New kid on the block

While Penny is away gallivanting the world I’m taking over people! Some of you may have seen a cute little photo of Penny and I on the Dresses & Me Facebook page. We have known each other for over 20 years and I have been sewing for pretty much just as long. I did sewing at high school where I got a Certificate in pattern making and went on to study costume and set design for theatre and film at University. It has been great to see Penny teach herself from scratch how to sew and share her experiences with us all. I am super excited about doing the same!

Penny and Alice - in art history class -  few years ago now
Penny and Alice – in art history class – few years ago now

One of my current goals… attend to my mega pile of mending! Who has a pile like this one at home?



Winter Swap – Round Up

I just wanted to say a quick thanks to everybody that took part in the Inaugural Winter Swap of 2013. You guys are awesome! It looks like most people have received their parcels in the mail by now, here is the full list (if you want some greats sewing blogs to read here’s a great place to start). We had swappers from Scotland, America, Brazil, Aussie and of course New Zealand. I’ve really enjoyed organising the swap and it has again affirmed why I love sewing bloggers!

In closing I’d like to share mine parcel with you:


Sandra of Flossie FT sent me these two wonderful retro patterns – I love me a sleeveless blouse! And ALL THE MATERIAL!!! Sandra sent me four wonderful lengths of fabric. I absolutely cannot wait to sew up the navy and floral chiffons / crepe! A loose blouse? Or perhaps a flowing maxi skirt?

I wonder if I see an other interactive sewing experience on the horizon?

[Currently at Heathrow]

The Very Yellow Minoru

The other day I posted this selfie on my Instagram. I am SUPER PROUD of my Sewaholic Minoru. It is the first jacket I’ve ever made – moreover – the first sort of outerwear that I’ve completed full stop. So the fact that it is wearable is pretty amazing to me!


I asked my sister if she could take these photos in front of a garage for old times sake! This one is at my parents house… So shall we get onto this jacket?


I made my Minoru out of a heavy weight cotton. Yes it is as saffron yellow as it looks I the pictures and yes it does have a shine to it. I’m such a magpie. I originally bought this fabric to make an A-line dress but decided against it as the fabric was too heavy. It’s much better as a jacket right?

I cut my pattern as an 8 and graded down to a 4 at the hips as (we all know) Sewaholic Patterns are designed with pear shaped women in mind. My fabric was, in truth, a bit if a mare to sew with as it had a bit of a stretch to it. Holy heck it was hard to get that hood zipper in! If I was a smart person I would have interfaced around the zipper slash to prevent stretching. Alas, this only occurred to me much later. Also I’m a bit bummed that I couldn’t find an open end zipper in yellow. But you can’t get what the shops don’t have.

I’m not entirely convinced about how waterproof this jacket will be bit I’m sure it will serve as a great wind breaker! Here’s a wee close up of the front and collar:

I made a few mistakes with the construction order of my Minoru, particularly with the collar/ hood. This meant that I had to do a whole lot of hand stitching. However this was entirely my fault as I was very casual about following the instructions. I find that while I study the pictures very carefully, I often fail to read the words on the instruction sheets. Le sigh. I got there in the end!

[Currently in London]

Winter Swap – Partners Announced!

Winter Swap Button

Alrighty let’s get the inaugural Winter Swap 2013 underway!! So without further ado here are your partners:

Modern Vintage Cupcakes – with – Every Stitch
Sew Love Tea Do – with – Zoe
Juanita Tortilla – with – Jellyfish Crafts
Sewing for Me – with – Curls n Skirls
Beth Butcher Designs – with – Thimble & Threads
Disaster in a Dress – with – My Craft House
Tropical Threads – with – My Hand-Made Home Life
Marguerite Designs – with – Mrs Hughes
Sewist Stitch – with – Adventures of a Girl from the Naki
Dresses & Me – with – Crazy Gypsy Chronicals – with – Flossie FT 

(Sorry team – I really wanted to join in but we had an uneven number of swappers so I had to put myself in a group of three – we’re all intellegent ladies so I’m sure we can work it out between us!)

So what now? Get your stalk on! Find out what your partner is into and start thinking about what you might like to send them. Are they into vintage patterns or do they prefer modern indie designs? Do they like to wear brightly coloured fabrics or are they more of a ‘black wardrobe’ sort of gal? What have they sewn previously and what great treasures does your stash have to offer for new garments?

