Friday, March 23, 2012

I've been given a Versatile Blogger Award!

How lovely... I feel so honoured!

I was given this award by the lovely Laura Mae from Lilacs & Lace who recently inspired me to make my 7m of fabric dress, which you can find out more about here.

The idea with the Versatile Blogger Award is that I tell you 7 things about myself that you wouldn't ordinarily know, and pass the award on to 15 other bloggers that I follow regularly.  I don't follow that many bloggers regularly, so I think I'll just pass it on to the blogs that I do - even if its only 4 or so.

I suppose the thing about this award and telling you 7 things about myself is to show that I am a versatile person (yes?) who can do anything I put my mind to... so here goes!

1. I only started sewing less than 12 months ago
The school I went to was an academic school that didnt teach subjects like sewing and cooking etc, which is a shame because I would have really excelled at those subjects!  My mum (who sews and crafts) taught me the basics when I was 17 but I didn't do much with it and hadn't sewn anything until I picked it up again last year.  And like a duck to water I haven't looked back!  I love to sew, and I love my creations and wear them often.

2.  I have a miniature schnauzer puppy named Stella

Doesn't she look remarkably like the puppy on the garbage bin???

Stella is my baby, and she is my almost constant companion.  She is spoilt rotten but has a beautiful friendly happy personality, and she's wonderful to spend time with.  After knowing her I will never own another breed of dog again.  I called her Stella so I could shout out S-T-E-E-E-L-L-L-A-A-A-A-A-A across the park like the character in A Streetcar Named Desire.  I didn't name her after beer, and people that think that obviously don't know me very well!

3.  I used to sing Opera in my spare time
So I love to sing, but I don't like to sing in public.  I have a confidence issue which springs from my school days.  A girl that I really looked up to told me I sounded terrible, so from that point on I didn't sing in public.  I tried to overcome that, and did sing a bit on stage, but never felt REALLY comfortable so let it go.  However I did sing again on stage just recently (two weeks ago I think) and most of the audience thought I was miming apparently, so it must have been good.  I think this is something I need to work at getting over in the future.

4. I'm getting married in less than a week
Yep its true, I'm off the market guys!  hahaha!

Photo by the lovely Jodi McDonald
Steve doesn't normally sport a moustache by the way - he grew one for Movember last year.

I'm marrying the love of my life, Mr Stephen Leathley in a beautiful three day celebration in the beautiful Montville, Queensland, Australia.  There will be more on this later, as I'm planning to write a blog post about it, so watch this space!!!

5. I was recently a competitor in the grand finals of Miss Pinup Australia
Last year for a bit of fun I entered the Miss Pinup Australia competition, and I was awarded the state title of Miss Classic Pinup Runner Up NSW.  This meant that I had to compete in the grand finals set to be held just two and a half weeks before my wedding!  I had a great time, increased my confidence, sung in front of 500 odd people, and got to swan around in gorgeous vintage clothing, but unfortunately I didnt win anything.  I am planning a post about this too when I have the photos from the professionals that were there that night, so once again, watch this space!!!

6. I dress like a lady of the 1950s every day
I live in a country town in Australia, so I stand out a lot from the other people that live here!  When people ask me why I dress like this I tell them that I love the fashions from that era, they suit my body shape, and they make me feel beautiful, elegant, and feminine.  I can't see the downside to be honest!  And as an extra added bonus SO MANY PEOPLE stop me to tell  me how beautiful I look, or that they love my dress etc.  It far outweighs by about 100 to 1 the people that look at me funny, or snigger.  And it just makes me feel sorry for them that they are so closed minded.

7. I can now be called a professional model!
Yes I can, because the other day I WAS PAID to do a catwalk show in some of my vintage outfits... and I figure that since I was paid, I am now a professional!  How hilarious is that!!  This then led to Steve telling anyone who would listen that he is marrying a model!

So, now to the people I would like to nominate:
Go and check out their blogs!

Thanks for reading


Monday, March 19, 2012

Ever wondered what 7m of fabric looks like as a dress?

