High Summer, Cool Style

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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??

Named Clothing’s ‘Ticket’ Collection – my picks 

Named Clothing has released their latest collection Ticket (view the collection). I love that the sisters at Named build a story around each of their collections that pulls the patterns together and takes their followers on a journey. Their designers say:

In a large collection of 15 looks (three have two patterns in one) it’s hard for me to pick my favourites but here goes…

The Florence dress and Lourdes cropped jacket are very thought out patterns with great details and accents. 

The Beverly Bikini is a fun twist on the classics triangle bikini. I like that this swimsuit is a bit more substantial than most store-bought bikinis. 

The Zaria skirts are another favourite of mine. I say skirts because this pattern comes with a beautiful sculptural skirt (pictured below) and a pencil skirt. Work and play options! 

I love this kimono! The Asaka kimono is a great project for a beginner with no closures and lots of straight stitching. 

This jacket is what I have been looking for – something that I could dress up for work and wear in the weekends. I have a pretty strong feeling the Augusta hoodie is going to be sold out really soon… 

Which are your favourites in the Ticket collection?

#catsforcolette Winner Announced!

Wow readers! I have been so impressed with your hilarious #catsforcolette entries! I’ve been cracking up watching all your great cat pics coming in and I’ve been loving all the pun-tastic descriptions. My favourite puns were “getting started on this right meow” from @lunabadoona and “What a cat-astrophe! Sew hard to decide. I’ll have to paws and decide which is purrfect for me” from @barbarajanemade – you guys crack me up!

These were some of my favourite entries…





And the winner is… @lunabadoona with this adorable picture:


You can see all the entries under the hashtag on Instagram or on my instagram you can see a video montage of all the cats!

This of course also marks the fact that Dresses & Me is now selling Colette Patterns. We are the only New Zealand based retailer of Colette Patterns which means that you’ll save on postage when you buy from us! Don’t forget – postage is free within NZ when you spend $40 or more!

Georgia Comes Out On Top!

The results are in and after a late *serge* you guys have voted for me to make the Georgia dress by British designers By Hand London! So watch this space! A bombshell Georgia dress is on its way …. We hope … This is a somewhat daunting dress due I all the pieces that it includes and the fitted nature of the bodice – and whole dress come to that! Wish me luck mes amies!


Are YOU sewing in the monthly stitch? What are you making?

Sew Bossy


This months Monthly Stitch challenge is trying out new patterns and fabric combinations AND you’re in charge. So I’ve put together three pattern and fabric combinations and YOU can vote on which one you’d like to see me make!

ONE: By Hand London‘s Georgia Dress in Black Silk Dupion


I’m so excited to make this pattern. I’ve seen so many amazing versions of this knock out dress and even if you don’t vote for this I’ll make one anyway!! Muwahahaha. The challenge with this pattern will be to get the cups to fit perfectly. I’m at the busty end of the boob spectrum and hate when things don’t fit properly. So it’ll be important for me to make a muslin first *groan*. But if I do it properly I can see this being my go-to dress. I’m equal amounts of excited and nervous.

TWO: DKNY for Vogue V1250 in Navy & White Printed Silk


This is kind of cheating. Ok it is cheating. I have made this dress before and I wear it heaps in winter. It was a pleasure to make and super fast with a serger. So what’s the challenge? That this time I’ll won’t be making it out of a knit fabric. Instead I’ll be making it out of a glorious printed slinky silk. This will take a lot of thought and strategising. And probably swearing.

THREE: Victory PatternsRoxanne in White Crepe


I’ve loved this pattern for a long time. I made a longish blouse in gingham last summer and I have worn it an immense amount. The challenging part of this combination is that the fabric will be slippery and the pleats in the collar and at the back will be a mission. But it will look great. And I know that I’ll wear it so much. And that makes me immensely happy.

So VOTE! One – Georgia Dress in black silk, Two – DKNY in navy and white silk print OR Three – Roxanne Blouse in white crepe. Comment to vote!


Cake for all New Zealanders!

Thinking about sewing the Hummingbird from Cake Patterns? Dresses & Me are now the exclusive supplier of Cake in New Zealand!

I personally love the Hummingbird after just having finished my own skirt from that pattern set. Our other favorite pattern at the moment is the Tiramisu knit dress. This easy-to-wear dress would make for a perfect summer sewing project. If you have never sewn knit fabric before, give it a go!

Tiramisu in Red Stripes
Tiramisu Dress

Don’t forget – buy 2 or more patterns, from any of our brands and your shipping is free!

Finished the Hummingbird!


I have finished the Hummingbird skirt. Very pleased with the outcome. I got a little confused with the pockets at the start. But only as I had never come across them being done that way before. They are actually quite cleaver once I figured them out. They are constructed in a way that minimises that potential threat of VPL (in this instance – visible pocket line)

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A great thing about the instructions that go along with this Cake pattern is that there is a link to a video on how the sew an invisible zip in. sewingcake.com/invisiblezipperinsertion Admittedly I have always been scared of invisible zips. The rule in theatre is to never use them in costumes incase they get stuck backstage in the panic of getting ready to go on. But now I am going to bring this video up every time I pop a zip into one of my garments.


Cleanest zip insertion I have ever done!


Changed the pattern a bit. I lengthened the skirt and changed the pleat at the back.

What do you guys think? Anyone else scared of invisible zips?


Darting Around

I am at dart sewing time. I learnt a really awesome trick not so long ago that helps finish darts off really nicely. I used to just sew back and forth to finish them off like a normal seam. Not a great outcome.

Here’s how to get a good clean finish.

Sew dart normally, once your stitching gets close to the tip of the dart stop using the foot pedal and start doing slow stitches, cranking the wheel by hand. Let the needle finish right on the last fibre of fabric before raising the foot and pulling the garment out.










Leave the lengths of thread long enough to tie into a knot. You can even attempt a reef knot if you are feeling fancy. Snip the ends and you’re ready to iron that sucker into shape!

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The result: a beautiful dart with no lumps and bumps.

How does everyone else do their darts? It’s always good to learn these little tricks. It definitely makes the overall finish of the garment so much cleaner!