Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Years resolutions

Image taken from google 

I'm never one for new years resolutions, I always ask too much of myself. I always say 'I'm going to get fit', 'I'm going to get healthy' or 'I'm going to ....... (insert something vague and cliche here)'. But I think the problem with new years resolutions is that we always ask too much, we want to be better, perfect people but time and life inevitably gets in the way.

We become disappointed in ourselves as we break the hopes that we had for the new 'us'. We are after all, only human. As much as I would love to be this insanely fit woman with bulletproof confidence, a tonne of energy, perfect marks and incredibly healthy diet I have to take into account reality. I'm chronically ill, I'm a student and I'm fallible. Some days I feel so crap I don't even get out of bed, some days I can't make it to uni and some days I just want to sleep the day away.

 I can try, and oh boy! will I try to be that woman! However  you only have so much energy, so much time and the reality is that you can't spread yourself too thin. I want to be fit, healthy, a good student, a good daughter, a good sister, a good girlfriend and a good friend. I want to blog more, be better at sewing, learn to crochet (finally) and get back into baking. We however cannot beat ourselves up when we don't get A+ in every single category, its good to push ourselves to be better but we should never, ever beat ourselves up when we don't come close to an impossible ideal of perfection.

So this year my goals are going to be specific and reachable. I am going to try my best and be flexible with my goals, because I know life gets in the way sometimes.

  1. I want to read at least 10 books. I used to be the biggest bookworm, I remember devoured the last harry potter book in the space of a morning to evening. I lived for books! However school and then uni has brought me away from my love so I want to get back into it. Maybe I will read more! Who knows! 
  2. I want to work out or do some form of physical activity at least once a week when I am well 
  3. I want to sew five of my existing sewing patterns before I buy a new one (unless they are vintage, in that case 'nothing haunts you more than the vintage you didn't buy')
  4. I want to sew at least 10 items of clothing 
  5. I want to bake once a month
  6. Create a study routine that works  
What are your new years resolutions and what are your biggest mistakes when it comes to creating them? 

I hope you all have a lovely, safe new year!
Alecia xx

Sunday, 28 December 2014

My first circle skirt

If you read my blog you probably know that this project has been a while in the making. I put off hemming it for the longest time, purely because I was terrified of the curved hem! However after finishing the sewing part pretty quickly I have come to the conclusion that circle skirts are amazing. I mean look how twirly they are! and flattering! Gosh, why I haven't I made them sooner? 

See! Its so full and pretty! 

Action shot: wind 

(tip: wind and circle skirts are not a GREAT combo)

I'm so happy I finally got to use this fabric, I bought it over a year ago from spotlight. I fell in love with it and planned to make a dress but I saw a red patterned circle skirt and KNEW that I needed to make one. The good news is that I have loads left over! Matching top? 

Top: Target
Skirt: self made
 Bag: 1950s vintage
Shoes: Mel by Melissa

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Where do you keep your bobbins?

When I first started sewing I was naive, I just let my bobbins run wild in a shoe box. As you can imagine there was a LOT of frustration when it came time to fish them out, there is nothing quite like trying to untangle a mess of cotton to ruin a perfectly good sewing session. The more you fight the bobbins, the more they unwind, I feel like they just KNOW what they're doing and do it just to spite me. 

Now, months back I was scavenging an op shop and found this beauty, its an old plastic powder jar. It still smells faintly of powder and is the perfect size to hold my bobbins. I quickly fished through my sewing shoebox trying to cut free every single knotted bobbin so they could all move in to their new home.

 Super tip: a small piece of sticky tape on the tip of the thread and tape it to the bobbin case, this will stop them from unrolling. 

