Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Pretty Dress for a Day at the Cricket

Every year my husband attends the 5 day cricket test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  Day three of the test is Ladies Day, also called the Pink Day, because the idea is that everyone wears pink and donates to the McGrath Foundation - a breast cancer charity.

I like to make an outfit every year for this special day.  Last year I made one, and had my own tea party because I wasn't well enough to attend the day (you can read about it here).  This year I wasn't really sure if I'd be going, but I thought I'd make a dress anyway.

I had recently purchased some amazing vintage rayon fabric, and some of it was pink with the best novelty print of ladies wearing fabulous hats.

I had also recently received some reproduction patterns from Eva Dress (if you haven't looked at their website, you should!).  This dress pattern seemed like just the thing to wear on a hot summer's day.

My fabric, being vintage, was narrow, and by the yardage chart on the pattern, I didn't have enough, but only just.  Sigh!  I started out by laying my fabric out on the floor and seeing if I could make the pattern pieces fit.

Its like a giant jigsaw puzzle!  It took me quite a few goes to find something that worked.  I even tried the layouts included with the pattern - and I never do that!  I eventually found the winning combination, and it meant having a seam in the sleeve.  And I couldn't match the pattern either, so I just hoped that the fullness would hide it all.

Construction of this dress is so amazingly straight-forward!  Almost too simple - and I started to worry that without darts at the waist, it would look like a potato sack.

But the response on my facebook page was to trust the pattern and keep going.  Apparently a lot of 40s dresses look like sacks on hangers but look magical on.  I own lots - how had I never noticed!!!  And worst comes to worst I could add darts in when it was all finished anyway...

The last big decision was the bow.

To bow or not to bow.  That was the question.

The dress sat on my headless helper for a good week and a half while I tried to make a decision.  Eventually I realised that it was part of the pattern for a reason, so I should make it and pin it on and then see what I thought.

The decision was a resounding YES!  Without it the dress seemed unfinished, but with it, it sang.

So I finished off the hand sewing and wore it to the cricket!

Steve is a member of the SCG IX, which is a special club within a club for members that play cricket for the SCG.  Each year we have a special area - and this year it was a fabulous white summerhouse with a view of a big screen and right by a bar.  The only thing it was missing was a jacuzzi!!!  It was a lovely place to sit, and I felt lovely and glamorous all day!

Yes, I did actually watch some cricket...  I didn't just socialise.

Its lovely to see so many people get involved for this cause too - I didn't see one person NOT wearing pink, and so many people go to a great deal of effort with their outfits.  I met the son of a friend who was really my kind of person - I mean, just look at his hat!

I had a great day, and this dress ticked all the boxes - pretty and elegant, easy to sew, and comfortable to wear.  I can see at least two more of these in my future!

How about you?  Tempted to sew yourself one?


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Announcing Another Sew-Along!!!

When my last sew-along finished, there was much talk in the Swirl Facebook group about holding another one.  It didn't take much to convince me - I had had as much fun as everyone else I think!  (By the way, if you want to have a look at the round-up post you can find it here).  Rather than doing it all on my own, this time I decided to team up with Decades of Style, an online vintage reproduction company specialising in patterns from the 1920s through to the 1950s.

I don't know if you've looked at their website, but I remember the first time I did I wanted to buy just about every pattern.  Let me tell you, narrowing it down to just one pattern for this sew-along was nigh on impossible!

After much debating with myself, I chose this gorgeous 1930s capelet pattern:

Look at it!  It doesn't get much more elegant than that!

The good thing with this pattern, is that it will work for both sides of the globe.  For those of you who are currently in winter, you can make it in wool suiting or even wool coating!  For those who are currently in summer, you can make it in a lighter fabric like cotton or silk for a summer evening cover up.

Here is a vintage example I have dreamed of recreating since I first saw it.  This one was sold by FabGabs on Etsy:

So this is what I'm aiming to do with mine.  And yes, I am going to tell you all the adjustments I make so you can do it too!

And the best thing is that Janet from Decades of Style is giving my lovely participants a 20% discount on the pattern!!!  All you need to do is use the code CAPE20 when you check out.  The code is valid from now until the end of January.

Now, Janet also told me that international postage (she is based in the US) is quite pricey.  For the price of posting one pattern, Janet can post up to 100 patterns.  So I figure you have two options:
  1. Buy a bunch of patterns to try (I did - I ended up buying 4); or
  2. Team up with some other sewers in your country and buy together and share the shipping!
The Facebook group (which is now called Sew Retro Rose's Lovely Ladies) will be talking and sharing about this pattern too (amongst other stuff sewing and non-sewing related - they are a friendly bunch!) so if you would like to join, please comment below with your email address and I will send you an email invitation to join.  This group would be the perfect place to meet other people in your country that you could share shipping with.  If you aren't comfortable with leaving your email in the comment, please send me an email at sewretrorose (at) gmail dot com.

