“In which aisle can I find your kitten-proof rubbish bins?”

indie badgeI had a super busy weekend but I did get to do some sewing…and some of it was even for me!

Nerdy Husband is so happy with his merino top that he has requested more. At the moment he is working outside for his job and since it is winter it means he is wearing it everyday. I made him a second one in charcoal grey last month but that still means I have to wash them both every 2 days so on Saturday I was taken fabric shopping (squeee!) and more merino was bought. Global Fabrics had it on special at $20 a meter which means I can make his merinos for about $30 each, that is super cheap!

Then we went rubbish bin shopping.

I know right! Fabric shopping AND rubbish bin shopping in one day? I am a lucky woman ;)

The problem is that Harri thinks it’s hilarious to jump into my open-topped rubbish bin in my sewing room and then play in it. Sometimes she just tips it over to play with the contents. Just that morning we were in the kitchen eating brekkie and she trotted in with a paper scrap in her mouth that looked distinctly sewing related.

This is OK if it’s just paper but, as we have already discovered, she really likes thread. She munches on the offcuts and scraps from my overlocker catch bin and I worry she will swallow some and that would be bad. It also means I have nowhere to throw away sharp things like bent pins and old rotary blades. I’ve been putting them in the kitchen bin but one day I’ll forget and she will jab or cut her paw when she jumps in! So the kitten-proofing of the sewing room continues and a pedal bin (green with white polka dots) was purchased and success! It is kitten proof…but not the box it came in ;)

Rubbish bin box, not very kitten proof!

I swear I did not put her there. I turned around from unwrapping the bin and she was looking out at me, true to the Scottish Fold breed, she loves her boxes!

I spent the rest of Saturday cutting out my top secret project:

Then on Sunday the merino tops began, I bought enough fabric for three of them and whipped them up production-line style because I knew that if I made them one at a time I would get halfway through the second one and be super bored and want to stop. So instead I cut all three out first, then attached all the arms.

Next came the decorative top stitching (faux-coverstitch). This is the part that takes the longest, after racing along on the overlocker, switching to the Elna feels so slooooow! To make that stitch formation it feels like 1 stitch forward, 2 stitches back! But I did it!

Then arm/side seams followed by collars and finally hemming, phew!

NH was impressed with his instant merino wardrobe, his next request?

Hey you know this hoodie I’m wearing…

Sigh! ;)

Before I could move onto some me-sewing I had to give my cutting table a good clean:

Argh, Merino fluff! Everywhere!

And then finally! I got to work on my Lady Grey, with Harri’s help of course.

This is actually a really good photo of the wool which is black but with a chunky weave that’s hard to photograph:

We loves watching the bit that goes up and down

So this is as far as I got before it became too dark to sew black (must address the lighting in my sewing room!)

Look at all that fraying!

The shell is assembled, seams top-stitched. No sleeves yet but I am already really excited for the final garment. I love the vintage feel to this pattern and I think it will be super flattering and girly with the big lapels and twirly bottom.

Tonight I will make dent in the top secret sewing project stitching. I have to dig out the appropriate coloured thread and then remember how to set my overlocker up for rolled hems. I want to get some tricky and potentially monotonous finishing done first, then I’ll begin to assemble the rest.

Make sure you pop over to Kat’s blog next and check out her interview with indie pattern label Sinbad and Sailor.

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The strange things I sew for my husband…

Every now and again Nerdy Husband likes to throw me a sewing curve ball. It’s always a good challenge and I truly appreciate his confidence in my sewing abilities.

But first, I realised while drafting up this post, that the NRHS Merino Top is not the first thing I have sewn for NH in recent times. I made a suit jacket for him once, it wasn’t what I would call 100% successful but it was great for me in terms of stepping up my technical sewing skills. It deserves a post all of its own and so it shall have it, at a later date.

The previous RNHS has all revolved around bicycles. Once I was asked to sew some velcro to an old rubber bicycle tube to make a chain stay protector for the shiny and newly re-painted Big Red Bike*.

Funnily enough Schmetz don’t make any needles labelled “Bicycle Tire” so I used a leather needle instead.

In the end I made two, my poor little Elna grumbling the whole way, I am ashamed to say it, but she gives as good as she gets and she gets looked after really well. For a “modern” machine, all plasticy, she takes a fair beating and keeps on sewing.

The next request was much easier, a workshop apron, to protect his clothing but also to keep tools handy.

I based it on my basic apron pattern with a few extra pockets and dividing stitch lines for various tools. It also has an adjustable clip for the waist strap, something about boys being unable to tie bows behind their backs, it’s not in their genetic coding I think.

He uses it a lot, as you can see from the state of it. I offered to wash it once…

So fast forward to a few days after Christmas 2012: Downstairs in the Mannex (or Man Cave, if you prefer) Nerdy Husband has his Pretty Green Bike* set up on the stationary trainer for indoor bicycling. After a particularly sweaty indoor training session he calls to me from the shower.

