Drop Waist: Take 2, Papercut Saiph inspired Burda 7056

So while the jury is out on SBL vs the drop-waist look. I decided to try another ‘Saiph inspired’ make. Yes, another drop waist and a circle skirt.

I wanted to try out another drop-waisted look, this time with a more fitted bodice.

So I turned to my bulging pattern & fabric stash to see what might be a contender.

Burda 7056

Burda 7056

I chose Burda 7056, described as “No-frill dresses for the confident woman, being the focus. All slightly flared, fitted at the back waist, shoulders left exposed“. I liked the more fitted but slightly a-line shape, with fitting provided by bust darts and back fish-eye darts. I added this pattern to the stash quite some time ago, I love the maxi version, and I also love the combination of high neckline and cut-away shoulders. There are not too many blogged versions out there – except for the lovely new-to-me blog bernie and i who has made it several times!

The fabric is a cotton sateen from a Spotlight bargain table for a princely $3 a metre. I adore the vivid blue & white. The large regular pattern is fun but not easy to sew with as you will see later!

Here’s what happened…

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification. It was blowing a gale on this day we had to find a headland out of the wind (almost impossible to get out of the wind anywhere some days – so the dress looks slightly distorted in this picture and my bra strap has popped out – that’s life. And yes, it’s TOO SHORT! My waist is at the ‘ellipses’ travelling horizontally around the dress.

I cut the dress pattern off at about ‘Saiph’ bodice length. I sewed the bodice together, attaching the facings, which are great and don’t flip out at all due to the style of the dress, and put in the zip. The zip is a long centre back invisible zip.

To draft the circle skirt piece, I measured the finished bodice circumference. I then simply googled ‘circle calculator circumference, find radius’. Low and behold a little box popped up and I was away. This provided the radius & I used my daughter’s school compass to draft the dropped waistline of the circle skirt piece.

I simply pulled out the Saiph skirt pattern piece and used that as my guide for the outer hemline. I know, string, fishing line, makeshift compass, la la la – the pattern piece was there and a circle is a circle is a circle.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification. Not sure if it’s looking ‘hippy’ possibly yes. or if the cut-away shoulders help balance it out.

Now clearly it’s a little short. Actually no. It’s a lot too short! Despite the ‘frisky’ length I’m pleased with the make. It was an interesting process… and that’s why I sew, to experiment and have fun. I could have not blogged it due to it’s length – but it’s part of my current obsession with shifts, shapes and more – I’ll just run the risk of you thinking me a ‘tart’. At some point I’ll reach the caboose of this sewing journey so forgive any hints of SBL caboose in the meantime. It’s part of the success/disaster of sewing.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Apart from the length, I’m not in love with the only front bodice shaping being the bust darts. Probably because this is a slightly heavier cotton sateen, I don’t like how the dress lies between my bust and the skirt – which you can also see in the white feather hem version on the pattern envelope. I don’t want this to be super fitted all through the length of my body but I think some waist shaping at the front of the bodice around the waist would be nice. That said, I think it’s great as is if it made up as just a shift dress, in fact I think it’s rather a terrific pattern for a shift.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

If you are wondering about pattern placement… with a pattern this big it was always going to be challenging… and probably why this fabric sat in my stash so long. I love the vivid blue of this fabric but those ‘flowers’ and ‘leaves’ were challenging. I actually attached the skirt, removed it and reattached it… and I think you will agree the second try was much better!

Pattern placement = hilarious.

Pattern placement = hilarious.

so pleased to have provided a moment of mirth for you…

Like the Saiph, ELH rather likes this dress . He said “I think you should wear that dress… a lot”.

I’m now planning SBL & the Drop Waist No.3… why not… I’m having fun!

Oh and I forgot to mention last post… we have a new addition to the family… meet Midge…

Midge - the new bubba. Yes that's a Chihuahua.

Midge – the new bubba. Yes that’s a Chihuahua. Yes he is the same colour and has the same markings as Banjo – he’s twice as feisty though!

I’m betting you have now forgotten I made a dress. LOL. This post came so fast after the last post because I was pinned to the lounge by the sleeping puppy (he’s a genuine lap dog this one) so typed it up on my iPhone and read Japanese sewing books!

And here is a beach…

Photos taken at the northern headland of this gorgeous beach - Shelly. One of my favourite places and views in Port Macquarie.

Photos taken at the northern headland of this gorgeous beach – Shelly. One of my favourite places and views in Port Macquarie. Many of our beaches are ‘in town’ yet you don’t see a house – I love that.

