Australian Sewing Guild 20th Birthday Lunch

This year the Australian Sewing Guild celebrates their 20th birthday and last weekend they held a lunch at Mercure Sydney. For a bit of fun I stayed at the hotel for the weekend and had a great time.

Members from nearly every state and territory across Australia came along to the event. I didn’t know anyone at the table I was sitting at but it turned out we were all from the Sydney area and we all loved sewing so instantly got a long. Some of the founding members of the guild spoke on the history of the guild and why they are so passionate about it. It was lovely to hear their stories. We ate a lovely meal topped off by a delicious looking chocolate birthday cake (sadly I don’t eat chocolate)

We had 2 special guests. Tara Moss who is a renowned author, journalist and most importantly sewing enthusiast. She is the patron of the guild and claims to be a beginner in the world of sewing but anyone who can make a corset I don’t think can be classed as a beginner. Our other special guest and to be honest the person we were all in awe of was Marion Boyce. Who is Marion Boyce? In my opinion she is the greatest costume designer Australian film and tv has ever had, her work includes The Dressmaker, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Crocodile Dundee in LA. I’ll be honest I still haven’t seen The Dressmaker. I have the book and dvd but wish to read the book first (I should put it on my To Craft list) I have seen the Miss Fisher series and seen Marion’s work close up at 2 Miss Fisher exhibitions that have come to Sydney so I am a fan of Marion’s amazing talents. Tara interviewed Marion, the entire room was silent hanging on to every word. Marion talked about how she go in to the industry and what it was actually like working on tv and films. She is under a lot of pressure from a lot of people and has only limited time with the actual actors to do fittings and adjustments.

Marion brought along this divine olive green vintage dress that was part of the Miss Fisher series. She spoke of how it was a 6 week process to construct one outfit like this as she needed to source the fabrics and accessories, have them dyed to match and finally cut out and stitched up. It isn’t a simple process and this is only one outfit, she is usually planning about 6 episodes at once. I thought I have a lot running through my head I’m thinking her brain never shuts down. Marion uses lots of trimmings and fabrics from her stash on the Miss Fisher costumes, her stash must be amazing! It was a great interview that everyone in the room enjoyed (and the wait staff that were outside the room but were sticking their heads in the door to watch)

As a treat each person got a few trinkets to take you home, I am a pen fanatic so love a free pen and the retractable tape measure I may take to work and leave in my office drawer as it will come in handy.

It was a great event. The food was lovely, the speakers were amazing and the company of fellow sewing enthusiasts was fantastic. I chatted with friends old and new and in fact I have a new table of friends whom I’m sure I will see again at the next guild event in May.

Cassiy

NSW ASG Simplicity Industry Day 16

Simplicity Factory
Yesterday was the NSW Australian Sewing Guild Industry Day at Simplicity Patterns. This was my second industry day at Simplicity and just like last year I had lots of fun.

simplicity-stash-16

An Industry Day is an event where members come together to hear talks from fellow members within the guild and different people within the sewing industry. A chance to share ideas and learn some new things. Simplicity Patterns kindly host the event for us and also give us the opportunity to do some shopping (they do some great specials for us) This year among the people who gave talks were Juliette from Gutermann who gave us a talk about needle and thread. I will never look at the humble little sewing needle the same way. I had never put much thought into the needle but her talk was interesting. Another person who spoke was Claudia from Eco Fabrics who spoke to us about natural fibres in particular bamboo. There was also the annual fashion parade were members took part in showing off items they have made, I would like to take part in this next year.

simplicity-stash-16-patterns

I did mention shopping… This year we were able to pre-order our patterns. Now that I am starting to make more clothing for myself I went through and made a wishlist. At $5 per pattern it was too good to pass up. I opted for more classic style patterns so that I make something I can wear it for years. A couple of patterns are for future toys. I also remembered I needed to make a Christmas gift for a 1yr old and managed to pick up a pattern.

simplicity-fabric-guide

I purchased the fabric book as I need to learn more about different fabrics. I understand quilting cotton but I have no clue about other fabrics. I want to start sewing with more fabrics but I don’t know anything about them.

simplicity-stash-16-trims
Once again we were able to buy rolls of trims for $5 per roll. This year I looked for things I knew I would use regularly like webbing which is good for bag handles. I did pick a couple of cotton lace trims as it is hard to find cotton lace. I found some black velvet trim too which I thought might come in handy to jazz up skirts or even make some kids hair bows. The chevron trim I must admit I got due to the colours. I love all those colours.

