Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone that participated in the survey I posted (now closed). I got over 400 (!) responses, which is enough data to flesh out my business plan and justify a celebratory donut box of donuts. There were some surprising results so I'm glad I shelled out the clams to do it properly. 

But now it's my part of the bargain; I promised you finished sewing project and here it is! A bias cut, self drafted cami in Colette Dinnigan silk (from The Fabric Store) because ooh-la-la I'm fancy like that.


*Nonchalantly dusts off shoulder* 

*Realises there's chocolate on my shirt* 

*Eats it*

There's three reasons for this, two of which can be found nestled in the 'sewing goals' of the monster essay that is this post. They are: 
  1. I'm a freelancing gal with very few clams, of which patterns can cost a few; 
  2. I want to expand my skills and start drafting patterns (for personal use, not for sale); 
  3. I'm working on a capsule wardrobe, and I couldn't find a pattern that matched what I wanted.* 
* I originally wrote "couldn't find a pattern that matched my vision" and then laughed at myself for writing one of the wankiest sentences ever. 

I've been using The Pattern Making Primer, which feels like a good beginner book but I really don't have a clue because it's the only drafting book I've properly read besides Metric Pattern Cutting 

It's finished with french seams and I employed Seamwork's tips for cutting on the bias and using cord to make spaghetti straps, which was way more frustrating than I expected. 

I'm blissfully in lust with this cami, perhaps because of a narcissistic amazement at my ability to successfully draft and sew something, but next time I'll: 
  • pinch out a little in the front bust (apparently I think I have more bewbies than I do); 
  • lengthen the facings; and 
  • lower under the arm. 
Design wise I adore the racer back but am excited to play with other necklines too.

If I had muscles, they would be evident here

Oh no, don't look at the pants. I'll tell you what they're not though - they're definitely not my unfinished Ginger Jeans held together with a pin because my machine refuses to sew a button hole or belt loops. Nope. They just look like that. 

Crab & Bee | Katy & Laney | Tessuti's Camilla Pattern | Anything by Ohhh Lulu

I'm really excited to share my capsule wardrobe as it develops. It's been an enlightening project that I haven't fleshed out on the blog, but maybe I'll do that soon.

Much love, Reana x


I promise my next post will be about sewing. 

There will be needles. 

There will be stitch lengths. 

There will be me stuffed into an ill fitting blazer or strutting a lá Sallie in a pair of Jeans. I'm not entirely sure yet. But until then I was hoping I could rely on you and ask a big fat favour. I've got this idea, you see, and I think it's a kind of cool idea, but I need to do a bit of research first. 

Part of that research is asking people about their clothes purchases, and I was wondering if would you mind telling me about yours by answering a short survey?

It's anonymous, there's only 10 questions, and nothing as difficult or controversial as "are leggings pants?" Plus I will love you forever. 

This quiz is aimed a little more towards people that purchase clothes, so if you don't feel you fit that description (oh hello Pioneer woman!) you can still answer quite a few of the questions or even forward it to your sister / husband / friends / anthropomorphised grape collection. And then I would really love you forever! Someone get the BFF necklaces out, stat!

Thank you in advance 



Today I found a way to make my life better. I wanted to share in case it can make your life better too. Now you might already be doing this (you are pretty smart. And pretty. And I love your nails today), but here's a heads up if you're not. 

NB: I'm not sure about printing outside of Australia, so this might have an Australian flavour. If you are outside of Australia, come say hi! Bring your big printers & we'll introduce you to a quokka

I find snipping & sticking together A4 sheets of paper a pain in the ass, but I love PDF patterns' immediacy & ability to be reprinted when I screw up. My favourite PDF option is when the designer releases a 'copy shop' or 'coffee shop' version, except for one issue:

Most Australian printing shops (none that I've tried, anyway) have paper or a printer large enough for American or Canadian copy shop PDFs. My solution has been to print whatever their largest is, then trawl through the A4 PDF to locate the additional pieces, print them, and attach them to the large pice of paper. 

A bit tedious but it involves less sticky tape. 

The next 2 patterns in my line up are Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans & Jolie Marie Louise Chloé Blazer, two patterns offering a copy shop PDF (thank you ladies!). I popped into Office Works today to do the usual PDF print & screw around, but was met with a delightfully helpful human who offered to print it as a poster instead. 

For future reference he's told me to ask for the file to be printed (1) no scaling (2) as a poster (3) with an overlap (10 or 20mm is good). 

