Tuesday, 19 May 2015

1920's velvet

Hello, hope you have all been having a good week. Just a quick post today, to share an outfit I wore the other week. It's a reworking of one I shared last year. I decided this time around to tone down the colours. I have also been experimenting with curling my hair. It is proving quite successful.

Blouse: Cream, sheer, Country Road
Skirt: Brown velvet, opshop
Blazer: Green velvet, vintage
Hat: Brown felt, opshop
Shoes: Nice new brown heeled laceup boots
Scarf: vintage

I was really happy with this outfit, and I think it made me look very 1920's, about to go for a hunt at an English garden party!

Have yu ever had success changing up a previous outfit combination?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Profoundly Loved Blog Party

I have been rather sporadically doing some sewing, and other vintage related activities, but have not got around for a while to posting anything. Oh well. My schedule is beginning to settle a bit, so I aam hoping to be posting much more regularly in the next few weeks.

A few weeks ago, the lovely Esther from Dolly Creates nominated me for the Profoundly Loved Blog Party. So without further ado, here are the questions and answers!

1. Tell me about something you love and why.
My great love, that lies outside of the scope of this blog is history. I am currently completing the research year of my undergraduate degree in medieval history, and am loving every minute of it. History as a discipline is something I am passionate about. Understanding our past and culture is an incredibly important way to understand ourselves and the present and I believe is able to make us better rounded people, with deep perspective.

2. What is one thing you do that makes you feel like "I could do this forever"?
I am a reader. I have been reading everything for as long as I can remember. Whilst my reading output has slowed in recent years due to competing time demands, the lure of a good book is always strong. I read predominately history books, historical fiction and classic fiction. My favourite authors include Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Sharon Penman, Kate Morton and Daphne du Maurier. My love of all things old fashioned probably took off from Victorian literature. I love character driven plots, and novels about manners and society. Books are precious to me; they have taught me more about life than anything else could have.

3. What do you love about yourself?
I am a non conformist. I have never felt much need or desire to fit in in the traditional sense. For me being true to myself has always been more important. One of the reasons I dress vintage is in a sense a rebellion against what I do not like in modern society. I also hold more old fashioned, non-mainstream views on most matters of politics, society, and culture. I have always appreciated my ability to think critically, and often cynically.

4. What advice would you give somone who doesn't think he/she is beautiful?
Beauty, in a physical sense is a vry fleeting characteristic. To me, whilst someone's physical appearance is the first thing you naturally notice, after I get to know someone, their personality for me trumps any first impressions. Beautiful people can sometimes hide an ugly interior, and after a while that is all you notice.
In a more practical sense, I am of the opinion that good grooming matters more than beauty. A "plain" but neatly dressed person will always look better than a very beautiful person in disheveled clothing.

5. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received about confidence?
You are probably worrying about how you are presenting much more than other people are noticing you. So relax.

6. If you were your own daughter, what important thing would you tell them?
I would tell her to stand firm in her own convictions, to be gracious, and to never cling so dearly to a point of view, that you cannot concede and see the other side. I would tell her that life does not follow a predetermined course, and as much as we can plan out our lives, things will always arise, whether good or bad to throw us off. Lastly, I would encourage her to maintain wide ranging interests. There s too much life to live to be bored.

7. A verse, poem, sonnet, ancient old proverb, that inspires you to love yourself and others?
This quote is from the wonderful novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I first came acrss it on a wedding programme many years ago, and it exemplifies how I feel about my husband.
Whilst de Bernieres is talking here of romantic love, I feel this quote captures beautifully a profound truth about all love that we often forget in our romance saturated world; love is primarily not about emotion, but about the deep commitment made rationally between two people.



Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.


Thank you to Esther for the nomination. I am passing this along to these lovely ladies, but please feel no obligation to answer if you so do not wish.

Emileigh from Flashback Summer
Freya from Freya May Makes



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sewing Plans

I love making plans. After spending the majority of the second half of last year doing wedding sewing, I am ready to now get back into sewing every day garments, of which I have a long list of projects, fabric and patterns.

















First up is what feels like a synthetic rayon. I bought it at Portobello Rd Markets, 4 metres, at £2 a metre. I bought it with a 1940's dress in mind, and had the perfect pattern back home, which I am beginning to trace off. I love the unusual pleated design, and that the model illustration is smoking!



My other European fabric purchase was a length of Libery Tana lawn at an antique shop in York. My plan is a blouse, either Jennifer Lauren's Afternoon Blouse, or Colette's Sencha. 









Not sure what sort of fabric, but has incredible drape. I am going to make this into a slim maxi skirt, which I am going to self drafted from a very beloved RTW polka dot skirt. 











I bought around 4m of the Liberty Carline in Red form Fabric-a-brac last year. It will end up being a very full skirted dress. Either a shirt dress, as Heather's or Roisin's, or perhaps, Vogue 2903





Talking of shirt dresses, I am desperate to get my hands on McCall's 6696, especially after seeing Mary's so many amazing versions. I have this cotton, which I think would be good for a wearable practice run. It is very pastel and girly, so I am thinking the sharper lines of a shirtdress would work well for it. My ultimate goal is to use my leftover bridesmaid dress fabric for a shirt dress, but I could not photograph the fabric for you, as it's sitting in a box at my mother's. 



