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Home Sewn at the Dowse: Opening Night

Last night, I went to the hectic opening of “Home Sewn” at the Dowse Art Museum – an exhibit profiling the home creators and designers of clothing in New Zealand. Home sewing was a huge part of fashion in this remote isle until very recently, so this exhibit of the finest Kiwi home stitchers have to offer is amazing. The exhibit is free, and you should go, if you like dresses.

Dowse-PartyViewOpening night was a mad gala, the Home Sewn Night of Fashion, packed with hundreds of women wearing dresses and coats they, or a friend or relative, had sewn in New Zealand. A Dowse photographer captured many outfits for a People’s Choice competition. (Which isn’t online just yet,.)


This outfit, sewn and hand-painted with scenes of Samoa by the artist’s mother, won one of the prizes bestowed by luminaries including the designer and historian Doris du Pont.

Dowse-ExhibitCenterAfter our self-made fashion show, we were the first ones to see the exhibit – a vast cool room full of dresses from the 1930s to 2011, all made by New Zealand home stitchers. Yes, Archival People, I turned my camera flash off for these first-view shots. I love the contrast in this photo between the 1950s dresses and the contemporary viewers.

Dowse-ExhibitLeftThe 1960s side of the exhibit.

Dowse-ExhibitRightDresses from the 21st century – though you might not have guessed that at first, looking at the 1950s-esque eau de nil chiffon and the vivid retro sheath.

Dowse-ExhibitPatternsWriters and creators from the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network got stuck into the pattern corner.

Tomorrow I’ll have shots of the attendees in their self-made garments, so get ready for another picture-weighty post.