I collaborate on projects that tell stories of connection, origin and resilience so that we can begin to mend ourselves, our communities and the earth.
Cover me in wool it’s freezing

red wool

Truth.

I am a consumer.  This wool is brand spanking new, a planned and considered purchase, but a purchase none the less.

Truth.  

I haven’t showered for four days in these photos.

Truth. 

The hat was the only thing I bought camping that could tame my salt, wind and dirt encassed punk style locks.

red wool

Truth.

The wind was so bitter this morning, that we were the sole bodies on the beach.  The kids chasing the willy willies and failing to outrace the wind with their kites. 

red wool

Truth.

I immediately added a snow jacket to this outfit after 2 minutes of photos.  

Truth.

The beauty of this place makes me warmer inside. But wool also helps! 

red wool

Details:

Drape Drape no 2 pattern 11, size L, 8cm added in length. Previously made from a drapier fabric here

My first fabric purchase for the year: Wool double sided knit from The Fabric Store and refashioned velvet from a previous refashion. A refashioned refashion…

Alley Cat Romper Flower Girls

My gorgeous sister is now a Mrs!
1-DSC_3978

And two wee girls were happy to be part of the day in their new dresses.wedding

wedding
 

Flower Girls Dresses

Pattern:  Alley Cat Romper bodice, gathered rectangle skirt, size 3 and 5

Fabric:  The lace and knit remnants of the dress used in making my outfit, and the same cotton silk for the skirt. I used the final scraps to knit myself a necklace too.

Notions:  Beads and ribbon from Beads and Co and Spotlight respectively

wedding

Ease: Easy

See Also: Jessica’s tutorial for making a dress from the romper, and this very rad version by Needle and Ted

Tidbits: I made zero changes to the pattern having made it before several times.

Before lining the bodice my mum helped me handstitch beads onto the lace to make the dresses a little more blingy for the two girls who are both firmly in a princess or nothing stage. This picture was from the day after – a bit crinkly and covered in honey – but it shows the beading beautifully.

wedding

Lessons: The lace had minimal stretch so I could have (should have?) added a zip as things are a little squeezey getting in and out, but I decided to wait til after the wedding as time was tight.  Both dresses are now back on my sewing table to put a side zip in so they can dress themselves.

Kidlet Score: 5/5 nothing says love like wearing the dress again the next day

Naaaawwwww!!!

image

get shirty

Two mens shirts, two japanese patterns, double refashions, double the hip.

shirty stripesshirty stripes

Stripe Drape Top

Pattern: Garments of a Dignified Lady (Japanese Pattern Book),Pattern M (shown bottom left) size L. I’m really in love with this book and have traced off a few more for a rainy day.

Fabric: Super blokes upcycled shirt and remnant from the stash (best guess it was hiding in the scrap bag I bough from Potters last year)

Ease: Easy, with just two pieces in the original pattern

Get shirty

Tidbits: I played with the stripes and placement a little and ended up with the above rejig.  I shortened the pattern by 5cm so I could keep the original shirt hem, so I guess you should note it is quite long if you are thinking of making it,  I flat felled all the seams in honour of the original shirt and finished the neck and arms with knit binding.

shirty stripes

Lessons: It seems to fit quite well in a woven, which is what I was aiming to find out, but note it is quite long and I found the front neckline a touch high.

Score: 4/5 I’m predicting this will become a super useful summer top, and I’m certain I will make this again with a few tweaks.

Now to amp up the hip….

getshirty

getshirty

Hip Shirt

Pattern: Pattern Magic Stretch long sleeved version A (watch for the next post with more details on this pattern)

Fabric: Super blokes upcycled shirt and thrifted mystery knit

Ease: Easy

getshirty

Tidbits: I spliced the top of this pattern onto the shirt, basting a few times to get the right ratio and placement. I felt like the knit was a bit thin for my purposes so I lined it with another layer of the same knit,and it gave me the structure I need.  I enclosed the seam by hand herringbone stitching it to the seam allowance making it nice and neat on the inside.

My favourite detail is the little button on the back that I saved from the original yoke.

getshirty

Lessons: I would like to try this with a really baggy shirt to get a bit more contrast between the fitted top and oversized bottom.  I can wear this as a tunic over tights, just.

Score: 4.5/5 I love the simplicity of the concept, the hipster edge and the wearability.

getshirty

He he, this pose cracks me up.

If you are keen on refashions, follow along with the refashioners series this August.

Obi-bag

obibag

This year, I have planned all of my makes so I rarely get to opportunity to pull fabrics out of the cupboard and mix and match until things fall into place.  So this week when my handbag fell apart I was really happy about the chance to play designer again.  And boy, do I like what fell out of the stash and on to my new bag.obibag

Obi-bag

Pattern: Senna Tote 

Fabric: Vintage Obi belt that I have had for over 10 years, waiting for the right project.  Vegan leather from Remida.  All notions recycled from previous bag.

