Saturday, March 26, 2011


I have been doing lots of customs this week. I am quite liking it. Knowing exactly who you are making something for gives it a sense of love and identity, rather than sending your pieces off into the big world to bags themselves an owner. (Can you anthropomorphise fabric? Think I just did.)

Hmmm...maybe I'll do customs every month, as well as the regular stocking? What do you all think?

Anyway, here is a dress for Rhianna's little girl:

Peasant style, with flutter sleeves, size 1, with (if I may say so myself) gorgeous turquoise bias-bound armhole facings:

I do love these details.

These dresses (in sizes 0-3) cost between $32-$38 depending on the fabric, and a bit more for larger sizes.
And a skirt for Claire's little girl.

The back is cute too:

Claire scored this sweet size 1 linen skirt in my facebook page  giveaway for her wonderful ditty about why she loves mangolime (yes, I have no pride):

"Mangolime you are sublime, I love everything about your design. You're a Darwin chick, you're fully sick, where oh where do you find the time??"

Ah! Basking in the love. Basking.

Friday, March 25, 2011


The thing I love aboout sewing is how, even when you feel you are gettiung good at it, there is always, always, more things to learn. And things that once seemed so hard, so out of reach, a little later on down the track are suddenly totally do-able.

Like pockets.

(Aside: I hate clothes without pockets, and have you noticed how many dresses and skirts (aka women's clothes) are bereft of pockets? Surely its an anti-feminist plot to leave us without keys and money and thus totally dependent on men carrying such items in their ubiquitous pocketed clothing? Am I overstating things here?)

So, when I say pockets here I am not talking about your ordinary patch pockets (though I do love these too. Evidently:)

not even the super-sweet gathered pocket (which also has a secure place in my heart)

No. I am talking about Double Seam Inset Pockets (shall we call them DSIPs just to sound bureaucratic?), which when you first said out loud sounds way too technical for the likes of me, but is actually quickly mastered thanks to a wonderful tutorial by ikatbag.*
I am putting them into a custom skirt. (Excuse the unironed and obviously ufinished sewing)

This will eventually be a skirt with DSIPs:

These are really not hard to make. They are one of those sewing origami things for which you need some time away from the constant chatter of 3 year olds so you can just map it out in your head, and then you will be off and away. Trust me! Now I've got them down pat, I am thinking of all sorts of variations. Peeky out lining, bias bound pockets, the sky's the limit!

Am so in love with myself right now.

Off to put pockets on everything.

*If you are still interested in pockets after reading this post (well done), you may want to check out ikatbag's full series of pocket tutorials. Pure genius.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where I go all introspective and self-obsessed on you - feel free to skip this post and do something way more useful, like go order Season 4 of MadMen. I won't be offended.

The mangolime stocking on Wednesday night took off slowly. By this I mean I didn't sell out in 15 minutes. I know. I know. I am ridiculous. (But in context, my driving test I took when I was 25 (25!) was the first test I had ever failed. So I set a high bar. Its vomitous - I am the first to admit it. I do need to point out that I did pass on the second go. Taking the test in Darwin rather than inner-Sydney city may have helped, a bit.)

Its just that every other stocking I have had since mangolime opened a year ago has sold out so quickly, literally in minutes, so of course i was left feeling like something was going wrong. Why doesn't everyone love my stuff anymore? What is going on? Should I quit? Is this worth it? Maybe I don't wanna keep doing this? Really it was a Veruca Salt moment which Mr Mango refused to indulge, repairing downstairs to watch TV with nary a backward glance and a parting comment "Don't worry, check it again in the morning".

So. Feel free to roll your eyes at this point and write me off as an obsessive perfectionist with nothing better to worry about.

But....the thing about handmade is that you put a lot of love into each piece you make, and somehow, it becomes very attached to you and who you are and how you see yourself, and then if someone likes it or not that can get all mixed up with other issues of ego and...well I guess you see what I mean. I pride myself on making stuff that I like, and then hoping others will like it too. This is a different strategy to making stuff that I know is popular or stuff that people ask me to make because they saw someone else wearing something similar. I have such precious little time to create that if I am not making stuff with fabrics that I absolutely love, the fun is not there for me.

Sometimes this feels totally right. But sometimes (like when a stocking is not zooming) you feel unsure of yourself, and start talking to yourself in a neurotic Woody Allen kind of way.

