Wednesday, 31 July 2013

< < Melbs > > Run Lola Run

It was  going to be chilly weather in Melbs, and I knew there would be a lot of walking about exploring. I wanted to be warm and comfortable. I had just the ticket! I would have loved to order miss Lola through Dresses and Me who recently announced Victory patterns in stock. But in usual last minute project idea fashion, I had but a day to make. 11am I downloaded miss Lola from Victory patterns website. She was printed, gluesticked, cut and prepped in time for lunch. Quite modest fabric choices were selected from my stash of sweatery offcuts all sourced from op shops over the last year at about $1 per 2m bundle. It took a lot of strength to not go pink/yellow/spots all over this one. Im quite happy with my tonal sea/forest range. I made a hot tea and with woolly hat on head I headed out to the sewing shed where Mr Otis Overlocker resides. By eve I had zoomed out a Lola. I couldn't be happier with such a garment for winter travelling. Uber comfortable from couch to curbside grafitti.
Lola and I headed to meet Nichola from Handmakers Factory on my first day in Melbs. The hugest coolest old factory building housed a number of creative activities and Nichola was sharing a space with the wonderful Ink and Spindle. It was such a privilege to set foot in their studio space. Nichola and I perched on beautiful Ink and Spindle inked furniture, sipping tea (of course) and chatted about environmental and social enterprises and dreams of ours which were quite similar. Nichola was so so lovely and welcoming, taking time out of her day to speak with me. Lara and the crew from the studio offered me some of their shared lunch so sweet and I was headed off onto my next Lola adventure. 
There is a lot of rad things in Fitsroy/Collingwood where I spent most of my Melbourne days, the best thing I noticed though was the number of small indie businesses that the locals support. All full of awesome design, art, industria to fashionista, it was so great to see. I had squirrelled away some funds for this trip to make some special locally made purchases, rather than just the vintage stores for a change. My dear friend and host, Annie, took me to a few Australian made places. We tried on plenty and pranced a plenty in changing rooms too. Miss Lola  I found and fell in love with Obus. 'designed with the modern travelling women in mind'  Not only MADE IN AUSTRALIA the shopkeeper said within a 10km radius of that there store. Yes I bought pants with a snazzy print and socks to boot. very very smug. Even more smug when she asked when every second shop assistant asked where I got my dress from! *grinning*.  The Lola adventure was just warming up.
 Perhaps my favourite thing to do in any city but particularly here in Melbs, is walk the streets, camera in hand getting snap happy with corners, doors, shop fronts and STREET ART.  Lola was great to accompany me never failing to provide comfort and ease no matter how many KM's I walked (the boots were a bit lacking though) ..So Run Lola Run (have you seen that cool film?) I felt. Street after street, creative artistic surprises on nearly every curb side. I love how bright and colourful these suburbs are, the stories painted on their walls, and the creativity exuded.
Garment Deets:
Pattern: Victory Patterns Lola
Total Recycled: 100%
Total Cost: $4 approx

More from the < < Melbs > > Series here
xx Sarah xx

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

< < Melbs > > A duvet skirt at Grub

I whipped up this circle skirt the night before I flew to Melbourne. Total recycled 100% Total cost $4. It's made from a duvet, with the duvet inner included to add warmth (err and volume!) I took such great care to include a zip through all the layers, hand tacking the wadding & the inside lining (of the same sheet) to the back. All to find once I tried it on for a taster, the waist hole circle had stretched tremendously under all the weight and me moving it around. A good point to note: Don't handle your garment too much more than necessary (especially if they're heavy and stuffed) as the places cut on bias eg: necklines, armholes, waists can easily stretch and morph out of shape. I saved the day by attaching a seriously large elastic to cinch it back into my waist - She still has a pointless zip at centre back. Oh well I got her finished in time for a snuggly plane ride and then later THIS fun saturday morning in the heart of Fitsroy, creamy chai latte in hand. I feel a bit like Minnie Mouse in it.
I was taken to Grub for breakfast. A glasshouse with plenty pot plants a hanging, crochet, retro doll heads and corn on the cob looking stools. The staff dressed in aprons of teatowels & linens dabhanded together. This was a place to be! The morning light was gorgeous, brightening up the front yard complete with army netting, reclaimed wood fences, dirt floor and silver spaceship looking camper. My friend Arturo enjoyed playing with his new camera as much as I did prancing about the retro setting. We had fun, and earned a coconutty, buckwheaty porridge indeed.
Welcome to the < < Melbs > > series
xx Sarah xx

