Celia in the almost tropics…

 

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Ok, ready for a cocktail….something in a coconut shell…or at least some ice…?

Hello from steamy Auckland. By steamy I mean 99% humidity steamy. That’s not a joke, in fact it was leading news on the main daily’s website this morning (to be fair, you’d be surprised what makes a headline on the NZ Herald). Thank goodness I have the news to tell me its hellish humid, in case my frizzy hair, “glowing” brow (ladies don’t sweat, they glow according to my Mother!)  & fetchingly melting makeup wasn’t enough of a giveaway, huzzah!

Which makes my life somewhat difficult. Steamy outside, freezing air-con all day at work. Actually in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that difficult, it just makes me a bit of a grumpy cow. Sitting by the pool in a kaftan,  slurping a ludicrously coloured beverage out of a coconut shell and discussing where to go for Happy Hour* is one thing , trying to get from the car park to your office without actually needing another shower is quite another.

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I’ve made several Sew Me Something patterns before, I really like the style and fit of Jules’ designs. However I’ll be totally honest I wasn’t completely convinced when I first saw the Celia pattern. While I immediately loved the sleeves, I think it was the frill around the hip that gave me pause. Then I saw a linen version made up on Instagram , minus the frill, and I immediately saw the potential.

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Hi neighbor…yep, on the posing porch again.

I’m slightly obsessed with linen, this beauty came from The Fabric Store AND it was on sale…so I brought four different colours. I know. I just adore this particular mustard shade, which goes perfectly with my leopard print loafers. Animal print is another favorite* , I’m onto about my seventh pair of leopard print shoes…

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Watching Tommy try & find some relief (note, the clown has air-con inside…!). And yes, that is a wee glow on my lower back. Reality blogging people.

The Celia is a lovely pattern to sew. Without any zips or buttons to worry about , it’s relatively quick to put together . I took my time carefully finishing the seams, and top stitching. I took a course with Jules last year, and one of the many things that struck me was her attention to detail. Top-stitching around the neckline and the sleeves really does make for a smarter finish.

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Dancing Stitching Queen!

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The sleeves are a joy, a stylish feature, without being long enough to be annoying. However do bear in mind the width of the sleeves when you think about your finishing. If you are lucky enough to have an over-locker (serger), its certainly worth colour matching your thread, as it may occasionally be visible when you lift your arms .

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Oh Hail, Checker of the Inner Seam (actually my frizz bomb hair was sticking to my face….I’m so not built for summer)

I cut a size 20 around my bust & waist, grading to a 22 at the hip, to ensure no snugness. I made the sleeves, often a pain in the bicep for me, to size and they fit just fine, yay! The frill detail is so lovely, when I wore this top for the first time several people commented on the sleeves. In this rich linen it feels elegant to wear, while still being fun and not to fussy. A total win for a busy working day!

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Oh lala fancy lady!

The Celia would also work perfectly in a lighter cotton, crepe, silk (fancy!!), or a heavier fabric such as denim or wool for cooler weather (oh cooler weather, I miss you!!) I shall be making another in linen. Because I can.

Are you sweating it out with me. Or freezing and secretly thinking I’m an ingrate & need to get a dose of hail right on my doorstep? Actually we have a cyclone heading this way so I may be getting a bit of both. Thankfully I shall feel fabulously dressed whatever the weather…!

Kristina x

*I suspect i have a touch of the Bet Lynch in me somewhere…(if you are not a NZ/UK reader see here)

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** Don’t you love that on holiday, spending ridiculous amounts of time discussing where to have dinner/drinks/cocktails/deck chairs/wi-fi…so much time!!:)

Portia & her big girl pants…

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Just hangin’ in my cool pants…

When the Curvy Sewing Collective announced the first make of their year of sewing, I must admit I was slightly less than excited. My last few attempts at pants had been very much that, was I ready to get back on the particular grump inducing horse??

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Then I remembered a pattern I had picked up in the UK, on my wonderful sewing adventure to Sew Me Something last year. The Portia pant, I really like this style , wide leg & casual but still smart,  and I thought it might be a reasonably easy pattern to start with. Or at least not have me reaching for the Chard after ten minutes. Also I have used several of Jules patterns before, & know her drafting and instructions are excellent.

