Patrones 306 and Manequim 625 (July 2011)

Moar magazines! 🙂 This is my (now) usual monthly delivery, no more Burda from now on, just a Patrones and a Manequim , which I am enjoying immensely.

July’s Patrones isn’t my favourite issue, there are plenty of nice items but I think I am all summer-patterned out and while thinking about job-hunting I am more interested in the less casual looks (read: I can wear to work) that Manequim are offering up this month.

Having said that, if there is one things these guys know how to do well it’s summer dresses!

I’d love to catch glimpse of the front of this orange number (doesn’t it make you nervous when they only show one specific angle, it’s like, “what are you hiding?”) but the line drawing looks good enough. It looks familiar doesn’t it? I think it reminds me of this Burda dress from July 2010.

The yellow dress is very pretty, lots of shirring and ruffly edges.

There’s a “romantic” section that I am skipping over but you can check out Jacquie’s selection here.

I do like this blue dress in the “On Holiday” section, nice paneling.

Another fantastic plus section offers up these cute shorts and zipper top perfect for over the bikini. A loverly pintucked blouse with flared-leg pant and a super cute skirt with great detailing to the pockets.

Next months issue is for Fall and we will “discover all the seasonal trends” including some “elegant urban fashion, a great collection of women’s clothes, coats and a special of beautiful winter fashion for girls”.









Now, this month”s Manequim! Phew! It is one of my favourites so far. I love the offset of Patrones casual looks with Manequims more classic sophistication. There are seveal items this month that I want to make immediately and I am going to use them as my motiviation for finishing my Forever Jeans and Gok Coat, which means the hunt is on for buttons and buckles, look out!

My top picks come from the section about the style of Linda e Chique who seems to be a star on a TV show called Insensato Coração (Foolish Harts?), but I may have completely wrong. What is not wrong is the stylish top and pant combo. There is delicious piping detail to the pant pockets and waist band and the top has a really interesting sleeve pleat to compliment the neckline and pleated front, and all in a polka-dot print silk, yummy!

The next item in this section is this amazing cut-out style top, I love the neck line and I am a big fan of sneaky peaky décollatage! This top is amazing in simple white and I bet it would also be fabulous in the right print.

The copy-cat style section gives us three items inspired by Gucci and the leggings are particularly nice in their detail. I like the blouse as well but I think it would look better on me if I made it more fitted. The dress is scrummy too, I don’t think I need remind you of my love for wrap dresses.

I just noticed that at the front of the copy-cat section they put the price of the original item. To purchase these three items would cost you a total of R$903 Brazilian Real (that’s R$304, R$299 & R$300 for the blouse, dress and leggings respectively) or $672 New Zealand dollars! Why don’t you go on and look up the conversion in your currency to see how much you could save making it yourself? 😉

In the Black & White themed section there is with super sweet dress and amazing blazer, take a closer look at the line drawing, it has a nice shape and great paneling.

In the Winter section there is this fabulous trench-dress which I got quite excited about. I saw this dress on just the other day and thought the idea of it was dreamy!

Dhini S/S '11 - Floating Trench

The Manequim version is a much more simple shape but the pleated origami sleeves are the real feature here. There is a nice set of pants in this section as well.

That’s it! 🙂


Sewing Catharsis

A very close family member of mine had a serious health scare over the weekend. I’m not going to let this post get too personal but suffice to say it has not been a very fun few days.

Yesterday I took some me-time and sat down to do a little sewing for someone else and I found it surprisingly healing. A distraction for my brain, nothing too difficult, but enough to make me concentrate on the task at hand instead of all the ‘if onlys’ that have been plaguing my recent thoughts.

It is my Mum’s birthday next week so last night she booked a small family dinner to celebrate. My Mum is one of those ladies who hates “dust collectors” or anything else that is of no use to her. She likes practical gifts but generally tells us she doesn’t need or want anything.

(The other problem is that if I give her something that is “too nice” it’ll get put away “for best” which means it will never get used!)

