Anne Whalley's China memade travel wardrobe... the Pattern and Fabric solutions!

The weather: Hot, Humid & Rainy 

The patterns: Tried 'n True as well as try some new ones too

The accommodation 4 hotels in 10 days

The 10 day outfit brief:

  • 2 x Smart comfortable outfits for the 11 hour flight and Business Lounge
  • Outfits that are comfortable for walking in all day then transition into evening wear
  • Fabric that conceals stains
  • Shoes that are comfortable and smart
  • Loose outfits that are flattering
  • Natural fabrics
  • Mixture of tops, pants, skirts & dresses 
  • Fabric from my collection
  • Easy care Fabric that doesn't require ironing
  • Easy outfit combinations that work 
  • A couple of jackets for layering
  • Colours that say holiday

To start my Holiday Wardrobe..a simple, and hopefully a quick pattern to get my sewing momentum going.

Day 1 outfit Vogue 9190 Lime boiled wool from melbrestash2017. There wasn't much of this beautiful wool. This Marcy Tilton looked like the perfect travelling jacket .. could I get it out? Of course changes needed to be made: The front needed to be changed to just a single layer, 5 cm/ 2 inches added to the hem length, sleeves looked a bit on the narrow side and the boiled wool was thicker than the recommended fabric.. so only 1 cm / 3/8 inch seam allowance, the 2 pieces for the back were morphed together and the fullness in the lower back piece removed by folding. Black contrasting Foldover  was used to finish all the raw edges. I was really happy with the longer length on this jacket and the option to turn the sleeves back for a cuff. Best part putting it on and loving it.  Next up the singlet top Burda 7645 View B:

Day 1 outfit

Vogue 9190 Lime boiled wool from melbrestash2017. There wasn't much of this beautiful wool. This Marcy Tilton looked like the perfect travelling jacket .. could I get it out?

Of course changes needed to be made:

The front needed to be changed to just a single layer, 5 cm/ 2 inches added to the hem length, sleeves looked a bit on the narrow side and the boiled wool was thicker than the recommended fabric.. so only 1 cm / 3/8 inch seam allowance, the 2 pieces for the back were morphed together and the fullness in the lower back piece removed by folding. Black contrasting Foldover  was used to finish all the raw edges. I was really happy with the longer length on this jacket and the option to turn the sleeves back for a cuff.

Best part putting it on and loving it. 

Next up the singlet top Burda 7645 View B:

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 I used a one way stretch cotton jersey that had a striped pattern. I decided to omit cutting the front and back on the fold and add centre seam allowances for the front and back. The front and back had the Stripes cut horizontally on one half and vertically on the other. Foldover elastic was sewn over both the centre front and centre back seams. Neck and armholes finished with self bias and topstitched.

Vogue 9246 Pull on Pants View E

A simple pull-on pair of pants in the same fabric as the Burda Top. They looked slim fitting with a not too bulky elastic waist finish on the pattern. The pant leg width was too wide. Reduced the leg width by two inches by sewing on the inner leg (one inch seam) tapering to the crotch and sewed black Foldover elastic on the outer pants side seam.

The two pieces were comfortable for the long flight and the jacket kept the air-conditioning drafts at bay. Yes food did hit my top...who knew the dinner roll had a liquid garlic centre! Oh and the food stain wasn't obvious.

Day 2 Pattern details

Day 2  

Day 2  

Vogue 9114 Lime woven cotton funky pants

As soon as I saw these funky pants Vogue 9114, I knew I just had to make them. I did prepare myself by reading the pattern reviews and was looking forward to sewing them. Gosh these were a pain to get right..No wonder I prefer dresses and skirts. Well after the finishing the pants I really was amazed at how baggy they were. I cut off the elastic waistband and shortened the length of the pants...hmmm too late I realised I was a bit rash. I made the smallest hem possible. To reduce the baggy width I cut off 4 inch in width total (folded both legs together cut 2inch inside legs and tapered to crotch then sewed with the Overlocker. I hastily cut off the waist band and to add the elastic I sewed 11/4 width elastic with the Overlocker, to the new top edge of the pants then turned and topstitched down...took in 6/8 inch 2cm in from seam between pocket and lower inset.. Eventually I loved these pants! A very stressful and tedious sewing pattern.

Burda 7645 Singlet jersey top

This same top pattern as day 1 was made with blue one way stretch plain cotton jersey ( I made a tube pull on skirt in the same fabric details later). This singlet was as per pattern and quick to make. Armholes and neck finished with self bias.

Poncho self drafted 

150 cm  X 1.3 metres  

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Day 3 Pattern Details

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Vogue 1550 I love you. Tunic version.

Oh I love this pattern!  I made it 3 times for this trip! This is the tunic length and worn over a pull on elastic waisted skirt. Confession.. I didn't do the organza centre front insert... Didn't really see the point for the look I was after. I used a seersucker linen that didn't wrinkle too much. 

Vogue 8525 Skirt OOP pattern

This skirt pattern is my TNT tried and true. You could substitute any straight tube skirt pattern as this pattern is no longer available. Making the singlet top Burda 7645 and this skirt in the same fabric meant more mix and match options.

Day 4 Pattern details

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Vogue 1550 my second version Orange cotton seersucker dress

The length of this dress version is half way between the tunic and the dress versions. I am 5'5" or 165 cm tall and feel more comfortable in this length. As in the previous version of Vogue 1550 I omitted the centre front seam detail. This cotton fabric is slightly ruched like a seersucker. It may also be a little see through. I packed my brown cotton Spandex tube skirt ( same pattern again Vogue 8525) to wear under the dress if I felt I needed it. I'm glad I did because it was a bit windy! I found the brown skirt to be quite comfortable even though it was hot and humid and the bonus it wasn't obvious either.

Day 5 Pattern Details

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Burda 6988 fitted jersey dress

  • I love texture and stretch fabric. I have made this pattern quite  a a few times and love the bust dart that starts at the  hip....it's my kind of dart!  It is quite an easy & quick sew too. I shortened the dress length by 5 inches / 13 cm. To change up this dress pattern I added a centre back and centre front seam, cutting half the front and back,with stripes running vertically and half horizontally. I finished the neck and armholes with black Foldover elastic. I didn't love the dress as much as I thought I would. After I highlighted the front and back centre seams, shoulder and side seams with black Foldover elastic I was very happy with the result. I simply sewed the elastic on the edges with long straight stitch length 4. I don't use pins or stretch the elastic. If I  do sew from top to bottom on one side, then I sew from top to bottom on the other side. If I make a mistake it's easy to unpick. Usually with this pattern I lower the front neck, but didn't this time.

