Monday, 30 September 2013

11 Independent Patterns I'd Like To Sew Right Now!

Having the world's messiest sewing room, the busiest little son and no spare time in my week (before I return to work, but more on that later!), I've been daydreaming about what I would make if I lived in a parallel universe where sewing rooms cleaned themselves.

1. Anna By Hand London: I have bought this - YES! And it's on my desk right now. I'm stroking the purple diamond & dot packaging right at this moment. That doesn't get it made. There's a sew a long for this too, and luckily (unless they've posted more steps) we're just up to tracing and altering the pattern... with a Full Bust Adjustment (yay, or as Julia Bobbin - also a breastfeeder right now - calls it: A Full Breastfeeding Adjustment) as well! Hopefully I'll catch up! Not that I trace patterns anyways, should I?

2. A Very Gathered Skirt - This is a FREE pattern if you sign up for the newsletter at Pattern Runway, and I'd like to be flipping around in this for summer.

3. The Frida Skirt - Another flippy & flicky skirt for summer, this one by the Makers Journal, and I haven't done gathered frill/hem like this for ages, so why not!? I haven't followed the Makers Journal blog before, so will add their shop to my faves on etsy.

4. Belladone Dress - I've seen a few versions of this online and it's just TO DIE FOR. I'm extremely interested in the silhouette as I'm after that streamline look rather than the accentuate the positives of my FBA, if you know what I mean. I also love the Sureau Dress too, but as I haven't bought anything from Deer & Doe pattern makers yet, I might even add a couple more in. That's going to wait for pay day I think!

5. Tiny Pocket Tank - I've love Grainline Studio's patterns for a while, & this tank might be a little old but it'll be new to me, when I buy it to make! I am thinking of replacing a lot of my op shopped tanks/singlets this summer so this is a good one to make a bunch?! I haven't seen it on a fuller bust figure yet, so hoping it could be ok? I made Grainline's dress from the Burda Style Book in 2011!

6. La Sylphide Dress, Blouse & Skirt - UM THREE garments in one pattern? Has anyone sewn this (about to google to find out - oh see Cirque Du Bebe's version on Kollabora!) and can give it a review? I especially love the tiny floral skirt, I didn't really like the look of all the short shorts of Paper Cut patterns previously but I love some of their other things! 

7. The Dress Shirt Pattern - these are good looking patterns, I've heard! They are Merchant & Mills, and by "I've heard" I mean, I've seen one of you sewing bloggers post about their patterns arriving in a tube and I'd love that whole ye olde experience. I love the style of this dress shirt, and especially in time for summer here in Melbs. Again, another pay day purchase!

8. Cocoon Coat - I've NEVER seen these patterns before and there's so many I'd like to make! They're Ralph Pink and just crazy and amazing! Balconette Bras too!

9. All Seasons Coat - by Melbourne based pattern company You Sew Girl! I bought this at G&J's Discount Fabrics and they said the creater Nicole is super lovely and pops into the shop from time to time. They have LOTS more of her stuff and her book too! I thought I'd start a 2014 winter hoodie for my Baby Darling!

10. Billie Jean Dress - I love it all, the neckline, the two skirt options. I'd make a zillion of these, once I get my hands on it! I do like the blouse by Blue Ginger Doll but with my FBA right now, I just don't think it'll suit me & my little body. I'm excited what else Blue Ginger Doll designs though! EXCITED!

11. Cascade Skirt - I'd love the Virginia leggings, but have a selfmade pattern for some already, so back with the flippy summer skirts, please! I love Megan Nielson and have followed her blog since she began online (pretty much!) so again, once pay day comes around I'd love to get this one!


And the very gorgeous A Good Wardrobe has a full list of independent pattern makers if you love to browse the non commercial world of patterns!

Please let me know if you've made any of these patterns, I'd love to daydream about them some more! xoxo

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Caught in a Net of a Scarf

My Aunty visited around the time of Baby Darling's birthday, and she's mad for sewing. We live in different states, otherwise I'm sure we'd be in each other's pockets. She helped finish our decorations for our little BD's birthday party and we chatted about so many possible things to make around the house! Especially for little children!

She's currently making children's clothes for a boutique store in Dubbo (And needed unique CHRISTMAS fabric), so we looked up fabrics stores and went on a little trip around Melbourne together. She's completely quilt obsessed (she made our boy & my dad a quilt each) and she's very good at it, so we visited a few patchwork and quilt shops first but struck gold at G & J's Discount Fabric in Brunswick East. 

I don't sew with new fabrics all that often, as my stash is largely op shopped or hand me downs, and my darling friend Adey would attest to this: when I go to new fabric shops I become VERY STUNNED. I feel quite robotic, and numb at the choice of fabric! I don't know what a lot of it is (ie, op shopped fabric is often very straightforward cotton, jersey & maybe some lining type stuff) so I don't know WHERE to look or how to behave.

