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.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

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.)

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-1b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-6b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-2b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-4b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-5b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-3b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-7b

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.

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (8)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (9)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (10)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (11)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look to the Light [Butterick 5878].

First handmade garment of the year, and it’s already February! My goal to sew more isn’t going that well…but we all start somewhere :P

The reason I chose this pattern to make was simple. I accidentally bought two of the same paper patterns during sales, so I decided I’ll try for the very first time to cut straight into the tissue paper instead of tracing. The relaxed fit reassured me that minimal adjustment or grading would be needed.

  • Pattern: Butterick 5878, I made View B
  • Size made:  A5 (sizes 6-14 included). I made size 6
  • Pattern pieces: 8 for view B (total 11 pieces in envelope)
  • Fabric used: 100% Rayon, 135cm width, 1.5m length (really should need 2m), made in Thailand, bought from Spotlight
  • Trim used: 6m (used about 4-5m in the end) scallop lace trim from Lincraft
  • New Techniques used: Making yoke facing; Elasticated sleeves
  • Modifications: Shortened skirt tiers – middle panel by 4.5cm, bottom panel by 5.5cm. Reduced sleeve length 7cm. Altered lace trim placement.
Butterick 5878. I made View B, which is the white one second from the right on the envelope picture.
Butterick 5878. I made View B, which is the white one second from the right on the envelope picture.

 

View B has mid-length sleeves, and 3 tiers on the bottom.
View B has mid-length sleeves, and 3 gathered tiers on the bottom. All of the views have bodice with front and back yokes and wrap bodice. Pic from here

 

8 pattern pieces for view B.
8 pattern pieces for view B.

 

The front and back yokes have self-facings that get slip-stitched into place.
The front and back yokes have self-facings that get slip-stitched into place.

 

Bodice constructed.
Bodice constructed.

 

Sleeves with gathers at the shoulder and elastic on the bottom.
Sleeves with gathers at the shoulder and elastic on the bottom.

 

Top half done! I used a red-and-blue scallop edge trim to match the fabric. I also decided to put them on the wrap front hems instead of along the yoke seams, which would have obscured the little gathers I painstakingly made!
Top half done! I used a red-and-blue scallop edge trim to match the fabric. I also decided to put them on the wrap front hems instead of along the yoke seams, which would have obscured the little gathers I painstakingly made! I also added a metal snap at the ‘V’ where it crosses over.

 

Bottom 2 skirt tiers. I don't like gathering...soldier on...
Bottom 2 skirt tiers. I don’t like gathering…soldier on…

 

Finished skirt portion.
Finished skirt portion.

 

Elasticated waist. The Elastic was hidden in the seam allowance.
Elasticated waist. The Elastic was hidden in the seam allowance.

 

Completed garment. Phew, totally ran out of steam somewhere in the middle. Glad it's finished.
Completed garment. Phew, totally ran out of steam somewhere in the middle. Glad it’s finished. I placed the trim only at the bottom, not between the tiers as suggested by View B. I shortened the tiers (for my height) and thus the lace would have been very close together and unflattering if I followed the original design.

 

We took a mini road trip to the sunflower fields in the countryside…

b5878-12-a

 

butterick-5878-12

 

butterick-5878-13

 

butterick-5878-14

 

butterick-5878-15

 

butterick-5878-16

 

butterick-5878-17

 

butterick-5878-18 butterick-5878-19

 

butterick-5878-20
“Keep your face toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.” ~ Walt Whitman

 

butterick-5878-21

 

butterick-5878-22

 

I have another project in the works…let’s see how that goes. 

 

 

‘Tis the Season to Shine [Self-drafted sequin skirt].

When should one make an impractical, shiny, sparkly piece of garment? The silly season, of course!

I made a skirt out of sequined fabric. Not the heat-bonded type, but the individually stitched on type. Which, as I find out, is my absolutely least favourite fabric to sew! I tried removing the sequins at the seam line before I sew, but ended up having a visible gap. I stitch any closer, the sequins get caught in the machine needles, and I broke 2 needles. In the end I just hand-stitched it.

  • Pattern: Self-drafted, loosely based on RTW garment
  • Size made: Custom
  • Pattern pieces: 1
  • Fabric used: Stretch sequin fabric, origin unknown, less than 1m needed, bought from Lincraft
  • New Technique used: Sewing sequin fabric (not much luck with machine)
  • Modifications: N/A

(Edit: I found more photos from my old laptop and added them here)

An RTW skirt to be used to make the pattern, and an old T-shirt to be cut up and used as skirt lining.
An RTW skirt to be used to make the pattern, and an old T-shirt to be cut up and used as skirt lining.

 

I took a RTW skirt that fits me, traced around it and added seam allowance.
I traced around the skirt and added seam allowance.

 

Just one pattern piece - I traced around a RTW skirt and added seam allowance all the way around. (The 'pattern weights' are my husband's model train tracks...)
Just one pattern piece. The front and back piece is the same, no darts as I rely on negative ease with a stretch fabric. I used my husband’s model train tracks as pattern weights :P

 

My sparkly notebook and the sequin fabric for the skirt.
My sparkly notebook and the sequin fabric for the skirt.

 

The front and back pieces cut out.
The front and back pieces cut out.

 

I made a 'lining' with an old T-shirt. I made it slightly smaller than the outer skirt by using the same pattern but sewing more seam allowance.
I made a ‘lining’ with the old T-shirt. I made it slightly smaller than the outer skirt by using the same pattern but sewing more seam allowance (the left side seam of the outer skirt has already been sewn in this pic).

 

I made such a mess with sequins falling everyyyyywhere.
I made such a mess with sequins falling everyyyyywhere.

 

Sew the side seams, made the 'waistband' by folding it in and stitching, while catching the lining - then it is done.
Sew the side seams, made the ‘waistband’ by folding it in and stitching, while catching the lining – then it is done. The hem was left raw.

 

diy-sequin-skirt-5

diy-sequin-skirt-6

diy-sequin-skirt-7

diy-sequin-skirt-8

diy-sequin-skirt-9

diy-sequin-skirt-10

diy-sequin-skirt-11

 

Christmas is fast approaching – hope everyone will have a festive, happy time spending with their loved ones during this holiday season.