Thursday, November 22, 2012


Well, my Cert IV in Applied Fashion Design and Technology is complete ... well, almost, we have our Fashion Parade next Wednesday night ... details to follow. The last 7 weeks or so have been a non stop strive to the finish line. I presented my final Studio design work just yesterday. The Studio work involved us aligning ourselves with an Australian designer to make an outfit that would complement their range. We had to prepare and sew not only the design, but a swathe of "other stuff" Inspiration Board, Garment Boards, Multiple Specification Sheets, Designer Research, Fabrication Samples, Patterns, Toiles, Evaluation and an oral presentation ...... the amount of work required was quite unbelievable really... and remember this was JUST A CERT IV !

Overall, I really enjoyed my year at TAFE learning about patternmaking, sewing, the fashion industry, doing work placement etc. But what really surprised me was how much I learned to enjoy the visual presentation side of things , ie. Adobe Illustrator. At first this program is dreadful, weird, hard to understand, but with continued practise and a good teacher, it all came together.

So, I aligned myself with Alice McCall. I had some great lace that I had purchased a year ago from Rosemary at Chic Fabrique, so I set about finding an Australian designer whose clothing had a distinct use of lace, and whose design lines I liked ... and believe me, this was not an easy task. I trawled through many many websites, and was happy to find the very cool designs of Alice McCall.

I'll cut out all the boring in between stuff (multiple toiles and pattern making adjustments) and present to you my final design ...... The Lovestruck Dress and Lovestruck Top as designed by Chinchen Street (my label - which will be explained later)...  and a huge, huge thanks to my wonderful model ....

The dress is a simple sleeveless, round neck, fitted bodice with panel lines with a full circle skirt attached. The dress is made from polyester / viscose satin also from Chic Fabrique - for a synthetic fabric - this stuff is beautiful, drapes well, sews well and presses well. The Guipure cotton lace top has a scalloped border, and I had a very "odd" shape of fabric remnant to work with, so it took quite a few trials to get the pattern right, so that I could use the scalloped border for all the hem areas.
Here is the top without the dress ...
 And here is one garment board that I did on Illustrator ... (the fabric samples and notions are not on this)
Here are some pics of my materials all set up for the presentation:

For my presentation to the teachers, I made a short video about my design inspiration and branding .... OK, I know I'm an amateur, but try to bear it ...

So, it was all about the journey, my 2012 journey to TAFE .... my journey to Chinchen Street ... and the great tree in the TAFE carpark ..... and all about really great fabrics .... ahhhh ... so deep and meaningful!!!

Anyway, yes, Bittersweet .... sweet to finish something that was quite demanding and totally time consuming, yet, it was great to be challenged and great to learn new stuff! Will I do more? Who knows ..... Next Wednesday evening is our Fashion Parade at City Hall in Newcastle, 7pm and tickets $10 at the door .... come and have a look!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Butterick 5415

Introducing .... one of my lovely students, Anne wearing her recently completed B5415.

She was a tad reluctant to be photographed, but peer group pressure gave her some encouragement. We had quite a few fitting issues with this little dress .... Anne has narrow shoulders so we did some gape darts around the neckline and also tightened the shoulder seam. The fabric is a knit, and we decided to omit the back zipper, and placed the Back pattern on the fold, but it still required further adjustments so we had to put in a centre back seam. All in all, teamed with the perfect green contrasting trim - the result is ..... SMASHING! Great work Anne! and thanks for being brave for Blogland!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

High Tea with a Citrus Flavour

Today I submitted my dress for the TAFE course I have been studying this year. The brief was "High Tea with a Citrus Flavour" ....

The dress is fully lined. Black and white fabric leftover from another dress I made - but originally from Frou Frou in Melbourne, Lime Linen from Chic Fabrique.

Pattern made by me! It was a huge project, not just the pattern making and sewing side, but ALL of the OTHER STUFF they require!! It has certainly been a fantastic learning experience ...... one more project to go!!! Thanks once again to my lovely House Model!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Belle of the Boredroom

A fun task for TAFE this year .... UPCYCLING existing garments. Friends donated their unwanted business shirts and away I went! Big thanks to my lovely model!

I'd like to invite you to LIKE my Facebook page .... I know the mere word "Facebook" turns some people right off ... and that's fine ... but if you are on FB you'll receive my Blog Posts networked to my page, plus other interesting bits of textiles and fashion related links, plus info about upcoming classes at my studio.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vogue 7610 Jacket

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments on my Tessuti Dress Entry. The finalists have been announced, and alas, I am not one of them ..... there's always next year!

So, onto Vogue 7610 ... I made this some time back, just trying to catch up on a few things now..... this is great pattern and I've worn these jackets heaps!  First a denim one, lots of top stitching and jeans buttons etc, and the 2nd one I did in baby grey cord with a fake fur trim - all fabrics from Rosemary at Chic Fabrique.  For the 2nd one I shaved a little off the head of the sleeve I could probably go down a size overall now that I think about it. I cut a Size C. For the 2nd one, I also changed the shape of the back yoke and the shape of the pockets.  These jacket styles are a great addition to your wardrobe, the pattern was fine, though I am curious to try Style Arc's jeans jacket to compare .... but then again that would probably never fit on my "list" for quite some time ...... know what I mean?

