Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Root Canal, A Dentist, and Opping It!

I had to have an emergency root canal done two Fridays ago at 10pm. I've had twinges of pain for three days prior, but I ignored it because, well, it was manageable. My appointment was for the first week of June. However, it did come to the point where I thought I might need to have it seen to earlier, so the dental receptionist booked me in for a Monday, three days to go. She also gave me an emergency number to call, just in case, which at that point, I really didn't think I'd need.  That Friday night however the pain escalated and I had to have my tooth done that night pronto. I was all dressed and ready to go for a birthday party that night at 7pm-but I was humming and harring about whether it was a good idea to go. In hindsight, I'm glad I went. That dinner would have been torture had I not gone to the dentist, who was all the way on the other side of the city to where we live.

Who I went to is another interesting story. His name was Dr Daniel Chu, and I didn't think much of it when the receptionist gave me his name. On meeting him however, I thought he definitely had a Malaysian accent. He asked me where I was from, and I said I was Malaysian. He said he was too. What race was I? Half Kadazan, half Chinese. Kadazan! he exclaims! That's from Sabah! Where he was from too. I asked him which school he went to, and he said he graduated from Tshung Tsin Pre University, which was the same place I went for high school! And his dad is a GP at Gaya Street and knows my dad! Talk about a small world. Anyways, he did a very quick job on my tooth and told me that there was an infection at the root and it was only 2cm away from the sinuses, and had the infection gone there, there would have been some nasty facial swelling. So I was doubly glad I forgoed the dinner and had my tooth done.

I had my follow up at my regular dentist on Monday-and lucky me, there was a Salvos next door. So of course I went. Sigh. Not that I need anymore clothes. But I do love bargains. And if there was a really nice piece for a really good price...Anyways, these were the two things I got.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="3/4 Cardigan"][/caption]

The camera didn't capture the really pretty buttercuppy colour. It looks almost brand new and it was only $3. I love the way it goes with a lilac camisole.

I also got this Barkins skirt for $3.5

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Barkins skirt"][/caption]

Grandma also got me a really pretty red knitted cardigan from her local craft shop. It looks really vintage-y looking, and a really brilliant red. I love it!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Red knitted cardigan"][/caption]

I've always love knitted sweaters and cardis and was never able to wear them in Malaysia. I love being able to wear them now. And vintage is the in thing right now.

Have a great Sunday

Wyld Woman

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Prince, An Apron and A Mother's Day Present

It's been some time since I last posted. Sometimes time just gets away from you so fast you don't realize it. I've been meaning to post, but so many things have happened in between then and now. The Little Wyld Man is now 13 weeks old and growing so chubby and talkative. He's learning to use his hands, he talks and coos when somebody talks to him, and he smiles back at me when I smile at him. He recognizes me and looks for me, and he tells me he's hungry in his own peculiar way instead of crying-he makes a whinging sort of sound which signals to me he wants some milkies. He loves it when I read to him and he can't stop cooing at the pictures. He's also getting balder than both his granpas put together. Here he is in all his princely little glory.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Big Yawn."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Cheeky smileys"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Big Wyld Man and Little Wyld Man"][/caption]

Here daddy's reading Spot Loves His Dad to the Little Wyld Man. He's paying lots of attention.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="Mummy reading a Beatrix Potter book"][/caption]

He looks a little bored here. Maybe he doesn't like Miss Moppet the little silly kitten.

Aside from that, my sewing student finished her apron.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="659" caption="The front"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="656" caption="The back"][/caption]

This was the design she based it on.

It was a fun process showing her how to do it.

Anyways. This year was my first Mother's Day celebration. Went out with the family to celebrate the mothers and guess what? I got a present from my Little Wyld Man! Wasn't he clever? He gave me a card and a book.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My lovely card"][/caption]

I didn't know there were cards for first time mothers! Gotta love Hallmark.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="*sigh* Happy...."][/caption]

For my present I got a Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="THE French Cookbook for Servantless Women"][/caption]

Since watching the movie Julie/Julia, I've really wanted that book. I tried talking myself out of wanting it, but after reading all the rave reviews on Amazon, it was kind of hard to. Then I tried telling myself that it has no pictures, and what decent cookbook has no pictures? But after reading it, I understand the enchantment. It's written in a really chatty manner, and even with no pictures, you learn so much! It tells you exactly what type and size of pots and pans to use, which cut of meat, how to cut or treat certain items of food, etc. It totally demystifies french cuisine and makes it achievable. When I first got it I read 80 pages straight. But no, I havent tried making anything yet. I need a bottle of cheap red wine to experiment. And the Wyld Man says I can't have his. Hmph!

