Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Return to the machine

Last weekend was the Anzac Day long weekend, during which Australian's honour their war dead. I don't get involved in the commemorations. Like many of my generation, I'm very conflicted about it. My father was a World War 2 veteran who eschewed Anzac Day. Until his 85th birthday he refused to march or his words "participate in the glorification of war".

I used the weekend as an opportunity to sew. Anxious to get back to the machine, I decided to work on simple projects. The striped t-shirt is self drafted and is made from very good quality Mela Purdie jersey from Tessutis. I absolutely love it and wore it all weekend. The floral t-shirt is from Simplicity 4076. This pattern is highly recommended and I've made several versions of this over the years. My only gripe with this one is that jersey is very shiny and looks a little cheap - which it wasn't. While I bought it off the remnant table at Tessutis it was originally $26 a metre! I prefer it worn under a black jacket.
I have joined the Australian Sewing Guild and on Saturday participated in my first workshop on inserting lapped and invisible zips with facings. It was revelationary. We learned a technique for lapped zips which involves completing the facing first, then inserting the zip. The finish for a dress or skirt seam is very good. Our next workshops are on fitting and constructing a Chanel jacket - which excites me very much. It is also fantastic to find so many professional women there. I sat between a doctor and a lawyer, and was delighted to meet up with a professor of history who gave me my first job out of university.

I have a mountain of fabric and patterns at the moment, so am trying to work methodically through them. I have four pieces that I've made firm decisions about. All I have to decide is which to do first!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The traveller returns

I've been back at work for week after our month long trip to Israel, Jordan and Korea. The picture is taken at the Dead Sea - the mud ain't pretty but it works wonders on the skin. We looked radiant when it washed off. Rather than bore the sewers with a travelogue, I want to share 10 things I learned on the trip:
1) Never travel with a dodgy camera - We lost about 200 images due to a corrupted memory card. These included photos of embroideries and fabric art taken just for you guys!
2) Your 18 year old daughter living 12,000 kms away does not necessary welcome your visit, but will not have the courage to tell you before your arrival.
3) Even the most enthusiast 14 year old traveller has a limited tolerance of ancient ruins. After a while they become "just a bunch of old rocks".
4) Fabric art is huge in Israel. I went to several exhibitions and visited a few artists and their galleries. See the Israel Quilters Association website to see the depth of talent there.
5) Israel is changing immeasurably due to the rise of Jewish and Islamic orthodoxy. One consequence that wouldn't be immediately obvious to people who aren't obsessed with cloth is that women's clothing is not particularly decorative. Even the Palestinian women have largely given up their colourful embroidered dresses that I remember from 30 years ago for the long black coats and plain scarfs.
6) Time in the desert is good for the soul.
7) Jordans are wonderful, hospitable people who live in an amazingly beautiful country. Go there!
8) Taking a wrong turn and ending up in the West Bank in an Israeli plated car is not a pleasurable experience. Nablus is not a friendly town. It is easy to become irredeemably lost when all signposts are in Arabic only.
9) One hour is not enough time to spend in the labrynth of the Dondaemum Fabric Market in Seoul.
10) The fabric available at the market is very variable in taste and quality, but there are great pieces to be had. The buttons were the best buy, but I didn't have enough time to make the most of it.