She sparkles into the night

Um so, it’s been a long time between drinks, hasn’t it? Its funny how a few weeks turns into a year in the blink of an eye! I’ve been sewing more than ever, but these days most of my project documentation lives on instagram (find me at LadyxBec). Still, I do like the idea of this little spot on the web as a place for more in-depth analysis of projects and patterns so I’m planning to keep it around, albeit with an irregular posting schedule.

Oh hey there! I'm Bec and I enjoy floral prints, silk fabric, and cocktails that are on fire. I live in Canberra and I've been sewing for about 4 years. Apart from sewing I spend my days working as a public servant, hanging out with my rabbit Oreo and att

So! On to the dress! I purchased Vogue 1374, a cowl-backed, sequin encrusted Badgley Mischka design over a year ago, thinking that one day I would quite like a sequin dress. When I got word that my departments annual ball would swap to a soiree this year I was inspired, making the gown knee-length would not only make it more appropriate for the occasion but also (hopefully) mean I could wear it to other events in future. Not long after I stumbled across the perfect sequin fabric at spotlight, between the ideal colour – a kind of bronze/black/brown and the ideal price (40% off) I knew I had to have it. At the same time I picked up some stretch beige lining.

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The first issue I encountered was that my stretch lining didn’t have enough stretch – it fit OK over my hips and bust, but didn’t have much give. Therefore I decided to add some additional ease to the sequined outer fabric. This was a terrible idea. The sequins stretched SO MUCH MORE than the lining, partly because they were more stretchy due to the mesh base and partly because the weight of all those sequins dragged everything down.

The other major problem was the pain of cutting and sewing the sequins. I cut my fabric in a single layer, facing down and still wore protective goggles in case of flying sequins. When I came to sewing the sequined fabric it only got worse – I broke more than 15 needles and only the goggles saved my from some near-misses with sequin shards and broken needles. After that the clean-up, while tedious on carpet was nothing.

I ended up hemming with fusible hem tape as I couldn’t face the thought of sewing more sequins on the machine and had no time to hand-sew. I would like to go back and re-hem using a strip of the lining, but the hem tape has held on with remarkable staying power!

2016-11-24_05-37-52 I made only three alterations to the pattern: I tacked the back cowl interlayers to either side at the back, ensuring it sat high enough to wear a regular bra, and I shortened the sleeves and the length. Because of the weight of the sequins, I also did a loose row of hand stitching right under my bust to stop the sequined layer dragging so much and also hand stitched the lining at the neckline to keep it from peaking out.

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Overall I am thrilled to pieces with this frock – it went together very well and if you were using a stretch jersey or velvet it could easily be made in a day. I adore walking around like a living disco ball, and, because of the stretch it’s also super comfy!

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Worn to: Work Spring Soiree, Canberra Sewing Crew Spring Fling.

Overall rating: 5/5

PS: I don’t know why I have such awful bitchface in these pictures – I promise you I was actually drunk + happy!

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Review of my Husqvana Viking Opal 670

SO: as I have had my sewing machine for a few months now, and made about 4 things using it, I thought I would do a little mini-review. I thought this might be helpful as there weren’t a ton of reviews for it while I was shopping.

I do have to say that this isn’t the cheapest machine on the market, but nor is it the most expensive. I have a reasonably well-paying job so I decided to treat myself to what I really wanted, rather than getting something cheaper/with fewer features and upgrading again later. My old machine was a Brother XL 2230 It only had 11 stitches, and no option to change length/width. It was a great starter for me, because I wasn’t sure how much sewing I would do and to be honest, it was ok. It had issues with nesting however and the tension was a little off.

My machine is a Husqvarna Viking Opal 670. I chose it for a number of reasons: I wanted a machine I could “grow into”; one that would last the distance; a thread cutter; good buttonholes; tons of stitches and needle positions; a overlocking stitch; and ability to wind bobbin from the needle.

I tested out a few machines that fulfilled what I wanted and got the Opal because it was the best combo of price/features. I tried a Bernina, and a Janome neither “felt” right. I knew I didn’t want a Brother, as that’s what my old machine was and I wasn’t super keen on it. Plaffs were too hard to find in my area & I wanted to buy local.

So on to the actual machine.
What I love about it:
It does everything I want, the stitches are smooth and even, and it runs a lot quieter than my old machine.
It is very intuitive to use.
I love the touch screen + sewing advisor.
The thread cutter is THE BOMB.
I also love the “fix” setting, which means no more backstitching, yey.
You can save a ton of stitches to the favourites for later.
So.Many.Needle.Positions!
Makes sewing less stressful as it never eats fabric or destroys stuff like my old machine.
I love all the stitches and options!
Needle up/down stop.
The start/stop button can be handy.
Came with a hard case. So much better than the soft ones!
Comes with an assortment of feet (although I have already gotten more!)