May has been a good month to me. Oh, except for that emergency root canal. Yuck.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

White Polkadot Wrap Shirt Refashion

Some time ago I bought a size 12 Marco Polo white wraparound polkadot shirt at a flea market for $5. I didn't try it on, but I love love love polkadots and thought that size 12 should be okay on me. However, whenever I thought to wear it somewhere, it just never looked right on me. It wasn't THAT big, but it didn't fit very well on me. I offered it to a friend, thinking it would be a bit of a shame to cut it up-but she didn't think it was her style. So, I thought, what the heck-I'll just refashion it. I've had it for more than 6 months and never wore it nor done anything to it because, well, it was really pretty by itself. I was afraid of mucking up something.Now if I did something at last,  at least I'd wear it.

This is what it looks like before.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The Polkadot Wraparound Shirt"][/caption]

It makes me think of a nurse's uniform somehow. The bow would never sit right and it felt that the sleeves were an awkward length on me.

I decided to recut the whole shirt to fit me better- at the sleeves and armholes, and at the side seams. And as in my other two refashions, to cut off the midsection and substitute with black stretch knit.

I cut off the midsection first-just folded the shirt in half and eyeballed it. I didn't really measure anything this time. I pinned the wrap fronts together before I started cutting.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Cutting off the midsection"][/caption]

Next, I unpicked the side seams and the armhole seams and removed the sleeves.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The unpicked shirt"][/caption]

To recut the armholes and the sleeves, I use my existing personal patterns as a guide to cut around.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My newspaper patterns"][/caption]

I wanted short sleeves with a black binding with tiny pleats built into it.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My new cut sleeves"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Plain ol' bias binding"][/caption]

I was so absorbed in making the sleeves I forgot to document the process. What you see next is the finished sleeve.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="I love bias binding"][/caption]

I love the new sleeve. It looks so much younger, instead of 3/4 length sleeves.

Here's another view of the sleeve. I really like my sleeve. Can you tell?

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Another view of the sleeve"][/caption]

Coming back to the missing midsection. I cut out 2 separate pieces of black stretch knit in a vaguely waist-like shape, the front piece one inch wider than the back, the total measurement, about 3/4 my waist measurement.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The missing midsection"][/caption]

I overlocked the side seams together, forming a tube. Then I joined it to the main garment, right sides together.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Pinning the two pieces together at quarterly intervals"][/caption]

Then I hemmed the bottom with a twin needle.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The finished product"][/caption]

Doesn't it look soooo much better? I love the new shirt!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Opshop Treasures and Other Bargains

I had the car last Thursday and went out shopping with a friend. Ita was the lovely church lady who gave me a stack of fabrics to start my stash. She had told me about an opshop at St Aidan's Anglican Church on the corner of OG and Payneham Rd which was only open in the mornings till noon. So we both went there to have a little browse. I was looking for jumpers and winter things, but was told that the winter things was only coming out on Saturday when they were having a fete. I wasn't too disappointed, as I picked up a pretty red Portman's knitted, short-sleeved turtleneck for $3.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="Red Portmans top"][/caption]

However, Little Wyld Man needed his nappy changed, so I went into the hall-where the fete was going to be. And all the winter things were hanging on the rack-the lady in charge said I could have a look if I wanted and if I wanted to buy anything I was welcome to. I went to have a quick browse, not really thinking I'd get anything, seeing as there were more coats than jumpers, and I was after the latter. However, I came across this gorgeous 7/8 wool winter coat with faux fur trim on the collar and on the sleeve, with princess lines but in a swing coat style. I tried it on and Ita and the other salesladies gasped-they said it was so Audrey Hepburn and soooo elegant and sooo me!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="A Frontal View"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="A Back View"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="Another View"][/caption]

The brand was Steve by Searle and on the care label it said CLEAN BY FUR METHOD DO NOT BRUSH PRESS OR STEAM. I went online after that and found and guess what-all of their coats were in upwards of USD400 to 900, although right now they're having a half price sale. I also found the very same coat in black sold on ebay second hand at a starting bid of USD70. It stated that the coat was 70% wool, 20% nylon and 10% cashmere. And guess how much I paid for it at the opshop? $10. Yes. $10. I love the thrill of finding something so beautiful for next to nothing.

The next opshop we went was the Enfield Baptist Church opshop off Hampstead Rd. There, I picked up another red turtleneck and a brown long cardigan, both for $4. I was in a hurry and didn't try either of them. But they fit me perfectly, and Wyld Man especially likes the latter.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="Red Turtleneck"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="Another view."][/caption]

Those boots were on sale at Harris Scarfe's. I wasn't looking for any when I was there, but Wyld Man's been telling me to get another pair, because I keep complaining that pair I have pinches my toes. These were pure leather, and fully lined with leather as well. They were selling retail for $219.95 but was on manager's special for.....$39.95. And I bought them. And love them. They are sooo comfortable. The buckles are on a strap that can be taken off, so I can have 2 different looks too. 2 weeks ago I saw some at BigW for $70, and they were only PVC and I told Wyld Man that I was sure I could get some real leather one's for that price. And I was right.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="My brown long cardigan"][/caption]

This brown long cardi is very young, very versatile and very trendy. I can wear it with practically anything and it keeps me warm.

