Sunday, 7 February 2021

A tale of two chairs

A few years ago I picked up a set of replica Le Corbusier chairs that my sister saw on Gumtree for $120. There was a three seater, a two seater and three armchairs. There were also three Barcelona footstools, which I onsold for $40 each, basically making these chairs free (apart from the several trips across the city with sofas strapped to the roof etc). Such a bargain!

The sofas and one armchair were upholstered in black leather, while the other two armchairs were covered in black vinyl. The vinyl had seen better days and I hatched a plan to recover them in a patchwork of fabrics, an idea I had seen somewhere and liked.

Here they are in their original state with a painting of Perth by my Mum on the wall above!

As armchair upholstery goes, it doesn't get much easier than these. They consist of four blocks, held in a frame by a few screws. Once they are apart, it is easy to make a cover for each block and staple it on at the base. It was also a good opportunity to give them a good clean and retrieve forgotten items such as assorted pens, a spoon and a long-lost front door key. 

For the covering, I collected old sample books of expensive upholstery fabrics from Remida, the local recycling centre. I cut out the fabrics with a blue theme and added in the odd bit of pink and purple. 

Then it was time to get patching! This was time-consuming, but quite enjoyable playing with these lovely coloured and textured fabrics. I joined pieces together in a design that I liked and that was just larger than the panel size I needed. I trimmed the panels to size with a rotary cutter and then joined them together to cover the chair blocks. I didn't worry about seam matching in the patchwork as I wanted a more random, rustic look.

Here is a chair in progress. It's very exciting to put it together and see the effect.

Truffle helped where he could.

Finally it was time to put the screws back in and admire the finished product.

Each chair probably took about 8 hours total work. I did the first one about three years ago and it has taken Perth going into a five day lockdown last week for me to get around to doing the second one! I have to say that I am ridiculously happy with these and very proud of my 'statement chairs'. I keep going over to admire them.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Tessuti Knots and Crosses competition - Maisa denim jacket, Flint shorts and Sorrento bucket hat

It's been a very long time since I entered a sewing competition, but when I saw the gorgeous fabrics in Tessuti's 2020 sewing competition, I had to give it a go. The idea was to make any garment from a cotton/linen Broderie Anglaise fabric. The fabric was available in four colours and two different patterns, the 'knots' and the 'crosses'. I chose the 'crosses' fabric in a natural colour. The rules stipulated that only the 'knots' or 'crosses' fabrics could be used as the outside of the garment and could not be dyed or embellished with any other fabric or embroidery. A lining fabric of the sewer's choice was allowed. Entries were to include photos of someone wearing the garment as well as pictures of its construction.

I made three pieces for my competition outfit, all of which I have made before, so I knew they would fit. These were a Named Clothing Maisa Denim Jacket, Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts and, for fun, an Elbe Textiles Sorrento Bucket Hat, which is a free pattern. I am wearing them with a Megan Nielsen Eucalyptus woven tank in khaki. I had decided on the jacket as soon as I heard about the competition, partly because my denim Maisa jacket is probably my most worn item ever and partly because I thought it would be unique to make a Broderie Anglaise jacket. After seeing the other entries, it seems I wasn't so forward-thinking after all as there are some gorgeous jackets among them. Oh well! I had originally planned to make a skirt, but it wasn't working out, so I went with shorts instead after a suggestion from my sewing friend Katherine.

I began with the Maisa Jacket. I wanted to show off the fabric as much as possible, so kept the majority of the jacket unlined. I used a natural-coloured cotton fabric to line just the collar, cuffs, pockets and hem and button bands. I sewed it around the seams (see below) so that the lining and not the seam showed through the eyelet holes on the inside and outside of the jacket. 

It was a slow process getting everything as perfect as possible, but very enjoyable, especially as I have had little time to sew for quite a while now. 

The outer seams are all top-stitched and the jacket is finished off with jeans buttons at the front, pockets and cuffs.

The inside of the pocket has a leather patch with my Meggipeg label and a Tessuti Fabrics label on it.

The next picture shows how the jacket is constructed to allow the light through the main part of it.

Next the Flint shorts. These were lined for modesty, with the lining fabric used as underlining. This meant that the view through the holes was uniform and no seams were visible. I made the style that buttons up, rather than ties, and used metal buttons. These were shortened about 4cm from the pattern after a suggestion from a (male) friend, who insisted they were originally too long! I think he was probably right as the proportions look better with the jacket at the shorter length. 

These shorts are so comfortable to wear and I love them in this fabric.

The Sorrento bucket hat is fun to sew and easy to wear. I lined it to hide the seams again and love how the light shines through the brim lining when it's worn.

