27 February 2013

Don't Ya Wish Yer Leggings Were....

...hot like these? Don't ya BABY don't ya?! 
All terrible attempts at pop culture reference aside, I'm smitten with my new hand-made printed leggings. It's taken a world of self control not to just go and buy a pair since I've wanted in on this trend for a while. Or more accurately, since I grew out of a great psychedelic pair I rocked as a seven year old. I've been searching for some suitable legging fabric, tribal, preferably and with a four-way stretch. I did have this swimsuit lycra (from here) set aside for the day when the stars would align, the sewing gods would smile down and I would transform it into a magnifient boned bustier, high waisted bikini. With my magic sewing wand. That I don't have. So no hard feelings it didn't happen this summer and is probably a few more summers and a tad more garment experience off. Leggings on the other hand, for an hour and a half and no perspiration later, they're slinking out the door in all their tribal glory.

Do you like my llama?

 I'm holding Pinterest responsible for my slightly less hazy idea of what's going on out in the fashion world these days. And I can't get enough of what seems to be a perfect balance of fun / feminine: Peplums, geometric prints, tribal, leggings, high waists, blazers, peterpan collars, neon, maxi skirts. I'll be miffed when any of these leave the scene again. And if'you're dabbling in DIY fashion, it's a pretty exciting time. Thanks to an ever-growing choice in sewing patterns, making stuff that is ├ís good as the shops' is at our fingertips. Coveting some printed leggings of your own? Here's a start.... 

Legging fabric? I feel kind of bad flaunting this one from a store with no online shopping on the other side of the world to a good chunk of you. So I'm going to share my current hotspot for some seriously random and wonderful printed stretch fabrics. This shop, happened upon by accident on Etsy, will probably be fished out now. But it's okay because I stocked up a few days ago...mwhahahaha! When selecting fabric for leggings you want something super elastic, which is why 4-way stretch is good. Baggy knees are no-ones friend. If you don't mind lycra next to your skin, swimsuit fabric makes for a great batch but of course there are others that will do the job.

I chose McCalls 6173 and whilst I love the final result I won't be recommending it for the sizing alone. I cut out what I though was my size according to the measurements and before I'd taken the scissors to the fabric, looked down at the pattern pieces and realized they were gargantuan. So, I thought, I'll just sew the next size down and hope for the best since I am fundamentally opposed to muslins. Only, after trying them on, I proceeded to take, no kidding, a further 2" off each leg seam from crotch to ankle. It became a fun game. Try them on, take them in, try them on, take them in until eventually they clung like a legging damn well should! Too harsh perhaps? Okay, I did like that the pattern has side seams only on the insides of the leg, good news if you're trying to match up a print. A bonus point for you 6173.

Nope, nothing else to add...just making sure we've covered every angle.

13 February 2013

Back with a Briar

I don't really know how to begin this post. I feel like I've been well and truly back in the Blogosphere since early January. Happily lurking in the background, catching up on everyone elses posts, meanwhile working myself into a state over the perfect witty title / grand re-entrance scenario for my own. I figure it's one of those things that's just not going to happen if I wait around any longer, so here is me pushing myself out of the nest, getting back on the horse / any other awkward animal-related expression for starting over.
So. Happy New Year. Lets take a moment to chat about about the lovely Megan Neilsen. Fellow Aussie chick, mama, self-taught sewer, whom happens to just, you know, run a household, clothing label and design her own line of sewing patterns. Enough enough! The woman is a well oiled machine and could probably release a best seller on time-management. But for the meanwhile I'm content building up my hand-made wardrobe with pieces from her very-wearable pattern collection. You may already be familiar with her Darling Ranges dress (or skirt, when sizing charts elude), the Banksia blouse, the Kelly skirt (on the list) but her latest, the Briar, is my favourite yet... 
Maybe you know what I'm talking about when sometimes an easy sew has a way of looking like an easy sew when its finished. Not the Briar. I've had more compliments lavished upon this top than any other hand-made item of mine which sees the light of day. And not once has it been followed up with 'oh'... pause... 'did you make that?' + judging eyes. Certainly the best outcome for our handmade stuffs but especially surprising because it's such a simple, pretty basic looking top. It's not overwhelmed by fussy details, just a wee pocket, a neatly bound neckline and a scooped hem. The Briar has nothing to prove. It's comfortable in it's own skin and it makes me feel just so wearing it.
If that's not enough reasons to fall for Briar, it also makes for the perfect layering companion. I made it up in this metalic cotton knit (whatever thread in there that makes it metalic, also gives it a crushy effect which is kind of cool) originially to layer over my Tribal maxi dress but I've since had so much fun styling it with other things, it hasn't even reached the maxi yet. I love that, in being so simple, the pattern leaves room for play. As well as a cropped version like this, you can make a t-shirt length variaton or a straight across hem if the high-low trend isn't your thang. And that's before you even start to look at fabrics. I knocked my own socks off here, voluntarily choosing a SOLID. Not just being the print fiend that I am, but because I had Megan's short sleeved tribal Briar on my mind. And if that's not enough versitility for ya, the Briar also makes up in a woven...results in soon!
Okay okay, the glasses...just a prop. You guys know I like playing dressups!