Your Fabric & Patterns are The Sewing Ammunition for your "Second Act" Attack on 2019"

Clothes are emotional and it can be contagious

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When you feel good in your clothes you glow and others catch your vibe

If you feel uninspired in your clothes then the ho hum will spread too

Dress for the day you expect or want to have

Best foot forward to start

Up the ante

Use your Fabric .... It is your secret weapon!

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Create a holiday style wardrobe if you want more fun in your life

Sharpen up your clothes if you want to be taken more seriously in your workplace


Think about what you put on your body

Your outfit makes you an open book

What's the title of the book you are wearing today?

Sending Mixed messages due to incorrect clothing choices won't convey the message you intend to send. You will end up working harder to convince your audience.

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Extreme example:

Imagine wearing bright, fun and colourful clothes to an interview at a funeral parlor. Not respectful or appropriate. These clothes would be more appropriate for a job that is more creative and interactive... like a kindergarten teacher, creative arts teacher, artist ...

Would the applicant who wears: a clean charcoal/navy suit with a white shirt pressed and well fitting, minimum jewelry, elegant, polished shoes, neat hair, a classy all over look ... get the funeral parlor job?


Preparing for an interview by visiting the workplace or looking at the business website, will give you clues as to what you need to wear to the interview and what your work wardrobe needs to be, if you get the job. If you look like you'll fit in, you'll have a better chance getting the job.

https://youtu.be/YsVo5necW6Q  I can't wait to see this movie!

So it is, when you choose your outfits for each day.

Clean Clothes, pressed & appropriate means you look like the right piece to fit into the jigsaw puzzle you want to be part of.


Do the best you can with what you have to help you achieve your life dreams.


Tweak your look and go for it!


Sew it's up to you ...

How far are you willing to go to achieve what you want?

Depending on your personality and Style Ingredients, you can sew to achieve what you want to change in your life.

Let's face it. We all have the Fabric and the Patterns!

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Imagine changing your life by sewing ...

It is possible.

Plan your wardrobe

Start by writing 3 headings:

  1. What are you happy with in your life?
  2. What do you want to ditch forever?
  3. What do you want to achieve in 2019?
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Dream and consider ...

Put your legs on your dream and run to the goal. Use the Fabric and Patterns as ammunition to make the changes you want in your life.

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Sew the garments that Stick to your Style Roots to show "Who You think You are!"

I remember being in awe of the Spice Girls

I loved their passion, music and vibrance.

I loved their Style.

They were brilliant & unforgettable!

They wore different clothes but Stuck to their Style Recipes .... their Signature Looks.

 Wearing memade Vogue 1348 dress that represents me to "Derby Day" .. strictly a black and white affair   

Wearing memade Vogue 1348 dress that represents me to "Derby Day" .. strictly a black and white affair

 

You knew exactly who they were just by looking at them.

 Photo from The Telegraph  Geri Halliwell "Ginger Spice"  Melanie Chisholm "Sporty Spice"  Melanie Brown "Scary Spice"  Emma Bunton "Baby Spice"  Victoria Beckham (Adams) " Posh Spice"

Photo from The Telegraph

Geri Halliwell "Ginger Spice"

Melanie Chisholm "Sporty Spice"

Melanie Brown "Scary Spice"

Emma Bunton "Baby Spice"

Victoria Beckham (Adams) " Posh Spice"

Sewists have all they need at their fingertips to create a wardrobe that Spells out their Name in Capital Letters. A collection of Fabric and Patterns that have lovingly been collected and waiting to be created into wearable garments, that are a pleasure to wear in the colours and style that call out our names.

 Vogue 8763

Vogue 8763

Which Spice Girl do you identify with?

There are different elements to each of their Style Recipes. Copying someone else's style recipe is a way to show your admiration. Being inspired by someone else's style and creating your own version is following your own recipe.

 Vogue 9305

Vogue 9305

When you wear Your Signature Outfits you have your "introduction to society." People will be able to see your personality ingredients at first glance. This may attract or repel them. Remember not everyone likes Lemon Tarts!


You have your own likes and dislikes for a reason.

You are unique.

You have the freedom to dress to represent yourself.