Pattern: Burda 7056 with Papercut Saiph inspired modifications.
Fabric: Cotton Sateen from Spotlight (about $5 worth of fabric here!)

Trying New Shapes, Papercut Saiph

Lately I’ve become intrigued with trying ‘new stuff’. New patterns, different techniques and shapes.

I’ve always loved something different – even if it’s not something I fall in love with or adopt as ‘my thing’. I’m simply interested in experimenting. To me this is the huge appeal of sewing and blogging. I find the thought process, the making and subsequent photography fascinating to analyze something new. I’m ok if it doesn’t work, I’m just curious to try.

Papercut Saiph Tunic - it's loose!

Papercut Saiph Tunic – it’s loose! The armholes are also a little large. I finished these with white bias binding

I’m the first to admit that I skimmed right on over the Papercut Saiph tunic when it was released. I found it a little shapeless for my taste and was rather bamboozled that it was called a ‘tunic’ but presented as a dress. The length also seemed SUPER short.

The ‘drop waist’ was also a deterrent as I’ve only ever worn that style as a school uniform – which I always referred to as the ‘H Line’.

Papercut Saiph Tunic - back view

Papercut Saiph Tunic – back view

Then as I looked towards summer (if it should ever really arrive…) the appeal of shifts, sacks & shapelessness reared its head. Suddenly I wanted to try new styles & shapes that I traditionally shied away from. So perhaps expect The Summer of the Shift from me. The timelessness of ‘the shift’ interests me. And well… I can’t explain my fascination with sacks…

However a few Top Notch posts triggered my curiosity and I finally gave in. Then low-and-behold Rachel of House of Pinheiro popped up with her glamorous one photographed in than Paris while mine was winging it’s way over the seas from New Zealand.

I decided to make my Saiph as designed. No fitting alterations. The Full Sack if you like! I wanted to see if me and sack dresses could be friends.

That’s not to say that this dress doesn’t have any shaping. It has French darts which are an interesting and fun addition.

Papercut Saiph Tunic - inside (sorry heading off to Sydney for a shibori workshop - no time to iron! #badblogger)

Papercut Saiph Tunic – inside – I was heading off to Sydney for a shibori workshop – no time to iron! #badblogger

But what to make it in?? I decided I wanted something with some weight but drape…. and remembered the rayon viscose ottoman suiting range at Spotlight. I’d always wonder what on earth to make with it but it seemed the perfect choice for this. It’s lovely to sew with I must say!

These were the options and I decided to go with the more graphic black/white/red fabric (I love it when Instagram polling matching up your gut instinct!).

Papercut Saiph Tunic - material options

Papercut Saiph Tunic – material options

I made the XXS and added an inch to the ‘waist’ as I am quite long waisted. I also cut the skirt length to XL as I’d read how short this design was. I omitted the sleeves as I saw this as a summer dress option.

Nothing terribly exciting to tell you about construction. I ended up lopping 1/2 inch off the skirt as the extra length seemed to exaggerate the roominess of the dress on me. I finished it with a rolled hem – not using my machine foot as this fabric was quite heavy.

I used a piece of thin black cord (ratstail – the sort you can use to make piping). I created a little loop and sewed this into the seam where the facing mets the shell at the back neck opening. I think it’s a nice little detail however it is also strong and quick to create!

Papercut Saiph Tunic - button closure

Papercut Saiph Tunic – button closure

I don’t think the Saiph translates well in photographs – not on me. I really don’t. That said, it is lovely to wear and ELH commented as he took the photographs… “I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be but it’s strangely sexy”. Perhaps it’s the shorter length with the flippy full circle skirt or the way it swings and floats around the body, hinting rather than revealing… it’s a mystery. OR ELH has a penchant for sacks?

Papercut Saiph Tunic/Dress

Papercut Saiph Tunic/Dress

I’m glad I made it, I do think in cotton it would make a great summer dress/tunic. Super cool, loose & feminine. I think it could be cute in wool with long-sleeves and tights in winter…

This image is ‘blown out’ due to the bright sunshine but I popped it in as it is one of the few without my hand on my hips – must have been unconsciously searching for myself in this loose-fitting dress!

Papercut Saiph Tunic - front view

Papercut Saiph Tunic – front view.

I’m not sure I’m sold on the Saiph – which isn’t to say that I wouldn’t make it again as I think I have space in my life for loose summer dresses. This make got me curious and I experimented with another idea… coming to a blog soon!

Pattern: Papercut Saiph Tunic
Fabric: Viscose Rayon Ottoman

Perfectly plain ‘Flared Pullover’ blouse – Clean and Natural

Now for an exceptionally simple top!

