So there I was happily working on tunic no. 2 - this time in a light, woollen suiting-weight material when, out of nowhere, a gaping hole was spotted in the skirt section! (nb: this is not the actual hole - I was too traumatised to take a photo of the real thing - but it's the same size and rough shape). Disaster! I had already attached the top part of the tunic and was just pressing my side seams. Of course, I couldn't believe I'd missed this when I cut it out. It was an actual flaw in the fabric because the edges of the hole were sort of felted. Weird. Anyhow, my sewing teacher heard my cries (I was at my Weds night class, thankfully) and offered to come to my rescue the next morning with her Embellisher.
What's an Embellisher, I hear you cry? Well, it looks like this:
or, at least, hers did, and it's really meant for - wait for it - embellishing, i.e. you place one piece of material on top of another (say, a nice felt flower onto a skirt) and the machine magically bonds them together. But how? Well, instead of a regular needle, the machine has 6 needles in a circle, each with little tiny hooks up and down them:
Unfortunately, you can't really see the needles here, but all the machine does is pump the needles up and down through your fabrics (no thread involved) and the little barbs pull the fibres and sort of felt it all together. So we thought we'd give it a try on my tunic, as there was very little other option. And this is the result:
Can you see the dark circle (above the middle flower)? That's where the Embellisher worked its magic. When pressed, it completely disappeared and is now totally invisible to the naked eye! Flaming Marvellous!
My lovely teacher also brought her wonderful hemming gadget, which I mentioned previously. As you can see, it's a stick ...
... which you stand next to, with the hem of your garment caught in the top. Then, you slowly turn round whilst a friend pins the hem at exactly the same spot on the stick. The stick has a guide for placing your pins.
This means that your skirt will be the same distance from the floor, all the way round. When you take off your skirt/dress you will no doubt find one side longer than the other (e.g. in my case, back is always longer as I have a big bum!). But the skirt is totally level, once on! It really makes hemming so easy.
You will be pleased to know that I added a ruffle to the bottom of this dress:
as I would not inflict my fat knees on the unsuspecting public at large. So, the finished item:
And then I remembered about my little cardi I made a couple of summers ago and hey presto, it was in the same wool as my Dahlia:
That was yesterday. Today I won the Bad Mother award. You see, the school were celebrating Chinese New Year and the children were asked to either dress up in Chinese costumes (eh?), or bring in something Chinese. Call me clueless, but I really had no idea what sort of costume I could possibly make a 4-year old boy for this. I pondered and pondered and could only really think of a Chinese working man's outfit which I thought would be 3/4 wide-leg trousers, a tunic top and a flat straw hat. But was it really worth all the effort of making such an outfit, just for one day, when there is very little chance of him wearing it ever again? I thought not. And then I remembered a book about a Zen Panda my brother had given my son a few Christmases ago and I thought right, that'll do. So this morning, up the hill we went to school and ... EVERY child was dress Chinese! EVERY CHILD! Apart from my son, who just run around clutching his panda book. I was already a bit traumatised when a little girl came up to me and said "why isn't **** wearing a costume?" Arggggh! Because his mother couldn't be bothered, is the correct answer.
All the way home, I felt absolutely dreadful. So much so, that I ran upstairs and frantically rummaged through his drawers to find SOMETHING vaguely Chinese looking. 10 minutes later (we live within spitting distance of the school, luckily) I was knocking on the door of the school, all apologetic and red-faced (from puffing up the hill). So now my son is wearing a pair of black pyjama bottoms, a white top and a black waistcoat with a belt round it and a polystyrene sword tucked in it. Kung-Fu style. And on the way home I wondered why a Kung-Fu martial arts warrior would need a sword. But it was black and white and sort of Samurai looking, to match his outfit. OH GOD! Note to self - BEWARE the dressing up days!