Tuesday, 31 March 2015


I truly feel like a bit of a designer. And let's make it clear I've never desired to be a designer. But perhaps our very creativity and individual preferences mean we are in some small part designer. A creator of our own very unique somewhat individual pieces. Did I just make myself sound completely obnoxious/wanky (Aussies at least will understand the "wanky" reference)? I think perhaps I did. Ah well.

What was it about creating this clutch that made me feel like a designer?

Number 1: I did not reference any existing bag or pattern in creating this piece (almost a first for me).

Laid out: figuring out how to attach leather inner to scuba outer
Number 2: I dreamt it up from scratch (even though I'm sure there is a similar bag or even tutorial/pattern out there). Every dimension, the weight, colour and combination of fabric and leather, every construction step.

Pegs: Super hi-tech stabilisers/fasteners
Number 3: I had to constantly make changes to the design and construction to suit the materials I had on hand and the incredibly frustrating mildly annoying problems I encountered.

Step by step: label to pocket, pocket to clutch backing
Number 4: I felt like my fearsome and fearless 15 year old self again. That felt pretty good.

Attaching outer to fully prepared inner
This little number came about when I picked up this stunning remnant of laser cut scuba knit from Pitt Trading.

And at 45cm x 150cm I really wasn't sure what to do with it. In an IG poll Nic suggested using it for the front panel of a pencil skirt and a matching clutch. The word clutch was all the inspiration I needed. I also had a hankering to undertake my first machine-stitched leather project after a few hand-stitched ones. And tada!

I had a small piece of very lightweight navy leather I knew would look great peeping out through the laser cuts. But the blue was simply too lightweight to hold the shape. Fully line the bag with a stiffer, thicker vegetable tanned leather?

Neither of my machines would take the heat of four layers of leather, throwing their hands up and shouting "Seriously?????".

But they would stitch through a layer of mid weight leather, two of lightweight and two of scuba. Final design decided. 

I let the fabric overhang the leather flap, with the selvedge creating a fuzzy little edging
And of course we all need a little pocket to hold the ID and credit cards so that we can get at the cocktails.

Scuba, lightweight navy leather and vegetable-tanned leather to lend structure
Whilst the result makes my heart sing, its creation wasn't terribly pretty with successes interspersed frequently occasionally with dummy spits and stomping of feet when things didn't go my way. Actually that's totally like a designer. Huzzah!

Thursday, 26 March 2015



Really. Seriously. Like the best kind of secret cat's pyjamas.

Better still hubby thinks I look like a supermodel in this outfit. His words. I did ask for clarification because looking like a supermodel is not a personal goal for me...

I mean you look edgy, quirky, hot and super, super confident. You look exactly like you.

And he's got something there. Not necessarily the hot, edgy, quirky thing. But I can definitely see his point about finally being all me.

Oh my lord I have got a badonkadonk. I reckon I could almost balance a glass of champagne off that.
"I" have arrived friends. It's been a bit of a process, a process I didn't even realise was happening. But looking back I can see it culminating in the last year, or even in the last 6 months.

You see, inside me is a woman of bright colours and gregarious prints. A bit like my personality.

But until recently I hated the idea of being noticed. I'm a weird kind of extrovert. Hubby describes it as an introverted extrovert. I'm a full on motor mouth and overly enthusiastic person once I get to know you. A bit of an awkward watcher before.

Awkward watchers don't necessarily like to be noticed, at least not me. I'd rather fade in the background until I am ready to reveal myself.

I've not been a fan of drawing attention to myself. The difference now is not so much that I court attention, it's that I simply do not care if it is drawn. I dress for me, the real me, and try to stride with pride.

I am so in love with these pants I can't even tell you. Delicious, swishy, soft, buttery cotton double gauze. Super robust bonding of the two layers as the "crosses" are woven and incorporate both layers. And it's the best shade of indigo blue.

I used my culottes pattern and simply lengthened the hem by 15 inches (later to remove 4 inches), continuing the outward flare of the leg resulting in SUPER WIDE LEGGED PANTS.

Again, BAM, check that fit. Actually I think I may have lost weight as they feel vaguely roomy.

Where did those wrinkles come from?
And that sunshine yellow cotton drill? Hello deep hemmed, cropped top loveliness. Perhaps the 80's weren't all bad. The top is a cropped-by-6-inches Pattern R Sleeveless blouse with ruffles from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for everyday wear. Yep, I'm thinking based on the last 6 months that I am going to be continuing to sew from Japanese patterns for a long time to come. They fit me, without alteration.

Look at that swish potential. Swishy, swish, swish, swish.

Pyjamas, the best possible kind of outerwear.

And just because...

Sunday, 1 March 2015


I don't refashion. I've not often been able to see the diamond in the rough, though I'm always in awe of those who can.

This is a pretty lame refashioning. It involves a hem... and a sash. But I argue that hem length can make or break a project, meaning you love it or hate it... or is that just me?

I actually made and blogged this dress back in April 2012.

Back when I sometimes tortured my curls into submission.

I intended it as a semi-corporate dress. Or maybe that's an overstatement. I made it to wear to my job in an office. Then I got retrenched the next month... and I felt really screwed up for quite a long time.

I always loved this dress. But the dress length was much longer than I normally wore casually and in a low heel/flats I looked like the worst kind of frump.

Oh, how I love this fabric though. It's the lightest rigid cotton sateen I've ever seen. It is so soft and drapey I thought it might be a rayon on first encounter. And better still, it perfectly fulfilled my vision for this dress - I envisioned fabric that looked like it had been paint-splashed, wantonly and brightly. A painterly dress.

I kept taking it out of my wardrobe from time to time and stroking it's loveliness. But the try-on was the killer.

So what's a girl to do? I channeled my recent crazy successful Japanese makes and went for a slightly less frumpy sack dress. One 4 inches shorter (!), sans sash and with belt carrier loops removed.

Whilst it's not quite a woohoo, as I still think there are some fitting issues, it will most definitely now get worn. The fit issues would best be dealt with by removing the centre back invisible zipper, taking in some "sack" and re-installing zipper. I just don't have the desire at present.

And in the interests of keeping it real, this is the real refashioning that occured about 2hrs after I finished the above shoot.

It would appear I'm no longer a frustrated ex-competitive mountain bike marathon racer. I got caught out on a training ride for a Short Circuit Cancer race I'm competing in two weekend's time. It went from sunny and 36 degrees celsius to a howling thunderstorm complete with hail. Hails hurts peeps, and it hurts even more when you are a considerable distance from shelter in the middle of the bush. I couldn't tell mud from skin. It was super pretty.

Are you a refashioner? Care to share a link in the comments below to your best/favourite refashion?