Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Hiatus

And in the blink of an eye, it's Christmas time all over again! How did that happen?

I also just moved houses 3 weeks ago, so things have been a little mad and I must digress there has been little to no Christmas sewing going on around here!

None the less I'm looking forward to short break from work to settle nicely into my new home, and hopefully enjoy a little of this on and off again summer that we're having.

So until next time, Merry Christmas to you all and have a happy New Year!

Much Love xx


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Wicked Stitch: Through the Looking Glass

How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty? I wonder if they'd give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass milk isn't good to drink -- But oh, Kitty! now we come to the passage. 
You can just see a little peep of the passage in Looking-glass House, if you leave the door of our drawing-room wide open: and it's very like our passage as far as you can see, only you know it may be quite different on beyond. 
Oh, Kitty! how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking- glass House! I'm sure it's got, oh! such beautiful things in it!

Let's pretend there's a way of getting through into it, somehow, Kitty. Let's pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it's turning into a sort of mist now, I declare! It'll be easy enough to get through -- 

' She was up on the chimney-piece while she said this, though she hardly knew how she had got there. 

And certainly the glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist.

In another moment Alice was through the glass,

                                                                                                Lewis Carroll - Through the looking Glass


This is the dress I made for the Tessuti Awards competition. Sadly I didn't even get into the finals, but I am proud that I finished it in time. I had been meaning to enter the competition for the last few years! and finally I did it! Next year I'm just going to have to step up my game a bit!

None the less, here is my dress - Does it not remind you very much of Alice? I thought it was a perfect match.

I certainly steered my my original plans, posted here, and ended up mixing together 3 different patterns together and improvising here and there.

I had a lot of fun playing around with multi directional stripes. Although I'm uncertain how flattering the horizontal stripe is across the middle.

I used Tessuti's "Tap Water" Japanese cotton. Its delightfully sheer and soft and has a slight seersucker effect. However, this meant I had to line the entire dress, which I did with a white cotton voile.

I also made my own bias binding for the arm holes. I love the effect of the diagonal stripes against the vertical. It really is the smallest things when sewing that you fall in love with!

Stripe matching wasn't always possible, but there where a few places where it was. I love the chevron stripes on the hips.

I also used a red bias tape around the waist on the inside as a little waist stay. Mostly it was just there for decorative purposes, but it also helps to stop the waist from stretching out, seeing as the fabrics are both quite light and delicate.

The weather is slowly warming up here in Sydney and when it does I see this dress getting a lot of wear. Its going to be perfect and breathable for those hot sticky Sydney summers.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Wicked Stitch: Briar Rose

Whilst wandering the castle one evening, the young princess came upon a spinning wheel. She had never seen anything like it before. Her mother had forbidden her from wandering alone and sheltered her from so much. The young princess crept into the room and sat upon the stool placed beside the wheel. She felt a cool breeze that danced and rippled up her spine. She unknowingly reached out and touched the spindles needle. It pierced her fingers flesh and as one small bead of blood dropped from her finger, she too dropped from her stool, asleep. 

She would sleep for one hundred years. The king and the queen felt helpless with grief. They had tried relentlessly to protect her. Time crept by. In their old age, when they knew that they would no longer be able to protect their sleeping child, they built a mighty fortress and locked their princess in the tallest tower. There she would be able to sleep, protected. The king and the queen said good bye to their beloved daughter and as they left for the last time, they wept. From each tear that hit the ground, a briar rose bush grew. It grew fiercer, and stronger that any ever before. In time the bush covered the  entire fortress. No one could pass their steely thorns and the princess slept untouched. 

In a neighbouring kingdom a young prince heard of a tale. A tale of a beautiful princess that had been cursed to sleep for 100 years unless woken by the kiss of her prince. The tale touched his heart and unlike those around him, he was not content to speak the tale in whispers by the fire; instead he set out to find the princess and free her from her dreadful curse.