T-Day: It's Informal and It's Chai - GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Random Number Generator aka Mumsy: Selected a safe middle of the road 3!! That is you Louana of NZ Green Buttons YAY as a chai lover you are sooo gonna love this beauty.
Here at Sew Love HQ, a day don't go by without numerous cups of tea. No I dont mean lounging about, I mean it is FUEL! I recently was introduced to the great lads of Informal Tea. My first pick of their delicious line up was 'It's Chai' and boy is it what! Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, fennel and more, I could taste more - Chai-ho! *dances like Nicole Sherzinger*. First up lets get one thing straight, I'm a chai latte lover, and even in the heart of hipsterville, Fitsroy, Melbs, I wasn't too happy at paying $7 for a chai and walking away a milk-less TEA (no latte in sight!) BUT thanks to Informal Tea, I have been swayed somewhat. Indeedio!

THIS was delish! And I think its all due to the lads' dedication to ONLY use loose whole leaf tea, none of this bilbo baggins or bag outs deal. No sir-ree they wanted to stay true to good flavour and their great values as they source their organic, micro-produced artisan tea leaves, and handblend it here in NZ so you can spoon your textured, colourful, flavoursome, nutrient packed morsel into your teapot yourself. Thank you, I enjoyed that especially.

Drinking Informal tea is just like the super softness of organic cotton knickers, or zipping up your handsewn dress - KNOWING that it has been made fairly and with love makes the moment/your day/your life feel all the more better and rosey! You can read more about Informal Tea global/local spirit & philosophies here.

Go get yourself some tea in their shop, and smile at their face too! 

I have a bag of this here chai to give away to one lovely tea lover. Could this be you? Just leave a comment below after you swing by their website and facebook page & tell me the most awesome thing you read about Informal Tea - Kos there's plenty!! Giveaway will be drawn next t-day 6th Aug.

xx Sarah xx

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Keeping On The Indie Buzz

Indie pattern month is all wrapped up, but I feel like its just unwrapped a whole lotta goodness for me and the sewing machine clan. Great news just in that Dresses and Me is now stocking Victory Patterns too. Im just trying to narrow down to choose just a few to purchase (lets not go too cray too fast). Here's my fav four...

 ....The wonderful photos are not mine I grabbed them from Penny's lovely website / Victory Patterns where we kiwis can now locally buy these beaut Victory Patterns. They are all pretty pretty, and indeed pretty summery too. High hopes that warmer climates are nigh. I have made a collage here as a VISUAL GOAL...A PLAN I'll have you know...

#1: Replace each image with a photo of me wearing my version of the item instead.
#2: Replace each image with a photo of someone wearing their version, after I have taught them to make it too.

Mel has been writing up some great interviews & reviews of all the makings and happenings from Indie Pattern month including a little interview with me over here.

Here's to future sewing dreams!
xx Sarah xx

Monday, 22 July 2013

Help Me Melbournites!

I'm super excited to be jetting over to my all time favourite Melbourne THIS WEEK! I am really looking forward to seeing my dear Melby friends, and this lovely named 'business trip to Melbourne' makes me really want to maximise my time of visiting (in the name of R&D) awesome vintage/sewing/textile places of the area. 
image via
Thanks to Dan from Thread Den for allowing me into the fold so I can come watch and learn the ways of a funky sewing lounge. I have dreamed to visit for a long long time. I am super excited. Here's a couple of other places on my to-visit list. Where else or who else do you recommend I head to? I sew wish Pip's Meet Me At Mikes was still open!
The Woodsfolk
ink and spindle
Handmakers Factory

...Calling all Melby crafty creatures!! What else needs to be added to my list???
xx Sarah xx

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Down by the boardwalk, down by the SEA! Capelet V2

