Thursday 14 March 2019

Dog blanket evolution

A few days ago I bought this lime green cotton blanket at Vinnies for $2. In this blog post today you can start following the evolution of how the dog blanket evolves into an art to wear coat.

lime green cotton blanket in the right corner
Yesterday I cut the blanket out in my as yet unpublished pattern the Jorja Coat. This is a hip length jacket with draping fronts and a flared 3/4 length sleeve. It has bands down the front and on the sleeve hems. I was able to cut the hem edges of the coat back and fronts with the blanket fringing left intact.

The blanket was square, measuring only 1.4m on each side, so I had to do some clever patching together from all the leftover scraps to get enough fabric for the second sleeve. It was very time consuming but I felt it was worth it at the end when there was only that tiny pile of offcut scrap that is shown at the bottom left hand corner of the picture below.

Above is a picture of the coat sewed up. The bands will be cut from the piece of matching colour cotton broadcloth laying folded on the right sleeve. However I'll have to cut the side seams back open as I've decided to do some applique and stitching over the surface. Having the textile flat is the only practical way to both machine and hand stitch the surface. When thats done the side seams will get sewed back up again.

The cotton broadcloth will be stenciled before the bands are cut. The broadcloth is new, unused fabric and I'll have to wash the coat before sewing the bands on. It doesn't have any odour but the fabric is quite dirty.

This is the place I'm up to as as I write this blog. After publishing this in a moment I'll be getting out the textile paints and stencils to do some printing on the broadcloth.

You'll see the results of that in my next blog. 

Murrurundi 14/03/19, over the fence
Before coming to the studio this morning I took the picture above looking over the fence into my neighbours back yard.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

giving my own halo a bit of a polish...

Steam is coming out of my ears again…Two weeks ago I decided to bite a bullet I’ve been dodging for ages and get on Instagram. With the bullet lodged in my teeth I’ve been enthusiastically signing myself up to all the interesting sewing peeps and tags. Theres masses and masses of tags for sustainability, ethical sewing, recycling, upcycling….rah de rah. However I soon had that horrible sinking feeling you get when you scratch the surface a bit and find your million carat diamond ring is a chip of ornery glass. On closer investigation its apparent so many of them are just green washing pretenders.

I call this the Kermit Syndrome, cos its hard to be green….

Sigh….there is no point in spending my life screeching like a banshee and pointing my claw. I think the best thing I can do is try to regularly remind people what the issues are and educate, educate, educate….

Big point I want to remind people about today is the virtue of buying and consuming local. Buy things that are produced as close to home as possible. You might hope that a big shiny halo is lighting up over your head if you buy something made in a third world country by a village artisan….but if it had to travel 10,000km in big jet plane half away across the world to end up in your high street gift shop….then it’s neither ethical or sustainable. Though I’ll concede its probably a tiny bit more virtuous than buying something plastic from Kmart made in a ginormous polluting Chinese factory…

I don’t want to lecture or harangue and least of all paint myself as a shiny beacon of virtue. Let me own here I continue to buy things and do things that contribute to our waste and pollution problems. But I do it consciously and in other ways try to compensate for those decisions. So by all means if you want to buy something you’re well aware is over packaged, made from synthetic materials and produced in dubious circumstances in a third world country and you don’t care, or think the consequences are somebody elses responsibility to fix – go right ahead and enjoy your purchase. You will dismiss anything I have to say here as the demented ranting of an old hippie crone who fried her brain on illicit substances…(!!!???)

This is the main source of where I get fabrics and clothes to upcycle into the garments I make.

This is a picture of Vinnies Murrurundi, where I was an hour ago sourcing some stuff to upcycle. I like the way Vinnies obviously don't spend a lot on pretentious presentation of the shop front!

Inside the shopfittings and displays are just as unpretentious!

A cabinet of goodies. I get lots of beads, plastic and metal components to upcycle into adornments from this area

After 15 minutes this is my collected booty - a green cotton rug and a magnificent piece of vintage blue/beige brocade from the dog blanket pile @ $1 a piece, 6 skeins of knitting yarn @ $3, a brass bangle for 50c,  2 metres of cotton batik fabric @ $2,  4-5 metres of beaded trim @ $2, the 5x china bowls @ $3, jumper @ $ spent $14.50

wow, pretty china!

The area for sheets and doona covers. I get most of my fabrics for sampling for $2-5 from what is offered here. Sometimes I come across really special ones that have been suitable for lining or making an entire art garment, with the addition of stenciling, applique, stitching etc....

the lovely volunteer Vinnies check out lady showing a jumper I bought

When I got home I added the bowls to my kitchen cabinet of wholly thrift shop collected kitchen ware, except I must confess the glazed dinner plate on the far right is from a 6 piece dinner setting that was a Xmas gift from a friend.

Sunday 10 March 2019

shearing the old mutton

I spend most of my days cutting into fibre and I don't draw the line at applying the scissors to my own head.

eeeek, that awful hair must go...
The last few days I've been fed up seeing my awful dowdy grey hair in the pictures I've been showing...I haven't been to a hairdresser for 18 months. Though that's no record for me as I didn't go for 10 years when I had dreadlocks. I cut them off 12 years ago as they were almost waistlength but rotting off at the ends. Ten years is long enough to have same hairstyle anyway.

There has always been an issue lately about getting to the hairdresser - I'm too busy, too poor or there has just been too long a wait to get appointment.

This is certainly not the first time I've cut my own hair.

Try it, its fun!