Meet Romy!

Her official new title is Director of Marketing and Communications but her unofficial title is InstaBestie. Romy has been a fan of Ellie since before she had her sewing Instagram, @sewlike. She’s been buying Ellie Whittaker fabrics from her hometown in snowy Utah, even photographing herself barefoot in the snow (which has become her TM style!). But her love of EW fabrics is just the tip of her beautiful self.

Like Ellie, Romy’s aesthetic is large scale prints, heaps of colour and a touch of street flair. She’s not forgotten her inner Sydney city roots and loves to wear a good sneaker with a big, loud dress. She’s collaborated with international indie pattern designers such as Sew Liberated, Friday Pattern Company, Chalk and Notch, Minerva, Lysimaque, Fibremood and many more. She’s been featured in Frankie Magazine, Peppermint Magazine and Simply Sewing. Romy holds a Bachelor in Health Sciences, Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Sydney, and followed that with a career in Marketing and Tech before moving on to mumming and sewing. She’s now here combining her love of all things sewing/design with her background in marketing to be working her dream job with the best textile designer there is. 

On top of it all, she is a gorgeous woman inside and out. Romy has always been the ‘dream’ team member because she is a PERFECT. FIT. So after years of talking about it, and with Instagram being whacky, we knew it was time to make the dream a reality.

We sat down and did a virtual Q&A for you all to get to know her like we do! Read on 🙂

Romy wearing her Celine Top in Towel Tapestry!

What childhood pass-times or family traditions do you think most inspired your love of sewing?! 

My Abuela (grandmother) and my mum were the most influential in my love of sewing. My mother has always been into fashion so we’d always go shopping together and I’d watch her try on outfits and mix and match between stores and op-shops. My Abuela is a knitter and she would always let me sit next to her and do the “easy stitches” while we watched Murder She Wrote or Oprah. Just having these two show me how to express myself through clothing really pushed me towards fashion and then ultimately sewing. 

What me-made do you get the most wear out of?!

That’s a tough one since nearly everything I wear is me-made now. Since we’re in Winter here it’s got to be my two piece tracksuit. I hand dyed this pillowy deadstock fabric. It’s the perfect shade of lilac while being super comfortable. So needless to say I’ve lived in them since I made them. It’s not a statement piece, but it’s an everyday wear and it’s kind of nice to wear something so often that I made!

What me-made do you get the most comments on?!

Without a doubt, it’s always my patchwork jumpsuits. The one that I made using leftovers I had in my stash from other projects. I definitely look like a giant toddler, but let’s be real, toddler clothes are a total vibe and all us adults wished they came in our size. So seeing as this jumpsuit most likely gives that vibe, it’s my most commented on make.

What handmade trend are you dying to jump on?! 

I really want to try my hand at punch needling. Everything I’ve seen looks so fun and it seems like it’s hard to make something that doesn’t look good. My dream is to make a cute vest or jacket with a punch-needle accent. I’ve rarely seen apparel punch needling since it can be weighty and stiff so I’m thinking it would be fun to work out how to make that happen! 

In what ways are your adorable kiddoes most like you?

They are stubborn/headstrong. They don’t give up at all. When they want something or want to achieve something they will exhaust all possible avenues and if that hasn’t worked they will brainstorm, think outside the box and find another way. Failure is never an option. This does make for very competitive game nights and my poor husband having to deal with lots of crying from all three of us. Haha. This also means that we don’t take rejection the best, but we’re working on it!

If you had 2 weeks ONLY to sew, what would you make?

This one is easy. A complete summer capsule collection for when I return home to sunny Sydney. Swimsuits, flowy dresses and skirts, and let’s not forget a cute date night outfit for a night out in the city without the kids! And in all bright colours and prints of course!

Do you watch or listen to anything while you sew? If so, what?

I listen to music! My “sewing dungeon” is the cold room behind our garage, and it’s not the most comfortable sewing space. So the hubby made sure I had a google nest put in there and I play all my fav songs and dance as I sew. The genre varies depending on my mood and how fast I want to sew. Sometimes I’m feeling the 90’s, other times rap or rock, but there’s always indie pop or AC/DC playing in some way, shape or form. 

What did you want to do when you were little?

From primary school till about 14 I wanted to be an elite athlete. I wanted to be the best 400m runner of all time and I wanted to play nationally in Netball and Touch Football. That was my dream and I was on track till I got injured in year 8. I still played sports but it just wasn’t to the degree that I had previously. From 14 onwards I wanted to be a doctor working with children and the older population with a focus on dementia and developmental disabilities. I did make it to uni for that, but changed midway!

Don’t forget to follow Romy at @sewlike and you can catch her helping Ellie manage @elliewhittakerstore!

Remnant Ideas : 5 Minute Read!

Need some creative ideas to entice you to dive into your stash? Have a look at these beauties and don’t forget to check out the sale section at elliewhittaker.com.au to give a home to some of our Lovely Lemons!

