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

Saturday, 27 September 2014

She looked amazing

I finished the dress in a week. The graduation was lovely.
That is now all the practice bridesmaids dresses done. I haven't actually seen the other two wearing them. I simply bump into a mutual uni friend every now and again and they will comment "K looks amazing in the dress you made!"

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Refashioned Grey Floral Skirt

The skirt swamping my dress form

This skirt came from a friend of my Mum's. It was almost ankle length, about a size 22, and elasticised in back waistband.

I unpicked the side seams and kept the front section as is, then measured the back section on my dress form sewed it back together and placed a new waistband in, no elastic needed!

I then hemmed it to just below the knee, a very flattering length. 

I wore it today to uni, it's so comfortable, I will have to find more tops to match with it. 

The buttons are mother of pearl, expect the bottom two which are odd. I will replace them, and also sew another button hole; they stop about three inches above the hem, and the flapping was annoying me a little today.

So a lovely rayon skirt for free in a lovely colour that I would not have worn otherwise. 
Today's uni outfit

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Practice Dress for a Highschool Graduation

My younger sister is graduating high school this week. She needs a graduation dress, and then a formal dress for after final exams in November. We went shopping today with Mum, found the formal dress, reminded ourselves of why we hate shopping, and I realised once again why I love sewing and thrifting over buying ready to wear.

I still haven't made my sister her practice dress for the wedding, as I was waiting for her to have school finished with. However, after the upteenth dress try on, I told her we were going to the fabric shop, and I would make it for her by next Wednesday. We found the fabric, then went back and got matching shoes.

The fabric is lovely; it's the blue colourway of my engagement dress, and I got four metres in case I want to make something else at the end.

I am so excited for this project!!!!

In other news, I finished the other practice dresses this week, been working on wedding dress prototypes and doing a lot of sewing,  not much in the way of finished items to blog. Hoping to be blogging more in the next weeks

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

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Red Retro Dress

This is the first dress I cut out and sewed up, and the second I finished. I actually finished it a few weeks ago, but haven't been able to share it. I wore it once, but in my hurry to finish it, and my unawareness of the importance of correct sewing procedure I had left all seams unfinished. Trust me, trimming and zig zaging each seam after you have completed the entire dress is not fun. I got that done, but only got around to washing it this week, and then finally today I wore it again, and was determined to get photos.

Of course this is one of my Simplicity 2444 dresses. I feel fantastic wearing this pattern. This dress is going to be worn so much. I specifically designed it with the sleeves that length so I will be able to wear it winter and summer. I have a beautiful red wool coat I am dying to wear with it. This dress has actually been in the works for so long, when I first cu it out I was determined to get in a few wears with the red stockings and coat combination. Oh well, there is always this coming winter.

Pattern: Simplicity 2444
Size: 12
Adjustments: I cut the sleeve length between cap and three quarter, at the lengthen/shorten line
Fabric: Cotton from Spotlight. Red, blue and white flowers on an olive green background
Notions: 22 inch invisible red zip. This was my first inserted by machine.
Wear with: Summer it creates it's own outfit, but I do want to find red pumps. Winter; red coat, red stockings, brown boots and a pale blue scarf
Make Again: Yes! I already have

Monday, 17 February 2014

Vintage Cotton Mathilde Blouse

I made my first Mathilde blouse. I am so very excited. I originally bought the pattern to use with some stunning blue floral drapey cotton, and this one was made as my wearable muslin, bu I will be wearing it very much.
I was planning on making my muslin out of an old sheet, but my Mum encouraged me to find some real fabric in case it turned out. I picked this out of my grandma's stash, thinking it wasn't that nice, but now I am in love with the fabric; it's just a very different colour to what I normally wear.
The pintucks took a good while (I now know it is not optional to mark the crease line) and I ha to put it to the side for a few days whilst I worked out how to use the buttonhole foot on my machine, but now it's all sorted. I can do zips and buttons now which is going to expand my repertoire. I made sure I used a green thread for the pintucks and hem. Done in a matching or contrasting colour makes them stand out.

I found it an easy make, bolstered by Tilly's excellent online instructions. I now feel confident enough to make the next one on my own. Oh, and there will be plenty more; short sleeves, gathered, sleeveless. I am even planning on how I can make an Edwardian inspired version with insertion.

