Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spring Bridal Fling and a Leather Jacket

Here in New Zealand we're enjoying a patch of bursting springtime warmth, and this morning I went on an errand to town, feeling nifty in a monochromatic outfit topped with my thrifty faux-leather jacket. I was shopping for a bridal-looking gift bag.

I didn't find quite what I was looking for, but necessity does spark inspiration, and I came home eager to dig out the ribbons, paper, and glue gun for a shot at a pretty alternative to a bridal bouquet.

Why all this bridal talk? I'm involved in the local Girls' Brigade annual fundraiser for Operation Christmas Child, and IT'S A BRIDAL PARADE! I don't know how long it is since I first heard of such events and longed to attend...and then began to dream of participating. What's happening two days from now is that dream coming true.

I've spent the past four weeks in a whirl of organizing dresses, shoes, hair styles, music, and promotions. I stopped by here to say it's happening, and I hope you'll join in the fun via the photo album I've made public here.

At the parade rehearsal I wore "Bluebelle", a self-striped polyknit made for me last month by a friend. (Yes! Drapey knits can be modest!) I will be wearing an amazing (and modest) bridal gown on the night.

I found that the faux-leather jacket switched sweetly from daywear to evening wear. I'm happy to say I even have low-cost shoes to match (thanks to a friend going shopping for her wedding and sharing with me what she found).

Its ironic that when pondering my closet recently to judge whether its contents were earning their keep, I considered giving the jacket evacuation notice because I've only been able to wear it a couple of times since I bought it four years ago.

Then this week I wore it three days in a row, and I realized that all it needed was the right climate and the right dress to wear it with. Too warm for summer, not warm enough for winter, its an overlayer just right for sunny Spring days that are kept fresh by cool winds off the snow-combed ranges.

And do I love those handy jacket pockets...especially when wearing a dress that doesn't support convenient cavities.

Bridal hairstyle?...well, I'm still fiddling with that.

If you're in the Tararua this Wednesday evening, we hope you'll join us, 6:30pm at Knox Church, Dannevirke, for "Brides Through the Ages".

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dress Express: 3 steps to getting that "new dress" feeling


How do you feel when you get a new dress? Maybe like me, a little floaty and a lot smiley punctuated by extra twirls and peeks in the mirror?

When I got home from a church meeting, before I took off my outdoor layers, put on my apron, and put my hair up for the tasks of the day, I stopped to take some photos for you.

This dress is the result of me coming to an executive decision at the end of June, when I'd been back home after the fire for a few weeks.


I came to recognize three things.

1) I did not yet have the tools, space, and strength to sew for myself.
2) I was tired of making do with what I had.
3) I live frugally so I can pay for others to do what I can't, i.e. solve my problems. Result: I set out to find a local solution.*

*You may recall that two years ago I imported my Suzannah Solution from Australia to sew as many winter garments for me as she could manage in 18 days. I was desperate, she was available, God met my need.

Providentially, here in my own town I connected with an 80-something-year-old "Dorcas" who trained in tailoring and pattern drafting 60 years ago and has been sewing for community and missions ever since. Despite having a challenging remedial wedding dress situation on the go, she was willing to help me immediately.

I sketched what I wanted and discussed with her how we could make it work, and she did nearly everything following, including contributing some lining pieces from her own fabric stash. My replacement sewing machine arrived Thursday, August 21st , and I went to collect the dress the day after that. During the next week I acquainted myself with the new machine and put the finishing touches to the dress.

Bluebelle Bliss: the joy of a modest dress

Yes, a drapey knit fabric can look modest -- if it's gathered in the right places and appropriately lined!
Narelle is wearing:
  • "Bluebelle" Dress by Carol, self-striped polyester knit, lined with cotton knit(skirt) and miscellaneous polyester pieces (bodice)
  • Cotton Drill (Denim) Jacket from Ezibuy on clearance.
  • Suede Lace-Up Shoes, lined with lambs wool, handmade by Dannevirke's Cobbler Strong in the 1990s
  • Flip-brim "Charmagne" Cap by Narelle
  • Wool-blend Gloves from Victoria Hill
  • "Ivory Tower" Reversible Shoulder Bag by Narelle

Yes, I'm thankful to be prettily and elegantly clad, but just as much am I grateful for the opportunity to be invited into the home, life, and retrospectives of someone with such skill and experience.

She allowed me to explore and ask about her dedicated sewing space, a large closet in a spare bedroom, equipped with gown-length closet hanger poles at each end, fluorescent lighting above, vintage tailoring tools I've never heard of before (brilliant and desirable), a sturdy Husqvarna machine (only the second she has owned), and the sewing table her father commissioned a local carpenter to make for her over 60 years ago.