simplicity-stash-16-red-trim

My favourite trim is the red pom pom. As soon as I saw it I immediately thought mouths for soft toys. I can’t wait to use it. Also it makes great eyebrows.

simplicity-stash-16-tapes
Another great special I found was rolls of tape. I got all these for the grand sum of 5 for $2. I couldn’t believe it. I found a heap of twill tape in different colours. I will use it to stabilize the shoulder seams in some knit tops I wish to make.

simplicity-industry-day-fabric-shopping

The white fabric came from the Eco Fabrics shop that was set up. It is a bamboo cotton fleece mix. It feels so soft. I’m not a white person as I have darker skin but this white isn’t transparent so I’m thinking I may get a top out of it. The blue piece of fabric I brought due the colour. It was from a table set up where members could sell fabric from their stash.There is over 2m of it. I wasn’t sure what I would do with it but another member suggested a skirt so that convinced me I needed to get it. Maybe a maxi skirt.. I’m not sure yet. I was good I did see another piece the same colour but in a different fabric, I had the idea to make a cape out of it but when I opened the piece up I saw there wouldn’t be enough to make the cape so I left that piece behind. Yes I can say no to blue things  🙂 I had my practical head on yesterday and was only trying to get items I would use.

Once again I had a great day. The members of the sewing guild and the amazing people at Simplicity do a great job running the event. Now to get sewing so I can show off my pieces next year.

Cassiy

Castaway To Couture Entry

In January I wrote I was going to enter into the Australian Sewing Guild Castaway to Couture competition well.. I finished it yesterday!!

C2C Before

So to recap I started with an old pair of slacks and a velveteen skirt. Both items hadn’t been worn in years. The pants had actually been put in the op shop bag (but I never got there) the skirt I culled after finding some of the pile was coming away from the bottom. I’ve always wanted to do a pants and skirt combined item. I like the style of using the waistband of jeans and combining it with fabric to make a skirt. This is the same concept but using items of clothing which I had on hand.

C2C After Front

I did this very basic. I cut the legs off the pants from the crotch area down. I didn’t have to do anything to the waistband except overlock around the edges so it wouldn’t fray. For the skirt I cut off the top and bottom areas off leaving a length that I was happy with. Again I overlocked around the top of the skirt to prevent fraying. I combined the two pieces sewing into one. For the hem of the skirt I decided to use the side seam from the pant legs I cut. I used it like pre-made binding stitching the lengths together to form one strip. I machine stitched it one side and then folded it over and hand slip stitched it to the other side. The navy skirt needed that little bit of detail on it to make it match the top half otherwise it would’ve looked too “I’ve just combined 2 items of clothing”

C2C After Back

The back of the skirt I had originally sewn on the front. I decided to cut a peephole in the fabric to give leg movement but when it was on the front it was too high when you sat down. I unpicked it and moved it to the back. It is comfortable to wear and when you sit down you still have leg room but you’re not sitting there trying to keep your skirt together.

C2C Entry

So this is my entry. If you are able to I would ask if you could please vote for me. I had fun doing this. It was a good experiment. I got to try an idea I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It made me think. Upcycling clothing and giving new life to existing items is a concept I really like doing. Now that I’ve done it once I’m going to be on the lookout for items that I can do it again too.

Cassiy

Australian Sewing Guild McCall’s Industry Day

Today the Australian Sewing Guild held an Industry Day this time at McCalls pattern factory.

McCalls

An Industry Day is a day where members can come together to catch up with members from other groups, listen to talks by Guest Speakers who are working in the sewing and textile industry, find out about events being held by the Guild and of course shop 🙂 If you are part of the Guild and have never been to an Industry Day I do recommend you go to one if you get the chance as they are a great day. Our Guest Speaker at this event was Rita from Fabric Fair Armidale. She gave 2 talks the first was on how fabrics have changed in the last 30 years since she first went into the industry. The second talk she gave was about the importance of thinking about how a garment is constructed and doing the basics right and all the time. This is something I’m guilty of not doing but it did get me thinking about my sewing so it was thought provoking for me. We also had someone give a talk on Upcycling and Recycling clothing. This is an area which I want to get into more that is why I’m doing my entry into the Castaway to Couture competition to push myself.

