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This picture bemuses me…

18 Oct

All images from

This is a preview image from the November Burdastyle Magazine and when I came across it, I admit I did a double take.

The first thing was the cigarette she’s inhaling. I guess it’s a sign of the times that smoking is so rarely seen in print now that it seemed so odd. When I was 8 years old, a tobacco advertising ban came into effect in New Zealand, so I always find it strange to see cigarette ads in magazines, and whist this, of course, is not an advertisement, for me it fits in the same category. It’s not that I think a child will see this image and be inspired to start smoking, it’s just that it seems like such an antiquated idea to use it as a prop in their annual ‘formal gown’ section like it’s a sign of all things glamorous.

Is it just me who finds it weird?

On to the second confounding thing in the image – it doesn’t show you much of the dress now, does it? It’s a shame, really, because when you actually see it, it’s a stunner.

My favourite pattern in the November issue.

Not really done justice by the stylist making the unclad cigarette lady clutch it to her bosom.

I love a lucky dip!

8 Aug


Lucky me, I won Karen’s Luck Dip giveaway on her blog Did You Make That?

Wan to join me on the suspenseful unveiling?

what could it be?

better unwrap it carefully...

ripping into it is way more fun!

it's a brooch! in the shape of...

... a teapot!

working the brooch. Hmm... not quite me...

on a head band? Now we're talking!

Thank you, Karen!

Sew-along + Bloggy Books

5 Aug

So I’ve joined another sew-along that I probably won’t actually finish….

But more on that in a second because LOOK what I stumbled across on Pinterest!


How did I not know that Sarai, she of the gorgeous Colette Patterns, has a book coming out??

Amazon have it available for pre-0rder here (for less than US$20!) and from what I can make out the release date is Novemeber 2011.

Heres the blurb from Amazon:

“Five simple fundamentals can help you perfect any sewing project: a thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric, and a fine finish. With these five core ideas, The Colette Sewing Handbook shows you how to start sewing the wardrobe of your dreams.

  • Approachable and easy to follow. Instead of a big, confusing catalog of sewing techniques, you’ll build your knowledge gradually around the five simple fundamentals. A section of basic sewing lessons means you’ll never feel lost.
  • Hands-on learning. Start improving your skills immediately by applying each of the five principles of the book to a beautiful project, included in the book.
  • Feed your creativity. Have more fun designing sewing projects for your personal style, and create the things you’ll actually love to wear!
  • Feel more confident. Gain the know-how to work with any sewing pattern out there.
  • Look great in what you make. Become your own custom seamstress and hand-tailored clothes that fit you the way you want.
  • Get inspired by fabric. Expand your creative palette and get the look you want by choosing the best fabrics for your projects.
  • Perfect the details. Make clothes you can be proud of with beautiful finishing techniques.

Colette Patterns is known for timeless design and exceptionally clear instruction. This book from designer Sarai Mitnick guides you gradually and painlessly to becoming a better seamstress. Get inspired, feel confident, and make beautiful clothing you’ll be proud to wear!”

Plus it includes 5 exclusive’patterns too.

Update: Sarai has posted an announcement with more info on the book here. Plus it appears the patterns included will be 1 blouse, 3 dresses and 1 skirt.


(Also, while you’re over on amazon check out the burdastyle book (release date Nov 1) that so many awesome bloggers were working on last year.)

Join in!

In the meantime, back to the sewalong – Sarai is hosting a sew-along of the Rooibos dress and I’m signing on up with best intentions. If you want to sign up too, she is offering 20% off the pattern when you enter ROOIBOSAUGUST (all caps) at the checkout until August 16.

Aaah… I love pretty things.

Giveaway Winner!

2 Jul

Thank you all so much for all the fabulous ideas and tips for traveling and for London. I can’t wait to make my list!

The lovely winner of the summer giveaway is Suzie of Su Sews So So.

