SCOUT DRESS (NO, ANOTHER ONE)


I googled "hiking boots and dresses" and apparently it's a thing. A fashion thing. Not just a "shit I'm living out of a car and I have no other shoes - flip flops or hiking boots?" thing. So here you go, a dress with hiking boots. I am just so fashion forward I'm basically backward.


First let's talk the location - I am in Utah baby! More specifically Arches National Park, down south where everything is red but the sky. I was warned off a Utah summer because of the heat, but I'm a rebel and my visa won't let me hang out here until the fall when apparently it's even lovelier.


The dress is yet another Grainline Scout Tee variation (see previous blogged scouts here, and my first scout dress here. There's also a bunch more unblogged ones that pop up on instagram). I have (had) 2 scout tee patterns: one with only a few fitting adjustments that kept the original shape, and another variation that shall be referred to as "The Pattern Formally Known As Scout" (TPFKAS). It's been altered and adjusted into a more fitted, longer, more curvy shape and only the neckline and sleeves suggest any relation to her mother. This dress is from TPFKAS, but I'm sure it would work with the real scout tee pattern, or any other tee pattern for that matter, especially if you wear it with a belt. 


It was so easy to make. Just take the original pattern and cut straight down from the hips / but, which on me is the widest part. 

The fabric is a semi-sheer silk from The Fabric Store, and divine to touch. Actually, if I stand between your eyes and the sun it's very sheer. Ever wanted to know what I look like naked? Well there you (nearly) go. 


I was keen to use this fabric before leaving Australia so I serged (overlocked) the seams where I normally would have frenched them. Speaking of serge vs. overlock, even though we share a tongue, Australians and Americans still have some pretty major linguistic differences. The other day I was telling travel buddy about only being able to find one thong and getting a very filthy look from another camper within ear shot (Oooooh, you call them flip flops. I get it now). Then there's coriander vs. cilantro, or zucchini vs. courgette. And I'm not sure what the American word is yet, but the other day I asked for a tarp and I'm pretty sure I offended someone's mother. 


If you'd like to see more of where I am please follow along on instagram or twitter (I've just joined!), so please say hi!

The deets
The pattern: TPFKAS
Fabric: Silk from The Fabric Store - I think it's DKNY?
Notions: None
Changes made: Lengthened to make it a dress 
Next time: I'll remember not to stand in front of the sun ;) 
Worn with: Country Road leather belt, hiking boots, and a serious sheen of moisturiser, sunscreen, bug spray and sweat. I call it Eau de Camp.

THE OMGMAF SHORTS V.2


These are, to date, the most tested garment to appear on this blog. I made them all the way back here, tested their seams and durability through Fiji, and they've lived to cover my ass in Portland.


They are of course the Maritime shorts, version 2. My first pair, which are still in high rotation, were nearly, oh-so-close-it-hurts to perfect that all these needed were:

  • a teensy bigger Full Booty Adjustment
  • ~1.5cm removed from the outer thigh
  • ~1cm pinched out of the waistband and centre back

I'm giving approximates because these changes were made 4 months (!) ago, and my sewing notepad is languishing away in a cardboard box in a beautiful girl's attic like some kind of paper Rapunzel.


Oh, and in case you were wondering the bridge I am hanging out on is St. John's in Portland. Pretty stellar, huh? I've kind of fallen in love with Portland, maybe because it's full of darling bridges & darling people. And yes, before you ask, I did indeed check out her Minoru and it's even better than we all imagined. That woman is a superstar.


The deets
The pattern: Grainline Maritime
Fabric: Stretch italian cotton, leftovers from The Birthday Georgia
Notions: 1 zip (way easier the 2nd time) and a button.
Changes made: Same as last time plus the changes listed above
Next time: I will make 1,000. I'd also love to make a pair of long maritimes. I miss my machine so much :'(
Worn with: A Lucky Jeans t-shirt that I had to purchase because the white tee I made for this trip was mauled by an evil (although cute) cat in Fiji. However, this would make a great Scout Tee, no?

BUILDING AN AUTUMN / WINTER TRAVEL WARDROBE

Alternative title: things I wish I had sewn.


Bula from Fiji! Last we spoke I was trekking around New Zealand's North Island with 3 of my best girl friends (Hard life. I know). Before departing Australia I attempted to create a handmade travel wardrobe, and while I think I did pretty well* there are a few changes and additions I would make if I had my trip again. So, here's my dream autumn / winter travel wardrobe, and a few thoughts on a travelling MeMadeMay.

*Check out my MeMadeMay photos on instagram: @reana_louise


SOME REFLECTIONS
  • My love affair with cotton kind of screwed me over. Next time everything will be flexible & crinkle free. 
  • I had 2 items made from Bamboo jersey (a scout tee & a nettie), and there were times I wish my entire wardrobe was. Completely crinkle proof, delicious to the touch, and let's get real here: odour resistant. 
  • I wish I knew how to knit. Jumpers rock. 
  • Separates are good! Admittedly I'm a separates over dress girl, but mixing and matching helps combat wardrobe fatigue. 
  • You know what's even better than separates? Separates that match. I'm looking at you, beautiful-but-only-go-with-one-shirt Clover pants.
  • Patterns are Ok! In the past I've seen my pattern addiction as silly, but for someone who regularly drops food on herself (we're friends, right?) patterns are ideal. "That? Oh no. Pattern feature. It just looks like a smooshed strawberry."

