Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Functionality Vs Frivolity

Now that the saga that was the Finders Keepers market is over, and I have a few other sewing projects out of the way (Regency gown & Christmas/Birthday gifts) I am super duper, totally and utterly excited to get back to sewing for myself!

Selfish much? I'm not even going to try and deny it.

But, Dear Readers, the question is - What next?

Photo-recycling - Don't mind if I do!

I am planning a short trip to San Francisco for New Years to visit my Brother, so naturally I would like to work on some winter attire to take with me.

The first idea was to make a cape. I would base it on Burdastyle's Lindsey Cape and sew it up in a beautiful thick rust wool that I have been dying to use for over a year now. I envisage it with black velvet trim and a large black pussy bow that ties at the front (Much like the one in the picture above). This would be a very practical plan.

However, there is something constantly looming in the back of my brain.....

Ba ba ba bum! The BOMBSHELL DRESS!

I bought Gertie's Bombshell Dress course a couple months ago and have by dying to try it out ever since. There is small amount of dull bronze metallic "Toffee Bark" fabric is my stash that would be just perfect for it. Together the combination screams New Year's Eve!

I know that its going to be very cold in San Fran for New Year's, much colder than I'm used to. But with a good coat, gloves and Stockings, I'm sure I can pull that dress off, at least until I arrive at our celebration destination.

Now, before I go getting ahead of myself, there is one major deciding factor. Time!  Will I have enough time between now and Christmas to make the bombshell dress?? I am led to believe that it's rather time consuming. Where as I know that I will have the time to make the cape.

Have you made the bombshell dress? How long did it take you? Should I save that project for January? Or dive right in? Can you tell I enjoy asking questions? No?

Tell me what to do!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dreaming of Austen

The Lovely Michelle, mentioned in my last post, is celebrating her birthday next week.

Being the exuberant person that she is, she will not be celebrating in just any old fashion; instead she is throwing a celebration entitled " The Great Garrett - Dress inspired by your favourite literary character"

YES! I'm am so excited, I have not yet, until this time had an opportunity you go as.... you guessed it... Elizabeth Bennett!

My love for Jane Austen rivals that of my love for Harry potter, and that's a huge statement in my book.

The BBC productions of Jane Austen play on a continual loop in my room while I'm sewing; its gotten to the point where I know most of the dialogue before its said ( I know, I know, that's kinda sad).

So, when I read Michelle's invitation I knew instantly that I would dress as Elizabeth Bennett and knew precisely the pattern and fabric that would get me there.

Here's my inspiration:

Aren't they glorious?!

So, this is the plan - I will use Burdastyles Danielle Pattern which I already have on hand, and have made once before.
I also happen to have 4 large curtain panels of Mustard Shantung that I picked up at the charity store. I feel like the colour and weight of the fabric is perfect for this project. Its seems to me that all of Austen's more headstrong characters are often dressed in rich earthy colours; for example Caroline Bingley (regularly dressed in rust & mustard) in both BBC adaptions of Pride & Prejudice, along with Lizzy Bennett; as seen in the second picture.

 I will need to make a few alterations to the pattern such as lengthening the skirt. I would also like to gather the front bust, rather than use darts. If I have enough fabric I would also like to slightly gather the back skirt panel to achieve a more dramatic look.

Have you made a Regency dress before? Can you offer any tips?

Of course I won't be sticking to the old world sewing techniques with this project! Seeing as I have to have it ready by Tuesday (and the fabric could do with a good clean too) I will certainly have no qualms about sewing a sly zip in.

Well, I better get to work, time is ticking!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Old Hatters

About 3 months ago I got an email from the delightful Michelle Garrett, a fellow blogger (at Ravishing Retro), vintage lover and Sydney resident. She was also, at that point a complete stranger.

This email was an invitation to join her newly founded group "Old Hat". As soon as I read about it, I was as excited as a kid in a candy store. I don't actually have too many close friends that share my love of  all things old world, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet and mingle with some like minded folk.

Since the inaugural G&T at Darlinghurst's adorable Hinky Dinks we've been vintage chums ever since.

The group meets once a month, dressed to the nines, in various vintage inspired bars to sip cocktails and have a jolly good time.

