Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A dress from 5 rectangles

When I saw this fabric at Alta Moda in Bali:

it triggered a vague memory, of a dress I'd seen with lace inserts... thank goodness for Pinterest. The fabric is a polyester chiffon with sewn-in lace running the length of the fabric. It came in 3 different colours - a taupe / brown, the pink I purchased, and a green tone. It was around A$3.50 a metre. I almost left the store without it, as I'm not keen on polyester, but at that price....! I turned back and went for it.

Here's my plan of attack for the 2m of fabric I purchased:

Here's the inspiration - and the realisation:

Not having sewn much chiffon, and given the fabric was a bargain, I treated myself to a rolled hem foot to assist. True, the rolled hem foot came in a box with 14 other feet, but again, it too was a bargain - all 15 feet for about twice what a rolled hem foot alone would cost! Thanks Sew Much Easier!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Displaying a vintage board game

My 99 year old Nan is determined to die possession-less. She's Marie Kondo-ing with vigour. Luckily I get to intercept some of the stuff, and see if it "sparks joy" with me. This piece did, battered though it is:

 I had an IKEA Ribba shadow-box frame to hand. which fit the board perfectly. I used double-sided tape to secure the board to the back of the cardboard insert in the frame. For a bit of interest, and given I had the depth of the frame to fill, I had my Dad drill a hole in a dice (die), and pushed a nail through from the back of the board, and mounted the dice on the nail, so it appeared to be caught mid-toss. Here's some closer views of it:

Monday, February 6, 2017

A new year, a new dress

I spent Christmas in Bali. Not surprising, as I live in Perth. Here's what the flight plan looks like:

Before leaving, I asked a sewing friend who had been to Bali if she had any tips for me. She referred me to her blog post about shopping for fabric in Bali. I was sold!

So, I hired a driver and set out one day for Alta Moda Fabrics. It was everything Meggipeg had promised. Floor to ceiling fabrics over 4 floors; "floors" being another word for "fabric storage space":

I came away with 4 fabrics, a total of 9 metres. The experience was definitely enhanced by the fact there was a 50% off sale on, so everything was half price. Here's my 4 purchases:
First up I chose to make a simple shift dress with the most expense fabric - an Italian cotton with a waffle weave and a brilliant graphic floral design. I think it worked out to about A$14 a metre and I only bought 1m:

The fabric was so rich I didn't want to make anything too complicated:

In order to squeeze the dress out of 1m of fabric there are no facings, but the neckline and armholes are finished with a vintage bias from my grandmother's stash. (I followed this tutorial to attach the bias.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sewing a holiday wardrobe. Well, a holiday dress!

When I spotted this knit rayon on the "marked down" table at Spotlight I immediately loved the colours and know what I wanted to do with it - a pillowcase maxi. Specifically a pillowcase maxi to wear on a trip to Fiji. Something that was soft and cool and packed well.

There are a number of tutorials on the web - I followed this one and this one. Naturally I had to complicate things by only sewing one side seam. Accordingly I had to cut then bind the other armhole (otherwise you'd just end the seam below your armpit, as you do on the seamed side).

Ever since Meggipeg mentioned it in her blog, I've been paranoid about pattern placement , so I knew I had to offset the pattern so as not to inadvertently lead the eye when you don't want it led (ie don't place a blossom smack bang over a breast - unless that's your thing, of course!). I hope I got it right:

And I found a hat to match!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monkey Magic Yoga Pants

How fortuitous that I enrol in yoga and Spoonflower launches its sports lycra fabric.
And how fabulous is the Monkey World fabric design? See for yourself (please click on each photo to experience it in screen-filling glory):

The fabric design rewards close inspection, with delightful details:

Floating plates of cakes, blue shoes, cake stands and a gilded box.

Thank you to Meggipegg who lent me her Megan Nielsen leggings pattern.

It's funny how you go to so much trouble with pattern placement on the front and sides, only to realise when you've sewn them up that you have double monkey butt.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mini Pecan Pies

When you really want pecan pies but want small ones!

Choose a shortcrust pastry recipe. I tried Delia Smith's (lard and all) and Smitten Kitchen's (scroll down to "A Great Savory Tart Shell"). They both work. Delia's is more economical, without the egg, and can be made with all butter instead of butter and lard. I made a couple of pans of mini cases; once I rolled out the pastry straight away, cut and fitted it into the pans, then rested it before baking. The next time I rested the pastry first, then rolled and cut it. The second method was slightly more effective.

Use a a mini muffin pan to bake the mini pie shells. Don't have the right sized pastry cutter? Use a glass. Pick one with a rim slightly wider than the size of the mini muffin pan:

The pastry cases spent a week in the freezer before being filled and baked again. Don't bake them too well the first time - leave them very pale:

I used a recipe from taste.com.au for the filling, but as I was filling much smaller pastry cases, I made less filling. For 24 pastry cases you will only need:

17g unsalted butter, chopped
50g brown sugar
50ml golden syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g pecan halves

Fill cases with nuts, top with melted and mixed filling, and bake for no more than 10 minutes in a 180 degree oven:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Home made raffle tickets

I tend to think people who sew can turn their hand to pretty much anything - and turn their sewing machine to pretty much anything too.... like creating perforations in raffle tickets.

I used the online TicketMaker programme to create the tickets. One word of advice - it's much easier to remove fields from the template than to add them, so try to make your data fit in the existing template rather than muck around with it too much.

