Thursday, 30 October 2008

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Jorinde jacket - Part 1

Photo from ebayshop fabricsaurus, chunky bottle green 100% corduroy fabric. See link below.

The jacket I have decided to have a go at sewing. It is a blazer style jacket with one button at front, an interesting yoke, that goes from the front round the neck and over the shoulder to the back on each side of the neck and a lapel collar.
It is a free pattern available (to registered users, registration free) at Burdastyle.

It's definitely the most complicated sewing I have attempted. I thought having the instructions in English would make it easier...but I'm not sure I understand any more than I would in Spanish! ;-) The pattern includes instructions but not step by step pictures, much like the Burda magazines. I began making a rough version from calico ("a muslin") this weekend so that I can work out what to sew, where to sew it to and how, and make sure I understand what I'm doing. It's been interesting, not stressful, as making mistakes is part of the reason I'm making a muslin, so I'm not fretting about ruining fabric.

My first mistake was printing out all 26 pages of the pattern, carefully trimming each sheet and sticking them together, drawing the pieces onto the calico...only to realise that the printer had enlarged everything by I had to print out another set of pages, this time checking the sizing, then stick them altogether again. But at least I hadn't cut any fabric! Note to self - check printer settings first. 

I know that I have a long back, and have worked out that I have to elongate pattern pieces by 2-2.5cm. I was a bit worried that there were no elongation lines on the pattern. The waist was marked, but as the pockets were inserted in the front pieces above the waist line I didn't want to elongate at this point as the pockets would have been positioned far too high up my torso. So I worked out a line somewhere above this - another reason I was grateful that I was making up a rough draft. So far, I think I've got it about right. I'll try and photograph this adjustment and post it here for future reference.

I'm also using the muslin to practise sewing the flapped, bound pockets and lapel collar on the muslin too. I'm finding the instructions a little tricky to follow. The pockets were easier than I thought they were going to be, but I haven't worked out the lapel yet. My old 1970s/80s "Collins Complete book of Needlework" doesn't have quite enough information, so I looked and found an old edition (1976 I think) of "Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing" on Amazon for 55p, so hope, despite not being the latest edition, it'll be able to help me with the construction. I want to change the button hole to a bound button hole at the front too, I'll practise first, I'm not sure how to do that with the lining as well as the top fabric.

The blazer is made up in fine/baby corduroy in the Burdastyle example, that looks lovely, but then I'm biased towards corduroy and green, the colour they have used. I have ordered some chunky 100% corduroy in bottle green from an ebay seller.
I hope this won't be too difficult to work with - I realise that the fine cord is probably easier. I'm going to take my time, and cross my fingers. The pattern needs around 1.9m of 140m wide fabric, the cutting layout requires the fabric folded double. Unfortunately the corduroy I've ordered is only 110cm wide, but I've ordered 3m, I hope that I'll have enough for the jacket and a skirt, perhaps a short skirt....

Because of unexpected flat stuff - a new hob being installed on Friday morning, renting, I lost a lot of time on Saturday cleaning the kitchen of dust and muck as the work top had been circle-sawed to fit the new, slightly bigger hob and everything was covered with a layer of dust. Still, least it's safe, a gasman doing an annual check earlier in the week had said the hob was leaking gas - so guess I'm lucky it hadn't gone bang.

I found some black shoulder pads in a local shop - no choice of styles, and not things I use very much, but I'm going to try them in the muslin and see how they look. I think that I should be able to buy the lining material, thread and buttons from the market on Tuesday. I've ordered some woven fusible light/medium interfacing from another ebay shop, and will see how it feels with the corduroy. All in all, so far an interesting project - and a necessary one - I'm missing having a jacket, it's cooling down here in the evenings!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


First, the cat. I decided that my plan would be to put food down for the kitten for a couple of days, win his trust so that I could get close enough to pick him up without him running under a car, take him in and then try to find him a home or get him to a rescue centre. Stripey cat is right, there are ex-pat run rescue centres a few miles away on the coast so I was hoping that I'd be able to get a colleague to drive me there if needs be. As it was, I gave the kitten a small can of food, he carried it under a car and gobbled it up, so apart from being a bit dirty and having sticky eyes he seemed to be fairly strong and fiesty. He wouldn't come close to me. I noticed that some one else had put down some milk. When I went to check on him a few hours later there was no sign of him anywhere. So I think, and hope, that whoever had put down the milk came back for him and gave him a home.