How do you wrap your sandwiches / cake / dried fruit up for a lil’ car snack? You don’t do car snacks? Get on it, people! Well, talk about sustainable : turn your remnants into beeswax wraps and feel justifiably smarmy about doing your bit for the planet! Check out this great tutorial at Aerial Real Life.

Top dressing. It’s a thing. Need to look snazzy for a Zoom meeting or spiffy-up your dry-shampooed hair? Or are you one of those people who just always looks fabulous and NEEDS a matching accessory? Whatever the reason, a padded headband is HERE FOR YOU and a cinch to make. Check out this super easy-to-follow tutorial by A Beautiful Mess.

There are plenty of adorable bag patterns at Polka Dot Chair but YOU HAD ME AT MICKEY MOUSE EARS!

In this day and age with phones and bluetooth headphones and a zillion keys and cards can you have too many cute, teeny bags? Answer is no. Check out this cutie from handmadiya.

One for Mama, one for the kids. Sew yourself a cute (quilted?!) iPad cover and a wee project ‘Craftinator’ pouch for the kids! Loving these patterns by Jenna at Making Things is Awesome and lovely Queensland designer, Kylie at Little Moo Designs (respectively). Or check out these cute storage ideas (below) by Patchwork and Poodles and Sewing With Scraps.

Last but definitely not least, make yourself some RAD quilted fashion. These ready to wears are out of this world (coat from @bymariestore on Instagram and this incredible outfit from The Cosmopolite! Make your own scrappy (in the BEST of ways) statement fashion piece, like our beautiful Romy from @sewlike , who created these INCREDIBLE quilted coats:

Hope you’ve got a cuppa in hand so you can read more about it on her blog, ‘How to Make a Quilted Coat out of Scrap Fabrics‘!!!

HAPPY SEWING!

Top Tips for Sewing Your Own Swimwear

From Katie W @katiemakesadress and Katie K at @zyzoaustralia

Image by @katiemakesadress

If you’ve never sewn swimwear before it can be daunting!!!
Do I need an overlocker/serger?
Do I need lining?
Do I sew the elastic right on or encase it in the seams?
Do I make adjustments for size according to the stretch?!
And even if you have worked with swimwear before you may find it’s a rage sew with disappointing results.
Well, have we got a lifeline for you with two beautiful Katie’s sharing their swim sewing tips! So take a deep breath, grab a cuppa and let us help relieve some of the swim sewing anxiety. Because how wonderful would it be to wear perfectly sized, comfortable swimmers THIS SUMMER?
In the words of our wonderful guest bloggers: 

Sewing swimwear can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s not complex once you get the hang of it! And handmade swimmers last so much longer than store bought ones. Some of mine are over six years old and still going strong. So get sewing and say goodbye to fluro-lit change rooms of sadness forever!

Katie W

Swim is so fun to sew with and is one of my preferred fabrics to use!

– Katie K

What fabric should I use?

Well, obviously Ellie Whittaker swim fabric haha!

But what should the stretch be like? Katie W (from Katie Makes a Dress) has some good tips:
Buy good quality fabric that is rated for swim. The direction of greatest stretch should run around the body. Sometimes the stretch of the fabric is the same in both directions. Sometimes there’s more in one and less in the other. You will definitely need fabric that stretches both horizontally and vertically. If there is only stretch in one direction, you’ll find your swimmers become very short in the body and can be difficult to get over your bum! In Australia, this is often referred to as two way stretch, but in other countries it can be called four way stretch. Confusing, right?!

Katie (from Zyzo) agrees, saying, ‘The swim fabric makes a huge difference in the outcome of what you make in terms of sizing. For example, I made a pair of striped swimmers in a chlorine resistant spandex. Because it didn’t have a lot of stretch I have hardly been able to wear them. Whereas I made a pair of swimmers out of a gingham looking fabric and it had somewhat of a ‘waffle’ effect to the spandex. It was really soft and super stretch and they’re so comfortable.

TIP: If your pattern recommends a specific stretch percentage you can check out this handy-dandy blog post by Megan Nielsen Patterns, which will help you ascertain the stretch of the fabric you have on hand.

Let’s talk lining. Do you need it?

Katie W says, “Some linings are a very light nylon and can ladder like stockings! I prefer to use a lightweight swim spandex instead.” While Katie K says, “I do use lining, and would recommend the swimwear lining from Tessuti or The Remnant Warehouse.”

Can I use normal elastic?

Katie W says, “You’ll want to use swim elastic, which is able to stand up to salt and chlorine. You can either get a rubber or braided version that looks much like standard elastic. I personally prefer the woven elastic to the clear rubber swim elastic.

TIP: We are loving this OEKO certified, natural rubber elastic from James Tailoring on Etsy.

Does the thread you use matter?

You *can* just use normal, cotton thread, but keep in mind that, as a natural fibre, cotton thread can be compromised by salt water and chlorine.
Katie K says, “The thread you use can make a huge difference. My Janome sewing machine doesn’t like birch thread, it’ll tend to skip stitches, which is irritating…Wooly nylon can be used in your overlocker, which is soft and has good stretch.”

