sewing creative

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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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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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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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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