Easter off the Cuff

Wondering how much chocolate we have left…

And just like that its autumn. The clocks went back over the weekend and I now have the correct time on my oven for the first time in six months, yay! Sadly we’ve just brought a new car, never mind the clock, I’ve only just located the handbrake , a button for goodness sake? We had our previous car 16 years, so technology has moved on quite a bit (goodbye CD player…) My husband picked it up from the dealership with the aircon on full, couldn’t work out how to turn it off & was slightly hypothermic by the time he got home so apparently we’re a family of Luddites. I am however hanging out for cold weather so I can turn on the heated seats (yes it’s a thing, I have located that button!)

It’s been a lovely relaxing Easter weekend here, we were in Level 4 lockdown for Easter last year, its been great to celebrate freely once again. I hope where ever you are if you celebrate the holiday you’ve managed to do so with some normality. We had our traditional whanau Good Friday lunch , my husband won the poker , not sure Mum was totally impressed…

Can’t choose your Son in Law’s Mum, sorry…

I had intended to make myself a new top for the day, but of course I wasn’t organized. My sew-jo has been a bit hit & miss lately, ridiculous as it sounds I have so many patterns & so much fabric I end up paralyzed with choice. Yes that is ENTIRELY a first world problem, I am making a conscious effort to use what I have.

Enter the Assembly Line Cuff Top. In beautiful Merchant & Mills linen from Miss Maude which I had in my stash.

CUFF TOP PATTERN - The Assembly Line shop

I’ve admired so many of these popping up on social media, then my bestie made a version and obviously I had to have that pattern too. Happily The Assembly Line have extended their size range so you can now get this wee gem up to a 4XL. The curvier range has a dart added, which I actually really like, added fabric through the bust without being swamped in fabric around the waist & hips.

Admiring my first Feijoa tree, I feel so grown up! (it’s a NZ thing…)

Having said that I think next time I’ll add a couple of cm length, and grade out the same at the hips. The neckline is the boat neck variation, I’m all over boat necks at the moment, for some reason they feel dressier to me than a crew neck. Using the boat neck also meant I didn’t need to make the button loop or attach a button, the neckline is sufficiently roomy to just slide overhead. I whipped this top up in a day, which for a slow sewer like me is pretty good. Just bear in mind the instructions for the facing will change, and you need to fully sew up the back seam.

Animal print & gold as a look? Why yes please

I first met my husband back in the 90’s, he still refers to my “dressing as a tree” phase. I had a much loved (meaning flippin expensive so I wore it everywhere) Working Style linen shirt in the most fabulous deep forest green. I was also deeply wedded to my brown straight leg cords (corduroy is so much more comfortable than denim, seriously) , so the two combined were a fav outfit. I’m happy to recreate the glory here . The pants are the Muna & Broad Sculthorpe, in heavy linen from The Fabric Store , that top stitching brings me joy.

So what else has been occurring at Plum Towers?

Woman on a mission

Mum stayed for a couple of days over Easter so we hit the garden center on Saturday. There isn’t a plant, garden or nursery my Mother doesn’t appreciate, so after I picked various winter vege & herbs for my raised beds & plants for my hanging baskets she lasted all of 24 hours before suggesting she could plant them out . I bow down to both superior knowledge & enthusiasm! I wont pretend to be any kind of botanist, but there is something really soothing about being in a garden. And I wont lie, watching someone else make that garden is pretty satisfyingly lazy. I know, I’m terrible.

Eggcellent! Sorry…

My youngest sister has fully embraced the Jellyologist, we had the most marvelous Xmas trees in December, but she brought it next level for Easter. That’s layers of different flavors of jelly in real egg shells, the eggs themselves made their way into chocolate pavlova with crème patisserie filling. Spoilt yes?

Ok one thing I am excited about with a new car is the ease of listening to podcasts. Years after everyone else discovered them of course, but the glory of not wrestling with cords is really quite thrilling. My current fav is Shedunnit by Caroline Crampton. As an avowed aficionado of Golden Age detective fiction this is such a great listen. If you don’t like Agatha Christie, Ngaio March & the rest of the band…give yourself a talking too & have a listen. You might learn something.

