Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Charity Mud Run - Not a Sewing Post

I know this post goes against the mandate of this blog but it is all for a good cause.

My husband and I and a couple of our friends are doing what is called a mud run. A 5km course with obstacles and mud. The Run is an event set up to raise money for the Cancer Council Australia who fund cancer research across a broad range of cancers (ie not specific to any type of cancer).

As part of this we have set up a site where people can donate funds to the Cancer Council (best of all it goes straight to them without me having to do anything much). So if you can and want to please donate. Pay pal and credit card facilities are available on the site and I believe all donations are in Australian Dollars.

Thanks Champs

Monday, November 1, 2010

The end of the Stash bust - and Sewing Mojo

And thinking back on what I have learnt, the answer is that my stash is more powerful than me. Whilst I did not add to the stash (not even to complement or line or match to a stash item) I did not get through much at all.

Though I guess it does depend on what your opinion on "much" is. I did sew over 36m of material though to look at the stash you would never guess it. The list and results is as follows with the good news that my husband is booked in to take photo's of all my outfits on Thursday night. So I will post photos then.

1. The 1940's outfit - as previously posted about this outfit looks great, on my dress form, apparently by but is too big for the skirt but we are working on that :) (the butt not the skirt).

2. The pretty dress - having officially broken the zipper thrice and the second break being unfixable I have decided to replace the invisible zip with a normal zip in the hopes that helps it do up easier. In any case the dress is nice but likely to get gifted to ange as it doesn't seem to fit me right but we will see post zip change.

3. The pretty dress petticoat - I have no idea how I resized the pattern to fit me, made a trial that fits me and somehow ended up with a waist that wouldn't fit a barbie doll. I am annoyed cause this took so much time trying to fix - but it won't fit me not ever. This dress is probebly going in the bin unless I can find someone with a 36" 26" frame.

4. The onsie and skirt - already blogged and I feel a success.

6. The Sailor Halter - marvelous success and already blogged

7. The blue crepe dress - I asked for opinions and I made the dress, I LOVE it and will blog about it soon.

8. The Hippy house dress - a 70's pattern modified slightly (to fit my butt and to lengthen) which I can't get a bra under and thus will have the sole purpose of beach cover up or house dress. It is very comfy though for our hot summers. A minor success but what a breeze of a pattern - more to come.

9. The Christmas Dress - my last night last ditch effort burning through a wopping 2.5m It still requires some buttons but otherwise this dress is great (but a little small)

So does anyone else see the pattern forming here. I always sew things a little to small, or cut them a little to small. In the case of number 8 though I do maintain that the proportions of the dress were wrong, I mean it was the right bust size. I could I guess start making more of a concerned effort to understand that I am NOT as small as I would like but on the other hand, if everything I made fit I would be up to my eyeballs in made clothes.

Also this month another awesome thing occurred, I got shelving for my stuff which I will photograph when the clean up is done.

So somewhere mid point in the stash bust both Ange and I lost our mojo. I regained mine with the help of a friend and a sewing day on Saturday but I think Ange is to busy planning a trip to the US to care - perhaps when she gets back.

I think mine disappeared sometime around the pretty dress is screwing with me round 3. I often just wait for it to return but wonder if anyone has some mojo building advice.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Great Refashion

I am starting something with my friends on facebook - if you want to be involved let me know I could try and work out how to make it possible for anyone to join in on facebook (might take a while cause I am a bit special with technology)

This is the challange for November

Inspired by this lovely girls efforts http://www.newdressaday.com I am proposing a refashioning challenge for us creative types out there.

1. Original item must be purchased at a CHARITY based Op shop. This means places like Vinnies, Salvo's, Cat Society etc but not places like the trendy 2nd hand stores in newtown.
2. Buy an item that you think you can refashion to be wearable today. Remember that the worse it looks now the more dramatic the change will be.
3. Take a photo of yourself in the horrid item AS IS and post in the album for the group
4. Take a photo or scan the receipt to prove it really does come from a charity op shop and post it in the album for the group.
5. Take to work refashioning the item – you can do whatever you want with it BUT the item must make up the focal point of the final outfit. You can accessories, trim, lengthen, shorten etc but you can’t say make a bandana with it and have it count. You should also refrain from using it just as material to make an entirely new pattern.
6. Take a photo of yourself in the new refashioned item and post it in the groups photo album.
7. You have the entire month of November to complete this challenge, final photos must be up by midnight 30th November.
8. The total budget for refashioning including the item itself is $20.
9. Everyone can vote for their favourite refashion (a vote for yourself does not count) in the week following the competition and I will announce who got the glory on the 7th December 2010.

Prise is only bragging rights, but the whole thing is about having fun, recycling and being creative.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pretty Pattern Shop

I have to make this post in support of some of the best customer service I have recieved in a long time.

Last night (Australian time) at about 5:30pm I bought 4 patterns from the pretty pattern shop on etsy. This morning at about 9:00am I logged in to find a note from the seller.

"Hello! Thanks so much for your order from my shop! Just wanted to let you know that your pretty vintage patterns shipped out this morning. I tucked in an extra pattern that I hope you will like as a thank you for your large order. I hope your patterns arrive quickly and that you love them!"

My "large" order was 4 patterns. This seller has shipped out mere hours after my order and given me a freebie... what more could I possibly ask for.

The prices (if you check the link) are more than reasonable in todays vintage pattern market, and whilst there is not a huge variety of stock it appears well described and photographed.

