A Creative Career, Fancy Lady Industries

My plastic jewellery empire.

21 October, 2016

I’ve been so busy, and I’m starting to feel I’ve been through a hypomanic episode. My ideas are amazing, I’m a powerhouse, so pure, so fresh, look at this rad shit I’m making, I don’t ever need to sleep! Since I’ve been treated for bipolar I’m pretty much on an even keel but this recent activity is truly outrageous.

Home time! Met some lovely people, sold some jewellery.

A photo posted by 🔼 illuminatalie 🔼 (@definatalie) on

I have moved my shop to etsy. Why? Well for years I resisted because I wanted to do it on my own, but I’ve come to the realisation that etsy is a powerful platform with a huge market and search facility. I’ve also started going to markets to try and spruik my wares; and it’s been interesting so far. I’m still trying to find the perfect fit for my shop and items but the experience has been invaluable.

A Teddy Bear Bee necklace and brooch set made out of laser cut black and gold glitter acrylic, available on Fancy Lady Industries

A Teddy Bear Bee necklace and brooch set made out of laser cut black and gold glitter acrylic, available on Fancy Lady Industries

Laser cut moth, bee and wasp brooches amongst flower and honeycomb cell earrings, available on Fancy Lady Industries

Laser cut moth, bee and wasp brooches amongst flower and honeycomb cell earrings, available on Fancy Lady Industries

Some of my unicorn, moth and flamingo necklaces with a poodle brooch, all made from laser cut black and silver holographic glitter acrylic available on Fancy Lady Industries.

Some of my unicorn, moth and flamingo necklaces with a poodle brooch, all made from laser cut black and silver holographic glitter acrylic available on Fancy Lady Industries.

A vintage lilac velvet bumbag with long white fringing, available on Fancy Lady Industries.

A vintage lilac velvet bumbag with long white fringing, available on Fancy Lady Industries.

Some bird wing dangly earrings made from laser cut black and gold glitter acrylic available on Fancy Lady Industries.

Bird wing dangly earrings made from laser cut black and gold glitter acrylic available on Fancy Lady Industries.

Currently out of stock, but new gold glitter fat necklaces coming soon!

Currently out of stock, but new gold glitter fat necklaces coming soon!

I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the response to my new items. Things are going so well! Some of the jewellery items sell out before I can blink, it’s just so heartening to see the positive response to the things I design.

The peaceful dove design I have created to raise money for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, available to pre-order until Monday 24 October 2016.

The peaceful dove design I have created to raise money for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, available to pre-order until Monday 24 October 2016.

Currently I’m doing a pre-sale for the Peaceful Dove, available as a necklace or brooch. The profits will be going to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, a wonderful organisation that advocates for and supports Australian asylum seekers and refugees. The pieces will be laser cut and etched from bamboo, and I’m incredibly proud to be able to do this. The asylum seeker and refugee situation in Australia is dire, and I’m passionate about creating a more humane Australian response to a global problem. The Australian Government and opposition use these vulnerable people as political pawns, and the offshore detention prisons are horrid places where human rights abuses happen ever increasingly. Amnesty International has rightly called out the appalling abuse and neglect on Manus and Nauru prisons; this situation is a shameful reflection on Australia.

If you don’t need a necklace or brooch, please consider donating to the ASRC directly.

So that’s where I’m at. Now you’re up to date!

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Fashion, sewing

“Just Make Your Own” – How Sewing Is Not A Panacea For RTW Fashion

3 September, 2016

When you are superfat your sewing pattern options are limited, just like in RTW clothing. It’s frustrating trying to find cute patterns but even more annoying when people tell me to just sew clothes myself because RTW clothes aren’t readily available in my size. Sewing people just tell me to “grade it up” if I ask about a pattern size being unavailable to me, but that takes ages and I get angry that I have to do it.

I made the Cashmerette Upton dress with some beautiful pink and purple floral fabric that has a chocolate background. I moved the gathers to the hip, and sewed in my own tag that says “Made By Natalie”.

