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Christmas giveaway winner!

27 Dec

I hope everyone had a spectacular Christmas? Mine was filled with food, wine, people, pets and presents – pictures on Instagram of course 😉 But here’s a blog reader exclusive – check out this chocolate christmas tree my grandmother made:

Chocolate Xmas tree

Anyway, what we’re all here for is to find out the winner of the Dove T Christmas Giveaway. To enter, you had to share what inspires you to sew. There were so many wonderful responses, and some definite themes coming through, like fit, individuality, ethics and learning. We’re a pretty good bunch we sewers.

It was very tough for Hannah and I to pick a winner, but in the end, we chose HAZEL!!! Congratulations Hazel!

Hazel is inspired to sew by…

“What inspires me to sew my own items is the sense of achievement and individuality that comes with each new make. I remember in the beginning being so proud of the garments I managed to make and expected that feeling to fade with each new project, but as my skills continue to grow I feel even more proud when I see how far I’ve come. I also love that everything I make is unique, fitted to me and that there is unlikely to be someone else wearing what I am. There is no better inspiration than the desire to build an individual, handcrafted wardrobe! x”

So Hazel please contact me on zosews@gmail.com so I can sort out your prize. My apologies if your email address was staring me in the face on your blog and I missed it!

Oh and here is a picture of my assistant, Alice, helping me pick a winner 🙂 If you’ve got a keen eye you might notice I’m wearing my Happy Homemade Shirred Tunic too!

Now who shall we pick...

Now who shall we pick…

Merry New Year!!

Z xx

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Finished: Dove T, and a Christmas giveaway!

18 Dec

Christmas is so close dear readers, I can smell the turkey and taste the wine as I write.

How are your gift makes going? Some people, like Karen, were smart enough not to go down the path of gift makes, I unfortunately was not one of those smart people. So now I find myself scrambling to finish… Can’t share pictures yet for fear of ruining that lovely ‘surprise’ affect – but they’ll come.

Anyhoo, on to my finished Dove T! I’m so happy with this top, I hope you guys like it too 🙂

You may recall the toile of this garment, I look at the finished top and in the words of Fatboy Slim, I think, you’ve come a long way baby!

So with no further ado, here she is, my tribal rayon Dove T! (Omigosh I love Rayon!)

About my Dove T

She was made out of a Rayon from Spotlight. I love this fabric. Aussies – have you noticed that Spotlight has really picked up its game recently?

Dove T front

Can’t half tell from the pictures I’d been wearing it all day right?

You may recall the fitting issues I was prattling on about with the toile. Everything was addressed by slashing the sleeve vertically down the centre and adding 1.5cm in width. It’s not perfect, but teamed with the liquid like rayon, it’s much more comfortable now.

Dove T back

In the end I didn’t make any changes for ‘modesty’. For work, I just threw on a singlet underneath ( as above ) and for play, well it lets in a nice breeze on a hot day – and what’s wrong with that my friends?!

Dove T front 2

I reckon it almost took me more time to lay this out and cut than to actually sew it up. I was playing with only 1.5 metres worth and was being preeeety picky about pattern placement (surprise surprise). My stoopid hands are covering up where the patterns meet stunningly at the side seams in these pics though. 😉

Dpve T back 2

I added 8cm to the hem length, and you can see that I used bias binding rather than a facing around the neckline. Not much more to say really… except…

Do you want to get your hands on this pattern?!

I hear the crowds roar – “yes we do!”. Well I have good news for you. Thanks to the delightful Hannah of Sinbad and Sailor, one of you lucky people can get a free free free Dove T pattern of your very own! An extra bit of Christmas cheer me thinks.

“How do I enter?”  I hear you ask. It’s a logical question. Just leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time on Christmas Day (25 December 2012), not forgetting that we live in the future here, and answer this question:

What inspires you to sew your own clothes rather than buy them? 