Not familiar with woolly nylon? Check out this blog post by Sewing Is Cool for tips on sewing with woolly nylon.

What stitches do I use? Do I just stitch like normal?

Katie W recommends using a stretch needle in your sewing machine as “a universal needle can skip stitches and just generally be painful when using stretch fabric“. She adds, “Don’t stretch your fabric when you sew. Keep it flat/taught, but don’t stretch it. It helps to hold the fabric in front and behind the foot to help guide it through.

Schmetz Stretch needle from Spotlight.

Do I need an overlocker?

Katie W says, “Overlockers are very helpful for construction, but it can be done on a regular sewing machine, too. Use a stretch stitch, such as a zig zag or lightning bolt stitch on a regular sewing machine.”

Any other tips?!

Use a tiny bit of sewing glue to help hold things together when sewing multiple layers. Especially at the beginning of the seam or narrow bits like straps or crutch seams. I always love to sew all my layers together to enclose the seams and keep things together, instead of having the lining and top fabric separate. Though the instructions don’t always include that as an option, and sometimes it takes a minute to get your head around how to layer them.”- Katie K

Let’s talk PATTERNS! What are your favourite swimwear patterns?

Boo Design’s swim patterns for kids’ swimmers and have great instructions and tips. Sew a Little Seam I have found to be quite good, and of course Megan Nielsen. I’ve also just bought the Little Lizard King  pattern from St Tropez, which looks gorgeous, though I haven’t made them yet.” – Katie K
Not one to go with the flow, Katie W prefers to use underwear patterns! So we’re opening the mic for her to share more about how she works her magic…

BONUS CONTENT!
Using Underwear Patterns for Swimmers

by @katiemakesadress

Some of Katie’s gorgeous swimmers, using Ellie Whittaker Creamy Ice Dreamy swim fabric.

There are many good looking swim patterns popping up now, for a while there wasn’t much to choose from at all! However, since I am someone that also sews my own underwear, I tend to use these patterns to make swimmers too, simply because I know they fit me well and are comfortable. Here are some things to consider when using an underwear pattern to make swimwear:
The obvious one is fabric choice, of course. Cotton lycra doesn’t make great swimmers – they get heavy, stretch, sag and stay wet for a long time. Generally swim fabric is a nylon/elastane or polyester/elastane blend. Also, hot tip: elastane, Spandex and Lycra are all the same thing!
Underwear has a gusset whereas swimwear generally doesn’t. Line them instead! It provides a good looking finish and an extra layer so your fabric doesn’t end up transparent when wet. It’s easy, you just make two pairs – one in your main fabric and one in the lining fabric. Consider how you’ll finish the waist and leg openings. I tend to use three different methods:

1. Swim elastic sewn to the wrong side of the fabric at the opening, flipped to the inside and stitched again. This is a simple method but doesn’t look as neat on the inside. 

Meg at We All Sew covers this method with clear photographs in this blog post.

2. The second method is using bands or binding. It’s quite a professional looking finish, but it might take a bit of practice to get the length of the bands or binding correct. Often patterns will get you to ‘quarter’ bands or elastic – sew it into a loop, mark at each quarter and then mark the quarters at the leg opening too and match them up. You’ll need to stretch the band or binding between each quarter, which is what makes the opening smaller and fit more snuggly on your body. I find that this method doesn’t work so well for my body, I only tighten the elastic (or binding or bands) on the back part of the leg opening, not the front. It ends up too tight on the front of my thighs otherwise. It can take a bit of trial and error to figure out what works for your body. 

Sew Swimmingly has a great tutorial on sewing binding to leg holes.

3. The third finishing method is one that’s very common in ready to wear swimwear at the moment – enclosed seams! With a little bit of brain aerobics, you can sew your outer and lining together so there’s no raw edges at all. There are plenty of youtube tutorials on this method, just search ‘how to sew seamless swimwear’. When I use this method, I also add elastic into the seam allowances, which is just a personal preference for extra support. If you are going to use enclosed seams (or seamless), it’s a good idea to pinch out some little darts out of your pattern pieces around the leg openings, it removes some of that extra length which is important for fit, especially if you’re not using elastic to make the fit firmer against your legs and bum. Again, if you’re going to sew a seamless pair, you can use the same fabric for the outer and lining – that way if the edges roll a bit, you won’t have a different colour lining peeking out.

Katie’s gorgeous enclosed seam bottoms, featuring Ellie Whittaker’s Sweetpea design. For a great explanation with photos you can see this tutorial by Sirena Patterns.

Finally, both Katies recommend the “P” word we never want to hear: practice!

Practice! Sewing elastic to fabric can be tricky at first. Practice with some scraps, add tension to your elastic only, not your fabric. Stretching the fabric will make it go all wavy, which is not the end of the world by any means, as it stretches out on your body and looks smooth. But practice first”. – Katie W
I like to sew a few test seams on scrap experimenting with width and length of zig zag to find what works best with the fabric I’m using/size of elastic.” – Katie K

Some of Katie W’s incredible makes top L, R and blow, all using Ellie Whittaker designs, and a sweet one piece by Katie K.

