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Non-Existent Sew-Jo: I know how long it’s been.

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Sometimes you just run out of enthusiasm and other times, you just are too hard on yourself.  I am currently a mix of both of these two as my sew-jo has reached an all time low since I began sewing over a year and a half ago.  I partly blame the huge amount of stress that I am under at work, and partly blame myself for neglecting my creative side.  To put it simply, neglecting my creativity has caused even more stress and a less than ideal person to be around.

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My Travel Plans & Packing Tricks and Tips

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Holy doooly guys, I’m leaving Wednesday for my first little overseas adventure.  How exciting.  I thought this would be a great time to quickly share with you where we are headed and also some super quick and easy packing tricks that I always use!

So first off, we are heading to New Zealand on a cruise due to the fact that it’s excruciatingly expensive for people under 21 to hire a car.  I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited and yet also so terrified that I haven’t covered all the bases of our bookings.

Now, onto a few packing tips.  I always use these whether I’m heading to a meeting which I’ll be staying overnight for, or whether we’re just doing a drive for a few hours and staying for a couple of nights.  Clearly, these are totally changeable and you can do what you wish to make these work for you.

I roll my jackets and jumpers into themselves.  It doesn’t do a lot for keeping them non creased, but then again, that it something you can make work by taking materials with you that are travel friendly.  It’s a massive space saver and helps when you can pack them around things like makeup bags and ipads.

I scourer the house for little bottles, like an absolute stingy person, I have bought a bottle of baby shampoo, tipped all the shampoo out and filled it with 200ml of my favourite body wash.  I use old 100ml Lush squeezy bottles for facewash and shampoo and conditioner.  Essentially this helps because I am not lugging 4kg worth of product which now is enough for how long I am going for and only weighs 500g.

Another big tip which I think goes without saying is always launder!  Try not to use one shirt which can only be worn with one pair of pants, although they might look amazing, maybe save it for a night out from your house.  Take a white cami, a black shirt, because you know you can wear them with your jeans or your skirt.  It makes packing lighter a lot easier.

 

Now, I have to go and zip closed my bags!

Let me know where you’ve been or where you’re planning to go!

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Recent Pattern Purchases

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It has been a little slow in the sewing area around here with the inspiration running a little thin in places.  We went away for my birthday to a city that I nearly moved to two years ago and it was a little nostalgic.  I do wonder sometimes whether I should have gone to university, but I am in such a good place with my relationship with M that it doesn’t dwell in my mind for long.  We both had agreed we wouldn’t live in a city, but I do crave the pavement of a suburb, the dog parks and the short commute from work and the friends conveniently living around the corner and always ready for a coffee.

However, due to the lack of inspiration and the copious amounts of coffee consumed in the last few weeks, I have added to my pattern collection.  Although this seems to be slightly hypocritical due to the fact I haven’t sewn many of the million I already have.  I have been looking for staples, which I will be able to sew time and time again to create a more “me” capsule wardrobe.  I can find anything which suits my style as we dip into our Australian Autumn, however creating things that I can be proud to say that I made is totally different.  I get excited at the thought of finishing a project and don’t take all elements into consideration with fabric, so this is something I plan to work on greatly this month.
I caved at the sight of the new IndiSew Spring Collection, the Rushcutter, Florence Kimono and Lou Box Top scream again and again at me.
I adore a good boxy top and this one appears to be a quick sew with bias edge – aka my favourite!  I hope to dig through my stash this weekend and find something rayon-y and beautiful and have another shirt by Monday.  I might even make a production line out of these so I can be sporting more than one Lou Box Top per week.
The Rushcutter makes me so excited due to the fact that I still haven’t sewn a dress!  I love view B, simply because there is more shape to it and my measurements almost put me in perfect proportion for this dress, so I’m very happy.  I could see this in a lot of different fabrics but I think that gorgeous blue chambray I picked up in Townsville last weekend could be making an appearance here.
I have been having a thing for kimonos, because the Florence is not the only one I have picked up.  I do wish to make the Florence in a Black Geometric Japanese Lawn from Spotlight (also from the Townsville Trip) in a floor length version so I can be ultra secretive and float around my house on the weekend.  I would do a similar thing to finishing the edges as I did with my Summer Kimono, but I would make my own bias, or have a complimentary colour, and turn the edges under and top stitch.
Speaking of my kimono obsession, I spent some of my seamwork credits on their Almada kimono from last month.  It looks like a lot more of a cocoon shape which rationalised my purchase of it.  Also, more kimonos, all the time.  I have a lot of rayon fabric from my last fabric bender so this should be an under 2 hour project also.  Damn I love quick sews.
Also from Seamwork, I decided I needed skirts which weren’t the typical circle/gathered/obviously handmade, and so I got the Osaka.  At first, it seemed daunting, but I realised how awesome it would be as a scrap buster, and bought it without any more hesitation.  I have a load of Seamwork patterns which I really need to make other than these two though!
Papercut Patterns also got a purchase from me after they launched their new pattern collection, Ahoy!  They seriously have such a lovely nautical feel which is right in my style category.  I couldn’t help but decide to purchase their printed patterns as I must admit, printing and taping and assembling and cutting totally gets on my goat when I have to do a few in one day.  I bought the Moana top and dress, which looks so flittery and fun and a perfect combination with jeans, and also the Bowline sweater had such a darling silouhette that it magically jumped in my cart and is now crossing the airspace between Australia and New Zealand.
Phew!  That’s it!  Will you be picking up any of these patterns?  What patterns have you purchased recently?
* picture was taken my me at sunset over the East Coast Marina in Townsville last weekend, so pretty…
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Fuzzy Future Feelings – Looking Forward

