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?

Brand Spanking New

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I’m super excited to announce that Dresses & Me Shop has a brand spanking new site AND we have some lovely new patterns in store! The store is still at the same address – http://www.dressesandme.com – but I’ve changed hosts so that the site looks more slick and professional – would you agree? In case you were wondering, I was with BigCartel before and now I’m with Weebly.

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These new patterns are by British Designer Simple Sews, and Claire is her real name if you were curious! Dresses & Me has all four of her printed patterns – The Peter Pan Collar Blouse (check out A Stitching Odysseys’ version), the Classic Trouser, the Pleated Back Pencil Skirt and – MY FAVOURITE – the Batwing Dress. The rest of her designs are in PDF download format, and will be in printed format in a few months. Go to her site and check them out ūüôā

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On the new site you can view patterns by type, such as dresses and tops, as well as by their designers, such as Sewaholic and Victory Patterns.

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But perhaps the best new feature of the site is the free patterns page! Everybody loves freebies and my number one goal is to get people excited about sewing – so let’s make it easy for new people to get into sewing and get excited about it! Do you know of any more free patterns out there that I should add to this page?

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So…. What do you think of the new site? Would you like any additions? Modifications? Just let me know…

Inside Cake Patterns – An Interview with Designer StephC

StephC is the designer and boss-lady at indie pattern company Cake Patterns. Cake Patterns has risen quickly to prominence in the sewing community since it’s unveiling in¬†July of last year. Steph’s first printed pattern, the¬†Tiramisu knit¬†dress was a runaway success. Since then she has designed and printed four more patterns – The Hummingbird and Pavlova separates, as well as the Cabarita and Bonny Sailor Riff t-shirts. StephC lives in Brisbane and blogs at 3¬†Hours Past The Edge of the World.
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These days you can download PDF patterns off the internet for less than the cost of a paper pattern. Why was it important to you to provide your customers with printed patterns too?

Even though it’s relatively cheap and easy, most people don’t want to go to the trouble of printing and assembling their own patterns. It’s a personal preference. The market for PDF patterns is really small compared to the number of people who sew. In order for me to be able to make a job out of pattern design, I need to make paper patterns.

Hummingbird Peplum Top & Straight Skirt Cake Patterns I love your envelope art! You’ve chosen to have to have a diverse set of models which is unusual when you compare your range to pretty much everything else. What does this say about Cake Patterns?

Mikhaela (Cake’s cover artist) and I decided to work together in part because we have similar convictions about “beauty.” ¬†In the world we live in “beauty” has come to mean “outward appearance.” It seems only those people who fit into a narrow definition of what’s attractive can be considered beautiful. Neither of us buy it – we believe that the beauty standards of “thin, white, and young” are toxic and should be actively deconstructed.

The “thin, white, young” ideal is in direct opposition to the world I see around me, beautiful women come in every size and shape and ethnicity. Anyone with eyes can see that. Our covergirls are our way of politely disagreeing with the status quo.

Besides, we want our little girls to grow up with a richer idea of what it means to be a beautiful woman.

Tiramisu dress

Most of your patterns call for knit fabrics which can be a bit scary for budding sewing enthusiasts. What is the most important tip you have for sewing with knits?

At the risk of sounding crisp, my #1 piece of advice for knit newbies is: Get over it. Forget about being afraid. ¬†t’s just fabric, it doesn’t have teeth and won’t explode if you make a wrong stitch! It’s OK to make a few mistakes, it’s not the end of the world.¬†

Nothing about knits is terribly difficult or mysterious: get a ballpoint needle, stabilize the shoulders, and gently stretch the binding when you go around curves.¬† Use scraps of fabric to practice a new technique/ get your hand in the fabric.¬† You’ll find the time you spend doing that is paid back in ease of sewing (not to mention the confidence boost!).¬† Oh – and it’s not necessary to use a serger/ overlocker.¬† It definitely improves the durability of the garment but it’s not a required piece of equipment.

There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to handling knit fabrics but it’s worth making a few sub-par tees at first for the payoff later. I always found that my self-made knitwear clothes were the ones I wear most. For the price of a “nice” tee or knit dress, I can buy some “very very nice” knit fabric and make it into a finished item that I’ll actually wear, with complete creative control over the color, fiber, and cut. I’m not at the mercy of what’s available in the shops. It’s also satisfying to wear clothes I know weren’t made by slaves or people who are otherwise being exploited. [Steph also has some tips for complete beginners¬†here]

Is Cake Patterns your full time job? Would you like it to be?

I don’t have another source of income, no. In fact, Cake has yet to be a source of income for me but it has paid for itself during the start-up phase. I have no debts but little else. I eat a lot of beans and learned to be very frugal! Cake work occupies most of my waking hours, I have to be careful to carve out family and personal time. Even then, I still spend between 8 and 12 hours a day working on Cake and sometimes more.

Pearl from Red VelvetRed Velvet is your next pattern. Can you give us any hints of what to expect? 

Well, I’m really looking forward to Red Velvet!¬† We’re hard at work on it right now and I don’t want to give too much away but it will be really great to release a little collection of patterns all at once. Elements of the dress play through a little handbag, we have some sweet layering pieces, and a project I’ve been working on with my little girl. I can’t say anything else, though! We should have the Red Velvet Collection available towards the end of July.¬†

Dresses & Me Pattern Store

I’m very excited to announce that I am now selling modern boutique sewing patterns – for lovers of sewing. Our store currently sells Sewaholic Patterns and we are expecting a shipment of Victory Patterns and Cake Patterns to arrive very soon (currently in transit).

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Living in NZ is awesome but the huge postage to get anything sent here is lame! That’s why I’m starting my patten store. So we can all enjoy cheap postage! One day I’d love to be selling my own patterns in the store too but that may be a way off.

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Don’t worry, this blog will stay the same as always and there won’t be any lameo blog posts about the pattern store here! However, if you are interested in finding out about sales and new patterns you can join our mailing list by clicking here and you could also like our facebook page by clicking here – your support is awesome!