Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Spring colours"

Am I the only one that doesn't 'get' dressing for the season? Most fashion sites I look at are talking about spring or fall collections, depending on what side of the world they're from, and what they plan to wear in the new season. Seasons influence my dressing only by way of temperature - I can't exactly wear a sundress by itself in the winter rain. But add some tights (maybe two pairs) and a toasty cardi and jacket and why not?

This spring I plan to wear pretty much the same thing I've been wearing this winter, minus a coat and possibly tights, and with some shorter sleeves. I'll keep experimenting with colour, whether that be black, navy, white or gold, or even all of the above. I'm not going to wait for a breakthrough colour trend to tell me it's okay.

Tee - secondhand Witchery
Cardi - Target
Skirt - vintage
Boots - Steve Madden

I got this cardigan while I was pregnant, but I never really wore it because I didn't think it went with anything except black. And that was far too plain, stuffy, or emo looking for my liking. Recently I tried it with some different colours and patterns and now I think it goes with everything. This isn't my favourite way to pattern-mix the cardi, but I like that with some extra thought and a revisit, I've found that it's versatile enough to wear often.

PS. Note to self: Must. Clean. Mirror.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Singlet top: Mossimo
Orange top: Valleygirl
Cardi: Valleygirl
Belt: Vintage
Skirt: Portmans
Boots: Josef Seibel

Top: second-hand
Vest: vintage
Cardi: Target
Skirt: second-hand
Boots: Josef Seibel

These are a couple of outfits I wore last week, shopping and catching up and roaming about with Ellie. Yay spring.

Last night Ellie spent the night at the grandparents while Tim and I went to my best friend's birthday shindig. I got her present while we were in Tasmania from a gorgeous little store in the main strip of Deloraine. Wish I could remember the name of it! The gift was a little handmade clutch purse, made from reclaimed materials. I can't remember the name of the label, either. Pout. But, good company + crap food (I wasn't expecting much from a beer garden) = good fun.

Today we cleaned and tidied (long overdue), grocery shopped and then walked to the park.

These are my favourite people.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mmm, pepperminty. Plus, Tim Flannery

I finally got my mitts on a copy of the first issue Peppermint magazine, which completely exceeded my expectations. It's got a healthy dose of ethical fashion (some for the guys, too), eco facts and tips, art, events, cosmetics, tutorials and more, oh my! Particularly good things:
  • The introductory note from editor and creator, Kelley Sheenan, titled "Ever felt like you just HAD to do something?" made me think I was reading about myself. Then I realised that, no, my name does not start with a K (though it does end in 'ley'), and unfortunately I hadn't started up an awesome responsible fashion magazine. She seems lovely though, she sent me an unexpected email when I ordered the mag saying that she loves my clothing! Heart.
  • This quote, from Leila Connors Petersen, co-director of eco-documentary The 11th Hour (which I must rent sometime soon): "We learned that the earth is going to be fine. It's us, human beings, that are in big trouble. So, the environmental movement is not about saving the trees, it's about saving ourselves."
  • The model in the main fashion spread (also on the cover) is absolutely gorgeous, and not in the stick-thin pretentious way. I love that they used a real girl, and I don't mean that in the sense that she's chubby and has 'inner beauty'. She really is beautiful exactly how she is.
I can see the magazine only getting better. You can still order a copy from their website for just $3.50 plus postage.

Did anyone catch Tim Flannery on Enough Rope the other night? He is a scientist, writer and speaker on environmental issues. He has an ability to take complex environmental issues and make them easy to understand. Plus, with the great level of concern that he has about the earth, the fact that he keeps an optimistic view of mankind is quite admirable. Flannery and Denton talked about the climate problem, how to improve the situation, and what hope there is for the future. You can listen to the interview here.

On a final, completely unrelated note, Emiliana Torrini's new album is !!!!@($ awesome. Go listen, or your ears will be forever shaking their fists at you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All new custom sizing!

I've been very conscious of the fact that generally, my clothes come in one size, so if it's not your size, it's tough. But no longer (for these new tees, anyway)! I've designed a couple of tees that will be made to order in the required size. They're still limited edition because I don't have an endless amount of these fabrics. There will be more designs to come!

custom black bow tee

This is how I decided to use those little bows I made up the other day. They're reversible, so I sewed one with the check fabric forward and the other with the striped fabric forward.

This striped fabric caught my attention immediately. How cute and unusual is it?