The brave prince found the fortress and with all his might he fought his way the steely briars and up to the tower where the princess slept.

When his lips touched hers she awoke and she smiled. The curse had been broken.


For this skirt I used Simplicity 5006 with a few alterations. I'd made it before, minus the ruffle, so it was an absolute breeze to put together. The most time consuming part was pleating the ruffle, and hemming it. 

The ruffle circumference ended up being about 3 meters!

I added 4 small tucks at the front of the waist band so its a little less "clingy" and was little more comfortable.

I chose to add an exposed black and gold metal zip to "funk" the project up and ironically, pull it away from the fairy tale side of things, making it more wearable in real life.

I also sewed my label in there for fun! Notice how the colour scheme (minutely so) is green, pink and blue?? of course you did! Does anyone remember the 3 fairy god mothers is Disney's rendition of sleeping beauty? I had them in mind whilst sewing. Its my little nod to Disney.

The fabric is a chartreuse (the worlds loveliest colour, and the most elegantly named) polished cotton. I scored it at the remnant warehouse for $2 a meter. There was only 5 left, so I took the whole roll.

I also used some hot pink satin bias binding on the inside where the ruffle attaches to the skirt. I love having colourful details on the inside that are just there for me to know about (oh, and you guys too now). It makes the project a little more exciting.

Although this was a quick make, technicality wise, I did take my time with it. I french seamed my seams and everything. Other than the zipper tape, I feel like this skirt could almost be worn inside out if it so tickled my fancy.

In real life I like to wear this with a black tank, black brogues and a wrist full of gold bangles - then I feel more like Esmerelda from Hunchback of Notre Dame - but thats a tale for another time.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just in the nick of time!

Phew, I made it! And just in time too!

Thanks a million to all your wonderful comments and encouragement, not to mention stripe matching tips! You guys are seriously AWESOME!

Check out my entry here.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

To Sew, or Not to Sew?

.... for the Tessuti Awards Competition that is!

I had planned on entering last year (but didn't) and then planned on it again this year (but haven't!). Without realising, time flew by super fast, and now I only have 13 days until the competition closes! Golly!

In my panic I went out and bought $100 worth of Tessuti Fabric (Gosh, Just writing that out loud makes me nauseous) I have never spent that much on Fabric EVER! but hey, that's Tessuti's for you!

Here's the Plan - I'm going to use Vintage Butterick #6538. I have Photoshopped (very haphazardly) my stripes onto the pattern envelope picture just to get an idea of how its going to look -

What do you think??

 A. Is it good enough for my very expensive fabric?

B. Will I be able to do it in time and not botch my very expensive fabric?

C. Will I have a panic attack when it comes time to cut my fabric?

Oh and have I mentioned that I have never matched striped before? Ever!


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Wicked Stitch: Maleficent

Once Upon a Time...

There once stood a small village at the foot of a large castle. The king and queen ruled kindly and the Kingdom and village lived in peace and prosperity. It was a special day in the village.  All were merry and preparing for a celebration, for it was the christening of the Princess; the first and long awaited child of the King and Queen. Invitations were sent to the royal court, the villagers, and to seven fairy god Mothers, all whom would bestow gifts, big and small upon the new Princess – all but one.

Maleficent, the wicked fairy god mother was Evil above all else. Her powers scared everyone but herself.
The christening was not long kept secret, for Maleficent had eyes and ears everywhere, from the winged crows to the tallest trees.  Upon hearing of her royal exclusion, Maleficent flew into a rage unlike anything before. She a devised a plan. She would attend the christening regardless and there she would bestow a gift upon the baby, an evil gift.

And so she did – she cursed the baby. Upon the age of 15, before the sun set before her 16 birthday the Princess would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die!

Unbeknownst to Maleficent only 6 of the Fairy God Mothers had given their gifts. The last softened the curse of Maleficent.  While she could not stop the princess from pricking her finger, she instead would fall into a slumber, for 100 years until woken by the kiss of her Prince Charming…

In Reality....
Recognize the Fancy Pants from last year?