Now, I *have* been to new fabric stores, but I tend to behave like the 'stunned mullet' or 'rabbit in the headlights' (Sean's Show Reference!) all the time I go in. Luckily I had Aunty Annette with me (and Mum & Dad & BD by this time too) so I PLAYED IT COOL! *ALMOST*

So, my mustard scarf/loop got BEETROOT stains on it, and I stuffed it up trying to clean it, so I decided to make another cool loopy scarf (I still like a little coverage if I'm pulling my top across while breastfeeding here and there, and it keeps the top half warm!) so pretty much I got half a metre of this floaty stuff and voila: A Scarf.

I did sew this one!

My overlocker had red & orange threads due to the baby bunting, so I french seamed it (Or what I thought was french seams!) and then hemmed both ends and it was surprisingly easy to sew with considering it's so floaty and soft.

As I was in confession mode with my Aunty, I told her I never changed my needle and I took loads of other shortcuts in sewing. She teaches classes and everyone agrees you should change your needle every 10 hours or sewing or something. And I was like 'I change my needle when it breaks' and she was like 'Thrifty, I guess!'. Yes. 

Melbournites, have you shopped at G&J's before? I bought some other stuff there, I'll share later! And found the You Sew Girl patterns (made in Melbourne) and now I'm really into independent & LOCAL pattern makers! Let me know if you are one! Would love to sew up some patterns and support local business!

Also, I don't wear much make up these days, but I still love a pin curl!


And Happy Grand Final Day!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Little Things: Make You Feel a Whole Lot Better

Here are some little things that are making me feel great right now:

* Champagne in Springtime (to celebrate a little boy's birthday!) - The real stuff as I am his only mother after all!

* Darling Blogger Fonts and Geek Fairy Buttons (to the right hand side!) & Kira at Her New Leaf's ideas on how to get some social media buttons on my blog! A little update on my blog template make me feel nice! I'd forgotten about these things for a while, so it's nice to change things up! Thanks to lovely free advice & graphics online!

* The Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire having new music!

* Lunch with my old and soon to be new work colleagues

* Planning some Adults Only events for the future

* Darling friends who reach out and love our boy

* A little gardening in the sunshine

Hope you're having a gorgeous weekend! I'm feeling very spring-ish right now! Those new beginnings are bubbling!


Friday, 20 September 2013

The Stash Scarf - No Sew!

During the Sew Weekly Reunion Prep, I pinned a lot. Don't we all pin a bit here and there for inspiration? And something I really loved through my pinning journey, is this image, from Mod Cloth Blog:

A great outfit for the gloomy days here in Melbourne, but I really loved the scarf as well as the colour pop and found a reasonable amount of pink ribbed fabric in my stash to try it out. Of course it's a NO SEW scarf, being about a metre and a half of fabric (by perhaps 50-60cm wide... so it's not as thick as my inspiration lady and her grey one) wrapped around your neck once and then tied at the front:

(Excuse the grubby mirror, proof I have a 1 year old!)

I'm not hugely into wearing it though, (DRATS, as the colour is sweet) as my loopy scarves (see here and here for just a few) & cowls are so much more practical... it's very sweet when it's bunched like this and knotted and STAYS tied... but it just doesn't stay like this all day. I'm constantly bending up and down and lifting a child, so this pink scarf comes undone and then gives me chills.

So unfortunately my NO SEW scarf might turn into a sewn up one soon... might just overlock the ends together to get a big loop going! 

And we've been reorganising our lives (I think we're doing that every weekend right now: just bought a new bed, got rid of our built in wardrobes that were too thin and yukky and changed the bedrooms around a bit) so I've got a new mirror corner for selfies, outfit posts! Of course, I'm not a big outfit post blogger (I forget!) but this is what I wore to playgroup or Mama's Group the other day... I can't really remember! But I got some new boots for my birthday (thanks Husbie)!


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mama Lyf: My Boy is a One Year Old

And so time passes, and my boy is now a 1 year old. We celebrated with gorgeous friends and I made a gigantic cake and the little fella is no longer a baby.

Mama Lyf continues to be amazing, and you'd hope so! There's no going back now! I'm sure I've mentioned before, but I wish I had time to write more of my thoughts and experiences down as Baby Darling just grows so quickly and changes so quickly and my mind flips around so quickly...

Personally, I'm in a place now where I can handle a lot more... I feel ready to 'return to work' in a few weeks, whereas even before our overseas holiday, I just couldn't really imagine mothering in the 'real' world... if you know what I mean? I'm really lucky to have all this space and time and a supportive (in a million more ways than financial, I mean here) partner to 'feel' my way through mothering & parenting... to find my 'self' and have all the confidence to give to my baby as well as to look after myself. It will be a change when I return to work, but everything will be as it will be...

