Thursday, 11 January 2018

Where I've been


The reason I haven't been around on here much lately is that I've been finishing up my final year at university. It's been a rough year to be honest, with a lot of stress and ill health, but I made it through! I'm really looking forward to getting back to a more balanced lifestyle :)
For those of you who don't know, I've been busy getting a Bachelor of Design majoring in fashion! It's been an intense four years but I've learned so much.

I view my study as a transitional phase for me. This blog was started after I got well from severe, crippling CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and definitely represented a journey of figuring out who I was after years of living in a broken body. I am so proud to have moved forward since that time. I have gradually built my self esteem and sense of self back up and achieved my goal of 'feeling like a normal person'. It's been a hard road but it's leading somewhere good!

Now I'm looking forward to the future and more steps of finding my place in the world. One of the biggest impacts my study on me had was the research I did about sustainability and the impact of our consumption on our world. This is something I think most of us are aware of, but when you really look at the facts, you can't ignore how serious it is! I'm planning to share more about this in the future. :)

I am planning to keep blogging but I will shift to a new blog address in future, as I feel it's time for a fresh start. I'm also planning to share some of the work I have done so you can see some of what I've been so busy with!

In the next little while I'll share my work and hopefully get my new blog up and running soon :)
See you soon!

Monday, 19 June 2017

I made: Pink Shirt with Scalloped Collar

Hey! I still exist. I've just been so busy with school.
Here's a shirt!
I designed my own scalloped collar and put it on the Sewaholic Pendrell blouse pattern I've been using (why reinvent the wheel right?)
I first mocked up the body of the garment, then put it on my dress form, then made a mock-up collar and stand out of card and paper.
It worked pretty well!

I think it looks like there is a little excess in the armhole in these pictures; I'll have to evaluate that next time I use the pattern. But I do like a little ease in the armhole too.

Next time I'd decrease the depth of the scallops slightly to make them easier to sew without compromising the look of them. I used a paper tracing of the pattern piece marked with the seam line and stitched through it before ripping the paper off and trimming away excess fabric.

I pivoted and sewed a stitch across the top of the scallops but I next time I will try out several methods to see which works best for a nice shape!

Insides are pretty standard:

This was a fun project but I finished it ages ago and since I've dropped off on blogging, I'm only just getting around to showing it. 
I also shortened the skirt I'm wearing with it- I made it when I first started sewing but it was a little frumpy. It's much better with the inch or two I took off.

Apologies for the slightly brief post but I'm not in a big blogging head-space right now!
Hopefully I'll get more into it at the end of the year as I do enjoy it.

Alright I'll leave you with this goof pic:


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Polka Dots at the Museum

Hey everyone! Quick post from me today! You may have noticed my blog is full of tumbleweed; it will continue to be for the next few months as I do the last year of my degree!

Here's me a while ago at the Dowse vintage beach wear exhibition "At the beach". It was full of fun retro garments!

The dress is the same one I made here, but I made it with ruffles on the straps. Next time I would place a wider ruffle in the front as the party is all in the back!
I also added a very narrow button band to the front.

I really like this dress, but just as with my other version of it, the waist seam is all over the place.
I think because there is no structure at the top of the bodice, just straps, it shifts everywhere. The heavier bodice in front seems to pull the garment forward so the back waist raises up.
Not a huge deal but I wish I knew how to solve it!

Why do I look so stern here?
The other thing about the bias straps is that they relax over time and my armholes become a little lower.
Last time the bias on the sides of the skirt dropped, so this time I attached the ruffle without overlocking the seam, then let it hang for a few days and droop, and THEN I unpicked the sides of the ruffle and levelled the top part of the skirt. This leaves the ruffle a uniform length. It was a bit of a pain! But I felt the skirt might not drop enough if the ruffle wasn't attached and weighing it down.

I'll leave you with a picture of me looking like a complete dork trying to pose like a mannequin.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Pattern magic! Bows experiment

Here's a quick post about a patternmaking experiment I did.
This bow bodice was based off the book "Pattern Magic" by Tomoko Nakamichi.
The cool thing about the bows on this bodice is they look like they grow right out of the bodice! They use the bust darts plus additional fullness to create this draped looking effect, but it's all done with flat patternmaking.

It's a great book if you like the idea of quirky patternmaking. It doesn't hold your hand though; the instructions are quite sparse!

I haven't been making much lately especially as I've had so much other stuff going on. And in the free time I did have, I decided to make some adjustments to my bodice block to make it fit better... pretty boring!

