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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It ain't what you do, its the way that you do it...

aka. I'm getting creative with patterns.

I was looking everywhere for a simple bodice with a sweetheart neckline. Like in the sketch below.

Was planning on matching it with skirt or crop trousers/shorts for the summer.
And what happens...I go look in the back of the cupboard and there hidden away was simplicity 4990.
Not only a top but a nice swishy skirt too. Now there are several changes I need to make.
1) using the bodice with thick straps but making the neckline sweetheart.
2) The pattern has a zip in the side seam. I really don't like side zips so will have to move the zip to the back.

Fabric choice
I had my lovely blue floral fabric in mind originally for the top and my left over navy blue fabric for the skirt. But I bought 3 metres of some pretty floral cotton on a whim and it might just be able to cover making the top and skirt in matching fabric. Then I thought rather than skirt and top I could make a dress. Dilemma!
Two fabric choices

I have a zip long enough for a dress so the idea has potential.

I've so far used some left over pink fabric to sew a mock up to check the fit, and test out moving the zip. If all goes according to plan I'll use it as a lining.

On my skills list I'll be able to add princess seams and lining a bodice. Still sticking to trying to choose projects that will teach me new sewing skills in order to build up a portfolio of skills I can use later.


I decided to make it into a dress and use the pink gingham.  Pictures to come.

I also have stubled upon a wonderful shop which is selling the kinda top I was hoping to make here. Unfortunately none left in my size. :( But I did pick up some nice bargains in their sale.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Making Modern look Vintage

This is something I love doing. Taking the modern and combining it in a way that looks retro. I've done it with clothes bought from the shops for a while now. But since I've started sewing I have been doing the same with my pattern choices.
Choosing the patterns that have the most versatile silhouettes that I can use to recreate the 'shape' and 'feel' of each era.


Simplicity 2249 has potential

Vogue 1186 would make some great pallazio pants

And Simplicity1799..although made longer.

I have this shirtwaister simplicity 2246
although I think 2923 has better shape
And the shoulders on this one shouts 40's to me.


There's always a plethera of 50's inspired patterns
I think butterick 5641 would be a good one to choose. There's also B4443, and maybe B4386 for very late 50's early 60's?

Anyone else got favourite modern patterns that give vintage/retro impressions?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Handsewing Vs Machine Sewing

What side of the fence are you on?

Are you a hand sewer or a machine sewer?

Do you like the speed of the machine or the control and detail of sewing by hand?

I find most people online are machine sewers. Where as I'm more comfortable with a needle and thread than a pedal and machine that looks quite vicious. Ok...so maybe it isn't that vicious looking....I just find it so intimidating and frustrating...and ironically time consuming.

Just to prove I do have a machine...

The amount of people who say to me, "use a machine its quicker".
But I'd really rather avoid a machine. I spend so much time using the seam ripper it seems a waste. When I sew by hand its easier to manipulate the fabric and get the tension I want....plus I can watch the TV while I do it.
I do use the machine when I find myself running out of time or if I have to hem a circle skirt, do long stright hems etc. But I'd say 95% of the time I sew by hand. I can rectify any mistakes quite easily without need for ripping.
I find hand sewing is portable too, which suits me. I keep thinking I need to sew myself a sewing apron with a big pocket so I can carry it around with me.
As you all know I managed to sew a blouse entirely by hand in a very short amount of time...but I'm not a fan of giving myself deadlines. I sew for myself at my own pace. If I was sewing for others and on a deadline that would be different.
I also like the historical aspect of in the past ladies didn't have sewing machines and its a valuable skill to sew by hand that I wouldn't like to loose.  Plus why use up electricity when my own energy is free?
Also embroidery by hand...I find it so much fun - it lets me loose creatively. I never draw out a design its all done as I go along, crazy I know but it works for me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Shoes!!!

I've been trying to find time to get up to london to go buy some swing dance shoes. Had my eye on the aris allen ones. But they are sooooo expensive and well I got impatient and decided I'd buy some character dance shoes instead off ebay. I was a bit nervous about how high the heel would be.

