Monday, March 28, 2011

Tengo ganas a vivir. Ya comencé a pintar*

Frida's Garden Fabric

I wanted this Frida's Garden fabric to make into a skirt for ages but I couldn't justify spending that much per metre on material (about $30). I am, after all, a poor student. Luckily, I found it cheaper on Etsy (even with shipping and currency conversion).

Frida Skirt

I love Frida Kahlo's paintings and I think the fabric captures her style pretty well. I wanted to make the most of the print so I tried to place the pleats so as many of the Fridas could be seen as possible. The skirt is really basic and easy to make without a pattern. It's just two rectangles with pleats and a waistband. I also put inseam pockets in because I do love a skirt with pockets.

Thanks for your nice comments on my earthquake post. I'm glad to be back doing some sewing because it makes everything seem slightly more normal.

* I desire to live. I have already begun to paint.
It says this on the fabric, as well as, "Pies para qué las quiero, si tengo alas pa' volar" (Feet... what do I need them for if I have wings to fly with).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

While I was away staying with my Grandma I managed to squeeze in some op-shopping. To be honest, there wasn't much else for me to do except wander round the shops and hang out in the public library.

Wool Coat

I finally bought this amazing wool coat. I had already seen it in a second hand shop the last two times I visited my Grandma but had resisted the urge to buy it. I decided that if it was still there a third time I would get it. Luckily, it was.


The label is Windsmoor. They started making coats and other clothing in 1933 and continue to do so today. At a guess I would say this is from the 50s. It's in almost perfect condition and is made of lovely worsted wool. I thought it was a bargain at $79.99 but my Grandma thought that was a ridiculous amount to pay for a second hand coat. Different generations, eh?

Elna Supermatic case

Speaking of bargains, on my way home to Christchurch I stopped in Ashburton and went to an op-shop there. That's where I picked up this little beauty.

Elna Supermatic

An Elna Supermatic...for $15. I probably would have paid $15 just for the cool metal carry case. According to the lady at the shop it does work, but she said I can bring it back if it doesn't. I haven't actually tried it yet because I'm a bit scared to plug it in until my Dad brings over one of those cut-off plugs that cuts off the electricity if there's anything wrong.

Elna Supermatic with work table

I'm kind of in awe of how well designed it is. The carry case folds over to become a work table that slots into place. It didn't come with a manual but I managed to find two different ones online that people had scanned. Apparently vintage Elna machines have quite a following.
I also think it's the cutest sewing machine I've ever seen. I love that vintage green. It's not really a colour that you see around much any more.

Elna Supermatic FeetElna Supermatic Discs

It did, however, come with all manner of different feet, including a darning foot, a buttonhole foot, a hemming foot, and some I can't identify. It also came with the discs which are used to sew different stitches. Based on the number of discs that fit in the accessory box I think that this is from the Elna Supermatic series made between 1952 and 1956.

As you may be able to tell by now, every time I buy something old I obsessively research the brand to see when and where it was made etc. I like to think of it as honing my research skills, something which is always handy for the research papers I have to write.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Earthquakes and Heartbreaks

Sorry for my absence. I went to stay with my grandmother for a while after the earthquake and she doesn't have the internet.
The above picture is what I came home to on the 22nd of February. Almost the entire contents of the kitchen cupboards and the fridge were on the floor.
I was at uni at the time of the earthquake. It was my first day back after the holidays and I was in my first lecture of the day. I remember the darkness and the screams and struggling to get under the lecture bench. At the time I had no idea how bad it was but I knew I had to get home. Within 15 or so minutes of the quake the city was gridlocked. The usually 20 minute drive home took me three hours. I listened to the radio the whole way home. Once I heard that people had died in the CBD all I could think about was the people who I knew for sure were in town. My nephew, who goes to school right in the central city, and who I had seen that morning because he had stayed at our house the night before. His mum, who works just down the street from his school. My aunty and uncle who both work in the city.
Thankfully, as I found out a few hours later, they were all safe and unhurt. I was so lucky. My family and friends are okay and my house is still livable. I am so incredibly sorry to those who lost their loved ones, homes and businesses.
Last week, I watched transfixed with horror at the news coverage of the Japanese quake and tsunami. Although it is hard for us to imagine what the people over there are going through I think the people of Christchurch have a special sympathy for all those in Japan at the moment. I know I have at least one reader in Japan so I hope that Birdie, who lives in Okinawa, is safe and well. My thoughts are with all those in Japan.

If you've read my 'About Me' you might have noticed that I collect old religious icons. Although I am not religious at all, the antique mirrored Saint Therese of Lisieux I got for my 20th birthday was one of my favourite things (now you know just how odd I am). She was badly damaged in the earthquake. My Dad (who you can actually see reflected in the bottom of the mirror) thinks we can probably get it fixed but I'm not so sure.

When a major disaster happens it almost feels like everything normal stops but I take comfort in the fact that the garden has taken the shaking in its stride. The morning glory plant (above) is flowering gloriously.

Normal posting should resume shortly. I've been doing some sewing which I will post next week. Below is a sneak peek of the fabric I'm using.

Sorry for the delay in drawing the giveaway. The winner is Louise from The Princess Prudence Diaries. Congratulations Louise. I will email you shortly.