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The last days of July.

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Hello dearests!

All is wonderfully well here in wintery melbourne (I am writing this with a curtain of pure blue sunshine spilling into our little flat).  The last month of winter here is approaching fast and I am SO DARN excited for spring, green trees, growing seedlings on our windowsills, bare limbs and gently spring sunshine.  Yum.  To be fair winter here in Australia is an absolute delight too really, I am English and am used to 5 long months of cold, grey and drizzle with the odd sprinkling of clear skies and snowy mornings.  I miss the snow, but I dont miss riding to work on sleety streats with a waterfall of rain infront of my eyes.  I can count on my hand how many days I have had to ride my trusty bike through rain thus far this winter, and when it does happen theres a real sense of naustalgia for good ol’ Blighty, and a childhood of red wellies and splashing in muddy puddles.

The thought comes up that little creativity has been going on in the last month since posting here….but im not sure that is really the case, more that my mind has been flittering around getting excited by lots of different projects all rather unrelated to each other.  There has been little bursts of garment making and much crocheting in front of our little stove snuggled up with the oh-so-scrumptious gentleman and series after series of Spooks.  I finally completed an 82 square Granny-Square blanket I started back in spring last year when I was WWOOFing (Working on Organic Farms) on Tom’s parents land for my visa extension.  It is made from the softest alpaca/lambs wool blend in a range of blues, greys and greens, and reminds me of stormy oceans.  Im sure we will get much more use from it before the winter is through as it is a perfect little movie blanket to throw over our laps on the sofa.  Below are a photos of it in progress, the last one is it finished except that I added a large 3” border around the outside using the same teal wool that I connected to squares with.

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I absolutely love crochet, its so fast!! I seem to refind my love of knitting and crochet during winter when all I want to do is surround myself with fluffy things, things that will keep me warm and toastey.  Once I have a bit of extra funds Im planning on starting this awesome free knitting pattern I found on Pinterest (via the free knitting and crochet pattern website ‘Ravelry’)

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I just love absolutely everything about it! Here is a link to the pattern if anyone is interested.  The lady who knitted this version pictured above extended the sleeve length and bottom hemline by about 2 inches over what the pattern states.  Here is the link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/buttercup-6    I love it in neutral colours…i mean whats with the yellow version on the pattern?! Im thinking of trying it out in a chestnutty/reddy brown colour.  Im just waiting for a little bit of spare income so I can fork out the $60 to buy some nice wool for it =)

A couple of weeks ago I also made this little jumper dress for myself out of some cheap fleecy material that was remnented at my local fabric warehouse.  The fabric is a polyester which I would not usually buy but I fell in love with the colour and the inside is so unbelievably soft and fleecy and Im always desperate for warm layers that work well over dresses and leggings.  And the fabric was $6 a metre…sooooo.

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I just took the basic pattern from a stretchy dress of mine and added sleeves and an asymmetrical hem.  Super easy and a great warm winter staple for early morning bike rides and running around after toddlers when Im at work.  (The little girl that I nanny is now 13 months and is super-ultra-turbo-charged! She was 8 months and very much still a baby when I started working with her….now she’s definately a little toddler!)

This week was the last week of one of my favourite Op-Shops (thrift store/charity shop) being open here in Melbourne.  Its relocating to an unknown address and Im so sad, they always had the best fabric collections and are one of the only Op-Shops around here that actually has a wool collection worth speaking of.  So ill be hunting down my new favourite places to grab bargains soon…but until then I pretty much bought them out of the lasts of their fabric collection and scored a SERIOUS bargain.  $17 for well over 6 metres of random peices of vintage floral materials!  I cycled off a happy gal with a bike basket spilling over with colourful springtime prints.  I knew as I was buying them what they would become, and the photos below are the humble beginnings of a collection of recycled fabric dresses for my ‘Selkie Child’ line that I am working on to sell alongside my Women’s clothing.

