Friday, August 30, 2013

Fall For Cotton : HELP!

So as announced earlier in the week, I've joined the Fall for Cotton Sew-along.  And I'd made a decision about what I was going to sew... but now I'm not so sure...

My original idea was this:

I was planning on making view 2 (right hand lady) and use red gingham on the contrasting shoulders and sleeves.  And I love this idea, and I will make it at some point... but you know how your mind wanders with inspiration some times....

Well this pattern arrived and my brain began to wander:

Mainly because I have a country themed shoot coming up in early November, and I can just see view 1 with the flouncy collar made up in blue gingham...  And besides, I do need to make a muslin of this pattern before I use it for its intended purpose, which is my Melbourne Cup dress using vintage silk with horses printed on it...

Its not cotton, so can't participate in the sew-along...

But then, my mind drifted again to the fabrics I purchased at Rose Seidler House Fifties Fair on the weekend, in particular the 4.5 metres of the blue roses border print cotton.

I do have inspiration for this dress, but its not a pattern.  Remember that glorious dress that I saw that was too small for me?  Here is a reminder:

I'm thinking I could copy it.  Wouldn't be too difficult... until I got to the piping bit.  Haven't played with piping yet...

So this is where the help bit comes in.  I can't made a decision.  I'm hoping you guys can.  To sum up, here are you choices:

A) Cherries and red gingham
B) Flouncy blue gingham
C) Vintage blue roses.

Aaaaaaand GO!


PS.  It'd be really good if you guys could come to some sort of agreement and all comment the same, thanks!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Rose Seidler House 50s Fair 2013

Well what a gorgeous day it was on Sunday - the weather was unseasonably warm and the sun was shining.  The perfect day for a Fifties Fair!

And you finally get to see a photo of me in the outfit I made!  I love it!!

My favourite bit is always the markets!  I buy most of my vintage online because there really isn't much available in my area, so being able to handle things before I buy them is nice.  Stalls range from nicely organised ones:

To ones that are a free for all rummage where there is so much stuff for sale its hard to see anything!

And there is all kinds of things for sale - fabrics, patterns, homewares, furniture, gorgeous clothing and accessories:

This dress was amazing, and if it fit me it would be hanging in my wardrobe right now, but it didn't.  Sigh!  The most amusing thing mum and I found all day was this:

Its a Spanking Stick!!!  Hilarious!!!

But I just know you want to see what I purchased!

This sweet little hat - lovely lolly pink with white flowers on the sides and a bow on the back

These lovely lilac earrings - they need a bit of a clean...

 4.5 metres of this vintage border print cotton... I see a full skirted dress in its future!

 And 4 metres of this fabulous vintage border print cotton by John Wolf Textiles in the palest of pinksHere is a close-up of the 'scene':

This seller had heaps of other fabrics, and I could have bought A LOT more (for a start there was a pink roses length the same as the blue roses), but unfortunately I did have a budget - sad face!

The gorgeous old house (which is a museum) is also open to view... but there are so many people that its really difficult to relax and take it in!

But how fabulous is this mural on the verandah!

In case you are wondering, when you go in the house you have to take your shoes off.  This may well be the only photo you will ever see with me in stockinged feet and no shoes.

On the road out the front of the house there are also lovely vintage cars!

Now, I did enter the best dressed competition, but I didn't make the cut.  This is no doubt due to the fact that my outfit wasn't all vintage (ie, I made my dress and bolero the week before, so its 'new').  But never mind!  Whilst it would have been a lovely fairytale to blog about if I won, it didn't happen.  I loved my outfit, I felt fabulous, and I received many compliments.

But that wasn't all I did on Sunday.  Mum and I left the fair at around lunch time and headed to a bar for a glass of champagne each and a lovely lunch, and then we headed in the direction of home, but stopped in at a race track to watch my husbands horse race in the last race of the day!

If you're wondering why the air is so dirty, they were doing a hazard burn in the area so this is smoke from a controlled bush fire.

The horse (Battle Street) drew an outside barrier and had a massive run up the outside to come fourth - but it was a great run and if there was 100 metres more he would have had them.

Anyway - Mum and I had a fabulous day.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend too!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Fall For Cotton Sew-Along

Yes, I have decided to join Tasha of By Gum, By Golly and Rochelle of Lucky Lucille in their Fall for Cotton Sew-along!

This sew along is for people who like vintage styles (check!) and think cotton fabric is amazing (check!).

Here are the rules:
  1. Join the Flickr group Fall For Cotton and say hi
  2. Pick a pattern tha helps you recreate a garment from your favourite vintage decade: 1920s to 1970s
  3. Pick any fabric thats 100% cotton
  4. Get organised to start sewing on the 1st of September
  5. Have your finished garment photographed and uploaded to Flickr by the 30th of September
Not only is there a Flickr group, there is a hashtag for Instagram and Twitter - #fallforcotton

Tasha and Rochelle have already done some fabulous posts on buying vintage cotton fabric here and here, and modern cotton fabric here.

