Saturday, May 06, 2017

FO: Golden Eileen knitted jumper, circa 1941

Wow, it's really been ages since I've finished knitting something but what a sense of accomplishment!

vintage knitting pattern jumper sweater 1940s 1930s 1941

The pattern is Eileen, from Patons and Baldwins Specialty Knitting 79 printed around 1941 according to Trove.

I was really drawn to this pattern because of the tiny cables surrounded by dropped stitches, I love knitting anything with an interesting texture.

The yarn is Knitpicks Comfy Fingering (cotton blend in Semolina yellow), and I'm fairly happy with it. It's nice to knit with, has a bit of a drape and hasn't pilled much yet.

Being an old pattern, there was some general weirdness I encountered in the sizing but I'll share that below.

The pattern was originally sized to fit a 38 inch bust, but I modded it to fit a bit larger - probably shouldn't have bothered as it's very stretchy and would fit a 42 inch bust easily.

  • Only made 4 inches of rib (the original called for much more).
  • Originally planned to increase 1 stitch in each panel of plain knitting to make it 39 inch bust, but needn't have bothered.
  • Used 3mm needles on the rib and the body.
  • Lack of stretch in the rib meant I cast on more stitches here and decreased down on the first row afterwards.
  • The chest and shoulder depth were all quite short so I worked extra rows here to add an inch.
  • Worked an extra inch in the sleeve cap to match the extra depth on the chest.

Overall, really happy with how it turned out.
I think if I was going to knit it again I wouldn't worry about adding extra stitches to the body as it's so stretchy - I would probably add more to the arms though as they're a bit tighter.

The only downside to this pattern - dropping all those stitches! It took forever to drop them down, but well worth the effort.

Just a reminder that Curvy Month is less than 8 weeks away - and I promise this pattern will be available for download in July.

I hope you all have a great weekend

Monday, April 10, 2017

Free pattern: Chartruese cardigan from 1946

Well hello strangers~!

Thanks for being patient while I've been off studying and having adventures!  I do have some exciting news about a pattern grading project I've been working on - multi-sized sewing patterns based off original vintage patterns from the 1940s and 1950s.

The Hawaiian tea-timer blouse is first up, so watch this space over the next few weeks to be first in on the news.

In the meantime, I was flicking through some old Stitchcraft Magazines and came across this really unusual cardigan from September 1947.

free vintage knitting patterns 1940s jumper sweater stitchcraft magazine

I really like the contrasting stitch patterns and the colours - chartreuse! I hope you like it too.

To fit: 33-35 inch bust
Yarn: Fingering weight
Needles: 2.75mm and 3.25mm

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Free Knitting Pattern: Golden frills jumper, Stitchcraft Magazine May-June 1947

Today's free vintage knitting pattern is a lovely little number from a late 1940s Stitchcraft Magazine.

free vintage knitting pattern 1940s sweater jumper 40 34

I'm not sure if you can see it in the above image, but the yoke has a great lattice pattern on top of a body of ribbing. The lattice is edged with a frill, which I find frilling haha.

To fit: 34-36 inch bust
Yarn: Fingering weight
Needles: 3.75mm and 3mm
(right click on images to open full size)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

FOs: 1950's Lamè Bombshell Dress (using Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book)

I'm sure that I'll never get bored with the Faux Sarong Dress in Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book!

gerties ultimate dress book review faux sarong dress 1950s lame lamè dress plus size vintage sewer

These photos were taken on a 40C degree day at the Sydney Opera House - so please excuse my face while I'm trying not to melt into a puddle...

After the success with the leopard print version I made last year, it was time to try a totally different look using the same pattern mashed up with Butterick 9629 (I have an old repro by HappyScissors).

This time around, I added a sarong over skirt to the front, a mock tie, shoulder straps and bust detailing.

gerties ultimate dress book review faux sarong dress 1950s lame lamè dress plus size vintage sewer
I love this photo as it looks like i'm being attacked by a seagull!
This is Xmas lamè fabric - I kid you not. 
I found it in the Xmas section at Spotlight, and bought everything I could get my hands on.
It's thick like vintage lamè and holds it shape really well. The only downside is the strength of the fabric weave - it's a tad loose and pressure on the seams show up. I would recommend overlocking the edges of every piece before sewing too as they frayed like you would not believe. 

The whole dress is lined in matching gold cotton homespun.

gerties ultimate dress book review faux sarong dress 1950s lame lamè dress plus size vintage sewer

I used spiral steel boning just like last time, but left off the sprung steel as I wanted to be able to sit down (and the shoulder straps would hold it up).

Surprisingly, spiral steel was enough to hold everything up - so much so go I could bra-less in this dress, the first time in my life! 

To get the sarong overskirt to fit, I laid the sarong pattern piece over the existing skirt front and added and subtracted from the side until it matched. Very easy.

The bias strip around the upper edge is completely handsewn to the edges.

  • Added another inch to total length (that's 2 inches total)
  • Sarong skirt addition
  • No other mods that weren't mentioned last time I used this pattern.

Once again, really happy with this pattern and how the dress turned out. It looked so fabulous that the MC Murray Hill gave us front row seats at the show Club Swizzle when he saw us walk us (win!).

I can't wait to use the rest of the lamè in another dress, but I think I need some easy projects before I tackle using it again.