The pretty pattern shop comes highly recommended by me.

Now onto the patterns.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am now a Shearer

I just got back from my lunch break at Lincraft, I went alone, with no one to stop me, Bad idea for my bank account.

$82AUD later I have new shinies.

I got pinking shears - that really was what I went there for. I figure it may be an easier way to finish off my seam edges where I can't (or didn't) french. I also got bias tape to finish off a hem tonight - which will finish an entire dress off, 2 spools of thread - massive ones in black and in white, as I rarely bother to match thread to fabric unless absolutely necessary... some colours are just to dark for white to light for black but not many. I also got a new set of scissors as the ones I am using have gotten too blunt for some of my heavier fabrics and 4 cards of buttons. 2 for a shirt I am making and 2 for a dress which will be my next project.

So far at the halfway mark of stash busting my tally stands thus.

Onsie and Skirt - complete - used about 2m on the onsie and about 3m on the skirt
halter Dress - Complete - used about 4m
Pretty Dress - has some issues almost done used about 4m
Pretty Petticoat - needs internals hand finished - used about 3.5m
Blue Dress - needs hemming - used about 4m
1940's outfit - needs zip in skirt that does not fit me :( - used 5.5m
Mushroom Skirt - complete - used about 2m


The sad part is the stash is 28m lighter but does not look any smaller. Cloth mountain is trying to prove that it is unconquerable.

I know that is a long list of posts I need to get up, but really I shouldn't post about them until I have completed them, at least that is what I think. The completed ones have posts, except the mushroom skirt, as I am going to make a blouse to match (that's what some of those buttons are for)

Well Ange is coming over tonight and we will be working on completing these incomplete's as fast as possible.

Hopefully made faster with the help of pinking shears.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Boxy Dress

Hef has already told you about her version of the boxy dress here. Well this is my version, technically my post should have been first since I made mine first but, you can’t have everything.

This dress was from a Butterick reproduction pattern 4792. When I first started sewing I purchased it along with a whole bunch of other Butterick reproduction patterns when spotlight was having a half price sale. I liked it because it was retro 50’s, which was the era I was concentrating on, and also really liked the backwards halter of the top. In the drawing it looked like it may be a challenge, but it was also something different, something that made this dress unique to all the other reproduction dresses.

Admittedly this was when I had first started sewing and I didn’t realise the world of actual vintage patterns was waiting for me on etsy, or that there were other patterns out there which would suit me better, but more on that later.

I purchased some awesome orange floral cotton. The orange on it was very vibrant and so I thought it would make a great summer dress. Unfortunately the white of the cotton was not as opaque as I would have liked so I decided to line the dress in white cotton, so as to not have the orange showing through from the self lining the pattern asked for.

To do that I had to slice the bodice pieces which are designed to fold over and line themselves. Although it was a small change it added to the challenge of this dress for a very new sewer and I was amazed when I was able to do it and it all turned out right.

I had seen this dress made up before, and it looked boxy but I thought that was perhaps just how it had turned out that time. Unfortunately it was not just that girl, on my frame it did not hold any shape, and so it was dubbed the box dress. The only shape I could get out of it was if I pulled the belt quite tight, which makes it slightly less boxy but still not the beautiful nipped waist look of the drawing.

I like the skirt part on it. You can lift it all the way up and it looks like bat wings. It is soooo large! (you will see from the photos of me I like to hold my skirt up and show how large they are, hef likens it to a peacock). I think it’s supposed to have less, or at least is supposed to be gathered in specific spots, but I didn’t do that. I gathered all the way round and it seemed to be ok, like I said I was very new to sewing at this point.

I still like it, but the backwards halter top seems to make my shoulders look really prominent and it does not pull in enough for a waist. I mean I don’t have a waist anyway.

When we were doing the photos for this blog I accidently put it around the wrong way and wow it look sooo much better! The boobs were put into the back which was the only issue, that and well I was wearing a dress backwards. I’m tempted to make it that way for good, but to do that I’d have to do something with the boobs. Take a look at the pictures and let me know your thoughts/ideas. Would turning it backwards permanently make it work or do you have other suggestions on how to save this box dress.

The "Perfect" Dress - a cautionary tale

Let me start this post by telling you all that I can never make anything perfect, I just can't do it. Be it a wonky hem, a rushed dart, stitching escaping the ditch it does not matter what the issue is there will always be one. Mostly this comes down to the fact that I rush most things, even the things I make a conscious effort not to rush somehow end up finished in a week of nights at most with some issue, or slip up for me to focus on at later dates thinking if I just... but being to lazy to re-do.

Enter Buttericks retro reprint 6582. To start with I made this in the full skirt version, which I will post about later once I have pics of me actually in the dress, sufficed to say it has some issues but generally I was happy with the outcome of the size 10 full skirt version, the wonky hem I can ignore the arm holes made for barbie thin arms I can handle, it is one of my favourite works. But this is supposed to be about the wiggle version right there on the front in the black.

Just look at it, doesn't it scream sex kitten? Is it not the hottest little number you have ever seen? The sexy curves the modest yet alluring neckline, surely the perfect pattern. And look at the fabric I found. A beautiful cotton sateen, with an abstract rose pattern in fuchsia and gray and cream. Modern and Retro all in one and sexily perfect for my perfectly sexy pattern.

