Sunday, 27 July 2014

Practice Dresses

Before I make the bridesmaid dresses, I have been making practice dresses, firstly to ensure I can meld an Anna bodice to a Simplicity 2444 skirt, and secondly to check the fit before plunging into the bridesmaid dress material. There are four practice dresses to make, and I have now made three. The are not yet hemmed, nor is the neck binding sewn down. 
With some guidance from Roisin I was able to merge the two patterns by making myself the dress in the middle out of some old fabric of my grandmothers. I cut a 8/12 bodice and a 12 skirt as per the pattern and sewed them together. I did not modify the bodice, but then marked onto the skirt where the pleats needed to move to, then took out the basting and modified my pattern. My other pattern changes were to bind the neck and arms in bias binding, and to lengthen the skirt by 4 inches (which is much too long).

I have now measured up two of my three bridesmaids (my sister is getting a break right now as she is in the middle of exam study. I made muslins of the the bodices for M and K, and then using their chosen fabrics sewed up these dresses. They are now waiting to be tried on once more to confirm skirt length. 

M and K are my best friends. We have known each other for years, going right through school together. M and I have been best friends since kindergarten, and K and I since high school. We now all go to university together (completely unintentional) though we are all studying different things. It's been so exciting making these practice dresses for them, as they are both so stylish, and they suit them perfectly. M's dress is the red dress. She wears a lot of red, but assures me this one, with tiny brown and green flowers, is different to her five or so other red dresses. K's is the blue one, and is a brilliant party dress; it has already been earmarked to wear to two weddings this year.

Doing this process has taken away any nerves I might have had about the actual bridesmaid dresses. I am looking forward to making one for my sister, it might end up as her graduation/formal dress, or we may go the hippy route... who knows. There is just something so nice about sewing for other people.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Engagement Dress

Much has happened in the two months since I last posted. Most importantly, I got engaged at the end of May. First up is my engagement dress, which first appeared in this post. It was still sitting at home unfinished, and I was intending to leave it until next summer, but at the end of May we had a heatwave, and knowing we would probably get engaged that weekend, I hurriedly finished it to wear that night. There are no pictures of me wearing the dress; we made a decision not to take any photos that night, and now we are in winter proper, so dress form it is.
This is Simplicity 2444, with cap sleeves as per the pattern.
My only modifications were in the finishing. I French seamed everything expect for the armholes, which I finished off in bias tape. I also folded under the raw edge of the fabric under the zip and stitched it down, as I do with all my zips. This is the make I am most proud of in it;s finishing, and the beautiful fabric makes it a clear favourite, especially now with the lovely memories attached to it.
The morning of the engagement my Mum and I went to the Fabric-a-brac where I made some fantastic purchases, including a blouse length of liberty, and 4 1/2 mtrs of Liberty (which I did not realise was it til weeks later). It was lovely to wear a handmade dress to a fabric buying market. I then left Mum and headed into the city, where I met C and we had a lovely evening culminating in a proposal on Observatory Hill overlooking Sydney Harbour.
We are getting married this December; neither of us like the idea of a long engagement. But there is much sewing to be completed before then. Yes, I am making all the dresses. And a fair bit of decor. My sewing room now has sixty pieces of bunting sewn up.

We are going for a vintage theme, which works well for our reception, in my Mum's garden using our overly extensive crockery collection.I am joking that the theme is also "floral fabric" as I am also hoping to make a large dent in my grandma's fabric scraps in the next months. Besides bunting, I am looking at table runners, and fabric flower bouquets.

For the dresses, we are going simple. I already have the fabric for the bridesmaid dresses; myself and two of my bridesmaid went shopping and found a fantastic floral for $6/mt. We bought ten metres, so I will probably get myself a garment out of it as well, which will be a nice memento. I start fitting my three bridesmaids next week, and am making them up practice dresses as well, so we don't destroy the real fabric. The bodices will by BHL's Anna, and the skirts Simplicity 2444.

My own dress is a more complex affair. It will be an Armistice blouse for the bodice on a skirt that currently in my head seems to be an eight gore tea length with horizontal bands of insertion. I am beginning my muslin of the blouse now, so the design will probably emerge. I am looking forward to trying a lot of new techniques: insertion, drawn thread work and pin tucking.

So they are my sewing plans now until December. It will be a busy time, but it has meant my sewing room has had quite the makeover. I will be blogging much more regularly as well. Much of it will be wedding related, but I am hoping to squeeze in a few other sewing projects, as well as share outfits, and other nice vintage pieces.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Vintage Winter Dressing; 1940's Casual

Its getting colder here, but still haven't had to crack out scarves and coats quite yet. I am classifying this under winter dressing, though I suspect one winter proper hits it won't be worn in this rendition This outfit epitomises my style; vintage styled opshop.