The best ideas always happen in the shower don’t you think?

“I have a really strange sewing request. It’s kind of hard to explain, I need to draw it at the same time…”

So after he is dressed we go to my room and he makes a scribble.

It’s a sweat bib thingee that will span between the handle bars and saddle and protects the paint and componentry from the acidic nature of perspiration. NH assures me these things do exist in bike shops and back in the Mannex, with some pattern paper and a tape measure, he points out some of the areas on his bike that are already suffering a small amount of corrosion and attempts to explain the concept a bit better.

The idea is that the bib will float above the top tube so as not to transfer the sweat to the paint and should run the whole length but still allow the rider to grip the handle bars comfortably. It is wide at the handle bars to cover the front brake and cables below, then it curves in to a sort of “T” shape as it runs down the top tube so as not chaff as the legs move past it.

The mass produced versions are obviously made as one-size-fits-all attached with elastic or long straps of velcro. This can mean, on a larger bike, that parts of the frame are left exposed. Variation in leg length may also mean a seating position that causes your knees to brush past the protector which is really annoying and will also cause chaffing.

So the mission was to make a custom version to suit the Pretty Green Bike’s frame.

We started with the paper pattern, roughly sketched while masking taped to the bike and then mirrored on the fold. The shop versions are often stretchy but we decided an old towel would do for the first attempt.

I also decided to use velcro instead of elastic because I thought it would be easier to remove, I am assuming it will need washing, and I am also already assuming that if this works there will be an additional order placed for a second one!

After a second fitting we added the velcro in the centre too, this brings the sides downward, creating a kind of hood effect and solved the problem of the edges slightly brushing past his legs.

In the end the “first attempt” ended up being the only attempt.

Handle bar detail

Top tube detail

Seat post detail

I try to make even the most simple (and weirdest) things neatly. This was supposed to be the trial run, I didn’t expect to get it right first time, and therefore I didn’t bother to change over any of the threads in my machines. I offered to make a second one but NH didn’t seem to mind a dark blue overlock stitch against a light blue towel and black velcro sewn on with white thread, he was too busy patting us both on the back for getting it right in one shot. The following morning he gave it a thorough testing it out and declared it a win…so there you go…

After it was all complete and it got the Bicycling Hubby’s seal of approval I decided to do some Internet research. What I found was surprisingly like what I had made, and provided some funny names. CycleOps call their version a Bike Thong (snigger) ;) and Elite refer to theirs as a Sweat Net, most others are boringly named as “Sweat Guard”…Bike Thong is my favourite – it does indeed look like some sort of weird de-constructed panty!

*I shouldn’t tease, NH owns several bicycles, I know the correct names for each of them and what type of riding each is designed for, I even have one myself. It’s just much more fun to give them funny names for the blog ;)

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RNHS: Rugby Jersey Finished

Normal service resuming in 3…2…1…

The Requested Nerdy Husband Sewing: Rugby Jersey is done! :)

And I am happy to announce that NH is most pleased with it.

Inside out detail:

You’ll have to believe me when I say it looks 100 times better on my actual husband, rather than Scarlett!

Stripe matching? Check!

I reinforced the shoulder seams with twill tape to prevent any stretching.

And here is the magnificent button placket…which wasn’t actually that difficult in the end. I just needed instructions! ;)

You may notice the lack of rubber buttons because I haven’t sourced them yet, although I think I know a store that may have something but it was closed when I last drove past it…NH is happy with standard plastic buttons for now. The jersey will have it’s first official outing for New Year’s Lunch…which will actually be the 6th, a minor detail.

The deets:

Pattern: Burda Magazine 04/2007 #130 “Men’s t-shirt” heavily altered to match existing All Blacks polo shirt

Fabric: “Rugby Jersey” Knit selected by Nerdy Husband from Moorelands in Palmerston North and white drill from the stash

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Happy Christmas Eve Eve

I just thought I’d quickly share what my Christmas Eve Eve has consisted of…

Some of this…

…and this…

…which will become this!

And then some of this…

…to make Nerdy Husbands favourite!

A little bit of prep to make Christmas morning less about stress and more about fun and family :)

And you should see the size of the turkey currently defrosting in my fridge!

Now that is out of the way I am doing a wee bit of sewing, not the birthday dress, best intentions and all that, I’m not stressing myself out, it’s nice to slow down sometimes, to remember that I sew for fun and the mental challenge.

I had to re-make the collar for RNHS rugby jersey (after digging for more white drill in the stash) and here I am modelling it after joining the shoulders, I used twill tape in the seam to prevent any stretching.

Check out that beautiful button placket!

I have since pinned the side seams, very pleased with my stripe matching. No tricky stuff left now, I may even finish it today. I will give you the official Nerdy Husband verdict in the New Year.

So since this will probably be my last post for 2012 I’d just like to wish you all a happy & safe Christmas, see you on the other side in 2013 xx

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