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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Improvise Overcome Adapt ...Clint Eastwood Sewing Style!

Ahh Life!! The mountain Top Experiences and the Valleys. There are no straight lines in life...If there were, there would be no Mountain Top Highs (there is always more than one mountain..So keep holding on)!! The view from the top is truly worth the depression & doubt of the Valley. Each step we take is riddled with resistance. The climb is arduous but life was never meant to be easy...Ever. This is a war zone with small spates of Sewing... Because Life without sewing is just not worth living IMO (in my opinion)!! 

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When we look at others we think everything in their lives is Rosy. Don't fool yourself with this belief. Everyone has the same ups and downs. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. 

Dig your foot into the side of that mountain. Hold your position. Don't backslide. Hang on for Your Dear Life! Take a break, rest up, regather your thoughts...sew a little...Do anything that it takes for you to recharge your batteries..And then continue on the upward journey. 

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Perseverance and hardship create a beauty in you that cannot be produced any other way! The butterfly has the most beautiful colours in its wings. These colours are the result of an arduous journey. The cycle of life indeed! When a butterfly is in the Cocoon Stage, it needs to move through a channel that is squeezy. This pressure on the butterfly as it moves through the pupua stage produces the colours. If the Cocoon is cut open the butterfly is free but misses out on the squeezing.As a result the butterfly then misses out on having beautifully coloured wings! Pressure producing development is real.

All things pass. Bad things and good things. When you finally get to the top of the mountain then you go down again. 

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The cycle of life. 

Bad luck and good luck...Let's just say it's the position you are holding at the moment on that mountain! You are not cursed if you are at the bottom of the mountain and start climbing. You and everyone else has a life journey. Stop screaming and don't give up. Use all your wits and energy to survive the ride of your life.

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Feeling inspired after watching the latest screen version of the Ben Hur Movie and realising the worst life ever would be a life filled with everything working out exactly the way we planned! 

Sometimes a sewing mishap can end up being the best outfit we ever made or a learning experience that shapes us as the sewer we long to be!

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A Fast Sew vs a Slow Sew

Do both to survive the Sewing slump!!

I remember sewing classes in year 10 at school..talk about a slow sew. 10 weeks to make a skirt. Ugggg! I was over that skirt before I finished it!!  

Technique is so important when you are learning to sew. How to buy a pattern, fabric, zip and cotton. There is a need to know these techniques..That's true.

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Some people are faster learners than others. Some people can't wait to get that garment off the machine and onto their body. There is nothing worse than finishing a summer skirt just in time for Winter. It's just plain cruel. I think I did one year of sewing at school. In some ways I'm sure the activity was made to last the whole term. Busy work. I can smell "busy work" a mile off. I don't want to fill in my time. I want to make and create and wear what I make, while I am still in love with it. I am a microwave person who was born at a time when slow was the go!

How to balance my impatience with the more complicated patterns I want to make...Make a few quick patterns inbetween. This gives you a well needed boost of energy. It's called "sewing mojo."

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Wearing a memade garment that you just whipped up is a real rush....And it's legal! When the Fabric is Fabulous and the outfit design is simple, a Fast Sew is on the table. The Fabric does all the work. You get to wear it after a short time at the Sewing machine. You are "A Sewing Magician!" You have pulled the rabbit out of the hat. People are wondering how you did it. This kind of sewing is addictive. I know all about it... because I am addicted to this kind of Sewing. I can't live without this rush. I am passionate about Fabric and can see it's potential. This is what makes my heart sing. I can do many other things but this is my calling.

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If you are in a Sewing Slump maybe what you are making is way too time consuming for the amount of time you have! Why not go to your Fabric collection and find some Fabric you still love and make something that will boost your "sewing mojo" KPI's (Key  Performance Indicators)?!

Work out what your KPI's are first!

KPI Suggestions:

  • You want to feel great and look great in what you make
  • You want to look interesting  
  • You want clothes that express who you are
  • You want to feel younger..But not like a teenager  
  • You want to look classy
  • You want your clothes to bring focus on your  good features and away from anything else
  • You want to feel confident and be visibile
  • You want people to take you seriously
  • Etc

 A few Extraordinary patterns that surpassed my expectations: Burda 6773, Vogue 8780, Vogue 9022, Vogue 1228, Burda 7313

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Merits of slow sewing:

  • Exquisite attention to detail
  • A Classic that endure for years
  • A project that grows your skills
  • Work of art 

Minus:  

  • You might not love your new piece, even though you did everything right it ended up wrong
  • Slow to build your wardrobe
  • Might slow your discovery of your Style Recipe
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Fast : 

