I heart Ngaio…


After the unpicking shenanigans of last weekend, I really needed a reliable pattern I knew would turn out , fit well & not drive me to drink. The universe was clearly listening, and when my favorite blouse  finally bit the dust*, I knew what I needed to do.

Hello again the Ngaio blouse from Scroop patterns. I love the drape around my bust, I love those gathers, I love that this looks way more complicated than it actually is to sew, I love that it has a 30’s vibe, I could be in one of the magnificent Dame’s books surely?


Also timely perhaps, after some of the images we’ve probably all seen recently , is this love heart scattered fabric from Drapers Fabrics. As the lady sang we really do need a lot more love in this world (and I’d add a whole heap of empathy & a big splash of common sense…)

Where is the love, the love, the love…

Anyways, while the rain poured down outside I sewed. Our neighbor two doors down is working on a large boat on his front yard, (by large I mean it was craned onto the property…!) I swear if this rain keeps up I’ll wake up one morning to Sal waving as Lynn & him sail past my window… But I stayed toasty warm indoors & soothed myself with seams that matched, clear instructions & not ONE SINGLE unpicked stitch. Boo yah!


I added a couple of cm to the sleeves , as I did when I made created the dress version of this pattern , but otherwise no alterations required, the pattern comes in various cup sizes A/B, C/D & E/F  (believe it or not I’m a A/B cup), and comes together beautifully.

Yes that is a lot of cookbooks…there are many more!

The pattern has small darts at the upper neckline & the lower back, for a vintage feel. I have a sway back so it is exaggerated here, but I like the finish.

Close up of the ladies

But it’s the finish around the bust I really like, its soft but feels quite elegant, and much more complicated than it actually is (have I said that already…?)


Perfect with this new merino cardigan I picked up at Ezibuy recently, for work this week in my chilly office !

I hope you are staying warm (or keeping cool if you are in the NH, like one of my dear friends in the UK who emailed me recently to complain about the 29 C she was “suffering” in…I took a minute off filling my hot water bottle to suggest she ENJOY it!!!???)

Yours in frost

Kristina x


*My favorite blouse came apart at the seam under the arm…but I’d ironed it, and I knew I’d keep my cardi on all day, so dear reader, I wore it anyway…



Off to a wedding with Ngaio

Get me to the church on time…

Weddings. Besides the obvious, love, lifetime commitment, joining two people together blah blah blah….what’s it really all about Alfie? Well, the dress of course. Firstly the bride’s, if there is one day you can go all out its your wedding day right?

My first real wedding frock memory, I suspect like many of my vintage, was Princess Diana, getting out of her glass carriage (talk about travelling in style…) in that massive frock with the 700 foot train. My Mum sews, and literally the first thing she said was “why didn’t they iron it??”

So young, so slim, so tanned …and she looks alright too?

My own dress was rather more simple. I adored Caroline Bessette’s look when she married JFK Junior, so simple but stunning. As I married in a registry office in London, turning up in a glass carriage in a dress needing 25 m of fabric seemed just a tad excessive. Instead I rocked up in a Ford Focus wearing the perfect silk sheath dress & jacket I’d found in my lunch hour from work, in a non bridal shop, so at about 10% the price of an actual wedding dress. I’ve never found it so easy to dress for a wedding since. Friends, I had peaked.

Since then there have been many low points. The silver 5 inch heels I wore to a wedding I didn’t realize was being held on a soft uneven grass lawn, with no seating. The swelling in my feet took several days to subside. The tight spanx that left me essentially unable to sit & eat….but I could still drink, and it was a VERY hot day. You can imagine how well that turned out…

Hi neighbor…why yes, I did make this myself.

So when an invite to a wedding in December , in the Hunter Valley popped into my calendar I decided to take action . I knew it would be warm, and I knew I wanted to wear a dress. I remembered how much I loved the style of my Ngaio blouse, and how I had thought at the time what a pretty vintage style tea dress it would make. Would I be up to hacking a pattern? Dare I?

Well, apparently yes! I have really enjoyed making this dress. I’m ridiculously pleased with myself actually. First I found some rayon on sale at Spotlight. I honestly wasn’t sure about the colour but it had the right drape for the fabric I had in mind for the dress, and there was plenty available ( I always buy extra for my inevitable mistakes…) I put a call out to the Scroop Patterns Facebook group to see if anyone had done it before, and Leimomi kindly responded, advising me to lengthen the bodice panels, adding as much width as required for the kind of skirt I wanted. I knew I wanted a gentle tea dress style, with just enough fabric for a bit of swoosh.

I just love the swoosh, can you tell?

Having made the pattern already certainly helped. I felt confident in my size choice, and simply traced off the relevant pattern pieces (only two, the back & lower bodice) onto some Swedish Tracing paper, then extended them out to the approximate length I wanted. Sounds too simple right? Well, it isn’t actually that complicated (even for me which is saying something!). I measured around my widest part (hips/butt) so I knew my dress had to be wide enough to skim over with some ease. For the nice swish I wanted I knew I would need to make an A line shape, without going crazy wide.

Swedish tracing paper is quite robust thankfully!

It works surprisingly well. I followed the pattern and after trying on the dress once I had sewn up the side seams realized the darts at the back, while lovely on the blouse, were too low for me on the dress, essentially pulling the fabric in right above my butt, the last place I needed it. So I simply unpicked them and raised them up 8 cm. I have a sway back so it pulled the fabric in nicely, while leaving plenty to skim over my booty…

Nice back darts…and something exciting across the road apparently.

I lengthened the sleeves to the elbow, I’d really like to make a version with a more kimono sleeve style, I just need to figure out how!

The ladies are pleased…

I love the neckline, so pretty, and actually really easy to do. Follow the pattern carefully, stopping your seams as instructed (can you tell I didn’t the first time I made this pattern?), then the gathering is done by hand, which I found really simple, despite not being a very accomplished hand sewer. I think the effect is wonderful.

The one thing I would change? Pattern matching, or rather the lack of. My BFF is a Virgo & tells me the haphazard pattern (non!) matching down that centre front gives her a migraine.  Next time I will make an effort, promise…….

Hmmm, yes, pattern matching would have been a plan…


So something that was only meant as a muslin I MIGHT be able to wear , has turned into a pretty dress I’m thrilled with. I call that a good weekends work. I hope your weekend has been as fun/productive/relaxing!


Kristina xxx




The 30’s are calling Ngaio…


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?

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?

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.

Flowers & sleeves for Autumn


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