They took my toys

Men are coming next week to take away my toys. Apart from my two final projects I’ve had to start (reluctantly) packing away the items I don’t immediately need. This is also my chance to put aside those few items I’ll be using to keep my brain busy during my long absence from my machines.

This is the state of my sewing room at the moment, sad huh? It’s the neatest it’s ever been…



Heading Home

As I alluded recently, big things are happening in my small world. First let me give you a little history:

Near the end of 2004 my future husband and I made a huge life-changing decision. We packed our lives into two suitcases and January the following year we boarded a plane for Western Australia. It was very hard for both of us because while we were heading to exciting new job opportunities we were also leaving behind our families and our homes. There was plenty of emotion and indecision but a lot of anticipation as well. We had a 5-year plan (if we survived the first year), and then we would decide if we wanted to stay, move on, or return home. After settling in Perth life took off quick, we found a place to live and both got jobs almost immediately.

It wasn’t until my Mum visited us in 2006 2008 and bought with her my sewing machine that I really got back into sewing.

Elna 2130

In 2008 I also met Sandra and together we started Perth’s BurdaStyle Sewing Club.

Typical BSC Perth meet (but with sewing)

Suddenly I made all these incredible new friends who shared my interests and thought how I did. I really and truly got my first understanding of what friends really are. It’s a weird revelation but with Facebook suddenly connecting us all over the world I realized my “friends” weren’t those who geography, birth year and happenstance stuck me in a classroom with all those years ago. “Friends” are the people I was discovering now, who came into my life, who I chose to hang out with, they shared my hobby, my view of life.

BSC Perth 1st Birthday 2010

We are into our sixth year living here now. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here that long and it was time to make a decision. We both realised that neither of our hearts really left New Zealand so we have decided to return to our roots. Perth is beautiful but it doesn’t hold me, it’s not home. Emotions have been tugging me both directions. Despite the excitement at the prospect of returning home and getting started in the next chapter of our lives I knew it would be sad to say goodbye to my Perth friends.

We made a plan, it had a 2 year window for us to start preparing ourselves financially, mentally and emotionally but then suddenly the decision was made for us.

My husband received a job offer too good to refuse and now it is all on. Men come next week to pack up our stuff, put it in a container and send it to NZ. Wellington is our final destination and the 2 year window is now closer to 5 weeks.

Wellington from Mt Victoria – November 2009

It’s weird to tell people you’re leaving. Our real friends understand but not everyone has been able to grasp the reasoning behind our decision, they think we are mad, they simply do not understand. The last two weeks have been a crazy blur, I feel stressed, excited, nervous, happy but mostly I feel sad from saying goodbye to my wonderful sewing friends. I will miss our monthly sewing session, our spontaneous mid-week Potters runs, lunch, craft fairs and just plain old sewing together. Some groups say they ‘stitch and bitch’ but we just ‘stitched and laughed’, corny aye? But very true.

Typical Wellington Hillside

Ok, enough sniffling, the internet makes things easier and I’ll always feel like a member of BSC Perth (reporting in from Wellington no doubt). I’ll be back to visit and the girls know they are always welcome to visit me. I will take them fabric shopping in amazing creative Wellington and knock their socks off with a real coffee.

Tastes like Wellington

Now for the logistics: I will be without my sewing machines for a few months (I am guessing 2 minimum, oh the pain!) which I know I will find debilitatingly boring so I have made a list and devised a plan of what I can do to keep my fingers (actually my brain) busy.

First of all I really want to learn some crochet. I have plenty of books and several saved youtube videos to help me out so my plan is to learn and get a couple of cuties made like these:









And seeing how that all goes maybe I’ll try a bit of (gasp) knitting 😉

From Heartfelt – Kim Hargreaves

I mean seriously, these are not your Nana’s knitting patterns. How beautiful! I have been swayed to give it a try.


The second thing is actually several things rolled into one idea. I am dying to teach myself a bit more about pattern drafting and I’ll probably use one of these books to do it. I know I can, I just have to put my mind to it and not get distracted by sewing, so when I am sans machines will be the perfect opportunity. I’ve got plenty of books to read so I’m going to start with a few basic block patterns and see how I go.

In parallel with learning a bit about pattern drafting I have a few other books I want to draft some patterns from. After perfecting my basic bodice block I desperately want to try some of the things from the Pattern Magic books.





Here are a few of my favourites:


I also recently got hold of this really neat book called Lisette Pattern Designs

The patterns are sort of in miniature and you use the Lisette-o-graph gauge and your measurements draft the full sized pattern, sort of like this:

I’m really intrigued by this method but I have hardly found anything else online about this kind of drafting.

The book is mostly womens dresses with some really interesting details. The are also a few childrens and mens patterns aswell.

Here are a few of my favourites:

I’m really interested in how the fit will turn out.


I’ve also been adding to my newest obsession, Enid Gilchrist books. For those of you not familiar with her she’s like the mother of Australian fashion design. During the 1950s and through to the 1970s she released several self-drafting pattern books which were very popular. I’ve grabbed myself a few off of eBay and this is my most recent one, ’70s Styles’.

