Sewing for the husband: Colette Negroni Mk II


This is the second time I’ve made the Colette Negroni for Luke – the first being nearly 3 years ago. This time around I made the short sleeve version for summer. I didn’t change anything else except instead of using the XL length, I went with L (and in my opinion it’s still quite a long shirt, but Luke’s happy with it). Oh, and 1 pocket instead of 2. When Luke requested summer shirts, I suggested the Negroni because I think the camp collar style fits a casual summer short sleeved shirt well. He agreed, but later, after I’d cut the fabric out, said he didn’t like the large facings. Unfortunately, with everything already cut out, I couldn’t do much about it, so the facings are unchanged. But he’s right, they are huge – and I can’t really see why they need to be. I’m not sure if I’ll make it again – I could convert the facings to a button band, but why bother when I already have at least 2 other shirt patterns I could use?


As you can see, it’s quite roomy – Luke’s lost about 10kg since I last made him a Negroni, but he insists he’s still happy with the fit of his original one, so who am I to argue?


The fabric is this amaaaazing lightweight cotton I bought at least a year ago from Stitch 56 – my brother bought me a birthday gift from there and they sent him a discount voucher, which he promptly passed on to me and I promptly used! Stitch 56 says it’s part of the Rajasthan Express collection, Miss Maude (who lovely Wellington sewing blogger Emma reminded me sells this fabric closer to home) says Little India collection. Let’s just agree that it’s hand block printed in India and we’ll call it good. It’s made by Merchant & Mills, and it is the best. It’s so light and breezy, it’s absolutely perfect for a summer shirt. It was great to work with – pressed beautifully, and sewed up like a dream (once I stopped fighting with my shitty modern sewing machine and employed my vintage Pfaff, anyway). Stitch 56 have increased their shipping prices to NZ substantially since I bought this fabric, so I’ll definitely be checking out Miss Maude for some more instead! I didn’t have quite enough for the stupidly huge facings, so I supplemented it with some Japanese cotton lawn from Spotlight in a dark blue that was *almost* the same weight – I used this for the inner yoke as well as the bottom 3/4 of the facings (but not the top, because I didn’t want it to be visible).


We found the perfect buttons in Spotlight – my beloved Masco Wools where I used to buy all my buttons at amazing prices disappeared when they decided to renovate the Britomart shopping centre 😦


Last year I bought some personalised labels from the Dutch Label Shop with my Christmas money, and they were waiting for me when I got back from Japan. I love them! If you’re wondering why “yes mice” – well…short story, it’s something Luke and I say to each other when one of us comes up with a particularly excellent suggestion. E.g.

Me: Shall we get some cheesecake for dessert tonight?

Luke: Oh, yes mice!

Longer story – this came about because when I visited the UK in 2004, I bought a small Bagpuss plush toy that, when you pressed his stomach, said, “Oh yes mice, I love you all!” I was not familiar with Bagpuss, but I was taken in by his scruffy charm and his odd catchphrase, so he came home with me. After Luke and I had been dating for a while, he too got introduced to Bagpuss, and was equally delighted by him. Bagpuss lives in my Dad’s shed with a lot of my belongings now (such is the nomadic postdoc life), but he’s with us in spirit 🙂


Sewing goodies: Merchant & Mills jumper/sweater

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram (I’m kirstyteacat on there if you want to add me for pictures of cats and sewing), I recently bought a sewing-themed jumper from Uniqlo Japan, as part of their collaboration with Merchant & Mills. I was following in the footsteps of Novita from verypurpleperson and yoshimi the flying squirrel, who both showed photos of theirs on Instagram too.


A few of you asked how I went about ordering it, so I thought I’d do a little post on it.

First of all, note first that Uniqlo Japan do not ship outside of Japan, nor do they accept foreign credit cards. Boo. However, there are companies around who will buy things for you from Japanese companies and ship them to you, for varying fees. I used a company called Sendico – I have no affiliation with them, and it was the first time I’d used them, but since everything went smoothly I’m happy to recommend them.

Second, you need to decide what you want to buy!

Here is a link to the page of Uniqlo Japan’s x Merchant & Mills products. There are five sweater/jumper options, and six tote bags to choose from. Important: DO consult the size chart (it’s the button right under the sizes on the individual garment page) – Japanese sizes are significantly smaller than Western sizes, for the most part, although Uniqlo is a little better than other places. I got an XXL, and it fits perfectly. For reference, I tend to wear an AU 12/14 or a US 10/12. Returning it will not be possible, so order carefully.

Once you’ve picked out what you want, you need let Sendico know. First, though, you need to make a Sendico account. After you’ve done that, at Sendico’s page, up the top click the link to “Other Japanese Online Stores”. Enter the URL of the item you want to purchase, the title and the colour and size in the comments. They have instructions there to help you. Then someone from Sendico will have a look at it, tell you how much you need to pay (cost of the item plus tax and shipping to them in Japan), and then you can pay this amount via Paypal or credit card. Once it arrives at their warehouse (and this took about a week for me, as I stupidly ordered right before Christmas/New Year, when everything shuts down), they will let you know how much you need to pay to get it to wherever you are. Once you pay that, they’ll package it up and send it along!

The sweater costs 2955 yen, plus a 500 yen Sendico service fee. The shipping to me, via EMS with tracking, to New Zealand, was 1860 yen, and it arrived in about 3 days after Sendico sent it, complete with a New Year’s card and bonus sheep phone charm! It’s not the cheapest sweater I’ve ever bought, certainly, but I love that it’s sewing themed, and I love Uniqlo’s clothing anyway – I try not to buy much RTW these days, but Uniqlo always has good quality, affordable clothes. The sweater is soft and warm, and I can’t wait to wear it when the weather here cools down a bit!

I hope this helps you if you wanted to buy your own sewing sweater, and if you have any other questions, I’ll help as much as I can.