Green Notes: Recycling is winning in my book

Ease: Medium

See Also: Brienne’s quilted version

obibag

Tidbits:  If you know the Senna Tote pattern you may have realised that I have heavily modified it.  The width and length of the Obi basically dictated the size that I could make so I adapted the pieces to work.

I am super happy with all the pocketses in this make, front for my phone, notebook and pen, and inside for my wallet, a keeper for a water bottle and a clip for my keys.

obibag
obibag

Lessons: I will follow the instructions more closely next time as I got a little stuck at the end.  Also happily the trims were easy to sew with a denim needle and a good amount of seam grading.  I was also happy with my interfacing choice – a really stiff sturdy interfacing on the obi fabric (including the pocket) and iron on standard interfacing on the internal pockets.

Score:  5/5 This make is just me and will make me smile every day.  Cannot buy that.

XXOXXX

obibag

Dad’s Pinafore

KWC Dads Pinafore

Usually when I upcycle an old garment I try to make the garment something completely new so that you wouldn’t know what it was previously.  This time I wanted to make it more obvious, as both kidlet and super bloke really love the fact that she wears his old shirts.

KWC Dads Pinafore

Pinafore

Pattern:  Vintage Simplicity View 3
KCW Das Pinafore

Fabric:   Dad’s Shirt

KCW Das Pinafore

Green Notes:  Winning!

Ease: Medium

See Also: Last years dads shirt dress which is still in heavy rotation

Tidbits: Thanks to Kids Clothes Week for having the theme of Upcycled this week, I rifled through the box of clothes to upcycle and was stoked to find this shirt which is a fairly close match to the school uniform. Both kidlets started at a new “big” school this year but only being in Kindy Miss 3 doesn’t have a uniform.  So I wanted to make a school dress out of dad’s shirt that she could wear on her first day.

I found this 80’s pattern and was originally thinking of cutting up the sleeves to make view 3, but in my sleep I realised that using the cuffs would be way cooler!

KWC Dads Pinafore

I used the bodice of the pattern only and played with how I wanted to use the pockets and buttons, I used the back of the shirt for the front and the front for the back, unpicking one pocket to put on the front.  As it is she can wear it either way around which I like.

I bias bound the edges of the bodice which took me a couple of goes to work out how to incorporate the sleeves. In the end I bound the tops first and then the sides.

Lessons: I really thought I had the right needle in, but after seeing the huge clomp marks it made on unpicking I realised I was sewing with a 90/10 heavy needle.  Doh.  

Score: 4/5  she adores it as her new Kindy dress and dad adores his shirt in its new format too.

KWC Dads Pinafore

Kidlet on upcycling.  Eyeing my Nani Iro dress admiringly, she says “Mum I like that dress…when you are finished with it you can cut it up and make me something with it.”  hmmm…

I was featured on KCW! FEB 2015

Togs Take 2 and 3

My last bathers have had problems holding it together in the surf, so I thought it high time I stopped flashing my bum and made myself a more sturdy pair.

Togs take 3

Oooh, look at me, stepping away from the white wall! and giving you all a bit of beach action.

Togs take 3

This pair ticks all the boxes.  Comfy, sturdy and a goodly amount of booty coverage.

Togs take 3

Togs

Pattern:  Self Drafted bottoms traced from my favourite undies,   Alley Cat Romper bodice

Fabric:   Black and White – Refashioned size 18 tankini top.  Red stripes and lining bought new last year.

Green Notes:  Obviously the refashioned pair gets a big tick.  New swimwear fabric is synthetically made, which has greenhouse, water and toxicity implications.  Bam bam.  The only plus is that the fabric is fit for purpose and should last as a result. This post has a nice summary of how the fashion industry is approaching the sustainability issues of swimwear, which does imply that there are better fabrics out there.  For me, now my swim fabric stash is all used up, I will do my part to source second hand in the future, or perhaps even look into vintage construction techniques (I borrowed Vintage Swimwear by Jill Salen from the library recently and highly recommend it.)

Ease: Medium

See Also: Kidlets versions of the romper

Togs take 2

Togs take 2

Tidbits: Firstly, if you want to feel like you are wearing your favourite undies on the beach.  Trace your favourite undies, you wont regret it.

For the bottoms, I thought I wanted high rise, boy legs like my last pair.  On finishing the black pair above, I decided that a little less high rise, nanna panting action was in order.  I scoop out the front legs and lowered the top and I think I have found the magic height.  I’m calling it sporty.

I used Papercut’s tutorial to sew the bottoms together.