Still not sure? Want more tips + photos?

For a comprehensive guide on sewing with stretch fabrics we recommend checking out this brilliant blog post by our friend and Aussie sewing genius, Megan Nielsen Patterns. 

While you’re there, check out Megan’s gorgeous Cottesloe swimsuit pattern! Featured here in our Gone Coastal fabric. Happy sewing!

Shop Swim Fabric at Ellie Whittaker

Swimmer PDF Patterns To Try!

So you’ve been to the store and are feeling completely overwhelmed by your swimwear options. (According to Elle Magazine, now is the time to bare your peach….:O)

Or perhaps you’ve seen the TikTok ‘bottoms as a top’ trend and it’s not quite working for you…

I’ve got you, girl. I’ve spent hours scouring the interwebs for my favourite swimwear patterns for you to download RIGHT NOW and give a crack. Need fabric? Got that, too. Click here to shop my Aussie-designed, recycled swim lycra.

The Hello Sailor Swim Pants
by Patterns for Pirates

Let’s start with bottoms. Now, I know it goes against the peach-trend but I like to keep both cheeks firmly slung in lycra. And the Hello Sailor Swim Pants *fit* the bill. Plus, it has options for ruched side panels, skirt options and the sizes are easily customisable.

Images from Patterns for Pirates.

The Peg Legs
by Patterns for Pirates

Not enough coverage? Try the Peg Legs, also by Patterns for Pirates, who are thoughtful enough to provide handy-dandy blog + video tutorials, too. LOVE that thick, high waist!

Images from Patterns for Pirates (left) and a gorgeous make by @katiemakesadress of the Peg Legs in my Tidings design.

The Tidal High Waist Bikini
by Swim Style

If you are keen to show a bit more butt and want a nice, high waist the Tidal could be for you. As with all of these, be sure to check out the hashtags on Instagram for pics of other makers’ sews!

The Studio Irene Bikini Pattern
by Studio Irene

This is a super cute looking top and goes so well with the high-waist. However, the reviews mention a lack of instructions, so this is best made by those with experience.

The Sunny Bikini Top
by Sew Swimmingly

If you’re a fan of comfort and simple lines, the Sew Swimmingly Sunny Bikini cuts a lovely, clear shape. I admit that this option is probably preferable for those who aren’t carrying as much…;) Apparently this requires a yard of fabric, but I’m not convinced! With our recycled swim fabric, at 145cm wide, you’d have ample fabric.

Lucky Lingerie
by Rad Patterns

Bra? Bralette? Activewear? Nightie? The Rad Patterns Lucky Lingerie comes with 30 size options including one for the pregnant ladies. It also has some sweet back options: click to check out the full specs.

The Cottesloe
by Megan Nielsen Patterns

Drum rollllllll…..the Cottesloe! It’s basically all you need in a swim pattern by the incredibly lovely and talented Megan Nielsen. Our own Aussie pattern making legend. Not only are there options for one or two pieces but it comes in a curve pattern AND a mini for your minis.

The Sophie Swimsuit
by Closet Core Patterns

Need a bit more support for the ladies? Have some real skill with your machine? The Sophie Swimsuit is for you. Just search #sophieswimsuit on Insta to check out some of the gorgeous creations people have made.

Cindy Bikini Top
by Ohhh Lulu Patterns

If the Sophie Swimsuit is a smidge overwhelming, Sarah at Ohhh Lulu Lingerie has very kindly hacked her own lingerie pattern into a sweet top for us. She even breaks it down into bite-sized pieces in her own YouTube tutorial and it looks super achievable for the moderately talented sewist!

Swim Style Rashie Suit
by Swim Style Patterns

Constantly telling the kids to cover up but never actually doing it yourself? Or just sick of being fried crispy? Or has the doctor told you it’s time to take skin cancer seriously? Just me? 😉 If it’s time to cover up, perhaps this cute rashie suit is for you!

Photo Left by Rad Patterns, right by @eigenmotion

Bonus Pattern: Cheeky Sleep Shorts
by Pattern Establishment

I KNOW. They’re called sleep shorts. But I can’t help but think these would be ADORABLE with a slightly higher waist, popped on over your swimmers or AS swimmers. Stay tuned as the next post will be all about post-swim threads!

Need more ideas? Live in the other hemisphere? Head to my Pinterest Board , where I save my dream-sews!

And don’t forget to grab some recycled swim and/or sustainable fabrics from the store.

