Monday, 3 August 2015

A new hair do, and an outfit of pastels for winter.

 Sydney is back to a cold patch of winter, after some unseasonably warm weather the other week. I decided for today's outfit I wanted to move away from my usual winter palate of black, red and plaid, and make use of some new hair ideas.
I used this tutorial of Tasha's. I'd tried it one before with uncurled hair, and it did not work, but this morning it went together without a fault. I cannot get my hair to behave usually so this was a win. I used a new hair scarf I had made the other week using some lovely hydrangea fabric. I need to make some more now, especially in plain colours. I can see myself wearing my hair like this a lot.

My outfit didn't come up too well in these pictures. I am wearing a heavy wool pleated mid-purple skirt, a cream blouse, and my very long blue coat. Earrings and necklace are both pearls. I took these photos in a hidden courtyard at university, isn't it perfect?

Sunday, 26 July 2015


I finally set myself up an instagram.
Hoping to be able to share some good in progress pictures, the little things that don't warrant a blogpost.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dress from two vintage 1970's pattern

I am not exactly a fan of 1970's in general, but I do own a very large stash of 1970's sewing patterns that I inherited from my grandmother. Surprisingly most of them are good workable styles and shapes. Always pays to look beyond the decade, or the pattern styling. Back in March when I talked about my fabric plans  I flagged the purple and blue floral left over from my sister's graduation, as a Simplicity 2444/pencil skirt combination. I ended up changing this plan. I wanted to try another bodice style, so went through the stash and found Style 1917. It's a simple bodice with a square neckline and quite a full circle skirt. I started off with the blue version on the right. I didn't muslin the bodice, instead measuring it off my Simplicity 2444 pattern which was pretty spot on (it's anther thing I love about this pattern stash. Most are already in my size) I also made the sleeves. So far so good. The fabric was not wide enough to take the full skirt, so I substituted it for this fantastic four gore skirt, Simplicity 6862. They fitted together easily. This skirt will certainly ended up becoming a well used pattern in its own right. I didn't have any invisible zips, but had a normal one. So I read up on Tasia's tutorial and handpicked it in spot on the first go. I was rather proud of myself.

Now came the trying it on moment. luckily I have a very honest husband, who informed me the sleeve head was much too puffy. I was inclined to agree. So the dress now went sleeveless. I finished off the armholes with bias. The sleeveless version of the pattern has an all in one facing I want to try at some point. I wore the dress last month on an unseasonably hot winter's day for a friend's wedding.
A few thoughts since wearing. Firstly the neck facing is not sitting well, though I under stitched it. I am thinking it needs to be top stitched as well. Secondly there is a smidge too much fabric in the bodice length. This is a common issue. But all in all it was a successful dress. Very wearable. I am looking forward to getting much more wear out of it in the summer, and even trying a new version of the pattern.
Does anyone have any good resources for redrafting sleeve heads. i have a few patterns where I have been trying to use different sleeve patterns, but the final result doesn't end up working.
What have you all been sewing lately? I have a good few projects that are almost finished, and cannot wait to share them with you in the coming weeks.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Purses and Bags

 My latest sewing fix has been purses and bags. I started earlier this month when I needed to make Mother's Day presents, and have continued to whip up birthday presents for people
The bags are relatively straight forward. They are made out of curtain fabric samples that came from my grandmother. I don't use a pattern. I determine the size from the fabric at hand minus what I need for the handles. The one to the left was for a family friend's birthday. I also made one in a blue floral for my mother-in-law which I didn't photograph before it was gifted.

The lined, zipped purses I found on Handmade Jane's blog, tutorial here. They are so nice and quick. This one, made again in soft furnishing fabric is self lined, and was made for Mother's Day for my grandmother (the one who taught me how to sew). I did make one in a lovely blue floral cotton for my other grandmother, but I had to post it quickly interstate the morning after I finished it, so no photo.

This one was a Mother's Day present for my Mum. It's made out of leftover scraps from her bridesmaid dresses. It's a beautiful, soft drapey fabric, so it doesn't hold a crisp shape.

Again, no photograph, but I also made one for my aunt for her birthday this weekend out of the same fabric as the bag above.

It's great to have a skill I can put to use at short notice to make presents for people. I am finding it very satisfying. I now have plans to make myself one of these, out o some scrap liberty from a refashion I have yet to blog about. However my zip collection is slowly being depleted, so I will need to stock up soon.

I'm slowly working on redesigning the blog as well. I had a good bit of fun creating the blog header. I don't own any of the patterns shown, but if I did I would certainly be making them up; perhaps I will have to try my drafting skills out sometime.

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.