Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Voila: Couture Nomad Taipei Skirt

Hey! It's my David Lynch print & I in matching blue!

So happy to show you this skirt I started & finished at Sewing School this last month! Yes, my sewing classes with Couture Nomad Shanghai have started again for the year and I’m again surprised at how talking ideas over with my teacher and her hands on approach helps me so much… the work I do there has been SO neat, and I feel like punching the air at the end of every step.

At home however, I whizz through and muck up the hem a little (luckily just the lining) as I wrapped the whole thing up… but well-rounded is a good way to consider my sewing approach… fast & slow, neat & messy… I balance myself out.


So, the pattern is part of the Couture Nomad sewing school collection, called Taipei and shows you a simple A shape, with a wide waistband and pockets. I traced it in a size M, using my lower waist just above the hips instead of that high waist part… I do like highwaist on my hourglass, but this would hang a little lower for shirts to be tucked in… but in the month after I finished it, I have lost a bit of weight so it hangs very low on my hips and with slinky tights might just slip off!

Next time, I’ll make a S, and because this is on the fold, it’ll be easy to change the traced pattern pieces … slice off 1 cm on the fold and change the pleat/darts.

My FAVOURITE part this time was the cutting… I REALLY wanted to match up the wallpaper pieces (I don’t know what this pattern is called, I just call it wallpaper pattern… anyone know?) on this fabric. It’s a second hand/thrifted cotton from my Mother in Law (there’s several of great op shops in her part of West End Brisbane, if you know the area!) and she sent it to me recently. It’s a bit light for autumn, so Teacher Catherine suggested I line it, and that’s just some cheap cotton I had from the fabric market here in Shanghai.

So for the yoke, skirt pieces and pockets… I just HAD to pattern match and it was so easy to do using the tracing paper … when I settled on the skirt pieces on the fabric… I overlapped the yoke pieces by 1cm each side (the Couture Nomad seam allowance) and traced the wallpaper pattern on the tracing paper… then found the same piece on the fold further along the fabric. As I traced & cut at Sewing School for this one, the bench was lovely and long and at standing height… if this was at home, I’d have hunched over the floor and wouldn’t have the space to see it all properly… I love having a good work bench for cutting!

couture_nomad_skirt_taipei couture_nomad_skirt_taipei

I did the same with the pocket pieces… lined up the sides, the seam allowances and traced the fabric pattern… I’m sure it’s not that surprising to some of you legends of sewing, but I usually just do it by eye, and sometimes stuff up the underside piece. What was interested with this fabric though, the middle of the fabric (with selvages together, wasn’t the middle of the pattern… I had to find the lovely little flower/wallpaper bit that looked like a central piece and fold along that. Thankfully all on grain.

And YAY, it’s all perfectly matched. I could *cry* with happiness!

couture_nomad_skirt_taipei couture_nomad_skirt_taipei

A bit sad it doesn’t fit but it’s a lovely shape, and something different for me, so I’ll make it again sometime. The back is lovely too through the middle… and I also am VERY happy with my seam matching at the yoke around the zipper area… it’s invisible and took a little time, pinning and hand basting REALLY close to the teeth. I’ve got some work in progress photos that I’ll post in my Sewing School update soon too… so proud of this one!

It’s raining a lot this week, but if I was a woman of the world, and went to the office or something other than running errands, on my pushbike often with a 3 year old on back… I would style it like this… but with tights!


Next up at Sewing School will be a top, but (always contrary) I might make it a dress because it could look cute as a dress, and I really want to try different textured sleeves. Off to the fabric market this week to have a look for actual WOVEN fabric for a top … I’m never that keen on woven tops, so why not make one!? I love trying new things at the moment. My fit & flare dress isn’t finished yet and as it’s too bright and light, I don’t think my usual favourite shape IS my favourite shape right now… so weird… I still think the season & the city are playing with my moods with what to wear & sew. Maybe it’ll settle down soon!? I feel a little crazy!


Have a lovely week, and thanks for reading as always darling!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Where to Buy Sewing Supplies in Shanghai: Online!

This post has been writing itself since I arrived over a year ago, and I bet it'll continue to grow! Firstly, it was hard to find sewing supplies when I first got to China, mostly because the brand name sewing stores (in Australia it's the Spotlight and Lincraft usually are the go to places if you're new to town etc) just don't exist in Shanghai. Home sewing isn't a thing yet, and as you can imagine with the cultural revolution, a city like Shanghai has so many new 'western world luxuries' (IKEA is very popular here) but not the DIY culture yet. So where do you buy sewing supplies in China? Online of course: TAOBAO!