Well I knew there was something she needed, even if she didn’t know it. When we stayed with her recently I realised how much I missed my peg apron and using a basket on the ground is no good for your back (or hers) so I decided to make my Mum her very own Peg Apron.

I used my favourite apron book, A is for Apron, by Nathalie Mornu. This is a great book for anyone as apron mad as I am.

There are 25 “fresh and flirty” aprons inside and plenty of ideas for more with a short section on the history of aprons and lots of vintage images.

The photographs are beautiful and the fabric selections are inspirational, you’ll never want to buy a boring beige apron again!

I don’t find the instructions particularly helpful, there is too much text and not enough images but none of these aprons are particularly difficult to construct.

Patterns are in the back at reduced scale so you need to enlarge them on a photocopier or scan and enlarge them in Photoshop/Gimp or similar program and print them off.

I made Deep Pockets, the second time I have made this pattern since the version I made for myself is so great. This pattern is also excellent for using up those many scraps or fat-quarters you have hoarded away because the fabric requirements are minimal. I even used scraps to make the bias binding as well since you only need about 12cms of it.

It only took me about 90 minutes to construct (and that included re-threading my overlocker, making a cup of tea and checking my emails!) I am pretty sure I spent more time choosing which fabric to use!

This time around I did not divide the apron into two pockets because I find that because I am right-handed I just end up with one pocket full or pegs and nothing in the other side! I like how well my Mum’s one turned out that I might unpick the top stitching of my apron.

Now back to the “for best” problem, Mum has promised me she will use the apron, she thinks it really is a great idea and can see the benefit of not juggling pegs in her hands and not stooping down to the peg basket. My Aunty and Nana also liked it so much they have asked for one each as well.

You can see my first version of this apron here and there are also images in that link to the Cosmopolitan, an Art Deco style apron from the same book.

Patrones 304 & 305 and Manequim 624

Ok, so things are getting back to normal in blog-world, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be although I am still header-less but I’ll get to that soon enough.

Now that my scanner is back up and running it’s time for a quick magazine catch up, well, not quick, this will be quite a long post but filled with lots of scrumptious images. I’ve received 2 Patrones and a Manequim since arriving in NZ. I also have two Manequims on their way from my old address since it took them a while to translate my email and update my details but I planned for this so no troubles there.

So let’s start with Patrones 304 which is May’s Summer Special issue:

It has me longing for Summer with lots of beachy dresses and tops. I really like the two pleated bodice dresses, they look quite simple in shape but very flattering. The blue on white floral print is so beautiful.

Wow, check out these cuffs!

I really like this yellow top, I’ve said it before, I am a sucker for ruffles but I also like these overalls. Yes I know, overalls! It’s all part of the plan, you see Mr Curious has obtained for himself a little something for his hobby and there have been mumblings about the requirement of some help with said hobby item. This item is not particularly clean, nor will it ever be for quite some time and if I’m going to be spending time away from my sewing room in the garage with items requiring more oil than my sewing machines combined then I am going to do it in style.

Mr Curious already has his own pair that I made him complete with Ghost-busters logo so I think it’s time for me to have my own pair and they will be as stylish as overalls can be, and possibly pink, and perhaps I shall find one of those embroidered name tags as well. This will please me.

There is a small maternity section is this issue and this dress is my favourite, that is not anything to be read into, it’s just nice to see a bit of shape for a maternity dress rather than the usual sack offerings.






Now I have to say that I think this month Patrones have definitely out done themselves with the plus patterns. The effort is impressive and I think you will agree, I mean just look at the detailling on this dress above, elegant pleating front and back and the fabric is beautiful. . . .

This purple dress from a broderie anglaise boarder is also very fetching followed by a shift dress and another with matching jacket, I think the model is stunning and the fit is excellent.

If you sew a Patrones size 50 – 58 (that’s similar to Burda  50 – 56) then this is the issue for you.