Summer Sewing Wishlist

So. You’ve spent all year building up a stash (or you’re one of those very, very rare people who doesn’t have a stash? I can help ;P) and need some patterns to MATCH! For me, this Summer is all about being cool and comfortable.
I like a pattern that gives me the same kind of comfort-level as when I walk in the door and rip off my bra.
A pattern that’s so comfortable I feel a little bit naughty wearing it. A pattern I could wear out for dinner or on my recliner watching Netflix.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of my current PDF-printable favourite ULTRA-COMFY* sewing patterns for SS2021/22.
*Okay, so they mightn’t all hit the ultra-comfort criteria, I haven’t actually sewn these myself, BUT I’ve aimed for patterns that look comfortable! You’ll have to have a go and let me know 😉

The Hallon Dress
by Paradise Patterns

This beauty looks a little bit like a fancy nightie which means it definitely fits the day/night criteria.

The Wattlebird Dress/Cami
by Common Stitch

There’s a bit of an unintentional bra-less theme emerging here and I don’t apologise. This pretty looks super luxe AND cosy, like loungewear you could pop a cute clutch with and pop out for dinner with the girls (remember ‘dinner with the girls’? I’m sure people somewhere still do that? Ah, 2021.). The best bit? The Wattlebird pattern is for a dress OR cami (or both : live on the wild side!).

Sage Smock Dress
by Sew This Pattern

I live in the land of 98% humidity so I would usually recommend a dress with sleeves for Summer, but I am aware there are parts of Australia where Summer doesn’t mean sweaty eyebrows. And also: the Sage Smock Dress has a sleeveless option.

The Grace Dress
by Marsha Style

You had me at BIG BOWS. That is all. Oh, speaking of Gold Coast, Marsha Style is based right here, which is why I’m sure this one screams SUMMER to me!

Violette Cami Maxi Dress
by Tint of Mint Patterns

Cami + maxi ANNNND bows? Take my money.

Sorrento Bucket Hat
by Elbe Textiles

Ladies (and gentlemen), we’re too old not to be sun-smart (stop reading and go book your annual skin check, Aussies!). And also: bucket hats are back. Sunsmart AND fashionable AND you can make one to match. Tick, tick.

Mask Pattern
by Kiana Bonollo Designs

Don’t forget your matchy-matchy mask 😉 They’re here to stay…!

Need more ideas? Live in the other hemisphere? Head to my Pinterest Board , where I save my dream-sews!

Sunburst Country : A Story

You guys have loved the Sunburst country range and I love that you love it and there’s just a lot of love flying around. Which is appropriate because that’s what the 60s/70s were all about and this era was DEFINITELY my muse for this range! I thought I’d share a little bit about this  LOUD collection that’s been in my mind and heart for a few years…

Images from @misszetarose (via @dreamalittlecreations), @rattamatatt, @maz_made and @kablooiestore .

I loooove vintage fabrics. I have been saving them since the very first day I joined Pinterest. Some of the inspiration for this range dates back to those first pins, including these:

So when I saw vintage florals and retro scenery back on the runway I knew it was my time to shine! For example…

However, project after project came up…clients commissioned vintage florals, I drew a few here and there for people and I wondered if it was even worth doing my own collection after doing so many for others. (Insert identity crisis about my Creative barrel, artists’ block, individuality in paid commissions etc etc…said crisis has a happy ending, don’t worry, I came out the other side haha because….) I knew I had something different to offer! Firstly, I knew I wanted to make my vintage fabrics Australian. The first scene I started out with had to include some of our natural wonders: Uluru, Migaloo, sweeping plains, rolling hills, palm-trees and of course, the stereotypical animals! Because I grew up in the Riverland of South Australia (citrus and grape country!) I just had to include some grape vines, as well. And I’m thrilled with the result…

Sunburst Country in Cotton Sateen

For a complementary print I wanted to include something very ME and very Riverland, where I grew up. Many years ago, when I first started designing, I created this incredibly dismal citrus design….You know that stage of your learning when you have fabulous ideas but not the skills to execute them? Yeah. That:

Ellie Whittaker Riverland South Australia Fabric Design
Riverina Design Circa 2014

This design embarrasses me so much I thought I’d never take a swing at oranges again. But when I discovered this 2014 design by the ever-amazing (and I mean A-MAZING, one of my faves) designer, Manish Arora, I knew how to do my citrus…BIG AND BOLD!

For my final designs I knew, as always, that my complementary prints had to stand on their own two feet. I knew I loved those vintage girls I had first laid eyes on, staring into the distance looking like hippie, demure little petals, but I wanted to present a girl with a bit more nouse…someone who wasn’t scared to be her own girl and to bring about change. We’d also been reading Percy Jackson with our 8 year-old so it’s possible some Greek mythology was playing on my mind…and so, Zephyr and Nova were born!

All in all, I am absolutely thrilled with this collection…but I was nervous as HECK showing it to the world! I mean. What is this crazy, loudness?! Sure, it’s on the runway, but does it belong in OUR homes? On OUR bodies?

You guys said yes.

Identity crisis over 😉

Thank you for loving my crazy, time and time again. It truly means the world.