So yes, I am wearing an upsized toddlers pattern on top.  The day that I realised that I could upsize my kidlets patterns to fit me, was a revelation.   To upsize the top from a toddlers size 3 to my size, I used the technique in Create the Perfect Fit, essentially a slash and spread technique focused around the bust line. I had made up a test bodice (currently being made into a romper!) and I thought it would make the perfect bikini top. If anyone wants a tutorial let me know, it should work with breasts too… I think I have proved that this technique means you can make a pattern of any size fit you!

Lessons:   I had a tough time getting some of the elastic seams to play ball.  They kept dragging in places.  I repicked a few times and I am pretty happy with the end result when worn.  There are spots that could be improved, but I just had to put the unpicker down and get in the ocean.

Score:  4/5 Swimming success that should see me through the year!  

Togs take 3

So what do you think?  Did I put the unpicker down at the right time?  And I hope you didn’t mind not getting the white wall today : )

All the Reds

I’ve finished all the reds!  And I’ve double the number of wearable button down shirts in my closet.

Red Wenona and Circle

And I got me some cow girl/bohemian/eclectic  awesomeness in this here shirt.

Red Wenona and Circle

Wenona Shirt 

PatternNamed Wenona Shirt/Dress –  size 38

Fabric:  Thrifted printed cotton /linen blend (at a guess) plus some red linen scraps from my scrap box.

Ease:  Medium.

Tidbits:  Whilst I was drawn to the pattern because of the funky pleats, I decided to forgo them in this first version in case I needed any fitting adjustments in the shoulder area.  I cut the front as one piece, joining the front yoke to the bodice piece.

I wanted to flat fell all the seams so increased the seam allowances on the main fabric but was seriously stretched for fabric in the linen so had to stick with a 1cm seam allowance on these pieces. The difference was hard to keep track of when sewing, and I ended up realising that I had made the front bodice too large when trying to fit the collar stand (using Andrea’s tutorial again).  And the vertical pleats were born. So I got my pleats in the end!

Red Wenona and Circle

Lessons:  A couple of things to tweak for next time (already in progress) – The interfacing I used was way too stiff, especially for the button band.  And secondly, the pulling across the shoulders.  On consultation with Laura from Named she thinks it is likely caused by my shoulders being straighter then the slope the pattern assumed, and I agree!  The fix is to straighten the yoke pieces a little and add a little to the sleeves.

See Also: Yoshimi’s soft and flowy version, Jo’s funky ikat version, Lorraine’s this edgy black and grey dress and Maude’s swanky pleated shirt version.

Score:    4/5 I love wearing this colourful quirky shirt a lot, and looking forward to having more in the closet.

Red Wenona and Circle

And would you believe it, my first circle skirt!

Red Circle Skirt

PatternBy Hand London Circle Skirt App

Fabric: thrifted wool and silk lining.

Ease: Simple

Tidbits: I made a simple half circle skirt, which I made more complicated by lining and adding a pocket (which I failed to get a good shot of sorry!)

Red Wenona and Circle

(lot’s of squinting in this post! must find shadier piece of white wall!)

Lessons:  To be honest, its getting pretty warm here and sewing this wool wasn’t exciting me at all so I machined the hem, something I haven’t done for a while.  No amount of pressing has got those wrinkles completely out, so the skirt is back in the hand sewing pile waiting for a new, flatter hem.

Score:    3/5 I think this will be a super useful winter work basic, but right now, its not exciting me all that much.  I can see myself making more swooshy, colourful circle skirts though!

So here is my little sketch of all the Red’s for your amusement:

Red Wenona and CircleRed Wenona and Circle

Vogue Rescue

Red Wenona and Circle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Drape drape top, 2. Tuxedo Jacket, 3. Circle Skirt, 4. Red Cloche, 5. Vogue Rescue, 6. Wenona Shirt and 7. Ailakki Skirt.

 

 

I love virtual hugs, so feel free to leave a comment – if you are having trouble getting around try the little circles below or contact me.

Vintage Vanamo

Ever felt like you just want to blend in to the background?  Be it native flowers or your grandmas curtains I got you covered!

Vintage Vanamo Vintage Vanamo

Or we could take it down a notch and just go for statement skirt!

