Thursday, May 29, 2014

I've Made A Start On The Green Suit!!!

This is another one of those outfits that is inspired by something that could be viewed as an accessory.

This vintage beaded and embellished mink collar appeared on a swap and sell Facebook group I'm a part of called Ooh La La, and I snapped it up super quick.  I'd seen fur collars before, but the beading and rhinestones on this one were just amazing!  I had to have it.  And I immediately started planning a suit.

First up I looked for wool to make a suit from.  I tried really hard not to go in with any preconceived ideas about colour.  I wanted to see what was available and then make a decision from there.

I found this amazing bright olive wool, and a lovely lining to go with it.

Thats the lining up there in the top right corner.

Then the search started for the pattern.  I went through a few searches on Etsy until I found this one.

No, I won't be going ice skating any time soon...

I picked this one because I loved the cut of the jacket, the way it buttoned all the way up AND it had a rounded collar.  It also got extra bonus points because it was my size!

I've had it all sitting in my sewing room waiting its turn, and on the weekend its turn came!  I spent a little while cutting it all out including the lining and the hair canvas.

not that you can see any hair canvas in this pile...

I find the first job when I'm making a suit is to do the bound buttonholes.  You don't want to do bound button holes when the suit is under construction because its a pain in the butt.  Get em done first and get em out of the way!

I use silk organza when I'm making bound button holes on a thick fabric like wool.  Its strong, and it doesn't add bulk.

This step always reminds me of tissue boxes....

The next step is sewing the darts, and then adding the hair canvas.  This step is more than likely not covered in the pattern instructions (I haven't looked at them yet), so I'm referring to my tailoring book Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas von Nordheim (which you can find here).

I modified the facing piece from the pattern to cut my hair canvas, and once the pattern pieces were pinned in, I trimmed them so they will sit just inside the stitching line when the seams are made.

I then pinned single fold bias tape around the external edges of the canvas.  This then needs to be hand sewn on to permanently attach the canvas to the fashion fabric.  More hand sewing.

Much more hand sewing.

By the way, the pink bias will never be seen when the jacket is finished, but I'll know the pop of colour is there.  I love doing things like that with my garments!

So this is where I'm at now.  I've repeated the above process for both fronts and the back, and they are now waiting for me to hand sew my little heart out.  I'm hoping once I get a roll on it won't take me too long, so I will have something to show you next week!

Oh! And I got another hair cut!!

If you'd have told me my hair would be this short 6 months ago I would have told you you were completely mad!  Isn't it funny how things happen sometimes...  I'm loving it, and I've got really good feedback about it from everyone around me.

I need to stop writing this now, and start on the hand sewing... so much to do!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Day at The Sydney Fair

Last Friday I took the day off work (any excuse really!) to attend The Sydney Fair.  I took my mum with me for company, like I do a lot of the time.  We enjoy mostly the same things so it works out well really!

This fair is different to the ones I have attended in the past, mostly because it has a focus on the design movements of the 20th Century - namely Art Deco (my favourite!), Art Moderne and Mid Century.  And there are only 27 exhibitors, most of whom were selling furniture.  But there were quite a few people selling vintage clothing.

Before we get into all of that, have a look at the roof of the building where the fair was held.

Its hard to tell from a photograph, but that dome is ENORMOUS!  The building was constructed in the 1920s and the recent renovations to the dome, ornate pillars, jarrah wood floors, and lead lighting have really increased the impact when you step inside.  Airconditioning wouldn't go astray though... we are experiencing a very warm autumn here and the temperatures inside the hall were almost too warm.

The building really was an incredible place to showcase the antiques though - especially the furniture!  If I had an empty house and several hundred thousand dollars I would have cleaned up!  Soooo many beautiful things!

I would have purchased this incredible couch:

and the sideboard in the background.  And I would also have purchased these lounge chairs:

Tiger print!!!!!

And I loved this display.  I think I would have purchased this thing and all the suitcases to store stuff in!

There was also a display of couture vintage clothing from the 1930s through to the 1960s, all of which could be purchased!  Here is a particularly beautiful 1930s gown:

Now, if you look to the left of the gown you will see a photo of it being worn by Miss Polly Polkadot - the same lady I made the Gnome Dress for!!!!! 