Things I do when I sew my own clothes

  • More often than not I am grading up at least two sizes from the largest size (indie designer size 26 and big 4 size 32w). The pictured Upton dress has been graded up two sizes.
  • Forward and sloping shoulder alteration.
  • Full bust alteration.
  • Bust dart lowering.
  • Make the front hem longer to allow for my big belly.
  • Raise the waist line to allow for my high waist and belly comfort.
  • Large belly alteration.
  • Retrace the altered pattern for continued use.
  • A muslin always for each new pattern.
  • Enough ease to pull dresses over my head rather than use a zip I can’t reach.
  • Cotton lining to add comfort and fanciness.
  • For Nick I enlarge the collar, narrow the shoulders, shorten the sleeves and do a large belly alteration.
  • Add my own sewing label that makes me feel like I am wearing a beautiful garment I could have bought off the rack if such magical racks existed.

Sewing is a skill, fitting is a skill, pattern grading is a skill. I have taught myself these skills because I need to do it, but I also have the aptitude for sewing and the fairly dire need for clothing. Lots of superfat people do not have sewing skills or the time/ resources to acquire these skills. It’s unfair to tell them that their only option is sew their own clothes if RTW sizes are unavailable, and even if they do sew, the pattern sizing is similarly non-inclusive.

Here is Nick wearing a Simplicity 4975 shirt with short sleeves, made out of a gorgeous pink hibiscus on black background print. Miffy is an unwilling participant in this photo.

Here is Nick wearing a Simplicity 4975 shirt with short sleeves, made out of a gorgeous pink hibiscus on black background print. Miffy is an unwilling participant in this photo.

It’s not enough for me to just sew my own clothes. I need to do a number of pattern alterations to get a comfortable fit, because sewing my own clothes is not an alternative option if I’m just going to end up with too-small, ill-fitting clothes I can buy off the one or two racks available to me. The same fat-stigmatising nonsense goes on in sewing patterns that does in RTW fashion.

sewing

23 Easy Steps To Making A Dress. The Result? Worship Her Efforts Or Fear Her Wrath.

14 August, 2016
  1. How to sew a dress...I want to make a dress! I WANT TO MAKE A DRESS AND I MUST MAKE A DRESS
  2. Which pattern? Ugh now I have to pore over pattern reviews.
  3. GUH, now I’ve got to cut it out.
  4. I suppose I should make a muslin.
  5. Every finger must be stabbed with pins. The world will pay for this injustice.Sewing maths
  6. Muslin finished. Disaster. Let’s make it work. Let’s alter the pattern in a billion ways. Full bust adjustment, forward shoulder adjustment, sway back adjustment, lengthen skirt. Just kill me so I don’t have to wear any more clothes.
  7. Second muslin. Eh it’s ok. Time to butcher my good fabric.
  8. But what fabric? This one! Oh not enough yardage. I guess this one then.Finger prick
  9. Position pattern pieces. Meditate on the best way to minimise yardage. More fingers pricked. Blood. Cursing. Screaming. Damning these sharp but indispensable pins to heck.
  10. I bloody hate this. I hate sewing. I need a break. Watch some netflix.
  11. Stare at the fabric. Cut out the fabric. Mark the goddamn notches and darts. This is the worst. I don’t know why I wanted to do this. Whose idea was this? Why can’t I fit into ready to wear clothing? A pox on the fashion designers who don’t think I exist. You’ll regret your entire life when I die and haunt you in the nude.
  12. God I hate sewing darts. Pressing.
  13. This is going to be so great. I’m going to look amazing. Everyone will love me sick.
  14. Try on bodice without a bra. It’s ok. I guess, if pendulous boobs ever become fashionable.
  15. Skip putting clothes back on because I’m only going to be taking them off again to try the bloody thing on again. It’s 1am, no one will see.When you make a sewing mistake
  16. Catch an entire swathe of fabric in the seam. Fall to knees and cry.
  17. Break time. Watch 6 episodes of Wentworth. Can not possibly face the situation I have created. Bed.
  18. Wake up and remember the dress. Resign one’s self to a solemn day of unpicking, sewing and finishing. I am a powerful woman and I can beat this garment into submission.
  19. The hem. Fuck the hem it’s time to read facebook. Paste a few links to Snopes articles and feel like shitty no-fun daughter and niece. Everyone must suffer when I sew.
  20. Ugh the hem. After dinner. And three hours of tv.
  21. Stare at the nearly complete dress. Hang it up. Let’s do it.
  22. Hem the dress. Immediately strip, and put it on before surveying the bra-free catastrophe before you in the mirror. Grudgingly put the bra on. And…Compliment me when I finish my damned dress damnit
  23. The dress. It is done. I am a genius. Pure and brilliant. A vision. Please compliment me. I love sewing and I’m so passionate about this, I’m going to make at least 10 more from this pattern.

