"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pencil skirts and tartan

Yes, I am finally going to start the tartan pencil skirt. There were various colours to choose from but I went for blue. My hat is blue, my coat is blue...so why not my skirt.

I'm using the pattern for high waisted pencil skirt from 'gerties new book for better sewing'.
Not sure I can rock the socks and shoes look myself but a smart winter skirt is just what my wardrobe has been missing. And I might aswell start at the beginning with the first pattern.

I chose the (60" wide) tartan and then some poly silk haboutai for the interlining. It sounds such an easy process so I want to give that type of lining a try. I've even bought some self covering buttons in case I need them. I've got a zip in stock.

I cut the skirt out to find I had enough fabric to make 2 skirts if I wanted. lol! Well -I thought- handy if I make a mistake.
I cut generously so I could adjust the fit while wearing it to allow more ease. I added about 1cm to each seam...and it was quite comfy to sit down in.

Started sewing it up. If I was using a machine it would have been very quick but as I hand sew everything it took longer. Especially as I wanted to do it properly so used the hong kong seam finish from the book. Cut bias strips from the silky blue fabric to encase the fraying material. As I decided instead of lining the skirt I would wear a slip.

I also decided to stay stitch the waistband. I've had problems with waistbands stretching before. Plus the tartan frays like mad but is nice to sew by hand.

The waistband took a bit of figuring out as I was using different material for inside and outside didn't want to get it backwards. lol! I will admit seam ripped and re sewed once as I got it the wrong way round. lol!

I of course hand sewed the zip. Was supposed to be 'invisible' but as always it doesn't stay in place and gapes and shows the teeth of the zip however close I sew.

I used a hook and eye I took of an old jacket instead of a button as I suspected trying to do a buttonhole in the tartan material would be a nightmare with fraying.

all that was left was to hem it.


Friday, October 26, 2012

What era suits me? A look at retro styles.

Two posts have prompted me to write this. 1) was yorkshire does vintage's 'a beginners guide to vintage shopping-what's your era?' and 2) A comment on PR "I love retro but unfortunately don't have the figure for it.
Plus my own recent pondering as I decide on my winter wardrobe sewing projects.

First off I do believe there is a era for everyone whatever your shape. You just need to find it and make it work for you.
Secondly fashion is quite cyclical. 
Prediction for fashion shapes (women's fashion)

This is my theory. That there are 4 'shapes' for womens dress and that usually go in a cycle. Haven't gone too far back in history. These are very general silhouettes. It goes Box shape, Y shape, Inverted V (sharp hourglass), inverted U (soft hourglass).

Of course this doesn't include variation in waist and hemline hight. You just have to find the 'shape' that flatters you the most. There is always a way of wearing a retro style that will make it work for you. And unless your looking to be very strict about which 'era' you are going for as regards look there's no rule against mixing and matching. For example having a 40's blouse with a 50's skirt. I've mixed 90's tops with 2000's trousers before and no one has noticed so I'm sure the same applied in the past. ;)
Apologies for my quick sketches...some of the proportions came out a bit wrong.

Don't be fooled by idealized photo's either. There were people of all shapes and sizes in all eras and they had to wear the clothes somehow. lol!

Things like for example a V neck added to a 20's dress and the dropped waist and hinting at the natural waist can make it easer for a curvy-er sort to wear the straight up in down fashions. Reducing fullness of those 50's skirts but still keeping that soft 'U' shape can work to reduce the 'cupcake' effect or even try a pencil skirt. Sleeves are also important. Reducing/increasing the proportion of the sleeves can help balance the top half out.

Disclaimer: for the purposes of this post 'retro' is referring to something new made based on something old. And I don't by any means claim to be an expert. This is just from my POV.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Vintage Fair in York

So I had a little itty bitty holiday in York. Had some time to wander round the city on 2nd day. Just at the point where I was looking at the map wondering what to do next (not much open on a sunday) got handed a flyer.

'York does vintage' at the Merchant Adventurers Hall. Decided to pop in. The building as a setting added interest (I do like a historic building.)
Two floors of stalls with entertainment. 
Really enjoyed looking through all the stalls. Took inspiration from looking at vintage pieces up close.
Love that yellow dress!

Also got my hair done at the hair & make up stall.

Missed out on the dancing as had to rush off to catch the coach. :sad face:

Definately if I saw another one would go again.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Make do and Mend Hat

For a while I've been meaning to upcycle a hat like in the video below.


