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]dressesandme.com 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.





WordPress tells me that this week it was my one year anniversary with the blogging world – what an auspicious occasion! To mark this milestone I’m going to tell you one thing that I’m really proud of making and I want to hear from you too! What have you sewn that you’re just bursting with pride over?

Post a link too if you like! It can be anything, big or small! I’ll go first:

Im pleased as punch with my Lady In Red Dress


Affirmations are great, right?

Go on! Get your BRAG ON

What I Do: Patterns

It occured to me the other day as I was reading The Slapdash Sewist that perhaps I am not normal.

As the love of sewing skipped a generation in my family I spend a huge amount of my sewing time guessing, experimenting, making it up and when all else fails reading the instructions or googling. However there is at least one piece of information about sewing that I distinctly remember coming from my mum: Don’t cut through the pattern, fold the sides under at the correct size and cut around that.

Like so:


And when the pattern piece goes in, for example at the neckline, I cut through the pattern in wedges and fold them under:


By comparison, from what I can remember, The Slapdash Sewist seemed to cut her pattern pieces twice. Once around the largest size on the pattern piece, and then a second time, under the pattern piece. I guess she must have her pins lined up right next to the correct sizing and hold the paper pattern up with one hand and cut with the other.

The way I do it is almost definately the way that my grandmother, the original owner of the Grasshopper, would have cut her patterns. And whilst I realise that I nolonger need to ration my patterns in a WWII kind of way, I quite like doing it the way I do.

So, how do you do it? I am strange!?



I have a confession to make. I accidently-on-purpose bought 11 patterns during the recent McCalls/ Vogue/ Butterick sale.

W O W I’m not making any apologies!


The thing is that in New Zealand patterns are – too put it mildly – horrendously expensive. To buy a normal vogue pattern, such as the one at the top of this post, would cost NZ$33. To put that in perspective, that’s US$27.36. A “Vogue Easy Options” pattern is NZ$25. Hugely expensive right? So when they were reduced to US$2.88 how could I resist?

To combat the cost of shipping I used a a service called ship2u to make the postage cheeper (McCalls was going to charger me $55!!) I’ll let you know how that turns out.


So when I saw the massive sale that the McCall’s company was having I had no choice but to buy at least a few…


I mean who doesn’t need a new work shirt ? ? ?


And a skirt to go with it . . .


Or maybe a second – I do work FOUR days a week you know!


And of course I needed some sensible trousers comme ca


Having another party dress never hurt anyone, right?


OR another one. . .


And it is e s s e n t i a l to have a loose summer dress/ top to throw over your togs at the beach in this harsh Antipodean sun


And getting into knit fabrics really was one of my sewing goals for the year – what better opportunity than now to achieve goals?


So I thought I’d buy another just to get some good practice in.

Reasonable enough right?? Or is sewing becoming an obsession? Am I loosing perspective?!

Retro Pattern Giveaway


I will be giving away these three lovely vintage patterns:


Pretty right? All you have to do to be in the draw is like my facebook page and tell me which country your in! Easy!

I’ll be accepting entries from all over the world and entries close on Friday 14th September (NZ time) so get “liking” 🙂

Small Pattern Companies

Recently I’ve been thinking more about the sewing patterns I use. I’m increasingly finding that The Big Four have been somewhat limiting and even a bit naff. This probably sounds a bit harsh. I mean, the Big Four have served me well thus far – in fact all the patterns I’ve used have been McCalls, Vogue, Butterick and Simplicity. But recently I’ve been doing some exploring on the interweb and found two smaller pattern companies who I really like.

The first is Victory Patterns. They are pretty, feminine and summery. I particularly like these patterns:










The other pattern company I was super excited to discover was Salme Sewing Patterns. I really like their patterns because they look feminine without relying on nostalgic devices like full skirts which makes them really wearable. These are the ones I like.
Peplum Top


T-shirt with Pleats


I was also attracted to these Rompers

I’d love to hear of any pattern companies you’ve discovered!


New Season Vogue Patterns – Fall 2012

The new vogue patterns are out! Without further ado here’s my two cents worth on what I would make and what I think of them:


I think this looks like a lot of work – recommended for “average” sewists – indeed


A nice loosing fitting jersey material dress. Looks comfortable and can be dressed up


THIS PHOTO IS HILARIOUS. I mean how can anyone call it ‘high fashion’!? Again, it looks comfortable but the economist in me thinks – is this a waste of material?? Also this only suits hour-glass figures (according to the style guide) I think this may be telling…


This is my favourite so far. I like the ‘mod’ style and the exposed zipper especially. I don’t know if I’d make it in different fabrics though…


ANOTHER jersey fabric dress. Is there a theme appearing?


LOVE THIS DRESS. I think of the whole collection this is my favourite. I know I already said that, but really this is. The shape, the bow, the neckline – it all works in my mind. I’ll be buying this one for sure.


When I first saw this I liked it, but upon reflection I think it was the houndstooth I liked!


Despite the fact that this coat is described as “very loosing fitting” I’m very drawn to it. I think I like the drama of the collar and the shoulders. Practicality?


Glad to see a cape pattern for this season. I think the right kind of person could pull this off, but not me. You need swagger to wear this.



This pattern is for the pants and shirt. Alas its a no and maybe/ no from me. Maybe/ no is for the shirt – I think this could work in a light cotton as a summer top. And hell no to the elasticated waistband pants!


This pattern is also for the top and skirt. I’m really undecided on this one. I quite like the top and skirt but I wonder if they look too OTT together? If I was in the corporate world then I guess it would be different.



Whilst I don’t think I’d make a suit for myself I’m totally sold on the blouse. I have been seeking out a pussy bow pattern for a while now so I’m glad to see vogue has answered my plea to the universe! I would follow suit (hilarious pun, I know) and also make it out of a silk or silk-like fabric.

So that’s what I think. What do you think of the new patterns??