HOW TO sew a blind hem by hand

When you hand sew a blind hem it needs to be neat, even and invisible and if you're thinking of making a LICKETY-SPLIT SKIRT, MINNIE MINI, BUSTLE BACK MINI or a pair of FLAPPER SHORTS you'll definitely need to know how.  It's super easy, here's how you do it.... 

1. If your making any of the above you will have overlocked around the edge and mitred the corners. Use pins to hold your hem in place.

2. Lightly press the hem allowance all the way around, in the case of all the styles listed above it's 5cm.

3. Select a thread colour as close to your fabric as you can, thread your needle and make a knot in the other end.  With the wrong side facing up your needle should go under the edge of the hem by 3 millimeters and through, careful not to catch the fabric underneath.

Gently pull the thread till you feel the knot stop against the underside. 

5. Now catch a very small amount of fabric directly above this initial stitch just above where the hem would sit.  In the same motion bring your needle up through the hem 1cm to the right of the first stitch and 3 millimeters inside the edge, don't catch the fabric underneath.  Gently pull the thread all the way through the fabric.

6. Repeat step 5 and continue all the way around the hem in the same way.  I've zoomed in and highlighted the second shot so you can see the stitch more clearly.

7. On the right side your stitches should be barley visible and on the wrong side you will only see a small vertical stitch every centimeter.

My tips....

Firstly don't try to have enough thread on the needle to finish the entire hem in one go, better to stop and start and avoid getting your thread all tangled.

Secondly, get comfortable.  I love hand sewing but I do realise not everyone finds it quite so relaxing.  I normally drive to the park, wind down my window and off I go.  Find a spot where you can completely relax, good lighting also helps!  


Must See Events!

Polish Poster Art 1952-84 

An exhibition of POLISH POSTER ART is on show until the 26th of May at the Ian Potter Museum of Art located within the Melbourne University campus.

The example above was created for the release of the Italian film Scandal in Sorrento starring of course Sophia Loren.

While most of the 65 examples relate to movie releases also included are posters advertising local craft fairs, national festivals, circus performances, operas and plays.  All historically significant and utterly beautiful, I highly recommend a visit.

Hollywood Costume 

Opening tomorrow at ACMI and running until the 18th of August HOLLYWOOD COSTUME is a must see for anyone interested in the art of Costume DesignPresented previously at the Victoria and Albert museum in London it was over five years in development and is said to be the most comprehensive exhibition ever created about film costume design. 

I've volunteered and worked at ACMI for a few years now and yesterday I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the exhibition and attend a private lecture with the head curator Deborah Nadoolman Landis.  Looking at some of these iconic costumes and hearing the story of how the collection was pulled together I couldn't help but be moved.

Of course there are some amazing highlights including two dresses made especially for Marylin Monroe.  More beautiful than I could ever have imagined Marylin's sun-ray pleat halter dress from The Seven Year Itch designed by William Travilla sits at the far end of the gallery and not far away the beaded cocktail dress designed by Australian Orry Kelly from Some Like It Hot...she was so tiny! 

There is of course a complementary film program being screened in the ACMI cinemas and a highlight for me will be seeing Breakfast at Tiffany's on the big screen....maybe several times.  Audrey's iconic little black dress, designed by Hubert De Givenchy, is also included in the exhibition.

Breakfast At Tiffany's
Sat 4 May 2013, 11am
Sun 5 May 2013, 11am
Mon 6 May 2013, 1.30pm
Tue 7 May 2013, 2.30pm
Sat 11 May 2013, 11am
Sun 12 May 2013, 11am
Mon 13 May 2013, 1.30pm
Tue 14 May 2013, 2.30pm 


Retro Beachwear

Movies are an endless source of inspiration and Gidget Goes Hawaiian, released in 1961, is a brilliant reference for checking out American surf and beach style of the day.

Inspired I fashioned a retro style two-piece from some vintage feedsack fabric found at L'uccello.  It combines an adaptation of the classic BLOOMER with THE BANDEAU.  

