Friday, 29 March 2013

How to Sew a Semi Circular Skirt

As part of my fashion design course, I've been learning how to draft skirts. Skirts are considerably easier to draft than shirts or dresses, so I thought I would share my successes and some simple tips for creating skirts with endless variation. Today's skirt is the circular skirt.

The Circular Skirt
The easiest skirt to master is the half circle skirt. It requires only one body measurement, the waist, and a skirt length measurement. With these two measurements, you can construct the pattern.

Begin with your waist measurement, say it is 72cm. Divide the waist measurement by 3 (72/3=24cm).
Minus 1cm from the measurement (24-1=23cm) and use the measurement as the radius of the arc for the waist curve. From this point, mark the skirt length and draw a second arc at the desired length, making sure that the length is consistent the whole way around.
To cut out, place pattern so that one edge is on the fold and the other on the selvages  Cut out a waistband the length of your waist with seam allowance added. (Make sure to add seam allowance to the waist curve of the skirt, side seams, and the hem.

To construct the skirt, join the side seams, leaving one side open at the waist for the zipper. Attach the waistband and insert the zip. Finish the hem.

It can be a good idea to let a circular skirt hang for a couple days before finishing the hem as the parts of the skirt that fall on the bias can 'drop', making the hem uneven.

I created my semi circular skirt from Indian cotton and lined it to prevent it from being transparent. I inserted an invisible zipper as they look so much neater than standard zips. I allowed my skirt to hang to remove any 'drop' before I finished the hem. The final product is a neat, simple skirt with endless style variations.

Semi circle skirt (waist band hidden by the belt) 

 The idea of the circular skirt can be adapted to full circle skirts and quarter circle skirts. For a quarter circle skirt, divide the waist measurement by 1.5 (72cm / 1.5 = 48cm). Draw an arc with this radius for the waistline of the quarter circle skirt. Enjoy the endless variety that circles can bring!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Milk Coronet Photography

"Milk drop Coronet"
by Dr Harold Edgerton
I was looking through a book the other day of amazing images of our world. The book included microscopic images all the way through to our earth from satellite and even the galaxies. I was awed by some of the photographs, but one really stood out, because it was something that we could try to photograph at home. Dr Harold Edgerton invented the strobe flash in the 1930's and began to stop motion with his amazing photographs. One of his most famous is the "Milk drop Coronet" taken in 1957. It was this image that struck my imagination.

So my husband and I began to experiment with shutter speed and lighting (obviously we don't have a strobe flash, so we had to take the photo's in the sunlight). After hundreds of shots we managed to get some pretty amazing images of milk dropping into milk, and dye dropping into milk.

It wasn't easy to capture the exact moment when the milk formed its little crown, so we have lots of in between shot and shots that show other stages of the milk dropping. The first image shows a constant flow of  white milk running into a shallow dish of pink milk. I love how symmetric the ripples in the milk are.

f/18, 1/1250 sec, ISO-800
 This second image shows the exact moment that the milk forms the coronet. In fact, this image shows the large coronet of the first drop and a small coronet inside formed by a smaller second drop. Even at this speed there is some blurring of the falling droplets.

f/18, 1/1000 sec, ISO-800
This image shows the stage just after the coronet has formed and the droplet jumps back up out of the dish. Again, the symmetry caused by the droplet is amazing! By this stage the lighting was fading a bit (sun started going down), so the ISO had to be increased causing some noise in the image.

f/13, 1/2000 sec, ISO-1600
The final image is the final stage of the milk drop. Each little mini droplet fell back into the milk to create an amazing six spoked wheel. (Not all drops created this number of spokes, but all were symmetrical). The red dye has not yet blended, so you can see the full journey of the red milk droplet.

f/10, 1/2000 sec, ISO-1600
You can see that our images don't have the awesome sharpness and focus that Dr Edgerton's has, but they do show clearly the awesome beauty invisible to our human eyes. Just imagine the things we would see if our eyes could stop time like a fast exposure camera! 

Brisbane City by Night

A few nights ago, my husband and I joined some other amateur photographer to photograph the beauty of the Brisbane city lights. It was a new experience for us that we really enjoyed and learned a lot from. The Sony Nex 5R copes remarkably well in low light situations and we took some lovely shots.

