Monday, 24 December 2012

Seasons greetings

A short post to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

It feels a bit strange, since the weather feels completely unseasonal, but I'm sure we'll get used to it! Today is hot and tomorrow is expected to be about 26 degrees! Our jumbo prawns are ready for the barbie!

So folks I hope you all have a good one...

The tree is all ready...

And to whet your appetites, here is a picture of the Christmas cake I finished icing today!

Merry Christmas all, may it bring all you wish for!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Our wedding...

Warning: picture heavy post!

Finally I've got the photos back from our wedding (well about a month ago!) and even though I didn't make my wedding dress, I know you're all than a little interested in the photos!

As I've said, I didn't make my dress. That was designed and made by Alfred Angelo! :-) I originally intended to make it, but when going out trying on dresses to find a style which I liked, I fell in love with this dress and realised it would be more heartache to make one than buy it ready made. With the year we've had moving from the UK to NZ, it was possibly a very wise move!

My shrug, however, was homemade (but not by me!) One of the girls at work does a lot of sewing and has made wedding dresses, she offered to make my shrug for me! I found this beautiful fur fabric in Fabric Warehouse here in Wellington. The exact same colour as my dress. I think the pattern was from the Burda website, but I've forgotten! It's made out of three pieces, so it fits snugly. The fabric is lined and I found a frog closure for a fastening, these came from Spotlight. So the shrug...

 Can you see the side seam? Carol picked the fur to completely hide the seam.
 Like the fabric?
The closure

So the day itself... dawned typically spring-like here in Wellington, wet and windy! The weather forecast mentioned things like don't go out unless your journey is necessary - I'm sorry, but mine was! The make-up girl came from over the Rimutakas and an hour after she drove over, the road was closed! That shows you what kind of day it was - I didn't care! My bridesmaid was Mr N's daughter and his brother came from China to be best man.

All these following photos were taken by our photographer and friend Cameron McIntosh.

 Hair up with sparkly bits
 The dress and shrug
 All my jewellery was made by hand to order from a company I discovered on the Internet called Gorgeous Jewellery
 Sparkly burgundy sandals
The flowers were gerberas, dark red and cream. I love gerberas, they are such smiley flowers!
 The church is Old St Pauls here in Wellington
Mr N and I assessing the weather afterwards!
 We had photos in the church!
 My lovely Mum
 Mum and Mr N discussing! :-)
 My dream car was our car for the day, a MkII Jaguar
 Finally outside photos by the Parliamentary Library with the Beehive (parliament) in the background
 Possibly my favourite photo

 For those of a sweet nature, our cake(s) cam from Cupcakes in Miramar

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Five Dollar Vogue

Hello all, I'm still here. It's all been a bit busy lately with one thing or another.

I've been promoted at work and it's been quite a steep learning curve. Although I finally feel as if I'm using my brain again, which surely is a good thing?

Also Christmas started early with getting $80 worth of cards and presents in the post back to friends and family in the UK - ouch!

On top of that I've had extra rehearsals for choir. We sang The Messiah at the Michael Fowler Centre here in Wellington with the NZSO (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) last Saturday. It was a blast, we've had great reviews and the buzz in the choir green room after the concert was amazing.

Sewing and even blog reading has gone on the back burner. I manage to read blogs on the bus to and from work, but it's not easy to comment using my mobile. I'm here and reading you're blogs, honest, just not commenting.

Anyways, this is a post I should have written eons ago and never got round to it...

This dress I call my Five dollar Vogue. Simply because it's a Vogue pattern and the fabric cost me the princely sum of five bucks. To those of you reading this from the UK, that's about £2.50!! Not bad, eh? Oh, you want to know more...

Well this is my second go at Vogue 8789. The first I made in September when I made view A. For this second one, I thought I'd make view B with the slash neck top. Again I made this is a bit of a rush, I wanted to wear it for the Wellington Bloggers meet-up.

