Saturday, April 20, 2013

I won!

Hello again! I had a lovely and very unexpected surprise this week when I discovered that the wonderful Helen of Grosgrain Green had nominated me for a Liebster Award! (Is it very unsophisticated to admit that I read it through a few times just in case I'd made a mistake??) When I started up this blog in January, I don't think I was really expecting anyone other than people I already knew to read it (if them - very few of them sew), so this feels pretty amazing. Thanks, Helen!  I suspect it isn't quite the done thing to nominate your nominator, but otherwise I would do so immediately :) I always love seeing a new post from you, and your inspiring, smile-inducing blog is one of my absolute favourites.

So, as I understand it, the Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. I need to answer  the 10 questions set by Helen, then nominate another 10 bloggers, again with less than 200 followers, and give them another 10 questions. What a fantastic way to share the love! So, Helen's questions first:

1. Why did you start sewing?
I didn't really start sewing until just after I finished high school, when I was curious to see if I could make the things I loved in shops that I had no way of buying on a student's budget. I got diverted into costuming and fancy dress pretty early on, and ran a small business for a few years until I realised it was the making, not the accounting/marketing/advertising/everything-else-vitally-important-to-small-business that really satisified me most. (Plus it was good to have money again for things like food and rent.) Then last year I started reading about the social, environmental and humanitarian toll that the global fashion industry exacts, and it prompted  me to do something proactive about it. Sewing, refashioning and knitting is my way of opting out of that cycle, and I love it all the more for that.

2. What's your favourite part of sewing/making?
That moment in every garment, usually about halfway through, where you can see how it's all coming together and how it will look.

3. And least favourite?
Oh, cutting out. No question.

4. Who is your muse/style idol/style inspiration/style crush? Can be real or fictional. Famous or civilian.
I love pretty much everything I see Cate Blanchett and Marion Cotillard photographed in, although I'd need a different life to wear most of it! And if we're talking "real" people (you know what I mean), my sister has a knack for always looking amazing and utterly appropriate in any situation. She has that gift too of wearing her clothes, rather than being worn by them, and has a real eye for beautiful detailing.

5. What is your favourite make?
I've got a couple, if you don't mind indulging me! I was very happy with two wedding gowns I made a few years ago - see below. (The photos aren't wonderful, I'm afraid - I had to keep out of the way of the professional photographers) The first was an embroidered and beaded tulle with a fishtail skirt and train.

The second was of the most glorious chantilly lace I've ever seen, and it took me a good hour after pinning to work up the courage to cut into it!

My Sew For Victory dress is a new favourite; I really enjoyed making that one, and learned a lot during the process. And knitting-wise, my Beatnik jumper below makes me happy every time I wear it.

6. And least proud?
For one of those weddings I had to make ties for the men in the bridal party. I don't know why ties were harder than a wedding gown, but they were - I couldn't make any sense of the pattern. They turned out alright  in the end, but to this date it's the only sewing project that made me cry. Not my shining moment.

7. What's your sewing/making bete noire? Your biggest challenge, or the thing you've been putting off?
One day I want to make a properly tailored jacket. I've been putting that off for years.

8. Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Anywhere there are clothes. And I've just succumbed to Pinterest, which is every bit the wonderful time-swallower I suspected it would be. Blissful, though.

9. Do you have any other hobbies, other than sewing/making?
I love to read, and usually have two books on the go at any given time. I started scrapbooking when my daughter was a toddler, and am lucky enough for that to have become a job with the Kaisercraft in-house design team. I love walking, and consider that exercise enough so that I don't have to jog or go to the gym. And I like to dabble in photography occasionally.

10. What is your sewing set up? Do you have a dedicated sewing space? Are you relegated to a corner of the living room?
I've taken over the study of our house, though I still prefer to actually sew on the dining table. All my sewing and knitting equipment/supplies/stash fit in a fantastic wooden entertainment unit we found at an op shop ($60!). (The op shop man said they're starting to get lots of these coming in, because plasma/flat screen tvs don't fit in them.) 

It's perfect. And I love that it keeps my stash contained. I almost feel awkward saying this - it's not 'proper' sewist behaviour at all! - but 7 years ago I gave away about 95% of my stash, because I found it was actually stifling my creativity and desire to sew. All my sewing time was spent sorting though stuff, most of which I no longer loved or that invariably wasn't adequate or quite right for whatever project I had in mind. Now every piece of fabric I have inspires me - it's just finding the time to sew it up!

So there you are, me in a nutshell :)

Now for my nominees. I'm going by bloglovin's stats on followers, so if I've made a mistake I apologise! I've discovered most of the blogs I follow actually have more than 200, so I've actually only nominated eight. But I do have two Honorable Mentions, so I hope that satisfies the rules...

In no particular order:

Nessa's Place.   Nessa's was one of the first sewing blogs I encountered. She's an extremely talented and versatile sewist, able to turn her hand to pretty much anything! She's also the kind of blogger who makes the online sewing world a genuine community; always ready to share encouragement, compliments and genuinely constructive feedback. I love this about her, and have been really trying to follow her example, rather than being the silent lurking admirer I instinctively would be otherwise. Plus, she made a magnificent 1850s dress  for a secluded Scottish island holiday, just because she could. Which I think is outstanding!

