Sewing as Art: World of WearableArt

The 24th annual World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards kicked off on Wednesday here in Wellington.

Tickets to the shows are pretty exxy and sell out really early so I’ve never managed to go but luckily the local news website has a little slide show up for us all to enjoy ;)

Click on the picture to see more:

Event’s like WOW are one of the many reasons why I love living in Wellington.

You can read more about the WOW story here and there are more pictures on the official Facebook page.

A few of the shops in town have also been getting in on the fun by entering the WOW Window Dressing competition by displaying their own WearableArt in their windows.

Here are a few that I managed to get snaps of while rushing between meetings:

New World Metro, Willis street

Damn it, that’s what I should have made my wedding dress out of…chocolate! :)

Somerfields , Lambton Quay

Plimmer Shoes, Lambton Quay

The next four are from the windows of Kirkcaldie & Stains (Brandon Street Windows) and I think they are by Fashion Design Students but I was running late and didn’t get a chance to read the the signs:


Probably saved the best until last:

Te Papa Store, Brandon Street


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Sewing as Art

Edible Garden – Stage One progress

Caution: The following is not sewing ;)

Has anyone else noticed that us creative types often share other similar hobbies? I know a lot of you are also into knitting or crochet, which doesn’t seem like too much of a leap. Or cooking, but then who doesn’t love food, huh?!

The biggest leap I’ve noticed is running. There are several blogger’s I follow that I have discovered also run. I do too, but I’ve never mentioned it here. I am a new runner, just mastered the 5k and feeling strong, never thought I’d ever write that sentence!

Or maybe we all just like to collect hobbies, just like our fabric and patterns.

Ok, maybe I am reading too much into it, no one base any important social research on my blogging musings ok?  :)

Anyway, the other hobby/activity I have noticed a few other sewing bloggers share is gardening. Me too! So I thought I would share.

The previous weekend was amazing weather here in Wellington. On Saturday I did a bit of sewing but on Sunday I decided it was time to go outside and finally enjoy my garden.

Nerdy Hubby got dragged to Bunnings where I acquired a big garden fork, some new gloves,  a hand trowel and hand fork. On the way to the plant section four 40L bags of compost was also added to the trolley. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one with grand gardening plans and the selection of greenery left a little to be desired.

The plan was for strawberries and herbs and I did manage to snag two new strawberry plants whose tags promise much award-winning fruit. The herb selection however was dire and as we headed for the checkout sans-herbs I did spot a small selection of plants from Awapuni Nurseries (Palmerston North).

I had seen these guys on-line but was hesitant to buy until I saw the actual product. The Bunnings selection was sparse but from what I saw I resolved to go home and order from them online.  Clearing my new patch of ground and digging in the compost would probably be enough of a mission for Sunday anyway so I’d get it all ready for when my new herbs arrived mid-week.

This is the patch of ground in question:

It is a small existing raised bed, if a little sad in structure, on the south side of our section and gets plenty of sun. This side also drains well and the fence will protect taller plants from the occasional gentle breath of Wellington’s famous breeze. The house is to the right, out-of-frame, and with access from my kitchen via the back door this makes it the perfect location.

So Stage One is to start my garden here and if I am any good (i.e. plants are still green and edible in a month or two) I will expand. The grand plan (Stage Two and beyond) is to re-do this raised bed with macrocarpa sleepers or similar and continue down the section to the corner where a second, and much larger, raised bed exists in similar overgrown fashion.

So, first I set to work clearing the scruddy plants away. Don’t worry about that camellia, I rescued it as best I could and relocated it. I give it maybe a 70% chance of survival but if it does die off I do have like 20 more of them dotted around the place! ;) I also found a raggedy old strawberry plant that I put aside to divide and re-plant.

I broke up the soil with my big fork and then dug in my compost. I disturbed many very fat worms (which are great for the soil) but I didn’t encounter any weta, which is very good because those guys creep me out! It was lucky I got four bags of the compost as the soil level was very low, dried out and generally sad looking.

Here is the lovely black soil waiting to give life to some yummy delights. That green bush above it is coming through from the neighbours side and when I find the saw it will be lopped off before it does any more damage to the fence!

