Wednesday, 30 January 2013


On the list of things that had to be done in January was sorting out my work area.  Kind people would say that I was working in "creative chaos" but it was more just chaos, total chaos!  

So zooming in with her cape flying was a true Wonder Woman - Jai from Organise My Space.  Her response to sorting out my mess was "I just LOVE that kinda stuff!!!"  Happily she hasn't given me copies of the photos she took before the clean up so I don't have to remember what it was like or embarrass myself here by showing you all.  But it only took part of a day and I now have the most wonderful sunny working area and I can find things easily. 

So I celebrated by easily finding the things I needed to make the kindle cover for a friend that I promised months ago.  Pattern, fabric off-cut, padded lining, snaps, matching thread - all beautifully easy to find.  I'm in heaven.

PS - yes this is an off-cut from the famous Frida wrap skirt.  I now need to find more ways of using these fabric off-cuts.  Any ideas? 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Market style - men in skirts

Most Saturdays I have a Minnie + Ree stall at the Underground Designer Market in Frank Kitts Park on Wellington's waterfront.  The waterfront is stunning on a good day in Wellington.  It's a little more challenging when the weather is bad but we are under cover.  An outdoor market would be just too hard in Wellington.

Man in skirt wearing Minnie + Ree Sugar Skulls snap wrap skirt
One of the great things about being at the market is the people watching.  We get a lot of people visiting and see some beautiful sights.  We have everything from couples in matching cruise-ship-chic to some really out there stuff. 

Man in skirt wearing Blaklader kilt - workwear from Sweden
So my first Market style post has to go to the men in skirts!  We love you!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Women's clothing sizes - just a number!

Clothing size is only a number, not a science and there is NO consistency across different labels and brands.  So why do we get so hung up on it???

When I started making clothing I didn't want to make lots of sizes and get overly complicated because it just didn't make sense.  Also I have been quite a few different sizes myself over the last few years and I had lots of fat clothes, thin clothes and in-between clothes.  Thanks to Tim Ferris' slow-carb diet and William Davis' wheat belly this is no longer an issue for me but I still want sensibly sized clothing that lets you fluctuate a little in weight and how you style your clothes.  

AND then we have to add in the complexity of different size systems from around the world and whether to use metric or imperial measurements and it all gets more difficult!  So here are the basics for Minnie + Ree clothing ...

We currently have two main sizes SMALL and AVERAGE.  Obviously I am the average!!!  The other major input is body shape.  There are lots of systems out there e.g. Trinny and Susannah, that describe your body shape.  I tend to design for me and I have a larger bust.  Also I don't have much of a waist definition because I only have a few inches/cms difference between my hips and my waist ('cylinder' shape).  Few women have the waist size that is described in many size charts which tends to be about 11 inches or 28cms less than their hip measurement.  So if you have a body shape that is 'hour glass' or 'pear' shaped i.e. tiny waist compared to your hip measurement, you will probably find that you will have a gap at the waist if you buy a Minnie + Ree skirt and try to wear it high on your waist. You will need to wear it lower on your hips or get it altered to fit your shape better.  

So get out the measuring tape and see where you fit in.  This will also be handy for any ordering that you do for online shopping and if you are sewing for yourself from commercial patterns (and did you realise that sewing pattern sizes need to be bigger than your normal store size?).  If you are buying a skirt you choose by HIP size, if you are buying a top you choose by BUST size unless you are D or above cup size in which case it is just too complicated!  If you are buying a bra you choose by UNDER BUST size - you measure your rib cage under your breasts.  

I have tried to map Minnie + Ree sizes to standard sizes in the chart below.  But Standard sizing has developed over the years from a survey done by the US Department of Agriculture in the 1940-50s.  Since then sizes have been changed on an ad hoc basis to reflect size change in the population.  However very few people are the same size as the standards and that is why new clothing often doesn't fit well.  And it's why we make our clothes adjustable in size...

Minnie + Ree sizing


85 - 92
33 1/2 - 36 1/2
97  -  112
38 - 44
90 - 101
35 - 40
106 - 117
42 - 46
NZ & Aus approx size


USA approx size


UK approx size


Eur approx size



Sonsie Swimwear sizing

Under- bust
31 - 33 1/2
88  -  100
335 – 39 1/2
90 - 101
35 - 40
106 - 117
42 - 46

LARGE (limited range in swimwear only)

Under- bust
100 - 115
40 - 46

115 - 125
46 - 50

Read this blog about how size (doesn't) works and that many people who look good buy bigger sizes and have them altered to fit:

So, what are your measurements?

Monday, 21 January 2013

I believe ...

Here we are with a New Year and a New Blog. I don't like having New Year's resolutions but I do have a rather long list of things that I need to do this year - tick one for setting up the blog!!

Sonsie swimwear bikini top
I started my first online clothing store in June 2007 with Sonsie Swimwear.  Well Yay me for starting a fashion company as the world went into serious recession, but it has been a great experience all the way.  The purpose of Sonsie was to make flattering swimwear that actually fitted women with bigger boobs.  The swimwear line is still available on and I still get a buzz from happy customers - it is so demoralising when you can't find a swimsuit that fits you and it's hard enough having a larger bust without being made to feel there is something wrong with you because clothes aren't in your size!

Minnie + Ree snap wrap cotton skirt
The same fit and flatter philosophy extends to the other clothes that Minnie + Ree makes.  Our snap-wrap skirt comes in beautiful colours and patterns and is quite adjustable in size.  There are two different sizes and then you just do up as many snaps as you need to get the fit you want.  

I am working on the sizing at the moment.  A number of friends have been subjected to being measured as I check that my standard sizes (Small and Average) are still correct.  I will be making my Average size a little bigger in the future but the Small is staying the same.  I will finalise these and explain the sizing in my next post.

Have a great day!