This is how we do fit….


Team Awesome. x

Hello again. It’s been all go here at Plum Towers, starting with a VERY flying visit to Sydney , to sew no less. Get me eh? It made me feel terribly fabulous at work Friday night drinks, for once instead of “oh you know, chores, sewing, some TV, talking to the cats” I got to throw out a casual “oh me? Off to Sydney in the morning…as you do”. Sorry, couldn’t help myself…

The reason for this little slice of glam? Jenny bringing her Cashmerette  awesomeness Down Under, in the form of three weekend sewing retreats. Sewing can be a solitary affair, and for the most part being holed up in my sewing room is a lovely break from my day job in a busy corporate office (wont lie, some of that is me getting the low down on Married at First Sight #dontjudge).

But after learning the basics over four Saturdays with a small group of fellow novices a few years back, and having so much fun sharing the experience (talking and laughing being mandatory to any learning experience surely? Ok, except in an exam situation maybe…), I’m all for group learning. After enjoying myself immensely last year at Jules pattern drafting course, I was all for something similar minus the 24 hours plane ride.


So off I went! Now, I wont lie, I haven’t done a great deal of solo travel. My first overseas flight (“Whooo, big plane”) was to leave NZ with my boyfriend/now husband to live in the UK at 24 years old. At that age my nephew had been around the world about four times! I had a wonderful week at Ballymaloe hotel and cooking school for my 30th birthday present, but even then my Achilles heel showed itself….driving 30 minutes out of Cork airport in entirely the wrong direction.  Friends, I have NO sense of direction. I feel like I’m perpetuating such a cliche, and please know I have MANY female friends who would find their way out of the jungle with a broken compass. I’m just so not one of them. Solo travel is always a bit scary for me.

Despite my evident limitations I did manage to find the Taxi stand at Kingsford Smith, and I was off. The workshop was held at Bobbin & Ink  on Parramatta Rd, a convenient twenty five minute ride , without having to go into the middle of town. So I’m feeling very smug sitting in my cab with a coffee, and I get my first taste of Sydney traffic. Or should I say Sydney road rage (on a Saturday morning no less). My driver, and a small man in a large ute had a frank exchange of views out the window & it was salty! Both parentage AND appendage size were called into question, while I sat in the back with the most horrified middle class white chick face you can conjure. Actually it was less offended and more “don’t make me late. Or lost”! He capped it off with dropping me outside Bobbin & Ink with such a surprising brake maneuver we nearly got mowed down by a bus. Thank goodness for that glass of bubbles on the plane eh?

So I was a slightly highly strung mess when I rocked into Bobbin & Ink, to be met by the pleasant hub bub of activity.


Now,  down to work. The premise of the weekend was fitting, something that really does make a difference in the look & feel of a garment, but also something that comes with experience. When I first started sewing with professional patterns, I expected to follow the instructions carefully , based on the measurements on the pattern sleeve, and hey, it would fit. Yes? I’m an accountant remember.

One of the many benefits of a “curvy” sewing weekend? A curvy girl knows fitting is a superpower, and she isn’t afraid to use it! Find those patterns that work for you. So then you don’t have to fanny around apologizing for your D/F/H cup & bootaylicious waist/hips/any damn bit you like, and can crack on to dealing with “lets make this look fabulous hey”.


Seriously, that fabric. That smile. Emma nailing her Webster top. And swans!!

We had all brought different patterns to work on, so beavered away, stopping periodically for Jenny to demonstrate various techniques. We covered plenty. FBA’s, check. Bicep adjustments,check. Rotating darts , check. Making a pattern I wasn’t sure about look A, check. Take swan fabric & rock it, check (that’s the Webster, which I wasn’t sure about when it was released, but actually really like after seeing it made up) . Take the bodice I made in the wrong size, and show me how fab it will be, check. Be very cool to have lunch with & completely hilarious , check check check.

Honestly, if my Ames jeans MUSLIN (yes!!!) looked like this? People being knocked out by high fives, just sayin….

Actually on the fan girl vibe, does one turn up at a workshop in their own made efforts? Kinda cute, or ” Jeesus wept, what in Janome has she done to our pattern:”…?  It’s a dilemma yes? I went there.

Yep, I went there. And apparently I have rictus in my jaw?

This is my Lenox , birds ahoy.

Annette, Chloe & Cassiy being interrupted by an irritating Kiwi…They took it well.
Amanda going in (wearing the most lovely Trelise shift she was lucky to leave with …I was skipping the country after all)
There was cake! Cake!!! Shout out to Gillian x


Carrie, fitting maven & all round superstar .

So was it worth the effort ? Hell yes. What did I actually make? I choose to go with the Upton dress, I’ve had the pattern for a while, but I have never made anything so fitted, or anything lined.

Sorta close but no cigar…

Did it fit? Um, no. What have I learnt? Measure. Measure. Oh did I say measure? I have a 1.5 inch difference between the last time I measured my bust and when I cut the pattern . In that tight fitting bodice? Houston we have a big problem. Actually I’m ok with that, I’ve learnt some good lessons, not least for pity’s sake don’t assume. Also that silk is a lovely fabric but a bit of a cow to sew. What should it look like? Hello Ange, and This. Really, how lovely is that fit. Needless to say I have retraced the pattern to actually fit me, and making another attempt, wish me luck.

Also I have to share the delicious breakfast I enjoyed Sunday morning. A good corn fritter is hard to find, so shout out to the Wellco café on Norton Street.

Sewing requires sustenance…


Have you been a sewing retreat/workshop? If not, give it a go. Just be careful of taxi rides…

Kristina x

* Did I survive the whole weekend without getting lost? Not quite. Apparently Parramatta Rd is VERY long, so the 17 Parramatta Rd I walked a km with my suitcase in the blazing sunshine too, is not the SAME 17 Parramatta Rd my hotel was actually located at. In fact it was 5 km in the other direction. Ho hum…



















































































































































































I’ve just old Jenny how much fabric costs in this part of the word (no worries, she came right after a few minutes…)

Sewing retreats. Would you go there?

Now back to reality……….ho hum

Kristina x





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































  1. Lyndle says:

    Oh this sounds fabulous! Good on you for biting the bullet and going over for it! I just totalled up what I spent on my sewing/ embroidery hobbies last year and if I reign in the fabric buying and classes, I could totally afford to go on a real life workshop next time Jenny comes down under. Inspiring!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks Lyndle, although “reign in fabric buying” isn’t a phrase I’m familiar with…?😉😙


  2. StitchNSew says:

    I loved reading your post 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed your whirlwind adventure across the ditch. It was lovely meeting and sewing with you and no you weren’t an annoying Kiwi at all!
    I agree totally agree with you that seeing others make some of the patterns has now made me think actually maybe I do want to make that pattern… My to sew list grew each time I came home from a retreat.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks so much Cassiy , it was a blast, so glad you came to the second retreat 😙


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