Vintage Vanamo Vintage Vanamo Ailakki Skirt PatternNamed Vanamo Cocktail Dress – size 36, adjustments as per this post for the bodice Fabric:  2m of vintage curtain fabric from an Australian manufacturer Ease:  Medium. Tidbits: Aside from the weeks of using this bodice to play with fitting options, this dress came together really easily!  I lengthen the skirt a little in the middle and also raised the side seam as I have a long hip curve (something else I learnt from Create the Perfect Fit).  Once I had made these quick adjustments I sewed the skirt up and wham bam thank you mamm.  Perfect fit. I made the skirt up as per the instructions but I used Bias tape to finish the bodice instead of facings.  I am regretting this a little as the fabric is quite stiff and I think facing would have worked better. Check that pattern matching on the back and the hidden zippage! Vintage Vanamo Lessons:  Next time I want to lengthen the front bodice a little and fully line or use the facings for the bodice. Also, I recommend doing some extra back stitching at the top of the skirt curve.  I had to go back and strengthen this retrospectively which wasn’t the easiest. Score:    4/5 I really do love the cut of this skirt and have actually worn it way more than you would expect.  Only once as a set so far, which did elicit quite a bit of commentary from strangers…

What do you think?  Can curtains be a rocking #twopiecesetacular or best left hanging on the wall?

Today’s post was bought to you by some grevillea, a running postman, a kangaroo paw, a eucalyptus, a banksia and an unidentified orange bloom. Very scientific.  I’m off to go hide in the bushes again. 12-wildflowers 20144  I love virtual hugs, so feel free to leave a comment – if you are having trouble getting around try the little circles below or contact me.

Family Collaborations – Me for Mum

A switching of roles! Mum need a dress, I had some fabric and her sewing machine, it had to be done fast!  Family collab - me for mum

Family collab - me for mum

Lekala Dress

Pattern: Lekala 5339 with mum’s measurements + high waist + wide biceps

Fabric: Opshopped doona cover sourced by mum

Ease: Medium

Tidbits: We did two fittings to work out the kinks.

The first fitting was hilarious, the dress almost hit the floor and the sleeves were still full length.  The fit was good across the chest/shoulders but I had to add a bit of shaping here and there so the bodice was less sack like.  The skirt was also slightly A-line, so I took 3 inches off the bottom edges and tapered it instead.   Mum also decided where she wanted the sleeves and neck line to hit.

The second fitting after these adjustments was easy!  All I had to do was pin up the hemline, everything else looked fine.  Mum suggested the tuck on the arms so that happened to.

Family collab - me for mum

I interfaced the zip per opening and used this craftsy video with great success.  Woohoo.  An invisible zip.  Actually, totally invisible. I didn’t notice the wrinkles from the interfacing in real life, only in this photo.  Hmm.

Family collab - me for mum

Lessons: Its at times like these that a serger would come in handy.  Usually I get by with french seams on light fabrics, and fully lining thicker fabrics but in this case I didn’t have time to line it in full or look at options like seam binding.  Instead I pressed the seams flat, zig zagged and then used the pinking shears to neaten them up.  Best I could do.

Family collab - me for mum

Also, whilst I stay stitched the neckline, I didn’t interface.  I think I should have (?)

Mum Score: 4/5 I am pretty happy with how it fits given my inexperience with sewing for others. (Apologies from her for the dodgy phone photo!) 

IMG_1558.JPG

Emergency Swimmers

A couple of week ago the sun started shining furiously (as it will for many more months here in Perth) and I was overcome with a desire to get to the beach.  Pronto.

Swim Take 1

Then I realised that I have zero, zilch, nada nothing to wear!  Cue emergency bathers.

I wanted something in this style..

I think I got part the way there. And, more importantly, now I can swim, yes!

Swim Take 1
Emergency Bathers

PatternBurda dress pattern altered as per this post

Fabric:  Op shop size 24 bottoms in teal, and a 1/2m swim skirt.  The black and white spots will be my next victim.

swim take 1

Ease:  Easy

Tidbits: I sewed the top sans seam allowance and still took it in here and there to get the fitted look.  The bottoms were made by pinning the side seams whilst wearing them, drawing  the new side seams then unpicking the top elastic band before sewing it all back together in their much smaller size.  The back leg elastics then needed a bit of shifting which I took a while over trying to find that line between nana and retro.

Swim Take 1

Lessons:  I am keen to try the top again with a few tweaks to the shoulders, and I think I could get a better shape on the bottoms by sewing from a flat piece.  I am thinking of using Ralph Pink’s free swimsuit pattern as a starting point. Oh, and where does one buy swim lining in Perth/Oz?

Score:    3/5 these emergency bathers got me in the water

You probably saw me with even more kit off this week as part of the wonderful 4th Trimester Bodies Project. The response has been overwhelmingly wonderful, to the point where reading the comments had me crying happy tears.  A very humble thank you to all! If my story helps just one person then I am happy!

And to finish a couple of wildflower snaps that match today’s colour scheme : )
Everlastings 0914

Black Kangaroo Paw 1014
 I love virtual hugs, so feel free to leave a comment – if you are having trouble getting around try the little circles below or contact me.