Here are a few snaps from our November Social at The Green Room Lounge:

I got to wear my new red suede shoes!

 Nick & Rachel

Michelle, Jesse & I

Tim and Jesse - A.K.A Johnny & June

I very much look forward to our next social!

P.S if you too are a Sydney vintage lover, drop me a line - we'd love for you to join in our festivities! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I can finally breath now! Finders Keepers is over!

What a wonderful two days! The markets were amazing, there was such an eclectic array of stalls selling their quirky colourful wares and the place was packed with charming, fashionable and friendly folk.

It was such a fantastic experience, and although I was intimidated/terrified/exhausted by the time I got there, it was so utterly worth it in every way.

My wee Stall!

 My New Range of Skirts - Soon to be available in my Etsy Store!

With a mojito in hand, and the stall set up, all I had to do was sit back, relax and make friends.

Thanks to Mel from Roger & Peach and Rabia from Ginny & Jude for your help and moral support - Such a pleasure you meet you girls x

I can't wait for Next year!

P.S Thanks a MILLION Mum for helping me out and making my adorable Molly-Made Banner!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finders Keepers

Preparations for my stall at the Finders Keepers Markets are in FULL SWING! Realistically, I should be done by now and planning my stall layout; seeing as the market is tomorrow, but true to form, I'm still frantically sewing on buttons, hemming and embroidering.

In fact, I don't think I have ever sewed this much or this intensely in my life! Its has gotten to the point where I dream about it at night and think about it every waking moment!

The stress of it aside, I am very proud of the amount I have achieved in just a month. I've made about 10 full circle skirt (some with AWESOME pom pom trim), 30 collars and I am still working on some cute bow hair clips. Oh, and kept a full time job too! Not bad, hey!?

I'm super excited to set up my stall too. My lovely mother and sewing room "assistant" has made an adorable banner for me, which I will proudly hang over my stall and I also bought a big lolly jar filled with starlight mints - yum!

Should I get the chance, I'm also looking forward to doing a little shopping myself. Finders Keepers has always been one of my favourite markets to attend. The talent there is always so inspiring. I suspect it will provide a great opportunity for a wee bit of Christmas shopping.

Here are a few stalls I'm eager to check out:

ALAS Sleepwear

I've been dying to get a look at these dreamy PJ's since the sweeties at ALAS launched their online store in October. I'm putting the Sailor top on my Xmas wish list right away!

What Can I say? It's got "Molly" written all over it. These poor dears have me as a stall "neighbour" and will  undoubtedly have to put up with me drooling over their goods for two days. I apologize in advance.

Hello Stocking Stuffer Heaven! How magical it would be to wake up on Christmas morning to a stocking filled with her delightful little friends.

I Simply cannot start my summer without this darling bathing suit, and yes, I need the matching floral swim cap too.

And that's just to name a few! I'm glad I have been saving my pennies!

So, if your in Sydney and looking for something to do, come along and join the fun! There will be a great line up of live music and plenty of delectable things to eat and drink.

See you there!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Peppermint Delight

I'm very pleased to present my peppermint delight dress - the perfect, breezy dress for summer.

Admittedly I actually made this a few months ago, and have worn it a good 20+ times since its creation (its both cute AND comfortable!).
I even photographed it a few weeks ago, but I've been so slack with my blogging that its taken me this long to post it - Eeep!

Anyway - here it is in all its glory. Can you tell I like it?

Its funny because I had actually planned to use this fabric as a muslin because I thought the colour was too pale, but after looking at it for a while I decided I would make a dress out of it; and now I love it.

I have made this dress before, its from Retro Butterick #B4792. It was actually the first dress I made when I started sewing again and I loved it dearly. It now lives in Texas with my sweet friend Honoree. She wore it out one night when she was visiting me in Sydney and she looked so swell in it, I insisted she keep it and give it a new life in Texas.

A year later I decided it was time to resurrect #B4792- this time in Mint.
The fabric is 100% linen, even though is wrinkles like a B*&ch ('scuze my french) it is lovely and cool, which is just what I wanted seeing as its heating up here in Sydney.

Its a relatively easy pattern, as long as you follow the instructions (something which I don't always do). The neck has a lovely gathered detail and attaches over the extended shoulder straps that connect at the front.

