Saturday, July 31, 2010

My latest design

This is my latest design, a basic "sheath", using vintage fabric and notions.

The bodice is made using vintage fabric, the skirt a light-weight crepe, and white grosgrain ribbon and vintage red plastic buckle belt. I bought the vintage fabric from ebay, and the red buckle from etsy.

I designed this dress using my basic dressmaker's blocks, although what you see is an adjusted design. I initially made this with a 12-gore skirt in the vintage fabric. I had made a pattern and toile of a gored skirt in pattern making class and thought it would look good...and it does. However, it was just that bit too short for me to be comfortable and I just knew I wouldn't wear it. Rather than waste the vintage fabric, I removed the too short skirt and replaced it with the straight skirt. The too short skirt will now be added to a hip length, a-line tunic to make a "flapper-style" dress. The tunic part will be made from the same crepe. Will post the result.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Two charity store gems...

I thought I would share with you my two latest charity store buys...and what gems they are!
1960s style
This one is labelled "Elvie Hill of Melbourne". I don't know if that is a clothing label or a personalised label, the dress is quite old and has no size or care label. It looks homemade. This dress was $10.00 and came with two belts; one made from the silky bodice fabric, the other made from the woollen skirt fabric. It is difficult to see, but i love the way the two fabrics are so different texturally, yet the same pattern. Edit: I just googled Elvie Hill of Melbourne and found out that Elvie Hill was a "couturier and self-named fashion label, from 1940s"
...HOW COOL!!!

1970s style

This dress has had the label removed, is made of a semi-transparent chiffon-like fabric, with an elastic waist and lining below the waist. It reminded me of "Saturday Night Fever" when I saw it, and at $8.00 I couldn't leave it there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What if...

Recently I have found myself pondering...what if my mother and grandmother had saved all their lovely clothes and accessories for me; what if they knew that one day I would want them for myself. I was thinking about this again today because my boyfriend and I went to the Mill Market, a huge venue filled with retro clothing, among other things. I saw a 'glomesh' clutch...and remembered my mum had one. Then I remembered all the lovely clutch purses she owned...and matching shoes (too small for me)...and nice dresses too. I then began to imagine the lovely clothes my grandmother would have owned, as a 21 year old in 1952.

What got me thinking about this in the first place was a visitor where I work. I am a "tea lady" in a nursing home, and I was telling one of the resident's daughters that I had started studying fashion design, and of my love of vintage. She responded with what I imagine is all too familiar...oh, if only I hadn't thrown all of mum's clothes away, you would have loved them. And, yes, I would have loved them because this lady's mum would have been a very beautiful and fashionable young woman. She is still beautiful, in her nineties.

I am very fortunate to have one item, my most prized fashion-related possession...a small black handbag that belonged to my great-grandmother.

I don't know when it was made, but it is vinyl, or similar man-made product, and has a lovely multi-toned gray closure...

I absolutely love this bag; its simplicity, size, and style - but more importantly, because it belonged to my great-grandmother. I use it everyday!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hollywood pants - shorts

These shorts are my "Hollywood shorts", one of the styles in the Folkwear pattern - "Hollywood pants - # 250". I love all three styles in this pattern, and have attempted two - these, and the knickers...the knickers were no good though. I think the problem is that I am not very 'hip-py', and both patterns required a lot of alteration to the shape at the hip area...which I am no expert at. I persevered with the shorts, but trashed the knickers. I will try again another time. Also, I think I made the waistband wider than the pattern called for.

I just love these shorts...they are very cheeky, and lots of fun. The little pleats are so cool, and the top-stitching above the pleats add a nice detail. This pair are made in a really crisp chambray, but I can see them in a medium wool (with drape) for winter, or a plaid. I guess I have been spoilt with patterns - I rarely have to adjust them - so these patterns really tested my patience. Having said that, I will make these shorts again, and try the others again too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sewing space

I was reading a blog about sewing spaces, so I thought I'd show you mine, although space is probably a generous description...

I live in a very small house, and this room houses our computer desk, coffee machine table, a couple of shelving units, various stuff, and my sewing machines. Another room, our lounge, has my dressmaker's dummy, and the spare room a.k.a. "tool room or man's room" is where I hide my boxes of fabric etc. I also have a fold-up table for cutting and pattern drafting, which I have to store flat. I dream of having a studio space filled with storage galore, and a table 2 metres x 2 metres (at least) that is high enough to prevent the back ache I get every time I hunch over my current table to pattern draft or cut out - this is the stuff of dreams!!! However, I am grateful to have a space at all, and the items I need to make my own clothes...I am very lucky.

Speaking of lucky, my two sweet little retro sewing tables I have were "free to good home" on the side of the road near my mum's house. She loaded them into the hatchback, and brought them to me. A bit of a clean and they were ready to go.

I actually really like them, not just because they were free, because they possess a kind of quaint, and very retro, charm. They are also small enough to not take over the room.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Red blouse

My red blouse was inspired by a discontinued blouse pattern I found online @ pattern retrospective...

this is the original...

this is my interpretation...

Mine is a little different, in that the "v" is wider on my blouse than in the original picture. This was only my second attempt to draft a pattern from an image. My first attempt was a red dress (made from the same fabric) with ruching at the waist darts. The fabric is a light, semi-transparent crepe I found at my local op-shop for $3.00. There was about 2.5 - 3 metres at 150 cms wide, with only one small moth hole, which I simply avoided whilst cutting. My skirt was actually a strapless dress I bought at another op-shop for $5.00, but it was too big. I loved the fabric, and the net underskirt so I cut off the top and added a wide, elastic waistband and...voila!!!

I have been a sewer for a long mum, granny, and great-granny have all taught me sewing, knitting, cross stitch etc, but I never imagined I would be able to draft my own patterns. This year, in an effort to improve my sewing and finishing skills, I enrolled in an advanced sewing class at my local haberdashery. My teacher, Anette, could see and hear my enthusiasm for pattern making and vintage design. She encouraged me to enrol in fashion design and technology at my local college. I was allowed a late enrolment, and started two weeks later. Now I am able to draft my own patterns...yay!!!

I must tell you that my boyfriend paid for me to do the advanced sewing class, which has opened up a whole new experience to me, and basically changed my thank you, Bat Man xxx

Welcome... this is my maiden post I will share with you what I'm about, and what you will find here.

I love to create clothing in the vintage style...and will share my creations with you all. I knit, sew, and draft my own patterns. I often find fabrics in opportunity shops, and re-purpose when I can. I also love millinery, and accessories.

I am a mad francophile, and dream of living in Paris...even though it will only ever be a dream.

I am also a novice sea kayaker.

I will post my "works-in-progress", finished garments, surprising purchases, pictures, and other whimsy. Stay tuned!!!