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Honey, I shrank the sewists!

2 Dec

If you follow many sewing blogs, prepare to see miniature versions of bloggers (check out mini-Joanne, mini-Ali, and mini-Marie) popping up all over the place as the Colette Sewing Handbook is shipped worldwide.

One of the many fantastic activities included in the book is creating a personalised croquis for sketching inspiration. I’ve written about my love of ursa major’s curvy croquis before but I couldn’t resist playing with one of my own.

The basic premise is to trace a photo of yourself in tight-fitting clothes. To make it easier I printed the photo and scribbled on the back in pencil before placing another sheet underneath and drawing over the top of the photo. The result is a true to scale version of yourself in all it’s glory.

For me this was a  positive activity but I know body image is a really personal and potentially emotionally-charged area. If I’m being honest, (and I really try to be on this blog) my own feelings about my body change on a daily basis. I was raised in a feminist, body-loving hippy house-hold but I also know what the outside world says about other bodies like mine so whilst I try most of the time to be kind to myself, sometimes those nasty voices get in.

Now what does this have to do with making a croquis, you ask? Well it’s a little like stepping on the bathroom scale. If you’re the type of person who sees the number and it sends you into a self-hating hurricane, skip this activity and download one of the many cool croquis available for free online. I chose to give myself a little pep-talk, install definatalie’s ‘No Diet Talk’ blog badge, then dove right in.

And you know what? I actually really love my mini-me. I expected to feel those nasty twinges about my hips but instead I got a series of a-ha moments like, Holy Cow that’s why pants are nearly impossible to find or make.

I’ve found that the longer I sew the more inclined I am to look at myself with a sewist eye rather than a critical one. I don’t feel bad about my hips, I’m much more interested in what adjustments I can make to get garments that fit… it’s like crazy pattern-making sudoku and I love a challenge.

Thoughts that popped into my head:

  • No wonder I have to add like four inches to any crotch length.
  • My pelvis seems to tilt so I think that the front crotch curve will be a very different shape to the back crotch curve.
  • Having a full bust leaves very little waist height.
  • My back length is proportionally short but being 5′ 10 the actual measurement fits most patterns.

I’m not really a pear or an hourglass. I’ve decided that my body-shape will here-forth be called the snowman as it’s like two spheres stacked atop each-other.

So from a fitting perspective it really get’s you thinking about possible alterations you might need.

From a design perspective, it’s quick and easy to see which shapes and silhouettes you like on your body.

Pants are a bit of a mare as anything that sits below my natural waists slips down to that groove between my high and low hip, but I think the bootleg works ok.

One final use… De-coding deceptive vintage pattern illustrations like this one (from Amy’s lovely give-away) on my sewing table at the moment.

A Small Obsession

16 Nov

There is , oh, about a million things I should be doing right now but instead I am obsessing about…

this bag!

Mod Cloth Holding Pattern Makeup Bag (US$23.99) found via Making it Lovely.

And now I’m going to drop subtle hints about christmas presents to my family.

Sew-free Sunday + Walthamstow Market

6 Nov

Hey guys,

I’ve decided to start collecting all the random things I come across when I’m procrastinating instead of sewing in a weekly post. Some are sewing related and some are just random.

Welcome to Sew-free Sunday.

This week:

  • I have three works in progress but I wasn’t feeling inspired by any of them this week so I thought I’d just pop up toWalthamstow Market for a little inspiration.

General malaise + fantastic deals = a whopping shoppers high.

When I eventually came to on the Victoria Line train, I was swamped by 26 metres of fabric and only a hazy recollection of parting with £60. I may have needed a very strong cup of tea and a lie down when I got home.

Don’t get me wrong the deals are unbelievable, it’s just that I forgot for a moment I’m unemployed and as such should be much better behaved.

Please make me feel better and tell me I’m not the only one this happens to.

  • If you’re ever having a bad-body image day, the ladies over at xojane.com never fail to cheer me up and put things in perspective with their frankness and complete lack of boundaries. Sample writing: “Most shirts give the general appearance that my back mounds are being lovingly cradled by the fabric, like a very low and unsexy pair of back breasts.” (P.s. the lovely Mena from sew weekly sometimes pops up as a contributor, too).
  • Other things that make me happy… Babies! A second cousin came over yesterday and much time was spend baby cuddling. Biological programming or no, holding a baby makes my soul feel good.
  • On body image, this one is for anyone who thinks losing weight will be the answer to happiness (hint: that used to be me). I was looking through some old photos on Mum’s computer and I found this one from 2004.

This is at my smallest adult weight but to my eyes I look awful. I see the blankness and exhaustion around my eyes and the tension in my body and when I see photos from this period I just remember how unhappy I was. The pounds don’t take your problems with them.