Flared Pullover from Clean & Natural (Japanese sewing book)

Flared Pullover from Clean & Natural (Japanese sewing book). Sewn in a light embroidered cotton.

This is my first ever make from a non-translated Japanese sewing book – and I thought it best to pick something really simple to get a feel how I would go just using diagrams – no instructions! Bingo. Successful top. This little pullover top has four pattern pieces, front & back yoke, front and back body piece. I did get a bit confused – I blame tracing the pattern at 11pm – and added the wrong seam allowances to the neckline and sleeves. Fortunately I noticed this before I cut it out and all’s well that ends well!

Curved yoke, Flared pullover from Clean & Natural

I love the gentle curve of the yoke.

I chose not to cut ‘self’ bias binding for the neckline – the embroidery on this fabric is quite heavy and chunky to sew through. I did not see a Battle of Bias being won by me. I used purchased white bias binding instead. I didn’t like how I could see the bias fold when I turned the binding to the inside (picky much Lizzy??). So I doubled it over as I folded it to the inside and achieved a very narrow neckline hem. This fabric is very sheer, a beautiful embroidered cheesecloth (?) style fabric from the only indie fabric store (for dressmaking fabrics at least) in Port Macquarie. Due to the fabric’s sheer nature I also chose to keep the sleeve hems minimal as I felt the slightly wider recommended sleeve hems would have looked heavy and out of balance with the neck binding. I didn’t French seam anything as the fabric is quite lumpy. Just sewn and then the seams overlocked together, rather than pressing the seams open and flat. In these photographs I’m wearing it with a ‘nude’ camisole – and always will for obvious reasons (unless it’s thrown over the top of swimwear!). top1 I must say, I do love this top. Yes it’s not sewing rocket science but it’s beautifully simple and easy to wear. It will get worn a lot as a result! I love the curved yoke and easy fit. It’s just ‘clean and natural’ in keeping with the book title. I do prefer simple tops with yokes, rather than the fabric just falling from the shoulder, I like the fit across the shoulders and upper chest, rather than just loose everywhere. Top 1 - Clean and Natural 10 The flared style of the lower section is just lovely. I love how the back falls below the curved yoke. Top 1 - Clean and Natural 2 Top 1 - Clean and Natural 1 Not much else to say about this basic top.

Clean & Natural - a Japanese Sewing Book (untranslated)

Clean & Natural – a Japanese Sewing Book (untranslated)

This book has patterns drafted for women 160cm in height, bust 79-91cm, waist 60-72cm & hip 86-90cm. Here are the makes from this book Clean & Natural. The designs are predominantly simple in nature and like Burda Style several makes are variations on a style – this top also has ‘cousins’ in a longer sleeved top, a dress and a long-sleeved long dress. makes3 The orange top has my name on it – perhaps in an emerald wool crepe I’ve been hoarding! makes2I do like that simple plaid shirt with a collar stand and placket. I can see me wearing that a lot! makes 1 Please pop over and visit Japanese Sewing Books - this is a great resource for these books. She has reviewed this book in full here. makes4 I confess I fell hard for this book when I spotted the hooded coat. I need that in my life! Whereas it was the onesie that sent Top Notch scuttling off to the bookstore when I was showing off my purchases at afternoon tea prior to Frocktails in September (I can confirm she is just as fabulous and stylish IRL, note: she would never scuttle just glide in some uber-fab heels).  Thank you to the lovely Kat of All the Whimsical Things who was not only my roomie for the weekend but also Ms Frocktails herself. She’s a beautiful soul (and is a true fabric enabler!). This was photographed on the same day as the Japanese t-shirt and the koala hunting trip – the kids asked to go to ‘the rocky beach’ at lunchtime so we took the opportunity to take these snaps while the kids searched for shells and pretty rocks on this little deserted part of paradise. Gotta love Port Macquarie. Pattern: Flared Pullover from Japanese sewing book ‘Clean & Natural’ purchased from Kinokuniya, Sydney Fabric: Embroidered cotton.

JEANS IN JUNE and JULY ROUND-UP

Well I started off with great intentions… then life caught up with me… as it is apt to do… Huge apologies that this has come so late. It’s such a big post to create. So many images and so many bloggers and so many hyperlinks. I’ve been plugging away at it for ages! I did finish my Jamie Jeans… they were not perfect but it was a start! I’ve always wanted to try making jeans and I must admit I did find all the detail lots of fun and I have no doubt I will be back making jeans sooner or later… just for the sheer hell of it if nothing else. I sew because I love it, it’s not always sensible, reasonable or practical… but it’s my hobby so God forbid it becomes a drudgery!

