Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Pearl and I were both a little bleary-eyed this morning after staying up way too late last night checking out the gorgeous and inspiring blog, Frocks & Frou Frou. What a dazzling gem! Not only is this lady so beautiful that you really don't mind looking at photo after photo of her, but she's so talented in the clothes-wearing and remaking stakes that, in addition to being delicious eye-candy, she's super-inspiring as well! What a delight!

I hadn't looked at it for a while (2 jobs + 2 kids + sewing = not much time for perusing the internet) which is a shame because it's so great, but Lilli emailed me with an enquiry about one of the skirts I just sent to Georgie Love, so I thought I'd check out what she's been up to. What a treat! Pearl was inspired to put together a new outfit involving a Yoshi Jones blouse and P&E skirt that she's had for years, but for some reason had never worn together. Isn't it weird when that happens? Especially when you finally do put them together and they go so well!

I went to work madly planning Pearl's Autumn wardrobe, which is to involve some T-shirt blouses (stay tuned!) and very full, kind of Frida-ish skirts. I cannot wait to get started on these!

I was exceptionally thrilled to see the galah skirt I had made for Lilli a few months back featured in a glorious concoction of an outfit which, quite simply, blew my mind.

Isn't she something else? I have to say I always get a kick out of seeing my skirts out and about in action, on the streets, at gigs, in shops etc. It's nice to see them out there having a happy life. But to see them like this, on the big bad internet, is a bit extra-special. And so great to see the positive comments! Though, seriously, how could a comment not be positive with this kind of thing going on?

Made me realise though, I need to work on my photographing techniques though. Lilli's are incredibly, consistently good. Any tips?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I made it!

I was seriously disappointed when, on Friday evening, I hadn't made my intended quota of 10 skirts by the end of the week. Then I realised: Saturday and Sunday are called the weekend! While the typical 5-day working week ends Friday pm, the actual week ends Sunday pm. So here I am, sunday evening, after a lovely long lunch with totally gorgeous friends (featuring home-grown Russian red and Tuscan black kale and mystery greens), adding the finishing touches to my 10-skirt package for Georgie Love.

Last night, as Pearl was whipping up a stunning chocolate and pear tart for our lunch today, I was whipping up my final 4.

The 2 linen Australianas are made from a beautiful and quite large tablecloth. While the small square souvenir tablecloth is not super-rare (though less frequently encountered than a tea-towel) one of the stature of this one is basically unheard of. It's the only one I've ever seen - big enough for 2 skirts - yay!

I cut out all these skirts a couple of weeks ago, prior to the skirts I made for Serena of Esperance. I was pretty excited then, to discover that one of the skirts actually had Esperance - and a sheep! - on it!

I reckon this is a massive co-inki-dink, given that I'd barely heard of the place and then within a month I'd made 5 skirts related to the place. Whacky.

The blue white and black skirt was made from an offcut of "ugly or cool?" fabric we found at the op-shop last week. I often have those moments involving clothes and fabric, most often at the op-shop because it's basically the only place I shop, where I ask myself "Is this thing ugly or cool?". Pearl assured me it had "cool potential", so we bought it. I was a little nervous when I found out it was from Ikea (!), but after I'd made up the skirt I was pretty happy with the result. Bold leaf print, 2 front pleats and a cute little applique owl on the butt can't be too far off some version of cool, methinks.

These Kangaroos are Jay's favourites, and perhaps mine too, especially given their close relation to the outstanding koala cushion that graces the large cane chair in our dining room.

I love that the artist of these 2 tea-towels makes his or her native animals look like total dudes. Especially the koalas - they look like they're in a gang! You can practically hear them growling. I LOVE it!

