Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blackbird (singing in the dead of night)

How nice it is to finish projects - especially those which are so simple and leave you feeling like an expert! 

This sewing project was an aim to get back to the simpleness of sewing and 60s design. A shift dress with contrasting collar and cuffs. No fussy bows or ruffles, just plain, simple and easy. 

Something reminiscent of the mid-60s. A simple silhouette which suited many, and which was so different to the dresses of the previous years. A Peter Pan collar to recall the clothing of their childhood and cuffs to balance.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Summer of my smiles

Hello there lovely people! 

Do you often have those periods where everything seems overwhelming? Since returning from my little work break, life has been quite a full on little bastard. Mostly with work and lack of sleep and other issues which I never managed to balance out properly. And then the massive wave of tasks at work somehow took over my life to the point where I wouldn't leave until 6pm. That's not a good finishing time for someone who has to commute an hour sometimes and hour and a half home. I had started Yoga before my leave but stopped due to a lack of time (and money) 

With the recent bushfires in the Blue Mountains and also thanks to a little visit with my friend and her baby, Jamie, It really has made me learn to stop and enjoy my life. Work will always be there, but everything else will pass by unnoticed if I don't take control of the boat, so to speak. Waking up in the morning and feeling exhausted before I've even gotten out of bed isn't a good feeling.

It's funny how we put this pressure on ourselves, but just end up making mistakes and being exhausted from things that are totally within our own control. 

This is why I love spring. I honestly feel like there is a coat that I shrug off when spring comes both physically and metaphorically. 

Getting back to owning my time and reassessing what I'm doing, and not worrying about what I should or shouldn't be doing. Stopping myself from putting up barricades and not getting angry when others keep theirs up - these are all things that are motivating me right now.

Don't worry, this isn't an announcement to say I'm stopping blogging or anything, this is just my mental release of everything that swims around my head from time to time and brings me down. 

The best way for me to asses my situation is to remember those things that I love the most that make me happy or giggle lots. 

Would you like to know some of those things are currently keeping me sane happy? 

Watching - All the Wes Anderson films. I started my Wes Ander-thon on Sunday. A bit late to start one, but I'll pick up from The Royal Tenenbaums this Friday 

Eating - Bananas, in all forms. I'm not currently able to bite, thanks to my lovely braces, so bananas in the form of cakes, bread and smoothies are good easy and yummy

Listening to - Led Zeppelin. Last year I had a similar listening obsession with Led Zeppelin, but that was an initial getting to know their work, this time around I'm listening more carefully and understanding their techniques. A lot of their music is quite up lifting to!

The Rain Song - from where the title of this post comes from

Reading Light and Shade, conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski. In combination with the music, I'm learning quite a bit. I've also got Miss O'Dell by Chris O'Dell on the run, so I switch between the two. 

Obsessed with - Spring, her lovely flowers and the abundance of sunlight that comes with it. This is when I start to like Sydney again and spend a lot of time staring out the window at the trees and also the baby ducks that are living in the pond near my window at work. 

Sewing - I'm yet to name her, but the black dress with white collars and cuffs is my current project. Making this most basic of dresses is also helping with my stress release

Worried about - the bushfires in the Blue Mountains. My Boyfriends cousin lives at the base of the mountains and they were on "watch an act" alert, which is the next down from evacuate. They have a beautiful property and we have lots of family parties there. Their doing ok and the bushfires have been downgraded for now. 

** You can make a donation to the Red Cross here to assist those who have lost their homes
Or if you are an animal lover you can also make a donation here to WIRES who are doing a very good job rescuing and treating animals that live in the bushfire affected area **

Something new - My Kikki K purchases. I do actually do a good job at work and sometimes people give me "reward points" which I always spend on Kikki K vouchers

A sentence a day diary, to do list, gold stripe pen and cute magnetic bookmarks
Also the new collection from Yeye Vintage Boutique, with lots of 60s and 70s gorgeousness to buy

Excited for - summer holidays! I've put my leave in for work - 3 lovely weeks of relaxing, celebrating and of course sewing. 

Life in general - Is pretty good! I'm healthy, my braces are doing their thing and it's my favourite time of year - why shouldn't I be happy? 

