A new skirt for the new year…

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Ok, I was going to start with a hearty Happy New Year, but honestly, how about We Made It, Go Us instead? Crawling into 2021, doom scrolling Twitter, and wondering, between the shocking events unfolding in the US and the terrible Covid situation what the heck is next. If this were a Gerard Butler film I’d be yelling at the TV “no, its too much, so unbelievable”!

Retreating to my sewing room, I spent an inordinate amount of time rearranging fabric (almost like a completely separate hobby from actual sewing, and so relaxing ), finding a lovely piece of Spotlight rayon left over from a previous project. I had just on one meter, enough for another Muna & Broad Nullarbor camisole, I think my fourth now?

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I love the colour combination on this fabric, and realized it would work really well with this linen I also found in my stash. I clearly had something in mind when I brought over FOUR meters of it…but have no idea what. I know, ridiculous…and gosh I hope it was on sale. Anyway it turns out it is perfect for the Peppermint Pocket Skirt , a collaboration between Peppermint Magazine & Paper Theory pattern

POCKET SKIRT - peppermint magazine

While I love the shape of the skirt, I wont lie, I was a tiny bit concerned about pockets you could fit a small child in. But given the way the year is shaping up we could get hit by a zombie invasion next week, so it seemed like a good time to try something new! This is a really quick & easy sew, the pocket construction is clever, I was quite intrigued to see how it looked on.

Hmmmm.

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I tried it on for Mr PK, his face was a picture. “those are some big pockets…they sort of sit on a wide bit” *makes hand motions indicating the not ungenerous width of his loving wife’s hips* Then in a moment of clarity regarding just how terrible his 2021 was about to get, he followed up with the immortal “if you like it, that’s what counts”. Indeed.

I think in a softer fabric the pocket would have a softer drape but in the heavyweight linen the effect is a bit exaggerated for me. Because of the way the skirt is constructed taking the pocket off wasn’t really an option, but a wee pleat? Now were talking.

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I ended up doing an inverted pleat, then embellished with a simple embroidery cross in green thread as a wee detail. I think the effect is charming, and I’m aerodynamically safe to go out in strong winds. The skirt as per the pattern is very long, I took a good 7″/15 cm off , I would probably leave the hem a little longer next time.

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I had actually intended the skirt to be a new years day lunch outfit with this top, a new pattern from The Fabric Store

Sparkle sparkle…

I love that neckline! It’s a quick make, I made the 3/4 sleeve but took about 2″/5 cm off to make it more elbow length. I like the fit, not to tight, but not baggy. The cotton is from Spotlight, it it probably slightly thick for this time of year but I couldn’t resist that print.

Apparently I can only look one way in a photo…

The elastic waistband is comfortable, I would not wear it sitting as high as the pattern pics, I’ve tried but it feels very odd to me!

Hysterical 2021 style laugh…

So how about a few other fun distractions to stop, or at least reduce, daytime drinking?

On Netflix, the brilliant Bridgerton, this is so much fun! Romance, gorgeous costumes, wit, charm, did I mention gorgeous costumes? You can read all about them here

I went to the cinema last week with a pal & saw The Dry, so good! I really enjoyed the book, the movie adaptation is very true to the novel. Eric Bana is brilliant in the lead and lets be honest, brilliantly attractive also!

Speaking of daytime drinking, water definitely tastes better off a hydrangea leaf…

Why use the three water bowls you already have…

I hope where ever you are you’re safe and able to squeeze some joy out of the coming year, we deserve it!

Kristina x

Torrens Times Two

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So when life gives you lemons, the accepted wisdom is to whip up a batch of lemonade yes? (or in my case, slice one & add to a G&T). Here in Auckland life is giving us day after day of blue sky, heat & humidity. While it’s churlish to complain (you can totally throw this back at me when I’m moaning about the cold and rain in July) , over 40 days without rain is a national record. I draw the line at watering grass , but I have been out watering our new garden, those plants costs a fortune, it would be to awful to watch them all die. Lets see if I’m still thinking that when the next water bill comes in shall we…

Anyway, the coolest room in our house is my sewing room, so guess where I’ve been holed up?

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Behold, a couple of new tops. I was so pleased with my first Torrens Box Top that I decided to make a couple more, adding a contrast sleeve detail, inspired by this RTW top of my sisters.

