Wacky Wednesday

Yesterday was my 'sewing disaster day', I wasted a whole day trying to sew a Teddy Bear.....My worst nightmare happened......The fabric gave way as I was stuffing the bear (all frayed and shredded it was).  But that should have been no surprise to me because the fabric was so old. I should have known better than to use material from an old Hugh Hefner like smoking jacket......It was probably as old as Hugh too.....I've put away my disaster I can't bare to look at the half stuffed shredded satin Teddy Bear...

Today is a new sewing start and I've decided to simplfy my sewing experience.....McCalls Pattern M5826 (Wacky Creatures) was the answer. One high energy kitten made my sewing day a bit frazzled.... But kittens have got to sleep sometime so all was good from then on.

A very easy pattern to use, I didn't really look at the instructions. One problem I did have was with the the legs for B they didn't seem to fit, so I cut the sewing allowance off them...Then they looked odd and too small so I put some of  the seam allowance  back on again...I don't like how McCalls print out their pattern pieces in this craft pattern. You don't know what the number is on any particular piece. I solved this by writing my own numbers on them.

This project is a present so I wanted to sew a heart made out of my fathers old tie to put on the front. Since I inherited all of his ties no one has any of them and I thought it would be nice to give a piece back (I've hoarded them for 30 years). Overall it was fun making this 'Wacky Creature' I'd do it again.

You need to tape the legs, arms to the body You can mix and match).
I always use white tape it's easier to remove when finished...
All taped ready to do but I added the sewing allowance back again...
Ready to cut out and the finished heart (60 year old tie)
All finished and ready to go....
Fabric is an open weaved tartan cotton

How Many Lives Does a Cat Have?

Is it seven or is it nine? Never mind I'll work it out......... I think this kitten has a death wish he sure is crazy.......

Today I'll hang myself.....
Or shall I bungee jump instead.....
Better yet I'll play on the table....
Now for the big buzz.....
No more thrills time to sleep......and now I can
finally sew in peace!

The Rat Catcher's Apprentice

When I was little I had a thing for cats......I  even started befriending wild ones (the result was a bad case of ringworm).  I even tried to cut my Granny's cat Monty with her great big dressmaking scissors (they were so huge). So it seems like cats and sewing are a good match for me!

Hence a stray little kitten has now found a patch of his own at my place....she is a pin picker, sewing pattern destroyer all in one.......You cannot sew anything with this cat around and forget about putting wooly nylon on your overlocker it all ends up a tangled mess.... In fact I have had it, one sewing disaster today is too much for me. I think I'll give up and start again tomorrow! It's just one of those bad sewing days.......
The Cat Nip is a hive of bees perhaps I'll send her outside to get high
and chase bees......

The Joys of Linen

Ahhh.....the wrinkles when you've been sitting awhile. This skirt I made to add length to a top (I didn't sew the top).The fabric was a medium weight Linen and the pattern I used was New Look 6789 View D. I've sewn this pattern many times, though this is the first time I've attempted View D.

Looking a bit wrinkly and sack like....and too big
but that's no surprise I think it stretched! Or the
 person wearing is thinner...

The 22nd Feburary

It's hard to believe a year has gone by since the earthquake......Not much has changed in our environment here, we all still travel bumpy roads and still continue to see the damage everyday......We put flowers in the Avon and to write a note on 'The Tree of Hope' to remember those that were lost....

All the flowers I had left in the garden.....
The fallen city in the background...
Messages on 'The Tree of Hope' mines in there
We followed the flowers down the river for
a while.......
And I found this amazing tree by the old!
People putting flowers in the river in the east...

Bernina Activa 220

I don't really use my Bernina Activa 220....just for mending. But I've kept the sewing machine set up so I can do some sewing.  They say timing is everything..... the time has been right for me to finally appreciate this machine for what it is..... I've never been that keen on my Activa because I much preferred my mechanical version (this machine was my back-up Bernina). A sales lady talked me in to buying it when I was going to buy another Bernina mechanical. But anyway I'm giving it a proper run for a change. Maybe I'll take it to a sewing class or something this year.......

What I like about the Bernina Actva 200:
It's a not that much different from a Bernina mechanical machine. It has the same threading as my 801 and I can use the Bernina Activa's 220 bobbins in the 801.
I like that it's not a heavy sewing machine like the mechanical one.
I love the needle threader ( I still haven't got my head around the Juki needle threader).
I do love Bernina bobbin winders, very simple (My mechanical one is the best though, it cuts the thread while winding this one doesn't).
I do like that that the sewing machine has a handle and is portable, very easy to take to sewing lessons.
You wind the electrical foot chord underneath the foot pedal, very convenient.
I also like the simplicity of this machine it's pretty basic and robust.......
The machine has a needle up and down feature.
I like the bobbin is in the front underneath. I prefer bobbins this way (just my preference).
It has temporary stitch memory which is good too.