McCalls Shopping

I mentioned shopping and yes I did do some.  We were lucky to purchase patterns, books, interfacing and thread from McCalls, Kwik-Sew, Green Pepper, Vogue and Butterick at a discounted price. I purchased a few spools of thread, some patterns a few rolls of interfacing (not pictured as they are sitting in my garage) and some classic books on adult clothing making as that is an area I really want to start getting into. I can throw together a toy but get me to make something like standard clothing and I don’t know where to start.

Tape Measure

I also got given a retractable tape measure. These always come in handy and you can never have to many.  I had a really fun day. I enjoy catching up with other members who are not in my local sewing group. The next NSW Industry Day is in September at Simplicity Patterns again and I’ve already marked it in my diary. Now to go sit down with my new books…

Cassiy

Tiny Essentials Tote

I loved the look of the Tiny Essentials Tote by Little Moo Designs the moment I first saw it. I don’t say it often with bags but it just looked cute. The Australian Sewing Guild held a sewalong to make it at the start of December but unfortunately I didn’t have the time to participate in it so on December 31st when I had a few days up my sleeve I started on it.

TET Finished Outside

The bag looked challenging and involved a lot of techniques and material which I had never tried or worked with before. I’d never made piping, used fold over elastic or worked with netting or webbing. I wasn’t scared by this new things and actually wanted to get in there and have a go with them. The tutorial that comes with the pattern is great and as part of the sewalong the Guild put additional notes and tips up on their blog which came in handy.

TET Outside Panels

Throughout the entire pattern suggestions are given on how to make the bag to your personal taste. I kept the outside of the bag simple using one fabric, quilting it with diagonal lines and using plain webbing for the handles. If you wanted to you could piece the front, add fabric detail to the handles and quilt it as elaborate as you wanted.

TET Inner Panels

On the interior pieces you really have the opportunity to customise the bag to the way you wish to use it. I opted to have 2 netting pockets but the tutorial shows you many other options including using elastic straps so you can hold items in place. I thought the netting would be flimsy but this netting is really thick and solid. Sewing it was very easy.

TET Inner Pocket

I used fold over elastic (FOE) to cover the raw edges. Having not used FOE before I had no idea how to sew it. To be honest until it arrived in the mail I didn’t even know it was sold flat I thought it was folded like premade bias tape. I looked on YouTube on how to sew it and happen to find this clip by Anne who is a fellow Guild member, she has some really good tips. To sew the FOE I decided to first secure it with a zig zag stitch. I had it set to a standard width but perhaps I could have made it a little narrower. After folding the elastic over I did a straight stitch to hold it in place. I wasn’t sure how much FOE to use so the pocket would gather a little. I used 9″ but perhaps could have use 8 3/4″ or 8.5″  to really pull it in. For the first attempt at FOE and netting I’m happy with it.

TET Zipper

When it came to making the zipper I had no issues. In 2015 I sewed a lot of zippers so I don’t have a zip phobia. I actually sewed all 3 layers in one hit like the tutorial suggests. I took my time, went slow and at the end remembered to take the zipper foot off (I broke a needle last year when I forgot this) I even pattern matched both sides of the zipper! I’m proud of my zipper.

TET Sew My Stash

One thing I didn’t do when making this was cut out all my pieces before I started. Yes I should’ve but I felt it was a little time consuming and I just wanted to get in and sew. When it came to stage of making the continuous bias strips for the piping and the binding I discovered I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut my squares… Oops. The irony was in the afternoon prior to making the strips I had been in a fabric store. That’s ok I adapted and raided my stash. I knew I had navy fabric but by chance just as I approached my stash I saw the green fabric through one of the clear boxes I keep my stash in. It was perfect.

TET Make Do

Another place where I adapted my fabric was on the back piece of the gusset. I needed only 1 rectangle I think about 6.5″ x 5″ I didn’t want to cut an entire strip off my remainding fabric for only 1 piece yet I didn’t have a piece big enough from the scraps for it so I stitched 2 scraps together to make the size I needed. It was perfect and used up some of the leftover bits.

TET Gussett

When I assembled the bag I did have couple of little flaws. In the gusset area there are a few small folds. I just need to remember next time to go a bit slower and ensure both layers are flat. You can also see some of my original stitch lines on the inside of the bag when I secured the netting to the bag or stitch both panels of the bag together. Next time I need to just do these lines of stitching closer to the edge. Also my binding strips look a little bulky so I maybe next time I will cut them a little narrower. I stitched all the binding on by hand first tacking it on one side with a running stitch and jeans sewing needle then switching to a regular needle to slip stitch the folded strip in place. I haven’t decided if I like piping or not. My piping on this bag isn’t too bad for a first attempt. I may of stitched a little close to the cord to enclose it so when it came to securing it to the bag in places you can see my original stitching line as it didn’t get hidden in the seam. I just need to leave more of a gap. It was fairly easy to do so I will attempt it again.