The problems started at get go. I didn't have enough material to cut it with the stretch and so I cut it against the stretch. No biggie. It fit Just.

Then I realised that I had cut a piece the wrong way - so I re-cut it out of my minimal scraps only to realise then that I was an idiot because it was already cut the right way. Then I located another piece that was cut the wrong way and I had nothing left to cut it from but hey it was a facing piece so again no biggy.

I really took my time on it - taking a week of nights to finish a pattern that has only limited pieces and I would normally run together in a couple of hours. I took extra care that my double ended darts started and finished symmetrically, I painstakingly lined up and re-lined up my zip, I read and re-read the kick pleat instructions until I got it all just perfect. And it is - you can see it here on Mavis, this dress is everything it promised, sexy but classy, slinky but elegant. Beautiful.

Want to know why it is on Mavis, well because the bastard is at least 2 sizes to small for me!!!!! So maybe I didn't measure myself first up, generally I would accept a slip up like this to be my own fault, I obviously made the wrong size. Except remember above where I said I had made the other version, the full skirted version, in the same size. Remember how I said it fits me fine. Well the very same pattern has a wiggle dress that is two sizes smaller than the skirted dress. They share only one piece, and due to changes I made on the full skirt I didn't even use that piece the first time (the small triangle-ish piece that makes the false cross-over effect, on the full skirt I made it a proper cross-over).

So I made changes to the full skirt - but those changes should have made it tighter not looser!!! How could Butterick, a normally reputable company make such an error, just to mess with the heads of impatient people like me who assume that they put to much ease into all there patterns? For the record I measure up to a 14 or 16 bust on most modern patterns but all that measurement is out front, my back is quite small. I usually make a 10 or 12 and that fits fine, but this one I made a 10 and should have made a 14 or 16, and it isn't even the bust that is the biggest problem. It is the hips, that sexy curve is not so curvy on the real thing, infact it is pretty straight. Even if I had of cut with the stretch there would still not be enough butter to grease me into this dress.

The lesson I learnt - www.patternreview.com, learn it, live it, love it. Had I but read some of the reviews available on this site, I would have known the inherent problems with Butterick 6582 and all of this angst could have been avoided.

To those with the discerning eye yes I have not hemmed the dress yet - despite it being finished for months. It is too perfect to forget so I have been hunting for the person who will fit this perfect dress, so that they may enjoy it's wonders. That does mean however that it will need to be hemmed to them and unfortunately not me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The internet Dress

This dress is called the internet dress because I downloaded the pattern off the internet. Just because I am nice, here is the link.

It was the first dress I made all by myself. I had worked on stuff with Heather a lot but wanted to make something that was wearable without aid, so I worked on this one from start to finish alone. I chose the brown and pink polka dots because I wanted black and pink and they didn’t have any (has anyone else noticed how hard this combo is to find?). The dress was from a historical society and most importantly it was free.

The first attempt was good. It was sewn on a larger stitch than I would use now so it made it less hardy than the other ones I have. It was also made before I knew about my waist being high. In fact, it is the reason I know that my waist is higher than normal peoples. This version sits quite low for me but the subsequent version has the adjustment on it.

The dress has a bow on the back which I thought looked a bit blech, so I left it out. Also I was not really good enough to try and create it. I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I sewed it a second time and left the bow out of that because of the not liking factor.

So the problems with this dress is that the section that goes under the bust and hits the waist is too long and so it bunches in a funny way. The zipper makes it funny also. I could probably unpick and fix it now but I don’t care too much. I ended up making a belt to compensate it which works fine even though the pattern has no belt.

The second attempt was made with a bright pink floral cotton. This time I spent AGES fitting that small section to my body. It fits quite well now. I put some pink ribbon around the top and hem as a little bit of decoration. It is a great picnic dress. This one does not need a belt. The skirt is not 100% straight on the bodice which makes it look a little odd but I was still getting into the swing of the tricks of the trade at the time.

I have since made a THIRD version of this dress, which included some pattern changes, including changing the zipper to be at the side, dropping the neckline and changing the way the skirt panels were done to accommodate the new side zip. It was done for Heathers Birthday last year where 3 of us went as 1950’s Hogwarts pupils. I got told I should wear mine out as normal clothes but I don’t know about that. The picture of this dress (and the other two house dresses) can be found here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Onsie Project - Complete

Wow Busy day at the Angelic Cow Headquarters!!!!

So as promised earlier this month the onsie project now complete and it's final review and posting of pictures. First though let me say that I will likely retake these after September which has been dubbed the no junk food month.

The onsie project started as this at the beginning of the month. Making it was actually quick once I got going - tracing it was a different story and I still have not gotten over my hatred of double ended darts, I am however finding them easier (there is a total of 6 in the onsie).

This project was made much easier by the acquirement of the machine of awesome, because it does one step button holes. I LURVE MY ONE STEP BUTTON HOLE-R!!!! It is too easy, push a pedal and instant button hole - if this machine does nothing else my old one didn't I don't care. I can not stress my love of this enough.

I am really quite proud of this as I stash busted EVERYTHING bar the buttons (I just didn't have 7 or so blue buttons lying around) but the rope, material and zip all came from stash. I was really happy to accidently find the rope as the shade and the size, everything about it is a perfect trim for this outfit.

I cheated on the skirt a little and rather than sewing by hand and whip stitch the inside waistband I attempted to stitch in the ditch, much easier but I will also have to get much neater. In this incarnation it isn't too big a problem - I mean who is going to get close enough to see my stitch work anyway?