Happy sewing! 
Alecia xx

A quick and simple santa hat nail tutorial

You will need
  • A sheer pale pink or tinted clear nail polish
  • Red nail polish, it doesn't matter if it is a flat cream red or metallic, santa can be sparkly! 
  • White nail polish. You can use a normal bottle and brush which I used here, a nail art bottle/pen or use a tool. 
  • Clear top coat

What did I do? 
  • Paint your whole nail with a sheer pale pink or tinted clear nail polish to make your bare nails look pretty. 
  • After this has dried use your red polish to create an almost exaggerated french tip that covers 1/3 to 1/2 of the nail. Paint this straight across
  • To paint the tip of the santa hat draw a vertical stripe along one side of the nail. This line should look smaller at the bottom and get slightly bigger at the top so it looks like a santa hat the tip folded down.
  • Touch up any unclean lines and wait for it to dry
  • Using a white nail polish with either a brush or tool place a white stripe (for the band of the hat) from where the vertical stripe ends, to the edge of the nail. 
  • For the bobble, create a white dot
  • Once dry cover nail with a top coat to ensure the polish stays on and looks shiny and pretty
  • Taaa daaaa! You are done! Have a fruit mince pie and a cup of tea once they are totally dry to celebrate
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! 
Alecia xx

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Gertie book review (Part 1): New book for better sewing

I recently completed my set of Gertie sewing books so I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a comparative review to see how they differ from each other. I hope this helps anyone wondering which book they should, the first book I am reviewing is her first book (my latest purchase). Her first book I would say is dedicated to more 'couture' and classic 'vintage' styles. The techniques are more difficult and there are more challenging patterns, so I would say this is for an advanced beginner. You would need to have a few garments that you have already sewn as I suspect a newbie might want to tear their hair out if this was their first project.

The book is split into two distinct parts, one being skills and one being wardrobe. 

Skills: the skills section includes a section with information on sewing vintage patterns, repro and vintage inspiration. It also includes a section on preparation which focuses on pretreating the fabric, tools and fabric required and general sewing information that you might find in a beginner book. This provided a good base and reference point, even if you are not totally confident with sewing some of the projects this section is still very useful. Also included is a section on techniques ranging from simple hems, stitches, zippers, buttonholes and stabilising to more couture techniques such as tailoring, boning, pad stitching and bound buttonholes. These techniques are all used throughout the book and are explained clearly with well drawn diagrams.  There is also a section on pattern making, cutting and altering which comes in handy with the paper patterns included. The lucky last section is on fitting and goes through all sorts of flat pattern adjustments useful in creating a great fit. 

The second section of the book is the wardrobe section, this includes the patterns, pattern variations and cutting diagrams.  There are 10 base patterns with many different variations, each pattern has comprehensive, easy to follow instructions and illustrations. Each variation has instructions and illustrations guiding the reader through adjusting the existing pattern to achieve the look. I feel that this is a good way to encourage people to play around with patterns. 

There are 10 base patterns with many variations: 
1. Pencil skirt: the pencil skirt is fitted and has a classic shape with a high waistband. The high waist band can be boned. With this pattern there are also instructions on creating a pencil skirt with a flounce and a 1940s style A-line skirt with pin-tucks. 
2. Portrait blouse: A fairly simple blouse that is neither too loose nor too tight and looks great tucked into a skirt. There are also instructions on how to make this blouse in Chantilly lace, which requires different finishings.
3. Sultry Sheath: A red hot dress that is close fitted with a low heart shaped neckline. It creates an hourglass shape and has double darts in the bodice and skirt waist. Instructions are also included on how to change this into a square necked winter jumper dress and a sundress.
4. Scallop waist skirt: A high waisted full gored skirt with scallop waist detail, the waist is boned for shape. One variation is included with a straight waist akin to the dior new look suit skirt that is so famous. 
5. Bow tie blouse: a simple, slightly shaped blouse with a bowtie neckline that opens by bound button holes in the back. Two variations are included, a keyhole version and a peter pan version.

6. Sweetheart sundress: A sundress with gathered, sweetheart bust with thick straps, front facing and gathered skirt. Two variations are included; a tiki dress with shirred back and slightly draped skirt plus a sweetheart strapless dress with circle skirt.

7. Wiggle dress: A fitted classic wiggle dress with 3/4 sleeves and underarm gussets. A brocade dress (pictured on cover) and dropped waist cocktail dress are included as variations. 

8. Shirtwaist dress: A classic shirtwaist dress with puffed sleeves and shirred back. A zip-front 1940s style variation is included.