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I cut out same size as my previous Torrens top, just changing out the fabric for the sleeve piece, cutting on the selvage as per the pattern.

The fabric is gorgeous linen from The Fabric Store, I think the colour is Brick? It’s a lovely rich red with a brown base. The sleeve detail is a mystery vintage fabric I got from my sister’s deep, or in her case, endless, stash. I love the colour and print, but it feels very poly, (I wouldn’t stand anywhere near a naked flame!) Not something I would wear as a full garment, especially in the heat, but perfect for adding an accent. The linen was giving a slightly more structured feel than my previous rayon version, so the floppy sleeve is a nice contrast.

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Because it was so slippery, not the most fun to attach, thankfully the linen at least was nice & stable. And wine.

It was basically a race to see who would win, me attaching the sleeve, or the sleeve fraying into nothingness. I won, yessss! The method of sleeve attachment is pretty different, but having done it a couple of time, I can see how well it works. I’m not a speedy sewist but even I can make one of these tops in an afternoon.

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This was the beginning, you can imagine what the fray was like at the end…

The neckline facing has a couple of small ripples, I’ve run out of my favorite interfacing and the shop that stocked it has closed, boo. So I’m using a very much inferior version that does not stay ironed onto the fabric (despite having the iron at just under nuclear). To be honest, while it’s annoying, I’m not going to lose sleep, hopefully your looking at the sleeves instead?

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Photobomb central…

My other version is in a sunny Tangerine crepe from Miss Maude, sadly this colour has sold out, but there are several others I have my eye on (the Ochre for Autumn is calling to me). The softness of the fabric gives a different silhouette to this one, so for the contrast sleeve I used a rayon from Spotlight . I made a second Springfield top from this fabric, it’s heavier than the standard rayon, with a lovely sheen, I couldn’t bear to throw my scraps out. The weight of the sleeve was a nice contrast to the drape of the crepe.

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Two tops, one I can’t wait to wear to work, one that is perfect for the weekend, result! Such a good pattern , I’m already thinking a contrast hem band would be really cute too.

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Winning at life & sleeves…

I’m not sure Tuppence fully approves however…

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Little Miss Judgey 

So what else has been occurring at Plum Towers?

When not in my sewing room I’ve been sitting under the air con glued to The Stranger on Netflix. Have you seen it? If not please immediately move away from this blog & watch, its FAB! And Richard Armitage…need I say more?

Also enjoying the air con at the cinema watching Emma, what a delight. The costumes are glorious, and Johnny Flynns Mr Knightly is a hero we all need. I had thought Toby Stephens’ Mr Rochester was my favorite Austin bloke but I think his crown has been challenged…

I’ve just finished The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, great read, a modern Agatha Christie locked room mystery, she has a new book coming out on my birthday, guess what will be on my gift list

So it seems even when I’m not sewing I spend a lot of time sitting around on my backside?!

Hopefully where ever you are the weather is amenable, if not, treat it as a perfect excuse to get into your sewing space. I can recommend it , especially with a G&T 🙂

Have a great week

Kristina x

 

A dress shirt on holiday in Nantucket…

 

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My Father had the slightly unusual habit of naming some of his clothes. Especially if they came from far flung destinations. The purple shirt I sent back from the UK was forever his “Chelsea shirt” (I’m not actually sure where I brought it but he knew the footie team!) . The green number my sister picked up when she worked in Aussie was of course his “Sydney”, occasionally paired with the tartan cheese-cutter (NZ speak for a flat cap) sent all the way from Scotland . He may well have been drinking some of the same. Anyway, in the spirit of my dear Dad & his wonderful eccentricities I give you my Nantucket dress.

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Now despite having no actual connection to Nantucket , I think its a perfectly appropriate name. But first the details . If you are a regular reader (thanks!) , you will recognize this as the marvelous Merchant & Mills Dress shirt, which I have made several times before, here in paprika linen and here in navy blue linen. Can we see a theme?

Linen. My most favorite fabric. I know for a lot of people the wrinkles are a problem, but I love it in all it’s forms. Crisp Irish linen, lovely soft laundered linen, creases & all.  The simplicity of a white linen shirt . Ok I don’t actually wear white linen shirts (except when I’m in an Italian restaurant about to eat some drippy & loaded with tomato, when it’s weirdly inevitable) but I love the look.