To the future owner of the kangaroo skirt, these dudes have got your back.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seconds world take 2

So I have been informed that the email address I posted on my seconds world blog post is actually incorrect. Yes, a lady with a PhD in English literature, who prides herself on being a little particular about matters relating to spelling and grammar (except in instances where I take it upon myself to make up words) has mis-spelt her own email address in the public arena. How embarrassment. Here goes my second attempt:


Email me if you want one of the seconds skirts. They're still around, though the top is gone. If you want one for free, I'll probably give it to you if you send me a chocolate/beer/bottle of wine and promise to hand out some business cards to your friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3 more down, 4 more to go

My quest to send 10 skirts to Georgie Love by the end of this week continues. Last night and today's efforts include 2 Frankies and a totally cool hand-embroidered geometric thing. I was so excited I took Florence outside for a photo shoot.

"Frankies?" I hear you mutter? And well you should! The Frankie is what I like to call the design I first made as a sample to send to the magazine of the same name in an effort to get mentioned therein. I whipped up this little baby,

which just so happened to fit Pearl perfectly, so never made it out of the house. I kept the design, because it's flattering and smart, and good for making skirts that are perfect for a slightly-more-conservative situation where a huge map of Tassie on the front of your skirt isn't necessarily going to cut it. So it's your standard P&E A-line, fits in all the right places, and has snappy, bias-cut (for extra-lovely fit) panels of tea-towel down both sides. Yes, there are 2 panels, though I seem to be struck by an insurmountable impulse to always photograph this skirt from the side, so who'd know what's really going on...

Yes people, that skirt has a glass of red wine on the hip. Just what I've always wanted.

The linen scouts seem to be in overdrive at the moment, so I'm being hit with some overwhelmingly beautiful and pristine (some still have stickers on them!) tea-towels at the mo', perfect for making The Frankie over and over again.

The 3rd skirt is the result of my finally bringing myself to use an amazing tablecloth I've been hanging onto for years. I was quite keen to make something for myself from it, but was struck by a revelation that it's rightful journey ought to spread it's totally unique goodness to climes further afield. I am whoppingly attracted to the hand-stitched geometric pattern on this thing.

However, what's even better than all these intersecting circles and squares and trapezoidal concoctions, is that the person who was making it actually planned to do more! There are, in the background, some ever-so-faint pencil-markings indicating more shapes that the embroiderer wanted to do. Now, maybe I've just spent too long studying modernist literature ("You know, man, art is like, never really finished...") but this, to me, is outstanding.

As I was stitching up the skirt, looking at the pencil lines, I actually felt connected to the person who'd done the embroidery, and was thinking about what the thing would have looked like if they'd done all they wanted to do. So I left them. A relic of the never-ending art-project which is life. Heavy, man.

Monday, March 21, 2011

3 ways with moth holes

First order of business: Serena is happy with her skirts, and decided to take both the Australianas! Exciting, but also a little disappointing given my affection for the Tasmanian number. Serena even included in her email a special thanks to the linen scouts. Here here! I will be sure to post photos of the skirts in sheep-farming action when said photos are received.

Second order of business: Long overdue, well-received and quite beautiful Autumn showers meant that I was rained out of work this morning, so was able to take a bit of time to make a trio of green wool skirts - the first for the cool seasons ahead. Yay! I love Autumn. Absolutely my favourite time of year. In fact, if we had another baby, it's name would be Autumn. I'm that seriously devoted to this time of year. Cool nights but still quite lovely days, very clear blue skies, wind and rain, and the ocean still warm enough for comfortable swims. Gorgeous! So I always get a bit excited at this time of year, making heavier-weight skirts, which I do so love.

The green stripe featured in this little trio is an ex-curtain which was the proud recipient of a few little moth holes. I'm actually quite partial to a bit of a moth hole, as it lends itself to some good hole-covering tactics, which I have modelled here for you today. Moths, unlike humans, are actually random, so the holes they make are genuine-random, not contrived-random. I always think that things like leaves, spots and buttons, placed on fabric to cover holes and stains, look better then when I just bung them on trying to make them look random, so I say "yes!" to moths and spilled food.

Skirt number 1 was the holiest of the 3, so it was the obvious candidate for one of my favourite hole/stain-covering techniques: the applique leaf. It's multi-purpose, uses scraps of fabric, and looks ace because leaves are cool. And, in this instance, I used a fabric that is actually leaf print. Whacky!