This sew-along won't start until the 1st of February to give everyone time to get the pattern and their fabric.  Please note its important with this one to make a muslin, so make sure you have something lying around that you can follow my first post with (that will be all about making your muslin).

Here is another link to the pattern.

I hope you like my choice of pattern, and that you are going to join me on this sew-along!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The SEWsterhood of the Travelling Pattern.

Do you remember that movie from 2005, where four young girls stay in touch by passing around a magical pair of jeans that fits each of them perfectly???

It might have been a good movie - it might have been a rubbish movie.  I have no idea cause I've never seen it.  Girly movies like this one really aren't my thing.

I was talking to a lady on facebook last night about long-distance shared clothing, when I struck upon the idea of doing the same thing with a pattern.  One vintage pattern travels around the world and everyone makes the same dress, but uses their own creativity in choosing fabrics and maybe slightly modifying the dress for them.

So we are going to do it. 

With this pattern.

I've picked this one for a few reasons:
  • Its not overly complicated, so beginner sewers can join in too.
  • Its a decent size to grade up or down from.
  • It offers possibilities for customisation (patch pockets, in-seam pockets, piping, bias etc)
  • It will work in different types of fabric.
So I'm going to set down some rules.

1. Look after the pattern!  Its got a long way to travel, so be gentle with it!!
2. When it gets to you, you need to sew it.  There are other people waiting to play, so hop to it!
3. Get your model on!  We all want to see what you've made, so pose for a few photos.  These need to be emailed to me with a bit of a story so I can write a blog post to update the Sewsterhood on where the pattern is.  If you have a blog, do a post on it and I can link back to your blog as well!
4. Make some notes in the Journal.  This pattern is traveling with its own diary - please write an entry (or a few) - you could pass on any hints for the future sewers, or just write a story.
5. Put it in the Mail.  When you are finished I will give you the address for the next participant so you can send the pattern on its journey.  What you received with the pattern needs to stay with the pattern.

If you draft any special pieces for your dress, it would also be nice if these go with the pattern with some brief instructions.  But this is optional.  

I'm hoping that now that you have read this, you will want to join in.  I will be making a list (with my name at the top) of the Sewsterhood of the Travelling Pattern - to get on it just send an email to sewretrorose(at)gmail(dot)com.  I will be making the list in the same order as I receive emails.  Each blog post I write will say who is getting the pattern next, but I will also send an email to you so you know its on its way.

Join the Sewsterhood!!!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Swirl Sew-along : The Final Post!

Its been a couple of weeks now since I posted the final instructional post for the Swirl Sewalong.  And in that time all the girls have been working their little hearts out to get their dresses finished.  Not everyone made it (life sometimes just gets in the way no matter what we do!) but I hope they still post the photos in the group when they do finish, so I get to see how fabulous they all look.  Everyone has done so well, and I'm so happy that everyone enjoyed my first Sewalong!!!

So here are all the finished dresses!

But because its my blog, we are going to start with me...

Abigail Roberts

 Amber Stivers-Anders

Amy Jansen-Leen

Angela Wicentowich

 Anna Travierso

Claire Gittens

 Daisy Vernimmen

Doris Colerano-Romann

 Esther Hayes

Esther Albantow

Eszter Molnar

 Imogheena Farandel

Irene Kwinten

Jane Hassall

Jane gets points for being first in with her Swirl photos!

Jane Parker

 Janine Roberts

Janine showed off and made two!

Jo Brody

Johanna Taggart

Johanna bought this fabulous fabric from me, and I love that she's used a rose shaped button!

 Kacy Burchfield

Katherine McRae

Kelly Dearman

 Leisa Franklin

Loran Watkins

Loran also showed off and made two!

 Lynn Potts

Shermy Freeman

 Shermy is too adorable for words!

Mary Mayo

Pamela Smith

 Petra Iriska

Rachael Coutts

Sandra Cox

Sandra wore her Swirl for the first time at Disneyworld!!!  AND made her husband a matching vest!!!

Siobhan Smith

Zoe and Sue Chakos
The mother daughter sewing team of the group!

Susan Earlam

Susie-Marie Woods

 I love this photo so much!

Tina Roneklint

Didn't everyone do an amazing job!!!  I love them all so much!!!  Thank you to everyone for making this such a wonderful first experience for me.  I hope you all come back for the next one!!!