Let’s all meet up in Rotorua and sew!

I have been busy scheming with fellow Wellington Sewing Blogger Sandra, planning big things…like a mega sewing meet in the central North Island!

Are you a sewist in NZ and wanna come hang out with us for a weekend?

Great, let’s do it!

There are still some details to iron out (hehe, iron, see what I did there?) but the general idea is that we’ll hire a suitable venue in Rotorua to meet up on the first weekend in August 2015 – that’s Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd.

We’ll sew, gossip, swap fabric/patterns/knowledge, go fabric shopping, eat food and have a fun weekend making lots of new sewing friends…and hopefully some clothes too ;)

We’ve created a form to aid us in our planning, please follow this link for more details and to register your interest.

The WSBN are very keen and already planning mini buses full of sewing machines cruising up SH1.

Hopefully you are as excited as us and maybe we could even make this an annual event.


0 Degrees Bleuet

You guys have heard of 6 Degrees of Separation right?

New Zealand has a bit of an inside joke regarding that saying (we even have a mobile phone company named for it), but in Wellington it seems even less and we often joke that it’s actually 0 Degrees.We know this is technically not possible but live in Wellington for even a short period of time and you’ll quickly realise the exaggeration is no understatement. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve met someone new and we’ve discovered some way we are linked through circumstance or mutual friend/s.

So, moving on to the point of this post: The Wellington Sewing Bloggers now number more than 30 lovely ladies with a passion for sewing and blogging and Wellington.  With a group this size you won’t be surprised to learn that several of us own the same patterns and we also often buy the same fabric.

Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes deliberately.

This is what spawned Leimomi’s idea for the 0 Degrees of Sewing Separation Challenge. We would all link up by pattern or fabric and create a branching chain of fabulous clothes that  all link us together.

This is my link in the chain, a second Deer and Doe Bleuet:

Excuse the wrinkles, I wore it all day at Fabric-a-brac :)

It links to Kat who has made the same dress in a cute mushroom fabric and Jenna who used the same mushroom fabric to make a Pauline Alice Alameda…and that’s how it goes. Check out all the links in the chain as they are published on Leimomi’s post.

The main fabric from Cotton and Steel and it is AMAZING (capital letters required). It was beautiful to sew and feels great even after a few washes. Japanese fabric is like that.

I had 2.5 yards but due to the narrow width I didn’t have enough to cut all the final small pieces. So I picked up some matching pink broadcloth of similar weight and weave from Spotlight.

Spot my new sewing toy – an ElnaPress – Squee! Perfect interfacing.

I initially thought I would cut the button band (which I cut off last time), collar, bow and sleeve bands from the pink but I was worried it would become too bitsy and the beautiful main fabric would be less special. In the end I squeezed the button band and upper collar (by piecing the under side) onto the Tangrams and only cut the collar upstand, bow and cuffs from the pink.

Kat helped me alter the sleeves because I didn’t want the gathers and puffiness and then I decided I wouldn’t use the chunky cuffs.

I stitched most of this on a Sunday and I had the dress about 80% finished (just needing collar, sleeves and hemming) when I put it on my dress form at the end of the day.

I felt so happy with my fabric choice and I decided that, although I normally prefer dresses with sleeves, I actually quite liked this one without. I consulted with members of the WSBN who mostly agreed with me but suggested I make up one sleeve and baste it on to check.

I tested the altered sleeve in calico first and it was pretty close. There was still a bit too much width so I folded that out and cut the first sleeve from the tangrams. I basted it in place and then I decided it needed more pink. I cut one of the cuffs down to bias width, folded it up and pinned it in place. It looked so good that I just went ahead and attached the second cuff and didn’t bother asking any more opinions ;)

I’m not very good at inserting sleeves. I usually catch each side three or fours times and have to do a lot of unpicking so this time I tried something new. I can’t remember where I first saw it or if it has a technical term other than Use All The Pins but it worked really well.

My only real hiccup with this make was running out of thread while sewing the hem the night before our meet. I had to steal some off the bobbin and even then I only just made it.

We celebrated our challenge with Yum Cha:

Mango Pudding!
Me, Kirsten, Kristina, Jenna and Kat

And then we wandered over to Te Papa for some fun group photos:

Leimomi, Me, Jenna, Marta, Zara, Kirsten and Nina


Pattern – Deer and Doe Bleuet Dress, straight size 42

Altered sleeves, removed self button placket and reattached.

Fabrics – Cotton and Steel Moonlit Tangrams Navy, pink broadcloth from Spotlight Kaiwharawhara.



My sew-jo has been a bit low lately, if you can’t tell from the lack of blog posts :)

But this is not a post to apologise for that, we all have our sewing ups and downs…this is a post about actually sewing.

It all started with a phone call from Kat at 4pm on a Saturday. We chatted about a lot of things and, of course, sewing. I complained about my low sew-jo and how I really just couldn’t be bothered right now…even though I have 4 projects already cut out. We talked about what inspires us to sew and I mentioned how I had a lot of fun sewing the dresses for TMS Frocktober 2014  because I was actively photographing them to share later. Kat said just recently she had really enjoyed Instagramming her Hummingbirds Clover dress progress and got a lot of fun and encouraging comments along the way…and that’s how #MuseJennaB42mrw started.

