of the pleats in by eye whit it on my dress form (love! so much easier to see how it will actually look.). I still need to tack it down in a few key spots as it catches the wind and blows all over the place.

This was then neaten up with self bias tape around the neck and arms (spot the boo-boo?) and all the seams are french. The hem is probably my best attempt yet at using my narrow rolled hem foot, though its still a little wavy!

All up I'm delighted with this one- loose but not baggy, perfect for the heat and just the right level of girly.

Doggie photo bomb!
I'm surprised he could drag himself off the chair:

14 January 2013

Hutt River Trip

Its a little known "fact" that Australia isn't an island nation. There is a 75 sq km around 6 hours drive north of Perth that seceded from the rest of Australia 40 years ago due to an argument over wheat allowances. While the Australian government doesn't legally acknowledge the Hutt River Principality, it doesn't do much about it either!
In 1969 the Western Australian Government imposed quotas on the production of wheat. Farmers across the state had tough limits imposed on what they could produce, but some suffered more than others under the policy.
Leonard Casley, a farmer near Northampton, was restricted to 1647 bushels for the year. This miniscule production would be insufficient to pay even the interest, let alone provide income for his family. Not happy with the situation, he appealed to the government but that fell on deaf ears.
Leonard, his wife Shirley and their seven children enacted upon an antiquated law left over from the feudal system of England. The law of "Unjust Enrichment" enabled them to lay claim to government land surrounding his farm which would in turn increase his quota to a level high enough to make a decent living.
He succeeded in taking the land from the government, who in return rushed through a bill to allow them to resume any rural lands. Common Law was again called up, this time allowing the Casley family to form a "self-preservation government" and claim independence from the state of Western Australia and the nation of Australia, and their 7487 hectare property officially became Hutt River Province. It is the same size as Hong Kong and runs 8000 head of sheep and grows 5000 acres of crops.{source}
We have driven past the Principality, but never had time to make the detour:

But a friend is soon to be leaving Australia, and Hutt River was on his bucket list, so off we went!

Its a great drive up there. Long... but very pretty.
With lots of great places to stop off for a bite to eat and leg-stretch!

We camped at Port Denison for a night. Camping in a busy site with an excitable doggie is an interesting experience, but he handled it very well.
This was the sunset we were treated to. There was a cyclone of the coast, so it was windy and sometimes rainy, but it made for some nice photo opportunities.

Hutt River itself is a long drive down a straight, dusty and boring dirt road.
But someone didn't mind!

On arrival we got our visas and were told some of the history of the principality by Prince Leonard himself. Nixon kept barking at him though :S We warned him that if he didn't behave he would get his visa taken away and he'd have to wait for us outside the gates! We were joined by other friends who had made the trip in one day, and the best bit was that we had the whole camp site to ourselves to enjoy a beer and a catch up in the company of kangaroos and bush peacefulness. And for $5 a night (Plus the $2 entry visa, of course... cab't cross international boarders without a visa!

10 January 2013

Undies down under

Well, goal number one ticked off the list, using Zoes free pattern.

They're a bit rough and ready, but they gave me a good indication of how it all goes together. It too a couple of attempts to get the gusset sorted, but I got there in the end.

They're made from one of The Boys old T-shirts, from SpunOut a few years ago. The heavy long sleeved cotton top was great for playing with fire, but not so great for the rest of the time.
I think it would be a good way to reuse t-shirts with some meaning, but as many have pointed out, the cost of elastic in Australia is quite prohibitive for making a full drawer full. That said, I just found this place which might be slightly better...

09 January 2013


Last Sunday 5 of the Perth Burdastyle Sewing Club headed out to the "UnVeiled: 200 years of wedding glamour" exhibit at the museum:
Relive 200 years of romance and glamour with this dramatic collection of wedding fashion from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This exhibition traces the development of the fashionable white wedding dress and shows how both brides and designers have stamped their own style on tradition. It considers the influence of the wedding industry, the effect of the increasing media focus on wedding fashions, and the excitement generated by society and celebrity weddings.The exhibition features 65 wedding outfits and accessories of both brides and bridegrooms. The range of accessories includes veils, hats, shoes, wreaths, and lingerie.
Some people (the Boy) might question the values of an exhibit such as this, but for those of us with an interest in dress design and construction it was really interesting. Some of the older dresses were quite surreal, with intricate pleats and ruffles and lace appliqu├ęs mixed with origami-esque sleeves and huge bustles, moving through some sexing early 20th century numbers, through to modern celebrity fashions such as the purple Dita vonTease dress and Gwen Stefanis pink dip-dye dress.

My favourite early dress was this one, from 1841. The fabric looks like a pair of crazy 80s curtains, with a strange molecular pattern, despite the fact that molecules were only just being accepted as real. Check out those sleeves!

(Picture from the VandA archives)

My favourite-est dress was this beauty by Aida Woolf from 1914. I love everything about it. The delicate beading, the dolman sleeves, the waist detail, the three layered skirt with different textures... I'm not so keen on the train, but that's separate anyway!

(Picture from the VandA archives)

And an honourable mention must go to Monica Morris, who chose to wear this very trendy red number in 1948. Until 1978 she was the only female member of the Association of Mining Electrical Engineers, and her hobbies included racing cars and flying. Go Monica!  
(Picture from the VandA archives)

The whole archives are here if you're interested.
We had a great day out and got lots of inspiration for future projects!