Tag Archives: Travel wardrobe

Myers changing-room

8 Sep

Not much sewing round here, just holidaying in Fremantle! Of course, the small town girl had to hit the big city shops and try on lots of clothes to get ideas for sewing projects.

The colour piecing on this dress was very effective. The colour suited me well. I loved it! My fiancé (poor guy, back home in Darwin, still at work, being sent holiday photos like this from his beloved!) was making noises about buying it for me.

But sadly I am such a clothes snob and this dress had some terrible flaws when on me. There is no way I would let him buy me a dress that is just too BIG in style and line (it wasn’t from the petite range. The petite range was pretty uninspiring) and too long for pleasing proportions on me. And … the real killer, it wouldn’t be that hard for me to make myself if I really wanted to. (My fiancé is very used to this kind of reaction 😀 and just chuckled 🙂

This was a one-piece dress with this cute little peplum set in around the waist. Nice. I did actually need some work clothes. If only I was into buying rtw clothes new, this may well have come home with me.

Not so cute coz it didn’t fit right. (It was waaaay too long in the back-waist. I am sadly short.) Nice styling in a fairly boring way. Ok for work … in a boring way.

I thought this one might be nice for a day out in Darwin. I love this style of skirt on a dress, and have been eyeing off patterns like this for ages, so I was glad to take the opportunity to try it on.

Sadly, I am not convinced it looks all that good on me. I could be wrong, I could be being old-fashioned and have my Granny’s “that makes your hips look broad” ringing in my head. (Ok I definitely need to get rid of that comment. She said mostly of loving, positive things, I would rather remember those instead.) I was also disappointed in the colour – it didn’t look as good on me as I thought it ought to! Not sure if it was the lighting, which can be deceiving, or if it was just that bit too yellow in undertone for my cool colouring 😦

Lovely back hem details on an otherwise straight skirt.

I did a lot more than window shopping. Here is the proof!

I had to find room for all of these in my suitcase on the way home! From left to right: My trusty slippers;  Blue velvet mary janes (that pack beautifully flat); Purple shoes handmade in Bulgaria! Nuff said? (from a boutique shoe shop in Perth);  Blue Naot sandals (from an old-fashioned shoe shop in Freo); Every dancer needs a pair of red shoes! (from an op-shop in Freo); My trusty Cherry Docs (my travel-shoe wardrobe basics); Hiking boots.

My old pair of hiking boots died tragically 3 months ago, and it is hard to find such things in Darwin, so when I saw these lovely boots on special, I nabbed them immediately. I’m hoping to try them out next weekend!

I also ended up in a couple of op-shops in Freo, and found all sorts of clothes, including some much-needed workwear 🙂 Op shops are just much more fun than stuffy, conventional big name shops…

Last but not least, why I didn’t spend that much time in the big city shops after all:

2 week creative challenge – Simplicity 9687

29 Jun

My friends over at  Studio Pyraxis issued a challenge to those who are interested – every day for 2 weeks to post something creative, be it a picture, a piece of creative writing etc.

Sounds like fun! Since most of my creativity at the moment is wrapped up in sewing or craft, I figure here is a good place to do said posts.

So… today I made the raglan-sleeved version top (green one) of this pattern.

It is the eighth (or ninth?) time I have made this pattern up. Approximately half of the tops have been made for myself, and half for my mum. The beauty of this pattern is I am petite and hourglass, mum is plus-sized with a 4-children-bearing tummy, yet the top suits us both so well. Good pattern huh?


I made one yesterday too. Two of these tops sewn up for my mum in two days to round off her travelling wardrobe. *polishes nails in satisfaction*. Here is mum wearing yesterday’s one, about to head off overseas for 2 months (new grandson in Italy who was supposed to have arrived 5 days ago but still isn’t here yet!) Please excuse the odd light-and-shade effect in the photo. All I could get was a few quick snaps of her on her way out the door.


Behold, what a naughty daughter I was, to be taking photos of mum packing her bags into the car instead of helping her. My excuse reason was it was better for her to find out if it was too hard for her to cart them around while she was still here in Darwin rather than in ooh say Singapore.


Oh ok it is really just because getting my mother to stay still for any photo is almost impossible, and I wanted a photo less about interesting effects of palm-tree shadows and more about the top itself.

The fabric it is made from is a light cotton from a Spotlight range inspired by  feedsack prints. This particular one has a combination of delicious colours all suiting mum perfectly. She bought enough for a dress, then decided she wanted the top instead. , She gave the rest to of the fabric to me. This top takes such a small amount of fabric to make up there is plenty left for me to play around with. And by happy coincidence my colouring is so similar to my mother’s, the fabric suits me beautifully too. Yay!