Jeans in June & July 2014

Jeans in June & July 2014

This has taken me FOREVER – so many images – so many bloggers. If I have missed your jeans – please let me know in the comments below so I can include you! So here are my Jamies – for better or worse (definitely worse) fit.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Checking out my own legs...

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Stupid, stupid fabric choice… I’d love to say you live and learn but I tried this fabric in another make. #idiot

And here are the brave sorts who also braved the Jeans Journey… all images linked to the blogs so you can read more! If I have missed your jeans – please let me know in the comments below so I can add you in! I’ve been going bananas tracking them all down! Blanc at Bleu – Jamie Jeans!

Blanc Et Bleu

Blanc Et Bleu – Jamie Jeans!

Oz Viking – couture style jeans!

Oz Viking - Couture Jeans! WOW!

Oz Viking – Couture Jeans! WOW!

Purple Pleats – jean shorts

Purple Pleats - Jamie Jeans turned shorts!

Purple Pleats – Jamie Jeans Self-drafted turned shorts!

She made a muslin in July so I think these technically count as Jeans in June/July!

Sewing by Shirley - Jamie Jeans!

Sewing by Shirley – Jamie Jeans!

Handmade by Chris. Jalie 2908 Bootcut Jeans... why haven't I made bootcut jeans? I love them!

Handmade by Chris. Jalie 2908 Bootcut Jeans… why haven’t I made bootcut jeans? I love them!

The Angela Wolf Slender Bell Jean by Lindsay - go and check out the pockets!!!

The Angela Wolf Slender Bell Jean by Lindsay – go and check out the pockets!!!

Lady Sewalot - Simplicity 9944!

Lady Sewalot – Simplicity 9944. (Note gingham pocket linings!)

Jamie Jeans by design by Lindsay - amazing!

Jamie Jeans by design by Lindsay – amazing!

Now I wasn’t sure which jeans muslin to post BUT you must go and read all the jeans fitting posts and amazing detail over on Infectiousstitches. Go over there and read the June, July, August posts! In fact her posts about everything is very detailed and interesting!

Maternity Jamie Jeans! by Everyday Notions

Maternity Jamie Jeans! by Everyday Notions

Quixotic Pixels: Burda 03/2014 #115, a not-so-low rise skinny jean. WIP

Quixotic Pixels: Burda 03/2014 #115, a not-so-low rise skinny jean. WIP

Sew & So - Skinny Jeans!

Sew & So – Skinny Jeans!

Check out these amazing jeans at The Confident Stitch!

Check out these amazing jeans at The Confident Stitch!

All images remain the property of their original owners! All images linked to the blogs so you can read more!

A Flutter Sleeve T-Shirt from Casual Sweet Clothes

AKA The Everyday Caped Crusader Tshirt!

This book was reviewed on a few blogs recently – and I wasn’t totally convinced. Then I went to Sydney for Frocktails, visited the most amazing bookshop… flipped through it and I had to have it. I could have bought all the Japanese sewing books but I do try to exercise some restraint… sometimes…

Totally unplanned picture - but seemed too perfect! A Superman Koala on our Town Green (which comes with a bonus waterfront!)

Totally unplanned picture – but seemed too perfect! A Superman Koala on our Town Green (which comes with bonus river frontage). All credit to Miss 9: Posing Supercoach

I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese arts & crafts – the design, quality, attention to detail and workmanship are exceptional. My first love was via patchwork and quilting. Sewing clothes has opened up a new world of Japanese indulgence for me.

Warning: loads of pictures in this post as I’ve decided to review the book (note: it’s my book, purchased with my own funds. I just found the adventure interesting and decided to share it with you).

Earlier this year I went on a Drape Drape binge with some rather unusual pieces (here, here, here, here and here) – the pattern pieces and construction fascinated me. I am keen to make some more.

Now I am equally fascinated by the stylistic simplicity of the ‘other sort’ of Japanese pattern books. Sweet Casual Clothes seems to fall into what I’m starting to consider the Japanese ‘everyday’ clothing aesthetic.

Casual Sweet Clothes

Casual Sweet Clothes

While I love a good complicated sewing project and my work wardrobe is quite structured, I love to wear very simple casual clothes with clean lines. Fortunately for me I fall into the Japanese size range, I’m a medium tall and Japanese size small in terms of body it seems.