9. Suit jacket: This is in the style of the famous 1940s Dior newlook suit jacket. It is very tailored with slight flare at the waist. No variations are given for this pattern

10. Coat dress: elbow length coat dress with circle skirt, collar and off centre buttons. No variations are given for this pattern and looks to be one of the more difficult patterns. 


Throughout the book there are many beautiful illustrations that make this book not only practical and easy to understand, but also very pretty to look at. 

One of my favourite patterns in the book is this dress, the wiggle dress. I feel that it gives a nice shape with a good length. The sleeves make it good to wear in between seasons or in an air-conditioned environment. The underarm gussets would add ease of movement making it more practical for everyday life. I love the colour of the fabric used and the styling. I would like to make this in both a stunning colour and a plain black as I feel this would be a great wardrobe staple that can be worn for work, evening or everyday. 

I also love the simplicity of the pencil skirt. It is such a basic pattern that with correct fitting looks a million dollars. The length is perfect and adds the the vintage vibe and the high waistband gives a very hourglass shape that is very flattering. Again, this is a wardrobe staple than can be made in many colours and fabrics that can be worn on almost any occasion. I also have this on my to sew list. 

Also pictured is the bow tie blouse, I think it looks perfect with the pencil skirt, what do you think? 

Another pattern I love is the shirtwaist dress. I love the fabric used in the picture as it plays up the vintage vibe and makes it look really fun. The covered belt makes it look very polished and hides the shirring in the back. Yay for shirring! Yay for comfort! Depending on the styling and fabric I feel this dress could be made to look from both the 40s, 50s or  early 60s.

This is not a pattern but a variation of the sweetheart sundress pattern. The tiki dress is a beautiful rendition of the pattern that feels very tropical and glamourous. It too has shirring for comfort and fit and I am very excited to work up to this dress as I have wanted to buy a 1950s tiki style dress for a long time (but cannot afford it).

  • beautiful illustrations
  • helpful instructions and diagrams
  • includes variations on patterns which encourages pattern altering skills.
  • simple to advanced techniques and patterns 
  • techniques required to create variations or patterns have written instructions on the page and within the skills section. 
  • Discusses vintage patterns and inspiration
  • Advanced beginner can grow with the book using each project as an opportunity to learn new skills. 
  • Beautiful vintage style patterns that will build up a lovely wardrobe.
  • Not a  starter book, this is a book that one would get after they have mastered the very basics. 
  • Some images and fabric used make it hard to see detail, especially the drop waist cocktail dress.
I would say that this is a great book and I am very glad to have bought it. It can create a mini wardrobe full of vintage styles and is a great way to learn new skills or practice complex skills if you are a intermediate/advanced sewer. I would highly recommend it. 

Hang around for part 2: Gertie sews vintage casual and part 3 where I compare them.

Have a good week!
Alecia xxx

Monday, 8 December 2014

I did it!

If you're wondering what 'it' is, I conquered the curved hem. After weeks of procrastination facilitated by both exams and christmas shopping I sat down and did it. We all have our fears when it comes to sewing and you know what? I realised that in reality curved hems aren't that scary. Its a bit like when you see something in the dark and it looks frightening, but when you turn on the light its just a normal object. I am so proud of myself for persevering.

I will share some photos of my creation soon!

Have a great week! 
Alecia xx

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

10 ridiculously adorable animal inspired etsy finds

Sometimes I fall into the abyss that is cute animal videos on youtube. Whenever I am sad, seeing cute kittens, puppies and ducks seem to always cheer me up again. I thought I'd show you a collection of my favourite cute animal etsy finds so you can carry over that happiness of watching cute animal videos 24/7/. 

1. Corgi purse from the etsy store BENWINEWIN 

3. Bunny kiss necklace from the etsy store Schmooks

4. Happy/Sad Yowie necklace from the etsy store Yellow Tree

5. Snowflake cat ring from the etsy store Mordernaked

6. Duckling necklace from the etsy store Flower Land

9. Siamese cat pocket mirror from the etsy store Matouenpeluche

10. Pug in a ball pit tote from the etsy store Girliepains