On the hunt in Montrose

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“I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti…”

Oh Toto, I do love you! No, not the dog (although I do adore small spunky dogs,  so in Kansas with time on my hands, I would surely give the wee guy a cuddle…). Toto the band, surely winners of the “three most implausible yet brilliant words in one line of a song ever” award?

I’m celebrating my affection in the best way I know. That’s right, animal print baby! * Difficult to photograph, easy to wear. Well, I think so anyway. I love brown in all its glorious shades (IMHO a better neutral than black any day), so if I want to wear something bold in print, this is the way I go…

 

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I’m counting the seconds until photo shoot finish & I can go & buy some eye cream…

Inspired by the sleeves on my Celia top, but wanting a higher neckline, I have made alterations to the Montrose top by Cashmerette.

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Yes, you read that correctly, Standard AND Full Bicep Sleeves!!!

Now friends, I was a tester for this pattern, and I would LOVE to show you my tester version, which, despite it being my first attempt sewing silk, I was pretty happy with. Right up to the point my other half (and boy, that was tenuous for an hour or two after kids…) bunged it in the washing machine with his manky cycling kit & power washed it to death. Stern words were exchanged. And please don’t tell me I should be grateful he knows how to use the washing machine. Please.

This is a deceptively simple pattern. The one you go “hmm, do I really need that?”. Then buy & proceed to make four million variations. Yes, that one.

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Strike a pose.

I made view B, which has the higher neckline, and elbow length sleeves. I used the hem frill pattern piece from my Celia pattern for my sleeve frill. Basically a piece of fabric approx 10-12 cm in width, gathered and hemmed, then attached to the bottom of the sleeve. I decided not to add a frill at the bottom in case it was a bit much . Says the woamn wearing silk leopard print…

I omitted the keyhole at the back. I also decided not to bind my neckline. The thought of binding bouncy silk made me feel slightly queasy, instead I made a simple neckline facing, using a technique from this great addition to your sewing Library.

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If you only get one sewing book…

The bust darts give a nice shape, but the feel is still relaxed. The choice of sleeve length variations, and a standard or full bicep sleeve option make for a much easier life. To be honest I can’t understand why more pattern designers don’t offer this option, bingo wings are a nemesis for many of us, fact.

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My sloping shoulders were fashionable once…about 400 years ago. #lateagain

I have narrow & rounded shoulders (thanks genes & years hunched over a computer !) , so I made both a narrow & forward shoulder adjustment. I used techniques from the Cashmerette Fitting for Curves online class. I’m sounding a bit fan girl today, but learning techniques from someone who has to make similar adjustments just makes sense. It took all of ten minutes & I now have a top that doesn’t slip back on my neck or flash my bra strap. Result.

Because I’m “curvy” I assume I’m going to be adjusting patterns from the off. I figure my bust and biceps are going to be problematic , and am pleasantly amazed surprised if I don’t have to make adjustments. My BFF is a good three inches taller than I, and about a standard 12-14. She has very broad shoulders , a small bust, and a very long torso with comparably short legs (I gave her some jeans that no longer fit me and no shortening was required) Despite a much more “standard” shape, she also needs to make adjustments , at least an inch or two in length on any bodice just for starters. Thank crunchie for sewing eh!?

I used a fabulous silk from The Fabric Store for this , oh my this place to a joy, a cornucopia of fabric bliss & lovely staff to boot. Silk is a joy to wear, maybe not quite so easy to sew, this puppy frayed like a …..fraying thing. In fact Mr D asked me if I was sewing my top, or wandering around the house just peeling off bits of thread and throwing them around…?

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently, here’s why.

An Easter visit to see my sister in Harrington, NSW. If you are in the area, stay here, its fab!

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Crowdy Head beach, near my sister in NSW, Australia.

 

A busy weekend making a first birthday cake, is there anything cuter than a first birthday cake for a little girl 🙂

 

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If you celebrate it, I hope you had a lovely Easter, I have lots more sewing lined up, will be nice to have a quite few days soon holed up in my sewing room, apparently its raining this weekend so not like I could be in the garden anyway…

Cheers!

Kristina x

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* Obviously NO animals were harmed in the making of this top!

 

 

 

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!!:)

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

 

 

 

 

Afternoon tea with Mrs D

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Howdy neighbor!

In our house Mr Douglas is the one with the sweet tooth, and I mean sweet. If it has sugar, he likes it. If it has more sugar, perhaps with a side of carbs and possibly a fried involvement, he REALLY likes it. As you can imagine , Afternoon Tea is pretty much his favorite meal (after dessert of course).

