How to stop buying fabric you don't love and sewing clothes you don't enjoy wearing

The Answer: Finding Your Style Ingredients.

If you aren't excited when you see the Fabric for the first time, you most likely will never be excited about that Fabric purchase...

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It's like going out on a blind date... You either connect or you don't. If you connect it's easier to spend time with someone.... Time flies when you're having fun.

If you don't connect ... it's like watching grass grow. It's awkward and time is noticably slower.

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When you're looking through your Fabric and are in the moment, notice how you feel when you are with your Fabric. It should be fun spending time with your Fabric... not a guilt trip. Finding a pattern to suit a fabric you don't love is difficult too.

Spending too much money on Fabric is unwise. The investment stymies creativity because you can't afford to stuff it up!

Find your own Style Ingredients and start from that point. Sewing and wearing your creations, that have your  Fingerprint, is truly a wonderful experience.

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Love at first sight.

Connection to the Fabric

Texture

Composition

If you're interested in the Fabric you'll be eager to sew it up, but spend too much money on the Fabric and you may never have the guts to sew it up.

Too much pressure causes indecision.

No point just having the Fabric.

'He who dies with the most Fabric Wins"

Wins what? I think it's heartbreaking to think the Fabric missed out on being the fulfilment of a dream!

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Don't rush into a fabric purchase. If you have "fabric purchase hesitation." Listen to your gut instinct and resist buying the fabric.

However ... Buy that Fabric if: 

  • It has your name written all over it
  • It's a good price
  • It may sell out
  • You just know you are destined for each other
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Don't start a relationship with the wrong Fabric or the wrong man for that matter! 

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Book review by Anne Whalley "The Savvy Seamstress" by Nicole Mallalieu

The Savvy Seamstress Blog & Instagram Tour

Book Review by Anne Whalley

"The Savvy Seamstress" by Nicole Mallalieu

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If I wasn't asked to review this book I would have just put it on the shelf with my other sewing books ... for the day when I have a bit more time. That shelf!

The Savvy Seamstress is a fresh inviting book with an easy to read style. I felt like I was getting all the inside secrets and loved reading about how I could add Designer details with a professional finish. Nicole has broken the processes into small achievable steps that keep you on track. I have a few "tried and true" patterns that I like to reinvent so I don't feel like I'm wearing the same garment all the time. I'm really looking forward to using the different design ideas in the near future.

Sharpening the axe helps cut trees down faster. Reading these industry tips IS going to change how I prepare for sewing, it will change how I think about the pattern itself and the sewing journey. I'm looking forward to remembering the new ways to do tasks with a real understanding of why I need to change. I admit I didn't think I was going to learn anything from another sewing book because I sew a lot. I'm a fast and pretty efficient Sewist, but I'm changing some hows and whats that I do from now on. This is a very helpful book for all levels of Sewists.

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There are plenty of sewing books in book shops & there are plenty of them in my bookshelf too. This book will be closest to my sewing chair... so I can refer to it often. 

The Cutting instructions was the part of the book that really got my attention.

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you start the sewing project you cut out the pattern ...

I cut my patterns out on the floor. It is a real workout ... The Savvy Seamstress is all over cutting out tips  & these tips are going to be applied to my future cutting process.

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May I say clear and doable instructions.

I've never really thought about cutting out any other way. The carpeted floor is my spot for cutting out my patterns. I use the TV Controls and cup coasters to hold the paper pattern pieces on the fabric. I actually have a large cutting out table ... that I use for everything except cutting out my patterns. A new day is dawning! The Times They Are A-Changin'


The Savvy Seamstress is full of crystal clear information covering the basics I would not normally have thought to read. I'm impatient and want to jump in and work it out as I sew a garment. There's a first time for everything.

I have the gadgets. I have the Sewing books. I knew I needed them that's why I bought them. Time to sew usually means sewing time. The Savvy Seamstress pulls the loose ends together. I feel like I have been waiting for this book ... waiting a very long time.

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Thanks Nicole for clear and great visual explanations of the short cuts too that will enhance my future sewing experiences.

Of course there are many other subjects covered in The Savvy Seamstress. See below for the links to the other reviews and check them out.

If you would like to win a copy of The Savvy Seamstress:

1. Let me know in a comment below 

And pop over to my Instagram to

2. Tag a friend & follow me on Instagram

I will draw the winner this week, notify you by email & Instagram and a copy of The Savvy Seamstress will be sent to you!

I highly recommend this book. 

