Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Countdown is on..... to Viva Las Vegas 17

That's right dolls - we've booked our hotel room at The Orleans for VLV 17 (it's only 356 days away!).

We don't know who's playing.
We don't know who else is going to be there.
But it was such a hoot last year that we made a resolution to go again in 2014 (plus Chicago, New York and Los Angeles again)

Is anyone else thinking of going?
If you havent booked your room get in now - apparently The Orleans is booked out and The Gold Coast is filling up fast!

And now of course, is the obligatory 'I have nothing to wear!' anxiety.
Well, except for this fabulous number I just found at RetroSpec'd.

It's mid-century reproduction fabric of fluffy dogs and leashes, turned into a half circle skirt and matching peter-pan blouse.

Close up of the fabric - fluffy dogs! Slightly crinkled because I wore it dancing at Torque Bar for the Rockabilly Riot.

That's one outfit down and six more to go. Eep!

Repro blouse and Skirt - Retrospec'd
Shoes - Bloch
Cardigan - Beatnix (yes, a drag queen store that sells vintage! Amazing)
Bakelite - Etsy
Wicker Handbag - random markets

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bell-Stitch Jumper in Two Sizes, from Stitchcraft January 1944

Here's the knitting pattern for my finished jumper from yesterday, if anyone else was thinking of knitting it up. Gee I love Stitchcraft Magazines! Especially the advertisments.

It's sized to fit a 33-35 inch bust, or a 38-40 inch bust depending on the needle size.
I think any fingering weight yarn would be fine (mine took 1200m for the largest size).


Sunday, April 21, 2013

FO: Bell-Patterned Jumper, Stitchcraft Jan 1944

I came so close to frogging this jumper after I had knit all the pieces as it didnt look like I'd imagined - five months work down the drain.

Thankfully, Jakk convinced me to sew it together and try it on with the right skirt before giving it up.

The pattern is the Bell-Patterned Jumper from Stitchcraft January 1944 - and I promise to post the pattern for it tomorrow. I made the large size (to fit 38-40 inch bust).

The yarn is my favourite - Spotlight Gelato (cotton/microfibre blend? The horror!). Its cheap, comes in great colours and wears really well for the Australian climate. I wore the jumper all day yesterday and didn't overheat once. And it doesn't pill!

It wasn't the ideal choice for this jumper (I realise now), the body of the jumper rises up an inch when I wear it, and i'm fairly sure that wool would be more forgiving. Mental note, my ideal jumper length  from the armpit is 13 inches.

Nothing major. The only difference to the pattern was casting off the neck edges and knitting up the ribbing (instead of doing it as one piece) - I like a firmer neckline.

When I seamed the shoulders together I left one side open for a couple of inches, and crocheted some loops for button holes. I used three glass buttons from my stash.

Skirt - Simplicity 3688 (Suspender Skirt, with straps removed)
Brooch - 1950s celluoid, Etsy
Shoes - Mel
Earrings - Siam silver, Etsy

Here's an out-take with our new rescued puss, Chevrolet (Chevy) that didn't make it!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pattern Launch and Competition at BlueGinger Doll

Have you seen BlueGinger Doll's competition to win a copy of her first new pattern, 'Billie Jean'?

Abby's worked really hard to design a dress that any vintage-lover would want to have in their collection (sheath or pleated skirt, va-voom neckline, princess seams, pockets!).
I hear she's working on vintage-inspired blouse next, and possible PDF downloads in the future too.

I really love both of her sample dresses, especially the blue version.

I think the sheath dress would be great to add a wrapped or gathered skirt at the front, Alfred Shaheen/Hawaiian style.

The competition is open until 27 April, and the winner receives two copies of the pattern - posted anywhere in the world (from Australia) - awesome!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I think she's got it!

I've finally figured out a way to keep my set looking good for more than 24 hours! I'm excited enough to blog about it too!

My hair is very thick with a mind of it's own. It does normally hold a wave, but tends to drop a bit by the end of the first day. Even sleeping with a hair net on and clipping some of the curls up with pincurl clips - well, it looks pretty ragged by the second day.

I only hot-set my hair once a week as it takes me a good hour and looks great for one or two days max.  (Dont talk to me about wet sets - I end up with hair like this wig, even with copious amounts of brushing). 

But, last night before bed, I curled the ends of my hair under and around my face using sponge-rollers - and it kept my set!

I didnt use any product, just picked out sections of hair and wrapped them in the rollers. Bang on a hair net, and I still had curls this morning.

Do you have any special tips that you've stumbled across for maintaining a set?

