"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 1930's style skirt

Inspired by a combination of Sew Vera Venus post of many P's, some 1930's skirt patterns I'd pinned.
Source: etsy.com via Lady on Pinterest

And this...I even have similar shoes.
Source: etsy.com via Lady on Pinterest

I started using the pencil skirt pattern I used last time from Gertie's new book for better sewing but modified it slightly. You may also recognize the fabric from this blouse.

So I changed the front pattern peice so it was cut not on the fold & added seam allowance.
You can see my original alterations adding ease to the hips etc. I did cut a few millimeters more as I wanted room to dance.
The red line is how high the godets were originally going to be, but I decided to change them once I pin fitted the fabric.

I used to be afraid of putting in godets now I've found out how easy they are I'm not anymore. Only issue I have is hemming and getting the godet the right 'level'.

So I just hung up the skirt and trimmed the excess of the godets.
Pretty pleased how it turned out. Although only thing is the fabric shows every little wrinkle.

As this is for Historical Sew fortnightly - challenge #0 sew simple here are the facts
Fabric: 100% cotton + polycotton for contrast waistband

Pattern: Pencil skirt from 'gertie's new book for better sewing' with modifications (see post above)
Year: 1930's not sure of specific date

Notions: 1 zip wrong colour and too long coz it was all I had in my stash, interfacing, cream thread, 1 hook n eye.

How historically accurate is it? Not sure. As I'm no expert but it reflects the 30's images i've seen on the front of sewing patterns quite well and I'm using cotton (and you hear about cotton sacks being used for dresses in the depression era). So I'm guessing its resonably accurate. The zip is modern and I don't know about use of interfacing back then.

Hours to complete: I would say roughly week and a bit. I'd started it before the challenge was announced and thought I'd finish it off.

First worn: Couple of days ago for photoshoot. Will wear it again when the weather gets a bit better.

Total cost: I guess about £16 
Break down of costs: Fabric £5.50per metre, I used 2 metres, but I managed to cut the skirt and a blouse from that 2 metres. Zip I think was around £3 mark but I can't remember as it was from stash. Interfacing was from my stash as was hook and eye. so I've just thrown in rough estimates for them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Doctor Who Sew-a-Long 2013

sew a long badge

I'll probably be the only one doing it but as 2013 will be the 50th anniversary for Doctor Who I thought I'd have a little sew-a-long. Well...create-a-long. lol!

As I won't just be sewing whole outfits or garments...I'll be making accessories and embellishing existing items. The only rule being it has to be inspired by each of the eleven Doctor's. I might not get them all done but I'll give it a go.

My initial ideas are:
1st Doctor - Cloak/Cape. Now I need some seal of rassilon buttons.   [planning post]  [completed garment post]
2nd Doctor - Tartan Skirt - to reflect his tartan trousers  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
3rd Doctor - Frilly shirt  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
4th Doctor - Will attempt to finish my knitted scarf. lol!  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
5th Doctor - Embroider collar with question marks  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
6th Doctor - Something inspired by the colours and patterns (initial thought is a 'patchwork' bag)  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
7th Doctor - Take the straw hat I used as a bonnet and refashion it -back to original shape to trim to look like the 7th Doctor's hat.  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
8th Doctor - Waistcoat with pocket so I can wear my pocket watch  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
9th Doctor - (Can't think of anything presently)  [planning post]  [completed garment post]
10th Doctor - Upcycle pinstripe jacket into something else. [planning post]  [completed garment post]
11th Doctor - Bow tie & trousers with braces [planning post] [completed garment construction post]

If you want to join in (more the merrier!) just blog about your creation or put a photo with a few details or what you made on something like flikr or pinterest then post a link in reply to this thread and I'll do a 'wall of fame' post at the end of the year.

Here is my pinterest board for inspiration!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Doctor Who Style

Design Sketch
Thinking vintage I have noticed the 11th Doctor is a bit 'art deco'. So have been inspired by the 30's elements of his outfit to create my own. Its not a costume or a copy...just inspired by.
Lets start with the tweed jacket.
Something like this from new look would do. Or maybe I should try and make one?
A basic collared long sleeve white shirt...of which I have several.
Trousers...I think my grey swing trousers I'm planning on making from the Eliza M pattern would work.
Now braces and a bow tie....Do I buy the braces or make them?