So when I saw this glorious soft striped linen at Marthas I knew immediately it would be perfect for a summer garment. It wasn’t cheap, but because its curtain fabric, it is 2.7m wide. Yes, unlike this  garment, where I was accused of cutting up the curtains, in this case I really AM wearing the curtains. I’m fine with that thanks.

I had originally intended to make the Caroline PJ’s, but rather than looking like an extra from Prison Break (“pass me the mint sauce kids,  I’m on the lam!”) I figured a gorgeous shirt dress would be prefect.

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Me wishing I was on hols right now…

So why Nantucket? Mr PK & I spent a blissful few weeks in the USA a couple of years ago driving from Providence , Rhode Island to Boston, with stops in Newport & Hyannis along the way. We’d celebrated a friends 40th birthday in New York, then my sister traveled with us to Washington for a fabulous few days visiting museums, eating & drinking. She left us at Dulles, (after realizing she was actually flying out of Ronald Reagan airport , whoops) & we flew to Rhode Island. Like many I’ve always been fascinated by the Kennedy’s, Jackie O and the whole Camelot story. Hyannis was a must stop. I’d heard about Nantucket, it sounded a bit like visiting Waiheke Island here in Auckland, good food & wine, nice scenery , so we rocked up for the 10 am ferry on a gorgeous September Sunday.

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I like ferry’s. I’m not a sailor, I like my boats BIG, preferably so big I don’t really realize I’m on the water but ferry’s are usually not going too far, not going too fast, and they often have a cafe/bar. Nice. So very soon after the ferry left the dock & I saw an orderly queue forming I figured that must be the cafe, we could enjoy a coffee* & watch the sights. I was a tad slow, there were already 10-12 people ahead of me. I didn’t notice immediately but after about the fifth person ordered a Bloody Mary, I began to wonder. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no judgy judgy type when it comes to booze, I like my tipple (or ten) as much as the next girl. It just wouldn’t have ever occurred to me to order a cocktail on a 10 am ferry anywhere. Naturally my FOMO* kicked in, when I got to the front of the queue of course I forgot the coffee and ordered a Bloody Mary.

Well! How often in the average bar to you get asked what vodka you’d like in your cocktail? Because you do on fancy pants ferry’s down Nantucket way. Each cocktail was made from scratch, customized & delivered to your hot little hand pronto. I was MOST impressed. Of course when I got back to our seat Mr PK was most perplexed. Not just because there was no coffee forthcoming, but also because I don’t actually like Bloody Marys. But if I did, I’d get on that damn ferry every weekend!

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I know, those stripes…I tried ok!

Nantucket was glorious. In fact if someone had popped out from behind a hydrangea & yelled “cut” I would not have been surprised , it does feel almost like a movie set. The church was setting up for a wedding, flowers everywhere , but we were allowed to go in & wander around. The organist was finishing his practice & stopped to say hello, as soon as he heard our accent he asked if we were from New Zealand. He had traveled there as a student & had a lovely time. I brought the church fundraising cookbook (I LOVE them, and pick them up wherever we go, such interesting social history as much as anything) . Now I won’t lie, it sure isn’t diversity central, and to be honest I’m not sure I’d actually want to live there (as I’ve said about many wonderful spots we visited), but for a fun day looking at houses & a Ralph Lauren fantasy lifestyle I would never afford it was fascinating.

So in her honor, my lovely frock is the Nantucket, to be worn while riding a bike past ridiculously lovely houses (we did hire bikes & rode around the Island, wow!) , down to the water & to sip wine & eat seafood , oh yes.

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Me riding around Nantucket!

I made the same adjustments to this one as my paprika version, I was worried the extra length could get me into night dress territory but I think it’s ok. Instead of a front pleat I gathered the fabric, I wasn’t sure how the stripe matching would work on the front bib with a pleat. As we can see it didn’t work anyway, stripe matching ISN’T my forte and lets just move along shall we? I thought it would bother me more, but the casual style of the fabric & the dress means I don’t think its a huge problem. If it is making your eye twitch just looking I apologize profusely.

