The sincerest form of flattery

Altering RTW, clothes-hacking and upcycling; whilst I have dabbled in all of these, they tend to be a little outside of my comfort zone. Whilst many discover a passion for sewing through altering op-shop finds, I have always preferred to sew from scratch, as it were. However, as I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few windfalls of pre-loved clothes from friends and family over the last year or two, I’ve slowly been building up my alteration skills in adapting clothes to my shape and style. Whilst I’ve now successfully reworked a few pieces with basic fixes, this time I took on a slightly more ambitious project!

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I received this dress from my auntie a couple of years ago as she’d bought it online but didn’t fit. It didn’t fit me either, but she thought I might like to see if I could do something with it. I loved the fabric but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, so it’s been lurking in my sewing cupboard ever since. Flash forward to just a few months ago, when I saw the fabulous Nora Finds wearing this Stop Staring dress on Instagram. My second thought (after, my god, I need this dress) was I’VE SEEN THAT FABRIC BEFORE. And, lo and behold…I’m convinced it’s almost an exact match!

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Lady Greensleeves

Did anyone read The Crafty Pinup’s recent post about sewing and motivation? It’s a really great read with some excellent tips on helping you get your creativity back in to gear – which I’ve definitely needed lately! When there’s a fiddly or complicated project sitting on my sewing table, my sewjo can really take a hit – like with that silk trench coat from last year that’s still only about 30% done (I swear I will finish it…eventually…), or the green shirt dress that I cut out almost a year ago, started sewing up about six weeks ago…and just finished last weekend 😛 Still, I’m always proud of myself whenever I complete a project, especially if it’s one that took me a long time; and even moreso in this case, as I took the trouble to take my time and finish every thing really nicely – and I think the result it well worth it!

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Life’s sweeter in pink

I have to say, writing this post I am feeling a little (very) nostalgic for my summer holidays – right now, cosyed up by the fire, I really do wish I was back in the warm weather, waltzing around in this pink gingham ensemble (i.e. one of my favourite outfits EVER).

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I’d been wanting a retro outfit in pink gingham for some months now; I can’t remember the exact inspiration, but I’ve definitely seen a few repro pieces in variations on this theme before and knew that this was an outfit fantasy I had to indulge myself in. Accordingly I obtained a vast quantity of pink gingham from Spotlight and settled on a design. I wanted a dress, but decided to make it in two pieces as a top and skirt for greater versatility (a brilliant call, I might add). The skirt is a simple gathered circle skirt and the top is the bodice of B6167, modified to have a shirred back and a side zip (a “design feature” added when I couldn’t get the finished top over my head…whoops!).

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Black and white

I’m not even going to apologise for my extended absences any more readers – as I’m sure many of you will realise, med school take up *quite* a lot of my time, and frequently if I have a choice of how to spend my spare time between sewing or blogging about it – I’m going to choose actually making things! Still, I do enjoying writing about my creations and sharing them with you all (no matter how belated!), so I will keep trying to find a little time here and there to show you what I’ve been up to 🙂

I’ve been trying to practise a little of the “sew what you got” philosophy this year and make my way through stashed fabrics and UFO projects, and it’s been working pretty well (if you ignore the long-unfinished trench coat and shirt, which I currently am…). Generally one buys a bit of fabric because one wants to enjoy wearing it, so it’s always very satisfying to be able to do so once it’s made its way out of a long sojourn in the stash! I picked up this gorgeous piece of black and white floral print mystery fabric from a friend-of-a-friend’s de-stash last year, and I always knew I wanted to make a classic box-pleated skirt out of it. And I’m very satisfied with the result!

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And now for something completely different

I’m still catching up on blogging a few old makes! This time I have another gift for my sister, her Christmas present – which I managed to give her on time I’m proud to say :p A dancer and committed gym-goer, I made my sister something I knew she’d love – some coordinating activewear! Obviously, this was quite a departure from my usual sewing fare of retro ensembles, ballgowns and lacy lingerie, so some research was definitely required. Fortunately DIY activewear is a sewing trend that seems to have caught on rather well, so I wasn’t lacking in resources! I ended up being quite spoilt for choice; after reading extensive reviews of some of the most popular activewear designers and patterns, I went with Jalie 3462 (Cora tights) and 2563 (sports bra and short tights). I chose the Jalie patterns for a few reasons: great and versatile designs (I particularly like the colour blocking options on the Cora leggings!), good reviews, amazing price and the huge size range (very convenient if I ever decide I want some too!).

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A Very Merry Aussie Christmas

For those unfamiliar with an Antipodean Christmas, let me start by telling you it’s rather the opposite of the cosy, fireside White Christmases enshrined by greeting cards and carols; the festive season in Australia is celebrated in blazing sunshine and 30+ degree celsius heat, with kids playing cricket in the back yard, and the adults sitting around on deck chairs in the shade sipping chilled white wine, preferably on the beach or poolside. I have experienced some wintery Christmases in my time, and while they are beautiful and magical and cosy, I wouldn’t give up my summery Aussie Christmas for anything! For one, it means that it’s pretty much always guaranteed to be warm enough to be able to sew vintage-inspired sundresses and have it be warm enough to wear them…

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A Style of One’s Own

Hi there friends! I was a little horrified when I saw that my last post had been in October – where on earth has the time gone?? That seems to have been a theme for me for sure this year; life is pretty great right now but continually getting busier in a trend that doesn’t seem like letting up any time soon! But for now, I’ve managed to come through the end of year uni/exam vortex and finally enjoying my hard-earned break. I’ve been making the most of them so far, and sewing up a storm of projects that I can’t wait to share with you all, but I have something a little different to share with you all today (and it’s not just my hair)!

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This time of year certainly lends itself to reflection, and I’ve certainly been thinking about the past year a lot recently! I’ve also really enjoyed reading Erin’s posts on her personal style search over the last couple of months, and thought I’d share a bit about my own style journey this year! I’m pretty comfortable and confident in my personal style now, and am very settled in my retro and vintage ways – but that doesn’t mean that my style is no longer evolving! There are always new preferences to discover,  and so many new styles and ideas to try, that I doubt anyone ever really finishes perfecting their personal style. I know for myself, I’ve recently become more adventurous with doing my hair in pin-up styles (and even temporarily dyed it pink!), and choosing to dress in a more overtly retro style on a day to day basis.

Dressing vintage style on the daily can be very daunting to even the most passionate lover of retro designs; so I often I see in blog comments, forums and Facebook groups people repeating their fears of looking “too dressed up”, “costume-y” or standing too far out from the crowd. So what I thought I’d write about today is some tips for dressing retro in a more casual, easy-to-wear way – given that this is something I feel I have only started to get the hang of more recently, I hope it will coax some more vintage devotees to embrace their preferred style on a daily basis!

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