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sewing blog icon 15 Jul 2012


Thinking about this relationship between Africa and the West, I was reminded of this fantastic documentary about the second-hand clothing trade in Zambia. The film follows a market trader, Luka,  as he buys a bundle of second-hand clothes which have been imported into the country from the U.S (via charitable donations) and attempts to sell them at his local market to eke out a living and support his mother and two siblings.

What the film does really well, is to discuss why it is that Zambia doesn't have it's own textile industry, and why people like Luka are selling and wearing unwanted clothes from the U.S - and to ask the most important, and so seldom asked question: exactly why is Africa poor?






Comments (2)

  1. Juliet:
    Aug 12, 2012 at 06:48 AM…

    Oh, I keep meaning to watch this doco.... will try and watch this week. It sounds so interesting!

  2. Brandy:
    Mar 24, 2013 at 07:38 PM

    That piece was done very well. Never again will I be able to look at second hand clothing. I really dread watching anything about Africa, because it is so painful to see people who are still slaves to poverty. Their mental outlook is always hopeful and cheerful. Under the circumstances I don't see how they go on from day to day. I feel like the gentle at the end of the film, "if you can't help us, then leave us alone"
    Africa is the forgotten land, that has been raped, and used beyond words for the wealth of non African people. They are the modern day slaves. In the states their ancestors are modern day slave to poverty and illiteracy. It's a never ending story. Although we have far more than they do, but when you bottom line it........violence + poverty+ illiteracy enslaves all peoples. It's a recipe for true decline in society, and no one cares. That's the most inhuman of all injustices is the lack of caring for a human being.

sewing blog icon 05 Jul 2012


 Just a quick update, if anyone has tried to leave a comment recently and wondered where it has gone, it has unfortunately dissappeared in the nebulous black space of the interwebz.

Should be fixed soon though!  Update:  Now fixed!

Comments (1)

  1. MsStitch:
    Jul 05, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Yup, definitely working!

sewing blog icon 04 Jul 2012


Hey there. I made a dress.



I know I rabbit on from time to time about how much I love swimming in the sea, but it's true. I do. And whenever I see fabric that looks like the ocean I just have to buy it. Happily for my wallet this doesn't happen too often. But this fabric, which came from a stall at Dalston Market in London that sells African-Dutch wax fabric, is definately ocean-esque on a windy and wild day. Breathe in deep and dive as the waves break!


Style Pattern 3927

The pattern is a "Style" pattern (3927) - I think from the 90's, although I've gone and lost the cover (forced to tidy the spare room, and now can't find anything). I do recall that it has the option of a fairly kick ass jumpsuit, but that seemed a little overkill in this particular fabric.

The fits a little off - mostly just a little big in the top - for future reference, I'll be taking more length and width out of the bodice. But hey at least its comfy.

It seemed kind of right to take these photos (mid Sunday walkabout in South East London) in front of the Dulwich College. It's a very old "public" school for boys - part of the Etonian set of schools: commanding buildings, privledged young men. It seems a world away from the busy stalls owned by generations of migrants - people who for a long time, and, in fact if you listen to all the anti-immigration hullaballoo,  are still seen as alien and other. But who, in reality, come from places that have long been connected to Europe through processes of modern imperialism.

These spaces- landscapes of class, race, power are not really so unconnected. I should know, people like me, mixed up, products of colonisation only exist because of these historical and evolving connections.

Just like this fabric.

"Dutch" or "Holland" Wax Print was designed based on the Javanese Wax Batik fabric designs, which the Dutch encountered during their colonisation of Indonesia. The Dutch Wax Print was a mass produced imitation. When you think about, it really is a testiment to just how far-reaching (from one side of the world to the other!), that heady mix of colonialism and capitalist penetration has been, that these fabrics are now identified as African.

To quote the late Mr Edward Said, " We face...the deep, profoundly perturbed and perturbing question of our relationship to others - other cultures, states, histories, experiences, traditions, peoples and destinies...We are, so to speak, of the connections, not outside or beyond them".