Strawberries are planted and looking very happy:

The left row and bottom plant in the right row is the divided scraggy plant I rescued, I am hoping it will pick up now that it has some space and plenty of light. The two top plants in the right row are my new strawberries, it will be interesting to see how different the fruits are compared to the other variety (assuming they are different and the rescued plant isn’t too old for fruiting).

Plenty of room left for the herbs so after I gave them a nice water I went inside and internetted myself some herbs from the Awapuni Nursery website.

And here they are! They arrived on Wednesday (they dispatch on Tuesdays from Palmerston North, how quick it that?!)

I ordered:

  • Coriander
  • Parsley – Italian Flatleaf
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Sage

…and because you get free postage when you order 6 or more items and they didn’t have any basil I also added:

  • Tomato – Moneymaker

On the Sunday night I dreamt about lovely big heads of broccoli and lush green silver beet and by Monday morning I had quite convinced myself I was going to be an amazing gardener so during my lunch break I ordered some vegetable seeds from Garden Stuff in Prebbleton (near Christchurch).

Oohh! They also arrived on Wednesday, posted on Tuesday!


I kept to things I know think are easy to grow and that we eat regularly:

  • Carrot (Imperator 58, 1g of seeds)
  • Celery (Utah 52-70, 1000+ seeds)
  • Leek (Musselburgh, 200+ seeds)
  • Pak Choi (Extra Dwarf, 350+ seeds)
  • Spinach (Chivas F1, 100 seeds)
  • Spring Onion (Ishikura, 2g of seeds)
  • Mesclun (Original, 2g of seeds)
  • Mesclun (Oriental, 2g of seeds)
  • Sweet Pepper (California Wonder, 50 seeds)
  • Chili Pepper (Cayenne Long Red, 50 seeds)
  • Free Gift: 30cm Pot Plant Tomato (5 seeds) Awesome!

Now I am not really doing this as a money saving exercise (much like my sewing!) but more for my fun and our health. Gardening is very good for you I have read, both as a stress reliever and also you tend to eat more green stuff if it’s available in your garden. However, let’s back up a bit here, each of these seed packets only cost me $2 and the seedlings above were just over $4 each bunch so even if I am moderately successful that is a lot of food for very little money!

Not all of these seeds can be planted straight away but this weekend I will add to my growing gardening arsenal some seed raising mix and trays and plant what I can. Some can go direct into the ground so depending on how much room I have left after the herbs go in I may need to clear part of that second bed this weekend, weather permitting.

But, there will be sewing too ;)

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True Story: Simplicity 2656

Oh my gosh! Actual sewing on a sewing blog! Oh yes, I’m back baby! :)

The following is a true story:

While waiting outside work at the end of the day for Nerdy Husband to pick me up a lady walking towards me on the street gave me big smile and began to veer my way.

I smiled back a little bit, how could I not?

Meanwhile, inside my head frantic thoughts are flying around:

Is she smiling at me? I think she is, oh, she’s definitely coming this way… Do I know her?

Oh no, am I supposed to know her?

Is she a client? Ummm, no, I don’t think so…

Property developer/owner? No.

Product rep? No.

Nerdy Husband’s work colleague’s wife’s best friend that I met at a function when I was a bit tipsy?


Uh oh, out of time, she’s too close now, you’ll have to just fake it…

Then she simply said, “I love your skirt!”

“Thanks”, I quickly stammered back with an even bigger smile, and she kept on walking past me.

Phew! Wait…what?

Did that really just happen?

That is so going on the blog!

Now I’m not usually one to gloat but when a complete stranger goes out of their way to compliment your clothing choice, it’s always nice. When that item also happens to be one made by you and being worn for the first time in public I think I’m allowed to feel a bit proud of myself.

The above happened quite a while ago, I feel like lately all I’ve been doing is constantly promising to get photos of my completed pieces. The story with this skirt is I loved it so much I was always wearing it and when I thought about photographing it was in the wash. Then I needed to repair the centre back seam under the zipper just as we were packing up to move and it went in to the too hard box, literally!