All the other reviews:

23 April: C&T Publishing ctpub.com

http://ctpub.com/

24 April: Jennie Barnes @mrsbeckinsale

http://cravingsfrocks.blogspot.com/

25 April: Annie Mollison @sewthispattern

http://sewthispattern.com/

26 April: Leslie Keating 

https://www.instagram.com/fibresmith/ 

27 April: Meg McCarthy @cookinandcraftin 

http://cookinandcraftin.blogspot.com/

28 April: Nichola Prested

https://www.instagram.com/handmakersfactory/

29 April: Deepika Prakash @patternreview

http://patternreview.com/

30 April: Caz Adams @usefulbox

http://usefulbox.com.au/

1 May: AnneWhalley 

https://www.instagram.com/annewhalley/

http://www.annewhalley.com/ 

2 May: Lara Finlayson @thornberrylara, 

https://thornberry.wordpress.com/

3 May: Nicole Mallalieu 

http://nicolemdesign.blogspot.com/


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Sewing seams that create armour, provide protection and help us thrive in life

Sewing your garments is more than buying fabric and pattern construction, couture, tailoring ...
Its more like entering a maze ...The attraction of perfection can lead us down frustrating blind alleys.  Tailored fitting and replication of designer wear has it's place but it's not for everyone nor for every occasion. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will love every garment you make ...no matter how long you spend perfecting fit or how much money you invest in a piece of fabric. The disappointment is real and no one is immune to this depressing result. If it's not you, it's not you! A Successful "memade" garment is when you see a certain expression on your face in your reflection ... a glint in your eye & a sassy smile. This is the you you've been looking for! I believe knowing your style ingredients is such a powerful tool and following your own truth results in more outfits that capture your true essence and dare I say it ... "complete you."

 

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Theraputic adult coloring books so popular now & are hard to miss in book stores. I've was given one! Grown up colouring books! How many of us have received these as "creative gifts?" Getting involved in creative activities is good for us ... really good.

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Colouring inside the lines shows colouring ability and visually rewarding too. It's a start. But what do you do with them after? Frame them? Hang them? Take them shopping to show friends? Rubbish bin? Trash can? Long term storage? Gift it? Nominate in your last will and testament? A Fabric Store Voucher is always welcome!

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Shopping for fabric and purchasing "only" the fabric you can't live without, is just the start of the creative journey, not the end. Piling up fabulous fabric in storage containers really won't take you to the next level of your creativity. Your fabric will wait for you though. Hopefully the love you had for your fabric purchase will end up in an outfit you will love to wear.

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Wardrobe needs. I feel different every day. Some days I am whimsical other days I'm Wonder Woman - wondering how much I can squeeze into my day! When I'm whimsical I wear my creative, comfortable clothes so I can meander through the day. Meandering through fabric stores, listening to my clients, imagining new pattern/ fabric combinations. I call these memades "all ears!"  My Wonder Woman days mean shoes that can hack the pace and clothes that have bounce and energy. It's amazing how what I put on each day actually assists the delivery of my daily "to dos."

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Breaking free from "rules" and resisting the need to tick other people's "want boxes," actually frees up the precious time we need to be creative and actually sew up the fabric we love. Connecting the pieces of your style personality, your body shape, your best colours and your Wardrobe needs, have to be taken into account. Looking at who you really are, planning and finally putting your plans into action, delivers a much loved Wardrobe ... a lot more satisfying than a completed colouring book. So put the colouring book away and head into your fabric collection and get creative there. Look, touch, feel ... imagine .. and look at your patterns ... This is where you should be.

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Find the time you need for you. Consider the fabric and patterns you have already. Why not set aside time to revisit your creative side. Say no to others so you can start saying yes to yourself. If you need help I'm here. I love to help Sewists decifer their Style Ingredients, choose patterns & fabric that flatter them and wear the colours that will enhance their complexion. The cutting and sewing happens next and then the icing on the cake ... wearing their memade outfits with a spring in their step! Email info@annewhalley.com to tell me what you need and we can work together to give you a wardrobe you will love wearing.

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The whole purpose of being creative for a Sewist is to make clothes we want to wear. Let's not get lost in the creative Maze and forget what we really want ... our purchased fabric to become clothes we love to wear .... every day!


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If your Fabric is outta sight ... It's outta your mind too

I am a long time Sewist with a rather large fabric collection & there is always a tension between how I can see my fabric and keep it organized! I really want to sew up the fabric I have purchased ... I don't want anyone else to sew it up.

Stored fabric needs to be seen.

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Looking and imagining what your fabric will be is a step closer to getting that fabric on your back.

