PATTERN PARCEL #6

I was supposed to be on the Pattern Parcel #6 tour. I really wanted to be. I think it’s a great parcel – especially if you like knits.

Several things popped up unexpectedly in my life. Manic work schedules exploding (my busiest time of the year with additional tasks being added), husband away fishing, youngest daughter in hospital (thought that was going to be in January – fret not – she is fine) and the list goes on and one and on. Like for anyone else, sometimes ‘life happens’.

This might also explain why I might not have responded to some emails & blogs comments. Sorry, I will. Soon.

So I decided to put my money where my mouth is. I actually bought Pattern Parcel – yes I had the patterns but I like to be a contributor not just an enabler/encourager. I spend plenty of money on sewing, far beyond what I receive. It’s my hobby and indulgence – and I also like to support the industry. Not just indies, but the Big 4, fabric shops and so on. It’s all part of a bigger picture. If I unexpectedly couldn’t support it as a feature blogger, I’m more than happy to buy the patterns. If you saw my pattern ‘library’ you would be greatly amused – it is HUGE!
Pattern Parcel No.6So there is just hours left – Pattern Parcel is out there and waiting for you if you are fond of knits, skirts, dresses, tunics, pants or cardigans, this one might be just for you.

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!

Belated Capital Chic Patterns Winner & blogging over the pond…

Sorry life has been hectic with a ridiculous number of birthdays in the family… family in town visiting… workload issues and so on… blah whatever… status normal like for everyone…

GIVEAWAY WINNER…

The winner of the Capital Chic Patterns Giveaway (now closed) is Olivia! I’ve just sent Olivia an email… I had 95(!) entries!

Manhattan skirt, Capital Chic Patterns

Manhattan skirt, Capital Chic Patterns

ummmm, I do have yet another giveaway coming up soon… so you never know your luck next time :-) I know the giveaways are in overdrive at the moment but I love being able to send something back out into the world. I consider myself quite blessed and I like to pass on some of that joy. Corny but true.

BLOGGING OVER THE POND…

… at Handmade by Jane… about accessories for OWOP… hop on over… in fact you might spot an unblogged Sewaholic Hollyburn…. (I promise I will blog it soon!)

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf (and a little crushed). Sorry this is the tank I wear under shirts for warmth… hence the fit… hence the scarf! Plus it was chilly – hence the closed-in heels.

Fashionary – Giveaway

Fashionary contacted me several weeks ago and asked me if I would like to review their products. I was super excited because I really do love these products,they are great quality, simple to use, thoughtfully produced and useful resources.

I said yes because I already owned a Fashionary A5 Sketchbook and I love it. My sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday, purchased from Stitch 56.

Fashionary A5

Fashionary A5 – I love this book

I’m more than happy to sing the praises of their products and share them with you. The A5 sketchbook is a hardcover book, lovely paper, three lightly printed figures per page and they also have oodles of useful information (reference book lists; websites; catwalk calendar, illustrations and names for a vast range of jackets, lapels, hats and more; as well as fabric type descriptions and common prints).

If you can’t draw – you can with a Fashionary. Thanks to the very faint figures on every page, you can get the proportions bang on every time. Seriously, you will feel like Leonardo Da Vinci (with ears). Some bloggers do amazing watercolours, colour and add prints to their designs (just check out Handmade by Carolyn who used this concept to document her paper doll project). Me? I’m a line drawing kinda gal. I’m that person who pretty much only looks at the line drawings on pattern websites. I love design details and that’s what inspires me, seamlines, darts, pleats etc – design possibilities based on the bare bones of a garment. But if you like to colour in, paint and whatnot – knock yourself out I say!

Fashionary A5 - sketches

Fashionary A5 – sketches

Really if you don’t have one – invest. They are brilliant. I have a BIG handbag (it’s from Madrid and I love love love it) so I carry it around for doodling when I feel like it.

What is Fashionary?

From their website: “Fashionary project started in 2009 – targets to bring efficiency to professional fashion designers and fellow fashionistas. Fashionary grew from a person’s vision to a fashion sketchbook line. Fashionary is an on-going project and it will keep improving with trends and customer feedbacks.

Fashionary sent me…

Fashionary Tape

Fashionary Tape

The new Fashion Tape… it’s… “the World 1st tape marked with advanced body measurements.  30 Womens Measurements and 27 Mens Measurements are precisely marked on the white and black side of tape respectively with womens size: 38(EU), 10(UK), 6(US) and mens size: 48(EU), 38(UK, US).” I’ve never seen anything quite like this tape so for those pattern drafters and prospective pattern designers out there I think this could be right up your alley! Or you could just love collecting sewing notions (yup, guilty as charged) and want to add to your stash.

If you are not sure how you might use this… check our their website, they have some great resources including a little video…

and they also sent…

A set of mini Neon Fashionary booklets… I am going to give away all three – to three winners. I figure this way more people get a taste of the fun of Fashionary… and you’ve got more of a chance of winning!