What it could do better:
It is not amazing at going over tons of layers of fabric. It is a picky threader – I had a problem with nesting because when I threaded it didn’t go though the tension disks correctly, so you really need to pay attention and have the presserfoot + needle up when threading.
Sometimes I get the overload warning and it freezes for no reason.
Feet can be REALLY expensive. My ruffle/pleat foot was $90!

Overall, sewing now is so different! I used to get stressed out because my machine would nest without reason and the tension was always off, no matter what I did. Now (as long as I am careful with threading!) I never have to worry. It sews pretty close to perfectly all the time. Plus the store I got it at is a short drive from home and if I have any issues they are always willing to help me over the phone or have my bring my machine in. Although the only issue so far was caused by me not threading carefully!

So that’s my machine. Feel free to ask any questions!

Fighting Back #stopspying

*I hope you will forgive a change of topic today, however I wanted to make my feelings clear. we will return to sewing and style in my next post*

As Benjamin Franklin said:
Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor Safety

Whatever you think of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, what he revealed shocked many:

The NSA engaged in wide-spread spying on the private internet and mobile communications of citizens of the US and other countries without warrants or evidence of wrong-doing.

Please help pressure governments and international institutions to forbid mass surveillance anywhere in the world. If my government won’t stand up for my right to privacy and liberty (& for what has been revealed it seems the Australian Government will not) I will do it myself, and I encourage everyone else to do likewise.

Please visit The day we fight back for more information.

Fun with Fabrics!

Ever since I purchased the Liberty fabric I used for the Floral Fan dress, I have been obsessed with buying new fabrics. More importantly, I am into buying quality fabrics. The first few things I made I used quite cheap fabric that has not lasted well. In fact, when I cleaned out my sewing area a few weeks ago I threw out the first two dresses I made as they both needed some serious repairs and I decided I couldn’t be bothered. Instead of feeling bad about this, I’ve decided to embrace the freedom that sewing things I want to, not need to brings.

But this post is supposed to be about fabric, so let me show you my newest pretties and tell you what they’ll be.

First up is this Michael Miller cotton, called “quaint cupcakes”
This pretty is destined to be a dress for my sister, SS, in Butterick 5748. She picked the fabric and pattern. I’m hoping there’s enough left over to make a little skirt or something for me!
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Next we have the amazing “home sewing is easy” fabric by Alexander Henry. I am so in love with this cartoon print! I plan to make it in By hand London’s Anna dress.
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I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of these fabrics – I think they’re both quilting-type cottons, but while I find they have a lot of body, they’re not too stiff. My pre-washing softened them up nicely into the kind of fabric that will give a nice stick-out-ey (that’s a technical term!) skirt, but not be too uncomfortable for the bodice. Plus the prints are amazing! I have discovered a whole new world of awesome 🙂

Lastly is some boring practicle cottons for work skirts – one in grey and another in super-dark navy. The navy looks much darker in person. I haven’t chosen a pattern for these yet, I want something with a fitted-high waistband with some kind of pleated skirt. If I can’t find a good skirt pattern, I am considering using the skirt of Simplicity 2444 and just adding a waistband.
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Until next time!

Birthday Madness Part One: I turn 26

So this is a little late, but I thought I’d share some of my outfits and adventures from my birthday celebrations. This year I turned 26 (goodbye early mid 20s!), meanwhile Canberra, the place I never expected to like yet somehow fell in love with is this year. A post on some of my centenary adventures will follow shortly (I have been lazy and not edited the photos yet!)

I celebrated my actual birthday with cocktails, canapes and of course cake! The always delightful Playground Martini and Tapas Bar hosted our group.

A few (terrible) mirror-pics of what I wore
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& bonus sneaky bunny pic!
Dress: ASOS (worn with petticoat from eBay) | Belt: Forever New | Shoes: Sketchers (I actually wore different shoes out, but changed them when I got home)

Sorry I was too lazy busy to pick the stuff up off the floor, I didn’t even notice it totally look at my pictures before posting them. Sometimes.

The Saturday after my birthday, as is our tradition, S, C and I went to lunch at the wonderful , which I cannot recommend enough, as always it was lovely. Here’s a peak of what I ordered:
(strawberry gazpacho)
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(chocolate delice)
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As I said above, I haven’t edited the pics of my outfit yet, but when I post them you’ll discover that I made petticoats something of a theme!

I’m planning to edit the rest of the photos I’ve taken sometime this week, so shall hopefully have another post for you every soon.

xx

Sorry I’ve been away so long!

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IMAG0009, a photo by LadyxBec on Flickr.

Work did not slow down, and my laptop issues went on and on (and on!).