I'm working on some ideas for what I'll sew for this sew-along - the possibilities really are endless!!!  Why don't you join in???


Friday, August 23, 2013

The Outfit Emergency Continues...

... well its actually not an emergency any more, because the outfit is FINISHED!!!!

Yes, the dress was finished on Wednesday night (thanks to hubby and step-son being at rugby training, giving me extra sewing time) and I sewed the bolero last night from start to finish in two hours.

Yes, two hours.

I only made a tiny alteration to the pattern - the same one as the dress - which was to add half an inch to the side seam on the front and back pieces.  And from there it was a very simple sew, mainly due to the fact that there is no collar.  Who needs a collar on the bolero when there is such a fabulous one on the dress???

I'm really happy with the way this outfit turned out.  Especially considering it was a last minute sew.  I've decided I'm going to enter the best dressed competition at the fair, so you all need to cross your fingers for me!!!

I am already planning making this outfit again, and there will be things I will do differently (and I'll make sure I do a much more detailed post when I do).  But they will be very very minor alterations that you won't notice from the outside.

I'm going to make up another version in this fabric, to go with this hat!

This is obviously not me - I think its the Etsy seller I purchased the hat from.

This version will have a lilac satin bolero made with some lovely thick satin that I have in my stash.  I'm going to a ladies day at a race meeting in a couple of weeks and I thought having an enormous bunch of flowers on my head would be perfect for a spring outfit!!!

And due to the vintage fair (and a stallion parade at a thoroughbred stud that I'm attending with my father-in-law) there will be no sewing this weekend.  But never fear!  I'm going to have to fill you in on the goings-on at the Rose Seidler House Fifties Fair, so you WILL be hearing from me!

But if you can't wait until then, go on over to my Facebook Page because I'm sure to post something on there!

Till next week!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Outfit Emergency!!!

This coming weekend is the Rose Seidler 50s Fair - the vintage festival I most look forward to every year.  I've been planning and collecting vintage bits and pieces for my outfit for a couple of months now - all inspired by this gorgeous vintage pagoda shaped parasol.

Isn't it magnificent - and in beautiful condition too!

So I trawled etsy and purchased all the pieces for an outfit that I thought would be wonderful.  Here is my 'mood board' for the outfit.

I bought a different hat, but everything else here now belongs to me

Now I LOVE the dress (I'm wearing it today actually) but its a very dark navy, and when I put the whole outfit on it just didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

Panic Stations!

Trying to get to sleep on Monday night I was obsessing about the whole thing and realised I *could* wear it, but I just wouldn't be happy, and its such a big event for me that I really want to be happy with what I wear.  So then my mind wandered to the vintage patterns that had just arrived that day, and I realised this one would be PERFECT!

And luckily for me Tuesday is my day off!  I made sure I was at Spotlight at 9am Tuesday morning so I could buy my supplies and get back home as quickly as possible to get started.  I also realised I was going to have to cut some corners to make this happen, but hey - I like being inventive!

The corner that I cut that most concerns me is not pre-washing my fabric.  I just didn't have time!  This dress will be very gently treated in the wash in future and I will have everything crossed that nothing goes wrong!  I'm sure you'll hear if there is a problem...

Anyway, I got the pattern out and did some measuring to see what I needed to do to make it fit - not much as it turns out!  What I would normally do is redraft the pattern piece to the correct size, but I didn't have time for that, so here is another corner cut:

Yes, I got out my chalk pencil and drew my adjustments directly onto the fabric!  All I needed to do was add half an inch to the bodice front and back pieces - simple!  I got cutting, and then I got sewing!

But of course I don't want to make things too easy for myself!  I decided to add some contrasting trims to the collar and the skirt so it wasn't just a navy blue dress.  Here are the finished collar pieces:

I did a bit of thinking before I did this part, because I needed a clean result that matched at the collar seam since it was going to be such a focal point.  Of course, you could attach the ribbon to the collar piece and then sew them together, but I have found that technique a bit of pot luck in the past, and really I was trying to do this as quickly as possible... so this is what I came up with!

I realised that if I matched them at the seams first the rest would be a piece of cake, so I sandwiched the lengths of ribbon in between the fabric pieces and then sewed the seam.  After that, I ironed the seam flat and stuck the ribbon trim pieces down in place, and sewed them!  TA-DA!!

Thats another corner I'm cutting, I'm using hemming tape in two different widths to stick down the trim before I sew it on.  Ideally it would all be hand sewn, but who's got time for that???

The first one took about twice as long as the second one (why is that?) but in record quick time I had them together and on the bodice.

Then it was on to the skirt!  When I bought the pattern it was pointed out by the seller that the pieces had been cut at the 'lengthen or shorten here' line and the pieces that were cut off were not included.  Not that this is a major issue, but I expected that I might have to lengthen the pieces, so I measured them.  They were cut to 31 inches and the perfect skirt length for me is 27-28 inches - HOORAY!

