Secret Santa

I made this pattern for a simple shift dress for secret santa at my work. IMG_2672








Does anyone else make their own patterns?

I had to guess what size my boss was. It would have been pretty obvious if I started measuring her up during morning tea! She tried it on straight away and it fit! Phew. Here is the outcome.

IMG_2683 IMG_2684 IMG_2686


The fabric was what really made this dress. A cotton/silk blend from The Fabric Shop. I think the most important thing to consider when making something is what fabric to use. As my pattern making skills are not amazing, the beautiful fabric covered up all the indiscrepancies. I have definitely chosen the wrong fabric for a garment many times before. Luckily this time it worked out.


Now that I’ve finished my velvet dress I’m thinking about the next thing I want to make. As we’re heading into winter in the Antipodes (the ends of the Earth) I was thinking of making the wool I bought in Wellington into a pencil skirt. So these are my pattern options:

From top left: Very Easy Vogue 7101 c.1987, view A (brown); New Look 6274c. 2003, view A (floral print); or Butterick 6662 c.1993, view C (yellow).

And here is the wool. It is woven out of thick strands (?) of cream, brown,and dark pink, almost fuchsia. Its a bit on the thick-side, and does not have any stretch. My first choice of pattern was the Very Easy Vogue, however I wonder if the pleats, belt loops and the pockets will make it look too bulk? So my next thought was the New Look pattern. This is a very simple two piece pattern (plus facings). It would be simple to put together and and definitely not bulky-making. The third option, the Butterick pattern was a bit of an after-thought. I thought that making it with the split to one side could make it a bit more interesting.

Can anyone offer any suggestions? All much appreciated!

Velvet Inspiration: Pattern Suggestions Please?

So I haven’t exactly finished my current velvet dress project but I’m already onto thinking about the next one. I saw this amazing dress in an etsy shop but unfortunately it is a touch too small in the waist (damn you 1950s sizing!) Also, I feel like I’ve seen a couple of sewing patterns for this type of dress and was wondering if anyone had any pattern suggestions to make this?

VELVET HOURGLASS Dress – 90s does 50s – Handmade – xs

But it got me thinking more about velvet and velveteen dresses and how they are both classy and super warm – which is important as we are heading into winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere. So here are some velvet dresses for inspiration.

Velvet A-Line Dress
ASOS Velvet Puff Sleeve Dress
Velvet Halter Dress – Looks Lovely in Plum Too
Little Velvet Dress – Red Dress

And my personal favourite – unfortunately no link *cries*

What ‘s your winter fashion fix?


Today I got a lovely surprise from my colleague Noeline. Her mother-in-law is down-sizing and has had to give up lots of her sewing treasures. So I have inherited a box of it.


Needless to say it was quite mix! There are wool tartans, linings, zippers, the stuff that you line a skirt with that makes in poof (clearly I am new to this!), t-shirt materials and a tonne of  other stuff. Some stuff I will definitely be using!

Here are the treasures:

Above: Thousands of zippers!!

Below: Two packets of this cute turquoise floral trim

Above: Five fun tartan wool blends. A couple of them will be big enough for skirts and others will be scarves! Also in this photo are two retro-fun floral prints (unknown material make up)

Below: Light blue, fuchsia and peach poofy-making material (what is this even called?!)

Above: Enough material to live SEVERAL skirts, coats, dresses …

Below: somewhat unexpectedly, I also found this belt – winning!

So there you go! Thanks Noeline – this is an amazing gift! I just need to get sewing now…

Velveteen Stress

I had a huge stress today as I read on Gertie’s blog that velvet is not meant to be kept folded up as ruins the nap. Naturally I freaked out and texted my sister who was home at the time:

Velvet is now safely hanging int wardrobe:


Phew that was close!

My Inner Julia Child

As you may have realised in may last post I have chosen come more challenging fabrics this time around than in the past. I like to think I’m channeling Martha Stewart when I sew (though I would never liken myself to her demi-god status). However,  I’m probable more of a well if it works out that’s a bonus type when it comes to sewing. Which means Julia Child is who I’m actually channeling  – and that’s even better as far as I’m concerned.

She’s a feel the fear and do it anyway type. I like that in a person. Julia Child’s TV persona is truly endearing.

It seems to me that Julia Child never thought things needed to be perfect.

So when I attempt to sew velveteen (which I hear is slipperier that a bar of soap) and sheer fabric (of which I have read equally doomsday-ish reports – to quote – can get “swallowed into the machine”) I will be channeling Julia The Fearless, and they will call me Penny The Also Fearless.

New Material

Recently I’ve bought a lot of new material. Some from Etsy, some from Global Fabrics and some from Nick’s Fabrics.

Here is the Etsy fabric that arrived today! All the way from the Nutley, New Jersey right to my door in little ole New Zealand.

This is a beautiful navy, turquoise and gold brocade fabric with birds, leaves and flowers embroidered on to it. I was thinking of making a cropped jacket or a fitted sleeveless dress in this fabric.

These are the other fabrics:

Tiny black and white houndstooth; sheer navy blue and cream; and navy velveteen. One day I’ll by something that isn’t navy I swear!

My plans for these fabrics are coming soon!