Fashion at the Museum

I went to  ‘Selling Dreams – 100 Years of Fashion Photography’ at the Auckland Museum yesterday. A very good exhibition. Most of the images I had never seen before so it was great to be exposed to something new. I don’t usually read the blurbs next to the art when I am wondering through, I prefer just to take in the image. But the written information in this exhibition was historical, succinct and interesting – I read every word! Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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I couldn’t take any photos in the exhibition but this quote appeared at the very end… I couldn’t agree more Vidal. Well said! These words completely sum up for me why I continue to make my own clothes and get so much joy and satisfaction out of it!

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Why do you sew and make your own clothes?

Inside Sewaholic Patterns: an Interview with Tasia

Tasia is the designer and owner of phenomenally popular indie pattern brand Sewaholic Patterns. In 2010 she was laid off her job and instead of getting dispirited (like I would) she used the opportunity to start her own business – designing and printing patterns – for the modern seamstress. Her Cambie dress was a runaway success and her Renfrew knit tops have become a “go to” pattern for many-a-seamstress. Oh and you’ve almost certainly heard of – if not taken part in – the Tofino Sewalong. Also, in case you were wondering how Tasia chooses the names for her patterns they are place names, you can find out more hereTasia lives in Vancouver, Canada. She blogs at here and sells her patterns at Sewaholic.net
diana and me, best friends
Making clothes that fit perfectly can be very empowering. Is this why you chose to make Sewaholic specifically for pear shaped women?
Absolutely! As women we’re constantly being told we need to change ourselves to fit into our clothing or to look good. We are encouraged to get our legs shorts-ready, our stomachs bikini-ready, our arms toned for sleeveless garments. What if we forgot all of that and focused on making clothing to fit our bodies, just the way they are? In my teens and twenties I thought that my body shape was the problem and if only I lost enough weight I’d not be so pear-shaped. Guess what, it didn’t work like that! I can go up and down in weight but the proportions of my body and bone structure remains the same. So I focused on making patterns that flatter a figure that’s curvy on the bottom. I started my line because it was something I wanted for myself, and I knew I couldn’t be the only one!
How do you design your patterns? Do you sit and sketch or design on a computer? Do you look at fashions to emulate? Do you ask your friends what they’d like to see next?
All of the above! I sketch on paper, I’m inspired by real-life clothing, vintage designs, and clothing details I observe. I think about silhouettes and how clothing moves when we move, and how to flatter parts of our figures. I carry around a notebook always, and even have notepaper beside my bed for when I wake up with new ideas! Now that Sewaholic Patterns is becoming popular, people are sending in their requests for new pattern designs. I try to take all of those things into consideration. People kept asking for pants to fit pear-shapes, and so I made that a priority with last year’s Thurlow Trousers. I listen to people’s complaints about clothing or sewing, and try to come up with designs that solve problems, for example, designing the Renfrew Top that doesn’t require a serger to sew a professional-looking, clean finished knit top. Design is more than just the look of a garment, I also think about how it will be constructed, what kind of neat methods we can incorporate, and how we can make the garments enjoyable to sew as well as long-lasting. It’s not just about the way the piece looks but also how it goes together. What’s the point of designing something beautiful that’s a real pain to sew? You’ll only be left with negative feelings about it. So I am always looking inside clothing to see how it’s made and if there are techniques that make sense to use in a sewing pattern.
It seems with Sewaholic Patterns there is a real focus on creating everyday-wear, whereas other companies play on the nostalgia associated with sewing. Was this deliberate when were creating your pattern range? 
It’s funny you say this, because I love the nostalgia-inspired designs just as much. When it comes to knowing whether a pattern should be produced, I feel most confident about the designs that can be worn over and over. It’s easy to design a trench coat and feel confident that it’s going to be a success, because it’s such a beautiful yet practical piece! Same with a basic fitted knit tee shirt and classic trousers, those styles are easy for me to print because I know they’ll work into just about everyone’s wardrobe.  I suppose I’m an intensely practical person and that’s why the styles for everyday life always get through to completion.
Image of Minoru Jacket
You model all your own pattern designs, was that nerve-wracking when you first started out?
 It was not too bad as I’d started to become more comfortable modeling from blogging. You get used to seeing photos of yourself and focusing on ‘how does the garment look’ rather than ‘how do I look, is my face weird?’ Besides, you can always crop out the face part. I never thought too much about it because a real photo shoot was way out of my budget, so I act as model and photographer, self-timing my product shots. To be honest I think more about the photography part than the modeling. I want the photos to look really good and not seem like I took them myself!
bombshell swimsuit
You’re currently taking part in the bombshell swimsuit sewalong. Do you think it’s important to support other indie pattern designers? Do you think Sewaholic will ever release a swimsuit pattern of it’s own?
Absolutely! We’re all part of the same sewing community and our goal is to get people pumped about sewing and design cool things for people who sew. I love trying new patterns from all companies, but I feel even more excited about a purchase when the person I’m buying from is just like me. And I can’t design every single cool pattern myself, so if someone’s designed a style that I love, why not support the designer? I only wish I had more free time to sew for ‘market research’ – there are so many amazingly creative pattern designers out there! Will I ever release a swimsuit pattern? It has been requested by blog readers and customers, so there may be a Sewaholic swimsuit pattern in the future!
Thanks so much for being on the blog today Tasia! I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to share some sewing inspiration!
So readers – What is your favourite Sewaholic Pattern??

Confessions

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I have a confession to make. I accidently-on-purpose bought 11 patterns during the recent McCalls/ Vogue/ Butterick sale.

W O W I’m not making any apologies!

