Saturday, 8 October 2011

Holiday Relaxation

Today is the first day of the school holidays and I am already planned and ready to start on my holiday list of sewing.  Usually it takes quite some time to wind down at the beginning of each holiday and organize myself to make the most efficient use of my time and energies.  I have been scrolling through a number of posts on capsule wardrobes and wardrobe planning and have found these useful in helping me to coordinate a more structured plan of attack in my sewing and purchasing of items.  Not just yet another list, but a way of making clothes shopping more purposeful.  My relaxed state of mind is directly due to reflexology and the weekly sessions I have been having for the last month.  This lead up to the school holidays has had enormous benefits to my general health and ability to focus, so starting from tomorrow, the sewing begins in earnest.  
The first items that need to be completed will fit into my travel wardrobe for a long weekend that is coming up shortly.  Hubby is off on a sporting weekend and I usually accompany him to a city approximately four hours away.  Each Saturday there is an art and craft market, where you can find some excellent jewellery, and other items that you wouldn't usually see in other markets. When I visit this city I am always able to purchase garments and accessories that are not available anywhere else.  You could probably describe it as more of an artisan market, due to the original and unique nature of what's on offer.  Just my kind of place to find ideas for my own recycled accessories and refashioned garments.  I'm always on the look-out for inspiration and ways of making an ensemble look a bit different from what is available in retail outlets.  After all, that's why I enjoy sewing so much.  

Friday, 30 September 2011

Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobe

I have found these very impressive photographs at this site; to add interest to a blog post.

During the past week I had to Google "Capsule Wardrobe" to get a few ideas on how to organize my own wardrobe.  Days later I was still trying to read through the enormous amount of information I had gathered.  
Here are two sites I found very interesting:

The blog Sewing Plum, where the blogger has done a lot of the research for the exact topic I was looking for. One of the blog posts included information about updating your wardrobe.
'This year Nancy Nix-Rice is publishing an excellent series on optimising your clothes and accessories.

This summer she suggested a basic mix-and-match wardrobe of 12 items, combined into nearly 100 outfits.'
And from there I found the original information and went on to:

'If you’re sick and tired of a closet full of  "nothing to wear” the next few lessons are perfect  for you.  You’ll see how just 12 carefully-chosen garments can make up to 96 – really, 96! – outfits.'
I found this idea intriguing, so I signed up for the newsletter and began to read through the lessons from a series entitled 'New You in 52'.  The core items are probably already in my wardrobe and I'm so grateful the research has already been done for me.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Vogue Patterns

I bought this pattern about two years ago, but so far I have not been able to decide what fabric to make it with.  It would probably make sense to sew a practice run with a cheaper fabric, or a combination of fabrics.  Maybe the vest would be a good starter for the spring / summer season.  I love the white trouser, or cream linen trouser combination and I've got both sitting in my wardrobe waiting to be worn once the warm weather arrives.  Seeing I've had two bouts of the flu this winter, I can't wait for a chance to get out and about in the sunshine.  
Vogue patterns are some of my favourites and I've found the Marcy Tilton site with tutorials and variations on patterns, with detailed photos and instructions.  The garments are some of the best I've seen, because they allow for creative variations on a theme and encourage the use of embellishments.  
Ivory Tulle Jacket

Ivory cotton tulle and cream cotton tulle ribbon as band detailing.

Cotton tulle ribbons finish off the front edge and form the band.

Friday, 16 September 2011

New Season Sensations

What To Wear?
Having the low-down on what's up and coming for the new season is essential if you don't want to spend endless amounts of time window shopping and coming up short.  Or, as I have in the past, buying fashion duds that don't stand the test of time.  This is my magazine of choice for the new season over-view; Simply You always has a selection of styles that seem to suit all sizes and budgets.  I have been buying the summer and winter issues for many years now and swear by the magazines ability to show a variety of what's available for women in New Zealand.  