If you're in Australia or New Zealand and you're looking for setting lotion, have you ever tried Wavol? It's been around since 1946, and my Nan always had it in her cupboard. I mix a bit of a thermo-protector into it and use it with my hot-sets with success.

 I used to buy it from my local salon supply until I found this place selling it in a 5L pack for $18!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My (New) Favourite Dress, and a teary moment

Everyone has their own opinions on what makes a dress 'perfect'.
Some people love pockets, some people love a wiggle silhouette.

My idea of the perfect dress would be a peter-pan collar, tailored details, sturdy fabric and a smart-casual style.

I think it just arrived yesterday! I have to warn you before the photos that its 6.30am in the morning and I look very sleepy.

I'm madly in love with this dress - the fabric is a heavy rayon challis with a tiny herringbone weave to it. The buttons and piping are made from a red taffetta, and the 3/4 cuffed sleeves look so classy.
The brooch is a 1940's celluloid sweethear brooch - and the little 'love letter' dangling from the end is made out of cardboard! I'm suprised it lasted so long.

The seller (DangerouCurvesVtg in the UK) said the dress is 1940's, but I'm not sure. The fabric certainly feels right, but the gored skirt and styling seems more early 1950's to me. Not that it matters really.

And this is how I dressed for work today - do you wear vintage to work?

Belt: Op-shop
Shoes: Miss L Fire Monaco
Valentine's Brooch: 1940's, Etsy
Lipstick:  Illamasqua 'Ignite'

It's our first wedding anniversary so I made a little bit of an effort so I could dash straight out and meet Jakk for dinner afterwards. Hence getting up at 5.30am to hot-set my hair.

It was a really lovely start to the day seeing New Zealand pass it's same-sex marriage bill, and the ministers singing the Maori love song 'Pokarekare Ana' in celebration (flash forward to 1.15 on the video if you want to get teary).

Go New Zealand! Hurry up Australia!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Out-Door Charm, Ladies Cardigan - c. 1940s

I love everything about this little cardigan! (except maybe the small 32-34 bust sizing). From Economy Knits 5, early late 30s/early 40s.

Cute collar, puff sleeves, large celluloid buttons and the model has great hair. What a combination!

The Economy Knit Books were published from the mid-thirties specially for the Woolworths stores. The post-war ones didnt mention a 'brand' of yarn which really does prove fingering is fingering is fingering.

I hope you like it!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

And the winner is....

Please send me an email at bexthefemme at gmail dot com, and i'll send your prizes...

For everyone else, a big thank-you for taking the time to enter!
For the next week, the coupon code WINNER will get you 15% off the ePatterns in my Etsy Store if you're still keen.


Monday, April 08, 2013

It's Giveaway Time!

To celebrate the release of my Historical Stitches line, I'm giving away a copy of each of the first sewing patterns, PLUS you can choose any five epatterns/booklets from my Etsy Store!

The Historical Stitches pattern series have been carefully reproduced (by hand, phew) so they can be printed out at home on A4 or 8.5 x 11 paper.  I've also checked the pattern instructions - if they're not detailed enough, I've explaned on them to make your life easier.

Rockabilly Wrap Top

The One-Yard Rockabilly Wrap Top - to fit a Medium (34-36 inch bust). This fabulous halter top features bust gathering, tie neck and a wrap that fastens in front.

1940s Pinup Bathing Suit (McCall 6062)

The 1940's Pinup Swimsuit - in a 40 inch bust. Sized for the modern figure, this pattern for a darling swimsuit and trunks will fit a 40 inch bust, 34 inch waist and 43 inch hip.
These fabulous bathers button up the side, and enhance your assets with ruching at the bust.

For one entry, simply comment below.
For another entry, tweet or blog about the competition and let me know below as well!

The competition is open until 15 April (Australian time) and i'll draw the lucky winner at noon.

Good luck!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Things to Never Do...

Hand wash a rayon crepe dress - shrinkage!

Waaaah. Here's hoping it drops a bit once its dry.
Have you ever done something similar?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Doris Day's Jumper for you to knit! c. 1950s

Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff  (Doris Day) is one my favourite actors, inspiring my cat's name - Calamity Jane. Besides being an amazing singer, animal right's campaigner and appearing in 39 films, she's also a gay icon beloved by many (including me).

And now, you can knit her jumper!

It's a bit racey, with a plunging neckline accentuated with silver beads. To fit a 34-inch bust, its knit using a fingering weight crepe yarn on 2.75mm and 3mm needles.

I hope you enjoy it!
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