Friday, 11 December 2015

Holiday skirts - comfortable is good ...

The holidays are coming up and there could be some large celebratory meals in your future! What to wear???

At Minnie + Ree we pride ourselves on making comfortable clothes that look great. This may be useful if you are planning a wee over-indulgence on Christmas Day...

Snap wrap skirts - designed to be flexi-sized and so you could just wear it one snap looser than you normally would. Go out one snap and wear it lower on your hips. Have another slice of ham!

Snap Wrap Skirt - Pink Virgencita

Belle frocks are fitted around the bust and then skim across the stomach and hips. Room for another glass of bubbles!
Belle Frock green with butterfly

And of course our favourite Sea Breeze dress currently in La Catrina fabric. Let those svelte ladies take all the attention while you think about another slice of pavlova ...

What's the weather going to be and what will you be wearing on Xmas day?


Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas dress tree

Christmas is coming and do you need a new dress to wear on the day? Can we count on sunshine and a beautiful day? Maybe not, so how about a dress that is comfortable and flattering but you can layer up or down as needed? 

And if you have enough of them you can make a tree!!

Belle frock tree

Belle frocks are HERE. And yes there are colours other than green or red!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Reversible skirts - perfect holiday clothes!

Here's a line up of our new and current reversible skirts. With the holiday season approaching fast (two months to Christmas, eeek!), it is nice to have clothes that can multi-task.

They are effectively two skirts in one so are brilliant for travel and holidays. The skirts have POCKETS in one side and like all our skirts are FLEXI-SIZED due to the snaps that close it across the front. Snaps are about 5cm (approx 2 inches) apart and you can change size by closing more or less snaps. 

This one has quite a vintage vibe about the print:

Minnie + Ree reversible skirt in new vintage

This one continues our poppies theme but is much brighter and goes so well with the blue/green/teals on the other side:

Minnie + Ree reversible skirt in new poppies

These are the blacks that we put together a couple of months ago. The plain black side is a fabric that is already wrinkled so you don't need to worry about this one getting crushed in your bag:

Minnie + Ree reversible skirt in black sunglasses

We've just made a new batch of these beautiful summery butter and raspberry skirts:

Minnie + Ree reversible skirt in raspberry butter

And there are still a very few left of the grey floral with spots:

Minnie + Ree reversible skirt in grey floral

Which one is your favourite or what colour combo would you like us to do next?

Monday, 19 October 2015

Wardrobe planning ... the case for expensive clothes

Last week I came across this article by Marc Bain in The Atlantic. It starts off saying:

If you’ve ever found yourself buying clothes just because
they’re cheap, or if shopping itself has become a form of entertainment for you, I’ve got a proposal: The next time you buy something, spend a whole lot on it. Enough that it makes you sweat a little.

The point is to make you pause and ask yourself, “How much do I really want this?”

In the U.S. and much of the industrialized world, cheap clothes are everywhere. At any fast-fashion chain store, you’ll find piles upon piles of jeans that cost less than $20. The problem is, all that low-cost clothing is produced, sold, and finally discarded in mass quantities, which has serious consequences for the environment, the workers paid poorly to make them, and even the mental well-being of the people buying them.

As a fashion reporter, I like clothes probably more than most. But I also know all the troubling facts represented by those cheap t-shirts and jeans. For more than a year now, I’ve set myself a simple goal for every clothing purchase. It’s an entirely personal choice that I feel helps me buy less and enjoy my purchases more. My hope is that it also reduces how much I contribute to some of those issues mentioned above.

The goal is to spend at least $150 on each item of clothing. And I propose you give it a try.

The immediate reaction I get when I tell people about this goal—and I call it a goal because I don’t always live up to it—is that $150 is a lot to spend for a piece of clothing.

