Shakes and Stash Sharing

Ahh wibbly wobbly Wellington, I love you so much, but please (!) enough with the earthquakes already 😮

On Friday afternoon at 2:31pm central New Zealand experienced another good shake, a 6.6 centred about 72 kilometres from Wellington at a depth of 8kms.

A second quake of 5.4 followed 6 minutes later, I was still cowering in the doorway with 2 of my work colleagues.

If I could pick where I am when we do get “the big one” our office building, at just 34% of current code (strengthening work has begun, we are supposed to achieve 70% by early next year), would not be it.

We are only on the first floor but it swayed and swayed, the two earthquakes felt like a single really long quake.

Nerdy Husband, who was home ill, rung me immediately and after a quickly exchanged “I’m OK” we were cut off, the mobile network was overloaded.

From our boardroom we watched people empty out of buildings on to the streets. There was more shaking and our 4th staff member arrived back at the office, we all agreed we should shut up and go home.

The Terrace was gridlocked with cars as most of Wellington’s CBD decided to do the same. I had trained in that morning and I correctly guessed that, like last time, the trains would all be cancelled. I finally got through to NH using a combination of text messaging, Facebook chat, Google chat and Voxer,”My work colleague R is giving me a ride home”

“Get home now as fast as you can!” was the reply.

Our office is close to the motorway on-ramp but first we had to battle our way down The Terrace giving way to fire engines that were flooring it up the street, sirens blaring, horns blasting, squeezing between the cars in the smallest of gaps.

It sounds frantic but things moved slowly, I thought we’d be stuck in traffic until dark but we finally got on to the motorway and the rest of the trip was fast, we were very lucky to beat the worst of the rush.

Image from

At home things were better, I was with my husband, I cuddled my kitten, all our family had finally checked in, everyone was either home, or on their way. We watched the news, braced for each new rumble, absorbing all the aftermath images of Seddon and Wellington.

It’s taken me a while to get this post written, I didn’t go online at all during the weekend. On Monday, back at work, I was overwhelmed from the emails and messages from my readers, thank you so much for thinking of me, for thinking NZ, and for taking the time to even just simply ask, “Are you OK?”

“I’m OK”

As I said in my last earthquake post, Wellingtonians are used to the threat of earthquakes, but ever since Christchurch it’s been different.

We had Pizza for dinner on Friday night, then on Saturday I re-checked our emergency supplies* and then I did my usual grocery shop. Going about life like normal is the best way to feel, well, normal. I even made scones on Saturday, post-earthquake scones are a new tradition in our house. This time around I made two batches but if we get another 6+ then I think I may have to upgrade to muffins!

It feels settled now, we had a few more notable aftershocks over the weekend but that’s about it. There is a lot of statistics being thrown around, probabilities of more quakes and their possible magnitudes but I prefer not to listen. NH, who is a geologist, likes to grumble at the seismologists on TV, they make him grumpy with their numbers. They are trying to give people answers to very difficult questions but really there isn’t anything they can tell us with absolute certainty. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, be as prepared as possible and have a plan.

On the radio this morning, in response to another caller claiming that little quakes are “good” because they relieve stress on the fault lines (they don’t necessarily, they might just move it elsewhere) another caller angrily rebuked them stating that there is absolutely nothing good about any earthquake. What I saw at the supermarket was the cleared bottled water shelves, as well as first aid kits and lots of canned food in peoples trolleys.

People are preparing themselves, that is one good thing.

OK, back to sewing – I had a BIG list of sewing tasks to complete on the weekend and with NH sick with the flu, poor darling, it meant he’d probably be comatose on the couch most of the weekend and I’d get to sew ALL. WEEKEND. LONG.

So that didn’t happen, I just didn’t feel like sitting at my machines. Instead I tidied my room (it didn’t really need it but I like doing it) and a few other little tasks.

I started the hand stitching for the hem of my Lady Grey, it’s all I have left to do but after I put it down to go make some lunch I came back to this:

I think I’ve mentioned already, Harri loves this wool. I have a 1.0 meter scrap that I leave out for her but the sun was shining on THIS bit 😉

So I moved on to the Rainbow Swallows dress. I unpicked the casing for the elastic at the back, it’s just not working, the elastic distorts the side seams and it’s puffy at my upper back.