The fabric..., well it was a single duvet cover from the local op shop! I saw the cover and thought I had to have it. And at five dollars what could I loose? I actually saw it one day and decided no, but couldn't get it out of my head and so went back the next day and bought it!

View B for this pattern actually has buttoned shoulders. There should be three buttons on each shoulder with loops. As pretty as this may be, muggins as usual was in a hurry and I decided I didn't have time to make this feature and I just did shoulder seams as normal. Well, that's what I thought, until I realised the facing for the arms and neck were in one piece... I ended up sewing the facing so far, then opening it right out to sew the shoulder seam in one go. The rest of the facing was stitched by hand. Sounds complicated, but it was how I did the shoulder seams for Vogue 8020. I didn't take any photos unfortunately, sorry, will try to remember another time.

Once I'd made up the bodice I tried it on and thought, help, that slash neck is really high... I really wasn't convinced.

Is that neck to high? I'm not convinced...
But don't you love that pattern?

Anyways, not really having much time to do anything different, I decided to go with it and hope it turned out OK.

The main alterations were to lengthen the bodice by an inch. It may be a wee bit too much with this pattern, but it certainly is too short otherwise. I've also put a pocket in the side seam. Well you all know how useful pockets are...

I also decided that I didn't want the skirt gathered, I'd rather pleat it. The sheeting is perhaps a tad stiffer than dress-making cotton, although I have to admit, this is a very soft sheet! I spent ages trying to work out how to do the pleats. I'd cut the skirt pieces using the pattern placing them on the fold so there was no centre seam front and back. The trouble was, I had to calculate the pleats myself, as for the life of me I couldn't workout how big they should be (and I'm a mathematician!) After about the fifth go, just as I was about to give up, I managed to suss them out - hooray! The pleats may not be completely even inside, but they certainly look it from the outside, they are all exactly one inch!

So the final photos...

Not the best I'm afraid, they were taken in our rumpus room/my sewing room/book room downstairs. And I forgot to take the belt off to show the pleats!

 I look far too serious in this!

 Not my best side!

 The obligatory twirl!

I do have to say this dress is a success! I really love it. Because of the grey pattern with white flower it doesn't look completely summery. It's possibly a wee bit tighter than my previous version of this dress, but the bodice is cut on the bias with view A and so will give more.

Oh and the best thing - if it gets dirty, I can chuck it in the machine and wash it with my bedding :-) He he! A dress I can tumble dry and not wash on a delicates wash!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Great Wellington Patten Pyramid... another one!

This has now closed. Look out for another giveaway soon!

If you've seen the Curious Kiwi's post, here is another Patten Pyramid ready to go flying it's way through the post to one lucky winner from sunny Wellington, NZ.

Possibly like me you have been stalking the sewing blogasphere in the hopes of winning the pyramid which was originally started by Karen of Did you make that? Well here is your chance to win again! Oh, and Karen, you can certainly enter this!

Following our Wellington Bloggers meet-up we had lots (LOTS)  of patterns from our swap left over, so we decided it was time for another Pattern Pyramid, well seven to be precise!

So here is the selection from Nikki's Stitches... I have seven delightful patterns to send out through the post in Santa's sack!

A Style pattern which I would love to keep, but no, it's going in the swap, it's just a classic style which would be great as a blouse or dress.
A Simplicity pattern for that energetic man in your life

A great simple Style dress, perfect for the beach (well it is the first day of summer here in Wellington!)
Another fab easy Simplicity pattern, perfect for lightweight summer fabrics.

Butterick two piece set, waistcoats, trousers, skirts, blouse, what more can a girl ask for?
McCalls simple trouser and long skirt set.

Finally another Style pattern (oh I miss that pattern company!) with a knitted jacked and skirt trouser combo

What a great collection I have here to send out. And looking at these, I'd forgotten how much I used to use Style patterns.

