Friday, November 28, 2008

Board Shorts

Ezibuy offers these knee-length Boardies for the amazing price of NZ$24.95.

This shorter version (below) shows the front fastening. Secured with dome and zip closure, there's not the fuss and frustration that comes with lacing ties. Available in 4 colours. or

Have you noticed that pool chemicals eat your togs? Have you checked the state of last year's swim gear? It's very likely you'll need to replace them before you can jump into the water this season. Don't leave your purchase until the really hot weather arrives. Stores like Ezibuy sell out of swimwear well before we're sweltering, so grab what you need now.

If you're struggling to find swimwear options, have a look at the extensive research featured on Boutique Narelle last summer. Go to the Swimwear label on the right-hand side bar, or type 'swimwear' in the search engine in the top left-hand corner.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little Girl Dresses, Part 2

In Part 2 of our Little Girl Dresses feature, we introduce Jessica Wye.

Jessica loves to sew clothes for little girls. I first met her in the middle of Spotlight on a fabric hunt for kiddie clothes. The garments featured in this post were made as gifts. She hasn't tried to sell any yet but is keen to do so. Her business card is included below.

She says, "Most of the baby clothes were made from Butterick, Simplicity and Burda patterns, most using only 1 metre of fabric."

"The lime green dress with strawberries is my favourite, made from broderie anglaise, and the pink pantaloons and hat brim were made from poplin. I use poplin a lot for solid colours in baby clothes because it feels good against the skin and is very cheap to buy, often only NZ$3.99 a metre at Spotlight. The two smocked baby dresses were made using patterns from an Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine."

A small piece of pretty fabric can be readily crafted into something cute, but see what happens when you add the extras...

Smocked's not as tricky as it looks.

Add ribbons and lace...

Add contrasting fabric...

Put it all together...

Yellow polycotton gingham and heavy weight navy cotton, both purchased on sale at Spotlight. Made for a 6-year-old, smocked bodice, can be worn with or without the blouse.

Party dress to fit 10-12 year old. Fabric found at a secondhand shop for only a couple of dollars! Jessica added a thick band of ribbon around the hem and matched it with a thinner ribbon bow on the front.

When I asked Jessica what started her sewing, she replied:

"It was because I couldn't find many feminine and modest clothes around that I liked. Blenheim is very limited in clothing shops and it is often hard to find clothes I could afford too. It was also just the fun of being able to make my own clothes.

"At first I made simple skirts then moved on to dresses and blouses, I was able to make nice clothes for my sister too. A friend of mine who is an expert seamstress helped me learn the basics and I went from there."

"I learned the most when I decided to have a Regency 21st birthday and bought patterns from Sense and Sensibility Patterns. I learned about proper fitting, having to get the bodice just right. I bought my own sewing machine before I knew how to sew, as I intended to learn. It sat unused for about a year until I caught the sewing bug, since then I have updated to a better machine and have purchased an overlocker too. The Victorian dress was my first attempt at taking bits and pieces from several patterns plus making my own skirt and train pattern and putting them together. Other girls I know are experts at this but for me its hard not working from a complete pattern, it took over a week from beginning to end."

And she thinks taking a week on a project is a long time. Phew. I take that long when I AM following a pattern!

Jessica plans to make more dresses with smocking embroidery on the bodice, and has kindly provided images of future projects. I hope they inspire you as they've inspired Jessica and I. Smocking magazines can be purchased at most magazine shops, or you can buy them online from Each issue costs NZ$15.50, but Jessica says it's worth it since you get a pattern for every garment featured.

Friday, November 14, 2008

SALE at Kosher Clothing


Kosher Clothing was established in 2008 by Rita Bailey of Brooklyn, New York. Rita founded the company with the purpose of catering to women who make a conscious decision to dress modestly yet stylishly, but still want a certain touch of flare.
With several years of excellent working experience as a retail consultant for one of the leading retailers in the modest clothing sector, Rita has established her reputation with her caring demeanor, keen eye, and natural fashion sense in helping each individual find the right style and fit.
With this rich history of matching the right clothes to the right women, Rita set out on her own to create this online boutique to cater to a fashion-conscious, modest-minded, modern clientele. Offering a revolving selection that is both high-end yet practical, Kosher Clothing is committed to bringing stylish options to the modestly dressed woman.

This week Rita is running a 1 WEEK NOVEMBER BLOWOUT SALE! Shop online at now through to Tuesday, November 18th and save up to 30%!

Don't forget to have a browse through their accessories department, which offers some very lovely items, such as this jeweled barrette below. Even if you don't purchase from there, you may find inspiration for your ideas portfolio.