Dulwich College

Comments (1)

  1. liza jane:
    Jul 06, 2012 at 03:49 PM

    I'm not sure if I'm putting the comment on the right post, but I LOVE that wax print. I'm always drawn to those, not sure why. I like that they are graphic in nature but also have kind of a hand-dyed artsy vibe (even though I know they are probably not). I think the style of dress you made is just perfect for the fabric, too. Great pairing!

sewing blog icon 19 Jun 2012


.... so Im back. From a seriously long break. All I can say, is that multiple cups of tea were consumed. Acutally, I did also have to go back to New Zealand under threat of deportation (not really! I left before they got me!) But I'm sure there are English people everywhere cheering my successful application for another UK work visa. So yes, I am back, just in time to witness the great British summer (hold your sniggers. Today was actually quite nice.).


I do have some sewed goods to show you. Not much, mind, and not right away, but they are coming soon.


What's worse though, is that while I was away, Jeyco from I'm liking it, actually passed on the versatile bloggers award to me.  If you haven't seen Jeyco's blog, you should. The woman has mad skillz..  For example, this, my favourite Jeyco-creation, this Azzedine Alaia inspired dress,.  Man oh man! She also has a whole-load of pattern drafting resources on her blog. Go check it out.


Anyway, I supposed to tell you all 7 (yes 7!) things about myself, that you might not otherwise know. Bit awkward, but here we go:


1. I have a masters in Social Anthropology. I do not use it in my day to day job, and sometimes (often) feel quite sad about it.

2. I really like country music. But I do not like Kenny Rogers. I have very strong feelings about this. I don't mind Willie Nelson, and I looooove Dolly Parton.

3. In our house, we are addicated to 3 things: Al Jazeera (sorry BBC, we tried), the London Review of Books (the cause of some squabbling over who gets to read first) and home-made bread ( this one might just be me).

4. If I had any say in the matter, I would live my life according to the tides and go swimming in the sea every day. This is total fantasy, not least because I live in England. It's important to have things to aspire to though.

5. I get scared by the sudden boughts of royal fever that overcome this country.  I guess I'm a republican, but mostly I don't think any old lady should be made to stand for hours in the cold and pretend to be excited by boats going up a river. No matter how many adjectives (Glorious!Fabulous!Wonderful!) BBC commentators string together. Does this also make me a grouch?

6. I spent a year of my life working as a telemarketer (don't hate me! Everyone has to eat!). So when people say things, like "telemarketers are the scum of the earth, I hope they all die in a freak karmic accident", I feel compelled to defend "my people". 

7. I still don't own a hairdryer.

Now I'm meant to pass this award on but I'm not too sure who has & who hasn't been passed this blog award I'm just going to list some blogs I enjoy & if you've already been and done the whole award thing, thats cool, I just happen to think you're pretty awesome :)

Juliet from the Crazy Gypsy Chronicles

Sigrid from Analog Me

Kathryn from Yes I like That

Katy from Ms Modiste

Catherine from Cyberdaze

Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn

Solvi from Delfinelise

Beangirl from Beangirl


Comments (0)

sewing blog icon 05 Feb 2012

"Is anybody
Out there please?
It's too quiet in here
And I'm beginning to freeze
I've got icicles hanging
From my knees"
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow"

(Nick Cave)


Simplicity 3357


Well not quite! But I did go to work earlier this week with wet hair, and only noticed getting onto the train that my hair had icicles in it. My English work collegues were a little amazed anyone could be that stupid or that anyone could not have a functioning hair dryer, but I think you have to also add in supreme laziness, and 23 years of living in a sub-tropical climate...


One thing I did get right was persevering with making this woolen skirt.  I just knew it would still get wear, even though all the spring patterns are out (not too mention all the spring clothing window displays...BRRRR!), and I'm holidaying back in NZ very shortly . This is England afterall, and as far as I'm concerned you can never have too many woolens.