Nothing has been noted here for a while partly because nothing notable has been done. This is not a diary after all. I had a friend visiting and the new school year has kept me busy, I have had no time to sew/print/knit/draw. Or at least, if I have had the time I've been too tired to do anything with it. And I haven't been cooking, or for that matter eating much, except when out being a tourist with my visiting friend.

But I have lots of plans, I need to make a few more christmas gifts, possibly cards too, and as I left my only jacket on the train I need to sew a jacket. Possibly a bigger sewing task than I had planned to tackle just yet. Still I've found a free pattern on Burdastyle and ordered some lovely bottle green chunky corduroy to make it with. More soon, I'll need to make lots of notes on these projects.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Life: I wish we would handle with care

So there are things I like about this country I have chosen to spend time in, and things I appreciate of course, I don't believe in going to live in a country, by my own choice, and then complaining about it. But I hate this time of year, not the change in season, sometimes that isn't evident at all, and this year having Autumn is quite exciting. I've missed it, in this part of Spain we have gone from Summer straight to Winter.

But the abandoned animals break my heart. The problem seems to be worse after the summer. People take in, or get animals from somewhere for the summer. When the summer ends they abandon the animals. Walking my dog, we've seen more street dogs since September, and more cats. I lived in a city in Catalunya for a couple of years, and this didn't seem to happen, but here in the South-east it seems more prevalent. 

I hate it, I feel powerless to make any difference. In class, we talk about pets and animals, and I gently introduce the ideas of responsibility to care for animals at home and adopting animals from the street or a rescue centre rather than buying pets. I have pictures of my cat and dog in class, the children are keen to talk about them and ask questions, I am always clear that they were both abandoned animals from the street. (I teach English to children in Spain, pets is a common topic with younger children).

Opposite my flat there is a tiny siamese looking kitten living under the bins. I saw him/her last night for the first time. Very small, dusty, with eyes that look a bit sticky. I don't think he is more than 6 to 8 weeks old. He's making that strange loud miaouwing noise, too big a noise for his little body. I thought he might be part of a group, other cats to huddle with and find food with, but I haven't seen any others. He is too scared to let me get close, I've tried a few times, but he backs away. I'm scared he'll run into the busy road if I get too close. Perhaps with some food I can tempt him out. 

And if I can, then what can I do? I suppose give him a home, but with a boisterous dog and a young cat that doesn't like other animals it wouldn't be easy. Cowardly, I wish I just didn't have to see all these poor animals, I wish that I was living somewhere else. Or maybe I just wish that we all handled each other, and every living thing, with a little more care.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Chickpea and roasted vegetable lasagne

Must be autumn, I've turned the oven on. Hopefully I'll have left overs to help me get through Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes. Phew! It's busy being back at work....

I soaked the pasta in hot water for 20 minutes, as instructed on the box. I made the filling from a standard tomato sauce preparation (well, my standard anyway), tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, a bay leaf, and a little thyme and rosemary and a splash of sherry, pinch of sugar. The vegetables are roasted and frozen in bulk for later use. Here onions, courgette, aubergine, red, green and yellow peppers, garlic. The chickpeas too, were pre-prepared, soaked and then cooked in the slow-cooker on Friday.

There are two layers of pasta. The top layer covered in some tomato sauce and then a white sauce made simply from soya milk and nutrional yeast flakes. Baked in the oven at around 180-200º for hmmm, phone went, maybe 40 minutes?

Served with steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Very tasty.