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Sue's Repairs and Alterations was asked to take part in this fabulous Hospice fundraiser "Women who nurture / Nga Whaea Atawhai" in July 2011. Those taking part in the repairs and alterations section were asked to buy two items from any Hospice shop and make it into another garment. I don't do anything by halves, so I bought a set of curtains from Hospice in Palmerston North (which turned out to be 1920s Liberty fabric) and remodelled it into an amazing coat and dress. Above is the before photo.
Our section of the show was to be called "Nga Whaea Atiwhai", (Woman who Nuture).
Looking into the depths of one of our local Hospice shops, I found hidden in a corner at the back of the shop, a set of old musty curtains, the lining was absolutely rotten, but the curtain fabric still in perfect condition. I asked the assistant for the price, "$4.00", she said , "in fact we will give you $4.00 to take them away".
I knew they had potential, as soon as I saw the fabric, I knew they would make an awesome theatrical coat. Once I got the curtains home, I found out they were a "William Morris-Liberty of London" exclusive design. WHAT A FIND.
I designed my fitted coat, with high standing collar, piped contrasting princess seams, with a short front waist cropped front, extending to a long flowing train at the back, with pleated seat in sleeves, lined in maroon satin to compliment the colours of the fabric. I piped in a 7cm wide facing of the outer shell fabric to add stability and a nice finish to the garment.
Beneath the coat I made a fitted high waisted dress of the same fabric, with a maroon silk lined bodice with a front flange and pleated short sleeve to contrast the garment. The second piece I bought for the show from Hospice, was an old leather belt with a fantastic buckle. This was priced at $2.00, but was sold to me for $1.00.
I covered the leather in the maroon silk to add as a final garnish to the ensemble. Creating and sewing the garments went together without a hitch, time was the only thing I had difficulty with, however a few late nights and and a last minute dash found me sewing on the last button 5 minutes before rehearsal on Friday night.
Saturday night, nerves set in and the anticipation of walking down the catwalk was almost more that I could bear. However after half time, when it was our turn to do our stint on the catwalk, I found myself standing behind the curtain waiting to have my name called out. I took a deep breath, held my head high and stepped out from behind the curtain. "Just pretend I know what I'm doing", I thought. Kerry Ranginui had said to me early that day, "just think that everybody is there to see you and give them what they want".
Well, I don't know what I looked like, but I strutted my stuff, stopping in front of the compare to pose, then turning and sauntered half way down the runway to stop and pose once again for the audience. End of the runway in sight, "walk slow-head up", stop for the camera at the end of the runway, pose, turn and walk slowly back up the runway.
Stopping half way, this was my challenge, to undo the bodice of my coat to reveal the dress beneath, swing the coat of my shoulders-pose-turn-pose-drape the coat over my left shoulder and saunter up the runway again, stopping in front of the compare again and finally in front of the kaimatua before exiting.
A cheer went up as I undid the coat and slid it off my shoulders to reveal the dress beneath, what a wonderful feeling, I was on cloud nine, it all went perfectly to plan. The garment performed perfectly, this a reflection of the quality of the fabric.
So how did I feel about the Manawa Ora Whanau-Puhang-Hospice Fundraising Event? I FELT LIKE A STAR...What a wonderful night.
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