The shoes, I think are awesome. I got them on a buy one get the second half price at payless shoes, so I have them in navy and black, but seriously how awesome do they go with this outfit!!!! It's a steal, it's a deal, it's the sale of the century. Particularly as I wanted to wear this to the 50's fair, but I did not (after the pain of last year) want to wear heels to the 50's fair.

Things I would change on this project if I were to do it again, well an extra inch or so in the body length of the onsie would probably help to alleviate some unwanted wedgies. The Hem on the skirt needs some work as it is slightly wonky but I can't work out why so that is now on the I will care about it later pile. To put more roping on the onsie or to not put more roping on the onsie that is the question - i am still pondering and don't expect to answer it for a while yet.

That 70's Dress

We call this the 70’s dress. It’s my first (and currently only) 1970s dress that I have done. I got the material fairly cheap at a sale it sat in the box for a while and until my mum gave me a heap of patterns (including this one) and I decided that the material that screamed 70’s to me would be great paired with maxi that she gave me.

I cut my peices so that the border pattern would appear at the bottom and also on the straps. I tried to match the pattern as best as I could when I was cutting and sewing and I think I did a pretty good job.

The skirt went together quickly and then the top as usual had to be brought up a bit for my high waist (I adjust most patterns up by about 1 inch to accommodate this). The pattern calls for facind but I lined the whole bodice and top band in white poplin so as to not have the dots going through the fabric. I also lined the straps over the shoulders in white. In hindsight maybe I should have lined the skirt because it’s a wee bit see through but if I wear a slip under and no one is the wiser. I gathered the front of the bodice and lining separately.

Once the bodice came together I needed a way to connect the straps to the back. I thought it could be press studs but, after trying that it pulled funny and didn’t work. So I went looking for some buttons. I found these awesome buttons that are little white daisys with yellow centre and go perfect with the rest of the dress. I love the little touch and think it finishes off the dress perfectly. So I put in button holes (a painstaking 4 step buttonhole process) and then it was all ready to wear.

The front sometimes seems a little loose especially when I bend over I am conscious not to flash people. I would probably make the under arms tighter to make my bust tighter. This could be a 70s thing cause Hef complained about the same thing with her 70s dress.

My Quilt

I am finally done!! It took me at least a year but it’s done! It looks awesome too.

I slept under it the other night. Iit was quite cold in the morning and a little chilly (Even though I used the thick wadding) so it has been named a mid-season quilt. It was not as cold this morning and it was very much fine to sleep under, especially with the body heat of my cat on top of me.

The last parts were very difficult. I cut the pieces all out; then sewed them together, then sewed the top to the bottom and turned it inside out with the wadding in the middle. Then I sewed down each line. There were 13 lines in total each way.

The first few lines were good as they were close to the edge but the middle ones kept slipping and such. I ended up laying it all out and then pinning all layers together to stop it from slipping and once I did that it was easier. It was a good 15 minutes per row and this got more as I got to the centre. With small sew and then adjusting the quilt. I was sorry that I didn’t have the quilting machine because the quilt had to bunch up in that little crevice in the machine so when I did the middle one there was ½ a quilt in there and it was crazy. After ½ an hour of sewing I was puffed from dragging the quilt through the machine.

Once I did all the first lines the second lines were much breezier because the across lines held the quilt in place while I sewed the up and down lines. The up and down lines in the middle were probably about 5 minutes per line but the quilt was still being pulled through the small crevice so it was still a workout.

Looks great on my bed!

MMM Snuggly.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Halter Maxi

As previously pointed out I bought this pattern on etsy from Historically Patterns, who I can highly recommend for their fast fuss free service as well as the awesomely cute button they included for me free of charge.

To be honest this pattern was bought more as an afterthought, it happened to be in my size, I happened to by buying a few patterns from this seller that I adored, and well when buying international Ange and I like to take advantage of the combined postage discount - and so on the whim that it "could" make an ok dress for spring and I would not need to resize it I bought the pattern.

I continued with my sewing life as if nothing was different, the nautical onsie outfit continued uninterrupted and I finally got to the point where I was cutting out the full circle skirt. It was here I discovered just what a dirty fabric hoarder I was. After cutting out the skirt which is in every respect a great material sucker - I was left with several meters still to be used, and in stash busting time too. I couldn't put it back into the stash - that would go against the principle of stash busting. To return such a distinctive material could be condemning it to another 12 to 24 months of life as a flat lifeless sheet.

The patterns from Historically Patterns arrived only a few days before and I was somehow drawn to the halter maxi, it looked simple enough, only a few pieces. I had all the fabric required, sure that I could squeeze it out of the remaining meters (probably 2.5-3 but likely more like 2.5). I was also pretty sure I could pump it out in no time flat.

I started at 8:30 (the start of NCIS on a Friday night) I stopped at about 1am and had only left the hem, and the hand stitching of the lining to the internal bodice. Also I had left the frenching (I think) of the two side seams. Usually I don't bother with finishing my internals, however weeks of checking out blog world has made me jealous of the perfectly finished garments made by those in internet land, as well as the perfect neatness of Ange's work and so given the ease of the pattern I decided that even if only this once I would make a dress that was perfect too.

The following morning (and I use that term loosely) I picked it up again and within the hour I had completed the dress.

