Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seconds world

So I have a couple of skirts and a top here that are, for various reasons, not completely saleable in the normal world. Nothing too dramatic - a couple of tiny spots, a bit old, a bit faded, but all quality P&E, at bargain prices! Yes folks, the items contained in this here post can be yours for just $30 including postage! Email me if you wants 'em.

Top: black rib with cute salt-and-pepper-shakers print sleevey things. It's 26 inches long and 19 inches wide, measured flat (I call this an 'M'). Nice and stretchy with a scoopy wide neck, which is both flattering and comfy. There is nothing wrong with this top other than a bit of food on the shoulder (thanks kids!), which will come out as soon as you wash it.

Skirt #1: Bright May sky blue with totally amazing vintage pink carnation print pocket. This skirt is lovely, but has a few tiny yellow spots on the top front and a pinky stain at the bottom. These are imperceptible unless you're looking for them, but I know they're there, so I can't sell it for full price. They may or may not come out with diligent soaking. 40 inch waist, 46 inch hips, 23 inches long.

Skirt #2: Blue denim on the back, grape print tablecloth on the front. It's cool, but after I made it I thought the tablecloth was a little faded. Again, it's totally fine, but just not perfect enough for full price. 33 inch waist, 44 inch hips and 23 inches long.

I'll also be clearing out a few dresses and other old stock in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled (I am simultaneously in love with and grossed out by this expression) and tell your friends.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Small is also quite beautiful

Anyone who knows me will be unsurprised to hear that I am generally quite haphazard in the way that I cut out my skirts. A common scene is me, crouched on the loungeroom floor, with a pile of fabric in front of me and a miner's headlamp strapped to my head (our house is dark at night!). Usually a bottle of wine and/or beer and/or a block of chocolate is somewhere nearby too. As a result of said haphazardness, the sizes contained in any given batch of skirts are random, at best, dictated only by the size of the fabric piece I'm working with and my whim at the time. Usually, I unconsciously end up with a bunch of skirts that either fit me (weird small-ass medium) or Pearl (awesome large pear-lady). This time, however, I've done quite a few teeny-weeny skirts. Including this skirt, (which I had to photograph flat because it's too small for Florence) which features a beautiful, Monet-esque boating scene, which is, quite frankly, ridiculous, thank you Unanderra Vinnies.

So, small-sized P&E fans take note: Small skirts are currently on their way to sunny Melbourne to soon be sold on the gorgeously gorgeous Georgie Love website.

One of the smalls in particular is an early contender for my annual (well, I just invented it right now, but it could well become an annual event) skirt-of-the-year award. Yes ladies and gentlemen, that skirt has little cobs of corn on it. Different coloured, little cobs of corn. And a pleat. And some vintage buttons. And diagonally-striped bias binding (!). The owner-to-be of that skirt is in for a treat, let me tell you.

Other skirts in the batch are also good - some late-summer tropical fruits, for example:

And a black-denim-with-vintage-platypus-print-pocket. I actually thought I was pretty clever with this one, because platypuses are monotremes - they have a pouch - and this skirt has a pouch-like pocket. Geddit?? (Or maybe I need to lay off the Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society meetings...)

Or these other guys, also perfectly OK, and even with some always-beautiful red spotty binding:

- but really, next to little cobs of corn, they're struggling to be totally awesome. It's a useful reminder that awesomeness is entirely circumstantial, and no-one should beat themselves up about not being absolutely awesome when there are people like, say, Miranda July in the world.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pearl & Elspeth goes corporate!

Well, not really, but I did just make a couple of my version of 'corporate' dresses for a woman who, sadly, works in an environment where the colours grey, navy and black dominate, and armpit hair must be covered. What is the world coming to? Luckily, Ali can see beyond her restrictions, and saw the possibilities for a P&E infused corporate wardrobe. What a champion. She was an absolute delight to deal with, sending awesome guidance and ideas through to me, but also letting me get creative. I'd say, in fact, she was the perfect client. And she's now the proud owner of these little babies.

So. The interaction went something like this (including a selection of quotes, because the emails were pretty funny). I've also put it in typewriter font , so you know it was written correspondence, even though it was over email, which is not usually typewriter-like:

Ali: Can you make me a couple of corporate dresses with sleeves to cover my "armpit hair of doom"?

P&E: Absolutely! What were you thinking?

Ali: Mostly navy, black or grey, but "I was thinking of adding cuteness/detail somewhere in the form of (a) little buttons on the sleeves, (b) lining/trim on the pockets in your nice vintage tablecloth fabric (c) trim/hem elsewhere in the tablecloth fabric, with any of those details up to you subject to how much of a pain in the arse any of them will be, and how nice you think they'll look." Oh and I like REALLY BIG, DEEP POCKETS!