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde Blouse
Size: 3
Adjustments: None, followed the pattern exactly
Fabric: Green, orange and pale pink floral; my grandma's stash
Notions: Seven red buttons; grandma's stash
Wear With: Most skirt shapes, either tucked in or out
Make Again: most definitely

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Vintage Pattern Pledge

I have decided to take part in Marie's Vintage Pattern Pledge for 2014. It's rather natural as i was planning on sewing my way through my grandma's pattern stash regardless. The majority of her patterns date from the 1970s, but most have very classic silhouettes, so I can make 1940s and 1950s styles from them.

I, Kaitlyn, pledge to sew up six of my vintage patterns this year.

Six sounds very ambitious, but I think it will be doable, and hopefully fore me to focus on the patterns I have rather than always hunting down new patterns.

An Unsure Refashion

I found this shirtwaist at the opshop the other week. I like the gingham, it fit, and it had a lovely pleating detail at the waist. However, it reached to my ankles and looked incredibly frumpy. It was probably from the 1980's but I could tell there was a 1950s housewife look hiding somewhere in there.

I set to work, and within an hour I had it shortened. I cut it off right to my knee, as I wanted to make sure it didn't look too frumpy. A very easy refashion, and I was thrilled with my new dress.

I did it up with the red headscarf I talked of in my last post. Feeling very proud of myself, I went off to meet my boyfriend. Whilst he thought the dress looked good on me, he also thought it made me look like a twelve year old school girl; a sentiment shared by both his flatmate and his mother. Hm... not particularly the look I was going for, when I was trying to channel some 1950's housewife at home.

So, what to do now? I love the dress; it's completely cool and comfortable, but it may have to be relegated to the wear at home pile unless I find another way to wear it that doesn't make me look so young...

At least my other sewing projects I have planned make me look more my age.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Simplicity 1606 Summer Polkadot Dress

Another finished dress! This time it's from Simplicity 1606 Amazing Fit Pattern.
I bought this pattern because I wanted a basic princess seamed bodice, and also because I love the look of lace overlayed bodices. I know this pattern is going to get a lot of use.

I cut a straight 12 with the B cup and the fit was mostly good, but next time I make this dress I'm going to do a proper fit of the bodice. The keyhole opening in the back gaped a fair bit, so I took a quick tuck in the shoulders once it was finished.

The fabric I used is a thick white cotton with a tiny navy blue polka dot. I knew it would work perfectly for this dress. I lined the bodice with a very soft white cotton, so it's perfect for summer. This was my first go lining a bodice, and i was pleased with how easy it turned out to be. In fact, I sewed up the entire dress, save the zip and hem in a few hours.

It was also my first go putting a zip in a lining. I just attached it to the dress and then slip stitched down the lining. I'm very happy with how it turned out. The hem was done by machine.

I finished this dress in time for my very social Sunday. Firstly I wore it to my best friend's moving out of home party (she is only moving closer to uni, so I'll still be able to see her a lot) she was telling anyone who would listen that I'd made my dress!

Then that afternoon and evening my boyfriend had got us free tickets to Laneway Music Festival. It was at the Sydney College of the Arts which is an absolutely stunning sandstone complex. It was a fantastically relaxed afternoon and evening, and I'd never seen so many hipsters in one place in my life.

I decided I wanted to complete my outfit with some red! My search for red shoes has not been forthcoming. I did Blue Ginger Doll's Pinup Headscarf in red top stitched in navy, it was the perfect finish to the outfit, and I did notice that a lot of girls were wearing similar scarves in their hair.

1606 will certainly be going with 2444 as a go to dress pattern.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Liebster Award!

I have just been nominated for a Liebster award by Deby of Mid Century Love.

It's a token of recognition that bloggers award to fellow bloggers who they think deserve more recognition. The terminology "Liebster" roughly translates to "Dearest" from German, and the guidelines of this award are as follows:
  1. You must answer the 11 questions set by the blogger who nominated you.
  2. You yourself then pick 11 blogs who in turn have under 200 followers.
  3. You must then think of 11 questions for the blogs you have picked and also tell them.
  4. You must link back to the blog that nominated you.
  5. Write 11 facts about yourself

1. What have you learned from blogging?
I haven't been blogging for particularly long, but one practical thing I have noticed is it takes ages for my photos to upload! It isn't easy to write up something quickly when you know that's going to slow you down. On a more serious note I really enjoy the wider blogger community and how useful they have been to me in terms of information and ideas, and I really want to give back to that.
2. How much time do you spend working on your blog?
Not often, but I hope to get into a more regular posting schedule. 