And where do you find a cheap bow tie you tie rather than clip on?
Are they easy to make?

Anyway decided I needed a theme to my holiday sewing so 'art deco doctor' it is...kinda reminds me of this image:

Source: askactor.com via Lady on Pinterest

As its the 50th anniversary year in 2013....was thinking of having a Doctor Who themed sew-a-long. Anyone is welcome to join me. The idea is to sew by December 2013 something inspired by each of the doctor's. If your interested let me know. But I'll be carrying on regardless.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Swing Shorts

Yep! That's what I'm making. Bought the hop swing pants pattern (I will still call them trousers- I can't get over the fact that pants to me are underwear. lol) from Eliza M.
Anyway I had a limited amount of suitable fabric and didn't want to mess it up. So I decide to do a wearable muslin and to make good use of limited resources made 'shorts'.
I had to add more to the outside seams at my hips and a small amount to inner thigh seam.

I sewed up the darts, then side seams then the rather confusing at first, but its logical if you think about it crotch seam. Making sure when I got to the back I left room for a zip.
Now can anyone see what step I missed out? No...I'll give you a clue.
Yep. I forgot to take in the waist....by the time I noticed this I'd already added the facing and zip.
 (I'm sure fabric grows when I'm not looking.) 

Anyway my solution was to make a dart in the two side seams.
View from inside. Note my snazzy facing.

View from inside
Minor disaster averted (and actually now I know exactly how much to take off the waist of the master pattern.) All I had to do was hem the shorts. The problem is how short should shorts be? And when do shorts become hotpants? After brief survey went for the 'long' shorts.
apologies for shaky camerawork

Friday, December 7, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Ana at Between you me and the gatepost was kind enough to nominate me for the Leibster award. For those who don't know this is passed between blogs and is quite legendary. I've seen many receive it but its always passed me by....

Do you share your passion for vintage with anyone you know? (friend or relative etc)
This is a tricky question. I talk about my fashion interests with many but they don't necessarily share the same interest in vintage and retro clothing. I'm generally just thought of as being a bit...odd. Yet is the go-to gal when advice on outfit for a fancy dress party is needed. lol!

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe whether handmade or bought?
My treasured item is not worth a lot of money but its worth a lot to me as its the only dress I find fits me, suits me, I can dress up or down and is soo comfy. Ironically its second hand twice over. My sister got it second hand then passed it to me. Unfortunately its starting to fall apart. :(

What decade inspires you most and why?
All the decades inspire me. I have the whole of history to choose from...but in particular the 1940's is where I find the most things that suit me.

Do you wear vintage daily or for special occasions?
Hmmm....well I wear vintage inspired every day. I don't own anything old enough to actually be vintage.

Do you prefer vintage, retro reproduction or a mix of the two?
I like retro and vintage repro. I'd rather have something I know is not going to disintegrate on me. If  could get my hands on some vintage sewing patterns I'd make more 'vintage' stuff....but as it is I'll settle for repro.

If you could invite any 3 people dead or alive to your tea party who would it be?
Fred Astaire (I'd get him to give me some dance tips), Sam Sherry (unless you are into clog you won't know who he is), Ruth Goodman (from Victorian/Edwardian/Wartime Farm)

What is your all time favorite vintage movie?
Oooh, now that's a hard one. I like so many. *closes eyes picks out dvd from pile* 
Ah, Top Hat..it is a clasic.

If you could play a character from any old movie who would you be?
Hmmmmm.....would Mary Poppins count as an old movie?
Ok if we are going B&W movie I'd say Jean Maitland in 'Stage Door''....some great lines.

If you could only have 5 key pieces in your wardrobe what would they be?
Shirt dress, A line skirt, blouse, cardigan, tights (and they would all match)

What are your 5 vintage styling must haves?
(Can be hair, makeup or clothing and accessories)
Hairspray (what would a I do without it?), Bobby Pins, Silk Scarf, Felt Hat that can be shaped and last of all some brogue shoes.

Have you been to any vintage festivals, Goodwood revival, Viva rockabilly weekender etc. If you have what was your experience of them; if you haven't are there any you would like to go to in the future?
Not been to any vintage festivals (plenty of folk ones and a lindy exchange). But I hope to get to Twinwood this year.