I’m much more of a savory girl. Afternoon tea generally leaves me wanting. The texture of sandwich bread has always grossed me out, so dinky club sarnies don’t get me excited. I’ve been accused of jumping on the gluten free bandwagon, but given I embrace pastry in all its forms, and ate my last plastic sandwich in Room 7 at primary school (it was corned beef on white, ewwww!) , I think that’s rather unfair. Or was I the only hipster in Manurewa in 1980 and just didn’t realize it?

So when Jennifer Lauren put out a call for reviewers for her Afternoon Tea blouse & shift dress pattern I was intrigued. Not only did the simple, vintage style appeal, maybe here was my chance to actually embrace afternoon tea?

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Yep, cool enough for a cat button, that’s me….

The pattern is a cute blouse/dress with a kimono sleeve, elegant neckline, and two versions of an interesting cross over facing giving, best of all, the potential for awesome button placement. I love buttons! My sister Dette, a crafty minx if ever there was one, sent me a lovely stash of buttons for my birthday, one of which was a cute cat. As a fully certified crazy cat lady I knew this needed to be front & center.

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Purrfect! (sorry, couldn’t help myself…)

The pattern is in a PDF version, I found it very easy to put together, particularly as you are told which pages are required depending on which view you are making, so I didn’t need to tape everything together at once.

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First up I made View 2, a blouse in a pretty floral cotton poplin. I wasn’t sure if the fabric would have enough drape, but to be honest I don’t tend to wear my blouse tops tucked in, so figured the crispness wouldn’t be an issue. I actually quite like the structure, its simple but has a nice shape which works well given the bold print.

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Watching my idiot cat teetering along the fence….

My sewing isn’t perfect, the bulk of the cotton meant it was a little tricky to get the facing sitting perfectly around the shoulder and neckline, (yes, I should have followed the instructions and trimmed the seams a little more carefully!)

But I’m actually really happy with the garment, I made no alterations to the pattern, cutting a straight size 20. It was super quick to put together, the only fiddly bits being sewing on the facing, and button placement. The button is fixed, so no faffing with button holes yay.I was apprehensive the sleeves wouldn’t be long enough & I’d veer into cap sleeve territory. If you can explain to me the appeal of cap sleeves on anything but a twiglet there’s possibly a Nobel prize with your name on it…or at least a glass of Chardonnay. But happily they are not only an acceptable length, they require NO BICEP ADJUSTMENT. Yes, you heard me right kids!

Naturally I couldn’t resist making the dress version. and a visit to Drapers Fabrics sealed the deal. Of course I had company.

Me: I thought I’d check out the new Drapers Fabrics on Khyber Pass on Saturday.

Mr D: Are you seriously buying more fabric??

Me: Of course not, I’m browsing…

Mr D: “side eye”

Me: Ok, yes I might be, I think they have a sale…

Mr D: I’m coming with you , you’re not safe alone in a fabric shop…

Me: Ok…we can go to Little & Friday for doughnuts after.

Mr D: Do you think a doughnut will make me forget how much fabric you are buying?

Me: Yes.

Mr D: I can’t be brought with doughnuts.

Yes dear reader, he can. In fact this is exactly how Saturday transpired. Such is a happy marriage.

So into my lap fell a gorgeous silk linen mix, in my most favorite colours , orange, brown and green. Lovely drape, but the linen gave enough structure to ensure it didn’t feel “nightwearish”.

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Once again, a cavalier approach to pattern placement…and lawn care apparently?

For the dress, concerned about tightness around my waist & hips, I graded between sizes from 20 to 22. The size range is 6-24 which equates to 31/24/35 to 49/42/53

I made View 3, which has a box pleat at the back for some shape. There is a sensible amount of ease, I was bang on the measurements for the waist & hips of the 22 and the sizing is spot one, nice & comfortable but not crazy big.

One thing I would note is the cup size. While I’m a 44 bust I don’t have a big difference between my full & high bust, so generally don’t have to do FBA’s. While the sizing was fine for me, I wouldn’t have wanted the bust to be much smaller. For later patterns Jennifer has introduced multiple cup sizes.

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Breezy in the garden!

I love this dress, so easy to wear, so easy to put together. The instructions are clear, with good line drawings. The fabric was quite different to sew than the cotton, definitely more slippery , with a bit of bounce from the linen. I found the facing wanted to flip out more than the cotton, and I was a bit nervous with my iron (I learnt the hard way maxi linen temperature doesn’t work for every fabric, despite all that satisfying steam..), so a few extra hand stitches were necessary, but worth the effort for something comfortable to wear, with swish (and pockets!), that isn’t a sack and can be whipped up in an afternoon. Indeed the Afternoon Tea frock!