The fit on that shoulder area.... looks pretty bad! I think this was a flaw in my block, not the bow patternmaking.

Anyway, while I was please I got the experiment to work, I ultimately concluded I wouldn't wear a garment that was so crazy looking so I ditched it at the toile stage. Fun experiment though!
I tried 2 different ways of tying it!

At first when I sewed it up, I was getting really frustrated trying to tie the bows correctly in a way that didn't look horrible, but I eventually figured out how to do it. I think you'd have to do some strategic hand sewing to keep it in place underneath if you were going to make this as a garment, but pins sufficed for this experiment.

 I think this would be an interesting technique to use on a dress or blouse if you wanted to have an eye-catching piece! Fabric choice would be critical, to create a bow that had just the right amount of body for your taste.

Hopefully see you guys soon with an actual garment! Do you ever experiment with techniques just to see how you like it? It's a good way to learn! Even though I won't make this into a garment, it was still a good experience. :)

Monday, 7 November 2016

Make Do and Mend

I've been thinking a lot lately about waste, and the disposable culture we live in.

Here's a simple repair project that extended the life of a cardigan. :)
There were holes developing in the elbow areas of my cardigan. I machine-knit patches for them, which adds a different texture and was also a fun opportunity to practice my machine knitting.

Elbow :)

I used a tuck stitch pattern which sort of looks like moss stitch.
This uses the punch card function on the machine, which is super cool!

I sewed the elbow patches on by hand as the narrow sleeves would have made it pretty hard to do on the machine!

Left: after. Right: before

I sewed the bindings on the hand area by machine, which was pretty simple, if a little annoying to get those narrow bits under the machine!

Speaking of the aesthetic of repair... Have you seen Boro?
Boro are a class of Japanese textiles that have been mended or patched together. 


I love the idea of continually patching areas as they wear out, transforming the garment gradually. I wonder where will wear out next?? :D

More on sustainable repair:
Have you seen Tom of Holland? His visible repair work is very inspiring!
And Local Wisdom celebrates people's ongoing use of clothes and finds stories that celebrate love and respect for garments.

I won't have much time to play with the knitting machine for the next while, but I'm looking forward to when I do...
Next year I'm going to be super busy and I suspect I won't be blogging much, if at all! It'll be my final year of design school and it's going to be full on!
Also I'll be going to India in January on a school scholarship study tour, so obviously I'm very excited about that! Keep an eye on my Instagram for that!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Completed: Boring(?) Basic

Turns out that all I needed for a bit of a blogging renaissance was to drop the quality of the photos... lol! Here I am hanging out in my natural habitat (mess) and generally not caring.

We're here for the sewing not the scenery right?? Lol

Note sewing/cutting gear on the table.

ANYWAY, the garments! This is a wool/spandex blend crepe 3/4 circle skirt! Crepe DOES pick up all fluff, but I still love it. Mmm, spongy
This time I went shortish to keep it sassy. The proportion is so much nicer to my eye when it's above the knee. Plus since it's for winter, I will wear it with tights so I don't feel exposed!

It may looks simple, but there IS a secret here which I'm very proud of:

BOOM there's a pocket in with the lapped zip!!

This was no simple feat, and so I sampled it beforehand with scrap fabric, and wrote notes.
I'm not going to the extent of a tutorial as I'm not sure anyone else is crazy enough to want to put a pocket alongside a zip. To be honest, if I'd cut the skirt with a centre back seam I wouldn't have bothered, but I forgot about the zip/pocket conundrum until it was cut on the fold!
But there we have it, a learning opportunity.

Also I faced the waistband with this cotton from my friend Trees. She has such cool taste in fabric, so it's fun to have an unexpected secret on the inside. I made sure it can't be seen from the outside though! Understitching is a must!

In fact I was SO intent you couldn't see it from the outside, that I hand sewed some black tape near the opening as it was visible from the side of the waistband overlap. I should have thought not to have that bright white near the side seam! It's so obvious!
OH and evidently I was so caught up in my fancy pocket/zip conundrum that I forgot to put the lining in with the waistband, so I had to hand stitch in in afterwards. Oops!! It was worth it though and it looks and feels nice. I quite enjoy hand stitching anyway....

Main hem finished with premade bias tape. Lining hem just a double rolled hem.

By the way, my tights have tiny white dots on them.... CUTE!
And secondly, I made my top too!
This is the third striped Renfrew I've made.. see Striped top #1Striped top #2 here. I could basically live in stripes, spots, and full skirts.