Plus I added a few other items to my Etsy shop:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In the accessories biz, baby

I was a busy little bumblebee yesterday, venturing into necklace and (more) brooch making. I also made a heap of cute little bowties, but I'm not sure what I want to do with them yet. I'm thinking scarves. Yes? Okay.

I put some of these new things in my Etsy shop.

square flower brooch

I heart this brooch. It's cute, don't you think?

Yes, you might have seen this before in my brooch giveaway post. It's now up for sale, and I'm not making any more of them.

cracked black necklace no. 2

These necklaces are so cool that I will keep one. I'm normally really good at restraining myself but what the hell. Each one is different and they're limited edition because I don't have much of this awesome mesh.

The end. I will now go back to my regular (clothes-making) programming. For today, at least.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

News news and daily style

The winner of the brooch giveaway is Kerry! Congratulations and thanks to everyone that participated. She chose the Tangerine Disaster brooch.

I was interviewed by the lovely Karen of fashion blog I'm Not Anti-social, who looks gorgeous (as usual) in her one-off heidi and seek dress. Check it out here!

Today I thought I would do my hair Marie Antoinette style.

Dress, tee, belt - second-hand
Tights - Sportsgirl
Cardi - Target
Boots - Steve Madden

Just kidding. The wind was working against me, but I thought I'd post the photo because I thought it was funny that I looked like quite the douche. These boots were my big buy for this six months and I love them. They have this kick-ass lacing detail at the back which I'll have to take a picture of sometime. They were about a third of the RRP from a Myer sale, which I've also gotta love.

I gave myself a haircut this morning. It was getting a bit too shaggy for my liking.

Ellie stayed at my parents' house last night while I went to see Taken with my bro. I'll admit it made me cry a little (despite being an action movie) because I'm a complete wuss when it comes to parents and their children.. this one was about an ex-spy and his kidnapped daughter, awh. Very entertaining.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Buying green is not the greenest

I was reading some user-submitted eco-tips today, and one of them bascially said 'If you buy green, you can buy as much as you want with a clean conscience'. This is not true. And to be honest, it kind of rubs me the wrong way when I think about those who might read it and think it's correct.

Pretty much everything you can buy comes with a carbon footprint - some are just smaller than others. Significantly smaller, in some cases. I think the difference between new organic cotton and new regular cotton is quite similar, in terms of carbon emissions. Pesticides aren't used, but there is still the water used, transport, manufacturing, production, packaging.. all of these add up.

It rubs me the wrong way when I see product marketing making a similar point: 'here, have a clean conscience!' I know that businesses generally exist to make a profit, and that nobody is going to start a marketing campaign to encourage us to buy less. But there is a middle ground, one that I hope I'm acheiving. Ideally, every one of my customers takes more away from heidi and seek than a garment. Not that we need to be perfect. Instead, that if we are more aware, more connected with the entire process that led a product to us, we can make some kinder decisions, while still staying true to our interests.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'll take what sunshine I can get

Tee - Supre
Skirt worn as tube top - second-hand
Pants - Sportsgirl
Shoes - Lipstik?

Later I put on a cardi and swapped the shoes for my Josef Siebel boots. I want it to be warm more than it actually is warm. Pooh.

I love wearing things differently to how they were intended. My mum, gran and mother-in-law all saw this outfit and complimented me on the top, then when I said "Thanks, it's actually a skirt," they started laughing.

PS. Don't hate me for my Supre top, it's about 8 years-old and it's this incredibly comfy soft fabric, so I kept it, despite it being 5 inches too short.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conor Oberst and TehSuck

I got a nice surprise when I was told that that blogger Myke (tehsuck.com) wrote a little post about my dark circus top. It has reminded me to keep things simple more often. I do get carried away with adding bells and whistles a lot of the time.

Tim bought tickets to see Conor Oberst perform way back when they came out and a few weeks later he lost them. He was shattered. Shattered and penniless because they were expensive (okay I'm exaggerating a little). Anyway I felt like the best partner ever when I found them! Or the worst, because they were in my bedside table. Although I'm sure he never told me he was putting them there..

I never was a Bright Eyes fan, but I am liking his solo album. Bring on the concert.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New items up on Etsy!

Yesterday it was cold and rainy looking outside for most of the day, then when the sun came out I thought 'Score! I'll be able to take some product photos and not freeze my butt off'. I was so wrong. It was so windy and freezing that the ten-second self timer for each photo seemed like eons.