3. What is your guilty pleasure?
Big Bang Theory, and reading the bad articles in the lifestyle section of online newspapers
4. Are you punctual or tardy?

5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
The UK. I have been an Anglophile for as long as I can remember, and it now seems I will finally get to go there at the end of the year! I can visit all the places I've read about and longed over for so long
6. What's your favourite book?
Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights

7. If you could throw a dinner party and invite anyone in the world, living or not, who would you invite and why?
Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine; I find their story fascinating and would love to see them in the flesh
Richard III; to finally lay to rest whether or not he was a villain
Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde; for their wit

8. Do you have a particular style icon or guru?
Not really. I am more inspired by the general idea of 1940s-1950s fashion
9. What do you draw inspiration from, magazines, films, blogs or something else?
ost of my sewing inspiration comes from blogs; but I have just started watching Miss Fisher's Murder 
10. If you had to live in any other time period besides now, which one would you pick?
Oh my. I am a medieval historian so one answer has to be the entire medieval period. However my interest there lies in the areas of political and intellectual history, whilst my social history interests span from the Regency-1950s. I truly think I would fit in very easily to the 1950's, but then again, if I get to time travel I should pick something exotic. Florence in the fifteenth century would be amazing. Oh this question has way too many possibilities for a historian.....

11. What is your proudest moment thus far? 
Getting into university. I worked incredibly hard during my last two years of high school, and did extremely well which then allowed me to gain entry to the University of Sydney to study medieval history.I am about to start my third year and am loving every minute of it.

11 Facts About Me
1. I cannot remember not being able to sew; I was taught by my grandma
2. I physically cannot wear ballet flats
3. I was on my learners license for over three years
4. I am writing a novel
5. My room contains four bookshelves which are predominately full
6. I wore a back brace for scoliosis for a year
7. My nicknames include "grandma" "old lady" and "crazy sewing lady" Even though I am twenty I am an old soul
8. My aim is to move to Scotland
9. I hate the heat 
10. I love my train commute, eve if it is over an hour one way
11. I have lived in the same house my entire life

Nominated Blogs

My 11 Questions

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is your favourite piece of music?
3. Do you thrift shop? If so, what's the purchase you are most proud of?
4. Tea or coffee?
5. What colour are the walls in your bedroom?
6. What is the best piece of advice your parents ever gave you?
7. What would your dream house be?
8. What creative pursuits do you follow?
9. Are you a morning person?
10. What is your ideal fashion item?
11. Do you collect anything?

Thanks Deby for nominating me, this was a lot of fun,

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sewing a Me Made Wardrobe

Looking around the sewing blogs at the moment, it seems a major theme is organizing ones sewing to ensure a coordinated and workable wardrobe. I think it's really exciting that this is something I can be thinking about as I start off sewing, and have the conception of a me made wardrobe before me so I don't veer off and make too many unwearable pieces.

The first thing I need to be thinking of is where I currently am in life. I turned 20 last month, which felt for me like a very big milestone in my transition to adulthood. I believe this is a good time in life to articulate how I want my life to be, as it's easier to form habits now. Of course life is unpredictable, but making a conscience decision now to live simply in a vintage style is something that will set me up in good steed for years to come. I am also about to embark on third year uni, so I can wear floral vintage dresses to uni everyday if I so wish. It helps when uni's right next door to the most hipster suburb of Sydney.

What is it I mean by living simply and in a vintage style? Not hoarding is a big factor.  I have never moved house in my life, and considering the thought of moving out of home one day makes me want to throw out everything superfluous. I have been doing a lot of major room clean outs over the last months. This also translates into being frugal with what I buy.

But the biggest area I am working on in my life at the moment is my own personal style.  Before i get to the idea of a wardrobe in this post, I'll touch on the few other areas I want to work on. Firstly is my hair. I love my hair, it's a beautiful color, and extremely thick, I've just never been able to style it well. My aim in the next months is to recruit my friends to teach me how to do things to my hair. I also want to take more are in my shoes. I've always just had a black and brown pair for each season and worn them till they wore out, but I want a little more variety. I also want more variety with my handbags. Lastly, I want to pay more attention to makeup, but this is definitely not something I will wear all the time.

