Every attempt to purchase Nani Iro fabric has resulted in feeling overwhelmed and self-comforting with some kind of carb. Usually greasy. With visible salt. 

Women in self-made Nani Iro creations usually look at ease, like the kind of person that can successfully do a fish braid or would look genuinely cool at a festival without having to feel like they're wearing a costume. I'm just not sure I could live up to that and pick a colour. 

women that i imagine can fish braid: via one / two / three / four / five
Thankfully that's where friends come in. Sophie, that gorgeous specimen you see above left, sent me a love package after a particularly crappy week including a grey Nani Iro Pocho gauze with irregular metallic gold spots. You can buy the same here from Miss Matabi (which is where I'm pretty sure Sophie got this). Speaking of Miss Matabi, it's Nani Iro month! So yes, you absolutely should buy a few metres of that purple floral gauze you've been eyeing off for months. 

The pattern is Grainline's Scout Tee (see previous version here) with lengthened sleeves using Jen's tutorial and, inspired by République du chiffon's Marthe Blouse, a gathered panel at the bottom. Instead of finishing the hem I left the selvage, which also allowed me to leave a little love letter to the fabric. It's pretty much 2014 Reana's version of 2003 Reana buying a Billabong t-shirt. 

The insides are finished with french seams except for the seam that joins the body and the gathered panel. That mess that will never be shown to another person until I purchase another serger/overlocker. The neckline is finished with red gingham bias tape leftover from my ginger jeans & can be seen here

I don't know what kind of black magic is woven into this fabric but it's surprisingly stable and holds up to a lot of washes despite feeling soft and gauzey. (Really? "gauzey" is the best adjective you can think of for gauze? Brava Reana *slow claps*). Even the metallic hasn't budged and this shirt receives weekly wears and zero special treatment. And the relaxed cut, which I was originally iffy on, makes me happy. It's just an every day shirt, you know? But it's Nani Iro and handmade, so I'm a fancy everyday lady with some fancy friends. 

Worn with black ginger jeans


When curating my winter capsule wardrobe I imagined pairing these black trousers with a boxy faux fur jacket, an Angelica Houston blow out, and Katherine Hepburn sass. I daydreamed about the wide legs swimming around my ankles with a takeaway coffee in hand and laughing into a cell phone "Hahahaha oh Beyonce, you are just too wicked! I can’t believe you said that! Oh hold on I’ll call you back, Tom Hardy’s on the other line. He just will not. stop. calling!"

In reality it’s more likely they’ll be pulled on while running out the door wearing yesterday’s shirt and shoving cold toast in my mouth. Even with the cold toast crumbs they're still an insanely versatile wardrobe staple.

all images from pinterest

This is my 2nd iteration of By Hand London's Holly Jumpsuit trousers (view C). It's also been made up to dreamy conclusions by Oona, Lola, and Jo. If you're nervous about dipping into the world of pant making Holly is a wonderful gateway pattern. You don't need to worry too much about crotch length or wide calf muscles or oblong knees, just the waist, length, and a littttttle bit of crotch. And once comfortable you can play with more challenging fabrics, zip flies, or fancy alterations.

For this pair I made the following changes:
  • Big booty adjustment
  • Added slash pockets
  • Drafted a curved waistband because the straight waistband on my first pair drove me nuts.
They have a lovely 2" deep hem.

The insides, via Instagram

If I were to make them again I'd add back pockets and line the insides with millions of dollars. There's also a little bit of excess fabric on the back - between the butt and waistband - that I'll fix next time. It doesn't bother me enough to fix on this pair, and I think my fingers would riot if I tried to re-do the hand stitching on the waistband.

The black is wool from the Alannah Hill sale, discounted to $15 p/m 
The pockets & waistband facing are made from a red semi seer sucker from Spotlight
They're closed with an invisible zip

I've been a little quiet recently thanks to getting sick right before starting my new (very exciting!) job, but I'm still around! Just a little more lurky than usual xx


This is the first outfit I've ever feared made me look too cool. I'm terrified people are going to start asking me directions to vegan donut classes or tips on winged eye-liner. (Those things are cool, right?)


via: one / two / three / four / five
It's the Papercut Patterns' Rigel Bomber and I doubt it's the first time you've seen it. If you're yet to be exposed or you need a refresher check out GingerKat, & Mel's posts on Rigel January to see an overload of inspiration. 

The pattern advertises itself as
An easy fit unlined raglan sleeve bomber jacket with the option to make with a geometric sleeve detail or plain sleeve.
It features front welt pockets; neck, sleeve and hem ribbing; open end front zipper and front facing. As many have bemoaned it doesn't come with pattern pieces for a lining, which didn't bother me as (a) it's easy to draft the lining using the existing pattern pieces and (b) less paper pieces to cut out. It would be great, however, if it came with instructions to draft your own lining (thankfully I had Ginger for that!).

