Thursday, 18 January 2018

Insprired by Nature

Nga mihi o te tau hau! Happy new year! So I have been on a tiki tour around Northland with my lovely whanau, catching up with aunties and cousins and soaking up our great outdoors. I have been collecting inspiration from Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) for my Oversew Fashion Awards project.
Unfortunately I have managed to put my back out again so I am hoping I can still get an outfit done. Ongoing issues with it which is very frustrating!

So here is some of my inspiration. Green features very strongly so once I am back, I think I will do some opshopping and see what greenery I can come up with 🌿

Have some sketches done too which I will share soon. Isn't Aotearoa Tino ataahua!

Friday, 22 December 2017

2018 Oversew Fashion Awards

I think it is about time I had another go at the Oversew Fashion Awards. So I have decided to track my progress here. With a June 2018 deadline, I am hoping that I can pace myself and not be too rushed :) I have started a Pinterest Board and done some rough sketches, so hopefully inspiration will flow...

Next year is shaping up to be a bit less hectic than this one - I am no longer running a Diploma course for youth workers, which entailed travelling to Wellington a few times a term. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but am keen to focus more on upcycling, sustainability and my local community (moved from New Brighton nearly 2 years ago). I am involved with our local Opportunity Shop - Revival Clothing. We have run upcycling workshops in the local school and the commumnity, had 2 recycled fashion shows, hosted a local wedding gown display complete with high tea, had stalls at the local Pumpkin Fest, and supported the school production with upcycled costumes - as well as lots of other stuff. Money raised goes back to the community. We are also running a food/care parcel system for locals in need, and have started up a sewing circle in Birdlings Flat, just down the road.

So all of that is keeping me pretty busy. I have decided to give Youth Work a little bit of a break next year - which will feel a little odd. But I think it is for the best. So it should be an interesting year. Will keep updating my (hopeful) progress on an upcycled outfit for Oversew...

Oh and we inherited a border collie cross from friends. Pip is lovely, and she has settled into life in the country well. She was rehomed off a farm after an accident with a bull. Love having her by my side :)

Monday, 2 November 2015

Did I mention the carving studio?

Actually no, I haven't. Surprising as it took up a year of my working life. I was lucky enough to be given the task to help get a carving studio up and running at my youthwork job in Aranui. The local carver Raph, had been volunteering there since 2006, and was happy enough with the van shed out the back. However an opportunity arose post earthquakes to get a shed repaired through insurance. An investigation of funding sources showed it was viable so we set about making the shed into a purpose built community carving studio. And thanks to Creative New Zealand, Red Cross and Canterbury Community Trust (now called the Rata Foundation) the studio opened its doors in April this year. And its had a bit of attention too - appearing on TV and newspapers.

Raph designed the logo which refers to his Samoan cultural heritage, and is about the steam from the cooked food that permeates its environment. My friend Alanna popped it into illustrator for us and got it looking all flash.

Its great to see that from a disaster opportunities can arise like this one, that help foster community well-being through creativity.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Meet Lady Luella Lovelace

Inherit has struck again! This time with a vintage velvet NZ made jacket, a nz designer skirt and some lovely doilies to add a bit of lacyness.

I had initially paired up the velvet with the tartan school kilt, however it didn't quite look right. Then I discovered a gorgeous nz made skirt an the $3 op shop and added with a bit of lace, it looked perfect! The lacing came from another nz made $3 opshop shirt, with laced sleeve detailing. I have to say it was hard to let this one go - especially as it fitted me perfectly!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

In bed with a Hottie - Upcycled Tutorial featured in Hazed Magazine

Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate (Just a bit more advanced than beginner level)

Just what you need to keep you snuggly on a cold winters night. And to keep you extra toasty why not try your hand at a hot water bottle cover? I have used a thrifted woolen blanket and sheet - however you can come up with your own eco-conscious cover using all sorts of upcycled garments - a woolen jersey, dressing gown or coat. Fabric to applique a design onto your cover can be nearly any type as you will fuse it with iron on fusing, giving it stability and strength. I have used a sheet for this one and neck ties for the hottie cover on the grey cover. Be creative, and feel free to send me pics of your creation, as I love to see what people come up with.

So what you will need to complete this project is:
Your chosen garments/linen/blanket
A hot water bottle for template
A sewing machine
Sewing thread
Sewing pins
Sewing scissors
Taylors Chalk or a light pencil
Ruler or tape measure
An iron and ironing board (or towel to iron on)
Paper or light card for a template and applique design
Sticky tape
Fusable interfacing/violene (make sure it has one side that has glue dots on it)
A button and loop of ribbon or cord for back closure

1. Firstly place your hottie onto paper/card and trace around. Now add 2cm around the entire template except the neck of the hottie. This part needs 3cm on each side to allow for the hottie to fit through the neck hole. This is your front template.

2. Now make a copy of your front template for the back. Measure ⅔ down this template and cut a straight line across. These 2 parts are the back template. You will now need to take the top part of your back template and cellotape 3cm on the bottom edge, so that your top back template ends up overlapping your bottom back template. This will provide the opening to slip the hottie into.

3. Label everything, pin the templates to your blanket and carefully cut around. You will now have 1 front piece and 2 back pieces.

4. Zig-zag stitch around all 3 templates to prevent fraying. You may find the material becomes wavy and slightly stretched. Just press it with your iron and it will return to its original shape.