The moon glows above Victoria Bridge
f/3.5, 4 sec, ISO-100

Looking back on the city from South bank
f/3.5, 4 sec, ISO-100

Kurilpa Bridge from the board walk
f/3.5, 2 sec, ISO-100

The moon above Kurilpa Bridge
f/5, 10 sec, ISO-100

A warning marker casts a shadow
f/6.3, 13 sec, ISO-100

Nepal peace pagoda, South bank
f/3.5, 1.3 sec, ISO-100

The Brisbane Eye in motion
f/14, 2 sec, ISO-100

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Janome Overlocker

Today was an exciting day for me.... my long awaited over locker arrived! It is the cheapest on the market (Janome) for about $290.00, but I am so happy to have it! Sewing is so much more work without the over locker to finish off the seams neatly. No more unnecessary flat felled and French seams for me! I'll write more on the over locker when I've had time to try out all its functions!
The over locker came with several different feet attachments for gathering, inserting elastic, making blind hems and inserting cording. Cant wait to try it all out!

My lovely over locker
Extra feet and tools that came as the package

Friday, 22 March 2013

March Quilt Square

This is the second instalment of my progress on the "Block of the Month'' quilt that I am making. For the month of March, the quilting technique was drafting economy blocks. So my block is based on a simple version of the economy block.
Again I used my beautiful pastel fabrics, perfect for a baby quilt. This block was a little more complex than some of the others due to its use of triangles, but has turned out really well. The finished size of this block is 17 1/4 inches square (quite large compared to the others).

Economy block, front

Back (how neat are the seams!)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Baby Quilt Blocks

My sewing experience includes very little quilting except for a crazy square block quilt I made as a teenager for my bed. So I have decided to have a proper go at quilting and learn the correct techniques by signing up to a free online course by Craftsy. The class is called ''Block of the Month'' and encourages quilters to do one section of a whole quilt each month in order to have a finished quilt by the end.

I decided to make my quilt in a baby colour scheme as I will eventually have a baby that needs bedding. The pastel colours work wonderfully together and I'm excited to see the finished product.

As it is March already, I have to catch up on the January and February blocks. January's blocks were 4 small log cabin blocks and February's were 3 medium sized spring bloom blocks.

Lovely pastel quilting fabrics

My colour scheme for the quilt

Spring blooms blocks

Log cabin blocks

Saturday, 16 March 2013

[Awe] Inspiring Moments of Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear Fashion

I recently discovered a website that enabled me to preview all the Fall 2013 designer collections. It grabbed my interest and I began to peruse the hundreds of designer collections in the category of "ready to wear''.
It was a fascinating experience, to say the least, and I have discovered some gems worthy of sharing. These items hold a certain charm and novelty. In fact, I can almost say that I like them, not for their great beauty, but for their supreme uniqueness.

Enjoy the strangest moments of the Fall 2013 designer collections.

Central Saint Martins
Texture and line are everything here
Central Saint Martins
These colours says "Children's playground"

Central Saint Martins
Rope climbing frame?

By Melene Birger
This one says My Fair Lady

Betsey Johnson
A new take on active wear!

Think Turkish palace guards & Arabian Nights

Gareth Pugh
The zombie bride...
Gareth Pugh
I'm reminded of a crow by this startling creation!

Bouchra Jarrar
I can't help but think of Alice in Wonderland with that collar

Anne Sofie Madsen
Is it a mask.... or a wolf... or...??

Vivienne Westwood
Bridal couture?
Vivienne Westwood
Viking inspiration leaps to mind

Comme des Garcons
I have no words to describe such brilliance of colour!

Alexander Wang
Oversized mittens?

Again, the big furry paws!

Emporio Armani
Edwardian pant suit?
Emporio Armani
This velvet dress holds a certain geometric charm

Marc Jacobs
The glamorised swimsuit?

This outfit just says "Wonder woman'' to me

Dolce & Gabbana
A strong resemblance to a baby's playsuit
Dolce & Gabbana
Inspired by the Byzantine mosaics in Sicily

Inspiration: construction workers

Alexander McQueen
Apparently inspired by the ranks in Catholicism??
Alexander McQueen

All photo credits to

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Early Morning Photographs

Having the new camera is a great motivator for exercise! A couple days ago I saw a beautiful bougainvillea in flower about one km from my house. I determined to walk down and see if I could get some nice images. On the way I found some other interesting subjects for photography too!

Morning Glory flowers
f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO-100

Bougainvillea blossoms
f/6.3, 1/40 sec, ISO-100

Bougainvillea blossoms
f/6.3, 1/40 sec, ISO-100

f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO-100

Little duck in the creek
f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO-200

Ducks with HDR painting mode
f/6.3, 1/100 sec, ISO-200

Amazing green on the wings!
f/6.3, 1/100 sec, ISO-200

Interesting flower stalk
f/6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO-100