Wardrobe Planning:
My list making comes to the fore when the new issue if out, as I take stock of what I've already got and what I need to look out for.  I have already summed up my fabric stash for block colour combinations.
Colour blocking
The purple, pink, royal blue, red, turquoise and greens are my choice.  Unfortunately, orange is not my favourite and yellow makes me look like I'm sick, so no matter what the fashion season holds I'll be avoiding those two shades and leave it to those who wear it well.  At the moment I've got quite a list of thrift store finds and what to look for on my next visits.  The thrift stores in the nearest city are becoming very popular; possibly a sign of the times in more than one way.  When money is short people become very savvy in how they spend their pay each week.  For me I went back to sewing my own clothes out of frustration in not being able to find quality clothing at a decent price.  Also, I became adept at finding bargains in thrift shops.  Yes, it can be time consuming to seek out the best quality clothing, with a dash of designer brands now and then.  You need to have a good memory to remember what you already have sitting at home and how you can put together combinations that work.  This is always a challenge, but well worth the effort.    

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Red Rage

My favourite colour is red, in all its glory.  Summer or winter, I like to add at least one or two red garments to my wardrobe.  It's great to be ready and prepared before the season is in full swing.  So now it's time to make my pre-season list of what I already have and the fabrics I've got in my stash.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Obi . NZ style at its best.
In New Zealand we have some truly unique looks for the coming year, however at the moment I am thinking
spring and the heat of summer; sun on my face and colour on my back.  I've already picked up some white thrifted garments and fabric with pattern on white.  The white wide legged trousers with a white cowl neck looks wonderfully fresh.  I've got white narrow leg and wide leg trousers thrifted last year ready and waiting to go.
Trelise Cooper is a NZ designer with beautiful range of clothes and accessories.  The colours make you want to sing!!  It's time to pull the coming seasons looks together to break the winter blues.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Travel Wardrobe

Travelling in comfort

My blogging has been very slow over the last month.  A lot has been going on in my family and it doesn't include sewing or blogging.  I am in the process of applying to do a postgraduate course in special education starting next year.  As I have been teaching in special education for the past eight years it probably would make sense to get extra qualifications.  I absolutely enjoy this field of education, but would benefit from more networking with others throughout the country who specialize.  It would mean only teaching for half the week and studying for the rest.  The majority of costs would be covered by a study grant.

How does this fit in with sewing?  
Well, probably extremely well.  As I'll be travelling for some of the time and attending university in two different cities for block courses I know I'll need a travelling wardrobe.  I would enjoy the travel and have come across some great blogs displaying practical travelling wardrobes.  Can anybody suggest any patterns that may be suitable?  
StyleArc have a nice selection of innovative graphics and ideas.  This may be captioned as casual, but I would make the trousers more tailored with a dressy fabric.  It's still cold here at the moment, but a summer/autumn wardrobe would be what I'd be starting with.  
Also, I know how relaxing sewing can be.  Or, just a great way to procrastinate when I'm supposed to be studying!!  I'll keep you posted.  This is very exciting, so I'd better make my application more than just a bit presentable. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Cardigan & Jacket Looks

I have a number of projects on the go at the moment and time is short.  As it is the school holidays at the moment I had a very ambitious list of projects, one of which is a jacket to be worn layered. All my current projects are using knit fabric, which I find easy and versatile.  StyleArc have great inspirational looks and versatile patterns, definitely a must have for me.  I haven't tried any of the StyleArc patterns, but have a number of other patterns that can be adapted without too much trouble.
This pattern was one of about 10 that I picked up for 20 cents each.  The charity shop has proved to be an absolute minefield of discoveries.  I will post some of my other finds over the next few weeks.
This jacket has a very 1980's look to it, but is functional and exactly what I need for work.  Purple is one of my favourite colours and after visiting a number of cafes and restaurants in the last few days I have observed the amount of very black and grey ensembles being worn. Without the colourful scarves the looks would be somewhat dreary.  I enjoy people watching when I'm out and about to gauge what's out there in the fashion world.
Jacket styles are just so easy to alter and adapt for winter or summer looks.  Add a beautiful scarf and you're good to go.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Scarf Selection

After taking stock of my wardrobe gaps I realized I needed to add more accessories.  Scarves made from my stash fabrics, or recycled from whatever is at hand.  These examples of seasonal scarves on Etsy are so dainty and elegant.  I've seen very similar scarves available during summer on a recent trip and I'm going to see if I can make my own version.

