Finding my sewjo – I made cushion covers

2015 has been a busy year. It’s been difficult to find time to sew anything worth blogging about and I’ve been lacking my usual impulsiveness with my pattern-fabric choices. So I went to social media and asked how to get my sewjo back. The most common piece of advice I got was to make something simple, a tried a true pattern. Something that I could make quickly, and not to agonise over it. I took this one step further and completely omitted the pattern. I made cushion covers. These are made from a heavyweight linen from Martha’s Fabrics in Newmarket.



It’s safe to say the sewjo is back because after I made these I whipped up an easy Belcarra blouse (below) and then cracked on with my psychedelic orange mod dress. Needless to say – there’s plenty more blogging to come!



What do you do to find your sewjo?

Named Clothing’s ‘Ticket’ Collection – my picks 

Named Clothing has released their latest collection Ticket (view the collection). I love that the sisters at Named build a story around each of their collections that pulls the patterns together and takes their followers on a journey. Their designers say:



In a large collection of 15 looks (three have two patterns in one) it’s hard for me to pick my favourites but here goes…

The Florence dress and Lourdes cropped jacket are very thought out patterns with great details and accents. 



The Beverly Bikini is a fun twist on the classics triangle bikini. I like that this swimsuit is a bit more substantial than most store-bought bikinis. 



The Zaria skirts are another favourite of mine. I say skirts because this pattern comes with a beautiful sculptural skirt (pictured below) and a pencil skirt. Work and play options! 



I love this kimono! The Asaka kimono is a great project for a beginner with no closures and lots of straight stitching. 



This jacket is what I have been looking for – something that I could dress up for work and wear in the weekends. I have a pretty strong feeling the Augusta hoodie is going to be sold out really soon… 



Which are your favourites in the Ticket collection?

A Riot of Colour

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We’re averaging a high of 27* in Auckland this week and I am loving it! Best of all, my new dress is perfect for the warm weather – a By Hand London Georgia dress. I was gifted this crazy multicoloured print by a friend. I think it is linen and it’s so loud that it is perfect for summer!

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I have made this dress before (including two muslins) so I knew how the sizing would work on me. I mean, this is a very fitted dress. I used the amended bodice pieces that I had created for my previous Georgia but decided to cut a bigger size than my usual for the skirt because this fabric has absolutely no stretch. In the end I did take the skirt sides in a bit but after my vanity sizing disaster with my Alder I wasn’t willing to risk it.

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My previous Georgia is the wide strap v-neck version. It’s a great little evening dress with a twist. But this version, I feel, is more versatile. The sweetheart neckline is traditional, pretty flattering on a lot of body types and certainly easier to pull off. It’s also a lot cooler in summer.

Because this dress is super fitted I made several adjustments so the pattern. I had intended to make the longer version that finishes below the knees but being the five foot two gal that I am this looked really frumpy. I lobbed off 10cm and voilà. I also shortened the straps by 6cm, and used my amended bodice pieces. I’m not sure if this is an accepted bodice adjustment but it has worked well for my body shape. That’s all that matters right?

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Have you made the Georgia dress?

Slinky Silk Sandpoint Top

 

I would like to take a moment to welcome summer to New Zealand. We got off to a good start in early December, then things were a bit rocky for a while there but now we are in the full swing of it – beaches, barbecues and a little bit of sunburn. And I know have a new top to add to my summer wardrobe – the Sandpoint Top by Grayday Patterns. As you may remember Helena of Gray All Day blog was the winner of Project Indie, a collaboration between myself and the lovely co-ordinators of the Monthly Stitch blog.

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The Sandpoint top is a causual summer-y blouse with a cowl neck back. It is designed to be sewn in knit fabrics, but I’m a bit of a rule breaker so I made mine in a silk crepe de chine that has a fair bit of one-way stretch. I’d always envisioned this pattern as a slinky evening top. Next time I’m thinking more slinking. Black sequins anyone?

I made a couple of alterations to the pattern including omitting the neck band and the waist band to fit with my evening look.