Capezio 550 Character Dance Shoes

They arrived this morning. Quite pleased with them. Heel wasn't as high as I thought they would be....now will have to break them in a bit. I think they can 'pass' for 20's-50's era in look.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Butterick 5229 - 20's inspired dress

So as I mentioned in this post. I'm sewing up Butterick 5229 to make a 20's inspired dress.

Decided to go for a nautical look. Using navy blue poly cotton and white bias binding. I also have wooden buttons. Although if I find some nice gold ones I will use those. The length is in between B & A.
Already thinking up embellishments....
Maybe a 2nd line for a double white stripe along the bottom?
Or piping on the waistline?
A small pocket?
Or a cute bow?
My design

More details to be added below once completed...all comments welcome.

So...its finished! Took more than 2 hours to make..but I did add embellishments and do it all by hand (did I mention how much I hate hand sewing buttonholes?).

I think it looks pretty close to my design. This was the first time I'd taken a pattern and 'customized' it. Like lengthening the tunic skirt.

This however because of an error made the skirt too wide....thinking on my feet I put in some more pleats than I was planning to make. Two in the front, one in the back.

This was the first time I'd done pleats. So it was a bit of a guess as I went along. I also did some piping (no not the musical kind) for the first time.
I think another time I would pipe the collar and hem as well, because it looks 'neater'.

Having enough bias binding left I made myself some bows..one of the dress and one for my hair.

I did deviate from the pattern instructions quite a few times but the basic pattern I cut out was a good base.

I give it 8/10

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dance and outfit inspiration - 2

Was thinking about 30's fashions and came across this video. You get a good view of a selection of outfits. Love how all the chaps wear straw boaters.


And of course the famous lambeth walk...'Doing the Lambeth Walk..Oi!!'


The evening dresses are floaty, rather Hollywood. I think they make them all look very tall. I'm surprised no feet get caught in the skirts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Horrockses Fashions

Well I'm planning to make a horrockses style dress this year using the free pattern on their blog....

Although it doesn't show how to do the skirt...so not being confident enough to draft my own skirt I will use the flared skirt pattern for the dress in simplicity 2588. And use the top section of butterick 5556 (the one on the right) to make a matching jacket.
And a friend of mine pointed out to me this link.
It a slide show of pictures of an exhibition in Scotland.
I love all the prints and the simple yet elegant style.
I think I could recreate something like the dress in pic no6. If I could find the right tie up shrug.
But then in picture no7. the green dress has a matching jacket which appeals...and I do like the bow.
If they sold them nowdays I think I'd save up to buy one and wear it till it fell apart. lol!

So what's your fave Horrockses dress?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vintage Bolero 'Knit-a-long' 2012

Today I am announcing (a month in advance) that on the 1st May the Vintage bolero knit-a-long will commence.

Some of you maybe wondering a knit-a-long... 

What is that? Why? How does it work?

A knit-a-long, like a sew-a-long, is a problem shared a problem halved....
Everyone taking part knits the bolero from the same pattern sharing their problems, successes, tips and advice. I'll be blogging my 'progress' and encourage others to do so too. You can comment on my blog or post on your own blog and link to it.
When the project is complete we all post our completed projects.

My reason for this is that I have not knitted a garment before using a vintage pattern...and I would like to be able to get advice and share anything I learn from the experience.

I have not set a finish date yet but initially rough deadline of August 1st (I'm quite a slow knitter) for the end of the knit-a-long 'officially' but if anyone comes across this later on I would still be pleased to see how you go on.

What pattern?

I will be using the bolero pattern from Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters...the yellow one which has the tube top on the same page. I'm only doing the bolero not the top.

I've already done some test squares to see if I can do the pattern....so I can offer advice on that.

I haven't bought the 'yarn' yet. But instead of the yellow I plan to use navy blue and white. Cuffs in white and body in blue.

You can use any colour wool you like...I like to see creativity.

If you have a blog and take part you can add this button. And link back to this placeholder page.

Post a reply to this post to let me know you are taking part. :)

The Updates
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