Monday, 15 July 2019

A Me Made Week

An amazing thing occurred last week. Apart from one RTW Moochi top and my under garments all of the clothes I wore to work were me made, including my coat. To celebrate I took selfies of the outfit each day. Apologies if anyone is offended by the bathroom pictures but it is the only way to take pictures of my outfits when I am away from home during the week.

If you ever wondered how my wardrobe plan for the week works it is often driven by the pair of shoes chosen to wear for the four days I am away (can't be bothered to carry extra shoes for such a short work trip). Once I had decided on the United Nude Zen bootie everything had to work with the colour red, and then the navy of my recently sewn trousers which led me to my Ecopossum coat cardi and...

Creates Sew Slow: A Me Made Week
Left to right: Meandering Chrysanthemum Swirl top; plus Zephyr Ecopossum coat cardi; and Moochi Kicked tee
All worn with Papercut Patterns Peter and the Wolf trousers and United Nude Zen Mid Merlot booties
Creates Sew Slow: A Me Made Week
Left to right: Issey Miyake Gorgeous raincoat; Squiggles Squares dress; and Winter Floral dress 
Creates Sew Slow: A Me Made Week
Gratuitous photo of the Winter Floral dress (note different shoes) included because I love the way Google has made the background black and white so the dress really pops
There are probably not enough me made clothes in the wardrobe for this to occur too often unless I make a conscious effort, but it shows that the proportion of clothes I have made versus bought is starting to change.

Probably the biggest driver for this change is the demise of my favourite boutiques. There are now only two shops I frequent with any regularity Moochi where I have only ever bought tops and dresses; and Untouched World which provides mainly my woolly garments although I do have two pairs of their jeans.

Interestingly I haven't bought any trousers apart from the two pairs of Untouched World jeans since Andrea Moore closed in March 2018.  My waist has recently expanded and many of my Andrea Moore trousers no longer fit. As I can't be bothered to find another go-to source for trousers you will probably find a few more trouser makes featured on the blog, including the Papercut Patterns Peter & the Wolf trousers worn in these pictures.

This week of me made clothes has me wondering about trying to wear a sewn garment every week day for a month to identify the lacking areas in my wardrobe. This idea was inspired by Becky at Trial Balloons who wore a sewn garment every day for the month of May and recorded each day's outfit with a selfie. It helped Becky identify what she likes to wear in her everyday life and those garments which are a joy to sew but remain unworn.

I will have to cogitate on this idea whilst I make a few more pairs of trousers, as I don't have enough tops and dresses for a whole month without lots of repetition, which would be boring when there is so much variety to choose from in my wardrobe. Or maybe I should just take a selfie every day for a longer period of time to see what I love to wear. This would have the added benefit of helping me remove some of the unworn items in my wardrobe and provide a bit more breathing space for what is left.

And finally a picture to celebrate friendship. This gorgeous bouquet of flowers was given to me by a friend to brighten up my winter week. Not only did they look wonderful they smelt divine and came with a bar of chocolate, what more could a girl want.

Creates Sew Slow: A Me Made Week

Sunday, 7 July 2019

What's a sewing blog with no sewing? ...neglected

Thank goodness nobody is hanging on my every word, as nearly two months has passed since my last post.  Once again there was a plan but no sewing, why?

A sewing deadline makes me want to either sew things other than those planned or not sew at all. My everyday life is ruled by deadlines and I am normally very driven to meet (exceed) expectations. I discussed the inability to translate this drive to my sewing with a friend and we decided it was all to do with the enjoyment. Meeting sewing deadlines removes the fun and becomes more of a task. My mind rebels against more nagging for completion and the sewing ceases.

The plan but no sewing...

For the second year in a row my good intentions of participating in the Pattern Review wardrobe contest came to nought. I was even further away from an entry this year than last, having not completed a single garment in my mini wardrobe plan.

The three tops and two pairs of trousers that are still but a twinkle in the eye
Not quite finished - Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's Jeans in deep red linen metallic blend
Between the start of the Mini Wardrobe competition on 15 April and today only one of the planned items has been even partly sewn. The red linen/metallic Lana's jeans have been in the partially sewn state you see above since our Easter holiday. Pretty pathetic for an ambition to sew five garments in four weeks. Part of the issue is that I overlocked all of the pieces before we went away so they could be sewn on my Singer Featherweight but I forgot to overlock the back of the pants where they sew to the yoke. My overlocker currently has cream thread in it and it's inconceivable that the threads would be changed to black just for that little bit of sewing. Pathetic but true.

