Oh, Comely

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One Top to Rule Them All: Iconic’s Sammy Cami

Oops! It’s actually been a couple of weeks since I made this Sammy cami, and in that time I’ve started a new regular freelance newswriting gig at IGN while continuing to work on Playwear. There’s been too little time for my dorky hobbies, let alone blogging about them – but you know, I couldn’t let this go unblogged. Basically, I love this pattern to bits.

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I emailed these photographs to myself with the lovingly worded subject line “shit dress.” So that’s how I feel about it. Admittedly, this was more a hodgepodge of things I wanted to try and fabrics I wanted to use up, rather than any coherent planned project concept, and I think it kinda shows, huh? If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I really, really need to not be scared of learning how to do a small bust adjustment. The alternative of going about in an embarrassingly flappy bodice is a fate a thousand times worse.

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The Wardrobe Architect: Charming, Disarming, Alarming

I’ve been really lagging in my participation of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series. You’d think it’d have been a lot easier for me to find the time to talk about my self-perceived stylishness, but there you go; they’re up to week 3 already and here I am only just posting about week 2.

The week 2 worksheet asks a few questions of participants, but I’m going to handle my approach to it a little differently and try to work through the marbled mudslide of my thoughts essay-style.  Read More »

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Penguin Sweater!

I haven’t posted in a few days, so I thought I’d share this picture of my completed penguin sweater. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll have seen me talk very excitedly about this penguin sweater competition a few times. Basically, it’s a Phillip Island callout for hand-knitted sweaters for penguins affected by oil spills – to warm them and keep them from preening their gucky oily feathers. Also, to keep them looking totally adorbs.

So that’s my contribution to the sweater callout above. I am not the world’s greatest knitter and don’t expect to win any prizes for my wonky stitches, but gosh, the mere possibility that this may one day encase an actual penguin brings me joy like you wouldn’t believe.

Anyway, I’ve been a bit busier than usual, and today I can reveal the reason why! An event that I have been working on, Playwear, was officially announced yesterday. If you’re curious about the ways in which technology, interactivity, and gaming will influence fashion design over the next few years, come on down to the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on 13 March. I’m bringing my weirdly disparate interests in style, the arts, and massive nerdery together to curate a line-up of super-smart speakers who will – I hope – share some interesting ideas on where wearable technology might be headed.

So if you’re in Melbourne, do come on down. It’s free! Tickets are limited, though, so book early. And if you can’t make it, keep an eye out for our Playwear iPhone app, launching in March. It’ll have some fun online content curated by myself, as well as a cool little doodad to let you scramble your own photographs. Think of it as like a glitchy Instagram – we’ve had a lot of fun glitching photos of our cats so far.

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One Top to Rule Them All: an introduction, and SBCC’s Tonic T-shirt

Welcome to the first in my planned series of posts about experimenting with patterns for basic wardrobe essentials. I originally intended to do this as one big superpost, but it was clear I wasn’t churning out my test basics fast enough, and I found that I had a lot more to say about each piece of clothing than I’d originally anticipated – so, an ongoing series it is, then. Here’s the basic concept behind it…

I find that it’s super-easy, when starting a new sewing project, to be swayed by patterns for complex party dresses or structured jackets. And that’s totally cool. But sometimes you’ll make an awesome ruffled skirt, say, and then have no simple, non-clashy top to pair with it, because you keep buying pretty printed knits and the like.

I said back in my ranty new year’s resolution that I wasn’t going to buy ready-to-wear clothing this year, with basics being one of the exceptions. But really, that makes no sense. Why is it I can spend hours putting together an almost offensively strappy dress with a overabundance of skirt parts (cough), but I feel that I can’t make basics tees or tank tops?

So I started looking for basics patterns, and damn, there are a lot of them out there. Instead of choosing just one, I decided it might be helpful for other sewers if I evaluated a whole bunch of patterns for basic wardrobe staples in my search for the One Top To Rule Them All. I found that there weren’t really any intensive reviews of multiple basics from any one blogger, which is the sort of thing I personally find helpful when seeking suggestions and inspiration from sewers whose taste is similar to mine – so I figured I’d step in and do my own reviews. Hopefully some of you will find it helpful!

Today, we begin with Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick’s Tonic t-shirt.

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The Wardrobe Architect: who the hell even am I?

Style is not a frivolous thing. Sure, there are lighthearted pleasures to be gained from twirly skirts or pastel makeup palettes or whatever, but I don’t think many people realise just how related your style is to your entire sense of self – how much it says about you, where you’ve been, what you believe in. That’s why I’m digging Colette Patterns’ Wardrobe Architect series so much. The latest post had me thinking a lot overnight about not just how I dress, but who I actually am, and how that manifests in my choice of clothing.

The first Wardrobe Architect worksheet has participants fill in seven sections related to aspects of life that may affect their style. I suppose it goes without saying that many factors are going to result in wardrobes that differ greatly between people of different backgrounds, but I found that filtering those influences through this worksheet’s seven sections was immensely helpful, and highlighted things about myself that I didn’t even realise till now. It kind of relates a little to my recent rant about the ready-to-wear industry’s manipulation of its consumers; as Colette’s Sarai Mitnick says, “Knowing who you are and what works for you lets you filter out a lot of those consumerist messages pretty easily. It feels good to be able to appreciate something without needing to own it.”

So here are my thoughts on the seven areas of wardrobe influencers presented to us by Colette.

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Nothing’s Wrong

I’ve got no cute anecdotes for you today, nor any rants. Just this dress. Let’s get straight into it, shall we?

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gut feeling

Hey, it’s two newly sewn pieces today. And one of them is a crop top. Huge risks are being taken here! But before I get to that, a story about the making of this post.  Read More »

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artificial gravity

Because, as you can see, this is a dress that could definitely use some help staying up. But it’s the newest thing I’ve made, and despite its one-size-too-bigness and the weirdness of fabric choice, I’ve come to strangely love it.  Read More »

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Yesterday I was feeling grumpy, so I decided to stop doing that and make a donut skirt instead.

A friend was telling me how weird she thought it was that I came out of my third sewing class and launched straight into making dresses from commercial patterns, rather than going the usual beginner’s route of churning out skirts made of circles and gathered rectangles. I mean, I’d always wanted to make a circle skirt – I am all over anything with a skater-dress silhouette – but for some reason I was always delaying it till I “felt like doing something easy.”

When By Hand London (whose Elisalex dress I’ve made previously) brought out this circle skirt calculator app the other day, though, I figured: no excuses. I hadn’t touched my sewing machine in a few days, I was bored to tears by a freelance data entry gig I’d been working on nonstop, and I decided it was finally time to bust out my happy donut fabric (which you may have previously seen being lounged on by a cat).

I went for a full circle skirt, in what the calculator refers to as “mini length” (I still had to shear a good three inches off the hem to have this sit mid-thigh, though). Yes, I was greatly amused at the thought of cutting a donut-shaped circle of fabric out of a donut-themed quilting cotton. Yo dawg, I heard you like donuts…

Anyway, the icing on this garment was a folded-over strip of interfaced poplin as a waistband. While I’m still hunting for a suitable, icing-coloured top to wear with this, I’m already dreaming up other uses for the circle skirt calculator. How about an easy, feminine, no-pattern peplums for tops and jackets? Or a knit Lady Skater with a super-flippy skirt? Too many options. Clearly the only solution is to make ALL OF THE CIRCLE SKIRTS.

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