Open Kimono. Jennifer put a call out for reviews & I liked the pattern. I received it in exchange for an honest review. The only kind I do actually 🙂

Now, whose for tea? And cake. Or cheese?

Kristina xxx

 

Open Kimono….several looks

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Um…..where’s my cocktail?

Now I will fess up, when I first imagined this in my head, I was sipping a cocktail on the deck of a cruise ship. Something about the print, and drape , the whole “kimonoesqueness” screamed resort wear (not that I’ve ever actually brought resort wear, but if I was going to I imagine it looks like this…?). Anyway, as per usual I left it far to late before we we were off to the airport to actually finish my lovely holiday outfit.

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See, Resort Wear for sure…

The pattern in question, Simplicity 1318, has a couple of variations, I went with View B, a high low jacket (flattering at the front with good butt coverage from the rear, nice…) with longer sleeves and supposedly a contrast band. I ignored the contrast option, and pattern matching was approached with my usual “hope for the best” attitude (to be fair, that’s a pretty but quite busy fabric, who expect my Mum would actually notice the lack of match??)

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I did say it was pretty, busy fabric…

The fabric is a rayon from Spotlight , happily purchased on sale and just waiting for the right project. If you have been reading PK for a while now you will notice how much rayon I buy….and how much I complain about sewing slippery rayon. I know, I have no idea why I do it to myself either.

Anyway, I finished sewing this last weekend, its a very quick sew (even a relative newbie could make this in a day no problem, complete with time for lunch/doing the laundry/having a moan about what a pain rayon is to sew). I did take a wee shortcut by ignoring the instructions to hand stitch the band to the inner, instead preferring to top stitch. I love me some top stitching!

 

After I finished sewing I hung my new jacket on Diana & spent several days wondering “is this something I would actually wear?”

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To much….?

It seemed very bold, like something that’s a grand idea on holiday, not so brilliant back in the cold , not much light of day (I put Retsina, location tee shirts & Egyptian rings with your name spelled in hieroglyphics into that category also…)*

But after some fun playing around with bits & bobs in my wardrobe, I realized not only was my wee kimono jacket just fine for a sea deck, it would work very well for more mundane activities back in the real world!

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Off for dinner…I’m clearly worried about whether I’ll make it to the taxi in these heels…

Perfect with jeans & sandals for brunch with pals, or gussied up with heels and nice pants for dinner, versatile much?

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Obligatory Kimono jacket pose….I defy anyone not to

While I’m still a bit grumpy with myself for not getting it made up before my trip, I’m so glad I bothered  after, its super comfy to wear, and as my girlfriend so helpfully pointed out “the high low hem stops it looking like you’ve just forgotten to take your bathrobe off”…so true.

In lieu of any pic’s of me actually wearing this on our cruise, I thought I’d share a few images of the trip anyway, we spent a lovely 10 nights cruising from Southampton to Copenhagen on-board the Marina, and I’ll admit I was sad to get off (despite missing my cats & my sewing room!)

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Pass me my book & beer thanks…

So much to do , besides all the fabulous shore adventures, on board can be just as busy. I do love a quiz & we went to a few , (Hi Patty & the rest to the Fryday team!), a library on board, lectures, music, games (the Marina Open Paddle Tennis was declared a tie with Mr D & I tied at 4 sets all before high winds & Happy Hour stopped play…), fabulous people watching, but best off all, on this cruise line at least, really excellent food & drink. And only unpacking once. Seriously, whats not to love?

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Home from home. Believe it or not the bathroom has a full bath & a separate shower…!

My favorite thing? The balcony, how can you beat waking up to this (just remember to have more than your knickers & bra on when you pull the curtains heh?)

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Good Morning Oslo!

I also wanted to share this fab Bill Skinner necklace I picked up in Bath shopping with my dear pal Tiffany, she brought me the bee necklace I’m wearing with jeans in the top picture. We went back to the shop when we were staying & the first thing I picked up was this cat playing with a ball of wool….crazy cat lady from way back kids! She immediately started laughing as that was the necklace she had picked out with bees & had to decide which to buy!

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Sweet!