  • Time invested - not too much
  • You have more fresh garments to choose from
  • You wear it while you still love it
  • The rush of wearing something you've just made is Fabulous
  • Your using your Fabric collection   
  • You feel confident and connected to who you are
  • If it doesn't work out (and the Fabric cost didn't break the bank), you get back on that horse faster...another sewing project - Experiencing a failure is part of the Sewing journey. That's how you learn!
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Discermment Let's not  go beserk about fast or slow sewing..make what you love and wear it. The reason behind the slow or fast sewing is an important consideration. If you have a working wardrobe that you wear on a regular basis,   and want a creative outlet,  then slow sewing might suit you. However if you need a new wardrobe fast and have a large Fabric collection, then there is no judgement on you...Make it and wear it. You need to feel great in what you wear. It just makes life a lot easier. If you want to keep your wardrobe up to date or seasonal or if you are addicted to Fabric and you just love Sewing...the only way to manage your Fabric stash is to make it into clothes F.A.S.T!

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However continually purchasing fabric that never gets made fast or slow is like buying food for the pantry and not cooking . Money, time and storage wastage. Now that is something we can do something about! 

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Let's do the time warp again! ...... "Everyday Australian Fashion." Original pieces from over the last 200+ years.

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Loel Thomson you had me from the "get-go."

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This extensive and comprehensive collection  is so well presented with such a  passionate attention to detail. These are ALL original and authentic period items and accessories.

Each corner is a step back in time; into the reality of each time capsule displayed.There are additional snippets of information too, that take you deeper into a past reality. It's all there. In front of you!

 

 

Don't touch!.. but feast your eyes on the extraordinary/ordinary fashion of the day. It took my breath away. Just beautiful!

Loel Thomson the curator and collector

Loel Thomson the curator and collector

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Don't walk, run to this exhibition when you come to visit us in Melbourne. "The World's most liveable City" - 6 years in a row! Really worth a trip.

This permanent Exhibition is constantly changing from a collection of over 10,000 pieces.

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Call before you arrive, to book in. The museum is open only by appointment, so you’ll need to ring Loel Thomson herself on:

613  9852 1794. There’s a small entry charge by donation, which goes to charity.

Go and see this exhibition! Organise a group to see and experience this one off collection. Only seen at this address! 

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Loel Thomson is passionate about social history. Everyday clothes that everyday people wore.

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This is Loel's private passion that she shares with us. It is mind boggling in size and with original period accessories. Praise God for driven, passionate and generous women like Loel.

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The textbooks show items but not how they were worn.... Loel cares about the whole picture. Hair, jewelry, furniture the whole enchilada!

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This collection is not just a collection, it's experiential.

You can't help smiling and recalling, Oh yes I remember "Aunt SoandSo" wore that.... I remember! 

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When Loel opens the door to her world..you step into a time warp... to walk among her yesteryear collection and enjoy the ambience.

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There are no barriers to keep you at a safe distance. Remembering not to touch, is on my mind constantly. I really want to touch these clothes.

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I am successful in my restraint.

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The reason these clothes are in such amazing condition is because they were not worn out! Everyday clothes that were "saved."

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I think all of us would have clothes or Fabric that we love but "save!"

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Holding ourselves back from climbing over this fence is no mean feat.

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Wearing our better clothes and Sewing our better Fabric means we are using what we have. We don't need to shortchange ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Who will wear our clothes or sew our Fabric if we don't? Someone who may not love them as much as we do..that's who!!!

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Wear your good clothes. Make that Fabric into clothes.

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Wear them. Enjoy them. Love what you have bought already and...Wear Them Out!

Loel Thomson a big thank you..I'll be back for more! 

 

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"Fences" the movie - a sewist's thoughts...

 

Your dreams matter and affect your whole life. There is no escaping this fact. Pursuing your dreams is important. Your life depends on it! Having a talent and using it makes life exciting and less like groundhog Day. Trudging through 5 days to get to the 2 means more druge than joy. The Wednesday Humpday is a reality. 

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Working at a job that isn't perfect to pay the bills is more common than working in a career that you love.  

Do what you love...Love what you do  

Ok so this isn't always possible. 

I've been there and wondered when the work situation would ever change. My Survival was only possible through sewing after work and on the weekends. Sewing truly saved my sanity and kept our family together!

Troy in the Movie Fences had his dream dashed.   He was indeed a talented baseball player and his dream career crushed due to his skin colour. It's not right. It happened back then and this is still happening in so many other forms to so many people.

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Troy was living for Friday night. He was squashed. His day to day living was due to him wanting to fulfil his responsibilities. Noble but dangerous. We can only live out of overflow. If we feel jipped or shortchanged the ripple effect is that we jip everyone else. We are surly and angry. We are not operating at our best. The people who matter in our lives are missing out on the best of us..they get the residue.