Skirt number 2 had a big hole in the front, and some very small holes around the sides and back. The big hole called for another good hole/stain covering technique, known as 'the pleat'. Surprisingly, it's where you hide the hole inside a pleat. Wow. Inspired by my excellent and quite geniotic friend Nicole, I decided to do some hand-stitching over the pleat to help keep it flat and also add texture and interest.

I'm quite pleased. The little holes were going to get buttoned over, but then I decided to try a spot of machine darning, which I rather liked, so didn't bother about the buttons.

Skirt number 3 had just a teeny tiny hole in the front, which I hid inside one of the pin-tucks on the front. Bet you can't pick which one!

All in all, I'm pretty keen on this lot. The green stripe is a bit special, and the fabric is a beautiful weight which should be warm, but not at all bulky (the downside to some lovely wool fabrics).

My aim is to make 10 skirts this week, which should be with Georgie Love next week, and these, my friends, will be amongst them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Down on the farm

I got an email enquiry a few weeks ago from a woman called Serena who lives on a remote sheep farm near Esperance, WA. Like all the best clients, Serena had some great ideas about what she wanted, and sent fabulous, evocative emails with heaps of pics of other P&E skirts she likes. She was feeling pretty "sick and tired" of the clothes available to her in town, and wanted a little somethin' somethin' funky, girly, perhaps vintage, but not Mumsie" to jazz up her wardrobe. I was super excited about this assignment, I guess because I have not-so-secret farm aspirations myself, and also because she offered to send me photos of the skirts in action on the farm. Boots, sheep and all!

Like many people, Serena was quite partial to the sailboat wrap skirt which is the poster child for the Completely Custom Skirt on Georgie Love. She said she "likes the coastal, peaceful feel" of the sailboat skirt, because it makes her think of "warm summer breezes". Yay! Luckily for her, I recently picked up quite a good amount of a rather extraordinary Oceania kind of thing from the op-shop. Grass huts? Outrigger canoes? Coconut palms? This wrap skirt's got it all! So I'm thinking this islander skirt's gonna fit the bill. The waist wrap tie is extra-long, so she can tie behind or in front, depending what tickles her fancy, and, thanks to a helpful suggestion made by one of my clients a couple of weeks ago, I've added a little loop to the side to stop the waist tie from slipping around. Oh and I LOVE the clouds on this. I think they're really unique.

Also on the list of requests was a spot of Australiana (and really, who doesn't yearn for a bit of Australiana in their wardrobe?). Being a Westralian, Serena was keen on a lovely Perth A-line I'd made a while ago. Having no Perth tablecloths at my disposal right now, however, I opted instead to give her a kind of 'choose-your-own-Australiana-adventure' by making 2 skirts in her size from different tablecloths, so she can choose the one she prefers. The declined skirt will then be for sale through Georgie Love.

I'm personally quite keen on the map of Tassie skirt for a number of reasons.

1. Tasmania is a place I've never been to, but kind of think I could move there. Rainy, rugged coastlines, huge forests, interesting animals... and it's cold. Yeah!
2. Map of Tassie. Geddit? My friend Genna sent me this tablecloth from Lismore, and was pretty excited at the prospect of it being made into a skirt. "You need to be really precise about the placement of the map, OK?". Genna, I hope this is what you had in mind.
3. It's got little postcards on it! I love that! I especially like the postcard of the Sea Hound. Awesome.

Actually, now that I've talked it up, I may actually keep this skirt for myself if it's not The Chosen One.

Last but not least is pretty super-duper navy number with pretty extraordinary pockets made from a tea-towel I've been holding onto for some time, which has a kind of psychadelic vegetable soup pattern on it. Who doesn't need psychadelic vegetable soup in their lives?

So once the verdict is in on the Australiana adventure, these little babies will be shipping off to Esperance PO to brighten the lives of Serena, her husband, and a bunch of (presumably quite cute) sheep. What a day's work!