Also in this display were two suits by the 1930s Hollywood designer Adrian.  Now I hadn't heard of him until I saw a cat fight online over a pair of shoes, and had to look him up!  He was a costume designer who worked for film studios the 1930s and 1940s.  He made costumes for 250 films, including The Wizard of Oz, The Great Ziegfeld, and the evening gowns in The Women (I saw this movie recently - I died.  You must watch it!).  He was also behind Joan Crawford's signature large shoulder pads!  One of the suits on exhibition did a terrific job of showing the signature Joan Crowford look:

mmm - love me a good shoulder pad!

In reality, this was all icing on the cake for me.  What I really went to do was to meet up with Lucky Dry Goods, one of the two exhibitors that had come all the way from the US to sell vintage clothing at the fair.  I had purchased things before from Lucky Dry Goods on Etsy, and I had seen some sneak peaks of things they were bringing on Instagram and Facebook.  I was particularly interested in one particular 1940s novelty print rayon crepe dress, so I crossed my fingers that it would still be there when I arrived.

Paul from Lucky Dry Goods recognised me before I saw their shop sign, and he was relieved to see me.  People had been looking at the dress and he kept hoping that they would put it back so it would still be there for me to purchase.  I had a lovely chat with Paul about all kinds of things - he was my kind of person!

ie. slightly insane!
Yes, he is wearing pink socks... love it!

They had SO MUCH EYE CANDY in their store that it really was difficult not to spend my inheritance.  I did buy the dress I went there to purchase, and an incredible bakelite ring, both of which I wore the next day even though they don't match (which, as you should know, is very unlike me!)

Its hard to see the print from the photo above, but you will see it clearly in the photo of the ring below!

please excuse my terrible nail polish.

Its a CAMEO novelty print!  Not only that - its TEAL and HOT PINK!!!!!  I am now on the hunt for a fabulous pair of cameo earrings to wear with it.  Let me know if you find any.

Oh, and yeah, the bakelite ring... isn't it FABULOUS!!!!!  I put it on my finger when I saw it, and didn't take it off.  Thankfully Paul and Caryn were paying attention or I totally would have forgotten to pay for it!

After mum and I were finished dreaming about what else we'd buy if we had unlimited budgets, we drove into the city of Sydney to have some lunch.  My go-to place is always the sushi train in the David Jones Food Hall.  When we arrived there was no-one seated, so I got to sit on the wall side facing out looking at the amazing produce on display, while my lunch zoomed past on a conveyor belt.

I love a good sushi train!

Mum and I had a fabulous day out.  It was really worth going, and I'm pretty sure I will go back again next year!  Did anyone else go?


Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Vintage Recreation for Jodie

I was contacted by Jodie waaaaaaaay back in January.  She wanted a custom dress to wear to the Cooly Rocks On festival in Coolangatta that runs from the 30th of May to the 2nd of June this year (and around abouts the same time every other year).  Of course I said I would love to make her a dress, and we started chatting from there.

Jodie wanted a dress with a full circle skirt, a sweetheart neckline, and bracelet length sleeves or something covering her arms, made from a bright stretch cotton sateen.  We went backwards and forth for a while tossing around ideas and eventually settled on recreating a vintage dress from my collection - this Kamehameha (who was a Hawaiian king don't cha know!)

The sweetheart neckline is actually a straight cut that is turned into a sweetheart neckline by the tie - meaning you can have it as daring or not-so-daring as you like!

And the full circle skirt is embellished by (only one, sadly) amazing patch pocket that is reminiscent of the bust.

I decided to make Jodie a bolero to wear with her dress.  This would give her the sleeves she wants, but also make the dress more versatile, as she can wear it without the bolero, or with a different jacket or cardigan!

So I set about pattern making and cutting out all the fabric required - the cotton sateen and a contrasting cotton, and a whole bunch of bias strips.  This took me much longer than I thought it would!

I got caught up and forgot to take photos of the fabric before I started... oops!

Then I started construction - otherwise known as the fun bit!  The bodice went together very easily, even with all the fiddly details like the piping, pleated straps, and bodice tie.

Isn't the fabric she chose fabulous!  More of a mustard in person, but so bright!

The skirt and the fabulous pockets also went together really easily.  Actually the pockets were fun!  I love copying things - it really appeals to the problem solving side of me!

oops - thats a bit blurry... sorry!