But now I have seven shiny new garments in my Etsy shop, yay.

S lacy pageboy top

Sunday, September 14, 2008

To Fitzroy

Such beautiful weather this weekend. We caught the tram into Fitzroy to buy factory remnant fabrics for heidi and seek. We visited Bird Girl and Meet Me at Mikes looking for Peppermint magazine. The first issue was free so they'd all been snatched up already.

Peppermint revolves around responsibly-made and environmentally-friendly fashion and culture, so I'm pretty eager to get my mitts on a copy. I ordered one from their website instead, only $5.95 including postage. Can't wait to get it!

This was my first time in Bird Girl, too. It's the cutest little shop on Brunswick Street where the clothing (made from recycled and vintage materials) is designed, made and sold right there in the shop, which is also their studio space. Their clothing is so intricate and unique, probably better described as wearable art. Many pieces are made from a combination of different textures, with buttons or lace placed just so, and edges left raw or pinked. Gorgeous shop definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brooch giveaway!

My process for making clothing is quite freeform. I first pick out fabrics that complement each other. Sometimes I have a basic idea, which I cut out the pieces for. Then I lay the pieces together to see what looks good. Often it ends up completely different to what I originally had in mind, because I might change my mind during the sewing, too. With reconstructions, I usually try the item on, then test the look of fabrics by pinning them together until I come up with something I like.

This is the method I used to make the brooches, but it didn't work out as well as I hoped. As often happens with me, I am less impressed with my work the next time I take a close look at it. Out of the eight brooches I made, there are only two that I like enough to present for this giveaway. I'm going to take a different approach in future - I'll sketch ideas first and then create the ones I like.

Tangerine disaster

Heart flower

Click the images for a larger picture.

These brooches were made from fabric scraps and second-hand yarn. Just comment with your opinion of them, your favourite and your email address to win the one you like best. I'll randomly select the winner in a weeks time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Free shipping extended

Free worldwide shipping extended until the 16th/17th. From the heidi and seek Etsy shop. Ends Tues 16th at midnight EDT in USA/Canada, which is Wed 17th at 2pm EST in Australia.

Buy Handmade

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Style behind the scenes

I thought it might be fun to do some style posts occasionally. Plus I can (hopefully) prove that you don't have to look dated if you don't buy with the trends.

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."
Oscar Wilde

I chuckled.

Black tee - not sure.
Top - second-hand Topshop
Skirt - second-hand Armani Exchange
Socks - sockdreams.com
Boots - Josef Siebel

Ellie liked her new friend a lot. They doubled high-5ed. A lot.

I later put on tights and a red and black houndstooth cardigan. The weather forecast, purporting a 20 degree day, failed to indicate that it would still be damn chilly outside. At least Ellie was toasty in fleece.

Those Josef Siebel boots are my favourite shoes ever. I've had them since like 2003, and they've lasted as my retail work shoes and through general wear until now. They need new laces and a regular polish, but aside from that they're still fully in tact and as comfy as they were 5 years ago. When these conk out, if I can find any others from Josef Siebel that aren't incredibly 'mature', I'll be all over that.

Speaking of lasting fashion items, a brand that you shouldn't expect to last is Urban Originals. Early this year I paid over $100 for a handbag that was significantly marked down from David Jones and the bloody thing is already falling to pieces. Just another example that price isn't much indication of quality. Trying to decide whether I should find a replacement on Etsy or make one myself...

And yes, that is CARPET in the kitchen. What. Would you believe I didn't realise this until after we'd inspected and accepted the place? It's awesome trying to clean thrown and smooshed broccoli off it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Free global shipping for two days only!

From my Etsy shop. Ends Thurs 12th at midnight EDT in USA/Canada, which is Fri 13th at 2pm EST in Australia.

Indie Parade and branching out into brooches

I got a message on Etsy from Indie Parade informing me that they featured the lady in lace dress. Lovely!

I started working on some brooch designs yesterday. To be honest, I've been stuck in something of a creative rut lately - finding it difficult to work up the motivation to make more garments. The change was great. It was my first time making them, but I'm really happy with how they turned out. I used second-hand yarn, scrap fabrics (those tiny tiny clothing leftovers that I didn't know what to do with) and other random things I found in my 'making things' box that I haven't opened in years. The brooches are small abstract combinations of colours and textures. They will be up on Etsy and Madeit shortly. As soon as I've finished a few more and taken pictures, I'll post them here for a giveaway! Watch this space.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Etsy showcase

I've booked a slot for the Etsy Fall Fashion Showcase tomorrow. On the Etsy homepage, there's a banner link right up the top for the showcase, in which will be a pic of my top item and a link to my shop. It's my first bit of paid advertising, so I want to put my best foot forward, so to speak.