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For Sale, sewing

Sew all the bumbags.

25 May, 2016

A month or so ago I wanted to make a bumbag. I just thought it was a cool idea for walking so I didn’t have to jeopardise all my stuff, like phone and keys, when bending down to pick up Miffy’s carelessly deposited droppings. Then I thought a bumbag would be cool for all kind of occasions, especially for people who wear clothes without pockets (womens’ clothing I’m looking at YOU!) Someone suggested it’d help them out a lot for baby wearing. And another person wanted one just because it looked cool. I also wanted to sew bumbags to fit fat people, because so many of the bumbags I looked at didn’t have waist bands long enough to fit us.

Total Bumbag sewing pattern

My Total Bumbag pattern had to have a 1980s style promotional image!

So I decided to make a pattern for the bumbags I’d been making so I could share the love and bring the humble bumbag back from the 80s! You can purchase the pattern here if you’re interested. The pattern includes pieces to make bumbags for adults and kids as well as in depth instructions.

Lil Bumbag

The apple print kid’s bumbag and amazing pink digital print leggings I made for my niece.

People who didn’t sew then wanted bumbags. I made a couple and they sold almost immediately! Then I made more! I opened an etsy store to sell them (also because I am experimenting with the benefits of selling through etsy vs selling on fancyladyindustries.com) and I listed a bunch the other day!

That’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve also been sewing other things, like clothes, but I haven’t had time to take nice photos.

 

The front view of my Pastel Leopard bumbag. I love this fabric! It's a taupe leopard print on cream with mint in the centre of the leopard spots.

The front view of my Pastel Leopard bumbag. I love this fabric! It’s a taupe leopard print on cream with mint in the centre of the leopard spots.

The rear view of my Muffin print bumbag features a zippered pocket for stashing important things.

The rear view of my Muffin print bumbag features a zippered pocket for stashing important things.

This bumbag uses a William Morris print in pastel pinks, creams and blues. I adore it! I've popped my beat up Samsung s5 in the bag to show scale. These bags will fit your phone, keys and a little purse.

This bumbag uses a William Morris print in pastel pinks, creams and blues. I adore it! I’ve popped my beat up Samsung s5 in the bag to show scale. These bags will fit your phone, keys and a little purse.

This bumbag uses an adorable pink and cream floral/ hearts Lecian print in two colourways.

This bumbag uses an adorable pink and cream floral/ hearts Lecian print in two colourways.

Some of these fabrics I can’t get more of so they’re quite limited. But I work in a fabric shop and am eternally scouting for new cute prints so more bumbags are on the way!

Check out my bumbag shop!

sewing

Meet Tilly the Singer!

10 March, 2016

At the end of last year I wanted a new machine. Something probably not brand new, but a little younger than my lovely Pfaff. I started saving up money and gazed wistfully at advertisements for Berninas. One day I decided to take stock of my life and realised I had a Husqvarna, only a few years old, sitting in the garage… her power cords all chewed up thanks to a mischievous dog who shall not be named. It was not sewing properly so I’d stowed it behind a couch, the same couch Miffy hid behind during thunderstorms. She’s not normally a cord chewer, but she must have taken to it in her fits of anxiety. Thanks, Miffy.