Day 6 Pattern Details Cotton Silk dress

If you look closely at the picture on the dress you can see a face. It's a bike rider with a helmet. This cotton silk was a dream to wear. You can also see my brown tube skirt just peeping at the dress hemline. Glad I threw it in the case before I left! The third version of Vogue 1550 and I am not finished with this pattern! As with the orange dress I settled on the hem being half way between the tunic version and the dress version. I omitted the organza centre seam details as the Fabric was too busy for it to be noticed. I loved doing the mitred corners. This pattern was a joy to make and feels fabulous on. 

If you look closely at the picture on the dress you can see a face. It's a bike rider with a helmet. This cotton silk was a dream to wear. You can also see my brown tube skirt just peeping at the dress hemline. Glad I threw it in the case before I left!

The third version of Vogue 1550 and I am not finished with this pattern! As with the orange dress I settled on the hem being half way between the tunic version and the dress version. I omitted the organza centre seam details as the Fabric was too busy for it to be noticed. I loved doing the mitred corners. This pattern was a joy to make and feels fabulous on. 

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  Day 7 Pattern Details New Look 6461 Culottes in woven viscose Fabric with Elastic waist. I have been looking for the perfect Culottes Pattern for a long time. These hit the mark for me. I have not shortened these pants. I have short legs! However I am really happy with the length though. I added a side split ...6 inches/ 15 cm for a little Designer touch! Not too bunchy around the waist..win! McCall's 7093 This top is everything and more!  You may have this pattern in your pattern collection. Such a fabulous pattern! It goes together quickly and it is so lovely to wear. Why I haven't made this pattern more than once is beyond me. Might even add the pockes next version. A straight forward pattern. I have used a woven viscose fabric, now silk. It just works. This silk fabric is from #melbrestastash2017 The! It was inspiring and it will be worn often. 

 

Day 7 Pattern Details

New Look 6461 Culottes in woven viscose Fabric with Elastic waist.

I have been looking for the perfect Culottes Pattern for a long time. These hit the mark for me. I have not shortened these pants. I have short legs! However I am really happy with the length though. I added a side split ...6 inches/ 15 cm for a little Designer touch! Not too bunchy around the waist..win!

McCall's 7093 This top is everything and more! 

You may have this pattern in your pattern collection. Such a fabulous pattern! It goes together quickly and it is so lovely to wear. Why I haven't made this pattern more than once is beyond me. Might even add the pockes next version. A straight forward pattern. I have used a woven viscose fabric, now silk. It just works. This silk fabric is from #melbrestastash2017 The! It was inspiring and it will be worn often. 

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Day 8 Pattern Details

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  Burda 7645 Singlet Top Blue singlet top repeat wear (from Day 2) Vogue 8525 OOP  Pull on Skirt Blue pull on elastic waisted skirt repeat wear (from Day 3) New Look 6438 Reversible Kimono Kimono made size 20 for an oversized look and finished all joining seams with flat felled seams. I turned back the sleeve and outer edges of the jacket so that the darker side of the Fabric edge finished the lighter side of this kimono. I could have done the reverse colourway but settled for this version. The Fabric was polyester and really was easy to work with. Taking the jacket for a museum visit was good as the air-conditioning was on! Day 9 The Pattern Details Vogue 1522 Woven Designer Japanese Voile top This top was a nice change! You may notice the sleeves are a lot longer on my version. I have short arms but this is ridiculous. Next time I will double check the length. I intend to shorten them to 3/4 length soon. I didn't do the added binding on the seam that joins the sleeve to the flounce...I didn't think the detail would be visible with this print. I will add that the top doesn't have front darts. I think it would have been a good idea to have them for a more comfortable fit.  The neck is finished with a self bias and side splits. This top was surprisingly cool to wear. New Look 6461 Culottes in woven viscose Fabric with Elastic waist. Repeat wear from day 7 Vogue 9190 Lime boiled wool from melbrestash2017. Repeat wear from day 1.  

 

Burda 7645 Singlet Top

Blue singlet top repeat wear (from Day 2)

Vogue 8525 OOP  Pull on Skirt

Blue pull on elastic waisted skirt repeat wear (from Day 3)

New Look 6438 Reversible Kimono

Kimono made size 20 for an oversized look and finished all joining seams with flat felled seams. I turned back the sleeve and outer edges of the jacket so that the darker side of the Fabric edge finished the lighter side of this kimono. I could have done the reverse colourway but settled for this version. The Fabric was polyester and really was easy to work with. Taking the jacket for a museum visit was good as the air-conditioning was on!

Day 9 The Pattern Details

Vogue 1522 Woven Designer Japanese Voile top

This top was a nice change! You may notice the sleeves are a lot longer on my version. I have short arms but this is ridiculous. Next time I will double check the length. I intend to shorten them to 3/4 length soon. I didn't do the added binding on the seam that joins the sleeve to the flounce...I didn't think the detail would be visible with this print. I will add that the top doesn't have front darts. I think it would have been a good idea to have them for a more comfortable fit.  The neck is finished with a self bias and side splits. This top was surprisingly cool to wear.

New Look 6461 Culottes in woven viscose Fabric with Elastic waist. Repeat wear from day 7

Vogue 9190 Lime boiled wool from melbrestash2017. Repeat wear from day 1.

 

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The Summary

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  • 14 garments sewn + a self drafted Poncho + an existing pull on brown tube skirt (just in case skirt)
  • 25 Metres/27.34 yards of Fabric
  • All comfortable
  • Both pants were way too wide and needed to be taken in on the inner leg...very annoying as the pants on both models looked sleek and perfect
  • Had every intention of sewing a raincoat but ran out of time and packed an umbrella instead (it didn't rain on the holiday & we used the umbrella for shade)
  • Had another 6 patterns cut out for this travel wardrobe but ran out of time!
  • Vogue 1522 long sleeve blouse will have the sleeves shortened to 3/4 length
  • All my outfits were in my hand luggage squashed..I really didn't want to have to shop for new clothes if my suitcase got lost.
  • Great holiday made simple with the holiday Wardrobe I packed.  
  • Didn't do any washing
  • Probably dropped food on 3/4 of these garments but the stains didn't show up

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What if Fabric had a Sewing "Use by date" or a "Best Before" date?