I really took my time with this dress and I'm very satisfied with the finish. The bodice is self lined and all the seams in the skirt are french seamed. The only problem I had was some slight ribboning on the roll hem - Any tips on how to stop this from happening when easing the hem on a circle skirt?

Now isn't that the prettiest seam you ever saw?!

As per usual I'm busy sewing away, this time busier than ever! I had the recent good fortune to be offered a stall at Finders Keepers Markets at Carriage works this December (coincidentally, where the above pictures were taken) and have been preparing for this and working on my stock (and a few new designs!)

But more details on that to come soon.

Hope your having a lovely day x

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BurdaStyle Featured Member

Burdastyle has made me a featured member, Yippee!!

You can read my interview Here.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The "Minxy Vintage" Launch

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely Miss Pia Anderson to the launch of  Minxy Vintage by best selling author Kelly Doust.

The launch was held at the beautiful Sydney Antiques centre and Hosted by Pia. What a decadent evening! Upon arrival, I was offered complimentary champagne, my coat and umbrella were checked; teacup laden tables offered up exotic tea's and fine chocolate truffles and the room was filled with nothing but elegantly dressed and well manicured folk - vintage style.

Coco Repose, a divine vintage store within Sydney Antiques Centre and collaborator of the book had curated a clothing exhibition for women's attire spanning from the 1900's through to the 1980's.

The examples were divine!

{1920's} Photograph Courtesy of Coco Repose

{1930's} Photograph Courtesy of Coco Repose

{1950's} Photograph Courtesy of Coco Repose
Pretty dresses and champagne aside, we were all there for the book! and oh what a book it is. Kelly is amazing! Her book is not only a fantastic feast for the eyes, but cleverly written and witty. The Book offers tips for customizing and restoring vintage clothing to create your own unique style and to breath life into old garments.

During her speech Kelly talked about how fascinated she is in the history of a vintage piece, the idea of it playing a role in someones life and being passed on to another. This concept has always fascinated me, and is one of the main reasons why I love all things vintage and Antique.

After purchasing a copy of the book, I was lucky enough to meet Kelly and have her sign my book.

As you may be able to see in the photograph above, my face is bright red. The photo was snapped right after I met her and promptly told her "I like to sew too!" like a child trying to impress one of the cool kids. I quickly collected myself  (I like to think) and continued on a little more calmly about our mutual love of vintage and sewing.

I am not ashamed to say that when the evening ended I went straight home to bed; "Minxy Vintage" in one hand, bag of free chocolates in the other and feasted on both for a good hour or two. The Verdict: Amazing (both the book and the chocolates that is).

For those who live locally (Sydney) Kelly will be signing copies at the Love Vintage Fair this weekend. For those who aren't, I'm sure you will be able to pick up her fab book online, it is well worth it!

M x

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's a Love/Hate relationship

Dear Pom Pom Trim,

I know our relationship is relatively new. It was love at first sight. There are so many things about you that I love so much. But you also have your faults. Don't get me wrong, no one is perfect.

I love your playfulness, the way that you add instant charm and colour. I love your flexibility, and how you lend yourself to any project without complaint. I can add you to clothing, cushions, napkins, accessories, swimwear; in fact you just about compliment anything. I love your retro chic attitude and that you are bold and out there, no question about it. These are your qualities that I appreciate so much.

Sometimes I find you frustrating though. I think its the way you bounce and dance around on the sewing machine. I understand that this part can be tedious, but your inability to stay still drives me bonkers. Its this erratic behaviour that sometimes gets your fluffy soft pom poms jammed under my needle. This I do apologize for; I try my best to spare you this fate, but its a two way street. We need to work together in order to succeed.

Please don't take offence. After much deliberation I have decided to love you despite your flaws and the frustrations you present me with. I want to assure you that there will always be a place for you in my haberdashery box.

Sincerely  yours,

Molly x

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All Bets are On!

You must be getting bored seeing this dress time and time again... clearly I'm not bored with sewing it just yet.

I could argue and say I change it up each time, but that would be a half lie or a Half Truth.This time around I changed that scoop back to a V back, which kind of stretched out into a scoop back anyway, and the boat neck vaguely into a scoop neck.... but in essence, its the same pattern.

