Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Japanese sewing books

Phew. I am working at the Queensland Theatre Company right now. Making costumes for Grimm Tales. The costumes are amazing and if you are around Brisbane I would recommend going to see the show.

One thing about sewing all day is that you don't really feel like sewing all night when you get home. So tonight I thought I would post about Japanese sewing books and imagine that I have a magic sewing fairy in the cupboard. My three sewing wishes would be...

The first one I have is Feminine Wardrobe and I love this sleeveless bow top! 

The second book I have is Sweet Dress Recipe and  really like the pin tuck details on the skirt and dress (two wishes in one?)

Finally I have an accessories book and I love, love, love this back draped (deceptively simple from the front) cardi. YUM.

So where to get them if you are interested!

I go to Pompadours Craft cafe on Esty to look inside them and I have bought two recently(she also runs a Ebay store and often has more pictures of the inside pages there). The postage can work out to make it more expensive than the second option which is yesasia (I have linked to the Pattern Magic book, if you scroll down it gives you other pattern book options) 

I could not get one of the books I was looking for on yesasia so that's why I ordered from the esty shop. But if you buy from the yesasia over a certain amount you don't pay postage, so it can work out cheaper.If you want to navigate to the endless scroll of Japanese craft books on yesasia here this is the route via mouse clicks: 

Japanese>Books>Lifestyle>Home Arts

I found it useful to get the authors name from the esty store and then put it into the search on yesasia

If you can't be bothered and want to pay about $10 more per book plus $10 delivery go to Tessuti, but the others are cheaper.

Alrighty, if you do order some here is a site that gives you translations for simple sewing terminology.
 I have read that the clothes patterns are for those up to 160cm tall and you have to add 1.5cm seam allowance to all patterns.

Plus if you want to get your hands on some english versions of these pattern book The Book Depository has Pattern Magic for $22.92, much better than the $45 dollars in some of the shops in Brisbane. There is free delivery too. yes one is winging its way to me now... naughty.

Phew! Hopefully the weekend will free me up to draft my undies patterns and get cutting.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Undies update - trim time

I went shopping on the weekend to get some trim for my first project from The Undies Book. I decided that I wanted to put some lace on the camisole, not just as trim but integrated in to the cups and then use the eyelet cotton trim as straps.

I found an good article on threads website entitled 'Create Couture Lingerie' by Alexandra Armillas. She used to make lingerie for Dior, so I reckon she knows a few things. I had been thinking that I am using non-stretch fabrics and might add some buttons to the centre front, but in the pictures on the article the buttons are to the side and it looks very sweet.

Alexandra recommends photocopying the lace and placing it on your toile to preview the design and I will do this. I am getting quite excited by this project and I think my sewing mojo as returned! Yipeee.

Here is the fabric and trim together. I tea dyed the cotton eyelet to give it that vintage feel and blend with the lace better. Next step is to make the patterns.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Q versus Q

One the Collette Patterns blog a few posts a go,Sarai wrote the entry Sewing and your Wardrobe . It was a very interesting post and made me think about my reason for sewing items for my wardrobe and do I really wear the items I sew. I then read a comment from Rachel on Very Prairie's blog from her entry on the pattern magic bow dress (it is divine). The part of the comment stood out was,
 You do exceptional sewing work. I love how you seem to concentrate on quality instead of quantity.
The initial starting point of this blog was to cut back on excess clothes buying and plan to sew items for my wardrobe that were missing. So I did in fact have quality over quantity. Yet when I look at my sewing room I see heaps of material, lots of to be refashions and heaps of patterns... I am over consuming in an indirect way?

I like to reevaluate the things that I do ever now and then and these two posts have made me do just that. I dunno what my actions are yet but Sarai's steps of planning, taking time to make an item will be on my sewing menu.

That in mind I made up a toile today for a pair of silk pants that I have planned to sew for ages! The pattern I am using is McCalls 5983 view E.

 Sewing up a toile is a pain in the bum. BUT its so worth it. From my toile pictures below you can see that I have to take out length at the hip.

I also had to take a vertical wedge on the back leg as it was WAY too baggy.