My Dress Express experience sparkled with her kindness and generosity.

I'm passionate about encouraging older women to share their knowledge and skills with those younger than they. It's foundational to why I run this blog. One of the things that drives me is my own need to know and learn. Another is that I recognize there are women and girls like me who want to know and learn, but who struggle to connect with or ask the women who can help.

I want to encourage you: if you have knowledge or a skill, find someone to share it with. Somewhere, there's a lady or a lassie longing to experience what you have to offer.

If you long to know or learn something in particular, I pray that you'll be led to connect with someone who can give you the answers. May you have the courage and tenacity to ask the questions that'll get her started in the sharing. God help you express your need so that you soon get to that "new dress" feeling--a little floaty and a lot smiley.

Here's to you and I learning to "dress express", and may we enjoy a lifetime of "new dress" adornment of lightness and joy.

Fiat lux!

Friday, August 8, 2014

random photos of Narelle's modest fashion life


In lieu of the BN modest fashion observations, tips, and promotions that I've planned to write in the past three months as we've plodded our way toward normality after our house fire (and for which I've even spent several hours at a time writing and preparing images but never managed to get one finished), here's a random sampling of photos that may or may not make it into a post in the future.


Narelle and Sarah: enjoying some fun during a joint creative project which we hope to post on YouTube. Guess who paints and who sings?
Spending time with family takes priority over web work. Any day.
Find a quiet corner with a baby and something to chew...bliss.
Narelle is very happy to get out of dark-coloured clothing required for soot-cleaning and into glad rags suitable for singing a program at Rahiri Retirement Home. The old folks love a modest and pretty dress as much as a sweet song. So does Narelle!

The scarf was a gift from Israel. It's made of net-fine wool, light yet remarkably warm, and a perfect accessory for the outfit Narelle last wore for her Princess Moment. See here for text and video: http://boutiquenarelle.blogspot.co.nz/2010/07/princess-moment.html
Mum, this is for you: "It Will Be Worth It All" ~ Narelle and Sarah Worboys
Narelle and Sarah: we made a gift for our mother, and we've shared it on YouTube so you can bless your mother with it too. Go to http://youtu.be/XSguEHhAvDI
With limited choice in creative projects to occupy her during her 2-month sojourn at a motel, Narelle tries out a neckline alteration on her custom-made swimsuit from Simply Modest Swimwear.
 After the fire, Narelle is very thankful to have modest clothes and a clean place to launder them!
An unedited shot from a Fashion Fundraiser shoot (pre-fire) on a day that was plagued by lighting and focus troubles.
A shot for the BN Fashion Fundraiser that won't be used because the fleece jacket has now been sold.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Value of Remembering: why World War One matters to you and me

4 August 2014 marks 100 years since the beginning of World War I, and I believe there are two good reasons to pay attention to the commemorations.

A STARTLING MEMORIAL: Pictures taken at the Cenotaph after the Dawn Parade, ANZAC Day. I wouldn't normally pair aqua with fire-engine red, but it was just ten days after our house fire and I had little choice in what I could wear. The angora/wool hat and layers of wool and polar fleece kept me warm. The waterproof skirt kept me dry (and clean) when photographic urges brought me in contact with the ground. =)

What Made New Zealand a Nation ?

First, Britain’s declaration of war on Germany marked not only the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in WWI as part of the British Empire, but also the birth of New Zealand as a nation.
Our national identity was forged during those traumatic years.

The values that held us together during war and built our society after it were, to quote the RSA*, "compassion, comradeship, courage and commitment". Do we want these values in our lives, in our neighbourhoods today? What are we doing to teach them, to exercise them, to honour them?

Do We Actually Value Values?

Second, the price of international peace and security was massive for a small and pioneering country such as we were in 1914. Our forebears gave much to secure freedoms they thought worthy of sacrifice. The tragedy is that subsequent generations have neglected to nurture these freedoms or deliberately sought to erode them.

Today, these centenary commemorations have a very personal application. Lest we forget and mourn our loss of freedom and righteous values, let's recognize and emulate the integrity of our forefathers. Faith, family, country. Are they still worth dying for?

What we're doing about it

Click this link  for more details on "Women of Courage", presented by Isabel and Narelle Worboys during the "WWI Commemorative Concert" at the Dannevirke Town Hall, 3 August 2014.

* "Declaration of WWI was birth of nation"
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