Apparently I've now had this blog for a month, and I kinda just jumped straight into posting. I figured some kind of introductory post was probably in order.
This is going to be a 20-questions style of thing, but firstly…
'Hi, I'm Rachel, and this is what I look like'
😂 true fact – that's a $4 million smile 😁
📸 courtesy of my colleague – and I promise we had well and truely earned those beverages
Age: Somewhere in my 30s. There's a prize somewhere if you get it right – apparently I look younger than I am 👈🏻 cue supremely unimpressed younger sister…
Home: Beautiful, sunny, Brisbane, Queensland, Land Down Under. A lazy 6km/ 4 miles from the beach 🌊
Day Job: I work for a very large international consulting firm (and we're not joking when we call ourselves 'the largest company no one has ever heard of'). I work in Business Development, with just a few large key clients.
Dream Job: Already got it 🤓👍🏻🤓
Sewing Philosophy: I sew because it means that I can wear clothes that fit well, without needing to wear tanks or singlet tops for modesty. And, because I sew for me I can wear whatever colour and print that takes my fancy.
I wore this to work on Friday – my colleague's only comment was 'Why aren't you wearing your gold shoes?'…
Fabric Stash: 🙈🙈 sitting at enough for 144 outfits at the moment, which is way more than usual – my excuse – I shop much faster than I sew 🤷🏼♀️
Shopping philosophy: I buy with projects in mind. I don't just buy fabric without it being for a specific project in mind. I wander the store looking for fabric that inspires, work out what I'm going to make and buy enough fabric for the garment I have planned.
Washed, packed and ready to make…
Currently watching: Mixing it up between Criminal Minds and The Great British Sewing Bee. Apparently here in Australia we're second class citizens and have to watch episodes of Sewing Bee on YouTube
Currently making: I have a Carolyn Pajama production line happening at the moment.
PDF or Printed: PDF all the way. In fact next up in the queue is a dress that I have the printed (on tissue) pattern for, and I'm feeling like I'm a little out of practice at using tissue patterns – the tracing off, then the adjusting of traced-off patterns. I'm so used to taping PDFs together!! Also PDFs are the quickest way to get most patterns here, waiting for shipping from the US for indie patterns too hard!!
Furry Friend: Aliyah is the fur-baby in my house – when she's not curled up on her bed in the sewing room, she likes to sleep on my freshly laundered fabric before it gets ironed and packed into the stash. I've given up trying to keep red hair off my clothes – I just don't have a hope…
Sewing Traits: I don't have an overlocker/ serger so I finish all of my seams with bias binding. It takes a little longer, but I love the fact that the insides of my garments are as neat as the outside. I make all of my own bias tape from the leftovers of the fabric from my garments. I have amassed a pretty amazing collection of bias tape, and sometimes I use totally contrasting binding inside my clothes. Always that hidden bit of fun
One-at-a-time, or WIP: I'm a one at a time kinda girl. I do have a Haptic Labs Paris Map Quilt I'm working on in fits and starts as well, but by and large it's one project at a time for garment sewing.
Irony: I quite like ironing freshly laundered fabric, don't mind ironing as part of the sewing construction process, but, ironing the clothes coming off the line before they go back in the wardrobe, not so much… Unfortunately, as I sew pretty much exclusively with cotton, everything needs to be ironed or it looks terrible…
True Fact: Adjusting sewing patterns requires far more maths than you'd ever think… adding from here, taking from there, circle skirts. I usually save testing new patterns for Friday nights and the weekends so I have time to mess around with the adjustments. There's usually a fair bit of consulting google, sew-alongs, and pattern reviews during my adjustment process. But the time investment is totally worth it for the final fit! ✂️
I don't make: Underwear and tights, they're the only things I wear I don't make, and don't really plan to make. I haven't made dress pants, yet – but I have a pattern, fabric, and have had a go at pajamas as a precursor, but have yet to actually tackle dress pants. I'm somewhat procrastinating because I have a feeling that I'm going to spend quite a while messing around with the fit… 😳
Sewing for others: Really not my thing… although I am about to embark on a 'special project' that will require sewing for a couple of others, generally I find it far more enjoyable to sew for myself. Sewing for myself, even with all the maths and brain power required for the adjustments is relaxing, sewing for others where I'm worried about it fitting someone who I can't just try it on then and there – not so much…
Something I want to master: Sewing knits – it's not something I've really attempted, mainly because I don't have an overlocker, so I wasn't sure about finishing edges. But, I've been doing some research, and I found some knit on the clearance table at Spotlight, so I'm going to give it a go, soon, it's in the queue… 😬
All the earrings: Apparently loving and wearing colour and prints in just my clothes isn't enough for me – I also love wearing outlandish earrings. Late last year I discovered a jewellery brand in Canberra that make earrings that brooches that suit my style – bold colours and shapes, aren't heavy in my ears and I'm not allergic too (boo for a nickel allergy). I can be wearing anything 🦐🐛🥑🦀☂️🌩🐕 in my ears depending on what colour or print I'm wearing in my clothes 😍
Earliest sewing memory: Me doing the sewing would have to be making 'quilts' for my Barbies on my Grandma's sewing machine, I was probably about 4 or 5. My quilts involved sandwiching batting of some description between to bits of material and 'machine quilting' it with straight lines all over the place – no binding, no basting, no matching edges – but I thought they were works of art… my Barbies would probably have been better off with washcloths as quilts.
I grew up in a home where my Mum sewed the vast majority of all of our clothes – she designed a lot of them too and embellished them with magnificent smocking or embroidery. Mum and I often had matching outfits, and when my sister came along she became part of a matching trio… until I became a teenager and matching your mum and little sister wasn't cool…
Owning a sewing machine and having the ability to sew is normal for me, but I've come to realise that growing up in a home where this skill was essentially normalised is something of an anomaly for my generation, I hear and read of so many around my age who never touched a sewing machine until well into their 20s when they taught themselves to sew. It's made me appreciate everything I learnt when my Grandma and Mum took the time to teach me sewing. Those skills have given me an incredibly solid foundation which I'm now able to build on with more advanced adjustment and construction techniques.
My Grandma passed away about 5 years ago, and a number of years prior she moved from her house to a nursing home. At that time I inherited her Singer sewing machine that she'd had since at least the 1950s. I pulled it out last week and it appears to still work, although I think I'll be hunting up instructions to remind myself how to thread it…
Look at it!! 😍 Hopefully I'll be able to make something on it soon!!