Fashionary Neon Light Womens

Fashionary Neon Light Womens

These are little Fashionary notebooks - and apart from their disco covers which makes me feel like dancin’ – they are seriously cool. They are pint-sized, perfect for throwing into your handbag, each page is perforated so you can tear out your sketches and they also have several reference pages covering fabric types, measurements etc.

Fashionary Neon - reference pages

Fashionary Neon – reference pages

and these fabulous, fabulous postcards which shall be used to decorate the renovated Sew Busy Lizzy ‘Sewing Treehouse’ (it’s not really a treehouse but I look out into the trees…). I’m going to frame these and put them up as a series in my room – and yes I will share that with you once I’m done. It’s a huge job so it’s going to be awhile yet! It took a whole weekend to sort and fold my fabric stash!

Fashionary Postcard Book

Fashionary Postcard Book

Seriously how cute are they? And they even have shoes, accessories and men’s clothing!

Fashionary postcards - shoes

Fashionary postcards – shoes

Fashionary postcards - mens

Fashionary postcards – mens

I love inspiration – and these are perfect to surround me in the sewing room. It’s a bit like being surrounded by Pinterest(I spend too much time there online so I need a bit of reality!).

I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading the Fashionary site and it’s well worth a visit… and there are more products that tempt me… particularly the tiger print Fashionaries… (hello Anne), and custom made Fashionaries!

ummmm and did I mention shipping is free… worldwide… hmmmm…

What to do in the giveaway draw?

So if you would like to win either the Fashionary Tape, a Neon Lite - or both – please complete this online form via Survey Monkey (competition now over).

Your responses are completely confidential. I just realised that I could, and should, be using Survey Monkey to collect simple information for giveaways – so much faster, easier for you and me!

And if you just want to chat (or for some reason the form freaks you out) – comment in the WordPress fields below. Mwah.

Giveaway closes Thursday 31 August 2014. Winners will be selected via random draw.

Thank you Fashionary!

Top 5 Inspirations

Top 5 of 2013

Top 5 of 2013

My writing at the moment is a little brief. I managed to throw my spine out of alignment (merely by stretching after my morning coffee!) on New Year’s Eve.

Don’t fret I’m much better, still stiff and sore but on the road to recovery.

Top Inspirations…

I’ve changed a lot in the past year of sewing.

I’m sewing more to the beat of my own drum. I know what I like, what suits me and my lifestyle. More and more I just sew ideas that pop into my head. I am forever browsing the internet, watching people in the street, examining garments in-store, I love clothes in ‘action’.

I guess my top Inspirations would be.. (sorry just four today – I clearly can’t count this year)

Sewing blogs & twitter
Without a doubt seeing what everyone is creating and how they are doing it is a Number 1 inspiration. Keep sewing & blogging people!
I’ve recently discovered Beaute J-adore and Jolies Bobines. Fabulous sites with great makes, photography and styling – check them out.
I love twitter – love it. I get lots of ideas, inspirations and solutions from my twitter friends – thank you – love you all!

Patterns
I love new pattern releases – whether it’s the Big 4 or indies. I find all new patterns thought-provoking and inspiring. These days I like to look beyond the styling and create my own version. Recent examples of this are my Late Lunch Tunic (which has been worn a lot!) and my Vogue 1351 for Minerva Fabrics. I’m currently working on my Lolita Patterns Gunmetal and it’s really sweet and very different in feel to the other Gunmetals floating around out there!

Fabric
I’m very driven by my fabric choices. My husband said to me one day - “it’s a peculiar gift – you walk past a bolt of fabric, pat it and say… ‘wow that would make a perfect halterneck dress/shirt/trousers/jacket etc’… I just see a bolt of fabric – you see what it could become.”
This is probably why I struggle with sewalongs. I can’t make something unless I can find the right fabric for a pattern. I’m a little obsessive on that score.
So fabric stores and online shops I can spend hours in, dreaming about my next make…

‘Not’ shopping
I love to wander around shops and browse online. I very rarely buy these days – instead I’m forever snapping images on my iPhone and filing away ideas for another sewing day.
I’m very driven by my lifestyle. Fortunately I have a need for casual wear, corporate wear and cocktail dresses in my life so I have diverse sewing projects to tackle. I like to make things I will actually wear. It’s fun to sew things for the sheer challenge – it’s more fun to sew things that you wear frequently!

Still got my 2014 Goals to go – I’ve been thinking hard about this one!

Just one Reflection for 2013

Top 5 of 2013

Top 5 of 2013

I had five things written down. All very sensible & fluent. However this morning I read this post by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille.

It got me thinking.

Of all my reflections about life, sewing, blogging I simply have this to share…

Don’t undervalue what you are.
Don’t overvalue what you are not.

(Malcolm Forbes)

Celebrate who you are. The hits & misses, positives & negatives… we need both to find balance. Maybe it’s not that someone is better or worse… it’s simply that they are different.