CLOTHING, DIY, FULL SCALE

FULL SCALE #2: Kimono Cool

I like kimono cover-ups. Not the traditional Japanese clothing, but the festival fashion spawned summer cardigan thing. They are super comfortable.

I’m not one for runway trends and season must-haves. I make a lot of my more interesting clothes so my wardrobe is definitely not going to have many super polished, professionally made stuff. But kimonos are legit cool. And 1970s inspired laid-back chic is very appropriate for Australian summer. And apparently bang on trend.

They are also shockingly simple to make. Two simple folds, three major cuts, seam, hem, press, and embellish. Done. Half an hour.

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The first kimono I made only has fringe embellishing on the sleeves because I didn’t buy enough. But this fabric is a beautiful corded chiffon with an amazing black and white tropical fern print so yeah.

The scariest part was opening up the front, but once that was done, everything else was easy. This is also some fairly neat sewing on my part. The seams and hems are very tidy and well pressed. They are still laying flat over a year on from making, and nothing is coming apart.

 

There’s something about floaty sleeves and tropical prints that is uplifting.

I cannot remember which of these came next but this one is a long kimono – it goes down nearly to my knees if you count the fringe. It also has fully fringed edges, meaning both sleeves and bottom hem. Another light chiffon fabric, the print is what caught my eye. The colours and starbursts are exciting and the contrast fringe really pulls it all together.

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This one is my second favourite, though I really shouldn’t love one piece more than another. This is a shorter kimono in a beautiful ocean blue silk chiffon. The tropical print once again makes me happy, and the odd, stiffer fringe
is an interesting detail. I seem to pick some weird colours when I really want a contrast. But this works well, and the silk chiffon is cool to wear in the summer heat. Warning: crushes easily. See pic.

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This last one is more recent. Made at the end of last year, it is free of embellishments, allowing the gorgeous print to stand out. Another chiffon, this kimono is butterfly sleeved, which gives it that beautiful drape when it sits. The colours too are incredible, and the ‘jungle roar’ style print makes me happy.

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So yeah, kimonos. Heaps cool, heaps comfy, and heaps easy to make. Make heaps. Stay cool.

 

 

Photos by Karen De Lara: instagram.com/k.dela

 

 

ISLANDS, REAL TALK

REAL TALK #2: Truth

“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”
― Rudyard Kipling

Kipling. Author of many of the stories I read in my childhood. I am not an uber fan of anything really, but I am a regular fan of many things. Kipling is one of them. ‘If’ is one of my favourite poems to date – it is timeless and eternally relevant to humanity.

Communication is important. Working through things and accepting the truth is hard, but the impact is priceless. I am not terribly trusting, but I can trust that the few close friends I have, have got my back. They support me when I need them to, and the little things they do really help pick up my days. They understand without needing to know.

If we spend our days projecting carefully constructed images of ourselves as what we think we should be, we create endless streams of misunderstanding, and ideas and truths get lost in the fog. We may all be islands, floating in a sea of 7 billion people, but if we accept ourselves, and support each other, we can be the best islands we can be.

That is what I like about islands. They may be isolated and floating by themselves in the ocean. But they are open and exposed – they take whatever their surrounds can throw at them, they stand firm through it all, and they come out stronger for it.

Be an island. Be true to yourself, so you can create truths together.

CLOTHING, DIY

FULL SCALE #1: Circle Skirt

I like skirts as much as the next girl. I like the freedom and the breezes, but they are not training conducive, and I like to lead a somewhat active lifestyle.

This ‘poodle skirt’ inspired 50s style full circle skirt is the second major thing I sewed so it is a couple of years old. The converse are a cute styling nod to the era without being too retroactive.

Very fun and the bright colours are vibrant and joyful. Yay joy.

It is knee length and unlined but floats around magically when I spin and is ridiculously amazing. I used a stark wide black elastic for the waist as I did not understand zippers at the time. I only just understand them now, after having sewed tons of them. F@#%ing zippers.

Clothes I make though, make me happy. Most of the time. Unless they’re wrong. Then I will fuss and fix until they do make me happy.

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Photo taken by the lovely Kim Brewster back in 2012/2013. Our local neighbourhood is pretty.

Also, check out this amazing circle skirt app by By Hand London that I found. It is super handy and saves you time and brain power. Maths man, ain’t fun.

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ISLANDS

REAL TALK #1: Hello.

island
ˈʌɪlənd/
noun
 – a piece of land surrounded by water.

 

There’s a feeling of security you get when surrounded by water. To some, islands bring a sense of isolation, but for me they offer a sense of liberation – drifting on the sea on a piece of land.

 

I grew up on a small tropical island amidst a civil war, late 90s pop culture, and a not-so-conservative family. I was the odd duck in a family of slightly-less-odd ducks, with a weird complex about skin, size, and aesthetics. Later, I migrated to a much bigger not-so-tropical-but-batshit-insane island which, while having a similar population size, had a very different culture.

 

The first time I sewed something, I was 4 turning 5, and I sewed two pieces of card together with yarn to make a photo frame. My posh private girls school taught us sewing in ‘Home Science’ classes – we were to be proper ladies. The sewing lessons continued until I changed schools where a more modern curriculum did not see the need to teach such things. I didn’t really sew again (or make anything) until I had finished university and was roped into helping make costumes for a revue. My friend Megan showed me how to sew a straight line and that was it. I began following YouTube DIY channels, trying random craft ideas, and helping out with more shows to gain more experience.

 

2012 was a turning point. I got out of a bad relationship in a difficult manner and stuff was in the air. But I had friends who made me do things, and I began taking training and creating more seriously. I borrowed a sewing machine off a friend and have not stopped since.

 

I make clothing, costumes, home décor, paper crafts, ceramic craft, headpieces, props, and paint pieces. I train circus with a community group and make costumes for performances, gigs, parties, parades, and general fun.

 

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Life often feels like it’s going nowhere for me, but this why I like islands. When you get to the sea, you find the island has ended, but if you turn and follow the coast, you might find something new. Things end, but new things are always beginning.

 

When life gives you lemons, make them into something else. Not lemonade. Lemonade is boring. Maybe lemon flowers – less useful, but cool to look at. Just try.

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TL;DR:

 

Hi. I like islands, sewing, and making magical experiences out of nothing. See the things I make. Maybe one day, I make for you. Maybe. No promises.

 

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