I Want To Be A Turtle. I'm in awe of Claire's Lady Grey coat, and very much wishing that my first attempt at bound buttonholes turned out as immaculately as hers. I love that she's already posted a couple of really helpful tutorials too, and am quietly hoping for many more in future.

Fabrictragic.  Sarah's got a fantastic way with words, and her blog is really entertaining. I'd love to have her eye for thrifting too - it's a gift. Her Laurel blouse is my favourite incarnation of the pattern I've seen so far.

Maud Made.  Lucy's got a real knack for making ultra-wearable clothes, the sort of clothes that become go-to wardrobe friends. She makes a mean refashion too! I guarantee a bit of location-envy when you see her beach backdrop...

Sewing Vintage Knitting This is how to make vintage look amazing! Anthea's not just an incredible seamstress, but she styles her creations beautifully. Her Dasha's Sweater is simply stunning.

The Sometime Sewist. Jess makes simply beautiful clothes. And I can't imagine any of them languishing unworn in her wardrobe. This is what I aspire to!

Sew Rachel! Rachel just started blogging this year, and she has some lovely makes using knits, plus a gorgeous lace print skirt. Her enthusiasm for sewing is infectious, and makes me want to pull out my machine immediately :)

Stitching on the Edge. Adrienne's projects are so elegant and beautifully made. I love her recent clutches, and I envied her Washi dress on sight. I really like her tips and tutorials section also.

Here are my questions for you all:

1. Why did you start sewing?
2. Five words that describe you: 
3. What is your favourite make?
4. And your least favourite?
5. What piece(s) of sewing equipment (besides your machine) could you not live without?
6. What are your three favourite blogs?
7.  What accomplishment are you most proud of?
8. Sweet tooth or savoury?
9. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
10. What's your secret for a happy life?

I also wanted to give Honorable Mentions to:

Victor Fox  This isn't a sewing blog, so half the questions above are pointless for her, but Clare is an incredibly talented graphic designer who I thought deserved a mention. I was lucky enough to work with Clare at Kaisercraft until she left to run her business full-time, and it's been going from strength to strength. Check out her Etsy shop to see her amazing prints and cards.

The Hungry Octopus. I've come across Elizabeth's fantastic refashioning projects at Refashion Co Op, but she doesn't seem to have a blog. She is on Facebook though, (unlike me) so I'm assuming you can admire her that way.

Looking forward to seeing your answers!

Have a wonderful week :)

Danielle  oxo


  1. Big smiles here! What lovely words - it's so nice to hear you enjoy my blog! I'm hoping I make you smile for the right reasons! :)

    I was really interested to read your answers! I am humbled by the fact that you've made 2 wedding dresses!

    Off now to have a nosey at your nominated blogs that I don't know already. I think this is the best bit of the award! :)

    1. I think it's the best bit too! Such a nice way to share the love :)
      And yes, I definitely smile for all the right reasons!

  2. Hi, I'm out and about a little this weekend but just picked this up. Thank you! It is one of those things that I thought is nice but that I wouldn't win. I'll follow up later in the week with a proper blog post. Oh, one quick thing, given you have made two wedding dresses you have nothing to worry about with a coat!

    1. You're welcome! And thanks to your inspiration, I'm definitely attempting a coat :)

  3. Thank you! That was so nice of you...I'm going to check out the other blogs you listed as well. Those wedding dresses are gorgeous. I think it must be hard to make clothes to fit someone else perfectly, and you did a beautiful job.

    1. Oh, thanks :) But sometimes it can almost be easier fitting someone else rather than yourself - at the back anyhow!

  4. Wow. Thanks so much for your very kind words and thoughts Danielle. Glad you're no longer a lurker and are adding your own positivity to the online sewing world. :-)

    1. You're welcome! Looking forward to reading your answers :)

  5. Hello Danielle! What a lovely surprise to wake up to! It has made my day! I will enjoy answering your questions very much. And oh my lord just wait till I get the next Laurel up - the fabric is too gorgeous for words! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Sarah

    1. Oh, I'm so glad! And am very much looking forward to seeing your Laurel dress; the blouse is so beautiful :)

  6. Thank you for nominating me! I love reading your answers! And the wedding gowns and jumper are amazing!

    I will take a look at the other blogs as well!

    1. You're welcome! Looking forward to reading your answers!

  7. Thank you too, it really nice to hear know someone else is reading as like you I didn't expect anyone else to!! I'm enjoying reading all the other blogs and am thinking about my answers to your questions. Have a great rest of weekend!

    1. You're welcome! It IS nice to hear other people are reading; I think the Leibster is a lovely idea. Can't wait to read your answers :)

  8. Someone is reading my blog! I'll have to start thinking of who may two 10 under 200-followers would be... Thank you for the honor!

    Beautiful work, by the way. I made my reception dress less than a year ago. At the time I thought it came out perfect, but with everything I learned in the past 4 month I can see SO many errors. Can't wait to check out the rest of your blog!

    1. Someone IS reading! And you're very welcome :) Looking forward to seeing your answers :)

  9. Thank you so much for the Liebster nomination! I finally finished my blog post on it...I think it took me the longest of any blog post ever. So many things to think about! :)

    P.S. Love your blog. :) I thought about giving you some Liebster backsies, but I thought that might've been a little awkward. ;)