Mum and my sister who lives in London are heading to Italy via rail, through the Channel tunnel and everything! They have 4 days in Paris. I have put in a request for a photo of mum wearing one of the tops I made her, in front of the Eiffel Tower. I suspect the likelihood of getting a photo depends more on the weather being warm enough for my Territorian mum to be wearing only a cotton top, than anything else!

Fingers crossed…

Wardrobe clearout and a possible new project.

9 Jun

I went through my wardrobe with a harsh eye this afternoon. I don’t mind stuff in there that I love but rarely get to wear. But things I am not wearing because they don’t work for some reason? They have to go!

Even if I do love them…

I remind myself it makes way for things I love AND work well.

One of the things that went is this skirt.

Another RTW skirt copy” src=”https://tropicalthreads.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/glassonsgreyskirtfront2.jpg?w=225″ alt=”” width=”225″ height=”300″ />

I commented in the original post that the fabric seemed too light for the style, and to be honest, I think that is why I rarely wear it. I feel a bit scruffy and under-groomed in it. I have quite a bit of the original fabric left over, so I will keep the skirt and see if I can create a new garment entirely, from both.

Another that went is a grey dress I found in an op-shop a while back. It was tight around the arms back then, but now, after a year’s worth of pilates, it pulls badly across the entire shoulder area 😦 It is a gorgeous dress, in very good condition. I am sure some other person will absolutely LOVE it.

A few of my own creations will simply be put away. I love them too much to send them off to the big wide world of op-shops.

This was made from Folkwear Edwardian Underthings pattern. (Notice I like blue roses?) I simplified the waist, and found the most awesome trim for it at Spotlight! But, though I have worn it a lot before, I have just kinda “gone off” it. Also I don’t have a top that does it justice, and am not sure what would. Time to put it away.



The awesome trim:



Another old favourite. The colour faded to an odd, and sadly unappealing neutraly colour. I was enchanted by the whole pixie movement in the UK, wanting to my own pixie top, tropical-style. This is what I came up with. I love it – so much so I wore it to colour-death 😦 I would dye it but the fabric is getting old. And I am not sure I would like the outcome of the trim being dyed either, whether it was dyed too, or stayed the same colour. RIP pixie top. You will be missed.


And now, for my next project…

I was cruising Ravelry the other day (as you do!) and saw some gorgeous crocheted boleros. I have been using this cardigan in our recent cold snap.


It is the perfect weight for the colder weather here. But … it’s too big! I knitted it when I was in my early 20’s, living in Auckland. I didn’t think I was that much bigger then, but I must have been! I have to roll the sleeves up a couple of turns, and it is huge round the torso.

I’d be more comfortable in one that fits! Maybe in crochet with a lacy look to it, as the looseness of this cardigan is probably why it isn’t too hot. I could soooo happily use some of those beautiful bamboo yarns. Mmmm!!!! I doubt I finish it this dry season, but I have realised it would also be the perfect weight for travelling when down south, as this cardigan is too.

And then in my inbox this afternoon I found this from Spotlight …


Methinks it may be Fate…

Travel wardrobe review

1 Jan

I haven’t posted for so long because I was away. Yup, it was a lovely trip, thanks!
And… my travel wardrobe was perfect – until about 2 weeks into the trip I was bored out of my mind wearing the same clothes over and over and went op-shopping. For the record, Goulburn has some great op-shops. My sister-in-law recommends one in Yass, but I didn’t manage to get there, sadly.

I was boringly strict about making sure everything matched absolutely everything else, and it worked brilliantly. Here is pretty much what I took:
Grey a-line skirt
Black trousers
Cargo trousers
A pinafore dress in a brown-purple.
4 t-shirts; green; grey; white; my favourite purple t-shirt with snoopy in the front.
2 long-sleeved t-shirts: turquoise; grey-green
1 long-sleeved top in soft blue
1 singlet: watermelon
1 pr lounging pyamas (which did wear to bed on occasion)
1 rayon sarong
1 lightweight red cardigan,
1 heavy-weight light blue cardigan
1 pr bright red velvet Mary Janes
1 pr blue-grey Mary-janes
Vibram five-fingers
A collection of hats and hosiery

I came home with all of the above except for the 2 prs of trousers – I didn’t like either enough to wear them up here in the dry season, so I just left them behind.

  • gorgeous red and black cotton dress “Made in Roumania” on the swing tag 🙂
  • dark brown with aqua floral print top courtesy of an op-shop in King’s Cross sydney. (My sister is jealous 😉
  • blue and beige top – “Katies” via the op-shop in Goulburn.

