Monday, 27 January 2014

It's not about the bike

I don't own a bike.  I don't really like bikes*.  I can't remember the last time I rode a bike… Even when I visit San Francisco I take a car over the Golden Gate Bridge rather than ride a bike.

I used to ride a bike - more than 20 years ago when I was at university - and I have vivid memories of head winds, torrential rain, water from the back tyre saturating my undies and making my backside look like I needed to wipe, and crazy Christchurch drivers trying to collect their 100 points for collecting a cyclist.  My purple-blue mountain bike (yes, even I have tried mountain biking!) sat in the garage collecting dust for about 10 years before I gave it to a friend for his teenage daughter.  When it was cleaned, the bike looked like new.  I'd rather be sewing or, let's be honest,  have a root canal than ride a bike.

However, most of my workmates ride bikes.  Some even do it for fun!?!

But just because I don't ride, doesn't mean that I don't enjoy watching a good bike race or reading about one.  I followed Lance Armstrong's achievements and read his fairytales books, watched his battle with Alberto Contador, saw Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome all win the Tour de France, and squealed with delight when Sarah Ulmer won gold for NZ in the individual pursuit at the Athens Olympics.  I snapped up a copy of The Flying Scotsman DVD and watched it while sewing.  And then I became obsessed with reading everything David Walsh had written about Armstrong and the Tour de France; Tyler Hamilton's confessions about doping, and David Millar's fall….

I wanted to try out the fabric transfer paper I have had sitting in my sewing room for a few years (Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper).  I didn't know what to do with it until I saw the funky t-shirts Lightning McStitch made for Christmas.  I searched the internet for an appropriate picture for one of my mad biker/biking friends and found a vintage bike graphic at

And then I made a t-shirt for one of his kids

size 6-12 months 

Obviously I added the caption.  It is the title of Lance Armstrong's first book.  Ironic really given the circumstances of the last year….Yep, Lance, it wasn't (about) the bike after all….

The pattern is the Oliver + S field trip raglan t-shirt (again).  The fabric is an organic cotton remnant I found at Tessuti fabrics in Melbourne.  It is horribly off grain and a nightmare to work with.  No wonder it was on sale!  I added ribbing to the neckline because the self-fabric binding I made looked amateurish in this fabric.  The ribbing is from the Ottobre etsy store.

The transfer looks great and there is no shiny film left on the fabric.  I'll be interested to see how it washes up.  I think the t-shirt looks quite professional, even if it is a little conceited to say so.  I'm afraid that I might become a transfer junkie….

However, I managed to suppress my preoccupation with fabric transfers for a short period and whipped up a couple more field trip t-shirts over the weekend for another little boy:

size 18-24 months 

And a hopscotch t-shirt for his older sister

 size 4 years

*I suspect a couple of my blog readers will considerate this a blasphemous statement

Sunday, 26 January 2014

a bit late…

Ok, so everyone posted their recap of 2013 at the beginning of the month and, no doubt, are now into the thick of sewing and crafting for 2014.  But not me.  I have been on holiday.  I sought out fabric and craft stores in New York, California, Munich and Barcelona and packed my suitcases with goodies to use at some stage….  although it appears that I am afflicted with SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) so perhaps these overseas purchases won't get used by me after all.

At any rate, I tried to make a teeny, tiny dent into my various stashes in 2013.  I used a lot of Oliver + S patterns - including a number I hadn't sewn before:

Family reunion dress; hopscotch top; hopscotch dress; badminton skort x2; puppet show tunic; field trip raglan t-shirt; school photo dress; music box jumper

book report dress; roller skate tunic; hopscotch top; ice-cream dress; Sunday brunch a-line skirt; class picnic shorts; playdate dress; seashore sundress; Little Things to Sew backpack 

tea party sundress; croquet dress; music box jumper; art museum trousers; after school pants; music box jumper; birthday party dress; library dress; secret agent trench coat
field trip raglan t-shirt; 2+2 blouse; hopscotch skirt; field trip raglan t-shirt; sailboat top x2; family reunion tunic; firefly jacket; sailboat top

And, although there may have been a bit of Oliver & S favouritism going on, I sewed patterns from other companies too:

Ottobre creative workshop 301 Best T-shirts x 5; Pink t-shirt has sleeves from No 21 4/ 2006; Heidi & Finn ruffle bolero;  Ottobre pants No 22 4/2006; Ottobre pants No 3 1/2010; Ottobre leggings  No 23 4/2009
Swing coat from Japanese pattern book; Ottobre hoodie 16 4/2007; Ottobre Paris jacket No 30 6/2007; Ottobre No 19 3/2011; Jalie 3133; Ottobre No 6 3/2011; Spacefem Onsies from Spoonflower x 3; bastardised No 29 3/2009

I did a little quilting:
Christmas stocking Vogue 7375;Stargazey Slender Starz quilt; unfinished flower quilt (my design)

And some knitting:

big sweater little pockets; Tama x 2; explorer vest; autumn leaves

I knitted another owl jersey in July while I was at a conference but I haven't managed to sew on the last 8 buttons.  Must do that.

So a relatively productive year for me despite work commitments, conferences and holidays away from the craft barn.  No favourite but I'm nearly always pleased with the item I just finished… until I start something else.  Hopefully the majority of these items have been used - or even loved (is that too much to ask?!?) - by the people they have gone to.

And now, on with the 2014 show!