So finally, here are some photos of  Simplicity 2656, view A, in an Ikea canvas print from my stash.

Sudden thought: Maybe that nice lady was a seamstress too and recognised the Ikea canvas?

Anyway, I fell in love with this fabric about 2 years ago when I saw it used in a project on BurdaStyle and went straight out to buy some. I knew I wanted it to be a skirt but the right pattern didn’t show up for a while. So I left it to mature in the stash until I bought the Simplicity pattern just before Christmas as a download from

It is made up as per the instructions in a size 16 (even thought the size chart tells me I should cut an 18).


My only change was to make the inner facings and all the pocket pieces in a contrasting lightweight cotton since the canvas was too thick. I also omitted the interfacing at the waistband but I did stay-stitch it.

I did my best to match the centre back seam and it looked perfect until I had to have a second crack at the zipper which moved one side up by about half a millimetre. Still, I’m pretty happy that I even thought to try matching it at all and that I had enough fabric to do so.

This is a great a-line skirt pattern, flattering, nicely fitted at the waist and the pleat makes it super comfortable to wear plus it has pockets!  The best kind of pockets: Useful ones! The other envelope variations look good too so I highly recommend it.

I’ll leave you with some funny out-takes:

It’s been a while since I’ve used my remote for my camera so I forget what settings I liked to use, plus I think the batteries are dying as it took a bit of waving around and holding the mouth just right to get it to work ;)

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Blouse 303 from Manequim 625

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Manequim 640 (September 2012)

There was a little bit of sewing on the weekend but I have to admit, we had such a beautiful weekend here in Wellington, instead of photographing my Simplicity skirt to share with you I went outside and got dirty in my garden instead!

Stage One of my Edible Garden has begun and I’ll share a bit of that with you later because I am sure there are a few of you who will be interested :)

For now I have a fantastic issue of Manequim to show you. I know I often say “this is an amazing issue” about Manequim but this issue really is amazing. I like so many items! After the disappointing last Patrones issue it really cheered me up.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a lookie shall we?

We start with four formal maternity dress patterns. I don’t have any experience with maternity sewing but Melissa of Fehr Trade points out an interesting observation regarding the hems on the pattern sheets, being straight they may not be a true maternity draft. Still, nice to see some glamorous gowns for mums-to-be.

I love all the dresses in the celebrity style section. Gorgeous colours and cut-outs and nice detailing.

Dress 400 is probably my absolute favourite, princess seamed bodice with seams that run down the skirt and little cap sleeves with detail at the hip to mimic them.

Marni is the designer section this month and we are back to just three patterns but Blusa 398 is a definite favourite and multi-sized.

In the sporty section I can’t stop looking at these shorts. They have a cute retro look about them and piping! Who doesn’t like piping?!

The jacket is also great and the dress (multi-sized) is interesting in it’s details- It has some ties at the back and what looked like some sort of partial wrap apron style skirt.

I had a closer look at the flat pattern and sort of tried to assemble it in my head.

Dress 390 pattern layout to fabric

So I think this is how it goes together, and it looks like just piece 11 is the wrap bit. You catch the inner edge of 11 in the side seam between the front skirt (8 & 9) and the back skirt (10/10a), then it has ties on the outer finished edge that you tie around the back, this pulls the upper part of the side seam around to the back creating a small fold at either side and cinching in the waist. I quite like it and have added it to the queue.

Front & Back assembly of Dress 390

I love the caption for the “Chic 24hour” section, “In the rush of the day, it is not difficult to maintain elegance all the time. Manequim reveals the tricks and practical pieces you have to have to be always beautiful”

All these pieces are great, two jackets, two skirts and a top!

I am a bit miffed that for this jacket with interesting shoulder detail they stuck the models arms in the air!

We had the usual plus sized pattern at the beginning of the issue:

And an entire section aimed at the petite (under 150cm tall) but I am not sure if these items are petite in sizing or just recommended as flattering to the shorter woman.

It’s too early in the month to get next month’s preview but I think this issue will keep me busy for a while! :D

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Manequim 638 (July 2012)

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