Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

A wise investment for seamsters

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Attention stitchers and seamsters! We’re loving these practical and good-looking cotton reel and bobbin holders from Woodwise, available in various sizes and peg depths.

Pop in a draw or attach to the wall to keep those wayward reels in line!

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Purchase from Woodwise today »


I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay…

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Where do you find snowy mountains? Pine trees? Woolly hats? Stag and brown bears? In a set of handcrafted polymer clay lumberjack buttons by Purple Sheep Buttons – love that buffalo plaid!

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See more from Purple Sheep Buttons here »


A snowy morning

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Brrr! There’s a dusting of snow outside this morning in Christchurch and the chill is bracing. Growing up further north, I never saw snow in town so I still get a childlike delight when I open the curtains and find the world has been frosted white.


Here’s a small pictorial celebration of snow, just because. :-) Stay warm everyone!





Home Sewn: a Kiwi design story

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Home Sewn
By The New Zealand Fashion Museum · Reviewed by Jo Drysdall

I still remember the thrill of being allowed to look through my mother’s wardrobe of home-sewn clothes when I was a little girl. Being allowed to touch the fabrics and try on the odd piece was a formative experience in retro dress-ups, I think. As a fashionable young woman, my mother had sewn most of her own outfits: party frocks with fitted bodices and flared, flirty skirts, neat little shift dresses, and tailored, timeless Chanel-style suits.

Home Sewn begins with a brief historical overview that places these homemade treasures in their Kiwi context, making the point that in New Zealand (until, arguably, the last quarter of the twentieth century) if stylish, individual clothes were desired, most women had to make them for themselves.

It goes on to capture the stories of ten contemporary New Zealand fashion designers and highlight the beginnings of their careers. Each designer offers a design from their collection as a pattern included in the book.

While some of the designers featured in this book (and the accompanying exhibition) found their passion for sewing at high-school or design college, many first learned their skills at home – from mothers or grandmothers, making dolls’ clothes or outfits for themselves, friends or siblings. Their backgrounds illustrate this point again and again, presenting stories of home-grown talents that will no doubt resonate with many in the Felt community.

For me this book underlines my feeling that a passion for innovative, quality clothing design and construction can be born and nurtured in many places other than a tertiary course, though these courses certainly have their valued place. It also makes the welcome suggestion that there is room in the New Zealand fashion scene for these varied origins – and the interesting and innovative approaches to fabric they tend to foster.

The patterns provided by the ten featured designers are offered as inspiration for readers to express their own “creative individuality,” rather than as templates, which is perhaps the reason they’re only drawn in the 10–12 size range. Because of this, I couldn’t recommend this as a book for the beginner – while some good tips are offered on construction and finish, there is no guide to fitting or resizing (despite the rather context-less inclusion of a basic diagram on taking measurements) and the compact pages of pattern instructions assume a basic skill set. However, that said, it is actually quite refreshing to find a dressmaking book that is pitched at more experienced seamsters.

Home Sewn is published to coincide with the Home Sewn exhibition from the New Zealand Fashion Museum, currently touring New Zealand. In 2013 you can see the exhibition at the following venues:

Whangarei Art Museum
17 December 2012 – 17 February 2013

Dunedin Art Gallery
9 March – 7 April 2013

The Dowse Art Museum
10 August – 24 November 2013

Jo Drysdall has a variety of alter-egos, running the gamut from librarian to corsetiere, fabric artist to horticulturalist. When not facing identity crises she enjoys ogling books on textile art and vegetables.

Fanciful Felties – Samantha Cotterill

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Fanciful Felties: Sew People to Meet, Places to Go & Things to Do

Fanciful Felties: Sew People to Meet, Places to Go & Things to Do
By Samantha Cotterill · Reviewed by Katy McRae

In a world awash with ‘cutesy’ felt animals, Samantha Cotterill’s felt people are a breath of fresh air. In fact they are quite possibly the coolest ‘felties’ on the planet. This woman has a style all her own and man, can she sew!

