Saturday, 16 December 2017

Mousse on the Move.....getting into the festive spirit

The festive celebration at work is always a do-it-yourself affair from a sausage sizzle in the park to fancy dress to creating themed festive rooms in our basement car park.  They are generally fun (apart from the fancy dress) with varying numbers of us involved and in the party spirit.

The 2015 theme was a Masterchef type competition to provide dessert.  Having just delivered a major project we were feeling relaxed and creative enough to enter a team, called Mousse on the Move.  This was a play on our mousse dessert and the name of the organisation's transformation (restructure) project. We were obviously feeling very creative because our dessert name was Take a Shot.

Creates Sew Slow: Mousse on the Move

The week before the party we stopped being relaxed and got competitive.  We had to have a team identity and fabulous table decorations.  I was given the role of creative director so of course sewing had to be involved somewhere.

Plain cheap red aprons were purchased for the five of us and I embroidered them with our logo (the reindeer from the Embroidery Online machine embroidery collection called Elegance Entwined), our names, team name and date. This was a relatively easy sew because the machine embroidery unit takes over once I have designed the layout in the embroidery software and I limited the design to two colours for speed. The embroidery was also carefully sized so that it fit into my Bernina 830 jumbo hoop (400 x 260 mm).  I didn't hoop the apron but used sticky back stabiliser which was hooped then the apron was carefully laid on top so that the centre of the design was positioned where I had marked the design centre on the apron (above the pocket).  It was still relatively stressful because I had to get all five embroideries finished on Sunday before I flew back to work on Monday.

Creates Sew Slow: Mousse on the Move

The aprons were a big hit and we looked like the winning team!! Here we are at the awards ceremony with our box of Roses chocolates (we got one each!).  Heads chopped off to protect the innocent.

Creates Sew Slow: Mousse on the Move

Now about those table decorations we decided they had to be edible (we did have some glass berries scattered amongst the goodies but we had to remove them as people kept trying to eat them).

Creates Sew Slow: Mousse on the Move

The mousse (our official dessert) carefully portioned in a disposable shot cup was delicious and easy to make using the Annabel Langbein Three-ingredient Chocolate Mousse recipe.  The hardest part was chopping the marshmallows which stick to the knife. Melting the chocolate and folding in the cream was child's play. The mousse was made the night before so all we had to do on the day was add a dob of cream on the top with a raspberry.

Creates Sew Slow: Mousse on the Move

Then we had the Strawberry Santas, made on the day, we didn't use the icing sugar just the whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate chips.

Chocolate dipped candy cane Reindeer (obviously Rudolf with the red nose), made the night before, involved more Whittakers Dark Ghana chocolate, white Jelly Beans and Jaffas. A black icing pen provided the pupils for all of our reindeer eyes and melted chocolate was used as the glue.

The chocolate reindeer biscuits, also made the night before, used chocolate Florentines as the base with white Jelly Bean eyes, a Jaffa nose and pretzels for the antler. You could use Mallowpuffs or Choco-ade biscuits for the base or try this recipe (a bit more involved than ours). I couldn't find the actual recipe we used which involved mini Reese peanut butter cups for the nose with a Jaffa on top. The peanut butter cups ran out before the Florentines so we just stuck the Jaffa directly onto the remaining biscuits.

Creates Sew Slow: Mousse on the Move

Everything we made was pretty easy and would suit cooking with kids. There was no real cooking as we used the catering kitchen at work which is geared more towards serving and tidying up than preparing an actual meal.

Once we started looking for simple to do festive treats it was amazing just how many ideas there were from a quick internet search.

If you think the quality of these photographs is higher than the normal blog standard that is because most of them are the official photographs used for our intranet.  It was quite difficult to get photographs because the masses were eating our desserts before the starting gun had fired.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Creative Construction Quilt Symposium 2017: The Exhibitions Part 1

The New Zealand national quilt symposium held in Christchurch in October was a visual feast.  Unfortunately I didn't get to see all of the exhibitions just the exhibitions held at St Andrew's College and at the Arts Centre.  The main open exhibition was held in the Great Hall at the recently re-opened Christchurch Arts Centre.  Part 2 will contain my selection from the quilts displayed at St Andrew's College.

The environment of the Arts Centre was as inspiring as the quilts. It was so wonderful to see those parts of the Arts Centre that have been restored since the 2011 earthquake.

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 Exhibition at the Great Hall
The Great Hall at the Arts Centre
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch Arts Centre
The Great Hall
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch Arts Centre

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch Arts Centre
The repaired and the work in progress

These quilts are all from the "Open" section - any quilt made since 1 February 2015.  Difficult to choose a single favourite from these - Ottoman Odyssey, Blossom Song and Breaking Waves are all contenders for different reasons.

Best in Show (Best Piecing Winner) - Fly by Donna Ward (147 x 147 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Fly by Donna Ward

Artist's statement - Inspiration for Fly was taken from some beautiful Alison Glass fabrics and my love for foundation paper piecing, the New York Beauty block and free motion quilting.  This quilt literally just grew wings and flew.