How's everything going for you dear reader? I hope life is being kind to you! 

Feel free to tell me your own list of things that are making you happy in your comment


Monday, October 21, 2013


Liza Minelli
Mmm Peter Pan collars. Aren't they just delish? And paired with matching cuffs on a cute shift, make for the idyllic 60's dress. 

I'm not sure how this trend started. Perhaps it was to replicate men's business shirts with the white collar and cuffs on a contrasting fabric? But with a cuter, sweeter edge.

Regardless, I'm smitten with this neat mod look and as such my next project is very much influenced by the following images. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Goldie - The wearble muslin

Do you often make muslin's when your sewing? or Toile's or Calico's?

They're all the same thing but named differently depending on where you live. In Australia, we apparently call them calico's  but considering the majority of my sewing education comes from books, YouTube and blogs, I've ended up calling any garment that is a practice garment a Muslin 

Normally I make my muslin's out of left over fabric, old sheets or fabric from the op-shop. I rarely buy actual calico from the store because its actually quite expensive! Its cheaper to buy home spun plain cotton. Go figure. 

Wearable muslin's however are another deal. Sometimes I make up a garment without any adjustments or edge finishes as they're intended to be a test, but they end up being wearable. And other times I make things with the intention of wearing them out, but they end up not really being the best. This is one of those kinds of projects. (kinda)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dressing the Decade - 1962

Oh my it's been a rather busy few days for me! Sewing and visiting friends, working late and birthday dinners. Very tricky to fit in more than one blog post a week sadly.

How has the past few days been treating you? Nicely I hope! 

I've decided to make up for my absence with a chunky new addition to Dressing the Decade

Here we go with 1962!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The trouble with lurex aka sewing with slippery fabrics

Hello there all you lovely people! Its been a very busy week for myself. Working late, crafting up engagement presents and trying to make a dress for this weekend which is taking way longer then normal.

Why is this you may ask? Well the fabric I chose for this task, while lovely and very nice for going out, is having a small fight with my machine. They just don't want to hang out with each other, so I've have to bring in a mediator

The fabric I chose is a stretchy knit gold Lurex. It has a really lovely drape and because its knitted, I can cut the hem in any shape as I please and it wont unravel and fray all over the place. 

But the downside is that my machine has trouble picking up and carrying the fabric through the feed dog. It bunches, it skips stitches and generally makes sewing a dress a lot more stressful than normal

To help the machine and the fabric get along, I simply take a piece of grease proof paper and layer it over the fabric. In the below image you can see that the top layer is normal lining fabric and underneath is the paper. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Finally I bring to you - The Barbara dress! 

I actually finished this last weekend, but never got to take photos! Cheeky me, but finally this lovely lady is complete and I love it! Its soft and feminine and even if it's really more 70s than 60s, I must argue - for its inspiration comes from one of the great ladies of the 60s - Barbara Hulanicki

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dress Dreams

This coming weekend is not only a long weekend, but its also the start of daylight savings which means lots more sunlight before and after work

Around this time every year, my sketch books and ideas lists quickly become full perhaps because of the extra light, warm weather and the increase of activity in the garden and in nature. The anticipation of summer and the festive season also provides lots of reasons to come up with fun new dresses to make.

Here are some of the dresses that are helping me with these ideas. They're also the kind I wish I could just pluck off the screen in the morning to wear and head off for the day feeling super

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tutorial: French seams and double stitched seams

Two of the techniques I managed to obtain while making the Barbara dress (photos yet to come!) were French seams and rolled hems. Both are good techniques for light materials such as chiffon or silk as they both hide the delicate edges within the seam and give a nice clean finish

Today I will show you French seams - which are apparently called English seams in France (couture anglaise), and also a neat little technique which is ideal for curves while using delicate fabrics
French seam
The French seam requires you to make two lines of stitches – one in the seam allowance and one on the normal seam line. It’s ideal for nice soft fabrics as it encases the raw edge within in the seam. Some fabrics do not take well to being overlocked and so the less it's fussed around with, the better. They are also good for medium weight fabrics and children’s clothes as they are hardy and tend not to unravel on often washed garments