Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018
Hello sewists and friends,
Welcome to my inaugural post as a new mother. Flynn is doing really well and we’re all so happy and grateful for this chapter of our lives.
With family visiting, Luke and I have taken the opportunity to showcase the best of Central Australia, even discovering a few gems that we hadn’t seen before. Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye) is one such sight. I don’t think that I could ever get tired of that bright ochre! It photographs beautifully but truly has to be seen to be believed.
At this point I should state that none of these photos have been edited or enhanced and that the colours are more striking in person.
Located 50km west of Alice Springs (and accessible by sealed road) Standley Chasm is another unique rock formation in our mountain ranges. Standing 80 metres tall it is best viewed at midday as that is when the colours are most vibrant and the glow is spectacular.
We took a short walk (1.2km there, 1.2km back) from our carpark down to the chasm and that in itself made the drive worthwhile. The diversity of the fauna out here constantly amazes me. I keep saying it, but you would think the desert is just red dirt and dust. There is so much more.
Standley Chasm boasts some rare cycads (the palm in the picture below) and has a sweet little creek along the path. Apparently, the chasm itself was formed by a tributary which was fed by the Finke River and the flow of water has shaped the red sandstone walls over the centuries. How amazing is that?!
The chasm and surrounds is run and maintained by the Arrente aboriginal people – the traditional custodians of this land, and is a significant “womans dreaming” site. Going out there and appreciating the natural beauty, in conjunction with having a unique cultural experience, is definitely very special.
As some of you noticed in my instagram story, I wasn’t exactly dressed for a light bushwalk. I knew that we were going out to Standley Chasm and call it baby-brain or gluttony but I was more focused on the fact we were going to have lunch! That’s how I landed on my trusty crane dress made in a rayon from Spotlight. Undoubtedly the lizards and wallabies appreciated it.
I’m enjoying rediscovering past makes post-partum and this dress is no exception! I made this at the height of the Spotlight Japanese Crane-printed rayon hype of 2017. (Surely everyone remembers how popular this fabric was? My mum even spotted it as RTW garments in stores).
My friend Sil has made a maternity dress in this print and I’ve also recently seen Jennifer of Jennifer Lauren Handmade wearing a beautiful sample of her Quincy dress design made up in this print! Jennifer is also expecting a baby, so congratulations and best wishes!!! It seems to be all about babies and cranes at the moment. Coincidence?!
By the by, it's still available here.
As for me, I made this dress using a Vintage Style Pattern from 1979 (which I need to dig out of my stash to remake). Apologies for not quoting the pattern number. Let me know if you need it and I’ll hunt it down as I highly recommend this pattern.
As I commented when I first shared this dress, I think that despite being a 70’s wrap style, with the gentle gathers, sleeve and collar detailing, this pattern is a bit 70’s/80’s does lazy 40’s. I love it as I’m all for the casual, everyday vintage wear. I feel like it’s true to the fashions of ladies gone before us, but also a bit of fun sartorially.
- When attempting a vintage pattern for the first time, a design from the 70’s onwards is generally a really good option. This is because the pattern markings are bolder, almost as though done with a thick texta. They are also similar to contemporary BIG 4 patterns in construction (but with better instructions!). I feel very confident sewing 70’s patterns for this reason.
- As discussed, this dress is made up in rayon, which is beautiful, soft on the skin and cool to wear. Also, it wrinkles easily. When ironing don’t be too aggressive with the heat and steam because it will not end well. When wearing, you will have wrinkles. Sorry.
- Rayon is also a lovely introduction to sewing with more drapey fabrics (and come to think of it, this dress would be lovely done up in a delustered silk, or safari-style in khaki…..)
- When sewing a wrap dress, aka my new handy-dandy style of dress for breastfeeding, do check your measurements to ensure that the wrap will sufficiently cover all that needs to be covered. I have to be wary of this as I have a broad back so some styles of wrap dress will not wrap without some tweaking, annoyingly.
- One last cheeky tip. If you’re worried about your wrap-dress unwrapping, in addition to your required closure (for me it was a press-stud at the waist). You could add a second closure at the waist, with another part-way down the skirt. I’m wild and didn’t do this as I always wear a belt and a slip for added security.
There you have it! I hope that I have encouraged some of you to want to try a visit to the Red Centre, a wrap dress, vintage pattern, or all of the above! Please let me know and tag me in your makes and adventures so that we can finish the conversation in the comments below or via insta. I always get a little thrill to know that people are reading my itty-bitty online diary.
P.S. Lipstick is my all-time favourite “Lana” by Nars. x