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Hi. Oh yeah I know, cool pants…:)

I had some rather lovely soft washed Merchant & Mills linen from Miss Maude in my stash, loose swishy wide leg pants, very cool & elegant for walks on the beach, trawling a fabulous museum…or in my case, the aisles of New World.

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To tuck or not to tuck, that is the question…

Now I’ll fess up , these are too big. This isn’t a problem I normally have , but there you go! I made up a size 22, next time I will sew an 18 waist grading to 20 hip. I don’t wear my tops tucked into my pants anyway, so I can easily wear a belt , but they do feel quite loose.

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Why???? 

Second confession? What on earth was I thinking when I put those back pockets on? I clearly buggered up the markings when I cut the pattern out. Seriously, are they supposed to be on my butt? On my hip? Cargo style on my thigh?? Who knows, when I can face it, I’ll definitely unpick & re-position. I’m really cross about it actually, as I really nailed the stitching (I take every small victory ok)

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I was so careful too…

I like the details on these pants, the front pockets, the belt loops, the generous width of the leg. It’s a reasonably easy sew, and following the instructions made even inserting a fly zip really straightforward. Yes, honestly! I’m really chuffed with that zip & it wasn’t a big deal at all!

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Vintage button love.

I’ve seen other versions made in heavy cotton, and even denim, which look fab, but for me it’s some slightly lighter weight crisp navy blue linen for my next pair. I made a trip (only my second, honest…this week) to The Fabric Store and was blown away by the gorgeous linens. Yes, it creases, but as I memorably overheard one day “it’s expensive looking creases”. Actually not so much with 20% off, yeow!

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Tommy & I coordinating poses.

I’m seeing these with my navy blue & white striped boat neck (in the wash), a cute floral shirt (like this Harrison), or as per the pics, my Liberty print Dartmouth, which is so easy to wear, but just that bit more interesting than a plain tee.

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They would be gorgeous with some pretty sandals, but after a particularly aggressive pedicure, I have a wee toe infection at the moment (sorry, but this is an open kimono blog!), so I’m all about the sneaker. According to my husband/photographer/not fashion guru, these are rather heinous sneakers. To quote,  “they look like Mums nursing shoes. Even worse, ’cause you’ve taped them together with elastic”. Harsh.

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Not Nurses Shoes.

Needless to say, I laughed & ignored him completely. Such is marital harmony.

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You don’t like my shoes?? Yes, I totally care….not!

Anyway, not a bad job, and I look forward to the next pair. Have you made pants? Any fav patterns, do share. And if you want to tell me how ugly my sneakers are, please feel free, I can take it. Seriously.

Kristina x

P.S Check out the poseur photo-bomber behind me. He’s called this “swimsuit edition, sultry look back over shoulder”.

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Oh Tommy….

 

 

On the Fringe & lovin’ it…

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Hello & Happy 2018!

I hope if/how ever you celebrate the new year you enjoyed it immensely. My rock ‘n roll evening consisted of cooking a delicious roast beef dinner for my husband and sisters,  then falling asleep on the couch watching Lord of the Rings (in fairness I suspect it was the directors cut, it seemed to go on for HOURS!).There is an unsubstantiated report I may have been snoring at midnight. I’ve since spent some quiet time reading, hanging out with the whanau & trying to think of new ways to serve the vast ham which is taking up half my fridge.

All of which has brought my sewing mojo back, hooray! December was a busy one, with a trip to Australia for a beautiful wedding , where I got to wear the Ngaio dress I made last month.

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Work was crazy busy, and as we were hosting Christmas day lunch , I did at least attempt to make my garden look slightly less tragic . Apparently hanging baskets filled with long dead flowers are not especially festive. Somehow every weekend in December was full and it was 2018 already!

I’ve resisted the urge to make wildly optimistic resolutions, it would seem I’m not terribly good at giving things up (sugar, salt, fat, wine, fun…), instead I’ve decided to add things in. My first was a hashtag I came across on Instagram, #2018makenine, a list of nine patterns I’m planning on making in 2018. I chose patterns I already have, but haven’t sewn yet ( while being quietly shocked at just how many I had to choose from…)

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First on my list, the Fringe dress by Chalk & Notch , but a MAXI version. I know, get me eh! I’ve never actually worn a maxi, let alone sewn one, but my other 2018 “add in” is being a bit more adventurous with my styling. And lets be honest, with legs as pale as mine, a maxi is also practically a “snow blindness prevention” public service.