None the less, it's non-offensive and it's simplicity lends itself to most fabrics and prints.
With a print such as the one I used here, it was really important that I choose a very simple shape, so things didn't get too chaotic.

It was also important that I chose something I could make fast, and I mean fast! I found out on Friday afternoon that a colleague of mine had miraculously scored members tickets to the races and invited a few girls from her department. The races were the next day!  I finished work that day at 5pm and had to leave at 10am the next morning. The Races are a  big day, so I knew I would need a good nights rest on top of that. This didn't leave much time in between to make a new dress. Not only that, but there was the matter of the hat. I needed to make one of those too!

When I say "need", I didn't actually "need" to do anything. There were a dozen or so dresses in my commodious wardrobe that would have fit the bill, but I wanted to make a new dress. Not only because I love a challenge, but I love the feeling of wearing a new dress.

I was very pleased that I pulled it off. I started at about 6.30 and was in bed by 12.45, dress and hat done.
Not too bad, if I don't say so myself.

Since I've made this dress a dozen times before, and spoken about it a fair bit, I won't bore you with the details again. But, What I do want to talk about is the fabric - Isn't it just divine? It was another piece I scored from work. Its a custom print created by one of the designers that for some reason got thrown in the reject pile and eventually worked its way into my hands. A whole 4 meters of it.

I'd never actually seen a fabric like this before, and upon further enquiry I found out it was a cotton silk blend called Ottoman. Have you ever worked with this fabric before?
Its amazing. A-MA-ZING! Its soft and fluid, yet weighty, with perfect drape. Its known for its ribbed or fine corded effect; Somewhat time Grosgrain ribbon. If I could, I would use this fabric for everything.

Although the print was rejected by the design team, I happen to adore it. Its so bright, bold and impossible not to feel jolly when wearing it.

I also made my hat. Well, head piece. Its not a hat at all, rather a headband with big flowers on it. It was actually really easy and fun to make and I love the way it turned out. The style of it reminds me a little of the 40's tilt hats, but a little more modern.

I am actually planning a tutorial on how to make these lovely headband - Would that interest anyone?

I didn't take many pictures at the races, in between losing bets and drinking champagne I managed to get distracted. Instead, I took pictures in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens. Its one of my favourite places in Sydney, particularly the flower garden outside Lions Gate lodge, which is where these pictures were taken.
All the flowers were in bloom and the whole walkway was framed in delightful Cherry blossoms. It really is a magical place in Spring.

It turns out I'm not the only one that thinks so. The tree's above are filled with bats! At first glance they all look like large hanging seed pods, but if you stick around until sunset you'll see them all bloom and open up, bickering and flapping their wings at each other. Their charismatic presence just so happens to be accompanied by the pungent odour of Guano (poop) that sadly overpowers that of the flower garden.

So, to leave you on that lovely note - Happy Spring!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daisy Pickin' Skirt

A few weeks ago I went to visit my parents for my Dad's birthday. It was the first week of spring, and the world seemed to be coming alive with colour.
Mom and I drove down to the beach for breakfast and stumbled upon a darling patch of yellow daisies. It just so happened that I was wearing my new maxi skirt that I had made a few days prior.
I don't know about you, but the city I live in doesn't often offer up many flower field photo ops - So I jumped in the middle of it and Mom snapped away. At first I wanted to lie in it, and bask in its glory, but it was full of bee's, so I reconsidered.

I used Simplicity pattern 5006 by Andrea Schewe for the skirt, which is actually a petticoat pattern. I simply omitted the ruffles and it couldn't have been easier. There were only 4 pattern pieces, one zip and two snaps. No joke, this skirt really only took about an hour to make! not to mention it is very comfortable to wear and it swishes and flicks in the wind, which is always a selling point for me.

I used a super light cotton silk blend in a rich indigo. It was another freebie I scored from work, which I'm certain I wouldn't have been able to afford should I have had to buy it. I continuously count my lucky stars that everyone at work is so sweet and generous!