2016 in Review

I know that 2016 was pretty rotten for a lot of people (not to mention a lot of inspirational people passing away) - but 2016 was a pretty fantastic year for me.

Jakk and I had an amazing two-month holiday in the USA, and got see a tonne of people we love, plus the bison, Yellowstone National Park and Hawaii.

I was getting emotional just looking at old photos - we'll probably be heading back in 2018.

On my personal life side, the project work I've been doing has lead to a new senior role at work. You've probably noticed a drop off in my posting - apologies, I have a lot less spare time than I used to so I'm aiming for quality over quantity.

I've also just found out that I got accepted into University for this year, starting an MBA (squee). This is the girl who didn't really finish high school, and hasn't done any University study before.
To those in a similar boat I say don't give up, there's other ways to get into University and experience really counts.

Finished Outfits for 2016

No finished knitting for 2016 - but I have a lot of projects that should be finished off this year (hopefully).

While not hugely productive this past year, I really did focus on making tricky or time consuming clothing (including finally using metal boning).

From the left:

Now these blouses might not be tricky to make, but I've definitely turned out a lot of them (eight versions and counting). I think the pattern is my new go-to for blouses, and a great example of not trusting the envelope picture - it looks much better in real life.

Well, 2017 will hopefully continue in the same vein - and I hope you had a swell New Years!


Thursday, December 01, 2016

FO: The Universal Blouse (Simplicity 3288, c. 1950)

With the heat kicking in down here in Sydney it's definitely time to start summer sewing - and what's better than a blouse that can be worn with anything?

I've had Simplicity 3288 in my stash for ages and actually thought it was a dress until I took a closer look just recently.

It's actually a top and skirt pattern. The pattern envelope didn't look very inspiring but I thought I would give it a go - and I'm sure glad I did!

The blouse is bias cut and has little winged sleeve cuffs - plus two versions of collar and collar-less.

The collar-less version (2) is a cinch to make, and I went for pink cotton homespun version with ric-rac trim to match the pattern picture.

To enlarge it to fit me, I added half an inch across the top of the shoulders, and half an inch width on each side seam. It worked perfectly.

The ric-rac trim on the sleeves are definitely my favourite bit.

But you can't stop at one right?
So here's the same blouse (Version A), but with a collar in white rayon.

1950s vintage sewing patterns pattern blouse simplicity 3288

novelty cigarette brooch 1950s

The white rayon is definitely my favourite version of this blouse - the fabric is nice and cool to wear and perfect for summer.

And finally, Version A in minty green cotton homespun.

I chose this colour to match a 1950's John Wolf border skirt, and the colour is so close that a few people thought it was actually a dress.

1950s bakelite western brooch 1940s lucite jewelry vintage

And the perfect colour to show off my new lucite and bakelite vintage brooch!

Fabric used:
Cotton prima homespun, and pure rayon

Very easy. Takes about 1-2 hours to make one.

Pattern Mods:

  • Added half an inch across the shoulders and at the side seams. Enlarged sleeve cuff to fit/
  • Shortened bust dart length by an inch to stop pointy boob. 

Would I make this again?
Yes, definitely! I need one in navy rayon, and mustard cotton.

I think the lesson I learned is perhaps don't judge a patten by it's envelope?

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Free Vintage Knitting Pattern: A Fair Isle Jumper from Bestway (2132 c. 1940s)

Oh my, I've been so remiss and havent shared a vintage knitting pattern for ages - apologies!

This one is actually called 'A Jersey to Remember' and comes from the Bestway 2132 pamphlet.

free vintage knitting pattern 1940s sweater jumper bestway

This sweet little jumper has a gorgeous fair isle yoke, with matching fair isle designs on the arms.

It will give a finished bust measurement of 37 inches,
It uses fingering weight yarn on 3.25mm and 2.75 mm needles.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Camperdown Cruise happy snaps

It's October, and that means Camperdown Cruise time!

I totally forgot to bring my camera, but luckily I can share photos from Instagram with you.

This year we tried something different and drove down from Sydney to Camperdown - a trip of over 2,000 kms return! It did mean for some great site-seeing - starting with the Big Merino in Goulburn.

Aussies have a tradition of making 'big' thing tourist traps - there's even a list of them on Wikipedia here to plan your next roadtrip.

Next up was Holbrook - home to the inland submarine HMAS Otway.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

The submarine is a must-see on the trip from Sydney to Victoria.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

We decided to stop at a little hotel on the way - it had an amazingly kitsch sign from the 1950s out the front.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

Does anyone else choose their accomodation based on how retro or vintage it looks?

Our accomodation for the cruise was 15 minutes down the road from Camperdown - a boutique hotel in Mt Noorat.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

We loved this place! Full of old wood and antiques, and a brilliant restuarant downstairs that has great vegetarian food.

This photo waas from the Friday night of the festival - I went for an 'easy to dance in' outfit of Avanti Tea-Timer, swing pants and re-mix wedges.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

The Cruise itself was fun as always! Jakk got to meet Jai Malano (one of her favourite singers) and I got to drink cocktails in the Tiki Lounge.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

It was really great to get away from the hustle of Sydney and spend some time hanging out in rural Victoria listening to amazing bands.

A photo posted by Bex Hulands (@bexthefemme) on

Fingers are crossed we can also make it for 2017, we can't wait to see the band line up!

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