It's the good version of Simplicity 3357, which I made up last year in a polyster flannel as a wearable muslin, and which I do still wear regularly, depsite that fact that it's a bit small in the waist.


Simplicity 3357


Anyway with this version, I properly graded the pattern up a size (or two in the waist) & also removed an additional 3 inches from the length. And yet rather strangely it's just as tight in the waist as the first version, which is just plain weird! (it's also causing the buckling where the waistband closure is)


I think this pattern may have a curse on it, that decrees the wearer will always feel a little like a stuffed turkey. Or perhaps that's the 50's silhouette for you?! 


Anyway, it is very snuggly & warm, and on the plus side it is very very uncomfortable to slouch in this skirt, which can only be a good thing. Those super wide, high waisted and tight waistbands really know how to jab a sloucher in the ribs. One day my back will thank me for this.


Hope if you in the Northern Hemisphere, especially those experiencing the weather craziness in Europe, that you're keeping warm. If you're currently lying on a beach in the Southern Hemisphere, nows not a good time for gloating :P


Simplicity 3357




Comments (9)

  1. Kathryn:
    Feb 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM…

    I love this skirt! It's very stylish. I think a wool skirt and tights is much warmer than cotton trousers, was arguing with somebody about this the other day! Get yourself a hairdryer though lady, you'll catch a cold out there :)

  2. Ginger:
    Feb 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    That's such a lovely silhouette for you! Sorry it's a bit too tight... no fun. Somehow my waistbands always seem to come out a bit too big and saggy... maybe someday we'll figure out the key to a perfect fit! :)

    Stay warm in the Great White North!

  3. Sigrid:
    Feb 06, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    It may be awfully cold, but you look hot, my dear.

  4. liza jane:
    Feb 25, 2012 at 02:55 AM

    I agree with Sigrid. I love a good pencil skirt!

  5. Tess:
    Mar 02, 2012 at 09:00 AM


  6. Sølvi:
    Mar 03, 2012 at 04:25 PM

    My, oh my, that´s a gorgeous skirt! Love it! :-)

  7. Miranda Tindill:
    Mar 06, 2012 at 06:06 AM…

    I have long been a fan of the sensible but stylish woolen skirt and here you have perfected it with the winter wonderland backdrop and the devil-may-care plunging neckline!

  8. Jeyco:
    Mar 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM…

    Do you know about Versatile Blogger Award? I was passed on the award and I have nominated your inspiring blog for the award. If you are interested in, please visit my blog to see the rules to follow. If not, no problem at all :)

  9. Emily:
    Mar 12, 2012 at 03:58 AM

    Love the skirt. Oh how wonderful is wool, though hair dryers are pretty good too .....

    Just found your blog. Can't remember where from, and am enjoying reading through..... not sure about snow though :o)) beaches are much better (not gloating, promise :o)

sewing blog icon 22 Jan 2012

 Introducing Burda 103 from November 2010 BurdaStyle Magazine... (in real life wear with mannequins & bed posts)


Burda 103- 11 -2010

The urban thrifter in its natural environment


It's a bit blingy, and my boyfried told me a looked a little "medieval", but this dress is done. And it only took me a year. This dress was intended to be my first ever Burda magazine make, because you see it comes with one of those illustrated picture courses, and I was completely terrified of anything over a Burda one-dot rating. Terrified.


I bought the cotton velvet some time in early January last year. And then sat on it. And sat on it. Finally late last year, I decided it was time - having moved on from my multiple-dot phobia, so I bought the mesh lace stuff from a sari shop in Tooting for the yoke & also some black chiffon to back it on. And then I sat on it. And then I bought some elastic when we went to Deptford markets and some lining. And then I sat on it. And then I realised I didn't have any gold thread (I have a lot of thread - its a normal assumption not to need to buy it).  And then I discovered that velvet is a serious hassle to sew. So um...I sat on it.


I then I took 4 weeks to sew it. No good excuse, I didn't even need to use the illustrated picture guide - this dress is easy! It would be perfect for a beginner project if it didn't use bloody velvet. (Topstitching the elastic had my heart in my mouth.)  The good news is that I'm completely fulfilling my new years resolution of taking it easy. Go me!