I took in all the seams 1cm then realised I still need to take out some extra fabric at he back so I added two long darts. It looks better now, next I will baste all these seams and try it on to make any final tweaks from adding the buttons, collar and sleeves.

Then I  moved on to Vogue 1250, it is currently un-hemmed and needs to have the sleeves finished. I also had this weird transition between the stitched upper side seam to the folded lower side seam. It was an easy fix, I just pinned out the stitching line for a more shallow intersection. Then I turned over the sleeve edges twice and pinned them. The hem also got pinned up but I need to check the length…I was also not in the mood for trying things on 😉

Now I was running out of things that didn’t need sewing so I decided to do some tracing.

I’ve had McCall’s 2718 for a while now, intending to make up a proper fitting shell to compare with new patterns in the hope that I can use it to better pick the correct size and solve the more obvious fitting issues before beginning to sew.

I despise making muslins/trial garment/ toiles, whatever it is you prefer to all them, unless it’s a super important project, I just don’t have the time, the inclination or the patience.

I traced the front bodice piece and then I noticed how many other pattern pieces seemed to be included in the envelope.

I decided to read the instructions.

Basically, to make the fitting shell, you only need about 5 pieces. The idea is that you fit the tissue by pinning it on yourself and make some alterations then stitch the shell up in a gingham (the grid helps you identify any additional fitting issues) and complete any additional alterations before transferring then back to paper and creating the master pattern.  After you finish that process you learn to apply your personal fitting changes to the additional included pattern pieces to make a basic dress, shirt and skirt.

I could see all kinds of problems doing a “tissue fit” with my traced pattern pieces (like ripping!) so I decided to stop until I could acquire some of that brilliant tracing fabric from Made Marion. Kat introduced me to it and once I get my hands on some, I’ll introduce it to you too, you’ll be best of friends, I promise.

Then I started looking through my stash and I remembered a little idea I had a while ago but never got around to starting.

You already know I love my stash, I say it often enough, every single piece, and I have no guilt 😉 I often sift through it linking fabric to patterns, changing my mind, re-discovering pieces I had forgotten about.

I don’t sew fast enough for my imagination!

the curious kiwi stash – August 2013 – excludes interfacing, linings and “novelty” fabrics

I was thinking that each time I go through my stash I should pull out a few pieces to share with you, tell you how long I’ve had them and what plans, if any, are currently tacked to them. Regular stash sharing posts for inspiration and to remind me of all the pretties I have at my disposal.

What do you think?

Here are three that I dug out on Sunday:

Italian silk | April 2010 | Joveeba relocation sale | 112cm x 2.3 meters | for AUD$30.00

It’s so pretty with a slight crepe feel to it and I love the combination of purple and black on white. I was thinking this could be a gorgeous La Sylphide.

Printed Satin | 2009 | Spotlight Innaloo | 114cm x 2.0 meters | for AUD$10.35/m

I don’t currently have any plans for this fabric. I loved it when I picked it up but now I am not so sure about the champagne colour with my complexion. I am thinking about trying to find a solid to match that blue-green to break it up…and bring out my eyes *flutters lashes*

100% cotton | February 2010 | Tessuti online | 110cm x 2.5 meters | for AUD$24.00/m

This piece has always been marked for the Vogue 8280 “Galaxy Dress” if I ever get up the courage to try it…but really it will look stunning as any dress, maybe even as a Belladone?

Ok, last photo, of Harri “helping” me hold down the slipper fabric for photographing 😉


*If you’d like some more information about preparing for a disaster, the New Zealand Civil Defence “Get Ready – Get Thru” website has some excellent advice on what to do in each situation, tips for making a survival plan and emergency kit contents.

