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Personal Post

10 Jan

I almost accidently uploaded my CV instead of an image, which is why I’m taking a wee break.

Hey guys,

The job hunting situation in London has me a little consumed at the moment so I’m going to take a blogging break for a couple of weeks. I appreciate all the support you guys give me and I didn’t want to just drop off the face of the earth. Hopefully I can manage a post here or there and I’ll be checking in on twitter but I need to be head down, bum up right now or there’ll be no money for sewing at all.

xo Alana

Fall Challenge: The Seasonally Inappropriate Sorbetto

11 Nov

I love this fabric but it is entirely unsuited to the season. A super light weight silk cotton, I purchased it in June with the intent of making a light and floaty summer top. When you see the fabric up-close you can tell the cotton thread is the warp and is a more maroony red than the silk which runs across the weft and is more a burnt orange so it’s nice and breathable with a saturated colour.

The shop I bought it from was my local fabric store in Onehunga and is an Auckland legend. Antique Fabric and Lace have the self-proclaimed “largest range of Beaded Sequin Motifs in the world”. Like a museum they only display a small proportion of their collection at a time and still check out the walls.

I can’t even explain the mix of things you can find here, just look closely at the pictures and you’ll get the idea.

But back to the top…

It’s the trusty Colette Sorbetto pattern, of course, with some alterations.

I split the front and back pieces in half horizontally then slashed the bottom piece in four places from the hem to the stitching line and spread them each an inch apart. The fabric has a nice balance of drape and body so I wanted almost a circle skirt effect. The gaps were filled with tissue and seam allowance added to the midriff top and bottom.

I only had 1.5m of the fabric but it’s quite sheer so I was very lucky to eck out an extra layer for the top of the bodice, the rest is finished with bias strips.

Unfortunately when I tried it on it felt too shapeless and it was too late to add more darts. Instead, I added two black ribbon ties under the bust where a waistline dart would form and when they’re tied they produce  just the right shape.

So there it is, and I think I may be in denial about the cold weather. Still, with a cardigan I think it will still get some wear… silk is warm right?

(Braving the cold)

Sew-free Sunday + Walthamstow Market

6 Nov

Hey guys,

I’ve decided to start collecting all the random things I come across when I’m procrastinating instead of sewing in a weekly post. Some are sewing related and some are just random.

Welcome to Sew-free Sunday.

This week:

  • I have three works in progress but I wasn’t feeling inspired by any of them this week so I thought I’d just pop up toWalthamstow Market for a little inspiration.

General malaise + fantastic deals = a whopping shoppers high.

When I eventually came to on the Victoria Line train, I was swamped by 26 metres of fabric and only a hazy recollection of parting with £60. I may have needed a very strong cup of tea and a lie down when I got home.

Don’t get me wrong the deals are unbelievable, it’s just that I forgot for a moment I’m unemployed and as such should be much better behaved.

Please make me feel better and tell me I’m not the only one this happens to.

  • If you’re ever having a bad-body image day, the ladies over at never fail to cheer me up and put things in perspective with their frankness and complete lack of boundaries. Sample writing: “Most shirts give the general appearance that my back mounds are being lovingly cradled by the fabric, like a very low and unsexy pair of back breasts.” (P.s. the lovely Mena from sew weekly sometimes pops up as a contributor, too).
  • Other things that make me happy… Babies! A second cousin came over yesterday and much time was spend baby cuddling. Biological programming or no, holding a baby makes my soul feel good.
  • On body image, this one is for anyone who thinks losing weight will be the answer to happiness (hint: that used to be me). I was looking through some old photos on Mum’s computer and I found this one from 2004.

This is at my smallest adult weight but to my eyes I look awful. I see the blankness and exhaustion around my eyes and the tension in my body and when I see photos from this period I just remember how unhappy I was. The pounds don’t take your problems with them.

Heavier, but happier two years later in Tonga, although to be fair, it’s scientifically impossible to be unhappy whilst drinking a cocktail from a coconut. Laborious research has proven it.

