Friday, July 24, 2015

My Bad Eye Linden

My Sicilian mother's family are all big believers in malocchio - the evil eye.  Growing up, I'd sometimes see Mum/aunt/cousin/random relative suddenly struck down with a bad-eye symptom that generally manifested as a really, really bad headache. What then followed was a distress call to my aunt who would call her Greek neighbour who would then perform an incantation with oil and water who would then call back my aunt and advise whether headache-afflicted member of family was indeed struck down with evil eye. I'm not familiar with all the mysteries surrounding the magic of this ritual, but I do believe that if the oil dissolves in the water it means you've definitely been bad eye-ed. The good news? Once the ritual was complete, the curse was miraculously lifted and headache would soon disappear. So they said. And "Pfffffffft", I said.
Now I'm not one to tempt fate by walking under a ladder but I certainly don't count myself as being particularly superstitous. When it comes to headaches, there are only two guaranteed things that'll give me one - a hangover and (sad face) Haigh's chocolate. No surprises with the former. The latter? Strange but true. But I had never, ever believed in the bad eye until about five years ago. I'd had a repulsive headache for about three days and, though still functional (albeit in super slo-mo), felt both shitty and nauseous. I think I'd taken more panadol in those three days than I'd taken in my whole life and I hadn't eaten/drunk either of my headache culprits. So for the first time in my life and out of sheer desperation, while standing in a supermarket carpark, I called Mum to ask her to call my aunt to ask her to call her neighbour to ask her if I had the bad eye. Maybe five minutes later I was sitting in my stationary car, eyes closed, debating whether to start the drive home or wait until Mum called me back when - NO WORD OF A LIE - I experienced what felt exactly like a bubble pop behind my forehead followed by a tingling sensation across the same area. Think pins and needles but across your frontal lobe. And then my phone rang and it was Mum and she said "Kathy said you had it really bad". And I TOTALLY AND TRULY SWEAR to both you AND the God of Bad Eyes, my headache - in that moment - completely disappeared. So, as an homage to that day (and also as really just a splendid union of awesome pattern and awesome fabric), let me introduce you to my Bad Eye Linden Sweathshirt.
This Linden is my third and favourite. I Instagrammed the following two last month. The grey version (size 8) was meant to be for the fella but the neckline was too wide for his liking so I serendipitously scored. It's fantastically relaxed in the way I think the pattern is intended, and I really love it.
The Liberty fleece version below was made from a teeny remnant that was, from memory, a little over a metre in length. I don't even know how I managed to eke out all the pattern pieces from the limited meterage I had, but eke out I did by cutting the sleeves and some of the bands off grain. Shortening the sleeves helped too. This one's a size 2. To compensate for this jersey's limited stretch, I lengthened the bands according to Anna's perfect suggestions.
My Bad Eye Linden is also made in size 2 and for this one I went with full sleeve length. Due to the feature fabric being a woven jacquard (and also pretty thick) I decided to use it on the front only. For this I used just half a metre. The sleeves, back and bands are all made from a beautiful thick Italian double knit merino called Ebony Jersey.
The Black Eye is unfortunately now sold out and it also came in a cream which, since Instagramming yesterday, has also sold out. But - good news! - Red Eye is still available in Surry Hills and Melbourne. And while we're on this amazing fabric, feast your eyes on THIS gorgeous jacket made by staff member Jack...
To bad eye believers, wearing an eye pendant or eye motif protects you against being hit by that evil stuff. So don't even think about bad-eyeing me if you see me wearing this jumper because I've got twenty-three times the eye protection now making this one very powerful and awesome Linden!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Online Sale - FINAL DAYS!

Alas, all good things must come to an end and our online sale is no exception. From now and only until 11:59pm AEST this Sunday 12th July, enter the SALETIME code to receive 20% off online orders over $100. Free worldwide shipping applies to all online purchases over $150.
*online sale excludes Sew Inn classes, Tessuti patterns, selected laces, gift vouchers, haberdashery, linings and notions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pattern Review - Butterick 6178 (D) Culottes

Let me start out by saying that there are many, MANY things I love about sewing. But one of the things I love most is the pure pleasure that comes with simply trying something out. For the fun of it. I'm a Capricorn and - let me assure you - that kind of recklessness is very UNgoat-like. It sounds weird but I would much rather sew an on-trend item than buy one. This could stem from the fact that I am FAR more open to sewing mistakes than I am to shopping ones. In my experience, they are generally cheaper. And as I observed last year on Instagram during #BPSewvember, it's not like there's a shortage of great patterns and amazing fabric out there (#alsoinmystash) if something doesn't work out.  Funnily enough, in the lead up to making this pair of culottes (which I will get to eventually) I saw a few pairs in a few shops and thought about trying them on to see if they 'worked' but I never actually got around to it. 
It's not hard to get ants in your sewing pants about making a type/style of garment when there's SO much bloody great online inspiration out there. There's Pinterest, yes, and then there's all the amazing sartorial revelations that come from blog reading. When it came to culottes, I'm pointing my hopefully-not-too-creepy virtual finger at you Erica, Kirsty, Debbie and Sophie.

