High Summer, Cool Style

website front page slider_summer style 3

It’s hot here.  Scorching days are being quenched with trips to the local swimming pool and indulging in ice creams while under the shade of one of the many trees in our garden. The summer wardrobe is getting a workout!  So much so, that I’m wondering if I’m a little light on the cool, yet stylish options in my cupboard – I need to do a little summer stitching to help fix this.

I’ve put together a collection of some great summer pieces for you to check out as well. Take a look at the High Summer Collection of paper sewing patterns.  There is something for everyone – whether you are off to the beach, the office, cocktails with friends, the gym, running after the kids or simply lounging around home!   Here are some of my favourites:

from top to bottom:

Merchant & Mills 101 Trousers – perfect made up in a cool linen.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirt Dress – try it in a lightweight cotton lawn or batiste.

Sewaholic Patterns Pendrell Blouse – effortless style for the office.

Colette Patterns Lily Dress – summer cocktails here we come!


Last Days for Shipping before Christmas


Christmas 2015 gift guide_shipping patterns

If you are following me over at Miss Maude Sewing, you might know that the Dresses and Me and Miss Maude Sewing store room is moving up country this Christmas.   This means that the last that orders will be shipped before Christmas is this Saturday.  If you order before 7pm Saturday 12 December NZDT, your order will get shipped out before Christmas.  Any orders placed after this time will ship on 28th December.


I am moving with my family to the lovely village of Greytown – just an hour north of Wellington.   The bonus will be that I will, in the new year, be able to open up the store on appointment.   If you live nearby or you find yourself passing through (Greytown is a delightful place to spend a weekend away!), please get in touch and pop in.  Save on delivery charges and take a rumage through the beautiful fabrics, haberdashery and vintage supplies stocked by Miss Maude.  

So if you had some planes for sewing over the Christmas break – get in quick before you are made to wait!    What will you be making these holidays?

Changes Afoot | New Ownership

Hi, Penny has spent two and half years running Dresses and Me, providing a great range of Indie sewing patterns to the New Zealand market.  Now it’s time for her to move on, and I’m here to continue the service.

I’m Emma.  I have a ‘thing’ for fabric, well textiles in general and I love anything that has been crafted by hand.  I get just as much pleasure out of using my hands to create something beautiful – this I have been doing since I can remember…that’s quite a while now…

I have recently started a boutique online fabric and sewing supplies store – driven by the desire to bring some of my favourite international sewing brands a little closer to this corner of the world.  Take a look around the Miss Maude Sewing store to discover brands that include Atelier Brunette, Merchant & Mills, Liberty of London, Bohin France, Tilly and the Buttons and more!  There is also a lovely selection of vintage notions.

I also have two little girls who are learning to sew – I am documenting their adventures over at Lolo & Grace – a little blog with tutorials and inspiration to teach little people to sew… so if you have a little person you want to get into sewing, you can take a look around!

As for Dresses and Me, you won’t see much changing in the immediate future around here, but there are exciting things planned for the new year. In the meantime here’s a round up of some of my favourite patterns currently for sale.

From top left:     Saltspring Maxi Dress by Sewaholic,  Nicola Dress by Sewaholic, The Ultimate Shift Dress by Sew Over It, Zaria Flow Skirt by Named Clothing, Oakridge Blouse by Sewaholic,  Cascade Duffel by Grainline Studio, Wenona Shirt by Named Clothing,  Hawthorn Blouse by Colette Patterns,

What are your favourites?  Or are there some patterns you’ve been eyeing up that you’d love to see in the store??

Pattern Hack | Sewaholic’s Renfrew top as a dress

The great thing about sewing with knit fabrics is that you can be a little loose on the specifics. Recently I made this Renfrew Top hack and ended up doing a lot of running up the sides with the serger to ‘adjust’ or, more accurately, hack away at the side seams. You have probably figured out by now that I don’t like to get too worried about the specifics with loose fitting garments.

I realise this hack is probably not the most exciting piece of sewing you’ve ever seen, far from it in fact. However it’s taken me an awfully long time to get back into sewing so I’m taking it easy, and taking on board your advice from this blog. I’m choosing to sew some things that come together quickly and are therefore immensely satisfying. I’ve seen many, many Renfrew hacks over the years – Amanda from Sewaholic and Jo from Make it Well have compiled extensive lists of their favourites. I was delighted to see the number of ways that the Renfrew has been interpreted, and in some cases, almost redesigned.

I’ll keep this post short and sweet and I won’t bore you with my construction details – essentially all I did was lengthen the pattern from the hips, create a waist and tapper at the knees. And yes this is merino from The Fabric Store. Have you made a Renfrew hack? Link it to me in the comments!

And that’s the shortest blog post I’ve ever written!

OOTD | Knowing My Style

One of the great things about learning to sew is that I’ve also learnt a lot about the kinds of clothes that I enjoy wearing and that suit my shape and personality. For example I feel much more comfortable wearing drapey dresses to work than skirts and tops which I feel frumpy and stout in. Today I wore my caramel Sydney with a hacked Renfrew merino cowl-neck dress (new, yet to be blogged). I know I’m banging on about the Sydney Jacket again but I adore the drama created by the shape. I feel a like million bucks whenever I wear mine. What outfit makes you feel like a million bucks? And what have you learnt about your style from sewing?