Helpfully, Gabriela has a tutorial for altering the pattern to a maxi one her blog, it was actually really easy. I added 45 cm to the skirt which was about 3 cm too long for my height of 5 ft 6 or 166 cm.

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Just a peek of ankle…

This is the first Chalk & Notch pattern I’ve made and I’m really impressed. The instructions are clear and thorough, with excellent illustrations. This is a relatively complicated pattern, with waist darts & ties, buttonholes, plenty of top-stitching & my nemesis, a curved hem. But it actually felt quite straightforward because of such comprehensive instructions.

The fabric is a modal from Atelier Brunette , purchased from Miss Maude & squirreled away for the right pattern. It’s really soft & silky, which probably did make my life slightly more difficult for sewing, but so lovely to wear, especially as a maxi.

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As comfy as going out in your nighty (in the best possible way!)

The buttons are pretty vintage numbers, courtesy of my very own button magpie, my sister Dette. I made view A, which actually also has buttons on the sleeves, but I decided I liked the sleeve length without them. The sleeves are not set in, so were quite quick to sew, and they fit with no bicep adjustment required, yay!

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I made the ties to sit around the back (they can be either front or back)

I wore this to a lovely summer wedding, and felt really comfortable all day. Dancing was a breeze, thanks to the side splits (I only took mine up to my knee but if you’re more daring they could be J Lo style thigh length!

 

I’m planning my next fringe dress , just below the knee & perfect for work with sandals & a pretty cardigan.

I’ll leave you this week with one of my exhausted sewing assistants, clearly I work him to hard…

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Tommy tuckered out…

Kristina x

 

 

 

 

It’s all crepes and peaches around here…

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Do you have a weekend “thing” in your house? A ritual, a treat, something that reminds you, at least for the day, you’re not workin for the man?

We have two fur babies who insist (i.e tear up the bedroom/beat the crap out of each other) on breakfast around 6.30- 7 am , so sleep-ins at Plum Towers involve an early start. Their follows a war of attrition , more intense even than the nightly fight for the duvet. Ok, who will make the coffee?? Just the coffee mind. The idea of getting myself organised enough to provide “brunch” is just a PJ wearing step too far. So how we ended up talking crepes & peaches really is beyond me.

Mr D: So when are you making the crepes? *looks hopeful*

Me: I’m sorry? *inhales coffee* (hint. I need to ease myself into the morning…)

Mr D: Crepes. You said you were making crepes . With sauce. Like fruit sauce or something.

Me: I have no idea what you are on about but please help yourself to some Weetbix. We have milk.

Mr D: But you said you were making crepes. *looks crestfallen*

Me: About six months ago. I have no recollection of any mention of crepes after this. Now please pour me another coffee &s stop talking.

After the kind of inane discussion only people who have been married 400 years can have , I figured out me mentioning crepe (fabric) & peachskin (fabric), was somehow mangled by the beauty of both dodgy AND selective hearing into me making crepes in fruit sauce for breakfast. I know.

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Photo-bomber wandering off for a snooze after an early start…

So while I wasn’t whipping up a breakfast treat, I was in my sewing room, making a new top & scarf combo.

The crepe? A lovely soft number I brought from Miss Maude a while back. To be honest I’m not sure what I had in mind to make, not least as I don’t tend to wear a lot of black? I had two meters, enough for a top or blouse, but not a dress . So naturally I wanted to make a dress.

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After realizing I definitely didn’t have enough for a dress (doh!), I thought a top in the style of the Kate dress would be a good start. While I may not wear many black tops, it would be a handy wardrobe addition, and an excellent toile for the most delicious chestnut crepe I somehow seem to have also purchased…

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Those colours!

I haven’t sewn crepe since the great pants disaster , while it doesn’t have the slip factor of my nemesis rayon, it is still quite mobile. I also now know why my mother refuses to sew black (or dark navy) fabric any more. What a pain! Even when I put my “I don’t need glasses” $30 glasses from the pharmacy on, it was still a rather tricky sew , and an absolute no go at night.