Once printed (8 per A4 size), I ran the pages of tickets through the sewing machine (about 6 pages at a time - how many you can perforate depends on the strength of your sewing machine), before cutting and collating.

A book of 5 tickets was sent home with each family at the school, with the request that they buy or sell the tickets at $1 each ($5 for the book of tickets), or return the tickets. Naturally most families just sent back the cash and the ticket stubs, and waited for their number to be drawn.

Usually we would only sell tickets on the night of our markets, and maybe make $100. We made over $500 on this raffle.

There are always local laws pertaining to the running of raffles - licenses are usually required unless the raffle is limited in scope (eg just run within a community group), limited in time (just sold at one venue on one night) or limited in prize value. We kept our prize value below the local gaming law $200 ceiling that enabled us to run the raffle over a week and beyond our local community.

Compare and Contrast - a review of three online ticketing sites in Australia

School disco action.
This is for Australian readers of my blog who may be involved in organisations that have to run events for fundraising - or just run ticketed events, or any event where you have to keep track of who has paid and how much money you have made.

Having been involved in a few functions for my school's P&C, I think that one of the most labour intensive parts of any function is ticketing, where you can't just directly sell tickets but have to send home information about how to purchase tickets remotely. From the flyer (designing, printing, sorting, distributing) to the tickets (designing, printing, colating, cutting) to receipt of cash and completed forms (money getting lost on way, wrongly completed forms with illegible names etc), or matching forms to bank deposits (snore!), then distributing tickets (cross matching deposits and cash with names, physically distributing ticket) to getting tickets from children into parents' hands ("Hello, we paid, but don't have tickets? What do we do?"), to depositing cash at the bank... it's a hassle.

Using an online site, it will cost a little bit of money on top of the ticket price, but when you are in a situation where volunteers with time to do the ticketing function are short on the ground, it's a way of equitably sharing the "cost" (in $ rather than time). 

There are 3 online ticketing sites I have investigated:

1. Eventbrite
2. StickyTickets and
3. TryBooking

Each site will allow credit card payments, and will tabulate ticket purchase details, including details of purchaser (so you can have a contact name for each ticket sold). (As I typed all this I wished I knew Excel and I could plug all the figures into a spreadsheet which would calculate the on-costs of any price ticket....)

Here are the prices for comparison:

Eventbrite charges 2.5% of the ticket price plus AU$0.99 per ticket, plus a 3.5% payment processing fee in Australian dollars. Pay with Visa, Mastercard or PayPal. Can absorb or pass on costs (although can't absorb PayPal costs) or chose to absorb some and pass on some.

A $10 ticket will therefore cost $10 x 2.5% = $10.25 + 99c = $11.24 + ($11.24 x 3.5% = 39c) = $11.63 (or, if you absorb the costs, the organiser collects only $8.37).
(Calculations for $20 ticket - $20 x 2.5% = $20.50 + 99c = 21.49 + (21.49 x 3.5% = .75c) = $22.24 [Or organiser collects $17.76 if they absorb all the costs.])

There's a suggestion that not for profit organisations could get it for less -  "If your organization is recognized by the government as a nonprofit, you can apply for lowers fees on your events." - http://help.eventbrite.com.au/customer/en_au/portal/articles/428887-can-my-charity-get-lower-fees-for-our-events-

but the terms "non profit" and "charitable" are used interchangeably - and they are not the same thing - so it is not entirely clear which organisations will qualify (eg our P&C is a not-for-profit organisation, not a charitable organisation).


The site offers a flat fee of $1.50 per ticket for tickets up to $24.99. You can decide whether to absorb this cost in your ticket pricing or pass it on to the purchaser. The site accepts Visa and Mastercard, but charges more for AMEX. No PayPal.

So for a ticket at $10, you could charge $10 and keep $8.50 or we could change $10.50 and keep $9, or pass on the full cost and charge $11.50.

(A $20 ticket - $21.50)

In addition, they offer a 10% rebate of fees charged for "not for profits" but you have to agree to display their logo on your web page. (https://www.stickytickets.com.au/community-clubs-ticketing-rebate)


Different structure again - 30c per ticket cost for purchasers (which the organiser could absorb by dropping the ticket price by 30c), then organisers get charged a percentage fee plus a fee per transaction - not per ticket! So may work out more cost effective:

For a $10 ticket, the purchaser will pay $10.30 ($10 + 30c). The organiser is charged 2.1% of $10 = 21c + 50c per transaction - so the organiser collects ($10 - 71c) $9.29. Only Visa and Mastercard credit card payments; Amex attracts extra fees.

(For a $20 ticket, organiser collects $20 - [2.1% of $20 = 42c + 50c] = $19.08.)

Any way you dice it, TryBooking would seem to be the most cost effective site. Interestingly, it is used by two public schools in Perth - both Perth Modern School and John Curtin Senior High School - for ticket sales to their performances, so the site must be safe and secure.

Always be upfront, though, about whether you are passing on booking fees or not. I hate to see event advertised at "$25" but then once booking fees are added it's closer to a $30 ticket price!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Shoes for a Hunger Games fan

Thomas had seen an art show on TV in which they personalised plain canvas sneakers. Then we were in Target and saw this (Cue "Mu-umm?!?"):

Next, images were printed from the internet and stencils were cut from Contact adhesive plastic (good for stencils as it sticks to fabric and helps prevent bleeding a little).

 Stick on the stencil, mask the rest of the shoe.

Spray paint. Or sponge on fabric paint. Whatever you have.
Embellish with "puffy paint" (and touch up with a black marker).

Wear with pride.