Please make sure you include an email address/some method of contact in your comment too – I need to know how to stalk get in touch if you’re the winner. Then, Hannah and I will choose our favourite answer – I can feel the power rush going straight to my head 😉 – and the winner will be announced on the blog in the days after Christmas. That said, it is the crazy crazy Christmas season, so if we’re a little bit late, please forgive us and know that it’s all happening behind the scenes. 

That’s it my lovely sewing friends.

My best wishes to you and yours over the holiday season and into 2013. Please stay safe, be jolly and enjoy it.

Z xx

Interview: Hannah Britten, Sinbad and Sailor

8 Dec

Hello lovely readers. You may recall that I’ve been working on a Sinbad and Sailor Dove T. Well, the owner, designer and creator of Sinbad and Sailor, Hannah, kindly agreed to indulge us all with an interview – thanks Hannah! And what a gem of an interview it is – had me giggling 🙂 So with no further ado, get to know Hannah!

Hannah embroidering - trying to finish my sampler,  this embroidery hoop stand is amazing - it leaves you with both hands free to sew!

Hannah embroidering: Trying to finish my sampler, this embroidery hoop stand is amazing – it leaves you with both hands free to sew!

Who is Hannah Britten?

I’m the woman behind Sinbad and Sailor, in the home straight of my twenties and living in East London. I’ve been sewing since school and in recent years I’ve taken up knitting and embroidery too. When I’m not crafting I’ll stick my nose in a book or go for a knit and natter with friends. I’m also a cycling nerd and would be whizzing round the track if my knees didn’t object quite so much. 

How did Sinbad and Sailor come around, and why?

Sinbad and Sailor came about because I wanted to make clothes that were unique and stylish. I’m a recipe following kind of girl so when I couldn’t find the pattern I wanted for a jumpsuit it got to me. Then I started to think if I want stylish trend lead patterns, perhaps other people would too.

Why the name Sinbad and Sailor?

The name is based on East London cockney rhyming slang for tailor (Sinbad and Sailor = tailor) which I like as not only do I have family history in the area (I live a street along from where my Grandad grew up) but the area’s creative culture and scene really inspires the designs.

What’s the best thing about having your own sewing pattern business?

To create what I have been searching for has been really rewarding, but what tops this is seeing people making up the patterns and re-interpreting them with their own style and creativity. It’s an amazing feeling and keeps me motivated for the next collection.

Hannah's Desk - this is where I do most of my computer work, the two pin boards are for the current season and the upcoming one and they are usually covered in fabric swatches, sketches and magazine cuttings.

Hannah’s desk: This is where I do most of my computer work, the two pin boards are for the current season and the upcoming one and they are usually covered in fabric swatches, sketches and magazine cuttings.

What are some of the challenges you face(d) in setting up and running your own sewing pattern business?

In the early stages I wanted to print the patterns and had trouble finding a printer as I wanted to use a British printing company. I was looking for the fine tissue printing which is used for other commercial patterns and as I couldn’t find anyone to do this I decided to offer digital patterns instead.

It sounds cliche but really this worked out for the best – digital is so much quicker than ordering a pattern online and waiting for it to ship – this way you instantly have the pattern so there isn’t any delay in beginning your project. Not to mention the flexibility of being able to cut out your size rather than tracing it off as you can always re-print the pattern.

(Ed: I was a PDF pattern hater, but I’m really coming around! PDFs are pretty instant, you don’t need boxes to store them and I’m a tracer anyway, so that step doesn’t bother me 🙂 )

You’ve released your first three patterns, can you give us any hints on what’s coming up next?

Spring/Summer 13 will be another capsule collection, the shape is more fitted and a touch more feminine with subtle hints of the sports lux trend. It’ll create the perfect wardrobe for a summer of weddings in fields, barbecues in the park and up-all-night parties with good friends – I can’t wait to make some for myself!

Tell us about the inspiration for your designs.

Although I don’t have one particular muse when I am designing, I do have a picture in my mind of a woman who lives a full, exciting life and wants to make clothes that keep up with her. It’s then about translating the catwalk looks and upcoming trends to suit this person.

What does a day in your life look like?