So if the mini wardrobe hasn't been sewn has anything else?

Silhouette Patterns #4000 Swing Dress

One of these has been completed, another is in progress and a third is a dud.  I will write a proper review one day about this pattern but in the meantime here is the dud. This lovely border print ITY knit (also from Silhouette Patterns) was carefully cut so the black border was down the middle with one of the patterned sections cut on and the other sewn on.

The flat lay outfit photographs make this dress look reasonable but it is not a flattering dress to wear. I am still playing with the hem to see if I can make it into something wearable but am coming to the conclusion that it is the bold back stripe down centre front which is causing all the problems.

Unflattering dress styled with Mulberry mini Lily bag, One Trick Pony Geddes nude loafer and DKNY self-drafted leggings

Self-drafted leggings

These could be considered a match your shoes outfit (the current competition running on Pattern Review) except the tops are all ready to wear. Cobalt blue is one of my favourite colours and ITY knit makes great leggings so fabric and pattern were a perfect match. Coincidentally I happen to have this pair of United Nude bootees with the flash of cobalt blue.

Left and right: Moochi Rule dress in cobalt;
Top centre: Double diamond ITY knit self-drafted leggings and United Nude Jacky Lo bootee;
Bottom centre Lace: tabard with Andrea Moore dot mesh body in cobalt
Maybe I could make this Issey Miyake V1563 dress before the end of July as an actual entry for the Match Your Shoes Pattern Review contest.

KonMari-ing a bit more of the stash

Aside from trying to store all of my fabric unobtrusively (a really lost cause) there are far too many patterns for the old storage method. Added to which the plastic boxes ended up behind the sewing cabinet and difficult to reach. The over-flow of patterns were housed in old copier paper boxes.

Enter the new storage idea 30cm cubes with fabric box inserts, which are now stacked five high (two more have been purchased since this photo). These are fabulous for my Vogue designer patterns. Four of them have the Vogue designer patterns in numerical order, then a box each for Donna Karan (& DKNY), Issey Miyake, and Marcy & Katherine Tilton. The last three boxes contain independent pattern brands, one for The Sewing Workshop and two for other assorted brands.

I am debating the purchase of another column of cubes as I still have a plastic container of Silhouette Patterns as well as a copier box with Diane Ericson and assorted accessory patterns. This would however require a new spot for Dorothy my dressmakers mannequin.

The set of plastic drawers which used to live next to Dorothy are now hidden at the back of the sewing table with the bottom two drawers reorganised to contain small format big four patterns (mainly Butterick and Vogue) in numerical order. The top drawer is still home to my felt and interfacing collection.

Now that the patterns are neatly stored I should really invest in a cataloguing system then I might be able to find them and not buy the same style (or exact same pattern) again.

With the release of two plastic boxes some more of my fabric stash was tidied away.

Top: a recently empty plastic box housing fabric for some new outfit ideas
Middle: another box sorted for the 2019 red white and black wardrobe
Bottom: various unfinished class projects re-homed from the bottom two plastic drawers
The multi-coloured rectangles (Kobayashi squiggle squares cotton twill) fabric in the top photo has been made into a dress from a mish-mash of patterns and I have also sewn a Style Arc Toni designer dress from the Liberty fabric below. Hopefully I will get to reviewing both of these on the blog soon.

Liberty Argyll Swim fabric in design Mike, colourway B 


This is an old RTW cardigan bought in the era of over-long (to the point of ridiculousness) sleeves, rediscovered during the sorting of the wardrobe jumper drawers.  The colour and overall style of the Juo cardigan still appealed but the sleeves needed to be shortened if the cardigan was ever going to be worn. As the colours fitted into my red, white and black wardrobe concept the alteration was executed pretty quickly. The sleeves were chopped off ⅝" past the grey band, 4½" removed from the black sleeve and the red/grey cuff part reattached using the overlocker. The stitching line is on the edge of the grey band and is invisible on the outside.

Left and middle the overlong sleeves; right after shortening
Wardrobe sweater drawers: Top drawer pre KonMari; Middle and Bottom drawers post KonMari

Poppy brooch

And finally this gorgeous poppy brooch made by my friend Cath. Looks great with my black and white fur bomber jacket. At the moment it is pinned to my Horizontal Hold Trench. Just fabulous.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

The Minnie Mouse wardrobe is a lot less developed than I expected it to be so much of my wardrobe for our Easter week away is RTW rather than me made.