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There is a system using 5 x 3 inch index cards .. and  I think it could be something that could work for fabric and pattern listing. If each Fabric were on separate 5 x 3 inch cards with: 

• fabric swatch stapled

• fabric blend / composition

• fabric weave (ponte, 2 way stretch)

• yardage/meterage

• pattern number/s you are considering

• what it will go with in your wardrobe

• when you want to wear it (season)

• where you will wear it work/coffee shop/ gym/special occasion/ home/school ...

• How much the fabric cost

• The date of purchase

• What you need to purchase: zips, Cotton's, buttons etc

• The name of the fabric shop

• Date of completion  

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This card is now DONE and can be photographed and kept together with the other completed cards. The card can be stored in the pattern envelope and if you use this pattern again the information card can then have your new information added and returned to the active cards or start a new card 

• A mark out of 10 re how you feel & look in the garment

• What changes you made to the pattern

• What you wear with it: accessories, other garments  

• Would you make it again

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The beauty of this system is that the card only has information for the one fabric. The cards can be shuffled, which allows for the order of priority of what needs to be sewn first. If you decide that you no longer want to sew a project urgently you can easily change the order. Keeping some cards in your handbag means you have the list of on you and a fabric swatch to help you purchase all that you need.

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Try it & see if it is something that will help you take your sewing hopes from dreams  to completion. 

As you proceed, assess if the sewing project is worth your time. Are there any elements that still attract you? Is the relationship you had with the fabric and pattern still exciting?? If not maybe you should let it go and get on to a sewing project that will excite you and this is important. ... then the garment WILL make a difference in your wardrobe (life)!

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Working out what you want to make first is another dilemma.

Ordinary clothes are necessary base pieces for your wardrobe. They make your hero pieces shine.

This is the start. The foundation ...

An un-iced cake so to speak

The icing is sweet and decorations are where your personality comes out.

So at the very least sewing some base pieces will be a strong start and then the hero piece will complete your outfit.

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What system works for you? 

I think getting a system that helps us sew, is worthy of a try!  It certainly works for me. I have the cards in my purse with the swatches attached to help me get the right coloured notions as well as the size of the zip, number of buttons, hooks and eyes, elastic etc..

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The tension of a Slow Sew!

Plugging away at an intricate and detailed pattern is a fulfilling and rewarding Creative experience. I know! I spent 12 months plugging away at a lined suede jacket Vintage Vogue designer pattern 2922. It was 10 years ago, but seriously it seems like it happened yesterday! What is it about "bad sewing experiences" that you never seem to forget? I loved this jacket! Every feature appealed to me: the big lapels, the brown soft suede texture, cropped length, drama .. this jacket was sublime.

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After 12 long months it was finally finished ... No other garments were made during this marathon. All my hopes were pinned on this fabulous jacket. I had many mix & match garments in my wardrobe awaiting this grand addition. The day finally came. It fitted perfectly and I was perfectly disappointed.  I just couldn't believe it! 

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Meanwhile back at the ranch! Reality at that time was me working in a 9 to 5 job, 5 days a week when hump day was a sad reality ... I was wearing the same outfits every week ... a bit like if it's Tuesday it must be spaghetti Bolognese for dinner. My life was built on routine. I was a full time working mother of primary aged children. I really needed this marathon investment in creativity to work for me. I needed a win. To feel victorious!

Looking back I really could have enjoyed the year more, if I had made some fast sews. In reality I had over invested!

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New outfits from existing fabric and patterns in my collection would have added interest and joy to getting dressed and given me a chance to talk with other Creative women. When you wear a new outfit to a humdrum job and you can say "you made it"  helps reveal kindred spirits. Dressing authentically will attract other creative souls. How good is it to share with like minded people? Conversation is so much better, deeper, richer. You discover the other Sewists in your midst and get to "talk shop" (fabric and patterns). Creatives find other Creatives when we wear what we make. We are marked. How delightful to find a member of your tribe in the hustle and bustle of an otherwise ordinary working week.

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That year of slow sewing taught me:

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  • I need to use whatever I can to help me negotiate a "not perfect" time of my life
  • Surviving is different to thriving
  • Remember I feel good when I sew great clothes
  • When I wear what I sew and it makes me smile I have done something for myself & I AM a nicer person
  • Simple survival technique .. make great clothes, wear them, enjoy myself wherever possible
  • Life is too short to sew clothes I don't / won't wear
  • Fast sews e.g. ponchos, pull on stretch skirts WILL lift my mood 
  • Use"TNT" patterns for  guaranteed succes
  • Where possible use FOE (Fold Over Elastic) it is a fabulous shortcut replacing the need for facings
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Experience of a Sewist trying to Shop... Ready To Wear!

