Sew is Life is written by E. It is a little space of blogging bliss inspired by art, design, craft, fashion, beauty and wellness. Based in Perth, Western Australia. Read about the daily ramblings of me being a mother of three and wife to an amazing creative man. The second me makes fresh skincare at SELF Organics. These are my stories sewn together with love.
I have had fabric ideas flying through my mind all weekend for my #sewingdares challenge. Read the previous post to find out more about this ‘DARE’. And this is what I came up with, I couldn’t find any oil cloth in my current fabric library so I headed down to Spotlight and picked up this beige/white spotty number. The oil cloth will be perfect for the interior of the makeup bag, so spills and powders can be easily wiped away.
For the exterior I decided on a houndstooth tweed. I bought a plain black zip and now I am looking for a red ribbon…maybe a velvet one to finish it off.
It’s very ‘London-esque’ inspired. If you have been following Sewislife for a while, you would probably know I’m very much a Cath Kidston fan, and this polka oil cloth reminds me of her bag designs.
I shall be back soon to share my step-by-step process of sewing this makeup bag. I can’t wait to get started and show you guys the end result!!
Wish me luck ;)
What would be your ideal small sewing project?
This year I decided NO MATTER what…I’m going to enter the Tessuti Awards 2012. I am not sure I managed to muster up the motivation and strength to complete this sewing project, there were a few late nights, sore back and sore hands but I finished it!
This competition runs every year, by Tessuti Fabrics, a company based in Melbourne. They sell designer fabrics to the keen sewinista and each year they run competition with a specific theme, this year’s was ‘Spots & Stripes’ and it had to be a dress suitable for race wear. The 1st prize this year was $5000 to spend on a trip of the winner’s choice.
For me, it wasn’t about the money or winning in the end. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could sew a dress and wear it. In the past 2 years, since I started sewing I would only sew PJ pants and skirts for myself. The rest of the sewing projects were clothing for the kids, bags and homewares.
When I finished the project my inner sewinista was jumping for joy, throwing confetti into the air! It was such a great feeling to finally say I sewed a dress. However, I couldn’t take photos of me wearing the dress because I still had baby weight to lose. The photos I uploaded to the voting site were pretty crap, as the dress hung on a hanger behind my bathroom door…
So one beautiful, sunny day this week I decided to try the dress on again and it fits. Woot woot! And just when the competition has come to an end…*sigh*.Here they are anyway, Hubby helped me to take the photos in my parent’s backyard :)
And did you notice it has a peplum! I love peplums…
What do you guys think? Would you wear something like this to the races?
Besides sharing my beauty and fashion addiction on this blog, I also admit to having a problem with fabric. Yes, beautiful, uncut, soft and flowing fabric that in sense has been ‘untamed’ or not tampered with. A piece of fabric to me is like a DREAM…waiting to be moulded into a beautiful shape to fit a form such as the human physique. It is waiting to be transformed from something so basic to something very extraordinary! So here I am sharing my newest ‘fabric haul’ :)
My latest fabric buy comes from Tessuti Fabrics in Melbourne. I have bought fabric online before, but it is such a shame I am unable to touch the fabric when buying textiles this way. Tessuti made the experience easy by showing images online on how the fabric drapes and how large the pattern appears.
The main reason for me buying fabric from Tessuti is because they are currently running the annual Tessuti Awards, which is an international competition for sewing/fashion enthusiasts to work towards a brief. This year is all about Spring Racing fashion and the return of ‘Stripes and Spots’. Stripes and spots are my favourite pattern, it is so versatile and striking! 100% of the garment’s outer fabric must be made from Tessuti Fabrics. I was particularly inspired by Marc Jacobs recent Spring 2013 fashion show for New York Fashion week, he described his collection as “Very brutal, very sexy, very straightforward, no romance, no emotion, just real power and force and simplicity,”, undoubtedly resurrecting the Mod-era.
