Fabric Shops in Melbourne – Clear It & The Fabric Shop.

These two shops are next to each other in the suburb of Fitzroy in Melbourne, so double the happiness! They are quite easily accessible and only a short walk from the tram station, which we took from our hotel in the CBD. 

CLEAR iT

This store primarily sells clothes, and I didn’t notice they sell fabric until I saw their window display. 

It is a factory outlet, and initially I walked straight past it (because next door is a proper fabric store).

 

Then I saw this window display! I wasn’t interested in clothes from this store, but sure I am excited about fabric!

 

The fabric is in a small section upstairs. Easily missed, but not hard to find if you are looking for it.

 

Truthfully, they are just bolts and bolts of fabric lumped altogether! They do try to put similar composition fabrics together, but it’s more “buy-what-you-can-find” rather than “buy-what-you’re-looking-for”.

 

The fabrics are cheap, starting fro$2/m, and most are under $20 or $30/m. There are lining, cotton, synthetics and wool fabrics.

 

I found Alannah Hill fabrics too! She’s an Australian designer and her boutique stocks feminine, unique pieces. Link to her website for RTW clothes here.

 

But if you’re looking for a certain composition or print and have something specific in mind – good luck ;)

 

Great for bargin hunting! There are some cute fabrics and nice woollens too.

 

Then we strolled to next door – the famous, The Fabric Store! I’ve been to the Auckland branch already (see post here) and am familiar with their layout. I want to visit every store even if they are the same! Actually, they have a branch close to home, in Brisbane (where I live, basically) and I haven’t been. 

 

THE FABRIC STORE – MELBOURNE

Storefront.

 

Get happy!

 

Well categorised and the store layout is intuitive and easy to navigate.

 

Leather corner.

 

The colour organisation itself is visually satisfying.

 

Liberty range!

 

It was difficult to limit myself to just one purchase…

 

Decided on this! I guess while I love colour, I also like monochrome…

 

…and horses!

 

Yay~

 

And view of Melbourne from our CBD hotel.

 

And night view.

 

Happy times. Fabric is the best souvenir – I will surely remember where I got it from, and when made into garments, those pieces will be extra special to me.

 

Shades of Autumn [Burda 6919].

Mustard with hints of Burgundy, Emerald and Teal. It screams Autumn to me! This loud print is not my usual style, but I fell in love with the colours. The fabric is also buttery soft, and is perfect for mild autumns in Queensland. I made Burda 6919 with it. It is a pattern for a knit semi-fitted dress with scoop neck, shoulder holes, tucks in bodice and skirt, batwing sleeves and elasticated waist.

  • Pattern: Burda 6919, View A. Rated ‘Easy’.
  • Size made:  US 8-18 included, I made size 8
  • Pattern pieces: 5 for view A
  • Fabric used: Stretch jersey [unknown composition],  120cm width, 1.5m long, [unknown country of origin], bought from Spotlight
  • New Techniques used: First time trying pattern matching – I only managed the centre fronts of bodice and skirt. Side seams not matched…
  • Modifications: Shortened skirt at hem by 14cm; Encased waist elastic instead of sewing onto the seam allowance; Hand-stitched hem and dress hems.
Burda 6919.

 

Line drawings. I made View A, which is knee length (although I still had to shorten the hem by 14cm!). Pic from here.

 

Only 5 pattern pieces.

 

The pleats were interesting to cut >< even harder on knit fabric.

 

Luckily I had enough fabric (1.5m length). Normally I buy 2m to be safe.

 

Bodice done. The neck binding sticks up – it was probably too long? Or I stretched it when I sewed it? Or thread tension issue? Anyway, I actually didn’t really mind it…

 

Pleats on the skirt.

 

I hand-sewn the skirt (invisible) hem for a neater finish. Still haven’t figured out the invisible hem function on my sewing machine…

 

Completed.

 

I think the pleats got drowned in the print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric Shop in Melbourne – Rathdowne Fabrics.

