Charlie ditches the Seventies…

Imagine it’s warm (it isn’t), and that lime tree is actually a palm (it isn’t)…

As a child of the 70’s, hearing a pattern released with the word caftan in the title just didn’t send me. Don’t get me wrong, the seventies gave us some wonderful things. Fondue, thankfully enjoying the revival melted cheese deserves. Brown and orange , one of my favorite colour combinations ever…for clothing. Approach with caution for walls & carpet? Margo’s amazing wardrobe in The Good Life (including marvelous caftans of course!)

Image result for margo the good life

Sadly it’s not Margo I think of when I hear caftan. Instead, it’s possibly one of the more unlikely sex symbols to emerge from the decade restraint forgot. Sadly I can still see the cover of Mum’s Demis Roussos album now. Demis, resplendent in a caftan with a woman in a slinky gold dress sprawled on an animal print rug at his feet. Indeed.  To be fair, it was the Seventies, and he had an amazing voice, with some catchy tunes…*


Clearly caftans have moved on, as this nifty number from Closet Case Patterns would attest. I saw lots of nice versions of this when the Charlie caftan pattern was first released. I trying now to wait & see how patterns look on a variety of sewers before jumping in (oh such maturity Kristina!) When I won a free pattern from the lovely Miss Maude Sewing recently, I figured with a trip to Fiji for a warm weather break approaching  I’d take the plunge. Much nicer than the thought of buying bathers anyway…

Such hilarity in my hedge?!

I chose to make the maxi Version C, but with the higher sleeve of the other two.   As you can see I am not in a maxi. I had two choices, call this blog post “Mrs D goes to Fiji in her Curtains” or chop some fabric off & create something rather more wearable! I made a size 18 grading to a size 20 at the hips. This pattern has a lot of ease, I could def have done a straight 18, if not possibly a 16.

Channeling 70’s shampoo commercial, wont lie…

My fabric is a cheapie cotton/linen blend from Spotlight. I thought I might like to make a version in some glorious double gauze I have stashed away, I figured if the fit wasn’t right I wouldn’t be too upset, and would still have something I could throw over my bathers in the Islands. Maximum adulting happening here all week folks!

Not perfect, but better than it was pre darts…with apologies for the milk bottle legs!

Alterations, there were a few. I had a mare trying to turn the ties through to the right side. After literally half an hour poking my fingers with all manner of knitting needles I gave up & left the waist ties out. I found the fabric a bit “billowy” at the back, without a tie to bring it under control. After seeing the same issue on this lovely blog, I shamelessly copied was inspired by, adding two darts at the center back to bring the fabric in & give me some shape, while allowing some nice skim over my hips & butt.

Darts in there somewhere!

I also added 5 cm (approx 2 inches) to the sleeve length, I like a little more coverage in the sun, I can burn in nano seconds (thank my Father with his red hair & Irish skin hey). It was super easy, tutorial here. I also slightly raised the sleeve , to avoid any bra flash, which is also covered .

After hacking off some of the length I was still left with a small split at the hem, I kept it as a cute design feature. I remember my older sisters having dresses with curved hems & splits, they seemed terribly grown up to me.



Well, lets just say that front panel wasn’t my finest hour. If you have a sensitive disposition please don’t zoom in on the top stitching. Or anything about it actually. At least I know what I did wrong (um, reading the instructions for one?) , thankfully my hyper busy fabric at least hides the ineptitude SLIGHTLY…its a worry when your interior looks better than your exterior maybe?

Hand stitch cover on the interior. I should have put it on the outside?

I love the way the neckline sits, the tutorial on the website is great, and I will use it for other necklines going  forward. But it is certainly too low for me, I’m happy to have a bit of cleavage action  but without a singlet this is full bra flash. In one of fashions complete contradictions I will wear it happily in Fiji , because flashing your bathers isn’t the same as flashing your bra. No, I don’t get it either…

I will also make the damn ties!

*I’ll leave you with Demis, while I don’t dig his fashion sense, I do have fond memories of this song…although I have no recollection of mastering those lyrics!

Kristina x






Same same …but different

I really wanted to click my heels together…..photographer not so keen

After the success ( I thought anyway) of my first Kalle shirt-dress , I wanted to make the shorter tunic version for wearing with jeans and my new RED sandals! I’m a girl who loves red shoes from way back. Despite my pal/colleague/fellow crafter telling me her Mum always referred to “red shoes, no knickers’. For clarity, I was fully knickered up for all pics shown.