I cut another capelet. Yes indeedy version 2. This time round I cut the 'back piece' TWICE and replaced the fronts...does this still make it a cape all closed up and snug? Perhaps its now...a snug? Not a shrug! No! A snug. Featured with said capelet today,  in perfectly complementary colours is a snazzy keep cup! The BEST way, no the ONLY way to have a cafe takeaway. I don't drink coffee, but love to treat myself to a hot chocky now and again, especially when out "on a shoot" (sounds flash huh) with these bitterly cold southerly winds. Also peeping out a wee smile here today is a happy handmade brooch by yours truly - I make these from bike tyre inner tube, washers/hardware etc & embroidery thread. FUN!
The deets:
* Peachy pink woolly blanket (offcuts from Tania of NZ Finch - thanks darl) 
* Blue & black geometric sweatshirting (stash busting to the maximus here) Originally from a Salvation Army if I remember rightly: $2
* Black bias binding from an op shop SALE (yes even cheaper!) on Kroad in the w/e approx $0.10
Total Recycled: 100%
Total Price: $2.10

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cutting Shapes...on the d-floor of course!

Anyone else have go-to gig clothes? My doiley pants I made as part of a doily 'morph suit' for Splore 2012 yup I painted each of them then mostly (with some bf help) handsewed them all together..Since Splore I have mostly left the hood/mask, gloves & top in safe keeping, meanwhile the pants have been frequenting some mainstream activities in the city. Perhaps a undies, undies, togs debate...when does a 'costume' become just 'coolness' ? Anyways, they're having a bit of a sunshining airing prior to SHAPESHIFTER gig this friday which I am sooo uber excited for! yahoo!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Peppy's Tassel Jacket

'Tis Monday making time again. Following on from the Peppermint downloaded capelet last week...The latest download over there is this jacket: The Tassle Jacket pattern courtesy of Kiara Bulley from The Stitchery (which also looks like an amazing place). The jacket really caught my eye with the interesting silhouette, and tassels, well, mucho fun and whimsical to boot! Quirky, interesting & snug! and just a wee side note: I dont have nits (as per above) I just love big hair & always dreaming of a fro. kimbra-wannabe-esque? 
It was a pretty mega pattern to stick together, page by page but its worth it! A one size fits all pattern sounds good to me too. There wasn't too much sewing either. Sew the back, sew the sides, joining your facings, attach, buttonhole, et walaah! Oh, wait, followed by a lot of hand sewing to anchor the facings inside - But as a bit of a sewing nerd, I sew love hand finishing garments. Curling up to it on my lap on the sunny window seat, or evening by the fire is a nice way to add a little extra love to a garment made by HAND. We went on a lil prowl through town to find a posse for photos... with the pre-requisite: colourful 'urban' backdrop please. What do you think? Red or Purple?
Garment Deets:
Vintage wool Salvation Army Margan Ave $3 (Labelled: Alliance Textiles NZ Ltd - thats vintage yea!)
* Beads and blue wool for tassel from "cant remember" opshop $2 (stash busting?)
* Button, handmade by a local potter in Titirangi $2 (she uses her scraps to make the BEST buttons)
Total Recycled: 100%  
Total Price: $7
This Jacket has potential to be pretty versatile I think. I could see it in a lightweight floral cotton thrown over togs at the beach, perhaps with shells & feathers instead of the tassel on the rear. Or even more urban...denim. Reworked. Jeans with pockets and faded patches all over. Yes. Im gonna enjoy this.
Styled: Casual Quirk Urbane... Jean tights NOT JEGGINGS these are FROM THEE actual 80's, NOT SUPRE! woollen blanky armwarmers made by me, and op shopped black cardi, mens bobby socks & white vinyl kicks. Boom!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Cutesy lil Capelet