I know I say this every time, but this is the best thing I have ever made! It blows everything else out of the water. The making of this jacket even brought on a small revelation (for a later post). I'm not going to lie, it took a really long time to make, like a month and a half. Not because that's how long you would actually need to make it, but because I made a toile, I made adjustments, I altered the pattern for future reference and most importantly I didn't rush it! I took my time, I blind stitched the hem by hand, along with the lining, and I enjoyed it.

I used an early 1940's Vintage Vogue pattern (I'll post the number when I find it). It depicted the jacket as more of a cotton or viscose dress jacket to be worn over a slip, however I interpreted it as a modern/vintage suit jacket.

I made it out of a nice mid weight crepe with great drape, and fully lined it in beautiful liquid Mercury grey silk. It has a nice nipped waist where it closes with an internal button and loop. But instead of yammering on about the details, here are some close ups -

And yes, all my seams are perfectly aligned, I think it might just be a first!

Ah the joys of an even hem!

There is something so delightfully sleek and dramatic about this jacket. It has won my heart a thousand times over. I wear it so often, and over so  many things. To me, its completely timeless.

What's your all time favourite make? Do you wear it all the time?

I hope you have enjoyed the first enstallment of The Wicked Stitch - There will certainly be more tales to come!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Can You Dig It?

Lately it seems as though  I have lost all interest in reality. Its a complete bore! and why would I be interested when I could be completely swept up and lost in the world of fairytales?!

Fairytales are everywhere right now! (Tangled, Once upon a time, Snow White & the Huntsman, the up and coming Malificent - if you know more, please let me know!). I'm an easy target, I've loved fairytales since I was a little girl (of course!), not to mention my rather morbid collection of Grimm Fairy tales.

So, naturally, I'm utterly inspired and hoping to share the enthusiasm.

Inspired too?

Most importantly though, I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that very shortly I will be starting a new project  - "The Wicked Stitch"

The plan is to don a different fairytale character (good or bad) for each post. However, I won't be sewing costumes (that would be impractical), rather I will be styling garments that I will wear in real life to create something magical and other worldly.

I'm terribly excited about this, not only will it be a world of fun, but it will give me a chance to play with my new camera and see what it can do.

I've been working away on my first post, and all I will say is it is certainly a little different!

I hope your just as excited as I am, I have a hundred ideas already!

M x

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's a Girl!

I have a confession to make....

In my last post, Knitters, Go Nuts I promised a Part Two. A part two filled with darling, quirky 60's knitting and crochet patterns.
This intention was wholly sincere. I scanned. Labelled. Dated. I was precise. Precise in all but one thing. I scanned them in wrong and cut off half the page ON ALL OF THEM! Yup, I did that. Then I went and gave the books back. "GAVE THE BOOKS BACK?" You ask, exasperatedly!? Yes, I'm sorry. I confess, I am a huge goose.

I felt bad for a minute or two. I considered editing my last post to remove all trace of the secondary promise, but you guys are smarter than that aren't you? Then all remorse was driven from my mind by a new purchase. Funny how shopping can do that.

I bought a Camera - Finally. She is so beautiful.

So join me my fellow sewing friends in welcoming my new Canon Powershot sx40 to the family.

 Camera pictured is not true to size.

I suspect we will have a lot of fun together!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Knitters, Go Nuts!

I'm the first to admit that I am not the worlds most accomplished knitter. I've knitted more scarves than I can use, an adorable beret that turned out the size of a yamaka, and in a blaze of glory, I knitted a heraldic lion pattern into a square that is currently sitting, lonely, in the bottom of my knitting bag.

I want  to knit. I picture it, with a rosy hue - Me, knitting by fire, tea next to me. First of all, I don't have a fire, and secondly, I don't have the patience. That's why I love sewing - Its faster. But knitting is undeniably therapeutic (hence the amount of scarves).

