Travel Basics

I had a ridiculous list of things to sew before our big trip (and I managed to get pretty much everything done!), but I had a few basic things which I knew I really had to take. A white tee shirt, some merino leggings and a new cardigan were all things that I knew would fill holes in both my travel wardrobe (sounds so fancy) and back home for our awkward spring weather. They aren’t really exciting garments, but they’ve been really useful and I’ve taken photos in a pretty spectacular location so hopefully that makes up for it!


First up is the tee shirt. I abandoned my much loved Grainline Lark pattern to try the Deer and Doe Plantain (free download!), and I really like the shape of it. It’s apparently been slimmed down from its original iteration, but it’s still loose enough to skim my hips and tummy rather than being tight. I like the shape of the scoop neck too, it’s nice and deep but not so deep that I’m worried about leaning forward!


I’ve managed to pull it weirdly against my body here, I’m not sure why I’ve trapped it under my arm like that! 

I used a cream merino from The Fabric Store. I don’t have a white tee shirt, but when I held up various white knits to my face in the shop they all made me look a bit grey and sick, so I went with a warmer cream. It’s a lovely fabric, as merino always is, but it is a wee bit see through. I’ll need to be careful to always wear a nude bra with it!


Right, second woollen basic is another Driftless Cardigan! This is my third time making this pattern, and I desperately needed another one because I’ve nearly worn through the elbows of my second (and the first isn’t really something I wear out of the house, it’s more like a dressing gown!)


I love this pattern, it’s so comfortable and I find it a really practical and easy shape to wear. The pockets are especially good! This time I used a beautiful grey Japanese wool (also from TFS). It has less stretch than merino, which makes for a sturdier feeling cardigan and stops the dreaded saggy pocket problem. I used the plain hem band pattern pieces rather than the high-low version, but I sewed them so that they have a split at the side seam rather than as a continuous band.


I don’t have any pictures of my merino leggings, but they’re plain black Papercut Patterns Ooh La leggings. I used a merino/Lycra blend to hopefully combat saggy knees! I’ll get some pictures in conjunction with something more exiting, because they are really dull photographically. I love them though!


These photos were taken at Dun Carloway, on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It was such a cool place, and there was no one there! We just wandered into the paddock and up to this Neolithic building, then went inside and crawled through that little door and up a 2000 year old staircase to where the first floor would have been. So much history blows my mind a bit, coming from somewhere where our history is pretty recent (Māori settled in New Zealand about 700 years ago and there aren’t any structures even close to that old left), and being allowed to get up so close was awesome. All of the scenery on Lewis and Harris was breathtaking, I’m so glad we got out there. I’ll put my pictures from the Harris Tweed shop in another post!

19 thoughts on “Travel Basics

    1. I love a merino tee, so soft and breezy! The wool breathes so well that I never get too hot, and it washes and wears so well. I’m about to test it out in 30 degree heat in Lisbon, so I can report back!

  1. I am working on basics at the moment too, and although they are boring, you can end up spending quite a bit of time getting them tweaking them to suit your preferences. Well worth it when you consider the number of wears they will be getting! I also find historical buildings etc around the world interesting – thinking about what stage their civilisation was at, while here in NZ there were just heaps of moa and kiwis hanging out, enjoying their predator-free lives!

  2. I’m working on basics too realizing I had only one! 3/4 sleeve length Tee that I wear ALL the time with pants and sweaters. I’m now making up a navy bamboo/cotton knit Ebony and I’ll likely make up a couple more. I have the Driftless Cardigan pattern too and can’t wait to make it up having heard such great things about this pattern – I’m a huge fan of Grainline patterns in general so I’m sure it will be just what I need!

    1. Ooh nice, I love bamboo/cotton! I’ve never found it in shops here though, wish someone would stock it! Driftless is a great pattern, it certainly filled a big hole in my wardrobe. Have fun with your basics!

    1. It is a fair way! We spent two weeks driving around Scotland, so we were right up north anyway. I wish we had caught the ferry over from Skye, that would have been the sensible way to do it…

  3. OMG Kirsten this scenery is stunning but would you want that heavy grey cloud all year long? I lived in Scotland for 18mths (mid training) and I did suffer the dreaded SAD. Like your basics, perhaps you entered them in the summer of basics? Safe travels. X

    1. I live in Wellington, the weather really isn’t that different! I think we do get more blue sky in Wellington, even when it’s also freezing and windy, and that helps. I do love Scotland though!

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