The pattern pieces fit together well, the design is somewhat flattering and all in all I must say I am happy with how it turned out. I then was able to wear my new creation to my Husbands 29th Birthday BBQ in hopes of getting some good photos for you peeps in networld. Now to the details of the photos that follow.

I have a nasty habit, photo-wise. It is more like an unexplainable phenomenon. I am physically incapable of taking a good photo. I pull stupid faces, end up with triple or quadruple chins that appear out of nowhere, slouch myself into looking fatter than I am, and generally screw the photo up somehow. For these the issues include the above and also that I forgot to take them until the END of the day, so the cotton dress had gone a bit creasy. Further it could probably have done with a was before (to soften out the starch in the cotton) but by the time the photos were taken it most definitely needed a was, so if you can notice the slight orange mark on the front, it is dip and yes I am a grot.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stash Bust - Now with upated Photos

This post will unfortunately be without images, maybe tonight I will take some and come back and update it with them. (as it appears I did)

Last night as I worked on the "pretty dress" as detailed in the last post I discovered that I was having one of those nights (this discovery came as I pulled the zip bit off the bottom - the sealed bottom- of the zip teeth, thats right I was being so heavy handed I literally pulled the zip apart. Luckly it has been repaired). In any case one "those nights" it is often best I have found NOT to work on projects, however I did want to get some work done with my sewing projects. I was not in a tracing mood, so I decided I must be in a cleaning mood - and so I cleaned.

I sorted out my cottons, my notions, buttons and trims, needles and pins, closures and tools now all sit neatly in their home. Then I moved onto the Black box of cloth mountain, which now looks a little less mountainous, being almost flat to the top of the box.

In doing this I discovered a few materials I had not remembered having. (here is where I really need to take pictures and update, but will see if I get around to it tonight).

I have a chameleon based "Hawaiian" print in blue, green and yellow. The material is some sort of quick dry board short material, though I think I remember planning to make a dress out of it. I think there is either 3m or 5m (which is what i normally buy in) and I think it is 150cm bolt. I am thinking it needs to be a summer beach dress (why waste the quick dry quality) but otherwise I am at a loss design wise. Estimated age 1.5 years.

I have what has been called the "bug material" which is a white eyelet with blue and orange and pink flowers printed on it, as well as green bugs - grasshoppers I think. I have at least 5m of this one and I know the dress I want to make out of it, but I don't have the colour to line it with (thinking orange but could go to other colours I guess) and under the rules of stash bust I don't know if I am allowed to buy it. I am now considering the dying of some white or it may have to wait till after November to be done. Estimated age 2 years.

I have white sateen, which was to be a skirt to wear with an outfit ages ago but I never got round to it and now don't know that I would use a white sateen skirt. I think there is about 1.5m of it maybe 2 if I am lucky on a 150cm bolt, maybe a onsie would be cute. Estimated age 1 year. (Photo not included as I am sure we all know what white looks like)

I have a brown with more mustard brown pin stripes, I remember getting it to make pants as a pirate but the pants when made up were way to small - and now I have about 1m of 150cm bolt left of it just hanging around, it could be shorts, or a vest but there isn't much of it to play with. Estimated age 2.5-3 years.

I have the purple Elvis material, which is abstractly striped with Elvis' head. I have 4m and I know what I want to make out of it, it is even all traced, but I have some issues in that I need to line up the stripes I am not quite sure how I go about doing that. It requires some thought. Estimated age 9mths.

I also have 4 yellow buttons with "I'm a flirt" written on them in purple (talk about impulse buy) lord only knows what I will do with those.

There was many many more bits of fabric that I had forgotten about, Stash busting is turning into an adventure of discovery.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "Pretty Dress" a History

Once upon a time I was browsing the wonderful vintage pattern wares on Etsy and I found this exceptionally pretty pattern.

After deliberation with my other sewing half Ange it was decided that it must be bought and owned by us. After further deliberation I won out to be the owner of the pattern, Ange it would seem would need to be happy with simply owning a finished product at some point. We dubbed this pattern "the Pretty Dress" as no one in any land could deny that this dress is indeed pretty, and it's name has stuck.

I should point out here that I had MANY MANY patterns sitting unmade, and this project remained my top priority only long enough for me to buy the materials for it, a nice soft white bastite, and lemon yellow bias tap for the accented trim.

I hunted out on etsy and purchased a petticoat pattern as the bastite would require it, for this I bought a lemon yellow cotton.

At some point I started the petticoat, which I will write about in more detail in a further post - but basically it got to the so close to finished I could smell it when the "issues" with it made me toss it to the side in despair, to fix it that mystical "one day" when all my failures at sewing are fixed/finished. From then on the entire "pretty dress" project sat untouched by me. The materials for it just another precipice on cloth mountain

Ange on the other hand was obviously much more infatuated with this pattern than I was and diligently set to tracing and creating this dress. A benefit for me because I would not need to trace it and could just use her copies. Again, I borrowed the tracings - and they sat together with the original for months gathering dust. Many projects came and went and yet "the pretty dress" stayed unmoved from its foundations.

With the introduction of the great stash bust this month, I have been forced to look to the projects in various states of completion. This particular pattern was holding up about 5m of material in the stash and honestly did not look to hard to complete - and so last Monday on my day of holidays I set to work.

This dress is almost finished, the petticoat almost corrected - and hopefully with this post going up I will find the gumption tonight to make those final touches and be able to post the whole process and results by this weekend.