41 thoughts on “Shakes and Stash Sharing

  1. Ugh. The quakes get under your skin don’t they? It seems quiet at the moment though, long may it continue.

    I love your stash pieces. My favourite is the same as Harri’s favourite, the champagne border print. Beautiful! I like the suggestion about playing with the border location. For a boat neck dress with a waist seam you could run the border along the top of the bodice and the bottom of the skirt with champagne in the middle. A centre front seamed dress with a bit of a plunging neckline you could have the border mirrored either side of the centre front so it frames your décolleté. But I’m sure whatever you do it will be amazing!

  2. Glad you are all ok. I’m from Christchurch and still in a munted house and most of the city is demolished now and it’s the sort of thing everyone could just do without.

  3. I’m glad you and your family are ok. I have never experienced an earthquake but I have to say its been a strange year for weather. A week before I went to visit my parents, they had a flash flood that knocked the city on its knees. In the dry prairie this is a very rare- once in a century -occurance. The globe seems to be doing some rearranging.

  4. Earthquakes, yuck. I lived in Wellington for a while and while I miss some things about it (the amazing range of cheap dining options, mainly!), I do not miss the earthquakes. I think since Christchurch they’ve become scarier for everyone, whether you live somewhere that’s prone to them or not.

    Off-topic: what is it with cats and current projects? Mine has sleeping spots scattered all round the house, but loves none so much as the project I’m working on right then. Bonus points if you’re actually trying to sew it at the time.

    • I think cats have an extra sense, they know when to be the most annoying and cute at the same time! Haha. In Harri’s defence, my cutting table gets the best sun during the day and she has claimed that spot as her own while I am at work 😉 Last night I was trying to roll up the 5 meters of tracing fabric I bought on to a cardboard tube and suddenly the fabric went taught and I looked down and she was just plonked herself down on it looking up at me 🙂

  5. So glad to hear you are ok, and I am very impressed with how many projects you have on the go in parallel. I also love the glimpse into your plans and dreams, so many lovely projects!

  6. Very glad to hear you are okay! It’s still summer holidays over here and as a result I haven’t really been following the news lately.

    Your stash looks lovely, it’s great that you’re able to see what you’ve got, my fabrics are tucked away in a cupboard so I sometimes forget about things that are hybernating in the back.

  7. Pingback: weekly photo challenge: carefree, or another harrowing peek into a mind creative | Curls n Skirls

  8. Thanks so much for letting us know you’re ok. Know quakes aren’t fun. Hope your office retrofit finishes quickly!

    Love the idea of mini stash shows & that you take mini-strolls though yours, thinking about what pattern to use with what fabric. I do the same. Do wish my stash was a neat as yours. 😉

    Also like that you pick up & change projects so freely, as do I. If we can’t do as we choose with our own projects, where’s the fun?!

    Your scones look yummy! And Harri adorable!! Hope hubbie is again on his feet.

    • Thanks xx Sewing is all about fun and de-stressing for me. I think there should be no guilt in enjoying your stash and also it’s ok to work on lots of projects at once, they don’t have to be labelled UFOs 😉

  9. My sympathies. I lived through the 1989 loma prieta earthquake (San Francisco area) and the many aftershocks. Despite “growing up” with earthquakes, I had lingering traumatic stress for a few years, especially in regard to tunnels and freeway overpasses. It eventually settles down, but I hope that the retrofit on your workplace gets done expeditiously! All the best–

  10. Glad to hear you are OK. Earthquakes are always scary. I lived in Wellington for several years about 20 years ago and I hated them. Hopefully it has settled down now. I love seeing peoples stashes, so great idea to show us some fabric from yours.

  11. Earthquakes are the pits! After 11,000 of them in 2 1/2 years they still suck but if there is a positive side, I know longer run to the doorway at the first rumble. I have got very good at trusting the roof over my head but in the first few months wouldn’t visit a mall. I know what you are going through and wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone. I think I can speak for everyone here in Christchurch in saying, we feel for you.

    • I always wondered how you ChCh peeps handle it, it must be so scary, I would be a bundle of nerves and now I understand a little more, even though what we’ve had doesn’t compare. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone either, fingers crossed the whole country settles down now! 🙂 xx

  12. Having grown up in Wellington I can empathise with all the earthquake madness! I tried to explain to a colleague here about how we all used to be so blasé about the shakes every now and then, but the mood does seem to have shifted to be less complacent in the last year or so.
    For tracing patterns, I bought a huge roll of ‘disposable bed sheet roll’, which I found on Trade Me. The intended use is for doctor’s examination tables, physio/massage tables etc, it’s 80cm wide and is perforated every 1.8m. It’s non-woven ‘fabric-y’ kind of stuff, sounds similar to the tracing fabric you’re mentioning, but it was cheap and does the trick pretty well!

