Friday, February 6, 2009

Waitangi Special 2009

Waitangi Day dawned hot and still, the cicadas rejoicing with a chirpy roar. I chose my patriotic outfit to help me cope with the heat.

DRESS

A non-crease, quick-drying polyster/rayon shirt dress in navy blue check, over a full length cotton chemise (who wants to wear a bra in this heat?).

Originally from Ezibuy, I got the dress for a few dollars at SaveMart Recycled Clothing. I've been wearing it for several years and enjoyed watching the shirt dress style mount in popularity. I didn't like the reflective shell buttons, so I turned them back-to-front for a stripey brown look. The buttons stopped just above the knee and the hem wasn't long enough, so I stitched the button placket up to mid-thigh and added a band of navy blue crepe to the length. (Note: if you're shopping for navy fabric to match an existing garment, make sure you take the garment with you and compare the colours in natural light.)

I have wide shoulders and a narrow chest, so this style is practical for achieving a good fit. When I'm interested in a loose, cool feeling, the drawstrings at the back are pulled in just a little bit. When I want to look trim and stylish, the drawstrings are tightened.

Here's how the drawstrings were made. A buttonhole was created where the drawstrings emerge from the inside of the dress. On the inside, the drawstrings were stitched into the sideseams, then threaded through the buttonholes. A casing was stitched over the top of the drawstrings on the inside. If you have an existing dress or blouse that's just a little bit too sack-like, try using this method for comfort and convenience.

Inside

Outside

SHOES

My mother found these jandals at The Number 1 Shoe Warehouse yesterday for NZ$20. I can never find anything good when I go in there, but every time she goes she finds amazing bargains. This pair was the first half of a "buy 1--get 1 half price" deal. The humble thong style has risen to gorgeous heights of charm and delight. The blue/indigo/violet shading of the sole and straps won't show the dirt, coordinates with lots of outfits, and the two bars over the thong provide extra support, not to mention cute buckles and sophisticated strappiness.

Remember to keep your toenails clean and tidy if you wear open shoes! Try keeping your cuticles neat by scrubbing regularly with a boar-bristle brush in soap and water.

HAT

My outfit wouldn't be complete without a hat, providing both style and shade. My preference rests with a navy cotton hat, but I've played a pale blue one as well. In my opinion, an unadorned hat is boring. Decorating one doesn't have to involve fiddly hours with a needle and thread. Here's how to twitch something together in five minutes.

You'll need a selection of hat pins. Here I have a range of pearl-headed pins, and four vintage pins from my grandmother.


You'll need flowers (fake ones last longer and can handle a bit of rough treatment), ribbon, feathers, a flag, or whatever objects your creativity fancies. [See below for how to make the flag.]

For this arrangement, fix one red flower with a hat pin poked into the fabric like this: O---------- ---- -----------

The blue lily on the alligator clip then slides onto the mid-section of the pin. (The upper jaw of the alligator clip is covered by the leaves.)

Add additional flower/s to fill gaps and hide unsightly clips, securing with a second pearl-headed pin.

One quick and classy hat

For a bow and feathers arrangement, poke a hat pin in and out of the fabric, spike the back of the bow, then poke in and out of the hat again.

Slide the feathers behind the mid-section of the pin.

The bow came directly off a boxed set of stationery, holding the paper in a loop. I removed the stickytape holding the ribbon ends together and clipped them into smart tails. The turkey feathers came in a multi-coloured pack from Spotlight.

I love using our flag in decorations. To make this one, print a flag image on glossy photo paper, making sure you reverse the second image. Allow an hour or so for the ink to dry, then fold the flag over an iceblock/popsicle stick. Notice the bar between the two flag images? This allows the paper to fold over the spine of the stick without losing sight of the image.

Use double sided tape (or glue) to secure the flag to the stick and to cover the flagpole with blue satin ribbon.
Take a length of white double-sided satin ribbon and bind the flagpole. Tie off in a bow or knot, front or back, and trim the ends.
Now you're ready to add it to your hat. I've used two vintage silver hat pins.

Flag with Blue Bow

Flag with Red Poppies

Voila! Le Chapeau!

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