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

23 thoughts on “Heading Home

    • Wow interesting! I haven’t managed to sew any of them up but I have resized a couple of my favourite. I also bought a Lutterloh binder from the 60s which is full of so many funky patterns. I think if you sign up here: http://www.dressmaking.co.nz/subscribe.htm they send you 3 free patterns including a pdf of the ruler that you can print off and use with a normal tape measure, let me know how you get on xx

  1. Hi there. I was just looking online to see if there was such a thing as a sewing club/group in Wellington, and the answer seems to be no! Please do let me know if you’ve managed to set something up, I’d be keen to join. I used to sew lots, and want to get back into it. And I’m also interested in learning pattern making. And perhaps crotchet and other crafty stuff too! Cheers,

  2. Good luck with the move! I am moving back to Denmark after 2½ years in the UK this autumn, so I know the mixed feeling of looking forward to go home and yet being very sad to leave. My plan for the transition period is to make a dress with handembroidered details – I have wanted to that for a long time and now I will probably have some months without a sewing space, like you.

    Pattern making is so much fun. I think it depends very much on how your mind works which pattern making book is best to choose. Aldrich’s book is very visual with very little text. I really like Aldrich’s book, but I think it could be a bit tricky to learn pattern making from scratch from it. I learnt pattern making by taking evening courses on a pattern making school, so I can’t recommend a good book for beginning. I think the best advice is to have a couple of books and compare approaches if you get stuck with one of them. People sometimes tend to feel loyal to a particular system of drafting, but I think you get further quicker by just mixing approaches and choose what works for you.

    • Good luck with your move too xx wow, it’s taken me a lot longer to get my life sorted than I expected but things will be almost back to normal by next week, phew 🙂 hopefully I can get my machine set up really soon. I love your comics skirt, what neat fabric!

  3. wow what a ispiring post, I love the idea of setting up a sewing clud, I thik it may be just what my town needs! If you have thetime I would love some tips or advice on how to get on up and running! Do you manage to keep it free? Thanks a mil and good luck with the move 🙂 xx

    • Hi again 😉 I say go for it, setting up the sewing club was the most fun thing I’ve done recently and endlessly inspirational for my sewing, I’m going to miss those girls so much!

      Being on BurdaStyle.com helps a lot with the promotion, see if they have a club in your area already here and if not then maybe you could offer to set one up. I made up posters for the club and put them up in the local fabric shops and contacted members in my area on both BurdaStyle and PatternReview.com. That helped get us started and the rest of it was word of mouth through the new members. We were lucky that one of our members runs a sewing studio and she lets us use it for free once a month but there are cheap places you can hire for a day. The Wellington club I am going to visit when I move home meet at the local Uni and pay NZD$50 for the whole day, the divide it between them, I think that’s fairly cheap but until you get the numbers up perhaps just suggest a cafe meet-and-chat to begin with. Best of luck, I’d love to know how you get one xx

  4. I hope everything goes smoothly with the move and you get settled in well back home.
    Crochet is fun to do, and quite easy once you get the hang of it. I may say the same of knitting soon, but I have only just learnt how to do that in the last month.

    Pattern drafting – I have some books, but not the time – can’t wait to see what you come up with.
    Have fun!!

  5. Meeting you and getting the BSC Perth group going is definitely one of the best things that’s happened to me over the past few years. You have been a source of constant frustrating inspiration to me as I watched you making so many wonderful things and wished I could find the spare time after work sewing and family stuff to actually sew for my own pleasure. I had forgotten how necessary it is to me. I can’t actually see myself finding much more time any time soon 😦 but I will keep in touch and who knows, may drop in to say hello should the stars align.

    For what it’s worth, speaking as someone who has read (and owns) almost every pattern book available, Metric Pattern Cutting is the best book for teaching yourself quality patternmaking, but the best books for understanding what you are doing are Natalie Bray’s. The Lisette book looks like the Lutterloh system, which many people rave about, but you have to remember that you’ll get a standard shape in your size, and it will still need the same sort of fine tuning you would do to any commercial pattern.

    I LOVE Enid Gilchrist books, and use them often for kid’s clothes in particular – I’ve costumed 2 stage shows using them. The fit is so nice, and the drafting is so straightforward. I grew up wearing her clothes, sewn by my mum.

    All the best, I’ll really miss you.

    • I’m glad I have the Metric Pattern book, it does look like the best of the two and I’ll definitely look into Natalie’s books as well but I think I’ll really enjoy a bit of drafting for a change. I can’t wait to play with Enid’s patterns, I blame you for my new addiction 😉 hehe

      Who would have through when we first contacted each other that our little idea would get so big?! It’s been so much fun and look at all the amazing ladies we’ve meet and new friends, I’m so proud of us 🙂 Thank you for all your advice and friendship (and amazing sleeve puzzle solving), I’m sure we’ll get to sew again together xx

  6. such a beautiful post you wrote!:) It’s a big decision, wishing you a wonderful new re-beginning in NZ! And I can’t wait for your reviews on those books! I am sure your friends from Perth will always remember and miss you!

    • Thanks Magdamagda, I will miss my sewing friends so much but I know we’ll always stay in touch. I’m looking forward to my reviews as well, it’s exciting trying new things.

  7. Good luck with the move. Sounds exciting. Maybe you could treat yourself to a new sewing machine so that you’re not without? I’m moving house too – but just one street over from our current house. I haven’t done any machine sewing since we put our house on the market, I was afraid of making mess. Boy, I can’t wait to move to the new house, I’ll have heaps of room for my sewing gear, my sewing machine collection and I should have my new machine off lay-by – whoo hoo! Knitting and crochet are fun too – my best tip for knitting is to learn how to un-knit. Once I learnt how to undo stitches, the whole process just seemed to click. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. Michelle (From Tassie)

    • Ohh You’ll love having a nice big sewing room. I know when I get a house I’ll be starting a little collection as well 🙂 I think I’ll be using Mum’s a machine for a bit, it’s a lovely old beast and I won’t mind using it for a while. I’ll take your advice on the un-knitting plus I have my wonderful Nana to help me with the basics, she’ll really enjoy it too.

    • Thank you so much Rachel – I just found out sea transit time is only 2 weeks! I will re-united with my machines mid-June if all goes to plan, yay 🙂 Please feel free to drop me an email if you ever swing by Wellington, I’d love to catch up again xx

  8. OH! Hello from Wellington, where I should warn you, the weather is foul today….but I guess you know about that reality already. I have never been a member of a group that sewed anything but quilts and I’m a bit over quilt making. My blog doesn’t show it, but clothes are what I sew more these days, so it would be lovely to help welcome you back to town and talk fabric and patterns. Keep in touch! H

    • I didn’t know I have any readers from Welly, yay xx
      Oh I know, my Mum has warned me…but looking at my long dead garden, my latest water bill and the news telling us there will be an “extreme and strict water roster next summer” makes me realise rain is so good. I’m sure I’ll get used to it once again 🙂
      I’d love to catch up and see some of your creations – I’ll definitely be in touch xx

I love comments so please feel free to say "hi" xx

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s