Tori. No Words, Just Tears.

Excitement and entertainment!

I’ve been reflecting on my entertainment engagements of the year, and I must confess that I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Normally I get to one or two events over the course of a year, this year has however exceeded itself (or I have exceeded myself, or I’ve exceeded myself and my own expectations, or something to that effect…). With lots of planning (read Nana naps and down time, scheduled sleep time, bed time and reading time etc) I’ve managed to attend the concerts and shows of my most favourite entertainers, and make outfits which will continue to live on with the memories created.

In the Beginning

In the Beginning

Here are some of the things I’ve been up to in the past 12 months that have started with a ticket and ended with a dress!

  • Four nights at the Brooklyn Arts Hotel, in January, by myself, sewing and watching movies at the movies that were not rated G or PG (not strictly an “event” however worthy of note),
  • Nine Inch Nails concert, here. Fulfilment of a teenage girls dream to see Trent Reznor play live. And then twice in three days. I would be content for the next five years based on this alone, however there was more to come,
  • Bendigo Gallery’s 350 Years Undressed (now closed). This exhibition on the history of undergarments had an amazingly curated collection that I had the pleasure of viewing all by myself (sans family who set off to explore Bendigo, I did share the gallery with other visitors of course, I’m not that special),
  • The return of the Doug Anthony All Stars. I’ve been watching these guys since I was about 12 years old on the Big Gig, probably a little early to be introduced to them, but they set the bar for comedy and all things politically incorrect for me. To see them live again, albeit missing Richard but with the addition of Flacco, was fabulous. Still so wrong after all these years, and yet so right,
  • Tori Amos. Tears, tears and more tears, and
  • Ben Folds with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in late December. Fabric is currently on the table waiting to be cut.

So. Ms Tori.

Unrepentant Selfie: Tori Amos

Unrepentant Selfie: Tori Amos. Image Curtesy Tori Amos Instagram

I’ve seen her twice before and am continually amazed at the talent she exhibits playing live. She plays the piano and organ simultaneously with the same confidence that I’m able to use two screens at work, the former obviously requiring significant talent, the later not as much. Tori’s first album Under The Pink moved me away from pop music (not that there’s anything wrong with that, love you Taylor Swift and Beyonce) and into the realms of angsty, angry, thought provoking yet often poignant female music. I have all her albums. I know all her songs. For almost 20 years I have followed her prolific music career and I know which album suits my mood on any given day. In a non stalker type kind of way.

The Palais

The Palais

This time she played at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, which is soaked with the memories of so many wonderful musicians and I imagine copious amounts of beer. I hope that it survives current council planning.

Unrepentant Selfie at the Palais

Unrepentant Selfie at the Palais

So down to the nitty gritty. I was watching some of her old film clips for inspiration of what to make, and whilst I was originally leaning towards a Holly jumpsuit (such an 80’s girl) the fabric I purchased didn’t have the right amount of drape. I came across the clip for God which is one of my favourite songs, and thought that the dress over pants was the way to go. And then I found this linen from my recent online fabric splurge from The Drapery in Adelaide. I found love.

The Internal Workings

The Internal Workings

I have worked with inexpensive linen before with screen printing and tea towels but nothing compares to this gorgeous beautiful linen. It’s soft, presses beautifully, and has the most gorgeous drape. It also comes in a number of colours, of which I may have indulged in several.

The Tori Outfit

The Tori Outfit

Given my recent favour for the Anna dress, I thought I’d go with the Elisalex bodice to mix things up and add the Anna skirt. I knew the bodice and skirt seams would only match at the sides and the back and didn’t have the energy to redraft the skirt pattern to match the darts. So black velvet ribbon and this gorgeous velvet flower from L’ucello’s served as a distraction from the lines, which in reality nobody notices anyway.

Wiggle Dance of the Back

Wiggle Dance of the Back

I also played around with the Ultimate Trouser pattern as I wanted 3/4 pants to wear underneath that wouldn’t add any bulk around the waist or hips, made in a matching linen. I made four toiles (muslins) to get the fit right which is a record of persistence for me, and I’m very happy with the result. I think that the sizing comes up smaller that what is shown on the pattern. That, or my tape measure was not being very generous that day, so I ended up going up a size, sewing a 1cm seam except for the centre front and back which I kept at 1.5cm. Next time I will take another cm out of each of the back darts to accommodate my generous derriere and small waist. Then I will have the perfect pattern for my pants/dress combination that is something of a uniform for me. I don’t think I will be wearing them with anything less than a tunic top as those bits are best kept hidden.

You Can Kind of See the Pants...

You Can Kind of See the Pants…

I also wore my black birdcage veil again which was part of the original NIN ensemble. It makes me feel a little black widow which I quite like.

The Black Widow

The Black Widow

It was an amazing concert. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect set list. I cried so many tears, having forgotten how much of an impact her music has had on me over the years and the link that it has with my darling Boo in Berlin.

Just. So. Emotional.

Just. So. Emotional. And Cold and Wet.

Boo, she played Pretty Good Year. I SOBBED!!!! I could hear your voice along with hers.

Tori's Set List. Image Curtesy Tori Amos Instagram

Tori’s Set List. Image Curtesy Tori Amos Instagram

Special thanks goes to my Tash who didn’t laugh when I ordered a Pina Colada at the bar before, sat next next to me through a very emotional concert holding my hand when overwhelmed with tears and escorted me safely home in the rain.

Tash and Pips

Tash and Pips

Curtsey,

Pips xxx

The Sandpoint Top

Hello my dears!