If you have wondered you are about to find out!

Back in February (seems like such a long time ago...)  I wrote a post about a dress I'd seen on Laura Mae's blog Lilacs & Lace, which in a serendipidous manner, coincided with a sale at Spotlight where I was able to buy the pattern AND some amazingly gorgeous fabric.

The Vintage Vogue Pattern, originally produced in 1957

 My GORGEOUS fabric!  It is a quilting fabric so not very wide, just like vintage fabrics

Now making this dress hasn't been without its issues.  First up I was cutting out the pattern (not something I have to do often) and since I'd just bought it, I cut out the size 10 (my modern size) without even thinking... until at some point I checked the back of the pattern envelope only to realise that the pattern was in vintage sizes, not modern sizes!!!  So not only had I cut out the wrong one, I'd purchased the wrong one!!!

I got out the tape measure and measured the waist, and it came to 28 inches, not 24 inches like the pattern envelope said - so it should fit.  THANK GOD FOR EASE!!!  But just to make sure I got out some scrap fabric and made up the bodice to check... and it fitted - thank goodness!

Next issue was adjustment and placement of the pattern pieces for the bodice to match the stripes up on the seam lines.  I haven't done this before so I took my time.  Then I was cutting out the skirt  (lawd there was a lot of it!) and I ran out of fabric for the last goddet.  Sigh!  Luckily I was still able to get another metre of the fabric at the store.

So really you could say that this is what 8m of fabric looks like when its made up as a dress...

My pattern envelope recreation.
Now I know that in the original pattern envelope girl in the main image is wearing a hat... but I only
noticed that when I had a REALLY close look.  From the placement of her hands I thought she was holding
a parasol.  And since I have an appropriately coloured parasol, and no large hat, I went with the parasol.

I'm extraordinarily happy with how this dress turned out!  I think the stripes match up pretty well where it counts (the front and back of the bodice), and the sheer amount of fabric in the dress is divine to wear, if a little heavy.  It swishes beautifully as you walk!  So much so that I am going to make a couple of skirts using this pattern.

Oh, and to finish off the dress I made a self-covered belt using one of the stripes in the fabric, and a vintage (probably 1930's) pink belt buckle.

I have garnered a lot of comments wearing this dress.  So many people have stopped me to tell me how beautiful it is and how lovely I look in it.  Its so rewarding to see the looks on their faces when I say that I made it!

So originally I was inspired by Laura Mae's dress.  She in turn had been inspired by a post on Sew Weekly.  Here's me hoping I can pass the inspiration on to someone else.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

My new favourite book!

Yesterday I was in Sydney on a mission (thats a post for another day!) and I popped into the T2 Tea shop in Newtown.  I love their tea, and I a few months ago I purchased a gorgeous glass teapot and two tea cups and saucers from them for when I have a friend over.  But the other day I was cleaning up and I dropped one of the cups and it shattered everywhere - boo!  Anyway there was a park on the opposite of the street to the store (in King Street, Newtown... and that NEVER happens) so I popped in to replace my tea cup.

Now the lady who served me was lovely, and very excitedly showed me this book.  She kept telling me how fabulous it was and how much it looked like it was just my thing...

The Vintage Tea Party Book by Agnel Adoree

I got just as excited as she was and bought it without even opening the cover!

When I got home I made myself a cup of tea and flicked through the book, and I must say that I am so inspired I want to hold a vintage tea party as soon as possible!

The book is broken up into four sections; Brunch, Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea, and Evening.  Each section contains delicious recipes to make with fabulous photography and styling

How gorgeous does this look!!!  By the way, I'm now looking for Coddlers...

A modern take on cucumber sandwiches!

The book also contains decorating tips and other projects to make, hints on buying vintage clothing, and instructions on how to do your hair and makeup.

But the crowning glory in this book, in my opinion, are the drinks.  Yes - there are recipes to make tea cocktails!

The book is available on Amazon for the amazingly cheap price of US$19.57.  I paid AU$35 for it, but I'm not going to complain - I think the book is WELL WORTH THE PRICE!

