Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vintage Pattern Illustrators, I have a bone to pick with you!

First up, I love vintage pattern illustrations.  All the women look so glamorous and beautiful and slim, with perfect posture.  They look the way I want to look.

Look at the posture of the woman on the left - perfect!

And how impossibly slim is the woman on the right - but oh how glamorous!!!

But I have a bone to pick with you 1950s Pattern Illustrators - YOU LIE!!!  Don't get me wrong, I understand that these clothes won't instantly make me thinner, taller, and more glamorous, but I expect that the piece of clothing I make from the pattern you illustrated will at least look like the picture you drew!

Here is my case in point.  Just recently I decided to make a few blouses from a very simple 1950s pattern I had - this one:

I made View 1 (the bottom two illustrations).  Now you would think that from the illustration I would have a blouse with an elegantly low, sweeping neckline... NO!  To get the low sweeping neckline I had to cut it two inches lower AND make a new facing.  Now I wouldn't be so irritated if I hadn't already cut out the blouse four times from four different fabrics...sigh!  Not difficult to fix, but annoying.

Apart from this issue, the pattern makes a really lovely, simple and easy to make blouse:

See look how adorable this blouse is!  It was worth all the annoyance.

The low sweeping back is as per the pattern envelope - they just got the front wrong
(By the way, how cute does my butt look in these Bernie Dexter jeans!)

I have now made this blouse in cute apple fabric, as above (which I adore), a dark aqua and white polka dot fabric (which you havent seen yet but you will), lovely lilac fabric, and boring-but-useful black fabric.  And whilst sewing the same thing a few times is useful, its oh so boring - so bring on the next challenge I say!!!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

A skirt making FRENZY!

Wow, have I made a lot of skirts recently!  Well, I've made four... and I've got one more to go.

Last weekend I was fortunate to find myself with a willing assistant (my step-daughter Miss Livy) to take photos, which means I'm able to show you two of the skirts I've made.

First up is this delightful dusty pink floral skirt, which is perfect for wearing whilst drinking tea:


 "No Stella, the cup of tea is not for you!"

The fabric is quite a heavy woven cotton, so its a good weight for winter.  Plus its a pretty colour.  I like wearing it with blue to bring out the blue hydrangea in the print, but it also looks lovely with pink.

Right!  The next skirt I made is with the most awesome cotton fabric EVER!

Thats right - apples!  And its so bright and cheery, it makes me want to dance:

But you can't see the skirt very well in that one, so here is a more normal pose:

I have one more skirt to make - its boring (but servicable) black.  But I'm going to turn it up a notch by putting in POCKETS!  And this weekend I'm getting two days of sewing (thanks to the Steve being otherwise entertained), so I'm pretty sure I'll get the skirt done, and some other blouses, and maybe some more cutting out...

Have a great week - what's left of it!


Dusty Pink Skirt:
Fabric : Heavy woven cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics
Cardigan : Vintage (yes, the buttons have to go)
Singlet : Target, several years ago
Shoes : Payless Shoes - cheap and cheerful!
Petticoat : Spindance Australia (best ever!)

Apple Skirt:
Fabric : Cotton from Spotlight
Headscarf : Vintage from Etsy
Earrings : Vintage from Etsy
Cardigan : Alannah Hill (sigh! I love Alannah Hill)
Belt : That Shop
Shoes : Toni Bianco from Wanted Shoes
Petticoat : Spindance Australia

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inspiration - Keeping track of all those ideas

There are so many ways to get inspired.  Sometimes its a straight-forward process where I read a sewing blog and see an outfit I love, or an idea I love, like this one:

This is Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace You can read about this outfit here and here
Whats not to love about this outfit?  The blouse is adorable (I have since bought both patterns she used to make it, so I can make one too) and the ruffle on the bottom of the skirt finishes it off beautifully!