Burda 103- 11 -2010

Post Art-Gallering in Dulwich. It's cold folks!

I am really chuffed though with the yoke - the mesh with the chiffon underneath works quite well, I think. However, if I was doing this again I would be reinforcing that yoke seam - you have a fairly fragile fabric taking quite a lot of the weight from the velvet. I have a feeling that seam is going to give out at some point and I'm going to have to re-stitch it. Ce la vie.


At least it's done!


Burda 103- 11 -2010



Comments (7)

  1. Ginger:
    Jan 22, 2012 at 09:09 PM

    Really lovely! The color and style looks great on you, and the velvet/chiffon pairing is amazing! Not medieval at all! :)

  2. Sigrid:
    Jan 23, 2012 at 03:59 AM

    It turned out beautifully! I really love the yoke fabric!

  3. Catherine Daze:
    Jan 23, 2012 at 07:37 AM

    Gorgeous. I love what you did with the yoke. I wouldn't call it blingy though. The colour has a real richness to it in those photos but it's subtle.

  4. Alessa:
    Jan 23, 2012 at 03:36 PM…

    Very pretty! The yoke gives it some very nice vooom! :)

  5. Geri:
    Jan 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM

    Thanks all! Ginger - Boyfriend has been informed at his mistake!

  6. Carolyn:
    Jan 25, 2012 at 02:56 PM

    It loks just beautiful! I adore that gorgeous golden velvet you have chosen. Well done!

  7. Geri:
    Jan 25, 2012 at 08:46 PM

    Aw thanks Carolyn!

sewing blog icon 14 Jan 2012


Okay, so it might just be offiicial. I'm addicted to Pinterest. I've been pinning stuff I love all day today, instead of any of the other stuff I could be doing. I could have been making good use of the few and fleeting rays of sunshine. I could have been cleaning, or cooking, or sewing or anything else useful, handy, creative. Instead I've been going bug-eyed, getting all obsessive compulsive.


The coolest bit is when you find amazing things other people have been pinning, and it inspires you. And its just kind of exciting, right?


But as I whittled away my weekend, I realised there's a few stink things about Pinterest too. And that got me thinking. And then I realised I had a blog, and other people might be having the some feelings or might have a different perspective, and thats surely what blogs are for.


So here's the deal:  Here I am scrolling through all the other pins, like a pin-maniac, and it became depressingly obvious that the beauty standards, and sheer lack of diversity within the fashion industry was also being reproduced in the pages of Pinterest. Pages and pages of white, skinny women. Pages and pages. Now it doesn't take a genuis to work out that the lack of diversity in fashion spreads and runway shows actually means that even if you were cool with women who have different bodies (bigger, shorter, black, asian, whatever) also modelling clothes, you don't actually get any choice in that at all.


(In fact the problem with the whole "choice" or "consumer" society is that  choices are highly constrained by the dominant power relationships pre-existing within society)







But of course there ARE people are there who have actually taken this whole thought process one step further, and are using the internet as platform to share when we do see different women, with different bodies in the fashion industry (film, music, and all of the cultural industries), as well as celebrating that.


(I'm just discovering where these sites are lurking but am already a fan of Beauty is Diverse and Brixpicks, sometimes Jezebel. Do you know any others?)


In the process, I think an important point gets made, that actually beauty standards are about status. As women we get judged by how we measure up to those beauty standards, and there are obvious benefits for each of us in society when we meet them. But they also operate to exclude and to marginalise.


However, these websites that are all about expanding beauty standards (even if they aren't blowing them out of the water), and that means I get to see that, AND I get my fashion fix, and I get to share that through Pinterest. And that's cool.


But, the truth is, we don't just  "get judged", we also do the judging when we perceive others not meeting or (especially) threatening the dominant ideals of what a woman should aspire too. We hold others (as well as ourselves) accountable, often through shame .