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As an almost-20-but-still-19 year old, there are truly so many things I have to look forward to, and some of these things are truly the most silly sentimental reasons to me!  I have dreamt my whole life of what it will be like when I’m grown up, and now that I’m kind of here, the view is pretty nice.

I look forward to silly things that people wouldn’t otherwise really stew on for too long, and also things that everyone can agree on!

1. I can’t wait until we bring our first pet home.  M and I tried to sneak a Labrador puppy into my parents house which, as anyone would have been able to foresee, didn’t go well.  However, this was a few months after we started dating, and we haven’t tried again, as you would be able to expect.

2. Setting up our Christmas tree for our first Christmas together.  This is something that has always been a tradition in my family.  On the first of December, we would pull the Christmas tree out of storage and everyone in the house would collectively start sniffling and sneezing as we fluffed branches and hanging decorations.  M’s family has a 2 foot tall tree which has fibre optic lights and never any decorations so I’m enforcing the 1st of December tradition upon him.

3. Cooking dinners together.  I recently saw a post on Baby MacBeth about how “married” her and her husband are, and it made me laugh because of how accurate this outlook is for M and I.  We love cooking together, even if I always get designated the chopping onions (M has once been seen wearing ski goggles to cut onions – oh how I love him!).  We both love similar foods, however he has introduced me to the wonders of nearly pre-made taco boxes which are not a thing in my family, which is a perfect lazy Wednesday night dinner.

4. Watering our garden.  SO many new build houses don’t have established gardens, or the owners don’t plant them at all!  As the daughter of a horticulturist, this makes me sad.  In my head, I imagine myself with a nice cold drink in hand standing in the orangey afternoon sun watering my lawn and garden, and I love it!  I always found it such a chore to have to water the garden but now that I’ve noticed the decline in gardens, it’s so precious to me.

5. Going mattress shopping.  I admit this is one of the sillier ones, but the Darwin Deez song has done it for me!  I have a bit of an obsession with sitting on mattresses whenever we go to the city, especially since the larger Myers and David Jones stores tend to have a mattress section.  I’ve never seen a sales assistant move as quickly as when I sit on a $4000 mattress.  (Sorry!)

6. Planning holidays together.  In a way, we’ve almost achieved this one together, however I do have a severe need to travel Europe and I think a major part of it would be planned on the go.  That way, I would get running feedback from M about what he has enjoyed and what we would do again.  Amsterdam, we’re coming for you!

7. Planning for the future.  I could not imagine my future without M’s input, even if I wanted to move back to the South East Queensland Coast, I would never go without him.  A massive part of our relationship is spent on the same page as each other, and we truly enjoy being able to accomplish things as a couple.