The next stop was Rivers. They had a catalogue in the newspaper selling women's cable knits for $14. I had to go and have a look to see whether they were worth buying. I'd have to pay$60-70 for knitted jumpers in a shop, $14 for a cable knit is very very good. Even opshops sell them for about $7 each. I got three.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="A olive green shawl neck cable knit."][/caption]

I also got the shawl neck one in black.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="321" caption="A silver turtleneck cable knit"][/caption]

Total spent for 7 items-$63. A pretty good day's work. I'm all set for winter.

White Jacket

Some time ago, I thought that I'd like to have a white suit to wear to church-actually to William's baptism on 28 March. I rummaged through my fabricf stash and decided to make a white suit made of a waffle weave white linen that was given to me, trimmed with a navy blue polkadot fabric. This is the sketch I drew.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Fashion Sketch"][/caption]

It would have a shawl collar, and bias bound with the navy blue polkadot trim, with a sewn in belt feature, accompanied by a pencil skirt in the same polkadot fabric.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The chosen fabrics"][/caption]

This would be the first time I attempted a jacket, as well as make my own bias binding. I've always been intimidated by the jacket, with its facings, sleeve vents, linings and collars-but I decided to take the plunge this time.

I drafted a jacket block from Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The Jacket Draft instructions"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My personal jacket draft"][/caption]

The shawl collar had to be drafted separately on another piece of paper and attached to the main jacket block.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My shawl collar piece"][/caption]

I decided where I wanted my style lines to be and marked them on the main block with pencil, and traced them out onto newpaper with seam allowances.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My cut pattern pieces"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Laying out my pattern pieces on fabric, ready to cut."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The cut fabric "][/caption]

I also cut my interfacing for the jacket facing and the belt.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Interfacing pieces"][/caption]

Next up was the bias binding. I used the continous binding method to make a long chain of binding. I estimated that I needed around 3.5 m of 2.5cm wide binding to go around the jacket. 2.5cm x350cm=875 cm squared, square root of 875 =29.5cm. So I cut a square of polkadot fabric 35cm by 35 cm, and marked 2.5cm intervals on the bias with tailor's chalk.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Fabric square marked on the bias with chalk every 2.5 cm intervals. The marks are not visible here."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="I cut the square into half at a 45 degree angle across the bias"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Now place one half of the square on the other side-making a rhombus like the picture. Match all the chalk marks"][/caption]

Sew the two pieces together with a very small seam allowance and press

The rhombus has to be rolled into a tube and joined together, matching all the chalk marks again. This feels very counter intuitive because it feels like the fabric is twisted.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The rolled tube of fabric"][/caption]

Now I just cut the fabric into one long strip following the chalk marks I made.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My bias strip"][/caption]

To make it suitable for binding, like bias binding you buy in a package, I use my bias tape maker.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Pulling the strip through the bias tape maker and pressing as I pull it through."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My bias binding all pressed and ready to go"][/caption]

It was rather satisfying to make that loooong strip of bias tape.

Before I started sewing, I did all the other incidentals like fusing the interfacing into place.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="I fused the interfacing to the jacket facing."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="My interfaced belt pieces"][/caption]

I sewed the lining pieces together first-to prevent sewing fatigue. You know how you've finished the main garment, then look at your lining and sigh-wishing that you didn't have to do it after all? Well, making the lining first prevents that problem.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="The lining pieces"][/caption]

I started sewing all the main garment pieces together and didn't take pictures because I was in a hurry to finish the jacket. I sewed the binding all around the jacket by hand which took me the better half of two days.

This was the finished jacket.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="639" caption="Finished jacket"][/caption]

HOWEVER- I tried it on. And boy was I disappointed. It didn't fit!!!! Well. It fitted well enough in the shoulders, and had the jacket been a standard design with no in-built belt, it would have fitted beautifully. But, I didn't make a muslin, and didn't anticipate that the draft being a looser fit with standard jacket ease built into it would not carry my design well. My design needed an extremely fitted jacket, with the belt sitting and wrapping the waist precisely. This jacket billowed at the back. And it has so many seams that was I to make the alteration to fit, I'd need to recut the belt piece, as well as take out every seam at the waist, where I counted at least 8 seams. It's such a pity because I loved the colour combination-it's so pretty! Grgh! And because it didn't fit, I haven't the motivation to finish making the buttonholes nor put in buttons. And now it's officially an UFO-UnFinished Object. Sigh. I haven't the heart to make my polkadot pencil skirt either. That'll teach me to make a muslin next time I make a new draft of something.