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Possibly my best self made binding ever. Just sayin’…..

However. I’m actually really pleased with the sew, the binding around the neckline & sleeves is lovely. The shoulders are a bit wide for me, given my 44 bust I need to address the discrepancy between my bust & narrow shoulders, as it feels like the sleeves are falling off and a bit wide on my arms. A narrow shoulder adjustment next time I think.

But the sleeves fit well (no bicep adjustments, epic win right there), I will probably shorten & gather a bit more for the next version, and may even go down a size ( I cut a straight size 20) as Sew Me Something patterns tend to have a lot of ease .

So I’ve made a black top. Already my inner colour/pattern loving self is saying whaaaa??

The solution? An Infinity scarf, in yellow fabric with black flamingos and maybe a pompom fringe per chance? Obviously.

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Go West! …or actually East in this case…..

This is a peachskin fabric, also from Miss Maude, that caught my eye. Hello, sunny yellow, hello birds…and peachskin! Actually I had no idea what peachskin was when I brought this but doesn’t it sound lovely?

Well I can tell you it feels even better, soft , with just enough heft for a scarf like this. I realize I’ve managed to wear my scarf upside down in these pics (a theme? At least I haven’t sewn it that way, unlike these sleeves…).

The inspiration came from Simply Sewing , although I must be honest , after sewing in the pom pom trim, the tutorial in the mag lost me somewhat, so I followed this tutorial, which made a bit more sense (I’m a very visual learner).

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I like my birds doing headstands ‘kay…

I feel many more infinity (and beyond?!)  scarves in my future, I cant stand wearing clothing that needs adjusting, so a scarf that will stay wrapped & “scarfed” all day is a joy, plus a pop of colour & print is always on my radar.

So what else was happening in my garden today?

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Exceedingly helpful Tommy

My kind of gardening actually, its all about the reflection….and nice tools.

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Get lost with the camera…!

Temperamental much?

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Sunday afternoon for Tuppence…

The cushion Tuppence is snoozing against I made from my husband’s Nana Sadie ‘s commemorative tee towel from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. I love this, she kept it with her things & when she passed various precious items were given  to her whanau.

I treasure these kind of connections, and I love how being able to sew means these everyday items get a new life (which I’m sure a woman of her skills and generation would appreciate). I only met her a few times but she was still in her own home at 94, with the same gorgeous Irish accent she took with her as a young woman leaving,  with some of her family,  for the other side of the world, knowing going back wasn’t an option. Can you even imagine what that must have felt like?

Have a lovely week where ever you are

Kristina xxx

 

 

 

 

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.

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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….

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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.

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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!*

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

 

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Wellington hair….

Hope you have a lovely week, stay dry folks!

Kristina xxx

Turner for the weekend

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‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now…

Well who could resist those feathers? After the debacle that was my attempt at pants, I really needed a successful sew to get me back on track. Something I could whip up in a weekend, wear to work Monday & not mess up . Or mess up much anyway…

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Hello Turner dress! Now I’ll be totally honest, I brought this pattern on a whim. I was re watching a movie about the life of the British artist J M Turner, after a lovely day fabric shopping and lunching with a girlfriend. This perfect feather print knit was too good to resist ,clearly some random synapse fired somewhere in my pea brain & I remembered one of my fav pattern companies Cashmerette  had a pattern that would make the most of my purchase. Turns out I was actually thinking of the Upton, which is made with woven fabric but there you go…!

Ok, not fully convinced when the pattern arrived. I just wasn’t sure the “skater” style dress was right for me. After making a Tilly & the Buttons Bettine dress with its elastic gathering around the middle, I swore off anything that drew attention to my waist. Not only did I feel like Mrs Frumpy, the elastic kept riding up, causing me to adjust….I abhor wearing anything that requires “adjust”.

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I love feathers, look, I can do them with my hands…!

But a long weekend (a extra day to sew direct from the Queen, whoop!) , my husband taking the car to visit his parents and a lather of indecision from moi meant I ended up sewing by default . Suitable Blue thread in the over-locker?  tick. No zips, button etc I need to purchase?  tick. Surely even I cant bugger up a pattern with four pieces? tick. Um….