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The thing is that in New Zealand patterns are – too put it mildly – horrendously expensive. To buy a normal vogue pattern, such as the one at the top of this post, would cost NZ$33. To put that in perspective, that’s US$27.36. A “Vogue Easy Options” pattern is NZ$25. Hugely expensive right? So when they were reduced to US$2.88 how could I resist?

To combat the cost of shipping I used a a service called ship2u to make the postage cheeper (McCalls was going to charger me $55!!) I’ll let you know how that turns out.

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So when I saw the massive sale that the McCall’s company was having I had no choice but to buy at least a few…

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I mean who doesn’t need a new work shirt ? ? ?

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And a skirt to go with it . . .

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Or maybe a second – I do work FOUR days a week you know!

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And of course I needed some sensible trousers comme ca

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Having another party dress never hurt anyone, right?

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OR another one. . .

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And it is e s s e n t i a l to have a loose summer dress/ top to throw over your togs at the beach in this harsh Antipodean sun

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And getting into knit fabrics really was one of my sewing goals for the year – what better opportunity than now to achieve goals?

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So I thought I’d buy another just to get some good practice in.

Reasonable enough right?? Or is sewing becoming an obsession? Am I loosing perspective?!

Inpiration: Capes

Well, as everyone says – or at least as some of us think – If Victoria Beckham’s wearing it, it must be fashionable, right? So here are some capes – for inspirations sake. 
(Click on the photo for the links)

The fashionista was spotted recently wearing this cape:

She was also seen a wee while ago wearing this stunner (looks a lot like the vogue pattern I’m using don’t you reckon?)

Cape Newport News

Have you seen any great capes recently?

Blue Dress: Finished!

Here’s a photo journey of the Blue Dress (here’s where we left off from):

I sewed the facings to the bodice:

I pinked the edges around the arm and neck holes:

I finished the side seams:

Shortened the straps by about 3 cms:

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And slip stitched the facing down:

Bodice finished:

I folded and pressed 1cm, then folded and pressed an 8cm hem.

20120626-221521.jpgPinked some more:

20120626-221527.jpgSewed the hem down:

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HOPE YOU LIKE IT SISTER 🙂

Mad Men Skirt

Over the long weekend managed to whip up a skirt. I know – usually it takes me about a month to complete any piece of sewing – so yes I am quite pleased with myself.

Last week I blogged about this material (below). I had decided that I wanted to make a nice snuggly-warm, yet sophisticated, winter skirt. I thought with any luck this will look like a skirt from Mad Men. I’m not really sure if it did in the end but I’m happy with it all the same.

I decided to go with the Butterick 6662 pattern (above) as I thought a simple pattern would be best for a potentially bulky fabric like this wool & polyester blend. I went with view A so that the side split would make a potentially boring skirt a bit more interesting.

I only had 0.7 x 1.5 meters as I had bought the fabric on a whim from the end of roll basket at Global Fabrics in Wellington (my favourite shop EVER). This was a five piece pattern so it just fitted on the fabric, though was a bit of squish when it got to the waistband:

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This pattern was pretty straight forward and the instructions were easy to follow. The only hiccup I had was naturally when I was putting the zipper in. The needle snapped in three places when I was sewing over a pin.

However, I got over that hurdle and carried on towards the finish line. Next, I hand over-casted the all the edges as they were fraying in my hands, my sister then measured the hem length for me to just above the knee, and lastly I hand stitched the hem up comme ca:

And here is the finished product:

Upon reflection this was one of the cheapest items I’ve sewn. The material was $9, the zipper was free (from Noeline’s stash), the pattern was $1 from the SPCA Op Shop and I already had the thread. $10 for a skirt isn’t bad!

Have you been thrifty recently?

 

 

Modcloth Inspiration

I think I’ve got about ten million emails this week from Asos and Modcloth and other online clothes shops. Don’t get me wrong, I love these emails, they give me an excuse to peruse their websites and look at all the beautiful dresses they have.

I always particularly enjoy the retro and vintage inspired dresses with their full skirts, floral prints, high necklines and self-fabric belts. Here are some of my current favourites from Modcloth.

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Daisy In Love

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Luck Be A Lady in Powder Blue

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Event Planner Dress which looks a lot like a wedding dress I saw at Unveiled at Te Papa

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Reading By The Riverbank

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Beachfront View

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My Personal Favourite – Jewelry Box Beautiful Dress

What inspires you?

Vintage Pattern on Sunday

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Prettiest ways to bare your shoulders – in the sun – after five. Blouse in all views smooth fitting.

Suggested fabrics: linen, pique, cotton broadcloth, shantung, faille, taffeta, velveteen.

Sewing Class: Week Four

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to sewing class on Monday. But I did had a lovely dinner with my flat mate Christine instead (home made spaghetti bolognaise in case you were wondering).

However I can tell you about one of the projects I have on the go right now. It’s another dress from the Vogue 1102 pattern. I say ‘another’ because I’ve made it once before (click here to read the post). Here’s how it turned out last time:

What I loved about this pattern was how the open back made it nice and cool as a summer dress. However when I looked at the pattern I thought it would make a great formal dress (ie for going to army dinners with my Lovely. Because of this I had made it out of a delicious wool crepe which undid all the great work of it being a summer dress.

So my plan this time is to make it in a light cotton. I chose this pink and yellow floral/ stripy print at designer textiles ($6/m) and thought I’d give it a whirl.

So far I’ve sewn the lining and the bodice and attached the two together.

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Here’s the finished bodice:

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So now I’m up to attaching the skirt to the bodice.

How’s your sewing project going?