The Yellow Brick Road

Top: Uniqlo

Skirt: DIY

Tights: Heist

Shoes: Chie Mihara

So, it’s been a month…  I haven’t quite managed to keep up with my promise to post at least once a fortnight, but I’m afraid you’ll just have to forgive me!

It’s been a crazily busy month, but rewarding as well. I went up to Canberra to surprise my little sister for her birthday, kicked a few professional goals, caught up with some wonderful friends, and did some (a lot) of sewing.

The Mister and I are settling more and more into our wonderful little home. Suki’s beside herself with delight about the quantity of light she’s getting streaming in through the window, and I’ve been gradually adding to the bookshelves (and the picture wall) while C has been busily doing some home handyman type stuff and also creating a little inner-city oasis of plants on the balcony. I’ve been going to yoga down the road twice a week, and can touch my toes again without straining, which – let me tell you – is an achievement. The three and a half flights of stairs up to our little eyrie are still a slog – especially after a long day – but the pleasure of opening the door into my own home at the end of it never seems to get old. We’re very lucky.

I got an email from someone a couple of months ago that had me thinking about how much has changed in the past five years. It’s been a rollercoaster, huh? I kind of wish I could go back to 2013 me and just let her know it’s going to be OK. That, yeah, things are going to be pretty rough for a bit and there’s going to be a couple of hiccups, but her wonderful friends will be there every step of the way, and by 2018 she’s going to be engaged to the most lovely man, her sister will be well, she’ll be working in a job that she adores, and living in her own home. Also she’ll definitely be going grey pretty quickly, but it turns out it’s not the end of the world.

It’s a pretty low-key life, but it leaves a lot of room for reading, sewing, writing, and cooking. Spontaneous movie nights. Netflix binges. Farmer’s markets and design fairs and crafternoons. Eventually I might even start planning a wedding.

Anyhoo, that was a whole lot of a waffle and not a lot of wardrobe. Shall I tell you about my skirt now? I made it myself using the skirt part of the Fen Dress pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts, and a fantastic Wizard of Oz themed fabric from Leah Duncan at Cloud9. I’m forty now. FOUR. OH. FORTY. And while I’m not wearing as many novelty prints and florals and bright colours as I did when I first started the blog (oh my god) ten years ago, my soul still ascends any time I see something Wizard of Oz themed.

This one’s particularly fun – a Where’s Wally-esque find-and-seek that takes its inspiration more from Baum’s book than the Hollywood film. Look closely and you can find the yellow brick road, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow, a field of enchanted poppies, and – uh – a bunch of folks who seem to be cosplaying as a tea set (residents from China Country).

In totally unrelated news, my work is hosting a free event with Taryn Brumfitt in a couple of weeks. If you haven’t heard of Taryn before, she’s the writer and filmmaker behind the wonderful Embrace documentary, and a prominent voice in the body-pos movement. She’s going to be in conversation with paralympian Jessica Smith on Monday 3 September here in Melbourne, and it should be fun. I’ll definitely be there (in a work capacity) so make sure you say hi if you come along! You can find the details here.

Stitchin’

  Top: Uniqlo, remixed

Sweater: Uniqlo

Jeans: Levi’s Plus

Shoes: Novo

What’s this? A new post, and not even six weeks after the last one?

It’s cold, grey, wet day in Melbourne today, and I’m procrastinating a few other jobs on my list by doing that embroidered collar tutorial that I promised you. Behold! the first DIY post I’ve done in over a year (the last one was that heart tee remix from the start of 2016, yikes!)

I got the idea for this shirt after seeing a photo of the wonderful Stephanie Beatriz (the actor who plays Det. Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine) wearing a shirt with the words “fuck” and “off” embroidered on the collar. She pulls it off magnificently, but she’s about 193 levels of sass above me, so I thought I’d have a go and DIY myself something similar… but with a slightly less provocative catch phrase.

I chose “Feminist Killjoy” because, well, because I freaking love the phrase, and Stephanie Beatriz may be 193 levels of sass above me, but that doesn’t mean I have zero sass. I wore it and felt fierce and spent the whole day exchanging grins with women on the street and on public transport.

For the tutorial I’ve chosen a very Australian phrase: “Yeah, nah” (International readers – it means no. As opposed to “nah, yeah” which means yes).

For this project you just need a collared shirt, some embroidery thread, and a pencil or a disappearing ink fabric pen.

You can freehand the text straight onto the shirt, but my handwriting is atrocious so instead I used a font generator online and printed out the words to create a template to work from.

If you’re doing it this way the first thing you’ll have to do is position the template on the underside of the collar – make sure you’re using the correct word for each side, I feel like “Off Fuck” would have had a lot less impact!

Once you’re happy with the size and placement of the templates pin them in place (printed side to the fabric)

If you hold the collar up against the window you should be able to see the template through the fabric and you can trace the words on to the right side of the collar. I tend to do little dots, so the fabric doesn’t shift as I drag the pen around.

(Once you’ve got the template inscribed it’s worth going over it again on a flat surface.)

Embroidery floss is usually made up of six strands, which is probably too much for the kind of delicate work that you’re going to sew, so I cut a length and separate the threads so that the line that I sew will be made out of four strands.

Starting at the very beginning of one of the letters (and with the knot on the underside of the collar, but you guys probably could figure that out by yourselves) sew a stitch along the line of the template.

You’re going to be sewing a split-stitch, which is exactly what it sounds like. When you bring your needle back up from the underside, feed it halfway through the first stitch that you did.

Then the next stitch further along the line, and the next one halfway through the previous one. And so on, and so forth. You might have to make slightly smaller stitches around the tight curves.

And voila!

Super easy, and a really great way of fancying up a plain button-down shirt.

If you’re stumped for what to sew, here’s a couple of ideas I’m thinking of for next time:

  • Shine Bright
  • She Persisted
  • Read More
  • Love Thyself
  • Bite Me
  • What. Ever.

Any more ideas? Leave a comment!

 

 

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