Sunday, 20 July 2014

A lil bit of vintage.

In recent years I have amassed quite a collection of vintage patterns.  I won a couple of bulk purchases (25 and 30) on ebay and now my pattern drawer runeth over.  I think I've done quite well with the ones I have made so far. Though I've found the sizing is a bit different.  Also there is the fact that a lot of the 60's patterns don't appear to have any instructional lines on them, just perforations where the darts should be.  I'm also not so sure about the applying the interfacing directly on the fabric instead of the facing pieces.  Maybe this postdated fusible interfacing because after one or two washes the interfacing started to come away from the fabric.  It is also just interesting working with different styles.  There are just so many great shift dresses to choose from.  I've also bought quite a few 50/60's shirt style dresses which I am yet to make up.  Here is a small sample of the ones I've made up thus far from my 70's patterns collection.

Vintage McCalls



Butterick 5242
The pinafore was my first foray into vintage patterns.  I bought this and several other patterns on a website for vintage patterns maybe 4 years ago. I think this has all now been superceded by etsy and ebay where you can usually find the patterns you are looking for.  I have also had a few kind people have given me their mum's old patterns becuase they know I love working with them.  This pinafore was pretty easy to make, however, I had to add some material to the waistband  as the sizing was a bit on the slim side.  The side edges are encassed with bias binding which was a technique I hadn't used before.  As for Butterick 6617 I am quite happy with how this turned out.  It is unfortunately on the large size and the belt helps to bring it in. But you can see that is one supersized collar. I kind of lose my neck amongst all the material.  I had a desaster with another vintage pattern with the zip front and collar. I haven't had a lot of experience in recent years with collars and some of the pattern instructions are not very clear. But all in all I am pretty pleased with these.

McCalls 5576

I remember buying this pattern and then not being too thrilled with it when I got it home. It sat in a cupboard for a time until I must have found the right fabric.  The first version was really easy to make up. Though at the time I remember the yolk of the top seemed really big and loose around the front.  On a whim I decided to make the second dress in a day. I was going out to see a band and of course had nothing appropriate to wear.  Was pretty chuffed with how it turned out.  Though still the same problem with the yolk.  I have realised that I attached the yolk the wrong way around. I have done this same thing with some other garments.  I then have had to put a couple seems in the yolk so it sits flat. I then put some buttons on the red and navy one to cover the nasty looking stitching.  Fortunately I think it looks intentional.  This is a really comfy dress, though if I do make another version I will try to get it right. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

And so it begins........

It has been a couple of years in the making but I have finally gotten around to starting my own sewing blog.  Since being introduced to the wonderful world of sewing blogs by my dear friend Lauren from Sew Lonnie I have been meaning to venture into the blogosphere to start creating a record of my sewing projects.  I realised I needed some forum to share my latest sewing project or vintage pattern acquisition with my friends.  I am not on the farcebook and neither do a tweet.  In fact the whole on line oversharing culture just doesn’t appeal to me at all.  But once I realised that there is a whole of community of folks out there with similar interests to mine, it did inspire me to become a blogger.

I guess you could call me a vintage sewer.  This could be (a) because I do like sewing with vintage patterns, or (b) I have been sewing for over 25 years now so that may in fact make me vintage.  I grew up with a super sewer mum who made practically all of my clothes, including school uniforms.  I have great memories of all the 70’s and 80’s ensembles which my mum magically whipped up on her glorious old sturdy Singer  sewing machine.  I think it might even still be lurking about and is sometimes used by dad to sew up blokey stuff like making adjustments to shade cloth and tarpaulins. 

So back to the sewing. For about 18 years of my life my live in dressmaker (aka mum) would diligently make clothes for me.  Even after I started working I would go out buy a pattern and material and bring it home for my lovely mum to work her magic. Probably growing tiresome of spending her valuable time slaving away on the Singer for me, she decided that I should give it a go.  I actually thought this was a bit of a dull idea as I didn’t have any interest in sewing. A whole 6 months of home economics wherein out only completed project was a denim bag confirmed this to be so. This was, of course, the best time to learn when you happen to live at home with your teacher.  I believe my first project was a black shift dress that I even lined. I think it turned out pretty well and remember getting a load of wear out of it.  So this sewing palava wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Now dear reader I would like to just give you an idea how great it was to be sewing your own clothes many decades ago.  First of all fabric was in abundance.  Every department store had its haberdashery section.  There were numerous fabric stores around the towns.  Even your local suburb had its dinky little haberdashery which was perfect for dropping by if you were in the middle of a project and needed say a zip or cotton. You would merely have to drive a few minutes down the road.  The types of affordable fabric you used to be able to buy seemed of a more superior quality than they are now.  I’m not sure what happened to cotton blend fabrics, ones that didn’t crease like the buggery when you wore them.  In Brisbane we had a market style venue called Paddy’s Market.  It was a large old building in Teneriffe which housed all manner of cheap things.  There was one whole floor dedicated to dress fabric. Imagine something like a big warehouse, just all types of fabrics as far as the eye could see.  Yes, yes, good times.  These days there is just one fabric store in the Brisbane CBD and the suburbs pretty much just have the chain stores.  It’s sad to see only a handful of independent fabric stores still about.  Plus with the cost of fabric I pretty much go bonkers when the sales are on and buy as much of the decent fabric as I can, whether I need it or not.

I have been sewing pretty consistently since I started in 198#@#$?.   Apart from 2 years I spent I London in the early 90’s, where I didn’t have a machine, I have been making most of my special occasion frocks.  If nothing else when there was a wedding or Christmas party I tried to make something. Everyday clothes however weren’t as prominent in my repertoire.  In the last 3 or 4 years I have really stepped up my game and have found a renewed love of all things handmade. I am proud to say 80% of my wardrobe now boasts “me made” clothes. How do I find the time I hear you ask?  Well I work only a 4 day week in my office job and I don’t have children, hence there is plenty of time to indulge in getting down and creative.

I have also been making handmade jewellery for about 10 years now. And when I get organised finally, I will try to sell some online instead of getting my generous friends to take shoe boxes to their work filled with my creations.  I am a bit in love with food too so you will find a few recipes in this blog from time to time. 

And warning to you anti-feline persons out there, there will be quite a lot of mention in these chronicles of my beloved sidekick Polly Jean.  That was another good reason to start a blog, not only finding out there are all these wonderful enthusiastic sewers out there but that so many are crazy cat people.  

I hope some people out there enjoy the chronicles of my sewing adventures. 

Also a big thank you to my talented friend Sandy for her artwork that appears alongside my banner.