Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm Still Here!

I've just finished my first term back at school and have been settling in, making new friends, learning to negotiate public transport at peak times, working on bridesmaids dresses and fitting in some eating, sleeping and quality time with my loves.  Exhausting doesn't even come close!  It has been a very long time since I had 'full time' anything away from home, and it's taken some serious adjustment!

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a little of what I've been doing at school.


The wonderful thing about this diploma course is you jump right into the practical learning.  Blocks, patterns, design, a full day of sewing every week!  Then there are the business and sustainability classes as well.  That sustainability class is right up my alley!  All those things I've been trying to do in making my own personal wardrobe on a grander business scale.  I'm hopeful that now the routine is established I might be able to make the time to get back on the blogging horse.  There's so much I want to share!

So now I have two weeks break to catch up on sleep, finish up the bridesmaids dresses, catch up on blogs, start some assignments, get to know my children again, spend more than a half hour at a time with my husband!  Along with all that, Thread Theory have released a new pattern and the sew along starts this week!  So wonderful Darron, who has had his 12 outfits put on hold and has been keeping the home life running smoothly as well as working full time himself, will get some new trunks!  A small token of gratitude for making it possible for me to do all this.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Modern Love

Finally!  I got my turn to check out the wonderful Modern Love exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery!  I'm lucky I checked to see when this amazing exhibit finished, because I saw it on its final weekend at the start of February and I'm so glad I did!  My mum and I made a last minute trip to Bendigo to celebrate my birthday the day before.  We also had a lovely lunch, checked out some great shops and hit the woollen mills bargain back room on the way out of town.

I've loved seeing what other bloggers were drawn to in this exhibition, so here's what caught my attention!  It was wonderful to see high end couture up close, albeit behind glass and with 'dramatic' lighting.

This Carolina Herrera party dress from 1988 was the first thing I saw when we arrived.  I don't know whether it spoke to little 1988 Jen or present day Jen more!  I love spots, black and white with a big splash of yellow, and the square neckline is so very nice.


Not usually one for jumpsuits, I was surprised by how much this Norma Kamali evening jumpsuit grabbed me.  Very striking!  And sparkly!


Another Carolina Herrera!  Again, I'm not normally so into shirring, but the way it's been used to shape the bodice of this tulle gown is just lovely!


I adore this Vivienne Westwood tartan suit.  On the catwalk it was accessorised with sporran and woollen wrap, but with all that stripped away, the A line mini and structured blazer nipped in at the waist are really lovely!


I loved this Calvin Klein 'evening ensemble', the colour of the iridescent silk taffeta is just gorgeous and the exaggerated dimensions of what could be a very simple shirtwaist frock make it so fancy!


I'm not ashamed to admit I spent a good deal of time pressed up against the glass gazing at this Alexander McQueen peacock dress.  It is spectacular!   I love the cream and black contrast and the shredded tulle is frothy and delightful!  I think it is such a wonderful example of fashion as art.


I'm lucky that I live where I do, with exhibits like this just an hour away and then in the other direction I have Melbourne and all it has to offer as well.  With regular historical and modern fashion and costuming exhibitions available for my enjoyment and inspiration!  I'm looking forward to visiting the Melbourne Immigration Museum soon to see Faith Fashion Fusion - Muslim Women's Style in Australia.  It looks amazing!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Summer Capsule Wardrobe 2013/14

Last year (still getting used to that) I drew up some plans for a Summer Capsule Wardrobe.  A bundle of garments that all work together as well as being seasonally appropriate.  The wardrobe evolved a little as it all came together but the bones of it have stayed true to my original plan.  


A sleeveless chambray shirt.  This was one of the first garments I made for this project.  It very quickly became a wardrobe staple.  The pattern is BurdaStyle 10/2009 105 without the sleeves.  I used silver coloured buttons to fancy it up and they work beautifully with the chambray fabric. It fits just right, looks great tucked in and untucked, buttoned to the top or left open at the neck, I love it.

Navy high waisted shorts. These were a difficult make.  The fabric frays like mad and drove me crazy, I got the feeling these shorts didn't really want to be made.  I persevered though and they turned out quite cute.  Then the invisible zip busted.  So I replaced it with an exposed, indestructible metal zip.  The pattern is the same as for the November shorts, BurdaStyle 0/2011 111.


Wiksten tank dress.  This lightweight cotton fabric was in the bottom of a box at my local op shop.  I loved the massive bright floral print the moment I saw it.  It really needed a simple shape and the Wiksten tank dress is perfect.  I added an elastic casing at the waist, and lengthened the hem by 5cm.


Red Wiksten tank.  I made this tank for Red October.  The fabric is so light. It's perfect for hot weather.  Unfortunately it wasn't colourfast so it has faded a little, but it's still very red!  