Anyway, I brought this gorgeous Monaluna poplin from Miss Maude a few months back. I’ve never sewn poplin before, but I just couldn’t resist the lovely colour and cheerful print. I knew the crisp finish would be perfect for a shirt, then I walked past Made & saw some Hasbeens calling my name* and…..I’m resisting the urge. My husband was in a meeting recently (he works for a large bank, he goes to A LOT of meetings…) and  someone (I wont name & shame) actually did that joining of two hands together while using the word “simpatico”….with a straight face. So lets just say the moons aligned & I saw red sandals & a new red shirt. No weird hand thing involved….

That’s me watching my little punk of a cat heading over to the neighbors to torment their dog…

I wasn’t sure the long back would be particularly flattering over my butt ( I was going to say “junk in the trunk”, but in my neck of the woods a trunk is a boot….so “loot in the boot” baby!), but I think its fine.

I had a major rethink on buttons. After consulting the hive mind at the awesome Curvy Sewing Collective  I realized the lovely cream vintage buttons I was so desperate to use, while being completely delicious, were actually not the go for this shirt. The el cheapo navy ones from Spotlight, totally were.

“Yes I know its freezing, but hello, curved hem matching ninja!??”

In all, I’m really happy with this shirt, patterns, fabric (& time!) are expensive, so finding something I love, that fits well, AND I know I can get multiple looks out of is a win!

It was a balmy 13 C when we took these pics, but we’ve a holiday approaching so lets just pretend that the sun had some actual warmth. I’m loath to complain too much given half the country is covered in snow …

Its a box, I’m a cat….really??

Stay warm (or cool, wherever you are )

Kristina xxx

* The pair of shoes I brought were $290 full price, discounted to $140 because there was a tiny rip in the leather on the strap. I took them to my trusty cobbler (I don’t mind buying expensive shoes but I expect them to last, a cobbler is your best friend for this)….anyway for $5 he glued and hammered the tear, its almost invisible (& who is going to get that close to my shoe???)…. I call that a bargain.



Kalle in the rain

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Singing Smiling in the rain!

Hello again! Its been a busy few weeks, but I have finally finished my lovely new frock and I couldn’t be more pleased. So pleased I braved Auckland drizzle to stand in my incredibly sad looking garden & listen to my husband complain about getting wet. The things I do for a picture…

My dress is the Kalle Shirt-dress,  a recent pattern from Closet Case Patterns.


I’ll be honest, when it first started popping up on my radar I wasn’t fully convinced. The cropped version would do me no favors at all, and the front of the dress seemed to short to be flattering for me. I haven’t made any of their patterns before , and being at the top end of the size range I was wary of sizing.

However after seeing a particularly nice version on my Facebook feed, with comments about how much ease the pattern has,  I decided to be brave & use some gorgeous Merchant & Mills linen from my stash. I know, most sensible people would make a toile in a cheaper fabric. Its something I’ve been thinking about after my recent “very pants pants” disasters! So what did I learn apart from “next time I think about trousers I’ll talk myself down and make another frock instead”? That I have limited sewing time. I work full time, and am married to someone who works even longer hours, if I spent evenings in my sewing room we would never see each other! So weekends it is, and the thought of spending a whole weekend making tester versions of something I cant then wear immediately makes me shudder. Maybe when I grow up and learn some patience….

As you can see, I added length , approx 5 cm back and front. And no, I haven’t got around to cleaning the deck yet, but as you can see I am thinking about it…

I’m so pleased I did, I love this dress! It super comfortable without drowning me in fabric, and despite my initial misgivings, I’m really pleased with the scooped hem. This was surprisingly easy to sew, I made bias tape for binding the hem from the same linen, I suspect using a more draped fabric might be slightly trickier but the effect is lovely.

I also really like the back pleat detail. There are two options, a box or inverted pleat, I went inverted and I’m really happy with it.


The sleeves have a flattering “kimono” shape, with a cuff . I was worried they would be too short but they actually hit lower down my arm, I can wear with a sweater underneath for the cold weather but I’d be comfortable wearing this in warmer weather without a cardigan or jacket. (I have a thing about sleeves!)

The pattern goes up to a size 20 (46/39/48) , I made an 18 & its fits really nicely, with plenty of ease. There are various placket options, I made the popover version, there is also a hidden and full button version. Best of all, there is a sewalong, which I found really helpful when I did the collar & placket.

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Its not that wet, honest!

So will I be making more Kalle’s? Definitely, I have plans for a shorter tunic version, I have a pretty red poplin that would look fabulous over jeans . I will be interested to see the effect a more sturdy fabric has.

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How cute??

As you can see, it rains a bit here in Auckland (its pouring as I type this). So I treated myself to a lovely orange Blunt umbrella, to brighten up a grey winter. It’s even been “Wellington” tested, and preformed admirably!*


*For overseas readers, our Capital city is known as Windy Wellington for VERY good reason….


Wellington hair….

Hope you have a lovely week, stay dry folks!

Kristina xxx