The rest of the article is here if you want to read further:

Now this article makes me think. As I wrote in my last blog post about Courtney Carver of Project 333I am trying to plan more and buy less clothing, especially the cheaper throw away type. I have recently noticed that I spend less overall and make better decisions if I am not tempted by a bargain or a sale item. I do much better when looking for a specific item to fill a real need in my wardrobe. And I make a more considered decision when it is full price.

Now the big question is WHAT IS MY MINIMUM PRICE? $150?

What do you think?

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Wardrobe planning for next season ... shoes first

I've come under the influence of several blogs that do wardrobe planning. The best has to be Courtney Carver of Project 333. Note that this is my "aspirational" wardrobe plan - you choose 33 items from your wardrobe and use only them for three months. Every season you reassess and start again.  You can check out how to do this on Project 333's blog here

Some people may be able to get right down to 33 pieces but I'm guessing that's not me. Especially since I don't wear black! But here's a pic from her website that demonstrates the concept perfectly. I love this so much (except for the black of course).

So here's my starting line. My shoes for this spring/summer:

Ree's shoes 2015
So I love my Fluevogs (far left) the most. Shoes #2 are FLY London and are my market shoes - you need all those inches of rubber sole when you are on your feet all day. Note that shoes 4 and 5 are the same but different colours - they have been worn the most in past seasons. New #6 flats in leopard print replacing last year's leopard flats that wore out - need I say more??? #8 are Country Road flatform sandals and will go so well with all the ankle pants I'm making and wearing this year. And jandals on the end because I am a kiwi!

Now I need to think about the clothes ...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Are you a lover of linen and all its glorious wrinkles or does it make you want to reach for the iron every time you see a crease?

Linen crossover apron by Minnie + Ree

We love linen and here is our first new linen garment - a Japanese style crossover apron.

We were heavily influenced by all the Pinterest pics of these aprons and had to make our own. I have already used some of my practice embroidery on the pocket of mine and hope to get it covered in paint and ink stains like the true wannabe artist that I am!

Don't worry about all that talk about how hard linen is to care for. Just toss it into the washing machine!

How to care for linen:

Linen is a gorgeous, comfortable and durable fabric that is made from fibres of the flax plant. Linen fabric is known to have been a material for clothing and other needs for thousands of years; it is the world’s oldest natural fibre. If it is taken care of it can last for generations and it grows softer and more lustrous with age. 

Linen is sometimes treated with sizing, a finish that makes it crisp when you first buy it. It does wrinkle easily and requires ironing if you want to keep that fresh look but most people now embrace the natural tendency of the linen and let it crease. You can wash it and let it dry on a hanger or lie flat for a natural look.

Some people believe that linen is only suitable for dry cleaning.  Not! It has been around from a long time before drycleaners were invented. Gentle washing machine cycle and mild soaps are best for linen. With each washing, in lukewarm or cold water your linen becomes softer and lovelier.

So do you want a linen apron for yourself? They are in our online shop here.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Back to black ...

It may be kinda obvious but Minnie + Ree love colour and pattern! However every now and then we'll break out and put some darker colours together. So to celebrate (NOT!) the cold weather we are currently enjoying in New Zealand here's some new darker items. 

1. Black and glasses reversible skirt.
       Click on photo to go to website ...

That black skirt would look good with boots or tanned legs I think!

Black & glasses reversible skirt by Minnie + Ree

2. Grey floral reversible skirt with spring spots inside!
       Click on photo to go to website ...

This floral fabric has been popular as it looks good in summer and winter. Now that it's reversible you can wear the spotty side in spring and summer with a little white top and you've got a totally new look.

Grey floral & spots reversible skirt by Minnie + Ree

3. Grey and black Belle frock with bird.
       Click on photo to go to website ...

This Belle Frock would winter up nicely with a black merino top underneath and/or a black cardigan or jacket on top.

Belle and bird!


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Happy Birthday to us!! SALE prices for you!

16th June is Minnie + Ree's birthday. It was 16 June 2006 that the big decision was made to stop playing around and go make our first patterns. 

Three days later I had the nearly final patterns for the swimwear pieces that became Sonsie Swimwear. 