I will now mark these adjustments onto the pattern piece. I don't like using the toile for a pattern as the fabric can stretch out of shape and therefore my final adjustments can be wrong. Plus, I have to true them so the pattern will match up perfectly when I sew it.

Taking your time on a sewing project can be annoying when you want it now and you still have your whole life to fit in... but if you want quality over quantity it the best way to go.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Undies update

Today (well tonight) I dyed my fabric for my undies project. I decided to use plain cotton voile. I wanted the colour to be like pale pink rose petals so that I can add cream lace and darker dusky rose ribbon. So I set to work.

I have a great 19L stainless steel pot that I keep just for dyeing, plus a little jug to dissolve the dye.

I used a Dylon dye called Pairs Rose that I have had for ages. I only put in one quarter of the dye as I wanted a really pale pink colour. I got the colour that I wanted after much stirring of the pot. I know this kind of dye is not the best to mother nature. So instead of pouring it down the drain and into the sea, I will let it cool completely and research other ways of disposing of it.

I also decided that I would make an under garment set rather than just the petticoat and settled on the Slip Style-style camisole.

Now to draw up those patterns and look for some lace and ribbon.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flying shortcake

About approx 365 moons ago I posted that I was inspired to make a quilted jacket. Below is the blog image I put up.

Reading through this blog I realised that I have many UFO projects (un-finished objects). So I made a list of them (made my cheeks blush) and I am working my way through! I did buy material, the bamboo/cotton wadding , pretty backing material and cut it out... and well that was that... until now. I have been busy tacking the layers together. 

I did ask one of the ladies at work about my tacking and she said I would have to redo. I am to start from the middle and work my way out on each piece. This is so that I do not get any fabric bubbles when I  latter quilt them. I am only quilting the body and main part of the hood. I should have remembered this technique from tailoring class, but a jog of the memory cells is always good.

So why I am making a quilted jacket for the Australian summer? Well that's because I won't be here for most of it... I am going home to Scotland for the festive season! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

 In celebration of this news I made a yummy afternoon tea. Strawberry and rhubarb shortcake. There was enough of the fruit left to make some jam too. 

 In celebrations of this news I made a yummy afternoon tea. Strawberry and rhubarb shortcake. There was enough of the fruit left to make some jam too.

Yum, yum for my tum.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Prints and shows

I am so excited. I am the owner of another  Audrey Kawasaki print, whoo hooo! What makes it sweeter is that all the proceeds of my purchase go to the Red Cross Appeal for the Canterbury Earthquake.

Tony and Amber from the amazing store Pop Up in Wellington, NZ, put up the limited edition print for a silent auction with all proceeds going to the appeal. I won the auction, yipeeee. Thanks to Tony and Amber for raising funds to help out with what must be a frightening and stressful time for people affected by the earthquake. What great people who own an amazing store.

So here is the print I will be receiving shortly.

One other thing to add is that the two shows that I have been working on are due to start their season very soon. The Queensland Ballet are due to perform in an amazing show about the life of legendary dancer Dame Margot Fonteyen, in Fonteyen Remembered. I did some making and millinery for one of the many, many beautiful costumes. To read more and book tickets click here

The show I am currently on is Aida  at the Queensland Opera. The costumes look amazing and in the workshop we had a sneak peek of them on two of the performers when they went to a photo shoot. I really can't wait to see and hear this Opera.  You can find out more here.

I was considering going into my sewing room to sew away, but it is more the case of reality that I need to go in there and erm tidy...but maybe a cuppa first :)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Minnie not so minksy

Hello. Do you remember me? Probably some vague memory in the shadows of your mind. I have not been posting due to a lack of anything very interesting to say and a real dip in my creative mojo. But I do have one thing on my side, continuity. To follow on from my last post I did make that 1970's pattern from the fabric and well here it is (sorry for the no so great pic). I have made another dress and a skirt but have not got around to snapping them yet.

It is hard for you to tell if I look like a retro pottery vase in this top and skirt combo, as I am not in it, but rest assured I do not, in fact I look more like a retro printed glass vase, as Doug pointed out that (while I was standing in the sun lit door way asking 'Do you like it, do you, really do you?') that it may cover my body but you can still see my bra and knickers, tres see through.Oh faux pas!