 

 

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Have you made this pattern yet? I’d love to see yours – send me a link in the comments below 🙂

The Jobhunt Dress

I feel most comfortable when I’m wearing a dress. Trousers can bulge awkwardly, blouses need ironing, skirts and tops can be hard to match perfectly so dresses, for me, are a great, choice for a job interview. So here is my newest edition of an old favourite, a tried and true pattern – McCalls 6201, rated easy.

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I made this dress in a wool blend houndstooth that I acquired many moons ago from, of course, The Fabric Store. It’s a nice lightweight fabric, with the right amount of body and drape. It’s also got a tiny bit of stretch for extra comfort.

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I made a couple of alterations to the sizing and construction of this dress, including adding an additional 1.5cm to the side edges. It turns out that the 2011 edition of Penny guessed that she was a size 10. Little did she know that RTW sizing has no bearing on McCall’s take on sizing. Silly 2011 Penny. I also decided to finish the neckline with some store bought bias binding. The pattern had suggested a full lining but there was no way that was going to fly with us Southern Hemispherians heading into summer! I decided to compromise by making a facing to attach instead. I cut and interfaced this facing before remembering that I abhor facings, hence the bias binding.

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Here’s another one of me taking a picture in the shiny facade of building. What must the people inside think?!

In Other Exciting News there are two things to watch out for this week! Firstly, I will be teaching a class at Sew Love sewing lounge at St Kevin’s Arcade this Saturday! We will be CHRISTMAS APRONS! I’m really looking forward to it! Second, the Auckland Sewists’ Collective is having our first ever sewalong! The theme is nice and easy – “summer dresses”. If you live in Auckland and would like to be part of the Sewalong and blog tour you can request to join our Facebook group.

Saltspring Made in a Hurry

Hi lovely readers! It was a hot and windy day here in Auckland yesterday and guess what?! I finished a Saltspring dress by Sewaholic Patterns! I had to make it in a hurry because I really wanted to wear it to my friends’ engagement party. Luckily I finished just in time! (OK, we were a bit late…)

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I made this dress out of a silk remnant I picked up at the mid-year sale at the Fabric Store, Newton. It’s a lovely slinky fabric that has a nice one-way stretch, shiny on one side, matte on the other. I love how the feel of this fabric and the style of the pattern work so well together. I reckon I could wear this dress for work with a bold coloured cropped blazer or casually with a denim jacket. I think it’s my new fave!

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I made a few alterations to the pattern and construction of the dress. For starters, I shortened the bodice front and back so they were less “blousy”. We all know how I feel about that volume right? I also assembled the waist slightly differently to the suggested method. I simply attached the bodice and skirt, overlocked the edge, sewed the ends of the elastic together, marked it in quarters and stretched it out along the waistline. Much quicker than creating a channel for it, but perhaps not as pretty and neat! I also omitted the zipper from the centre back. I had read a tonne of your blogs saying that it wasn’t necessary and I trust you guys 🙂 Oh, and I just made one shoulder strap and cut it in half for the straps.

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I made this in a size 8 bodice / 4 skirt. I think the sizing is mostly fine. Only ‘mostly’ because I feel like the straps sit a bit wide on my shoulders. I think for my next Saltspring I will take some fabric out of the centre front and centre back bodice pieces to help move them in. The straps could also be shorter perhaps.

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I had a wee bit of trouble with aligning the straps as I was zipping along joining the bodice to the lining. I think with the next Saltspring (I’ve said it twice so I’m going to have do do it now right?) I’ll be taking this a bit slower and doing it in stages so that I can check to see how I’m going.

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Have you made a Saltspring dress? Share your link with me! I’d love to see yours and get some inspiration for my next one!

I am Loving Sewvember

I have to say I just love being part of the sewing community in person and digitially. I love that someone can say “let’s all do this sewalong” and sewists just get into it! It’s awsome. In case you’re not on Instagram (which is totally where it’s at) Bimble and Pimple blogger Amanda has organised an online event called Sewvember using the hashtag #bpsewvember. There’s a theme for each day of September and you take a photo on that theme and share it.

