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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Tape Measures Cambie-Hack

This is one of the projects I finished during my "blog-goes-dark" months.

As soon as I saw this fabric I just HAD to have it.

Full Price? Not a problem.
Weird Heavy Drill Fabric? Don't Care.
Probably not the best colours on me? Still don't care.
Seriously!!! TAPE MEASURES!!
I'm slowly learning that I in fact have a love of kitchy, novelty prints. I'm also slowly learning that I am in fact a hipster and really what is more hipster than a self-employed artisan dressmaker in a tape measure dress made from an independent pattern company design...

I should also point out that I f*cking love this dress. Literally so much love it has to come with swearing because this is awesome! Also there is a LOT of goober face in these pics as they were taken on timer after a long night out but sorrynotsorry I'm not taking more so this is the best you get.

The bodice is the Sewaholic Cambie Dress in a size 6. I add about 1.5cm to this size in the side/back seams since the Cambie is really designed for pear shapes and I'm definitely not one of those! I could probably do a Full Bust Adjustment but I'm lazy and on me this simple add makes all the difference I need so why get fancy if I don't need to?

Goober Face but Pockets = :)

I changed out the gathered Cambie skirt for the semi-circular one from Vogue 8615 including pockets! Now all my ready-to-wear dresses feel like they lack pockets cos I just love having them in everything I wear sooooo much.

The fabric is from Spotlight of all places and seems to be some kind of novelty cotton drill. It's quite heavy and has a lot of body so I thought the sleeker circle skirt would be more flattering than all those gathers in the original Cambie. Bonus side effect? The heavier fabric means the interfaced waistband holds its shape beautifully, whereas past versions in cotton lawn have tended to roll in at the waist even with interfacing. The downside is there isn't a heap of stretch in the fabric so no big meals in this dress. Plus I've already had to repair the sleeves after ripping them bowling at my work christmas do. But how could I not wear this dress bowling? Such a cute 50's vibe right?

Doing the "Dior New Look" Pose lol
The bodice is lined in pale pink cotton lawn and the skirt portion is unlined to save on weight since this fabric is quite heavy. Construction wise there isn't much more to add - I just love how fun and ridiculous this dress is! 

Bought even more fabric today - I seriously have a problem, maybe someone runs a fabric rehab somewhere I can go to? Will just have to get sewing again I guess... Good thing the sewing room has aircon in this heat!

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Back to Blogging & 2015 Plans

Why hello there...

Did you miss me?

It turns out I had a somewhat unplanned but probably needed break from blogging over the Christmas and New Year period. A combination of returning illness, taking on a new (full time) job plus the general busy-ness of the Summer time all combined to knock me for 6 and ended up with me seriously downsizing my creative projects for quite a few months.

So what's new? Well where to start! I'm now working full time at Uni SA only 10 minutes from home. Originally I didn't want to go back to working a regular full time job since I knew it would severely cut into my StaceyMade time but when this position came up it seemed too good to pass up and well, here we are. Fortunately I work with a great team and it has been a really positive change.

Festive Red hair at Christmas
Yes, sadly this does mean StaceyMade is on the back burner but I am still sewing up occasional projects for the shop and, after almost 3 months off, have finally taken on a full custom order again. I don't want to burn out so I am being really careful about not taking on too much but I don't want to let the business fizzle out when I think it has so much potential to be the right choice for me. So it's just ticking along in the background for now.

The same goes really for everything not work related in my life right now. Some minor medication tweaks in August ended up sending me into a spiralling decline and meant that while I was really happy to start my new job, after 3 months off, pretty much all I had energy for was work and nothing to spare left over. I'm hoping to have finally turned the corner now but I'm still a long way from 100% and thriving. So my motto for the year's beginning seems to be "slow & steady & one thing at a time".
Loving this hair colour - maybe next??

Other New Things? I had Ruby Red Cherry Bomb hair for about 2.5 months over Christmas - sadly it is very high maintenance so I'm now a more subdued red colour but I did love being a "brighthead" and despite how much I hate it when hair colour washes out I am still dreaming of having bright Red, Pink or Purple this space hehe. I also re-upholstered our dining chairs since it's been 13 years since their last change and wow, upholstery is seriously hard work. The chairs look great but I don't know if they will hold up through another re-cover so this could be their last hurrah. I'm pretty darn proud of the results though, worth the blisters and sore hands in the end I think.

