Why sizing is so confusing 


So you are wandering through stores trying on what you think is the right size. By the end of the day you think your going crazy because your size is different no matter where you go. 

Well I’m here to tell you that no your not crazy. Every company has its own sizing charts. They have complicated ways of deciding on the correct grade for their label to fit the target market they are aiming at.

That’s not even the difficult part. The standard sizing chart for Australian clothing have only just begun to be addressed as sizing for clothing was set up in the 1950’s when children, women & men were as you know much smaller. Less hormone pumped chickens and flavourings and colourings etc.
So what size you think you are on average in the shops is actually 1-2 sizes smaller than what you actually are according to standards. This being said now that I know I’m actually a 16 instead of a 12 I’m not horrified because these standards were made more than 60 years ago. Most high fashion labels including Parisian fashion houses and what not still are guided by these old standards as they sell to petite women. Which unluckily I am not. Somehow managed to get all my fathers genes with a dash of my mothers face.

I hope I have clarified sizing just slightly. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

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Flavours of Cirque cafe Newcastle


Walking into Cirque cafe Newcastle the decor is simple and quite minimalist.

Clean cut dark brown tables and white walls with one wall black for chalk drawings of circus flags. The day’s specials are chalked upon the wall confit duck, Parmesan and rocket penne.

I’m thinking to myself this is something I’ve seen before. Amongst the throng of boring same same cafe restaurants in Newcastle I am crying out for something fresh.

The name of the cafe Cirque promises me something new. I am here for the food and the food only. The minimalist look sets the atmosphere for the bustling conversations of entrepreneurs, lawyers and rich house wives. The prices of food are quite realistic and reasonable for what has been offered.

This is the third day I have visited Cirque. Let me say I only ordered a coffee just once the first day I visited, a cappuccino and it was burnt. That being said I do not know whether to blame the barista or the tools the barista has been given. I suspect that the coffee machine itself is overheating the coffee while its inside the machine or the waitress is pressing down the coffee with too much pressure and the water isn’t fully soaking through in time. So ok I wasn’t incredibly impressed with the coffee however the service provided was very good.

Coffee in Newcastle at any cafe is usually burnt and it is rare to find a good barista. Something that is so lacking and is undeniably ignored upon the cafe restaurant scene in Newcastle nowadays.

Cirque does offer a list of other non caffeinated drinks such as detoxifying juices and iced chocolates which are a better representation of Cirque.

The food at Cirque is flavoursome and fresh. The first day I ate at Cirque I had the eggs Benedict on salmon with hollandaise. The appearance was simple piled with extra hollandaise spilling down the sides. Kind of boring. The flavour was as expected an explosion of hollandaise sauce, poached egg and salmon.

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The linguini meatballs were ablaze with colour and had a strong Italian aroma. Very wisely littered with fresh herb flavours and meatballs that were just the right size for a mouthful. I was very impressed with the share of shaved parmesan embellishing the dish.

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On the second day I had a Wagyu beef burger with a side of hand cut potato chips. The Wagyu beef patty was just like mum makes although with a good quality Wagyu mince. A delicious combination of herbs mince and onion . The spicy beetroot jam beneath the patty and combination of lettuce, tomato and toasted bun with aioli had just the right flavours to make the burger melt in your mouth. My only complaint was the height of the burger was hard to manage grabbing and fitting a full mouth full in and the burger had to almost be deconstructed to be eaten which I didn’t mind as it tasted so good. The chips were equally as tasty. I’m quite sure the aioli is also made in house with a few secret flavours that make it amazing.

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Today I had a simple bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt that had been presented perfectly with a side of honey.

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The beetroot and goats cheese tort appeared hidden in a sea of loose leaf salad leaving me to think we are playing hide and go seek which I thought was quite playful and enjoyed. The shaved Parmesan on top seemed a little too similar to the linguini although a fitting match for the rocket salad.

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Addicted to Vinyl cafe great toasties and even better coffee


Located a short walk from King and hunter street in the Central Business District Newcastle, Australia is the cafe Vinyl.

Stepping into Vinyl is like transcendence of the ages. Music playing varies from New York New York to other hit tunes of the ages. Surrounded by Walls of vinyl records an old piano, suitcases, record players. Posters of the Beatles, Lennon and Bob Marley. You can not help but feel at home or inspired. Vinyl is just the atmosphere to de-stress and relax away from the corporate world.

Let’s not stop there. Food is a mix of simple yet tasty gourmet sandwiches, melts (toasties) and wraps perfect for lunch time. Enough food that you are full but you are not over eating. So very healthy for a mid day luncheon with a close friend or important meeting.

The baristas are well trained and own the business. So coffee is very important and made amazingly. Unlike the majority of cafes in Newcastle the coffee is never burnt and milk is always fresh and creamy. Made traditional style with a shake of chocolate powder.

