Monday, 30 September 2013

Fall for Cotton Thirties Dress

This was my first go at a sewing challenge and I chose one hosted by the lovely Rochelle (love her blog).  It was a pretty easy one for a first timer, 1 month to sew a vintage pattern in 100% cotton.  I had some cotton deco print fabric in my stash and this seemed perfect to try a 1930s pattern.  I decided I wanted an original pattern and managed to find one on Etsy.  Unfortunately it was in the USA again but delivery was quick and this time no customs to pay.

The condition was fab.  I had to unstick it to get in and it was still factory folded (I actually prefer used patterns, they make me less nervous and I like to think of who might have made the dress and when they might have worn it all those years ago - in this case 80 years ago).

I made a rough muslin (and that is the only kind of muslin I do make!) and the size 36" bust seemed almost perfect, I just put a bit of extra room in the sleeve and took a bit out of the waist. (As you can see I don't bother with all the skirt, just in case you thought I was making a very mini mini!).

One thing which  went well was the collar.  This is the first time I have tried making the under-collar piece 1mm smaller all round than the top and this produced the desire curl (which you can just see below) which has made the collar lie nice and flat.

|This was the first zip I had put a zip inside a side seam and although it was fiddly (I used an invisible zip because I like that look the best) I am very proud how invisible it is (yes I know the pattern doesn't match it was impossible - but the waist seam does).

There is a little inverted pleat at the front and I used this fab tutorial from Sherry which really worked to sort out the hem issues.

I also edged the hem with some stretchy cotton lace to make a nice (whilst flat) edge.


Are you desperate to see the dress yet.... I just finished on time but had to put in the zip, join the side seams, put in the sleeves, make the cuffs and hem it on Saturday .... a bit of an epic sewing day!  So here it is on my dummy

And on Sunday I thought a little trip to Carnforth train station (famous for being the setting for the film  Brief Encounter) would be a fitting backdrop.

I shortened the length by a couple of inches, because I wanted a dress I could wear rather than one which was slavishly authentic.  Its not my favourite because really I like a tight bodice and full skirt style which is the opposite of this, but it is wearable, even for work.  And here are a couple of  more piccies.  Just need a handsome leading man to whisk me away on a steam train!

Next projects the Anna dress sew-along and the Hetty cardigan knit along.  So watch this space for more.  What projects have you on the go?

Finally we have finally  been loving a bit of September sun

Monday, 23 September 2013

Gertie's new look dior skirt

So here is the first result of my teal love, the first half of my new look suit taken from Gertie's new book for better sewing.  I made her 6 gored skirt with a few changes, mainly removing the scallop top and adding a waist band with some heavy duty lining.  You can see the fabric is satin backed crepe.

(Excuse poor quality photos, attempts to use self-timer weren't very successful and Dan is still away).  Anyway here it is without petticoat and lovely fit and very easy to wear.


and with a full petticoat .... a little bit of frenchy feel perhaps (sorry reduced to photos in the mirror now!)


... and finally this is the jacket which I will be making to go with it ....

and here's a shot with the muslin body to give you an idea how it will look (I'm making mine in wool plaid).
I love the pattern though I was put off by having to trace it off, I get a bit confused when there are lots of lines to choose from.  (Just as an aside Gertie now has a New Look outfit pattern for Butterick and it's great, what a jacket
If you haven't checked out Gertie's blog I've found it very informative. 
So I love this skirt, it's very wearable and I actually wore it to work today.  You might be forgiven for thinking this make went all according to plan .... not so.  First in an attempt to up my game with finish I thought I would purchase an invisible zipper foot.  I bought a proper Janome one (a whole £18).  What a disaster it was incredibly difficult to go over the top of the zip, and then it sort of shredded the right side of the zip which I then had to take out.  I returned to my ordinary zipper foot and sort of cobbled it together.  Then without really thinking things through I made quite a deep hem and thought it would look lovely trimmed with satin bias tape.  I never even thought about what would happen to the substantial amount of material at the hem edge!  I spent ages, sewing the bias by hand and then hemming by hand and it was only when I got to the last little bit that I found lots of material with nowhere to go creating a sort of wave effect!
So about 4 hours work just got chopped off and I ended up with less than a 1" hem which I overlocked, and is more effective. 
The other tip is that with a wide skirt like this you must let it hand for a least a day before turning up because it stretches differently in different areas.
Teal garment no 2 is on my needles and should be ready next week.  Here's a preview.
I've had other things to enjoy this week, a lovely Skype call with Dan and Gemma who are having  a great time in Malawi.  Apparently most of there work this week has been dressing foot wounds and leg ulcers .... doesn't sound awfully romantic for a honeymoon, but once a week they go to a posh hotel to get internet access and sit round the pool with a beach to die for!  Downton Abbey is back (though it was all a bit gloomy) and  finally how could you not smile at this wonderful crochet bike in my local wool shop window.

Monday, 16 September 2013

And the winners are ........

Using a random generator the winners are .....

Prize a: the sewing prize goes to CosmicCaro all the way in Montreal

Prize b: the knitting goodies Gillian from Tales from a Happy House in Leeds

Prize c: the crafting items: Alis

Please send me an email with your addresses and I will post the goodies off early next week - hope you enjoy!

I've been enjoying a calm and peaceful week and Dan and Gemma have arrived safely in Malawi to undertake their 5 week medical volunteer placement, so its just me and the animals.  So, you may, ask do I have a finished project to show?  No!!!!  There is a tale to tell about invisible zipper foots and uncooperative hems but I'm saving that for next week.  Suffice it to say I have been enjoying some sewing and knitting and hopefully will be back on my not unsubstantial plans, as revealed last week, soon.