8. Enjoying the morning sun on the weekend.  This moment in my head involves me snuggled around a cup of coffee and M drinking orange juice in the winter.  How can someone not like coffee!
Is there anything that you are sentimental about achieving in the future?  Let me know in the comments!
**this photo is thanks to a local jetty and someone i work with
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Me-Made Wardrobe – My Handmade Style

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When I began sewing, I felt that it didn’t matter what material, colour or pattern I was sewing – I just wanted to make it!  As months went on and I noticed myself buying fabric on sale for the sake of buying it.  I had developed no real style or sense of what I was trying to achieve for my wardrobe.  In those discovery months, I did however buy some material which was luxurious and although I still haven’t sewn with it, I can’t wait to!

My style defines what people think of me and I veer more towards the classic side of things, as this is also how I would like to present myself.  I adore stripes and easy comfortable outfits.  Over the last three years my style has grown into a more wearable (and presentable) style than my 16 year old self would have imagined.  There’s no more pulling at the hems of tight dresses, or exposed midriffs (I eat more now, which makes a huge difference in this factor also).

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I love jackets and cardigans a lot more than someone who lives in the hot tropics of Australia should, I have added an army green jacket from Cupcakes & Cashmere to my closet this year which was a total splurge at the time.  However I am currently obsessed with neutrals in my wardrobe, including blush pink, white, nudes and some classy gold accessories.  If I could wear these all day everyday, I would be one happy little lady.

If I’m buying ready made clothing, I am more shy with exciting styles and I buy a lot of black!!!  I have no excuse now that I sew, because black is seemingly the hardest colour to buy fabric online due to the inability to feel the fabric which is the only way I can differentiate one black over the other.  So, unconsciously, I have moved away from black and welcomed the colours with open arms.

What I wish I could have told myself a million times over is that no one is judging you for being you, and if they are, their opinion clearly shouldn’t matter.  I get told regularly now that I look “put together” which is a bit of a compliment considering half the time it’ll be whatever shirt I haven’t gotten around to putting back on it’s hanger!  (That’s true life folks!)

Do you find that your handmade items vary greatly from what you have purchased in the past?  Let me know in the comments!

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Patterns 4 Pirates Kimono in Dandelion Voile

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The return of my Janome 8002DX has sparked a surge of “I must make things before it breaks again” so today I finished off the kimono I was making a few weeks ago when it last broke.

I picked up a little snippet of this voile from Spotlight maybe a month ago with the precise plan of making this.  I love a good robe, so pampering in the afternoons where I change out of my work uniform and right into my pajamas – yes I do know how lazy that is but I also get home pretty late.

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Construction was super simple and went together so quickly, the only thing I really did change was instead of folding the fabric under, which I decided would be too difficult mainly because the laundry isn’t airconditioned, I bias bound it with a picot edge bias tape from Junee & Pop.  I love the effect!

The overall effect leaves me with something that does have the effect of a true kimono with the oversized sleeves, and the adorable waist sash.  I sent a photo to my mum who immediately replied with ‘konichiwa’.  Apologies also for the less than ideal quality images, they’re all thanks to my iPhone due to my SD card breaking.  Happy Valentines weekend!

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Commitment Issues: Overlockers.

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This month, I officially celebrate having a sewing machine for one and adopting my love of creating in another form for one year!!  A million thanks and endless appreciation goes out to my Mama who gave me a Brother NS15 last year on my 19th birthday, best present ever.

To aid my love for creation, I purchased a second-hand overlocker off Gumtree, and it turned out to be older than me – but a beast!  Bertha and I made a few pairs of Coachella shorts and destroyed some silk and thin poly fabrics before we decided that fate had struck and we had to part ways.  I sold my faithful on to another enthusiastic seamstress from the area, and with a very small amount of cash in hand from the sale, ordered a Janome 8002DX from the sewing shop in town.

I nicknamed this one the “Ya-know-me”, because how original can I get?  You have to say it in a Kanye West accent, complimenting the hand action which I think I picked up from a past like of being a wanna-be hoodlum.  Moving on….

Holy Lord, so much trouble with one machine.  I’ve complained before, but I would love to do a formal review, because Janome needs to check the quality of these things.  I paid $299 and have since paid $160 in trying to get the damn thing to work.