If you are given the award:

1. Link and follow the blogger who awarded you.

2. Blog about the award.

3. Give the award to 5 other bloggers, preferably with less than 200 followers.

4. Answer the 11 questions we ask and give 11 of your own to the bloggers you award

Here are my questions for you all:

  1. What is your best vintage (or vintage inspired)/retro/antique find?
  2. Do you dance? What style/genre and why?
  3. What decade suits you most and why?
  4. Do you wear vintage/retro/historical for work or play?
  5. Do you prefer vintage, retro, historical, reproduction, steampunk or a mix?
  6. If you could meet any 3 people from the past who would it be and why?
  7. What is your all time favorite vintage music track and why?
  8. If you could be anyone from history who would you be and why?
  9. What colour clothing is the majority of your wardrobe made up of?
  10. What is your fave fabric to sew/wear?
  11. What is your top 3 places to get fabric and notions from?
 I nominate:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Psychedelic Fabric inspires dress design

I have some vintage/retro fabric! Its quite garish but I rather like it.
Looking through my pattern stash unless I want to draft something from scratch. Thanks to the suggestions on we sew retro have decided to use lisette 2059.
I've sewn a lisette pattern before and been disappointed that it didn't have the ease I expected. I used the shirt dress pattern last time. Cut exactly for 40"hip. Tissue fitted fine but in fabric it turned out over in inch too small! So knowing this I cut generously. I took the bottom half (from under the underbust) out and more of an A-line slant. Giving up as much width at the hem as possible.

Phew! That's a relief. Pinned it all together and it fitted, could put it on and off over my head. No zip!
Now to stay stitch and gather stitch. Erm....forgot to mark front and back, and the dot made to show where to gather from had rubbed off. Nevermind....I'll just guess and hope for the best.

Gathered the neckline. Seems a bit low? So shortened the shoulder straps. I seem to be getting some gapeing at the back. Maybe gather that to cover it up?

Pleated the centre back. And made self fabric bias binding to finish the arms and neckline. Also made the addition of a 'tag' made from ribbon.
I also added some attached belt-ties. So I could tied them tight and get a smother finish as it was looking too much like a sack tied with string with the original concept of a loose belt.


It gives a twist to it. So it could be a bit 50's. I dropped the sleeve idea. It just didn't look/feel right.
Anyways I'm happy with it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vintage Casual - some thoughts

So I was reading Gerties post about Modern/Vintage and it got me thinking...
I've never seen the whole modern V vintage thing when it comes to casual clothes.
I analized why:
1. I hate jeans. Every pair I have ever owned have ended up discarded. I do have issues with trousers in general not fitting being short in the leg, big in hips but small in waist. The only trousers I've had sucess with are highwaisted ones which are [suprise, surprise] vintage style.
2. I consider skirts as casual. Especially in winter when paired with woolly tights.
3. I think twin set and pearls is casual.
4. I generally wear flats, heels are for special occasions
5. 'Vintage Style' is not a uniform or a costume or something for special occasion (for me) its just a label applied to what I'm comfortable wearing.
6. I don't like to buy/make clothes I only wear once. I am creating a capsule wardrobe that can crossover and be used for various activities depending on how I accessorise.

My idea of a casual skirt

When thinking about a casual vintage look I reccommend looking at photo's of normal people from the era your interested in rather than just 'hollywood' stars.

Though I might suggest some ideas for casual:

Knitwear casual...great for winter

Source: google.com via Lady on Pinterest

Glam casual

Perfect for lounging round the house

Spring Casual perhaps?

Summer casual?

Vintage but could pass for modern? That's the look I'd like to go for really....just got to be brave and make a pair of trousers.

Anyway,  hope that helps.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Making drop waists flattering

I like the concept of a dropped waist but being short in the leg with big hips and small waist a true drop waist doesn't suit me. Quite frankly if I don't show my waist I look fat. With my 1920's inspired pinafore in red tartan I'm planning on making the top fitted and have a waistband that starts on my natural waist and ends just below it to give that 'dropped waist' feel.