So I have decided to remedy this by making a cotton petticoat out of my Undies book. Oh yes, the first project out of the book. Here it is in all its illustrative glory.

I have to find some suitable fabric for this project and so will go a hunting. In the meantime I have been enjoying reading this blog Tilly and the Buttons and its on my blog roll from now on.

Ta ta xx

Monday, August 2, 2010

Return of the minks

Hello. I have not been blogging because I have been, unpacking all the boxes for the house, gone to a wedding, gone on holiday, looked after a sick dog (who is all better now) and well I have been working as a costumier!!! Yipeeee.

I am currently working at the Queensland Ballet for their 50th Anniversary Gala Performance. You can book tickets and see the fantastic line up of performances. I can't tell you what I making, but it is so pretty.

I have been planning my next sewing project now that I nearly have my new sewing room organised. I really adore Danish Royal Copenhagen retro pottery. My favorite pattern is on the little dish below.

It just so happens that I found some material that really looks like the pattern above and I plan to keep the retro theme by using a pattern from my stash that I picked up in an op-shop in New Zealand.

I am going to make the separate skirt and top so that I can wear them with other tops and bottoms. Yipee for retro goodness, but lets now hope that I don't turn out looking like a retro pottery vase!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Swings and Roundabouts

I can now officially work and live in Australia as I got my visa! I just had to go back to New Zealand to get it... so that's were I have been! It was a chance to see friends, drink cups of tea ( and the odd cocktail), get some wonder op-shop finds and add to my material stash.

I took the plunge a couple of weeks ago and bought two Collette patterns, Macaron and Ceylon. I had made the Mini Madeleine bloomers from the free pattern on the Collette website and the pattern was fun and a great fit. The Ceylon dress is so pretty and Casey made such a great job of hers that I really wanted to get down to it and make my own version.

The pattern itself is soooo pretty!

It is an envelope that turns into a bound book with the instructions and the pattern in the back sleeve.

I have some material in my stash that will be perfect for this 1940's inspired dress, I just have to wait until the stash clears Aussie customs along with my sewing gear... oh how I miss it all.

One other book to add to my library is The Undies Book by Nanette Rothacker.  I got mine on Esty.

What a plethora of under wear patterns. I have really wanted to be able to create my own camisoles, bras and slips as I always hanker after luxury ones I can not afford. I reckon from all my left over pieces of silk etc I can make some panties and lounge bras. Whoo hoo, before you know it I will be wearing fluffy feather mule slippers and Doug will think he is living with a Hollywood starlet of yester year.

Now in reality, one other thing about this edition of the book is the illustrations. I just love the them, art nouveau with a dash of folk loving 1970s style.

So cute! There are 25 patterns in this book and I intend to make every single one of them, even the Crocheted Victorian Valentine Undies and the Knitted Ski Snuggies I will add a category called The Undies Book to my list. This may turn in to be my life's work, haha, finally finishing those snuggies for my 60th birthday, te he.

I got some rather nice op-shop finds while in NZ, but I will leave that for another day. Have fun.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sunshine state

G'day! My first post from Brisbane, Australia where I now reside. Its been quite exciting so far and I have made friends, caught up with old friends and have generally been enjoying a warm winter.

One other thing that I have been doing is checking out some local op-shops *surprise* Well with no work visa yet and time on my hands what is a lady suppose to do (apart from house chores).

So here is my first lot of Aussie op-shop finds.

We have this really nice line of coloured glass windows in our new pad and I thought it would make a pretty backdrop, but it just makes everything a bit yellow... anyways...

First up a wonderful china tea set for one and novelty spoon with a butterfly motif... great for sipping cold tea on the veranda while contemplating the city views...

Bags, oh how bags and shoes are addictive... the antidote to the 'it' bag is the woven bag ladies, its true, honest!

Then for a bit of lovable tat, the New York compact mirror with hologram effects, this mirror as the State of Liberty, a big red apple and I Love NY on it depending on how you angle it... a tad over done, nah.

Lastly, Guide to Modern Clothing c1962. It is a gem and worth of useful advice.

For example in the section, Planning Your Wardrobe, it has this advice, which for me is relevant being a lady of leisure/house fiancee.