The Great Shirt Hunt 3

Capture Gingham Check Shirt
5 colours NZ$29.95

Cotton Viole Pin-Tuck Shirt
6 colours NZ$29.95

Ruffle Trim Shirt
3 colours NZ$39.95 or 2 for $60

I love the clothing from Damart, but they have a strange way of doing business -- their catalogue products take weeks to appear on their website. All the following images ARE available to order, but you may need to do it via methods other than the website, because at the time of writing the website doesn't recognize the product codes. I suggest that you ask for the free catalogue to be posted to you. That way you can order with confidence AND get to see the whole spring/summer range. It's well worth checking out, as you'll see from these examples.

Some creative, modest-minded designer has come up with a summer shirt that offers the look of layers without the bulk. There are several 4 styles to choose from in a range of pretty colours. Bravo Damart!

This top (above), along with a coordinating skirt, is listed under the New Arrivals tab on the website, but isn't in the most recent catalogue.

Blue and white is the trendy summer combination. Damart offers several ways to put this together, and as this example shows, without the exhibitionism that frequently comes with white tops.

The price on the blue swing tag refers to the v-neck tops the girls are wearing, but the 20% discount applies to all tops.

This embroidered round-neck tunic (also pictured on model below) is available for A$39.95.

View the pdf catalogue here for other styles. Sale ends 23rd November.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Little Girl Dresses, Part 1

Sewing something for yourself or another grown person can be daunting when you're starting out in the world of stitches. Making LITTLE dresses offers a great way to build your confidence whilst having a pile of fun!

Pretty fabrics and trims, cute patterns, adorable little girls to wear them, and all in a small size that doesn't require a huge space for cutting out fabric or take a lot of time to stitch. You get a finished product sooner and feel victorious in your achievement more often.

As an encouragement to your creative juices, over the next little while I'm going to be introducing you to several young ladies who make charming little dresses for gifts or financial gain. If you know someone who does likewise, we'd love to hear from you.

Laura Demick: Quietude

Twenty-four year old Laura has created a lovely blog covering various delicious and feminine topics, including samples of her sewing prowess. This is a baby dress she made for her Cedar Chest.

The soft cotton lining is edged with broderie anglaise lace.

Lauren Ashley: Delicate Details

Twenty-year-old Lauren runs a blog and Etsy shop where she advertises and sells garments and digitally altered images. She explains how she became a seamstress.

"It all started with a ball gown.

"I started sewing at an early age because my Mother and Grandmother sewed. They coached me through difficulties until I could wing it on my own. But the reason I wanted to sew in the first place was because of a ball.

"Not a toy ball, but a grand affair with dancing and music; and what girl can go to a ball without a ball gown? So I determined to sew myself a beautiful ball gown – with swishing hoopskirts and all the trappings. My Grandmother helped me, and the truth be told, she did most of the sewing. Without her the project wouldn't have happened (I was only thirteen at the time and just beginning with the basics). The dress turned out beautifully, but more importantly, I had kindled a passion for sewing.

"Since then five years have slipped by and I have sewed clothing for myself, siblings, and friends. Sewing can be dangerously addictive once you've started! I wouldn't recommend starting your sewing adventure with a ball gown, unless you have an experienced seamstress to guide you.

Lauren's Shirley Temple Dress.

"Start with something small at first; then as your confidence and experience grow take on harder projects. Children's clothing is an excellent place to start. Not only is there less material to deal with, but the length of the project is generally shorter.

"One of the important things to keep in mind when beginning is not to bite off more than you can chew. Doing so only brings frustration. Don't let yourself become overwhelmed. Sewing should be a fun process, not a nightmare!

Closer detail of the Shirley Temple Dress

"Once you've mastered some basic skills, you may want to consider starting a home business. Sewing is a job which can be done from home whether you are single or married, and it is regrettably a skill which many modern young women do not have. I recently opened up a shop on Etsy, a place for selling handmade things. Since I am new to the business world I cannot give very much advice on how to start. What I have learned it to trust God, to honor Him with your business, to be open and courteous with your customers, and to keep praying for new opportunities! There are so many ways the Lord can bless a willing heart and diligent hands."

Shannon runs a blog and Etsy Shop. This ruffled baby dress featured on her blog in April. Follow the link to see details of how she made the outfit and alternate ways of wearing it.

Ric-rac (zig-zag braid) is an easy way to add class and cuteness to a garment. When used on the sleeve and collar edges as here, it looks like lace.
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