Tag Archives: craft + life

Rainbows everywhere!

20 Jan

Everything is colourful!

I chained my bike (the big turquoise one!) next to this tiny knit-bombed rainbow covered trike outside work last week. All around town these yarn-covered bikes have appeared, a lovely impromptu street art to brighten up our car-infested streets.



One of my costume lecturers is knitting these amazing sweater dresses out of 4-ply sock wool. She has made three so far, and by all accounts it is totally addictive, watching the colours change and grow. They are truly beautiful, light and colourful works of art! She keeps one in the car so she can knit wherever she finds a spare minute.



A whole basket full of 4-ply yarns ready to be knitted up. Irresistible!



Of course I couldn’t resist! I have a whole bunch of 4-ply wool in the stash myself, and socks are not my favourite thing to knit (I suffer dreadfully from ‘second-sock-syndrome’!). Tomorrow I am flying to Tasmania to visit my Mum for a few days, and this will be something to take along and keep my hands busy. That gold sparkly yarn will be in there somewhere, oh yes…

Pretty Little Herringbone Stitches

7 Jan

Herringbone stitches on the inside neckline

Although overlockers leave the insides of your garments looking neat and tidy and professionally finished, sometimes I feel it takes something away from the ‘feel’ of a handmade garment, especially one made from a vintage pattern or vintage fabric. I love looking at the insides of old garments and finding where the maker has left their personal touches – stitches to alter size, mend holes, or finish raw edges. Once upon a time someone took the time to sit down and finish all the unseen parts of their creation, little guessing that it would survive many decades for another seamstress to marvel at.

Herringbone stitches are particularly lovely. Originally a decorative stitch often used in embroidery, you can use it to finish a raw edge to stop it ravelling, or to hold up a hem securely. It works really well on loosely woven fabrics as well as it makes kind of a ‘net’ to hold the threads down.


Image from funfabrics.com


In the first picture I have used it to finish a strip of bias tape to the back of a neckline. Folding the tape under and slipstitching it proved to be too bulky and not pliable enough to curve around the sweetheart neckline, so I experimented with the herringbone stitch. I think it looks rather pretty! This dress, made from a 1940’s evening dress pattern (but in a much more daytime gingham), felt suited to a more handmade finish rather than having the insides overlocked. I think I might even pull out the pinking shears!


Fun fact: the German word for herringbone stitch is ‘hexenstich’ – literally, ‘witches stitch’. It does look a bit like old runes or pagan symbols, I think!

Washing Day

13 Oct

Lawn needs mowing, shed looks.... sheddy. Ah well! But how about that Hills Hoist?!

There is something about a sunny, slighty windy day in early Spring… hanging out the washing is just a lovely thing to do.

It’s one of my favourites chores anyway; damp clean clothes fresh out of the machine, standing in the sunshine and enjoying the day as you hang them up. The satisfying way you snap the fabric when it’s wet and the wrinkles fall out. The eye-catching colour combinations you get when you hang some pink undies next to a yellow blouse, or a green bit of fabric.

All clean and dry and ready to go into the stash!

Even better is taking it all down again. Satisfyingly sun-warmed sheets, soft dry t-shirts, lengths of fabric ready to be sewn up. Folding things into neat stacks. I probably sound a bit silly waxing lyrical about doing the washing, but hey, it’s the little things, right?

Long time no sew!

4 Oct

Costume on the mannequin by Abi Casey/Image courtesy of PeterFisher

Actually, that’s not true at all! I’ve been sewing… a lot.

Sometimes I sew so much, I don’t feel like sewing anymore.

But then I have a good sleep and that craziness passes.

A lot has happened in my little sewing world over the past year. I’m now a second-year student of wardrobe and costume production for theatre and film, and I even have a job where I get paid to draft patterns. Pretty cool! I’ve missed having a blog, even though I’m often super-busy, because it lets me keep track of ideas, keeps me accountable to finish projects (!) and gives me a space to think through stuff – all with the added bonus of hearing what others have to say about it!

So here I am again, giving this another shot. The focus of ‘Whipstitch’ won’t be solely vintage-inspired sewing any more. I still love it, but it’s become a slightly smaller part of what I do. In addition to sewing, I want to write about pattern drafting, a bit of embroidery, the creative process, cosplay, historical costume and my quest to learn how to use software to digitise my hand-drawn patterns. Sometimes completely unrelated adventures, like the side-quest in which I attempt to build a bicycle from miscellaneous parts, might creep in. Bear with me. I’ll try and be a good pen-pal!

This blog will also eventually become my online portfolio. I have made so many costumes that are destined to see only the inside of a storage room unless they are hung up where someone can see them – like here! To the right you can see my Flickr gallery, to which I will upload photos of my completed costumes.

I’ve also put up a few links to other places on the net that I frequent. I only just joined The Sew Weekly, and am looking forward to hanging out there!

In addition, as I learn how to use software to digitise my patterns, I will post some of them here. They’ll be pretty basic to start with, but I’m hoping it will help me learn. I love to draft by hand, but I can see how having neat, digital patterns is easier to share and much more professional.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back soon!