December 09, 2013

I am still here!

I assure you I am still here! Alive & sewing...& printing & crocheting!

This lengthy absence from the blog can be attributed to my, once again over  commitment to 'making'... it just never stops. Our wedding is just one month away and I have really only started sewing my dress, Michael's waistcoat & trousers and Kass's (bridesmaid) dress in September. We also designed and printed the invites; I am part way through crocheting the cake toppers and the music selection is OF COURSE one of the most important tasks to complete. PLUS organising everything else! 

Our Sreen Printed invites. We are very happy with our design and execution:)

Anyway, I am quickly signing off again. I have to get back to work! My relaxed attitude towards the whole wedding has perhaps put me on the back foot.... so I am moving in a forward motion. Lets hope we get there and I don't walk down the isle with half a dress. That would not be a pretty sight. 

Until soon!

September 09, 2013

A not so successful refashion

The dress before the refashion
Refashioning is something that I have been doing for a while now, and luckily pretty much all of them have turned out reasonably well..... until this garment. The good news is that it is still wearable, but the choice to resize it was a mistake

Why this dress?
I found the item in amongst a few antique gems at an antique market. The print was what initally caught my eye and the silhouette was also appealing. Resizing seemed to be the most sensible option. 

Me at the market buying the garment

What was altered?
I used a basic slip pattern and ended up shortening it and pulling in the sides. The problem was that I detached the collar but I did not completely deconstruct it. So it was difficult sewing it back on. This silly error has made the collar sit strangely and I don't feel completely comfortable wearing it. So I basicly destroyed a really lovely garment, because it didn't fit me.

One positive thing that did come out of this project was that I realised that I need to set myself some refashioning rules. So I will share my refashioning rules in some follow up posts!

Watch this space for my refashion do's & don'ts!

August 13, 2013

Nostalgia! 3 years of Fickle Sense!

Collection of mahaila images 2010-2013
photos: Michael Dooney

This month marks 3 years of Fickle Sense! Woo Hoo! Back in 2010 my sister, Kass and myself decided to start the blog as a way of maintaining contact from Perth, Aus to Berlin, Germany. I sewed and she styled. These images document our progress over the years.

I did experience a feeling of nostalgia whilst collecting all of our images. Kass has certainly improved on the photo taking front and changed her style to some degree (check out her blog Render Sublime). Looking at my images my style is also changing, though I feel that I have tapered off in terms of the amount of clothes I sew now. I have so many ideas, yet so little time to execute them. Plus I now have an online screen printing shop, plus an 'almost' eco clothing store, plus an eco blog 'i give 2 hoots', plus a career, plus wedding preparations... and the list still continues! Perhaps I should slow down a bit and spend more time in front of the sewing machine, with my own creations:)

Collection of Kass images from 2010-2012 (find Kass at Render Sublime)

Which looks are your favourite? 

My favorite from Kass is the red slip dress. 
(second last row, second image)
My favourite from myself (mahaila) is still my refashion piece. 
(third row from the bottom, 3 image across)

And... of course thanks to everyone who has followed us over the years:) and lots of love to our men for taking all of our photos!

This song by one of my favourite bands the Handsome Furs is quite fitting 'Nostalgia......'

July 24, 2013

Mixing it up with prints

Photos: Michael Dooney

Prints and colour! I can't get enough of them. I found this fabric whilst back home in Aus and decided to make these 70's inspired print shorts. We took these jumping photos in Michael's studio. Loving his studio lights!

Sewing with prints
The challenge with these shorts involved the lining up of the print. The most important factor to consider was the crotch area and the pattern at the front seam. Having 2 small circles on the crotch area would seem some what inappropriate. After having lined up the prints I started to cut and pin the shorts together. I soon discovered that I had somehow ended up with exactly what I didn't want, 2 circles in the wrong area. I tried to fix this by sewing a larger seam allowance at the front, so unfortunately the shorts are a little more snug then I had wanted:(  

Tutorials on matching prints.
Sewaholic - How to match prints along seams
Coletterie - How to match plaids and stripes

The top and my struggles in lauching my eco fashion Fickle Sense store
This top is similar to some tops that I am making for my etsy store Fickle Sense. They are handmade and organic and will hopefully be ready by the end of August. It has been a long time coming. I have blogged a little about my progress here on my sustainable fashion blog 'i give 2 hoots'. (Don't forget that I am still looking for creators, enthusiasts, nostalgics and minimalists to add to the blog. Head over there to see the criteria!)  