TET Finished Inside

I am extremely happy with this bag. The fabrics I used were from the July Sew Box and of course the contrasting fabrics were from my stash making this a real Sew My Stash project. When I got these fabrics in July I knew I wanted to make something for me with them as they are very much my colours of choice. The sewalong was hosted by the Australian Sewing Guild and I’m going to use this bag to take to Guild meetings so I have that little connection between the 2. I got to challenge myself with this bag and experiment with new techniques and materials. One of the reasons I joined the Guild was to expand my sewing skills and this bag sums it up.

I finished this bag on Jan 3, what a great first completed project to start off the year.

Cassiy

 

ASG NSW Industry Day 2015

I went to my first Australian Sewing Guild NSW Industry Day and I loved it!!! The event is held annually at Simplicity patterns, we’re lucky to have the factory in a suburb in Sydney.

Simplicity Factory

Throughout the day we had a number of people from different companies within the sewing industry give talks and demonstrations. As were at Simplicity Patterns we were given a talk on what was happening with the company in terms on of products they have and what plans they have in the future. We were told about the current sewing trends both here and in America. It was interesting to hear this information about a company I’ve always heard of but never knew much about. Our first guest speaker was from Japan Made who gave us a lovely history of Kimonos. She talked of how they were made, how they were worn and how through the stages in a persons life different ones were worn. It was really interesting. Our second guest speaker was from Atelier Rose Bridal. She gave us in insight into the behind the scenes running of a bridal gown business, how different customers interacted when gowns were being made, the styles that are popular.  Even though I’m not into bridal things I found her talk to be very interesting as she stressed a lot of the fundamental things about fitting any clothing when you are making it. If your going to wear special underwear or shoes with the garment have them on when you are being fitted for it as it impacts your posture and body shape. Before you begin cutting fabric image in your head what the final piece will look like, if you can’t see it in your head than don’t cut the fabric walk away from it and go back once you can envisage it. She also had some exotic fabrics which were taken around the room for us all to have a look at. One fabric was over $1000/m, it was lacy and had wool embroidery through it and beading. When it came around the room I had to touch it as I was never going to get a chance to look at fabric that cost that much ever again. It was beautiful. Our third guest speaker for the day was from In2Mode, she gave us a talk about draping fabrics and demonstrated how to drape a fabric for a shirt. It was interesting to watch and learn. There was a fashion parade where members got up and showed off items they had made. I really enjoyed seeing what others had made. Some people embellished ready made garments, altering them slightly and giving them a new look. Some people upcycled garments from opshops, some people made the same pattern on several garments but in different fabrics each time. It was very inspiring and got my mind ticking at the possibilities.

Between the different talks there was plenty of time for shopping. There were 3 sections of shopping. The first area was where members could bring in fabric from their stash they didn’t need and sell it on a table that was set up. I didn’t buy anything from this section as I just didn’t see anything that jumped out at me. I never know how much fabric I’m going to need for a garment so I’m always hesitant to buy just pieces. I was later talking to a fellow guild member who gave me tips on how to guesstimate how much fabric you need.

Industry Day 2015 Shopping Dragon Flys

The second area were stalls set up by a few retailers (including our guest speakers) where you could buy different fabrics. I got some cotton fabric from Japan Made. I’m not really into dragonflies but I did have them on my old handbag (brought not made) so when I saw this fabric I was drawn to it. Maybe I do have a hidden dragon fly thing. I’ve got 1.5m I’m thinking a bag (possibly another 2ZH) but there is a chance it could also become a skirt or most likely both.

Industry Day 2015 Shopping Fabric Find

At one store I spotted this grey fabric at the bottom of a pile. I had to get the stall holder to help me get it out. I’ve been told it’s a polyester crepe (I don’t know fabrics) I don’t wear synthetic stuff but I love the cut out work on this fabric. I could get away with wearing it in winter and in my head I see this as a long winter skirt with the cutout as a feature border around the bottom. I think I’ve already got a pattern in mind for it.