Aotearoa Quilts on Tour Merit - Metamorphosis by Donna Ward (75 x 78 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Metamorphosis by Donna Ward

Artist's statement - Metamorphosis is free motion machine quilted on silk fabric with designs inspired from the Pacific.

Judges Choice (Marianne Hargreaves) - The Sultan's Jacket by Anna Williams (68 x 80 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - The Sultan's Jacket by Anna Williams

Artist's statement - Inspired by the patterns used on old Turkish clothing during a visit to Istanbul.

Best Applique Winner - Ottoman Odyssey by Valda Sutton (96 x 206 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Ottoman Odyssey by Valda Sutton

Art Winner - Blossom Song by Ruth de Vos (155 x 151 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Blossom Song by Ruth de Vos

Landscape / Pictorial Merit - Breaking Waves by Dianne Southey (88 x 167 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Breaking Waves by Dianne Southey

Modern Winner - Year of the Cat by Tracy Carew (188 x 188 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Year of the Cat by Tracy Carew

Traditional Merit & Best Use of Quilting Merit - Red Radiant by Colleen Burr (200 x 202 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Red Radiant by Colleen Burr

You could definitely tell that this piece was inspired by Sharon Schamber with the coiled wire edges and lattice strips attaching the centre panel to the borders.

Traditional Winner - Ties that Bind by Jeanie O'Sullivan (229 x 229 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Ties that Bind by Jeanie O'Sullivan

Power of 2 Winner - Many Kisses by Sheryl Anicich and Debra DeLorenzo (124 x 186 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Many Kisses by Sheryl Anicich & Debra DeLorenzo

Artist's statement - This quilt was the result of a play day Debra and I had.

Memory by Janet Lambarth (90 x 60 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Memory by Janet Lambarth

Artist's statement - The stitching of this piece was very intuitive and reflective and I found myself thinking of the people gone before who had worn these items. The finished piece has taken on the character and shape imposed by the hand stitching.

Off World by Debra DeLorenzo (110 x 116 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Off World by Debra DeLorenzo

Artist's statement - Developing the strata series, by adding raw edge applique motifs on top, playing with horizontal lines, and shadows to create landscapes.

Off the Floor #2 by Gael O'Donnell

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Off the Floor #2 by Gael O'Donnell

Water's Edge by Anne Groufsky (100 x 105 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - Water's Edge by Anne Groufsky

Artist's statement - The shells at the local beach influenced my choice of colour and line.

I Have a Fabric Problem II by Anne Reid (118 x 118 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - I Have a Fabric Problem II by Anne Reid

Artist's statement - I cut a 2.5" square of every fabric I purchased during 2014.  Believe it or not this is me trying to limit my fabric shopping.

City Lights by Susanne Jensen (68 x 127 cm)

Creates Sew Slow: Creative Construction 2017 - City Lights by Susanne Jensen

Artist's statement - The inspiration for this quilt came after a dying class where one of my friends dyed a beautiful piece of red fabric.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

This pattern has a very special place in my heart.  I made it back in 1990 from a bright pink Liberty Tana Lawn with matching shorts and culottes and I still have all three garments in my wardrobe. I fancy making the culottes into a dress which could be worn with the matching jacket if it underwent surgery to remove the 1980's shoulders.

The reason for its special place in my heart is I wore the outfit on the second date with my partner back in 1991.  I lived some distance from work and used to stay with Cath at least one night a week to avoid the long drive.  The forecast when I left home was for good weather so I packed my matching Liberty ensemble for the date.  Two days later, on date night, the weather was truly rubbish - cold and wet as English summers do so well. To make matters worse we were going out in my beloved's open-top little sports car (a Caterham Lotus Seven which we still have today). So I went on my date wrapped up in Cath's quilted winter coat complete with hood which I needed to protect me from the rain.

Fast forward twenty odd years and I made it again in a charcoal grey merino wool which I had carefully felted and then American smocked. I wear this jacket a lot and felt a brown version would be a useful addition to my wardrobe.

The finished garment

So here is the fourth version of this jacket.  Should I mention that I actually bought the pattern for the waistcoat which I have never made.  Unlined and with lapped seams (as the wool won't fray) it makes a wonderful reversible garment.

Side one
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown JacketCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

Side two
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown JacketCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

The fabric

This is a lovely double faced wool from The Fabric Store.

Left: Side One                                              Right: Side Two

For the facings (on side one) I used a brown leather with a faux snake skin look also from The Fabric Store.

The sewing pattern

This is Vogue 2494 a Donna Karan pattern copyrighted 1990.  The jacket is described as loose fitting, lined, waist length jacket has extended shoulders, shoulder pads, shaped front hemline and long sleeves.

Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494

The first time I made this jacket was for a work colleague.  Anne had a black tie event to go to but didn't want to buy a new dress. So we went fabric shopping at Owen Owen in our lunch hour and found an electric blue polyester taffeta and I made her the V2494 jacket and a matching large removable bow for her dress. Back in the early 1990's Owen Owen in Uxbridge had an excellent sewing department where many of my patterns, fabric and sewing supplies came from.  Now even Owen Owen don't exist.