Kat’s challenge to me was to sew up one of my cut projects (specifically the Muse Jenna) before our planned afternoon tea on Sunday afternoon…the next day…

So I put the chicken in the oven for dinner, threaded my overlocker up with black and got to work, ‘gramming along the way ;)

I got as far as neckband before I stopped for dinner.

Then I finished up to the cuffs before I realised that I better choose some buttons. Nothing in my stash did the trick so I decided to go with pearl snaps. They play in with the slightly vintage vibe of the pattern and my fabric choice however by the time I dug them out it was dark and a little bit too late to be outside sewing with a hammer.

On Sunday morning I attached the snaps and then I was all done.

Apologies for boring inside photos…it’s taken me way too long to get around to taking these and the wind was not cooperating…so you get my soon-to-be-painted hallway wall ;)

The arms are a teeny bit long so I’ll adjust those next time my overlocker is threaded up black…and it’s just as comfy when buttoned up.

It’s such a fast make because I stitched about 90% of it on my overlocker, only using my sewing machine for the shoulder yoke gathers and the top stitching.

Muse has 4 patterns published now and considering it’s the creative child of one of my BSFF (Best Sewing Friends Forever) I’m a little embarrassed about how long it’s taken me to actually stitch something up.

I wanted this post to be a bit of a review of the experience…except that hasn’t happened!

I was skim reading and sewing so fast that I accidentally skipped a whole section and as I was interfacing the button band I thought, “whoa, shouldn’t I have attached the bottom band already?” And then I saw the ENTIRE page that I just flipped past in my haste ;)

But it’s ok, you don’t really need to hear what I think of the instructions because I know Kat and therefore I know they are awesome…this is the perfect wardrobe builder with lots of options, opportunity to personalise and to top it all off it’s an easy pattern to whip up in an afternoon…or you can take your time if you prefer ;)

You should check out her latest pattern, the Melissa…great name huh? ;)

The hearts are some sort of poly knit from The Fabric Warehouse but the black contrast is merino from my stash.

So this is a good time to mention that my favourite merino source is now online. Levana is merino heaven! So if you’ve been coveting some soft and warm NZ Merino then you’re in luck. Shipping within NZ is pretty reasonable and they will ship internationally, you just need to email them for a rate first. They will be adding more of their fabric range to the online store shortly.


Pattern – Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi, Size 38, variation B (hip length with long sleeves)

Next time I will shorten the arms about 2cm.

Fabrics – Poly knit: The Fabric Warehouse, $16/m. Black contrast: merino from stash.

I’m not normally a fan of cropped…anything…but I think I need to make the waist length version next to wear over some of my dresses come winter…but first I’ll sew up the Gillian dress, one of the other projects I already have cut out.

I learn’t a new NZSL sign on Valentines day…and the translation on the right ;)


Rigel Bomber January Round Up and a winner!

It’s time to say goodbye to January and Rigel Bomber month :( Thank you to everyone who sewed along with us, we really enjoyed seeing all your fabulous jackets :)

Sonja, Kat and I have each picked a winner from the Instagram and Flickr group photos. There were so many amazing bombers it was really hard to choose so before I tell you my pick, I thought I’d share some of the great jackets you all made.

Click on the images for links:

Loving the colour combo of Sonja’s Rigel…check out her blog post to see the fabulous lining too…and also SNOW…JEALOUS! 

Carly made two fabulous Rigels – this one features the perfect fabric combo for the shoulder triangles. Check out her blog post for some great detail photos.

Rose’s Liberty Rigel is a nice twist on floral.

Sandra’s Rigel is covered in dragonflies! :) 

One word: Rawr!

Chloe isn’t sure about her quilted Rigel. I think it’s fab so why don’t you go and tell her how much you love it too?

And now….

(drum roll…)

My pick for Rigel Bomber January is…

Katie from Handmade Thread’s Bomb Bomber quilted Rigel! 

I need Katie to take me fabric shopping because I LOVE this print…not content to just let the fabric rock it alone she also quilted it. Great ribbing colour choice too. Check out more gorgeous photos on her blog!

Congrats Katie, Kat will be in touch soon :)

Check out Kat and Sonja‘s Rigel round ups on their blogs.

It’s all over now but we had so much fun. A big shout out to Kat and Sonja for dragging me into this, it was the perfect push to finally make the Rigel and take you all along with us.

Have we convinced you to get this pattern into your life? It’s available as PDF download too.

Happy sewing, I’ll leave you with a shot of all the Instagram #rigelbomberjanuary tags :) xx

Instagram Mashup

footer_kiwi with needle1


Happy Rigel Bomber January!*

(*I know it’s February…)

I stitched up my jacket in a black and white polka dot needle cord. It took me a long time to decide what fabric to sew my bomber in, looking through my stash several times and trawling the fabric shops buying fabric…but not for my bomber.