So, who wants to come to my vintage tea party???


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Completed Vintage Swimsuit!

So for those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while, you will remember my posts about sewing a vintage swimsuit and coat from an original vintage pattern.  If you want to catch up you can find the posts here and here.

And then there was my post earlier in the week about the photo shoots for my sewing projects...

When you combine these together you get this post!

So here is the original pattern envelope:

And here is my version - featuring me!

Please excuse my dodgy photoshop cutting out!  I really like this idea so I'm going to invest in a proper background setup so I won't have to cut myself out in future.  And I also avoided the temptation to shave a few kilos off, or make my waist smaller!

The garment itself is great - I love wearing it around the house when its warm, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the matching jacket!  For me it is a win/win.  However I would not swim in it.

Not sure on your opinion, but I think that cotton is not my favourite fabric for swimwear, unless the garment uses elastic.  The only elastic in this swimsuit is in the legs, and thats not going to help me if it wants to fall down when wet is it!

I'd appreciate some feedback on my pattern envelope recreation idea now that you've seen it.

Until next time!


Monday, March 5, 2012

My Favourite Thing About Vintage Patterns

There is a lot that makes me happy about sewing from vintage patterns... the history, the beautiful designs and attention to detail, that old-paper smell... but my favourite thing would have to be the pattern illustrations.

Take a look at these for example:

I love this coat pattern, and not because its the first thing I sewed

Look how happy this girl looks to be wearing this very pretty patterned dress!

So very elegant!
But it did take me a little while to realise that the yellow thing is a HAT
not an UMBRELLA... confusing considering the way she holds her hands... 

Land ahoy!

Maybe thats one of the reasons I feel so compelled to collect them.  The illustrations are beautiful, and can be very frivilous, much like a lot of the fashions of the 1950s really.

All this is leading somewhere I promise!  

I was sitting on the lounge the other night and a thought popped into my head... When I photograph my creations I should pose the same way the girls are posing on the pattern envelopes!!!  And maybe one day when I have a better photography setup (ie. a background) I can recreate the pattern envelope for my blog!

I was really excited about the creative challenge behind this, so stay tuned for some pretty poses in my creations next time I blog about a completed project... which will be very soon!


Friday, March 2, 2012

The Best Invention EVER!!!

Contrary to popular opinion its not sliced bread.  In fact, my contender for the best invention ever is LINGERIE STRAPS!!!

I was in the process of putting the finishing touches on this dress:

Vintage Vogue Pattern V1127
More to come on this dress later!

And I came to the instructions for something called Lingerie Straps... I was thinking what the?  But then I read it and OH MY GOD BEST INVENTION EVER!!  These are little straps that you put at the top of the shoulder on the inside of the dress that have a little press stud at one end, and they hold your dress to your bra strap!

  These instructions have changed my life!

I don't know about you but I have a few dresses that sit almost on the edge of my shoulder and they have a habit of falling down, or feeling like they are falling down, and that drives me mad.  One of these dresses is a beautiful vintage dress I bought to compete in the Miss Pinup Australia finals in next week.  And the last thing I want to be doing when I'm posing on stage is pulling it up all the time.  So I thought I'd add some lingerie straps... but lo and behold it ALREADY HAD THEM!

See the cute little white strap?  And it works like a charm too!

It also has this other weird strap... I have no idea what it's purpose is yet but give me time I'll work it out!

Any ideas?

Right, so I didn't have to sew them to that dress, but there was another dress that I'd made from a vintage pattern that fell down constantly.  This one:

I call this dress my Parrot Dress because the fabric has macaws on it - love it!

So I got busy and made lingerie straps from bias tape that matching the edges of the dress, and some little snaps I had.  It was a pretty straightforward job I must admit, and not too time consuming, but wow did it make the dress so much easier and more comfortable to wear!

I just noticed my foot in this photo - how tiny does it look all the way down there!

In closing, this has been a real eye opener for me, and I will now be adding these little straps to just about every dress I make, and some that I already own.  Such a small thing for so much benefit!