I’ve decided to share images of the clothes that you can make from this book and show you the sizing chart (I get asked this frequently about Drape Drape books and it’s a very valid question if you are thinking about buying a Japanese sewing book). I do find buying patterns books online un-nerving as they can be an unknown quantity, you rarely see all of the makes. I did purchased Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials and was a little disappointed with it – mainly because all the makes are black and it is harder to see details which is frustrating for a line art junkie (the garments are shown in the instructions but not as well as I like. Which naturally means I am now determined to make some of these clothes and like them – I’m contrary like that.). So I’m hoping some of what I share might be helpful to you if you have hovered on the brink of indecision with this book.

The sizing chart (I love the ‘without clothing’ reference):-

Casual Sweet Clothes: Size Chart

Casual Sweet Clothes: Size Chart

And most of the projects (I’ve omitted a simple lace trimmed cami and a pair of shorts)

A casual jacket, tiered skirt, lace skirt and long-line jacket

A casual jacket, tiered skirt, lace skirt and long-line jacket

Love this braided edge denim jacket, a bolero with a flounced edge and a very sweet short, flared coat

Love this braided edge denim jacket, a bolero with a flounced edge and a sweet short, flared coat  (I want to make all these jackets!

 

A lace trimmed shirt, a very simple sacklike black dress (but I love that lace trimmed sleeve) and a plain white top with tied shoulders

A lace trimmed shirt, a very simple sacklike black dress (but I love that lace trimmed sleeve) and a plain white top with tied shoulders

Casual ribbon trimmed pants, a simple shift and an embellished wool vest

Casual ribbon trimmed pants, a simple shift and an embellished wool vest

A flutter sleeve shift, a simple colour-block shift and a jersey flutter sleeve top.

A flutter sleeve shift, a simple colour-block shift and a jersey flutter sleeve top.

In the interests for time, I’ve snapped these on my iPhone and used a photo composite app to create these images to give you a rough overview.

Instructions? They are quite Burda-like. They are brief but accompanied by diagrams. Beginners may find the brevity a little daunting – however when you begin you don’t know what you are missing so perhaps not! I tackled a Burda project early in my sewing days and managed just fine!

Casual Sweet Clothes: a snapshot of what you can expect instruction-wise

Casual Sweet Clothes: a snapshot of what you can expect instruction-wise

The Patterns? You need to add seam allowances – they recommend 1cm, however if you prefer a different seam allowance you can easily use your own. You can see on the pattern layout that it indicates when you should vary the allowance – generally for hems. (LOL I’ve just noticed that it doesn’t indicate any seam allowance on the armholes of this top… I added them but it doesn’t seem to matter on the finished make.

I do find these pattern sheets much easier to trace then Burda – they are not so cluttered and there are less sizes. In some cases the XS-S are combined and so on. I also use lightweight white plastic ‘party table cloth’ to trace my patterns which is very easy to see through. A tip I picked up from Handmade by Carolyn.

My Make

I chose to make up the jersey top in small. It reminded me of the Sewaholic Pendrell which I have made before and liked. This top has more aeroplane-worthy wings!

The stash spat out some ribbed white/lemon knit for this make. I have never, ever worn yellow before. Seriously. I am surprised that I quite like this soft shade on me (a lifetime of avoidance for no apparently reason it would seem).  The fabric was the devil itself. The rib texture made hemming it impossible. Yes, I used fusible hem tape and it is still a mess and all ‘fluted’. The shirt itself is loose and I can live with it.

To be honest I thought this might be too feminine and theatrical on me. I’ve never been a fan of fuss however I was surprised when I put it on. I really do like this top. I’m also pretty happy with the sun protection factor it offers!

Side view - without the flappiness

Side view – without the floppiness

The instructions to attach the neckline and armhole bindings seem unnecessarily fussy to me. I did attach the neckline in the manner instructed (attach one long edge and then fold the other raw edge to the inside, tucking over the seam allowance and slip stitching it in place on the inside – I’ll admit it does give a nice finish – fiddly though!). I choose to attach the armholes bindings in more of the Sewaholic Renfrew manner – fold the strips in half wrong side together and attach them to the right side of the armhole and then press the seam to the inside (does that make any sense??).

the insides

the insides – hard to photograph neatly as you need to keep the wings kept in and they rather dislike the coathanger!

 

Preparing for take off - side view in the coastal breeze

Preparing for take off – side view in the coastal breeze

I also decided to roll hem the ‘wings’ – which was an excellent decision after the hemming disaster of the lower hem! I decided that a hem would add weight and change the fall of the fabric – so I omitted the 1.5cm seam allowance indicated on the layout and just finished the edge with a rolled hem (if you are wondering how to do this, I blogged about it here… it’s very easy!)

side/back view

side/back view

Front view - the hem is hideous. I love this fabric but it was a b*&ch to sew.