Here's two examples of that happening through Pinterest


1. The wonderful late Pina Bausch was a contemporary dancer & dance choreographer. If anyone's seen the film made on her, "Pina", you'll totally get me when I say its visually and emotionally heart-thumping. One of the coolest things about Pina Bausch's work is that her dances were constantly exploring different sides of what it means to be human ( male, female, young, old, sad, happy, strong, weak etc etc....), often with humour.


There's a particular scene in one of her dances where a very attractive & slim dancer in a red dress is standing flexing what appear to be enormous arm muscles. She's showing off. However, she soon breaks away revealing a male dancer standing behind. It's one of those moments which plays with your expectations. The dancer makes you laugh when you realise that actually those aren't really a woman's arms muscles & that you've been fooled, and maybe there's even some relief in there too. But Pina's toying with those emotions, she's making you think. Now I LOVE the red dress, and I LOVE the scene. So I pinned it, with the (in retrospect overly simple) commentary of "Pina!"


For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


From the dance "For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"



Almost immediately it was re-pinned. I'm assuming the woman who re-pinned it, didn't know who "Pina" was. She didn't look close enough to see past the visual illusion and see the male body standing behind. She didn't bother to check the link. She went something like "EW GROSS" and pinned it to a board called "Things that freak me out". The dancer in the red dress now had pride of place alongside a collection of primarily "bizarre bodies" - obese naked men, exceptionally pregnant women, Barbie Dolls with removable foetuses. Kind of ironic right?


2. Later on I pinned a picture of Beth Ditto. I love Beth Ditto for challenging just about every "fat person" stereotype around, and being unapologetic about it. She's a serious breath of fresh air. She also has a uniqiue (and in my book awesome) style.


Beth Ditto




Again, it got re-pinned immediately. With the simple commentary underneath of "YIKES!" Now, okay, that's probably quite tame, it probably could have been much worse. And everyone has different tastes in fashion and clothes. But if that dress had been on a woman with a size zero body, then I strongly suspect it would have floated by without a flicker. Different horses for different courses But put a dress that's a little outrageous/unusual on a fat woman, and you have a target for derision and judgement.


I think the answer is NOT to stop pinning. But I'm also interested as to what experiences others have had on Pinterest? (Especially since I'm such a newbie) How do you feel about the representation of women by the fashion industry? Do you worry about reproducing the same old norms for ideal femininity?


(NB: Just in case anyone mistakes this blogpost for being something it's not.... I really don't care if you are "naturally skinny".  I'm not trying to prejudice against anyone, or imply that there's a normal body that excludes skinny women. Or that white women don't have the right to model clothes, or blog for that matter.  I absolutely believe everyone has the right to express themselves, and their style. Without fear.)







Comments (7)

  1. Sigrid:
    Jan 15, 2012 at 04:56 PM

    Geri, thanks so much for taking a deeper look at Pinterest. You are so right about how Pinterest reproduces and multiply all those same commercial images that I am trying to avoid, with our complicit help. And I have been guilty of it myself. I am a bit disgusted by Polyvore for the same reason--everything ands up being the same, commercial clothes for skinny women.( And you know as a naturally thin person myself, I still don't measure up when it comes to the boobs, hair, makeup and wealth.)
    And the way people are ripinning your images is quite sad.
    How can we take the internet over for our own purposes?

  2. ms. modiste:
    Jan 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM

    I love this post and totally agree with your thinking. I haven't participated in Pinterest enough yet to notice any of these things firsthand, but sadly, they don't surprise me at all. :(

