THE OH MY GOD MY ASS FITS SHORTS


Ok, let's get two things out of the way:

One, yes my hair is a natural barometer. 

Two, I am long. I can't think of a nicer word to use. Small girls get petite, busty get voluptuous, and us ganglore descendants of the brontosaurus get 'long.' If you can think of a nicer word, please let me know so I can abuse the crap outta it.


Anyway being long with a bubble butt means RTW shorts have always been a drama. Too tight around the waist, too flared on the thigh, too tight on the butt, too short everywhere resulting in something-I'm-too-scared-to-type-because-of-the-creepy-google-hits-it-will-attract. So why has it taken me so long to make a pair of shorts?


I DON'T KNOW GUYS MAYBE BECAUSE I'M A GIANT GANGLORE DOOFUS HEAD WHO HAS BECOME USED TO LOOKING LIKE I'M WEARING UNCOMFORTABLE DENIM KNICKERS.


This is the first pair of Grainline Maritime shorts but there will be more because I'm moving. Or travelling? I'm not sure. I've transferred my confusion about shorts to more fundamental life stuff like what my address will be and how long I can go without washing my jeans. Whatever happens it means three things:

1. I need to make some travel friendly clothes, especially more pairs of shorts that don't make me feel violated after wearing them for a full day,

2. I need to burn through my stash,

3. There's a few countries on the list so I might be knocking down your door very soon. Expect some ganglore cuddles.


The deets
The pattern: Grainline Maritime
Fabric: Awesome stretchy but stable cotton blend, which you might remember from here
Notions: 1 zip (as per Jen's instructions, which was a new method for me. Lots of head scratching) and a button.  I used my new button chisel (is that what it's called?) that I got in Utah from Sunni's shop. That thing is spectacular.
Changes made: I did a total cheater move on these babes & tried on Sophie's maritime shorts on first. This meant no muslin. Heaven. So I cut a size 6 and did:

  • a big-booty-adjustment
  • removed 1.5" from the centre back of the waist & waistbands
  • lengthened the hem 1"
  • lengthened the crotch / torso / seat (?) ½"
  • removed the back pockets as I want to get the booty fit right first

Next time: Remove some flare from the thigh, make a teeny bigger big-booty-adjustment, and hopefully a neater zip now that I get what the heckaroonie is going on there. But seriously I adore these and don't plan on wearing anything else for a while.
Worn with: Sportscraft flamingo shirt


Thanks to Harriet for taking these photos for me! x

2013 IN REVIEW

I'm loving everyone's resolution & review posts, so I thought I'd contribute my own. So long 2013!

Favourite Pattern
By Hand London's Georgia Dress, but Grainline's Archer Shirt came a very, very close 2nd. 

Favourite Mens Pattern
Thread Theory's Jedediah shorts. I've made 4, yes four, pairs so far. Only one pair has been blogged, but others have made an appearance on instagram

Most Viewed Sewing Post
My One Pattern, Seven Bloggers dress was 2013's most viewed & commented sewing post. This also counts as the most fun sewing challenge; I love all of the ladies who took part and even got to meet a few.

Favourite Pattern Hack
The Harriet Scout Dress has become such a well-worn staple that it's starting to fade. This also inspired my first tutorial

Saddest R.I.P
I have no idea what happened. I pre-washed, I took care of it, but it shrunk. Let's move on, I can't even talk about it. It's just too raw. 

Most Worn
It's a tie between the tiki skirt, which has been heaven in this heat, and the WWCD dress that I made as part of the Sew Bossy Initiative. Side note if you haven't done Sew Bossy yet, get on it.  

Biggest Flop
The one, two, three Laurel garments win, without doubt, the 2013 biggest flop award because I made three - three! - before realising a fundamental fitting flaw rendering them unwearable. *Sob*. 

There's too much room in the back of the shoulders and too little in the front, forcing me to either hunch or be strangled. It's not a choice I can make. 

Most Swear Word Inducing
Earlier this year I was honoured to be a pattern tester for Heather Lou's Bombshell Swimsuit. My complete affection for Heather Lou & experience in proofing (it's part of my IRL job) meant I took the task seriously. Wanting to get a good idea for the pattern I made only one fitting modification (lengthened the waist) and proceeded to make one of the sexiest, well made muslins this sewing room has ever seen. 

The instructions were clear and the fit was lovely - I made a swimsuit! Well, a muslin of a swimsuit. So after giving my feedback I proceeded to make the real deal with a delicious Tigerlilly swimsuit fabric. 

The problem, I later discovered, is that a significantly firmer fabric resulted in a significantly smaller fit. As the muslin was so well fitted I didn't fit the real-deal as I went and, once completed, I wouldn't let a little thing like size dupe me out of my new swimsuit. I forced it over my hips only to have my circulation slow. Then, I kid you not, I couldn't take it off. If it wasn't mid winter I would have resigned to living in the new swimsuit, perhaps stop eating so it would one day fit, but it was cold and my lips were turning blue. 

I couldn't get it off with Oli's help or in the shower so I made the tragic choice to cut it off. 

