Vintage sheets, friends and frocks, oh my!

I am very lucky to have lovely friends who are not only infinitely more gorgeous than me*, but also let me sew for them. As someone who is mainly housebound, I don’t have the opportunity to dress up for special occasions. To be able to sew for people who will get out and about in fancy clothes is incredibly cathartic, as it indulges my whim to sew special garments which I know will get good wear (unlike my formal clothes, which sit unloved in my wardrobe). It is also a helpful mental coping tool, as it forces my mind out of my situation, in which I feel trapped, and into the outside world.

A fit and flare dress on a mannequin, in a vintage floral print.

Continue reading “Vintage sheets, friends and frocks, oh my!”

Op ed published in The Standard

Hi folks! Just a short note to say I had an opinion piece published in my local paper about disability access in Warrnambool. The state of shop access and disabled parking bays in town is abysmal, yet with council elections coming up, no candidate has made disability advocacy a priority. I want that to change.

A clip from a local newspaper's website. Headline reads: Warrnambool's Siobhan Simper calls for better disabled access in the CBD. There is a photo of a young woman in the main street with her hands on her hips. Caption reads:

Continue reading “Op ed published in The Standard”

A Dummies’ Guide to ME/CFS: Part I, Intro

It has come to my attention that while I write this blog from the perspective of someone suffering from ME/CFS, there may be many reading who are not entirely familiar with the disease. So I decided to write a guide to ME/CFS for the uninitiated, covering everything from symptoms to prognosis, treatment and research. I hope it will contain some information for the seasoned spoonie too.

I can’t pretend to be an expert – this series is based on my 6 years of living with the disease, as well as reading books by authoritative experts in the field and other research (such as patient surveys, ME/CFS organisations, news articles, books and journal articles). It is my experience that patients know far, far more about their illnesses than many medical professionals, solely based on their experience living with the illness 24/7.

Continue reading “A Dummies’ Guide to ME/CFS: Part I, Intro”

Burda / McCall’s 6696 shirt dress hack: on slopers vs blocks

Warning: contains a GIF

Any sewing aficionado not living under a rock will be aware of McCall’s 6696, their famous shirtdress pattern. Gorgeous variations abound online, and for good reason – it seems to be one of those unicorn patterns that looks good on just about anyone. Except me, of course.

A woman in a floral print shirtdress.
But you made a shirtdress, you say! Read on.

Continue reading “Burda / McCall’s 6696 shirt dress hack: on slopers vs blocks”

Winter knitting and what’s on the needles

In foreground, someone is knitting a grey scarf. In background is an iPad with the scarf pattern.

This winter, I knit a pleasingly large number of accessories. Most were from stash yarn, meaning I spent basically no money and received hours of fun and some fab hats and scarves. What I knit (click through to the Rav project page for more, you can follow along at shibz):

Continue reading “Winter knitting and what’s on the needles”

Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part II

Welcome back. In Part I, I discussed drafting errors, grafts and crotches in indie patterns. In Part II, I finally utilise my psyc degree for completely useless purposes and share sordid stories of brand loyalty. For those with visual difficulties, there is a GIF at the end of the post.

Indie pattern company lovers: I get the hype, I really do. Being a member of several online communities that have an inclination to cult-like behaviour, I have seen and participated in many trends which were little more than clever marketing campaigns. I have seen knitting lovers fight for the right to purchase $100+ skeins of yarn. On buy swap sell groups, brand lovers will line up to purchase a stained $200 dress, or bid each other upwards of $1000 for a jacket that cost $300 retail. I’ve even sold crotch-stained tights to a diehard Gorman lover.* I’VE SEEN SOME SHIT GUYS.**

Gorman puffer jacket in fern print
Gorman puffer jacket. Height of fashion, or some shit a farmer would wear in the rain?

Continue reading “Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part II”

Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part I

Warning: this is a long post, as I coalesce thoughts that I’ve had for a long time into words. I’m sharing this in two parts, as it ended up much longer than I expected. Bear with me – or not! 

A man riding a nuclear bomb. From Dr Strangelove.
My feels writing this post.

Indie sewing patterns: you either love them or you….love them. In the online sewing community, there seems to be little choice: the narrative is one of the Nasty Big 4 Corporations (McCall’s, Simplicity, Vogue and Butterick, alternately known as McVoguerick) wielding their industrial might to crush the little guy, indie pattern companies. They are the hero of this story, the hard-working small business owners come good. For a long while now, I’ve suspected that the success of indie pattern companies is built more on hype than good drafting, and the release of Colette Pattern’s Rue dress has brought these thoughts to a head.

Continue reading “Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part I”