Photo courtesy of Dawn.com
Photo courtesy of Stylebakery.com
You won’t believe how much this little package made me light up! :)
Such a sweet message from team Tessuti
My lovelies, how I love to work with you
Come back to check on my progress and see how I transform this fabric into something wearable! This will be my first attempt at sewing a dress using a pattern…so I’m fretting just a little (OK A LOT!!) and the thought of inserting an invisible zipper gives me nightmares!! Only 4 days left to go to get in my entry…and I’m pulling my hair at the thought of it. I can’t wait to reveal the end result to you guys. Stay tuned ;)
So tell me…are you more of a spots or stripes person?
It’s been a while since I have completed a sewing project. It’s been a bit of a battle sitting down in front of the sewing machine too long with my reach getting further and further from me because of my ‘Buddha’ belly. I can’t keep away from my ‘sewing-sister’ too long though, otherwise I get the sewer’s ‘Itch’.
So…right now I am going through a headband phase. I don’t usually wear headbands, but I love the thought of having a few different patterned ones for when baby arrives.
One particular reason, my hair has grown at legendary speeds due to the pregnancy growth hormone. Plus I had a big chunk of hair snipped off last November in Malaysia and I have noticed it has grown 5 inches longer in the past 8 months. It’s become thick and unruly, but definitely healthy and shinier.
Here is how my headband turned out. I am going to make a matching one for my friend, who is having a birthday soon. This is a perfect present idea for a girlfriend.
Click here to read the tutorial and check out my step-by-step photos:
The night before my friend’s wedding, I decided to attack my new French Connection jersey dress with fabric glue and plastic rhinestones. I love the style of the dress but it was just lacking that little bit of ‘pizzazz’! A bow usually sits on top of the one-shouldered strap, but this came off and I was granted a further 5% discount on top of the other 30% off on dresses. I was very happy that day.
So I thought why not do a short tutorial for everyone. Instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on hand-sewn beading why not do it yourself! I could have gone with sewing each individual rhinestone, but it would have taken ages..so I opted for the Fabric glue instead.
Step One. Make sure the fabric is flat and dry, and your work surface is protected by a plastic sheet.
You don’t want to apply the glue and rhinestones on creased fabric, because later you will realise that the design you made is all over the place and it’s too late to fix it! Playing with fabric glue means once the rhinestone is pressed down on the fabric, it stays DOWN on that spot. I learnt the hard way…
Step 2. Draw out your design
You can use sewer’s chalk, or even a fabric pen to help you pin point where you would like the rhinestones to go before applying them with the glue. Dot with your chalk or pen. This is a great way to let your creativity run wild and you can basically draw out the ‘blueprint’ straight onto the garment. Once the rhinestones are glued on top you won’t be able to notice the little marks.
Step 3. Count out your rhinestones and keep them in a plastic bag
This step is particularly important if you are using different rhinestone shapes. By predetermining which shapes and how many you want to use, you can prevent spilling the entire jar and having your dress end up looking like a kid’s craft project or the ‘cosmos’.
Step 4. Apply the fabric glue to the rhinestone
Just squeeze a small amount onto the back of the rhinestone, enough to cover the base once it is pressed onto the fabric. You don’t want too much or this will soak through the fabric and stick to the other side! Fabric glue goes on wet and dries without leaving any hideous glue stains, but you can definitely feel hardened glue on the fabric.
Step 5. Press the rhinestone onto fabric
As mentioned above, press the rhinestone onto the fabric or ‘blueprint’ design and allow for it to dry. Try and resist moving the fabric too much until it has dried.
Step 6. Leave garment to dry over night
Allow for 24 hours for the area to completely dry and then you can proceed to wear and show it off to friends. If you need to wash the garment, only do this after 48 hours and lightly hand wash it. The rhinestones will stay on as long as the garment is carefully handled.
So if you have a formal event coming up soon, try a little DIY. You don’t need to splurge to look glamourous! Just be creative. This project (including the dress) only cost me approx AUD$45. When really it looks more like a $200+ dress. Don’t you think?
Unfortunately I did not wear the French Connection dress in the end to the wedding, my husband actually liked the Ninth Moon dress better. And I felt comfortable in that for the evening.
Do you DIY your clothes? What are some of your tips?