Even found a hat in a sale for £3 to use...and saved up some feathers.
Original hat

I found it surprisingly quick and easy to do. I didn't pleat the crown as it already was sort of pleated.
But first thing was to cut brim from crown.
 Before pining it in place and trying it on for size. Once I was happy with the angle sewed brim to crown.
 I then set about covering up my stitching with a ribbon and adding a loop so I could add feathers later.
I then experimented with various arrangements of feathers before finally settling on the present display.

I just need to ad some kind of comb or grip at the back to make sure it stays on my head and tack the feathers.
Used a hatpin in the end. Matching the hairdo to the hat as reccommended.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Winter sewing wishlist - Update

My wishlist changes like the weather. lol! So many projects so little time.
- The suit is on the back burner...as I haven't sourced the material or pattern yet
- I now want playsuit with matching skirt for dancing (more info here)
- In november planning on making (instead of a feedsack dress*) a pillowcase skirt. lol!
  There are some really pretty print pillowcases in primark.
- And a long sleeved blouse

I need to finish
- Tartan pencil skirt (buy zipper)
- Regency ball gown

* Inspired by Ruth's flour sack dress in Wartime Farm

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Retro Outfit for dance lessons

I always have a project in mind for a dance outfit. And I saw a post today on a blog highlighting another post about the outfits in stage door.

I like the thought of a 'playsuit' but with a matching detachable skirt. As I'd wear it purely for dancing rather than 'all day' the usual issues I have with play suits and jump suits wouldn't apply.
I've seen a few vintage patterns with this concept of shorts, swimming costume or playsuit with a detachable skirt.
I really like the wearing history sailor girl playsuit pattern. (If I can find a UK stockist I'll buy it) otherwise I'll have to improvise.

I was looking at maybe using a modern pattern like M6533 and drafting a matching skirt. But what kind of skirt? A-line, circle, half circle, pleated or dirndl? What do you think.
I have been keeping back in my stash a nice printed cotton, black with little flowers.

Here is my little sketch. 

Decided to use this pattern...
But modify it. Adding darts, sleeves and peterpan collar.
Now deciding on the skirt. A line but button down the side or pleated?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Regency Day Dress - Part 1

I know, I know....this is me thinking up ideas for a all purpose regency day dress.

 I'm really warming to the 'jumper' style. Sleeveless but that allows a chemise or habit shirt to be worn underneath. That is so much more 'me'.
Like the ones worn in 2009 BBC version of 'Emma'.

I'm leaning towards a blue coloured 'jumper' with white sleeves and white lace trim (bought in Bath).

I would still be inclined to use with cotton rather than silks....just for ease of care.
Of course leaving enough fabric to make matching headress...this time with feather. And a bonnet if I can make one from scratch. I would have it back opening as well.

I like this one...princess charlotte wore (that girl had good taste...I like all her dresses).

Source: google.com.au via Lady on Pinterest

So I'm now looking for more fashionplates showing these type of dresses.
It will be practical too as I can swap between long and short sleeves without changing my dress.

I do like the ruffled front of this one though and lower waistline.

What I'm going for is regency but that is quite subtle and I could get on a bus for example and not feel too extravagant.  I've been colecting a pinterest board of all the images of these kind of dresses I can find.

So thoughts?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Huswife, needle case or 'where do I put my scissors and thread when on the move?"

Huswife, needle case or 'where do I put my scissors and thread when on the move?" Yep. Looking for a project to do using my 'scraps' of fabric as I won't be getting to fabric shop for a while.
I have seen two types.

DSCN8502 One booklike.

The others more like a long strip. rolled up

Huswife Inside

I have an idea to use my little crazy patchwork sampler.  Add another layer and wadding so there's enough padding so I can use it like a pincushion.

With some squares as 'pockets'.
I have made a start...not quite as neat as other peoples but its very...erm...me.
The back of the panel sewed up sides but left small gap so I could pull inside out.
I trimmed the excess first though.

Sewing in pincushion. Also added ribbon loop and tie next to it for scissors.
Added lots of different sized pockets. Including one that was thread reel sizes so I can use it for embroidery or general hand sew stuff.

Rolls up and ties with ribbon. Still got a few more pockets to add but its just about finished.

Finally Finished

Had pockets for cotton reels and embroidery thread. Pin cushion and a little scissor holder.