Saw the new butterick patterns....and have got it into my head to do a 'fake' dropwaist by using a yoke on a skirt.
(Like B5858 but it says its for knits. I can't sew knits.) I think it will look ok on me.

My Idea of what it will look like

Monday, November 19, 2012

I moved a dart - major achievement!

Just a little bonus post for you all. I've been wondering why my tops never look right despite choosing the right size etc. It dawned on me yesterday. The darts were wrong.

It mean tops slide 'up' all the time. I even noticed my (non knit) RTW clothes did it as well.
So first I took the pattern for a top I wanted to make (the portrait blouse from GNBFBS) and did my trial and error method. See the long dart in image. Problem was it wasn't accurate enough.
So I looked up the 'proper' way of doing it. Traced the existing dart and pivoted it up to the place I'd found using trial and error method. Taped it in place.
Tried it out and tissue fitted. Seemed ok to me.
Next step is to make a wearable mock up of the blouse.
On a side note I did raise the neckline and will be adding a peter pan collar and sleeves (added about 1.5cm to the armhole- hope that's right).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Style 2769 - winter blouse

I've started on my winter blouse using my fave pattern 'style 2769'. Using the view top left.
3/4 length sleeves and stand up collar (2). I was going to do the turned back collar but couldn't be bothered to cut out all the extra pieces. I will be adding a pocket too like in the view bottom right (4).
The majority of the blouse will be the polkadot material but collar facings and sleeve cuffs with be in the plain cream.

What gets me with this pattern every time is the instructions aren't in a logical order. Seems to jump about a bit. But I do like the paper pattern itself.

So I started on the sleeves. It took a bit of experimentation as the instructions confused me when it came to adding a cuff to the sleeve.
Now I added one sleeve to the bodice and its looking a bit awkward. I'm not sure how it should sit. the pitch seems off.

Maybe I have done the old two left/right arm sleeves thing again?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fitting Shells, Slopers and creativity

Butterick 5627

Right here is goes. 
The frustrated fashion designer in me keep seeing dresses/tops etc. but not having patterns for them. Be it modern, vintage or historical. 
So I was thinking what is the best route…a fitting shell, or a sloper? How do I draft a bodice from scratch?
I am getting more adventurous with adapting existing patterns…although more trial and error than maths. 
But I'd just like a basic pattern that fits me with 'no frills' that I can use as a basic starting point and then change necklines etc.
Should I buy a commercial pattern? Or draft from measurements (although I'm terrible with maths)?
Or just pin fabric on me and go trial and error system again?
Or should I use the 'sultry sheath' patten from the book  have to create the 'sloper'? After making the pencil skirt I already know that fits.

Which method do you use?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Challenge Contest - Refashion / Repurpose

Challenge Contest 2012 - Refashion / Repurpose
Glutton for punishment entering a contest when I have other projects on the go and know I won't win. But I have so much that I could refashion (or upcycle as the word of the moment is).
So far have had several 'ideas'....but only have time to make one.

1. Make skirt from pillowcase (not enough matching pilowcases)
2. Make a day dress from long sleeveless maxi dress  (as dress is tiered can't get enough fabric out of it)
3. Use frock coat/jacket/curtain to make matching waistcoat and skirt. (Blue velvet) Old fabric is too delicate.
4. Make hat from T-shirt (Only have on T-shirt and its wrong colour)
5. Make a skirt from old pair of trousers.

Went for number 5!
Cut up the pair of blue linen trousers...pinned them sewed up to a point so that there is a V shaped gap front and back ready to be filled with fabric.

Original pair of trousers
 I've drafted (I hope) the pattern for a gore to insert. I'd like more of a edwardian walking skirt look at the back but not sure how to do it.

Update 1:
Have decided to look for fabric that matches the facing fabric on the linen trousers. So a pale grey and blue stripe.

Update 2:
ok..I went to fabric shop and got distracted. No striped grey linen but they did have some broderie anglaise. So I bought that instead. Bought enough to make a blouse out of it too.

Cut out the fabric pinned in place and sewed. I've only done one side so far.

And It needs pressing.

Took me a bit to figure out how to sew it in so the seams were on the inside.

Update 3 - Finished!
Hemmed and pressed here is the finished skirt.



Comments welcome.