Morning
Fitting SS13 - This is Alice our fit model - we mark and pin any changes to the toiles, inbetween lots of tea!

Fitting SS13: This is Alice our fit model – we mark and pin any changes to the toiles, inbetween lots of tea!

Get up around 8am (as I work from home at the moment I’ve not got far to commute!) I do a quick yoga video then eat my breakfast while having a peek at my google reader. It’s inspiring to see what other people are up to and gets me thinking about what I’m going to post next on the blog.

After breakfast I then get straight down to my tasks which today include answering interview questions for a Cloth magazine feature on sewing patterns, writing the S&S newsletter and updating the Facebook page. I then head out to a fitting of our SS13 patterns in West London.

Together with Franki, the S&S pattern cutter, and Alice, our fit model, we try the toiles and tweek them over tea. With all three of us discussing the patterns during the fitting the changes can at times be subtle, but are none the less very important to creating the perfect pattern.

Lunch

After the fitting Franki and I go to a cafe and grab some lunch, over this we discuss how the fitting went, future plans and catchup on the other life stuff.

I then head back on the Underground to East London with my book, To Die For – Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?, which is a critical look at where and how clothes are mass produced. Though not always the most comforting read it gives me lots of brain food for the journey!

Lucy Seigle's To Die For: It's a really inspiring read

Lucy Seigle’s To Die For: It’s a really inspiring read.

Afternoon

When I get back I finish the newsletter off, adding in a top tip and a must see exhibition, which this time is Vogue favorite Tim Walker’s photography show at Somerset House. It’s been getting rave reviews and his work is so unique I can’t wait to see the show!

I clock off about 6.30pm and head over to my friend Amy’s studio on Columbia Road with my embroidery sampler. I did an amazing introduction to embroidery class with my Mum about a month ago taught by Becky Hogg and I can’t wait to start embroidering other things! 

While my friend makes a laptop case I crack on with my basket stitch, which doesn’t seem to improve after a beer, so I head home as it’s been a long day.

Tell us something quirky about you – just for fun.

One of the first things I sewed was a pvc and fake fur top – it was my punk phase and yes I do still have it somewhere! My other quirk would be that I can do some pretty cracking impressions of other peoples accents – Carmela from the Sopranos is my current favorite.

Thanks again Hannah for taking the time to share with us! Personally, I’m delighted to be supporting another wonderful independent pattern company. If you want to chat to Hannah, you can find her on Twitter and Instagram too.

Hope you all enjoyed the read, I know I did, and I can’t wait to see the next S&S collection (and maybe some pvc and fake fur?)!

Z xx

P.S: My final Dove T will be blogged very soon, there has been a sneaky peek of it on my Instagram 🙂

WIP: Dove Fitted T

26 Nov

I am supposed to be blogging about a dress I finished and wore to my 30th birthday soiree (karoke anyone?!), but I couldn’t wait to see what y’all think about my next WIP, the Sinbad and Sailor Dove Fitted T, so you’re going to have to wait for the dress – sorry!

As I mentioned in my last post, Hannah from S&S contacted me and asked if I’d like to make this garment. I’ve now completed a trial garment in a funny little (cheap!) print cotton from Spotlight in a straight size 12 so you guys get the best idea of the pattern out of the box – before I Zoe-ise it!!

Here’s the front – sorry about the grainy pics… eeek. To me, the fit was perfect – until I added the sleeves. There’s now those drag lines from the bust… any ideas peeps? Also, once the sleeves were on there wasn’t a whole lotta room to move – you know when you’re trying to put your arms out in front of you… Again, tips welcome here! The ideas I’ve had to address this so far are to maybe add 1cm to the back, or look at the height, and back line of the sleeve piece. Who knows?! Tell me 🙂 PS – like my pretty necklace? T’was a b’day present from some lovely ladies 🙂

Sinbad and Sailor Dove Fitted T

And here’s the back. Looking pretty good I think. I am wondering about those funky lines at the back of the sleeve – do they mean something?