The physical pattern is dreamy to use and store with neat instructions and stable, recycled paper that is easy to work with and re-fold into the case. The stability of the paper means the pattern pieces are probably a little too stiff to use the Palmer Pletsch method of tissue fitting, but if you're that good you probably trace your patterns anyway. 

The only addition I'd like (besides instructions for lining) is if the required materials were listed on the website, and not just the pattern. I'm not organised enough to remember to write down what I need before heading to the fabric shop and trying to scroll through blog posts wishing they'd say the magic number of a separating zip length (35cm!) on an iPhone 4, which is about as useful as a 8th dimensional paper weight, is a little frustrating. 

The African wax print is the real star. I'm utterly spoilt to have an incredible partner who has an incredible Mother who has incredible taste in fabric. She brought this - as well as a very funky yellow - when visiting from Zimbabwe and I have enough left to make something else. I'll most likely just straight up copy Katy's matchy-matchy bomber set, but am welcoming all suggestions.

I couldn't find any ribbing that wasn't 100% cotton (or that wasn't baby pastel coloured, now that I think about it) and I'm with Kelly that a good ribbing needs good recovery. Deflated, I wandered into Tessuti to stroke silks I can't afford when one of the lovely ladies suggest I try a stable black Ponti instead (sorry, can't find it on their website). Genius! I've been stretching and playing with a piece and its recovery is so good it's almost comedic (not that I flicked myself in the face or anything). In fact, maybe a little too good. If I were to use such a stable ponti again I'd probably make the pieces a little longer so I could attach it more easily as well as push my sleeves up to my forearms. 

The front, back, and pockets are lined with fleece because I finally live somewhere that gets Autumnal winds (speaking of - orange leaves are great but this cold is a bit silly) and the sleeves are lined with silk so the sleeves of whatever shirt I'm wearing underneath can stay in place rather than be gathered uncomfortably into my armpit.

I cut a size small and followed Ginger's tutorial for lining. Everything is neat except for the inside where the waist ribbing meets the facing, but that's on the inside so our little secret, Ok? Ssssssssssh.


The skirt is part of my capsule wardrobe mission to have more basics, and in a few days I'll be starting an exciting new project in an office (!) with people (!) who aren't sick of hearing my travel stories yet (!), so I thought the ultimate staple was in order: a black pencil skirt.

It's a mash-up of my two favourite skirt patterns: By Hand London's Charlotte and Vogue 1247.

The fabric is the same black ponti from Tessuti I used for the Rigel's cuffs, neck and waistbands, and it was put together on my regular machine with a twin needle. I omitted the zipper so I'd appreciate if everyone could just cross their fingers that I don't pop a seam on a tram or somewhere equally public, or that at the very least I pop a seam on a non-washing day and am wearing cute knickers.


One thing I realised when sharing the maritime shorts is I like to know a garment & give it a few wears before blogging. Well, in the last 8 days these jeans have only reluctantly been peeled off for showering, sleeping, and - as the boy's fam was staying with us and I wanted to at least give the illusion of cleanliness (ha!) - that one day when I thought "I should probably wear something else."

Consider us acquainted and me straight up in luuuuuurve.

So these are my dry gingers! No, not a delicious cider based cocktail, but another pair of Ginger jeans (first pair here) in dry denim, and I'm going to try and not wash them.

What is dry denim?

Most RTW jeans are made from washed denim (Wet denim? Cooked denim? Lightly tempered denim?), which is washed after being dyed to reduce shrinkage, soften the denim, and remove excess dye so the indigo doesn't rub on everything.

In comparison, dry or raw denim is dark, waxy or stiff, and can leave a blue mark wherever you repeatedly sit or lean against. It can be sanforized (a chemical treatment that prohibits shrinkage) or unsanforized (meaning they'll shrink like normal denim when washed).

What's the point?
Breaking in dry jeans appears to be the biggest appeal, but I'm wondering if those enchanted by the lazy element were just too lazy to tell the internet about it.

Breaking in is the process of wearing your jeans and not washing them for at least 6 months (although some denim heads suggest never). As they are worn, a pattern develops that is totally unique to the wearer. The fit of the leg, the stretch, and the way the wearer walks and moves affects how the honeycomb develops behind the knee, the whiskers on the upper thigh, and the stacks around the ankles. What you do in your jeans and how you live your life is represented in the variation of colours and fade.

If your jeans make you retch and you choose to wash them after 6 months, the washing will remove some of the excess dye and contrast the faded areas even more.

I first thought it sounded a bit wanky, but I've been converted to thinking it's a beautiful experiment. I love how Taylor talks about the fraying from his wedding ring and perusing the Nudie Jeans user stories. I can't wait to see how mine turn out, although I am a little terrified that my daily bike rides will create a large, faded circle on my butt.

via tumblr

^ Check out ma' honeycombs!