I am really happy with all the pieces of this outfit. I know they will all be things I wear a lot and I thoroughly enjoyed the planning and creating of everything. The fabric is gorgeous and I'm very happy to have pushed myself to enter the competition. The closing date is 14th May and it's worth having a look at the other creative entries on Pinterest or Instagram.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Updating a teen bedroom using Photowall - and discount code

My younger teenage son takes great pride in his bedroom (the older one not so much!). He saved up for a computer, which he built himself, plus all the accessories. He tidies his room every evening so it can look as good as possible. However, for a long time now he's been asking me if we can get a poster for his 'gaming' wall. I had to admit, the wall needed something. It was bland and boring.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by Photowall. They are a US-based company (which ships internationally) that makes wallpaper, posters and canvas prints. They wanted to know if I could help them promote their company by writing a review. I immediately thought of this bare wall and asked my son if he would like to order a canvas print.

The two of us got on the Photowall website (see links below, you can go to specific country sites, depending on where you live). There is a choice of print types - wallpaper, posters or canvas prints. I was very tempted by the wallpaper, but we settled on a canvas print. You can then browse through a huge and enticing array of prints or upload your own image.

This is an example of the image choice. They are listed under different categories to make choosing what you want a bit easier. My son very quickly chose a beautiful snowy scene featuring the Aurora Borealis. A very cool feature of the service is that you can resize or crop the image so it has the proportions to best suit your space. I made the canvas wider and cropped it vertically, before resizing it to dimensions (1.2m wide from memory) that I thought would look good.

In no time the parcel arrived. The shipping was very fast from the US to Australia. You can see from the box, that some kind of assembly was required. Full and clear instructions are provided on the Photowall website.

The parts included: the rolled-up canvas print, the frame in four sections, some corner brackets and screws and a mounting bracket and screw.

Each frame section had a piece of double-sided tape along one edge. We just needed to mark 12mm from the pre-cut corners of the print as a guide to where to place the frame.

Then we peeled of the tape and placed each frame piece along the edge of the canvas inside the pencil marks.

The frame then gets rolled inwards, where it matches up perfectly, and is held in place with the corner brackets and screws. It really couldn't have been easier to put together.

We then drilled into the wall to attach the mounting bracket, put up the print and stood back to admire the transformation. My son also bought a strip of LED lights on eBay, which we stuck along the back of his desk. He is over the moon with the whole effect.

The northern lights in the print almost appear to change colour with the LED lights, giving it an extra dimension.

These photos really don't do justice to this print. It is very high quality and looks beautiful on the wall. The frame is strong and the mounting bracket holds it firmly in place.

If you would like to buy your own print or wallpaper, Photowall are offering a huge 25% discount for the next month if you use the code meggipeg2021

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Pietra pants, Sadie tunic and Sorrento bucket hat

Summer is on its way and I was determined to find some time to sew. Time to sew, for myself at least, has been rather limited for a while, but it is always such a joy. This outfit began with the Pietra pants by Closet Case Patterns, which I was inspired to make after seeing the gorgeous versions on the Tessuti blog.

I had one metre of navy sandwashed linen from a recent(ish) sale at Morgan and Marks, a local Perth designer who sometimes sells off their excess fabric. There was just enough for these pants with some creative cutting, but I had to use a different navy fabric for the pocket lining, which does not show at all.

This was my second pair of Pietra pants. The first was a wearable toile in beige linen. I made these exactly according to the pattern. They are a bit baggy for my liking and the waist is very high, which I find a bit uncomfortable, possibly because I'm not used to wearing such high waisted pants. For the navy pair, I decided to remove 5cm from the rise of the pants by folding in the front pattern piece at the lengthen/shorten line and folding the top of the back piece, facings and front pocket pieces over by 5cm. 

I feel much more comfortable with the rise of the navy pair. I also took in the side seams of the navy pair for a closer fit.

The blouse is the StyleArc Sadie tunic, which I have made before. Both times I made it I shortened the length, but I can't remember by how much.

This Sadie is made in a light cotton voile with an embroidered flower pattern. I think this fabric came from a designer sale as well, but I've had it for so long I'm not sure!

The top worked quite well in this slightly sheer fabric, but the neck and hem facings are very visible. I was careful to make them as neat as possible! A flesh-coloured bra is also essential.

And finally, the hat. I was recently invited to the launch of an Image Stylist business at Garden City Shopping Centre by B, my friend and ally in all things sewing, fashion and food. B had won tickets to the event and we had a very decadent time drinking pink cocktails and surreptitiously inhaling the grazing table. The stylist, Peta Preston, showed us her picks for the upcoming season, which included a bucket hat! The model is wearing one made from white broderie anglaise, which I may copy. I made mental notes of all the pieces I liked and the patterns I would use to make them. The bias cut skirt (same model) was on my to-make list.  

I used the Sorrento bucket hat pattern, which is free from Perth designer Elbe Textiles and which came to my attention after being made extensively by Sue from Fadanista. This is a fab pattern and I highly recommend it. There will be more! Cheers x


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