When I'm looking through all my Patterns and Fabric I stumble on some amazing Fabric that still makes my heart beat. I clutch it and wonder why on earth haven't I made this up yet? Seasons pass so quickly or maybe my list is just way too long!! 

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Ooooh! Some fabric just won't be left behind, no matter how strong I am. Fabric has a hold on me and I want to have it and hold it!! It's a relationship that's hard to explain to people who aren't into textiles.

 

Get that fabric collection out. Go on and get reacquainted. Ignite the passion you once had together. Oh! and while you are at it, look through some patterns too. You may just be able to decide on a pattern Fabric/Combination that you just have to make up ... straight away!

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How do I decide what to make first?  

Gaps in my wardrobe are the first and foremost. I like a lot of Colour in my wardrobe so I need  underdresses in base colours that will support me. Otherwise semi- see-through tops don't get worn. Keeping the stage simple allows the actors to shine in their roles! Ponte is a great fabric for an underdress. Top and skirt or pants in the same base colour works well too. It really depends on what you want to wear. If I'm annoyed by my clothes, I won't wear them. Forgetting what you have on, means it must be comfortable! Feeling that you are dressed appropriately in work/play situations is also an indicator. 

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Do you have a fabulous fabric addiction too? Would you rather spend time in Fabric stores or linger, longer in your sewing room? Finding a place that gives you respite from life and its challenges is truly a gift. Time is the most valuable asset you have. Using it wisely will give you the ability to weather the storms of life. Snatching pockets of time and getting into your own creative groove will benefit your health.

Don't put yourself last all the time.

Your turn will never come.

Be proactive, productive and purposeful about you!

Enjoy Your Time in Your Day.

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Fabric shopping are you still buying fabric you won't ever sew up?

Imagine the horror... unexpected guests and nothing to serve them. FHB ( Family Hold back) won't save the day if there is nothing in the fridge!

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Having a well stocked fridge means you're prepared for anything! I love deli food. Nibble food. A smorgasboard of flavours, texture, and taste bud delights. Fetta cheese, bacon, cold meat, olives... Reality... the fetta never made it to the salad, the bacon became sweaty, cold meat was left to its own devices but the olives were devoured! The waste.. except for the olives. The "Just in case food" that went into the bin.... I've found that even good deli food doesn't last 3 weeks in the fridge.

I don't shop like that anymore. With all the different work requirements and children have become adults.... creative output is happening more in the sewing room than the kitchen ...I don't need to buy as much as I did. The pantry has tuna and I tend to buy deli food e.g. bacon when I'm actually going to cook with it.

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Fabric wise I don't buy Black fabric - obviously I'm part of a small minority as a Melbourniam. I buy fabric that makes my heart race and I can see myself wearing in my everyday life. I still buy the odd evening fabric that just cannot be left in the shop, as there are occasions that call for it. I don't buy just because it's cheap!  If a Fabric is cheap and that is all its got going for it..by the time I get it home it's no longer in my memory. May as well leave it for someone who really loves it!

The boxes that need ticking before I decide to purchase:

  • Dramatic print/Colour
  • Will it be comfortable?
  • Is the Fabric interesting?
  • Does it have bounce?
  • Does it drape?
  • Do I love the way it feels?
  • Colour combination
  • Texture
  • Wearability
  • Travelling options
  • Is it a Spectacular fabric?
  • Unique
  • Soft
  • Fabric Composition?
  • Does the colour/ print flatter my colouring
  • Will it stretch my wardrobe options?

Depending on the Fabric there is a lot to consider before fabric adoption...a lot!

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I want to feel so inspired and excited about my fabric that I claw my way to the Sewing machine to sew my fabric purchases up.

Stiff Fabric with a lot of structure would make me feel like I was in a straight jacket!

Funnily enough the meals I cook also tend to have my 3 main Style Ingredients Drama, Creative and comfortable too....or the meal is just blah to me! Nuts for texture, mixing of interesting Ingredients and no heartburn after. If I have a favourite recipe I try not to cook it often or I can no longer face it. Routine is a killer for me.

We all are different and we are attracted to different elements of Fabric and food. Our memories of when we felt fabulous in an outfit and really enjoyed a meal. We certainly don't want to wear the same outfit day in day out..that's a work uniform! Wearing clothes that reveal who you are and support you in your activities, allow you to get about your day without that feeling of "not quite right."

Shopping Intentionally saves you time, money and heartbreak... Oh and storage space, guilt and a short-term thrill. Let's face it, getting a Fabric bargain is exciting and fun but if it's not right for you then it should stay in the fabric store. So if you love deli food don't wait too long before you eat it. Fresh is best. Good thing fabric lasts longer!

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Replication or Creation - What's your Sewing Style?

Do you remember playing this game at school...

A group of children in a circle, in which whispered messages were passed from ear to ear around the circle and the version which came back to the starting point bore no relation to the original message!

This poncho originally had a fur polo neck. It just didn't make my heart sing! Chopping off the fur polo neck and adding a simple neck, then adding 40 pom poms...now that's a winner for me!

This poncho originally had a fur polo neck. It just didn't make my heart sing! Chopping off the fur polo neck and adding a simple neck, then adding 40 pom poms...now that's a winner for me!


We are all different! We hear and focus on what we are interested in. Let's not talk about the need for nagging now! Multiply the amount of people interpreting  the original story and there are copious variations. This isn't good when we want to replicate the original garment we have seen In fabric with a perfect fit too!

Black paired with a pop of Orange!

Black paired with a pop of Orange!

When it comes to sewing I love aspects of what I have seen via visual inspiration to become my own creation. The saying goes, "don't reinvent the wheel". Everyone knows that the wheel has been done! But embellishments? Hmmmm!

Adding a muted Necklace makes this poncho work  

Adding a muted Necklace makes this poncho work  

Most Fashion details have all been done before. Different eras have produced amazing designs. Some designers are simply brilliant. Looking at outfits from different times is truly a plethora of inspiration: Collars, Sleeves, seam detail... 

The quest for creation is fraught with its' ups and downs. You question your choice & you keep questioning yourself, "Will this work?" Untried territory, scary yet full of adventure. There is no guarantee you will love the final garment. You may find out what you don't love! It is a huge learning curve and a roller coaster of emotions but it IS worth going on this journey. Creation though, is not for the faint hearted. 