You draft your own basic sloper from instructions in the back of the book based on your bust size. After you perfect that you then alter it as per each individual patterns instructions. I’ve heard her fit is particularly great so I’m looking forward to giving her drafting a go. I love the “crossovers” section and the skirts so I’ll be trying them first:

How cute is this tennis dress? It is made up from a combination of techniques in the book, Enid makes it all look so easy.

Dress bodice options

All of the above drafting I want to try and achieve using AutoCAD, a program I am familiar with through work, and if all else fails I’ll go back to old fashion rulers and pencils. If you’re interested on learning more about using AutoCAD for pattern drafting I’ll keep you up-to-date with how it goes.

The rest of my list is more bullet point and looks like this

  •  Tracing new patterns from Patrones/Manequim magazine (goodbye large format copier/printer *sobs)
  •  Keep filling in my fabric book
  •  New blog theme – I used a simple theme to get myself started but I’d really like to find one with a bit more oomph and I might re-design my banner too. After setting up the Perth BSC blog I feel like mine looks a little plain now 😉 Watch out for a new look soon.
  •  Look into Wellington sewing clubs and possibly setting up BSC Wellington…
  • …Then find some ladies to sew with (If you are in Wellington and you are reading this please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you)
  •  Actually read some of my growing sewing book collection and possibly review them on my blog
  •  Have a go at those shoes

That’s about it, I’ve tried to devise a list longer than it needs to be (I hope) and if I don’t get it all done then that’s cool.

Right now, up until my machines get packed away, I have two items I am desperately hoping to finish, one is a UFO, my forever jeans, I have the broken zipper unpicked and now I just need to get on with it. The second is the Manequim top that I mentioned a little while ago.

Manequim top WIP

It won’t take me long to finish, the trick is to actually photograph it as soon as it’s done 😉 but I don’t like my chances, they may end up being the first items I finish when I unpack.

So the sewing posts might be a bit light in the next month or two but stick with me, I’ll try and keep it interesting (or comical if my last crochet effort as anything to go by), normal service (if there is such a thing) will resume eventually.

Until next time,
the curious wandering kiwi xx

Actually Sewing

I have been extremely slack lately at taking photos of my sewn items or even posting them on BurdaStyle. Then to top it all off things in my little world are about to get turned upside down, but more about that soon. For today’s post I’d just like to prove to you that I do actually sew 😉 and then I can share with you a few construction posts. I’ve included a link to the BurdaStyle project post for more pictures if you are interested.

First up is my Melbourne Cup dress from last year. I promised better photos and here they are. This dress is from Patrones 289 and is #10.

Click for Burdastyle post

It is also the first item I blogged the construction of with the intention of beginning a new series on my blog “Sewing a Foreign Language” where I document my thought process as I construct items from my Patrones, La Mia Boutique & Manequim magazines without instructions. You can find this dresses construction post here.

The jersey print on this dress gave me quite a headache. The chevron bands move up and down as part of the pattern but the print is so badly off grain I had to completely re-think how to lay out the pattern pieces. I was close to giving up but I’m glad I stuck with it, I really like this dress. It’s really comfy to wear and having a bodice under the wrap pieces means I don’t have to worry about anything accidentally being on display.

I have a second item to add to the “Sewing a Foreign Language” series, I’ll try to post it in the next day or two, and that is another Patrones item, Blouse #9 from issue 290.

Click for Burdastyle post

I use an amazing Italian silk that I got at the Joveeba sale here in Perth. It is the first time I have sewn with silk and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I’ve heard enough horror stories but for all the slipperiness and extra attention you have to pay with marking and pinning it is worth it in the end. I love wearing wearing silk and especially this blouse.

I finished this skirt on the weekend, it’s the Asymmetrical Folds skirt from the Sew Daily Stitch magazine.

I saw this skirt ages ago online somewhere and really liked it but I didn’t know that it was from an available pattern. I had no knowledge of the magazine or that you could buy issues online both paper and electronic and even some of the patterns. As soon as I saw it through their site I dropped it in the shopping cart a nd printed it out that day. I was so excited that I found the pattern that I didn’t even know existed!

Click for Burdastyle post

I used an Ikea fabric and light-weight blue cotton for the facings. I LOVE Ikea fabric for skirts, (this is my second Ikea fabric skirt – here is the first) and this one in particular, it looks like buildings! I wanted to use yellow for the facing like the original but when I went to the fabric shop the yellows just didn’t appeal. One was a bit too green the other was too orange…call me fussy but I’m now really happy I chose blue in the end.

This dress (yes, there’s more. I told you guys I’ve been slack!) is another Patrones dress, #12 from issue 269 and I’ve been keen to make this one for a while since I don’t own a maxi dress…except this ended up not being a maxi dress, in fact there’s not a lot left of the original pattern and it almost killed me. The only thing that saved it was my undying love for the fabric which I bought in Wellington.

Click for Burdastyle post

It is a very light-weight boarder print cotton in off white with the most amazing yellow, red & blue flowers. I chose to underline it with a light-weight white cotton and in the end I ended up with a dress I really like. I’ll post about the pain and how I transformed it soon enough but for now let’s just enjoy it in all it’s finished glory.