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So maybe pinning your sleeve at 9.30 pm after a couple of wines isn’t such a great idea…?

I managed to sew my sleeve on inside out (there may have been Chardonnay involved…), luckily for me I cut the sleeve a size 18, so trimming off the overlocking (if I ever meet the person who can actually unpick overlocking I’ll suggest they do do something easier like cure the common cold) still left me enough fabric to play with. Phew!

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Swing! And I really must clean that deck…(its Winter here ‘kay!?)

Silly mistakes aside, this was actually a pretty easy sew. The Turner sewalong on the Cashmerette site is a real help. I haven’t done a lot of knit sewing, so any advice is always welcome particularly if, like me, you like a visual reference.

The pattern booklet is nice & clear, combined with the sewalong its hard to go wrong . I particularly appreciated the advice on grading, I ended up making a 16 bust, graded to a 20 waist & hips, with size 18 sleeves. Try finding that in RTW!??

This is effectively a wearable muslin. I totally admire sewists who make multiple muslin’s of patterns to get the fit just so. I also have enough self awareness to realize I’m not that person. Two muslin’s in & I’d be biffing that garment as far as I could, no matter how much I loved the pattern.

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Sneaky waist darts, because I’m the Rebel of the Sewing Room….

So when I attached the bodice to the skirt, with elastic to stabilize the knit I knew I had to go a little off piste. The waist was a good 3 cm too low (I’m very short waisted ) and about 2 cm to big. Also the elastic I used, a thicker woven because I’ve never seen clear elastic here in NZ, made the waist line all bobbly , even after ironing.

So once again I hacked off the overlocked elastic (seeing a theme here?), took a concrete pill & chopped a good 2 cm off the bodice. I knew I had to finish up with the feather over my right boob about a cm above the waist seam. Yep, that scientific…

After doing that I realized I would like to pinch the fabric in under my bust a little for a nice shape. I thought maybe a couple of small darts to pull the excess fabric in? Dear reader I actually googled “are darts done on knit fabric”. Even though I thought my dress looked nicer with the fabric pulled in, I still had to check with the internet brains to check it was actually acceptable….?! Thankfully I gave myself a good talking too & went ahead & did it anyway! Yep, I’m a rebel & I really never will be any good ….I think I could go down a size to 18 in my grading next time which would eliminate this issue going fwd. Possibly also with a narrow shoulder adjustment. Thank goodness for tracing patterns…

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Never really got a handle on pattern matching then….

Would I recommend this pattern? Heck yeah, it’s an easy sew, the dress is so comfortable, the sleeve variation is great (hello holiday to the USA late this year…), its a keeper. The V neck may be a little low for some, I personally am fine with a hint of cleavage!

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My photographer playing silly buggers!

Have you sewn a Turner? I shall be making more…

Kristina xxx

When pants really are…pants

Well, as I said in my previous post, this is a two part story. But be warned, it’s no fairy tale. In fact the sensitive reader may wish to avert their eyes at some of the more graphic images , in case sewing nightmares should ensue.

So what was I trying to achieve? Two pairs of crepe pants (in the trouser rather than undies sense) for my capsule wardrobe, a wide leg high waist navy blue version, and a simpler elastic waist version in a pretty plum colour. Sounds reasonable yes? Yeah……right.*

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What I was aiming for (with a Tommy photobomb for good measure)

My first effort, Simplicity 8177. I haven’t made any Mimi G patterns before, but I really liked the idea of the You Tube tutorial for my first attempt at pants. I thought these would look fantastic in navy blue with the Ngaio blouse I (successfully) managed to make previously. The fabric was half price, and has the most wonderful drape, I could just see me rockin’ Katharine Hepburn minus the ciggy. I got this far.

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This is my third attempt at zip insertion. Seriously.

I even watched the zip tutorial multiple times and still messed it up! Now I probably would have soldiered on, except for the fact these pants are HUGE. I means seriously wide, and far too big around the waist. I could wear these for a weekend away and carry all my additional luggage in each leg. With room for duty free. I’m baffled as I measured myself multiple times, and have used those measurements successfully on other patterns?

