Author: The Dreamstress

Travels in Taranaki thedreamstress.com06

Travels in Taranaki

As a tourist and then a resident, I’ve spent a lot of time travelling around New Zealand, exploring the country.  There are still a few places that I’ve never been though, and lots that I’ve only been to once. Like Taranaki. (that’s the bit in green) Taranaki’s city, New Plymouth, is only 5 hours away from Wellington (the little curvy-in-pointy-bit at the bottom of the North Island), but I’ve only been once, for a work trip (not that that was too bad – we got to go to Hurworth Cottage) . So when my friend Rachel (who makes a number of appearances looking utterly adorable in my Art Deco weekend posts from this year) invited me to come up and visit her family farm (oooh!) and to meet with a family friend with lots of old stuff (OOOOOH!) I jumped at the chance. I am a sucker for farms and old stuff, and Rachel is just a pretty darn awesome person to spend time with, so obviously, I was keen! We drove up on Friday afternoon, …

Rate the Dress: Velvet poppies for a bright young ’20s thing

Last week I showed you a fascinating (even if you didn’t like it you have to admit it was fascinating) 1890s gown (probably a tea gown) with tucked shaping and floral appliqués.  The dress received a lot of criticism for the heavy lace (too coarse and gut-like (lace styles are clearly one of those things that goes in and out of favour)) and placement of the appliqué (too literal), but an equal amount of praise for the amazing shaping work with the tucks.  So, for masterful sewing, but slightly less masterful visual design, the dress came in at 7.2 out of 10. This week’s frock features more floral appliqué, in the form of velvet poppies dancing along the silk charmeuse skirt of this aqua and metal gold lace frock. The cerise pink and sunset orange hues of the velvet poppies are an unusual choice to pair with the aqua of the lace and silk charmeuse, but are a classic example of the ’20s fondness for saturated hues and deco pastels, with a nod back to wild pairing of ‘exotic’ colours …

The Marmotte Masquerade Stays – Finished!*

I didn’t think I would get the Marmotte Masquerade Stays done for the Bastille Day Ball, because they won’t ever fit me properly as anything but undergarments. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I could even make myself finish the stays at all… But then the Sewphist asked if I had anything she could wear to the ball. When she came over the Wednesday before the dance to try things on, all of my frocks were too long in the bodice for her, and I had a brainstorm. The stays are too short in the bodice for me, so perhaps they would fit her? And they fit her so perfectly, and looked so fabulous on her, that she agreed to finish the binding so that she could wear them  (and if you have ever bound stays, you know what a major undertaking that is!). So I showed her how to do the binding around the bottom tabs, and sent her away with bias binding (perfect historical accuracy was clearly not the object with these!) and …