I did brave the terrible rain yesterday to go to a Vintage Fair in Penrith and picked up a few vintage clothes ....  Perhaps I could pretend to have whipped these up myself!

A jacket with more than a touch of Chanel (not very old though as it is H & M)

A houndstooth check dress (looks a bit baggy here but its cosy and quite stylish.

And finally a genuine 50s wool coat  .... which I think was a bargain for £40.    I love the style though have to admit that I'm not sure it suits me.  At only 5 ft 4 in I can't decide if the style drowns me ... still its so cosy and warm and I'm sure I could get my money back if I try to sell it.

Do you wear any vintage clothes , what is your favourite era - I definitely favour 40s and 50s - not so keen on the 60s on but I think that may be because I remember it from the first time round!  How old does that make me sound!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Teal madness!

Firstly thanks so much for the lovely comments about my dress and the wedding and welcome to any new readers who have come over from We Sew Retro!  Just a reminder the give-along is still open until 15th September.

Well it is rather the calm after the storm at my house.  After the wedding and a week of Dan and Gemma preparing to go to Malawi, they are gone for 5 weeks where they will be working as medical volunteers, what a fantastic thing to do on your honeymoon!  So it is quiet here with just me, the various pets and the Great British Bakeoff to keep me company.

I had hoped to be able to reveal another finished project but a bit of a disaster has halted this until next week when all will be explained, so I thought I would talk about my plans for an autumn wardrobe.

It started with a shoe .......... now I am not a shoe-lover.   I hate buying shoes, I have long, thin feet, difficult to find shoes which fit ..... so it was strange that when passing Kay Shoes I looked in the window and saw ......

... and I had to have them ... it was the colour.  Now I don't actually have any clothes in this colour so that needed some action.  First I remembered I had some teal crepe in my stash from here

and I thought that this would make a six gored skirt to match a jacket from a maroon plaid with a teal stripe.  I am planning to make this New Look suit from Gertie's New Book of Better Sewing.


That led me to purchase some lovely teal silk charmeuse for only £18 for 3 metres from a Vietnamese seller on Ebay.  Can you see the lovely bronzy sheen?  This will be a bow tied blouse for under the suit.

Item picture

... and then I saw some Debbie Bliss teal 4 ply rialto which led to ....

... a fourties inspired cardigan.

And then I found this wool, which although a completely different colour has a tiny teal fleck

It's teal obsession!  Well at least it addresses the problem of just sewing ad hoc items and having nothing to wear!

On top of all these plans I have decided to join Rochelle's Fall for Cotton challenge and I will be sewing this

Deco inspired cotton from my stash with a genuine 1930s pattern and buckle.

I have joined the Hetty Knit along

... and finally I loved Lauren's silk Anna Dress so much
Anna Maxi

.....that I am joining the By Hand London Sew-along.  I'm only making the shorter version (certainly not brave enough to go for the split).  I have purchased 3 yards of grape silk crepe de chine for only £14.95 (ebay again), not the best quality but good enough for me to have a bash!

I also need a cosy scarf, some more handwarmers (wore my first pair today!) and a warm hat.

So there we are, phew, course I may be guilty of planning much more than I actually achieve, it's a good job I've signed up to an evening class and monthly Saturday of sewing.  The first finished project should be ready next weekend!  Have you any autumn crafting plans!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Wedding loveliness and a celebration give-away

Well it's been an exhausting, exciting week.  Thursday was Dan's 22nd birthday but this was rather overshadowed by .....

... the wedding here at last, and as you can see we were lucky to have the best sunny day for a while.

The happy couple were stunning and they had worked so hard to produce a beautiful handmade vintage wedding.  Invitations, order of service, place names,  table plans were all handprinted using decoration from vintage music.

Everyone had a vintage cup to take home (we bought 100 over the past year) and they even made their own teabags with a tiny label saying "drink me"

The flowers, arranged by a friend, were beautiful vintage English country garden.

A vintage leather suitcase lined with music for the table seating

Embroidered serviettes ...

Dan and his best man my step-son Chris .. how handsome are they?

and there was even a photo-booth for a bit of dressing up!

... and finally the promised photo of my dress (Vogue pattern  4260 from the 50s).  I didn't get a very good photo I'm afraid, but I got loads of complements (even from the young vintage wearers!) and I felt very proud and pleased that I had made my own dress, also great fun to dance in with my fluffy petticoat.
We had a wonderful day, though I could do with a holiday to recover, and in the spirit of celebration here is the promised giveaway.  There are three prizes which I hope appeal to a range of crafters.
Prize a: for the dressmakers: 4 patterns, including this vintage vogue pattern and 1 metre of some really soft, pink fabric, hopefully enough to make a blouse

Prize B: for the knitters; 3 balls of Noro Silk Garden and 2 balls of Katia Temis
Prize C for the sewing crafters an assortment of liberty style fabric, a kit for making cute Christmas decorations and Helen Philipps fantastic cross stitch book.
To enter just leave a comment stating which prize you would like to win.  You can enter for all 3 but just put your preferred order of gift.  Entries welcome from anywhere in the world and followers will get an extra entry.  Entries close September 15th, 2013.
So that's it from a much calmer household and next week back to an update on my sewing and knitting and plans for an Autumn wardrobe.