If it's something small, like a cami pattern, sticking together a few A4 sheets is no biggie. But let's take today's 2 patterns as examples: 

NB: Below examples are as per Office Works pricing, and do not include sticky tape or labour

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans - View B
Option 1- A4
28 sheets
x 10c each 
= $2.82

Option 2 - 1 x big paper + A4 add ons
1 x big sheet ($4) 
+ 6 A4 sheets (10c each)
= $4.60

Option 3 - Printed as poster
2 x big sheet ($4) 
= $8

Jolie Marie Louise Chloé Blazer
Option 1 - A4
56 pages 
x 10c each 
= $5.60 

Option 2 - Printed as poster
4 poster pages 
x $4 each 
= $16

It's more expensive to print the poster pages (at office works, anyway), but I'm sure including sticky tape would minimise that gap. More importantly, my time is worth quite a bit to me. If I printed the Chloé Blazer in A4 I would have cut 84 edges and sticky taped 97. Instead I snipped no edges and sticky taped 3. 

So there you go! And if you've got an ever better suggestion, lay it on me!


ETA: Thanks to everyone who has commented!

Elizabeth suggests splitting the pattern pieces at home before taking them in so you can choose where the splits go and, hopefully, avoid even more sticky tape.

Lara suggests a 'plan printer.' I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds like a great idea.

Happy printing! 


Favourite posts & conversations
Morgan's (Crab & Bee) Dressing like a feminist
Felicia's (The Craft Sessions) Stash less series
Miss Celie's Pants' A not well thought out post on affiliate links 
Amanda's (Bimble & Pimble) #bpsewvember instagram challenge

Favourite blogger garments

one // two // three
one // two // three
one // two // three
one // two // three
one // two // three
one // two // three

Favourite instagrammers (sewing + other)












Ok... What did I miss?

2014 IN REVIEW // HELLO 2015

Well 2014 was a huge year for me. I met my current beau Mr. Napoleon Sewnaparte, learnt a lot about buildng a travel wardrobe, hit that soul fulfilling first-ponytail-post-shitty-haircut, connected with some amazing stitchers including KellyErinMelizzaBella, & everyone at the Brisbane meet-up - oh, and travelled the world with  3 of my best girlfriends and a pretty sexy man. On the whole, pretty fan-fucking-tastic.

left: sewing in NZ with Bella // middle: with SophieLiz, & Kat at the Brisbane meet-up // Right: with my darling Erin at Hearst Castle

But this is a review, so let's talk facts.

Top L-R: Maritime Shorts v1 // Maritime Shorts v2
Bottoms L-R: Holly Trousers // Scout Dress // Archer + Maritime Trousers
A whopping six garments. Phwoar.


Left to right, top to bottom
  • Vogue 1247 skirt in double sided cotton blend, same as these. I may still blog this skirt because I think it's a killer pattern & made a few changes, including removing the waist band. 
  • Self drafted top in ikat cotton that I bought in Portland, OR. 
  • Grainline Scout Tee in navy bamboo jersey which is so freaking dreamy it should be lickable. I finished the edges with underwear elastic because I'm lazy, but kinda love the way it looks. - Picture from Canyonlands, UT.
  • White bamboo Grainline Scout Tee, sacrificed to the travel gods (sniff). - Picture from Glacier National Park, MT.
  • Gingham cropped Grainline Scout Tee & self drafted dirndl skirt in rayon. The rayon was from Sunni's sewing-room-formerly-store in Salt Lake City, UT. - Picture from Auckland. 
  • Closet Case Files Nettie Bodysuit, again in that lickable bamboo jersey and finished with underwear elastic. 
  • Oh go on, have a guess.... BAM! In one! A Grainline Scout Tee! You should really consider going on "The Price is Right" because you smashed that. 
  • I also made one of Madalynn's Vera Aveline dresses (tutorial here), but there are no photos sorry. It got a lot of wear when I spent a month in Fiji, stuffing myself with fresh coconuts & pretending to be Ocean Girl, but it didn't feel really comfortable in any other setting. As it's really just a rectangle of fabric I've started cutting up the navy silk/cotton to use in other projects, like these pockets

I think we can all agree those blogging stats aren't great, and I'm not proud of them. I can see 3 reasons: 

1. Frolicking about the world kinda gets in the way of sewing & blogging.

2. I want a record of my projects, especially alterations for fit (the navy/cream stripe scout was altered into TPFKAS & fits like a dream) but I don't want to post a snore fest of basics. And, the truth is, I love basics. 