  3. Geri:
    Jan 16, 2012 at 08:26 PM

    Catherine: Yup, agree! Because I also do think it is a useful way of organising images & inspirations.
    Sigrid: Good point! I bet Market Researchers love Pinterest too -- all these women telling you exactly what they want! I also think it's interesting how well DIY/ crafting sits quite comfortably alongside the more consumerist aspect - rather than antithetical, as perhaps the more idealist crafter would hope.
    I think Pinterest can also tell you quite a lot about the anxieties women have around their bodies -- what with all the fitness boards, and pins of ideal bodies". And such a good point, that so often gets missed - that actually very few women of any size measure up fully, and really I suppose that's the point. (FYI: You reminded me of a great post on Sociological Images: about just how much hard work goes into bodies who do fit with the hyper feminine & masculine ideals).
    Ms Modiste: For some reason I'm always kind of surprised, when I really shouldn't be! Makes the dissapointment worse :(


  4. Carolyn:
    Jan 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Great post! I don't have a Pinterest account, so I haven't noticed that trend, but I can sure appreciate your point. I thought the whole idea was to collect images that inspired and delighted in some way. Personally I don't see the point in being negative about somebody else's inspirational images, and it is pretty sad that people out there are using the site in this way. (and I'm sure if an underweight woman was pictured wearing that dress the picture would have attracted just as many negative comments!)
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my top btw!

  5. Beangirl:
    Jan 24, 2012 at 05:28 PM

    Sorry, for some reason your blog doesn't scroll up when it's updated on my blog list (on my blog, which is where I read from). So I keep missing your posts or show up really late. I agree with you completely about... everthing, basically. I certainly don't think a naturally thin white woman deserves any less respect than anyone else... but how many of those are there in the general population? Certainly not the same proportion as you see in media, that's for sure!

    As for Pinterest, my solution is to never ever look at pins that don't come from people I already follow. Which totally limits my pinning experience but I find that I get seriously irritated when I look at the general pins (and especially if I make the mistake of reading the comments). In fact, I get super-annoyed just that whenever my cookies are refreshed (which is basically every time I close my browser) I have to log in to Pinterest again the next time I visit and inevitably I have to see a few general pins on the front page before I do. Sometimes just those three or four seconds is enough to completely annoy me.

    Not a great solution, but it's what I have.

  6. Geri:
    Jan 25, 2012 at 08:41 PM

    Carolyn - Agree, it is sad. It makes the feminist inside me also really sad! There is a whole "thinspiration" thing which involves pinning pictures of thin women to idealise, which I didn't know about before I wrote this post, and there does seem to be quite a hostility to images which challenge that "thinspiration". But I think as long as you do use it like Beangirl - in more of a closed kind of circle it's definately a useful tool! And Beangirl, I've DEFINATELY instituted the same sort of approach! It's really cool to know there are others out there feeling similar :) "

  7. Catherine Daze:
    Jan 15, 2012 at 09:30 AM

    Great post! I hadn't noticed that on Pinterest but I mostly pin garment pictures. I guess the best thing to do is ignore them and keep pinning the images that inspire you.

sewing blog icon 04 Jan 2012

Hello! First of all Happy New Years! I hope everyone had/is having/will have a wonderful break and a breather. I know I have! Not to mention an enforced communication break! It all started with the internet being cut by Virgin Media, the blog server going down (only thing in this sorry story that isn't Virgin Media's fault), and phone also being cut by Virgin (over christmas would you believe? And it took some serious complaining to even get a simple sorry from their customer service staff).


It seemed like the perfect occasion to go into hibernation.


So I did. And I learnt how to knit in the process!  I'm not sure I should inflict the rest of the world with my beginning knitting, so they're probably won't be photos. Although I am proud to say, I made two "snoods", and one pair of fingerless gloves, and I'm currently mulling over hats. Knitting is actually more addictive than I gave it credit for!


I have also been doing some sewing, although taking it slowly & really rediscovering why I love it. So there is a whole lotta velvet and lace coming here soon!


I haven't been sewing very long, and I'm not the quickest sewer around, but I have loved the experimentation and playing around the sewing affords. Here's my top 3 projects for 2011:


The item I've worn the most: Vogue Very Easy V8724 Jersey dress. Easy to grab & go, comfy and flattering.


Most worn sewing item


Most loved though, would have to be the first item I blogged about it:


Most loved sewing item


Polyester, frills, a little bit country, hardly perfect. I don't wear it as often as I should, but everytime I do, I realise just how much I love it.