I've practically lived in this skirt, since its creation. Its so easy to just throw on with a blouse or tee shirt. Not only is it an easy wear, but it is also surprisingly good for climbing tree's in, Swiss Family Robinson style:

"Climbing tree's?" you might ask. "How very un-ladylike!".

I would like to say that my tree climbing shenanigans were all for a good reason (other than a bit of fun) but unfortunately they weren't.

I had a brainwave that I was going to take pictures of my 50's Fair dress, hung on a line, blowing gently in the breeze. It was going to look fantastic! My gentle breeze ended up being more of a strong wind and they looked far from Fantastic.

We gave up on our "photo shoot", had breakfast and returned home for some birthday cake baking.

If its not already clear, and I'm sure it is, I'm a Harry Potter Fan, in fact my whole family are fans. So Mom and I decided to make dad a Harry Potter cake. Not just any cake, but the cake that Hagrid gives Harry for his 11th birthday.

And yes, the spelling mistakes are intentional.

We used the most delicious chocolate cake recipe from Diamonds for Dessert and smothered it in a garish salmony pink cream cheese frosting. It was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted! It was light and fluffy and oh so chocolaty.

Your probably all assuming that my dad's name is Harry, or hoping at least. Well, its not. BUT, he does refer to himself as Harry (derived from Harries, our surname) when he does something silly, so it all made sense in a long shot kind of way.

Anyway, Dad loved it, and that's what was important.

Next week I have another 50's dress to show you, that was made in honour of spring. I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear Frankie...

I LOVE you...

I've always been a fan of Frankie. They are an Australian based magazine that never fails to amaze. They are girly, quirky, curious and an all round treat for the eyes.

I didn't think I could love Frankie anymore than I did, that was until today when they put a wee post about my collars on their blog , and I found out it was possible to love them a little more.

Thanks Frankie!

Monday, September 12, 2011

1957: My Fifties Fair Outfit

As promised, I have returned with some more detailed pictures and information about the outfit I made to wear to the Fifties Fair that is held at Rose Seidler House each year.

Its such a wonderful day, and it most certainly warrants a new outfit. Although mine strayed initially from what I had originally planned, I was more than happy with the outcome.

I used a polished stretch cotton that I found at the Remnants Warehouse for $4 dollars a metre. It was delightful soft and so so easy to work with. However, I wanted the bodice to be very fitted and structured, so to achieve that 50's "nipped" waist look I lined it in a thick red cotton drill, which more than does the job. I'm not going to lie, the waist is tight, but all in the name of fashion right?

I have made this dress a few times already (Here, Here, oh and Here too) before I begun blogging, So I know the pattern like the back of my hand. Its Retro Butterick B4792, with a basic boat neck bodice front. It's such a simple shape, so it's really easy to wear and manages to get me through all the seasons.

Instead of gathering the skirt onto the bodice as I have in the past, I used small pleats; the centre front pleat being inverted to "conveniently" hide my mismatched check.

I am very happy with the finish of this dress. I used all french seams and for the first time I used a sink stitch along the seam where the bodice and skirt meet. Its barely noticeable! and leaves the lining looking to clean and neat.

I also finished of my 1940's Du Barry jacket, that's been haunting my sewing corner for a few months now. I know it wasn't technically Fifties, but it suited the outfit well enough and was all I could manage at 11pm the night before the fair.

I had planned on lining the jacket, but instead I just bound the edges in red poly cotton binding. The whole time I was stitching on the binding I was telling myself that I WILL return to this jacket after the fair and line it properly, like a good girl. Sadly, I don't see that happening.

I love this Du Barry pattern. The shape of it is so simple, yet structured. I particularly love the three darts on each elbow - why don't we see this on modern garments? It also features a flaired peplum and three quarter sleeves with two pleats on each shoulder for a little extra oomph.

The one thing I am unhappy about (other than the fact that its unlined) is that I feel the bust darts are a fraction to high and I would make note to lower them should I decide to make this jacket again.

I also bought the little red gloves to go with outfit and am in LOVE with them. I feel so dainty and lady like when I am wearing them! its dreadfully fun. I have learned though, that they do not mesh well with modern life - my iPhone won't recognize my "touch" when wearing them and I'm for ever taking them off and putting them on again!

Stayed tuned my friends, as I have more creations to share with you very soon!
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