Printed denim shorts.  The bottom of November's outfit, these have seen quite a bit of action so far this summer.  I was worried that the high lycra content would make them a bit saggy with wear but they're holding up very nicely.  They are comfy too, very successful!


White tee.  This plain white Elise Tee from December's outfit was another to quickly become a wardrobe staple.  It is casual, comfy, and goes with everything!


Navy button up tank.  Another from November's outfit.  This one has fitted in with so many of my outfits too.  I love wearing it with jeans, it's casual without being sloppy.  Comfortable and cool for summer!

Teal skirt.  This one was not originally part of the the plan.  Just like it was not originally part of December's outfit.  I'm thrilled with it though!  It fitted right in with the whole wardrobe.  This is one I can see transitioning well through all seasons.  It will be so cute with tights and cardigans when the weather cools down.


Coral tee.  This scoop necked, low backed tee was rescued from being an unsuccessful attempt at a bodysuit.  In hindsight, I really should have known it was a poor fabric choice, but the colour was so perfect!  No where near enough stretch for a bodysuit but just right for a tee!  

Coral elephant wrap skirt.  It took me a very long time to find the right fabric for this skirt.  The pattern is a 1970s Simplicity with a couple of different waistband and length options.  This shot doesn't show it off as well as it could, but it it lightweight and flows beautifully, and the wee elephants are so sweet!

There were a couple more garments that haven't made the final cut.  The bottom of my swimsuit turned out quite well, the top not so much, I can't really show off the bit that worked though because this is not that kind of blog!  I also have a wrap maxi dress that I don't consider to be up to standard, I'll get around to tweaking it at some stage to make it what I want.  I held out on posting in the hopes they would be sorted, but sometimes you have to know when to walk away.

These photos were taken in the surrounds of our camp site on a family camping trip during the summer school holidays.  I assure you, platforms and hair and frocks are not my usual camping attire and were packed back away for the rest of the holiday!







Thursday, January 30, 2014

Menswear Outfit Four: December

I'm so glad I managed to get Darron's December outfit finished and photographed before the end of January.  Only just made it!  The outfit itself has been done for a week but between Darron's work roster, organising Coen for the new school year, and doing my own school enrolment this week, today was the first opportunity to get a couple of pictures! 



Once again I used Threa Theory's Strathcona pattern for the tee.  This one is a stretchy orange jersey with no buttons on the placket.


We may decide to put buttons on it down the track.  He's wearing it now to see if he's happy with how it sits open.


The shorts are modified Thread Theory Jeds.  Darron requested that this pair be a little less tapered in the leg, and plain hemmed instead of cuffed.  The pattern was easy to adjust for a little extra width in the legs.


It's starting to look like I've taken this project on to capture as many photographs of my husband's butt as possible!  Really though, the pattern fits him so well in the rear, and the back pockets are so neat it would be a shame to not show you!


Darron wanted printed shorts for this outfit.  Luckily Spotlight had no shortage of printed drills to choose from.  I was thrilled when he chose this postage stamp print!  It's so fun!


I must say, I'm getting my moneys worth from these Thread Theory patterns.  I still have the Newcastle cardigan for when the weather cools down and they have just released the fantastic Goldstream Peacoat that I'm itching to make for winter as well.  So far, these outfits have been getting plenty of wear too, which is very satisfying!

Friday, January 17, 2014

14 in 14

I'm melting!  It is way too hot to do anything more than sit in front of the air con, or in a body of water and wait for the week to end.  So what better time than during a relentless heatwave to dream of cool weather and plan the years knits!  After 13 in 13 was was so successful, this year I'm going to aim for 14 in 14.  No other conditions, just 14 knits in 2014.

There are a few things I want to accomplish this year knitwise.  First I plan to make colour work my bitch.  This has been a knit goal for a while now, I've dabbled in basic stranded colour work, but I really want to get comfortable with it so I've already cast on a Favourite Things infinity scarf.  I've gathered a bunch of free charts on Ravelry, it's going to be crazy colourful and warm, I'd like to have it done in time for winter.


I've actually cast on another knit as well.  I'm usually a monogamous knitter so this is a bit odd for me.  But as the favourite things is an ongoing project and this next knit is a mystery knit along it's working for me.  Along with 2000 other knitters all over the world I cast on Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow mystery knit along on Monday.  Five clues, each with two options, it's a choose your own adventure in knitting!  As the first clue is the beginning, the shawl is little at the moment, perfect for knitting in front of the fan in the middle of the night when it's still too hot to sleep.  Seriously, 30C at midnight is just offensive.  


I'm knitting the two colour stripe version and for clue one I've gone with option A because of its interesting construction.  