  • Neither can one be unhappy whilst watching jello jiggle.

Get your jelly on – LADY IN RED from Billy Law on Vimeo.

Billy Law made 30 desserts in a cone shaped jello mold in October for Breast Cancer awareness and each was put to the jiggle test.

  • Lastly I’ve been feeling a little homesick, so this slice of kiwi humour (albeit addressing a serious topic) and accents hit just the right spot.

So there you have it. My advice this week: shop mindfully, give yourself a break, drink cocktails from tropical fruit, hold babies, make jello + don’t drive drunk.

xo Alana.

MMM Day Fifteen

15 Mar

Every couple of weeks I spend some quality time with an apheresis machine and the hilarious ladies at the NZ Blood Service. Seriously, those girls always seem to be having a ball. Must be all the good karma coming their way.

If you live in a main centre donating is as easy as calling 0800 GIVE BLOOD. After you have donated once, ask if you meet the requirements for plasma or platelet donation. It takes a little longer but isn’t any more uncomfortable and you can donate as often as every 2 weeks rather than three monthly with whole blood. The blood service needs plasma donors now as they are expecting a 30% increase in demand as more and more uses for the product are discovered. For more info, check out their website.

(Okay, preachy spiel over – I promise 🙂)

Anyways, whilst it doesn’t really hurt (the tiny finger prick is worse), donating plasma does involve 45 minutes of lying down in public so comfort is king. Today’s me-made pic is pretty uninspired but comfy as.

Me-made top: Butterick 5327

MMM Day Four

4 Mar

Today was ‘Wear Red for Red Cross’ day, raising funds for those affected by the Canterbury Earthquake. I put my last minute Christmas Dress, New Look 6643 in Red Ponte de roma, to work. In support, donations were collected for the New Zealand Red Cross.
Now, I don’t really have any words that can describe the earthquake that shook Christchurch 10 days ago. There are too many sad stories already but if you can spare anything and are looking for a cause to support this is certainly deserving.

Rescued office workers from the collapsed Pyne Gould building via sydney morning herald.

The people of Canterbury are survivors in the most awesome sense of the word.

Beaches where I have been, lately.

28 Nov

Summer has sort of arrived early here and with the family (Mum, Dad, Big Bro, Little Sis) visiting from freezing London I’ve been short on the sewing,  long on the beach lolling.

But I dropped Mum and Dad at the airport this morning and I have a project to  post this afternoon so slowly returning to normal speed…


Misty at Cathedral Cove

Eerie in Hahei

View from Mum's sister's place north of Auckland

Wenderholm - Poppa dressed in slacks and loafers

... ant the Pohutukawas are starting to flower


What do you call it?

13 Nov

Talking about Togs (or swimmers or bathers or swimwear) yesterday started me thinking of all the fashionable (or not so fashionable) things that have differing names depending on where you’re from.

Here’s a few more Kiwi classics.



Jandals from Aspara




Bonus – Classic Kiwi Fred Dagg employing both of the above:

What do you call these? Do you have clothing that only really appears where you are from? I’m so very curious.

TGIF: Napping in Napier

11 Nov

I’m on the road again with a last minute overnight trip to Napier. Normally on these trips I get zero time to actually look around and so I was stoked on this one to catch the last of the late afternoon sun and a walk on the beach. Here’s a quick snap shot.

It was a stunner of a day...

... and given that the beach is the star in Napier...

... it's a good thing that this is the view from my hotel room...

... and that I packed my sunnies!

You won't need your togs though...

... as this beach is rough. Check out the size of that surf vs. the size of those people.

Love the hotel, and look in the corner...

A giant spa bath!

I got in so you could see the scale of it but it's bigger than you think.

And it has pretty art deco chairs.

A full day tomorrow and a late flight home but at least I got a little glimpse outside and a good dose of Vitamin D from head to toes…

P.s. If you’re not sure what Togs are (as mentioned above) this video might help.