You have the Fabric and the Patterns.

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So ....

Make it

Wear it

Love it

Be who you think you are!

https://youtu.be/-YriinrRGug

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Selfish Sewing is Anything BUT Selfish!

This blog post will change your life!

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Big claim I know! 

"Sew" let's go through a few  senarios:

Let's look at living a life that gives you the ability to happily sew for others.

It's hard to be a happy sewist when we are always meeting everyone else's needs. If you are good at doing this, then you end up getting asked to do more.

A sad but true fact.

This means you get less time to do for you.

If you are getting paid a fair wage to sew (if there is such a thing), if you have plenty of choices in your wardrobe already and if you don't have a Fabric & Pattern Stash that is bursting at the seams, then you can happily help others!

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How do you start sewing for the glorious You that you now are? ...

  • if you are shortish
  • no longer a size 8 (I think I was last size 8 when I was a baby 😂)
  • Wearing the same 3 items every ...
  • Want to feel better about yourself

Consider

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  • Kaftan, Cape, Kimonos

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  • Cocoon shaped dresses eg Adeline dress 
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  • Asymmetrical dresses eg Drop Dress 
  • Tunics eg Vogue 1550
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  1. Test some patterns out
  2. Look at https://sewing.patternreview.com/
  3. Look at Instagram for inspiration
  4. Touch your Fabric  
  5. Look at your Patterns


Prioritise your list. Break free from the chains of "Ticking items off everyone else's list."

The more you do the more they want.

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When you have your wardrobe sorted, you can do for others with more love and joy.

Imagine a few new pieces in your wardrobe, made by you, for you. Goodness me I think we all like that feeling.

The only thing that's stopping you, is YOU!

If you were on an airplane and there was an emergency you are advised to administer oxygen to yourself first so that you can safely and happily look to help others.

For the sake of your own joyful self, health and creative well being .....

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You have the Fabric and Patterns.

Life can side-track us. Focus on "My List."

Take that oxygen first  & be a happier you.

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TNT sewing patterns are they Tried & True or are they exploding out of your wardrobe?

What do I love about TNT (Tried n True) Patterns?

• They fit me

• I know I'll be comfortable all day

• It's a safe option

• I don't need to read sewing instructions

• All the practice means it's a quick sew

• I can spend the sewing time I've saved by experimenting with the pattern

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Why is it Dangerous for me to make too many TNT Patterns?


  1. If I make one too many of the same TNT pattern, I run the risk of hating every garment I've made with this pattern. That is dangerous ground for me. There is a thin line between love & hate and I certainly don't want to step over THAT line!
  2. I find it easy to make cutting & sewing mistakes ... being relaxed while sewing is dangerous
  3. I don't get that same rush of elation when I wear a garment for the very first time ... It's like someone let me win a race 😑
  4. I'm not using the patterns on my wish list that I want to sew
  5. I actually love to test different clothing styles and enjoy the feeling of wearing something different
  6. I want to discover more TNT Patterns
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My TNT story of warning.

I used to  wear striped T-shirts.

I used to wear them a lot.

I love a black and white striped T-shirt, it's fresh, french and frisky!

My mother-in-law used to wear a lot of black and white striped T's too!

My love affair with black and white T's crashed n burned when my children told me I looked like nanna!

Oh no!!

https://youtu.be/T2T5_seDNZE

It's no secret I love my Drop Dress Pattern. It's a fast sew.  No doubt about that!

I feel great in all the versions at the moment ... BUT

I think I have reached my limit!

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I am teetering on the edge right now of wanting to make another one

but I'm not going to!

I love the drop dress and I want to stay sweet with them ... all 8 (maybe 9, or 10?)!

 It's 10 Drop Dresses! Ten is a lovely number.

It's 10 Drop Dresses! Ten is a lovely number.

Do you have a "Saturation Point" where you have to stop making your TNT?

When have you made "one too many" of your TNTs? Did you survive the experience?

 

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When Sewing is Sidetracked ... What happens when fabric is left its' own devices

The biggest sidetrack to sewing is Life!

Family, work, kids, friends, sleeping, sickness, shopping ... Yadda yadda yadda ... sometimes it's a wonder anyone gets any sewing done at all.