Words to live by…

Lastly, super cute pencils from Miss Maude , I have been a stationery fiend from way back, the beginning of the school year was such a thrill, a new pencil case is still a thing of joy. What plans I shall make with these beauties…

Have a lovely week team, hopefully next time we meet I’ve sorted the clock in the car…wish me luck

Kristina x

You silky minx Waikerie…

Well, back into Level 3 lockdown here is Auckland. Three cases in the community, a family including a border worker who thankfully, as soon as she felt unwell,  got tested. Fingers crossed with some pretty epic test & tracing going on it will be nipped in the bud. I spent today working at home in my “lounge wear” under the supervision of Tommy & Tuppence. Many treats & cuddles were administered, cats love lockdown! 

Sadly however, I did not get the chance to wear my swanky new SILK shirt to work. Boo! Yes, you heard me, I tackled silk. There were no tears, barely any swearing (honest), I only used my unpicker twice. I know, these are indeed crazy times.

The Waikerie shirt from Muna & Broad. I made View B with short sleeves, I would probably never wear a long sleeve shirt without rolling the sleeves up, I thought the soft fabric would not stay rolled for long.

Oh hey there…

Because I have previously made this Waikerie dress (an extension of the original pattern), I already had some pattern pieces cut out, and I knew the yoke and collar was the right size for me. The fabric I picked up on sale from The Fabric Store a wee while ago, I LOVE the sequin print , but was always a little hesitant to use it, a) not being experienced sewing silk (not sure how I thought that would change NOT sewing with it?) and b) I was never sure the colour worked for me. Now I’m a foxy silver its practically camouflage yes?

Isn’t it fun

The only thing I did to compensate for sewing silk was use a finer gauge needle, and as far as I could, use French seams. The sleeve band method is the same as the Torrens top, I really like it but wish I’d finished the seams on this one with binding rather than overlocking , I can feel it slightly rubbing on my skin (Five minutes sewing silk & suddenly a delicate wee thing I am…)

Love a good box pleat

I really like the slightly sporty style of the shirt, with a slightly boxy fit, dropped back hem & shorter sleeves, combined with a really luxe fabric. I love it with my jeans & sneakers for the weekend, but it works equally well with pants & heels for the day job (well, when I’m in the office and not sitting at the dining table in my slippers covered in cat fur hey…)

Is there a ship ahoy or what?

As with other Muna & Broad patterns, the instructions are nice & clear and the drafting is great, I’m already planning a cute linen version. Or silk satin, now I’m a bit of an expert…? Yeah, nah.

Contemplating life…or trying not to put dents in the wooden floor?

So what else has been happening around these parts?

Watched a fab movie on Netflix The Dig recently, not only a lovely film (based on a true story) but some really fabulous costumes too! I received the The Foldline newsletter last week, which did a wee rundown of patterns if you wanted to recreate the look. I personally adore the whole 40’s Industrial Land Girl aesthetic so this was right up my alley. I also wear silver shoes & animal print so I’m clearly also slightly confused on this point…

Actually if this is your vibe too, check out Old Town clothing and of course one of my favorite pattern designers Merchant & Mills

On a completely different tangent, Series 2 of Blown Away has just dropped on Netflix & I’m very excited. Mr D & I loved series one, a show about glassblowing doesn’t sound like everyone’s bag but trust me, it’s fab. So much artistry, so many different personalities, by the final we were really invested!

On the bedside table, The Marlow Murder Club, really enjoying this one, in the vein of The Thursday Murder Club, it’s a fun whodunnit in the classic Golden Age style, with a spunky older sleuth, lots of fun

I hope where ever you are it’s been a good start to the week, I’m currently having a G & T because from memory that’s what ones does in lockdown on a Monday night, or is that just me?

Kristina x

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