Friday, January 07, 2011

Sewing Marathon

i love my collection of old wooden spools, even if the thread tends to snap on the machine

Here are the results of Thursday's 12 hour marathon sewing bee with Anna. It was a hot humid day so we took frequent breaks in the paddling pool to cool off. In fact we spent the whole day in our swimsuits and sarongs, which is the perfect summer sewing outfit as you can try on half-made garments for fit without having to change.

When I arrived, the machine was already threaded with turquoise so I jumped right in with altering a skirt into a dress, inspired by Bored and Crafty. The beautiful bright skirt which my Aunt Laura gave to my mother and she eventually passed to me was originally made by sewing circular tiers so there are no vertical seams. I've never seen a garment made like that before. It was a wonderfully full skirt, so when I trimmed the bottom 25cm, I had enough fabric to make the whole top of the dress, a matching hairband and still have some leftover for future fun. The finishing touch to my new dress is a beautiful embroidered applique flower from the amazing box of goodies that Helen sent last month.

This white skirt has been altered twice before at sewing bees and ended up shorter than I really wanted so this round of sewing bee the objective was to lengthen. I bought some bridal veil, cut it into two different widths and sewed them inside bias binding so I could attatch it to the skirt lining without getting the open weave of the veil tangled up in machinery. I also trimmed the outer skirt's hem with some ribbon to cover up the ugly yellow overlocking that I did last time. I'm not too keen on how the ribbon looks, so this long-suffering yet much loved skirt may yet return to a future sewing bee for more attention.

In an unprecedented flurry of attention to clothing I made a pair of shorts as well. These had been bright blue trousers which I cut off just above the knees and trimmed with part of an orange flowery skirt from Helen's magical box. The rest of the skirt I made into a drawstring potato bag.

set of four vegetable bags

In fact I was on a bag-making roll. I tentatively made a few net vegetable bags to take to the greengrocers and store fruit and veg. They are light enough to not add to the weight of my purchases, reusable, washable, pretty, close securely and open easily! They were also super quick and easy to make and I wish I'd bought more of the nylon net so I could have made a full set for myself and some to give away.

Inspired by the double drawstring technique I was using for all my pouch style bags, Anna was easily convinced she should make a lettuce bag. She used a wonderful handprinted Pacifica print tea towel and used it straight away to make our lunch salad.

Anna's lettuce spinning and storage bag

Anna spent the day altering patterns, cutting fabric and overlocking. I think she was deliberately staying off the sewing machine because I was in my usual obsessive focus and running the machine hot. I'd done most of my planning, cutting and pinning in the days before our bee. At Anna's suggestion I have discovered the wonderful world of free sewing patterns on the internet. I'm all keen to make this pouf, as soon as I find the right kind of fabric, but in the meantime I was looking for a peg bag pattern and found this.

I made three little blue baskets from scraps of quilting fabric passed on from Anna's friend Tai, decorated with sweet wooden hand buttons from Helen.

mini peg bag

I altered the basket pattern to make a slightly taller peg basket (it wouldn't hold a normal quantity of clothes pegs but I don't have very many). Anna was cutting out shoulder bags from these gorgeous floral print linen tea towels and offered me the offcuts: just enough for a short little peg basket.

It was a long, busy, fun, productive day and I finished ten separate items, almost all repurposing old clothes and off cuts. I also harvested yellow and purple beans and two kinds of peas from Anna and Chris' vegetable garden. We have gone in together to buy a freezer, so I have blanched the beans and frozen them into one- and two-portion sized bags to grace our shared freezer. Which is already well on the way to being an overflowing cornucopia of summer harvest: Anna and I picked about 8 kg of blueberries the next day, and Chris went fishing and caught four fish!

beans in a net vegetable bag


Lynn Taylor said...

Love the net vegetable bags - such a good idea! Wow, you achieved so much in one day.

Carol said...

You look great in your new dress. Wow, what a marathon of a sewing day! Net bags are brilliant.

Bronwyn Lloyd said...

What an epic day of thrifty crafting goodness. That altered frock is gorgeous!

Joan said...

Woo hoo! What a sewing day indeed. Love the vege bags.