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.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Navy Florals

I made a dress out of one of my favourite fabrics. It;s been in my grandma's stash for as long as i can remember, and pieces of it appear in my patchwork quilt. 
This started out as a skirt, but then morphed into a dress. I made it in January, but only hemmed and finished it this week to wear to a friend's wedding.

Pattern: Simplicity 2444
Size: 12
Fabric: Navy blue with dark floral, Mama's stash
  • Skirt pleats sewn down
  • Side zipper
  • front and back bodice with centre seams due to lack of fabric.
  • bodice lined in a dark plum colour
  • waist seam finished off with bias binding
  • narrow 1/2in hem
Notions: Navy blue invisible zip, plum coloured bias tape
Wear with: Pearls! I can easily see this as a winter dress as well
Make Again: the fit isn't spot on, but Simplicity 2444 is a TNT pattern. Will definitely line the bodice again, but probably wouldn't piece the bodice together


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Watercolour Dress

This is the dress I made  for myself to test out the bridesmaid dress pattern

As I have talked about here, it is the BHL Anna bodice on a slightly modified Simplicity 2444 skirt. As I was adjusting the pattern whilst making this dress I picked a really large piece of fabric out of my grandma's stash I was not particularly attached to. um tells me it was bought to make toddler dresses for me.

With the warm weather now I have worn this dress twice this week, and it is growing on me. The pattern is incredibly comfortable, and the fabric is beautiful, quite different to my normal florals, it's almost a watercolour.

Pattern: BHL Anna bodice with Simplicity 2444 skirt
Size: 8/12 bodice with 12 skirt
Fabric: pink, blue and green watercolour floral; grandma's stash
Adjustment: skirt pleats moved to accommodate bodice pleats and darts. Neckline and arm holes finished with bias tape. Four inches added to skirt length.
Notions: pale blue bias tape, white invisible zip
Wear With: Pink pearl set, pale blue cardigan
Make Again?: Yes! This frakenpattern is quickly becoming a favourite of mine