Then before I knew it the dress was all done!

So it was on to the bolero.

I decided to make it double sided so that Jodie could decide to wear it pattern side out or plain side out.  But not just that, I decided to have a stripe running around the bottom of the bolero in the opposite fabric.

I love to make my life more interesting by adding LOTS of detail!

The bolero isn't finished yet, but here is the patterned side.

And here is the plain side.

Which way around do you think she should wear it???

This weekend I will be putting the finishing touches on the bolero, as well as starting on my next suit - a lovely bright olive green that I am adding an embellished vintage fur collar to.

Before I go I just want to apologise for this being my only blog post in a while.  I've been struck down by a cold / flu thing and its taken me a week and a half to get over it.  It seems that when I get these things now, I get much sicker than I did before I became a coeliac...


Have you done any  vintage recreations?  If you could recreate a vintage dress, which one would you choose?


Thursday, May 8, 2014

What a Wonderful Weekend! Part 2

Ok, so I pretty much covered the sewing get-together part of my weekend in my last post, but I didn't get to talk about Kim and Alby's house.

They live in what appears to be a old house built in the Queenslander style, except its not.  It was actually built not that long ago, and the interior was finished by Kim and Alby in an almost perfect reproduction.

Decorative timber archways, thick and lush draping curtains...

Antique furniture and artworks...

Stained glass, antique style power points and light switches...

A kitchen filled with antique and vintage kitchenalia and collectables

And an antique telephone that opens to reveal....

A modern telephone and a clever place to put stuff!

The house was just amazing, and what was under the house was just as good.  Alby is a serious mid century collector and there is SO MUCH STUFF in the shed under their house - from records and magazines, to furniture, jukeboxes and a caravan that is currently being restored.  And then there is the shed part way up the driveway that contains three antique cars for restoration!

There is one car that has been fully restored (a Chevy Bel Air - my favourite!) and that is the one that we took to the Garterbelts and Gasoline festival on Sunday!

We left fairly early to drive the 30 or so minutes up the mountain to the showground, and when we arrived the sun was out but it was cold and the wind was blowing an icy gale.  I was completely unprepared for the weather, and all I had to wear was my vintage hawaiian dress and two cardigans.  Mind you, I was dressed appropriately compared to some people!!!

After we parked the car for display on the showground, Kim, my new friend Chelsea and I wandered around the market stalls.  And thats when Chelsea and I spotted a gorgeous vintage coat.  There may have been elbows and some shoving involved, but Chelsea must have way more practice at this kind of thing than me, cause she made it there first.  It fit her perfectly, and she bought it for the princely sum of $35.  But being the lovely person that she is, she let me wear it.

That's me in the bargain coat in the middle, with Chelsea on the left and Kim on the right.  I can't remember the other lady's names... I'm really bad at remembering names...

After the shopping, we headed back to the car to sit in the sun and warm up with a cup of tea.  Alby broke out the picnic chairs and Kim opened up the 1950s vintage picnic basket and made tea.

There was even SAUCERS!  It was so civilised!!

Kim and Chelsea enjoying their cups of tea (and the sunshine!)

mmmm sunshine!!!

After that we did the other thing you do at a car show - we wandered around looking at the cars!

I took off the coat for this photo - so you can sort of see my vintage hawaiian dress.  Its amazing!!!

Believe it or not, this car was built and is owned by a member of the sewing group!  And when you have an opportunity to sit in a car like this and have your photo taken - you take it!

There were also a few vintage caravans on display.  I was particularly taken by the paint job on this one

This is actually a fiberglass caravan and the edge, rivets and rust are part of THE PAINT JOB!  It was seriously incredible!!

Best fairy lights ever!

After the wander we went back to the car for another sit in the sun and our picnic lunch of leftovers from the day before.  Why is it that some things just taste better the next day???

We might also have added a bit of kick to our soft drink... shhh!!

On the way home we stopped for 10 seconds so I could have a quick look at the view.  Any longer than that and I think I would either have a) blown away; or b) frozen solid!

I really had an amazing weekend.  It was lovely to meet new people, make new friends, and see new places.  Thank you so much to Kim, Alby and their family for letting me stay, making me feel welcome and driving me around.

Back to sewing this weekend, and regular programming of sewing blogging next week!