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Tessuti Entry

Well, hello there!! I haven't blogged for ages .... I'm not going to bore you with details, just super busy.  Here is the dress I made for the 2012 Tessuti Dress Award, this year the theme is "Spots and Stripes."

Fabric is 100% Silk Gorgette - Red River Salt, with some Black Rayon for the contrast and Spot Tulle in the skirt and sleeve caps.  Pattern designed and drafted by ME!!! Yes, ME! Garment is self lined and constructed with French Seams throughout ..... many, many teeny tiny French Seams, and there is satin bias binding finishing where a teeny tiny French Seam was not appropriate. You may have noticed by now that it's not me in the photos!!! Ah yes, I've gone to great expense to recruit a lovely Size 10 - and isn't she great?!!!

So, if you've got a spare minute up your puffy sleeve, head on over, check out all the lovely entries,  and vote for my dress in the People's Choice Awards - ta!! Voting ends 10th OCTOBER, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sewing Leather Workshop

Firstly, I know I've got quite a bit of catching up to do .... you've probably been as busy as me, so there's no need to gabble on about excuses ...... Secondly, thanks so much to my merry band of regular comment makers - a small, select group  - but since I've completely slackened off reading blogs and leaving comments, I very much appreciate those of you who do take the time to leave some words of encouragement / suggestions - So THANKS!!!!

Also thanks for all of your comments and suggestions about Photo Sharing options as per my previous post .... I will definitely have to start resizing my photos - which programs do you recommend to do that? I'll also look into the various photo sharing options - I really have no problem paying - it's just that it's a monthly payment, and from what I read there are no refunds, and I just don't know if that goes on for the rest of your life - and what happens when I die??? It's a weird kind of set up .....  I have a Flickr account, but had trouble uploading images from there onto here - the message said that I might have a password or something that is stopping the load - but I don't have privacy restrictions - just the usual login password thingo - ahhh - very confusing!!! Anyway, somehow I managed to add some photos to this post, and I didn't get the error message I got last night - it may be my last!

A while ago now, I did a leather sewing workshop with the ASG on the Central Coast (NSW). Ronda Braybrook was our teacher, and she's quite the know how person when it comes to sewing - she wore a beautiful soft blue leather jacket and she even intentionally left one of the lining seams open so that we could have a sneaky peek inside her jacket - how good is that?? She also had a helper  (who's name I've forgotten - sorry) and she wore a very cool leather jacket as well - so these girls really knew what they were talking about!

After discussing the types of leather and where to buy, we did some samples experimenting with thread and needle types.

And then we made this little wristlet bag - cute hey! I purchased this leather on the Pattern Review shopping weekend in Sydney ..... looking to more adventures with leather.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photo Storage

As I was preparing a post today, I received a message that my photo storage was full, and that I was required to pay for extra photo storage capacity.  The cost was $2.49 per month ..... reasonable enough, I suppose ...... but for how long? Has anyone else come across this in Blogland? And if we start paying the monthly fee, and continue to publish,  then decide to stop paying ..... does all of our blog work disappear?

I'd be interested in your thoughts and the alternatives ......    I'd insert a photo but ....... oops !!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Recent sewing at TAFE included a Pinafore. They provided a Size 12 pattern, and it did not fit me, so I added a centimetre to the side seams and a centimetre to the seam at the bodice.

I'm not sure what the fabric is, TAFE provided it, but it's a winter weight, possibly acrylic / polyester. I omitted the facings and added a full lining. I'm having lots of trouble uploading photos that have been rotated from Landscape to Portrait - kind of weird ..... so this photo isn't the best.... there are side panels and a front and back bodice - we cut the side panels on the bias, and made sure the stripes lined up at the front and back. Here's a photo with Big Louis - look how much he loves being held and cuddled!!

Anyway, I thought I'd make another one. Fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics. There is an invisible zipper at the back, and we've been taught to insert invisible zips in a different way than we usually do it, that is, don't sew the seam, insert the zip, then sew the seam. Here's what we do ...... Mark a point about 2.5cm up from the end of the zipper tab - when the zipper is undone. That will be the point to which you sew the CB seam, with a 1.5cm seam allowance.

The pin shows the top of the zipper puller, so mark a line 2.5cm above and sew from that point to the hem for the CB seam.

This photo shows the lining pulled up to show the interfacing fused to the neck and armhole area, and a strip of interfacing fused to the wrong side along the CB to support the zip.
This photo shows the CB seam sewn ready for zipper insertion.

The zipper coils are placed 1.5cm from the raw edge, which means the edge of the zipper runs along the edge of the overlocking.
This is the end - and you can sew as far as the beginning of the CB seam, so there's a fair length of zipper tail that is not sewn.
At the junction where the upper bodice and skirt meets, I hand tacked the zipper in place just for a few centimetres. Ready for the other side to be inserted, of course, if there was no junction in your pattern, you would not do this.
Ahhh , not perfect : (
So here's the tail - stitch the ends to the seam allowances of the seam. So the point is, you don't have to change feet back to the regular zipper foot to finish the process, seam done, zipper in!
OK, incredibly frustrating that I can't load these photos properly ..... so tilt your head to the right.........

And I am now sending feedback to Google ...... happy sewing!