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Tommy on his fav spot on the pizza oven…

I’m really looking forward to swanning around in my dress this summer, in my head I’m visiting a cute farmers market before picking up a bottle of something delicious & wandering home to throw together a simple yet exquisite lunch, which we eat in the garden over witty yet relevant conversation.

In reality I’ll be trawling the aisle at my local New World & sitting in a humid heap on my deck eating yet more bloody ham with a not very worthy book (and a glass of Rose) but hey, we can dream yes?

Have a marvelous week, and remember, if you cant be bothered ironing don’t. Own those creases!

Kristina x

P.S If you love linen as much as me & you have little people to buy for do check out this GLORIOUS site, Heidi has exquisite taste, and uses the most delicious fabrics, makes me wish I were a child !

* I don’t want to cause a diplomatic incident, and I think things have improved dramatically but I drank some pretty terrible coffee in America. Like, really bad, and I’m not even that picky?

 

 

 

Keeping cool with Hippolyta

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I’m a child of the 80’s. Perched on the couch in my Pick-a-berry tee shirt and toweling shorts (I remember a lot of toweling clothing in the 80’s?), watching The Dukes of Hazzard and Magnum P.I (Tom Selleck is still one of the most aesthetically pleasing men to ever don a pair of high waisted jeans ).  I was so excited watching Dynasty when Blake & Krystle Carrington named their daughter Kristina , spelt correctly!  Smurfs and Scooby Doo were Saturday morning cartoon high points. It was the glorious hey day of the Mini series , Saturday night watching Lace , wholly inappropriate for an 11 year old but hey, in a big family if you stayed very quiet Mum would forget she hadn’t ordered you to bed. Who didn’t love Against the Wind and The Man from Snowy River, ? What a time to be alive! *

So when Sew Me Something  released their new pattern, the Hippolyta, I had a few nostalgia flashbacks, won’t lie. Batwing sleeves!! Whose Mum didn’t have a batwing sleeve sweatshirt, preferably very bright with some kind of loud floral print on the front? Actually I remember Mum making my sister a pale blue batwing dress with a mesh overlay for work. Yeow!

While I really like the details on this one I wasn’t sure how it be look made up, would I be swamped in fabric & ready to bust out some Culture Club at a moments notice?? Which thinking about it wouldn’t be a bad thing really. Resisting the urge to whip out the toweling, I instead forged ahead with a lovely light linen from Drapers Fabrics and I’m so glad I did, this dress is ace!

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Yes alright, but how could I resist ?

It’s hard to tell on such busy fabric, but there are interesting seam lines & pockets on the front and back. I actually cut this out several weeks ago, but sadly halfway through top stitching the yoke my machine went on the fritz , gahhh!

I got her back yesterday (although there is still getting knotted bobbin thread so back to the shop this week, boo!) and managed to finish my dress. Okay the hem is wonder webbed, please don’t judge, I will stitch it when I have my machine back to full health, promise.

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Checking out a not tight sleeve…or another weed?

I cut a straight size 20, I could probably go down a size but the whole point of this style is the loose fit. I really like how the hem tapers in , which stops it veering into sack territory. This is a great pattern for a beginner, the sleeves are not set in, and there are clear instructions for how to make the collar, so you end up with a garment that looks a lot more complicated than it actually is, win!

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So roomy!

As expected with a bat wing, there is plenty of room through the bicep , and the cuff is a really nice touch.

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As usual with her patterns, Jules adds really nice details , I love this loop on the back yoke.

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I’m a rebel & I’ll never be any good

Now I will admit I did cheat a little here. The placket has three buttons, but to be honest I will NEVER button a shirt right up, I have a generous bust which looks much more proportional with some decolletage on show, buttoned up I ain’t baby! I was already getting bad vibes from my machine & thought buttonholes would push it over the edge so I simply added the single button for interest. Just don’t tell Jules ‘kay?

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Plenty of room through the back and no annoying butt cling, yay!

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Walking somewhere with purpose…? (the fridge probably!)

I really like this pattern, perfect in  linen for over jeans or leggings, and I’m already thinking something even more drapey like silk or rayon would be fab with sandals for work. Or if I need to break out some Mel & Kim moves…

It turns out I’m not the only one hanging in the garden, Tommy is admiring the new plinth, I think he suspects it would be a much better posing plinth for him than a silly place to put a sun dial…

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Stupid sundial…

 

Off to make dinner now, have a lovely week & remember, keep cool ’til after school kids!