It’s been a wee while. I’ve been a wee bit tired (ok, extreme exhaustion with the addition of insomnia, how thoughtful is my body to couple these two at the same time), and it was time to take a break from everything. Lesson mostly learnt, must slow down to an even slower pace than slow pace previously established. And posh hotel room service is much more delectable than hospital food. So next time I’m booking into the Windsor. Thank you to all the lovely people who sent universal energy and happy thoughts my way. I got warm fuzzies.

Now, back to the real purpose of todays post. My blogging is very much in it’s infancy (8 months going strong “cartwheels in skirt”), although I feel as though I’ve been writing it from “within” for the past few years. I only discovered the online sewing community after having an iPad mini pressed upon me as a present (I was very much anti tablet tech prior to purchase, very much pro tablet tech post) and have been an avid pursuer of the Internets on location (usually the couch) ever since.

As part of finding my footsies/niche/voice I quickly discovered a myriad of sewing and creative blogs. So. Many. I thought if I added my own blog/voice it would be overlooked on the webs what with my loosely based writing structure of waxing lyrical on old times, inspiration for new garment and then the photo shoot with some hilarious outtakes. I have however found some readers which again gives me the warm fuzzies. Curtsies and waves to all my bloggy reader friends. But I digress.

The Sandpoint Top

The Sandpoint Top

The discovery of independent pattern companies and PDF pattern availability  shifted me quickly away from the Big 4 (not that there is anything wrong with them, there is just so much EASE!) and into the realm of indie patterns that were more my style. A little cute, a whole lot of quirky and some that are specifically drafted for bodies of the pear shaped variety, please and thank you Tasia from Sewaholic.

One of the interesting aspects of these indie companies and patterns is that prior to release they are tested by volunteers in the sewing community. There was a significant amount of discussion and contention some months ago about the ins and outs of pattern testing. I never had an issue with it, however like many was most interested in testing a pattern myself.

I think the desire to pattern test has something to do with sitting down with a number of pages, a project and a red pen. Possibly I was a teacher in a past life…

So how did I get chosen to pattern test the Sandpoint Top? I’m a long time lurker on the Monthly Stitch. When Helena from Gray Day Patterns put out the call for pattern testers I politely and quietly put my hand up via survey detailing my sewing experience and enthusiasm and was then contacted by Helena asking if I would like to participate. YES!

So. Onto the details and review.

Sandpoint Top, version A

Sandpoint Top, version A

The Sandpoint Top is described as being “a loose fitting t-shirt with a dramatic cowl back feature. There is a shoulder band behind the neck to secure it. In a fluid, stretchy knit it skims the body and drapes beautifully down the back. It can be made up in a comfortable cotton/rayon knit or made dressier in a slinky jersey. You can make the shoulder strap in a contrast colour to highlight that fun feature too!”

Now, I’m not a big knits kinds of girl, my only recent foray into stretch was with the Coco from Tilly and the Buttons which has encouraged me to try more sewing with this fabric. I do also like to step out of my comfort zone (wovens, I shall never leave you…), and am also a devotee of the cowl neck. I’m just yet to make a pattern that includes one. Until now. There shall be more. I promise.

Backwards style

Backwards style with bonus funny face

The PDF was a breeze to put together. A nice touch was that the separate front and back pieces could be taped separately without having to join due to overlap of the pattern lines (look at the pick, I think it makes more sense than my words. Less taping is my friend).

I made view A with the V neck in a size M. View B is more of a slight scoop neck line.

There were no issues with cutting out the pattern pieces and pattern matching my stripes was a breeze. Helena has included some notches on the side just to ensure you match up your knit fabric distribution evenly.

Pattern Matching Win!

Pattern Matching Win!

Even though this is a reasonably simple make, I acquired some new skills along the way which resulted in some immense satisfaction. So proud of that V neck band. It would have been nice to know how to do this 15 odd years ago, but live and learn. It gives the top a very professional finish.Sandpoint Top

The band that goes across the back I accidentally attached to the inside shoulder seam, but it was designed to go on the outside seam line. I believe the instructions have been amended to clarify that this does go on the outside, however it still works the other way around. It is also possible to reverse the top and have the cowl at the front and keep the band at the back. I found that with the test pattern that didn’t quite work for me, the cowl kept inching upwards, but this may have been amended in the final pattern. I like the idea of the cowl at the front.

Neatly Finished Armholes

Neatly Finished Armholes

The arm bands were a neat technique that finished of the arm holes nicely. I was concerned a smidge about my cowl flicking out at the back so I put a couple of tacking stitches just to hold it in place. I also completed most of the stitching on my overlocker (serger) which made it a very quick make.

I’m really happy with the finish and look of the Sandpoint Top and it is definitely a wearable muslin. I wore it to work with a long black skirt and had many lovely complements, including from those who noted that I had side stepped my normal style of floral dress and cardi for a moment. I’m planning a black slinky jersey and my Mama has already put in a request for a stripy version for herself.

Congratulations to Helena for a really good, well drafted t-shirt that has some thoughtful details that separate it from the myriad of patterns out there!  I look forward to seeing more patterns  from Gray Day Patterns in the future.

The Sandpoint Top pattern is available for PDF download here for the very reasonable price of $8.95.

And you can see me on the Helena’s website here! Look at all those gorgeous women!

To see more versions and reviews, check out some of these links below:

zibergirl.com mysewingsuite.blogspot.com.au sewanneuk.blogspot.com.au

Curtsey for now.

Pips xxx

Disclosure: I received the original copy of the pattern for testing free of charge as it’s kind of necessary in order to test it. Once the pattern had been refined and released, Helena sent me a copy of the finalised PDF pattern.  I purchased my own fabric from Joys Warehouse. All opinions expressed are my own.