ALSO, I've suggested patterns here that I would use & they're mostly indies. That's because I like indies. If you have a pattern or tip to suggest, please put it in the comments for others! And holla if you've got a pattern or tips you think I should add to my spring / summer travelling. After Fiji I'm heading to the States and I will track down a machine. Is it pathetic that I miss my old machines? I do. I really freaking do. 


THE BOTTOMS

via: one / two / three / four / five / six 

1 x thick leggings that could be doubled as pants (Anita Ponti / Ooh La La / Sara / PB Jam)
1 x jeans (Jamie / Craftsy Tutorial)
1-2 x pants. Comfortable yet fitted. (Suzy / Anima / Laura / Colette / Alpi / Traveller)

Notes
  • Anyone who rages "leggings aren't pants!" can kiss my ponti-clad ass. A thick wool or ponti with spandex (so the knees don't do that stretchy-out, buckley thing at the knee) are perfect for wearing in transit, slouching around, wearing under dresses, and yes as pants. 
  • Jeans aren't the best protection against the cold I admit, but I don't leave home without them. If you're looking for some jean-spiration, check out SallieOh. Dat ass.


THE TOPS

via: one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine

2 x long sleeve Merino / Bamboo fitted shirts (Nettie / Renfrew)
2 x relaxed-fit tees (Plantain / Coco / Hemlock / Blair / SJ / Hot Cocoa / Bronte / Lane)
1 x button up shirt (Archer / Pihla)

Notes
  • I love the Nettie pattern (see one of mine here). It's a shirt! It's a thermal! It's a layer under an button up shirt! Hooray! As much as I love Heather for making it, I'm equal parts annoyed at her for releasing it only a few weeks before departing my sewing machine. 
  • My Archer shirts (one & two) were perfect for feeling a touch dressier. Also cute under a jumper. Side note: Did you know my boyfriend Archer went and got a girlfriend? IS THAT NOT THE CUTEST THING EVER?!


THE JUMPER

via: one / two / three

1 x hoodie or jumper

Notes
  • I'm not suggesting any patterns because I don't know the first thing about knitting. In fact, all of my knitting is done by this lovely lady


THE DRESS

via: one / two / three

1 x 3/4 sleeve shirt dress (Hawthorne / Lola / M6696 / Modified Archer / Cami)

Notes

  • I have a long sleeve chambray dress that can be both casual and formalish. And although I'm not a 'dress' person, it really gets a work out.



THE OUTERWEAR

via: one / two / three

1 x Jacket (Albion / Pavot)

Notes

  • My Columbia jacket (seen here) is fan-fucking-tastic. It's waterproof, has a thermal inside that can be removed or worn separately, nifty little pockets and a hood and there's probably some Maxwell Smart gizmo in there, but sure it would be nice if I had made my own for bonus gloating / pride points. 



THE ACCESSORIES

via: one / two / three

1 x beanie
1 x knitted scarf
1 x mittens
1 x silk scarf (no pattern, just a piece of fabric with a rolled hem. Then use this for inspiration!)

Notes
  • I am lucky enough to be best buds with Harriet, which means I was spoilt with a beanie, mittens, and scarf - all valuable items that helped make any outfit feel a little more dressy. I'm not going to suggest patterns because I know nothing about knitting, but I will suggest HarrietByHand!


THE BACKPACK

via: one / two / three

1 x day pack (Cooper)

Notes
  • Day packs are for goof balls and kids, right? Wrong! Day packs are the cutest and most glorious invention of all time! How could you even think other wise?! I have a delicious Herschel pack (seen here, bottom right), but there are little things I wish I could change about it, like a drink holder or hook to hold my keys. I also have bag envy over pretty much anything TaylorTailor creates. 


THE ACTIVEWEAR

Source one / two / three

1 x running hoodie / shirt (Avocado / Coppelia / Undercover / XYT)
1 x hiking pants (Couldn't find an ideal pattern, but maybe a modified traveller?)

Notes
  • I'm a keen walker, so my totally pricey Lululemon shirt gets worn a lot. Check out this post for tips on sewing activewear. 

So what about you? Any travel capsule tips?

P.S. I've got a few more makes I'm pretty excited about sharing with you. All I need is a photographer!
P.P.S. Sweet jesus this is a wordy post. If you've made it this far, please treat yourself to an oreo. Or a martini. Or both. 

PATTERNS FOR SALE

Kia ora from New Zealand! It's the first stop on this crazy little travel-thon that I mentioned here and have been gloating about here.

My amazing friend Harriet is selling some of my old patterns (amongst other things) on my behalf to help finance this thing. So, if you're interested - check out her eBay!


Travelling has been a total blast, but I'm already thinking about all of the things I want to, or wished I sewed. Obsessed? Maybe. Whatever. Hopefully I'll be back soon when I get time to photograph recent makes!

Love and passport stamps x

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