Wednesday, 28 November 2012

More true fabric confessions: lace, stripes and trees.

Sometimes I think I like to look at and feel fabric more than I like sewing. Kinky non?
For me sewing is fraught with frustration, and disaster is all too frequent.
Okay, disaster is too strong a word, because it's not brain surgery after all.
But although the outcome can be satisfying, the actual process is not all that relaxing for me, especially since my eyesight is so bad.
 Although I do find hand-sewing quite enjoyable.
So that's why I have such a big fabric and pattern stash.
Nowadays most of my fabric is vintage so it's much more affordable, and I feel like I'm doing a bit of good by recycling.
A pink lace which I inherited and am not sure what to do with. The colour's a bit blah but might look good with a contrasting lining.
This check also cost me zilch. It will need a special pattern to make it stand out from the crowd but I'm not sure I can pull off culottes! I have plenty so can use it on the bias.

I love this wavy cotton which I got from Spotlight, it looks kind of African. With Nana's dress pattern.

Stripes and flowers - what more could you ask for? This one has a Horrockses vibe. Shown with one of my patterns from the 70s.
Zany polyester with Nana's old nightie pattern.

A bizarre permanent pleat which looks like bark! Barking mad.

A lovely soft cotton green and cream stripe, which was Mum's 60s tablecloth.
A cross between a floral patchwork and a stripe - too much? With Nana's dress pattern.
A classic Chinese brocade. Loving that coat.
A divine blue velvet with Nana's swing coat pattern.
Thanks everyone for looking at my blog. I've been doing it for nearly three months so far, and I've learnt so much already. I really appreciate the comments people have left.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Do I feel lucky?" Well do ya, steampunk?

Last weekend I escaped the vast urban metropolis of Dunedin and took a road trip 1 1/2 hours north to the sleepy seaside boganville of Oamaru, which has successfully rebranded itself as the steampunk capital of NZ.

On the way, I stopped for a coffee and a look at the shops in the tiny village of Waikouaiti. There is a cute little gift shop, a decent second-hand shop (where I successfully avoided temptation), and a gorgeous library.

By the time I got to Ommers it was after 12 and the Trash'n'treasure garage sale in the Opera House was almost over. Talk about a misnomer - I have never seen anything less like a garage than the Oamaru Opera House. It has been recently restored and is a stunner. Kiri Te Kanawa is singing there next year and my father has been given tickets by his employers, Network Waitaki.

Opera House exterior
Opera House on the right
Musical memorablia in the stairwell



Royal china collection

Reception room
As you can tell, it was a grey old day, with a bit of drizzle. I enjoyed myself, despite the fact that a lot of retailers had shut their doors for the weekend. The recession must be hitting them hard if they can't afford to open. There are still some great antique shops there and I scored some marcasite and costume jewellery, an Egyptian t-shirt and a 1930s sewing book. I hope to post some photos of them soon.

I have strong family ties to Oamaru - both my parents went to school there (Waitaki Boys and Waitaki Girls), and my grandad was born there. I love the Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Many of the buildings are made from the local creamy-grey limestone. Every time I visit I find that some more have been restored.

There are some excellent cafes. I had a cheesy aubergine pie from Roost, and a chocolate hazelnut slice from another cafe - both gluten free.
A giant steampunk motorbike sculpture

Note the unrestored building on the left.

Community House.

An Alice in Wonderland playroom in the Slightly Foxed bookshop.

Imagine how great this will be when it's properly conserved.

Union Stores building. Pity about the car in front.

Lane's Emulsion building. "For coughs and colds. Good for young & old".

Catto Wools.

Gran and seed merchants store.

Wool and grain warehouses.

Note the zeppelin and steam engine.
On the way home I couldn't help thinking - yes I feel lucky punk. I have more possessions than I really need, and no more room in my house for all the antique junk I wanted to re-home.
My great-great grandparents emigrated to Oamaru from Tullymore in Antrim and Shankhill Road, Belfast, and were lucky to escape a life of poverty, back-breaking work in flax-mills and religious conflict.

I felt an overwhelming feeling of self-indulgence as I was driving home with the sea on my left, the green rolling hills on my right and some scalding salty deep-fried spuds in my hand. You can take me out of Ireland but you can't take my spuds away from me.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

More fabric fabulousness.

OK, you've seen my beloved vintage florals and paisleys. Since I have recently travelled to NZ's most cosmopolitan city, Auckland, I thought I'd show you some of my fabrics from different parts of the world. (Did my segue work? No? Sorry about that.)
This is a light cotton map print which is supposed to be used for quilting, but one day I will make a skirt or dress. I am toying with the idea of lining or interlining the skirt to give it more body.
(Most of these patterns I bought on Trade Me.)

An Indonesian rayon sarong which I have had for years. I'm liking the '50s vibe.

An Indonesian batik from my mother's stash. I love the diagonal stripes and I'm thinking about using it on the bias. I've had the Vogue pattern for years but haven't made it up yet.

A cotton batik I found in Melbourne recently - I love the sky-blue background. Today I started making this dress in a flowered and spotted fabric. 

I bought this seahorse print at the annual First Church fabric fair. It's a gorgeous lavender blue.

A fish print from the same fair.

An ikat from my mother's stash, with a strange Simplicity pattern which looks a bit like pajamas!
Having been out of town for a few days, I have missed my favourite blogs, e.g. Bag and a beret ; Helga ; the fashionable bureaucrat ; two squirrels ; vintage vixen ; misfit and the secondhand years.
To make up for my lack of internet, I re-read Groupie by Jenny Fabian and Johnny Byrne. It's a fascinating fictionalised look at the rock music scene in London in the 1960s. The protagonist Katie takes an amazing amount of abuse from the men in her life. Quite apart from being at her boyfriend's sexual beck and call, she is expected to clean his room and cook for him. She retaliates by sleeping with other people and it all makes me think it's less like free love than a tedious merry-go-round. It was still a very entertaining read, and quite a classic of its time.

Violet XXX