Jane not so plain Janome & I have had our eyes on this wee capelet for a while now. It was my very first downloaded pattern, from my all time favourite Peppermint Magazine Sewing School. I printed out the pattern onto A4's and gluesticked them together, then cut out the pieces (I cut the largest size 14, perhaps I could go a bit smaller next time)...and then I headed straight to my scraps pile to fossik about. 
I really really love love cape style. You can see more on my pinterest board here, and a recently made full size cape here. This capelet was fun and pretty simple to put together. I am going to do a capelet class/sewing social soon, I'm just awaiting the venue confirmation. Just email me if you would like to join in, it will be in Auckland, and on a Saturday.
Can you tell I LOVE polka dots? 
Wool fabric was free - from scraps from other projects. Cotton slime coloured lining was free - from end of bolt from a local designer.
...and finishing up with some dawky facials.
xx Sarah xx

Community Up-cycling workshops in PARNELL

Exciting news much!?! Sorry to keep you all waiting so long, finally I have locked in a course (2 actually) through Parnell Community Centre. I've updated our 'workshops and classes' page with the following:

Community Workshops

6 x 2hour class $110pp - Thursdays 6.30-8.30pm from AUGUST 22nd
6 x 2hour class $110pp - Thursdays 9.30-11.30am from NOVEMBER 7th

More than just re-cycling, up-cycling is turning the plain into pretty darn brilliant! Take this creative opportunity to learn innovative up-cycling skills through short and sweet sewing projects for your home, wardrobe and gifts. Friendly sewing machines will be provided to those who cannot BYO. 
> Limited Spaces, so get in quick! 
> Location: Glanville Rd Community Centre, Parnell. 
> Bookings through Parnell Centre here
> Equipment, thread and SOME materials provided. 
> Any questions, get in touch with Sarah

This course will be pretty easy going sewing, as I really want to encourage more non-sewers into this crafting fold. So if you are new, or want to have a go, don't be shy this is for you! I have a wee swag of planned activities so you can take something home from every class, but I want to hear from you Sew Love readers too as this is for you! What do you want to learn to make? I plan to keep the classes super flexible around the students, and there will always be an opportunity to freestyle your own up-cycling ideas! 

Sew Love is super excited to be a part of Parnell Centres new range of green classes all based around sustainable living. Check 'em all out here. & if you have a community centre in your neighbourhood and think perhaps The Clan and I could come do some classes, get in touch :)

xx Sarah xx

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Hump-day Hoo-ray: Labour behind the label

As we are now into July, I have been reflecting on my wardrobe again, thinking about my shopping habits over the last 12 months... Last year throughout July I signed up to the 6 items challenge. I wore just 6 items of clothing for the whole of July, as a stand against fast fashion atrocities, and fundraising for Labour Behind The Label organisation. So the hoo-ray for today is for this awesome organisation.
 Labour Behind the Label dedicate all their time to researching, protesting, educating, and inspiring our world to help improve working conditions in garment factories across the globe. The tragic news stories of Bangledesh should be now be adding an extra thought into our heads as we opt for the 2 for 1 bargain bins. LBL (as they've been nicknamed) strives each day to get the message across that slave labour is happening TODAY. It wasn't just the 80's and 90's, it is still happening today. They've written up some shopping tips which include my fav: buying 2nd hand. Perhaps they also could have included here: Sewing your own. As a huge lover of fashion/style/creative clothing of thy bod (and hoarding) the challenge was a great task to see how I could work my magic with just a few items. I used a whole pile of accessories, and safety pins etc to change up the shapes. You can see a photo album of my mad month of 6 items over here
So reflecting on the past 12 months...I have definitely ONLY bought 2nd hand, so no supporting the fast fashion crusades. But I have to say I have continued buying in great quantities. EEP! I'm adding more to my TradeMe each day now as a bit of a cleanse. I hope to have a wardrobe that tells a real story, a story of history, saved textiles, and 'i made it myself' memoirs. Some things in our lives just become 'stuff' ... this scarf though. I love her in all her outrageousness, but only worn her a few times. Should I let her go??

