Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Liebster Award!

I have just been nominated for a Liebster award by Deby of Mid Century Love.

It's a token of recognition that bloggers award to fellow bloggers who they think deserve more recognition. The terminology "Liebster" roughly translates to "Dearest" from German, and the guidelines of this award are as follows:
  1. You must answer the 11 questions set by the blogger who nominated you.
  2. You yourself then pick 11 blogs who in turn have under 200 followers.
  3. You must then think of 11 questions for the blogs you have picked and also tell them.
  4. You must link back to the blog that nominated you.
  5. Write 11 facts about yourself

1. What have you learned from blogging?
I haven't been blogging for particularly long, but one practical thing I have noticed is it takes ages for my photos to upload! It isn't easy to write up something quickly when you know that's going to slow you down. On a more serious note I really enjoy the wider blogger community and how useful they have been to me in terms of information and ideas, and I really want to give back to that.
2. How much time do you spend working on your blog?
Not often, but I hope to get into a more regular posting schedule. 

3. What is your guilty pleasure?
Big Bang Theory, and reading the bad articles in the lifestyle section of online newspapers
4. Are you punctual or tardy?

5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
The UK. I have been an Anglophile for as long as I can remember, and it now seems I will finally get to go there at the end of the year! I can visit all the places I've read about and longed over for so long
6. What's your favourite book?
Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights

7. If you could throw a dinner party and invite anyone in the world, living or not, who would you invite and why?
Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine; I find their story fascinating and would love to see them in the flesh
Richard III; to finally lay to rest whether or not he was a villain
Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde; for their wit

8. Do you have a particular style icon or guru?
Not really. I am more inspired by the general idea of 1940s-1950s fashion
9. What do you draw inspiration from, magazines, films, blogs or something else?
ost of my sewing inspiration comes from blogs; but I have just started watching Miss Fisher's Murder 
10. If you had to live in any other time period besides now, which one would you pick?
Oh my. I am a medieval historian so one answer has to be the entire medieval period. However my interest there lies in the areas of political and intellectual history, whilst my social history interests span from the Regency-1950s. I truly think I would fit in very easily to the 1950's, but then again, if I get to time travel I should pick something exotic. Florence in the fifteenth century would be amazing. Oh this question has way too many possibilities for a historian.....

11. What is your proudest moment thus far? 
Getting into university. I worked incredibly hard during my last two years of high school, and did extremely well which then allowed me to gain entry to the University of Sydney to study medieval history.I am about to start my third year and am loving every minute of it.

11 Facts About Me
1. I cannot remember not being able to sew; I was taught by my grandma
2. I physically cannot wear ballet flats
3. I was on my learners license for over three years
4. I am writing a novel
5. My room contains four bookshelves which are predominately full
6. I wore a back brace for scoliosis for a year
7. My nicknames include "grandma" "old lady" and "crazy sewing lady" Even though I am twenty I am an old soul
8. My aim is to move to Scotland
9. I hate the heat 
10. I love my train commute, eve if it is over an hour one way
11. I have lived in the same house my entire life

Nominated Blogs

My 11 Questions

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is your favourite piece of music?
3. Do you thrift shop? If so, what's the purchase you are most proud of?
4. Tea or coffee?
5. What colour are the walls in your bedroom?
6. What is the best piece of advice your parents ever gave you?
7. What would your dream house be?
8. What creative pursuits do you follow?
9. Are you a morning person?
10. What is your ideal fashion item?
11. Do you collect anything?

Thanks Deby for nominating me, this was a lot of fun,

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sewing a Me Made Wardrobe

Looking around the sewing blogs at the moment, it seems a major theme is organizing ones sewing to ensure a coordinated and workable wardrobe. I think it's really exciting that this is something I can be thinking about as I start off sewing, and have the conception of a me made wardrobe before me so I don't veer off and make too many unwearable pieces.

The first thing I need to be thinking of is where I currently am in life. I turned 20 last month, which felt for me like a very big milestone in my transition to adulthood. I believe this is a good time in life to articulate how I want my life to be, as it's easier to form habits now. Of course life is unpredictable, but making a conscience decision now to live simply in a vintage style is something that will set me up in good steed for years to come. I am also about to embark on third year uni, so I can wear floral vintage dresses to uni everyday if I so wish. It helps when uni's right next door to the most hipster suburb of Sydney.

What is it I mean by living simply and in a vintage style? Not hoarding is a big factor.  I have never moved house in my life, and considering the thought of moving out of home one day makes me want to throw out everything superfluous. I have been doing a lot of major room clean outs over the last months. This also translates into being frugal with what I buy.