Melbourne is like our second home and we go there often, mainly for family and work-related reasons. It’s about 2.5 hours flight from where we live. Of course, I try to visit fabric shops when we have time to spare. Last time we ventured out of the city centre and took the tram to the suburbs…for fabric shopping, of course. Sharing my experience here visiting Rathdowne Fabrics and Remnants.

Situated inside an industrial-looking building.

 

When you walk in, you see this vintage sewing machine and a picture of your husband…haha

 

The Corridor to Glory

 

Basically a warehouse with bolts of fabrics categorised by composition.

 

Pretty prints catch me eye.

 

Plain fabrics are sewing staples, but often overlooked (by me, at least).

 

I wasn’t interested in furnishing fabrics, but they have them as well!

 

So much to choose from!

 

Photo with the lovely lady, who was very helpful. And could we just spend a minute looking at the rows of vintage sewing machines adorning the wall~!

 

This used to be their old location – even more machines! Delicious..

 

Happy with my purchase :)

 

What I bought – a polyester knit with digital print of birds on it.

 

We didn’t just go to the fabric shop – we also went to the hobby/model store so my husband got to look at things he likes, too. This is back in the city centre.

 

He didn’t buy anything though. Apparently models kits are pretty standard and buying them online isn’t as risky/difficult as fabrics.

 

We had a great day! Couples who hobby together stay together :)

 

Dressmaking Scrapbook Vol. 1

I have done proper scrapbooking in the past (they are on my Gallery page under ‘Scrapbooking‘), with fancy papers and embellsihments. It is a really time-consuming hobby, and also after discovering dressmaking, I’ve lost motivation for scrapbooking a bit.

However, I’ve decided to make a simple scrapbook to document my dressmaking projects. I drew them using templates from a Fashionary book (I’m not affiliated with them), and made paper envelopes to house my traced patterns. I added a swatch of fabric with metal studs.

Here is my first Dressmaking Scrapbook, Volume ONE. It documents the first 20 handmade garments I’ve completed. You can click on the link at the bottom of each pic to see the post of each item.

 

 

 

Full post here.

 

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Full post here.

 

That was fun! Both the dressmaking and the scrapbooking. It’s great to combine two crafts, the process and result is always satisfying. I’ve already started Volume Two! But it will take a long while to fill up. At the moment I’m only sewing maximum one garment per month.

 

Fabric Shop in Brisbane – Beth Wyn Couture Fabrics.

So I was walking around the city looking for a present for my partner…and ended up buying a present for myself. Because, I walked past and discovered a fabric shop!

They specialise in imported French boucle/tweed, Italian silks, Swiss cottons and Spanish embellished fabrics. It is quite a small shop, like a treasure trove. 

(Same as always, I am writing this post purely to share my fabric shopping experience and relish in my love of fabric shops.)

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All I can afford now, is something from the half price section.  It’s a piece of Italian silk with red flowers on a white background with some textured leaves weaved into the fabric itself. I’m sure there is a name for this particular type of fabric/silk…educate me, anyone? I can’t seem to find the name of it.

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Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (9)

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Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (12)

It is slippery, slinky, luxurious and probably difficult to sew. I only bought a metre of it and am thinking of perhaps making a summer top, or a simple skirt with it. Or if all else fails…a scarf? The lady there is very helpful and approachable (not to mention graceful and sews her own outfits). It makes me want to go back again, but I dare not without more ammo in my wallet, which is not anytime soon :P

 

Japanese Cushions Vol.2

Whenever I go to Japan, I cannot resist buying fabrics and especially those with Japanese prints on them! In 2012 I bought some bunny-themed Japanese festival fabrics, and made them into cushions (here).

I picked up some similar, but cat-themed four seasons fabrics on our trip in 2015 (post here)and made them into cushions again recently! I gifted them as housewarming presents for my friend. I’m always careful when making things for my friends’ homes – it has to suit their taste and decor. 

I bought 6 fabric scenery squares, which makes 3 double-sided cushions. Compared to 2013 when I made the first lot of cushions, I got better at inserting invisible zips.