Since my Madeit shop has been incredibly lonely these past months, I've moved most of the stock there to Etsy.

Hopefully it pays off!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Father's Day

This was Tim's present. I was so excited about it, I love it. It was a custom order from westbyron.etsy.com. She went out of her way to get it to me by Father's Day and included a little extra gift. So incredibly pleased.

We decided to make a day of the Melbourne Aquarium, because Tim loves living creatures and we've already exhausted the zoo and children's farm. (I promise I won't be making a habit of the crappy quality phone photos.)

The jellies creep me out, but they somehow enticed me to inspect them closely.

Mr. Scuba Diver wasn't as interesting as the lady who talked before him. She explained how the 7-gilled sharks were like 1987 cars and the 5-gilled ones were like the new models. The 7-gilled ones were incredibly wussy and on the dopey side, such that they needed to put a big yellow stripe in the tank below the tunnel, so the sharks would stop bumping their heads. Too cute.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

RAW Sustainable Fashion Parade

I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the RAW Sustainable Fashion Parade before they sold out. It was on Friday night. Ellie stayed with the grandparents while Tim and I trekked out to the Docklands, which, may I say, is quite confusing to navigate when your maps are old, given that it's newly developed.

A lovely lady approached Tim and I while we were figuring out directions with an 'Are you heading to the fashion parade?' Given that we were still a 15 minute walk away from the venue, we were quite chuffed that she thought we were fashionable individuals. Of course, she might have just seen us rushing and figured that we must both be running late to the same thing. But I'll just pretend that we looked good for the sake of gloating.

The parade showcased clothing and accessories made from recycled or organic materials. I really enjoyed the show, apart from me feeling like I was going to faint halfway through and needing to sit down. Wonderful Tim took photos for me though.

What I didn't consider was that my phone is not the ideal picture taking machine I thought (hoped) it might be, because I didn't want to lug the proper camera around.

Here are a few of my favourites for which the photos weren't a blurry mess (Photoshop couldn't fix them completely, I'm afraid).

Reconstructed shirt by Mucke. I think this was my favourite. The way it draped was just beautiful. I loved that the ties at the back actually looked like shirt sleeves, but weren't bulky at all.

Dress made from vintage kimono/obi fabric by Fourth Daughter. Love love love the colour combo and cut.

Made from reclaimed materials by Rachael Cassar. The leggings look significantly better on the model than those girls from Southland but I'm still not a fan of wearing them as pants. But this top and dress are just divine. Miss Cassar defines her style as 'transeasonal' which I do appreciate.

A fun and inspiring night. I would love to be involved in this next year!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ethical shopping workshop in Melbourne

I stumbled across this event while looking for web pages about the RAW Sustainable Fashion Parade that I attended last night, which I'll make a post about later. Melbournians, check it out:

Ethical Shopping workshop

"Come along and hear about sustainable and ethical purchasing practices for the everyday consumer. This workshop may well change your purchasing habits by providing information on products, companies, issues and alternatives to assist in making better choices. A trip to the local supermarket will be part of this workshop followed by a light meal from the purchases."

Sounds good to me. It's so great that this kind of thing is available. I'll be attending. Another great thing is that the workshop is FREE.


2:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Kensington Neighbourhood House
89 McCracken Street
Kensington 3031

Friday, September 5, 2008

Candy Suckled

Just put this dress, 'Candy Suckled', up on Etsy. I haven't been listing as many new things as I would like because I'm working on a wholesale order. Once that's finished I'll have a shiny new stockist and I'll be able to make more exclusively for Etsy! Stay tuned.

Fast fashion findings

An article I found recently brought up some interesting points about garment ethics: Analysis: Do consumer concerns threaten fast fashion?
  1. "In countries like Vietnam or China, worker exploitation isn't hard-wired into how business is conducted. Some businesses might well exploit their workers if they think they can get away with it - but so might businesses in the US or Sweden."

    Absolutely. This makes it even more difficult to know whether a garment is made by an exploited worker or not. Even garments made in Australia may be made by workers who don't receive adequate pay and conditions, usually homeworkers.