I digress... On to the rules, we're using the same as those which Karen used earlier in the year...
  • Anyone, anywhere in the world, can enter by leaving a comment on this post bymidnight NZ time (GMT +13 hours)on Friday 7th December but you must have an active blog.
  • I will randomly select one winner, Person A, and post them the collection of 7 patterns.
  • Person A will then pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own give-away. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to Person B.
  • Person B will pick a pattern for themselves and promptly host their own give-away and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person C. Person C will do the same and so on until there is a last pattern winner…you get the idea.
  • Some people like to replace the pattern they are taking with another from their stash, this keeps the pyramid going longer, but is not compulsory.
Please comment to say you're included and I'd love to know which pattern floats your boat. I can't guarantee this will travel on Santa's sleigh (he's a busy chap this time of year!)bearing in mind he wants all post by Monday if it's going any further than Australia! It's still certain to bring some festive joy to the winner!

Coming to another blog near you... the other Wellington blogger Pattern Pyramid giveaways.
Where will this end up this time?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Welly bloggers finally meet-up!

Warning - picture heavy post!

One fine day in the middle of spring, seven intrepid sewing bloggers (and a baby!) from Wellington (OK, one from Palmy really) finally met to drink tea, eat cake, talk about sewing, look at patterns, ooh and ah over furry fabric and swap ideas, stashes, etc!

Yesterday we met up in Martha's Pantry, a tea room in Wellington. This tea room on Cuba Street is the quintessential English tea room, with fine bone china and high teas. We opted for sparkly cakes and milkshakes instead!

Sparkly cake!

Lots of hundreds and thousands!!

Joy making sure she gets the most out of her shake!

After trying on the hats in the tea room...

we moved on down Cuba Street with the intention of going to Minerva Books. However, we walked past Unearthed on the way, after laughing at the tartan Thermos flasks (remember those from childhood picnics?) Juliet suddenly unearthed (geddit?) a box full of vintage patterns! That was it!

Forgotten was the book shop while we ooh and ahhed and had a good look through the patterns. I believe most of us came away with goodies!

So finally we dragged ourselves away and went on to Minerva books. We had the chance to check out the Drape, drape books and the Pattern Magic books which were in store, but at a price. We left there empty handed!

Next on to Global Fabrics... The linen sale didn't tempt us, nothing really convinced us to buy anything, not even the bright pinks...

Nor the fur...

We left there empty handed too! Perhaps it was the thought of the fabric swap ahead. So final stop for these intrepid sewers was the famous MrsC's shop, Made on Marion where to took over the big table space at the back of the store to swap fabrics, patterns, etc.

MrsC was sewing the ribbons for Tuesday's grand opening of the newly refurbished National Library of New Zealand. This happens to be where I work, so I was definitely interested in that!

I can't wait to see them Tuesday morning at 6am!

And so on to the swap! There was a LOT of patterns there. Juliet had a whole load she'd got from the local op shop, so we were ages cogitating and ruminating over patterns. Whether to actually take that 80's pattern with the massive collar or the party frock straight out of Working Girl!

Joy deciding whether the pink really is her or not!

Anyway, there are loads left so look out for something very special coming next week...

So the intrepid band, minus one, who had left by now, but is in the earlier pics.

Erm, Me, Nikki
Kat (with baby Drake) - Modern vintage cupcakes

Missing from this pic is Mel - the Curious Kiwi

So no doubt you'll be wanting to know what I came away with...

From Unearthed, I got the following...

 Two lovely vintage patterns which will need grading up, but...

 This great fabric! It's shouting circle skirt at me, but I'll need red or navy with it as there's not enough there.

From the swap I got...

The dresses, not the jackets!

Pale blue lining and a dark blue with grey leaf pattern fine crepe which I'm hoping might make a Taffy blouse.

Phew! What a day or afternoon to be precise! I was shattered time I'd wended my weary way home back on the bus, but I can't wait for the next meet-up!

Oh and as for the outfits... We tried to go sixties for the Sew Weekly theme... You'll have to check out the other blogs for their outfits, and mine will follow soon!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

We're having a meet-up!

Calling all Wellington (and those who can get here!) sewing bloggers...