Please, if you take anything from this post let it be a visual of me sobbing while cutting off a garment that made me look like a fleshy gherkin squeezed into a rubber band, and the reminder to make a muslin out of a similar weighted fabric. 

Most Viewed Food Post

Best Use of the Garden
I grew nearly all of the vegetables for the Potato Curry, even the coriander seeds! If that makes me sound a bit smug, well, I am. Last year I couldn't even get a potato to sprout, and this year I would have made my Irish ancestors proud. Potato Curry for everyone!

BLUEBERRY APPLE PIE ARCHER

It's Christmas day. The thermometer reads 32C. I have been treated to chilled blueberry gl├╝hwein, uncle Gary's famous glazed ham, and potato bake with the perfect crisp to cream ratio. I've received gifts, hugs, and a paper crown out of a faulty bon-bon. Packing hasn't progressed past emptying my wardrobe onto the bed then tottering off to get a green tea (digestion aid) and talk to you. Merry Christmas.  I hope you have a nice day, and if not I hope it gets better.

Oh, I also have a new shirt.


A little present to me, from me.

My friend Emily gifted me the fabric for my birthday and, with some very creative cutting, I managed to squeeze another Archer shirt out of it (see my first one here). I have no idea if the fabric pattern is really blueberries and apples, but it sounds pretty delicious.

I would have worn it for the photos but to be honest I'm stuffed - metaphorically and literally - and I wanted to post this before I leave in time for Archer Appreciation month. I really do appreciate this pattern, and I really do appreciate you. Merry Christmas / Festivus / Stuff-Yourself-Silly season x

The deets
Pattern: Grainline Archer 
Fabric: Liberty of London cotton (sorry I couldn't find it on their site) ETA: It looks like this is 'Apple' from a collection Jamie Oliver participated in. See the full range here (thanks Kristy!)
Notions: 8 buttons
Next Time: I was determined to make a classic shirt, and I'm so glad I did (I admit, I was tempted to add little bits here and there). So next time I'd like to go a little crazy with the details :)

POTATO CURRY


Growing food is fast becoming one of my most rewarding adventures. I've grown the gnarliest and sweetest tomatoes, harvested a seemingly endless supply of basil, and have been able to smugly announce "yes, this is a garden salad" to multiple dinner guests. And now, new potatoes.

New potatoes are harvested before their sugars have turned to starch, which results in a small but sweet potato that keeps its shape when cooked. They are nothing like my supermarket experience: small, leftover potatoes grouped and labelled as 'new'.



Some were steamed and served with a whisp of butter, others in salads, but a fair chunk went into one of our favourite and regular meals: potato curry. It's warm, it's satisfying, it's easy, and it's a great leftover. I hope it becomes one of your regulars, too. 



Potato Curry - Serves 4
Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme

Recipe Notes
I used a combination of sweet potato & kipfler potatoes for this, but you can use whatever you have available (even just potato like the original recipe). I like using waxy potatoes that hold their shape & don't go mooshy. If you're not using new potatoes, simply cut your potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

There's a few differences between this recipe & the original, one of which is steaming the potatoes instead of boiling. I do this for taste, texture, and to retain nutrients, but cook the potatoes however you prefer :)

Ingredients
Ghee or oil for cooking
1kg potatoes, scrubbed & cut *see note
1-2 cans crushed tomatoes
4+ cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, finely grated
4 tsp whole cumin seeds
4 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 large onion, peeled and finely diced
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
2 good pinches of rapaduran sugar
Dried chilli flakes, to taste

To Serve
Lemon wedges
Spring onions, sliced & coriander leaves
Toasted coconut
Coconut yoghurt

How to
Steam potatoes until tender. The time will depend on the size and age of your potatoes, but takes me ~15 minutes.

Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds until they're aromatic. Crush in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to a chunky powder.

Add some ghee to a large pot. Slowly cook the garlic, ginger, and onion for a few minutes over a medium heat for around 8-10 minutes, until onion is golden.

Add spices, salt, sugar, and chilli flakes. Stir well and cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the canned tomato, stir well and cook for 4-5 minutes until reduced and thick.

Add potatoes and stir well to coat them in the sauce, cook for 5-7 minutes to allow the flavour of the sauce to be absorbed into the potato. The sauce should be thick enough to cling to the potato.

Serve with lemon wedges, sliced spring onion and coriander leaves, and toasted coconut.

THE BIRTHDAY GEORGIA DRESS

It's my party, and I'll be fan-fucking-fabulous if I want to. 


If you follow my Instagram you would have seen this coming. How could you not? This fabric, an Italian stretch cotton from Tessuti, is radioactive in the best possible way. I splurged on it a little over a year ago and have been waiting for the perfect pattern ever since.


The Pattern
My my, what a beauty. I know I've been a bit gushy recently, praising every pattern that's popped up, but I want you to know my affection is genuine. By Hand London's Georgia is easier to make than its tailored shape and multiple pieces would have you believe. That is partly due to a great pattern (well designed, clear instructions, and matching notches), and partly because BHL's designs fit my shape & require minimal,  if any, alterations. They just get me, you know?