My other big pattern plan is a pencil skirt. Hard to see from envelope illustration, but this is one of those complete wardrobe sets. Comes with a double darted straight skirt. Need to add kickpleat, lining and pegging, but am looking forward to the challenge. 












This black and white gingham is going to be a Simplicity 2444 bodice on a pencil skirt. Small cap sleeves, and a v-neck on the bodice back. Going to practice full lining. 











The leftover fabric from my sister's graduation dress will probably end up as a Simplicity 2444/pencil skirt, most likely without sleeves.






More liberty! This one is going to be a Mathilde Blouse. Short, unflared sleeves, and no tucks. 











It's a much darker purple in real life. I have been dreaming of a mid calf purple pencil skirt ever since I found this in my grandmother's stash.











Royal blue and black checked wool. Knee length pencil skirt. Bought this on a garage sale site with another piece of very bright green wool (still at my mother's) which I am hoping to make this classy jacket from. Hoping the colours work together. 








My best friend bought me this back from California. Either an Afternoon Blouse, or a Mathilde. It is quilting cotton so perhaps the Mathilde would work better, as the Afternoon blouse seems to need a fair bit of drape. 

Beautiful, draping cotton. Any sort of blouse would be perfect.













So there you have it. Too many sewing projects, not enough time. My hands are itching to start.








Sunday, 22 March 2015

Life Lately: Housewifing and the Normans

Much has happened since I last posted.

Firstly, we found our own place. We are now living in Sydney's Inner West, in a little one bedroom apartment with garden that we are slowly fixing up. I am loving it. I am able to unpack the boxes of homewares I have been saving for years, and begin to create a home and a life together. I love being a housewife, and am getting so much pleasure out of getting cooking, cleaning, and washing into a routine.

I am starting sewing again as well. My sewing machine sits in the bedroom, and I am keeping the sewing items I need in old suitcases. Much of my stash is still at my Mum's house, and i bring down what I need. Space is a premium, and I am slowly discovering how to make it work. My dressmakers dummy, Tilly, came to live with us the other week, and she gets moved out to the lounge room at night as in the dark a dress with no head can be incredibly off putting.

My other big change has been university. I completed my Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Medieval Studies last year, and am now doing my honours year. This involves some course work, but mostly the writing of a 20,000 word thesis. As you can imagine this is taking up a lot of time and energy, especially as it is quite different in style and structure to my previous years of university. I am still finalising routines to ensure I get all my study done. I am writing my thesis on the Norman Conquest, looking at church chronicles. It is so exciting to me to be able to get my teeth into my favourite parts of history: medieval politics, historiography, and ecclesiastical affairs. It's a far cry from my love of mid century fashion, and Jane Austen novels, but I wouldn't have it any other way; I have always dwelt in history of whatever sort.

I have big plans for the blog this year as well. Many sewing projects are in the works, and I want to write more about vintage, sewing, and domesticity in general.

Have you got any plans for sewing in limited space?

Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Wedding Dress

It's been a whirlwind two months since I last posted. I got married on 6th December, and the entire day went wonderfully. Four days later we flew out to Europe for two months, fulfilling a long held childhood dream. We just arrived back to Australia this week. I will write another day about my sewing plans for the year, but now I want to share the wedding dress.


The whole dress was a labour of love. I combined Folkwear's Armistice Blouse with a self drafted skirt and insert waistband. It was embroidered, pintucked, and lace inserted.



























The bridesmaid dresses turned out wonderfully.

And finally some pictures of me with my husband, because in the end the wedding wasn't about my dress, it was about our marriage and the beginning of our lives together








Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Dress Progress

We are ten days out from the wedding. Very busy, and much sewing. I got my dress today to the point where I can zip it up and not flash anyone, nor have any pins in me. It looks wonderful, and I am feeling very accomplished. Now to add the finishing touches. A waistband lining, finishing off several internal seams, hemming, a small amount of embroidery. I won't show any pictures of the dress until it is worn on the day, but I thought I would share a little photograph I took of what notions I have been using.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wedding Dress Fancy Work

My wedding dress is taking shape. It has a bodice, a collar and sleeves. The sewing gods approve of my upcoming nuptials for both sleeves set correctly the first time, no unpicking required!
I have been doing a lot of fancy work on top half of the dress.

The first photograph is a sleeve in the flat. Rows of insertion, and rows of pintucks finished with lace edging on the hem. All lace is my grandma's; the insertion was rolled up in a box with other insertion and ribbons, neatly labelled. It is honouring to be able to use her notions like this. I am going to visit her tomorrow with handsewing to do, so we will be able to discuss my sewing, and the wedding. It is lovely to be able to still share this with her in a way, though she is increasingly having trouble remembering.

My collar also is indebted to Mama. The lace edging is again from her collection, so is the transfer, from a Semco transfer book named "Small Sprays". There was two, and it is  mirror imaged on the other side of the collar. I am assuming the book dates from the 1940s or 1950s. I embroidered on the way to and from uni, making use of my long commute. Handwork is a great love of mine. I have done it for many years now, and it is so therapeutic.



I will most likely share more detail shots of the dress as it comes together, but I won't do a full shot until I can reveal the wedding photos. Only a little over a month now.