Embracing the crazy!
At the moment I am working on a few different sewing projects which encompass my love of all things quirky. Most involve colours and prints. I first realised I should go more in this direction whilst having a conversation with Michael (finance) and Kass (sis). We were at a club on a Sunday arvo, relaxing by the spree. It was apparent that there were 2 types of people at this club: hipsters and fearless crazy dressers. We were joking about dressing each other up as hipsters and going to some clubs. Both Michael and Kass looked at me and said, 'no you wouldn't be the hipster, you would be the crazy dresser'. At first I was taken back, but after about a second I agreed. Embrace the uniqueness! 

July 14, 2013

Favourite holiday wear + CUT sewing magazine

Every European summer we venture to a different summery location. This year, Southern Italy. I was surprised by the chaotic nature of this region as I found both Croatia and Turkey to be a bit more organised. It took me about a day to adapt! All in all it was a nice trip where I was able to expose me taste buds to flavor again! (sorry Germany, but you don't thrive in the area of food produce). But I am certainly happy to be back in calm, quiet Berlin:)

Favourite holiday adventure wear 
Generally for every trip we will try and photograph a new sewing project. Unfortunately this time around I was busy blogging and screen printing, so I had no outfits ready for the adventure. But I did realise that I ALWAYS wear the same sewing projects on holidays. My CUT magazine playsuit/romper is certainly a staple outfit when enjoying the summer months (previously blogged about here). If you love the pattern, make sure you check out CUT mag!

The pattern for this playsuit can be found in the CUT Mag issue 5. It is written in German, but the steps are well photographed, so if you have a little experience in sewing, you can create the garments.

NEW: Issue 9 CUT sewing mag!
Yesterday I was walking past one of the little sewing stores in Berlin and I spotted the new CUT sewing mag! I have been following CUT mag since the first issue so it is always exciting to get the new issues with new sewing patterns and articles. This issue there is a mens shirt, half circle skirt and jacket.

Find more about CUT mag here!

July 05, 2013

Fusion 2013!

Another Fusion Festival down! Other then going home to Aus, it is my favourite time of the year. However this years shitty weather contributed to a somewhat somber Fusion experience. It was my first Fusion with NO sun. Only a few hours of sun over 4 days! Boo hoo. BUT the music obviously saved the day!

FUSION Festival acts to check out include:

1. HVOB: Her Voice Over Boys
I love, love, love these guys. The dynamics within their songs. AMAZING! The fusion of eletronic minimal with sweet vocals. Definitely my favourite for the festival!

2. Phia
For those of you who perhaps are not fans of electronic music, Phia is your gal. A very clever gal at that! She plays with the kalimba. A loop pedal which makes it sound as though she has a full band behind her. I am a FAN! I will be checking her out in a Berlin gig soon! For sure! She is often touring so make sure that you check her out when she comes to your neck of the woods!

3. NU
Wicked dj. He often plays in Berlin. Keep your eyes peeled for one of his gigs.

4. Brandt Brauer Frick
Who could forget the genius of  Brandt Brauer Frick? What can I say? Just watch their amazingness (yes, I just made up a word) in the video below. LOVE!

Fingers crossed we can get tickets for next years FUSION, Fusion number 5 here we come.... hopefully. Next festival, Nation at the end of July!

June 24, 2013

Sewing for your man

I made these trousers about a year ago for my fella, Michael. I chose a light weight linen/cotton which is perfect for those summery days! The instructions for this pattern are not great and you need to spend some time with youtube and sewing blogs to figure out the best ways to insert the back pockets (tutorial here) and the fly. I made a slight alteration to the back seam as it was gaping at the waistline. But other then that I enjoyed making these trousers and would recommend the pattern for the great silhouette. 

Since having sewn these trousers I have recognised that there are not a great deal of sewing patterns for men. A good friend of mine (male who sews) gets really frustrated with the lack of options with regards to mens sewing patterns. He even wrote to about the problem! Their response was something like, 'women don't want to sew for men, so we don't produce many mens patterns'.  I strongly disagree! Yes, girls do sew a lot for themselves, BUT girls are definitely interested in sewing for the special men in their lives. There has been a recent shift in the availability of sewing patterns for men. More blogs are blogging about their sewing ventures and there are some inspiring men sewers/crafters. E.g. My fantastic friend Ralf -burdastyle, the great mens sewing blog Male pattern boldness , kalepso , mr x , crochet bloke 

A few patterns for your fella...........

Burdastyle - Jochen, Thread Theory - Jedediah
Thread Theory - Newcastle cardigan

Colette - Negroni - I have fitted this shirt and recommend it! Still have to make the final version.
Burdastyle -  mens shirt

We are running in the marathon this year and I need to make a pair of shorts for Michael perhaps I will try this pattern
Burdastyle -Andre

Other places to find mens patterns
Thread Theory (mens only pattern store), ebay, Simplicity, Burdastyle ,  vogue, Drafting mens trouser patterns.