Then she kindly emailed me some pictures of dresses she already has and some dresses she likes.

P&E: Sounds super-fun! Check out my blog and see if you like some of the other stuff I've made.

Ali: "I love the dramatic lines of the full skirt & defined waist of the wedding dress particularly- the full-circle skirt profile is what I prefer (some kind of alternate 1950's vision where ladies worked high-power corporate jobs in delightful outfits seems to be the fashion fantasy I like to inhabit)."

At this point I pretty much fell in love and my brain started planning in over-drive. I settled upon 2 of my vintage patterns, both original 50s designs which, my Nana helpfully pointed out, have what's known as 'cape sleeves'. CUTE!

For sizing, rather than my usual "send me your measurements" style of fitting, I asked Ali to send me one of her dresses that fits REALLY well. I put it on Florence, and adjusted her so that the dress fit her perfectly. Then all I had to do was make sure the new dresses fit Florence, and felt pretty confident they'd fit Ali as well!

The charcoal coloured dress has a panel on the back which is, I believe, the product of what is alternately identified as fate/divine intervention/a hum-dinger of a coincidence. I, in some kind of brain-lapse bought not enough of the grey fabric. I happily set about cutting out the frock, only to let out a fairly lengthy string of swear-words when I realised my error. Luckily for me THAT VERY DAY a package had arrived in the mail from my friend Claire, containing some awesome linen, one item of which being a tablecloth that was, I thought, perfectly complimentary to the grey fabric I was running short on. Conundrum solved, and the grey dress now has a lovely detailed back-panel and matching (albeit invisible) pockets. Hallelujah!

The pockets proved to be the most challenging achievement of my sewing career thus far, I reckon. I have never really done proper inset pockets. I knew theoretically how they're done, having half-done a couple before, but I was nervous about doing them on Ali's dresses because I knew they had to be just so. But I was careful, took my time, didn't drink too much red wine, and they turned out REALLY WELL! if I do say so myself... The only problem with them is that when I came to take the pictures for my blog, as you will see, they are so well done that they are, in fact, almost invisible. So you'll just have to look closely and/or use your imagination.

Speaking of photographing, I was musing today over the generally sloppy nature of the photos I post on my blog. Obviously, these are meant to showcase my sewing rather than photographic skills. But I think they also give some insight into the general nature of the environment in which I sew. That is, surrounded by 2-little-kids-chaos, with toys, craft projects, babies and cats permanently in the background. I like to think of it as a little somethin' somethin' you don't normally find in your average sweatshop.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Welcome Huon August!

So my very good and very special friends Morag and Louisa had a little baby boy last week, creating an excellent opportunity for 'welcome baby' craft!

Like weddings, babies are awesome, and making stuff to welcome special little babies is fun fun fun to the max. I really like making things with different textures for little bubbas to explore. When Oscar was born I made him a quilt out of a bunch of scraps I had lying around.

I also put lots of ribbons, tags, an appliqued 'O', a pocket, mini bunting, pom-poms and stuff, to add dimension and interest so that, as well as being snuggly, warm, and comfy to play on, it can actually be a toy in itself. Fun to make, fun to look at, and fun for bubba to muck around with.

Little Huon is getting a quilt made by his mumma Louisa, so that idea was out, but the different texture idea was translated into the legs of a little octopus toy who has, yep, you guessed it, 8 different kinds of legs. One like a scrunchie (you know? Hair tie from the 80s??), one full of split peas, one stuffed with a chip packet (crinkly!) etc etc. I think her name is Harriett, though perhaps Huon will have other ideas.

Also sewn these last ridiculously warm days, a number of custom skirts and a tshirt! The 2 wrap skirts are for a lady who ordered through Georgie Love. It was fun to make a wrap skirt again, as I've been on a little hiatus from these. The wrap ties are extra long, so can be tied front or back, depending on what your whim and outfit dictates. Subtle versatility is key!

This skirt and top combo (TOTAL coincidence that they match) is for a friend of Pearl's in Melbourne, and I have to say, I'm pretty keen on these 2 babies.

Not to mention the fact that they're pretty much exactly my size, so I was just a teeny bit tempted to keep them for myself. My bulging wardrobe, however, plumped by a couple of extra pieces kindly donated by my mumma this week, encouraged me to send the custom orders on their merry way. May they be happy and loved.

Just like little Huon.