5. Time to applique. Decide on a shape/symbol etc you like and draw or print this onto paper. Carefully cut around it (good idea to simplify it a bit if there are complicated areas, which is what I did with my NZ map).

9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 to make a small shape to applique onto the bottom back piece to hold the loop on.

10. Now pin the loop at the halfway point on the bottom piece near the top where the opening is.

11. Place your appliqued shape over the loop ends and zig-zag around it, securing the loop ends in place

12. Now place the top back piece over the bottom back piece and line it up until the back pieces are the same size as the front piece. Zig-zag these together along the sides to create the back opening.

13. Now you are ready to join it all together. Place the front piece on top of the back piece with the right sides facing each other.

14. Sew a straight stitch around the pieces 5mm in from the edges right around the pieces, starting at the top neck, and ending up back at the top neck.

15. Press the cover carefully before turning it in the right way. You may need to then press it again once it’s out the right way, to get the curves sitting nicely.

16. Lastly stitch a button near the bottom of the top back piece for the loop to go around to keep the hottie cover closed.

17. Now jump under the covers and snuggle your lovely eco-friendly hottie!

I made the grey one from an upcycled army blanket, to commemorate 100yrs since Gallipoli, and to pay tribute to those in NZ who lost their lives in the war.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Oversew Fashion Awards Show 2015

The long and the short of it is that i had my entry accepted - only 50 were accepted out of 120 even though my design didn't quite meet the brief (in that it looked more like leather and tartan as opposed to leather and lace!) it made it down the runway. I was lucky enough thanks to the lovely Denise from NZ Eco fashion week to be given a ride to Carterton to watch the event. So much fun!!!! Met some awesome people too. One day i would love to put a mini collection into the NZ Eco Fashion Week. Also had a chance to mull over my dream to run a community wardrobe - like a creative space for people to learn and sell stuff and rent clothes for good occasions etc...

So anyway here is my favourite photo from the show - my model linda, a local accounts manager is very funky and rocked my outfit - she was the perfect choice!

A great experience! Next years theme is Fire and Ice...

Monday, 1 June 2015

With This Ring - Upcycled Tutorial Featured in Hazed Magazine

This sweet little ring bearer’s cushion can be made as a keepsake, by using treasured items from the bride and groom. Perhaps a favourite tie the groom was given by his grandfather, or a vintage button from the bride’s button stash handed down from her granny. Or even clothes from the couple’s wardrobe that are no longer worn. All can be repurposed and easily made into a cushion for wedding rings. You can also look for inspiration in local op shops – for colours or patterns that compliment the wedding. If the wedding party is getting outfits made you could ask for any leftover fabric/embellishments and construct a cushion that will coordinate perfectly. You are only limited by the theme of the wedding and your imagination.

If you are a beginner to the world of sewing, then stick to a simple square or circle cushion, with a button stitched on in the centre, and ribbon to attach the rings. You can use the instructions below, without adding the bunting.

Bunting Cushion
Skill level: heading towards intermediate level
Sewing machine and matching threads
Sewing scissors
Felt scraps
Ric-rac or narrow bias binding
Sewing needle
Sewing pins
Tailors chalk or a light pencil
Iron and ironing board
Circle template (eg a dinner plate or bowl)
Piece of card (eg cereal box or shoe box weight)

What to do:

Place your template on your fabric and draw 2 circles. Cut them out.

Now draw a triangle template on your card the size you want the bunting flags.

Place the template on the felt scraps, draw around and cut out, until you have enough flags.

Arrange the flags on the top circle into a curve. Make sure the bunting starts and finishes at least 1.5cm away from the edge of the circle, so you do not catch it when you sew the circles together.

Carefully pin the flags down and slowly sew along the top edge, stopping after each one to make sure the next one is in place.

Now sew your bias binding or ric rac over the top of the stitching line (don’t use ribbon as it doesn’t curve well).

Before attaching the top and bottom circles together, you can pin the buntings up and away from the stitching line if you are worried about catching them when you sew the seam.

Place the top and bottom circles together with the right sides facing each other. Sew with a straight stitch around the circle, 1cm from the edge. Remember to leave a 5 – 7cm opening to allow for stuffing.

Carefully clip around the circle every 1cm or so, to ensure you get a nicely curved circle.

Now stitch around the circle again, just inside the first straight stitch you did. This is to reinforce the seam so it doesn’t pull away at the clipped points. You can now trim the seam allowance from 1cm down to 5mm. If you want you can neaten the circle edges together with a zig zag stitch.


Time to turn the cushion by pulling it through the stuffing hole. Once it’s out the right way give it a gentle press with the iron. If the circle is slightly straight in places you can turn it inside out and re-clip it, till the seam has an even curve.

Now stuff the cushion. I used wool filling from an old cot mattress (I washed it first), but you can also use Dacron (the filling used in pillows). Once you have the fullness you want, close up the opening. Fold the seam allowance under, and use a small hand stitch with needle and thread. Now work the stuffing around to fill out the cushion evenly.

Lastly you can stitch on a ribbon, twine or embroidery thread to attach the rings. Make sure this is securely fastened to the cushion with needle and thread, as you do not want the rings to come off.

Now the page boy is all set with a beautifully upcycled cushion, that compliments the wedding and can become a treasured keepsake of a special day. Here are some more examples that have been made from a mix of vintage linen and fabrics, doilies, upcycled clothing, and new fabric