 

Kristina (correctly spelt) xxx

*It’s hard now in the age of TV on demand, streaming services, & the ability to watch TV almost anywhere to remember what it was like to have TWO channels, which stopped screening around midnight. My aunts & uncles were early adopters of VHS (complete with a corded remote control), but even that had its limits. I remember one particularly fiery exchange of views when a crucial episode of Coronation Street had been taped over…

 

Is it Claude or Nenuphar?

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What’s in a name? I read recently that Margaret Mitchel’s original choice of name for the flawed and rather magnificent Scarlett O’Hara was…Pansy. I kid you not. A very pretty name, but can you think of any character less “Pansy” than Scarlett? Would we buy into the myth of the travelling loner Jack Reacher if our 6 ‘5″ 205 lb hero introduced himself as Gerald Ramsbottom? Closer to home what was my father thinking when he decided Kristina , ensuring for the rest of her life most anything with his daughters name written by hand would begin with a “Ch” clumsily changed into a K . He then played a blinder and gave me the second name Catherine…not with a K (cue more correcting!).

Nénuphar Jacket

I came across the Deer & Doe Nenuphar jacket when a friend of mine sent me the link to a pattern she was keen to make, the Mysostis dress. It looked super cute , but the name?? Who names a dress after a skin condition? Ok, it ISNT a skin condition…but it does bring one to mind yes? When I actually looked it up the name relates to a branch of plants including Forget Me Nots. ( but we’ve still renamed it the Psoriasis dress…) The Nenuphar is a water lily, so in honour of the finest I’ve ever seen let me introduce you to my Monet jacket.

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Pockets!

Its a simple unlined jacket with no fastenings, a cute back gather detail & two sleeve variations. Oh and pockets. I knew I had some soft laundered linen in my stash from my fav store Miss Maude that would be perfect, this colour is Oxblood from Merchant & Mills.

MEASUREMENTS

Size 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48* 50* 52*
Bust (inches) 31½ 33 34½ 36¼ 37¾ 39½ 41 42½ 44⅛ 45⅝
Waist (inches) 23½ 25¼ 26¾ 28½ 30 31½ 33 34⅝ 36¼ 37¾
Hip (inches) 33¾ 35½ 37 38½ 40¼ 41¾ 43¼ 44⅞ 46½ 48
Finished garment 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48* 50* 52*
Bust (inches) 38⅝ 40⅛ 41¾ 43¼ 44⅞ 46½ 48 49⅝ 51⅛ 52¾
Hip (inches) 47¼ 48⅞ 50⅜ 52 53½ 55⅛ 56¾ 58¼ 59⅞ 61⅜
Length A (inches) 23⅛ 23⅜ 23⅝ 23⅞ 24⅛ 24⅜ 24⅝ 24¾ 25 25¼
Length B (inches) 24¾ 25 25¼ 25⅜ 25⅝ 25⅞ 26⅛ 26⅜ 26⅝ 26⅞

I cut a size 52, I’m an inch or two outside the size range but as you can see there is plenty of ease. The PDF came together really easily, I made Version A, which is shorter & does not have the sleeve frill. I actually cut 3 inches/6 cm off the sleeve as I felt they were too “flappy” alongside the loose fit of the jacket. I’m very happy to report no full bicep adjustment required!

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Picture number 467…I’m having fun, can you tell?

I particularly like the back gather detail, it makes the jacket feel a bit more special. I’ve also seen a fab version online with the gathering replaced by an inverted pleat, you know I love those.

 

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I love this back gather detail!

Did I mention pockets?

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I’ve not made Deer & Doe patterns before, the instructions were great, really clear, and everything came together easily , not something I often say when making a jacket, however simple!  I certainly made life easier using a stable linen, but I do think a rayon or double gauze version for Summer would be lovely.

There is something about a soft crumpled linen jacket, I feel like I should make one in navy linen, after my most fav gardener, Monty Don.