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  They are super simple to make but just so wonderful when they are complete, their linings clashing beautifully and little details of lace trim and bright buttons.  I have been hankering for an excuse to handsew recently and had a great time working on these little embroidered patches that I am adding to the dresses as they are completed.  Embroidered onto the patches are excerpts from one of my favourite poems ‘The Stolen Child’ by W. B. Yeats.  It’s a long poem with many verses but I love the section ”Come away O’human child to the waters and the wilds with a faerie hand in hand for the world’s more full of weeping then you can understand.”  Below are the patches that I have completed so far.  I love handsewing! Im so slow and not very neat (im sure my great great grandmothers would be turning in their graves!) but I think they are sweet and nostalgic and add a little bit of fanciness to the finished dresses.

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So these are some of my little projects that I have been getting on with.  Life feels such a mixture of sloooooow winteryness and weeks that just revolve in a blink of an eye.  Tom and I are working hard, and slogging along with the process of getting my De-Facto Visa so I can stay as a resident in Australia.  At the moment my current visa will run out on the 19th of November this year, so its all systems go to try and get the next visa sorted! (this means endless beaurocracy and $4500 for our troubles ;-P)

I think thats pretty much it for now folks, Its lovely to see more and more people following this blog so I dont feel that I am just talking to myself anymore.  I love recieving your comments and if anyone is interested in purchasing anything they see here, or have any ideas for custom orders or collaborations then I love a good challenge and just drop me a comment below!

Much love and wintery wishes,

Bex

New Beginnings

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There’s a lot of hustle and bustle going on in this neck of the woods at the moment.  Tom and I are mid process of the big move down to Melbourne from his parents beautiful abode in countryside Victoria.  After a fair bit of drama and wrangling the Oz property market, we’ve finally managed to secure a sweet pad in the raaaaa-ther funky neighbourhood of Brunswick, Melbourne.  Im chuffed to bits that its finally sorted! Tom seems to think it was an easy feit as we managed to secure the first property I found that he went to see with me (which happened to be by far the nicest, best location, top of our budget).  I still remember the 2 weeks of constant property searching, going to estate agents and doing open house inspections with 30 other people….im trying to forget all that though 😉

So our new little pad is pretty damn awesome really.  Its a 2 bed 2nd floor apartment in a group of 30, just 20mins tram from the city centre and surrounded by fabric shops, lovely little cafes and vintage shops, great Op-Shops(*Opportunity shops or Charity shops if your English!) and a Wholefoods Organic Supermarket just up the road! We have a good amount of space, with 2 double bedrooms one of which is soon to become our study room and my Studio! There is a cute little balcony looking out onto a small communal green down below and Tons and TONS of storage space.  Here is a sneeky peek of our new pad, and more photos to come in the next few days when we move in (we’re moving in tomorrow- Wed 23rd).

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Its going to be pretty super-darn-fantastically amazing having our first Tom-Bex real home(we’ve been living together pretty much from day 1 so since july 2011 but always short term or crashing with other people), and Ive been without a real abode since Jan 2011 so I am SO unbeleivably ready to have our own place to get cosy in and get creative!

So I’ve just spent the last few days packing us up whilst Tom has being working a few days at his old job making us a little extra dosh while he still can (we’re living off our savings at the moment which are diminishing fast- renting in Melbourne is EXPENSIVE!), but i’ve had a chance to catch some yummy sunshine in the garden ❤ and look how beautiful everything looks!

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The 3rd photo shows the corn that I planted a few months ago.  Pretty amazing huh! I made 3 areas of corn planting the sections in 2 week intervals so there should be tastey corn-on-the-cob for longer.  They are loving the extra nitrogen in the soil too- Tom turned over a massive patch of Broad Beans into the soil a few months ago to give it a bit of a Nitrogen lift and it seems to be working wonders.  Here is the man himself mid Broad Bean turning (looking very embaressed about the half naked photo im making him pose for!

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So generally all is well.  Money worries as per usual, savings disappearing far to quickly and not sure were the money is going to come from etc etc etc but I wont go too much into that.  For now we are just enjoying the excitement of new beginnings, budgetting ourselves and Im concentrating on getting some new stock up on Etsy which will hopefully help, and looking for a Part time Nanny job for when we get back from the UK in March.(Oh yeh I forgot to say we’re going to the UK for a one month family visit!)

Thats all for now folks, I’ll do a quick post of what’s new on the Etsy shop and will update soon with new home photos! ❤

Sunday Sewing Sesh, with PJs and a cup of Tea.