Here are some wonderful examples on Grosgrain, which I was able to link with some excellent tutorials.

I regularly look for tutorials, so I was pleasantly surprised to find so many in one place.  Many of these scarves use recycled fabrics and wool.  The vintage doily scarf ( 3) is my favourite, unfortunately that link was unavailable; it was probably made by a very talented crafter.
I just realized that I hadn't labeled my last post Scarf Wrap-ups, so here is the link to Coldwater Creek once more.  Happy wrap-ups, whether it's summer or winter at your place.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Scarf Wrap-ups

I found these wonderful wrapping styles on Coldwater Creek.  We're in the throes of winter here, so wrapping up for fabulous style means warm and warmer.  Style 1 and 4 are my favourites.
Which style do you prefer?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Wardrobe Review

It has taken me sometime to get back to posting, for lots of different reasons, but it has made me very aware of the need to be realistic with my sewing, blogging and work commitments.  Many of the photos I had taken were not up to scratch, so I have decided to invest in a new camera.  I would welcome any suggestions from other bloggers.

My Me-Made-June challenge came to an abrupt end with a bad dose of the flu and MMJ became more of a personal challenge to showcase all of my handmade items of clothing than to show daily outfits on pininterest, or a similar site.  The months of May and the beginning of June were very warm for winter, so my wardrobe choices were more like an autumn wardrobe rather than winter.  Now we are experiencing full winter temperatures, with all the woollies I can find to layer one on top of the other.

My latest project includes a long sleeved version of this cowl neck top.  I will post photos when I purchase a new camera, but until now here is the pattern and images using Vogue V1197 by Sandra Betzina.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


MMJ Days 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16:
I've had great difficulty posting this weeks MMJ challenge garments.  I have numerous handmade items for winter and I've made a concerted effort to wear them.  This challenge has been useful in making an itemised list of what I have in my wardrobe and how I intend to get the most out of the garments over the month of June.
I used this style as the inspiration for refashioning this wrap-around dress.

Day 12:
The dress was pulled up and gathered at the side and looks great with narrow leg trousers.

Day 13:
This is one of my favourites; a lacy cowl neck top.

Day 14:
Finally I've worn a skirt and it's a refashion.

Day 15:
Another lovely cowl neck top, just right for the cold weather.

Day 16:
A bright and cheerful tunic top, just right for layering.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Me-Made-June Day 9, 10 & 11:

MMJ Day 9:

McCalls M5890

This is the shawl collar pattern that I have made twice now, which I could probably call fail safe, or fool safe.  I usually wear a 'uniform' to work daily and my wardrobe needs to be a mix and match of essential 
pieces that are practical and smart for school. 

Teaching young adolescents can be challenging and puts you in the limelight for sometimes unusual scrutiny.  As a role model for young people it is important to portray professionalism and to never under-estimate the influence an adult can have on the young people we teach.  I try to reflect this in my wardrobe; not too much black and grey in one outfit.  Also, I feel more confident wearing colour, with a dash of individual creativity. 

MMJ Day 10: 

This pattern is a basic that I have adapted many times to suit the variety of tunics and vests that I make.  It seems to suit me well, in all the short and long versions that I have made.  Since I first bought this I must have acquired various other patterns that are similar, but this is one of my favourites as it is already tried and true when it comes to fit.  
MMJ Day 11:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Me-Made-June Day 8:

MMJ Day 8:
This was my inspiration for a circular scarf, which came from the TS 14 Plus website.  I am a fan of most of the styles on this plus-sized site, which I often use for inspiration when I make tunics and vests.
I wanted to have some accessories for the MMJ challenge, so used a remnant to make this easy scarf.  The fabric was called a 'vintage' cotton; unfortunately I wouldn't want to use this fabric for a full garment.  It frays for too easily and slips, so it wouldn't be my first choice.  The grey/navy colourway is an ideal match with my thrifted silver grey velvet tunic, which I wore out to the movies. 

I bought this remnant particularly for this purpose, but I'm sure I have got plenty of other remnants in my stash that would serve the purpose just as well.