Blouse: cotton, with a striped pattern of orange flowers; opshop
Skirt: blue/green/grey wool A-line skirt handmade; opshop
Cardigan: Kmart
Stockings: black zig zag pattern
Shoes: My long awaited red T strap vintage heels; opshop
Earrings: gold hoop
Necklace: gold locket
Brooch: small gold angel stopping gaping; vintage floral brooch on cardigan

Monday, 28 April 2014

Vintage Winter Dressing; Velvet

Here in Sydney winter is beginning to set in. It is not yet coats and scarves weather, but we are heading there. I have been playing around with my winter wardrobe the last few weeks and it is so much fun. Besides loving the cold weather, I love dressing in layers, and playing around with textures, fabrics, colours and accessories in a way that you really an't do in summer. I wore an outfit the other week that i know I will be able to wear again when it gets colder, but with a different coat and necklace will look completely different.
I have decided to document a lot of my winter outfits for the blog.
My winter dressing staples are as follows:

  • purple and teal green colours, though this year i am playing around a bit with red and earth tones
  • woolen skirts
  • velvets and textures
  • coloured stockings
  • pashmina scarves
  • coats; especially my crushed purple velvet  
Today I got my braces off after 17 months. I had clear ones, and I never felt they impacted my appearance or how I felt about myself, but getting them off made me ten times more confident. I got home and changed immediately into a pencil skirt out of my jeans, and then decided I needed to do something with my hair. I followed Bethany's excellent tutorial and I feel this is the start of my getting a grip on how to do my hair.
 It's amazing how a nice outfit can make you feel fantastic

Blouse; opshop
Jacket; Fletcher Jones, opshop
Skirt; opshop
Headscarf; Mum
Necklace; Grandma
Earrings; taken from Mum's room
Boots; opshop

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett

Hello again, I have been very quiet on the blogging front. Life has been rather busy, but there is a slight sewing backlog i have not gotten around to blogging yet.

Frist up, the Dolly Clackett dress

I  finished my Sew Dolly Clackett dress just in time! Roisin's blog was one of the first i started reading, and she kept on insisting to me in the comments that I did indeed need to buy By Hand London's Anna dress. And oh, I am glad I did. This is my second rendition, the first can be seeMn  here.
When the sew along was announced I knew I had to do an Anna mash up, the perfect Roisin dress. The fabric, which is a daisy print ended up being another op shop doona cover, I think I am becoming rather adept at finding them.

I chose a gathered skirt, and after a very unsuccessful attempt pulling up threads I found this great tutorial. This will be how I gather fabric from now on. Easy, and great results.

I ut the skirt rectangles at 30" long, and gave it a 2" hem. I am very happy with the length.

Congratualtions on your upcoming wedding Roisin, and thankyou for your wonderful sewing inspiration.

Pattern: By Hand London, Anna
Size: 8/12
Adjustments: No adjustment to bodice; replaced pattern skirt with gathered skirt made out of rectangles
Notions: 22inch dark blue invisible zipp
Wear With: red cardigan. I think this is more of a summer dress. I am wearing it today, but after this it might need to be packed away over the colder months
Make Again: Oh yes, this is becoming a TNT pattern for me. I have so many more ideas. Button backed Anna's have been dancing through my head

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Blue China Roses Anna Dress

My first Anna dress is finished, and it certainly won't be my last. I love this pattern.
The fabric is from an old doona cover that I found opshopping. And there is enough left over for a smaller project. Doona covers are my new go to for fabric. I have two more waiting to be turned into dresses, and one that shall become cushions. The fit on this is fantastic. It hits perfectly at my very high natural waist. I French seamed everything and hand hemmed it. I get fussy with my finishing. I sewed this up in a few hours, but it has taken about ten days to get it finished. I even finished off the zip by folding under the fabric seam allowance and slip stitching it to the zipper tape. I love the idea of making sure my hand mades are finished off well. 

Pattern: By Hand London, Anna
Adjustments: None! I used the V-neck and the midi skirt pattern options
Fabric: Blue china roses doona cover, opshop. 50% cotton, 50% polyester
Notions: 22 inch invisible white zip
Wear with: Pearls! And in winter I can wear a lovely white coat that I found opshopping at the end of last season, haven't got around to wearing it yet
Make Again: Oh yes, I fear i am going to end up like Roisin and make multiple variations of this. I can't wait to experiment with different skirts. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Anna progress and some notes now I am back at uni

My sewing has been rather sporadic in the last weeks. I have a number of projects nearing completion including another Simplicity 2444, another Mathilde blouse and my first attempt at a blouse.
My most notable one though has been the purchasing of By Hand London's Anna dress.

Here she is, just with skirt panels and neck facing pinned onto my dress form. Do not despair, I have not sewn the split up to my undies. As you can probably see, I am making the midi skirt length with the V-neck. The pattern was a dream to sew, and now it is sitting in my hand sewing bag waiting to be hemmed. I will not talk any more about it now. It truly deserves it's own blog post.

I am back at uni as of this week. It is extremely exciting. However it sadly leaves limited sewing time. I am only at uni three days a week, but the reading is extremely demanding, especially in a medieval history course. Luckily I love it, but I get the feeling I will be indulging in my love of intellectual theory much more than my love of sewing this semester.

I do have a good long list of sewing plans though,and they will be fitted in, just a bit more slowly than they have been in the last few months. i will be doing most of my hand sewing on my commute (when I am not reading that is) My plan is to post on the blog at least once a week, with any sewing progress, or anything else related to vintage living that I am thinking about. And of course as soon as I finish a project it will go straight up.

My dream list for the next months is as follows:

  • purple woolen pencil skirt. I am tossing up between using a New Look pattern and pegging it, or buying By Hand London's Charlotte skirt
  • Cream satin blouse; vintage pattern. I am making a version of the pattern currently in a floral cotton and it is coming together much smoother than I was expecting. 
  • Vintage Vogue 2903 probably in a floral cotton
  • Anna dress in green wool. I will have to check if the fabric will work first.
  • Sew Dolly Clackett dress
  • Green full 1950s skirt to go with a lovely vintage style jacket I already own