Which brings me to the review part of this blog post and where I begin with "Well hello Butterick 6178 View D! It's VERY NICE to meet you."
When I came across this pattern, I may have actually hissed an audible 'YESSSS' and don't even try to tell me you've never done that with a pattern before. I was specifically looking for flat-fronted, darts, back/side zip and These. Were. Those. The pockets were an unexpected bonus.
I took a punt on the sizing and cut a size 10. I've never used a Butterick pattern before so I went with my usual Vogue trick of going one size down on my measurements. Although not perfect, the fit is pretty damn good and rather than size down again with my next pair, I'll probably just take a slightly larger seam allowance. 
The fabric is a beautiful indigo-dyed Japanese cotton called Yuki Collection (now sold out). Also similar is White Torakku.
I made a change to the waistband, eliminating the suggested tab for hook and eye and inserted an invisible zip right through. Aye, it's not perfect and neither am I.
Rather than handstitching the wastband facing, I sewed it flat by stitching in the ditch on the right hand side. Quicker yes, but not so pretty. Next time I might try this lovely binding method that Debbie mentions here. My second pair is already cut and they're PINK I tell you. PINK! Like I said, totally RECKLESS. Does that make me a sewing Gemini...?

Thursday, June 25, 2015


SALE time is our FAVOURITE time! Beginning today, our massive range of stunning fabrics has been reduced. Sale items include our current winter European and local designer deliveries with huge discounts of up to 50%.

Online shoppers can also enjoy great savings with 20% OFF fabric orders over $100. Simply enter the discount code SALETIME in the coupon area at checkout. This online offer will end soon so be quick! Don't worldwide shipping applies to all online purchases over $150.

Hurry in now as stocks are strictly limited!

Sale excludes remnants, patterns, gift vouchers, haberdashery, buttons, notions and linings.

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Megan

Last month, I went and got me some good sewing on at craft camp. Amongst us, there were no less than SIX Sydney Jacket's made (five of which you can see here) and I gave my winter wardrobe a much-needed leg up. Three days of unfettered access to good company and sewing time is such a blessing. In addition to my Sydney Jacket, I made some kids leggings, FINALLY finished this skirt, sewed up another Mandy Boat Tee and got around to making this Megan Longline Cardigan.   
Made up in this (now sold out) merino jersey, it's a toasty and comfy little number. I'm wearing it here with my much-loved Ruby Top.  
With the flared design, you get really lovely fall and movement in the shape and drape. We're currently stocking a great range of wool jerseys, including these lovelies that would all be perfect for Megan....

And if you run really fast, you can even make like a superheroine in your very own Megan cape!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Tale of Two Georgies

When we released our Georgie Top Pattern in April, I sewed up this striped version during the pattern testing phase. It's become an ace little wardrobe workhorse that gets worn, a LOT, on its own or with cardigans and jackets. The fabric is 'Rembrandt Day', a fine woven viscose/nylon blend that's available in Melbourne only. Mine's more black stripe on beige (pictured below, bottom left) but it's also available in white stripe on black ('Rembrandt Night') as pictured below, top right.
After I made it, I got to thinking about how I could modify the top to create a dress, went off happily into La La Pinterest land and eventually came across this dress. Fashion-wise, there are two things that I am very much digging at the moment. One is the longer skirt/dress length. Full or straight, don't care. Just leave it below the knee and there's a good chance I'll love it.
My other current fashion crush (which really has no bearing on this blog post other than the fact that I'm wearing one) is the white shirt. I've always had, always will, a deep and abiding affection for la chemise blanche but right now, I am loving it as a layering piece and will never ever say no to a good-looking, extra layer in a winter outfit. Case in point? Here and here.