But the biggest area I am working on in my life at the moment is my own personal style.  Before i get to the idea of a wardrobe in this post, I'll touch on the few other areas I want to work on. Firstly is my hair. I love my hair, it's a beautiful color, and extremely thick, I've just never been able to style it well. My aim in the next months is to recruit my friends to teach me how to do things to my hair. I also want to take more are in my shoes. I've always just had a black and brown pair for each season and worn them till they wore out, but I want a little more variety. I also want more variety with my handbags. Lastly, I want to pay more attention to makeup, but this is definitely not something I will wear all the time.

Now, onto the wardrobe! Tasha from By Gum, By Golly had a fantastic piece the other week on what she called the  'Land of Wardrobe Enchantment'. I found this a very interesting concept, and it made me think a lot about how I want my wardrobe to be this year. With this in mind I embarked on a wardrobe clean out, and got rid of a very large pile of clothing, an that was just from the summer clothes, the winter ones are still neatly packed away. As I was sorting through clothes I thought very hard about the idea of my personal style, and predominately only kept pieces that fit with that theme.

So, what is my personal style. It is certainly vintage, specifically 1940s and 1950s. And it's very feminine. I love dresses, skirts and blouses, especially in florals. I don't like pants (though I did keep a few pairs) nor do I like things that are excessively bold or seem too modern. I even got rid of a skirt that i still wore, but that I had also worn to my Yr 6 farewell when I was 11. Some things just needed to go.

With my wardrobe now depleted to a good and workable size, I feel I am able to dress more in a vintage style, and am more able to see the gaps that exist. I am very glad I did this before completing more sewing, as it ensures what I make will fit the wardrobe. I need some more long straight skirts. And more blouses, and a few dresses won't go astray. Some of what I've kept will be going out one it can be replaced by a me made piece.

So, my next sewing plan is to go through the suitcases of dressmaking fabric, and decide what I'm going to make to fill in the gaps. I am not going to start with rigid rules about each blouse must go with three skirts, and all those things. Whilst they are good guidelines, I do feel that as I am starting out on this sewing journey I can give myself a good bit of leeway.

How are you going to ensure your wardrobe works better for you this year? What are your sewing plans? How have you successfully incorporated a vintage look into your everyday wear?

Saturday, 11 January 2014


One thing that I am trying to do is to  branch out in the bag department. For the last two years I've only stuck to my black handbag, which whilst extremely useful is on it's way out. I decided I should make myself some bags, and then I could have a wider variety to coordinate with what I am wearing.

First up is "Kate's Bag", a kit from Post Office Patchwork. My grandma bought it for me several years ago, and I only made it up in December. I love the beautiful pastel tones, and have gotten a heap of use from it already.

I also have a large stash of fabric that's old sheeting samples; perfect for totes. I made this one for myself, and one in a cream floral as a Christmas present for my best friend. They are so quick to make, and I finished them off with French seams, and sew across the bottom corners to create a flat bottom. I can see myself making many more of these in the future.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Two Tone Collar Dress

It's been a long absence! Feels lovely to be back. After my last post, I was without a laptop for three weeks, and then Christmas kicked in, and life became too busy to try and get into a regular blogging pattern. However, I have been getting a lot of sewing done, and over the next days I will have a lot of blog posts detailing all of my progress.

First up though, is my first completed dress! I was getting tired of having these unfinished dresses, so I decided to plunge in and sew the invisible zip by hand. It was easier than it sounded, and I made a very neat and lovely sample which i was extremely proud of. I decided to finish off the purple two tone dress, as it was the one I was least concerned with if the zip did not work out. It took a good few hours to sew in the zip, and I am mostly happy with it. I think it was quite hard as it was black thread on black fabric, and the thread kept on tangling. The waistline didn't line up either, but I decided it wasn't worth trying to fix it, as it was't going to be glaringly obvious, and it would take a lot to fix it. It's more of an everyday wear dress anyway. As you can see the zip pulls a bit at the waist. I'll need to keep an eye on that on the next dresses, as well as work off a lot of Christmas treats!

The collar was a lot of fun to make! I modified the pattern slightly, and lined the collar, as I thought it would look a lot neater than trying to hem the curved edges. I'm so glad I did it like this.

I finished the hem on New Years Eve, to wear the dress that night! I went out with my boyfriend to Sydney, and we had a great time watching the fireworks. Highlight of the night was just before the 9pm fireworks we were walking along the foreshore at Glebe, and passing a family with two little girls draped in tinsel. The youngest, probably about three, turned to me with wide eyes, exclaiming 'I like your dress!'

It's a great dress, so comfortable, and I've worn it once sine then as well.  Only thing I need to do is put in a hook and eye so the collar sits properly at the back. I'm so glad I made the collar. I didn't like it much on the pattern, nor on the few renditions I've been able to find on the internet, and only went with it, because the purple fabric was a remnant and didn't have enough for the bodice. It's a feature that looks best in a contrasting fabric, otherwise it just blends in too much.

So, I now have a completed garment made from scratch. Here's to many more of these before the return of university in March.