And in the office-wear category, for most worn at work, it has to be this snazzy little Burda number:


Best Office wear item


In my mind I have another version with stripes. Maybe in taffeta. Maybe.


As far as 2012 goes, I've got two big sewing related goals:


1. CHILL OUT! It's a hobby, not a job. I vow to take it easier in 2012, enjoy the journey and freak out less about unpicking, redoing and when it all goes horribly horribly wrong (which is will, lets be honest!)

2. STOP with the obsessive fabric purchasing. Enough woman! At the rate I sew, it will take me a decade to get through all the fabric I currently have. I'm taking inspiration from the blogger Cargo Cult Craft and am going on a rations diet.



In terms of short-term concrete sewing plans:


1. I'm conjuring up some inspiration for my enormous pile of chiffon (ah the naivity of the beginner sewer!)





2. Will definately tackle some form of project with a scalloped hem, or scallops of some kind (inspired by Juliets cute little number,  and the Sorbetto scalloped tuturial from Colette patterns)


3. Will find the motivation to finish the Clover trousers that mock me in their unfinished muslin stage


4. Will sew more for others. A silk blouse for my mum and a Negroni shirt for the boy are both on the cards (actually both are very very overdue)


I've got new non-sewing goals too...

1. Namely making sure I keep exploring London and save dosh to travel. It's highly unlikely I'll be here for good, so must make the most of it. Along with a much anticipated trip home this year, we're also planning a trip to Beirut, and I'll also be definately visting my good friend and intrepid anthropologist Tess in Rotterdam. This is her in a fabric shop in London. Look how happy she is, and she doesn't even sew. Good friends like this are hard to find!


Tess at Brick Lane Fabric Shop


2. And lastly to keep reading, and learning and questioning. I'm currently reading a Christmas present (thanks Mum!) "Other People's Wars" a New Zealand journalist's expose of the NZ military in Iraq and Afganistan. It's illuminating, depressing, but also inspiring. And if there was something that marked 2011 it was the brave and courage acts seen across the world, from people questioning everything. So here's to 2012.


Comments (5)

  1. Geri:
    Jan 15, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Thanks Tess! I feel the same about yours too!! I'm still checking $s for Rotterdam, but when I do make it I think maybe I definitely need to be measuring you up some time, for some sort of stitched wickedness. Though, as you can see, I'm good at promises, not so good at delivering....

  2. Alessa:
    Jan 15, 2012 at 07:14 PM…

    Oh wow, lovely garments for 2011, all three are very beautiful! :) And yay for becoming a knitting addict. It's one of the better addictions to have. ;)

  3. ms. modiste:
    Jan 15, 2012 at 08:23 PM

    Oh, I LOVE that white Burda blouse! So great!

  4. Geri:
    Jan 16, 2012 at 08:37 PM

    Alessa: I'm actually excited about an upcoming 32 hour long haul flight, for like the first time. That's 32 hours to knit! (which is kind of sick & and also definate signs of addiction!)
    Ms Modiste: I think it belies how simple it really is: rectangle with awesome pleats! Can very much recommend!

  5. Tess:
    Jan 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM

    Oh Geri, you're such a sweetheart, and a darn good writer too! Whenever I read your posts I always feel like I'm seeing the world through your eyes. And what a slammin new year's resolution list you've put out here: inspirational! I especially love the part about coming to visit me - my apartment has plenty of room, in fact a whole spare room for January and February, so come on over baby! xxx

sewing blog icon 15 Dec 2011

So here's the close-up of Burda 112B. I know it took me forever, but in my defence it's really hard to take photo's at the moment, as the days are really short. It's sort of blink and you'll miss it kind of thing. 


Close up Burda 112B



I'm really chuffed about my invisible visible, except for the pucker at the bottom, which is due to the small gap between the seam and the zip (it was much larger several attempts earlier), but this fabric is a bit of a dog for showing every little mistake magnified by the tenth degree. Just looking at this photo makes my heart sink a little. Still just means there's more room to practice right?



