Monday, December 23, 2013

Macaw applique PJ's

When we went to the UAE ........... last year? We were given Pj's on the Virgin flight, there and back, so we ended up with 4 new sets of Pj's. The sizes were so weird - super wide - that in reality, Tigerboy ended up with 3 new sets of Pj's and I ended up with one pair that was huge (as opposed to one huge pair and one ginormous pair). Great! Now I could convince him to get rid of the pair of winter Pj's he'd had for 20 years that were literally falling apart and I'd never have to put new elastic in them again.

I'd been wanting to try an applique, so I decided that one of those pair of jammies was prime for victimisation experimentation. Lo and behold, the macaw applique.

One recurring problem I have when I'm experimenting is that I don't do a proper job, I just cobble it together - because it's just an experiment, right? But it's not a proper experiment because the lack of effort shows which means that I'm still not quite sure if it will work when/if I use the right techniques. And often, the winging it takes more time than if I'd done it correctly the first time. I don't think I'll ever learn though.

I must have used at least five different fusibles, some just in strips, other pieces fully fused, some parts stitched - you get the picture - I really wasn't sure it'd hold up to washing. Another thing, my drawing ability is shockingly pathetic, so in this case, I wasn't sure that the few lines I had to draw for the face would work.

Tigerboy was overjoyed because ........... well, it's a parrot, and it just doesn't get any better in his book. After they'd made it through the wash I expressed surprise that it hadn't all fallen apart. He told me quite seriously that he'd put the top in a lingerie bag to wash it so that it didn't get wrecked (because he knows that I wouldn't get around to making another one for him for at least a decade). He'd be horrified to know that I just toss it in the wash willy nilly and hope for the best but they've survived several months (since August) being treated that way ......... next year might be a different story.

And a blurry pic (I thought I had more but this seems to be it).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Deciphering the Lekala ordering process, emails & errors

I was nearly going to make it a neat year since I'd been on the blog but, thought I may as well write this up. I have been sewing but I've also been moving house, working, gardening and basically anything but blogging - I'll get around to posting my makes at some stage.

Ok, I've bought some Lekala patterns from the US website but not only do they not have exactly the same patterns as the Russian site, the Russian site also allows a bit more fine tuning fitwise. So, I really wanted to try using the Russian site but it's not as easy to use as the US site. (Also, the US site has been redone and my old registration no longer works.)

UPDATE: Apparently, the US Lekala site does now offer the fine tuning that the Russian site offers but I don't know whether they send you the comprehensive list of measurements that you can check against your own (which the Russian site does do).

A few tutorials have been written already - the Lekala site even has links to them - but one of the problems I had was deciphering the emails from them.

Existing tutorials:
Fehrtrade - things have changed a bit since this was written but a lot of it is more or less the same
steppenpuppy - goes into more detail regarding the measurements and fine tuning
sewingtidbits - some more info for you

So, there are a few different things you need to do:
Pay for the patterns
Sort out your measurements
Order your patterns
Decipher the emails


Paying for the patterns

There seems to be a few ways of buying the patterns but the way I did it (and the other bloggers that have written tutorials) is to buy credits via a 3rd party which you can then use on the Russian site. 1 credit = 1 pattern (unless you want seam allowances on your pattern, in which case, it'll cost you 2 credits).

1. Go to the site Russian Lekala site.

2. Click the "Where to buy" link at the top of the page.
You've got 3 choices on what to buy - 10, 30 or 50 credits - I chose 10
You've got two choices when it comes to where you'll buy from - I chose Softkey
(NB. the prices are not what is shown on the Lekala site on both Softkey and Digital River)

3. Here's the softkey page - choose "Buy now"

4. Confirm your order and then pay for it - I used Paypal but from memory, they take credit cards. (They'll automatically generate a userid and password for you)

5. Now, wait for the right email from softkey - I got four but the one with the info you really need is this one:

This email has the two keys you'll need to activate at lekala. Follow the link provided in the email.

6. Back at Lekala it's time to activate your keys.
Enter your email address, and the two keys that Softkey sent you and hit "Send the request".
Now wait for your email from Lekala.

7. The email you recieve from Lekala will have your 4-digit PIN which is what you use to order the patterns.

Now you've got two choices - choose some patterns and work out the m'ments while you're going through the procedure of ordering or sort out you're m'ments first - I decided to sort out my m'ments first.

Sorting out your m'ments

1. You need to hit this button:
If you're on a page that doesn't have it, press the "Order" button and then you should see it on the new page.....
......... and you'll get to this page:

Hit the "Get STRING-ORDER" link.

2. Now you're on this page where you enter your measurements - overwrite what's there - and make any adjustments - big arms, wide back etc.  (You could also go straight to the link you can see in my browser)

 3. When you've finished, enter your email and hit the "Send the requiring" button.

4. You'll get a confirmation page - notice that it says not to use gmail, hotmail etc. I've used both gmail and hotmail and they both work fine (except I had to get my hotmail to register the lekala emails as "Not junk").