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Once life gets it's teeth into your sewing time it's hard to say when your foot will hit the foot control pedal again!

https://youtu.be/XBEVwaJEgaA

What really happens when you are unable to sew:

  • Fabric shopping (I know!)
  • Fabric stash growth
  • Storage problems
  • Guilt  
  • Being Overwhelmed with Fabric
  • Invasion of RTW (ready to wear) garments
  • loss of sewing Mojo
  • More Fabric shopping
  • Bigger storage issues
  • Fabric purchases that aren't quite right

We can't stop being interested in Fabric even if we aren't sewing it into garments. If Fabric is in your blood it's there to stay. 

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It's how life goes.  

When you finally get the time to sew it's hard to know what project to start with. By now there is way too much Fabric and making Pattern choices is stymied by confusion. No decision no sewing.

It's like weeds in the garden. It's green and lush but you can't see the lovely flowers anymore. The weeds take over and hide the really beautiful flowers. The weeds need to be eradicated carefully, so that the beautiful plants can be seen and admired once more (I am guilty of pulling flowers instead of weeds out so I am banned from weeding in the garden)

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So now you have the time to sew and but there is a lot of Fabric and Pattern sorting to do before you can get to the sewing machine. Sorting Fabric & Patterns doesn't fill your wardrobe with memade garments .... but sorting and making a plan will save you time and disappointment in the long run. There is no use making garments with Patterns and in Fabric that don't excite you in the first place.

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So don't leave your Fabric and patterns in a dark cupboard unattended for too long, otherwise it will multiply and become ugly!

Discover the fabric pieces that make your heart skip a beat and pair with the patterns you just love. Start slowly though, you may be a bit Rusty. Gain confidence ... the more you sew the more confident you will be. 

Keep the Fabric and those Patterns that you love, close to you, to give you the inspiration you need, to get you creating again.

Don't the Gremlins take over your stash.

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But I haven't finished my Winter Sewing yet! Spring can't really be next week ...

Next week it's Spring ..... just when I got into the Winter Sewing Groove!

Now do I keep sewing Winter or leave the pre cut Patterns until next year?

Decisions decisions.

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The Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • It's Fabulous to finish the Winter Sewing list
  • Melbourne is famous for having 4 seasons in one day!
  • I always sew faster with a deadline

Cons:

  • To be ready for Spring I should start planning and cutting and sewing Spring garments
  • I don't want to be chasing my tail all Spring like I was through Winter
  • Once the blossoms are all out my Winter sewing vibe disappears
  • It's annoying not to finish my seasonal sewing list
  • It's still really cold outside

https://youtu.be/yIverh3y7GU

I'm leaning towards sewing half the Winter pre-cut pattern pile and mixing in a few Spring projects, looking to see which projects are more Trans-seasonal.

... which means I can actually wear some of my new Spring garments in Spring ... sounds like a plan!

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Here are the last of the Winter projects I think I will complete:

 Vogue Vintage Pattern 1217

Vogue Vintage Pattern 1217

In Vintage looking Ponte

Vogue Designer Pattern OOP 1129

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This Coat .... it's not lined and more like a long cardigan really. Trans-seasonal✓


The eye ball shirt

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Vogue Designer Pattern Vintage 1430

It's orange and really should be in my wardrobe .... and not in a half finished state

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Well now I have a Plan! 

How does the New Season affect you? Do you try and finish what you have planned to make or do you save it for next year ... or a bit of both? 

If you need help Finishing one season and planning the next send me an  email 

info@annewhalley.com

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Sewing is a Roller coaster ride!

Buying your Sewing Ticket =

Patterns and Fabric + + ....

Get ready for the ride of your life!

Get in the seat = You start thinking about your designer creation made for you by you

You start moving = Feel the tension and apprehension as you cut into the Fabric for the first time ... all the while hoping you will wear it and it will be all that it promises

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Look around = take in the view ... Thinking of  where you can wear your new creation ... The accessories the functions or the every day versatility of your yet to be made garment

Look around the carriage. Some have their eyes closed, some look as if they have got it all together, others not so

Remember you are not alone. You will surely survive!

https://youtu.be/5aF7dgWvQ6Y

As the ride progresses ... You start sewing a few seams, try it on ... no doubt there will be issues ...