A classic check... now a Jacket that feels funky!

A classic check... now a Jacket that feels funky!

Replication of outfits is also fun. Body shapes can be irrelevant in our creative process because if you are sewing for yourself or someone else... What is right is right. However our personality and lifestyle speaks as loudly if not louder than our body shape. The challenge is when our eye deceives us. With our mind's eye, not all of us see ourselves as we truly are. This is the challenge for each one of us in our choice of Pattern and Fabric. I'll let you in on a secret, after a lifetime of looking through fashion magazines with Jerry Hall body type models, not many of us will look like the model after we make the outfit she is wearing. So disappointing!

Recreating what you love  after locating what you think is the perfect fabric and pattern is truly a sewing quest. Will the outfit deliver exactly what you were after? Joy of joys if the quest is a success!

I have to say when I pop this Capelet on I feel happy

I have to say when I pop this Capelet on I feel happy

To actually make & wear what you saw, stitched AND feel fabulous in it.... then start the next garment on your sewing list, would be an awesome sewing journey in a perfect world.... but that is not real life. Is it? If the end result doesn't quite meet our expectations then at the very least we know..... and we tried. But it is frustrating not getting that smile and warm inner glow from our reflection in the mirror when it's finished. Pairing the correct Pattern and Fabric for your personality and lifestyle is key to getting more successes and less wadders. Oh! and did I mention flattering colours, print, drape.... key components of your garment success equation. To work though the process is the journey to the holy grail of a wearable and a cherished "memade" Wardrobe!

I love this dress but those sleeves will have to become 3/4 length...too annoying for me

I love this dress but those sleeves will have to become 3/4 length...too annoying for me

Your Sewing Style is connected to your personality. There is no right or wrong Sewing Style in Replicating or Creating. It is what you want from your sewing. If you are a pioneer, you will try the new creations and relish the journey. If you are certain of what you actually want in your wardrobe, you will build your wardrobe piece by piece and have a wardrobe filled with clothes, you know you will wear because you have loved them at first sight and they happen to suit you, your body, your lifestyle and complexion....a real possibility!

What is your Sewing Style...do you replicate or create? 

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Insight to Sewing: A collection of Interviews with passionate Sewists! This week Marjorie from @marjoriesews

Let me introduce you to Marjorie the third Sewist in the Insight to Sewing Series! You might know her on Instagram as @marjoriesews Marjorie lives in Brisbane Australia and is an active member of the Brisbane Spoolettes (A nationwide sewing collective) Brisbane is the capital city of the state of Queensland (our equivalent of Florida except it's 5 times bigger than Texas!)

Having a Frocktail moment with Jen from @the_stitcher_and_gatherer & Liz from @_busylizzie

Having a Frocktail moment with Jen from @the_stitcher_and_gatherer & Liz from @_busylizzie

Anne: Tell us a bit about yourself Marjorie? ...

Marjorie: My weekly timetable:- I start each day with a long walk or a weights session at my gym. I walk with  fellow sewists and we talk sewing quite a bit of the time. When I walk alone, I plan in my head what I want to sew next. My two children are adults; my daughter Jennifer is 34 and married to Warwick and my son Matthew is engaged to be married to Rachael. Most weeks they come over on a Wednesday night and I do the big family dinner. Cooking is another of my passions. I love to bake cakes and all things bad for my figure!!

On a Sunday, I visit my Mum who is still living independently at 88 and we try and do things that need to be done that she cannot manage on her own which really isn’t that much. Mum still knits profusely and embroiders hand towels and face washers.

I am not one to constantly go shopping and I don’t do lunch very often. I love to have people over instead.

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But on the days I am not socialising, I will be sewing. I volunteer to sew for Angel Gowns Australia. I am given wedding dresses that have been donated to this organization and convert them into gowns and wraps for still born babies, or babies that don’t leave hospital and miscarried babies delivered around the 20 week mark. I personally have never had to go through this sadness but my Mum did when I was 12 and I remember clearly, the sadness that Mum and Dad went through. I also know several midwives and they tell me these little gowns or wraps that we make, are so appreciated by the families who are going through this awful time.

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18 months ago I became a qualified milliner through the Queensland TAFE (tertiary education network). I absolutely loved this 3 year course and I loved making hats with all the different methods and materials. Unfortunately I haven’t really kept it up and that is mainly due to the fact that I live in an apartment and I do not have a lot of room to store materials and everything to do with millinery. You need a lot of stuff!! I have considered moving but that is not really economically viable for me just so that I can make hats. Making fabric hats is where I plan to go and with some more pattern drafting skills, I think that will be my forte.

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Embroidery and applique are 2 other sewing crafts that I love to pursue and I like to do that when watching TV at night. Knitting sometimes gets a look in as well.

Travelling overseas is another passion and I try to plan a trip every year. I do like adventure holidays which include a hiking tour or cycling tour and Europe is where I like to go. Fabric shopping overseas will be the highlight if I can fit it in.

Anne: How many clothes do you sew in a year?

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Marjorie: When you see me on Instagram through the month of May that I am not wearing a repeat top or dress, it would appear that I sew prolifically. But I have been sewing my clothes all of my adult life with a short break for about 4 years after my husband died in 2007. During that 4 years I still wore clothes that I had made but I just didn’t sew. I tried to soothe my soul in Retail Therapy during that time of intense grief, but my son said something one day that triggered my sewing spirit again. And soon after that, I discovered the online sewing community through BurdaStyle and blogs. It was enlightening and I haven’t stopped. I probably sew at least 40 items of clothing per year. I always have to try something new.

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Anne: How do they all fit into your wardrobe?

Marjorie: They fit because I give away quite a lot. I have given away all the cocktail dresses, ball gowns, suits and almost all of my RTW clothes that I used to buy and were part of my previous life as a corporate wife. Except for my jeans which I still like to buy, (Brax jeans) and underwear, I make everything else. Because I am tall and a size 14-16, I give my clothes to the transgender community group. A dear friend of mine advocates for the LGBT community and she distributes my clothes and shoes for me. So if I make something that I don’t like or I can’t get to fit properly, I will finish it off as if I would wear it and then pass it on.

Anne: What is your strategy that keeps you organised and your wardrobe not so squishy?