The leather jacket which I really want to wear but seem unable to start sewing is sitting patiently waiting for a courageous moment. Sewing in general over the last couple of months has been set aside for some compulsive stash tidying without really very much to show for it if I am being brutally honest.

The only momentous thing that has been achieved since Christmas is we have moved back into our bedroom after at least eighteen months of sleeping in the guest bedroom. Luckily it hasn't been needed with our only overnight visitors sleeping in the second guest bedroom.

Fortunately I have enough clothes in my wardrobe that a lack of sewing is not a disaster and I was able to put together a really effective travel wardrobe.

I took my Singer Featherweight and some sewing with me which added The Sewing Workshop's Ann's Cardigan to my week in Wellington wardrobe. Neither the Silhouette Patterns Lana's jeans in a wine coloured metallic linen nor the Silhouette Patterns Traditional blouse in Atelier Brunette black cotton double gauze were finished whilst away (or even since I have been back).

This selection of garments needed to last me fifteen days (eleven on holiday and four at work). Some garments were included for my work wardrobe and others only for play. The asterisked clothes/accessories went home in the suitcase with my beloved, at the end of our trip together. I only had what I needed for the week in Wellington in my carry-on (a Hedgren duffle bag) that has been part of my weekly commute for many years.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Top row: Victory Patterns Ulysses Trench; *Andrea Moore Bomber jacket; SP Lana's Minnie Mouse jeans; *Andrea Moore Boyfriend jeans
Second row: *TSW Ann's Red Letter tank; *V2494 smocked felted merino cardi; Moochi dress; V1410 Winter Floral dress

Third row: *Ready to Sew Janis Two Ronnies top; *Moochi Kicked tee; *Papercut Patterns Bowline NY Circuit sweater; Moochi Fraction tee
Bottom row: *Moochi Trust tee; Moochi Precinct sweater; *Moochi Kicked tee; *Andrea Moore Fly My Pretty top
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Clockwise from top left: *UN Issey Miyake Step in black; Liberty Orion Print Merion tote bag; UN Lev Wrap Lo in red; *Mulberry black small cross body bag
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
The extras: Self-drafted DKNY leggings; TSW Ann's Red Letter Cardigan; Hedgren duffle bag
As it took me so long to write this post I have pictures of the travel wardrobe in operation over the fifteen days away. I greatly admire those bloggers like Fadanista and My Vintage Inspiration who manage to travel and blog at the same time.

Day 1 Thursday 18 April

The journey north started with an early morning flight to Wellington, where thanks to the late departure of the flight we missed our connection to Auckland and spent a fun filled couple of hours in Wellington airport. Once we finally arrived in Auckland the journey continued by car with a stop at Eutopia Cafe in Kaiwaka for a late lunch. More pictures of the Eutopia Cafe can be found here.

The stats according to Google Maps: flew 787km, drove 350km and walked 1.7km.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Day 2 Good Friday 19 April

On Good Friday we travelled south down the west coast back to the Hokianga harbour, around some of the bays and home again, with lunch at the pub kitchen in Kohukohu - delicious steamed green lipped mussels.

The Papercut Patterns Bowline NY Circuit sweater made two years ago has never been worn as whilst I loved the idea of the sweater the finished product wasn't really me. I decided to give it one last chance to redeem itself and included it in my travel wardrobe. It isn't however my best look and it went into the donate pile after washing.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Left; viewpoint at Mangamuka Gorge; right Kohukohu footbridge
The Kohukohu footbridge is the first stone bridge built in New Zealand, and is the oldest surviving bridge of any construction still in existence in the country. It was built some time between 1843 and 1851 at the mouth of the Waihouuru Creek where it flowed into the Hokianga Harbour. As you can see from the drawing below the span of the bridge was much wider than today and closer to the harbour. The sawmill at Kohukohu created so much sawdust that land was reclaimed resulting in the bridge now being about 500 metres inland from the water's edge.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
One of the converted boatsheds at Kohukohu
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Left and bottom right: St Mary's Church Motuti; top right pier into Hokianga Harbour at Kohukohu
St Mary's Church Motuti is the final resting place of Bishop Pompallier, first Bishop of Auckland. He died in France in 1871, three years after his return from missionary work in New Zealand. He was particularly revered by the Māori people of Hokianga and during the 1990's there was a campaign for the return of the founding Catholic Bishop. In 2002 the campaign achieved success with the  re-interment of the Bishop’s coffin beneath the altar in St Mary’s Church, Motuti.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Driving on the beach at Mitimiti