From the swimwear for women who don't fit the standard tiny B-cup stuff available in the shops we developed our design values. And here we are today with clothing that is:

  • flexi-sized
  • flattering
  • comfortable
  • gorgeous colours and patterns
  • natural and tactile fabrics
  • small production runs

We always wanted the business to be mainly an online shop so that's where our birthday sale is going on. You will find that all items (except the merino) have already had $30 taken off the price. That includes:

  • skirts
  • dresses
  • tops
  • pants
  • swimwear

This sale will last until 30 June so go enjoy yourself!!  Shop here:

Happy Birthday to me ... 

PS. Minnie Faux was my great grandmother and I named the company after her. She would be 150 years old if she was still alive today.

Friday, 22 May 2015

What's a poncho sweater?

Last week I put up my week's challenge on our facebook page. It was the top on the left of the picture below. The story behind it is that last winter I started a design for a comfy-wrap-poncho style top. NOT a success!! So I put the top and pattern on the rack where all things "in development" go. Then I had a brainwave, got it out and last Monday the new version was cut out and on the workroom table. It was all looking good at that stage. But it is only today that I am finishing off the final patterns. It has been a long process and I have made several versions over the last two weeks. 

UGLY TOPS 1, 2, 3 !!

Minnie + Ree's photo.
All cut out and ready to go ...
The choice of fabrics has made a huge difference and happily I had a roll of the perfect weight merino in my stash. 

Did I say that I am also on a very determined stash busting exercise as well? These little parcels of cotton fabric remnants have appeared on my market stall lately. I had a few years' worth of off cuts that had taken over one corner of my workroom. I WILL get my workroom back!

Here is the new design. I have developed a love affair with Stay Tape and can bore anyone with a long dissertation on the benefits of knit, bias, straight, nylon and adhesive tapes. A stash small supply of the perfect tapes are now flying to me as I write! I will be able to sew up the new tops as soon as they arrive next week!

It took me nearly as long to figure out what to call it. But the most descriptive name I could find was Poncho Sweater so that is it. AND the great news is that this top looks good on me (Minnie + Ree size Average) and on my friend who is Minnie + Ree size Small. So it is a One Size top. Yay!

And did you like the wee ring pincushion I am using? I had some fun with merino felt balls and some beads and embroidery. Here's the close up:

Next challenge please ...

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Need some inspiration?

Last week on our Facebook page I put up the most repinned of all our pins on Pinterest. And it's a quote.  I do love that one and it got me thinking about what others are my favourites. These pins and their sources can all be found on our Pinterest page here.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Lovely Collaborative Illustrated Micro-Narratives Supporting Independent Media | Brain Pickings

From The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories I love the idea of doing some legs-up-the-wall restorative yoga with my favourite make believe monster friend!


I have this one on the notice board above my desk. Soooooo important for me to remember!

{via Roctetrictic on Flickr} This January, were taking an in-depth look at the why and how of...

This is the one that is most repinned. Good to think about, especially when you need to declutter your life!

And this last one because it makes me laugh and gives an excellent explanation for why I have so many cowlicks and my hair won't behave!
This. Is. Amazing.

Have a great day!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Frida is back!

Yay! We have managed to get a little more of the beautiful teal Frida fabric. This won't last long. It is the most popular of all the Minnie + Ree skirts. If you want one the link is here: FRIDA

Here's some pics ...

Friday, 1 May 2015

What are the best trousers?

Trousers are just so easy to live in but how do you wear trousers that are not jeans or the traditional shapes? 

Here are some ideas for how to wear your Minnie + Ree pants. All of these pictures and their links to source are on a Pinterest page I have set up:

Autumn/Fall & Winter

- think layers, jumpers, socks, shoes, boots, coats ...

 Spring & Summer

- think cool tops, dresses, sandals ...

Dress them up too

- think heels!

