Winter Merino Tops

Winter clothing is always jeans for me. I often can’t be bothered with fussy tights and dresses when the wind is howling and it’s raining yet again. So, desperate for warmer tops, I dug out some merino fabric.

Being warm, breathable and lightweight, it’s the perfect fabric for layering.

Raglan Sleeve Merino

I picked up this raspberry merino from The Fabric Store and the top was in solid rotation as soon as it was finished (actually, even before that. I wore it unhemmed for a couple of days!).

Raglan Sleeve Merino

With this top, I wanted a loose fit, but specifically with raglan sleeves. So using a Kwik Sew pattern (#3120), I made a size small top, graduating it out to a medium in the waist to give it a sloppy, relaxed fit. I also added length to the sleeves ’cause I love to pull them down and keep my knuckles warm on a cold morning.

Because I wore the top constantly, I needed another to get me through laundry day.  So, making the most of a recent sale, I promptly scooped up more merino in various colours.

merino top for winter

Version two is a pink Megan Nielsen Briar with scoop hems. It’s very similar to the red one above, but the neckline is lower and the sleeves are standard rather than raglan.

I should have gone down a size though, because this merino jersey is super stretchy. Lesson learned.

Megan Nielsen Briar in merino

I love pairing the tops with a Robson coat and ankle boots. It’s been my apparent uniform for the last week!

Megan Nielsen Briar in merino

In the hopes of stopping the super stretchy knit from warping over time, I opted to reinforce the neck and shoulder seams with ribbon. Fingers crossed!

merino top for winter

And I finally learned how to use my twin needle! I love the professional finish.

merino top for winter


Since making swimwear last year, I’m falling in love with using knits again and merino has only encouraged that. It’s very forgiving and easier to sew than it might appear. I’m hooked.

I believe merino can be tough to source if you’re outside of NZ? The Fabric Store have outlets in NZ, Australia and the US and happily take phone orders (I do it a lot!), if that helps.

Happy sewing!

The Make Cafe

I’ve often drooled over looked at overseas fabric stores and thought “why is no-one doing that here in NZ?”.

Dare to dream of a community based store where fabric is beautifully displayed, you can hire sewing machines (akin to an internet cafe) and there are workshops to learn new skills.


Thankfully, Kirsty at The Make Cafe in Riccarton (Christchurch) has made it happen for us Kiwis. Even better, she has catered to our passion for a good espresso with a full cafe in store. That’s everything I love, all in one place. You can imagine my bliss levels went through the roof here. Continue reading

One Persons Junk …

It looks like Christmas has come early for me!  My friend recently moved house and in the process of packing, stumbled upon some old fabric and patterns from a sewing phase that passed about 20 years ago.  One mans junk is another mans treasure and I couldn’t wait to get it home and have a trawl through.  Does it make you hungry for some ice cream too?  No?  Just me?

Continue reading

Japan, I love you

I’ve always had a weakness for anything Japanese.  The language, food, culture … I love it all!

So when I found Kimoyes, I hardly knew where to start.  So many gorgeous kimono fabrics … my heart melted and I felt like a kid in a chocolate factory!  Oh, if I could ever work in a store like that … I’d never want to go home!

The fabrics look even more divine in person and the service was amazing.  Within a couple of hours of placing my order I had received an email saying the fabric was in the post.  They often have good sales too, so it’s worth subscribing to their mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out.

Now I need to decide what to do with my gems.  I’m thinking belts to wear with skirts or dresses, but there’s enough there for a couple of purses too.  I’m almost too in awe of the fabric to chop it, but will keep reminding myself that I can always order more once it’s gone.

Now, if only I could grow a bonsai.  Would you believe I recently under-watered a cactus and killed it?!

DIY Wall Decals

Photo courtesy of

I love blog surfing.  It starts with finding a great blog that I peruse for an hour or so, before I get distracted by their exciting looking blog roll and I spend another few hours scrolling through all those blogs too.

A wonderful time waster but it’s so inspiring!  There are so many talented people out there.

It was one such expedition that I found “How About Orange” and her wall decal post.  At first it seemed quite astounding that you could iron stiffened fabric onto a wall.  I mean, how did someone even discover that?  Was it by accident?  Yet, I’m loving the idea.  How cute would an elephant shape or child’s name on a nursery wall look, cut from your favourite fabric.  It’s genius!

It won’t damage your walls, removes easily and means you don’t have to spend big $$’s on fancy store bought decals.

Check out her post here for more inspiration and a full tutorial.  I haven’t tried it yet but it has quickly made it onto my to-do-list!  Not to mention the blog has become a new fav of mine too.  Thanks Jessica!

Stencils Using Photocopy Paper Wrappers


There are oodles of tutorials online about how to stencil fabric with freezer paper.  They all look fabulous and give you an easy way to personalise tshirts, baby onesies, bags … the list is endless.

Alas, there have been many frustrating hours spent hunting for freezer paper in New Zealand, only to find it both rare and ridiculously expensive.  Would you believe that what sells for $4 in the US has sold for as much as $24 here?!  That makes me feel ill.

But, despair no more, my loyal Offsquare friends (I know you’ve all been kept awake each night wondering how you’ll ever do a freezer paper stencil without paying for airfares to the US first … or is that just me?), I have the answer you’ve all been looking for.  Plus, it’s thrifty AND upcycled! Continue reading