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Marjorie: I have probably already explained that in question 2. But at the end of each summer, I give my clothes a good going over and particularly the ones I have worn a lot and check the areas where I sweat and look to see if they have had better days. I also pull out of my wardrobe any clothes that I haven’t worn for 2 years excluding jackets or coats or winter clothes for much colder climates that I visit occasionally. I do the same with shoes. Living in Queensland means I have a lot of summer clothes and much less in the way of winter clothes.

I soothe my soul these days by sewing and find retail shopping for clothes so boring. For me the excitement starts with a trip to a fabric shop, a Burda magazine or a few hours looking at online pattern shops.

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Anne- in summary: Thanks Marjorie for letting us in on your very busy and creative life! Sewing, Creating and Giving back, fill your day and Soothe your Soul. You haven't stopped sewing, learning or giving. I love how you have involvement with helping people in such a caring way. Thank you for telling us about the heartfelt organisation Angel Gowns Australia. I cried when you told me about this work you do. (Instagram @angelgownsau ). Marjorie your heart is to help and your sewing is the means. Being aware and actually doing something to help, is not only helpful for the recipient, it is good for our souls too. That your son prompted you back to your  a creative side after the loss of your husband. The healing power of sewing! Much more than "just a  a hobby!" A great reminder for all of us to see where we also can become more involved in our community. A wardrobe bursting with garments can be changed into a help for people in need. What you don't wear can become a link to someone else's New beginning! I am sure what you are doing Marjorie will be inspiring and challenging for many.

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Insight to Sewing: a collection of Interviews with passionate Sewists..this week talking to Maria @velosewer!

Let me introduce you to Maria the second Sewist in the Insight to Sewing Series! Maria works full time and is married. You might know her on Instagram as @velosewer Maria lives in Sydney Australia. Maria is an active member of the Sydney Spoolettes (A nationwide sewing collective) and a regular contributor to https://sewing.patternreview.com/ 

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I've chosen Maria as she is an adventurous Sewist and applies her creative skills further by ... making shoes, hats and most of everything in between. Maria is the one stop shop! Join me as we learn a little of what motivates Maria's sewing in her own words ...... 

Maria:  I  juggle family commitments just like everyone else, even with a somewhat self-managing husband. He and I have an unspoken agreement that I don’t take him to fabric shops or sewing events and alternatively I don’t get hauled into history museums for hours on end. Give and take.

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That also means he is not included in sewing weekends away. I’ve experienced one disaster I don’t want to repeat again. 

Afterwork I also don’t cook everyday even though we cook from scratch.

If I work back late, there’s always toast and a cup of tea.

Someworkday mornings if I’m tired, I won’t go to the gym but I’ll cut out a new project.

Social media helps me keep in touch with family both here and overseas and keeping in touch can take place any time of the day.

So…I juggle to stay sane and sewing keeps me sane.

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Anne: How many clothes do you sew a year?

Maria:  I'm not sure how to answer this question. On average I make a new piece of clothing every week. At a guess I make over 50 pieces a year, give or take a few pieces I make when pattern testing.
I usually test new patterns and make a 'wearable toile'. Most of the time I'll only wear these once or twice but sometimes they become a fav.

The other strategy I use is when I'm working on a project, that needs lots of work, I'll take a break from it and whip up a knit top or something that I can make in 3 hours. This relieves the sewing intensity. I also find this break allows me to reflect on what I'm creating and I come back refreshed and renewed. It works for me.


Anne: How do they all fit in your wardrobe?

Maria:  My secret is I have two wardrobes. One for work and one for non- work activities like weekend activities including cycling and running.


Anne: What is your yearly strategy that keeps you organised and your wardrobe not so squishy?

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Maria: Twice a year I cull out enough clothes etc to fill a car boot when I give them to charity.
I have light-weight and medium weight suits that I've made and these get me through my work week and through warm and cooler seasons.
My summer gear gets stored away once the weather cools and I do the same with my winter gear when the hot weather kicks back in again. It's at this seasonal change point that I'll bag up the clothes I haven't worn or don't need and they go to charity.
I do have a couple of special suits that I've made for job interviews and special work events.
When I first started working I made a stack of knit tops for work and I've slowly replaced these with more structured blouses and shirts, when I can find the right fabrics and styles.
These rules apply to my running and cycling clothes. I have dark colour bottoms in light and medium weight fabrics. My tops are usually bright colours or strong colours so I can get away with no makeup.

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I've made lots of my gym/running gear so I know these pieces really do fit me and co-ordinate well. When I get dressed for the gym at 5am in the morning, my choices don't match but they do 'go together' for the activity I'm doing.

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Anne: Thanks Maria, your passion for Couture and detailed garment construction is inspiring! Hats, Shoes, Activewear, Underwear.... nothing is out of your creative and sewing reach. You make wardrobe space for more creations by culling regularly. We can all be proactive in our wardrobes Sewists! Make some space, let someone else have what you aren't wearing! Overstocked wardrobes cause creativity blockage.

I Love that you know your Style.  Maria you have great drive and a courageous sense of adventure! Best tip for Endurance Sewing - is to know how to keep your sewing Mojo going. Maria makes one or a few quick pieces during the marathon projects. Sewists who are in the middle of a very long "make," take note! Shoes, gymwear, underwear, hats ...a wardrobe full of Bespoke garments and accessories. If you have ever wondered what you should try to make next, stop by @velosewer on Instagram and be inspired then...make it!!

May I say Maria ..You Juggle Sew well!!

 

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Insight to Sewing: A Collection of Interviews with Passionate Sewists

Let me introduce you to Lara the first Sewist in the Insight to Sewing Series! You might know her on Instagram as @thornberrylara Lara lives in Melbourne Australia.

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https://www.instagram.com/thornberrylara/ 

I've chosen Lara as she is a prolific sewist and loves colour. She is brave, passionate and shares pattern information freely and honestly. She has a real community service heart and outreach. Here is a look into her sewing life...in Lara's own words......

Lara: I am a working (part-time), sewing, middle-aged mother, wife, with a teenager and a primary school aged kid.

Anne :How many clothes do you sew a year?

Lara: Gulp, I don’t really want to answer that.  I would have to add it all up!  I sew for myself, my daughters, sometimes my cousin, my husband, my mum.  I’ve checked how many blog posts I did last year and I know that there are at least 30 items still unblogged, so that is probably around 200 items.  Yes, that is a significant amount!  Remember though that they’re not all for me.


