09 June 2010

A break for art

 Quite predictably, I've amused myself with designing and making clothes, with the added incentive of making work clothes, of which Mark and I are in short supply. My first frivolous purchase in town was a beautiful, hand-crank manual Butterfly sewing machine that has been as fun to tinker with as it has been to sew with.

Its the creative outlet that keeps me inspired most days, so here's a little show-and-tell gallery of what I've done so far.


White cotton tucked blouse. The white lines are sewn pleats in the cloth, sewn in before I cut out the main blouse pieces. My own design.

Puffed sleeves dress in polka dotted cotton, lined with black cotton and lace at sleeves, hem, and neck. Heavily adapted from a 70s pattern sent in a package from Calvary Baptist Church (thank you!).

Flare skirt in gray cotton with multiple-seamed hem and pocket, my own design.

Funky aloha-print, high collar 60s shirt, made directly from a pattern sent from Calvary Baptist. My first attempt at a men's button-down shirt, and next time we agreed to pare down the retro collar a bit.

Simple black cotton shirt, puffed, elbow length sleeves with lace at sleeves and neck. A good staple for Tonga. My own design.

 Hand-dyed white cotton shirt with solid white belt band sewn in. The dots are made with permanent artists' ink, dabbed on after I cut out the shirt pieces. My own design.


  1. Wow! I am SO impressed! I used to sew a bit for my children, but haven't done much since.

  2. That's Crazy!
    I want to put together a package to send, what is top on your list?

  3. Hi, this is Kate's friend Amy. I am impressed with your sewing and design skills! I love the dotted shirt the best.

  4. wow, I love your works of art! I am so impressed. My mom used to sew dresses for herself in the earlier days of being a missionary (I distinctly remember one time when she made herself, my sister and I matching floral dresses). lol
    ps. Happy belated birthday, Elena!!

  5. Beautiful job Elena! I'm so impressed!

  6. Hi, I'm Marian's sister-in-law in Idaho. She sent me your blog. When living in Sarawak, Malaysia, I had a machine just like yours and made all our own clothes. So I know the fun you are having! Also good to read about the Vanuatu students, as I spent 2 years there as well. Enjoy Tonga! Judy Heidel


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