Overdressed – A move away from cheap and nasty clothing

I love this article as it represents a move that I have already undertaken, that of making more of my own clothes.

It began with my frustration of wearing out clothing in certain spots, which if thought of in a mathematical viewpoint would only be classed as 10% or less. How seriously un-eco-friendly is it to throw out a pair of socks, simply because you’ve worn through a toe? Or throw out a pair of jeans because you’ve rubbed the thighs so thin they’re now indecent (for those of us who have larger thighs!).

At first, it started with simple things; I’m an avid skiier and FIRMLY believe in the necessity of decent, good quality ski socks like Smartwool, NZ Sock Co, or Wigwam, but found regardless of only wearing them in my ski boots or on extremely cold days (lets at least be honest!) that after a season, I had worn through the heels and the balls of the socks, therefore rendering them useless. So I took up darning! I have been able to stretch my ski socks into three more seasons since then and have had to darn during each season, but I have saved approx. $40 per pair, each year.

With jeans, I have taken to threading my sewing machine with dark navy thread, finding some patches of denim and putting them on the inside of the thighs and then using a zig-zag stitch, have completely quilted the patch and the jeans together. While this feels bulky and uncomfortable for the first couple of wearings, after a few washes, it’s hardly noticeable, and I take delight in the fact the my jeans now last more than three months.



Pattern Drafting

After a long hiatus from crafting, and then slowly getting into knitting, and then a WHOLE lot of knitting (which I will dutifully take pictures and post here!) I then did a bit of crocheting and then decided to do some sewing including a denim refashion (which I will post as well) and now I’m pattern drafting for a pair of pants. Thanks to Weekend Designer for some awesome pattern drafting instructions – I used them a year ago to make myself some pants and they were great.

I purchased 10 metres of pinstripe fabric and I plan on making at least two pairs of pants. Thanks Nicks Fabrics for some fantastic prices!

Pattern Drafting

Pattern drafting following instructions from Weekend Designer

New Fabric

19 metres of new fabric purchased from Nicks Fabrics

I also purchased 4 metres of green medium weight knit, 2 metres of peach tshirt knit, 2 metres of black merino knit and 5 metres of light weight cotton.

My plans at the moment are to use the green to make a light weight pixie hoodie for myself, the peach to turn into two camisoles (if there’s enough fabric!), the black merino is going to be used to make Emmaly some thermal tops for the winter and the 5 metres of cotton is to be used for lining the pin stripe pants.

– Kayleigh


Whistle Case

I am getting into learning to play the Irish Whistle. I have a whistle in the key of D and the plastic box it came in was not going to be the best for transporting it around, especially once I started collecting the other five or so whistles I will end up with.

I have a brush case like this for my paintbrushes and thought it would work just as well for whistles. I dug through my collection of fabric and found some upholstery fabric I had intended to make a corset out of and some lining. I jumped onto the sewing machine and made this:


The open case. There are 6 slots for whistles and one larger area for paper.

Rolling the case up towards the ribbons.

Rolling the case up towards the ribbons.


The finished case. The ribbons may need trimming.

The finished case. The ribbons may need trimming.

A tutu for Emmaly


Emmaly in her tutu

I’m an avid sewing/craft blog reader, and during my reads I keep coming across little girls in tutu/princess style skirts and dresses and thought that it was well time that Emmaly started having a dress-up wardrobe, and so an easy first dress-up project is a tutu.

I spent an hour in front of the sewing machine and overlocker and came up with this tutu for Emmaly.

I purchased 3 x 0.5 metres of nylon netting and cut the netting into 15cms strips, set the tension setting on my sewing machine to high and the stitch length to 4mm and sewed them adding each strip one after another to make into one very long ruffled strip.
Using some scrap cotton fabric, I cut a length that would be wide enough to go around Emmalys hips and then serged the edges, this serves as an inner skirt.


Finished tutu

I folded the ruffled strip of netting into four layers, and lay the length of cotton fabric underneath and stitched through all five layers, adding the ribbon in at each end to use as a tie.

Bargain hunting and toddler tutu


Beautiful fabrics

I did a little bargain hunting yesterday at Spotlight and found that the remnant bin had a “50% off already marked discounts” sign and after some careful consideration, decided to take these two pieces home with me.

The multi-coloured piece is 0.6m of satin that was originally $16.99 per metre, but after a 50% discount to the remnant bin and then the 50% off already marked prices, I paid $2.27, and the purple and white flowered piece is 1.3m of polyester, previously $7 per metre for which I paid $2.89.

Tutu Project

Tools for the project

I also purchased 1.5 metres of nylon netting with the idea of making my one year old a tutu skirt to dress up in.
I thought I would include a picture of the planned project along with my notions, sewing machine and much-loved overlocker.

I’m not 100% sure of what the tutu will look like, or whether she will wear it much, but I’m determined to make her one.

Miriam has suggested that I should make Emmaly (my 1 year old daughter) a bolero as she insists on wearing her dresses pulled up over her chest and behind her head so that they just sit on her arms/shoulders. *shakes head*

– Kayleigh

Dress mania and shirring

So I recently saw Kayleigh post a picture on Facebook of these adorable dresses that she’d made for her 13-month-old daughter, and I thought, “Oh, how did she do the rippled top?”

I read the description, calling it shirring, so I went and googled it (of course). There are a lot of tutorials already out there for how to shirr fabric, so I won’t recreate one here. Instead, I’ll give you some links:

And show you what I made:

And because of photo transfer fail between devices, that’s the only photo I can post out of the three things I made. Darnit. I’ll try and remember to come back and post the others.

Things I learned along the way:

  • My machine (a Bernette, about 13 years old) needs to be on maximum thread tension to sew with elastic thread.
  • Elastic thread is much cheaper from the Dollar Store if you can get it. It was $5 a roll at Spotlight and $2.50 a roll at the Dollar Store in Northcote, but couldn’t find it at the Dollar Stores in Birkenhead. So hunt around! Especially since you use somewhere around half a roll per dress.
  • When making dresses with separate bodice, sew the darts into the skirt before attaching to bodice. This was definitely a duh moment, and you can see from the photo the skirt fabric pulls a little around the hips.
  • For the tube-style dress (the yellow and tartan ones I couldn’t post pics of yet), about 125 – 150 cm diameter is about right for a NZ size 12. There is room to grow and shrink.

My next project is another shirred dress, using some nice satiny pink fabric I got from Nick’s Fabrics in Mt Eden (336 Dominion Road). Great place to shop, nothing over $10 a metre. This dress will have triangle cups at the front, shirred under the bust and around the back, and a flared skirt. With no pattern, wish me luck!


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