Some time ago (about 18 years ago eek), I needed an outfit for a wedding. I had 2 weeks notice (it was meant to be a surprise wedding) and needless to say with 2 young children, 6 and 8 years old to look after, I needed to get a move on. I thought the fastest solution would be to go to a shopping centre and just get that outfit! Optimism vs Reality! Boy was I wrong! 

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What a complete waste of precious time!!  My body did not suit what was currently in the shops. I purchased and returned numerous outfits. So now with only a week to go, in desperation, I went into a Fabric store. I purchased a funnel necked sheath dress pattern. I felt inspired and found some rust coloured polyester woven crepe that matched my hair! To add a bit of Shazam I purchased a black feather boa! I felt great in the dress and after attaching the boa I realised that there were way too many feathers! To avoid eating feathers with my main meal I needed to come up with a very quick solution. To calm down the flurry of feathers, I hacked them with scissors until it had the perfect density - desperate times call for desperate measures! Made it!  Whew! With only days to spare. 

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As it was such a quick make and the style was a bit "out there," I wasn't sure if anyone else thought it looked good .... until a lovely lady, fellow wedding guest, said I looked amazing! Suddenly I felt amazing too. 

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I was desperate and resorted to the Ready to Wear Rack. The copius outfits, I purchased and then returned, were alright but didn't hit the mark. Nothing much had changed from when I was a teenager who had unfulfilled shopping hopes, way back then.  

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S.Y.O. - Sewing Your Own means you can be you. You have great choices: 

  • Fabric- type & colour
  • Style that suits your body shape
  • Length of garment
  • Fitting 
  • Comfort  
  • Price point
  • Additional creative touches
  • Unique outfit 

Prioritisation of time for sewing outfits is critical when you have a young family. 

When you look for an outfit, under pressure, you usually can't find one! 

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Fabric stores or your Fabric Collection could be the faster route. 

The ripple effect of a compliment is indeed delightful! I still remember how I felt after that compliment. Because of that experience and others I enjoy telling people when they look good. It is a verbal hug that we all need. Please write and tell me a time that you were given a compliment, that ended up changing your day.  

 

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Fabric purchases: you love it, you buy it, you sew it, you wear it... mission accomplished.

Well that's the dream! But life gets in the way, the link is broken or a step unfulfilled in the journey from Fabric purchase to the Runway of wearing your creation..

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So let's look at the challenges of missing links

Missing Link one:

You've fallen out love with it...most probably this Fabric won't be Sewn up but It will take up space. If you do sew it you probably won't love it and therefore not wear it!

Solution: Just don't buy it in the first place! 

Missing Link Two:

You love the fabric but You don't buy it at the time.

If you don't buy it when you see it two words... SOLD OUT they are the worst words ever. You will be on the hunt for this fabric in other stores or something similar...it will drive you crazy.

Solution: Buy it if you love it.

Missing Link three

Buying too little Fabric at the time of purchase

You will kick yourself later. Your choices are limited by the amount of Fabric you buy... So buy enough!

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Missing Link Four

You don't ever sew it up.

Why aren't you and that Fabric embracing each other on any dates?

First love is a romance! If you found the love of your life... would you put him/her in a cupboard with moths and silver fish? That's no way to treat a true love!

 Missing Link Five

Problem you sew it and it doesn't work out..

 Solution: Sewing is a learning experience. Tears of disappointment happen but remember  you tried and sometimes it just doesn't work out. The marriage of Fabric and pattern is far more complex than finding a partner in life: body proportions, personality, season, occasion, lifestyle, wants & needs etc...

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Missing Link six 

You wear it but it's not perfectly made, so you feel inferior and disappointed in yourself. You show others the flaws.

Solutions: Don't be showing anyone anything that you feel bad about! Wear it and celebrate the bits you got right. It's like a pimple on your back... You are still beautiful but don't alert others that you have a pimple on your back ..too much information

Missing Link Seven 

You did everything right but it's not working for you.

Solution: Maybe you need to personalise the garment to make it more you. Topstitching, necklaces, earrings, a different neckline, higher hem ...take a photo and look at it... Make adjustments

Missing Link Eight 

It turned out differently to what you expected. 

Explanation: Our bodies give a different visual result. If we are different to the Jerry Hall type fit model,  you WILL  look different. Models have long legs and different proportions to most Sewists.. you could get stretched on a rack but I don't advise that. See where you can add vertical lines to give you the illusion of more height and know more of us are in this boat than that other boat that holds the models. 