I took the Husqy into work to send it to the sewing machine repair guy, thinking I’d have the mod con I really wanted (automatic button holes!) while still using the Pfaff as my regular machine. I’d put off buying a new machine until I could afford a really, really you-beaut-bloody-ripper bit of  kit. Yes, I would do that.

Unfortunately it seems as if the power cord on the Husqy is going to be problematic to replace (I’m yet to properly talk to the repair guy since I’ve been sick and busy) so… I decided to do something entirely sensible and buy a machine that can only sew in a straight line. No automatic button holes. No zig zag. It’s actually older than my own parents.

It's a 1949 Singer 201k!

It’s a 1949 Singer 201k!

NO REGRETS! Meet Tilly. (I finally saw The Dressmaker, ha!)

I found her on Gumtree and she was $95. I don’t know if that’s a good price, but she was the cheapest of the 201 models I saw listed. The guy I bought her off was probably younger than me, and sews camping bags and other hefty stuff. Perfect. I need a machine that can sew through my leg and is adorable and doesn’t have automatic button holes… oh dear.

BUT THE STITCHING. The 201k is renowned for its perfectly lovely stitch.

BUT THE STITCHING. The 201 is renowned for its perfectly lovely stitch.

 

I'm a sucker for old manuals!

I’m a sucker for old manuals!

She came with all the manuals (from 1949!) and a bunch of feet, as well as a bag of random bias binding and threads. My mother-in-law gave me a few Singer feet some months ago, and I was bummed at the time that my high shank Pfaff couldn’t use the ruffler, but now I can ruffle my butt off.

Get a load of that ruffling foot! It's a hell of a contraption but once I got over the fear of having my fingers gnashed I managed to make some great ruffles in no time at all.

Get a load of that ruffling foot! It’s a hell of a contraption but once I got over the fear of having my fingers gnashed I managed to make some great ruffles in no time at all.

Seriously, who wants me to ruffle something for them?

I’ve been planning on sewing more purses and bags and now I can do that without fearing my Pfaff will combust. It’s a wonderful machine but now I’ve seen what the Singer can sew through, it’s definitely my go-to-guy for heavy duty stitching. I’m also going to use it for top stitching because I’d be a fool not to showcase that sexy, sexy stitch quality.

Now I just need a bigger sewing desk. And one capable of holding up my three all-metal sewing beasts!

sewing

Hanky hems for a stuffed up week.

9 March, 2016
IMG_20160301_224044

My first hanky hem t-shirt of the week as modeled by my dress form. The black and white swallow print cotton/ jersey from Darn Cheap Fabrics is bordered by a panel of black mesh along the front hem.

Last week I went into a bit of a hanky hem t-shirt frenzy. I had two I’d made a few months ago, but I wanted to make some more after my boss complimented me on one I was wearing! Funnily enough, I’ve had a head cold and last week I was working 5 days, but somehow I decided it was an appropriate time to sit at my sewing machine and sniff, cough and splutter my way through the night as I sewed hanky hems.

In this my dress form is wearing another hanky hem t-shirt, sewn up in some jasmine photo print jersey I bought from work.

In this my dress form is wearing another hanky hem t-shirt, sewn up in some jasmine photo print jersey I bought from work.

The pattern is one I based on a dartless fitted t-shirt block by Connie Crawford, given to me by a friend a few years ago. It’s no longer available on her site, but you can adapt a t-shirt pattern you already have, or trace a t-shirt you own and draft the pattern.

My probably-not-industry-compliant pattern diagram illustrates how to adapt a t-shirt to have a hanky hem.

My probably-not-industry-compliant pattern diagram illustrates how to adapt a t-shirt to have a hanky hem.