Also outstanding - the Onsie 50's beach outfit (status complete post to come after I wear it to the 50's fair) and the 40's workwear project (status in limbo, I will have to get back to this soon)

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Girl Dress

In an effort to keep up the habit of posting on here I am going to be doing a series of "Old Projects" in amongst the new ones. I have actually finished a new one - being my onsie, and am almost finished the skirt to match (tonight) but I am camera lazy so you will have to wait till next week to hear about the elation that is the one step button hole.

For Now though I entertain you with what we have come to call the girl Dress - for obvious reasons.

This was actually my first "vintage" experience, and I use the term loosely as it is a vogue vintage reprint (V2960) which is in my opinion a brilliant and almost flawless pattern. Several incarnations have been made and all of them I have seen have flattered the wearer.

Ange has also made one and I would have posted a cool pic of her in it, but alas my husband has let his flickr account relapse so that will have to come later. As for pics of me in the dress, again I must admit a lacking, I have come to discover that despite plans to get photos of our outfits, Ange and I are terrible at follow-through, as such Mavis will model much of these. When I do get pics of the dresses actually on me - I will then update with new pics. I will I swear organise a photo shoot.

Anyway I was supposed to be talking about V2960 right. Well I didn't know if this dress was going to work, I had bought the last of the bolt and had about 2.6m of this material (which is undoubtedly the most awesome material I have ever owned) but luckly for me vogue seemed to have over quoted on the yardage. It did however mean that the girls would have to fall as and where they would. Had I more material to begin with I would have tried to avoid the two knee on the boob thing that is there.

Issues I had included my distinct hatred of button holes (which I have only JUST overcome - this dress is about 2 years old I believe). For years of costume making I avoided button holes like the plague. I invented many ways in which I could NOT do buttonholes, including but not limited to lace ups, zips, button hole elastic and in this instance snap studs.

This has caused one small issue - I am a large busted person, and the dress probably should have been re-sized to have more room in the chestal area for me. However I was as always rushing, took on a she will be right attitude that is so typical to my Aussie brethren and charged forward full steam. the outcome - I kind of need to pin between the top two buttons otherwise the top one pops open willy nilly - not very modest.

Regardless though I love this dress, the neckline is daring but not out there, the shape is slimming in all the right places and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Realistically if the only problem I have with the design is that I didn't fit it properly I can't blame vogue for that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My quilt

If you sew as much as I do you may end up with scraps. Scraps that are too large to just throw away, but too small to really do much with. So about a year ago after I had collected a few scraps and I was reading up about the 30s depression and how they used to use every little bit of material for things I came accross the idea to make a quilt.

Now I am not a quilt maker or a patterned quilt maker of any kind. But I can cut 6 inch squares with a 6 inch square ruller a rolling cutter and a cutting mat. So that's what I did. I started using the scraps of mainly cotton to make squares. I made 100 squares and then sewed them all together in rows and made a big square.

My main plan was to make a quilt that was big enough to go on a queen bed. So I had to cut another 110 squares. I am now VERY small in the scraps department and have a large quilt. Currently I am now sewing it still together, I have an old queen bed flat sheet that I will sew for the bottom and wadding I bought for the middle. I also have a quilting foot that my mother gave me. Heapha also gave me some of her scraps which made it in there!

I am hoping to finish this winter and have currently put all projects on hold till I can get it done. It's quite time consuming.

When I was thinking about it one time I also thought how cool it would be to have matching pillowcases!! But that will be a next side project.

I also realised I now had a bunch of material crap that I could possibly use for braided mats like they also did in the 30s but that is also a side project.
Pictures of my quilt to come.

Ange xoxo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stash bust project one

So project one of stash bust is this McCalls Pattern (4031) from the 1950's.

I bought this pattern from the Etsy Store The Selvage shop, who had good pricing, good patterns, and great service. I actually got the pattern a year ago (literally 19th of August I bought it in 2009), at the time I had a huge thing for onsies, short onsies, as apposed to anges thing for long onsies. In any case I love the style but don't have the legs really to pull it off. Finally I have gotten to the point where I think screw it and I am going to make it anyway.

Right away when I ordered this pattern I thought it needed a nautical type theme - something you may notice as I stash bust, I kinda have a thing for nautical themed stuff. I bought the nautical like material in a "wow they are selling stuff cheap at spotlight lets buy anything" spree, that seemed to be the fashion for Ange and I at the time. I put the two together but that was as far as I got.

Fast forward a year, I have traced it all, cut out the onsie, and am now contemplating the skirt - should I creat an inbuilt petticoat, since I have to line it anyway - and I do have (something I forgot to photo for the stash) about 75m of white cotton, in which I can make the petticoat. I am also contempating do I do a piping on the onsie to tie it into the skirt fabric.... so much to choose.In any case I have a few days to think cause I am waiting on my new machine.

The fabrics are:

Onsie - (using view without the elasticated legs) a navy blue poplin, it came out much more royal in the photos but it is actually quite dark.

Skirt - the skirt is a cotton in an off-white/creme, with navy starfish and anchors on it.

I am hoping to have this one done by the end of next week - so hurry up machine.

(as a side note I have also increased my exercise reseme in order to try and get those legs that will look great in this come the warmer weather - in the southern hemisphere we currently have winter and it sucks.)