Day 3 Saturday 20 April

A very relaxing day with a trip to Kaitaia farmers market, then back to the bach for lunch and a lazy afternoon doing nothing, before making pizza for sharing at the Beach Abode pizza night.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Hibiscus flowers in the winterless north

Day 4 Easter Sunday 21 April

Another lazy day this time spent sewing after a walk up to the North Drift Cafe for morning coffee.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Sewing station set up on the dining table!
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Love all these fishes swimming on the Ahipara school fence

Day 5 Easter Monday 22 April

A drive north to Cape Reinga.  Ahipara is at the bottom of 90 Mile Beach which stretches to Scott Point, five kilometres south of Cape Maria van Diemen. For those who are sticklers for the facts the beach is actually 88 kilometres long. As beaches in New Zealand are considered roads we could have driven along the sand, but it's really only suitable for 4WD vehicles and is safe to drive only at specific tide times. The big barrier for us is that rental car companies won’t allow their cars on the sand, mostly for safety reasons. We took the easy route and drove along the road.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Pukenui wharf
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Tapotupotu beach
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
View of the Pohutukawa tree from Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) lighthouse walk
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Cape Reinga lighthouse
Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) is the most spiritually significant place for Māori. It is here that after death, all Māori spirits travel to the pohutukawa tree on the headland of Te Rerenga Wairua. They descend into the underworld (reinga) by sliding down a root into the sea below. The spirits then travel underwater to the Three Kings Islands where they climb out onto Ohaua, the highest point of the islands and bid their last farewell before returning to the land of their ancestors, Hawaiiki-A-Nui.

Day 6 Tuesday 23 April

A drive down the East coast to Kerikeri where we had lunch at The Rusty Tractor (the best meal we had all week). Then on into Kerikeri to do a little retail therapy. We needed to replace the cafetière as my dearly beloved put his thumb through the bottom of the one we had (only a small gash in his thumb nothing to worry about), plus I needed to visit a sewing shop to buy some thread.

The day wasn't really photograph worthy being a bit overcast and drizzly so only an outfit of the day photo complete with rusty tractor.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Day 7 Wednesday 24 April

A brighter day and another drive down the east coast but only as far as Mangonui where we had lunch at the Little Kitchen, with a stop off at the Wild Nekta Cafe for morning tea and a pre-lunch morsel (deep fried Mars bar) at Cable Bay. After all that eating we had a walk along the beach at Taupo Bay.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Mill Bay
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Little Kitchen, Mangonui
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
A walk along the beach at Taupo Bay
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Sometimes eating your dinner (tuatua clam) is hard work

Day 8 ANZAC Day Thursday 25 April

For me this was a stay at home day, as I had some work to do. At least the view was pleasant as I typed away on my laptop.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
The garden at Beach Abode looking out to 90-Mile Beach

Day 9 Friday 26 April

Morning coffee at Beach Box in Coopers Beach, followed by a drive down to Mangonui for lunch, a walk and back to Ahipara. Coffee and gelato at the Beach Box was excellent, not that I had a gelato of my own just a taste of my beloved's.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

From the Waterfront cafe (lunch was pretty average and gave both of us chronic indigestion) we did a bit of the heritage walk, walking up Thomas Street, along St Andrew's walkway, down to the police station and back along the waterfront to the car.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Looking out from viewing point Whakaangi-Kainga o Ngati Kahu into Doubtless Bay
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Viewing point Three Harbour Entrance Pa
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
View of the harbour along from the police station

Day 10 Saturday 27 April

Another visit to the Kaitaia farmers market and then a very long walk on Ahipara beach before a late lunch at the bach.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Day 11 Sunday 28 April

Driving back down to Auckland to catch an early evening flight to Wellington, with a stop for lunch at Bennetts cafe (they also make delicious chocolates) in Mangawhai.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

These self drafted leggings were whipped up on the Wednesday night before the trip as I got a bit obsessed about wearing them with the Moochi Label dress. However the Label dress resembled a sack when I tried it on (after the leggings were sewn) so it was substituted with the above dress.  One day the Label dress will be transformed into something more suitable.
Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe
Bennetts of Mangawhai - cafe and chocolaterie

Days 12-15 Monday 29 April to Thursday 2 May

The return to reality and how harsh it was - selfies in the bathroom at work. Apart from Wednesday when I forgot so made a valiant attempt at an arty selfie back in the hotel room which was a complete fail - think I need longer arms.

Creates Sew Slow: Easter 2019 Travel Wardrobe

Northland Easter 2019: The Film

Google Photos kindly made a slide show, complete with music, of our ten days away in Northland.

And finally...

Photo bombed by the neighbours cat