  2. "Last-minute changes of mind, or delayed decisions, rarely translate into extended delivery dates: factories are expected to get garments out in time to meet a ship, however often the buyer might have changed the brief. And with greater pressure on time comes pressure on workers, and pressure to use unvetted subcontractors."

    This indicates that the fault may lie mostly with the buyers rather than the factories.
    I hadn't thought of this before. Factories may feel backed into corners by buyers, just as the workers feel backed into corners by the factories. The reason that buyers change their minds so often is probably due to the nature of fast fashion - a fad trend is discarded just as fast as it was introduced.

  3. "So it's easy to assume that the further a garment travels while being made, the more carbon gets emitted... Cambridge University's Institute for Manufacturing published some serious analysis of carbon emissions in apparel manufacturing in late 2006 [1]. It showed that - even for a T-shirt made in China from American cotton, transport to Europe accounted for only 10% of the carbon emissions produced during the garment's life.

    How the consumer washed and dried the T-shirt mattered most; and manufacturing the T-shirt emitted three times as much carbon as transporting it round the world.

    But here's what Cambridge didn't look at. A factory that's heated in winter, air-conditioned in summer, highly automated and operated by people who commute to it by car must dump more carbon than a factory that's properly ventilated, is highly labour-intensive and where workers walk, cycle or get a (very overcrowded) bus to work.

    On this basis a factory in Bangladesh must be better for the planet than a factory in France or South Carolina."

    Something I'll definitely be thinking about. Obviously working conditions should be considered to look at the bigger ethical picture, but from a purely environmental standpoint, this is an interesting theory.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Southland discoveries

I was over at my old turf today (I'm ashamed to say), Southland Shopping Centre, for lunch and a stroll with mum. Here's what I discovered:
  • Cue has some surprisingly unique designs. I'd be interested to know of their 'sweatshop or not' status.
  • My old coworkers at Miss Shop in Myer are seeing the pinch with decreased sales and shifts. It's kind of a relief to know that the economy is affecting big business too, and it makes me feel prouder of the sales I have had.
  • Being in Valleygirl makes me annoyed. Mum was in there for a good half hour. They're pretty much against everything I stand for. For non-Australian readers, Valleygirl is a 'cheap and nasty' clothing store where most things are $10-$20 and attempt to follow trends. I browsed the racks, and found one really nice striped knit top among the rubbish, but wouldn't buy it on principle. It's weird how the fabric quality varies in there - sometimes there are pieces that aren't made from horrible thin synthetic.
  • There's a 'leggings as pants' trend going on that I find a little confusing. I saw about 10 girls in them. All black.
I think the world would be much more fashionably interesting if clothing couldn't be bought and everyone had to make their own or barter them.

The eco-bandwagon

There are so many products spouting 'eco-friendly' or 'recycled' these days that it's hard to know who's legitimately and passionately trying to make a difference, and who's using it as a marketing ploy. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I'm not interested in supporting a brand like Sportsgirl, despite their small range of organic garments. If they were really passionate about environmental ethics, they would design for longevity, rather than fad trends. "The motivation was to give our customer the opportunity to buy 'on trend' fashion while understanding her concerns about the environment. The collection delivers on that," said Sportsgirl's buying manager (source). To me, this is a blatant contradiction.

No one seems to be saying 'buy less'. If you want to help the environment, that's the best way to do it. An organic cotton tee, while it doesn't poison the earth with pesticides, still uses up massive amounts of water and resources through production and distribution. Unless you really need it, is it all necessary?

I do think it's great that awareness is increasing, and Sportsgirl is taking a step in the right direction. However, I question their motives, and would much rather support a brand that is passionate about change and shows it in all aspects of their business.

Sometimes the ethical options aren't there or aren't evident or are out of our price range. No one can fix all of the environmental imperfections in their life, I certainly have a long way to go, but I do think it's important that we try.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


heidi and seek was featured on V-Raw! I was hoping for a little write-up too, but this is still pretty awesome. Thank you V-Raw!

I've been meaning to add previous press to the website, but haven't gotten around to it. Here are the links until I do:
Design Federation
And I've received the most lovely write-up from Amy of Bean Pickle Sprout. She makes the most adorable appliqued goods - I might send Tim the link of my favourite item come Christmas time. Subtle, no?

Giraffe in the Polka Dots bib by Bean Pickle Sprout