Burda 112B Back


And here's the line drawing. It's not visible in any of the photos but the back panels actually wrap around the side. I definately can see this skirt in a lovely wool crepe with it's lovely drape.


Burda 112B line drawing


I've had very little time to do any sewing lately, and just have been feeling that end of year drag where work & life just takes it out of you. Seems to happen every year round this time. Does anyone else get that? I think maybe it's a sign I need a holiday. Anyway, here's to some relaxing and sewing over the next couple of weeks!

Comments (4)

  1. Léa:
    Jul 09, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    i want to know how you make your pattern to avoid the pucker on the bottom of your skirt ? is it because of the zipper ? or because of pattern not fit with the body. I'm petite.
    I have always this problem when i sewn dress or skirt with zipper. well, as a new self-taught sewer i don't know where is the problem. Any tips or way for me,please ?

  2. Geri:
    Jul 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Hi Léa, I'm 99% sure its the way the zipper is inserted rather than a fit issue. I've never had this problem with normal zips - just invisible zips. I suspect because I've had little practice with them.
    It's a while ago since I made this - but from memory I was really struggling with making sure both sides of the fabric were matching up on the same place - in part because the fabric is so slippery. In this fabric too, you do also see every single little flaw.
    Maybe try doing normal zippers first, and in a really stable fabric (wools and linens are great) and go from there. I don't think we all need to be experts the first few times we do something!!

  3. Julia:
    Dec 16, 2011 at 05:34 AM

    Congratulations on getting the project done! Looks great - hope you get some good wear from it while getting in some holiday relaxation!

  4. Geri:
    Dec 17, 2011 at 08:13 PM

    Thanks Julia!

sewing blog icon 03 Dec 2011


Truthfully, I must be honest, I continue to procrastinate on making another pair of pants, and on steam-shrinking the cotton velvet (which is meant to turn into a dress for my work Christmas party). My boyfriend has also asked me to alter a jacket for him, and no doubt I will also procrastinate on this.


I am actually pretty skilled in the procrastination department ( I once memorably spent two whole days NOT working on my Masters thesis and instead reading I Hate My Thesis. This was before I discovered Craftostrophe & Regretsy. I'm not even sure how much mental energy that should have been expended on say reading attempting to read Judith Butler got spent on Skants)


But I guess I should be thankful that this round of procrastination has at least been productive. No I didn't clean the house (that's last resort procrastination). Instead I busted out some indestructible polyster bought round this time last year from a second hand shop in Streatham.


Some notes on this fabric: This stuff doesn't fray. I tried to fry it on a top setting on the iron & it didn't burn (it also didn't press properly either). Mutiple un-picking didn't phase it. Yeah, this skirt's going to go with me to my grave. Future archeologists/grave robbers, will marvel. Future alien life-forms will wonder what kind of technology could produce such advanced materials.


Burda 112B-10-2006


And readers, I don't think it looks half bad. Pattern is 112B from Burda Magazine October 2006. I'm going to try and post some photos tomorrow of the line drawings & the skirt on a hanger, because it's got some interesting lines not visible in this photo, plus so I can show off my first successful invisible vip (woohoo!)


But the real star of the show has to be the jacket. Hand made, yup. But not by me alas, but my grandmother. I look at the construction on it & just feel very awed.


Comments (4)

  1. Juliet:
    Dec 07, 2011 at 09:03 AM…

    This skirt hangs beautifully - I would love to see the line drawings!

  2. Geri:
    Dec 07, 2011 at 06:56 PM

    They are coming! :)

  3. Jeyco:
    Dec 08, 2011 at 05:22 PM

    Very beautiful skirt! I like the color coordination of outfit.
    By the way, thank you for stopping by my blog.

  4. Ruth:
    Dec 09, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Believe me, I have a Masters in Procrastinaton. Good job on the skirt - hangs beautifully, and be thankful for granny