And that’s it for now 🙂

Shoe-making – Sewing – Same same

You’ve probably seen these already on several blogs and if not, where have you been? Myself, I’ve had them emailed to me by several sewing and non-sewing friends.

Prepare to fall in love:

So much want

Wow, so pretty, so appropriate…$800 though, it’s ok, I have a plan, so far it looks like this…

Hehe, if only it were that easy


It’s all fun and games until…

I’m sorry my wonderful sewing friends but you’re going to have to wait a couple more days for some weekend sewing photos. I got something in my eye on Sunday morning and it spoilt my whole sewing day. I got whatever it was out but I must have scratched my eye when doing it. It hurt when my eye was open, it hurt when I blinked, it even it hurt when my eye was closed. I was hoping it would heal fast and after a good nights sleep I would wake up magically healed but no, it’s taken until this evening for it to settle down. I did manage a fair bit of sewing on Sunday afternoon, mostly because it was a nice distraction from the pain but it wasn’t the amazing full-day-of-sewing that I was craving.

Anyway, while consoling myself with my favourite blogs I spotted this weeks Sew Weekly Challenge.

The "Little Lumberjack" Outfit

What a really cool idea and Mena’s outfit is so cute!

I’ve only recently discovered Sew Weekly and their weekly challenges. I got super excited about this one but right now I am a bit too busy at work and with my catch-up sewing to join in but that won’t stop me from thinking about which photo I’d use as my inspiration.

I like this photo as a contender. I think I am about 4 years old and that’s my Dad’s ute which I always thought was so cool. Ohh and check out my knee high socks and matching shoes, but seriously, I think this dress could scale up into something really cute and wearable today.


I’d definitely like to try this in the future, just for fun, to get a bit creative…one day and I’ll link it back here, promise 😉

Since we are sharing fun old photos, here’s another, to give you a giggle.

Happy sewing xx

Catching up on sewing

I’ve been a bit light on the sewing blogging lately, I know. It’s not that I haven’t been sewing, it’s that I haven’t been photographing the results. I’ve blamed the weather already so lets not revisit that monster except to say we are due for a cooler break tomorrow and even some rain (something we haven’t had a single drop of for 60+ days…and I’ll believe it when I see it).

So this weekend I am planning a little fashion parade come photo shoot in my backyard to catch up on all my creations. For two of these items I have documented their construction and I am excited to share that with you soon, it just feels wrong (and bit of a tease) to post the details ahead of the final photos.

Last weekend my friend J invited myself and my other friend S over to her place for some social sewing. We set up our machines outside under the patio roof with some fans and away we went. Even though it was a hot day it was bliss being able to sit in the fresh air and sew (and gossip).

Outside sewing

Believe it or not we were exceptionally productive. J is fairly new to sewing and she’s started off by jazzing up some of her cute little kiddies clothes, how sweet is this?

Too cute!

She added the bows and lace and the little appliqué on the front. It’s a great way to take something basic and really personalise it.

I worked on a new clothing item, something quick to get my sewing mojo back on track after a couple of sewing set-backs and I also cut out the pattern for this top that I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I find taking my time to cut out the pattern really helps me understand the construction since the instructions aren’t in English. I love the drafting of this pattern, it has some really interesting seaming over the shoulder and down the back and should be really fast to put together, once I decided which fabric to make it out of. The item I sewed is not finished yet, it just needs a quick sewing tweak and buttons so I’ll be photographing it this weekend but here’s a sneak peek, I love the fabric I used.

Love Ikea fabric

One of the set backs mentioned above is a dress I started working on two weeks ago. I t was supposed to be a quick project for some instant sewing gratification but it turned out that it just looked terrible on me. It almost killed me and if it wasn’t for my being totally in love with the fabric it would be in the UFO pile right now. Instead I pulled it apart 4 times and eventually re-worked it and now I love it.  More on that in a another post but here’s a sneak peek of the fabric that saved it. It’s a light weight cotton boarder print I bought in Wellington when I visited in November 2009.

The dress that fabric saved

The second set-back I had was in regards to re-sizing a Manequim pattern. I did eventually solve the drafting problems and will post about it shortly. A blouse will appear one day, I just needed a break from the maths for a bit but it’s something I’m going to have to get my head around if I want the subscription to be worthwhile. In general Manequim only produce a pattern in one size. Occasionally there are a few multi-sized patterns in each magazine but of course I fall in love with the items that aren’t drafted in my size. So I have been trying a few experiments in re-sizing these patterns. I started a muslin of a blouse from a recent issue and it worked maybe 80% and part of the 20% that didn’t work was something really basic that I didn’t even think about. The next attempt should go better and I’ll share with you my process when I am sure I won’t jinx it. For now here is the sleeve, since it doesn’t need any re-sizing.

Scarlet models the mysterious sleeve

It looks pretty funky on Scarlet but I needed some serious help from Sandra working out how it came together. We cracked the code in the end and even if the overall blouse body doesn’t end up working I’d love to use this sleeve on another garment.

So I have a big weekend ahead of me, a few niggly things to finish off then some fun photos.

See you then xx