I have still been sewing during my little blog hiatus - a couple of cute dresses for the Summer and some nice basic tops. Oh, and a giant adult tutu...because WTF not?! I'll post on them separately since I don't think I will get much chance to sew for myself in the coming month or so as I have a big custom job plus some gifts and smaller repairs to work on for other people. I've been feeling very uninspired creativity wise lately (being exhausted all the time and gaining weight while just feeling yuk will do that to you) so hopefully these outward focused projects will help kick-start my enthusiasm for my own projects.

Magical tutu-ness plus a nice basic T-shirt
In terms of 2015 I have a varied run of projects coming up. There is this custom job which, at least in the muslin/fitting stage may involve a sister project for me; some half finished tops to wind up for work wear; in March is a special little lady's birthday which will hopefully involve an Elsa costume plus a Thurlow trouser-a-thon with some sewing gals; September and October we have 2 weddings (1 family and 1 close friends) so there is definitely going to be at least one demi-couture lace and silk outfit in the works! Phew!

Some upcoming projects - one is finished and one is languishing, can you guess which is which?

I'm also having a go at the Colette Sewing Wardrobe Architect Series (check it out here) in an effort to sew more mindfully for myself. I'm right at the limit for number of clothes I own - Yes I hear your expressions of shock and outrage - and really only want to sew things that are going to get a decent amount of wear this year. I liked the concept of the Wardrobe Architect when it first came out but wasn't really interested in sewing too much "cake" for myself at that point. Now I have the StaceyMade shop as an outlet for all my pretty girly fantasies I'm suddenly more interested in sewing practical, but still pretty, stuff for myself! As a result of all this musing I ended up with a Pinterest account and oh my god isn't that a time waster of pretty things. Follow me at to see what I'm pinning.

I'm sure there is loads I'm leaving out but can't think of anything else to include here right now...I wasn't sure the blog was going to survive into 2015 but now I'm actually writing a post it has made me realise how much I missed it so I think it will live to see another year!

Here's to more blogging in 2015

- Stacey

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wedding Dress

Today is our wedding anniversary - eight years together and three years since our wedding in 2011. *Warning: This is a picture heavy post (sorrynotsorry hehehe)*

Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography

Since I didn't even really know what blogging was back then obviously I didn't record the process of making my dress or any of the other home-made parts of our day. Plus Design by Lindsay inspired me with her recent post about making her wedding dress. So in honour of our anniversary I thought I should include my dress on the blog and this is also a way to say thanks to my Mum who did most of the work on my dress while I encouraged her!

Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography

I wore Mum's veil as my "something old" - Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography

I wasn't certain we would make my dress initially but once I started trying on dresses I realised 1) how expensive gowns were (at least those that lived up to my expected construction standards) and 2) that I simply wasn't going to find exactly what I wanted off the rack.


Mum was fantastic - we started working on my dress with plenty of time before the wedding but as this was nearly 4 years ago I was no where as confident sewing as I am now and as a result she did all the major work while I just assisted and cheered her on in the tricky, challenging bits. Plus it is bad luck to cut out your own wedding dress so I needed her help for that stage of the process at least!

Mum stitching on what seems to be hundreds of buttons!

I really wanted straps - I hate strapless wedding dresses on me as the dresses tend to be so heavy I feel certain they'll just fall right off! I love a fishtail shape with no waistline since I felt like it made me look taller and leaner. I also really wanted a romantic, vintage feeling dress with a heavy lace fabric but struggled to find anything I loved in the shops that we could afford. Since we got married the same year as The Royal Wedding it meant I missed out on the beautiful lacey gowns around now that were influenced by Kate Middleton's gorgeous gown.

Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography

We ended up using New Look 6670 mixed with Kwik Sew 3401(now OOP). The New Look pattern was actually what I wore as a bridesmaid for my cousin's wedding so we knew the dress style worked and was reasonably easy to sew. The Kwik Sew pattern was more dramatic in the skirt and I felt that this shortened me but the fit of the bodice was better than the New Look pattern. Mum and I ended up combining the Kwik Sew  bodice fit with the style of the New Look dress to create my own perfect fitting gown. I loved the shaped train on the Kwik Sew pattern so we ended up using this pattern piece for my detachable tulle train.

Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography

We bought my beaded and sequined alençon lace and the duchess satin underlining from House Fabrics in the US after getting loads of samples sent out. Their service was excellent and the price was fantastic - often this type of lace in Australia is over $200/m but we only paid around $60-$70/m! The Italian Shimmer tulle in my train came from Studio Fabrics in Sydney on our first sewing group shopping trip. Originally we weren't going to use this satin in the final dress but when we made up the 'mock up' it fit perfectly and the ivory satin looked great so we thought why re-do this? So after this we constantly referred to my dress as "the practice run"!

Safety First! Glasses on while hammering ;-)

Mum and I had heaps of fun working on the dress together - especially when we got on to the lace overlay and had to hammer the seams to break the beads before stitching! We closed the back with real buttons-and-loops thanks to Grandma's expertise and we hemmed the lace using the scalloped edges of the fabric. Just stitching the hem took 45 minutes together! I handmade the stiffened silk rose for my train which could be detached but I loved it so much I wore it the whole night anyway. The train is two layers of shimmer tulle, hand gathered at the top and the edges left raw.

Silk Rose Close Up

I loved my dress even more for the fact that Mum and I made it together - it's packed away safely for now as befits a future heirloom - but I often want to get it out just to admire it or put it on merry-the-mannequin and pretend I'm in a bridal store. That was how Mum and I gauged if we were on the right track: we would put the dress on her mannequin and put it in her window then go outside and pretend it was a shop. If I felt like I would go in and want to try it on then we were doing well!

Pretending it's a shop!

We also handmade one of my bridesmaid's dresses, mum's dress (including a back-up option) and my going away dress plus I hand made my headpiece, headpieces as my bridesmaid gifts and several other pieces as thank you presents for some close friends. My amazing cousin made all our gorgeous silk flower bouquets, my uncle kindly took our pictures and my mother-in-law baked and decorated our awesome cake. Even more friends and family pitched in and helped us out on the day and being surrounded by so much love and creativity really made our day feel so special and personal, just as we hoped.

Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography

All up it took us probably 2 months of actual sewing time to make my dress and it was such a wonderful process I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. It was so special to wear a dress handmade with such love and it means I will always have this gown to remind me of our wedding and how much love was shared on that day. So if you're wavering about making your own dress I would absolutely say go for it!!

Thanks Mum so much for agreeing to make my dress - I never would have managed this on my own and it meant so much to share this fabulous experience together!

Photo courtesy of Daryl Lynch Photography
The wonderful man who became the Fabric Folding Assistant - you are an amazing partner and I'm so glad I get to share my life with you (although not my dressmaking shears)! Looking forward to many more years together OXOX.

Hope this was an interesting post even if it isn't a new garment ;-)

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, 9 October 2014

New TNT - The Burda Bat Wing Top returns

In the spirit of my bright new organised sewing room I have resolved to start finishing off some of my half done projects or UFOs (Un-Finished Objects).

 These two have been languishing half finished since July! It only took about 2 hours to finish them both off!!

First on the list - something easy (we'll work up to that coat that is half done...). After such success with my first try at this Burda pattern I immediately rushed out to buy fabric to make some more! 

Fabric Close Ups - This one is a bit sheer so a neutral tank works well underneath

Texture, Texture, Texture - The red top is super warm since this texture comes from a double layer of fabric
I went back to my fave haunt - Ferriers Fashion Fabrics since I had seen these fabrics on my first visit but didn't want to spend on luxe fabrics if I wasn't sure the pattern would work. Now I know it works and looks good I am quite happy to spend a little more to get quality in my end garment. 

This is a pretty stable ethos for me - New Pattern? Start off with a 'wearable muslin' in a cheap fabric so if it is a disaster at least I haven't destroyed beautiful and expensive fabric making it! Then, when all the kinks are ironed out, move on to fabrics I love to wear. I think this is also how I discover if a design is worthy of the TNT tag - and why I made 3 versions of my wrap dress in the previous post before finally making it up in luxurious Italian Jersey (just fabric for this make was around $70!!)