Why not relive your childhood memories with a cold very thick thickshake, my favourite being the strawberry thickshake. Yum!

I would say that their prices are on par with other local cafes but the atmosphere and music makes it better.

Overall this would have to be my favourite cafe in the Newcastle Cbd to relax away my lunch times.

Modelling in shoot is good friend and designer Samantha Louise South

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Chanel gets naughty for fifty shades of Grey


In the futuristic approach of Chanel we have found the fabulous Rouge Allure lipstick range. The tint of choice is Passion 104 in its well protected metal casing. You simply press the end and it pops out of its lock and push it back in to protect it from unwanted damage. No man or woman could possibly walk past a woman wearing passion without having raunchy thoughts of fifty shades of grey and it has the kind of come hither appeal. Red. A non shiny more matt than tacky red. The reddest red that draws out the imagination reminding you of those kinky nights of your youth in bed with interesting men and drinking mohitos on yachts in the Mediterranean. Whether those luxurious nights were more fact or fiction this raunchy passion is coming in hot and heavy throughout 2015 winter and summer.

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Ethical design how do you think you can get away with being unethical?


While others are outsourcing to other countries in poorly paid factories with poor lighting and poor facilities.

Mothers are sewing in these factories and have children who are going without and workers are being paid the wrong pay so you can wear your cheap and nasty looking clothing.

Not only this the poor worker is working in filth while sweat is pouring off them because they are working so hard that the term sweat shop actually is relatable. Their arms and wrists are aching because every day they sew the same thing all day long making the same movement. Later on in life they will be riddled with arthritis and their backs will be bent from bending over a poorly lit sewing machine.

There are those of us that just don’t want to be unethical. We can see the damage it has caused to countries and the affect fast fashion has on land fill. The worst and most heart breaking affect is on the people who by their circumstances are subjected to unethical design.

We live in such a throw away society. Every time we buy something that is throw away. Something that’s cheap and in fashion that will be out of fashion next week we are contributing to this problem.

It’s not just the designer but it is also the consumer at fault here.

Meanwhile in Australia. Piece workers are doing a similar thing to compete with a market that is just so hard to compete with just so they can make a name for themselves and beat fast fashion. You see in Australia the minimum pay for piece work is $40 an hour. That being said so many designers are unwilling to pay this price because they can get it cheaper overseas. It’s a sad industry when you have to be underpaid in your own country to compete with your overseas competition. I personally have sewn piecework for labels and one in particular from Newcastle Australia who wanted to pay just $10 per garment. The garment would take me an hour to make. I could not believe the hide of this woman. So bloody cheap. Unbelievably cheap. While she gets $40 for a pair of shorts expecting me to sit there and sew all night for $10 per pair. Not only that she would be calling me to have them done overnight when I had not even had a chance to sew them. As a dressmaker and daughter of a dress maker I was quite offended by this. That’s why I felt I should speak out because she the designer who does not even design her own clothes is still doing the same thing paying pittance to other piece workers so she can get $300 for a dress. it’s disgusting. She doesn’t even make her own patterns or make any decisions in the design process. Now I hear she’s outsourcing her pattern making for $5 a patten somewhere is Russia. For someone who outwardly claims to be ethical I am so ashamed of this woman saying she is a designer and pretending to be while she profits off her unknowing customers. She just profits off actual designers and dressmakers who want so badly to use their craft that they are willing to sew for almost nothing.

My personal experience during this process was that I would be doing all nighters until 5am in the morning sewing and while the sweat was pouring off me I could not help but relate to my overseas counterparts. Who could not choose to give up their careers as piece workers. 

So as you can see even if you think the company is ethical it sometimes is not. You really need to investigate to find out before you buy.


Wedding dress 101 Why you can’t have your dress taken in too tight


You just can’t have your dress too tight and I will go into this in gory detail.

Firstly the wedding dress you wear is the most important part of your wedding. If your dress is too tight you suddenly develop roles of fat which are pouring out from your underarms or the back. The waist looks like the fabric has stretched because it’s been taken in too much.

Ok so there are some ways around this and you should ask your dressmaker or designer what you can do if you need the dress to be so tight your waist looks like your wearing a corset.

But let me repeat myself there is nothing worse than a cheap looking wedding dress that has popped.

Your a size bigger than your sister or your girlfriend and you just wanted to look smaller. We all know what it’s like but please for your own sake and the sake of your wedding do not make your dress so tight you need to squeeze into it.

There is nothing worse at a wedding than the brides dress popping. It’s absolutely horrifying and the stuff of nightmares. I’ve actually seen this with my own eyes and it definitely wasn’t a dress that I made. Invisible zippers are known for popping on girls who are wearing dresses that are too tight. When I saw this happen it became a drama for half the night and the bride ended up being so rude to her sister even I was disgusted. Horrified even after bridezilla reared her ugly head. Poor uninformed size 22. I felt very sorry for her while her bridesmaids attempted to use giant safety pins to pin her together. Omg! What a scary terrible wedding. I was just a young waitress at the time but I really felt sorry for the girl. She just wanted to look smaller and it ruined her wedding.

