19th Century, Sewing

Taking tea and talking about tea fashions at Premier House

Monday was the much anticipated (at least by me) afternoon tea charity fundraiser for Save the Children at Premier House, where I gave a talk about the history of tea, and the way it has influenced fashion.

It was a fabulous day: the event completely sold out resulting in a sizeable donation for Save the Children, the sun shone brightly all morning, Premier House looked wonderful, and so did my models.

I wore Japonisme, the chintz pet made its ‘soft debut’, Julie debuted as a model in the Raspberry Swirl, Chiara looked beyond amazing in Ninon (as always), and I also debuted a new 1900s tea gown that I haven’t told you about yet.  Lots of excitement!

Teacups and models awaiting their time

Trying to mirror the fantastic Gretchen Albrecht painting (perks of Premier House - great NZ art)

Me in Japonisme in the hall at Premier House

Chiara in Ninon & Brit in the Pet waiting their cue to enter

The audience admiring the pet-en-l'aire

Illustrating a point with the Raspberry Swirl

All the models at the end of the talk

Teatime for the models and the audience

Yay! We did it!

With everything I do, there are so many people to acknowledge.  Save the Children for having the event of course, my models for being gorgeous and supportive and keeping me calm and putting up with my running around like a crazy women during the dressing.  Most of all, there are the people who contributed and supported in the run up.

You may notice there are two new items: the pet en l’aire, and a tea gown that you have heard barely a whisper about.  For me, an event like this takes lots of crazy last-minute sewing.  I sewed and sewed myself, threw a fabulous sew-in party where I asked all my friends to help me sew rather than giving me birthday gifts (great fun and best idea ever!), and got lots of help from wonderful friends including Madame O and Mrs C (among many, many others) in actually finishing things.

This time I was so close to the wire the the pet en l’aire arrived at the dressing room with no sleeves.  Thanks to the models, it arrived at the event with sleeves – hand sewn ones no less!

And finally, there wouldn’t be all these fantastic photos if it weren’t for a dear friend who bought a ticket for the talk and offered to take them for me.

The people I know are truly wonderful and amazing.


  1. Dear Dreamstress,

    What an event! Congratulations on a full house, a successful fundraiser, and the succour of friends!

    Neat to see Premier House, too…now there’s a rare chance.

    Very best,


  2. Elise says

    Hooray! What a wonderful event, from the friends to the costumes, to the ladies in the audience who clearly enjoyed it. Best of all, you got to help others while having a fun (if stressful) time. Now, go sit on the couch and have a cuppa to celebrate!

  3. Zach says

    Congratulations! I’m so glad you had a good time and got to help others in the process–it does good for the soul. I can’t wait to hear about the new outifits! The Edwardian one especially has my heart.

  4. A sew-in is officially the best birthday party/in lieu of gifts idea *ever.* Seriously–I want to throw or host one now!

    All the ladies look lovely!

  5. Lynne says

    Congratulations on a wonderful effort for an excellent cause! You and your models look so fine in the setting!

    • Lynne says

      But I can’t wait to see some close-ups of the pet.

  6. Where to start? So wonderful for all of you to offer your time and talents to the charity. Everyone looks fabulous, of course! And the building is gorgeous.

    I love looking at the reaction of the people in the audience. In the picture with Raspberry Swirl, you have the lady in red looking very contemplative. She’s taking in every word. Then there is the lady in the ruffled blouse, for some reason she’s very skeptical. The lady next to her has been moved to tears by your speech (or she has a cold, but I’m banking on the tears), and the last lady is obviously smitten with the whole presentation. Look at her in the next shot, her hands are clasped in utter joy!

    As mine would be, if I weren’t typing! What a fabulous venue for such beautiful gowns! It looks like an enchanting afternoon. What fun!

  7. Black Tulip says

    Lovely costumes as ever. I’d not come across any of your posts about the Raspberry Swirl before, I’m off for a read of them now. And your confession about the pet sleeves makes me feel sooo much better about some of my “cutting it fine” moments!

  8. What amazing ensembles! Your hard work for the event and dresses is evident – and truly stunning! The final picture is my favorite – such glamorous ladies – bravo on your successful event!

  9. I had never thought of tea as influencing fashion dress. How interesting! I would have liked to have heard that one.

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