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Reality Check

Making garments is like a box of chocolates, different factors to get an outfit together that is you... Feels like you... You feel comfortable in it... You don't have to fiddle with it.. in fact it feels like the Emperor's new clothes ...it doesn't feel like you have anything on at all! 

When you feel so comfortable you have to look to see what you have on and you feel happy in your own skin, so to speak, you have hit on an outfit that is effortless for you. Take a snap and keep it handy so you can recreate the combination at another time or do different versions of it

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At the end of the day

Buying fabric is for making clothes that you will love wearing. Storing fabric does not give you value for money... Just guilt and a storage issue.

Delve deeper into your Fabric...

See what grabs your interest...

Make one garment...

Build on this foundation...

Make other garments that go with this piece..

This is the beginning of your capsule wardrobe ( first building block)

Love fulfilled.. a wardrobe that supports you and you love to wear. 

Imagine the romance between you and your Wardrobe when you open your wardrobe ... All garments love you and you love them

Happy Sewing 

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A Wardrobe full of Fabric and nothing to wear!

I love the beginning of every new season. Whether it's  Spring or Fall  means it's time to re-think your Wardrobe. Something new to wear, peak your interest & help you want to face each new day!

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If you have a large collection of Fabric and Patterns then the horse has bolted .. so you may as well giddy up and sew it up! Enjoy it while you can before the moths and silverfish get to it first!

I speak to a lot of Sewists who have stashes large and small but stashes nonetheless. One admitted she had been wearing the same Winter's coat for the last five years. I suggested, surely it's time to break out and make another...or a cape..poncho..unlined jacket... anything to change it up a and maybe use the Fabric she had. Yes there was a happy ending. A new funky jacket was made. Wardrobe up one! Stash down one! Double win.

It's fun finding Fabric & Patterns on sale and adding them to the Collection. Sometimes buying is easier than sewing but this turns into a bad habit ... buying, storing and not sewing as fast as we purchase, results in too much Fabric and too many Patterns. Overloaded and overwhelmed minds can cause too many roadblocks.

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 Fabric Space: the final frontier. 

These are the voyages of a Sewists' Enterprise. 

Its five-year mission: to explore strange, Old & New Patterns and Fabrics, to seek out new ideas and new civilised outfits, to boldly go where no Sewist has gone before.

Apologies to Star Trek

 Photo credit bostonglobe.com

Photo credit bostonglobe.com

Our Mission: Getting the Fabric out of the collection and onto your body....

I admit to a Fabric Collection and here's what I do to give myself a clear pathway to my sewing machine!

Let's imagine that the Fabric is just in a wardrobe

Get like colours together .. rainbow time

Put all the black together

Prints

Now sort; silks, polyester, ponte, denim, cotton...

If there is too much for the Wardrobe scenario hit the floor and stack your Fabric... lock the doors and do not let anyone in! It's concentration time.

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Have a good look:

  • Eradicate the Fabric you wouldn't buy now
  • Get rid of the poor quality fabric that looks cheap
  • Get rid of Frumpy Fabric
  • Grab the Fabric that calls your name and makes your eyes light up

Now see what else goes with these pieces of Fabric and grab them

  • Take photos of the piles if you like so you can see what you have
  • Write yardage notes on luggage tags and staple a sample..get some string, thread through all the reinforced holes and keep your tags together for reference

Two choices now..

1. You can really get this Fabric sorted or...

2. Continue on the journey to decide on what to actually sew  ....

Get your patterns out

  • Sort into pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, casuals mix & match patterns
  • Think about what fabric you have and what garments you need in your wardrobe
  • Select the patterns that you really want to make
  • Next put the rest of the patterns away in an orderly fashion: simple white plastic bags with skirt / dress/ pants labelled with a black Sharpie
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Two choices now..

1. While you're here sort your patterns into a system

Or

2. It you want to sew some clothes keep going...

Sit with the Fabric and Patterns

  • Look at the garments
  • What is obviously the one pattern/fabric combination you see, that you want to make?
  • Put that aside with the pattern, then choose the next Fabric...and so on

Start with simple pieces

  • Make them
  • Wear them
  • Feel inspired
  • Make more
  • Enjoy your fabric
  • Make what you need
  • Remember the Fabric and Patterns you have
  • Use what you have
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Only buy more Fabric and Patterns to help complete  your outfit gaps.. unless a Fabric is really irresistible of course!

Build your confidence to restart sewing by starting with a pattern that worked for you previously. If you want some ideas read my next blog post on my recent travel wardrobe I made for a 10 day trip to China.

You have what you need already

Clear the decks and let's get this party started  

https://youtu.be/BUptBgyzbyg

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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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