Now a saner person may have decided to leave the pants making and sew themselves a nice simple skirt, or a simple knit top maybe? Not I, instead, hey, lets throw a bit more fabric to the wind & make pants again. Pattern from a company I’ve never used before? Yes. Lovely expensive fabric I’ll be gutted to mess up? Yes. Already suspicious said fabric might be too flimsy & will make life difficult? Hell yes! What could go wrong?

This.

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Sailing perilously close to camel toe…you can almost hear my teeth grinding…

Style Arc  Daisy pants, or at least a bad version of. I wont show you the waist , there are enough horrors on the internet already, but suffice to say it ain’t pretty. The rise was a little short for me, particularly at the back, and I struggled to make the fold wide enough to cover all the elastic. The hem has move waves than my hair, not least because the pants were not long enough, and I thought adding the hem band as per the pattern would make matters worse. As if they could get much worse?

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Enter a caption…maybe “delete please”

The pockets were not necessary, and difficult to sew with the fabric. They are also really low, which felt a bit odd. But I don’t think this is a particularly bad pattern, more a bad fabric choice and lack of some skills (Style Arc pattern instructions are sparse, to put it mildly). In linen, I suspect these would rock.

I finished the weekend feeling very deflated. In the grand scheme of things of course its no more than a couple of days and a few bucks of fabric, but I must admit to be decidedly grumpy on Sunday night. Quite why I thought I’d just rock into pants making without a toile or a care is unclear, but hubris is a harsh teacher!

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O.M.G. I think my face sums it up nicely.

So my mini minuscule capsule wardrobe so far consists of one blouse. A wee way to go then…

In the interests of not being a complete Debbie Downer I thought I’d share the fabulous stash my lovely sister Dette sent me for my birthday. A magpie with the best taste, who does not need more fabric and more buttons? Who??

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Yes, that is a cat button. Squeeeeeee!!!!

You may be wondering why I’d actually post this hot mess, but if I’m going to have a blog, it will be an honest one. I’d love you to think I’m someone who has it all down, but the reality is hits, misses and something in between. The good, the bad , the ugly….and the truly uncomfortable!

And you? Any disasters recently? If so, I hope this post makes you feel better , let some good come of this!

Kristina x

 

  • “Yeah, …..right” When something clearly hasn’t/didn’t/will never work. From a New Zealand ad a few years back, has to be uttered deadpan, preferably while looking both deeply skeptical and knowing at the same time, bonus points if you can simultaneously raise an eyebrow . Its almost an art form.

 

 

The 30’s are calling Ngaio…

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Well its been a busy few weeks so I’ve actually split this rather looong post into two. I cant be responsible for my precious readers suffering DVT, so gripped by my sewing shenanigans they forget to move. Yeah right, anyway I celebrated my birthday weekend (because why a day when you can have three??), and have been working on my capsule wardrobe….with very mixed results. Very with a capital V.

As per my previous  post , I have selected fabrics to make up a mini capsule wardrobe for work. I’m an accountant for a city law firm, so while I have to be smart, I don’t need to go “full corporate” and wear a suit . I catch a train to work, so between walking to and from the station, home and my desk, high heels are not really my favorite option. The air con in the office is erratic at best, so even if its balmy outside, I may well have a cardigan (or my heater!) on, therefore layers are a plus. Needy much?

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Talkin’ to me friend?

So, after all those considerations, and the fact we are heading into Winter here, what to sew? I played around with fabric combinations, and came up with some I liked. Then I needed to think about what actual patterns to make up. I have quite a few patterns, but some were brought more in the spirit of enthusiasm than any actual consideration for what I want/like to wear, and what makes me feel good. So what did I come up with?

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How could I resist , seriously

I loved the style of the Ngaio  blouse as soon as I saw it. That bust line is so flattering, and the pattern has a sleeve option. I was also taken with the name! Dame Ngaio Marsh was a NZ born crime writer , one of the four “Queens of Crime, along side Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers and of course, Agatha Christie. I am an avid fan of Golden Age crime (and crime writing in general) so how could I resist? I’ve made Scroop patterns before, I personally love the aesthetic, just a little bit different.