Anne: How do they all fit in your wardrobe?

Lara: I use flocked hangers that are quite slim.  Clothes don’t slip off them easily, and you can fit quite a lot in.  I have a four door wardrobe, and that fits a great deal.  I make sure that I only use that wardrobe with no overflow elsewhere (with the exception of formal items and coats which live in another room).  There is a mixture of hanging space, shelves and drawers.  I use the KonMari method for folding the items that go into drawers, and regularly refold the items that are on shelves to ensure that they fit neatly.  I also do regular clothing culls.  Sewing is not only about the finished garment for me - it’s also about the process - so if I finish something and I’m not feeling the love, it is given away without much angst.  Someone else can benefit from it rather than have it sitting unloved in my wardrobe!

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Anne: What is your yearly strategy that keeps you organised and your wardrobe not so squishy?

Lara: I'll be honest - I do have a lot of clothes.  I enjoy colour, fabric and pattern, as well as the process of sewing, so as a result I do sew a significant amount.  As soon as the wardrobe gets a little crammed, I go through it and remove any items that don’t fit properly or don’t feel right.  You know, the things that just aren’t “me”, or the ones that I put on then take off again in favour of something else.  I actually try to cull in this way as I go, moving items that don’t really work into the wardrobe in the spare room.  Then friends and relatives are free to ferret through and take what they want, before I deliver any leftovers to the op shop.  It needs to be done regularly - because I add clothes to the wardrobe so regularly - and as soon as it’s hard to move clothes around on their hangers, or to find them on the shelves, I know it’s time for another cull.  Sometimes I will get a friend around to help me be a bit more brutal, but generally I don’t find it too difficult to get rid of anything that just doesn’t feel right.  It’s more about how it feels on me than how it looks to others, which is why I can usually cull the wardrobe on my own.

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I don’t have a yearly strategy for what I’m going to sew.  I have some broad aims, but know that I tend to sew according to my mood.  I will sew to fill any obvious wardrobe gaps, but with that many clothes in a wardrobe there really aren’t any gaps that need filling!  This year I am starting a new job that is a little more formal in dress, so I’ll need to be aware of that when I’m deciding on what I want to sew.

Anne: Thanks Lara for the being so frank , honest and helpful in allowing other Sewists to have a glimpse into your sewing life! I love how your wardrobe is on constant turnover, which must be an ongoing challenge for such a prolific sewist. Moving your creations from your home to other homes solves the squishy wardrobe issue and would be fun for the recipients!

Hey Sewists we might all take a leaf out of Lara's disciplined approach...Maybe some squishy wardrobes could benefit from a bit of culling too.

Next Sewist in the "Insight to Sewing Series" is Maria known as @velosewer from Sydney Australia!

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Following the white rabbit of sewing inspiration, down the rabbit hole to the sewing machine

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One of my hopes for making garments from my Fabric Collection is that I get get an aha moment. The perfect match sew to speak! Looking looking looking through Pinterest and designer runway Collections is inspiring but also dangerous. When  inspiration causes confusion instead of launching into a project, it's a problem. All looking and no creating does not make you a creative person.

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Developing an idea from your inspiration takes bravery, risk, discipline and action. Skipping from a thought to another new thought, prevents commencement.  

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After being inspired there is a time to draw and write what you really want to make. 

Eeeeeek Commitment Time!!

Finally cutting into the Fabric and beginning the process of creation is scary and exciting. 

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I am a big fan of Hero pieces that are dramatic and comfortable. Inspiration plus the "memademay challenge" to wear "My Designs" every day, has finally meant I have committed to bringing my style visions to life. 

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After sewing so many outfits and tweaking patterns I am no longer afraid to really make what I really want to wear. I want what makes my heart skip a beat. Right now I'm delving into my Winter Fabric Collection. I'm ready, willing and able, to simply have a go and sew them up. Simple shapes, a cut here a slash there...I'm having fun.

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Spending time with each piece of fabric.. holding it, turning it upside down, sideways, adding a dash of fur.. cutting, sewing, trying on, snipping and finally wearing! 

 

 

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The Fabric is the Star of the show! The colour, print, feel, drape, texture and print are the "Design Dictators." 

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What has been your challenge this "memademay" and at this halfway mark have you still been going strong?

Zoe from ....

http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/me-made-may-17-sign-up-here.html?m=1

 started this challenge 8 years ago and....

It's not too late to join either!! 

 

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Sea change Sew change See change

Sea Change....

Retirement means a different wardrobe!

Time to:

•get comfortable

•be approachable

•look interesting

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Going from workplace/corporate to home, is a sea change. Sewing a new style of clothes means you'll have appropriate clothing for your new lifestyle...effortless yet classy and smart.

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Sew Change...

You can't wear that fabulous corporate jacket to the coffee shop, to meet up with friends .. it's too formal

You can't just add white runners to a tracksuit it's way too casual.

Wovens, dark colours, stiff fabrics, official jackets...be gone!

See Change...

Hello smart, sassy, comfortable, creative you!

Extreme change of lifestyle means you need to rethink the clothes you sew.

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You want to feel right, with-it and fabulous!

Choosing the right fabric for your new lifestyle garments is necessary, so you feel excited and in keeping with a new wardrobe that works for your new lifestyle.

One of my clients told me how he was off to Fiji for his first holiday. His mother packed for him! He had a case filled with suits and shirts. He looked out of place and felt out of place. He purchased some casual clothes and was able to have a great holiday. Thanks Mum!

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Get your corporate clothes out of your wardrobe and make room for the "new you clothes" Feel sassy, comfortable in your own skin, look anything but frumpy! Enjoy your new circumstances. Make sure you make more than one outfit though... because you will want to wear it all the time! And that my friends is a uniform...and we can't have that!

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Entree Main Dessert Sewing Menu

Some of us live for the wonderful desserts Menu. Some are small eaters and can only manage an Entree. Some will order a main course and will be satisfied. Sewing is a bit like choosing your favourite foods in the menu.

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I love texture in my food and savoury flavours. The more interesting the flavours the more I am satisfied. When I go out for breakfast with my Bruce, we choose our meal based on interesting flavours. We choose the same because we share! Last week we tried chilli scrambled eggs with corn, chipotles, chilli and balsamic vinegar. We were amazed at how good this was and didn't feel the need to eat until dinner.