Front view – the hem is hideous. I love this fabric but it was a b*&ch to sew – stretched out beyond belief. I had to use the twin needle on my Bernina to hem it as the coverstitch just gobbled it up!

VERDICT?

So all in all – if you like this simple feminine style and you are in the size range or awesome at resizing patterns, this book could hold some appeal for you and be a good investment. I do find Japanese patterns to be very generous – or perhaps not as body conscious as our usual style of fit. For the $20 – $30 it might cost you, you get quite a lot of patterns.

I’m surprised and happy with this make. I made it because I was curious about such a style on me – and discovered that while I might have walked past it in a store, I do like it on me. Yay for sewing and experimenting. I did try it on with my navy Hollyburn and my husband promptly told me I looked Amish. While the Hollyburn gave it a ‘waist’ it also dramatically shortened my frame visually. I think the volume of the top works better on me with skinny jeans and makes it look modern rather than blousy and old-fashioned.

Next up on the blog will be a top from a Japanese sewing book – which hasn’t been translated!

WHAT’S WITH THE KOALAS?

What’s with the koalas? It’s the Hello Koalas Sculpture Project. We currently have 50 of them scattered about the region, the majority of them located in Port Macquarie’s town centre. We took the kids on a koala spotting adventure on the weekend. They adored it. You can see all the koalas here. Yes, it is a pretty nice place I live in…

Loved this little guy... in fact they are all quite fabulous in their own way!

Loved this little guy… in fact they are all quite fabulous in their own way!

 

My writing process blog hop…

The gorgeous Margo of Sewing in the Gap nominated me in My Writing Process blog hop because she liked “the honest place from which she writes about sewing and life in general.” That made me smile, I’m often too honest and open for my own good – that’s just how I am.

Margo of Creating in the Gap

Margo of Creating in the Gap

What is the Blog Hop all about? It’s simply answering four questions about your writing process. I’ve found these posts really interesting. While we often focus on the sewing process and the makes, it’s interesting to know about people’s blogs from their writing approach.

1. What are you working on at the moment?

From a writing point of view… the Jeans in June/July post - it’s been in the works forever! Apologies! Must keep typing. The kids have kept me manically busy with an onslaught of dance & drama eisteddfods, school concerts, major school projects and more. I’ve written and sewn much less during this period as I’ve valued my ‘downtime’ on the lounge – one needs some time to wipe the drool of exhaustion from their chin. I’ve been happy to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour some nights – it’s the little victories that you must celebrate. I don’t think I’m any busier than anyone else, we all have crazy days. Unfortunately my 2014 crazy days seem to have been wedged into August-September-October. I think we are hitting a calm patch (touch wood).

Sometimes the exhaustion that comes with helping your children fulfil their dreams results in some beautiful memories...

Backstage warm-ups. Sometimes the exhaustion that comes with helping your children fulfil their dreams results in some beautiful memories…
That’s my Zoe in the red top.

From a sewing point of view… my obsession with Japanese sewing books has returned. It’s hard to believe this time last year I didn’t own a Japanese sewing book… and now I have… eight. So expect some Japanese makes coming this way soon.

and this time last year I didn't own a Japanese sewing book. Shape Shape 1 is on loan from a friend.

and this time last year I didn’t own a Japanese sewing book. Shape Shape 1 is on loan from a friend. Pattern Magic is missing from this shot.

There is a plaid jacket on it’s way… I actually going to make a muslin because I want this coat to fit ‘just so’ (I know, I fainted too at the thought of me making a muslin. This.never.happens).

My ready-to-wear inspiration, the fabric and the pattern....

My ready-to-wear inspiration, the fabric and the pattern….

 

2. How do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?

I don’t think it does.

Perhaps my backdrops are almost always outdoor and often on my local beaches – however there are plenty of bloggers who photograph their makes on the beach, like the fabulously talented Handmade by Carolyn.

I tend to sew a rather wide, & at times wild, variety of garments. I’ve stated many times that I don’t sew for practical reasons, although I do produce clothes that I wear. I’m inspired to sew for personal and creative reasons. Sewing is my mental yoga and I am rather addicted to colours, patterns and shapes. Sewing provides an opportunity to experiment and I find the endless variety addictive.

From a writing perspective I think I don’t differ much either. The very nature of this sort of blogging is that we write about ourselves and our sewing. I guess my ‘voice’ is unique to me – like any other blogger. As Margo pointed out, I tend to write from the heart… for better or worse. My favourite writing style has always been ‘first-person’ and I’ve written a good deal in that vein – for myself and others – in my professional life. Sometimes more of ‘me’ escapes into text than I intend. Often I hate that in hindsight – but that’s what makes me ‘me’. I’m an extroverted thinker, I tend to verbalise all my thought processes (with lots of arm waving) – where some others ponder things silently, I talk as I work through a thought (yes it annoys me too), often ending up at a completely different place… that is reflected in my writing.