(Suzie – I’ve flicked you an email :))

In other news… packing might just kill me before I even get to the plane!


A ‘Totes’ Quick Giveaway

30 Jun

(Sorry for the awful pun in the title. That’s just embarrassing.)

Between all the packing that’s going on and suppressing the panic that I leave the country in 4 and a half days, I totally missed marking one year of on/off blogging. Here’s a quick (because I’ll need to post it before I fly) giveaway to say thank you all so much for your support and advice over the last year and especially lately.

I’m heading off towards summer in London so to celebrate I have a sweet summer dress pattern – Simplicity 2248 – in size 12-20 to give away. As well, there is a heavy duty canvas tote bag from my favourite local Matakana Farmers Market. I use these for pretty much everything – they’re totally indestructable and if they get dirty you just through them in the wash. Lastly, can’t you just picture strolling through Regent Park in your new summer dress to lie on the grass with a classic romatic novel*. I love a good penguin paperback… and you can’t go past the Bronte sisters for a tragically romantic story so the winner will receive Emily’s Wuthering Heights.

To enter I’d love to hear your favourite cheap thing to do in London if you’ve been, or if not – what’s your best travel tip (I’m staring down a 24 hour plane ride, eek). The giveaway is open to all countries and the only condition is that the winner replies to the notification email before I leave! Comments will be open for 48 hours from now.

*(Please don’t destroy my fantasy UK summer, it’s okay I know it’s more likely to rain ;-))


A June Challenge Mash-up

1 Jun

I think I’m over the blind panic stage of the big decision now, thanks in huge part to all your kind words. A little reassurance goes a very long way when you’re feeling low. I think the stress of it all killed my immune system though as I seem to have contracted the plague* last week. Working from home (read:bed) and a light fever left little energy for sewing but time enough to start planning and making lists.

One of the exciting things about heading to the U.K. is actually being in the same hemisphere and therefore season as so many of the fabulous bloggers out there and being able to participate in their seasonal challenges.

Now, you may have noticed I have a somewhat patchy history with sew-alongs and challenges but they’re just so enticing:

So Zo‘s back with another me-made month. 30 days of self stitched items. Multiply that across the 120+ participants, that’s a whole lot of sewing to enjoy. I’m not in a place to take on this round but as many of my hand-made items will be going into storage I’d like to wear as many as I can one last time.

The Naked Seamstress is challenging folks to sew four summer dresses in the month of June. I think I can manage maybe 2 or 3 – more than that won’t fit in my suitcase!





The 2nd year of the Summer Essentials Sew-Along has launched, this year with three hosts: Ali of The Wardrobe Re-imagined, Alessa of Farbenfreude, and Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones. With categories like ‘poolside pretties’ and ‘those summer nights’ who could resist.



And finally, I missed the boat on this one what with Winter starting here today but I’m going to swing this round to be a Summer Palette Challenge. Everything I pack needs to co-ordinate so starting with a colour palette is key. Plus I can learn from everyone else’s experiences on the Colette Pattern Forum.

So there it is, a mish-mash of sewing fun to pick and choose from to create a wardrobe that weighs less than 20kg and fits in one suitcase.

*(Okay so maybe not the plague but it was nasty)

Sunday Confessional

3 Apr

I’m so late with this (which let’s face it isn’t that unusual) but the gorgeous Cecili at Sewing and so on nominated me for a stylish blogger award a couple of weeks back. In return I must tell seven things about myself – I’ve done this once before but here’s some more indulgent randomness:

1. I failed at Me-Made-March…

… because none of my pants fit! I’ve put on a few pounds this summer thanks to brunches like these which meant everything was a little too tight – aargh! All I felt like wearing this month were Pjs and loose jersey dresses. I now understand the appeal of a muumuu.

2. I love local fashion designers…

… like Juliette Hogan, Cybele & Karen Walker, even if I don’t fit the clothes.