A few months ago Spoonflower was offering free swatches and free shipping worldwide. I had been waiting for such a great deal for a while! So I managed to pick up a few swatches in different designs and fabrics, because I have always been interested in designing my own fabric. It is a great place to pick up other artist’s designs and make your own. You can customize it as much as you wish! And you even open your own shop, so everyone can view and purchase your design. Costs start from $16.20 per yard, depending on the fabric you chose. The swatches were really helpful because being able to see and touch them gave me a good indication of the quality of the fabrics. I chose 3 swatches in linen-cotton canvas, cotton voile and cotton sateen.
I haven’t washed either of the samples yet, there were some talk about the running of the colours. So I am a bit hesitant to start washing them to test it out. I want the colours to stay as vibrant as long as possible! Sofia selected the ‘Halloween’ themed swatch in the linen-cotton canvas, which is a sturdy, thick fabric. It was quite tiny at 8x8 inches. So I had to decide, to make it into a bag or a cushion? I still had the hobby-fill from my previous projects so I thought a cute cushion to decorate her room would be nice. And then I used the ‘Babushka’ fabric in cotton duck and sewed that on the back, so she could flip the cushion to suit her decorative mood. I really like this design, the characters are so cute and Sofia can look at them all day. She is very much into spooky things at the moment and getting into the spirit of Halloween!
The other swatch is a ‘Mushroom’ design, inspired by Nintendo’s Mario game. I chose this because my husband is a Nintendo fan and loves everything to do with games. So with this swatch I may just make it into another cushion for his dedicated ‘games’ den. Or I could just place it in a nice frame and hang it from his wall so he can appreciate it and matches with his ‘games’ room theme.
I chose graphic lace design swatch in the cotton sateen for myself, the image on Spoonflower looks better on screen than on fabric. So I was kind of disappointed, but I will find something to do with this swatch…any suggestions are welcome :)
I have been ignoring the sewing machine lately, I can’t seem to find enough time to sit down and sew something decent together. Leo will often come up to my legs and hold onto it like a monkey to a tree trunk! Then night time, I am often tired from the day’s events and would rather a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ marathon with the hubby. I told myself I would sew some skirts and tops for my upcoming holiday…but I could just buy them right?
What type of designs do you like to see on fabric? Graphics, florals, spots, characters? Please share in the comments section below.
Okay so maybe I don’t speak French, but I love the way how the Parisians are so chic and I love to imitate their simple and elegant style in the home and throughout my wardrobe. Ever since I stumbled upon this gorgeous blue and black toile fabric at Spotlight, my mind has been racing with French Provincial inspired ideas.
Is he whispering sweet-nothings in her ear? She looks distracted to me, maybe by a much more wealthier gentleman.
So it is out with shabby chic and in with French Provincial chic. There is a difference! French provincial isn’t shabby, it is more refined and a bit of country class. I was intrigued by the intricate pictures printed on the toile fabric of ladies and gentlemen courting in the park. It seems like such a long time ago that ladies were once kept indoors, demure, gentle and trained the ways of handicrafts, the piano and reciting poetry. And the gentleman would master the art of conversation and come from a family of financial wealth to win the heart of the lady. This fabric draws upon inspiration from Jane Austen novels no doubt, and I only wish we could relive that fun! To be upper class aristocrats that drank tea, ate cake and sat in the garden chatting about other people’s business all day.
A London home with ‘French Provincial’ inspired details
French provincial provokes that bit of romance into everyday life especially for the modern world which is slowly becoming depleted of romance, chivalry and good manners. However, who’s to say the ladies and gents of the Jane Austen days were more well-mannered? Gossip was still the height of conversation. Could our modern day answer be Gossip Girl? I think this modern world craves a bit of old time class, has anyone seen ‘Downton Abbey’? When I get the time, I hope to sit down and watch what all the fuss is about.
My ‘chic’ shower cap (can shower caps be ‘chic’?)
So I decided to play with the black toile and sewed a cute shower cap with ripstock nylon (waterproof material), black bias binding, elastic and a border of broderie anglaise lace. I have the perfect little model to show off my creation. The shower cap is a must-have accessory during the Winter season, because I am one of those people who chose not to wash my hair everyday. Especially since it is so difficult to dry the long locks during cold weather!