5. Now you wait for an email from Lekala (again).

6. This email is full of numbers - the string that they've generated which is a code for all of your particular m'ments as well as the m'ments used. You'll see three columns, the first number is the number of the m'ment (you can look at this page), the second column seems to be the measurements used to make the pattern, taking adjustments into consideration and the third column is the standard? for want of a better word.

I made different adjustments and requested strings to compare m'ments used and finally settled on what I thought was best - that's the string I then used when I ordered.

Ordering your patterns.

Now that you've paid and got the measurements sorted out, it's time to choose the patterns.

1. Browse the patterns and depending what sort of page you're on, either hit the "Order" button for one that you want if this button isn't available
for it (it should then take you to a page where it is available) or just hit that button - it's the one you want.

2. Now you'll be back at this page - difference is, now you put that big long string code for your m'ments in the top box.
- Choose the file format, paper size and seam allowance (or not).
- Enter your email NB. It's important that you use the same email you activated your keys with. Even though (again) it says not to use hotmail, that's what I use and it gets to me.
- Hit "Proceed with the order..."

3. Now you choose your payment method, in this case, go with the 3rd option:

4. Now you get to use the PIN Lekala sent you.

5. You'll now be sent to a confirmation page - unfortunately, at this stage there doesn't seem to be anything to let you know whether it's gone well or not. One option is to use the link on the confirmation page and you'll be redirected to an execution stats page that you can keep updating

The codes in the third column? All I know is 'stat' means an email with your credit status has been sent, 'err' is an error and 'ok' is ok.

6. What you're waiting for is an email like this, with the pattern pdf in the subject line and contained in the email.

Your email will contain a 3D scan of your body (according to the m'ments), the pattern pdf and an html file with the instructions in Russian - you can use Google translate but honestly, you're better off winging it.

It even tells you how many units you've got left.

The other emails you'll be sent:

1. You might get one of these for a pattern you've ordered. It doesn't have the pdf (or the body pic), just the instructions. In my case, it was because I didn't use the same email addie to order the pattern as I'd used to activate my keys and get my PIN.

You can see that it's telling me there's an error (and sending me offsite to try to solve it).

2. There are also these status credit emails. (In this case, it was a heads up that the 4 orders I thought I'd put in hadn't gone through because I hadn't used any credits.)

Reading this, it seems like you're waiting around for emails the whole time but don't worry, they come through really quickly.

I'm sure I've left things out but hopefully this makes enough sense to help someone (like me, when my 10 credits run out and I have to go through it all again).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stashbusting Sewalong - January - Covering a chair and a neck pillow

I, tigergirl, commit to using a lot of pieces of stash fabric in 2013. I also commit to not buying any new fabric/patterns/notions except for those that I need immediately to finish current projects until August.

This sewalong is being hosted by Cation Designs & Emily aka EmSewCrazy, for more info. see this post.

I told tigerboy about this - he was puzzled as to why I'd do it (helloooooo, you've seen my sewing room) and then he decided he'd join in (but in his case, it's no more wood).

The theme for this month?
"January: Itty Bits! Sew up those remnants left over from another project, use up some of those tiny scraps that you've been long as it's less than a yard of fabric, it counts!"
So, with that in mind, I used most of the leftovers from the green meanie Burda dress (that I haven't posted) to make a cover for my sewing room chair - something that I've been meaning to do for a couple of years. The piece I actually used is a skirt piece (either front or back - can't remember) that  I cut out and then realised I hadn't added seam allowances - woops.

Yep, I should be able to make it work ......... just.

Round off the corners before overlocking around it.
Turn over, turn over again and stitch down, leaving a a gap to thread elastic through.

Chair seat covered!
The most time consuming part was threading the elastic through the channel. I have to admit that I ran out of motivation by the time I got to the back rest of the chair. There's very little fabric left now and it'll need to be pieced, possibly even augmented with another fabric - I'll let it percolate in my brain and move on to something more interesting to me.

 Recently I bought a neck pillow for when I'm reading in bed - works perfectly but there's one problem, it doesn't have a removable cover. Itty Bitty Stashbusting to the rescue! Initially I thought I'd use some offcuts from tigerboy's pj's but as I was going through the offcuts box I came across the last little piece of a table runner we bought in Ecuador a few years ago that I'd used to make cusion covers (still haven't put the buttons on them).

The cushion covers sans buttons to close.
There's the still intact table runner (we bought two) in action, as it has been for a couple of years.

The neck cushion, all covered.

I did a pillowcase type opening - not a good idea, getting that cushion in was like trying to stuff a sausage through the eye of a needle.
My original thought that this woven fabric would negate the squishyness of the pillow proved correct, so I will make another cover in the knit. I'll also use a zip opening to counteract that sausage through the eye of a needle effect, in fact, I imagine getting this cover off to wash it will peeve me enough that I'll unpick the end and put a zip in this one too. Anyway, it looks better than I expected.