3. Blogging is wonderful for keeping a record of my projects, being part of a community, and I get a buzz out of writing - but I find taking photos of myself such a pain in the ass. I could just stand in front of a wall and snap a few pics, & often I do, but it's not what I want for my blog. I want an aesthetic space with fun pictures, but I don't enjoy being the model for one outfit.

So I'm, not sure how to balance keeping blogging enjoyable with (1) some regularity (2) continuing to make basics I love, and (3) without resorting to shitty photos. A project for 2015, perhaps! :)

Ummm, are you sure this girl doesn't like getting photos taken?

Besides the above, I am going to create a capsule wardrobe. 

Something this recent trip hammered into my skull repeatedly, and with great force, is that I have a lot of stuff. Stuff I don't want, stuff I don't need, stuff that doesn't make me happy, and that I have to lug around. My wardrobe, for example, is crammed with items taking up valuable space, and like many (most? all?) stitchers I find it hard to part with the handmade stuff, even when they suck. 

So this year I am going to design and create a thoughtful capsule wardrobe that
  • suits my lifestyle & style (something I started thinking about here),
  • fits well,
  • is appropriate for Melbourne's (my new home!) climate.

Once I figure out a number of garments I'm happy with I'm going to implement a 'one in, one out' policy so I don't find myself back at this stuff stage.

Another way I'm reducing stuff is by deleting many of my online profiles, such as flickr, kollabora, burdastyle, twitter, etc. I think it's great when people can use these as valuable tools, but I just vague around and whoops nek minnit it's 11pm and I haven't eaten dinner because I fell into a click hole. I'll remain on Instagram because Instagram.

Side note: I realise I've linked to these now extinct online profiles in previous posts, so please bare with me while I go through the blog and clean those up. 

So here's to 2015! And here's to another year getting lost in a post about your new creation, or being impressed you baked a cake from scratch and then even thought of a funny hashtag to share it on instagram, or meeting up with you & oggling that superb lining, or reading your comment or email. Much love and happy new year x


My Holly Pants are in the BHL #PatternHackathon competition, & I would really appreciate your vote! 1 like = 1 vote & there's no pesky mailing list to join. 

Click here to vote for me (by 'liking' the picture)
Click here to see all of the contestants
Click here to see Drunk J Crew tumblr

Ok so I've done my sneaky little plug (I really want that prize pack!), please let me tell you how I made a shirt just so I can swan around the apartment pretending to be Gillian Anderson from The Fall, or Hannibal, or some kind of spectacular, silk blouse adorning, wine sipping mish mash of both. 

The pattern is Grainline Archer Button Up Shirt (see my previous versions: one & two) and I made the following changes
  • Andrea's v-neck alteration tutorial;
  • Removed the yoke & back pleats. This is a stretchy fabric & the Archer has a relaxed fit, so it doesn't miss the pleats;
  • Hand stitched the front two plackets together instead of buttons; 
  • Rolled & stitched the sleeves because that's how I plan on wearing it. 
The fabric is an off-white silk lycra and I would have done terrible, terrible things to get my desperate mittens on a walking foot. I was, however, incredibly grateful to whomever invented the teflon coated stretch needle because it melted through the fabric and I get to say I sewed with a teflon coated needle.

It's not my neatest sewing, to be honest in some places it's a fucking mess, and that collar had to be unpicked, re-cut, extra fused, and re-stitched to a point where I was cursing silk-fucking-lycra and weeping for my ravaged finger tips, but I'm giving myself a break because... well, because I am - but that's not why I'm conflicted about this fabric. 

You see, although wearing it feels like a swarm of tiny, floating cherubs are planting kisses on my skin, I've found unexplained little runs in areas that have never had contact with a needle or scissors, like the bust or back. I have enough left over to make a cami, but I'm unsure if I want to put the effort into another garment that will just fall apart. Anyone have experience with silk lycra?

The pants are a lengthened variation of Grainline Maritime shorts, with all of the fitting adjustments copied from my first & second versions. I've been smitten with the idea of Maritime Pants ever since spying Natasha's dreamy pair with those turned up cuffs. 

I did have to let out the waist band to ~1cm seams due to a not-so-stretchy cotton & because I'm carrying a little extra junk in the trunk. The seams are bound in outrageous, glee inducing hot pink satin bias tape (as seen on instagram) & I used Morgan's marvellous waistband tutorial that I bullied her into sharing (thank you Morgan!). The only difference is that I tacked the waistband down at intervals rather than stitching the entire way around because, without a walking foot, my waist band became twisted and my left eye spasmed involuntarily. 

