The “I know it’s silly” Dress

My reality is that I don’t really have anywhere to wear a LBD, or a BBD in my case given that I am a size 16 and just under 5’10 (175cms).

The reality is that I have a tonne of washing to do every week.  My husband is a tiler – he gets absolutely filthy every day.  You can imagine, dust from cutting hundreds of tiles, glue, grout and building site filth come home with him.

We have two washing machines and two clothes lines.  Don’t forget the two boys.  My laundry mountain is only obliterated a couple of time a year!

So I was thinking about how silly it was that I was prancing about my courtyard taking these photos, with my clothesline in the background – mocking me with its “I’ll be seeing you later!”, while wearing my big black 50’s dress with it big petticoat underneath.

But you know what?  After weeks of fulfilling everyone else’s expectations of me – two weeks of running the kids around for the holidays, one day spent at the hospital after Noah had a terrific trampolining accident and put a tooth through his face (he’s all better, now thanks to the plastic surgeons), it felt good to do something for me.

This was a UFO – I think I started it first four years ago – it was my the first attempt using a 50’s pattern   I decided I would use some of the wool that had sat around since my student days – and that yes, it would be a great idea to use some for a toile!  Lookey, lookey – perfect fit – love that!

This has become my favourite dress pattern  and I have made a the skirt many times (omitting the front pleat).

The best thing about this dress IMHO is the “Bosum” piece, it is a Crescent shaped piece which is gathered and gives you a little “more” in that area if you are lacking!! The skirt also covers all my flaws. The little cap sleeves are kind to plump arms. I believe it is the perfect dress for pear shaped women!

To finish it I had to overlock all the seams, insert the zip, and bind the neckline and sleeves.  I did the binding in a Cotton Lycra Sateen – it’s not sitting quite flat – but I can live with it.

Thanks to my lovely friend and sewing buddy, Toni for help with the hem – we decided we should buy one of those chalk puffer hemming devices.

The 1950’s Whimsey I am wearing is a present from my friend Rozie, she bought it for me on my Birthday from Mint Condition for $25 – bit of a bargain. I love the little birds on the veil.
So now I have a black dress on standby for any occasion – not silly at all is it?

The Facts

Fabric: Wool from stash from a million years ago and some Cotton Lycra Sateen $14.95/m

Pattern: McCalls 9400

Year:  1950’s

Notions: Zip

Time to complete: It’s been years!

First worn: For the photos

Wear again: Can’t wait

Total Cost: I’m calling it nothing


Australiana and Americana


How great is this fabric?! I saw it recently in Lincraft. I am into indigenous art forms in a huge way.

It feels very 50’s to me, with it’s dull, earthy colour palette.

It was $14.99 a metre and I had to leave it there at that price – as I had a little splurge on Esty last night. Just a few U.S. accessories for my 50’s Fair outfit. I really hope it’s warm! I froze last year!

They had a whole story in this theme – for the quilters.

Have you noticed that these type of prints languish in shops for a while?

Cultural cringe perhaps?

Now I am kicking myself for not getting a metre or four!

Will have to be content with a string of small parcels arriving in the mail from the States right!?

Earthquakes and Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Recently there was teacher’s strike so I stayed home with the kids for the day.

In the morning we went to the park where the eldest flew his flying car and the youngest climbed rocks, swung on the swing, and found an old ball to kick about. Sounds idyllic right?

It was lovely until they argued over the swing and the little one got hit in the mouth with the swing’s chain – there were tears and blood.

After he recovered we went to see if there were any tadpoles in the pools on top of the sandstone rocks.  We found lots of very small tadpoles.  Very exciting.

Then we came and made cupcakes for our visitors coming later in the afternoon.  The boys ones were decorated with spacemen and cars.  By then our guests arrived so I thought it would be rude to photograph the cupcakes then, maybe next time!  They definitely looked better than they tasted!  Cooking with children can be challenging!  They weren’t properly mixed and were over done.  Oh well – better luck next time.

I really appreciate my second cousin April and her husband David who live in Ashburton in NZ –  who visited us that day.

They told us all about the Christchurch people who have had thousands of aftershocks since the first two really big earthquakes.

How horrible to live with.  When I was growing up – the sound of the china rattling in the cupboards was a regular occurrence. But that would be so frightening to take on a daily basis.  At school we had fire drills and earthquake drills – we were taught to dive under our desk, or a door frame and cover our heads

What courage the people of Christchurch have, to stay and hang in there with so much uncertainty about the city’s future, the infrastructure, whether your insurer is going to pay out.  What if you didn’t have insurance?

It makes me grateful for my safe home.

Also it was lovely to just sit and talk and discuss  family history and maintain that connection to my roots in New Zealand.    Thanks for visiting April and David!

The “Fast Cars” PJ Pants

Meet Noah, he’s six and three-quarters.  He has lost 6 teeth, is very good at sports, is on the move constantly, is deeply interested in food and loves to play Fruit Ninja and Plants vs. Zombies.

I got this great little remnant of flannelette, featuring 50’s cars,  perfect for winter PJs at an op shop in New Zealand for a few dollars.

These pants are a breeze to make and I even did a false fly – which was super easy.  I also made a size 8 so he gets at least two years wear out them.  My kids tend to grow up, not out – because they are very fit and active  (unlike their parents!).  So I turned the hem up twice – to let down easily next year.

He was quite resistant to the idea of modelling so I said he could do it on the trampoline while enjoying his very large gobstopper and I have to pay him $5 – I know, superb mothering skills right?!  They just had their flu shot – and their treat was the gobstoppers.  They have been smashing them on the bath to get to the gum in the middle – this is my life actually – dealing with all kinds of “original” behaviour.  I blame their father.

He loves to do back flips which he does quite well as he is just the right height do to.

He only fell off the trampoline once during this photo shoot.

He has always been a real little toughy, not really into hugs much but when he came along, with his blonde hair, blue eyes and huge smiles – we knew our family was complete.

He told me not to put these photos on Twitter – and I promised I wouldn’t!

The Facts

Fabric: Thrifted flannelette $5

Pattern: Butterick 5737

Year:  c.1960’s

Notions: A button

Time to complete: 2 hours

First worn: Trampolining and TV watching

Wear again? Yes

Total Cost: $5