To start with, take your front and back pattern pieces. Mark the hip line of each piece, then draw a horizontal line out from that hip line on your front pattern piece. You can continue that line into eternity if you so please, it will result in more dangly side bits as they drop and essentially form a longer, flared, side seam. Smooth that angle into a nice curve. Copy your alteration to the back piece.

The bottom hem of the t-shirt will have a waterfall effect and if you’re using a knit, you can usually get away with not hemming it at all. I lengthened my t-shirt so it was tunic length.  I like the casual look of it. I finished my necklines with a band, and this tutorial shows you how to do that. You can also finish the sleeves with a band, but I used my twin needle.

The hanky hem can also be applied to patterns for woven fabrics too. Choose a fabric with a soft hand and lots of drape if you want your t-shirt to gently flutter over your hips, but if you prefer an architectural silhouette you could go for a more stiff or heavier fabric. This is why sewing is awesome, you can create different things from the same starting block!

Here are some kind of shoddy instagram photos of me in my hanky hem tops. There just hasn’t been time enough to take nice photos with the good camera!

In my backyard (the trees are huge now!) wearing my black and white swallow t-shirt with some black cropped pants.

In my backyard (the trees are huge now!) wearing my black and white swallow t-shirt with some black cropped pants.

 

My boss took this photo of me at work, hence the lovely bolts of fabric! I'm wearing the jasmine print t-shirt here, and forcing myself to smile through the streams of constant snot!!

My boss took this photo of me at work, hence the lovely bolts of fabric! I’m wearing the jasmine print t-shirt here, and forcing myself to smile through the streams of constant snot!!

body acceptance, Body Image, sewing

True story: I sew my own pads.

23 February, 2016

[Content note: this post discusses menstruation and sanitary products.]

I switched to a menstrual cup a few years ago and never looked back. I’m not the most ardent environmentalist in the world but packaging waste makes me feel anxious, and knowing how many plastic wrappers I was sending into landfill didn’t sit well with me. Another bonus to switching to a reusable menstrual product: saving money. I love saving money, because it means I can spend it on other things that I might not have otherwise had the money for.

When my shoulder and back pain got really bad a year ago, it was harder to use the cup; panic would overtake me as I squatted in the shower unable to extract it. It was going to stay inside me forever. And ever. This immovable cup would cause a back up of uterine lining and I would one day squirt blood out of my eyes like that horned lizard from The X Files. Or I could ask Nick to help me. Both options were terrifying.

In my transition to reusable menstrual products I came across cloth pads and dismissed them largely because it seemed like a hassle to clean them. I wasn’t a hippie, just a poor lefty feminist, and cloth pads were at the bridge before you got to moon paintings. After realising I couldn’t continue with the cup due to my shoulder I remembered cloth pads and did a bunch of research.

There are lots of positives about using cloth pads: cheaper, reduced rubbish, sewing/ buying your own customised pads is fun, tailored pads to suit your body shape, cloth feels nicer than plastic, no adhesive/ plastic rashes,  you’ve always got a stash handy, plus more and more. Some people say their cramping and period length are reduced but no studies conclusively prove this, nor have I experienced this. At the end of the day, if you find something that works for you, then that’s all that matters.

For a bunch of fabric sewn together and wrapped around your underwear gusset, cloth pads can be completely confusing. I’ve sewn since I was 15 but this was a new world of absorbancy, dryness, leakproofness, and of all things… press snaps. It can involve quite an initial outlay of money for specialty materials but when you work out the cost per pad, then a cost per use, it becomes more affordable. I wanted to Do Everything Right. I didn’t want surprise leaks or traveling pads landing on the floor.

PADS in SPACE!

My first three pads were made from a planet print blue flannelette, a black floral brushed cotton, and a star print blue flannelette.