The fabric is a double sided cotton blend, and it's not the last time you'll be seeing it on this blog (dum dum DUUUUUUMMMM!). Notions are just the fly zip & a big red button, because I never turn down a big red button. But seeing as though this is a post about pants you know it's coming.... ASS. 

Hahaha that photo on the right cracks me up! So moody, so serious, so junky-in-the-trunky.

I've been loving everyone's autumnal leaf photos, but it's Spring in NZ so here's my southern hemisphere version

Other news is I've been stuck in bed with the flu instead of packing for Australia, checking out the #bpsewvember challenge with frothing-at-the-mouth joy (I've been joining in here), and - following in the steps of Ms. Anderson - solving crimes around the apartment. Last night was "Reana Silkblouse & the case of the dirty frypan." Spoiler: it was me. 

Photos by Kieran Wynn - thanks KP!


How have you been?! It feels like forever since we've spoken! I have so much to tell you! First, I can now do the whole 'half up half down' hair thing. Do you like it? Not as cute as your hair, obviously. You are looking fabulous. 

So I'm fighting crime now! No, wait. That's wrong. I made pants that I could fight crime in. Let's talk about those and then I'll tell you that other stuff. 

By Hand London's Holly Jumpsuit view C pants, or trousers as those lovely English ladies probably refer to them. I adored Holly from first sight but it was Rachel's, Jenny'sLizzy's, and SallieOh's versions that prompted me to get down and dirty. 

I cut a size 6 and, fitting wise, all I did was shorten the hem and do my standard full booty adjustment. 

I wasn't sure if wide leg pants were my jam so I trawled Pinterest for inspiration & happened upon a few gems. The decision was made: if I was going to go wide, I was going to go wiiide and throwing in a few pleats while I was there. Here's a basic tutorial if you'd like to give it a go:

I top stitched the top 7" of the pleats because they were bursting opening making my soft yet flattish tummy look a bit on the "is she pregnant or did she have a big lunch?" side. Thank god I'm not a celebrity or paparazzi would be salivating

is a teal rayon that kisses my skin when I move but begged for a walking foot during construction. There's a few too many tucks and pleats around seam lines for my liking, but thems the breaks until I can afford (or karate kick my way to) a walking foot. 

My only other quibbles are that hemming long pants are hard and that the pearl snaps, despite advertising themselves as 'strong,' pop open with a deep breath or mention of a burrito. 

So there you have it! Pants. I like them. They feel nice. They're for BHL's #PatternHackathon but I didn't have a kitty because let's be real: those karate kicks are too dangerous to be near any living creature. 

Now let's talk about those other things! I'm still in New Zealand and when we arrived ~2 months ago we decided to slow this thing down and save money. My first fiscally responsible decision was to purchase a $10 ice cream. The second was to throw all remaining money on a handsome older man.

Friends, meet Napoleon Sewnaparte (Napoleon for short). 

^ photos from my instagram

Born in Switzerland in 1977, Napoleon is a Bernina Nova with strawberry and cream colouring, a collection of fancy shoes (feet), and a kooky velvet coat (case). He never skips a stitch but exhibits quirks that make me laugh, sometimes with love and other times a bit too maniacally. I purchased him from one of the strangest, sweetest persons I have ever met on the good suggestion of Bella, a Aucklandarian Aucklandian Aucklander person who lives in Auckland. 

Speaking of fantabulous sewing people, I haven't really bragged about meeting Melissa & Erin yet, have I? Well not here, anyway, if we've caught up in person I probably chewed your ear off about their loveliness. I met with them both in the US a few months back & Erin even invited me to stay with her for a weekend (she wrote about it here). 

Go ahead and imagine the sweetest, most generous, talented, beautiful, vivacious and funny creature you can and then totally dismiss it because it's not even close to how cool Erin is. I've missed hanging out with her and her sweet family the moment I drove away from their house, and I may have tried to steal Stella (ssssh, don't tell Erin). I was pretty rubbish at taking photos but here are a few from the afternoon we went to Hearst Castle, where I swear Erin should be a tour guide, and then watched whales. It was pretty fucking magical. 

And finally... In less than 10 days I'm heading back to Australia! I'm going to miss New Zealand but am pretty dang excited to see my friends and binge cherry ripe bars. I'm planning on taking Napoleon home with me and am welcoming ALL tips for packing a sewing machine on a plane!

Love and karate kicks, 
Reana xo