  13. The earthquakes do sound scary, glad you are all Ok and made it home safely. How did Hari react to it? A Galaxy dress in that black fabric would be stunning, I’m also wondering if you turned the champagne fabric upside down or even sideways (seen quite a lot of garments using prints this way) you might like it better?

    • Harri seems to freak out with the earthquakes but I’m not sure if she’s just freaking out because the humans are freaking out 😉 I read that dogs can apparently sense earthquakes but not sure about cats.

      Ohh sideways is a great idea! Thanks 🙂

  14. Good to hear that you are OK – and I hope NH is recovering from his flu.
    I am impressed at how many projects you have on the go at once – I’ve realised that I have to finish one thing at a time, as putting a project to one side equates to declaring it a UFO and having it disappear into the strange black hole in my sewing room. (More of a wormhole, really, as things do return – sometimes after a few years).
    And lovely stash! Mine is impressive in quantity, but no so much quality; too many lengths of fabric purchased for their cheap price tag rather than their suitability…

    • NH is feeling much better too thank you 🙂 Ahh yes, I’m pretty bad and having several projects on the go, they do all get finished eventually, I do try to focus more near the end of each one but it’s more fun to have lots of things going on 🙂

  15. Glad to hear that you are ok. DD is at varsity at Vic and is soooo sick of the earth moving and in not a good way LOL but she is ok. I love the peak into your stash – it is almost as good as having it myself. I love love that you include where you got it from and the discussion on what you might make from it. I will look forward to more in future. Love and hugs to the cute Harry.

    • “Sick of it” is right, time for the earth to settle down and leave us alone for another 50 years or so 😉 Glad to hear she is ok too.

      I liked sharing my stash, it’s fun, so I will do more in the future 🙂

  16. I am glad that you are ok! Living on the US west coast I am somewhat used to earthquakes, so I sort of know what you are going through, but perhaps not quite to the extent that you are having in Wellington. It seems like all the sewing bloggers in that region are doing well though, so that is good.

    Also, love seeing your stash! You have some truly lovely fabrics, and I can’t wait to see what you make with them. I have also been cleaning my sewing space (though for me it was much more of a necessity due to detritus from several months of sewing projects building up and taking over the space), and I have been handling and reorganizing my stash because of it. Definitely one of the best ways to get inspired is to handle stash fabrics! I also re-discovered a few forgotten favorites and I am re-thinking projects, but also really inspired to get sewing. Hopefully the shaking stops soon, and you will have some new items to show off on your blog!

    • Yes all the Wellington girls have checked it, we all got a fright but it’s great to have each other to talk it through 🙂

      I’m glad you liked the peak into my stash, I enjoyed going through it to choose the first few pieces to share. I love having it to inspire me, like a mini fabric store all for me, filled with everything I love 😉 hehe

  17. I don’t sew fast enough in any way for my imagination either, does anyone??!! My serious stash and the part of it I’m getting rid of testify to that.
    Stay safe.

  18. I used to live in Wellington too and have been thinking of all my friends still there. I can only imagine how scary it must have been for you. Glad to hear that you’re ok and as prepared as you can be. And well done on getting some sewing done over the weekend despite all the shakes!!

  19. How scarey are those quakes. I grew up in Wellington and I remember the china rattling in the cupboards frequently. No need to blu tack everything down in Aus! I do hope they stop. x

    • I know, I always remember the earthquake drills in school and little shakes at home. It’s more scary now that I am a grown-up.

      When I first arrived in Perth I worked at a gallery store, I went out to the back one day to get some stock and noticed how much glassware we had just sitting on these really tall shelves, no blue tack, not even anchored to the wall, it freaked me out, you’d never see that in Wellington ! 🙂

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