Sydney Jacket | twice as nice

One of my greatest sources of sewing inspiration is undoubtedly Instagram. The power of the hashtag to collate thousands of photos of the same pattern made up a thousand different ways is an immense resource. It’s how I often come across new patterns and bloggers. And it’s where I first came across Tessuti’s Sydney Jacket. 
The thing that drew me in to making this pattern was the soft drape of the design, creating a sculptural shape without being boxy or bulky. The thing that sealed the deal was the the fact it had pockets. 


Not sure why I look so confused in this photo! Perhaps it was the construction. I found it quite confusing. For one thing most of the seams sit on top of one another rather than face-to-face inside the garment. This was strange but things were going ok until I got to attaching the collar. I made the fatal mistake of overthinking it – the collar folds outward so the inside will become the outside so it needs to be attached backwards. Rather than following the instructions and I ended up attaching it the wrong way around. However because of the overlapping seams it didn’t really matter, it’s just not as neat as I’d like. 


Surely the test of a pattern is whether you  want to make it again straight away? Well I did with this one. My second Sydney Jacket is made out of much nicer fabric than my first – coffee coloured cashmere – delish. Yes it is the $13/m on special from The Fabric Store, no it hasn’t pilled yet.  


I’m pretty in love with my new Tessuti jackets, they’ve already made their debuts at #NISM2015 and my work winter ball – casual and chic FTW. Have you made this jacket? I’d love to see yours!

Made by Me | Inari silk dress

Look! I’m finally blogging about something I’ve sewn this winter! This is my Inari dress by Named Clothing. It has become such a staple that I’m bound to make another one soon.  
I made this dress from a lovely navy and white silk, bought from the Fabric Store (where else?) approximately a million years ago. Despite being immediately attracted to this bold print I really struggled with what pattern to match it with. The large print and twill weave made me think it would be too full-on and heavy-looking as a blouse. I was also rather precious about this fabric because it was sold in panels. And although I have no recollection of how much it cost, the fact that it was sold in panels made me think it was a little expensive. I’m not sure if this is a strange inference to make!

It took me far longer than I had hoped to get this dress from the cutting board to the wardrobe. Aside from feeling oddly precious about this fabric, I’m also not terribly used to having to add seam allowances on to my patterns. Needless to say – I spent a lot of time fluffing about trying to fit my pieces on as little fabric as possible and then remembering that I still needed to add another 1cm. As you can see, I worked the navy panel edge into the dress at the hem and the sleeve cuffs – a look I think ‘finishes’ the dress nicely.

As you may know, the newest season of Named Clothing designs will be available at dressesandme.com very shortly. Like their previous collections this offering is on-trend urban-chic. I’m really excited for these patterns to arrive! If you’d like to be one of the first to know you can sign up here.

Shoes from Asos // Glasses from SpecSavers

Corporate Georgia – third time’s a charm

I made another Georgia dress – this time it was corporate… And by that I mean black. I made this dress on quite a whim.  

Because I was on a fairly tight schedule I decided to make the Georgia dress as I had made it couple of time before. I had already worked out the adjustments, it was simply a matter of sewing 20 pieces together, overlocking and throwing in a zipper.

This dress is made from a black raw silk bought eons ago from Fabric Store. Because it has zero stretch and it wrinkles easily I wouldn’t recommend sewing a dress in this style. However it was still comfortable and lovely to touch.

I made all the same adjustments as last time including my unofficial FBA, shortening the staps by 7cms at the back and shortening the skirt by about 15cm. I cut the long length thinking I’d like to do the mid-calf/below the knee look but it is quite a hard look to pull off when you’re only about 5 2.

We had a lovely, yet corporate, night.

 Heck Yes! #NISM2015

Hold the phone – have you heard about the North Island Sewing Meet Up? Becuase I’m pretty excited and I’m going to be there! Rotorua, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 August, lock it in guys! 

Sewing is, for the most part, a solo sport. And although you can build some great relationships with bloggers and Instagrammers through the powers of the internet nothing beats meeting up with like-minded people in the felsh!

If you’re interested there’s a whole lot more information on the meet up organisers’ blogs – that is Mel from The Curious Kiwi and Sandra of Flossie FT. Or you could jump straight in and sign up here.

Follow the hashtag #NISM2015 on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest info and details. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Just checking in…

This is a sample of what I’ve made recently:

An Inari dress – just needing neck binding and hemming. This lovely fabric is from The Fabric Store (where else?!) I bought it a few years ago and it has been fermenting oh the shelf while I waited to find the perfect pattern for it. I’m not totally convinced that I did it justice with this pattern (feel the fabric might not be slinky enough for the look I was imaging) but that’s what happens when you take the plunge – some times it’s average and occasionally it is amazing. That being said, I tend to feel very ‘meh’ about almost all my sewing until I finish it.

A Georgia dress, completely finished! Check out my Instagram for some more photos of it in action. This dress went from concept to completed in less than a week – quite the feat for me. This is my third Georgia so with the others behind me this one came together very quickly – all fitting requirements had been sussed in previous efforts. My first and second Georgias are here and here.

I’ve nearly finished my second Davie dress (first is here).  This project is taking a wee bit longer because I decided to do a black binding on the neck and sleeves instead of folding the allowance in (as suggested with the sleeves).

On top of all those, I also made this merino knit dress – there’s a good reason my blog is ‘Dresses & Me’, I don’t really make anything else! This is my second time using this Vogue pattern, my first is here. It was quite a gamble making this pattern with this full-on, super-intense, in-ya-face fabric. But I think it came out pretty well, the print is small enough that it blends together from a distance.

So that’s just a wee sample of what I’ve been up to.