I think my blog is like so many blogs in the sewing genre. I’m on a journey. You are invited to come along and read my rambling and browse my snapshots. The roads we choose and the terrain we cover may vary greatly, the people we met along the way may touch and change our lives. That for me has been the most beautiful and unexpected thing that blogging. The fusion of writing and sewing has bought to me a new view of the world and myself, and wonderful friends.

3. Why do you write what you write?

I often ask myself that one! I often write late at night, around midnight. It’s one of the few times I don’t feel that I am short-changing my family. Some nights I’m sleepless and writing is a productive alternative. Other nights I’m stressed after a long, long day or I’ve had to endure a difficult person or situation – like so many hobby bloggers. It’s impossible not to let those things slide into view – or type – well for me at least. If I was writing a ‘how to sew’ blog (note: definitely never going to happen LOL) or something along those lines, I would write in a vastly different way. However in this space I’m writing what I consider a ‘personal sewing blog’… so that’s what you get – for better or for worse some days (sorry about that!).

Sometimes I’ve written things that are raw and honest – and sometimes I wish I could unwrite them. However that feels dishonest so I leave them there, it’s part of the journey. Sometimes people read things into them that aren’t there… but that’s life. People bring themselves to a text, filling in the gaps and making assumptions which they view as ‘fact’. I share some of my life but definitely never all of it. I’ve got some personal ‘lines in the sand’, I think everyone does.

Sometimes what I wrote two years ago is starkly different to what I think or do now – that’s the interesting thing about blogging.

4. What’s your writing process, and how does it work?

When I’m feeling inspired or happy, my fingers fly across the keyboard. Words, or the ‘gift of the gab’ as my father called it, has always come easily to me.

Blog writing is vastly different to writing that I do in the context of my IRL job. Work writing is often very considered, necessarily neutral and edited within an inch of its life by many different people for a variety of reasons. Most days you just have to suck it up and ‘toe the line’ professionally.

I don’t want my blog writing to become like my work writing. I blog write ‘off-the-cuff’, flippantly – particularly in reference myself. I often think that the Aussie attitude gets lost in translation, particularly type. Not much I can do about that – I love an Aussie turn of phrase and most of all the self-depreciating manner, the slight irreverence to authority and so on.

Often I write posts twice as long as what I end up publishing. Because I think and write in such an extroverted fashion, I tend to wander off on a mental tangent before meandering back to what it’s supposed to be about… the sewing!

Sometimes when I’m sewing a song, an idea or something that has happened (good and bad) pops into my head. Those thoughts become part of the garment and work their way into the post and become a theme. For me, the writing and the sewing are inextricably linked, one is a reflection of the other. Generally those are happy or silly things… sometimes not. ‘Happy’ is back on the sewing menu and I’m sewing for the sheer hell of it at the moment – just like I used to in the early days of my blog.

Who’s next?
This was an easy pick for me.

Anne of Pretty Grievances.
Anne’s was one of the first blogs I found… and remains one of my favourites. Her personality bursts out of the screen and pops down next to you on the lounge. I’d love to have a meal with Anne, although I might choke on my chutney from giggling too much.

I’m convinced that no one else could have dragging the sewing world kicking & giggling into the full embrace of animal print via Jungle January. We have entered the fabric jungle and Anne is leading the way with a machete in hand! She’s a truly unique voice – and I shall never look at any catwalk photo the same way again.

Love this picture of Anne because the speech bubble kills me every.time.

The one and only Anne of Pretty Grievances: When I'm not complaining, I sew….

The one and only Anne of Pretty Grievances: When I’m not complaining, I sew….

Amanda of Bimble & Pimble
What’s not to love about a sassy sewing gal that types a sentence like… “I think I may be a boat neck lady in my noggin but in real life I am Baroness von Scoop Neckington. But what’s life for if not living on the edge – neck meat covered up and all!”. There is no one quite like Amanda.

Amanda of Bimble and Pimble

Amanda of Bimble and Pimble.

This is one cool sewing chick and she is one of the most beautiful & funny souls IRL.

So over to you ladies!

Figgy’s Sunki Dress and Pattern Parcel #5 for Girls and Tweens…

I sew A LOT for myself (clearly). I have sewn some things for my girls but one of the biggest hindrances to sewing for the kids was a lack of interesting or ‘cool’ patterns for them – or rather my inability to unearth them. Patterns that interested me to sew and patterns that interested them to wear. There seems to be a lot of ‘pretty’ patterns for little girls… and not much for the tweens.

