Friday, November 1, 2019

Modestly Seeing Red: 5 ways to tweak a top to get the coverage you need


Modesty Challenge


Even in an enormous shop with a huge range of stock, it can be difficult to find a garment that has modest coverage and meets all of your needs for fit, colour, and style. I'm currently blessed with easy access to such a store, but it is rare that I find a garment perfectly ready to wear.

Cost Challenge


When they're not perfect but MIGHT be made better, the trick is in assessing whether the items you're looking at are worth the time and effort to adapt them.
I spotted a mid-calf length cotton sateen coat-dress with three-quarter sleeves at SaveMart recycled clothing shop.

It was in beautiful condition, but I shook my head over the neckline, the hem, and the sleeve length. At NZ$14 ("branded" price level), it was pricey. There was nothing else on the racks that day that demonstrated potential for winter warmth and modest coverage. I decided to take the risk.





Figuring Out How to Do Shorter Well


First round of remodelling, I shortened the mid-calf hem to just above the knee (I thought) so the dress silhouette would work with wide-leg trousers. This combination meant I could cycle in the outfit, provided the trouser cuffs were clamped at the ankle for safety.


As an early starter in my exploration of tunic lengths suitable for cycling in a breezy environment, in hindsight this one is shorter than necessary. I had to learn, by testing how different fabrics respond to diverse air movements, what is too long to be safe and what is too short for best coverage.

I also forgot that what looks covered in the mirror isn't so covered when you perch or sit down.

Placket, Button, and Dome


The double lapel took a deep plunge, and gaped at my narrow collarbones, so I folded half of one lapel back on itself to create an extended placket, installed a gold feature button with buttonhole, and secured the rest of the new placket with large domes.



Shorter Again


After a winter's wear, I'd had enough of trying to slide a fleece jacket over the three-quarter sleeves, so the second round of remodelling took the sleeves up to a flattering (and practical) quarter length.

The dress is occassion-adaptible. I've worn it for everyday activities like cycling and shopping, to meetings, and to a birthday party. I recently found out it goes well with red poppies and the New Zealand flag. I clipped a corsage (designer BN) on the dress collar while filming an ANZAC Day music video.


Click here to view music video
HEAL OUR BROKEN LAND
https://youtu.be/JcsfeB8LHXc

I hope you've seen something beautiful and inspiring here today.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing frugalista dressmaking and liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!
Narelle

Friday, October 4, 2019

Thrifty Tricks for Modest Sporty Women #2: African Dress

Low-budget fashion tips to keep you stylish, safe, and covered while active outdoors

After

Modesty Challenge:


What to wear for outdoor cycling and gardening activities? I want modest garments covering me from neck to knees while allowing easy, safe movement, with expectation of getting grubby and sweaty.

Dollar Challenge:


Try not to spend money on it, because my income doesn't include a clothing budget. 🤔😬

My Solutions:


Before

This is my Ghanaian dress, a gift from Africa, originally made with sleeves. I removed the patch pockets and sleeves, let out the massive side seam allowance and shortened the hem for ease of movement, and turned the exterior patch pocket and sleeves into an internal side pocket. Yay for dress pockets!

Learning the clothing tricks defined in this post has vastly increased the quantity of secondhand garments that are useful to me. I no longer feel so limited or frustrated by my clothing options.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!
Narelle

Swinging into Art Deco Style

Friday, September 6, 2019

Designed-My-Own Modest Bridesmaid Dress


The Yellow Rose

December 3rd, 2018 -- a very special occasion. My sister got married, and I was well enough to be one of her bridesmaids.

Sarah is Kiwi through and through. She married a Fijian who'd never left his native land until the day he arrived to wed my sister in Rotorua, New Zealand. Max brought to our family and to the wedding day a splendour of Fijian cultural traditions that created a vibrant richness and depth of meaning.