For the BLOOMER I added some extra length to the front and back rise.  The leg and waist openings are finished with satin bias binding and a HOW TO can be found right here.


Fabric leftovers

 One of the best things about making your own knickers is how little fabric you need; probably a good thing considering how addictive it is. 

Once you've got the hang of it you'll even find yourself rearranging patterns so you can fit a pair in.  Another possible sign of addiction might be classing as a "DISASTER" the fact that my favourite knicker elastic colour had SOLD OUT....O M G! 

Scraps were used to fashion this frilly version of the LOW RIDER.  The cotton and silk blend voile (perfect for knickers) was found at Tessuti in Melbourne and the pattern for the LOW RIDER is available in Australian sizes 8 - 14 from my Etsy shop


Givenchy on Film

Showing tonight at ACMI, Otto Preminger's fabulous Bonjour Tristesse.....costumes by Givenchy, jewels by Cartier and Handbags from Hermès!

Released in 1958 and filmed in Paris and the South of France, it also stars Deborah Kerr, David Niven and the utterly irresistible Jean Seberg.  
Saturday 7pm & Sunday 5.30pm

Another Givenchy showcase, William Wyler's 1966 romantic crime caper How To Steal A Million is a must see.  Also shot in Paris; the costumes, locations, cars, makeup etc.....all fabulous, plus of course it stars Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole!

This one is not showing at ACMI however I do know they have copies in the store because that's where I found mine.

New Stockists

Located in the Victorian country town of Hamilton, HAZEL GREEN is owned and operated by local Jackie O'Brien.  The store "is devoted to high quality woollen yarns, dressmaking fabrics, knitting and sewing patterns as well as striking handmade garments and accessories" and Jackie has included the TRIED & TRUE knicker and BLOOMER sewing patterns in her assortment.  You can read more about HAZEL GREEN right here and if you feel like a country drive Hamilton is located about 4 hrs drive south west of Melbourne.
photograph - Sharyn Cairns

73 Thompson Street
Hamilton VIC 3300
phone 03 5572 2278

CAN DO BOOKS in Hawthorn is a local treasure chest filled with every kind of craft book you can possibly imagine.  A large table in the centre allows for lengthy browsing and doubles as a workspace for the various classes which are held regularly.

Join one of Stephanie's MEET-UP groups SEW MELBOURNE, LOOPED, CAN DO CRAFTS or CRAFT LIKE CRAZY which all meet at the store.  Details for a forthcoming knicker making class will be announced soon.

Stephanie is stocking the entire collection of patterns in store and on-line.
608 Burwood Road
Hawthorn Victoria 3122
phone 1300 308 261


HOW TO an alternative to knicker elastic

I've been working on a new bloomer/short shape (not sure what to call it yet) and instead of knicker elastic I've been using bias binding threaded with elastic.  It gives the knicker a cute retro look, here's how you do it....

1. First, stitch the front and back together at the crotch and side seams, and then neaten.  With right sides together stitch the bias binding (I've been using a soft satin bias 11mm wide) around one leg opening. Stitch just to the right of the fold rather than right on the fold.

2. When you've almost stitched the binding the entire way around stop leaving a gap of about 5cm so you can make a join in your bias binding.

3. With right sides together make a join in your binding.  Check its correct by pinning first.

4. Trim away the excess binding, press the seam open and then stitch this section to the leg opening as before.

5. Flip the bias binding to the wrong side, press and then stitch along the free edge leaving a small opening to insert the elastic.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the other leg and waist and then give the knicker a good press.

7. Thread elastic (I've been using a soft 6mm wide elastic) through the openings you've left using a small safety pin. Take care not to twist the elastic.  The amount of elastic you need will depend on your size, a general rule is the total circumference of the fabric x .66  Once confirmed overlap the elastic by a couple of cm's and using a zig-zag stitch, stitch back and forth a few times on the overlapped section.  Using a straight stitch, stitch the opening in the bias binding closed....and voilà!

You can use this method for the TRIED & TRUE knickers, FRILLY FRILLY BLOOMER and BLOOMER patterns.