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So yesterday the theme was an Early Make – something that you sewed when you first got going as a seamstress. I shared the picture above, my wool crepe vogue dress. I made it in 2011 and despite having no finishing on the seams (I was very new to sewing) I have worn it heaps, including to a wedding at the beginning of this year, to a corporate ball and to my graduation.

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One of the most interesting themes was Insides – the lining or finishing of a garment. I posted the photo above. It is the lining and facings of the navy brocade dress I made for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Sewalong in 2013. Navy on the outside, shocking pink on the inside!

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Prior to that we shared photos on how we are inspired to sew. A bunch of people said Pinterest was what got them going, others said their surroundings like street fashion or the environment. For me it’s the fabric! Glorious fabric. I guess I kind of work backwards, finding fabrics that I love and working out what kind of garments they would look great as.

I *heart* the sewing community! Thanks for being awesome everyone!

Behind the Seams, October

Hello lovely readers! I am so happy to be back and blogging on a regular basis. October has been so jammed packed for me that I thought a round up of my Instagram would be an accurate showcase of my month. First things first, I finished my degree! I’ve just completed my postgraduate diploma in communication studies (public relations), meaning this is my first weekend off this month! Woohoo! I’m now on the job hunt and I’m keeping my ear close to the ground for exec PR roles. Ron Swanson’s tough looks motivated me to get though.
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This month I was totally obsessed with my ranunculus. I took a rid-unculus amount of photos of them and unashamedly posted them all to Instagram. My obsession was so great that one night there was a storm and I was like “whoa better bring the ranunculus inside so it doesn’t get hurt”.
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Recently I celebrated my 25th birthday with a 25-25-25 sale – 25% off all sales for the first 25 customers for my 25th birthday. This was the first sale I’ve had of this kind and I was overwhelmed by the response! I love all you fangirls! Like I say, I don’t do these sales very often at all and it was a tad spontaneous so the best way to find out about these in the future is to follow me on Facebook or Instagram. Next sale time: Unknown.
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And… what else? OH YEAH! I managed to get my hands on some of this! If you’re not from NZ skip this one because it will have no bearing on you but if you ARE then ‘nuf said. Still have a hankering for some of this stuff? Lewis Road announces their delivery locations every morning on their Facebook page.
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We’re heading into summer here in NZ so I squeezed in as many wears of my mauve merino Myrtle dress as I could. I also took selfies in the bathrooms!

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#highonahillwasalonelygoatherd – yup I went to see The Sound of Music! I got a selfie outside the theatre at Giapo, which, in case you were wondering makes the best ice cream ever. If you aren’t following their Instagram I would *totes* recommend it. It is beautiful. This is my sister by the way.
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In Dresses & Me news – I am now stocking Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee, Archer Shirt and I have the Alder Shirtdress back in stock (but it’s selling out SO quick!) Grainline is blowin’ me away with their popularity! I’m always interested to know which patterns you’d like to see at Dresses & Me. So if there’s something you have a hankering for just let me know here.

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Lastly, I’m starting to think about my summer wardrobe. I have a gaping hole for light summer jackets (that aren’t blazers) and simple summer dresses. At the moment I’m thinking of making this combination below. I’m a tad skeptical as I bought the fabric from Martha’s Fabrics, which of course sells fabric for furnishings… Hmmmm will have to ponder on this one a bit longer before I cut into it.

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That’s my October in a nutshell! What were your highlights?

The Body Issue

There are few things more devastating for a sewist than trying on a half made garment and being completely unable to join the packets together. The only thing more devastating than this is realising that no you haven’t got the seam allowances wrong, and yes you did check the sizes on the back of the envelope before you cut your pieces. So yes, I am 100% sure that I are not the same size I once was.

People that sew know their body measurements off the top of the heads. There is no getting around talking about bodies, because when you sew you need to talk about waist, hips, ease…  And there is no room for being all like ‘this shop’s sizes run very small’. It is what it is.