If you haven’t already, you can shop the collection here. 🙂

PS. I love a good runway inspo. And I’m excited to share more on the blog in the coming months. If you’re wondering what’s next, I can give another Manish Arora hint…! Get excited…!

2018…was giant.

IMG_6761

I knew in 2017 that 2018 would be a big year. This last year I:

* executed two more successful Girt Squads (a collective of Australian makers)
* started designing and importing my own fabrics
* completed dozens of commissions
* presented a TEDx talk
* was featured on the world’s number one textile showcase blog, Print and Pattern
* had my designs published in Frankie Magazine and Hello, Lunch Lady (shoutout to @SoutenClothingCo and @Alfie.est2011 !)
* secured an amazing deal with Australia’s number 1 fabric retailer, Spotlight , through my hard-working agent, Nerida Hansen.

Behind the scenes we’ve also been blessed to start building a new family home and to begin plans for a new church/community centre.

These were all dreams I hoped to achieve at some point: some this year, some not for five years…but if you listened to my TEDx talk you’ll know that these all seem like minor blips on the radar: the real joy is being PAID to DRAW (!!!) whilst looking after my babes (!!!) – and I think my designs have spread some joy, too – WINNING.

I’d say, ‘luckiest’ Mum ever, but anyone who knows me (or has seen me tripping through the school gate whilst answering emails and swigging coffee) knows that luck has nothing to do with it 😉 Blessed beyond belief and rewarded constantly, despite my crazy ways.

It’s been a big year but I’m going to make the call: 2019 will be bigger still. I hope you have wonderful, scary and peaceful plans for your 2019 🙂 Keep it wild!

 

TREND: CRUISE

In case you missed it, Chanel presented their latest collection from a life-size CRUISE ship. Rightly so, since it was Gabrielle Chanel who first donned the term ‘Cruise’ as it related to fashion. ‘Cruise’ wear is now referred to mostly as ‘resort wear’ and applies to clothing which represent ‘affluent customers who were expected to spend the post-Christmas/New Year’s weeks in warm-weather climates’ (thanks, Wikipedia). That is, threads for folks who can afford to chase the sun.

  Is it possible that the good old Hawaiian shirt is going to be socially acceptable again?! Yes, according to  this blog  and Stella Jean's  latest show ...!
Is it possible that the good old Hawaiian shirt is going to be socially acceptable again?! Yes, according to this blog and Stella Jean’s latest show …!

The truth is that very few of us Gen Y can afford to live such a frivolous lifestyle, but we like to parade around as if we can, booking mini-getaways, going out for fancy dinners just 15 minutes from home and throwing money at Air BnBs an hour away. Which is why I think the Cruise trend will have great appeal for buyers. The allure of ‘escapism’ and of sitting on a tropical beach without a phone in sight is really, really appealing. Except that of COURSE there would be a phone in sight because if you sit on a beach with a magazine and no one is around to take a photo did your REALLY sit on a beach with a magazine??? 

  From L-R, top to bottom: Thomas Maier Resort 2019,  Thom Browne women  , Thom Brown 2019, Etro Resort 2019,  Plane tattoo , Chanel  handbag,  Beach Girl art print by Gwen Meyerson on  Etsy , Chanel 2019, Ralph Lauren SS18, Chanel cruise ship show images via Vogue Runway.
From L-R, top to bottom: Thomas Maier Resort 2019, Thom Browne women  , Thom Brown 2019, Etro Resort 2019, Plane tattoo , Chanel handbag,  Beach Girl art print by Gwen Meyerson on Etsy , Chanel 2019, Ralph Lauren SS18, Chanel cruise ship show images via Vogue Runway.

Here is a sneak peek at some of my NEW leafy, tropical and escape-inspired designs available for sale in the shop, which is (drumroll…) no longer password protected. Enjoy!

So start thinking anchors, postcards, beach chairs, umbrellas, beach balls and cruise liners! Of course, if you want to dream up some ideas together, get in touch 🙂

Oh, and happy holidays, Australian parents. Grab yourself a cruise magazine, live vicariously as you stir that spag bol and plan a mini vacay to the local play centre 😛 !

SEWING THE NEW FASHIONED WAY

Sewing has changed…
When we were kids growing up in our Mama’s country fabric store, (The Renmark Sewing Basket!), my sister and I would browse through McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue patterns for HOURS, writing a to-make list to hand on to our clever Mother. There is something so lovely about sitting down with a pattern book (and all its ugly, 90s-styled shoots) and imagining what COULD BE (were those garments not set in a 90s fashion shoot).
Fast forward 20 years and nothing strikes terror in my heart like a trip to Spotlight with four children. I recently sat down at the pattern tables for a quick browse while my daughter pummelled people with the trolley, my boys made hilarious jokes about the Halloween costumes (in the books they may or may not have accidentally ripped) and my toddler ate a packet of very-crummy-crackers to keep her contained in the trolley. I left in a fluster with an armful of patterns I still haven’t sewn AND without my phone (which I spent 10 minutes panicking about and then found on silent in the back of a drawer full of patterns). #mumlife

