Favourite Moments of 2013

S0 I showed you my favourite garments for 2013 and now here are my favourite moments, more generally speaking …

1. Alice Joining Me

Having Alice join me at Dresses & Me has been great! It’s a bit strange working by yourself so it has been lovely having Alice helping both on the blog and with the running of the pattern store. Alice and I have known each other since kindy!

alice and penny kindy

2. Launching dressesandme.com 

Launching my own online business has been quite an adventure. I have, for the most part, really enjoyed running my own online indie pattern store. We continue to be New Zealand’s only supplier of By Hand London, Cake and Victory Patterns! Yay for us! It has been amazing to have so much support from the New Zealand sewing blogging community so I really want to thank you for everything!

photo 1

3. Doing my OE

I quite spontaneously decided to do my OE this year, quite soon after also deciding to open the dresses & me pattern store. I have to say that the timing did make it a bit difficult to keep the store up and running however I had lots of support from my family, the bf and of course Alice. I have had a whirlwind adventure trekking from Edinburgh to Marrakech and the Greek Islands. But don’t worry guys – I’ll be back in February! Also – you can follow my adventure on Instagram @dressesandme


4. Hosting the Auckland Sewing Bloggers Meet Up

Starting up and hosting the Auckland Sewing Bloggers’ meet up was pretty daunting – Would anyone show up? Would it be weird? Would we have anything in common? But you know what? I was great! We had a great chat – mostly about sewing obviously! I can’t wait to have the next one! One day we’ll even rival the mighty-ness of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers’ Network!


5. Getting Engaged

This has nothing to do with sewing! Getting engaged was pretty spesh. Shayne proposed in Florence. It was lovely. Need I say more?


What were your Top 5 Moments this year?

Nostalgia: Plaid Apron

Often, in this blog, I talk about how I’m very new to sewing. I appologise, but that’s not strictly accurate. While it is true that I’ve only really taken sewing seriously for about a year I had actually been sewing for a long time before that. I sewed badges on my Girl Guide and Brownie sashes, did small cross-stitches and learned to knit very badly too. And before you think I’ve been leading you horribly astray I’d like to mention that before January 2012 I hadn’t used a sewing machine in at least 6-ish years.

So, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you one of the first things I ever sewed:


This blue plaid apron was probably made circa January 2004, when I was about 14 or 15. I’m guessing that it was made in January, because this is when we have the long school holidays in New Zealand.


I used newpaper to trace around an apron that we had in the cupboard at home and added an abritrary amount on the edges for a seam allowance. Unbeknowest to me, I made a pattern!

It looks to be made out of plain old quilting cotton. Check out that topstitching! There was definately something wrong with the tension here…


I even included a facing! Go 14 year old me!


I clearly wasn’t too hung up on things like accuracy and neatness…


In case you’re wondering why this looks so worn out, it’s because it is. To this day my dad still proudly wears this apron when cooking.

What was the first thing you ever sewed? How did it turn out?