 

Two spring scenes, one summer, two autumn and one winter scene(s). A cute black-and-white cat in each scene!

 

I used bigger cushion inserts than normally needed, to add bulk. I like cushions that are pouffy!

 

I’m going to eliminate the construction process here, because it is the same as the last lot (here again), apart from making neater zip openings this time! Finished product:

1. Spring scene #1

 

2. Spring scene #2

 

3. Summer night scene

 

4. Autumn scene #1

 

5. Autumn scene #2

 

6. Winter scene

 

 

 

 

 

A set of 3 double-sided cushions to adorn my friend’s couch.

 

Congrats on the new house!

 

Next time I sew cushions, I want to try piping!

 

Sew, Seoul Happy [McCall’s 7243].

I like to sew Destination Dresses – when I sew something to wear on an overseas trip.  When I knew MS and I were going to Seoul in South Korea, I decided to make McCall’s 7243 in a thicker knit to wear in the still-cold Springtime there. 

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7243, View D
  • Size made:  AX5 (sizes 4-12 included). I made size 6
  • Pattern pieces: 5 for view D
  • Fabric used: Stable knit with textured ‘braids’ on right side, [83% polyester, 15% viscose, 2% spandex], 138cm width, 2m length, unknown country of origin, bought from Tessuti Fabrics
  • New Techniques used: One piece wrap collar
  • Modifications: Reduced collar width; Hand sewn hems; Refined hip fitting by trying it on, pinching and pinning.
McCall’s M7243. It has a mock wrap collar; Full, 3/4 or no sleeves and can be made as a top or dress. The fabric I used is a textured, sturdy knit.

 

I made View D, which is a long sleeved dress, and no contrast collar colour. Pic from here.

 

Five pattern pieces for View D. Originally I cut a size 6 top grading to size 10 at the hips, as in the above picture. Later on I graded it back to a 6 on the bottom as negative ease worked better with my fabric.

 

For the round wrap collar piece, I originally did the hemming by machine after pinning.

 

Constructing the collar took me a while, as it was my first time sewing a collar like this design.

 

Took a break from sewing, and came back to this – was confused for a moment. Sometimes it’s easier to do most of the sewing in one sitting, just so I keep my chain of thought.

 

Initially, this was the completed garment. I wasn’t happy with the way the collar hems sat. The fabric is too stiff for the intended draping effect at the shoulder and it stuck out. Also the hem puckered with machine stitching (I tried changing the tension, using ball needle too). Maybe a ponte would have worked better.

 

I’ve posted this on Instagram – I reduced the width of the collar, and hand-sewn the hems. (Left is before, Right is after)

 

My final version. It is a fitted dress, and probably short for average height people – for me (5’0″), it sat just above the knee without any shortening. Collar hems still not flat *sob* – probably because the fabric was thick, the shape was round, and hems folded over twice.

 

The back. I thought the back flap should sit flat as per the pattern envelope, but even in McCall’s official picture there is a wave at the back (see below), so I feel OK with that.

 

McCall’s official back view. Pic from here. (The original shoulder flap drapes nicely with a lighter knit)

 

We went to see the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. I wore my dress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruffle Me Up [Simplicity 2497].

This dress is probably my longest-running UFO. I started it more than a year ago, traced the pattern and cut the fabric, and had not touched it since.  Up until last month when I finally decided to sew it, as it was taking up precious space in my fabric cupboard.

Simplicity 2497 is an OOP pattern (it wasn’t OOP when I bought it in Spotlight!). Given that I sew so slowly, with endless distractions/responsibilities, by the time I sew my patterns, I’m not surprised if most of them are out of print or out of fashion. Neck ruffles, if I remember correctly, were trendy a few years ago. Maybe not now, but I don’t care….On the topic of trends – I don’t follow trends much – but even if I wanted to, I’d have no hope of sewing them. By the time I finish it, trend will be over. Maybe by a few years. I bought some off-the-shoulder patterns last season ( I like the style regardless of trend), but now it’s all about the sleeves…so my attitude is, just sew whatever.