What I don't like is:
You only get five feet!
That it's computerized (just joking)
Nothing really I'm a Bernina fan......
It was quite expensive machine for minimal options when compared to sewing other machines....Bernina is always expensive!
It doesn't have an automatic buttonhole it is manual....
There is no table (this is an extra and it's clear plastic).

What I can't comment on is:
How good the machine is for quilting as I'm not a quilter. For constructing a garments it is perfect and easy to use, especially for a beginner sewer.

What would I like to get for this machine:
A magnifying set for better viewing when sewing.
A sew on button foot and the optional buttonhole foot in the manual.
Change the light for something much brighter.

A good place to find Bernina bobbins is on e-bay or sometimes Trade-me as well. Generic feet can be bought on e-bay. I have the all in one Bernina feet which I got when I bought the sewing machine. I thought it was easier for me )i might lose the clip on feet)...But lately I have been thinking they might be a good idea too! If you want to personalise the facade of your Bernina Activia 220 you can buy skins for your Bernina here.

Small machine compact and sturdy, but I think the
Bernina Activa 220 has been discontinued
Measurement on the front and my favourite place to put pins....
Handle makes the machine easily portable

Straight stitch foot...... soft red pouch for sewing
feet and accessories in background....
Same bobbin system and race as the Bernina 801
Push button for changing of stitches and buttonholes
Easy manual to read but  finding the info you want can be
a little bit confusing... but you get there in the end!
Extra fancy stitches with clip on viewer
Red soft cover case behind.....
And one nosey kitten......whose tail will be
sewn if he's not careful! 

The Lantern Festival

So many lanterns, so many to see at the celebrations for the Chinese New Year....'The Year of the Dragon'

As night came it all looked so magical....

Another Kwik Sew and a big Cleanup

What am I doing this morning? Cleaning up the sewing mess I made on the long weekend ( I don't have a sewing space). I'm not getting far because now I've 'jumped ship' and are now blogging...

After I finished Kwik Sew 3308 View C I continued on to View A (I didn't clean up the sewing mess from View C so you can imagine the chaos). Kwik Sew View A is a simple halter top, gathered at the neck. It buttons at the back of the collar. The fabric I used is a embroidered white cotton fabric with a paisley design.

I had no problems with the pattern, it fitted very well. For a longer length I just cut the length to the XL size instead the of M then I added on another inch in length. I love this top it's so 60's I had one just like it in a floaty pink.....Perhaps that's why I was so keen to sew it for someone else. Oh well, time to go.....I've  had my break it's back to the clean up now!

This is the second dummy I have owned and this one sports a
 big bust. Which makes the fitting harder as I can't shrink it...
Now the bust is looking looking bigger in this top!

A Kwik Sew

I'm home alone so I'm sewing..... I love sewing when I'm on my own. All has gone very well except for the neck tie...I hate those things. I usually turn them using a knitting needle I can't do it any other way, I've tried but I get stuck!  Turning a tie I'll call my 'lost hour' that's how long it took me to turn that skinny tie to the right side. I gave up at the end  as I noticed my stitching coming apart......What a pain!......I  managed to cut another tie and pressed the edges in and top stitched it..... I finally had neck tie, not the same as the pattern but at least it won't fall apart!

Kwik Sew 3308 View C is very easy to assemble and sew. If your familiar with Kwik Sew Patterns you'll know their pattern pieces are fantastic as they are printed on white strong paper and instructions are very clear. The material I chose was a cotton lawn voile, nice and cool great for summer. I liked the colours and the splotchy pattern of the fabric.  I originally bought the pattern (they retail for about $16.95 here) to make View A but I decided on making View C first.  I loved using this sewing pattern it was very easy to put together and the top looked like it was supposed to.

Kwik Sew 3308 View C
She's never far from the fact she's
sitting in Liquefaction......

Pavlova's in Paradise

Pavlova's for all occasions that's us here in New Zealand.  Thank goodness most celebrations we have as a family are at the end and beginning of the year. Otherwise we would be making them all year. Here is my recipe.....

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup castor sugar
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup cream
Seasonal fruit

* Beat egg whites and salt till stiff peaks form
* Gradually add the castor sugar and beat thoroughly
* You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture will not fall out
* Add cornflour, vanilla and vinegar and beat thoroughly
* Line tray with baking paper add pavlova mixture in a a circle shape
* Bake at 125 deg C for 1 1/2 hours
* Turn oven off and leave Pavlova in oven until cold
* Whip cream and decorate it

Oops......just a little crack, still tastes good  though!

This is the other Pavlova I make is a chocolate one, it's Nigella's  Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova....very rich and moreish! The Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova recipe can be found here.

The first time we made a Chocolate Pavlova and it does really taste
best with raspberries......
Chocolate Pavlova, a decadent desert....Strawberries were used this
year, raspberries were so expensive. I did buy some to use on
the pavlova but they went mouldy so quik!

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