There are many patterns for pads available online, but since I’m fat I didn’t want to mess around. I traced the crotch of my own underwear and added wings long enough to wrap around the gusset and close with a press snap. I put about six layers of cotton fleece and microfleece inside as the core, topped it with flannel and backed it with PUL (a waterproof fabric), using this tutorial as a rough guide. Then I got out my hammer and made a lot of noise inserting the snaps. Voila! My debut on the cloth pad scene.

People make cloth pads out of all kinds of fabric. I have even seen Minion and Donald Trump pads. I can’t quite tell if it’s because they like the subject matter… or really hate them. My work has stocked really cute flannelette in the last year so I’ve been able to get some great prints! Some people prefer using quilting cotton for the pad top, because of the range of prints available, but you can also use old clothing. I got really anxious about the core fabrics when I started and bought some stuff called microfleece; apparently it’s more of a wicking fabric and not an absorbent fabric so may have a tendency to leak under compression. It’s worked fine for me. In fact, so long as there is some kind of fabric there and you swap it out every so often, you probably won’t leak even if you don’t buy specialty fabrics.

Two of my space print pads - these are an all-in-one style with the core layers sandwiched between flannel (top) and PUL (backing).

Two of my space print pads – these are an all-in-one style with the core layers sandwiched between flannel (top) and PUL (backing).

If you’re sewing your first couple of pads don’t focus too much on getting just the “right” fabrics, just give it a go. The esoteric language of the world of cloth pad making really puts many people off! Gather some flannelette, polar fleece, regular cotton fleece and some press snaps. You don’t need those fancy resin snaps and a big commercial snap press. Metal snaps, a setting tool and a hammer do just as well. Down the track you might want to experiment with stuff like Zorb, Windpro and PUL fabric but to begin just use the most accessible materials. I found it too easy to get overwhelmed, and the only reason why I didn’t give up is because I did not want to go back to disposable pads.

And how have I found my cloth pads after nearly a year of use? They are very effective. I haven’t bled on any couches or skirts; and the cleaning process isn’t as gross as I thought it’d be. I stash my used pads in a bag under the sink and wash them every couple of days; first wash is cold with regular detergent and any oxy-action product, then second wash is hot with more detergent and sometimes borax. I am not too fussed with stains, honestly, but a big bake in the sun does wonders for lifting much of it. I remember the sickly smell of used disposable pads and was very surprised that used cloth pads smelt different. Not scent free, but not terrible either.

If you don’t have access to a sewing machine or find the idea of making your own pads too scary, you can always buy some ready-made ones from the hundreds of pad makers on etsy. There are so many different designs and shapes! It may seem like the price is expensive but remember, with proper care you’ll be using these pads for years.

The eighteen exposed core cloth pads I made this weekend. They feature flannelette tops with lollies and sweets, dogs with sunglasses, and sweet little fern prints.

The eighteen exposed core cloth pads I made this weekend, based on my original pattern but refined a little. They feature flannelette tops with lollies and sweets, dogs with sunglasses, and sweet little fern prints.

This past weekend I had a terrible sinus headache and I wanted something mindless to do, so I cut out a bunch of material and attempted to make a second style of pads to add to my stash. I wanted to attempt an “exposed core” style, and I wanted to try my hardest to produce a nice outcome. My first pads were hastily sewn and I didn’t iron a damn seam. This time I spent ages at the ironing board, and the result is a less bulky and far crisper looking pad. In fact, 18 cloth pads in total. And then I spent a morning hammering in snaps while Nick was watching Daytona (HA!)

Three of the new exposed core pads. I used up some plain cotton fabric for the wings and put my lollies and sweets and puppies in sunnies flannel on top. These didn't have snaps installed.

Three of the new exposed core pads. I used up some plain cotton fabric for the wings and put my lollies and sweets and puppies in sunnies flannel on top. These didn’t have snaps installed.

I could probably write about this forever, but I’m wary of completely inundating you with TMI. I got a lot of advice from the Sewing Cloth Menstrual Pads group on fb, they have an extensive knowledge library in the files with a lot of free patterns, and the admins work very hard to make it a trans inclusive space. Obsidian’s Reusable Menstrual Products site has a wealth of information too.