I’ll leave you with my favorite pic of the trip, my dear husband beer tasting in Antwerp, having a great time despite the airline losing his suitcase & his wife making him carry her bag #keeper

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xxx

Have a lovely week , thoughts & prayers to all those, human & animal, suffering Irma’s wrath, I hope you find safety, refuge and kindness xxx

Kristina xxx

*I have brought all of those things on hols….sigh.

Same same …but different

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Its a box, I’m a cat….really??

Stay warm (or cool, wherever you are )

Kristina xxx

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

 

 

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

 

 

Lunching with Imogen

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Lovely Imogen, how delightful you are! Described on the packet as a Shakespearean heroine “steadfast, loyal and an all round good egg’, I feel much the same about this top. She isn’t a show pony. No crazy bells & whistles here kids. Just a lovely drape, a flattering neckline, and that most wonderful of things for this fair maiden, sleeves!

The fabric is a rayon from Spotlight (on sale!), despite my previous issues sewing this slippery minx of a fabric, the birds were irresistible. I was concerned the pink wasn’t really me, but, you know,  birds. The very next week I noticed a work colleague in a shirt made of the same fabric, purchased from Zara in Melbourne. After that, two separate TV presenters , also wearing the same fabric. Birds are popular it would seem!

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Hustle, I want my lunch!!

This is my second make from Sew Me Something, and I wont deny it, I have a pattern company lady crush going on here. Pattern companies design based on a particular shape (their “block”) , grading up and down from that basic shape to create different sizes. Finding a company that works for your shape is gold. I realized recently that while I love for instance Tilly & the Buttons styling, the patterns are simply not designed for my shape. Tilly is a wee wisp of a thing, and her patterns look amazing on her shape. I made a Bettine & looked quite frankly, dumpy.

Sewaholic patterns are designed for pear shaped woman with smaller busts, again, not everything is going to work on my DD’s! Don’t get me wrong, of course you’re going to design for your shape, why wouldn’t you? But having the time/patience to find what works is worth it, however tricky.

I made a straight size 20, with no alterations required (hooray!). The fit is loose, without being baggy, gathering around the neckline with a nice placket detail at the front, and shaped hem. Their is the option of short or long sleeves, I went long, which has elastic gathering at the cuff. It looks cute and makes the top feel a little more streamlined.

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Excellent butt coverage!

The only tricky bit for me was, as usual, dealing with the fabric. By the time I got to sewing the neckline my interfacing (despite nuclear amounts of iron heat) had managed to completely un-attach itself from the facing fabric. I was already having issues with my bobbin thread tension, so decided to just solider on, the “she’ll be right attitude” I continue to persevere with despite no evidence of success thus far…

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Kinky Boots Top!

I wasn’t careful enough keeping a consistent distance sewing my neckline facing (a cavalier approach to seam allowances is coming back to haunt me!), so its a bit wider at one end. I need longer hair to cover it obviously!

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Well one side is fine at least…

Despite all of this, I wore my lovely top out today with jeans & long boots to a fab birthday lunch with friends, it felt great to wear & I could happily consume three delicious courses with ease, Happy Birthday to me!

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“I’m as free as a bird now…”

I had this amazing cake made by the super talented Gourmet Gannet for my work morning tea , Tropical cake, made with passionfruit, pineapple & lemon, light , delicious and full of fruit so probably quite healthy…

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Nom nom nom!

Obviously my next make will be some form of stretchy waist yoga pant (yes alright, it should probably should be some form of “active wear”……..ok, lets not get silly shall we?)

Kristina xxx

 

Springfield for Autumn

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I didn’t intend to make a sleeveless top for Autumn. I didn’t intend to make one for Summer either if I’m honest. Like my mother, her mother, and doubtless many of my ancestors I have “sturdy” arms. The kind that render much of what is on offer on the High Street unwearable (or in some memorable cases, “untryonable”. Oh friends, the indignity of being stuck in the changing rooms at Gap, in a misguided shirt-dress moment, my arms stuck in the air like some tragic 90’s throwback, unable to free myself because of a skimpy bicep allowance!)

So when Jenny at Cashmerette patterns released her Springfield top last year, I was less than excited. Or so I thought…

I’ve worked in many interesting buildings in my time, the one thing they have in common?* Terrible Air Conditioning. To pay for my fabric habit, I’m an accountant for a law firm in a rather swish building in the Auckland CBD. On any given day at my desk I can be freezing, sweltering or pleasantly temperate…

How does one dress for this, in Auckland’s already notoriously changeable weather? I like to call it Cautiously Optimistic. I’m cautiously optimistic I’m dressed appropriately, just in case I’ll take a cardigan/jacket/umbrella/socks/sunscreen…

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My solution? layers . Its a bit of a uniform, pants (in the non-knickers sense of the word UK readers), a pretty top/blouse and a cardigan, often topped off with a scarf of some sort. I tend to avoid jackets , they are usually made from woven fabric and often the arms end up being so tight I cant lift my coffee cup….and I really need that coffee ok?