Baby Darling himself, is a big healthy boy and has a gorgeous sense of humour. He loves pointing and waving (at people, but mostly birds, trains and bikes), and says 'Ball' the most, but can say 'Tickle', 'Mama' (but mostly 'MAH' when he needs me) and 'Good Dog' but sounds a lot like 'goog good' as aren't G's and D's hard to say? BD (should I just abbreviate him?) can walk a few steps, but decided crawling is better (monkey style) to get around for now... but doesn't refuse a hand to walk around and around and around. Good thing I'm short, I don't need to bend over to grab his hand! He still sleeps with us, with loads of cuddles & nursing time and he's just friendly and caring most of the time. His teeth are growing (he has 6 right now) so have caused him a bit of pain and he's had a couple of colds here and there this winter but breastfeeding has sorted them out quick smart.

I would love to summarise and say 'What I've learnt in a year of having a baby' but how can you ever put into words something so simple and just like life... it's endless, so I could write all the words I've ever said and it still wouldn't sum it up.

My heart is so big, and I love my family so much! xoxo

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Voila: A Ripple Crochet Baby Blanket

My dear friend had a baby girl in July, and I'd been wanting to try a special crochet style, the ripple effect! It wasn't hard after about 3 rows, but it took a lot of concentration for a while to get the 'peaks' and 'valleys' as my pattern called it. My Mum's friend Chris knows a lot about the old crochet, and gave my baby 2 darling blankets for when he was born. One was a ripple blanket so she shared her pattern! 

I was a bit gung ho at first, because you count out your stitches in the first row, making sure you'll have enough ripples (but don't they look a bit chevron-esque?) and I was worried the blanket wasn't wide enough (so counted out over 200 stitches I think, what a headache!)... so I ended up making it too wide, so didn't make it as long... so the ripples are vertical instead.

But makes it kinda sweet and different looking. Plus if the new baby is swaddled, she'll be rippled across horizontal anyways... win win!


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Goodbye Gifted Tartan Skirt

When I was little, I had a best friend (who got me HOOKED on op shopping!) and she gave me this skirt. I remember wearing it as a 'good' outfit (with a green turtlenecked jumper) to fly on my first overseas holiday to New Zealand (and then to the Cook Islands) and I've had it ever since.

During the late 90s I would wear it a lot with my 8 UP Black Docs (of course I did!) and it was a beautiful wool, so it was very warm in a Melbourne winter when I was at uni as well. BUT, it's time to say goodbye... because...

The REASON I've been keeping this skirt is to show how skinny I was and how skinny I am still. CONFESSION TIME!

But you know what? My life is better than that... keeping a piece of clothing to remind myself I'm a certain size... I AM BETTER than that... and I don't need to hold on to clothing that I don't wear just because I'm still as skinny as 14 year old me. But you know what else? It's TIGHT and uncomfortable to wear as well (the wool itches), so I'm never going to wear it again.

So dear friends, in my spring cleaning efforts of the last few weeks, this has got to GO!

YAY, thanks for letting me purge! I don't care what size I am, sewing has helped me realise that I'm a unique size anyways... but there must be a little vain part in my brain that has clutched to what we're 'supposed' to look like as women. So it feels good getting rid of the 'stuff' that adds to that part of my brain. Be gone old little speck of vanity!


Monday, 9 September 2013

Sew Weekly: Emerald, Turbulence & Vivacious Dress

I made a dress for MYSELF. WHAT?!

Yup, it's for real.

This is a 1971 pattern gifted from my Pattern & Notions Swap Partner, Denise at Dottie Doodle, and as we were sewing with the Pantone fall 2013 Colour Chart, I chose green, grey & the splash of pink (or Emerald, Turbulence & Vivacious for you train spotters) as how crazy is my fabric!

As usual, I wrote all about making it at the Reunion Blog, but it was pretty straightforward sewing, it just took a while over a few days to get it done. My sewing is so sporadic, as usually I sew well in one big hit... the stopping and starting makes me slow on the machine as it takes a bit to get back into the head space... like 'Now, WHERE WAS I?' type of thing!

 This look of filter is 1975 followed by a GRUNGE vignette... looks dreamy & old for me!

I just need a cocktail, right?

Baby Darling was no help during my 'fashion shoot' of course... but he was good at being a cutie little thing:

Man, imagine if I was doing Sew Weekly this year? My head would literally fall off with exhaustion. I'd probably sew, but never photograph anything! You'd just see a bunch of selfies in the backyard!

I'm sure this is just a small phase of my sewing or creating life... I wonder what kind of stuff I'll make or challenges I'll set for myself later on...? It's been hard to stick to my no new clothes goals this year... because of Mama Lyf, I tend to wear the same clothes again and again, so they wear pretty quick... my op shop stuff just gets worn down even faster... Fast Fashion has really taken over even the second hand clothing industry... nothing lasts! Or at least when you wear things down as quickly as I do!