The pattern alterations

Given this is a pattern from 1990 with those 1980's extended shoulders and 1" shoulder pads the major alterations were around the shoulders and armholes.

For both the front and back jacket pieces I measured down 1" at the armhole edge tapering to nothing at the neck edge.  This removes the 1" of height allowed for the shoulder pad.

On this pattern the back neckline is 1/2" below the back of the neck so I raised the back neckline by that 1/2".  Then measuring in from centre back I established how wide my shoulders should be and made a mark. At this mark I added 1/2" for my forward shoulder adjustment and drew the shoulder line tapering back to nothing at the neck edge.

Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494

Once I had the new shoulder seam marked I used my woven fabric armhole template to draw in the armhole.
Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494

For the front jacket piece I measured in from the armhole edge to remove the same amount from the shoulder seam as I did on the back jacket pattern piece.

Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494

Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494

Creates Sew Slow: Donna Karan Vogue 2494

The other changes I made were:
  • lower the bust point by 7/8"
  • lengthen the body by 1.25"
I didn't use the sleeve that came with the pattern, instead because I had used my armhole templates I used my favourite woven sleeve which is already adjusted for my forward shoulder.

The sewing

Like all Vogue patterns it uses 5/8" seam allowances but I only sewed 3/8" seam allowances which meant that the circumference at the bust was 42.5" instead of 41.5" which gave me the right amount of ease for this simple little jacket.

The jacket was sewn with lapped seams. The seam allowance was removed from one side of the seam then lapped 3/8" over the other side of the seam.

The hems were turned up 1/2" then the leather band was edge stitched to the garment (covering the hem allowance).

A really simple garment to sew with no fastenings needed.

The outfit of the day

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

Here it is being worn with my teal velvet burnout Vogue 1250 dress and Mi Piaci Martha ankle boots.  It also looks good with my Vogue 8976 Tree top and brown leggings.

Plus here it is with my World trousers, Verge lace top (one of my last purchases from Quinns of Merivale) and once again my favourite Mi Piaci Martha ankle boots.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 2494 Double Faced Little Brown Jacket

For anyone not native to Christchurch Quinns was a go-to fashion store that had everything from lingerie to the finest evening gown, which closed in 2016.  Quinns always had that special piece needed to fill a wardrobe gap and I miss the wide  range of designers they had available.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

Yes its another Donna Karan Vogue 1250 dress - number four.  In my defence I bought the fabric to be something else entirely but it really wanted to be this dress.  The drape of the fabric just so suited the cowl neck and overall look of V1250.  I do have a bit of the fabric left over so maybe it can become the top it was meant to be, albeit a slightly different incarnation paired with a black rayon knit.

The sad thing is that one of my colleagues has started to recognise this dress pattern, so perhaps four in my life is enough.  Or maybe I should think about altering the pattern for long sleeves or side seams and a more A-line skirt or.....  Definitely something to think about as I do really love V1250.

The finished garment

Fabulous, as expected. I made and wore this when the weather was cooler with my knee high boots but it works really well for the milder spring weather too. This dress looks pretty good photographed in front of the azalea bush on a lovely spring day.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet DressCreates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

The fabric

This is a "soft stretchy burnout velvet in teal, 60% polyester, 30% nylon, 10% spandex. 60" wide, 4.4oz per square yard" from Stonemountain and Daughter which is still available on their website.  They also have it in a burgundy colour.

Creates Sew Slow: Teal stretchy burnout velvet

The fabric cut edge rolls quite a bit and being a polyester isn't that keen to maintain a sharp crease (or any kind of crease) which made hemming fun.  It also leaves tiny fibres behind when you cut it so you get sparkly jewels on your dining table (aka the cutting table). Other than that the fabric was a pleasure to sew.

The pattern

A very brief and to to point description - a close fitting dress which doesn't detract from its marvelousness.  Even if it is recognised as "that" dress I won't stop making it. If the right fabric comes along there will be more versions of V1250 in my wardrobe.

Creates Sew Slow: DKNY Vogue 1250Creates Sew Slow: DKNY Vogue 1250

The pattern alterations

This pattern is a true TNT for me.  The alterations are incorporated into my tracing of the pattern (forward shoulder, sway back, raised armhole, deeper cowl).  My original post for this dress contains more detail about how I altered the pattern.  I also altered my pattern this time to have 3/8 inch seam allowances as I prefer it to the more traditional 5/8 inch seam allowance, especially when using the overlocker.  I think this version sewed together the best of all due to these 3/8" seam allowances.

The sewing

Swiftly sewn up on the overlocker.  I do get a nicer hip dart if I mark my seam allowance using the French curve. I just find that I guide the overlocker in a more graceful curve and the end of the dart doesn't bubble.  The post for the third version of this dress shows how I do the armhole hem.

Outfit of the day

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

So here it is as worn in the cooler weather with my Sable and Minx 70% wool and 30% cashmere bright pink cardigan with Mi Piaci Jordan over the knee boots

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1250 DKNY Teal Burnout Velvet Dress

For the warmer spring weather it is paired with my self made Donna Karan V2494 waist length brown jacket and the often worn Mi Piaci Martha ankle boots.