Imagine your walking around casually and then your dress pops.

There is no going back. Once your dress has popped your wedding goes down hill. You have to change into your honey moon clothes if you have them with you. Brides worst nightmare walking around casually in her Bahama thongs, casual jeans and tshirt she wears on weekends while her size 8 bridesmaids are swanning around in gorgeous little cocktail dresses.

At least pack some back up clothes please and not the variety you find in supre or just jeans.


Why you can’t trust a quilter to make your wedding dress


Ok I’ve said it before many times. A quilter is not a dressmaker. But a dressmaker is 100% the person you go to after having your wedding dress stuffed up by the quilter.

So you know she’s a friend and she can sew but can you trust her to sew your wedding dress?

Well according to myself not unless she has knowledge of pattern making, fitting and fabrics.

It is very different sewing straight lines and showing you can appliqué a few stray cats on a cushion to hand sewing beads and lace to dresses

Fitting the dress to the human form adds a whole other dimension. You have to know how much to fit the dress so it’s not too tight and it’s not too loose. You have to know how to alter the pattern so you can change the style to suit the bride. You also have to help the bride choose the right style steering them away from bad taste moments. Remember that dress you really liked on the hanger but the style just didn’t sit right and looked horrible.

Sewing a wedding dress is much harder than the average sewers sewing level. If you are a quilter and have succeeded in making a wedding dress well done but I bet you will never attempt another one unless your a glutton for punishment.

The nicest wedding dresses are designed especially to suit the bride and made with the highest quality fabrics and needlework. They should have a mixture of hand and machine sewing and fit just right with the right style to suit the body shape.


The truth about buying a bridesmaid dress online


So I’m sharing a huge secret with you all. My biggest group of clientele are bridesmaids who have had dresses bought for them online.

With online dresses I have noticed a certain pattern of faults in fitting and design that I would like to share.

Firstly when you look at the bra cup shape it is all kinds of wrong. I mean who really wants their boobs to be cupped by padding that looks like a discus rather than the more conventional balconette cup.

Secondly the dress is always either too small or too big. This mean huge alterations if your dress is too big and even if it is too small where we might even have to add a panel or let the dress out. Better the dress is too big than too small none the less.

Thirdly the straps are always an odd length meaning you have to get them taken in or let out.

Fourth if there is any beading or fancy techniques you have admired in the design they usually are falling off by the time they reach Australia.

Fifth the hem always has to be altered

Sixth the style may not even sit right because the shape is all wrong and if it does sit right then the style may still be wrong.

Bridesmaid dresses are the things best made by local dressmakers but you have to make sure you can trust your dressmaker before you let them take on your work.

The other thing is you must make sure that the dressmaker has some form of qualification or learnt knowledge. Do not trust any person who thinks that sewing a quilt together or a cushion qualifies them to make bridesmaid dresses. God forbid you let them make your wedding dress. Ask to look at prior examples of their work before investing yourself financially in their business and wasting valuable time.


Dealing with Bridemaidzilla a Dressmakers guide


So here we go. If you haven’t seen it before the bridezilla is becoming a rarity. It’s more or less bridesmaidzilla in the marriage department nowadays. I’ve seen it more than once and I’m sure I will see it again.

The girlfriends who want to look better than the bride or who want to turn themselves into a size 8 when they are really an 18.

Well the only way to deal with this breed is to make sure that they are fully informed before they get their dresses made or altered. If your a size 18 I can’t use my magic sewing wand and turn you into an 8. What I can do is fit the dress to your size and ensure that the style you choose matches your particular shape.

About shape. All these apples pears and mangoes are all wrong after a certain size. As far as I can see you are the shape you are and you will only look as good as you can look. Which is great as long as you choose the right style.


What happens when your New Year’s resolution is “Draw More”?


myf draws apparently

My new year’s resolution for 2014 was a fairly complex one, but in essence it boiled down to two words:

draw more.

…and it has felt like I’ve drawn a lot this year. Not as much as someone who doesn’t have a day-job and a child, of course, but a steady stream of stuff nonetheless.

Some of it I was pleased with. Some of it I was not – and I’ve learned to call that stuff part of the learning process, rather than a failure.

January

It was my husband’s birthday and I made him this card:

Dude birthday by Myfanwy Tristram

February

February first is Hourly Comics Day! I entered into the spirit of things, and tried not to care about putting out unpolished work – after all, that’s what it’s all about.

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I’m quite looking forward to the next one already – and let’s face it, February is not usually…

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