For my next set of pads I might try toning the toxic levels of cuteness down. I certainly won’t be sewing Minions, Donald Trump or any of Australia’s wretched political leaders into my cloth pads. My vagina is too precious for that.

Art, Body Image

Girth Guides are online!

1 February, 2016

A few years ago I wanted to create a club for fat activists called Girth Guides. I love coming up with cute names for things and after I stopped patting myself on the back I registered the domain and swore I’d do something with it. My vision was an online gathering place for activists to seek community and a bit of support, a place where they could take a break from the public and private activism work that all too often leads to burn out.

Shortly afterwards I experienced a mental breakdown and burnt out myself. Life became mostly about protecting myself and I ceased doing interviews and public writing and even meeting up with people and going to events. I never stopped my personal activism, and I never stopped experiencing fat stigma. It is a perpetual work, and it IS work. Many people don’t think they are doing labour when they are resisting and questioning systemic abuse and neglect. It takes a toll.

Girth Guides: Patches for Fat Activists

Girth Guides: Patches for Fat Activists

Last year I saw how many artists were producing their work in patches and I remembered Girth Guides. I remembered the reason why I wanted to belong, and why I wanted a recognition of my work; so with the encouragement of my friends and peers I started to create artwork for merit patches – a small part of the concept for Girth Guides but the most tangible element.

The idea was that people could validate their own experience and reward themselves for their merit. It’s about recognising how we struggle and survive and overcome. There is no measure of fatness or activism, no hurdles to jump or litmus tests.

The original Girth Guide patch collection

The original Girth Guide patch collection

After an amazing crowdfunding campaign on Pozible, I was able to get 14 patches made and now I have distributed the rewards to my generous supporters I’m super pumped to announce they are now available on Fancy Lady Industries to purchase!

My personal pink collector's sash modelled by my dress form. The whole collection of Girth Guides patches have been sewn on.

My personal pink collector’s sash modelled by my dress form. The whole collection of Girth Guides patches have been sewn on.

There’s a limited amount of collector’s sashes (if demand requires, I can make more!) and because I have some ultra special Patron of the Fats patches left over, I’m going to include one when you order the complete collection of patches in one transaction. These patches were offered for the very highest tier of pledges for the Pozible campaign and due to ordering minimums I do have leftovers but I do want to maintain exclusivity!

So please, join me in the Girth Guides and recognise your own merit!

Fashion, sewing

Unicorns and daisies and rainbows, oh my!

21 December, 2015

It’s been a year. A pretty good year. So good in fact I simply haven’t had time for blogging, but I’ve still been making things. Lately I’m wondering why I’m not showing them off more; so I thought I may as well get back into the blogging habit especially when I’ve made this incredible dress that I feel needs the Nobel Peace Prize.

This fabric is a guide to better living. Unicorns with pink and blue manes, rainbows, butterflies, flowers and the odd sparkle.

This fabric is a guide to better living. Unicorns with pink and blue manes, rainbows, butterflies, flowers and the odd sparkle.

I found this trippy unicorn fabric on a facebook destash group and snapped up 3 metres so quickly I got a nose bleed. I had no idea what I was going to use it for but every cell in my body craved it. A few months later I saw that Modcloth had a dress made out of EXACTLY the same print. So I knew I had to make a dress. But not that dress. My kind of dress.

I cobbled together my own pattern out of the SBCC Mimosa blouse, and a simple A-line skirt. The narrow width of the fabric (112 cm wide fabric is not kind to the plus size sewist) meant my skirt had to have a few degrees shaved off the A-line angle but in the end the difference was negligible. I didn’t quite have enough fabric for the raglan sleeves so I used a yellow cotton I bought from my work and trimmed the waist with some bias of the same fabric to tie it all in. I feel like the contrast sleeve works for me because the print is a whole lot of something that could easily scare off regular, boring people.