... And the cons?

It's suggested you don't wash your jeans for at least 6 months, so I might have to take around a little air freshener with me because I have an uncanny ability to lose food somewhere between my plate and my face and find it later on my clothes.

Hopefully this won't get me uninvited from too many dinner parties.

Some people also complain that freshly made, dry denim jeans are uncomfortable, like trying to wrap cardboard around your crotch, but I love the way they conform to my body. Perhaps it's just because they're created for me, and tailored to wrap every curve, but sliding them on felt like (at the risk of sounding like Buffalo Bill) another skin.

Also, I get the irony of spending so much energy removing crotch whiskers with proper fitting just to encourage them with fading.

As this is a pretty big post and I've already reviewed the Ginger Jean pattern and my changes, here's a quick run down of this pair:

The only changes I made from the previous pair were to:
  • Lengthen the legs by 1" 
  • Use normal thread instead of topstitching thread because my machine doesn't cope very well with it. This might take away from the traditional aesthetic, but that bothers me less than messy stitching.
  • Use bias tape instead of zig-zagging seams that couldn't be flat-felled (I don't have an overlocker / serger). I love the way it looks when I fold up the cuffs. 
  • Added my little label to the pocket instead of the inside waistband just in case I forget my name. It also helps people believe me that yes, I did indeed make these, without having to take my pants off. 

The denimbutton, and YKK lock-down zip are all from M Recht and cost me around $40 in materials which is outrageous because I've paid at least four times more for a pair of jeans I loved a billion times less.


Here's a question: does Blogger's new stance on not allowing sexually explicit material or graphic nudity mean anything for us sewing bloggers?

What if there's a rogue nipple visible through a lace watson bra? 

Is this the end of crotch shots in bikinis and requests for fitting advice? 

Will many of us be swept up in the mass privatisation because of frequent use of words like "full ass," "lady cargo," and "crotch whiskers"?

If that's the case, it's been an honour serving with you women (and a few gents!) and I give you a post of crotch shots and talking about fitting a booty to remember me by. 

The pattern is Closet Case Files Ginger Jean View B (the high rise ones, which you saw a sneak peek of here), they're named after the sparkling Ginger, & wearing them makes me feel fabulous.

Really fabulous.

There's some messy bits - especially some of the top stitching, but every time I walk past a mirror I do a little hip thrust.

As is becoming my usual M.O. I hung in the shadows while others did the hard work & posted their results, only to swoop in and use their advice.

Some examples: Ginger'sKatie'sSue'sEbony'sSasha'sSallie's, & Lola's.

According to the sizing chart I'm around a size 8, heading more towards 10 in the hip. I cut a size 8 and, after a fairly lazy muslin (toile), made the following alterations:
  • Full booty adjustment (5/8")
  • Shorten crotch curve (1/4")
  • Pinch out top of CB on yoke (1/4" each side, 1/2" total)
  • Contoured waistband at 3 points (6 points total)
  • Removed excess fabric from under the butt (1/4 - 3/8").
All of the above alterations can be found in the Ginger Jeans Sewalong, except for removing the excess fabric under the butt. I simply repurposed the flat butt adjustment to where I had the excess fabric.

The only design changes were:
  • Ignoring the pocket placement markings and - as recommended by Heather - stitching the pockets on the fullest area of my butt
  • Added a pocket stay aka waist stay aka  tummy tuck aka glutton denier - more explanation on that here & here.

My original concern that the fit was too restrictive over the stomach and waist evaporated once completed. In fact, the waistband could be a little tighter, but I'm leaving it as is because I can tuck in shirts and continue my love affair with pasta.

These are not made from traditional jean fabric (jeandenim, or dungaree), but a blend of cotton, viscose & elastane (percentages unknown) from The Fabric Store. Other than its ability to coat my floor in a delicate film of black fluff, it was pretty lovely stuff to work with and more 'denim' in drape than woven. It doesn't have a lot of stretch so I let out the seams. I'm also blaming the non-stretch of the fabric for the wrinkles.

The button is from M Recht, my new go-to for notions & supplies. WAY cheaper than anywhere else I've looked & I also picked up some raw Levi denim for ~ AU$11 p/m while I was there for my next pair.

I dutifully followed Heather's sew-a-long and - after reading Carolyn's review - trusted Heather's method for the front zip, which is now how I will do all front zips until I find a zip fairy.

Some of the seams are flat-felled and others are poor-lady-serged (finished with a zig zag on my regular machine). For my next pair I'm going to use a cheesy red gingham bias tape instead.

The top is a simple cropped tee with kimono sleeves made from 100% silk, also from The Fabric Store.


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!