OH and here's a pic of me in the other component of my uniform: A long bathrobe-like cardigan. Lol! I haven't made one of these yet but I have started knitting one!

The pattern I'll be making is Melia in charcoal grey. Can't wait to see it take shape!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Outfit-along 2016!

Happy Outfit-Along 2016 everyone!
Here I have a cardigan and skirt and top :)

The A-Line skirt I am wearing is similar to the Sewaholic Hollyburn, which is the official sewing pattern for the Outfit-along. However, I made the pattern myself as an experiment.

The corduroy was from an op shop and I feel it looks like it's seen better days. It's far more shabby than other cords I've worked with and as such this feels more like a wearable toile. It also collects dust and hair apparently.

Lapped zip and button in waistband

I faced the waistband with a plain cotton to reduce bulk.

Blind hemmed with my blind hemming foot, after finishing the edge with an overlock.

I like the way the skirt's shape turned out but I will improve it next time. I used my skirt block, which I haven't used before now! I should really make a post sometime on how I developed it.

To briefly touch on the patternmaking, when you create the A-Line skirt you rotate part of the dart value to the hem. I rotated out the darts that were closest to the side seams as per instructions in the Armstrong text. However, my back darts look silly as the inner darts are so close to each other! Next time I would rotate in the inner back darts out instead.
I am not sure if this is an issue with my block, or if it just goes to show that each block has different features that must be worked with to achieve the best result :)
My block DOES have quite a lot of dart value since my backside is so big compared to my waist! Lol :)

These back darts are too close together and look silly to my eye. Focus on the back of the cardigan instead lol ;)

I just eyeballed the pocket shape and placement and I think it turned out okay. I cut the pockets with the nap of the corduroy going the opposite way to the skirt, oops! But it doesn't really show. I mean, it's a subtle feature...yeah, that's what it is...

I like patch pockets as a cute feature to an otherwise very plain skirt.

As for the top, I have used this sleeve previously and it looks really quite different this time!
The previous time I used it, I used it with the Sewaholic Renfrew top. This time I'm working on trying to develop a knit top block that fits me perfectly, but I haven't got there yet. In my previous Renfrew tops, the shoulder was a bit too narrow. But I think having it a bit too narrow actually helps the gathers of the full sleeve sit better? I think this fabric is also a bit of a different drape of course, so that is probably a factor. But you can see that the puff sleeve kind of likes to sit straight up in the air which looks a bit funny!

My previous puff sleeve top. Shoulder is narrower and the gathers sit more rounded.

Any thoughts on puff sleeves guys?
Maybe next time I will take a little bit of height out of the sleeve and that might help it retain a gathered puff but not stick up so high?

Neckband overlocked on and top stitched with twin needle.

Twin needle hems. I try to get the zig zag right on the raw edge of the fabric so it's nice and neat! This is an art considering you have to stitch it with the right side up!
Anyway, I also made a cardigan! This is Primrose by Cecily Glowick MacDonald. Honestly it's so simple I sort of regretted buying it. I could have just plugged in a stitch pattern and made the cardigan pattern myself. But then again, having someone choose the stitch pattern for me saves me time and all the unncessary decision-making angst I like to do!

One thing I really didn't like about the pattern is the weirdly wide neckline. I rewrote it so it was narrower. It's not really me knitting if I don't change anything,

As you can see I lengthened it and gave it waist shaping too. Told you I should have just written it from scratch! It's a dark navy, although it looks grey in these pics...

I love the k1 p1 invisible sewn bind off for rib! It takes a while but looks so good. This picture is not the best though, sorry! 

When I got to sewing the buttons on, I realised I'd forgotten to make a buttonhole in the neckline ribbing...OOPS!  I just hand stitched, pulling some of the ribbing to make a hole big enough for the button. HAHA. Luckily the ribbing was quite loose and the button small, or I'd have had to do something more serious! Love those easy fixes... lol.
And I just realised I never got a picture with the whole cardy done up. Oops!

WHOA my hand looks amputated here

This is pretty much my uniform right now: Full skirt, cropped cardy, and there's usually some navy and/or a small scale print in the mix. Well, what can I say, I stick with what works for me!
I'm not 100% sure on my flower headband though. I made it myself and I honestly don't wear it much, but that might be because I always wear a hat outside and I don't want to crush the flowers :P

Fake flowers sewn on an elastic band. Fancy (not)
Anyway, do you have a uniform?