Tuesday, 7 April 2015

South Island Road Trip - Franz Josef Glacier

Travelling further south along the West Coast, we stopped for brunch at lovely Hokitika. Chris spent a little bit of time taking "dronies" on the beach, and had a great conversation with an elderly German man about RC technology.

Franz Josef is a beautiful town. Set up entirely for tourism, it's not short of accommodation or restaurants. We stayed in a lovely little unit about 200m from the main street.

Motel room view

Welcome to Franz Josef!

You can no longer walk up to the face of the glacier (for safety). We trekked along the ground level DoC track across the glacial valley. It was burning hot, and there was no shade.

There was plenty of information about the glacial retreat, with photos and diagrams of how it looked in the past. As little as a few years ago there was substantially more ice. It's incredibly sad to see what climate change is doing, and rather ironic that the only way to get up close to the glacier now is to take a helicopter (using fossil fuels).

Franz Josef was our last stop on the West Coast before driving on the Haast Pass across the Alps to Wanaka.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Friday, 3 April 2015

South Island Road Trip - Auckland to Te Waipounamu

Firstly, I apologise for my absence. This blog is a diary of my non-work endeavours... but I feel as though I've done nothing but work and sleep since some time before Christmas.

That's not quite true though. I've done lots of little things (though no sewing!). Some of them seem mundane, but when I think about how much I enjoy reading other people's day-to-day blogs, it seems silly of me to be ashamed of talking about my own life!

Anyway, Chris and I planned a December road trip around New Zealand's South Island. He spent time living there in his early 20s, but my only trip there was our brief weekend to Akaroa in 2013. Here's our itinerary. MANY thousands of kilometres.

We took the Interislander, as it's the only way to bring your vehicle between the islands (obviously).

I was disappointed by the service, to be honest. Caf├ęs, lounges and entertainment areas are heavily touted by the advertising. But everything was a bit tired and grotty, and the prices in the various restaurants far outstripped the products. It's much more like a long-distance train service than a luxury cruise. At least it's only a few hours, and the weather was calm!

We had a lovely lunch in Blenheim, and then headed west. Whilst Westport is definitely not a tourist destination (more on that in the next post), it was a convenient place to make camp before we headed further down the west coast. Chris had never travelled the west coast before, but remembered an old Argosy aircraft (of course) that you could climb around on in Marlborough.

The rest of the day was uneventful. It was new territory for both of us, and scenery like I'd never seen before. I knew there was much more beauty to come, but pleased to have such a nice start.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Marvellous Missonish material from Mel!

Lovely fabric!
The wonderful Poppykettle surprise-gifted me a few metres of this wide, luxurious fabric some years back. It has been ageing gracefully in the stash, being fondled and admired every time I walked past it. In all honesty, I wanted to wait until I was closer to my goal weight before sewing it. I did not want to waste it on something that would only fit for five minutes!

This particular kind of “Missonish” fabric is both easy and hard to work with. Easy because the fabric is the star without needing a complex pattern, and it is soft and forgiving on the figure. Hard, because it’s loose, has a tendency to bag out, and has no chance of holding any shaping or piecing on its own.

I think there are two ways to approach this textile. Make something that is essentially shapeless, to drape across the body, or underline each piece of the fabric to make a moderately fitted shape. The first approach would result in things like beautiful cowls or waterfall cardigans. The second allows you to make a shaped (if not fitted) dress, skirt, or top.

My first project with this fabric was a pencil skirt. McCall’s 6654 was my base pattern.

I wore this skirt to our date night at Denny's. No, I'm not joking.
I cut the knit lining first from the same pattern and then used it as a template on the main fabric. I would never cut this knit on the fold – it’s much too loose and shifty. Using a template on a flat layout also means that you can line up the stripes as best as possible.

The seams on the shell were all sewed with a narrow zigzag. While it doesn’t ravel too easily, the seams definitely need either two lines of stitching or finishing on all the cut edges. On the plus side, it doesn’t need cutting or finishing on the selvedge. I’ve used mine as the hem! Yay for a quick clean finish.

Nugget just has to be within one metre of his humans at all times.
I sewed the lining with slightly wider seam allowances (thus making it a tiny bit smaller than the shell). Then it was simply attached at the waist, with right sides together. Next I sewed a piece of non-roll elastic into a circle. I placed this at the seam line, flipped the lining to the inside, and sewed directly under the elastic. Voila! Encased elastic waist.
This knit has a tendency to grow in all directions, but the greatest stretch direction would mean vertical lines on the skirt. It wouldn’t look “Missonish” to sew it like that though. If the skirt grows too much during wear (it hasn’t yet), I could tack the side seams to the lining.

I think I'm standing strangely because I haven't worn heels for months.

The great thing is that I used less than half the fabric to make this skirt, so I have plenty for another garment. I’m thinking about making a lined t-shirt (maybe even slightly cropped!). Or possibly a tank. Something that would look like a suit/dress, but works well for separates.

Maybe a whole outfit? Too much? (I don't care)
Have you ever used a fabric that you were afraid to cut? Have you ever had a surprise gift that makes you smile whenever you see it?

Monday, 15 September 2014

XYT - a fun FehrTrade workout top!

I have made this top before. I was about 20kg heavier and didn't build in the bra. So let's pretend that never happened, and that this pattern is new to me...

Shiny garish fabric! My favourite for gym wear.

The XYT pattern comes with great instructions, and a lot of additional handy hints. Melissa has also shared a lot of other people's makes and some extra tips on her website. I appreciate when designers are responsive and involved in this way - and this is not a trait unique to indie designers! The new McCalls blog is great too.

The Y back design is perfect for me. I like having a lot of freedom in my workout tops, as I do both cardio and weights. Anything restrictive won't get worn.

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