Clothes for home... For house work, such as Saturday cleaning, wear simple, washable clothing which is comfortable and will not get in your way as you work...When you dress neatly and comfortably for the job of housework, you are more attractive to your family, and you help yourself to get at the work and get it done.
Oh dear... I don't think daggy pj bottoms and raggy t-shirt would qualify as attractive to my family, least it explains why Doug greets me with indifference as I hand over a duster to him.

 The book deserves a blog of its own really. The pictures in it are awesome. Here are some of my favorites.

I wish I had the time to put bows on the top of all my hangers... really I do.

I also want to look this stylish when exercising...

 Kinda love this outfit...

Kinda think this one is in the 'working in the garden and looking attractive to the gnomes' section...

Lastly, what colours do I suit, why let me think...

I could go on and on with this book but I shall depart and leave you to ponder on your new fabulous cleaning outfits, toddle pip.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Farewell to mountains that lead to the sea

This is the last time that I will write my blog while I live in New Zealand. Plus a little while until I will write another post... have to find a house and get Internet... most important!

Doug, myself, Isla and Floyd all fly out on the same plane, Brisbane bound tomorrow. It does feel odd leaving what has become my second home, Wellington, New Zealand. Lucky for me then it is only 4 hours away :)

So, its never good bye, its see you later xx

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Drum roll please...

Thanks so much for all your very sweet comments on my refashion and engagement. The winners of the give away are BagQueen and Amy, picked at random by Doug who closed his eyes and aimed at the screen twice :) I really like doing the give away, so expect more in future posts!

I will be making up your envelopes of craftiness as soon as I get back from a short break next week, I shall post them to you :) Just need your addresses, email me at minnietheminks(at)

Here is a pic of some of my other recent op-shop finds.

These shoes are so sweet on and I plan on making one of the 1960's tops from this cute pattern I picked up, I think view two below...

Love her hair and lippy! One other great find was a book of the first 10 years of fashion in the life of Princess Diana. The book is jam packed with pictures, which can be great reference for me if I ever make costumes for a production of her life, te he. But they are also quite funny too, lots of bad 1980's fashion going on.

There is still some fashions that I really liked...

Cute flats, yummy pink dress and a huge overcoat!

Big belt, printed top... maybe ditch the match-y shoes!

I love this whole outfit from the sunnies, bag, collar on the blouse, big chunky bracelet, stripey pants and you know she does get away with that hairdo!

I will be absent from the blog for the next 5 days as I am off on my last holiday in New Zealand for a wee while. Looking forward to soaking in the natural spas, bliss.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

A dress for buttons

While reading all my favorite blogs this morning I skipped over to Frankie and read some old posts.

I now have to own my own house because I need, yes not want, really need this wallpaper! Its button wallpaper, how sweet!

Loving it.

Plus on the Frankie website there was a link to The Package Project. A very sweet idea to connect us craft-arty bloggers. You sign up to be partnered with another crafter somewhere else in the world and then send each other up to five items of loveliness in one ickle envelope. The sign up date is closed for this session. So I thought that I would use this as inspiration for my first ever give away.

It is a bit like lucky dip. I will make up two 5 item envelopes of crafty goodness to give away. Just leave a comment and then I will randomly select two people to send the goodies too :)

Well today I found a cute dress in an op-shop for $7. The shape was tent like but the fabric so bright and happy. The details of the shoulders reminded me of my Vogue 1940's costume too. So I decided to do a quick refashion using shirring. Yay!

Here is what it looked like before its morph via elastic...

I measured just under my bust and then just one inch on to my high hip (and just before the pockets on the dress, yes a dress with pockets, for mini Easter bunnies).

I then loaded my bobbin with shirring elastic and sewed in parallel lines half and inch apart from the line at the high hip to the line just under the bust. I also chopped of ten inches to make it a fun flirty length. Here she is...

Ahhh, so satisfying! Minimal work for a new dress. I got some other op-shop goodies but I will show you them soon! I still have a major amount of packging to do for our move and erm I am finding the most incredible bargains, plus, te he, hehe, te he... I got engaged!!! Whoooooooooooooooooooo!

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