Sunday, February 27, 2011

The end of the satin dress and other clothing

Remember this???? Well, I tried to make it into a skirt by cutting off the top.....and the result was less than flattering. Instead of looking like a satin bell, I resembled a garbage bag which had been overfilled.

Undeterred, by this minor setback, I decided to make a more fitted skirt from the old faithful A line skirt pattern. Things did not go well, twice I had to changed needles as a thread got snagged, and then I noticed the devil's mark - a large oily stain which was not on the dress when I started. Filled with an overwhelming sense of frustration I removed the offending fabric from the jaws of my Husqvarna and deposited it in the rubbish. Only the satin tie belt remains and will be used as a sash.
Dress: originally $49.95 from Ezibuy, purchased for $4.50 from Recycle Boutique
Lesson learnt: satin does not flatter my shape, chartreuse yellow is not flattering to my skin colour, satin is a *&^%&*!! to sew.

Thoroughly disenchanted with sewing something new, I decided to turn my hand to renovating an existing item. I added some front and back darts to a white viscose blouse purchased from Butterflies on Friday. I don't have a white short sleeve blouse and thought it would complement several of my patterned skirts. All went well. I carefully washed and rinsed the blouse and hung it out to dry in the afternoon sun. Later, when my mother was helping me bring in the washing she said "Oh this blouse has a hole in it, did you know? " as she unpegged it. Two things leapt to mind: 1. there was no hole in it when I bought it, or when I sewed it, or when I washed it. 2. Mothers notice such things.

Blouse: $2 from Butterflies
Lesson: kindly refuse offers from Mothers to help with washing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rhododendrons, Peony and Rose

I wanted to post something beautiful and simple today, while in Christchurch there is catastrophe, chaos and madness. The Rhododendrons were blooming one morning outside Psych Services as I walked to work; the peony is one of my own and the rose is at the aptly named Rosebank Resthome where my father-in-law lives. Sadly the Ellerslie Flower Show will probably be cancelled in Christchurch due to the earthquake and my trip to see my f-i-l has been postponed as well. My thoughts are almost completely obsessed with what is happening in what is known as the most English of New Zealand's cities.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Hi Readers, the topic for today is handbags because yesterday I received a lovely compliment about my "cow bag" from a lady working at the Presbyterian Support Shop in St Andrew Street. As well as commenting on the loveliness of the bag "what a cool bag", she let me know that the Shop on Carroll has some bags like this, and a lady that works there collects them, so I am sure to go visit sometime. I am not sure if you can see from this picture, but my bag is modest - its not huge but it does fit wallet, sunglasses case, camera and all the other detritus that I think I need to get through the day, you know Eclipse mints, Rimmel lipgloss from Postie Plus (a bargain at $4) various coffee cards and of course, work keys and cards, car keys and house keys!

This bag is my favourite at the moment and I have used it almost religiously since I bought it at the Butterflies Shop a while back in November I think. The interesting thing is that I had been looking for a leather tooled bag on Trademe and was getting frustrated that they seemed to be snapped up quite quickly and for prices which I cannot justify. Then one day, I saw my "cow bag" and it was love at first sight. My darling D and her friend A named it the "cow bag" when we went on the Taieri Gorge Railway trip and the name has stuck ever since. Below is a picture of me outside a cute church in Middlemarch - with the bag.
Anyway, the "cow bag" is losing so of its hair where it rubs and bumps against my hip, and it cannot be used in conjunction with black trousers or skirt, else it leaves hairy bits on me!

Each day I wear comfy shoes to work and carry my "nice" shoes in my brown cordroy knitting bag with wooden handles. This spacious bag also holds my lunch and other bits and bobs and it counterbalances the "cow bag" in weight so i do not end up like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some projects are doomed from day 1

Behold, dear reader, the Little House on the Prairie number which I started after Christmas with the $4 green gingham from Spotlight and a very cute cotton floral purchased about 6 years ago to make a girly dress for my daughter which never got made.I was lulled into a false sense of security by the pattern which caught my eye on a gloomy Dunedin afternoon in Spotlight - a sun dress. To wear on sunny days. Not sure if you can see from this picture but the front and back are slightly gathered. My first mistake was to decide emphatically that gathered busts do not suit me and make me look pregnant. My second mistake was to change the gathers to pleats. I won't bore you with a sew by sew and rip by rip story of how many times I made and attached the band across the top, but needles (yes that's needle's on purpose) to say, the back never joined together properly. On my trusty Chil-daw of course, it looks lovely.

I cut the pink band off and intend to make a skirt from the bodice. To wear next summer.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

3 Hour Sweater Completed

Its a bit short, but it's finished.

SaveMart and Salvation Army, Dunedin

Gorgeous Shelley shoes from SaveMart $19

1950s (?) hand bag, Dunedin North Salvation Army $8

Retro knitting bag from St Vincent de Paul, South Dunedin $5

Completed Sewing Projects

My first attempt at 3/4 pants.
Material given to me by Mum.
Craft cotton from Spotlight in retro print ($4.50 per metre)
with buttons from KMart sale bin ($1)

Retro cotton poly from TradeMe approx $5 for 1.5m.
Chiffon (sleeves and hem) from remnants bin at Spotlight $5.

Purchases over holidays: Recycle Boutique Dunedin

All $4.50 from the sale rack - the chartreuse coloured dress is Emerge (Ezibuy) and still had tags. I intend to cut off the top part and make it into a skirt. The stripey cardigan is cotton Ben Sherman and the grey cardigan has lovely velvet detailing on the pockets.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Second Hand Goods sales ettiquette in Dunedin

I have just read a very funny and very true post over at Into Vintage about the worst methods of pricing and packaging goods: atrocities committed by grease pencils on books, pictures and games, sharpie markers and vile super duper sticky labels on glassware and china. Sellotape and torturous packing tape around fragile ornaments and puzzles. You can read more of the post here:

One of my pet peeves is the use of double staples and card price tags on items at SaveMart in Stafford Street. I well recall the day when I spotted a lavendar and brown striped fur stole for $17 and the effort that I made to carefully remove the staples from the fur, the leather and the satin lining. The holes were big and the sharp edges of the staples had not cut cleanly through the cloth or pierced through the weave but had actually caught some threads. I was horrified. The sheer gorgeousness of the fur and the colour made up for it but it was very very annoying. I do not even bother to look at chiffon or silky items for this reason. Mainly these instruments of ruin are attached to the actual tag in the product but as all good second hand clothes shoppers will know, not all things have tags. Like homemade items for a start.