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When I Sew, I need texture & colour to keep my interest in the project too. When I want to wear my sewing creation the next day...It doesn't take me long to complete it. The more time I have, the longer I take.

Working out what makes you tick, aids your sewing journey and increases the likelihood that not only will you love making your garment, but you will love wearing it. You see we have a pancheaux for seeking what will satisfy us, continually. We are always on the quest. Knowing what doesn't work helps but this knowledge doesn't provide "Your Style Holy Grail!"

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If you would like to partake on a journey to discover your unique style recipe join my Mentor Program!  Let me Mentor you and get you through the Style Maze to "Your Style Holy Grail." Imagine wearing clothes that speak for you, flatter you and allow you to get on with what you need to do in your day. No more feeling frumpy, invisible or uncomfortable! You don't need "what she's having"

"You can wear what works for you!"

Check out my Mentor Program http://www.annewhalley.com/mentor/

Or send me an email if you want to ask questions

Info@annewhalley.com  

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I can't change the world but..I can sew

There is so much in this world that doesn't make sense. Bullying, ripping off people, stress in jobs (that really shouldn't be stressful), family differences, illness, desertion on and on...

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It would take no effort to despair and be overwhelmed. No effort at all. Mainstream media focuses on bad news. Uplifting news is hard to find. Sometimes we can be part of a solution. Sometimes we are just plain powerless. Crying for someone is sympathy but it doesn't change anything. An antidote to being overwhelmed could  be to find something that you are passionate about and do something about it...Donate your time or your money! Be involved. Do some research. Plenty of choices: woman's refuge, training a seeing-eye dog, mentor the youth, sponsor a child, turn off the television, stop reading the newspaper...be involved!

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I don't always read the newspaper or look at the news. To calm my brain I sew. It doesn't change the circumstances but it stops me from feeling powerless. 

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I sew and try and focus on creating. It loosens my mind and I actually feel like I have accomplished something. During times of stress my sewing machine has got me through. Energy output from worry, into making, has saved me. 

I recommend creating something. I have a Fabric and Pattern Collection. That's where I go. It's simple and effective.

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Try reading some Sewing Instructions, touch some Fabric, use your imagination, sew it up. It doesn't matter if what you make isn't perfect or your body for that matter. 

Immerse yourself in your creative Sewing environmentt but keep an eye occasionally on who you can help in the real world!!

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Sewing my Koos "Cat-Coat" & Scarlett​ O'Hara's Green Velvet Dress...Spoiler alert! Both are made from curtains!!

"Clothes maketh the man"

Scarlett O'Hara needed $300 to pay an account or lose her home 'Tara'....a scene from the Story "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell. 

Image from Pinterest listal.com

Image from Pinterest listal.com

The Green Velvet Curtains were the answer to Scarlett's future. She was cash poor. Her future was on the line. Scarlett was creative and desperate. An outfit was made and her outfit saved the day. 

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I have read "Gone with the Wind" the book and seen the movie, over 15 times. I have been influenced by this movie. Until recently I didn't realise how much I was influenced. I am a sucker for stories about people surviving hard times -true stories and made up stories. It helps me to remember to hope.

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Spotting a cat curtain and turning it into a coat is evidence of a seed sprouting and  bringing it to full bloom!

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What inspires you to purchase the Fabric and Patterns you love? Your back story matters and is part of "Your Why." Your then and now are a part of the essential ingredients of your unique Wardrobe. That's why duplication will never represent who we really are. We are all unique and our style recipe is too. 

 

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My Koo's Cat Coat is a combination of:

• Gone with the Wind

• Curtains

• Hope 

• Creative

• Fun

And it feels "Sew Right" when I wear it! 

So if you see it in the window will you be able to resist?? 

From The Carol Burnett Show https://youtu.be/RVBzQ0Lon1g 

What's your inspiration for Sewing? Which garments have elated you?.....Have you got a "Gone with the Wind" garment in your Wardrobe?

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New sewing gadgets are like Tupperware..Have to have but don't use them!

Just a few months ago I purchased a walking foot, invisible zipper foot and an edge stitch foot. I have an old Bernina 930 sewing machine and I was still  able to purchase these accessories. However I have only recently used the invisible zipper foot. I have every intention of using the other two sewing feet....Just don't know when!!

Current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds" 

Current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds" 

Time is either my friend or my enemy. When I have a section of time where there is no deadline, I don't get much done. I really want to, but I don't. I become a human being not a human doing! The constant tension that reigns in my head...."What have I done today?" ...is how I grade my day.

Spending precious time with family and friends and fulfilling my business goals are something I have to choose between regularly. I admit to screening time choices with "If I died tomorrow would I be happy with this choice?" Extreme but necessary. There are good choices and great choices. I really want the great. I want to "spend" my life wisely. I have spent time treading water and felt I was going nowhere. That is a part of life. My mother spent her last few years in a nursing home. There is a lot of sitting around happening at that stage of life..A lot. If I want a life worth living I need to be considering how I spend my time, carefully.

Rebecca Pidgeon is studying drawing at the Victorian College of the Arts. Her artwork is part of the current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds'. 

Rebecca Pidgeon is studying drawing at the Victorian College of the Arts. Her artwork is part of the current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds'. 

My LIFE KPI's (self imposed key performance indicators):

• Really listening is so important

• Be helpful but not indispensable

• Be a cheer squad

• Remember that there is a solution for every problem

• The Question isn't "Who is right? ....it's "What is right!"

Current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds" 

Current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds" 

• Don't judge...Just don't

• Have fun, laugh, at something...Anything 

• Attack large projects with small steps

• Sleep and relaxation is important too

• Keep on Sewing because you aren't you, if you don't

I am looking forward to using my new machine feet. Juggling between Fabric, Patterns and trying new sewing toys is tricky for me because I really would like to use every Fabric, Pattern and toy I have. Whether I conquer the "to do list" or not, is inconsequential. As long as some creative activity is happening I am one happy Sewist. Writing a blog piece, Mentoring, Sewing up a pattern on my long list, posting an Instagram photo, touching Fabric, Speaking at an event, Talking to another Sewist...It all counts.

Have you ever had a think about your own life KPI's? What really matters to you? What are you consciously doing each day to reach your life goals?