(Guys) Have you sewn something for yourself or others?
(Gals) Do you sew for your fella, dad, brother, friends, granfather etc ? 
Which mens patterns do you like?

June 19, 2013

My Colourful Crab Print Dress

Photos: Michael Dooney

Woo Hoo Summer Holidays have begun! Summer in Berlin! Today it is over 30 degrees. A rare event in this mostly overcast, grey city. 

At the moment I am loving this simple slip silhouette. The shape lends itself to creating some interesting textiles. On this occasion I screen printed these little crabs onto the dress. Why crabs? I was inspired by the Schiaparelli and Dali collaboration lobster dress(which I previously posted about here). I will definitely be creating some more quirky prints on fabric. 

Screen Printing blue crabs onto my fabric

I used the colette Laurel pattern to create the dress

My fiancee, Michael has been working on some art installations which focus on light, colours and perception. He uses complimentary colours to produce these crazy perceptual experiences. The video below shows what it looks like, but you can't experience it properly unless you are standing in the space.  

My crab dress uses the complementary colours blue and orange. When looking at the dress in a bright environment your eyes struggle to focus on the blue crabs. It kind of looks like they are scurrying around. Freaky! 

Has anyone else incorporated or been inspired by science when creating garments? 

It would be great to hear about any other experiments:)

June 13, 2013

Could you refrain from buying new clothes for 6 months?

It is no secret that I am mad about slow fashion and the blog 'i give 2 hoots' is the space dedicated to spreading the sustainable fashion love. Over the past few months I have been searching for people to list on the blog as well as feature.

When I came across Mia's 6 month shopping ban on heylilahey I realised that she was the perfect candidate for the minimalist category. Mia is taking part in her own 6 month shopping ban. Check out 'i give 2 hoots' to get some advice and tips about how to start your own ban!

Mia from heylilahey                                      photo: Michael Dooney

Check out the table below to see which category you identify with. Contact me on 'i give 2 hoots' to be listed!

June 12, 2013

FINALLY: the sun has come out to play:)

my princess seam dress: Blogged here                            photo: Michael Dooney
The sun has finally arrived in Berlin.... but who knows how long that will last.  Berlin is full of energy during the summer months so it can be a little difficult to maintain any type of productivity regarding indoor tasks. Within the coming weeks I will hopefully find a good balance of indoor and outdoor tasks.

1. Outdoor - German homework in the sun!
2. Indoor - screen printing fabric for sewing 
3. Outdoor - this is our first week for training for the Berlin marathon in September
  4. Outdoor - holiday planning for the summer!
  5. Indoor - Sewing & creating
  6. Indoor - making items for my new screen printing etsy store FSScreen Printing 
  7. Indoor - Summer (usually spring, but spring came later this year)  means strawberries. Strawberry jam making time! 
   8. Indoor & outdoor - going to exhibitions and taking our own photos
   9. Indoor - getting wedding plans sorted.

June 04, 2013

CREATIVE TALENT: Karin Lindeskov

On a trip to Hamburg we were lucky enough to meet up with the uber talented Karin, a Danish illustrator. In her shop you can find totes, postcards, prints, and cute cushion characters! I love the fox! Below you can find her inspiring words regarding being apart of the creative world:) Thanks to Karin for finding the time to meet up with us whilst we were in rainy Hamburg.

'Go for it and have no fear!'
 Karin Lindeskov

Shop:      :Etsy
           :Karin lindeskov shop
Blog:      :Facebook

Four adjectives which describe my work:
Illustrative, graphic, colourful, playful

Currently residing:
I moved from Copenhagen to Hamburg about 1,5 year ago

I grew up in the windy north-west-countryside of Denmark on a small island called Thyholm. 

How did you start creating?
All children draw - I just never stopped. I studied illustration and graphic design and now work as a freelancer in both fields. I love the mix of working on client´s projects and my own things: One day working on a logo for a client, the next day sewing a rocket in fabrics or drawing a crying owl...I believe that this interaction is very important for my constant development and ideas.

Inspired by? 
For some time now I have been very inspired by animals, especially cats (my cat) and birds, but I actually find inspiration all over the place: a walk to the supermarket, blogs, people, music, colours. 
Any encouraging words?
Go for it and have no fear!



May 28, 2013

How to create your own symmetrical lace design

I have recently been experimenting with some different textiles and techniques which I don't often use. This was a lace applique project.

Here is the tutorial for my lace top (previously posted here).