But back to these girls - there isn't much to add to what I wrote last time. Construction and sizing didn't really change although I did leave the interfacing off for the purple version as you could clearly see it at the neckline through the lacey fabric.

These aren't the most exciting things to post about but they are real sewing "cake": good basics that fill a hole in my wardrobe. I am trying to be much more thoughtful and aware of what I sew for myself since my wardrobe has some gaps that need filling with more "cake" rather than just sewing pretty pieces of "frosting". 

But Summer is Coming!! And that means lots of chances to sew and wear some pretty dresses - definitely my favourite type of frosting :-D

So I promise some pretty sweet treats next time I post!



PS - What do you think of my new photo spot in the new room? Should I mix it up with some new locations? It's soooo much easier to get better light here plus I can balance my camera on my cutting table to take pics Yay!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Diane Von Furstenburg Inspired Wrap Dress

Happy Long (sewing) Weekend!

Hope you all are enjoying this Monday off work - although the day has started off a bit grey and gloomy here, I'm hoping for a little sunshine later on!

I had a whole variety of plans for this weekend until I ended up sick from Thursday to about Saturday. Ugh, how unfair does it seem when there is a glorious weekend in front of you but you just feel rotten? Fortunately I was feeling better on Saturday and Sunday and finally back to normal today :-)

So all the usual plans went out the window this weekend. Yesterday however, I did feel the sewing bug. I wasn't looking for too much of a challenge and a quick make was definitely on the cards so I went with my TNT pattern New Look 6429 (now out of print).

This pattern was originally my cousins but we have come to a pattern borrowing/holding hostage arrangement since I have now made 4 of this dress across 2 different sizes...

1..2..3..4...Short sleeves, Long sleeves, No sleeves? Yep think this qualifies as a TNT pattern
Although not a true wrap dress, I always think this design reminds me of those classic Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dresses (especially in this print!). This style flatters pretty much every shape and, just like that other classic - the shirt dress - can be worn practically anywhere! I love that it is a faux wrap since I often have trouble staying in true wrap dresses as I'm short from shoulder to bust which in turn = accidently low cut necklines. The gathering falls right over the area most women are most self conscious about and is part of what makes this such a flattering pattern to wear. Seriously, every time I wear this design I get heaps of compliments from people about how figure flattering it is!

I decided to try something new this time around and finished the neckline with a stretched on band including clear elastic (a la Nettie Dress) instead of the pattern's facings or using non-stretch tape. I was hoping that this would fix the gaping problem that still happens after wearing the dress for a few hours. I am so thrilled to report - it has! This is definitely my favourite finish for knit garments now - I will definitely continue to add this where needed.

Woo! Look No Gaping!!!
I sewed a size 8 and the only alterations apart from the neckline was to shave 1.5cm from the neckline side of the front shoulder seam as I hoped this would help raise the neckline. It did change the fit but I'm not sure if it is almost too high for me now. This change also meant I had to cut out the armholes slightly as they were raised marginally too high after this alteration. What do you think on the neckline position? Too high? I finished the neck band, sleeves and hem with a twin needle.

What do you think? Neckline too high?
How awesome is this fabric by the way??? It's Italian Jersey and is a relic of our March Melbourne Trip. I bought this at The Cloth Shop and while it wasn't cheap, it is definitely the best quality jersey I have ever worked with. And just look at that print!! I LOVE IT!

You can just spot the stretch band I added to the neckline here
The Cloth Shop is a great place to shop if you're around Melbourne, the wonderful staff there really know their stuff and are so friendly and approachable - I really enjoyed shopping there! Plus there is a delicious cafe across the road for lunches on fabric shopping days :-)

Hopefully the rest of your day feels like this!!

Happy Sewing!



Saturday, 27 September 2014

New Sewing Room Tour

Why is it that tasks that seem straight forward always end up huge marathons? I originally thought I could easily sort out and organise my somewhat chaotic sewing room in say, a couple of days. I was much more nervous about the prospect of painting my room on my own since I've never done that before and was convinced that it would take FOREVER! Turns out I was wrong on both counts...