June’s issue, 305,  is the “full Summer season” starting with two cute shorts. I love the pockets on the blue set, I think because they are fitted at the hip they would be quite flattering with a tucked in top and the brown pair look comfy with a nice wide waist band, which is always flattering, and sailor style button front. . .



I love these two dresses from the 50’s section, very elegant. The back of style 11 is really interesting and would attract a lot of compliments.

This issue also has some overalls-slash-rompers-slash-playsuits…one you may like…and one you may not. When I mentioned pink overalls above, this is not what I was envisioning but the top underneath is cute.

Another great plus section includes this flattering top and pants. Usually you see the pleats under the bust on plus sized tops, which can accentuate the tummy and give a faux-pregnancy look, no one want’s that, but this top has the pleats at the bottom and while a little voice inside my head tells me, “yes, but it’ll probably puff out and be just as bad” the model seems to have it under control. Cute shoulder detail too..



And lastly, continuing on from the previous issue, after baby is born you need to dress her in a cute dress to mach Mummy..






Next month is the Vacation Special with “fashion to feel relaxed and happy in many trends, romantic (lingerie?) clothing, and the best look for the beach”, some children’s fashion and the usual plus fashion section.








.June’s Manequim (624) is equally packed and I’ve marked far too many pages for scanning 🙂 You’ll probably recognise this jacket, similar to one in May’s Burda (which I haven’t recevied yet, but is apparently on its way). The Manequim pattern is a bit different to the celebrity’s version but I prefer the celebrity jacket’s fabric, it makes me think if icecream and takes away from the hard military edge this style of jacket can get.

Jacket 113 – BurdaStyle May 2011

I’ve never been a fan of animal prints, although I do confess to owning a snake skin print sateen in silver/black/yellow but you’ll never catch me in leopard. It looks great on everyone else but I know I’d never be able to pull it off still I am looking past the fabric print on this dress to the style lines, it’s really cute and I love the hem line and bow at the back, grrrrrowlll!






The mix-and-match section this month is inspired by Michael Kors. I’m really only interested in the skirt and cowl top which look great together, love the big pockets and wide hem.

The next section is more my current mood, today we have a bit more sun but it’s still pretty nippy out there. I had a very unsuccessful thread and button expedition yesterday to finish my mac coat so seeing this gorgeous coat and cape cheered me right up. The dress underneather the coat is great too, where can I find me some of that fabric?!

I’m not sure if I could do a cape but I am intrigued, it’s got a bit of a Sherlock Holmes feel and how cute would it look with the perfect hat?

The next section is somethign to do with Stylish Couples and of course starts off with Wills and Kate but I didn’t bother to scan it since they didn’t bother to pick a more intersting dress to clone, I mean really, of all the fabulous dresses I’ve seen her in on tv…?

I do like the houndstooth strapless number, I have no idea who the couple is but the Manequim clone is much better than the original and has cute piping lines.

TomKat is next but I’m skipping over them as well for this cute purple dress, another couple I don’t recognise. What an amazing tessellated print, I LOVE it and I wish I had in my stash. The black dress is hard to see due to the colour but if you have a look at the line drawing you’ll see some interesting panelling, perhaps another candidate for the colourblocked treatment.

The final section is Retro Chic but it’s all a bit too gypsy for me. There is another set of overalls attempting to compete (but failing miserably) with my Patrones selection but I think not. These pants however are great. The leg is possbily a bit over-the-top in width but I like the waist and pocket detail. Ohh and some more ruffles, just because I can 🙂

Phew! That was a lot wasn’t it? I’ll leave you with some yummies while you rest, Ciao

Cleaning, oiling and re-tensioning the blog

I am taking the plunge and going to muck around with my blog over the next day or two so if you’ve arrived here and are thinking, “what is going on?” don’t worry, it is all on purpose.