Of course, over the next couple of days the orders dribbled in, and each time my ego was repaired that little but more. (And now there's only a couple of things left). And then a few days ago I ran a giveaway on facebook asking people to tell me what they liked about mangolime. This is a sure fire cure for any insecurity I tell ya! People are so so nice when you ask them to be! DUH. I did then float around for the next 24 hours feeling much loved and very very special. Slightly artificial, I know, But then some of the best highs are, right?

Now I know in the scheme of things this is nothing. Less than nothing. God I can't even believe I am writing about this given what is going on in the world. But it also feels sort of good to come clean. Thank you for listening. You have done your good deed for the day getting to the end of this post!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Finally, the January February March mangolime stocking is here. Not to be deterred by cyclones, car crashes, broken legs, 3 year old birthday parties (oy vey) or general malaise, mangolime is bringing you some lovely new stock!

The stocking will be on this Wednesday March 16th at 7.30pm (this is NT time - please find out what time this is for you in your state or territory). As always, stock can be previewed on the site up until this time, at which point it will go live and you can purchase it. There are nappies, dresses, shorts and my new skirts too.

Exclusive to facebook fans will be some custom spots - where you get to choose the fabric and size for your nappy, skirt, dress or shorts. These will be going up on the Thursday night - for details check the facebook page.

I hope you get what you are after!


I have a new line of skirts in my shop.

Beautiful linen blend, Japanese fabric, elastic waist, simple, confortable, stylish. I love making these. I love the fabric.

These could be worn with stockings or leggings or those funky long socks in the colder places.

Skirts will be available in my next stocking.
When is that exactly? (I hear you ask.) Wednesday March 16th at 7.30pm NT time.

(If only the pigeons who constantly steal our chickens' food would look as pretty as this, Arlo calls them pickens. As in "Mama! The pickens are eating the shickens (sic) food again!")

Quilt virgin

(If your name is Libby and you are my friend and you are reading my blog please stop reading at this point. I promise you, all will be revealed in time!)

Quilt virgin. That's me, Never made a quilt before. Never planned to. Always thought they were a bit....(apologies to all my funky quilting friends).....twee, in that lavendar-sachet sort of way. Not that there's anything wrong with a good lavender sachet mind you. Maybe minus the lace and .....OK better stop there methinks. Don't want to offend any super crafters.

I completely capitulate. I was wrong, Quilts can be cool. I have had a vision of a modern, bright, fresh, funky quilt in my head for a little while now, and now that my lovely friends Libby and Edward are expecting their second baby soon, and that we know this one is a boy, and that I am extra-privileged to be chosen as a birthing partner for them, I wanted to make the dream a reality. This usually ends in disaster for me. Perfectionist that I am in a messy body, the vision never quite matches up. But I think this one is gonna work.

Its gonna be a circle quilt, with a scrappy horizontal strip on the back. The colours are blue, green and orange, and feature all my favourites - Jessica Jones, Etsuko Furuya and (ahem) Ikea. The background material will be a white (or maybe off white) linen or linen blend. I'm gonna do a bit of hand stitching around the circles.

(I have to add that I am the lucky recipient of hand holding by mistress quilters Andi and Bianca, without whose words of wisdom and ecouragement I wouldn't even attempt to quilt.)

So here's a sneak peak of the strip for the back:

And circles for the front:

Have you ever made a quilt? Any tips for this here virgin would be much much appreciated!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Foxy crafters

Yes things are definately looking up. Today I spent the whole day sewing my heart out. It was bliss. Yesterday I found myself in the company of 3 lovely, local, crafty, funny women, and by the end of coffee we had decided to get together regularly.

That's Bianca (her head actually does come with a top, its just that her 5 year old was our photographer), Kirsty, Nikki and me at the front, looking a bit wincy (5 year old photographer). Little Evie in the front and Arlo (note cast) in the back (he is wondering why he is not the photographer).

I am often struck with jealousy when I read blogs of crafty down-southeeners and their joyful mentions of this or that craft gathering, or this or that crafty bloggy friend who lives down the road and has just popped in for coffee and a show and tell, but I need be jealous no longer! This crew is ace! Not only talented, not only fabric addicted (only one addict can truly understand another), not ony juggling 13 kids between us, but completely generous with their skills and knowledge. Ah....its like coming home.