So, this stashbusting sewalong means that my fabric buying for 2013 is done until August when I'll reassess - not such a big deal as I've already acquired a bit this year:
Spotlight had a 30% off sale
I showed this fabric to tigerboy "Oh wow, that's soooo beautiful!"
"If I made you a shirt with it, would you wear it?"
"Yes, it has all my favourite parrots - buy everything they have hone!"
"I'm not buying it all - are you sure you'll wear it?"
bla bla bla
I actually had to write and ask the seller if they had more than they had listed - he was on tenterhooks for a day until we got the answer.

Of course, with the combined shipping and knowing that US postal rates were increasing significantly at the end of January, it seemed only reasonable to make the order up to 10 yards with fabric I wanted, so I got these as well. 

My stashbusting sewalong has even been tested! Last week I happened to walk past a Lincraft - 50% off everything!!! They even had some gorgeous black cotton lace ........ no, tiger, just walk out right now, there will be other sales ...... and that's what I did (ok, I went and bought a coffee and donut instead but that's still progress!)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wow! I got an award and a petrol discount!

Craftster Best of 2012 Winner

Remember the palin bag?? I posted it on Craftster, way back when and it ended up being chosen in the top five for it's category. Surprise! I don't spend much time at craftster these days, more on pattern review, but every now and then, if I've made something and haven't  used a pattern, I'll post it. If you haven't ever checked out, you should, there's all kinds of nifty things there.

And this dress:

I was wearing it when I filled the car up with petrol - the attendant loved it so much, he gave me a discount on my fuel! Nice one!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Liebster Award

Valerie of Valeries Own Sewing Blog awarded me the Liebster award! (Thanks Valerie) Oooh, it's the month of awards! Maybe I should take a Gold Lotto ticket?

Sooo, 11 things about me:

  1. I ride a motorbike
    That's me.
  2. Until I moved back to Queensland (5-6 years ago?), I didn't wear dresses - now they're my favourite garment.
  3. I've had my nose broken three times.
  4. I cut my own hair between trips back to Sydney where I can get a great cut for less than $15. (I have tried and tried in Brisbane to find a decent hairdresser but in the end I gave up.)
  5. I don't watch TV, so I'm not usually too au fait when it comes to popular culture.
  6. In the 90's I spent six years backpacking around the world.
  7. Since we moved to Queensland I've been trying to inject some colour into my previously all black wardrobe - it's slowly happening but I'm still more comfortable in black.
  8. I don't like shopping ..... at all and I detest shopping malls. That means that when I do shop for something other than food, I want to get it all done in one fell swoop "Ok, I like these shoes, I'll get a pair in every colour of each of these styles - that should tide me over for a while."
  9. I love to try new food and drink, not much phases me when it comes to that (putrified shark meat anyone?)
  10. I don't eat lamb/mutton - far too much growing up.
  11. Tigerboy is less than one year younger than me, so although we're in our mid-forties, he thinks that qualifies him for toy boy status and me as "the older woman" lol - whatever makes him feel special (rolling my eyes).
So, now I need to pass this award on:

Velosewer at How Good Is That? -  A Sydney gal that churns out great clothes quick enough to make my head spin.

Chris at Chris Lucas - I've only just discovered this blog but I like her style.

Rebecca at Bec Stitches - Another new to me blog by a fellow Aussie.

Make it 'til you fake it - There's a fabric giveaway going on there!

Reethi at Weekend Crafting - Another new to me blog - she likes beer and sewing, what's not to like? I like her "Top 5 of 2012" lists, I might have to copy that.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vogue 1258 Vena Cava Dress - the metallic emerald version

Vogue 1258 - front
This is my second version of this dress, the first was here. I made this before Christmas as my Christmas dress and I was under the gun because I was making it to wear out that night - no time for too much mucking around.

Vogue 1258 back - STILL some swayback wrinkling and a cami needed.

Vogue 1258 - side
This time I didn't bother with the sleeve extensions or the pockets (which both had to be removed last time). I was happy with the shorter length tie I used last time, so went with that again.

I did however alter the back hemline so that it didn't raise up in the middle, I think it might still go up a bit but it isn't as bad as last time.

I also removed the extra from the bottom of the back bodice pattern piece (sway back) - I removed the same amount that I had to last time but somehow I had to do it again (just as much) once the dress was made ............. different knits, different quirks I suppose.

Last time I had to raise the bottom of the bodice part just above the knot to pull the dress up after it was all sewn up, this time, I preempted that caper.

I still had to raise the neckline of course and reinforce where all of the pieces meet in the centre front.

I did consider narrowing the shoulders and adding the sleeve extensions but decided that just couldn't be bothered.

When all of the pieces were all cut out and partially assembled I discovered that this fabric had a flaw, there was a lovely spot of black where the emerald green paint had failed to adhere - about 1cm above my bust point, there was no way that that wouldn't be noticed! I had just enough fabric left to eek out another piece - completely ignoring any grain issues, it seems to have worked out ok.

I didn't use my overlocker at all, all on the sewing machine. Twin needle for the hem, neckline and armholes.

Once it was done there was still a lot of fiddling and tweeking to get those pleats to look better, just like last time. The dress feels as though the waist line is below my waist? I don't know, it just doesn't feel as though it's pulling where it should be. Even though it's a fairly quick make, I think I'm tweeked out on this pattern.