I started sewing all the pieces together and pinning the pleats (they are soft pleats so only need to be held down until they were sewed to the bodice).  I cut another corner at this point - I didn't do my normal seam treatments, I just cut them with pinking shears.  If it was good enough for home sewers in the 1950s, its good enough for me!

The skirt and the bodice sewed together in record time and the zipper went in without a drama.  I hemmed the skirt to my preferred length, and started putting the trim on the skirt.

You can tell when its getting late by the quality of the lighting in my photos!

This trim is all being stuck down with hemming tape too, and then it will be sewn, just like the collar.  I'm measuring the distance from the bottom trim and the hem, but the rest of it I'm doing by eye (my eye is reasonably accurate).  I haven't finished sticking the ribbon trim on yet, but I couldn't resist taking a photo to show you all!

I need to explain about the cream cotton satteen thats draped over the shoulders.  It is going to be a bolero, but I haven't started it yet, so I just draped the fabric for illustrative purposes.  The reason I chose cream is because of the light colour on the parasol AND the lining and fold-over bits of my basket purse.  Besides that, it also makes the collar really stand out!

And here's another photo of my accessories - I'm so in love with all of them!

And in case you were wondering, the bangles are bakelite.  I've discovered a seller on Etsy that polishes bakelite, removing patina to take it back to its original colour.  Seriously, I've never seen anything like it!  Go and check out Brighter Bakelite!!

So tonight, I hope to finish sticking the ribbon trim on and then sew it down, and then finish the arm holes with bias.  If that all happens with a minimum of fuss and bother, I'll start on the bolero!

Wish me luck!!!



This is for Doris Button and anyone else who'd like to know what hat I'm wearing with my outfit.  I bought this one, which REALLY needs a good steam before the weekend.  I'll add that to my list of things I need to do!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wonder Woman and Shoe Cupcakes

Those of you that follow my facebook page will know that last weekend I did not sew a single thing!  Instead I worked with my friends Miss Sasha and Miss Lucy at the Sherbet Birdie studios, helping to turn ladies into Wonder Woman!

But first of all I had my turn!

But thats not a professional one... here is a professional one!

I'm rocking my golden lassoo!

My job on these shoot days is as a hostess.  I will get you tea or coffee or water while your hair and makeup is being done by the fabulous Lucy Topp, I'll get you a blanket if you are cold, or I will fan you if you are warm (yes, I stand there with a fan until you are comfortable).  Whilst you are having your photo taken I assist Miss Sasha by making sure everthing is in place and you are looking your best.  Then after the shoot I get you champagne and whatever goodies I have baked for you to eat.

This time around I made these:

Strawberries and Cream High Heel Shoe Cupcakes!!!

These were a labour of love, as are all the treats I take to Sherbet Birdie, and I actually started making them several days before the shoot.  The white pieces that make up the vamp and the footbed of the shoe are fondant, which I rolled, cut in shapes and draped over RedBull cans to dry.

Whilst they were drying I made the heels from musk sticks, marshmallows and raspberry lollies.

Then, when the fondant was good and hard I decorated those pieces.

I drew freehand onto the footbeds with a food colouring texta to create a Sherbet Birdie monogram

The ribbon and plastic sparkly flowers were 'stuck' on with icing that dried hard

Then on Friday night I baked cupcakes in Miss Sasha's kitchen and when they had cooled I sat on the floor of her loungeroom to ice them.

All the Wonder Women loved them, and there are probably a lot of photos of them floating around the internet now, because I think everyone took a photo of the one I served them!

So thats it!  Because I didn't sew anything on the weekend this is the only thing I have to blog about this week... but I'm looking forward to getting back into it this weekend and have about 10 projects I'd like to start.  I'm trying to whittle it down to one so as not to overwhelm myself!

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A New Lease of Life

*** This is NOT a post about upcycling.  Upcycling is where good vintage goes to be slaughtered.  You can read more on my opinions about upcycling here ***

I recently purchased this amazing 1940s rayon house coat.

There were no holes, but there were a few small stains, and it didn't sound like it would fit my hips ... but the print!!!  DIVINE!!!  So I bought it anyway, hoping I could make something out of it.

When it arrived I fell in love with the weight of the fabric - its easily four times heavier than the dress I was wearing last week!  And I put it on and realised I could make a dress with a slightly off centre closure!!

So I went on the hunt for some buttons and found these 1960s ones.  I would have preferred 1940s ones but the colour was just too perfect!

First job was to shorten it about 5 inches, and this was when I realised that someone else had already shortened it!

See that dodgy hem, and the cotton was a different colour to the other seams...

And then next job was to do bound button holes.  Now I've done a lot of these just recently, but in wool, which is not shifty and cranky like rayon.

It took a while but we got there in the end!  I sewed the buttons on and a new fancy and strong hook and eye at the waist and ta-da!

And here it is on me!

So now, the housecoat that no-one wanted is now a fabulous wearable dress!  Has anyone else done a similar thing to a piece of vintage to make it more wearable?