I ADORE this pattern! The bust is so well fitted, the sleeves required NO adjustment (yes, really), and the drape over the hips and tum is really comfortable. I used a polyester fabric, which feels surprising nice to wear. I’m not normally a fan of synthetics but I just loved the floral print , it feels very vintage to me.

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Flowers & sleeves for Autumn

 

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The Girls are lookin’ fine…but yes I really must buy eye cream…

On the advice of Leimomi on the website I actually made up a small A-B bust, and I’m so glad I did, the fit is spot on. Naturally I was apprehensive, just because she designed the pattern I know my cup size better right? Um, no. The pattern has three cup sizes, up to F+. The size range is broad, the largest being 50-44-54, with plenty of ease in the fit (and no bicep adjustment required, have I mentioned that?)

I love the 30’s vibe of this blouse, so I thought Id combine it with a wide leg pant, very “episode of Poirot” (I told you I love Golden age crime). And dear reader, that’s where things get complicated…

In the next installment we shall talk wide leg pants, and the emotional involvement a great pair of pants entails…

Bear with folks x

We, of my generation anyway, lost part of our soundtrack this week, I’ll leave you with my personal favorite , RIP Chris Cornell, you will be missed xxx

 

 

Capsule Wardrobes are go….nearly

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Yes, believe it or not this is a capsule wardrobe…

I’m a girl who loves a challenge. So when the Curvy Sewing Collective posted about their mini capsule wardrobe month my interest was piqued. I’ve been stitching a couple of years now, and would call myself an “advanced beginner sewer” (actually I’d call myself a “impatient, prone to lapses of concentration, fabric obsessed , crumbs of talent but needs focus, sewer”…fit that on a badge if you can?). The issue is my tendency to see a shiny new pattern, some pretty fabric, an amazing outfit idea….and be blinded by the light (with apologies to Manfred Man). If you can picture a 44 year old woman running around a candy store doing a mad Golum impression and exclaiming about “my pretties”, well don’t, its horrible.

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I thought it was quite neutral really

So, to reign in my excesses? A focused mini wardrobe, small enough to feel achievable, but every element earning its keep. As you can see from the second post on CSC there is a lot of information available on this topic. I even brought the Marie Kondo book a while ago. She advocates a pretty extreme mode of “decluttering” which, while I could see the concept behind it, felt a little extreme for me. I also found her quite frankly a bit bizarre. If your teenage years are spent figuring out ways to declutter your bedroom, you need to get out a bit more. I say that as someone who grew up in a house that was always bursting at the seams. I feel physically irritated if there is to much crap cluttering up my space, but I think you can take things a bit far.

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Patterns are go!

So my approach to the whole exercise?  I have realized wearing too much black, or very dull colours makes me feel, well, dull. I was intrigued after reading the second post in the series. I am clearly an Impulse Buyer, in which case a capsule wardrobe could really work for me. However I’m also clearly a Pattern Lover, how to reconcile the two?

For me, it starts with fabric. Then print. Then colour, the thing that will reconcile the two. A couple of complementary colours that make my heart sing, then as much print as I can get away with! In this case, a Navy Blue & a Plum crepe. I have found a couple of house pegs & trusty Diana my dressmakers model (she’s no dummy darling) invaluable for playing with fabric combos. I left the fabric tops over the plum crepe looser as I see that as a skirt, the blue crepe as high waisted pants I would tuck tops into , hence some peg action at the back…

A capsule wardrobe could work for many areas of your life, I decided to start with my work wardrobe, I work full time, so to get up & be excited by my outfit choices, without having to think too hard (this is pre-coffee people!!) is a win.

I’ll leave you with a couple of my potential outfits (with apologies for the terrible lighting, if its daylight, I’m workin’ for the man), feel free to leave thoughts/opinions/your experiences in the comments, I’m off to get this thing going…!

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Thinking High Waist trousers for the Blue Crepe
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Planning on a box pleat skirt for the Plum crepe
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I think this has a very 30’s feel which I love…Dubonnet Miss Marple?
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That fabric, seriously?
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Love this colour combo…

Next post, actual outfits, on actual me. No pressure then. What would your capsule wardrobe look like?

Kristina xxx