I've got a couple of knits for Darron in the works, a Pump Jocky Cardigan, and a cabled Struan hat, these will be part of his winter outfits.  

Then poor Coen has been missing out on the hand made lately, so I'm going to make a Billa for him, he loves the concept behind this great Australian design.  He will be getting a hat the same as Darron's too.

Joss will be getting a Nova and a Paulette, these should both last her a while. 

Back to me!  Still on the colour work train, I have some beautiful sparkly teal Rockstar yarn from Mayhem and Chaos that I would love to feature in this Drops cardigan, just need to choose a complimentary colour.

I NEED a Boundless, and a Clair de Lune, so that covers my cable and lace needs.

On the accessories front there's Xuxa and Mrs Jeckyll and Little Hyde.

The last will come from the my ever expanding Ravelry queue.  There have been some gorgeous patterns released in the last year.  So many options! And I have a jumper lot of Mad Tosh Vintage desperate to be knitted.  Now this list will probably change, hopefully like last year I can go beyond my goal, because there are a couple of baby knits it would be nice to make fro friends too!

I'm optimistic that I'll have time to knit this year.  I do hope that my train commute provides me with a little downtime for knitting, or I may struggle to knit at all! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Dress for Dayle



This is Dayle.  I met Dayle when I first started going out with her uncle.  She was five years old, a tiny, precocious, hilarious girl.  We hit it off right away.  She was the cutest junior bridesmaid when I married her uncle a couple of years later.  That little girl turns 17 this month.  



The cheeky little kid I used to play with has turned into this gorgeous creature.  A clever world traveller, she is the idol of all her little cousins.  There is the same age difference between Dayle and Joss as between me and Dayle.  I have a feeling they will have a very similar relationship.


Last year I asked Dayle if she would like me to make her a dress for a combined Christmas and birthday gift.  She gathered pictures of the styles she liked and we picked out some patterns from my collection.  Then she found some vintage style circus print cotton in my stash and we were set!  The contrasting fabric is plain cotton that picks out the teal in the main fabric print.


The bodice is from BurdaStyle 04/2013 #116.  The collar is based on an eighties Butterick pattern, 4969, and the skirt is from the Retro Butterick B5708.  I made two muslins for this dress.  The first to figure out the best way to attach the collar and then another to do a proper fitting.  



When I cut my finger I didn't think I'd get the dress finished in time for this visit, but when Dayle and her mum, along with my In Laws came up to visit just after Christmas it was nearly done.  She supervised the final stages and then let me take a bunch of pictures!


I thoroughly enjoyed the process of this dress, from Dayle's ideas to finished project, it was a wonderful collaboration.  There's nothing better than a happy customer!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Top 5 Goals for 2014

The last couple of New Years I made plans and set goals for the coming year.  Then I carried out those plans and achieved those goals.  This focus is relatively new to me.  Historically I have always been a dreamer not a doer.  This coming year has some exciting plans.  It's going to be a year of big changes and adventure.

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

1.  Learn!  I'm going back to school in 2014.  I received an early offer for the course I applied and interviewed for last year.  So for the next two years I will be a full time student of Applied Fashion Design and Technology!   I am incredibly excited about expanding my skills and learning new things.  My goal is to accept the challenges, do my best work and take advantage of the knowledge and skills of my teachers.

2.  Complete Darron's 12 outfits.  His outfits have gotten off to a great start so I want to keep up the momentum and continue to dress my wonderful husband in handmade.


3.  New fabrics!  There are many fabrics I want to work with this year that I haven't played with before.  To start with there's chiffon.  I've got three chiffon dresses to make this year and I want to get familiar with the fabric before I start because they're important frocks.  I also want to work with leather, heavy wool coating, more lace and silk.  

4.  New shapes.  I tend to always go for similar cuts and silhouettes for the garments I make for myself.  My goal this year is to try some new shapes.  There are loads out there that I love, it's time to step outside my comfort zone and find some new favourites. 

5.  The first specific sewing goal of the year is swimwear.  I want to sew at least two suits this month. The first is the final part of my summer wardrobe, and the second is the main piece of the final of my 12 outfits. I've never sewn swimmers before so it will be an adventure!  One will be a one-piece and the other a high waisted bikini.  Both will have a vintage feel.  There may be another seventies style swimsuit in the mix as well.  It's becoming difficult to make a final decision so I may end up with all three, and then there are the bikini top options!  Perhaps my first goal is to actually make a decision!



Honorable mention:  My final goal for this year is to keep bloggong!  Now that I've found my groove, I want to keep sharing.  It may be challenging, I'll have so much on my plate, but so much to talk about too!

Here's to a new year filled with new experiences!