I have no idea how this is going to go but I need a theme change at the very least since I have mucked up all my pages trying to do drop down menus following a wordpress blog post only to find out that I’ve stuffed everything up since my current theme doesn’t support them even thought the post I read specificaly asks in relaton to the theme I use, argh!

So anyway, I have them back but they are all jumbled and messy looking which is jumbling and messing with my nerdy senses. I also hate this massive long line of things that I have going on down the left hand side. Then after all that, if I feel like it I might have a go at my banner and a few other ideas I have floating around in my head and harddrive 🙂

So this is sorries in advance xx

Rain-Sun-Rain-Sun, Oh and a Manequim top!

Image courtesy of

We’ve been having some crazy weather here in Wellington the last few days. Big storm fronts are sweeping across the entire country (indeed they are the size of the entire country) in waves so that we have one awful day (with bonus tornados) followed by a wonderful sunny calm day, then another crappy one follows. Today is sunny but still pretty windy. I really wanted to take photos of my new top outside so you could all see the view from my house but it was far too brisk.






This is Blusa 158 from Manequim 620 (February 2011), it is sized as a 44 and I think it’s a little big for me in the shoulders and across the bust.

I took it in a little but I’m worried anymore and I won’t be able to get in to it! It might be a case of wait and see if it grows on me or take it in to how I like it and throw in an invisible zipper to the side seam. What do you think?

Because I started this top in the West Island 😉 and finished it here in the North Island I don’t have a huge amount of construction photos but it was pretty easy to make.

You baste all the front pleats first and then sew their central seam together and then attach the facings. Now it’s just a case of back shoulder seams (I love how the fabric wraps over your shoulders into the back seams) then side seams, hem the sleeves and the bottom and you’re done, I can’t believe it took me so long! I think…yeah I’m pretty sure, this is my first Manequim item that I have sewn and it turned out well, there’s nothing like a boost in confidence huh?

On Sunday (one of the fine days, oh it was so sunny!) I went along to the Wellington Fabric Hoarders club meet at Massey University.

They use a wonderful large and sunny room with plenty of tables and power points and a great view. I met Jenny, Claire and Hayley and we sewed together until I had to leave just after 2pm. They normally stay there until 6pm and there is even a little kitchenette. It was so good to be back in front of my machine and surrounded by other girls as dedicated to their own projects. I’m looking forward to next month already and meeting more of their members.

I worked on my trench/mac coat (doesn’t “mac” just sound so much more sophisticated?…maybe it’s just me). It was my intention to work on my “forever jeans” next but after Perth BSC member Debra showed off her purple mac coat I knew I better get mine finished so we can be online-mac-coat-sisters. I almost can’t believe we both chose to make a coat and in the same colour sans communiqué!

Anyway, I’m referring to this as my Gok Coat and I got so much done! After I worked out where I was up to in the instructions I managed to assemble and attach the collar and shoulder tabs, sew and turn all the sleeve and belt tabs, put together the sleeves and partially assemble the lining. Yay! All that’s left (apart from the undesirable task of searching out the perfect buttons & buckles) is to set in the sleeves (I hate this part, I prefer zippers can you believe it?!), attach the lining, make up the belt and hem! Oh and there’s all those button holes, eek!

Exorcising some (very old) sewing demons

Packing away all your stuff and then returning to look at it six years later is kind of fun. It’s like a weird Christmas, so many boxes, what could be inside? Huh, what is this?! It’s strange the things I chose to keep and packed away, a lot of things I thought I valued then which mean very little to me now. In amongst it all was a bag of old sewing projects, some unfinished, and a few I hardly remember making so if you can keep in mind most of these projects are between 6 & 10 years old, I’ll share them with you.

I definitely remember making this skirt, it’s a New Look pattern #6843, such a popular basic skirt pattern you can still buy it! I think this is probably view E in a light weight denim cotton that has a pin striping and polka dots over it. I embellished it with applique hearts in a pink cotton.