Mr and Mrs Tuinanuya
Sarah began designing her wedding gown four years before she married, and three years before she even met Max. She's a lady of faith, vision, and tenacity. The wedding budget was almost non-existent, but God provided in many, many ways. A friend, working from Sarah's drawings, created the dress for her as a wedding gift. Sarah made the wreath herself. In my view, she looks like an Island Princess.

Island Princess on her throne
The bride was very generous toward her bridesmaids. Her desire was that we be dressed in a colour and style that suited us individually, so she did not require matching outfits in her favourite colour. The goal was to look like roses surrounding her.

Wedding service in The Redwoods forest, Rotorua, New Zealand
Finding the fabric to materialize the concept was a huge hurdle. Between the bride and two maids, I reckon we spent five months hunting, with fabric samples being mailed up and down the country between our three cities. I eventually ordered the "daffodil" yellow satin from China (I used www.JJsHouse.com, and I recommend using their fabric sample option before purchasing yardage).

Bible instead of Bouquet
We bridesmaids each sewed our own dress (actually two dresses each because of the layering), which was a challenge for both of us. I paid a professional seamstress to coach me and help me with fittings.

The paid photographer of the day hasn't yet returned the photos he took, so all we have are these snaps provided by friends and family.

Sisters
And a video, courtesy of my other sister, of my original "Wedding Song" I performed during the signing of the register.

 "Wedding Song" by Narelle Worboys
Click this link to view video:
https://youtu.be/lJl4R-p9UHg

Notice the lantern perched on the end of the keyboard? Handmade by the bride, that's what the bridesmaids carried instead of flowers.

I hope you've been inspired today by something modest and beautiful.

Fiat lux.
Narelle

Family

Friday, August 2, 2019

Thrifty Tricks for Modest Sporty Women #1: Shamrock Dress

Low-budget fashion tips to keep you stylish, safe, and covered while active outdoors


Modesty Challenge:


What to wear for outdoor cycling and gardening activities? I want modest garments covering me from neck to knees while allowing easy, safe movement, with expectation of getting grubby and sweaty.

Dollar Challenge:


Try not to spend money on it, because my income doesn't include a clothing budget. 🤔😬

My Solutions:


I found a lined cotton voile tunic dress at nearby SaveMart recycled clothing shop. (NZ$8)

It was too tight, too short, too revealing. But I could fix all those.

For improved fit, I cut two button holes centrefront and hand-edged them with buttonhole stitch. I snipped the tight elastic waistband and pulled it out, and replaced this with a longer elastic with cord ties stitched to the ends. I pulled the ties to a comfortable width, and secured with an elegant knot. (Notions sourced from my haberdashery stash.)


Next, I stitched the gaping bodice-front closed, and made it look intentional with a decorative button. (Purpose-bought, about 50 cents.)

I sewed a simple dome-front blouse to wear under the dress, covering back and shoulders and filling in the low neckline. (Cotton voile from my fabric stash.) For cooler temperatures, I can wear layers of long-sleeved knit tops under the dress.


If I had found suitable fabric, I would have lengthened the dress to just below my knees, but I wasn't able to fix this dress in that manner. Instead...

I sewed wide-leg trousers to wear under the dress. (Calico from my fabric stash.) These are perfect for gardening, but the wide cuffs are dangerous on the bike. The legs don't have enough length to clamp around my ankles, so for cycling, I bought a pair of green chinos with close-fitting ankles. ($8 from SaveMart.)


Above are the calico wide-leg pants worn with a different tunic. The outfit got a sartorial upgrade for the photo with floral hat, hair ribbon, and leather sandals. In the garden, I'd be wearing rubber jandals and a sturdy, easy-to-launder hat.

The blue tunic ($8 from SaveMart) might look dainty, but it's been fabulous for gardening. I love that I can look feminine even when I'm sweating in the dirt.

Learning the clothing tricks defined in this post has vastly increased the quantity of secondhand garments that are useful to me. I no longer feel so limited or frustrated by my clothing options.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!
Narelle