Dove fitted T back

The instructions were really clear, with lots of details, for example, …don’t backstitch…, and this would be a great garment for anyone who doesn’t have an overlocker because cleverly all many of the raw edges are neatly tucked in under another fold.

The open back means you can just pull it on and off over your head without adding any kind of closure. Oh, and I really like the neckline.

Changes I’m going to make for the ‘real’ one

In addition to any fitting changes;

  • The back opening: I want to be able to wear this to work, and would feel a little bare with skin showing at the back. So, I’m thinking, I’ll either a.) make the pieces wider and cross over more, or b.) add a pretty little tie at the bottom that can tie the pieces together.  Or maybe even both. Or I could just wear a singlet underneath lol. Or do you have another idea you’d like to share?
  • Neck facings: I found the trickiest part of this garment the front neck facing, there was some serious easing required. So, the next one, I’m going to use bias binding around the neck. Whilst this eliminates the facing, the reason for this change was design related rather than issues with construction (yet a nice coincidence 🙂 ).
  • Length: As per usual, I will lengthen, probably by about 4cm.

I’m going to use a ridiculously cool printed rayon that’s going to have much more drape than this little number – can you tell I’m excited? 😉

Love to hear your tips and thoughts! And fess up, what’s on your sewing table that’s exciting you at the moment?

Z xx

 

Why being a sewing blogger is awesome

19 Nov

There are so many reasons as to why blogging about sewing is awesome, too many for me to list in fact, but here’s just a couple of reasons that are making me feel warm and fuzzy at the moment.

1. #sewingsocial

I participated in my first #sewingsocial  (APAC) on Twitter  yesterday – what fun it was. Hosted by Thewallina we got busy talking about planning, stashing, commenting, blogging, feedback, birthdays, cutting, hemming and more! What a delightful and speedy 60 minutes it was. The Atlantic sewing social was held in our early morning too I believe. You can check out all the goss here.

2. Making friends all over the place

I love new people and I love overseas people and I love sewing. So sewing blogging is my perfect storm of goodness. Now I just need lots of money so I can fly all over the place to visit all my newfound friends 🙂

Speaking of which, I can’t wait to actually be able to get myself along to Melbourne meet up!! One day…

3. Inspiration, support, encouragement and feedback from every corner of the globe

I’m not sure I can even expand on this one. Tick, tick tick!!! I haven’t even been blogging 12 mths, but I’m completely hooked. In the most part due to you lovely people!

4. Opportunities

There are SO many out there! But here’s two I’m loving right now:

The lovely Hannah of Sinbad and Sailor (a new sewing pattern company in the UK) contacted me and asked if I would like to try out one of their patterns (complimentarily – is that a word? 🙂 ). Ummm, let me think. Heck yes, I would like to try one!!

I choose the Dove Fitted Tee. Thanks Hannah!! 🙂 Hannah was also kind enough to indulge us all with an interview, some pictures and a lovely reader surprise. Not telling any more now though, details to come over the next few weeks my pretties. But here’s a pic of the printed pattern, aren’t the illustrations gorgeous?

Pretty illustrations right?

I am also joining my first sewalong – pimp my pencil skirt – draft and sewalong with Frabjous Couture. I couldn’t say no to the stunning (and EXPENSIVE!!) Burberry inspiration garment. Now to try and find wool tweed in summer… I can’t wait to get started on this, Marina makes such beautiful garments, and sews ZoSews style – slow and steady! Perfect.

5. New mad skillz

Who would have thought I would be teaching myself how to use image editing software (very basically!!) and coding social media buttons on to a blog 12 months ago. Not I I tell you! How times change. And of course there’s all the sewing and drafting tricksies I learn from you wonderful folks.

There’s more surely, but that’s my starting point. So from me to y’all, you guys rock and get a massive thumbs up! ;p And, I heartily encourage anyone teetering around the edges of sewing blog land to take a beautiful swan dive right in, you won’t regret it 🙂

Enough of my gushing, what do you guys like about hanging out with other sewing addicts online?

Zxx