Aztec Australian : Megan Neilsen Eucalypt Tank Pattern Review

Well, it’s been a long, long time since I posted any makes up on the blog – partly because I hardly got any sewing in last month, but mostly because I’ve been so preoccupied with the Wardrobe Architect series. Actually, I’d like to hear what you guys think: are you enjoying the Wardrobe Architect Challenge posts or would you like to see more sewing and less chattering about my personal style (which I can’t imagine too many people would be interested in…)? Let me know in the comments below!

Anyhow, this make was made a good 6 months ago and is actually my second ever handmade garment! I only got around to photographing it proper a couple of weeks ago, but this tank top has become a firm favourite in my closet and is on constant rotation.

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This pattern is the Eucalypt Tank and Dress pattern from Megan Nielsen, a brilliant Australian designer and an all-around awesome person (I’m talking about her like I know her, but I really don’t. I wish I did though! If this recent blog post of hers is anything to go by, she sounds like a wonderful person with really a big heart.)

I discovered her patterns when I spied the Tania Culottes and Cascade Skirt floating about on the blogosphere, so it was a no-brainer that I opted for her Breakwater Collection pattern pack that got me 4 patterns for the price of 3. #WIN

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The Fabric

Did I mention how cheap this make was? The fabric cost me S$2 per metre – that’s US$0.80! Granted, I did get it from the clearance rack of a random shop in Chinatown so it’s not the most comfortable fabric, but that aztec print! How could I not love it? Plus when I posted it on instagram and wore it out I got a ton of compliments so… it’s a winner already.

The Pattern 

This pattern was a quick and easy make. I had no trouble at all grading from an XS in the bust to a S in the waist as per my measurements (woe is the small busted pear) and found the instructions clear and simple to follow, which is a serious understatement. These instructions are so good that a complete sewing noob like myself managed to execute french seams without even knowing what a french seam was. Are you mindblown? I am (on hindsight).

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The main thing I would have done differently is to cut a straight S as the XS was a little too tight across the chest for a casual woven tank top. I did like how the close fit across the bust and almost A line shape toward the waist gave me a little more shape than I would normally get from a tank top though – I probably wouldn’t have gotten that effect had I sewn up a straight size S. Alternatively, I think this problem may have been managed by making the arm holes a little bigger as they did cut a bit too high.

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Subsequently I made up the dress version of the Eucalypt pattern, but didn’t love it. I felt that it was too shapeless and overwhelming on my short frame – it looks great on the model though, so maybe it would work better on a taller person… or with heels. It doesn’t really matter to me anyhow, this pattern is already a favourite for the tank top version alone.

By the way if you thought I snuck my way onto a movie set, I didn’t! I visited Universal Studios Singapore (for like the 7th time) last month, so I took the chance to coerce my boyfriend into snapping a few photos for me. I’ve got a ton of photos from my visit, so watch out for a short post on it soon!

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The fake jersey boys are countin’ on you 

The Great Closet Detox (& a Mini Room Tour!)

My boyfriend will tell you that I’m a hoarder. He’s probably right. And that doesn’t just apply to mementoes or childhood clothes, I will hoard anything that has sentimental value to me – primary school uniforms, broken childhood toys, letters from friends I’ve lost contact with – you name it, I probably kept it.

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I also have a distinct aversion to throwing away things that are in perfectly good condition, especially impulse buys which have never been worn and will probably never be worn like, ever. The end result is a closet that is bursting at its seams, and nowhere to put the clothes that I do wear. Which in turn, affects the tidiness of my room as the clothes in current rotation end up on any available surface other than in the closet – my chair, my bed, and I hate to admit it but… the floor. It got so bad in December last year that I decided some drastic action was needed, so I called the most ruthless closet purger I knew… my boyfriend (AKA The Master Purger).

I don’t have many photos of my room before “Operation Closet Purge” began (truth be told I considered it but was way too embarrassed to even take any), but some of you may have seen the process in action over on my instagram.

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Using Into Mind’s brilliant Closet Detox Cheat Sheet, we went through every item of clothing in my closet and ended up reducing the total garment count by a whopping 75% (estimated). This means that for every 4 items of clothing in my closet, I only kept 1! Are you guys as shocked as I was? I had no idea my wardrobe was harbouring that many pieces that did not fit my style / were not a good fit / or were in an unwearable condition.

The end result was 2 garbage bags full of trash, another 2 garbage bags worth of wearable (albeit slightly out of fashion) garments bound for The Salvation Army, and a large suitcase full of clothes (mostly new and unworn) to be sold on Carousell or at flea markets. The Master Purger also made me promise that any unsold clothes left at the end of the year would be bundled up and shipped off to the good people at The Salvation Army so if you guys are the shopping sort, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pop by my account on Carousell (@jessiehhm) and help me cover some of my shopping losses! Or if you’re not located locally, I’m open to shipping internationally so drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you (I have yet to photograph and upload about 90% of the clothes to be sold, so do bear with me if my account looks a little bare at the moment.)

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I also took the chance to reorganise my room and introduce some new furniture – a bedside table and a bookshelf (I don’t know how I survived without them before!) Other new organisational features which I love are this hanging jewellery organiser and these cubes from Ikea which are perfectly sized to hold my hair styling tools and tech equipment. Before this, they were just sprawled out across my floor, wires in a tangle and so on.

Instead of splurging on an polaroid-sized album (those things are expensive!) for the random instax photos I have lying around, I parked them behind the frosted glass of my wardrobe drawers instead. There you go – an instant design feature that conveniently hides my unsightly underwear and showcases all the people I hold near and dear.

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Despite the emotional and psychological trauma of having my clothing collection drastically reduced in the space of 2 days, I must say that my room is a less claustrophobic, more relaxing place to be in now. It’s also helped to define my personal style which has made it a lot easier to choose my outfits and to see all my clothing at a glance. I would definitely recommend this closet detox process to anyone who feels that they have too many clothes, or to someone who constantly feels that they have nothing to wear despite having an extremely extensive clothing collection!

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I’m loving this new change so much that one of my plans for the next year is to learn more about starting a capsule wardrobe in order to create a streamlined closet of good quality pieces that I love that are in constant rotation!

Do you guys have recommendations for reading materials on capsule wardrobes and personal style? If so, leave a comment – I’d love to hear them!