Anyhoo, back to the dress. The fabric I chose is our 100% linen Copper Lined Water (sold out online but still available in Melbourne and Chatswood). I cropped my Georgie bodice a lot higher than my inspo pic because, in the period between looking at the image and cutting out the modified pattern, I kinda forgot to refer back to the photo (mistake #1).  What I should've done was crop it at true waist rather than just under my bust line (mistake #2). I also didn't think I'd really need the waist darts (mistake #3). After I actually went back and looked at the picture, I wasn't so bothered by my fairly substantial miscalculations because I still thought the idea would work (mistake #4, although bonus points to me for being so glass half full!).
The end result, as it turned out, was a whole lot more cylindrical and shapeless than the Pinterest-assisted idea that I'd created in the magical space that occupies all the amazing things I sew IN MY HEAD. I do love a non-fitted garment but in this one, on me, I found zero redeeming features. And believe me, I tried. I present further photographic evidence here...
On the flip side (and because every sewing cloud should have a silver lining) I did learn to make a skirt with a single piece of fabric. I really didn't want to interfere with the vertical stripes so Vikki showed me how to achieve this with a single centre back seam, and with some calculation/trial /error/easing, it worked perfectly. Kind of a shame I ended up having to take the skirt off after all that work but, hey, the peaks and troughs of sewing, right?
Because I'd cropped the bodice so high, there was no other option but to put a ruffle on it. So I did. I graded the hem to sit about an inch lower at the back, and I'm happy to report that this resurrected Georgie now gets a bloody good wardrobe workout just like my first one.
The (happy sewing) End.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Doing it for the squids - Alice and Geranium

Here's some looooong overdue kids sewing. They both chose fabrics during the Christmas holidays and, well, being summer AND holidays I took my fair time in sewing them up. Fortunately, they got in some good wear before things got chilly and there's definitely enough growing room in both of these to squeeze in another summer or two.
First up, another Alice Top, made in an XXS (roughly equivalent to a kids AU size 14). R chose our Winking Owls. Her current love of owls is matched only by her current love of pineapples, but we didn't have any of the latter so the owls win(k).
Like my previous versions, I decided against interfacing the arm bands and the only other change I made was to the length, giving it a deeper hem to allow for adjustments as she grows.
The second top for E is Made by Rae's Geranium Dress. I first tried this pattern in June last year when I made a flowergirl dress for E's half sister. The pattern is fantastically straightforward but man, that pink tulle caused me ALLLLLLL THE GRIEF so I kinda connected the two in a very unfair way and just put the pattern aside until I'd moved on from that little moment of sewing trauma. 
And moved on (six months later) I did. I sewed the kid a straight size 10 and she settled on a length that's maybe a little bit more tunic than top. The Nani Iro fabric she chose is a beauty - Mountain View Tata Zuma (sold out) - and is unfortunately way blown out in these pics. You can see it better in the bottom photo.
I now totally get why this pattern is so popular - it's a very sweet and simple sew and perfectly suited across the age range of 12 months-12years sizing that it's available in. One thing to note if you're new to sewing the Geranium - it's designed to have three button closures on the bodice. Unfortunately, the pattern doesn't include a placket so if you make as per the instructions, you're creating a sizable fold under the bodice back when you overlap to accommodate the buttons. It's probably not so much of an issue with the wee sizes, but for the bigger girls you might want to bear that detail in mind. Instead of buttons, I ended up using this vintage zipper which worked perfectly.
Both fabrics are Japanese cottons and - due to my tardy sewing/blogging - sold out, but stay tuned for an exciting new delivery of Nani Iro coming VERY soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NEW :: The Sydney Jacket Pattern

Sydney Jacket made up in boiled wool Jurgen Grigio
Introducing our latest pattern - The Sydney Jacket. This oversized, draped design features a relaxed collar, side pockets and a back yoke that extends into cropped raglan sleeves. It's a great layering piece as well as being the perfect snuggly cover-up for those chilly autumn/winter months.
Sydney Jacket worn with Merchant and Mills Top No. 64 (blogged here)
Sydney is a toasty all-rounder and looks equally great over jeans, dresses and skirts. All the edges are unfinished (no hemming! no binding!) which makes this a fantastically quick and simple sew.  
Bonded khaki cotton/navy nylon neoprene Navy Army Games
Sydney Jacket in Primaluna Mulberry (washed in a hot wash before cutting) and worn with
Remus Nero Esther Shorts
With this pattern, it's REALLY important to remember that you must use a fabric that does not fray when cut.  I love the Primaluna (pictured above and below) but after picking and pulling at the cut edge, I realised it does in fact fray. To overcome this, I threw it in the machine (wash separately) and put it on a hot cycle. This further felted and softened it, fixing the fray and making it perfect for the Sydney Jacket pattern. Also, don't forget to allow for 10% shrinkage if you decide to use this method.

 Sydney Jacket in Black Ponti
Sydney Jacket made up in lightweight boiled wool knit Thesis Of Moss 
(available in Tessuti Melbourne and Surry Hills only)
Gabby and I on Mother's Day, both wearing our Sydney Jackets
The Sydney Jacket Pattern is now available in both hardcopy and PDF print-at-home/actual size copy shop versions with sizes Petite, XS,S,M,L and XL all included. Ideal made up in boiled wool knits, ponti knits, boiled felted wools and neoprene fabrics. Other recommended fabrics from our current collection are:
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