Things will be back up and running here over the coming days and weeks.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been wearing lately (and my fab new pink hair). I have a bunch of posts to write, and so mnay plans for fun things to make (and bake!)

xx

Same dress, new style

Hello again darling readers.

I didn’t actually wear the same dress two days in a row, and nor did I intend to post them in a row here at Bows&Bunnies. But it’s the order the photos came up in my Flickr cue, and I decided to take it as a sign. This is the same dress I wore in my last post, but styled really quite differently. I hear a lot of people say that the trouble with dresses is that they’re too hard to style week after week, so you end up wearing the exact same thing over and over. I disagree completely! With a little effort, creativity and a working knowledge of the colour wheel, you can make a dress look unrecognisable from one day to the next.

Last time I went with a more nautical look – more navy and a touch of red to give it some pop. I finished it off with tights that grounded down to my shoes, while sill tying into the red in my cardi. This time I went with pale pink, which is more of a contrast, and I think particularly pretty with navy. Because I wore the cardi unbuttoned (as I generally do, particularly with those that are longer in the waist) I wore a belt to emphasise the shape of the dress.

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Again with the twirling!
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Headband detail:
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Dress: Friends of Couture
Cardigan: SES
Tights: Myer (can’t remember brand, sorry)
Headband: Alannah Hill
Shoes: Diana Ferrari

And now, a moment with Oreo:
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I hope this helped show the versatility of dresses. Do you like dresses? Or do you find them too much work to restyle?

Until next time!
xx

The “Do I know you Skirt” & Adventures at Playground Tapas and Martini Bar

I am going to refer to this as the do I know you skirt from now on, as when I wore it the Saturday night before last, I had three different people ask me if they knew me from somewhere. As I didn’t recognise any of them, I can only conclude that my clone is running about somewhere. Or, they have somehow stumbled upon this blog and then forgotten, in which case, hello, please leave a comment!

I was actually really hesitant about wearing this skirt – it’s pretty tight, and to be totally honest I have put on a fair bit of weight over the last few years, including since buying this skirt. Although I love its bronze sheen and the pretty bow on its self fabric belt I haven’t worn it in ages. Because I was worried that it made me look “hippy” or fat. Or unattractive in some other way. But Saturday night I couldn’t resist its charms, and after pairing it with a basic black top, opaque tights and my Dotti coat I decided I had a winner on my hands. I wore flat shoes, as it my habit although I feel like this outfit is really crying out for some black heeled booties (I don’t own any, so that was out of the question). A cute white bow (made by my sister, SS) in my hair, a slick of lippie and some flicked eyeliner and I was ready to go.

I meet my friend S (of the excellent ability to fix broken html code), at Canberra’s newest nightspot, Playhouse Martini and Tapas bar. As soon as I arrived I was in love. The place is utterly adorable, and despite my complete aversion to anything that is not a “real” martini (gin, not vodka, stirred with vermouth and served with either lemon or olives) I found myself enjoying several (too many!) delicious cocktails (I refuse to call a cocktail in a martini glass a martini) from their menu. The Earl Gray was a definite favourite, just enough of the tea flavour to be delicious and refreshing, but not so much it overpowered. We also sampled a good chunk of the tapas menu, I particularly enjoyed the fried haloumi and beetroot tartlets, which were not quite as beetroot-ey as expected, but still delicious.

Seriously, these tartlets were a.m.a.z.i.n.g.IMAG0188

The icing on my personal cake of tapas and cocktail joy was our desert – crème brûlée. We had originally ordered Churros with chocolate and caramel but unfortunately they ran out before ours arrived. The management, however was amazing, and so apologetic that they came by to check on us several times, and gave us the crème brûlée on the house. I’m very sad to say that I was too excited to take a picture – but let me tell you it was amazing.

After more than three hours, it was finally time to leave and meet up with some friends for dancing and general shenanigans, but I can say with certainty that I will be back for more (in fact, since drafting this post I have been back twice)!
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I wore this sweet hair bow, which was the party favour at my sister’s wedding earlier this year in my hair.

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I wore the excellent $40 Dotti coat again.

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Even Oreo likes the skirt

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Close up of the awesome fabric and bow detail.
***Full disclosure: I wore this outfit as pictured, but ended up recreating it later for the pictures and then wearing it out to trivia with some work friends.

Also, my laptop is still broken (sadly) I did this post with a combo of housemate and work computers, but I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep doing that. So if posts are not as frequent over the next few weeks, that’s why!

Road Tripping with a Rabbit

No outfit post today, instead we have another moment with Oreo,

Oreo & I are spending Christmas in Newcastle with some family, it took him a few days to settle in, but now he’s pretty happy.  For Christmas he got a cute red harness, which we used on the trip up for him to hop out of his carrier and walk around a bit outside, otherwise I would have had to leave him in the carrier the entire journey.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and that an amazing year is awaiting you 🙂