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Mmmm, you gotta love a bank holiday weekend! Tom (my partner) and I went to a Fancy Dress 50th party last night dressed up as a gentleman and a hippy mother sporting full suit tails and a mahoosive pregnancy belly, pretty hilarious especially on the train ride over there (im not pregnany by the way though it was RATHER convincing).  After a long lie in this morning, Im finally getting round to making a green velvet dress I’ve been planning on making myself for about a month now.  The pattern is based on a beautiful McCalls 1960’s shift dress pattern that I have altered over the years, by making it have a boat neck at the front leading down to a deep plunge at the back of the dress.  The pattern is about a modern UK 10 when made up, so I always have to add a few inches to the hips when making for myself (Im a UK12-14).  Ive made and sold garments using this pattern quiet a few times already.  Here are some of the previous variations/reincarnations:

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The first image is the same basic variation as I am making today, though I will be making it a little larger at the hips.  The second is a cropped asymmetrical top version with a beautiful lace trimming on the base (great for layering).  The third is a dress I made for myself out of some beautiful batik fabric I picked up on one of my travels to Indonesia, its still an absolute favourite and great with leggings and over jeans, and the fourth photo shows it in its reincarnation as a cropped waistcoat in some awesome upholstery fabric I picked up for free and amazing mother of pearl buttons….it is pretty steampunk-esque.

The pattern is a favourite, once I fall in love with the fit of a pattern i have a tendancy of using it again and again and creating new patterns from the original, though it’s been hidden away in my pattern folder for over a year now.  A few days ago I took it out, blew off the cobwebs and made a beautiful variation on the original out of purple lace with a contrasting lining fabric.  This time instead of using biased binding to finish the neck edges, I used a small ‘lip’ of lace to the edge instead.   I saw a dress very similar in ‘Friends Couture’ on Degraves St in Melbourne which gave me the inspiration to take this pattern out and try this added feature.  Here is the finished dress I made a few days ago.

(This dress is a UK10/US8 and is available for purchase for $65 on my online shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSelkieFolk )

So all that background aside, this is what I have been up to this morning….excuse the pyjamas but I did warn you!

Excuse the crumply fabric, the iron has gone haywire, so i’ve had to do with out it today….pain in the ass as all you creative people know!

So yeh, thats where im at so far! Now lots of darts to pin in, and fingers crossed it should be ready by 5pm for the sunday evening pub gathering i’m heading too later. Photos of finished dress to come!

I’d love to hear from you all about your favourite patterns, maybe even see images of alterations of the same pattern! Just post responces in the comments ❤

Much love everyone and HAPPY SUNDAY!

xx

Welcome to my brand spankin’ new SEWING BLOG!

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Hello nobody, everybody and ANYBODY out there!

This is the first post in a new blog that I am starting, charting my progress in setting up my online shop ‘Selkie’ selling hand-made and unique Women’s garments and accessories.  On this blog I will keep a record of the designs I am working on, and share images of the process and finished garments.  This blog not only will be a great way for me to see my progress but also a fantastic online source of inspiration and ideas for all you crafters and creators out there!

A bit about myself: I started sewing clothes when I was about 15, creating customised and upcycled peices for myself and my friends.  Soon I was recieving a lot of interest in my clothing and got inspired to start selling my clothes through a small boutique in my homewtown, and create commissions for friends of friends.  Steadily my confidence and love of sewing grew and, whilst moving down to Bristol to take part in an Art Degree, Myself and a friend set up a clothing company selling ethical and upcycled clothing through markets and stores around the South-West.

Now, I am in Melbourne! And after a massive year of change that has found me over the other side of the world, in a beautiful relationship, I have started out on my own, this time under the name ”Selkie”.  Selkie’s are mythical Seal Women who take off their seal skins and turn into beautiful maidens.  The folk stories speak of fisherman who fall in love with these women and steal their skins so they can never go back to the oceans.  I was born by the sea, and the name brings back beautiful memories of folk tales, hunting for oysters and driftwood on the beach with my grandmother, and warm salty sea air.  I love the idea of clothing being like a second skin, allowing us to explore parts of our personality, change our identity when ever we feel like it.  For me clothing is a way of expressing myself, standing out from the crowd, wrapping myself up in magic.

So here I am,

So excited about this new adventure!

Rebekah