Cloth Mountain

I had wanted to take one photo of the mountain, to pull out all the material and pile it high on top of each other creating an edifice for all of internet land to admire, but it would have taken to long to set it up and FAR FAR to long to take it back down and put it all away. Of cause part of that would be that once done I would lose interest in the project, redering it doable at another time and thus annoying the husband no end.

So alas here is the images I have taken of the cloth mountain. Rest assured the blacket box there is so full that it is broken from the force of material pressing both above and below, with all the material in it neatly folded and stacked, the piles on the top also neatly folded and stacked, the black box full, looks roughly shoved in but under the top layer of materials I have recently used is also neat folded and stacked, as is to the side of hte box near the wardrobe.

so as you can see I do have quite a bit to get through, I am thinking I will need several more months than what has been allocated if I am to truely stash bust, though I am thinking of selling some of the stash if I can't bust it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Stash Bust has begun

and yet I have no pictures for you.

I know it seems I have been a lazy sod, because 2 weeks into stash bust and I am yet to bust anything - but realisitically there have been reasons, kind of.

Firstly I am waiting on the new machine, because well it excites me and my first project requires button holes. Secondly motivation has been at an all time low. Primerally because I am in a down phase and there has been a lot of personal life getting in the way of sewing time, birthdays, events, parties.

I have yet to take a photo of cloth mountain but hopefully will get that out of the way by this weekend, and also get a photo of anges stash, which by comparison I think we could call cloth molehill.

So it would seem that with my shiney new birthday bike, I have forgotten all about sewing but it is not true. I have gone through and sorted out all my patterns into 4 catagories:
  • Not stash bustable - for patterns where I have a clear indication of the fabric I want but do not have that fabric available in my stash. Also in this catagory is anything that would take too much time, for example all those super cute size 12's with the 30" bust that would take FOREVER to resize and require trials.

  • Totally Bustable - for patterns that are in my size, have the right material in mind and in the stash.

  • Bustable if I see the right fabric - The mountain is so great that from where I stand the summut is out of view. Hence these patterns are in the right size, but I have no idea if I have the material for them, it is however likely that I will find something in the long forgottern mound of cloth.

  • Bustable but time consuming - Patterns of a smaller size, say a 34" that will require a resize but not too drastically, and that I have the right idea for material that I can use on them.

I have chosen the first outfit to be busted - I have traced it, and cut most of it out of the fashion fabric. I will do a post on it individually probebly tomorrow because then I can do the photo stuff tonight and have images, which I am sure you agree make a post so much more interesting.

On that note I have a montage I put together of all the stuff I am waiting on from Etsy - my last ditch purchase before the ban kicked in.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just a catch up

The Leprecaurn outfit for my 28th Birthday party was a success, a rushed success, but a success none the less. The pattern is really simple and flattering and I totally suggest it to anyone who wants to make a fun/funky costume. The skirt is even a decent length. I actually like the jacket so much I am thinking of making one for wearing not as a costume, it really is cute with a semi victorian feel to it. I will get photos up here eventually but it may take a while for my dear hubbie to get them onto a computer where I can then steal them and reproduce them onto this blog.

I did clean up on my birthday it appears, besides the over budget bike that I was allowed to buy, I got a load of harry potter stuff (because yes I am a sad HP freak - last year I had a harry party, where we watched the Half Blood Prince from a booked out gold class movie theatre) I have attached a photo just so you can see how much of a freak I am for HP, this is me, Ange and the wonderful Stacey representing 3 houses in thier 1950's uniform.

The Pattern we used was one that is free to download off the internet (ask ange, I have no idea where) but unfortunatly needed loads of grading for myself and Stacey, but I think we go there in the end, though the lord knows I could do with about 2 inches more space in the belly area.... oh well dress isn't going to grow so I will have to shrink.

Now where was I - oh yes my birthday haul, and most specifically how does it relate to sewing at all. Well the wonderful, fantastic Ange has taken the hat round and gathered enough $$$ from my almost as awesome as ange friends to be able to get me a new sewing machine.

I have decided on the NS10 which is seemingly a low end computerised machine put out by Brother. I have a brother overlocker and it has been fairly reliable so thats a plus and it does one step buttonholes which is well absolutely positivley necessary for me. I can't have Ange doing my button holes for the rest of my life.

Which also brings me to why I need a new machine. Well I think my work could really benefit from it. The machine have is really basic, I picked it up new (on sale) for about $120AUD 7 or so years ago when I decided I wanted to give this sewing thing a go. It has been very faithful to me as it is the machine I learnt on by trial and error and still goes strong. But about 2 years ago it got into a fight with my heater - the heater won, the tray at the front that holds the bits and bobs of the machine warped and will no longer slide on. As such for 2 years I have been sewing everything on the space you use to sew a sleeve hem. Rather annoying really.

Also no longer creeping up on us is our stash busting challange - to come soon, images of cloth mountain as it stands today before the mining begins.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good V Evil - My Birthday Party costume

So all the vintage sewing needs to be put on hold for a bit whilst I return to my roots and create a costume for my Good v Evil themed birthday party at the end of the month.

I toyed with buying, rehashing and renting a costume but as always I return to the place of I want to make it to save a buck. It really is a horrible indication of society when I can make a costume cheaper than I can rent one, or even buy one of those cheap 3 strips of cloth legs avenue slutty costumes. You know the ones that barely cover the butt cheeks, look great on the leggy model in the advertisement but somehow make every normal person look like a sausage dressed for some raunchy bedroom roleplay.