Sam’s a Brit living in Upstate New York with her husband and two young boys. She took a five year break from her painting career to have kids and came back as a self-taught fibre artist . . . as if having two kids wasn’t challenge enough. She’s one of ‘those sellers’ on Etsy – you know, the ones that have been singled out as something special. She’s also well-known in blogosphere. Her blog,, is a showcase of her fibre art and DIY projects and also provides a glimpse of what it’s like raising two boys, one of whom has Aspergers.

Oh, and she also has her own range of fabric. Yes, she is quite possibly superhuman.

I like a book that doesn’t short-change you on patterns and Fanciful Felties doesn’t disappoint. There are 14 patterns for a range of felt ‘people’, as well as a couple of inanimate objects such as a telephone booth and a cottage. She also includes a scone recipe – author’s prerogative and all that.

The book starts with a comprehensive run-down on all that you will need. Samantha also has some handy hints for machine embroidering and instructions for a range of embroidery stitches. In theory, the patterns are ‘beginner-friendly’ and her step-by-step instructions are very clear. However, if you’re wanting your creations to turn out anywhere close to what you see in the pictures, you’re going to have to be more than a complete novice.

I think the key to avoiding the bitter disappointment of having your scheme turn to pus is to make the patterns your own. As the introduction says, “these projects are designed to encourage experimentation.” The idea is that you can mix and match elements. Turn your mistakes into design features. And when you’re done, there’s a Flickr group to show off your work.

17 Sewing Machines

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Now there is a title to fuel the imagination of any crafter! What could you do with 17 gorgeous vintage sewing machines? Why do I ask? Because Jenafer from Local Vanguard is parting with this amazing collection of gorgeous vintage sewing machines.

Bought upon the closure of the Old Rakaia Museum, the collection spans the decades from the late 1800s through to the 1970s. Some of the machines come with historical references, including a Singer that came on the first ship that harboured in Akaroa.

Let’s hope these machines go to a loving home – it’s a lovely historical record of domestic craft.

Upcoming Workshop in Christchurch: “Reconstruct your Clothes”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

When: Saturday 19 September
: 1 till 5pm
: St. Albans Community Center, 1047 Colombo Street, Christchurch
: Donation (yes, really!)
: Briar Cook


This is the first reconstructed clothing workshop I have held, and fulfills part of a long term plan for my business, rethreads, which has been making and selling reconstructed clothing for the last couple of years. I am a fervent supporter of reducing the consumption of cheap new clothing, and of finding ways to remodel what we already have with ease and creativity. I am also passionate about strengthening connections in the local community, so am pleased to be offering this workshop for a donation, with support from St. Albans Community Center. All the information you need is listed below, there is no need to book in advance. However if you have any questions, you are welcome to email me:

About the Workshop:

Reconstruction, also known as upcycling, is the process of taking something (in this case, an item of clothing) and cutting and altering it to create something new. We’ll spend the afternoon remodelling your old, outdated clothing to come up with fresh new looks. Depending on your project and level of ability, you’ll make good headway or even finish your reconstruction project. We’ll also cover some of my favorite basic techniques, like making your own iron on patches, or blanket stitching to make a nice finish to a rough edge. I’ll bring some of my own stuff, and some books and web links for inspiration.

You’ll Need to Bring:

1. Some clothes you want to alter – bring a selection. Clothes that work best for reconstruction are simple in shape and design. T-shirts, men’s shirts, denim skirts, big wool jerseys, jeans.

2. Some fabric you may want to add to your clothes, or use to make patches.

3. Sewing equipment (scissors, needles and threads, pins etc), including a sewing machine or overlocker, if you have one. Most projects can be sewn by hand, if you have the patience!

About the Tutor:

I finished a Certificate in Craft Design in 1989, with a major in textiles, and have well over 30 years experience in reconstructing clothes. Rethreads makes the most of this and can be found here on Felt. I also have a lot of experience teaching successful and exciting workshops, to adults, children and families.