Create your desired top with the tulle. I used the Colette Laurel pattern. I altered the pattern by shortening the sleeves 

2. Sew a straight line down the centre front of the top, so that you have a central reference point to base your pattern on.

3. I chose Guipure lace (also known as Venice lace) for this applique lace. If you want the design to be symmetrical, make sure that the lace pattern runs both ways. You can see from the photo above, that the flowers are running in opposite directions  

More info on different lace types here too

4. Arrange the lace. Place and pin in the desired location. 

5. And you are ready to sew away!(I hand sewed the lace, but you could probably machine sew it).

May 23, 2013

MUSIC: The Knife New Album, Shaking the Habitual

  The Knife

A few years ago I lived and worked in a town 5 hours north of Perth, which meant that I spent a great deal of time traveling to and from the city. Hours and hours spent traveling meant that there was a constant rotation of CD's playing. One particular CD which featured constantly within the confines of my tiny car was 'The Knife'. They were perhaps one of the first bands which really encouraged me to appreciate electronic music.7  years after the release of their previous record, Silent Shout (2006), they have now released 'Shaking the Habitual'.

'Shaking the Habitual' is certainly a  grower. If you are not an electronic, industrial,experimental, ambient music lover, then this album may not appeal to you, but it is interesting to listen to. The first few songs are the most accessible. I am a big fan of bands using found sounds to create their music and The Knife do it so well. Very inspiring stuff!  

If you are not familiar with the band, perhaps the track Heartbeats will jog your memory
The Knife: Heartbeats


May 15, 2013

My Crazy Crustaceany Crab Creation

I made this crab dress JUST in time to enter it into the Colette Laurel pattern contest. It was a race against the clock! My own little project runway contest... but I had to stop half way, and go to work:( BUT I finished it just in time!

The night before the competition ended I created this crab print which was inspired by the lobster dress from the 30's. 

VOTE here at Coletterie if you love my quirky crustacean creation:) and take a look at all of the lovely Creators sewing up a storm!

This Schiaparelli & Dali collaboration  inspired me to create my crabby crustacean print. 

This Les Heal lobster dress is awesome! Perhaps it can be the next source of inspiration:)

May 13, 2013

My Dead Docs :(

On May day I was out and about enjoying the intermittent sunshine, when I felt a strange dragging sensation under my foot...... this was the beginning of a sad soleless Dr. Marten day. On this public holiday, no shops open. No tape to temporarily fix the problem. I was forced to made use of some resourceful McGuiver inspired thinking. The lanyard on my keys proved to be the hero. I tied it around the nose of the shoe... all fixed!....Until the other shoe started to follow his partners example. This time the elastic in my jacket came in handy!

This rather embarrassing situation made me reflect on my love for the Dr Marten boots. My black doc's are worn daily and are still going strong, but these more 'showy' doc's have not lasted more then a few days. 

Has anyone else experienced something similar with their docs?

May 08, 2013

Experimenting with lace + the 'w' word

I have recently spent a little time researching and thinking about my 'w' dress (I get a little sick of hearing the wedding word so I will refer to it as 'w'). One major problem I am having with my research is that I have cast these huge self inflicted expectations upon myself. I feel like I should be making my ultimate  dress... this is where my predicament begins. I would love to applique and even embroider the fabric, but I just know that this is impossible. Time restraints teamed with a tiny budget is what will dictate the outcome of the dress. So I just have to get over this 'ultimate' thing and see the dress as being the 'ultimate dress... for this period in my life with time and budget constraints'.
So I am still experimenting with fabric manipulation techniques whilst clamping down on this 'ultimate' expectation.

Rather then sewing from my own self drafted patterns I have began to sew from published clothing patterns again. My sewing skills are in need of some work, so this is my solution, and of course looking up sewing blogs. I didn't realise how many sewing blogs are out there now. A heap of good info! 

The Colette 'Laurel' pattern was a nice basic pattern to use for creating this simple silhouette. Perfect for experimenting with appliqueing. 
Whilst 'w' dress fabric shopping, I found a few different types of lace to muck around with. This particular lace is a guippure lace. It's a great one for appliqueing as it is easy to cut out. I entered this top in the Colette Laurel pattern competition (along with a crab print dress, but I will show that one off later) which you can find here.

Whilst visiting Hamburg the other month, we popped into Kleidermarkt. My favourite second hand store in Hamburg! I headed straight for the reduced items and found this sweet skirt. When I got it home I realised that the waist was tiny! So after calculating the best way to increase the waist measurement, I got cutting (this is always the scary part).  It actually worked out... except for the fact that when I sit down it looks as though a large bulge is coming from the stomach area. I suppose I just can't sit down. Problem solved:) 

is on its way!