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Cute labels from Kylie and the Machine 

I showed my Mum and she was most impressed (that isn’t easy, trust me!) We visited the garden center today. Since November last year we have been working on the outside of our little house, replacing the fence, adding approx 2000 sq meters of decking & landscaping. When I say “we” I mean people who actually know what they are doing. Which isn’t Glenn & I. I know that makes us sound like insufferable wankers, but honestly, paying the coin if you can and letting people who know what they are doing, do, is a great way to get a decent result. And stay married.

I was most pleased with our landscape designer, and am waiting with anticipation for Spring to really kick in & everything to come to life. Not so my darling Mum, who certainly does know a thing or two about gardening. I’ve been told multiple time I “need a bit more colour”. Given my instruction to lovely Melissa our designer was “I like white & green…and may a bit of cream but don’t go silly” you can anticipate why my garden isn’t exactly technicolor . This is my mother’s. She is now in a retirement village but our house growing up was on a 1/4 acre with the most FAB garden, all done on the smell of an oily garden glove. She is the real deal.

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You can see where I get my love of mustard clothing…

So you can imagine the discussions that took place at the garden center today, when we went to have lunch & pick up a “couple of Lavenders” (me attempting to add a splash of colour…)

 

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As am I in a fabric shop, is my Mother in a garden center. Isn’t it great to have a passion!

Have a fab week (in the garden, the sewing room or all points in between)

Kristina (with a K) x

Emelia for Spring

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New pattern, new dress, new season

Hello again, and for those of us in the South, happy first day of Spring! It’s been the wettest August on record here in Auckland, while I love hunkering down in my sewing room when it’s wet & wild out even I’m ready for some sunshine. Coupled with the worst cold I’ve had in years (now morphed into bronchitis, yay) it feels like a veeeery long Winter.

So when I was contacted by Katy from one of my fav pattern companies Sew me Something  asking if I wanted to review their latest pattern I coughed a hearty “yes please!”

The Emelia has a similar vibe to another of their patterns, the Helena , retaining the same casual feel, with interesting details. I had some gorgeous Paprika linen in my stash (love me a Fabric Store sale) that I knew would drape perfectly and highlight the design details beautifully . Plus, that colour! Its deeply unscientific but I definitely find my mood improves in dull weather if I wear colour. While black on black can look very chic, and is no doubt “slimming” (yawn) , it just makes me feel invisible. Fabulous jewel and autumnal colours are much more fun, plus they work together , this colour looks amazing with deep rich green, chocolate and navy.

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Apparently I need to dust my plants. Who even knew that was a thing??

So, the details. Jules has expanded her size range for this pattern (and her back catalogue is also being updated!) so the Emelia goes from size 8 to 26. Bear in mind Sew Me Something patterns have a generous amount of ease. I made a straight size 20, I knew I would want to layer this one with a merino underneath, my measurements are 45/39/49 so I’m still a few inches outside the size but I’m really happy with the fit. For a warmer weather version (oh I cannot wait to wear with sneakers & bare legs!) I may even size down to 18.

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This dress is all about the detail. The back inverted pleat gives lovely movement through the back (no clinging butt here hey). I was concerned the front pleat over my generous bust (or big boobige as its know in these parts…) could look a tad matronly, but the clever V shape at the front stops that happening.

How about those sleeves?? I’ve mentioned before how I like a sleeve to taper in to my elbow, I have large biceps so I often have to do a large bicep adjustment to sleeves (if this is you too, see here) This results in a wider sleeve hem, which can end up looking weird and unbalanced. Something that pulls that sleeve hem in is always welcome. I’m happy to say NO bicep adjustment needed with this pattern, you can raise that glass of wine with nary a wrinkle.

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See, no tight sleeve here people. Don’t be alarmed…

As you can see I made Version 1, with a collar. Interestingly when Jules asked the question on the Sew Me Something Pattern Facebook group the majority preferred the non collar version. I love the collar! I have quite narrow shoulders, especially in relation to my bust, I think a collar provides balance, and frames the face perfectly. If you’re concerned about complicated construction, don’t be, you are in good hands. Follow the instructions and most importantly , make the notches & dots on the pattern. Seriously.

I’m often a bit casual about that, but this time I was really careful and gosh it paid off. The collar, the front pleat, the top stitching, everything is where it should be because I was 1000% more patient than I normally am.