But First! The before pictures (I'm not proud of this - but I think it clearly illustrates WHY a sewing room update was needed)

As you can clearly see - this is not a place conducive to creativity, clear-headed thinking or actually being able to find anything! Notice my sewing machine and overlocker aren't even on the desk intended for them - by this stage they had given up on the mess and moved themselves down to the lounge room! Part of the problem with this room is it only has one tiny window that doesn't get much light. They room itself gets plenty of light from the big window in the opposite bathroom. The catch? In Winter this room is easily the coldest in the house so if I put on a heater and close the door to keep the heat in you lose all your natural light no matter what time of day it is. What resulted is I moved sewing down into the front lounge room with our beautiful combustion heater and a lovely view from all the big windows for Winter.

New Sewing Room Pre-Paint
But what's the point of having a sewing room then? So it was executive decision time and so I decided to move into another one of our back bedrooms since it gets better light and change the current sewing room into a guest/spare room instead.

You may also be wondering where the paint colour came from? I've wanted a lemon yellow sewing room for a while now. Sadly I can't wear much yellow near my face as it makes me look like I have jaundice! But it is such a happy, sunshiney colour I wanted to find a way to surround myself with it. The colour is called "Lemon Delicious" by Dulux - so now my sewing room even sounds delectable!

How amazing is this colour? I love how fresh and light it looks, especially with the white shelves and table (all courtesy of Ikea) Also, much admiration is due to these epic shelves installed by the Fabric Folding Assistant (otherwise known as hubby)

I think it is quite amusing that I let my sewing space take over so much - those of you who know me also know how pedantic I can be about being organised and how much I looove my label maker! I have acquired  quite a lot of new sewing things recently when I started StaceyMade Fashion so I think this, combined with such an increase in my sewing activity is to blame. But now I have ample space to store my sewing gear, Hooray!

Onwards to The After Photos!

And Yes, there are lots of them Sorrynotsorry ;-)


Fabric and Patterns and Notions! Oh My!

I got these handy plastic drawers and containers from cheap as chips and they are perfect for storing patterns and fabric. I've sorted patterns by type (sundresses; formal/cocktail dresses; tops; bottoms; outerwear; sportswear; costumes etc.) and I store them in ziplock bags to keep all the pieces together after I've traced them off. The fabric is also sorted by type (cotton lawn; cotton sateen; ponte di roma; jersey; crepe de chine; evening fabrics etc.) and I tried folding it around cardboard strips and sliding it into the drawer or box so I can instantly see all my fabric options. I do have my own special box of fabrics just for me that I could never part with but I was surprised at how much I had that I liked but wouldn't be devastated if a client wanted to use. This process of sorting out and folding did highlight how much of a fabric problem I have - lol looks like I'll be 'shopping the stash' for a while yet!

I even have a pretty view now looking out to our backyard and veggie patch - see the strawberry tower? I'm pretty damn excited about that strawberry tower. We need to get planting soon ready for a Summer harvest, YUM!!!
My Sewing Girls (and the FFA) are up on my wall

I made the cute pin board by covering a cheap cork board from cheap as chips in this upholstery fabric Mum gave me for Christmas last year - don't you love it? I have to have a pin board in my sewing room, it's like Pinterest but in real life lol.

Eventually that cord will be secured to the skirting but I couldn't wait to show you the 'finished' product
Teddy's are clearly the most helpful sewing companions so they have to have a spot!
So there's my new sewing room. In the end the entire transfer took about a week or so - including only a day and a half of painting - the rest was all moving furniture, building storage solutions and sorting! I'm so excited to start working in here - actually I already did some yesterday, as you should be able to tell from the pretty way Merry-the-Mannequin is dressed. It is light, bright, a little girly and a whole lot of creativity. I'll be trying out spots to take pictures in here of my finished makes so expect to see a lot more of these delicious lemon meringue walls!

Glad to share my new space with you - if you have a beautiful sewing space (or dream of one) please share it in the comments! I'd love to see anyone else's favourite creative spaces!

Happy Stitching,