  • Why didn't I make a toile first
  • What was I thinking
  • Can I save it
  • Can I make it fit and look good
  • Will I be comfortable in it

So the fast down hill journey begins ...

it's dark tunnel time ... it's so steep the seatbelt doesn't feel like it will keep you in the carriage. It's dark ...

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It's scary ... why on Earth am I doing this, I could just go and buy what I need.... Errr no I can't that's why I'm sewing in the first place ...

Press those seams, keep the stitching on long stitch ... it's easier to unpick... Keep going ... you've been in this place before

Stop or continue that is the question!

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If it's past midnight go to bed. Even Cinderella had a curfew

Look at it in the morning. A good sleep may sort out the issues. Give your brain time think. Get help from YouTube /pattern review... Sometimes it's the pattern and not you

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Have another go

Try it on with the right accessories

Put on some nice shoes

Do your hair

Add make up to the equation

Take a photo of you in the outfit

Test it out by going out in it if possible incognito

How did feel

If it isn't what you expected can you refashion it into another garment?

Or

It might just be a new favourite

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Get your ticket for the next ride anyway. It's the ride of a lifetime and it's addictive too.

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Sewing Workout: How to pace yourself for Your Personal Best


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If you haven't been to the gym for a while and you want to lift weights, you don't put Arnie Schwarzenegger weight plates on the barbell to start off with. I used to lift weights and I know from experience that when I went too high with my  weight selection, I walked like Frankenstein for a good week. Also it's  wise to build up slowly for the sake of our precious backs.

https://youtu.be/W31w6TJmE7c

We all want to enjoy our sewing time and have a successful garment to wear after we finish sewing it. Building up to the more intricate Patterns and trickier Fabric is better than being over ambitious on day 1.


Technique is important. When you start sewing it is worth getting confident in a few basic techniques:

  • Sewing in a straight line
  • Invisible zip application
  • Fitting your body
  • Buttonholes
  • Overlocking
  • Fabric choosing
  • Reading pattern instructions

 

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Building on a good foundation gives you a better chance for your garments to fit you and look fabulous. These techniques are like muscles. As you develop your muscles you can then attempt heavier weights safely. When we wear our garments we want to feel confident and enjoy the fruit of our labour ... and receive compliments too!

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First time using Foldover elastic on a V neck. The Scuba Fabric made it a bit easier!

Staying on the same weights, once you have built up your muscle strength, can also be a hindrance to your gym experience... likewise with your sewing experience. Imagine going to the gym every day, doing the same exercise at the same level and not continuing to build up your strength and stamina. Life is meant to be continuous improvement so that we stay interested in life. Playing it too safe and avoiding growth causes stagnation. Stepping out and trying new things keeps us young and interesting. Courage is doing new things even while feeling fear! Making the same TNT tried and true patterns with the same type of Fabric, can lead to boredom with your wardrobe choices and in the sewing room.

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So to achieve your Personal Best:

  • Start with the basics and practice to become proficient
  • Practise your sewing techniques on your scraps of fabric scraps before the actual garment
  • Watch YouTube/sewing blogs/take classes
  • Tip toe into adventure by trying new styles and different fabric that you "Do Love"
  • Do it afraid
  • Seek help if you need it
  • Sew it up
  • Make sure you wear it

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Sewing Patterns: Hallelujah vs The Lucky Dip

Imagine dressing in "memade" clothes that make us feel good all day. I don't think that's too much to ask. I love no nonsense Garments that are effortless to wear. It's not asking for much to want garments to do what they are paid to do:

  • flatter
  • provide comfort and support our bodies in our day

..... That's what clothes are for after all.

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Certain types of Patterns attract me. I trust them to work for me. A garment that makes sense in my wardrobe. I will try other patterns after some consideration of the pattern line drawings. The quest for a fabulous pattern and fabric combination never ever ends!