I only vaguely remember making this top, I think my brain has tucked the memory of the hideous fabric print deep down in my subconscious, thank goodness! I probably decided on the idea and wanted to use a printed jersey but having little money and relying only on Spolight this is the best I could find. It feels more like a Lycra than Jersey but who cares because nothing can save this print. It’s possible the basic shape comes from OOP Simplicity 7013 and I added ties to the sleeves and side seams to give a ruched effect.

This skirt I LOVED when I made it. It’s possibly a bit too flouncy for me to wear now. It’s from a Burda magazine, back in the days when I would get them from the library and painstakingly trace the patterns I liked in my size for later use. I’m pretty sure it’s from October 2003 and it’s Skirt 118a and had a matching jacket which I didn’t make. How cool is the denim? I’ve never seen the likes of it again but it would have been from Spotlight. It has a cross-wise stretch to it and is two sided! Perfect for this skirt where you get a glimpse of the inside of the flounce as you walk and look at those pockets! I’ve taken a photo of it inside out so you can see it a bit better. I still love this fabric and wish I had some in my stash RIGHT NOW. Do you like my neatening zig-zag to the seam edges? No overlocker for me way back then but I got by.

Scarlett isn’t designed to wear pants so if these have a weird crotch thing going on it’s not my sewing, it’s Scarlett’s lack of legs, there’s an adjustable dial located in a very unfortunate position 😉

These pants were cut from my own pattern. I bought a pair of pants from Shantons when they used to be in Cuba mall and I wore them to death and like everything that you love, by the time you realise that you should have bought an extra pair, they can’t be bought any longer. So I got out my unpicker and I remember making two pairs identical to the shop bought pair in black with back invisible zipper and zippered pockets at the thighs and shins and I must have started these as well. The originals never had hip pockets or domes so I’m quite impressed with my ingenuity. I haven’t tried them on (it’s far too cold to be whipping off the clothes for sewing) but they only need the back zipper to be completed so maybe…

Now for the big guns! Are you ready because it’s pretty sparkly!

This was my 1998 Senior College Dance dress (High School for all the Americans and Australians) It looks pretty terrible on Scarlett but my memories of it on myself (I am NOT digging out photos for you guys) are quite flattering. It has elastic at the sides to keep…things…in place 😉 This is actually the second version of this dress.

The original was made earlier in the year for a competition that was also part of a project in my 7th form Graphics and Design class. For the project it had a wavey hem and an overdress of paper clips painstakingly hand pieced by me and a little hat. My dad cut out fish and other sea creature shapes that I drew on a thin aluminium sheet. The whole outfit was mean’t to be about the sea but when I reflected on it later on I realised it looked more like a protest against drift net fishing, but I guess that’s also a worthy topic.

I have no idea what pattern I used for the main dress but it underwent heavy alteration, I think it was loaned to me and I traced it. I remember being really amazed at how easy it was to change a purchased pattern and being taught about facings so I could make my cut-out in the chest. Here is what it looked like then, modeled by my friend J:

We had a class parade at school assembly and again during the Variety Show, then we had photos taken (I remember it was worn at least 4 times because every time my model took it off parts of the paperclip dress had to be repaired, my fingers hated me).

It was really fun and my first real taste of that kind of sewing experience, a bit of Project Runway before Project Runway existed.

I remember getting a good mark in class and then we submitted photos and design boards to the competition people. I was chosen for the finals and my Mum took me to Christchurch for the award ceremony but that’s as far as I got. I was pretty proud of myself though. Here are the rest of the entries from my class taken before one of our school parades:

So that’s all that was inside the bag of shame, not too shameful really.

I’ve also finally stopped messing with my room, here are a few pics. It’s pretty small so hard to get a good shot and the light was terrible so excuse the poor quality images.

Sewing machines? Check!

Fabric hoard? Check!

Sewing patterns? Check! Ohh what’s that that Scarlett’s wearing? Maybe I’ll share it with you after the weekend!

I guess now there are no excuses left to not do some sewing! 🙂