This is the perfect opportunity to pass on those great notions, fabrics, patterns, fasteners, trims and embellishments that you LOVED at the time of purchase and have been sitting their waiting to be used. So go on – pass them on and give them a nice, warm home where they’ll be loved!

Reminder: Parcels must be sent by Sunday 4th August – that’s three weekends to get organised – heaps of time, right?! I’d love to see what you send so let me know when you post about your parcel!

So swappers – what are you sending? Any clues?

Winter Sewing Swap Button

Hi Sewing Enthusiasts! You still have heaps of time to sign up for
the Winter Sewing Swap.

Winter Swap Button

If you would like to get amongst  the fun and add a button to you blog here is the code:

<a href=”; target=”_blank”><img src=””></a&gt;

If you’re not sure how to add it to your blog you can follow these instructions:

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets, and click and drag the “Text” Widget from the box on the left to your sidebar box on the right. It will open up a blank box.

From your Blogger dashboard, go to Design, then click “Add a Gadget.” Select “HTML/Javascript” from the menu. It will open up a blank box.


Are you excited for the Swap? ‘Cause you know I am!!

WIP Wednesday

Just a quick note to say that my Minoru is coming along nicely. You can follow the progress on my my twitter or Instagram feed under the hashtag #minoru2013. In the meantime let me catch you up on my progress so far. (Disclaimer: I don’t usually do WIP updates but this is the first jacket I’ve made so let’s get amongst it.)

I cut my pattern. Hood needed to be cut on the bias as I had, typically, not bought enough fabric.


Put the zipper in the hood (was quite the drama due to accidentally buying stretchy fabric!!


Ripped out stitching and overlocking after realising that I’d done it wrong!


Pulled in the gathers on my shoulders and attached them to the body of the jacket


I sewed my plackets on


I put the front zipper in – unfortunately I could the closest zipper colour I could find was cream *sigh*


And I put the elastic in my cuffs


So now all I have to do is sew together and insert the lining! Woohoo I’m in the home straight! Have you made the Minoru Jacket before?

Super Sweet Blogger Award

Wow I’ve been nominated for the Super Sweet Blogger Award twice in the last two days! Firstly by Danielle from Enchanted by Books and then this morning again by Montana from Montana Designs – thanks ladies!


The Rules

  1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
  2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
  3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post
  4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers.
  5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.

The 5 Super Sweet Questions

  1. Cookies or Cake? Definitely cake!
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla?  Always chocolate
  3. Favorite Sweet Treat?  Probably the chocolate marble brownie sold at the cafe nextdoor to my workplace. The slices are massive and delicious. Yesterday I just had that for lunch and it was amazing.
  4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most? Probably when I’m studying. I used to buy a packet of snakes and some energy drinks and write my essays. There was no other motivator quite like it.
  5. Sweet Nickname?  I don’t think I have one. My family and some friends call me Pen, short for Penelope, but that’s not really what this question is asking!

My nominees are….

The Emotional Bake DownSew Biased – Sew Love Tea Do
Adventures of a Girl from the NakiThe Curious KiwiCalico Stretch
Every Stitch I Make – Modern Vintage CupcakesSewing in AthensSewist Stitch
Crazy Gypsy Chronicles – Nikki StitchesA Charm of Magpies

So check out these lovely ladies’ blogs today!

Dresses & Me Pattern Store

I’m very excited to announce that I am now selling modern boutique sewing patterns – for lovers of sewing. Our store currently sells Sewaholic Patterns and we are expecting a shipment of Victory Patterns and Cake Patterns to arrive very soon (currently in transit).


Living in NZ is awesome but the huge postage to get anything sent here is lame! That’s why I’m starting my patten store. So we can all enjoy cheap postage! One day I’d love to be selling my own patterns in the store too but that may be a way off.


Don’t worry, this blog will stay the same as always and there won’t be any lameo blog posts about the pattern store here! However, if you are interested in finding out about sales and new patterns you can join our mailing list by clicking here and you could also like our facebook page by clicking here – your support is awesome!

Vintage Pattern Prize Winners

Drumroll please… the winners of a lovely vintage pattern each are …

Bluegingerdoll and Ambybambi (will the real Ambybambi please stand up?)

Please email me with your details to penny[at] and I will send out your patterns ASAP

PS – Have you guys checked out Bluegingerdoll’s blog?? YOU MUST! I was having a look so that I could link to this post and I came across the gorgeous bombshell dress she designed – the Billie Jean – I was totally blown away! It is a dynamite dress with a fitted bodice and sheath or full skirt.