  • Pattern: Simplicity 2497, a Cynthia Rowley design, View D
  • Size made:  D5 (sizes 4-12 included). I made size 4
  • Pattern pieces: 7 for view D (after eliminating pockets)
  • Fabric used: Polyester crepe,135cm width, 3m length, bought on my Japan trip
  • New Techniques used: Sewing princess seams; Using rolled hem
  • Modifications: Raised neckline at lowest point by 5cm; Eliminated pockets; Reduced bodice sides by 5cm total; Used rolled hem instead of narrow hem for neck ruffle
Simplicity 2497. Lots of beautiful versions on the internet. I decided to use an oriental print textured crepe I bought in Japan in 2015.

 

I made View D, which has neck ruffle, side split, maxi length, and sleeveless. Pic from here.

 

Seven pattern pieces for View D (no pocket).

 

The skirt length chewed up quite a bit of fabric.

 

More than a year has lapsed between the last picture and this! Finally made up the bodice.

 

The gathered waist fits into an interfaced waist band with self-facing slip-stitched into place on the wrong side. It’s not very straight…but I think no one will notice when worn :P

 

Machine gathered, then hand-basted the neck ruffle by hand. My mannequin is so useful.

 

It took a while to get the ruffle (almost) evenly spread.

 

The back. The ruffle width is very wide/tall, and the fabric is soft, so the top portion will flop down when I wear it.

 

Done. The weight of the skirt fabric drags the waist band down. I wonder if I should have used a heavier iron-on interfacing, or made a waist stay?

 

We went to a historic, heritage mansion. It’s beautiful there.

 

I love hydrangeas. Plenty in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 5/5 DIY Wedding Stationery Series – Menu Cards.

I apologise if you are sick of me spamming wedding posts. Last one, promise!

PART FIVE – MENU CARDS

We thought our reception venue would provide menu cards as part of the wedding banquet. And then very close to the day we fly out, we found out they weren’t! We could pay them to do it though – but I didn’t like the idea. So, running on 2 hours a sleep a night for the whole week leading up to fly-out date, still working too – I managed to get the menu cards done too. Simple project though.

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I chose the most luscious and textural papers in my stash for the menu cards. They were metallic-foiled, flocked, opalescent, textured and shiny!

 

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Printing and formatting the menu took longer than assembling the cards.

 

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Our reception was held in a restaurant with an open rooftop area in Rome close to the Vatican City. The view was great and made a nice photo backdrop.

 

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It really was a magical day. A new chapter starts.

 

~End of Part Five and DIY Wedding Stationery Series~

 

Part 4/5 DIY Wedding Stationery Series – Bombonniere Envelopes.

We had some goodies to give to our dear guests. They had all travelled from the other side of the world (like MS and I) to attend our wedding! We are so grateful that they were there to make our day extra extra special. So it was a MUST that I put effort into making the gift presentable.

PART FOUR – BOMBONNIERE ENVELOPES

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I had a stash of Cristina Re cameo print paper. They went nicely with the actual cameos I used for the table number cards. I also had ribbon buckles and stick-on diamantes ready! And square envelopes I bought…yes you guess it right, 15 years ago, again. Same shop, same stash.

 

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Printed names onto grids onto opalescent paper, double-sided tape the back and cut out…I can do this in my sleep now.

 

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Grey ribbon and square buckle for the gentlemen;  White ribbon and round buckle for the ladies.

 

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Diamante-time! Pink-lilac-silver for ladies, and blue-green-silver for gentlemen.

 

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These lay relatively flat, so transporting them to Rome wasn’t too bad. Although I had to be careful not to compress them, as the thickness of the gift inside and the buckle on the outside can cause creases.

 

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So, the problem with not being physically there to set up the tables and to make sure the papercraft was ok, was ~ the buckles can move position, like this one…

 

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…Or creases not smoothed out, like this one.

 

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…but I think no one but me cared :P

 

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For the photos, we also went to Capitoline Hill and other places too.

 

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~End of Part Four~