Or I'm having a virtual rummage through vintage clothing on Etsy, and I see something like this:

This is so divine it makes me want to cry.
This vintage dress would have fitted me, but the price was exorbitant, and with construction that simple I'm going to make my own 'knock-off' copy.

Other times it happens when my brain is resting while I'm walking the dog, or sitting on the couch.

"Come on Mum - lets go for a WALK!"

The first two are easy to deal with, now that I'm on Pinterest (you can follow me here by the way), I can just pin it on my sewing inspiration board.  But what about when I'm out walking the dog?  Or I see something in a mazagine?  What am I supposed to do then?

I'm beginning to think I need to get an actual pin board for my sewing room, where I can put up swatches of the fabric I have, and what I was thinking when I bought it.  I can also stick up notes, and magazine tear outs, and other random stuff...  This combined with my virtual pin boards on Pinterest might just mean that I am able to keep track of all that inspiration.

How do you keep track of the things that inspire you?  Do you think this idea will work?

On a sewing note, I had a VERY BUSY sewing day last weekend and entered what can only be described as a 'cutting-out frenzy'.  I currently have laid ot on the floor enough pieces to make:
  • two skirts (there was enough for four skirts, but I already made two)
  • four blouses
  • one dress
You see, I wanted to make skirts, so I bought what I considered to be the correct amount of fabric.  But I ended up with LEFTOVERS!  And enough leftovers to make a simple blouse from each fabric as well, and still have scrpas to give to my mum!  And while I was at it I also finished cutting out the dress I started a week and a bit ago.

I haven't been able to get photos of the two skirts I have made, but I'm going to try my hardest to do that this weekend.  They are adorable - you're gonna love them.

And I also want to sew up the remaining two skirts and four blouses this weekend.  They are simple enough so I think this is achievable...  The dress might have to wait for another day though...

Now...  off to the shops to find a cheap pin board.  Wish me luck!!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Hooray! I've sewn something!!

With all that's been going on in my life recently (my birthday, getting married, going on a honeymoon, going on another honeymoon) I haven't had much time to sew.  Until last weekend that is!


For those of you that don't know, I'm thoroughly besotted by lilac at the moment... it seems like every other thing I buy is lilac.  Lilac necklace, head scarf, shoes, fabric... I'm eyeing off a vintage bag, and a vintage coat.  So it seemed only fitting that the first thing I sew is a lovely gathered lilac skirt.

I used a dress patteren that I've made before, but just cut the skirt pieces out, then cut out the belt pattern piece from the same pattern to make the waistband.  That gave me a nice cross over end bit for the button:

Unfortunately its a fraction large, but because I did the buttonhole horizontal that gives me a bit of play, so I'm going to add some hook and eye's to secure it at its tightest point.

And now I have something to match perfectly with my amazing lilac plastic shoes!!!

Yes, they are plastic, and they smell like a My Little Pony!

I also 60% sewed another skirt, which I will (fingers crossed) finish this weekend.  Its from a beautiful dusty pink floral that I had left over from when I sewed a dress last year.  And I think skirts are great for winter, so I'm making a few at the moment...  I currently have the following things I would like to sew:
  • the floral skirt that I started last weekend
  • another skirt from a fabulous apple print fabric I found
  • another skirt from teal and white polka dot fabric that matches a vintage head scarf I own
  • another skirt - servicable black this time
  • a lilac dress (which I have half cut out)
  • a blouse from a lilac floral print cotton; and
  • a magnificent house coat from pinwale cord, which I'm going to line in that fab soft minkie fabric
I think I'm going to be very busy sewing for the next little while... Hooray!!

Also (because I don't have enough to do) I bought this vintage duchess / dresser to restore:

Now I bought this for the princely sum of $32.50  It even has the tri-fold scalloped super tall mirror with it.  Total bargain!  Especially when you consider the handles:

So I'm going to sand it back and paint it cream, and then put some funky 1950s style accents on it to update it but still keep it vintage.  Keep your eye out for a future post on this one!

Anyway, I have a lot of sewing to do - so I better get going!