SO, since it’s currently being operated on again, the third time in two months, I’ve decided with another looming birthday (Hola 20’s, you scare me), M has requested that I decide on a new model and we go overlocker shopping together for my present.  He’s seen too many tears shed over the tempraMENTAL machine.

This weekend we’re off to Spotlight in the city, because the sewing shop in our town is closing, and hopefully we’ll haggle down to the price that I’ve seen the machine I want ($170 less than retail!).  And for those wanting a hint – it will be Brother machine, because I am continually impressed with how great my sewing machine is.

Wish me luck, beyond just purchasing it!  Good overlocker vibes are needed.

x

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No Online Shopping Month

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Free February is an initiative which follows my attempts to not spend any money online, every damn month.  This coming month, I am going to accept the challenge and report back here to make sure I can curb the spending.  On top of just ‘online’ shopping which does cover the bulk of my spending, I will be cutting out any impulse purchases.  So if I see something I want, I will write it in a list on my phone and then re-visit it when I get home that night or at the end of the week in an effort to take the time to consider where my money is going.

I work a full time job, and get paid the same amount every week but the budgeting hasn’t been simple, so this is my big attempt to make everything I earn count.  M and I are in the process of saving for a house deposit, and the area we live is a rather expensive one (for being a country town).

So for this month, I’m going to break it down into three parts.

  1. No online spending for myself, this is a strict rule!!  No PDF purchases *weeps*, no fabric *sobbing*, no clothing sales which I decide I couldn’t make for less than I could buy.  Na-da!
  2. As mentioned previously, I will be keeping a “wants” journal in my phone, to curb unnecessary spending on things like a new makeup item or some shoes on sale.  If it comes to the end of the month and I am still desperately lacking that particular item, I will further consider why I need it and go from there – I will be sharing the random items I decide I want during the month also!
  3. Essentials – I will track where I need money during the week in that little ugly blue book and understand where I can make amendments at the end of the month.

Willing to join me?  It’s going to be a looooong month and my bank will probably call to see if I’m still alive.  Oh here goes!

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Quick Way to Cut PDF Patterns

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Paper cutting for PDFs can be a cruel form of torture when all you want to do is get sewing.  I’ve been guilty of using an x-acto knife and ruler in an attempt to cut multiple pages at once, yeah that’s risky business.  Along with
attempts to cut staight through a stack of A4 with a pair of scissors, which never works and always results in shreds of paper scattered from one end of my room to the top end of Australia.  Eventually, while in testing for the new release from Hey June which called for 60 pages of what would have been a cutting nightmare, I decided enough struggling was enough.
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And so a trip to the city had me armed with a new paper cutter from Officeworks.  I’ll be honest, I was stingy and went for the cheaper one, but oh my gosh.  I am ever thankful to my early Sunday morning browsing the aisles which led me to my decision to purchase one.  I spent about $25 on this one, if I remember correctly, and cutting 60 pages took me more like 5 minutes than half an hour.  This particular model can cut up to 4 pages at once, which is where I shouldn’t have cheaped out.  In hindsight I would definitely choose a more beefy model and hammer through all 60 at once (I’m kidding, pretty sure that would have to be a guillotine).
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The Making Tales little squawker, Gherkin, getting in on the assembly action!

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The Spoiled, Bratty Overlocker

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DSC_0420-minBack in September, I purchased a brand spankin’ new Janome 8002dx, simply because I wanted to sew knitted fabrics.  And sew she did!

A few days ago, I went to the trouble of making an overlocker cover from the beautifully simple Pattern Emporium Overlocker / Thermomix Cover pattern.  In the midst of this project, my overlocker died.  The timing was off, it wouldn’t stay threaded no matter what, it was doing my head in!

Off to the shop we went, and boy, am I glad that the machine carried on in such a way that had three brand new needles bent in different directions and so many clunks and shudders that the shop owner had her head in her hands.

DSC_0418-minTwo weeks on, and the machine is back.  The service agent for Janome in Queensland said I hadn’t loaded the needle correctly, but funnily enough, the needle had never been changed by me.  Always the lady in the shop.  The joys of

The outer fabric is from the Art Gallery Fabrics Wanderer collection, and the lining and self-made bias tape from the Art Gallery Fabrics Rapture.  Although, it’s worthy of noting, I did not use a bias tape maker so these crazy burnt fingers are proud of the result.