So, the conclusion is, it is very convenient and works a treat to pack well, apart from the fact it is incredibly boring.

Travel and ruffles

29 Oct

My Grand Plan for a dance wardrobe came to an abrupt pause when I realised my holiday down south was Looming Large. Attention immediately switched to getting my travel wardrobe er… not so much “up to scratch” as getting it to exist at all.

I backpacked for 3 years in my early 20’s and had the contents of the pack down to a fine art, but I never really worked out how to pack for shorter trips, in particular how to stay warm but not overheat in variable climates.
People say “layer layer layer” but what does that mean?! Seriously, what does it mean? how do you wear more than one layer to start with, and how does that make you warm enough and cool enough for many climates?

In total despair I bought Travelling Light by Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style It turned outto be more about travelling light (like the name said Duh! <— silly me) than packing for different climates. Again that presumed knowledge in the audience. But nonetheless, it gave me so many other ideas and tips I was really glad I had bought it after all. Some of it was really obvious once she had pointed it out, such as

  • everything you take should match each other (she explains clearly how to achieve that).
  •  taking garments made of non-bulky fabric so they pack down into a small space. This was like a lightbulb going off in my head – I know all about packing “non-iron” fabrics, but I’ve never thought of packing non-bulky fabrics. I had done that instinctively while backpacking but never realised its importance.

Anyway, I really do recommend the book, even if all it said about dressing warmly was to (ahem!) layer, and suggested thermal underwear (like wha-??? and where do you get these mysterious items of clothing?) because the book is so GOOD!

I realised I could do with some nice soft, non-bulky but warm pyjamas, seeing how we will be in the mountains of Victoria and the Southern Highlands of NSW for half the trip and the nights, even in November, promise to be cold.
So I went to my trusty local fabric store and found on special some “seaspray” cotton/lycra knit. For t-shirts it is a tad heavy for this climate, but for jammies I thought it a perfect weight. And the colour is fantastic – in the fandeck of colours that suite me I got from Kerryn, it is right between “lemon” and “lime fizz”, a shade usually hard to find. I grabbed it!

I am not the world’s most experienced or enthusiastic knit sewer, but I was Inspired. I have no plans to sleep in them, (ok, another tropical thing – not used to wearing much at all to bed, so a tank top and undies will do for bed) but want to be able to lounge in comfort (and style!) in our various accommodations ranging from riverside self-contained cabins, to medium-nice hotels, to friend’s homes. I pulled out my favourite “Yoga outfit” pattern for the pants and my favourite t-shirt pattern for the top. Having made both a number of times the cutting and basic sewing was quick.

But how to finish them off? I find the classic band-edge both difficult technically and a disappointingly boring result. I have some leftover dark purple polyester knit from my dance wardrobe project, and I love the combination of it with the lemony-lime fizz of the pj’s. And, I confess, although it;s technically a colour that suits me, I have rarely worn lemony-lime fizz before. Getting yellows that suit me has been super-hard till I got the colours from Kerryn’s fabric world. So purple (a lifetime wardrobe staple) will bring the pj’s right back into my comfort-zone.

Embellished edging
My inner children (who says you’re only allowed to have one?) delight in ruffles, so… I used a technique picked up from rtw clothes, and used to good effect previously on this dress.

I satin-stitched the edges of both the ruffles and the main body of the garment (huge job) with a matching rayon thread. Looks gorgeous.  I attached the ruffle by simply pulling the edge of the fabric taut, and sewing the ruffle straight down onto it. The fabric had enough give to return to normal after a wash. I am not sure my pyjama knit does.

This time I wanted to avoid the huge job of satin stitching the ruffle edge, and plan to take advantage of the no-fray property of knit to create a slightly decontructed look. So I simply cut strips of purple; then using a 3mm woven elastic but to 2/3rds the length of the strips, and zigzag, I stretched the elastic to fit the strip and sewed. Wow! First time I’ve done this but certainly won’t be the last. Instant stretchy ruffle for very little time, energy and money. (It’s shown in the top photo)
Now all I have to do is attach it. Photos of me wearing the finished project will have to wait till I am down south and cold enough to wear the jammies for long enough to get a photo of them.


What if they aren’t warm enough? I figure I can put a cardigan over the top. And if I am super-cold I can wrap my sarong round the pants as an overskirt. That is certainly putting one layer on top of another, but not entirely sure that is what this mystical “layering” means… Never mind – can’t wait for my holiday!

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