Now, onto the wardrobe! Tasha from By Gum, By Golly had a fantastic piece the other week on what she called the  'Land of Wardrobe Enchantment'. I found this a very interesting concept, and it made me think a lot about how I want my wardrobe to be this year. With this in mind I embarked on a wardrobe clean out, and got rid of a very large pile of clothing, an that was just from the summer clothes, the winter ones are still neatly packed away. As I was sorting through clothes I thought very hard about the idea of my personal style, and predominately only kept pieces that fit with that theme.

So, what is my personal style. It is certainly vintage, specifically 1940s and 1950s. And it's very feminine. I love dresses, skirts and blouses, especially in florals. I don't like pants (though I did keep a few pairs) nor do I like things that are excessively bold or seem too modern. I even got rid of a skirt that i still wore, but that I had also worn to my Yr 6 farewell when I was 11. Some things just needed to go.

With my wardrobe now depleted to a good and workable size, I feel I am able to dress more in a vintage style, and am more able to see the gaps that exist. I am very glad I did this before completing more sewing, as it ensures what I make will fit the wardrobe. I need some more long straight skirts. And more blouses, and a few dresses won't go astray. Some of what I've kept will be going out one it can be replaced by a me made piece.

So, my next sewing plan is to go through the suitcases of dressmaking fabric, and decide what I'm going to make to fill in the gaps. I am not going to start with rigid rules about each blouse must go with three skirts, and all those things. Whilst they are good guidelines, I do feel that as I am starting out on this sewing journey I can give myself a good bit of leeway.

How are you going to ensure your wardrobe works better for you this year? What are your sewing plans? How have you successfully incorporated a vintage look into your everyday wear?

Saturday, 11 January 2014


One thing that I am trying to do is to  branch out in the bag department. For the last two years I've only stuck to my black handbag, which whilst extremely useful is on it's way out. I decided I should make myself some bags, and then I could have a wider variety to coordinate with what I am wearing.

First up is "Kate's Bag", a kit from Post Office Patchwork. My grandma bought it for me several years ago, and I only made it up in December. I love the beautiful pastel tones, and have gotten a heap of use from it already.

I also have a large stash of fabric that's old sheeting samples; perfect for totes. I made this one for myself, and one in a cream floral as a Christmas present for my best friend. They are so quick to make, and I finished them off with French seams, and sew across the bottom corners to create a flat bottom. I can see myself making many more of these in the future.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Two Tone Collar Dress

It's been a long absence! Feels lovely to be back. After my last post, I was without a laptop for three weeks, and then Christmas kicked in, and life became too busy to try and get into a regular blogging pattern. However, I have been getting a lot of sewing done, and over the next days I will have a lot of blog posts detailing all of my progress.

First up though, is my first completed dress! I was getting tired of having these unfinished dresses, so I decided to plunge in and sew the invisible zip by hand. It was easier than it sounded, and I made a very neat and lovely sample which i was extremely proud of. I decided to finish off the purple two tone dress, as it was the one I was least concerned with if the zip did not work out. It took a good few hours to sew in the zip, and I am mostly happy with it. I think it was quite hard as it was black thread on black fabric, and the thread kept on tangling. The waistline didn't line up either, but I decided it wasn't worth trying to fix it, as it was't going to be glaringly obvious, and it would take a lot to fix it. It's more of an everyday wear dress anyway. As you can see the zip pulls a bit at the waist. I'll need to keep an eye on that on the next dresses, as well as work off a lot of Christmas treats!

The collar was a lot of fun to make! I modified the pattern slightly, and lined the collar, as I thought it would look a lot neater than trying to hem the curved edges. I'm so glad I did it like this.

I finished the hem on New Years Eve, to wear the dress that night! I went out with my boyfriend to Sydney, and we had a great time watching the fireworks. Highlight of the night was just before the 9pm fireworks we were walking along the foreshore at Glebe, and passing a family with two little girls draped in tinsel. The youngest, probably about three, turned to me with wide eyes, exclaiming 'I like your dress!'

It's a great dress, so comfortable, and I've worn it once sine then as well.  Only thing I need to do is put in a hook and eye so the collar sits properly at the back. I'm so glad I made the collar. I didn't like it much on the pattern, nor on the few renditions I've been able to find on the internet, and only went with it, because the purple fabric was a remnant and didn't have enough for the bodice. It's a feature that looks best in a contrasting fabric, otherwise it just blends in too much.

So, I now have a completed garment made from scratch. Here's to many more of these before the return of university in March.