After reading Jules’ post about Planning to Sew , and realizing I couldn’t even begin to plan without organizing my stash , I had a big sort out. Several things I learnt (besides I need to stop buying fabric & patterns for  while?)

One, throwing out all the UFO/Disaster projects I’ve been holding on too because I like the fabric, is good juju…

Two, almost all of my disasters are in rayon

Three….I need to get better at sewing rayon before I commit even more fabric carnage…

A simple pattern I could make in rayon, in my size, which would look great under layers? Why hello Springfield…

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First up a toile. In my wisdom I decided to ignore what I learnt making my Dartmouth top, and instead cut a straight size 18. Nope, no idea what I was thinking either.

As my toile ended up a little big around the bust (surprise!), I followed the instructions from the Cashmerette sew along here , and graded the pattern at the bust & waist for a much better fit.

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80’s power ballad moment…

For this version I didn’t do the Princess seams at the back, the fabric is so drapey I thought the looser flowing cut would work better.

Its a simple sew, although I did take the time to do French Seams, and I was super careful with my binding (hint, stay stitching and LOADS of pins are really important when binding slippery fabric!)

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“The inside should be as pretty as outside” – my Mother

I’m really happy with this top, I love it with jeans as per the pics, for work I have navy blue pants & nude patent heels that will work a treat. It feels lovely to wear, and the floral print elevates a super simple shape into something a little more special.

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Jenny has released a Pattern Hack course for this top, I already have a V neck faced version lined up, and that’s just the start…

Open kimono: I wont lie, I agonized over these pictures, do I really want my bare arms online?? Arms quite frankly I wish looked better/firmer/more tanned…. Talking the talk about body positively is one thing, walking the walk, online, bare biceps banging in the breeze, is quite another. It feels a bit weird, but the reality is, while I still covet Michelle Obama biceps, they are never going to be mine. Accept and move on…

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Gap moment recreation/flashback!?

Kristina xxx

* One of my first jobs in London was in an old building (that’s UK old, like properly old!), the Air Con consisted of opening the windows. The older gentleman who managed the office liked the blinds down, some issue with light on his screen apparently….but one day, in a fit of heat induced rebellion I opened a blind, and guess what was out the window? The most glorious view of St Paul’s Cathedral, the dome was literally glistening in the sunshine. I gasped, it was the most fabulous sight, which I enjoyed it for a full forty five seconds until I was politely asked to please lower the blind…

Another day, another Dartmouth

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I’ve just realized I dont need to iron this top….oh yeah!

In what could well be a first, I not only made a muslin, I then took onboard some advice & altered my pattern for the next make. What a difference it makes!

While I was actually pretty happy with my first Dartmouth ,  it was a wee bit loose around the bust. I am often bang on pattern waist & hip measurements, but slightly smaller in the bust. In this instance the difference was exactly one size, so I put my big girl pants on & bravely graded between the bust & waist. Actually it wasn’t particularly tricky, I just drew a (hopefully curvy not wobbly ?) line between size 16 down to 18 at the waist. I think it worked a treat!

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Well it made sense to me…

The fabric is a sumptuous drape  Liberty jersey in a wonderful “splatter” print. Now I wont lie, this fabric is pricey. Enough to make me take the trouble to get my fit right before I cut into it, even then I had to have a few sips of Chardonnay to get me on my way (just a few sips, sewing while lashed will generally always end in tears/lacerations)

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Just standing around in heels in the garden as you do…

I’m thrilled with the result. Ironing? In my house that’s Mr PK on his special ultra tall & wide American ironing board  , slowing (glacially!!) doing his shirts watching NRL on a Sunday (you should have seen his face when I slipped my new fav dress onto the ironing pile) . Me at 7 am? Jersey please. A perfect top for work with nice pants , or the weekend with jeans. I love the higher neckline, flattering but totally work appropriate for a law firm. I like the length,  long enough for no ride up issues as I  dont tend to tuck, but with skirts it might work a little shorter.

More jersey please!?

Kristina xxx

 

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P.S What I do when I’m not sewing/baking/dodging housework? Make headboards of course. This weekends project, a one day workshop with my BFF, so much fun! If your in NZ check out Mollies Make & Create for details.