Homesewn Hues

Moneta Dress: DIY from Colette Patterns & Spoonflower fabric

Belt: Trenery

Cardigan: Princess Highway

Shoes: Funkis Melbourne

 

It has been such a pleasure to get back into my sewing again. I’ve been experimenting with some new patterns, having a go a frankensteining some of my own, and dusting off a few old favourites.This is one of the latter.

I’ve made, er, I think five Moneta dresses now: Black cats, cockatoos, whales, a plain black one, and now this one. The pattern is starting to get that really fragile feel to it, so I’m going to have to transcribe it onto new paper if I want to keep sewing it. Which, obviously, I do.

Since Gorman‘s collaboration with Australian artist Dana Kinter I’ve been on the look-out for fabric that features native floral motifs (ideally from an Australian artist). If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently discovered the mother-load with Nerida Hansen (oh my God, more on that in a future post), but for a knit fabric it’s really Spoonflower or bust.

I’ve had a lot of luck with Spoonflower in the past – it’s expensive, but the range is unparalleled, the quality is fine (usually), and artists from all over the work can sell their designs there.

The fabric that I picked for this version of the Moneta dress was from Kara Cooper of Mount Vic and Me. It’s a gorgeous graphic design that features brightly coloured Australian wildflowers, gum nuts, and blossoms and leaves on a rich black background.

Errr…. that’s a black background. Guys? Black?

This is not a black background. And this is not the result of overzealous washing either, it arrived in my mailbox this colour.

And, look, it’s fine. And I’m pretty sure it’s just the fabric that I picked (cotton-spandex jersey, for the record), but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was a bit cross. I don’t think I’ll be buying another black-pigmented fabric from Spoonflower again, or at least not in the cotton jersey.

Still, the design is everything I hoped it would be, and once I got over my disappointment I realised how nicely the muted colours worked with a blush cardigan (or a yellow cardigan, or a grey cardigan).

And it goes beautifully with my new yellow clogs.

I bought a pair of Swedish Hasbeen clogs a good five years ago from Modcloth, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I can probably count the number of times I’ve worn them on one hand. I knew they were going to be a commitment: You have to break them in, the internet told me, then they’ll be the most comfortable shoes you own. And I tried (sort of) but they were so uncomfortable after such short periods of time that I never got past the breaking-in stage.

I’d heard better reports from people about Funkis clogs, so when the team at Funkis Melbourne offered me a pair to road-test I thought I’d give them a whirl.

I got the Gertrude clogs in the mustard colour in my usual size 39 and guys, they’re great. Everything that I’d hoped for from the Hasbeens and more.

They have a thicker rubber sole than the Hasbeens, and I can barely feel the road through them when I’m striding. The thicker sole also means that you don’t get as much of that unmistakable clop-clop noise that usually accompanies clogs. The leather is a little bit softer, and softens more quickly, and they seem a little wider in the foot, which is good for me. The strap’s just a teensy bit shorter than I’d ideally like, but it’s loosening a bit with wear and I have very high arches, so it might not be an issue for many others.

The first day I wore them I packed a spare pair of shoes (just in case) but it turned out I didn’t need them. They were perfectly wearable from the first step, and only started rubbing a little by the end of a hot 9 hour day. Every day that I’ve worn them since they’ve been more and more comfortable. In fact I’m so enamoured with them I’m pretty tempted to treat myself to a second pair. What do you reckon? The Josefina, or the Tilda? Or both?

 

 

 

Smocker

  Dress: Cottage Industry

Shoes: Chie Mihara

Bangle: Dinosaur Designs

Necklace: DIY

 

I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been a great month; but I’m faking it til I make it, I guess. I turn the big four-oh in May, and the thought is terrifying me. Not because I’m getting older – age is a privilege after all – but just because there are so many things I thought I would have achieved by this point in my life. I’m making a concerted effort to focus on the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, and when I think about it, I have a lot of blessings to count: I have a lovely boyfriend/fiance (whose birthday it was yesterday, happy birthday my love); my family is well; I have a job and workmates that I enjoy to the point of being embarrassing about it; I’ve got my foot on the property ladder, and I love my new home; My friends are extraordinary, and every single day I think about how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my tribe.

Anyway. I actually put this dress up on Instagram a cool two months ago, and the photos I took have been been sitting in my draft folder since then. I love this dress so much that I just treated myself to a second one (in a black and white gingham) and it reminded me that I hadn’t posted a blog about it yet.

This is the harvest smock dress from Cottage Industry in Fitzroy. The legendary harvest smock dress from Cottage Industry? Yeah, let’s call it legendary. I’ve been seeing these dresses around Melbourne for years now. Sonya (formerly of Australian Fatshion) has one, and my friend Ella has the top version, and I’ve seen countless effortlessly cool women of all ages and sizes wearing them around town.

After being told for the fifteenth time “Thanks, it’s from Cottage Industry” when I’ve complimented someone on their frock I finally decided maybe it was time to go check them out in person.

“In person” is actually the only way you can check out these dresses. Dressmaker and shop-owner Pene Durston doesn’t have an online shop – she tried it once, but gave up after customers kept sending the dresses back saying they were too big. Because they’re a lot, you guys. There is a lot of beautiful, tactile, linen in these frocks. Three of me could probably comfortably fit in this dress.

This much fabric, and no waistband… I should look like the size of a barn, but somehow I don’t. Pene’s managed to cut some clever seaming into the yards of fabric – the curved waistband, the batwing sleeves, the upturned sleeve cuffs – somehow it all comes together to make a drapey, voluminous dress that flatters every figure I’ve ever seen wearing it. It’s basically witchcraft.

It is a lot though. I went back to the shop four times before I found one that I liked the look of on me. Fortunately the staff at Cottage Industry are a delight, and perfectly happy to let you try on every dress in the place before you make your decision. They’ll offer advice, tell you if something isn’t quite working, and they have The Book, where they take requests if what’s on the racks isn’t quite perfect. Pene is always experimenting with different prints and fabrics – the best place to keep an eye on the range is actually via her instagram – but if you see one you like, act quickly as she often sells out within the day.

The Harvest Smock is available one-size-fits-all in a top, a short, and a long style. I bought the long (because the short showed my knees, and you all know how I feel about my knees) but lopped a couple of inches off the hem so that it hit me mid-calf. It’s easily the most comfortable dress I own, and it’s been getting a work-out over summer, especially those really hot days when I can’t stand the feel of anything on my skin but being actually naked isn’t an option.

You can layer the dress too, and I’m looking forward to wearing my new black-and-white version in winter with tights and ankle boots, and a long cardigan and a scarf. (I have this whole farmers-market-Northside-lady image of myself buying pumpkins and putting them in a string bag before going home and making soup, can you tell?)