SLOTHING AKA ONLINE SHOPPING
This, my friends, is why I online shop. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that slothing on the couch and enjoying a relaxing browse through your favourite online stores (Hello, Zara Australia online!) is the preferred mode of shopping for most of you.
About 18 months ago, whilst slothed out in one of these post-dinner digestion shops, I discovered a delightful little store called Hello Dear Kids run by Mijeong Jeong. Mijeong’s Korean-based store sells incredible PDF sewing patterns and – HOORAY – the gorgeous models appear to have been photographed not just in the last 20 years but like, YESTERDAY. On-trend shapes, retro and fun fabrics and lovely, bright photography (and she’s even on Instagram with all the cool kids!). Those of you who know me will know why I loved her vibe immediately. 

 Hello Dear Kids Ruffle Harem Jumper Pants  pattern
Hello Dear Kids Ruffle Harem Jumper Pants pattern

DIGITAL CREATION
So, confession: I’m sewing-averse. I CAN sew, and the feeling of having created something amazing is like a drug…but I prefer to step aside and let Makers Make. The drug for me is seeing things made from my fabrics. So I stored this glorious Harem Jumper Pants pattern in my memory (aka Etsy Wishlist) for a rainy day and got on my merry way designing fabrics.

 The moodboard I created for the fabric used in this project...! Top to bottom L-R (Fab  mustard hands , gorgeous furniture from  Corriere Italy , pretty quote by  Morgan Harper NIchols , cool art by  Dark Silence in Suburbia,   amazing velvet texture in this room by  KNSTRCT  via  Apartment Therapy , my pretty girl in....spoiler...her new romper using my fabric..., and a simple but lovely artwork by  Insplosion .
The moodboard I created for the fabric used in this project…! Top to bottom L-R (Fab mustard hands , gorgeous furniture from Corriere Italy , pretty quote by Morgan Harper NIchols , cool art by Dark Silence in Suburbia,   amazing velvet texture in this room by KNSTRCT  via Apartment Therapy , my pretty girl in….spoiler…her new romper using my fabric…, and a simple but lovely artwork by Insplosion .

I set myself a challenge to use a palette from my Pinterest Colour Board with an unusual blue, green and mint combo I hadn’t used before and yep, you guessed it, here’s the delicious fabric that resulted…

 Naturally,  this fabric is on Spoonflower .
Naturally, this fabric is on Spoonflower .

NEW FASHIONED SEWING
Oh, the wonders of the internet.
Through browsing on INSTAGRAM I discovered Hello Dear Kids on ETSY. From a pattern on my IPAD I created a DIGITAL TEXTILE DESIGN. From that I purchased MY FABRIC ONLINE from Spoonflower, downloaded my pattern and sewed it into a cute lil’ romper I’m now sharing in my BLOG and on MY INSTAGRAM

WOW.

When I explain to my elderly, quilting grandmother that I design fabric for businesses via email, she smiles and nods sweetly. It IS unbelievable what is possible now through the Interwebs. Yes, when it comes down to it, you need to know how to sew – the old fashioned way – but Mijeong does a beautiful job with her instructions and heck, Google and YouTube are a second away. 

 PDF patterns are downloadable immediately. You then print the pattern out, piece them together according to the Pattern Guide and trace over it all with some baking paper. The process takes probably half an hour, which is far more palatable to me than a Spotlight trip with all the crummy crackers in the world. Spoonflower also offers  Sprout Patterns  services which allows you to choose a fabric, pop it in a pattern PDF and either sew it yourself or have it sewn and sent to you. 
PDF patterns are downloadable immediately. You then print the pattern out, piece them together according to the Pattern Guide and trace over it all with some baking paper. The process takes probably half an hour, which is far more palatable to me than a Spotlight trip with all the crummy crackers in the world. Spoonflower also offers Sprout Patterns services which allows you to choose a fabric, pop it in a pattern PDF and either sew it yourself or have it sewn and sent to you. 

 Here she is, in all her glory and with the  cutest headband  by  Topknot Girl . The headband features my Kitschy Kitty design and was printed by Spoonflower and sewn by the amazing Holly and I just had to have it! The pinks are from different palettes but they actually complemented each other really well, in a K-Pop, clash-y way!
Here she is, in all her glory and with the cutest headband by Topknot Girl . The headband features my Kitschy Kitty design and was printed by Spoonflower and sewn by the amazing Holly and I just had to have it! The pinks are from different palettes but they actually complemented each other really well, in a K-Pop, clash-y way!

And of course, I had to have my sweetest ‘baby’ model her new threads and her new headband. She was VERY stoked about the super-roomy pants and peplum, which she showed through many twirls, break-dancing and lifting her peplum up like a skirt…fortunately, far less revealing when the peplum’s attached…and her new Kitschy Kitty headband was stellar for holding back the fly-aways on this windy day.

 The back is definitely my favourite. No wait...maybe the peplum. Argh, I love it all!
The back is definitely my favourite. No wait…maybe the peplum. Argh, I love it all!