This cord is actually a fairly recent addition to my stash from a pre-Christmas trip to Palmerston North with fellow WSBNer Sandra. We popped into Levana on our way and later we split up while I did some errands. When we met back up Sandra showed me what she’d bought from Morelands, which included the cord, and I decided I needed to go there too. So we went back and I totally copied her by buying the last of the bolt.

I was originally thinking skirt but eventually my ears attuned to the fabric’s whispering, “bomber…jacket…do it”

Your fabric whispers to you too right?


I only had 1.55m, not enough for sleeves, but actually that much polka dot would probably have been too much anyway so I tested out an idea I had for a jacket with ponte arms and bought a black double-knit and then picked out an emerald lining fabric and mint green ribbing. I was channeling a 50s vibe I think…I might need a poodle skirt…

I drafted a lining from the pattern pieces (Kat wrote a great tutorial here) because I felt like this fabric needed it. My only other changes were to add 2cm in length to the sleeves and shorten the neck ribbing approximately 2cm at Kat’s suggestion to prevent a floppy collar.

It stitched up easily, the welt pockets went in like magic and I love my pocket lining choice.

I changed it at the last second when I found a random scrap of printed cotton in my “this is far too small to keep but I can’t bear to throw it away” box. I have no idea where it came from but it was the perfect match to both the ribbing and lining. You normally can’t see it but I know it’s there :)

I also used it to embellish my label.

And that’s it!

I’m really proud of this, I think it’s one of the most well made things I’ve ever made.

As my sewing improves I do notice more things I’d change next time. The arms are still just a tad short but not so much that I won’t wear it. It’s quite a different style to what I am used to, I’ve never owned a bomber jacket before and I find myself tugging it down occasionally. That’s just me getting used to it, but I think I’d like to try lengthening the body next time.

I’ve already worn this jacket a lot, it’s fun and casual and a good weight as we transition into autumn.


Pattern – Papercut Rigel Bomber, Size S, variation 1

Lengthed arms 2cm, self-drafted lining, shortened neck ribbing approx 2cm.

Next time I will lengthen the arms an extra 2cm (4cm total) and lengthen the body, maybe 5cm, need to check.

Fabrics – Needle cord for the body, double knit arms, ribbing.

I’d really love to do a glam brocade or sequinned bomber but I think my next version will be a sporty one, unlined, variation 2. I am thinking marl grey with bright coloured shoulder triangles.

Harriet was unimpressed with the lack of attention, and the beeping black thing on the tall metal tree, it was giving her the evil eye…so she is giving it right back ;)


The Curious Corset Experiment – Part One

I wrote in an earlier post that I wasn’t planning any new sewing resolutions this year, besides the usual sew more, blog more, have fun.

I do however have a bit of a sewing goal to complete in 2015 and that is to make a corset.

I see it as a technical challenge and an excuse to sew something fun that I wouldn’t normally sew. I intend to fit it in amongst my usual sewing and I thought I’d share my progress in a semi-regular (read: I’ll post when I do anything but there is no set timeline) blog series.

This idea has been floating around in my head for a while…maybe 4 years ago I bought The Basics of Corset Building by Linda Sparks and one of the two recommended patterns, Simplicity 9769.

All I really needed to get serious was some hardware so after Christmas I jumped online to check out several websites suggested by various sources and eventually settled on Aussie Corset Supplies.

They had what I needed in stock and being just over the ditch in the West Island (New Zealand joke) their shipping was very reasonable.

Based on the listed notions I bought the following:

  • Spiral Steel Boning
    • 4 x 25cm
    • 4 x 26.5cm
    • 2 x 27.5cm
    • 6 x 28.75 cm
    • 4 x 23.75cm
    • 2 x 22.5cm

(Which seems like a lot more more boning pieces than I can count on the pattern outline!)

  • 1 x 30cm DEU Standard Busk 30cm
  • 5 meters white lacing

This all cost me about NZD$70.00 including shipping and handling.

I went for precut/finished spiral steel boning but I also priced up buying it by the meter and the tips separately. The pre-cut boning worked out cheaper because I suspect the by-the-meter stuff is of higher quality. If this experiment goes well and I decide to make a more advanced corset I might look at upping the hardware quality then.

I still need grommets and fabric, which I will buy locally.

I’ve traced my size, I’m starting with a straight 12, and my first step is to stitch up a quick muslin out of heavy calico to test the fit. I’ll also insert the boning and busk.

Then it’s fabric shopping time!

So that’s it for now. I’ll post future entries under The Curious Corset Experiment so if you are interested you can look them up.


Rigel Bomber Update

January is sneaking away…we’re 1/12th of the way through 2015 already, eek! :)

How are your bomber jackets going?

Don’t forget to get them added to our Flickr group page by the end of the month so that we can drool over your sweet jackets AND so we can pick our three favourites.

We chose Flickr because it’s easy to see the details of your makes in the bigger images however we know not everyone has an account or likes Flickr so we’ll also be looking for our favourite makes on Instagram. So, if you prefer, make sure you get your picture on there using #rigelbomberjanuary and you’re still in with a chance :)

I’ve been chipping away at my jacket during a busy month, with Harri’s help – it’s such tiring work for her ;)