The joke here is when asking friends where you buy stuff, any stuff, the answer is always Taobao or IKEA (and there's certainly some sewing stuff and fabric there too), so for this post, I thought I'd gather up all the Taobao shops I've used, with reasonable quality. My sewing school has also recommended some good Taobao shops, so here goes!

A whole bunch of smaller items for your machine and stacks of cutting tools - AKA A crazy mini market of sewing!

Do you want:

Rulers? Here's a metric ruler.

Maybe you need thread? I bought here and didn't get tacky plasticy stuff.

Pens for Fabric Marking, these work and disappear ok!

Maybe you need a rolled hem sewing foot, works on on thin fabric.

A French Curve ruler.

A sewing twin needle, I accidentally bought too many! Maybe this is bulk?

Tracing paper, I've tried this ok!

The pink mat for cutting, I got the A4 size and it's very good.

An invisible zipper foot, it's plastic and works fine.

The little tools for making bias tape.

These bobbins & case are good value.

Little brushes for cleaning the sewing machine.

More pins, the plastic ones on the ends.

Very light interfacing: white & black... it's very light though... not thick for collars, more for airy fabric and putting along the button section of a blouse or something.

Another ruler.

Fusible tape, good for everything.

Fabric shops on Taobao - tested by Teacher Cathy at Couture Nomad *Updated!*:













Phew! If you have used any online shops in China, please send the links my way! I'll build them all into this post! Happy sewing!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Voila: A Quick Scarf for Late Autumn

Hi there! This week I've started wearing my winter-y scarves again... it's dropped a whole 10 degrees (celcius!) during the day in the last fortnight... and I'm so not ready for winter yet! Three of our holidays this year has been back to the homeland hemisphere, and the most recent one in October really threw out my weather gauge. Ha Ha. *sigh*

So I pulled out this scarf loop I made for one of our little pop up markets in September, and now it's officially mine!

Untitled DIY scarf loop DIY scarf loop

It's almost a metre wide, and the width of the fabric long... sewn in the long edge, but I leave space each side to turn it... then right sides together - stitch - pull through your hole and then slipstitch closed with the little Veronica Darling tag sandwiched in. My friend Michell suggests everything I make needs a tag, as people prefer it... making it all a little more polished I suppose!

DIY scarf loop DIY scarf loop DIY scarf loop

What are you making for winter? I'm super stuck, but have a few things to finish off ... I think with some of my stretch woolies I can do a Nettie dress. I just feel like 'where is the time' to plan, because it's super cold already! Last year the real cold chill didn't come to Shanghai 'til December, so I wasn't prepared for an early onslaught of it!

Gotta get my thinking cap on quickly, or I'll end up at Uniqlo!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Voila: Gingham Oliver + S Art Museum Trousers

A few months ago, I shared some little boy shorts that I made from the spare tropical holiday red cotton fabric … from my Sophia Dress. They were the little Oliver + S Art Museum Trousers, but these gingham ones are my first pair!

Felix wore them a few times over summer when the weather wasn’t too hot, but he has officially gone off them… and that happens, so looking at them again here, it might be cause they’re a little small already. Kids grow! That happens too.


I just L.O.V.E.D making this pattern, it is spot on in shape, design and has just gorgeous little details! I adore little children in sharp trousers, so I will definitely make them again… but will try a bigger size… this one is a 3 and maybe if I try a winter pair in the size 4 it will be just right for the next 6 months.

Perhaps the trousers are a little on the slim shape of sizing, if you’re noticing your child has the bigger bones and the bigger tum… Felix is kind of inbetween that kind of sizing… but considering he was two in these photos, the size three was just right. He’s still got his baby shape, and often wears a 4 or a 120 size here in China around the waist/shoulders.


But overall, for a child’s trouser pattern, it’s quick to put together, but the welted pockets, the pretend fly and the pockets at the front make it a really stylish pattern! So lovely!

This week, I'm SO excited: on Thursday I'm hosting my first workshop about writing & blogging and connecting with your crowd online... here in Shanghai as part of the Literature Festival. Over the moon, and I send you all a big THANK YOU for reading my blog over the years, for it's a super successful (in my book) endeavor and has kept me learning not only about sewing but keeping across my love of media ... consumption and production of it! Thank you a million times over!


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...