Simply put I love those naughty but nice costumes, I want them all, but I don't have that lean svelt figure, and haven't done for about 5 years, so I am going to make a costume similar but more on the modest line, you know drop the skirt a couple of inches, and make sure that it fits my odd dimentions.

So I have decided that I will be going as a leprecaurn, thats right a slutty one. Simplicty has regailed me with two choices of pattern and to be honest I am leaning towards the this one.

I like the vest bit, and I have a green velveteen at home that I have had for AGES that I can make the coat out of, get some gold glittery/sequiney stuff for the vest, and the White cotton I have for the dress and then maybe I could do a black or green overskirt (so the dress worked kind of like a petticoat) and a bow tie, plus of cause the hat - I think small top hat.

I should be done in a week so I will let you know how it goes.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Fabric - Two Patterns

Long time back, Spotlight had a sale on lots of fabric. I managed to pick up this brilliant blue Micro crepe and I think it cost $3/m which is a huge bargin.

I bought it because it was cheap and it went into the stash for a short time - then I purchased this repro vogue pattern and decided that they were a pair.

The blue looks a lot darker in this picture than it is in actuality.

As with so many of my projects this one got shelved for more fun stuff, less work ready and more interesting in details. Also this dress looked HARD, since then a friend of mine has made it and assures me it is not too hard at all and for a wrap dress does an excellent job of staying shut.

Anyway then I bought a huge batch of actual vintage patterns off Etsy, one of which was this one. I love the soft femininity of this, and thought I could see it with a pretty red belt and my red and white shoes.

The problem is that I only have about 5m of this fabric and I doubt I can do both.

The colour is closer to the second picture but not as bright, kind of between the two I guess. The lighting in my lounge where they were taken is kind of yellow so all fabrics come out funny coloured in my pictures.

So what do you think, which pattern should win the right to my awesome crepe?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some Patterns feel obligitory

One of the things that has become very apparent since I started working with retro and vintage patterns is that some designs, no matter how flawed, seem to be obligatory to make. For example Butterick 4790 also known as the “walk away dress”, or as we have dubbed it the “deceptively evil dress from hell”, and this one Butterick 4792 or what we call the “boxy dress”.

Not quite as evil as it’s spawn of Satan cousin the walk away dress, the boxy dress has a way of unflattering even the most flattering figures. Perhaps it is just that the fit is hard to get right but in all bar one of its inceptions that I have seen on my troll through sewing blogs and review websites, every case makes it’s wearer look like they have a box sitting on their hips.

This is me in my version, a black and white masterpiece. Originally it was meant to be all in the spots but apparently the skirt requires much more material than I had anticipated – the outcome was using the white material as the top and the spots as the skirt, though I think I like it like this.

On the top of the list about the positives of this pattern is that the gathering of the skirt, which leaves flat sections across the front and back and side seams allows for a very elegant flow, the downside, if you aren’t be anally retentive about reading the pattern directions it is very easy to miss that you are meant to leave these sections ungathered. The pattern also comes with a sew in crinoline type thing but I omitted that not wanting to have to sit on tulle for the benefit of a few centimetres of lift.

On top of the long list of negatives is the top half. Sure it looks in the drawing like it should be a very interesting feature piece, with its awesome reverse halter look. It seems to be flirty, unique and by instructions simple enough for the most basic seamstress to complete with ease. Realistically, here is the picture now available on the butterick site, as you can see even a professional seamstress (as I assume the people who do the outfits for these shots are) can’t manage to get any bust/waist definition in there.

Now Ange made her version first, and she warned me, “it’s very boxy” she said. Now given that I have a hefty 8 inch difference between bust and waist I thought it would be impossible to cause me to lose bust definition, surely that was just crazy talk.

So I set forth and created this pattern, and overall I must say I was pleased with the result. There are few errors (really only one and you can’t see it in the picture anyway – its a puckered gather in the skirt I did not notice until AFTER I had hand stitched the entire lining in place and I was NOT going to unpick for one teensy almost invisible pucker), and the white top, spotty bottom with a red belt I think looks nice and classic – but as the photo proves, I too look boxy in this style.

Having now written this post though I am consumed with an idea, I wonder if it would work better in a stretch fabric? I guess I could always find out after my next Cabramatta excursion... so long as I go before August.

Tune in soon as I will force Ange to write a long expose on the evils lurking behind the “super easy” walk away dress.... that is once she finishes it, yeah a project over 12 mths in the making.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I got this awesome material from Etsy.

As a bit of background I love yellow, it is my most favourite colour in the whole world, and also just about the worst colour I can wear. It makes me look washed out and sickly. As such I am always on the look out to find ways to incorporate yellow into my wardrobe without it being unattractive. My husband on the other hand loves brown. Does not matter what its for, clothing, interior design, anything can be brown and a winner in his books.

So I saw this material which is both yellow and brown and snapped it up all 4+ yards for an awesome $35USD postage included. When it came in I could not be happier, it is light and airy, with a slight sheen and I think absolutely gorgeous. Plus it is vintage, but just what vintage I can't tell. (there will be another post like this going up as soon as I get a picture of the offending fabric).

So if you have any idea or would like to hazard a guess, the seller indicated that it was either 40's or 50's and I want to make the right vintage outfit out of it (no sense wasting vintage fabric on the wrong era).