Current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds"

Current Eltham Library Community Gallery exhibition 'Creative Minds"

When a busy day is done and the list is still long I look back for the small victories, smile and rejoice. Hoping you have  had great moments too. And as Scarlett O'Hara said in Gone with the Wind:

"After all, tomorrow is another day!"

 

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"Sewists' Block" is real. How to release your creative floodgates or get your sewing Mojo back!

Sewists' Block:

  • Finding it hard to get to the Sewing machine?
  • Unhappy with the results you have from Sewing?
  • Memade or RTW clothes not ticking all the boxes? 
  • Is the path to more Successful Sewing, clear?
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How to begin?

The Wants  & The Must Haves

Time to step out of the shadow and into the sunlight..

This is the time to begin again!!

Get reaquainted with yourself...

What do you actually need in your Wardrobe now

What do you want in your Wardrobe that will inject your personality into your outfit and let the world know who you are!

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We all have only 5 seconds to make a good first impression. Do our clothes speak well for us?

Your Clothes make a statement 20 metres/65 feet away, before you have said a word. 

Do your Clothes reflect your personality and are they appropriate attire for your environment?

Look younger and wiser! 

Try on the clothes in your Wardrobe now.

Keep the garments that have promise. 

Remove any clothing that makes you feel frumpy.  

Next make Sewing decisions.

What to sew...

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The garment starter list!

Prioritise what are your most important environments. What you wear while watching TV is probably not a high priority.

 

 

Focus on your top 3 environments!  

Get the Patterns and Fabrics together.

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Plan.

Cut

Sew

Wear.  

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Could the Pattern and Fabric Sales be the real reason we have a huge collection of Patterns and Fabric?

If we all paid the full price for our Fabric and Pattern collection would it be a quarter of the size?

Quite possibly yes. If I had to pay $30 per pattern I would be quite the discerning buyer!

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When I look through my many patterns I am so glad I have all of them. A sleeve I cherish, a collar that I instantly eloped with, a neckline that took my breath away.  There was a reason I had to have and keep each of these patterns. These instant attractions to features are reasons for a lot of my purchases. My mind is like a filing cabinet, drawers and drawers of ideas. No time to gossip...Too busy flicking through the patterns in my collection...In my mind. Ahh! a mind that focuses on creation is not to left to it's own devices!  I need to sew. I need to create.

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Maybe I'm saying that it's better to buy a pattern and sew it up rather than focus on people who drive you crazy! Sewing does provide me with a refuge from the real world. Away from problems I can't solve. To just focus on creating. Sublime refuge! We are all just a little different and all guilty of having a perspective that is "me centred" i.e. What's in it for me? No one does anything for someone unless there is something in it for them...even selfless giving makes the giver feel good!  Being aware of this situation is vital to saving hurt feelings - yours and theirs. If both parties win, then a relationship works. "Win - Win." Any other senario e.g. Lose - win, win - lose, lose - lose  is fraught with danger and hurt!

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After Reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey my thoughts on doing life changed. I highly recommend this book. Warning: Even though there are no sewing tips or patterns in this book, this book could change your life too!

Being passionate and engaged in a creative pursuit is helpful to navigating life. Looking forward to the time you spend doing what you love makes the day a winner. Spending time with animals and appreciating nature, is time well spent too. 

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We got a secondhand rabbit when our children were young. This rabbit was black and the size of a good sized dog...Miffy. Our backyard became a fenced playground for her. She was grumpy and an escape artist. When she was happy she leapt and bounded. A truly uplifting sight to witness. When she escaped the family were all hands on deck. We needed every family member, and sometimes the neighbours if they were available, to surround Miffy and somehow catch her before she hit the road and a car hit her. I didn't want a rabbit and really didn't want to be involved in any "catching rabbits" shenanigans. We all learnt strategic catching techniques and all felt elated when she was safe again...A family bonding in the recovery of an escape artist. At the end of the day not a waste of time after all.

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Someone said, Life is not about your goals or destination but what happens along the way.

What are you doing with your pattern and fabric collection? If you have fabric and a pattern but too afraid to sew...be brave! Just sew it. Even if it doesn't turn out exactly as you imagined. You've learnt something along the way. Buying a gym membership and never going to the gym won't deliver a fit body and neither will sitting on a pile of patterns and fabric, that are languishing  and waiting to have their destiny fulfilled.

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Take a look into your Fabric Collection and browse through your library of Patterns. Do something with them. While you're at it enjoy the re-ignition of passion you had when you first bought them. I highly recommend it. After returning from Sewexpo Puyallup/Seattle this last week, I had to really look deeply for my Sewing Mojo! I went to the source of my Sewing Mojo.... my Fabric and my Patterns. Touching Fabric and flipping through patterns...Then I made a quick stretch pull on skirt. Back in the saddle again!! Let the Sewing Adventures begin again!!

Let your sewing Adventures begin!

Let your new addiction be..... "Your Sewing journey to Your memade wardrobe!"

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How in the heck to get from a bulging wardrobe filled with nothing to wear to.... a functional memade wardrobe that supports you in your life endeavours!

It's boring to sort stuff. That's the truth!

It's Absolutely Fabulous to have it done!

You will never be in the mood to do this task.

So do...it .....anyway....Just Start....

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Put your phone away

Focus

Use a timer. Start with 10 minutes only!

Throw out the known dodgy garments..even if you think you may lose weight..Good grief it's Mid March 2017 already. No excuses. Time is slipping by...

Ok..done

Next number of white tops... Bleach or dye if they aren't perfect or toss...T-shirts, Pants...

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You could keep reading my list or just poke your head in your wardrobe and sort your stuff!

Cull and organise. Doesn't matter how.... just get order in that wardrobe.Toss the shocking and pass the wearables on.

What do you need?

Make a list!

Get the gaps filled.

Now you have time to add the fabulous: frocks, tops and/or

quirky pieces that make your heart sing.

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Make a beeline to your fabulous Fabric and choose a couple of Fabrics you want made up into something NOW.

Next stop.. the pattern collection...Pick a few you want to make.

Sit on the floor and see who gets on with each other.

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Put the pattern on top of the various Fabrics.

Spend time considering the combinations. Think about your wardrobe now before you forget what's in there!

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Go and have a drink. Think consider. Touch your fabric. Do you have enough meterage?

Have you found it??  The Fabric & Pattern combination that makes your heart sing?

Cut it out!

Sew it Up!!

Get excited. Your sewing mojo may be working.

Let's get this party started!!

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