When I invest time, money and energy into a garment or if it holds significant nostalgic value I tend to want my kids to wear it for the whole 6 months that they fit it. That means, especially for those of you living down in the Southern States of Oz, it needs to be layer-able. So I’ve included some Winter Warmer options for pairing with this pattern.

Well, I hope this has inspired you to try something new! A palette outside of your comfort zone? Digital textile design? Digital sewing patterns? Shopping online and shopping small? Purchasing fabric online? Slothing? Go boldly, friend!!!

Shop fabric from my Spoonflower store, buy Mijeong’s PDFs at Hello Dear Kids, shop Holly’s headbands at Topknot Girl.

TREND: DUSTY

It’s no secret that Dusty is the new Black.
This is no news to anyone if they’ve fallen as hard as I have for all the Dusty gracing their Instagram feeds but I wanted to pinpoint why I really love this trend….and so, of course, I decided the world needs yet another trend board 😛 (By the by – if you’re stuck with trends and not sure where to look, I have just launched my first ever guide: Trend Spotting for Small Businesses with handy-dandy hints and tips for small businesses on how to spot a trend and how to put together a palette. You can download a copy by signing up to my email list here).

 Dusty Dreams trend board. Images from L-R, top to bottom:  Hanna Kasti-Lungberg ,  @marinalondon , ELLE magazine (Kazakhstan),  @tonoandco ,  @julielansom , They All Hate Us  blog , John Olsen from the  NGV ,  @teamtonkin  featuring decals by  @nevernever.shop  (my second baby) and a sweet retro floral for  @the_midnight_gang , Jennifer Jesse via  National Geographic ,  Lilpengee Gems  on Etsy.
Dusty Dreams trend board. Images from L-R, top to bottom: Hanna Kasti-Lungberg , @marinalondon , ELLE magazine (Kazakhstan), @tonoandco , @julielansom , They All Hate Us blog , John Olsen from the NGV , @teamtonkin featuring decals by @nevernever.shop (my second baby) and a sweet retro floral for @the_midnight_gang , Jennifer Jesse via National Geographic , Lilpengee Gems on Etsy.

One of the cultural shifts towards this trend is from a society of hipsters and young people pushing back against fast and disposable. The theory is that GenY’s preference for recycled materials and ethical processes affects our lean towards tones that appear softened by said factors. 

But for me, it’s personal.  

I grew up in a sunburnt country. In fact, pretty jolly near it’s burning heart about 3 hours inland from Adelaide in South Australia. The landscape was arid. 

 Salt Flats 1 by  Steve Back
Salt Flats 1 by Steve Back

I took my husband there a few years back (we’d been many times to visit my grandparents, who still live there) and he commented on how it was just….’desolate’. I laughed: I had never seen it that way! Even in its harsh, deathly way, the desert inspires such awe. Plants grow despite thirst. Birds nest despite sparse bush. Kangaroos eat salt bushes and even tumble weeds grow a life of their own…! 

I’ve always loved artists who can see something beautiful in the ordinary. Of course, I’ve made my obsession with Jeffrey Smart known and it’s taken a few years for me to recognise what it is I love about him….it’s a deep respect for anyone who can take this sunburnt country and show the world how beautiful it is. That inspires me.

And that’s why I think this trend could be a really huge thing for Australia. It’s our time to show our dusty, red heart and bear our desert with pride. And that’s why I’m sharing this palette with you: get out there, Australia – show them what we’ve got 🙂

   Lake Eyre the Desert Sea II  ( by John Olsen from the Olsen Gallery,   Gum Blossoms   by Margaret Rose Preston (1937), Australian Native Flowers - Scanner Art by  Spitfirelas  on Flickr.
Lake Eyre the Desert Sea II ( by John Olsen from the Olsen Gallery, Gum Blossoms by Margaret Rose Preston (1937), Australian Native Flowers – Scanner Art by Spitfirelas on Flickr.

If you own a small business and are looking for more dusty trend inspiration, feel free to shoot me an email with a sentence about your biz so that you can browse the dusty designs in my Shop (it’s password protected because…copycats :P….and also because I like to keep my designs fresh and relatively unseen).

 Dusty moth design for sale in the  shop .
Dusty moth design for sale in the shop .

There are also some gorgeous Instagram accounts to check out:

 Gorgeous furniture design  @fogiacollection  , sweet, dusty hues in  @misskyreeloves  ' Insta pretties, the gorgeous  @_zilvi  does all things beautiful in wood and  @teamtonkin  styles the pretties dustiness you ever did see.
Gorgeous furniture design @fogiacollection , sweet, dusty hues in @misskyreeloves ‘ Insta pretties, the gorgeous @_zilvi does all things beautiful in wood and @teamtonkin styles the pretties dustiness you ever did see.

And again, if you’d like to know more about Trend Spotting, be sure to join the email list and receive a copy of my new guide: Trend Spotting for Small Businesses.

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