Minnie + Ree now have three pant styles:

All of these pants have our standard flexible sizing so are either size Small or size Average.  Hip measurements are important here so the sizes are:

SMALL hip from 35 to 40 inches or 89 to 102 cm
AVERAGE hip from 41 to 46 inches or 104 - 117 cm


So, what are the best trousers for you??

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Dior and I - what a brilliant movie!

I've just seen Dior and I. The movie is great. It was first recommended to me by a non-sewing friend but if you are into fashion and/or sewing you will be in heaven!! I was.

It is a documentary and takes us behind the scenes at the House of Dior as incoming designer Raf Simons conceives his first collection. It is brought to life by the amazingly skilled employees (in pretty cramped conditions), and they go through a major change as they all learn to work together. 

There's a great scene where Raf wants to see how a white toile of a jacket would look in black. Instead of taking days to make another one they go out in the garden and spraypaint it black. Good to know that even haute couture has moments when you just have to get in there!

And for my fellow Myers Briggs junkies it is an amazing view of how Introverts get by in such a public world. Dior writes about being two Christian Diors ... the public one is a different person to himself. Raf doesn't want to do all the PR stuff but makes himself do it.

Huge pity that you can't pause and rewind in a movie theatre though.

Here's the trailer to the movie ...

You've gotta go!!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Cheap fashion - how to make clothes for very little cost ...

Several weeks ago I was approached by a woman who demanded that I justify my prices and said that my clothing was far too expensive. I was so shocked by her aggression that I was unable to answer her before she stomped away. 

I would have liked to point out to her that Minnie + Ree clothing is made in New Zealand and I and the women who help me with the sewing would like to earn a living wage. Luckily the latest report on ethical clothing companies has just come out and hopefully Ms Aggro will hear about it.

Bangladeshi clothing factory collapse 2012
The Baptists World Aid’s 2015 Fashion Report has found just five percent of companies it surveyed are paying international suppliers workers a living wage that meets their basic needs. You can read about it here:

This is just so horribly sad and I am so grateful that I live and work in New Zealand. 

If you would like to know more, here is a link to a Norwegian programme where several young fashion bloggers go to work in Cambodian clothing sweatshops.

link to videos is here

Monday, 30 March 2015

How to layer up your cotton skirts & dresses for the cooler weather

The weather is starting to turn and for some of us it means that the clothes we loved all summer are starting to be not quite enough in the mornings and evenings. 

Of course a similar but reverse situation is happening for those people in the northern hemisphere who are coming out of winter.

I usually wear my Minnie + Ree dresses and skirts all year round. The important thing is to add layers - long sleeve tops, cardigans, jumpers/jerseys, slips, tights, boots, scarves, jackets, coats ...

Here's a couple of photos from the beautiful Stephanie showing how she wore Minnie + Ree clothing during the cooler months.

Our reversible skirts are more cool-weather-friendly with their double layer of fabric. And the last of the very popular Poppies ones are a good colour for autumn/winter ...

Poppies reversible skirt
And here's a couple of suggestions for the Belle frock:

Belle frock with denim jacket

Belle frock with linen duster coat
And of course you can always wear your Belle frock with your favourite (falling to pieces but I still love it) cardi!

A final autumnal pic ...


Friday, 20 March 2015

What's a tea length skirt and do you have one?

Have you noticed that longer skirts are around a lot more now? I’m often asked for a longer length skirt and so started working on a midi length skirt pattern a while ago. But then I discovered that I was using the wrong phrase, oh darn! Yes, what I meant to say is that I have now made some tea length skirts.

HERE they are:
 Tea length skirts by Minnie + Ree
Tea length skirts by Minnie + Ree

A tea length skirt falls about half way between your knee and ankle or maybe a bit longer. It's a very flattering length if you don't like to show too much leg. Here's a great compilation pic showing how to style them for the different seasons.
(from the Denver Post blog and includes H&M, Asos, Forever 21)

midi skirts

And here’s a few famous people wearing tea length skirts. Enjoy!