So when Pattern Parcel contacted me again about Pattern Parcel #5 Girls and Tweens – I was ‘yes ma’am‘.

I chose to make up the Sunki Dress which is the ‘Bonus Pattern’. I’ve always liked Figgy’s Patterns – they just didn’t extend far enough in sizing for my girls… until now. In fact, I like all of their range as it’s modern and girly without being fussy or frilly. I think my girls would wear their entire range, I hope they extend their sizing for more of the designs.

ELH and Giselle conducted this photo shoot on their own, while taking Banjo for a run on the beach. This weekend I’m on ‘dance mum’ duties at the local dance eisteddfod (story of my life for the past three weeks, if it’s not an Eisteddfod – it’s practising for one!).

The fabric for this make came from the ‘Fabric Library’. Some time ago I picked up a couple of pieces of batik fabric from the ‘op shop’ (charity store) for just $2. It’s a firm cotton with a border print – it has absolutely no brand or markings anywhere on it, which makes me wonder if it was purchased as a souvenir while travelling… it just seemed perfect for this…

Sunki dress front view

Front view

You can just see the pocket opening in this picture.

You can just see the pocket openings in this picture. The side panels also play host to some cleverly inset pockets.

Sunki Dress: back view

Sunki Dress: back view. Swimmer straps poking out…

The only thing I found worth mentioning about the pattern is that when sewing in the front panel and pockets it refers to the notch on the pocket piece (or that is how it seemed to me) – however this is on the side panel not the pocket piece. The pockets are a tiny bit fiddly to put in – however with a bit of pinning & flipping it all becomes obvious.

I did size up. The girls are growing so rapidly I can barely keep up. Giselle is nine years old and this is the ‘small’. It’s a very roomy, boxy tunic – however the side panels given the dress some shape and style (and yes, there are pockets).

Some details…

Inside front, Sunki Dress

Sunki dress: inside front

Inside back, Sunki Dress

Inside back

I didn’t hem the tunic as the border print is finished and it seemed a shame to lose any of the fabric in a hem.

I love the shoulder overlap detail and the sleeve head pleats…

Shoulder and sleeve detail

Shoulder and sleeve detail

I’m really liking the Mimi dress in the Parcel… I think it’s simplicity would appeal greatly to my eldest daughter…

and this is a ripper of a shot of Banjo, taken by Giselle. The little hound corners at great speed… he’s almost horizontal!

Banjo, an action shot

Banjo – he corners at speed

THE PATTERN PARCEL…

Parcel #5: Girls and Tweens includes:

  • Lily Knit Blazer by Peek-a-Boo Patterns
  • Everyday Yoga Pant for Girls by Greenstyle
  • Asymmetrical Drape Top by EYMM
  • Playhouse Dress by Fishstick Designs
  • Mimi Dress and Shirt by Filles a Maman
  • BONUS PATTERN: Sunki Dress by Figgy’s

Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #5 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Sunki Dress by Figgy’s. The pattern includes both size runs, so you get 18 months through a 16 tween sizing.

More about Pattern Parcel here…

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

TOUR SCHEDULE:
Friday, September 19: Pienkel || Cookin’ and Craftin’
Saturday, September 20: The Life Of A Compulsive Crafter
Sunday, September 21: Keep Calm and Carrion || Felt With Love Designs
Monday, September 22: Radiant Home Studio || Sewing Sober
Tuesday, September 23: Sew Fishsticks || La Pantigana || Amanda Rose
Wednesday,September 24: Shawnta Sews || Sprouting JubeJube || Knot Sew Normal
Thursday, September 25: Make It Perfect || Mimi’s Mom || Climbing the Willow
Friday, September 26: Needle and Ted || Our Family Four
Saturday, September 27: Froo & Boo
Sunday, September 28: Stitches by Laura || Vicky Myers creations
Monday, September 29: Cookin’ and Craftin’ || The Crazy Tailor
Tuesday, September 30: mama says sew || FABulous Home Sewn || The Inspired Wren
Wednesday, October 1: lady and the gents || That’s-Sew-Kari || Sewing Sober
Thursday,October 2: Gracious Threads || Blogs Like A Mother || SewsNBows
Friday, October 3: sew chibi || Lulu & Celeste ||  Made by Sara

I have so many things to blog! Hopefully with Eisteddfod season over, end-of-term school concerts and projects finished I will have some breathing space!

Note: I’ve chosen not to use the tracking code for ‘clicks’ for Pattern Parcel for the fabric competition.