We're meeting up on Saturday 24th November. Please come along, tea, cakes, fabric shopping/browsing, chit, chat, swaps, oh and perhaps a wee drink!

For more information check out Modern Vintage Cupcakes blog! It's going to be a good one! I'm excited already!! :-)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A spring circle

I've always wanted a circle skirt. I love skirts anyway, but a twirly, full skirt seemed perfect. I was itching to join in Casey's circle skirt sew-along last year, but for some reason it didn't happen.

So finally I've got the perfect fabric, so I'll take part albeit a year late! I found Casey's posts really helpful with loads of tips. Also the circle skirt party at the end gave me loads of ideas. I also found this other site, the Snugbug, with a handy Excel calculator. As much as I'm happy playing around with the maths (I did maths at uni), if I can play with an Excel spreadsheet I'm even happier!

Once I got the fabric out, I realised there wasn't enough for a full circle, so me being me goes complicated and decides to go for a 3/4 circle. I could have made a half circle, but no that wasn't going to be circle enough for me. I had to buy some black cotton to trim it, completely forgetting about bias or anything like that... Muggins goes gaily ahead and cuts it all out.

My cutting board was also helpful. I've lost the original paper which came with the board, but it has various patterns on it, including a full circle and half-circle skirt.


I got the board as a present from my parents about 15 or so years ago. It was made in Australia, but can I find it on the internet, nope. If anyone knows if it's possible to find the original instructions for an Australian Sew Easy Designer Board, I'd be really grateful.

Back to the skirt... I cut out the pattern piece and then to make the black section at the bottom, I cut the bottom of the pattern piece so I could cut them out of the different fabrics.


The problem came with attaching the black to the flowery fabric. No way was I going to sew these right sides together. I know, no dedication to the art! I came up with a decidedly quicker and easier method. Why spend ages trying to attach an inside curve with an outside curve, when you can stitch one to the other by just attaching it to the top of the other? I'm all for using shortcuts as many of you know! I certainly made sure it was attached, back stitch and zig zag!

I made the finish neater by attaching a black grosgrain ribbon to the join. I ummed and ahhed for ages deciding whether to use silk or grosgrain, I decided in the end the silk was too shiny. I even sewed the side seam first to ensure the seams all lined up at the seam.

Strangely enough the waist was too small when I came to attach the waistband, so I had to trim some from the top! That was not the easiest, I was afraid I'd cut too much! I actually attached most of the waistband before the zip to ensure it fitted! Fingers crossed the cut was prefect.

The thing that wasn't perfect was the waistband stiffening. It was the fusible interfacing specifically for waistbands, but after about and hour of being stuck, it came unstuck. I was not impressed. Does fusible interfacing go off after a while, since it may have been in my box for a while?

The last big job was to hem the skirt... I prefer a deep hem, as they hang better and stitching a deep hem by machine doesn't look very nice unless it's a blind hem. However, if you think I'm going to stitch a blind hem on a circle skirt, you've another think coming. :-) So I did my usual and handstitched it!

Are we nearly there yet?

It took about three hours to go round this! Plus pleating a lot of the hem to take in the excess. I reckon the hem took the longest to finish of the whole skirt!

So the final thing...

 I think Mr N must have been making me laugh!

I'm wearing a circle skirt in windy Wellington? 

My thoughts on this? Well after one day of wearing it, I love it. The colours are so cheerful. It's also really comfortable and I feel happy wearing it. It's got black in it, so it won't be completely out of place here in New Zealand! I also love the fact that loads of different coloured tops will go with it. Mr N said I need to wear shoes which aren't black. Oh dear, that's a shame, I might have to buy some more :-)  I have a feeling this skirt will get LOTS of wear! A success. When can I make the next one! I need an excuse to wear a big petticoat and go dancing now!

Oh, by the way, I did hang this for about a week before hemming it. The bias did not drop drastically! Hurrah! I was NOT looking forward to unstitching the black bottom and ribbon! For those interested it also has a lapped zip. The fabric came from Fabric Warehouse here in Wellington.

The obligatory spin!