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sewing Studio Snippets

Happy Monday ya'all! Today has been a grand day of learning all about stop motion video...intense (especially if ya flying solo like me). Im on a super short time schedule to prepare some pics for a special project coming up real soon. So today I set to work with Bessie, Jane, Tabitha, and newcomers Malina Bernina, Suzie Singer, and ... well I haven't named my most recent clan member. Could you help? Like Bessie, he/she is from the 'brother' family, bit more sporty & outgoing than Bessie, into blue hues & double denim, and has been a real star through this winter.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Papercut Patterns: Peter & The Wolf Pants

Mashing, or 'colour blocking' as it's often called. Its such a great way to use offcuts from other projects (or other peoples throwouts at the op shops). What appears to be a small piece of fabric and deemed useless, can in fact add a fantastic 'pop' to an otherwise bog-standard garment... said 'pops' being the story of my life! So when I saw the peter & the wolf pants over at Papercut patterns I thought we go baby!

cut cut cut sew, press, overlock. press, sew, sew, sew, there went my day, excited to finish, try on and dammit! Should have listened to lladybird and done the darn toile first. A much too much too big! I've been hoping to finish these before the official end of indie pattern month tomorrow but perhaps I'm not going to get the time to fix these...
...and then I did fix them (dinner had to wait, but totes worth it). I re-shaped the centre front by cutting back a MASSIVE inch off the curve. I reshaped the hips too as they were super curvy, (and Im afraid i'm curvy enough in that department)...and then to bring it in even more, I took out the zip, added a wee facing, and hook'n'eyes and overlapped the side instead. 
This cinches it in up around my waist. I feel so uncomfortable with pants on my hips or nearing my hips, I totally embrace the current high waisted fashions. I think if I make this one again I might add a bit to the height of the yokes next time to secure it comfortably at waist height as these pants are not patterned to be like this. All in all, I'm super pleased (super tired after epic frustrations) but looking forward to rockin' them out perhaps with a wee matching top or Victoria Blazer..? There's a sew along coming up real soon and I AM EXCITED!
The fabric breakdown:
Navy cotton print (with a tad stretch) $5 from SPCA op shop (many metres left)
Red print on front: Wax fabric from the Congo, gifted from a friend offcuts from her project
Orange floral cotton inside pockets & back yoke: Free from a fabric swap
Total recycled: 100%
Total price: $5

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hump-day Hoo-ray: Humanitees!

I have a lovely long list of ethical clothing brands that I cant wait to share with you and promote their awesomeness, but I just read about Humanitees over at Recycled Fashion and really really REALLY like their business and also their tees. T-shirts are the go-to for many. Your simple main street bargain $5 cotton tee, cami, singo etc, thats now 2 for $5 seems to be a staple diet season after season, with probably not much thought to where it came from, or where it gets thrown away to later. One of my passions in life is to inspire more conscious consumerism, the double C word we've seen a bit lately but what does it mean? To actually know WHERE your products come from and HOW they were made. To not be mindless consumers, but actually THINK first. Not because I tell you to, or because our planet is doomed if we don't, but because its more interesting knowing, more fair knowing, more fun knowing! Fun fact for the day COTTON originally looked like this cutie:
So, i'm not one to don much cotton basics, my friends know i'm not that 'shorts n tee' kinda gal, but I think this is also due to the fact, fashion-wise I see t-shirts as quite a statement item. I would only ever wear one when I want to SAY SOMETHING STRONGLY really (unless it had crazy polka dots over it, or mix matched recycled sleeves then I would wear it all the time). With Humanities, now it's the time to pop that tee!
Not only are these tees manufactured under certified fair conditions in India, they're delish yummy organic cotton too, and the two rad dudes who started this business invested (and still do) time, energy and importantly $ into the Indian locals getting themselves out of poverty through the wonderful Kiva programme. They offset their carbon with crop support in India, and also deliver in my fav flavoured packaging: eco-friendly, 100% recycled, brown goodness + a whole lot more 'good karma' they call it, at their checkout. Seriously seriously good business! Hoo-ray!
Recycled Fashion has pics of the full range (I grabbed the above pics from her blog), and plenty more to read, Erica is also doing a giveaway, so have a think, who do YOU think deserves a tee of humanitee? Someone who does loads of good? Somebody who needs a reminder to do good? Someone who is always smiling? Or someone who needs a little hug to get them smiling again? Head on over and leave your comment, and check out the rest of her beaut blog too, its got plenty good greens to keep you happy.

xx Sarah xx
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