Anyways, I'm sure this is also just a short phase of my shopping life too... at least I'm aware of what I buy and where it's made... the stuff I'm buying new, I'm aiming to give a long life to anyways.. rather than just 'this season'. I don't even really think of seasons as fashion seasons... just normal seasons!

But YAY, love that I made a dress for me! I might wear it when I GO BACK TO WORK IN OCTOBER, we'll see! xoxo

Friday, 6 September 2013

Free Downloads for Lightroom

Nerd alert! You know how I use Lightroom for my photo organisation and processing and importing and filing and just generally everything photo related? I updated to Lightroom 5 recently (we have an Adobe Creative Cloud thingie for my Husbie's work) and there are some new free presets for that version and I thought since they were free, I'd give a big link back to the sites as a thank you, and in case you guys use Lightroom at all and need some new ideas for photos?

The original photo is the first photo here, but I've used a selection of the presets that come with Lightroom 5 and some of the onOne Software ones (there's STACKS from this site) above as well as some from Presets Heaven. Thank you to these sites for making free downloads as Thrifty Mama (ie, me!) loves a little free stuff here and there!

I love the vintage-y looks, with heavy contrast so these filters are so fun to play around with! All these ones here are just a click away, I've not done anything extra to muck around and balance it with my photo or anything... I'm not that tricky... if you know your photography you'll see some overexposure and whatever (look at me, trying to know what I'm on about)... but anyways, even if you don't know your photography, Lightroom is one of the easiest, low fuss (and no pre learning about stuff) photography program. I just love it! Of course there's a LOT of great phone & iPad apps now that do the same stuff. My Husbie loves Snapseed for his colour grading of phone pics... but we all know Instagram & other ones... Twitter has it as well but I don't think the photos look as good as Instagram.

Anyways, thanks again & hooray to free downloads!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sewing Weekly This Week!

This is the week our Sew Weekly Reunion 2013 garments are getting posted! Thank you to Adey for being so amazing and coordinating the whole thing for us! I haven't got a spare second to throw a stone (why would I do that, my metaphors are all mixed up?) let alone organise a massive reunion blog and sewing thingie!

Here's my sneak peak, emerald & turbulence and a splash of vivacious for my Pantone Colours! I'll post the rest of the photos of my outfit once the post goes up over on the reunion blog!

Have you posted a garment for the Sew Weekly reunion this year?


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Goodbye to My First Jacket

Hey there! Before I had a blog, I made stuff. I made lots of stuff and mostly it was rubbish, but I often wore everything I made, not knowing it was rubbish! Sewing gave me oodles of self confidence, and my own unique wardrobe, and I did not care what trouble I created on the sewing machine, I finished as many things as I could and wore with pride.

But, there comes a time to say adios to old sewing wearable friends, and here's the first proper jacket I made and wore a LOT in the early 2000s. BEFORE I BLOGGED THIS BLOG! I was still blogging about hypertext and uni shizz back then, and didn't even realise I could write about my life and my love of sewing!? WTF!

This jacket was my first 'real' fabric purchase from a normal shop... and I used a 1970s pattern that I think I still have somewhere.

Some positives:

I made button holes with an old Janome machine that didn't make button holes automatically (and hated making them)

It's a very flattering cut for a short bad ass like me, so I'll have to make a princess seamed flippy outy hem again for myself.

I made lining throughout (but topstitched lots of it, because I didn't know how to hand sew - I KNOW) AND lining in the pockets

Some negatives:

It was always too big, but I didn't know how to resize the pattern

The collar:

Both lapels are just hilarious, but I used to fold them up and pin them shut with a badge or scarf and you couldn't really tell how fucked out they were... HILARIOUS and goofy looking!

So, we're having a big clear out (spring cleaning maybe) as we have new wardrobes coming and frankly, I love this coat just because I made it a while back and it's just not good enough to keep. I have other things I made 'back in the day' as special momentos, but really... if they're not well made I'm not going to hang on to them. I'm not as nostalgic about my clothes as I used to be. I've got another bit of clothing to show you soon too... coming soon.

Even though I was so proud of myself to make this back then, I'm even prouder to show you because look how far I've come in my sewing? I've made 100 Outfits, Sewn Weekly for a year and really stepped up. There's heaps more challenges ahead for me, but I'm blogging this coat to remember where I've come from in my sewing.

What do you do with handmade things that aren't that well made to hold on to? Do you keep them all? I'm shipping this off to charity with a load of other stuff!


Dongmen Lu Fabric Market

Happy Wednesday! Time to get some fabric inspiration from the Dongmen Lu Fabric Market here in Shanghai! Can't believe how quickly 201...