So when I attempted to try on my Alder Shirtdress mid-sew I was 100% floored when I discovered that I was no longer the Penny I once was. This is a shirtdress, the plackets would puckers. And before you suggest it yes, the side seams had already been overlocked.

But the thing I found the most upsetting from this whole experience was the camaraderie I found in the company of women. It was like I had joined a club, you hate you body? Oh yeah, I’ve been hating mine for years now. Women I barely knew were sharing their diets, exercise regimes and miscellaneous disappointments with the way they looked.

It was nice, at first, to be part of this club – but it is also disturbing. I don’t want to feel camaraderie with a group of people who hate their bodies – until very recently I’ve been perfectly fine with mine. These conversations should not be normal… But, there is always a but, it’s hard to deny that I spend that vast majority of my day sitting in front of a computer researching and writing essays. And, ok there are two buts, I am the first to admit that I blatantly use my asthma as an excuse to avoid exercise.

So what’s the point in telling my readers this? Because I don’t want to part of this club and far more importantly, I want to confront this issues head on. I need to get over it and realise that there are far worse things than going up a dress size or two. And, frankly, I know only I care how I look. But I do want you to know that there will be some fitness posts on my Instagram. Does this mean that I’m giving in to the club? I don’t think so. I think I’m going to carry on as I have done before – avoiding women’s magazines, diet fads and ‘style tips’ because before I bought into this culture I was perfectly happy. And I think I’d like to return to that state of affairs.

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Fear of Squat

It’s Been a While, But I’ve Still Got It

I’ve been thinking – isn’t it sad that as soon as my life gets busy I stop doing the things I really enjoy? Let me tell you this – I have been BUSY! It’s important to get the essential things done but the fun things make life better – so here is a Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns.

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I’m currently on uni holidays so I’ve seized the moment and got sewing. I made this top, as well as cut out Muse Patterns’ Jenna Cardi and Grainline Studio’s Alder Shirtdress which I secretly think will go really nicely together! I tried taking some photos outside but it was SO SUNNY that I ended up with watering eyes. This is my level of commitment team! At least I know it’s nearly summer.

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I made this blouse out of a silk-viscose blend. And as I was sewing it I wondered if it were meant to used for lining? Isn’t viscous normally a lining material, I wondered? Of course it was already too late by this stage as I had cut the fabric into a t-shirt, but even as I wear it now I’m still wondering… Anyway it feels lovely to wear and has a lovely loose drape so I’m not too bothered about it. Also, as 99% of the western world buys RTW clothes they wouldn’t recognise the print anyway so it will be our secret ok?

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Side note – these are my favourite trousers-and-shoes combination at the moment. They’re both quite out of the box for me! The trousers are wet-look, super-skinny, super-stretchy jean-type-things. The shoes are black leather with chunky wooden heals. I’m quite fond of both of these pieces.

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Notes for future Belcarras:

  • In this version I did not top stitch the cuffs. I think in the next edition this would be a nice detail.
  • I kept the sizing and shape as is (we all know Sewaholic Patterns are pear-shaped right?) I think I’ll keep my next on this way as I really like the having lots of ease on the waist. I think the shape looks nice. Length is also great for me.
  • This top is crying out for contrasting shoulder/ sleeve panels. I currently have some white crepe sitting lonesome in the fabric bookcase and I’m thinking of pairing it with golden shoulders. Too much? Try stop me!
  • Neck bias binding isn’t amazing but only ok-ish (very scientific categorising). This is an area for improvement…
  • Pattern placement: I gave the front and back panels a lot of thought and ensured the fabric design was centred. Bizarrely didn’t consider this at all when it came to matching at the sides. This happened with my Charlotte Skirt too. Alas, I think I need to slow down a bit and make sure to check these things next time. Having said that it’s only fellow sewists who notice these things or care! AMIRITE?

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One more thing. Is it just me or does the neckline look really wide on this top? When I first tried it on I was like woah that is gonna slip and slide every where! But actually it’s fine. I haven’t had any issues and it frames my clavicles nicely!

Have you made the Belcarra yet? What did you think?