Heavier, but happier two years later in Tonga, although to be fair, it’s scientifically impossible to be unhappy whilst drinking a cocktail from a coconut. Laborious research has proven it.

  • Neither can one be unhappy whilst watching jello jiggle.

Get your jelly on – LADY IN RED from Billy Law on Vimeo.

Billy Law made 30 desserts in a cone shaped jello mold in October for Breast Cancer awareness and each was put to the jiggle test.

  • Lastly I’ve been feeling a little homesick, so this slice of kiwi humour (albeit addressing a serious topic) and accents hit just the right spot.

So there you have it. My advice this week: shop mindfully, give yourself a break, drink cocktails from tropical fruit, hold babies, make jello + don’t drive drunk.

xo Alana.

This picture bemuses me…

18 Oct

All images from burdafashion.com

This is a preview image from the November Burdastyle Magazine and when I came across it, I admit I did a double take.

The first thing was the cigarette she’s inhaling. I guess it’s a sign of the times that smoking is so rarely seen in print now that it seemed so odd. When I was 8 years old, a tobacco advertising ban came into effect in New Zealand, so I always find it strange to see cigarette ads in magazines, and whist this, of course, is not an advertisement, for me it fits in the same category. It’s not that I think a child will see this image and be inspired to start smoking, it’s just that it seems like such an antiquated idea to use it as a prop in their annual ‘formal gown’ section like it’s a sign of all things glamorous.

Is it just me who finds it weird?

On to the second confounding thing in the image – it doesn’t show you much of the dress now, does it? It’s a shame, really, because when you actually see it, it’s a stunner.

My favourite pattern in the November issue.

Not really done justice by the stylist making the unclad cigarette lady clutch it to her bosom.

I love a lucky dip!

8 Aug

 

Lucky me, I won Karen’s Luck Dip giveaway on her blog Did You Make That?

Wan to join me on the suspenseful unveiling?

what could it be?

better unwrap it carefully...

ripping into it is way more fun!

it's a brooch! in the shape of...

... a teapot!

working the brooch. Hmm... not quite me...

on a head band? Now we're talking!

Thank you, Karen!

Sew-along + Bloggy Books

5 Aug

So I’ve joined another sew-along that I probably won’t actually finish….

But more on that in a second because LOOK what I stumbled across on Pinterest!

{via amazon.com}

How did I not know that Sarai, she of the gorgeous Colette Patterns, has a book coming out??

Amazon have it available for pre-0rder here (for less than US$20!) and from what I can make out the release date is Novemeber 2011.

Heres the blurb from Amazon:

“Five simple fundamentals can help you perfect any sewing project: a thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric, and a fine finish. With these five core ideas, The Colette Sewing Handbook shows you how to start sewing the wardrobe of your dreams.

  • Approachable and easy to follow. Instead of a big, confusing catalog of sewing techniques, you’ll build your knowledge gradually around the five simple fundamentals. A section of basic sewing lessons means you’ll never feel lost.
  • Hands-on learning. Start improving your skills immediately by applying each of the five principles of the book to a beautiful project, included in the book.
  • Feed your creativity. Have more fun designing sewing projects for your personal style, and create the things you’ll actually love to wear!
  • Feel more confident. Gain the know-how to work with any sewing pattern out there.
  • Look great in what you make. Become your own custom seamstress and hand-tailored clothes that fit you the way you want.
  • Get inspired by fabric. Expand your creative palette and get the look you want by choosing the best fabrics for your projects.
  • Perfect the details. Make clothes you can be proud of with beautiful finishing techniques.

Colette Patterns is known for timeless design and exceptionally clear instruction. This book from designer Sarai Mitnick guides you gradually and painlessly to becoming a better seamstress. Get inspired, feel confident, and make beautiful clothing you’ll be proud to wear!”

Plus it includes 5 exclusive’patterns too.

Update: Sarai has posted an announcement with more info on the book here. Plus it appears the patterns included will be 1 blouse, 3 dresses and 1 skirt.

{via amazon.com}

(Also, while you’re over on amazon check out the burdastyle book (release date Nov 1) that so many awesome bloggers were working on last year.)

Join in!

In the meantime, back to the sewalong – Sarai is hosting a sew-along of the Rooibos dress and I’m signing on up with best intentions. If you want to sign up too, she is offering 20% off the pattern when you enter ROOIBOSAUGUST (all caps) at the checkout until August 16.

Aaah… I love pretty things.

Giveaway Winner!

2 Jul

Thank you all so much for all the fabulous ideas and tips for traveling and for London. I can’t wait to make my list!

The lovely winner of the summer giveaway is Suzie of Su Sews So So.

(Suzie – I’ve flicked you an email :))

In other news… packing might just kill me before I even get to the plane!

 

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