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Troy could have used his disappointment in a different way. Imagine if he had set up a neighbourhood baseball team and coached young kids after work. He had a baseball on a string hanging from a tree and a bat in the backyard. So confining and restricted. He couldn't look forward. He wallowed. His talent was wasted. His family truly suffered. Troy stopped having fun because he stopped being involved in baseball - the very essence of him!

Rose, his wonderful wife truly was a great woman, who gave her all to support her husband and sons. Her life was to be everything they needed. She too had lost her way. By investing everything she had in her family she neglected herself. So easy to get caught up with fulfilling everyone else's needs. When you finally get the time to do what you want...you are too tired. This becomes a habit and you forget what's really important to you. Caring for your family is important but if you forget to see to your own needs, you start to forget what they are. Making sure you are not getting forgotten is imperative. Sewing, reading, getting exercise..don't put yourself last all the time, even if it seems easier to do this. When you get your needs met, you will have a lightness of heart that will take the drudge out of the day. 

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Groundhog Day is a reality when we are going through the motions of same, same, same! Inject activities into your day that make your heart sing. Give yourself permission to have daily time slots where you have "me time." Invest in yourself. Take small steps or large steps. Just take the steps! Life is always a challenge. Grab on to the fun things in life that will ensure you keep on the path. Having something to look forward to daily dispels hump day syndrome. See what changes you can make to your day. Playing martyr means everyone suffers.

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Burda 7234 Sewing Diary

If I wasn't determined to complete my work in progress (WIP) pile, this dress would never have been completed. Even my new invisible zipper foot (Why did I not have one before now?) couldn't keep my eyes open for long. As an experienced sewer who has made evening gowns, lined and fitted jackets.... I have tackled a wide variety of projects at my sewing machine. I'm brave enough to tackle anything. If you don't stretch yourself you don't learn and grow. Some turned out great ... others never worn. But I've learned a lot over the years. But doubt.... the Big Question... Is this one a time waster?

At my busiest time in life - young children, full time job I had very little time for constructed Sewing. I remember when made a designer lined brown suede jacket. All the elements were what I wanted. After spending 12 months on and off, sewing this jacket. It looked wonderful, however I just didn't love it anymore. I couldn't believe it! This jacket kept me from delving into my Fabric Collection and feeling fabulous. It was a blockage!  I knew that I couldn't afford to do too many of these type of projects anymore. The good news is that now I scan a pattern and see it for what it is.. a time waster or will I be wearing you soon?

Back to this dress... 

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I love the Fabric (really love it) and dearly wanted to wear this dress through summer. But this pattern! So many parts to this dress. I'm a visual learner and there were not enough pictures! These Burda instructions... yawn So trying to keep myself awake!

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Struggling to get to the end of this dress project so that I can sew something else. Anything else. Something simple! There is only one review of this pattern in Pattern Review. This has me thinking that maybe other people fell asleep too while sewing it and never finished it. Maybe this Pattern...is in your collection too?

I am writing this blog post in the middle of sewing this dress!  This could be an indicator that I may still not finish  this dress either!! Looking and touching the fabric I am determined to keep going. (I did actually finish it) Yeah!!!

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Back to the sewing machine... 

Only a few details to finish now. I want to wear it tomorrow! Bruce has some time off and we are going on a date! Sewing is now more focused and I can see the end in sight!

Having a deadline is definitely motivating for me.   

Side seams done now only the armhole facings to go.  So close... No! I can't do the sleeve facings. I think the FOE (foldoverelastic) will look far better and take a lot less time. I cut off the seam allowance on the armhole edges - 15mm/ 5/8 inch before adding the FOE. (Folded the FOE in half along the foldline, sandwiched the Fabric with the FOE and sewed a straight stitch length 4. Butted the folded ends and slipstitched). I'm quite happy with the finish. 

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It's Chinese New Year. Goodbye year of the Monkey and Celebrating the new year of the Rooster. It's big in Melbourne.  This Dress Fabric is Oriental, a Cotton Sateen with a small amount of stretch and now I can't wait to try it on!! Completing a few more seams these pattern pieces are now looking like a dress. Not a moment too soon. Finished!

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I am fully expecting to make a lot of fitting adjustment for the first try on. Well that's a nice surprise...It fits perfectly! I think I'll sew the pleats on the centre front panel down and take in the  side seams 11/2 inches from the bottom of the dress and taper ( about 13 inch to get the taper right). The dress has a split on the left front of the dress for movement so my tapering of the side seams won't hinder my movement. This cotton sateen has a little bit of stretch for comfort. This Fabric has great feel, stretch, sheen & print.

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I am wearing this dress at last and my critique is: 

  • Comfort 10/10
  • Drama 10/10
  • Creative 10/10
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Ill give this a big √ of approval!

Onwards and upwards..to infinity and beyond!

Onwards and upwards..to infinity and beyond!

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