Those pattern envelopes are full of promises:

  • I'll fit you
  • You'll look like the model
  • Your Fabric will be safe in this Style
  • The instructions will be easy to understand (Vogue Patterns at least prepares you for the complicated patterns by telling you on the back of the pattern envelope) 
  • You will love sewing this pattern
  • This pattern will be your new go-to
  • You need this garment 
  • It will earn its keep

A girl's got to wear what she feels good in!

https://youtu.be/LO6OaR5PK_w

Yes we all have different body types and to add to the complexity we have a mixture of other factors to consider as well.

My mixture includes:

  • short waisted/no waist
  • short arms
  • umm short 5'5" 164-5 cms
  • swayback
  • shortish neck
  • and then there's my .... stomach!

My weight fluctuates, not by a lot but enough. A fitted dress I spent months making would slowly find it's way to the back of my wardrobe. It's not that I don't like fitted garments ... it's just I don't enjoy putting on a garment that I want to wear and then find it just doesn't fit "at the moment." I'm not saying we shouldn't keep an eye on our weight, I just don't want to be obsessed by it .... and I want to feel confident and comfortable every single day.

I don't need my day to start with: 

  • feeling fat
  • being too aware of food because then I'm always wanting food
  • feeling flat
  • guilt
  • wasting time finding another outfit

What's your pattern choosing strategy?

Do you play it safe or gamble?

Or a bit of both?


Some of My Hallelujah Patterns are:

The Drop Dress otherwise known as "Man I Feel Like a Woman Dress"

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Bhttps://youtu.be/DDkCe2cUHAAurda 6988


 Hold me snug not tight base dresses:  

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Vogue 8904

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https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/110023

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 Pull on pants with a bit of a flare!

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Statutory Declaration Jackets that make the right Statements:

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     The Grab and Go Dress  

 

The Grab and Go Dress 

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Sewing every Pattern that provides all that it should does not stop a Sewist from stepping into the danger zone ... Sewing styles that demand commitment and bravery. It's an exciting expedition that has no guarantee of success. Money, Precious Time, Good Fabric are all put on the line. Sewing on the edge of your seat are path of the course. Sew it and see ... You only live once after all.

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How to pick the winning garments to sew for your wardrobe

Imagine you're the captain and you're choosing your team....

There are all the hopefuls ... all lined up ...

Pick Me! Pick Me!

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Think of how you would choose your winning team:

  • Fastest runner - get the ball to the goalpost ... Fastest make
  • Good looking.. if you need to market yourself looks are important ... Take a photo and see what others see
  • Muscle = energy... Is your fabric up to the job? ... Fabric with body means it will be able to withstand the pressure. Great Fabric looks better than good
  • Appearances matter. If the player looks like he knows what to do, he probably does. Look for Patterns that exude a classy look
  • Confidence if you want to look a certain way choose Patterns that assist this quest. Have a good look at the lines and research Google to see how this garment looks on people who are of a similar body shape to you
  • Is the player energetic & can the Fabric "Move like Jagger?" Is your Fabric able to handle your movement and action

 

https://youtu.be/ehjau7h2tC0

Pick Me! Pick Me! Is the fabric really calling your name or is it calling someone else's name?

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How to identify the Fabric that does call your name:

  • You touch it and you linger
  • If you think that could come in handy some day ... or you "Get it just in case"... Beware don't waste your money, storage or time ...Just don't get it! This Fabric isn't for you
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Ok so if you discover some of these Fabrics in your stash then don't feel bad. All is not lost. You can recognize the feeling and the Fabric you don't want. Hopefully you won't repeat this type of fabric purchase again. Learning does cost time and money but what you have learnt is invaluable.

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Move the Fabric on and feel the lightness instead of heaviness of heart.

Moving it on is a good activity to do, as it frees up your creativity and may even get you back in the saddle ... sewing some great wardrobe pieces you will love to actually wear.

Your team could make it to the Grand final!

 themusic.com.au photo

themusic.com.au photo

When you take your best team out onto the field.... the crowd Will cheer. 

Need a Coach?

Click on "Mentor" link below to find out how I can help you

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How using "The life - changing magic of tidying up" to organize my sewing room, landed me in hospital!

When your husband understands that you need to see your Fabric and Pattern Collection to be inspired to sew, you know he gets it.