I cut a US6/UK10 in the bust and a US8/UK12 everywhere else. I took a further 6cm from the bust & ribs, perhaps because of the fabric's stretch, the pattern sizing, or not wearing a bra (probably not the latter as I used my high bust measurement).

For an authentic bombshell fit I could have taken it in all over, but I wanted something to wear to dinner without having to don spanx. Wow, that is the oldest sentence to appear on this blog. Soon I'll be talking about whipping up a pouch for my dentures.

I also tapered in the bottom because I think that's pretty bombshell-a-licious. (See, I'm still young! I'm relevant!)



Suggestions for making your own
  • Cut the bodice lining a touch smaller (~⅛" around edges) to help the shell roll & stop the lining from peeking out 
  • Under stitch the bodice lining (as suggested by sew busy lizzy)
  • If you want to go bra-less and are working with a less stable fabric, you could add a layer of wadding to the bodice pieces. For even more structure, add boning
  • The centre front of my bodice is a little twisted, even with stay stitching the pieces. Next time I'll add twill tape to help it keep its shape. Although the wadding, if using, might help.
  • My straps didn't want to stay pressed so I top stitched them & now I like the look. Also, if you're concerned about the under strap's fabric poking out (say, if you're using the a different fabric), cut them a touch smaller to help the upper fabric roll over (just like the bodice lining). 


So there you have it! The bombshell birthday dress. Named because, yes, I wore it to my birthday dinner. It was a day of bushwalking & blue cheese, and then a night of indulging at a ladies only surprise dinner that was so much fun that I woke up sore from smiling. I also woke with a sore head, which is bullshit. If there's one day you should be able to look like a vixen and indulge in champagne and cake without consequence, it's your birthday.

The deets
The pattern: By Hand London Georgia
Fabric: Italian stretch cotton from Tessuti - no longer available, but this one would be amazing
Notions: 1 regular zip - lapped. I like them better than invisible zips (what is suggested) and I think it helps the 60s bombshell vibe I was going for
Next time: As I said in the suggestions, I'd like to add wadding and stabilise the bust even though this fabric didn't really require it. I'd also love to try a version with cross over straps and an altered hemline
Worn with: Mimco shoes & champagne induced sass

DIY POCKET TABS

Thank you for your lovely comments on my Boyfriend Archer! I hope to finish more soon because I have been wearing it non-stop. People are going to start questioning if I actually have other shirts.

Here's a tutorial for how to add the pocket tabs. I think they look great on the Archer shirt, but would be adorable added to pouch pockets on a 60s shift dress. Or perhaps the back pocket of fitted trousers?

The dimensions used for this tutorial are from the Archer pocket, which if you don't have are 22cm x 13.5cm with two fold lines ~3cm apart (see diagram). However, feel free to use on whatever pocket you have!


Enjoy!


















THE BOYFRIEND ARCHER


Some patterns move through the blogging world like zombies, collecting and converting skeptics into devoted enthusiasts. With glazed eyes and scissors in hand you'll find us wandering the internet's streets moaning "aaaaaarcher. must cut another aaaaaaarcher."

Yes, it's Grainline's Archer Shirt. Consider me bitten.


The Archer has been on my to do list after seeing what felt like a million complimentary reviews and glamorous renditions (e.g. Ping, Nette, Amy, Sallie Oh, Yoshimi, and Emily). And it seems like I wasn't the only one eyeing off Archer; Rochelle & Erin have gone ahead and made December the Archer Appreciate Month. I can't wait to see more variations throughout the month! 



The Idea 
I wanted to make my very own boyfriend shirt and embrace those delicious details I love so much on shirts I steal from my boyfriend's half of the closet. A classic and comfortable fit, button down collar, contrast details, and pocket tabs.

ETA: I've posted a tutorial for the pocket tabs, see here x



The Pattern
The Archer's praise is, in my opinion, completely deserved. The design is well thought out, the notches match, and the fit is lovely. I cut a size 4 grading out to an 8 in the hips (yes I have that much junk in the trunk) and made no other alterations. 

I will mention this pattern is long. I am tall (5"10) and didn't have to lengthen anything. The arms are the perfect length (see last picture) and I might even shorten the front a centimetre or two.

There's been complaints about the fit of the shoulders being too wide, but my seams fit perfectly on the 'corner' of my shoulders. I wonder if that's because I use my high bust measurement instead of my full bust measurement (see Sunni's post for why I do that), or because I have ginormous man shoulders and never realised. The relaxed fit meant that I didn't have to do an FBA (woohoo!). 


The deets
The pattern: Grainline Archer 
Fabric: A 'silk spun' bamboo from Bamboo Fabric Store. It's drapey, cool, soft, and washes like cotton. 
Notions: I used Megan's tutorial for machine sewing buttons without a special foot for the 10 normal and 2 smaller buttons. Speaking of tutorials I also used Andrea's for attaching the collar. That girl is onto something. 
Next time: I'll use bias binding on the hem as I think it will work nicer with the curves. I also have plans for a ¾, collarless version and a warm, flannel version. 
Worn with: My Jenna Skirt

^ Here's a quick picture with the sleeves down & buttons up. I can't wait until it's cool enough to wear it like this! ^