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Apparently this ficus is most hilarious…

Will there be more Emelias? Definitely, I have some amazing plum coloured double gauze which I want to use for Version 2, it will be fabulous over jeans. Some striped linen is also calling out to me…

Have a lovely week people. Its Fathers day here in NZ today, I’d love to spend the day with my father Bernie, he passed away in 2011, I think of him often. Sometimes when I’m wearing jeans. Dad hated jeans, he grew up poor in a different generation (Dad was 40 when I was born) & jeans were something you wore when you couldn’t afford anything else, the irony of course being by the time I was a teen a pair of 501’s were not cheap. Oh the arguments…

When I see anything related to Westerns. Dad loved reading & watching Westerns, we would have to collect his Louie Lamour books from the library with our Trixie Beldons , the shame!! He used to talk about Mountain Man breakfasts, not sure what Mum was supposed to whip up or even if they existed in suburban South Auckland but I love the idea.

Most of all when I’m sitting here typing this blog. Dad was a consummate story teller. I don’t really remember him telling jokes as such (I’m def his daughter in that respect, I cant tell a joke to save my life) but he often had a funny remark, and told wonderful stories. He was a kind man, maybe a rather underrated commodity nowadays. Nothing made him happier than big family gatherings , lots of good food, drink & stories. I sometimes think he should’ve been Italian, but that red hair, those freckles, that amount of talk?? Dad was the most perfect Irish NZ combo I can imagine, sláinte  x

Kristina x

A dress shirt to cheer…

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Hello friends, it’s been a sad few weeks here , but I have at least made a dress that makes me happy.

This is my second Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt, and unlike last time,  I made with hardly any unpicking, go me. Yes alright, I did have to insert one of the sleeves twice, but compared to last time (is it possible to get a blister from using your unpicker….sadly yes.) she came together like a dream. I’ve actually worked out what I did wrong, the key is to have the front of the dress , which is sandwiched between the yoke & yoke lining, about 1 cm in from the edge of the two yoke pieces. In fact all you need to do is ignore me & look at the picture, it shows exactly that! Why I didn’t do that first time around is anyone’s guess.

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Bloody cat digging the garden…

For this version I made the same Size 18 but lengthened by 2 “/4 cm, which I’m really happy with. I used the same sleeve piece (with a full bicep adjustment of 2.5 cm) but I made the longer length to turn up, which I love. There is something wonderfully chic about a turned up sleeve on a linen shirt, casual but not too casual.

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I LOVE top stiching

The top stitching detail is lovely, despite the fact my thread matching was so on point it’s almost impossible to see. It still creates a great crisp edge to seams which is such a nice finishing touch. But I am toying with another version, using contrasting top stitching (you can never have to many dress shirts, am I right? Indeed.)

The fabric is glorious Paprika linen from The Fabric Store, how lush ? It’s cold, it’s gray, and quite frankly its been a shitty week, but at least I don’t look cold, or grey. Which helps really.

The Merchant & Mills aesthetic isn’t for everyone, and I do sometimes wonder if the models realize how much fabulous expensive linen they are casually scowling at,  but I like the style lines, and I feel great wearing the patterns I have made so far.

So why so blue. A dear friend & member of my craft group passed away last week, a fabulous, sparky , fun filled woman of just 56 years old. Cancer sucks. I wish it were like the movies. People fighting valiantly, never looking TOO sick, often recovering, or at least muttering something profound before they slip gently off this mortal coil.

The reality, or mine anyway, is anything but. I lost my Father to cancer, I’ve been to the funerals of friend’s parents, friends of my own, just a few weeks ago a lovely work colleague. It’s a shitty, soul destroying, smelly, horrible disease. It strips dignity, privacy, and leave carnage in its wake. If you are suffering you have every molecule of sympathy & rage I can muster. You, she, we deserve so much better.

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Not perfect, but we got there…

But I’m trying to think of the fun positive things so I shall leave you with the tea cosy Susie helped me knit. Including memorably pointing out , when I proudly showed off the fruits of MANY hours labour ,  that I still needed to knit the other half. And I made it too short. Doh!

