31 January, 2014

Simplicity 1873

I have been wanting to make a vintage style dress for a while, with pleats and a fitted bodice but hadn't quite found the right style. Then I came across this Cynthia Rowley pattern from Simplicity. The dress in the picture was a tad too short, so I went for version A instead.

According to the measurements, I am an 8 in the bust and a 16 in the waist, making me seem ridiculously out of proportion! I could see that there were a few inches of ease, however, to be on the safe side I made a toile and cut as per the measurements. Of course I had to remove a few inches from the waist, and even then, it has still ended up being a bit baggy due to the give in the cotton sateen I chose.

I scooped out the neckline which worked quite well, except it's a bit gapey. I may have to do a "hollow bust adjustment", ahem. I mucked around for ages trying to get the fit of the bodice right. It's not perfect, but overall I'm pretty happy with it. The cotton sateen has a lovely weight and doesn't crease much, and I do like the way the pleats come together at the centre. I bought the fabric from Fabric & Co, the shop that has moved in where Arthur Toye used to be in Wairau Park. It's a bit more floral than I usually go for, however, pleasingly, the pattern repeat meant no fussing around trying to make sure the flowers were appropriately placed. I might have to go for the high necked original version next. It reminds me of the dress that Meg Ryan wore to go and meet her online love Tom Hanks at the end of "You've Got Mail". It's my fave in-bed-sick movie. That's how I know.

25 January, 2014

Apothecary Concoctions

I have a poorly child at home today, asleep on the couch, so it's an at-home day for us. I had a long list of chores, number 1 on my list was to clean the bathroom. But somehow I got completely sidetracked by Action Pack: Family Apothecary e-magazine, created by Kathreen Ricketson, of whipup.net. Tragically, Kathreen passed away last year and my thoughts were on her and her children as I spent the morning making things from this beautiful magazine.

I made a shampoo, from castile soap, bicarb of soda, water and avocado oil. I'm not sure how this is going to go, since I've had limited success with natural hair products in the past, but I'll give it a whirl. Next was some lavender and peppermint lip balm, made from beeswax, olive oil, plus lavender and peppermint oils. I've made this before, and it worked really well. I was really scratching around for small containers to put it in so I ended up using a contact lens container. Waste not want not! I also made a deodorant, using cornflour, bicarbonate of soda, shea butter, tea tree, eucalyptus and lemon oils. The last time I made this I used coconut oil. Coconut oil has come a long way, but I still can't seem to shake that sunbaking-on-the-beach feeling every time I use it. So I'm pleased I had some shea butter this time. Despite the smell, the coconut oil version was very effective.

I also made some bath salts, using bicarb (again), epsom salts and lavender oil. And then... natural toothpaste! It contains coconut oil, bicarb, peppermint oil, clove oil and bentonite clay. A small amount of castile soap was listed as an optional ingredient, but I just couldn't get my head around having soap in toothpaste. Funny, because I have no idea what goes into commercial toothpaste. If I did, I probably would have stopped using it long ago. Anyway - the toothpaste is great! Tasty, and my teeth certainly felt clean afterwards. At that point I ran out of steam. There are heaps of other recipes in the magazine to try, including compresses, healing salves, body scrubs and natural cleaners. It really is an amazing resource.

21 January, 2014


I have been obsessively making cushions these past few days. So easy and satisfying. Totally in love with this Ink and Spindle fabric my hubby bought me for Xmas, from Bolt of Cloth. I could spend all day and all my money in that place. I let out a very undignified squeal when I started to unwrap the package, and noticed that it was wrapped with this tiny sliver of Frida Kahlo fabric, from Alexander Henry that I saw in the shop last time I was there. I hit the jackpot with that package... this Ink and Spindle fabric, some beautiful Kokka fabric and a Marimekko teapot. So spoilt.

This naturally led to some re-arranging of furniture and digging out of some old prints.

Printmaking class starts in a couple of weeks. Can't wait!

15 January, 2014

Happy New Year!

I thought I'd get back into the swing of this blog by posting my first 'make' of the new year. I was at a friend's house over the holidays and came away feeling totally inspired after seeing all the cool stuff she has been creating. It's a paper lantern, designed by graphic designer Gabrielle Guy and featured on Design Sponge. It was a fun and easy make. A paper lantern, some scrap paper, glue and hours of cutting and pasting... and voila.

This was a great project to start the new year with. Despite consistently making and creating all last year, I never really found my blogging mojo. I really got into clothes making, but was never really happy with the final photos, so they remained to be seen in real life only! Even so, I'm pretty happy with what I achieved. I just did a quick count and came up with 25 items of clothing, 10 or so bags plus various other bits and pieces like dolls as presents. This year I'm hoping to get back into other arty interests like printmaking and ceramics plus continue with the sewing. I will have to get a bit more confident of posting pics of myself online!