Industry Day 2015 Shopping Blue Shades

At another store I found this wool fabric. There is 2.5m in the main piece and over 50cm in the blue fur. I recently purchased a cape pattern and this fabric would be perfect for it I think… or it could be another skirt.

Industry Day 2015 Shopping Cutting Board

The third section was by Simplicity, there was notions, trims and of course patterns. I was excited to get the cardboard pattern cutting board for $10. I have been wanting to get one of these for ages. I can spread it out over my cutting table. At the moment I only have a medium size cutting matt so when it comes to measuring out anything over 22″ I struggle. This one has all the different units of measurement centimetres, inches, yards. I always get confused with the maths conversion between imperial and metric.

Industry Day 2015 Shopping

On the day Guild members can buy any pattern by Simplicity, Burda and New Look for $5 each. I only purchased 1 pattern as I have a few already. To my surprise the trims on the plastic rolls were $5 for the entire roll and not sold by the metre. I picked up a few, I guess I really liked the blue one as I picked up 2 of that trim (discovered this when I got home) I have no idea what I’m going to do with over 5m of 4″ fur trim but I was standing there patting it without realising so when I found out the price it was coming home. I also picked up a set of interchangeable knitting needles. I have the same brand (Boye) in crochet hooks which are great so when I saw these I thought perfect as I was wanting a set and for $20 I’m happy. They are in their own zipper case so I can keep them all together. I also picked up a Learn to Knit series which comes with all your basic knitting needs. After reading the book that came with it I picked out about 3 patterns I wanted to try.

Industry Day 2015 Lucky Door Prize

I had a really good day and learnt a lot from all the guest speakers but also from fellow guild members. I even won a lucky door prize of a leather thimble. As far as shopping goes maybe I over spent a little bit but I think its like craft shows the first time you go you lose your mind purchasing everything but the next time you go you’re more selective. Some items are one off purchases like the cutting board and knitting needles. I’m vowing to use the trims and the fabric I’ve brought within the next 12mths. At next years Industry Day if I haven’t used (partly used counts as used) the trims and fabric I brought this time than I’m not going to buy so much.

Sew-a-thon Sep 15

Sewathon Sep 15 Work Stations

Last weekend we had a regional Australian Sewing Guild sew-a-thon. The sew-a-thon is a 3 day event held in a local hall.

A+ Skirt Front

Day 1
I worked on the A+ Skirt which I happened to get finished in one day thanks to some preparation I did at home which made the construction of it quicker. I wanted to make the skirt at the event so I could get tips from the experienced members who have been sewing for years. I’m only learning how to make clothes. I’m better at reading patterns, well PDF ones at least than I was before but I’m only at beginner clothing level.

Retail Therapy

Day 2
I began working on 4 toys. They were all the same Melly and Me panel. All I had to do was cut out the panel and stitch up. I decided to make them in batches so on that day it was stitching all the limbs and appendages together.
Sewathon Sep 15 2nd Project

Day 3
I spent the entire day stuffing limbs and appendages I didn’t even touch my sewing machine. That was the first time I’ve been to a sew-a-thon and not started up my little machine. By the end of the day I still hadn’t finished all the stuffing.

Each day we were spoilt with lovely gifts. I got the cutest lady bug tissue holder, a leaf bowl that you can put bobbins in next to your machine or use as a thread catcher, a tomato pin cushion, pins, a thumb pin cushion and a really sweet hanging bag that you can hide stuff in and place in your wardrobe, if you place a jacket over it you wouldn’t even know it’s there what a great idea.

Sewathon Sep 15 Completed Projects

By the end of the weekend lots of people had made progress on the projects they were working on. We even got some items finished including tops, skirts, sheets, embroidered tea towels, kids clothing. It was lovely to see all the hard work people had done. Yes there was lots of fun and laughter but at times the room was silent as we all concentrated on our sewing. The members who attend are very generous and brought in any fabric or books they don’t need to share with the fellow members. I only took fabric I knew I could use for WIRES pouches and some beautiful knit fabric for a pattern I’ve wanted to try but didn’t have the perfect fabric. I also got some vintage buttons for a project for Xmas. I was also given some Press and Seal so I can create a pattern from an existing skirt I have but don’t want to pull apart. You can’t buy that in Australia so that was a real treat. I was able to speak to a lot of people and get advice on using my embroidery machine. You can read lots of things online but there is nothing like speaking to people face to face to get their advice. I really enjoyed the sew-a-thon. It’s great to spend time with such like-minded people.