Juliette Hogan


3. I haven’t sewn a thing this year…

… because once I get the order of things in my head I can’t circumvent it. And in my head I couldn’t sew until my sewing space was finished. That hasn’t stopped me adding to my stash though – here are the patterns I added to my pattern library from the BMV sale this week.

4. Sometimes I get things gift-wrapped even when I bought them for myself…

… becuase I’m a sucker for pretty or unusual packaging. My latest find was in a vintage store in St Kevin’s Arcade called Aunty Mavis. They use pages from childrens’ books to seal the simple brown paper bags.

5. I have an addiction to google…

… I almost panic when I don’t have access to it. How else can I find answers to all the random questions that flow through my mind on any given day.

6. I think I stumbled across a possible new career this week…

Instructional Designer. Designing training materials seems like the perfect combination of helping adults learn (which I do in my current job) and graphic design which I love. It’s also why I’m a little giddy that work is getting Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 (Photoshop, InDesign etc.) for me to use.

7. I have over 250 blogs in my reader…

… more than 150 of them are sewing related. My favourite thing on a Saturday morning is to curl up with a coffee from up the road and catch up.

Now I know the award thing isn’t everyones cup of tea so to the ladies below, there’s no pressure to participate but I thought I’d just share just a couple of the blogs on my radar.
lotus blossom skirtPatty the Snug Bug: Because she creates awesome details like the pocket above and because she is trying to get more blogging in this month so here’s something to write about ;)

Idle Fancy: This is one of the newest blogs on my reader and I’m very much looking forward to Mary’s version of Colette’s Chantilly.

Brumby: For her wicked sense of humour and not letting an earthquake hold her back from me-made-march – changing it into Me Made March’s Munted Metamorphosis.

Solvi of Delfinelise: One of the most productive sewists I know. Check out her progress here.

<a href=”; title=”Untitled by grainline, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”333″ alt=””></a>

Jen of Grainline + Hound: An effortlessly chic pattern maker and designer from Chicago. She has just made available her tiny pocket tank pattern for download.

Rachel from Boo Dogg and Me: who is a million months pregnant right now and still looking gorgeous.

The Cupcake Goddess: Sunni has made the fabulously brave decision to quit her job and focus full time on her business A Fashionable Stitch.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Sewing Space: Sneak Peak

29 Mar

Yay, my new sewing space is finally coming together… only three months late!

I’ll be finishing it off this weekend all going to plan but in the meantime here are a couple of sneak peaks…

… and a shot of the ‘in-progress’ carnage!

Put a bird on it.

16 Mar

I have a soft spot for birds – it’s true. They just seem to find their way into my home without my realization, until pointed out by a visitor. Happily the visiting Canadian is one person who has more bird things even than me.

On a low-key evening last week we caught this clip of the show, Portlandia.

Love it!

But I refuse to let it damper my bird obsession – thankfully neither did Sarah who found my stash of blackbird clothes pegs and went to town!

Seriously kindred spirits!

Here’s some more of my favourite bird finds via Pinterest

(Click through for source)

MMM Days Nine through Fourteen

14 Mar

What an awesome and insane week it has been. My lovely friend from Vancouver has carried on her travels to visit her little sister in Melbourne and I was back to reality today at work, ggggrrrrr.
So to escape I’m recapping the rest of the week:

Day  Nine started with scrummy brunch…

… okay… confession time. Every day started with scrummy brunch.

After brunch a little more wandering around the city(McCalls 6069).

Day 10 brunch and a road trip up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands (Dress: Burdastyle Danielle).

Day eleven being tourists in Russell (Skirt: Simplicity 2692).

Trench coat (McCall’s 5525) to go see the heart-braking Blue Valentine on day twelve.

Day Thirteen: Made the airport run at 3:30am so spent the rest of the day in Me Made PJs (Butterick 5327 & New Look 6142)

Urrggh… Monday morning back to work (Blouse:Simplicity 2614)


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