Our group was fostered at work, many lunch times were spent knitting, crocheting, talking (a lot in my case), 2013 will forever be known as the year of the Hot water bottle cover. Lesley is currently working on one for me which we think Susie would have approved of. I tried to knit one of my own but after four years I still only have one half (I seem to lose puff at that point…) And cold toes.

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We had “thimble teas” at each others houses, this is one of the first, in my garden in summer. As you can see, a lack of craft on show, but plenty of wine & yummy food, such good fun! We learnt we needed to craft first, then introduce the bubbly & canapes…

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Lunch in the garden, so much chat!

It’s awful to lose a friend, but I’m glad we had so much fun over the years. Vale Susie, you were a pearler!

Have a lovely week

Kristina xxx

 

I went with the dress, Cap Sleeve please…

 

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My photographer was telling me to get my foot out of the garden…

Now, this dress actually started life as a jumpsuit. Or the fabric did at least. The Zadie jumpsuit has been all over my Insta feed for a while now, and I’m intrigued, could I pull off a jumpsuit?* Despite the advice of my dear BFF “you need to think of bathroom issues”  (ok , actually quite relevant to me, I have a total Woolworth’s bladder) I was determined. Off to The Fabric Store , which conveniently I can get too on my lunch break (I know, lets stop to consider for a moment how dangerous THAT is!) with my pal to purchase Liberty jersey (her) & foxy linen (me).

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Yeah hi there…

There was a made-up Zadie hanging on the wall, in the most amazing berry linen and I was sorely tempted. Fabric stores,  if you are listening, this is a great idea. Being able to see & feel a made up sample is always going to help purchasing decisions. Even my pal, who I could tell was not completely sold on the jumpsuit bandwagon was impressed.

So how did I end up in a clearly not jumpsuit, dress??

That pesky linen. I saw this colour & was immediately drawn. Anyone on my social media for longer than ten seconds can tell I love (besides cats,  food & Chardonnay) orange, mustard, brown, tan, green, navy and any variations of those . The extra weight of the linen made it even more attractive.  It’s a Khaki/brown/slightly mustard mix, perfect with my brown boots. Unfortunately when I showed Mr PK my proud purchase, and my perfect pattern match the words “boiler suit?” did come into play. Then the word “plumber”. And something along the lines of “the gutters do need a wee clear out since your dressed for it”. Then a few other words probably best not to share here (mine) but how annoying is it when someone verbalizes what you may have fleetingly thought but just decided to ignore?

In hindsight I’m glad I went with a change of plan. I brought this The Assembly Line pattern a while ago from Miss Maude Sewing, love the neckline, love the sleeves, all the top stitching, yes!

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I’d not sewn anything from this pattern line before, but colour me impressed. The instructions are great, very thorough and clear. I brought the paper pattern, which comes with a full instruction booklet & the pattern printed on nice heavy paper. I trace my patterns so having them on decent weight paper makes life a lot easier.

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I cut the XL, my measurements are 112 cm/44 inches, 99/39 & 123/49. For me the dress has the right amount of ease, not too large through the bust, but reasonable volume & shape through the waist and hips. The size range is more inclusive than some, although not all their patterns go up to an XXL. I’ve actually emailed the company to ask if/when the other patterns will be included hey?

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Pocket joy!

Yes, its a tad monastic. But the real interest comes with the cool raised neckline, the side panels and the top stitching, I just love the detail, even if it is a bit hard to see in pics!

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Nosy at the neighbors…

I made no adjustments to the pattern, and to be honest I don’t think I would going forward either, shall we call this a very lucky muslin? I thought the neckline might be a bit much but actually I really like the width, it balances the volume of the dress.

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For me it works over jeans & a tee as a casual yet comfortable weekend outfit, but I really love that depending on fabric choice, you can also wear it to work, let’s be honest, that much top stitching effort deserves a wide audience, yes?

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Wondering anew how paving could be so damn expensive…

I’d like to think it’s Tommy approved.

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Like Pride Rock. Except it’s a compost bin & he’s not a Lion. 

So good I may be induced to wink at the neighbors even…

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Nope, no idea what I was doing either…

Be warned, these patterns are not cheap, but I love the design and the quality product. Will I make another? Definitely, I’d love a denim version, with cool contrasting top stitching. Or maybe another linen? Or maybe both…

Have a great week!

Kristina x