I admire those that persevere (By Gum By GollyJorth, and Did You Make that?, I'm looking at you!) and I'm constantly inspired to try again.

I'm not posting to just tell you my thoughts about knitting (why, are you not fascinated by them?) but to tell you of a knitting pattern goldmine that has currently come into my temporary possession.

Last week a lovely colleague of mine handed me a bag of treats. No, not the edible kind. "Our" kind of treats. Yes, that's right. It was a brown paper bag full of vintage knitting magazines and books from the 30's - 70's.

So immense was this goldmine that I have decided to break it up into two posts. This post will be dedicated to a book called  "The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Knitting" and the second post will include all the patterns from the 60's & 70's. So, there's something for everyone!

 "The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Knitting" by Catherine Franks was published in 1939 and is quite simply a gem! Its informative, straight forward and as the title indicates, provides the added assistance of pictures. This book tells you everything, from how to cast on, stitch types, decorations, provides patterns, tips, right through to casting off.  However the book is 320 pages long, and while I love you all enough to share the best bits, I'm not about to scan the entire book! I did have a wee peek around the Internet though, and you can buy vintage copies here, here and here (if your quick).

So lets get to the good stuff shall we?

 These are so adorable - How about attaching one to a beret to wear in your hair?

How cute - perfect for a baby shower gift!

 This is my favourite of the sweaters, it would look so chic and nautical in red, white & blue.

 For the Advanced Knitter

I'm not certain of the practicality of a knitted bathing suit, but I couldn't resist sharing it with you!

Feel free to click on any of the scanned Images, save, print, and share!

There is one condition though! GASP! If you do create something from one of these patterns, be a dear and shoot me an email - I'd love to see how it turns out!

No need to wait on ceremony ladies, get knitting! and I'll be back real soon with more patterns for a good yarn (Get it?)


Friday, July 13, 2012


I've recently started working on my fashion portfolio, and while I have a lot of ideas, I'm finding it particularly challenging to bring them all together in a cohesive way.

I'm of the understanding that a fashion portfolio is not so much about finished garments, as it is about the process of how you got there - mood boards, sketches etc.

Which is pretty much the opposite of how I run my blog! I NEVER put my idea's down on paper. I dream them up, then I sew them up. Occasionally I might do a quick sketch if I'm trying to explain something to someone, but that's as far as it goes.
And I certainly haven't made a mood board for every dress I've ever sewn!

How about you?

After musing over this predicament for some time, I decided to tackle it with photoshop. Not only then would I be practicing my mood board skills, but I would be practicing my photoshop Skills.

Its pretty obvious by now that I love the Red, White & Blue, So I based my mood board around that.

And this is what I came up with -

(Click on the image if you want to see a larger version)

I don't think its a conventional mood board, but will it suffice? is it too juvenile?

 Have you made a portfolio?? A mood board? ? What are your sketches like?? Whats your layout like??

EEeeep! I need Portfolio Help! Someone come to my rescue!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Allure of Couture...

Before I even got around to knocking off at least one of Ulyana Sergeenko's creations from her Spring Summer '12 collection, she has gone and designed a whole new line for Fall Couture '12.

Here are a few of my favourites -

Simply divine! I love theatricality of it all. While I don't think I will be attempting to recreate too many of them, I am certainly drawing a tonne of inspiration from them.

Not surprisingly, that's not all that caught my eye. There's been talk, hype, hysteria (apparently) over Raf Simons debut collection for Christian Dior and I'm jumping on the band wagon without a seconds thought. The collection was pristine, clean and structured. The perfect harmony between mid century nostalgia and modern architecture. Vintage lovers will revel in the tightly nipped waist and padded hips that echo the much loved and infamous "New Look".

Here is just a taste, to wet your appetite. But if you, like me, need to see the whole collection - click here

I don't know about you, but that's enough inspiration to keep me locked away in my sewing room this weekend.

Happy Sewing Folks!

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