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I have been collecting Fabric and Patterns for quite some time, so I'm sure you can understand I needed a miracle so that I didn't end up dying with the most Fabric. I really don't see how "She who dies with the most Fabric Wins" can be true. I would be looking down from heaven and cringing at my Hope chest (maybe truck load would be more accurate) of fabric being cut up in primary school art classes for collages.... and then eventually thrown out after being on the fridge for a week. That's a reality check for you.

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What to do!? Well for starters my clever husband put in some shelves for my Fabric. These shelves were attached to the ceiling via ropes and clear plastic tubes. His main concern was for the Fabric to be off the floor and to be free from sharp edges.

A messy transition period that really needed to happen. I started to really look at my Fabric... all of it!!! You know what I'm talking about! I realized there were quite a few pieces that I really didn't love anymore. I was able to recognize this difference because of my first reactions. The fabric I was still "head over heels in love with" I immediately held and still swooned with joy. My conclusion was I would rather sew up the Fabric I was still in love with and send the "good but not great" on to another home.

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At this time I saw a copy of https://www.amazon.com.au/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing-ebook/dp/B00KK0PICK and decided it was a good time read this book and see if I could speed up my tidying up. N.B. I would rather be sewing than rearranging Fabric and Patterns!

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Be warned this book is dangerous. Marie Kondo knows her subject and relays in a way that is definitely life changing. Marathon tidying is dangerous ... really dangerous for your back! On page 205 Marie Kondo writes about when her shoulders and neck froze. How timely to read this. Shortly after I bent over to do up my shoelaces and stayed longer than normal! All was not well. Zealous tidying up resulted in an over use of the lower back. I'll spare you the details as it's painful to look back. Anyhoo I'm back in action and tidying smart not fast.

Hopefully looking forward to finally finishing my tidying and on to sewing some really fabulous fabrics into patterns that won't wait... but they have to!

Life is far too short to be making my "may as well sew this" instead of "get out of my way I need this in my wardrobe now" projects.

Thanks to Marie Kondo

https://youtu.be/NkwJ-g0iJ6w

 

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way..

Slowly be tidied away....

 

Final warning "Read the book but take breaks between tidying sessions even if you don't think it's necessary!"

 

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Hey Fashion ... Don't tell me what to wear. Your memade wardrobe gives you control

I love New Seasons (we have just started Winter in Melbourne) and New Fashions (old styles made new more times than not)!

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I live for looking and choosing the bits I love and making it mine. I don't like to be dictated to and I really don't like wearing the "in thing" and feeling like a misfit. A slave to fashion nah can't do that. 

 

 

Using my pattern block or one of my tried and true TNT patterns is the base I start with. Adding a sleeve variation is simple. I use the new sleeve pattern piece I love and put it over my existing sleeve block. A bit of shuffling to line up the two Pattern pieces and then cut out the new sleeve pieces. If I want to be really efficient I cut out the new sleeve in Pattern paper and write the details and date. I would like to say this happens every time but in reality it doesn't. Morphing new shapes over my Pattern blocks isn't always successful but it's fun to try.

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 Collars are another piece I like to play with. I have a very large collection of Patterns. That's what happens when you start collecting when you are 12! Not all patterns are worth keeping though. I have culled over the years and cherish my 1980's & 1990's Patterns the most. How wonderful to find your heart still skips a beat when you look through them. I can still see the Fabric and the places I worn these memade patterns to. Who needs photographs when you have the blueprint to your life experiences. Um actually I wish I had photos of every outfit though. 

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I have been looking at the cold shoulder trend this last year. I'm not fully convinced this style will work for me. I have found a compromise that I will make soon for the warmer weather. I need straps for security reasons. I saw the most horrifying sight of a strapless dress when I was a teenager. A young blonde girl was traveling on the same bus as me, wearing a strapless dress with an shirred bodice. Seemed like a fabulous idea until she stood up but he dress stayed sitting down. Land Sakes!!! Horrifying. Her face was scarlet but her upper torso wasn't. I've never forgotten the perils of this fashion piece. Another fear would be someone pulling down the dress for a joke. 

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I'm sure you all have your own stories to tell too. Do tell me your funny story!

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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. 


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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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