Your hero wears a magical unicorn dress with pale yellow sleeves, a beehive and a pink flower in her hair.

Your hero wears a magical unicorn dress with pale yellow sleeves, a beehive and a pink flower in her hair.

I wore it on my birthday yesterday to a casual family lunch. Of course.

Hands on hips, I'm dedicated to unicorns. (Oh have you seen my arm tattoo coloured in? That happened earlier in the year.)

Hands on hips, I’m dedicated to unicorns. (Oh have you seen my arm tattoo coloured in? That happened earlier in the year.)

Taking outfit photos is still mildly embarrassing. That feeling just doesn't go away, does it?

Taking outfit photos is still mildly embarrassing. That feeling just doesn’t go away, does it?

I told Nick I needed a new headshot for my internet endeavours and he kindly obliged.

I told Nick I needed a new headshot for my internet endeavours and he kindly obliged.

This dress was made for eating whole cakes with novelty oversized dessert spoons.

This dress was made for eating whole cakes with novelty oversized dessert spoons.

I really do need to formally document my crafting and making more. Perhaps I will make that my 2016 resolution.

sewing

Purple Stain, Purple Stain.

15 April, 2015

I have been doing a LOT of things but I keep forgetting to blog about them. Once upon a time I would be quite distressed by this but I’m ok with it these days!

So I’ve offered to make a very special dress for a friend and a part of that dress is some lovely lace that we needed to dye purple. I assumed the lace was cotton and went ahead and plopped it in some RIT dye but the result was entirely lavender… meaning my lace was actually polyester!

Preparing to dye a bunch of things with iDye Poly.

Preparing to dye a bunch of things with iDye Poly. The lavender lace is in the bowl soaking alongside some unsuspecting white fabrics.

I came across iDye Poly at The Place I Shall Not Name That Starts With S, as I say at work, and threw caution and $15 to the wind. It comes in a “no mess” soluble packet that meant I’d have to round up a bunch of stuff to dye or I’d waste a lot of good dye! Also there was mess. Parts of my laundry are forever purple. I hope that any future owner of this house has plans to incorporate lilac in the laundry.

I dyed my lace first because I wanted it to be as dark and vibrant as possible, throwing in a bit of bridal tulle as well because why the heck not? I had it on a low boil for nearly an hour, stirring regularly and accepting the fact that an incredibly strong chemical pong might well lead to cancer.

Purple lace - GET!

Purple lace – GET!

Victory!! Now to use up the rest of the dye pot. First some dodgy tied up polyester cheesecloth from my granma’s stash. I thought it’d end up with more light parts but I think soaking the fabric in water before tying it up meant the dye could permeate further into the nooks and crannies. I only boiled it for about 20 minutes because I was hungry and I still had to do another load! After that I did a remnant of some broderie anglaise, and not knowing how it’d turn out I had it on the boil for half an hour. The embroidery was certainly a synthetic thread but the base fabric could have been a cotton/ poly blend. The result was lovely but there must have been a bit of cotton in that base cloth because it was slightly muted. I still love it!

The "tie dyed" cheesecloth ended up as a tonal and mottled piece.

The “tie dyed” cheesecloth ended up as a tonal and mottled piece.

Off the line and on my table, the colours look darker inside at night time.

Off the line and on my table, the colours look darker inside at night time.

I will be going straight to iDye in the future. Today I found out my boss keeps her dye baths in sealed buckets so she can reuse them, so next time I don’t think I’ll feel the pressure to dye absolutely everything I can find!

My purpled laundry tub. The saucepan is fine!

My purpled laundry tub. The saucepan is fine!

What am I working on next? Well hopefully I will be able to show you a gorgeous dress in a few weeks! I’m also planning on sewing some more men’s shirts, this time for a friend. I’ve been trying to pad out my dress form and sew a cover for her, but that’s turning out to be challenging. Tune in next time for… less purple blogging.