Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sewing Through the Decades Challenge

I've been in a little bit of a sewing rut lately, with indecision and too many options clouding my creativity. I've been knocked down with a cold too so I've been feeling a little lethargic and much more inclined to curl up in bed with a Jane Austen flick than lug out the fabric and start stitching.

In saying that, I have spent a lot of happy time catching up on my blog world reading and have emerged very, very excited. I have plans atop plans, the first and foremost of which is "Sewing through the Decades".

Debi from My Happy Sewing Place has decided to sew her way through the decades starting in the 1930's. She will mainly be focusing on creating separates and is using this challenge as a way of venturing out of her usual 40's styled clothing and play with different looks.

This challenge appeals to me very much. I tend to sew mostly 50's inspired garments and would love to branch out. I've been quite interested in the late 30's - early 40's recently and am hoping to start there. This also gives me the opportunity to start on my winter wardrobe (I'm aiming to sew most of, to all of it)
I have never made a coat, a blouse or a "true" pair of trousers so this really will be a challenge!

As is custom, with any new idea I must turn to etsy for inspiration. I've found a stack of vintage patterns that I can't wait to get my hands on and some fabric which will be perfect for my winter look.

But before I get ahead of myself, I must finish the project that I am currently working on - The 1930's playsuit that I posted here.
I'm using a fine check black/white houndstooth that I picked up at an Op Shop. I am planning on decorating the collar lapels in black rick rack and adding some cherry red buttons to the back.

If all goes well I should have it up by the end of the week ("If" being the operative word here).

You may have also noticed that I never posted a picture of the nightgown I made for my Mom's birthday. It turned out quite pretty, I spent a lot of time finishing it with lace edges and french seams. I left the side seams un-finished, along with the hem so I could alter if if need be - In the end this wasn't enough. I made it WAY to small and she couldn't get it over her head. I asked if I could post a picture of her stuck in it, but she didn't like that idea very much. I wonder why?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Belated Birthday to Me!

In my mad rush to get mums birthday present and cake together (post to come soon), I forgot to mention that it was my birthday a few weeks back. Consequently it fell on the hottest day of the year, with temperatures hovering about mid 40's! yikes! It wasn't the most eventful birthday, I had some celebrations with friends and family, but spent the majority of my day sipping ice water and hugging my fan. On the plus side, however, I got some fantastic gifts! A few which I'd like to share with you.
My lovely friend Kit, from My Candy Castle, made me this adorable mini bunting, that currently adorns my fabric shelf.

Kit spoiled me rotton. She also bought me a copy of Frankie Magazines Sweet Treats, all wrapped in spotten tissue with a multi coloured confetti suprise inside. I'm dying to get in the kitchen and whip up a confectionary storm with this book.

And the piece de resistance - A sewing box from my mom. She found it at an Op Shop and snapped it up real quick. Not only is it an amzing vintage sewing box, it came filled with vintage haberdashery and notions. It was a sewing wonderland in there, I found wooden spools of brightly coloured threads, old tins of buttons, cute traveling sewing kits, zips, binding and strangly enough an old $1 Post Office bond from New Zeland. I also found a packet of sew in name tags for Faith Wilkinson - Could this be the previous owner of the sewing box? I hope so. I love it when items come into my posession that have a history, have lived a life with someone else first, its fascinating.

This is my sewing box - 

Cool, Huh?

So all in all, despite the unbearable weather, my birthday was a success. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snail Mail

I got a present in the mail today, granted I did buy it for myself, but that makes it none the less exciting. It was even more exciting because it took so long to get here that I had completely forgotten I bought it. To my happy surprise this is what I unwrapped:

Two fantastic patterns from Eva Dress - Pattern Retrospective! EvaDress is great, they sell reproduced vintage patterns. I'm constantly coming across amazing vintage patterns online, only to be disappointed that they are the wrong size (I know I should learn how to re-size, but it sounds so scary!). The awesome thing about the patterns from Eva Dress is they come resized and available to everyone. Really, it's such a good idea and I'm very surprised there are not more shops doing this.

Initially I came across this pattern company when reading a post by Debi, a 40's sewing expert. At the time I was on the search for the perfect 40's style nightgown and had been for several months. I've been promising to make one for my mum for nearly a year now, but could never find anything that seemed to be just perfect - until I found this one. With her birthday just around the corner, the time was drawing near when I would and should actually fulfill this promise.

Now that I have the pattern, I am going to have to act quick! I have two nights to pull this all together, get it wrapped and ready to roll.

This is my little plan - What do you think?

I want to use a small pink/white gingham cotton voile with white lace trim - Very girly!. I also plan to shorten it a little, to mid calf, making it more practical. I don't want to create a tripping hazard for ol' ma, ;). Cross your fingers for me that I will get it done in time.

On a more selfish note, while shopping for mum's birthday pattern, I found something for moi!

Isn't it just adorable? Obviously it was too hard to pass up. I can imagine this little number in many different colours and fabrics, the perfect bike riding outfit! I'm even considering taking up tennis just so I can be the girl in the illustration - too lame? Never!

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Bad Ass Embriodery

......Or maybe just Bad! It certainly started that way at least.

My Nanny was a great embroiderer, she had pincushions, table runners and trinket bags galore. She passed this skill on to me when I was about 8 years old. I would stay with her on the south coast in my summer vacation, watch Mary Poppins and embroider. My tiny blanket stitch was legend amongst her sewing group. "Look at those french knots!" she would say. I was at the top of the embroidery game -

But where have my quick nimble fingers gone? Dormant or gone for good?

I recently decided to revisit embroidery after being inspired by Casey's posts on sprucing up vintage cardigans. I dreamed up a nautical themed garment (yet to come), complete with a hand embroidered anchor embellishment.

This is attempt number one...

FAIL!!! That's an anchor?? For some silly reason, and because I hand no embroidery thread on hand, I used plain sewing thread (great idea molly!) this was very clearly my first error in judgement. Having forgotten all my stitch types I just started fiddling. The fiddlings looked dreadful, so I gave up.

This is attempt number two...

FAIL!!! This time I purchased embroidery thread. Things were starting to look up. But then, they started to look down again. My satin stitch (if I can even call it that) was all over the place and my chain stitch was made of a hundred different lengths. I was becoming distressed and just about ready to throw the whole embroidery debacle in.

Then, I found a second (third more like it) wind and decided to try again, this time I was going to try an "M", because, frankly, if I had to look at another anchor I might have screamed. This time....

SUCCESS!! This time I went all out.I purchased stitch'n'tear, I spent a long time drawing the perfect "M", then tracing it in utter concentration onto the the stitch'n'tear and then just taking my time and getting it right.
I must admit, I am very proud of my "M". I took a photo on my phone and sent it to my mum for applause, then decided to send it to some friends, show some colleagues, oh and now blog about it (quick, someone burst me, I'm getting a big head!)

Granted I find a huge stock of patience, I might just add embroidery to my repertoire.
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